Posts Tagged ‘French manners’

“Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 23

February 17, 2016


WARNING:  Sexual scene (but the offensive part deleted for my hens reading…)

 Chapter 23

When Garrett returned from his visit with Abigor, he said nothing. It was only two days later I knew his whereabouts. Another day before I heard of this Madame Gormosy.

“And what is her purpose with me?” Better to know these things early.

“Ah! She is sent from Abigor. She will teach you some manners.” He did not meet my eye but kept his on the fire.

“I didn’t know I was lacking, Demon.”

“Oh, I beg your pardon! I was not talking about mortal manners. The manners you will need as my…ah… consort.”

“So, Abigor knows what I am to be to you?”

I wondered why he had been so quiet for the past few days. Perhaps he escaped his interview by the skin of his teeth.

“He knows, he knows.” He was whittling a piece of wood with a small knife, feeding the fire with his strokes. The flames seem to leap up and swallow the chips.

“That is why he is sending Gormosy. A Duchess of Hell. You’ll like him.”

“Him? I thought you said Duchess of Hell.”

“I did. Gormosy is a male Devil. He likes to appear as a woman riding a camel.”

A camel. In the middle of winter.

“Well, what skill does this transvestite demon have that would make Abigor think of him as a tutor?” Curious business, this Madame Gormosy.

Waving his hand vaguely in the air, he said, “Decorum, manners, an engaging address, you know, womanly skills.”

So, this demon from Hell was to teach me the rules of social behavior among devils.

“And what is it again this Demon is known for?”

“If you must know, he’s a ‘procurer’.

“He’s a pimp?”

“Not exactly. He promotes lust and love in women. For men and…..demons.”

I started to laugh, then saw his face. He was serious.

The next morning, at 9 o’clock sharp, I heard a light knock at the bedroom door. I had been up for an hour, and I was dressed in a loose muslin dress, my hair quickly brushed from my face. I had just finished my tea and Garrett was quietly reading downstairs.

Before I could think, the door opened and a small and elderly woman entered the room, giving a deep curtsy. I rose from my chair, and stood looking at her, my mouth open in shock.

This was Madame Gormosy.   The cross- dressing demon from Hell.  Sans camel

I could no longer think of this creature before me as ‘he’, for ‘she’ was an elegantly coiffed woman, who was dressed in a style of the mid 1750’s. She stood before me in a dark maroon velvet dress. Her hair was powdered white and piled high. She had a cap with long lappets that perched on the top of her head. Upon that was a chip straw hat with ribbons. I thought the straw better for warmer weather, but again, I suppose her apartments in Hell were warm enough to support her choice. She had a black patch satin patch near her eye on one side, and another one on her opposite cheek. She was an elegant woman, whose bright smile was immediately engaging.

She swept into the room, and laid aside her fan. She unpinned her straw bonnet, and put it on the table. Putting her hands on her hips, she observed me closely. I remembered to close my mouth and give her a nod, but she continued to look hard at me.

“Well! This won’t do at all, ma chérie. She came close to me and placed her hands under my bosom, hoisting them like two melons. I was not wearing stays.

“Ah! Mon Dieu! That hair! Well, we will have to do something with all of you.” She continued to circle me and pick and prod at my figure. As she went around me, the scent of perfume spilled out from her. Her bosom was heavily laden with powder, and was very white. And wrinkled. After she finished her assessment, she sat down in the other chair, usually occupied by the Demon

She stared at me, her eyes flickering over my face, to my bosom and then back to my hair. She reminded me of one of my favorite characters in history, Madame d’Epinay. Madame was of the French aristocracy and married a count at fourteen. She was known for her salons and letters and this tiny woman before me was of the same age and period.  Perhaps she knew Madame d’Epinay?

“You, ma chérie, will follow in all I say. I teach you manners and behavior. You will meet with many famous and fine creatures, and you will become a treasure to M. Garrett the Demon. Give me your leave to take charge, and I make you a different creature. Ah!”

