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Daughters to Marry

Erotic story (1903)


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Jean de Villiot, Whipped women, (The confessor; Procured by a whipping; Victims of love; Daughters to marry; The colonel and his cook), Privately issued for bibliophiles and collectors only ; impr. de Vve Folguy (Alençon), Paris, 1903.


DAUGHTERS TO MARRY

As soon as Henriette Panat had reached her seventeenth year, her mother began thinking about making some grand match. Poor mammas suffer greatly from the terrible fear that their daughters may be left on their hands, and if they had their own way, would busy themselves negotiating the marriage of their middle-class offspring like royal princesses, when still in the cradle. Henriette was a pretty girl, there was no doubt about it. To speak vulgarly, she looked "all there" as far as love was concerned.

She possessed that voluptuous look in her eyes, which at first seems insolent, and when it is accompanied by beautiful hair and a fine figure, commands respect, as well as calling forth desire, and exacerbating and establishing it. With the certainty of a rich dowry, bearing the name of Panat, which three generations of honest merchants had rendered illustrious at Limoges, there was no danger of her becoming an old maid. It seemed as if she did not require to await the arrival of suitors, but would only have to choose amidst a crowd of them. What might make her marriage more difficult was that her mother would not hear of any affianced adorer unless he had millions. He was to be intelligent too, clever in business; as handsome as possible, and above all with the habits of a saint, the vigour of Hercules, the watchful care of a sister of charity, and the amorous passion of Romeo. She had sought for this rare specimen of manhood at Limoges in vain. Without feeling discouraged, she thought she might drop on her ideal somewhere else, and perhaps at the Eaux-Bonnes, a health resort where her doctor had advised her to go.

"Are there any swell people there?" asked this worthy mother, infatuated with ideas of worldly grandeur and betrothed heroes.

Her doctor mentioned the names of counts, dukes, princes, and Parisian and foreign celebrities—all announced in the daily papers as leaving for the Eaux-Bonnes—and Madame Panat, full of hope, began to pack up, and told her daughter to prepare for the journey.

On the day of departure grave cares hung over the house of Panat. It happened that there was not only one daughter in this family, Henriette, but also another little maiden, Georgette. She was rather a big girl, close upon fifteen, and good air coupled with wholesome food had already shaped her into quite a miniature woman. It could easily be seen that she possessed well-developed, fleshy charms under her short frock, and although she only reached to her sister’s shoulder, perched on as yet high, thin legs, she was a hardy, healthy, fragrant blossom, and ready for Cupid’s harvest. For such as like full descriptions, we may add that she ressembled her sister, but was not so dark, and did not have her haughty, disdainful glance. But she was gifted with more amiable grace, showing that with the best disposition in the world, she was unable to control the impatient vivacity of her pretty frame. This darling, with her angelic eyes, hid a mischievous demon under her petticoats, as the sequel will show.

Georgette, not being of marriageable age, remained entirely forgotten by her family. Madame Panat troubled more about her dog. The little girl came home on her summer holiday from the convent school where she was a boarder all the year round. She arrived without many prizes, but making much joyful noise, and Madame Panat, after kissing her forehead, continued to carry from her cupboards and stuff into her boxes, hats, linen, and frocks, while Henriette answered all her sister’s questions with one laconic sentence, pronounced in haughty, important and mysterious accents:

"I am going to the Eaux-Bonnes with mamma."

"You’re off?"exclaimed Georgette. "Then I’m left all alone?"

"You’ll remain with your papa", said Madame Panat, not without majesty.

"It happens," interrupted Monsieur Panat, "that I have just received a telegram from one of my branches that will force me to leave home for a few days. We can’t leave Georgette alone here, with maid-servants of whom we are not sure. You ought to take her with you."

"Take her with us!" exclaimed Madame Panat, as if she had been asked to carry the house on her back.

"She’ll be a great trouble when travelling," said Henriette regretfully, but in quite a proper and solemn sort of way, as befitted a young person who expected soon to be elevated to matrimonial dignity.

She glanced with condescending pity on the hoyden, who knew nothing of the world, and was still studying her spelling; grammar, and arithmetic.

