“Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 24

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“La! You have not remembered a thing!”

Madame Gormosy passed into the room and gave a deep curtsey to Garrett, who was just leaving.

“Good Morning to you, ‘Madame’ Gormosy.”   He obviously knew Madame by another title. His address and bow to her was rather mocking.

Madame Gormosy did not take up his challenge. She was oblivious to all except what was before her. And I unluckily, was standing in her line of vision.

What is it with devils?

“Your lady, M. Garrett, dresses again dishabille. How am I to transform her if she denies my commands? She would scare away her cicisbeo with such a face! Ah! Surely some powder and a bit of rouge before breakfast! Quell dommage!”

I caught Garrett staring at me over Madame’s head. His face is unreadable, but there was a bit of a warning in his eyes. Ah! This Demon feels his own  challenge!  And from what appears to be a woman in petticoats! What a delicious bit of play!

He left, a grimace on his face, and I gave Madame my prettiest curtsey.

“Well, at least you do that well enough. Now, back into that corset, ma chérie. Hold on to the bedpost.”

Madame grabbed up the corset I begged the Demon to loosen last night. I could not breathe! After relaxing the laces, it was easy to slip down over my hips.   The Chinese bound foot has nothing over a full corset of the 18th century. Madame this time did not use her magic to undress me, but undressed me in the usual way. That is to say, she pulled the sash of my gown, and without ceremony, dropped it to the floor. Again, I stood naked before her. (I must remember the gender of ‘Madame’ here.) If I forgot, a glance into her eyes reminded me Madame took some pleasure. And since she is such an obliging tutor, I could not deny her. Her eyes took in the fullness of my bosom and without any shame on her part, lingered upon my body. It was like being caressed with the eyes of a lover. She glanced up into mine, and for one short second, in a flash, I knew: I was opposite a man. No woman could ever look at a woman’s body in such a way.

She whirled me around, and with surprising strength, pulled the lacing tight. I was more prepared this time, and remembered to fill my lungs with air. She saw me do this and pushed a knee in my back, making me exhale sharply. My horse used to do this when I pulled the cinch on the saddle, and it seemed to me a well-placed trick. Once again the petticoats and stockings. This time she procured a dress from the wardrobe. It was a heavy blue brocade, plain of decoration, fitting tightly across the bodice. The skirt was full from the hips to floor. Surely Madame clothed me in the fashion of her times.

She looked me over and decided a lace cap would do well. My hair disappeared under the ruffle, and at least she didn’t spend her time pulling it out of my head. Madame may look like a woman, but had the strength of a man.

“Let’s work on your ornamental talents today. Ah! A woman should grace the arm of her husband in public, and her lovers in private. Let us walk through the house and see what we can find to entertain ourselves.”

Madame and I walked through the downstairs hall, each fluttering a fan. She used hers as punctuation to her charming voice and very prettily she was able to use it. A flutter here, a graceful extension of the fan sideways, a coy smile hidden by the uplifting to her face, all these motions were a language. A fascinating and intriguing language foreign to me. I was reminded of the usage of zils, the small finger cymbals of Turkish and Egyptian dancers used in such expressive, emphatic ways. This, the language of the fan, was as seductive and intriguing as anything.

Madame decided to walk into the front sitting room, a room I avoided since Obadiah’s rape. There must have been some sort of energy still present for I saw Madame’s dress rise at her groin. I would guess this was some sort of spirit challenge, for the sexual energy of what happened in that room had not completely dissipated. Though the room only gave me uneasiness, for Madame the invisible sensation was much stronger. ‘She’ looked at me sharply, as if to assess its effect, and I saw her eyes turn cruel. She was, after all, a devil. What right did I have to expect compassion from her?

“La! There is a harpsichord in the corner. Let’s see what accomplishments you have musically.”

Madame moved gracefully to the instrument and opened the keyboard. She motioned me to sit, and I did, as gracefully as I could manage in my skirts. I had played, badly, on a piano at home, but a harpsichord! My fingers were stiff and I could only think of one piece to play, and haltingly I did so. It was “The Prince of Denmark’s March.”

Madame had little patience with my playing. “Enough. Let us see if you have anything of a voice.”

Ah! Here perhaps I would not disappoint her. I could sing, and in fact, had years of vocal training. I could sing German lieder and some 18th century Italian art songs. The art songs perhaps she would tolerate. The German she would not. Of course, I was singing from memory, and Madame did not have the music in front of her. It was a bit of a challenge for both of us.

“Well, that went badly, n’est ce pas? Let us see how you do with the dance. M. Garrett informs me that you do dance?”

Madame moved to the little settee and plied her fan.

Ah! Madame, you will be disappointed, I fear. The dancing she had in mind and the dancing I did, were divided by cultures.

