Posts Tagged ‘1770’s’

“The Devil in Paris”, A Short Story in four chapters.

October 21, 2017

madame-gormosy

Madame Gormosy is a Devil.  She can change her sex at will, from Louise Gormosy to Louis Gormosy.  John Garret is also a Devil, (half of one but not so powerful.)  They have known each other for centuries as devils generally do. The scene is Paris, 1770’s.

THE DEVIL IN PARIS

CHAPTER ONE

 

Madame Louise Gormosy stood by the tall window, looking at the rain-slicked street. Paris was cold and dreary this spring.  Wood had gone up in price, and a timely delivery was a matter of bribes. That should be the concern of her steward, but he had disappeared. Already her servants were breaking up small cabinets and chairs to burn in the main salon and kitchen. She could hear the smashing of wood somewhere in the large apartment.

Madame shivered for the room was chilly.  Ah, she thought, if ever I see him again, I will make him pay with his life for my discomfort. I will tear his stomach open with my nails and eat his liver.

She had a visitor, a sullen-looking Englishman, now with his large frame stretched across her settee.  John Garrett was a friend of many years.  He was an easy-going devil and good company when in proper temper.   She cast her eyes towards him, a smile forming on her painted lips.  Patting her high-dressed hair and smoothing the gray satin front of her gown, she wondered what had put him in such a mood. She remembered he was quite a wit when not bothered with serious thought. She hoped he would reform his manners, for she wanted nothing to spoil the afternoon.  The rain could not be helped.

“John Garrett!”    Madame’s natural voice was low pitched but now showed her exasperation with a rise in key.  “Are you going to continue your gloom and sour my day?”

Garrett, his eyes drawn slowly from the low burning flames, looked up at her.  He stared for a long minute, a sneer forming on his handsome face.

“We are alone,” Garrett said quietly. “I know you better as “Louis”.  Why behave this way amongst friends? “

Madame did not answer.    She walked to the double door, locked it and threw the key into his lap.  For a moment she stood there, with her head cocked to the side, an elegant older woman, dressed in the latest fashion and only a sharp rise in the middle of her skirt gave warning of what was to happen.

In an instant, “Louise Gormosy” was “Louis Gormosy”. Gone were Madame’s satin overdress, the high coifed and perfumed hair.  A bit of makeup remained, but it was the current fashion among Parisian men.  Louis laughed at the expression on Garrett’s face. He now was a slight-figured man, above middle age, with powdered hair and white silk stockings that sagged around thin calves.

John Garrett shuddered slightly.  He knew his friend was not just any man in Paris.  He was a demon, an important one– the Archduke Demon of Lust, with sixty legions under his command.

Louis Gormosy had ridden out of Hell on a white camel and long tormented the earth. It could not be helped; it was his nature. It was his ‘calling’.

Ah, Louis thought, I miss my camel… along with my legions, but tant pis!  Paris’ cobblestones were hard on her aging hooves.

His guest, John Garrett, was also a demon, but not of the same stature. Louis Gormosy was not sure of Garrett’s actual position in Hell, but knew him to have the patronage of the powerful Archduke Abigor, close to the throne. With friends like that, even the powerful Demon of Lust had to watch his hoof.

Louis Gormosy chuckled at his guest’s expression. “Oh come, John, surely you are getting used to my little trickNon? Well then, I have another reason to invite you here, besides parlor tricks.  This evening I am expecting some guests, and I have reason for you to meet them.”

John Garrett sat up, stretching his legs. “Are you planning a little entertainment this evening?  You know, Louis, one never can tell with you.”

Louis Gormosy lay a finger aside his nose and winked. “You have come at a good time, John.   I expect a young woman, a girl actually. She is the daughter of a neighbor in the country.  She is around eighteen and her mother is anxious to have her married.”

“I am almost afraid to ask, Louis.  What part do you play? ”

John Garrett looked at his friend from half-closed lids, like a cat settling in for a long story.

Monsieur Gormosy walked to the window and looked out at the still pouring rain. He turned his head slightly and gave Garrett a nervous smile before peering down at the street, watching for a carriage to stop at his door.

“Madame Luciern is a silly woman, a bit more stupid than usual.  She has a daughter on her hands she complains is a ‘bookworm’.  Ah! Bon Dieu!  So the young woman will educate herself with novels and newsprint. Tant pis!”

Louis Gormosy threw up his hands in disgust.  The words “Good God” had a strange sound in his mouth, just shy of a gurgle.

“You still don’t tell me what your part is in this affair.”

