Once more she let her head fall on to my shoulder and repeated: “I love you… I love you.” Then, seizing my hand, which was resting on her knees, she raised it gently, with a sliding movement, in contact with her dress, and brought it to rest against her bosom. Under the material, which moulded her form to perfection, I could feel the perfect rotundity of one of her breasts. Two of my fingers were resting on her bare throat, at the very opening of her bodice. Had I understood my wife’s action? Was it a mere reflex of her tenderness, — or a conscious appeal for more intimate caresses? I dare not come to any conclusion, through the fear that I might too easily give way to the suddenly hot feeling which rose to my brain from my stiffening sex. Meanwhile Therese curved-in the small of her back; her bosom was raised towards me, completing her tender movement until it became an unmistakable offering. It was then, with a slightly trembling hand, that I drew down her dress.
Admirable in its purity, the budding curve of a breast came into view. I was filled with astonishment on discovering such immaculate whiteness, — a whiteness all the more disturbing through its contrast with her throat and arms, tanned by the sun. Very slowly-despite an impatience which I had a difficulty in restraining — the dress slid down until a tinted aureole proclaimed the appearance of a nipple.
Compressed by the descending dress, it looked, at first, as though it wanted to hide itself; but, suddenly, out it slipped, in all its rosy firmness, — quite small, yet oh how alluring! I gazed intensely on this morsel of delicate flesh, which seemed the quintessence of Therese’s femininity; and my voluptuous sensations still further increased at the idea that this nipple-so fleshly, so full of living animality-belonged to an intelligent and pure being.
However, wholly absorbed in contemplation, I remained motionless, and my hand forgot to draw her dress still further down. Therese raised her head, blinked under the dazzling light, and glanced at her seminude breast. She herself appeared to be astonished at its whiteness.
Then, suddenly, she hid it with her hands and, in a little childish voice, roguish and supplicatory at one and the same time, exclaimed:
“I’m almost ashamed, darling. For the light, here, is so crude.”
Without responding a single word, I took her in my arms and carried her into the adjoining room.
This room-a rococo drawing-room of doubtful taste, yet comfortable withal- was illuminated merely by a low lamp, the blue shade of which allowed but little light to filter through. Having placed Therese in an ample easy-chair, I knelt down on the carpet at her side. I was in an uncertain state of mind and somewhat exasperated. Was I to come into continual conflict with that easily shocked modesty of hers?… But without more ado, my wife slipped down the shoulder-straps of her dress; and then, with a pretty, supple movement, she pulled it down altogether, denuding herself entirely, down to her waist. She had closed her eyes and, with her head against the back of the chair, was extending her breasts towards me.
In the domain of pure aesthetics, even in the case of a cool-headed observer whose desire is uninfluenced by a too-partial admiration, I know nothing more harmoniously beautiful than a woman’s torso. A miracle of Nature, — all the more touching as it is most rare, as it is a unique marvel among so many ill-formed shapes. As my eyes became used to the semi-darkness of the room, that torso appeared to me to stand out in relief still more, strengthening the purity of its lines. A delicate and disturbing geometry, whose curves could not fail to identify themselves with a never-ending voluptuousness; but their exact symmetry seemed to be a concession made to the exigencies of reason. Placed high up, yet without exaggeration, Therese’s breasts were most firm in their fullness; no unsightly fold broke the harmonious line which attached them to her body. Perhaps they were just a little less ample than they ought to have been, according to strict canonical rules; but they appeared all the more youthful and attractive on that account.
With a sigh, Therese stretched herself, — doubtless impatient with me because of my long contemplation, which deprived her of caresses.
Those twin points of rosy flesh-her nipples- were erect, clamouring their hallucinatory appeal; and my hands-timorous up to thenresponded to that appeal. On my fingers coming into contact with her skin, Therese quivered; a vibration which was prolonged in a succession of warm undulations to my loins, and which exasperated my sex to the point of an almost painful tension. Then the rhythm of my caresses was quickened.
At one time, placing both my hands against my wife’s naked waist, I brought them slowly upward. They glided with an equal pressure over her bosom, which momentarily gave way and then regained the perfection of her contour. At another, seizing her here and there, I amused myself with alternately squeezing and parting her breasts; and the hollow between them formed, according to my fancy, either a narrow and exciting fold of flesh, or a broader, more chaste valley. At the same time I let my hands stray ever so lightly, so that they hardly touched the imperceptible down on her epidermis; but when they traversed the twin summits of her bosom they encountered those little points of rebellious flesh, — and their emotion was such that it rippled throughout the whole of her body. Or else, multiplying my fingers so as to produce a thousand rapid contacts, I teased her breasts; then, seizing a rosy nipple between finger and thumb, I pressed it most tenderly, as I would have done a tiny berry whose juice I wished to express, but all the time fearing to injure it. And then, under the increased impatience of my caresses, those breasts of my beloved stiffened, as though still more eager for voluptuousness.
In a low voice, there came from her the words: “Kiss me, my darling.”
Submissive to her demand, I passed my two arms around her naked waist and approached my lips towards hers. But she withdrew her mouth.
“No, darling,” she whispered, “not that way.”
Fearing to give way to my own desire, I still hesitated to understand her. Whereupon, with an imperious and almost violent movement, she seized me by the neck. She lowered my head towards her bosom, while her other hand, thrusting forward one of her bubbies, drew it towards my mouth. Under my now close breath, her bosom became still more arched. However, instead of snatching at the beautiful fruit presented to my lips, it was only the point which I caressed with the tip of my tongue. Therese uttered a cry of surprise which at first made me draw back. But she continued to murmur — “Again! Again!” These words let loose on her bosom a perfect avalanche of caresses: multitudinous caresses with tongue and lips, more varied and more intoxicating than any bestowed by the hands.