“I do dance, Madame, but it is something that is not familiar to your elegant French culture. Are you acquainted with ‘harem’ dancing?” Madame’s face fell in shock.

“Mon Dieu!” she said with a gasp. “Mahomet’s harem” Her eyes stared a hole into my face.

“Wherever did M. Garrett find you?” She looked as if I had crawled out of a crater.

“Well, actually, I found him. I..I was writing a book. He was just a character in it.”   I grinned. “ He is a product of a fertile imagination.”

Madame Gormosy looked at me curiously, her head tilted. She looked like an inquisitive owl.   “How well do you know M. Garrett?”
How I should answer this question?   “Not very well, but in some parts, intimately.” I smiled coyly.

Madame Gormosy reached out and rapped my hand sharply with her fan.

“Stupid girl! I am not asking what he does under your petticoats, I am asking if you have any idea who diddles you?”

I sucked on my fingers as I looked at her in surprise.

“Do I know he is a Devil?” I said around my fingers in my mouth. “Well, I would suppose so.”

“Ah, my poor, stupid girl. He is hardly a Devil. His status is much more exalted.” She appeared agitated and fanned herself with vigor.

“M. Abigor would not notice if he was just a common devil. No, not at all.” Madame sat back on the sofa and continued to fan herself.

“M. Garrett descends from a royal bloodline. A very royal bloodline.

“You are talking then about the Nephilim, no?”

Madame Gormosy looked surprised. “And how would you know about that?”

“Ah Madame!” I threw back a sting of my own. “Women of my generation research and know languages. We read about science and some of us actually read more languages than a smattering of Latin and French.” There.

I would continue, though I saw the gathering thunder in Madame’s face. “And some of us have far more extensive skills than dancing or embroidery. Or pouring tea.”

“And some of us do not write ourselves into such a fine mess.”

She had me there. I nodded my head in acquiescence. She had won this round.

Lowering her voice, she stared straight into my eyes.

“I would be cautious, my dear lady, what interests and education you parade before demons. You might find yourself obligated to one or the other.”

I sat down beside her, thinking of Abigor and my upcoming meeting. I would try to appease her.

“Madame. Please guide me in the proper decorum with M. Abigor. I have never had tea with an Arch Duke of Hell. I do not want to aggravate M. Garrett’s condition by blunders of my own.”

Madame Gormosy sat back and sighed.

“Sensible woman. Good. You appeal to what I can do for you. Bien. You should know M. Abigor is of the old school of Hell. He has been around since the earliest of days and is a bit jaded. That is why, I believe, his current interest in you.”

“I would think that M. Abigor has had his interests filled again and again. Nothing new under the sun?”

“Hah! Everything is new, in the eyes of someone you have not met before. M. Abigor is known for his gallant behavior, especially to mortal women. You know he has had many mortal wives?”

 

And just how did that work? Were they revived bits of charcoal in Hell?

“Don’t let your wit run away with you, ma chérie.”

(Sigh. Again with the mind-reading.)

“M. Abigor is able to visit his women as easily as the fog in the morning, and with more lasting results. M. Abigor has had his own harem on earth.”

Anticipating my thoughts, Madame continued. “And yes, my girl. If he took it into his head, he would put horns on M. Garrett’s head. You must proceed very cautiously with M. Abigor. I have known him to do much worse to a marriage.”

That was reassuring! “So, Madame, what do you suggest I do with M. Abigor? I certainly do not want to bring the wrath of M. Garrett down on my head. Nor do I want to stumble with M. Abigor. Any suggestions?”

“Ah! Try to divine his mood that day, and humor him. All men, or Devils, will respond to the flattering attentions of an attractive woman. I would talk philosophy, but do not try to top his knowledge here. Be ornamental to the tea table. Be submissive, and play the great art of seduction.”

I was getting confused. “Tell me, Madame. What is your definition of this word ‘seduction’?

“Ah! The art of seduction is gaining a woman’s affections, under the pretence of being deeply enamoured, when at the same time despising the woman for her vanity and weakness.” That was it in a nutshell.

Comment cynique! Of course. What could I expect from a devil!

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015

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2 Responses to ““Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 24”

  1. TR Says:

    Hahaha, well she can curtsey well! Bess’s non-submissive ways are peeking through. The definition of seduction, yup, it is in a nutshell! LOL!

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Yup, Bess is no submissive. LOL! She plays a part because she has stepped into a mess with demons, devils, the supernatural, magic, and all this with trying to write a book. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for everyday life for writers? LOL!

    Seduction. I have a lot more to post about that, but Madame Gormosy is pretty sharp. Of course, she (he) is a procurer…a pimp I would guess in Hell….or Earth, and she is endlessly fascinating. At least to me. She keeps me on my toes with her antics. (Which seem to get worse as the book develops.)

    Hugs, Jane

    Liked by 1 person

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