CHAPTER VIII

Friday morning.

Those good friends of ours who, already the day before yesterday, calculated on our “lying in bed” at Dijon would have been greatly astonished if they had been able to see us all alone in another bed at Versailles. Moreover, with what a torrent of sarcastic remarks they would have deluged me had they known that my wife-on the third day of her honeymoon-was still a virgin!

However, I felt neither bitterness nor humiliation on that account.

Rather a certain pride. I imagined an audience capable of understanding me, — one that would have applauded me for having overcome stupid masculine prejudices. Together we should have evoked a new world in which Man was no longer the slave of his Phallus and thirsting for the bestial satisfying of his passion… But how many people are there- perhaps one in a thousand? — who, raising themselves above the primitive brute, can bridle their desire in view of a less egoistic voluptuousness? Egoistic? But had I not displayed an egoistic spirit towards Therese on the previous evening? Why provoke her solitary orgasm and then, afterwards, merely carry her off shivering to her bed and leave her there? I had made a mere pretence of obtaining an explicit appeal from her, — that “Take me!” which would have surrendered her flesh to mine. Had she not appealed to me, with her whole body straining towards me, amidst the semi-darkness of that warm summer night?… However, if I had resisted her intoxicating appeal to give her pleasure, — if I had bridled my own mad lust, it was because the trial through which I passed made me more ambitious, and also stronger. What I wanted from Therese was not merely her fleshly consent, so ardently confessed that night; but the more conscious acquiescence of her whole being. And I knew full well that-anxious for a more intimate union than the mere union of the sexes-I was in the right.

Meanwhile, through too protracted an evocation, in the warmth of my solitary bed, of the incidents of the preceding night, my lust was once more quickly aroused. Strange duplication of one’s personality! While my mind formulated its arguments and approved of what I had done, my imagination, summoning up recollections, disapproved. My loins were wrung with poignant regret. Once more I saw Therese casting aside her dressing-gown and, wholly unashamed, offering her whole body to me; once more I felt the sweet, moist appeal under my fingers.

Had I not made a gull of myself by refusing the offered pleasure? I closed my eyes the better to relish what my enjoyment might have been… I should have thrown myself on my knees, between her open thighs, and, amidst the double moisture of our dual lust, I should have caressed her flesh for a long, long time with my penis before suddenly penetrating her. Or, perhaps, Therese’s hands, with an instinctive movement, and amidst a paroxysm of pleasure, would have seized hold of my sex, already stiff through the approaching spasm, so as to thrust it within her… Suddenly I became very warm and uncovered myself,and in order to relieve the burning turgidity of my sex, I was forced to undo a few buttons of my pyjamas.

The sound of Therese drumming on the door made me draw up the sheet quickly. In a clear and comically shrill voice, she sang:

“Au clair de la lune, Monsieur mon epoux, Venez au jardin, il y fait tres doux.”

I welcomed these humorous lines with a whistle of admiration, and then replied, in an octave lower:

“Au clair de la lune, Monsieur repondit:

Je ne puis sortir-re, je suis dans mon lit.”

A ripple of laughter came from behind the door, accompanied by the words:

“No! Really? Get along with you, lazy fellow. May I come in?”

“Yes, yes. Come in at once.”

“I suppose you are decent?”

“Most certainly, — as I always am.”

“If that’s so you shall have a reward.” So saying, she half-opened the door and peeped in distrustfully. Tranquillised, she then came right in.

She was dressed in beach pyjamas: a jersey, a bolero and broad trousers, — a white ensemble braided with blue. The particular shade of that blue, in complete harmony with that of her eyes, increased their brilliancy. Pushing aside the bolero, her breasts stretched the thin material of the jersey and brought into prominence their twin nipples.

A large, supple straw hat shaded her blond hair, gathered up into a heavy chignon. I found my wife adorably beautiful and youthful, — so much so that my stiffened penis, throbbing with desire, rose to salute her. Just for a moment I stopped her on the threshold. “Stop there a moment, darling, so that I may admire your ensemble.”

“In such a get-up as this, you find me grotesque, don’t you? The Carnival of Nice on tour.”

“Oh! not at all, — the Cortege of Venus. Or rather Venus herself descended on Earth.”

She rushed towards me, her bosom thrust forward and hands in a threatening attitude, and, in a voice imitative of the Ogre, declaimed:

“C’est Venus tout entiere a sa proie attached.”