She threw up her hands in a very theatrical way, rocking backward,  and I almost laughed in her face. I caught myself, wondering about the devil before me.

“How am I to address you?”

“You may call me “Madame”. I have many names. But “Madame” is sufficient pour maintenant. Did Monsieur prepare you for my coming?”

“Madame, he only told me that you were to come. On Abigor’s suggestion.”

“Ah! My friend, M. Abigor! He has reason enough to know of my skills. First, dear girl, we will talk what a consort does in our worlds.   You are ambassador, wife, mistress of him and his household, and you will share in the good and bad of it all.”

As in being turned into charcoal at the whim of some cranky devil?

“You will charm the spark out of the pyre they would throw you and your demon on top of,” she said sharply

I shivered. She, too, could read my mind. It seems there is no escaping from this in his world.

“Nor in many others, ma chérie. She grinned and it was a bit wolfish. “So, let me list what you are expected to know in the beginning, and we will work on harder lessons as we go.”

“What” I was expected to know, and this seemed the most important to Madame, was best put in her words: “I was to present an extraordinary appearance of personal beauty, joined to a gentleness of manners, and an engaging address.” These ‘traits’ would be supplemented with lessons in household management, a little arithmetic, French, musical training on the harpsichord, dancing the minuet, drawing and fancy needlework. I was to follow all up with a special eye to ‘polished’ manners. There was the proper way to pour and serve tea, and amongst others, sweetening and lowering my voice when I spoke to the Demon. She listed ‘a proper submissiveness when demanded by my husband as key to it all.

“I know it is too much to remember.” She clicked her tongue a number of times and shook her head in disbelief.   “Think of it all in three bites.”

“And those being?” I asked grimly.

“You need to develop practical, literary and ornamental skills. How you appear to the others will be very important to the future of your husband.”

Ah! How I appear to a pack of devils will determine whether I am made into burnt toast, is what she means.

“That, ma chérie, and how to get the most out of your husband. Your life will be made more pleasant if you control him well. Mortal women are endlessly inventive in such things.” Again, she waved her hand elegantly in the air.

She smiled, and I smiled back. Though we were separated by more than two centuries, women always had similar thoughts about men.

“Let us start with your dressing. Come and let us see.” She walked to the wardrobe on one wall, and flinging open the doors, she stood before the contents with her hands on her hips. I followed her, and stood behind her. She turned, and snapping her fingers, I found my clothes had vanished

“Ah! So much better to see what I have to work with.”   I flushed red, naked as a blue jay before her.

“Well, we can’t do much for your height, but we can find a good, tight bit of stays to contain that bosom! Turn around, let me see your derriere.”

I turned around, feeling my humiliation. “Put your arms out, like a cross.” I did, and Madame came up behind me and put her hands around to my breasts. I shivered as she touched me. She pulled them back suddenly, flattening them to my chest. I felt her body press into mine

“There! You will need a tight corset to start. Come here and let me lace you.”

She had picked up a long, boned corset from the bottom of the wardrobe. It looked evil. “Here, stand by the bed post and hang on.” She slipped the corset up my hips and around my breasts. She began to lace me tightly.

“I can’t breathe!” I yelled out, holding on the bedpost with both hands as she tugged at the lacing.

“You are supposed to faint. Much more feminine. You need some womanly charms here, you act too masculine.” I took short breaths adjusting to the corset. Finally she was done and from under my arms to below my waist, I was laced tightly.

“What am I to wear on my butt? Pantaloons?”

“Ah, ma chérie! That is part of your problem. No, you are to be accessible to your husband at all times. Your vulnerability will make him value you more.”

It seemed to me Madame had been reading “The Story of O” and was applying the ‘rules’ to this dimension. Or perhaps there was more to this issue of ‘consort’ than I had been told.