Gormosy turned and looked at his friend. “Better you ask me what your part is.”

John Garrett sucked his breath in sharply, and let out with a soft “Oh no, Louis!”

Louis gestured with his hands outward, all Gallic charm, and continued his appeal.

“What is a little fun amongst devils, neh? You have certain…ah…attributes that I unfortunately, do not have.”

“The starch issue again, Louis?”  Garrett’s words rattled Louis and he winced.

Quell dommage! I don’t know if this is a little trick of Heaven or Hell, John…but it persists.  I begin the attack, a few thrusts with the sword, and even with one parry, I wilt.”

And, thought Louis sadly, it always came down to what devil had more ‘reach’. It always came down to a measurement.  Here on earth the length of the cock, and in Hell, the amount of control.

 “So, what is your plan and why should I care?”

Monsieur sucked on the side of his thumb, thinking how to present his case.

“I have not seen the young woman.  Her mother keeps her well hidden in the house. If she is a bookworm as the mother says, perhaps any attempt here in Paris to marry her off will be impossible. Perhaps she is ugly!”

“Or perhaps she has no bosom,” said Garrett from his seat, eyes wandering back to the fire.

“Or perhaps she has a harelip!” said Gormosy. “What do I know?  I have not seen the poor girl.”

With a grimace, Gormosy shook out his hand.  He had bitten deeply into his flesh, and blood spurted from his thumb.

Garrett asked, “Does she have a good fortune?”

Non, unfortunately not.  Madame Luciern is a widow and her estate is lessened with the behavior of her oldest son. That young man has no sense at cards…and worse luck!  I would give him some pointers in faro, but I do not cheat at cards.”

What a lie, thought Louis, laughing silently.  There was honor amongst devils but not at cards.  What was the worse that could happen?  A duel, you die, you come back fresh and new, with another chance to cheat life.  And at cards.

“But!” continued Louis, raising a finger into the air for dramatic emphasis.  “She has an honorable name!  That is worth something, I think.”

“Hah,” said Garrett.  “Perhaps of worth to mortals.  But it is something.”

The blood continued to spurt from Gormosy’s thumb. “Merde”.  He pulled a sooty handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped his thumb.

“So, what do you intend to do with Mademoiselle? Do you have a cuckold in mind?”

“Why would he be a cuckold, mon ami?  I have all intention of marrying her to someone worthy and with a good fortune.”

“And if she is not marriageable due to this harelip or flat bosom?  What do you intend then for Mademoiselle?” asked Garrett.

“I intend to make her a whore.”

There. It was out, thought Gormosy.  Let him chew on that.  There was profit to be made here, and he, Louis, would take the advantage.

“Why do you need me?”  John Garrett’s eyes half closed again as he looked at his friend who was grinning broadly.

“If I can not obtain an acceptable offer, I will need your –ah, efforts, John.”

“Meaning?  Come Louis, do not make me beat it out of you.”

“You will seduce her.  You will make her more pliable for her gentleman callers…I, of course, will revert back to Madame, for this is all her mother knows of me, and you will play…”

“Hold on, Louis.  Do you or don’t you intend to get her a husband?”

“How should I know?” Louis Gormosy shrugged his shoulders and presented his palms upward.

“I don’t know if she has a harelip or an unfortunate bosom.  We both, my old friend, will find out this evening.”

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007 -2017

(“The Devil In Paris” was reprinted in the 2sd edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”, Amazon.com, 2016.)

revised-cover-2776

“The Devil in Paris”, Chapter Two

January 23, 2016

untitled

 

John Garrett was standing at the window when he heard the knock by a servant. He watched Louis cross his hands over his breast and shake his head violently. Louis became Louise again. Voila! Her high coifed powdered hair, the satin dress, the tight corset and breasts returned. As many times as he had witnessed the transformation, it always took him by surprise. Louis was one tricky devil. A snap of Louis’ fingers and the door unlocked.

Garrett watched Madame and Mlle. Luciern enter the room, Madame a clipper ship in full rig. She was a short, plump woman, middle- aged, with powdered hair now showing the effects of rain. Her dark, plum satin gown was ten years out of fashion. She wore little face powder. There were honest wrinkles and age-spots to signify Madame was no longer young. Kissing Louise on both cheeks she shook herself, rather like a hen ruffling her feathers. Louise gestured for her to sit.

Garrett listened to Madame Luciern introduce her daughter to her hostess. Louise took the young woman’s hands in hers, studying her carefully and called for him to come be introduced.