A long discussion now took place between Monsieur and Madame Panat. Mademoiselle Henriette watched the case, her lithe figure languidly leaning sideways, but her chin well forward, ready to throw in a word; while at the end of the room, behind the luggage, Georgette waited for the verdict. Finally, after a bustling trio which lasted nearly an hour, Madame Panat briefly announced to her youngest daughter the resolution of the family council.

"You go with us."

Georgette uttered cries of enthusiastic joy, forgetting for the time being that during the discussion she had been examining a delicious hat sent expressly from Paris for her sister, and that she was still holding it in her hand. She danced and jumped about in a way that foreboded danger for the fragile, flimsy and expensive headdress.

"What a plague you are! Take that!" cried Henriette, seeing the threatening ruin of the masterpiece of fashion, and boxing her sister’s ears in a rage. Georgette was on the point of paying Henriette back in her own coin, when the vast and peaceful bosom of Madame Panat was interposed between the combatants.

"Keep quiet!" she said in severe accents to her youngest daughter.

"But she began!"

"Hold your tongue! She’s your elder. You owe her respect. Remember that you haven’t left the house yet. I shall take you back to the convent."

"They don’t keep any boarders during the holidays."

"They would take you, if I desired," replied Madame Panat, with the gesture of a queen.

"Ah! we’re doing very wrong to let her come with us," sighed Henriette. "What a trouble she’ll be!"

"I know that, my child, but what are we to do? Your father wishes it!"

The boxes were packed and locked, final instructions given, the last farewell uttered, and the three feminine travellers passed through Limoges in their carriage driven with all speed. The eldest daughter took the tickets herself, and chose her own compartment.

Georgette had hardly entered the railway carriage, the train being on the point of leaving the station, when she stretched herself at full length on her stomach along the seat.

"I shall have a nice nap like this," she said.

"Can’t you behave decently, Georgette?" exclaimed Henriette, severely. "Will you get up?"

As her sister did not hurry to obey her, she applied, quite seriously and with her full strength, a tremendous slap on the plump backside that Georgette was unlucky enough to present so commodiously.

Georgette started up at once, rubbing her bottom, blushing for shame at having been assaulted on that part of the body, like a little baby school child in the lowest class. She made a movement of wounded pride and revolt, shrugging her shoulders, and muttering under her breath some rather disparaging remarks concerning her sister.

Henriette nodded her head with an air of decision, and smiled out of window at nothing particular, delighted at her act of authority.

As for Madame Panat, she left all the care and responsibility of direction and judicial control to her eldest daughter. When this little scene was enacted she fanned herself with indifference, full of pride in her motherly destiny which led her to the Eaux-Bonnes to get her child married. She gradually worked her fan less and less, shut up the waving instrument, twiddled it an instant in her dumpy hand, and became impassible, her mouth wide open to admit every kind of dream.

"Ma’s asleep, so perhaps you’ll keep silent," shouted the eldest beauty to her sister, in a voice loud enough to awake a regiment, but which was not heard by the sleeping woman.

Rather frightened by this sister of hers who was so handy with her slaps, Georgette huddled herself up in front of her mother, and dropped into sound slumber almost at the word of command. Before Henriette dropped off, she enjoyed a good, long "think" all about the charming acquaintances she was about to make, and passed in review artless seductive tactics.

At the Eaux-Bonnes, they were soon known to everybody on the parade. The morning, returning from the bath; the afternoon, leaving the Hotel de France, when lunch was over, and in the evening after dinner, Madame Panat led her eldest daughter along. When we say she led her, it is not quite the truth. It was more Mademoiselle who led her mother. This was the order of the procession: George went first, skirmishing, her nose in the air, three camp-stools under her arm, walking on both sides of the path at once. Next came Henriette, with slow steps, her parasol over her shoulder, carrying her head high, and her eyelids low; her figure braced up and her posteriors strapped down, pressed and rounded by her narrow skirt, surmounted by a bodice in the latest
style of 1901, advancing like a queen in a ballet cortège. Madame her mother brought up the rear, fat and short, out of breath, under a violet, monumental hat, on which were fixed vast, nodding plumes. She followed hurrying, but never fast enough to get level with her eldest child, who was obliged to stop and wait for her. When at last, puffing and blowing, with pains in her knees, Madame Panat caught up her daughter, Henriette would turn round and show her mother her face full of heavy reproach and bad temper, as she hissed out a "Whatever are you about, ma?" which overwhelmed the worthy dame with shame.