Then, throwing herself on my bed, she covered my face and neck with kisses. Soon her hands were drawing down the sheet (“To see if I’d not told her a fib!”) and this preliminary inspection was satisfactory, since the top of my pyjamas was chastely buttoned up. But after a while she was on the verge of discovering something most indecent: the ruddy extremity of my bare penis.

I was bound, however, to stop that and save her eyes from the brutal revelation of the ruttish condition in which I was, for that might have been most repugnant to her. I know that others would have consented, without making the slightest fuss; but those are the people who make women passively subject to their lust, or else those prostitutes whose venality surmounts all feeling of disgust. If, on the other hand, I wanted my wife, some day, to be as enamoured over the violence of my sex as full of tender pity for a penis exhausted by the love-act, — if I wished to awaken in her a confiding and caressing passion for my very flesh, other precautions were called for. I must first of all explain and guide her hand before surrendering myself to her visual caresses. But my will-power had broken down completely: mighty waves of lust flowed from my loins to my brain and overwhelmed me.

As when in a state of dizziness, it was the very sense of danger which attracted me, — the Sadistic expectation of Therese’s astonishment. At other moments, however, the waves of desire calmed down to a silent prayer. I wanted to say to Therese:

“You still know hardly anything about my body. Look at it! Be gentle with my impatient sex, as I was gentle last night with your so intimately excited flesh. Fear not! — all that I want is to surrender myself into your hands. And should you excite me to the point of orgasm, I will tenderly draw a veil over your eyes.”

Meanwhile, the hand which had drawn down the sheet had descended below my waist and reached the point where my pyjamas began to be half-open. Therese caught sight of a triangular morsel of flesh, and, in its close proximity to my sex, already hairy. Her breathing quickened.

Her arm made a lascivious movement and then she clenched her hand.

But she immediately recovered herself. So as not to have to recognize a fault on my part, she quickly drew the sheet over the fleshly triangle.

Again what she saw of my attire was perfectly decent and she congratulated me on it. “That is quite all right: you are indeed most proper.” She had not understood-or did not want to notice-the too apparent erection of my Phallus, a little lower down, under the sheet.

With feigned gravity, she then proclaimed:

“Under the terms of the powers conferred upon me, as much by the Deputy Mayor as by Monsieur l’Cure, I will now bestow a reward upon you.”

Suiting the action to the word, she stripped my shoulders and body to the waist, to repeat upon me the entire varied gamut of her caresses.

But this disturbing interlude lasted barely a quarter of an hour, — an abnormally brief period of time, compared to the customary duration of our love-feasts. Suddenly Therese stopped: her hand returned to the triangular piece of flesh she had glimpsed a short time before; she found it and slightly enlarged it, fumbling about on my stomach in search of my navel. When she had found it she hid her tongue in it for a few seconds. Finally, with a quick movement, she pulled the sheet right up to my chin and rose to her feet.

“You don’t really imagine, my dear Lord and Master,” she proclaimed,

“that you are going to be decorated with the Grand Cross of the Order of Caresses, because you have been fairly decent? Nay!.. You have merited only a decoration of the 3rd Class. The ceremony is concluded.

So get up at once, you bad lot!”

“Right-o! Right-o! I obey.”

I made a movement as though to jump out of bed, notwithstanding what she might be able to guess as regards the disorder of my attire.

But she screamed out:

“Stop! Stop! — Rascal! Let me get out first.”

She took to her heels, laughing the while. A few moments later, the sound of her voice came from the garden:

“I’ll await you under the lindens, where I shall be reading. But I like to read you better than a book.”

“Thank you!”

“Only, you’re a naughty book, and I hesitate to turn over the pages.”

“Ah! I know a pretty little book the whole of whose pages I’ve turned over.”

“Silence! — ungrateful monster!”

And in order to drown my voice she began, with a “Tralala, la, la!” to sing the revolutionary air from Louise.

How cheerful she was! I thought that recollections of the previous night would have made her more serious that morning. If, momentarily, she was almost sorrowfully dazed by the revelation of intense pleasure, the recollection of it had calmed down to a feeling of confident surrender. For I had been able to guide her (without either offending her delicacy or ravaging her flesh) to the very threshold of the intoxicating kingdom of voluptuousness. And at last, rid of all fear, she was now vibrating with joyous impatience, similar to a child who, on coming to the end of an unknown road, suddenly discovers the blue expanse of the sea, glittering in the morning sun.

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