I was kneeling on the right-hand side of my wife, and suddenly became aware that my position was inconvenient. She was indeed too lateral to enable me to dose, in exactly equal parts, the contribution of my tenderness towards her breasts. Was that strict division really so essential? — or was this merely a pretext suggested by my desire?…
However that might be, I rose and knelt down facing Therese, between her knees, which I had parted. Then I continued the interrupted feast, — tickling, alternately, the twin rose-buds with my lips, or taking them into my mouth to suck them. Or else, using my tongue in long sweeps, the moist tracks of which crossed and intercrossed, I licked the whole of her bosom greedily. Nay, sometimes I sought to take almost the whole of one of her bubbies into my mouth, to suck it in voraciously until Therese pushed me away, with the exclamation- “You are hurting me, my darling giddy goat.”
Under the pressure of my hips, her legs had unconsciously parted. Her dress, becoming gradually rucked up, disclosed first of all a silk40 sheathed knee, then, suddenly, above the stocking, a snow-white thigh. I closed my eyes so as to blot out this unexpected temptation.
Meanwhile, a remark she had made to me during dinner came back to me. I had expressed a fear that her gown, made of silver lame, must be very heavy for her to wear on such a warm evening, whereupon Therese had replied, — “But I’ve nothing else, — absolutely nothing else underneath.” This reply now set my imagination in a blaze; it took a delight in picturing, under her dress, the nudity of her thighs as far as the altar of love, — that warm spot which was so near and which, through the parting of her legs, must now be half-open. I was seized with dizziness. Under the material which imprisoned and caused it to adhere to my flesh, my sex became in such a state of erection that I was positively in anguish, and in order to relieve the pain I was forced to unbutton my trousers and release the Phallus until it was wholly nude.
With her head thrown back and her body thrilled by the thousand caresses from my lips and tongue, my wife was unable to suspect what I had done. I strove to keep within bounds the convulsive movements made by my liberated member, for fear it came into contact, under her dress, with her naked thighs, and thus arouse her attention. Already my thoughts were concentrated with an anxious and voluptuous feeling, on the inevitable consequences of my imprudence. I realized those consequences most clearly; I accepted them, without pity for my wife’s too-confident abandonment, without a scruple on account of promises made. I was conscious of my bad faith; I measured the shameful contrast between the tenderness with which I was intoxicating Therese, in order the better to disarm her suspicion, and the cruel laceration amidst which I should satisfy my desire. I imagined a sorrowful cry and a look of painful astonishment. But I had waited too long, — I was at the end of my powers of resistance, and, cowardly, I discounted the pardon promised in advance.
The throbbing of my temples increased and bewildered me, driving every thought from my brain. All that remained was a crimson vision of moist, defenceless flesh, and the pulsations of my sex extended towards that flesh. I raised myself with an instinctive movement, which brought my lips up to Therese’s mouth, — a movement above all prompted by a wish to place my sex on an exact level with her own.
With my two arms still around her naked waist, I drew my wife slowly towards me; and already I could feel my flesh, thrilling with lustful desire, gently touching the blond moss surrounding the coveted fleshly nook. Then, becoming wildly impatient, I seized hold of her dress to turn it up completely. Therese was startled and advanced her hand to restrain me, — then she renounced, with the words:
“Darling, my own darling. I am yours… But remember your promise.”
The resigned sweetness of her voice, much more than her very words, dragged me from the enchantment of my desire. Amidst a flash of dizziness, as though after a fall, I regained consciousness of my actions.
For a few moments longer I remained leaning over Therese, with my mouth against hers, for I wanted to immobilize her head against the back of the chair and so prevent her seeing me while I remedied the indecency of my attire.
But the trivial vulgarity of this action emphasized the grotesqueness of my situation. I was annoyed with myself through this abdication of my virility, — a stupid abdication in the presence of a little girl who foolishly refused to let me have her, when I had a perfect legal right to do so. Above all was I angry with Therese herself for having once more baulked my desire. When she raised her head and looked into my eyes, she was astonished to find them so full of hostility. She smiled at me sadly. Then her glance descended to her bare bosom, to her legs which I kept apart, and to her raised dress, disclosing her thigh. Yet she made no attempt to veil her nudity, and, instead of pushing me away she drew me towards her, burying my face in the valley between her bubbies and pressing me to them passionately. A sob rose in my throat, — a sob of vexation and remorse and also tenderness. But the tears appeased me, — they steadied my nerves; and I abandoned myself to the infantile sweetness of letting myself be consoled.
I myself drew down her dress, after furtively kissing the nude, moist thigh; I myself veiled, with amorous precautions, my beloved’s beautiful breasts, so that no harm could come to their fragile, rosy nipples. Then, closely pressed one against the other, we ascended to our rooms. The open window on the landing was already glowing with a phosphorescence which heralded in the approaching end of night.
Therese was leaning on my shoulder and whispered in my ear:
“You have been infinitely tender and deliciously indulgent, my darling. But I implore you not to be disappointed over this first night of our marriage. To me it has been so full of love, — infinitely more beautiful, richer in voluptuousness than all my dreams. Don’t you see how I am still all a-tremble through your caresses? — and how madly in love I am with you? I don’t know how to tell you all this. But it is with the whole gift of my body that I would thank you.”
On the threshold of her room our lips were again united, and then I took refuge in my own bed-chamber.