The cause of the eldest girl’s "moods" was that she had not got engaged as soon as she stepped out of the train, and when ten long days had passed, was still waiting for the appearance of a loving sweetheart.

"And yet I’m pretty!" she said to herself night and morning, as she looked in the glass on retiring to rest and on arising.

What sights—scarcely decent according to ideas of modern pudicity, but right pleasant for all votaries of the female undraped frame—the lucky mirror of room No. 125 reflected daily! How Henriette contemplated her shape, naked and dressed! How she turned and twisted about in front of the glass, comparing herself to the women of Limoges, or those stopping at her hotel! She had even gone so far as to buy portraits of actresses, and artistic photographs of naked females, so as to study her own beauty, enhance it, and give it prominence, without sparing herself. She tried by all kinds of artifices if it were not possible to repair a few of nature’s imperfections.

"It is your fault, ma," she said one morning to the woman who had brought her into the world, "if I look like some poor guy of a governess at the Casino, with the few wretched frocks I’ve got. You must really let me have a tailor-made costume, and you will have to buy me some lace for my dinner blouse."

"But, my dear child," said Madame Panat, "we shall be short of cash."

"Write to papa."

"He’ll be furious. Besides, a new dress can’t be ready for a week or ten days, and you know we are off at the end of August. It isn’t worth while to be so extravagant for such short time."

"All right, mother," answered the eldest darling, and for the next two days she only unlocked her lips to reply to her mother’s anxious demands as to what ailed her, "there’s absolutely nothing the matter with me!" in accents which allowed it to be guessed that she was suffering unspeakable torture, or else to shout to her sister, when she heard her sing or laugh, "Shut up, you unnerve me! If you’re not quiet, I’ll slap your face!"

Materfamilias put a serious question to herself. Would the grief of not having the desired falbalas render her darling daughter dumb? But at this critical juncture, on a certain evening, the thirteenth they had passed at the Eaux-Bonnes, a young man, of most charming appearance, with an elegant fair moustache, took his seat at the table d’hôte next to Henriette, and began to pass the dishes to the young girl with amiable gallantry, now and again making play with long and amorous sideglances, while he tried by a thousand decently discreet and generally commonplace questions to get into conversation with her.

Mademoiselle Henriette, without hiding the immense joy she felt at this long-expected torrent of masculine attentions, was however too troubled to reply to these bold advances. She was far from being loquacious, but compensated herself for her restraint when she rose from table and was alone with her mother. She did not hide her enthusiasm, and forgetting her primitive reserve, gradually reached such heights that Madame Panat, frightened at this sudden outburst of sensual passion, although always submissive to her eldest girl’s will, declared that she would make enquiries about the young man, without the least delay.

"If his character is good, as I hope, my pet, J will leave him full liberty to court you."

"But ma," said Henriette, "attentions mean nothing!"

"That’s where you’re wrong! He must not compromise you."

They did all they could to get to know something about the handsome young man, or rather they tried hard, but little can be gleaned about anybody from strangers in a wateringplace who only know each other from the day of arrival and meeting.

"He looks honest," said Madame Panat, tired of vain questioning and desirous not to be scolded by her daughter. "I shall let them become friendly. It will always be time enough to prevent a disadvantageous marriage. Anyhow, I’m there to watch over them!"

From that moment, the fair young Prince Charming who called himself Count Albert Dugazon, never left Henriette all day. The young girl hung on his slightest utterance with more rapt attention than the most devout woman had ever granted to a favourite preacher. On her campstool, in the shade of spreading acacias, Madame Panat often had inward misgivings.

"I’ve got my eye on them," she would then mumble to cheer herself up, without recollecting how from time to time the heat of the sun caused her head to droop on her shoulder, and forced her eyelids to drop heavily down.

"Let him say what he likes to you," was her advice to Henriette, when they held their matutinal councils of war, for at night the poor lady was so tired that she fell asleep while undressing. "But don’t let him touch or kiss you. Young men take such liberties! Fancy he is an Adonis and extremely amiable, if you like, but never let him know you think so."