Garrett bowed over Madame Luciern’s hand and watched her face color. She might be of middle age, no longer a beauty, but she still was a woman. Mlle Luciern had no such reaction. Her face remained expressionless.

Taking a chair across from Mlle., he listened to Louise Gormosy ask the mother questions about their trip from the countryside. The two older women were soon lost in chatter and he had a chance to observe the silent young woman.

His first impression of Mlle was favorable. She was slender, with an underdeveloped bosom, a fine complexion and a pretty mouth.   She did look like a bookworm, he thought with a chuckle.   She had a serious demeanor, with pale gray eyes and dark brows that did not arch in the necessary fashion. Fine brown hair pulled into a simple unadorned bun exposed a slender neck.   He was curious. He had his fill of coquettes and fashionable young women in Paris. They were of a general order, all schooled in manners to attract a man’s attention and hold it captive for an afternoon. Their charms passed through him like water. How bored he had become with the women of Paris!

In Mlle. Luciern he saw something different. Something intriguing and virginal, but virginity had little value in Paris. He laughed to himself. Virtue was good for children but pointless in an attractive woman. Already the gloom of his mood was lifting in the presence of this rather mysterious young woman.

The two older women were lost in conversation and twittering with laughter as old friends do. Both her mother and Louise seemed to forget Mlle. Her face was politely blank, trained to assume a mask in company, but Garrett could see she was not empty of thought. Her fine eyes narrowed as she listened to her mother and Louise rattle on and a pained look cracked the mask.

“You have been in Paris before, my dear?”  Garrett’s voice was low enough to not disturb the chatter of the two older women. Mlle. Luciern turned her gray eyes to his and answered his question quietly, but with little interest in her voice.

Oui, Monsieur, I have visited Paris before, but not recently. I was a girl when I was last here.” Her voice was almost husky, and the pitch of it surprised him. Most young women were taught to have ‘musical’ voices in company, to laugh as affectedly as a tinkling bell. Mlle Luciern was unspoiled by such affectations.

He did not have a chance to question her further, for the sound of Mlle’s voice made her mother remember her.

“M. Garrett”, said Madame with a bright smile. “Margot-Elisabeth was a little girl the last time we were here, only about twelve. She is now in her nineteenth year, and a stay with Madame Gormosy will bring some color to her cheeks and hopefully polish to her manners. Ah, Bon Dieu! The countryside is good for virtue but there is little opportunity were we live to make her a wife!”

Mlle Luciern’s face flashed distress at her mother’s words. Garrett saw how Madame Gormosy’s eyes glittered.

“Ah, my dear Marie,” Gormosy said to the mother. “We will polish the apple and find her a mate. She has promise, but is too pale in the face. Perhaps a bit of rouge and the labors of my hairdresser?”

Madame Luciern laughed out loud. “Bon chance, Louise! I can barely get Margot-Elisabeth to brush her hair!”

Poor Mlle. Luciern blushed at her mother’s words and Garrett suppressed a smile. Margot meant ‘pearl’ and this one would need quite a bit of polish to catch a husband in Paris.

Garrett tried to make small conversation with Mlle. but she was now as shy as unpolished. The two older women chatted away without stopping for breath and the conversation was  about Margot-Elisabeth, unconcerned with her growing discomfort.

Garrett heard the amount of funds pledged by Madame Luciern to Gormosy, and almost whistled aloud. A dressmaker would be sent for immediately.

“Ah, Louise,” said Madame Luciern with a look of gratitude. “You work your magic with Margot-Elisabeth. In your competent hands I am sure she will bloom.”

Garrett wondered how much ‘magic’ would be needed by Louise, and how her mother would react if she knew the source of Madame’s….ah….magic.

How droll it was! Mother Luciern to leave her precious daughter in the hands of a devil. All the rosaries in France would not amount to a hill of shit once Louise got her claws into the prey.

Garrett laughed to himself. Tant pis! The bargain was struck. The Devil would have his due.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2016

(“The Devil in Paris” previously published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, Lulu.com, 2009) 

“The Devil In Paris”, Chapter Two

April 27, 2012

 

John Garrett was standing at the window looking at the rain when he heard the knock. He watched Louis cross his hands over his breast and shake his head violently.  Louis became Louise again.  Voila!  Her high coifed powdered hair, the satin dress, the tight corset and breasts returned.  As many times as he had witnessed the transformation, it always took him by surprise.  Louis was one tricky devil.  A snap of Louis’ fingers and the door unlocked.