On went the usual petticoats, stockings, garters and satin mules. Madame allowed me the freedom of sitting in my corset without pulling further garments over my head. She busied herself with a brush and pins and combed and teased my hair into various styles. She wasn’t gentle in her handling my head and hair, either. She seemed to enjoy herself. I thought about all the gay hairdressers I had had in my past. There was a common thread here. Gossip and hair.

She snapped her fingers and an elaborate tea service appeared. Plates of cakes, petit fours and other desserts. I was to follow her pouring of tea, the handling of the pot, the graceful hand over hand, never flinging them out, but gracefully extending them from my elbows tight at my side. Small and delicate movements. How I handed the saucer and cup was another test. I thought of the geisha, but she corrected me. Simpering was not appealing to the demon.   We poured and served each other for an hour, and she demonstrated what she called ‘engaging address’. Ah! The artificiality of it all! Illusion and sham, but such elegant illusion. I could see how subtle movements and the way one sat, maintaining a ramrod posture because of the corset and clothes, the handling of the hands, delicate small movements, eyes downcast when questioned, the slight smile, still with eyes not meeting, all these worked into a system of seduction. How oblique was modern woman to it all. This was a lot to remember.

She produced two fans from out of the air, and handed me one, snapping open the other before her face. There was a system and meaning in the waving of fans, the casting of eyes at your lover. I learned a silent language, of “don’t come close, I am being observed”, and “I am impatient to feel your sword”, and “Your wife is cuckolding you with your servant.” I was laughing at her witty remarks, and even though she was nothing but a devil, she charmed me with her femininity. How much we would never know about such manners. In a way, modern woman was impoverished for the lacking of these arts, as restrictive and controlling as they were.

When darkness fell in the late afternoon, Garrett came upstairs.   Madame Gormosy and I were laughing at some gossip when he saw us at the tea table. His face was a study of confusion, for he was lost in his books and had forgotten Madame.   She laughed a musical sound in his direction, and gracefully poured him a cup of tea. He crossed the room and bowed politely.

“Ah! M. Garrett! Your charge here had so much to learn! But she is a good girl and can be trained. Look now, at her bosom! Isn’t lovely to see a well corseted woman with all that promise peeking up from her stays? She hasn’t fainted yet, so tomorrow we will tighten the laces. Soon will make her a lady and you will be so proud of the result.”   Madame Gormosy curtsied to him and passed out of the room.

“You have been busy, I see. I forgot about Gormosy.” He grinned, his mouth full of cake. “I like the corset. I like you laced up like that. Gives me ideas.” He ate the remaining petit fours and drank the rest of the tea.

I rose to get a shawl to put over my naked shoulders. He came up behind and put his hands around to my breasts, pulling me back to his chest.

“Take off everything except the corset, dear woman.” His voice was a bit hoarse.


I started to laugh, because I would need his help getting the damn thing off.   He slipped his hands around the tapes that tied the petticoats, and dropped them from my hips.



I heard a deep scream somewhere in my body, rise up to my throat, and I yelled into the feather pillows before my face. It felt like electricity hitting my body, as I felt my nerves light up with a sharpness and then  ecstasy through my body. It surged wave upon wave, until it finally faded out, disappearing. I heard Garrett behind me, as I went limp in his arms, yell something about “A million little devils! Out!~” as he collapsed on top of me. We lay panting, I breathing so hard I thought I would faint. He curled my body to his, wrapping his arms around me.


“I see Madame’s lessons are not lost on you”.   He blew his breath onto my neck, under my hair. “I’ll have to watch ‘Madame Devil’ closely. Somewhere under those petticoats, she still has a sword. Despite powder and wig, you remember there’s a man under those skirts.”


Oh God! I had forgotten! He seemed such an elegant woman that all knowledge of his gender passed out of my mind. Perhaps there was more than persuasion in his manner. Obviously, Monsieur was using his own brand of magic.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 20166

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