Garrett watched Madame and Mlle. Luciern enter the room, Madame a clipper ship in full rig. She was a short, plump woman, middle- aged, with powdered hair showing the effects of rain.  Her dark, plum satin gown was ten years out of fashion.  She wore little face powder. There were honest wrinkles and age-spots to signify Madame was no longer young. Kissing Louise on both cheeks she shook herself, rather like a hen ruffling her feathers.  Louise gestured for her to sit.

Garrett listened to Madame Luciern introduce her daughter to her hostess. Louise took the young woman’s hands in hers, studying her carefully and called for him to come be introduced.

Garrett bowed over Madame Luciern’s hand and watched her face color. She might be of middle age, no longer a beauty, but she still was a woman. Mlle Luciern had no such reaction. Her face remained expressionless.

Taking a chair across from Mlle., he listened to Louise Gormosy ask the mother questions about their trip from the countryside. The two older women were soon lost in chatter and he had a chance to observe the silent young woman.

His first impression of Mlle was favorable. She was slender, with an underdeveloped bosom, a fine complexion and a pretty mouth.   She did look like a bookworm, he thought with a chuckle.   She had a serious demeanor, with pale gray eyes and dark brows that did not arch in the necessary fashion.  Fine brown hair pulled into a simple unadorned bun exposed a slender neck.   He was curious. He had his fill of coquettes and fashionable young women in Paris.  They were of a general order, all schooled in manners to attract a man’s attention and hold it captive for an afternoon.  Their charms passed through him like water. How bored he had become with the women of Paris!

In Mlle. Luciern he saw something different.  Something intriguing and virginal, but virginity had little value in Paris.  He laughed to himself. Virtue was good for children but pointless in an attractive woman.  Already the gloom of his mood was lifting in the presence of this rather mysterious young woman.

The two older women were lost in conversation and twittering with laughter as old friends do.  Both her mother and Louise seemingly forgot Mlle. Her face was politely blank, trained to assume a mask in company, but Garrett could see she was not empty of thought.  Her fine eyes narrowed as she listened to her mother and Louise rattle on and a pained look cracked the mask. 

“You have been in Paris before, my dear?”   Garrett’s voice was low enough to not disturb the chatter of the two older women. Mlle. Luciern turned her gray eyes to his and answered his question quietly, but with little interest in her voice.

Oui, Monsieur, I have visited Paris before, but not recently. I was a girl when I was last here.”  Her voice was almost husky, and the pitch of it surprised him.  Most young women were taught to have ‘musical’ voices in company, to laugh as affectedly as a tinkling bell.  Mlle Luciern was unspoiled by such affectations.

He did not have a chance to question her further, for the sound of Mlle’s voice made her mother remember her.

“M. Garrett”, said Madame with a bright smile.  “Margot-Elisabeth was a little girl the last time we were here, only about twelve.  She is now in her nineteenth year, and a stay with Madame Gormosy will bring some color to her cheeks and hopefully  polish to her manners. Ah, Bon Dieu!  The countryside is good for virtue but there is little opportunity were we live to make her a wife!” 

Mlle Luciern’s face flashed distress at her mother’s words. Garrett saw how Madame Gormosy’s eyes glittered.

“Ah, my dear Marie,” Gormosy said to the mother.  “We will polish the apple and find her a mate.  She has promise, but is too pale in the face.  Perhaps a bit of rouge and the labors of my hairdresser?”

Madame Luciern laughed out loud at Gormosy.  “Bon chance, Louise!  I can barely get Margot-Elisabeth to brush her hair!”

Poor Mlle. Luciern blushed at her mother’s words and Garrett suppressed a smile. Margot meant ‘pearl’ and this one would need quite a bit of polish to catch a husband in Paris.

Garrett tried to make small conversation with Mlle. but she was now as shy as unpolished.  The two older women chatted away without stopping for breath and the conversation was all about Margot-Elisabeth, unconcerned with her growing discomfort.

Garrett heard the amount of funds pledged by Madame Luciern to Gormosy, and almost whistled aloud.  A dressmaker would be sent for immediately.

“Ah, Louise,” said Madame Luciern with a look of gratitude.  “You work your magic with Margot-Elisabeth.  In your competent hands I am sure she will bloom.”

 Garrett wondered how much ‘magic’ would be needed by Louise, and how her mother would react if she knew the source of Madame’s….ah….magic. 

How droll it was!  Mother Luciern to leave her precious daughter in the hands of a devil.  All the rosaries in France would not amount to a hill of shit once Louise got her claws into the prey.

 Garrett laughed to himself.  Tant pis!  The bargain was struck.  The Devil would have his due.

 Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008, 2012


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