"Don’t be alarmed, ma," replied Henriette, with a disdainful and conceited smile. "I know how to play my cards."

Nevertheless, the young schemer felt quite inclined to allow Albert much more freedom than her mamma deemed right to authorise. Unfortunately, Georgette, like some guardian angel or devil, always turned up at the most touching moments.

"Will you be off?" Henriette would impatiently shriek at her.

"Ma told me to stop with you two!" Georgette would retort, with great innocent eyes and a smile that belied her glance.

"You little wretch!" was her elder sister’s rejoinder.

Henriette, on reaching home in the evening, slipped one hand up her sister’s petticoats, and traitrously pinched her buttocks, so cruelly, that her poor little victim’s eyes filled with tears. But this took place in a corridor of the hotel, among waiters and travellers coming and going, so Georgette had to stifle her desire to pay Henriette back in kind, contenting herself with clenching her fists and murmuring between her teeth, as she fled up the stairs:

"Never mind, I’ll have my revenge one day!"

Did Georgette ever glut her desire for vengeance, at any rate in the way she desired? No one ever knew. Fortune smiles or frowns upon us, without our prayers, and despite our efforts to help the blind goddess. Georgette, however, could never have dreamt that one fine day, of which we are now about to write, would have terminated so strangely, or that she would have been the heroine of the hour, in spite of herself.

Very early that morning a party composed of a guide, Albert, Henriette, Georgette and poor Madame Panat had started off on a mountain excursion. In order to follow and protect her virtuous offspring, this devoted mother worked harder than a recruit at a sham fight, and her maternal campaign equalled in fatigue that of a Kitchener in South Africa.

They had left the Eaux-Bonnes in a big landau the night before, and slept at Gabas. At the first peep of dawn, the ladies, alpenstock in hand, had departed with the two men on their climbing expedition.

We shall not describe the marvellous rosy landscape they saw unrolled before them, the spirals of the woolly mist in the valleys; their sudden surprise when the torrent rolled menacingly almost under their very feet, as it were; the shade of thick woods; the majesty of the yellow rocks; the sheltered nooks where pretty hamlets offered restful halting-places after stony solitudes had been passed; and far away in the distance, the background of blue mountains, snowy peaks crowned with rays of light. In the presence of such glorious sights, it can well be understood that even poor mamma forgot her fatigue for a time, and kept on climbing up and up. These ascensions, however, make one hungry, and our young ladies were not angelic enough to be satisfied to feast on a sunrise and a distant view of glaciers. Ten o’clock had hardly struck when despite their two big breakfast cups of motfling chocolate, they were as voracious as shewolves, and were not displeased to find that Albert had anticipated their desires by having made the guide carry a well-furnished pic-nic basket containing a truftled fowl, meat-pie, fruit, and champagne; all of which was eagerly welcomed. When of the victuals forming the collation nothing was left but bones and empty bottles, and everybody had chatted, laughed heartily, and emptied their glasses, saying, "What a beautiful view!—How lovely!—This pie is delicious!—Another little drop of champagne, mademoiselle.—Don’t drink so much, it’ll turn acid," and a thousand other remarks in the same style, they began to think of returning.

They retraced their steps, but not without difficulties in the way of climbing awkward places; falls and slips. Madame Panat, in a big straw hat and a pair of cyclist’s bloomers, advanced slowly, marking her progress with the drops of her profuse perspiration. She marched by the side of the guide, fearful of losing her way, and thereby causing the other excursionists a little delay. Georgette lead the van, running the risk of having to retrace her steps when she mistook the path, and as lively as if she had not scampered over many useless miles of ground. It was without doubt a most pretty sight to see her clambering about. Her little, white, shapely boots pattered along, slipping on the rocks, and disappearing no one knew where in a heap of loose pebbles. Now and again the plump rotundity of her perfectly formed juvenile buttocks seemed as if offering itself mockingly under the scanty skirt. Then her saucy smiling phiz would peep out from under the shade of her hat, bent down in front, and cocked up behind, above the little golden curls of her hair at each side of the nape of her slight neck, and under the simple silk light-coloured floating blouse which tightened itself on her supple shoulders, the merest vague sketch of two budding breasts could be seen. The upper part of her ffgure, and the tiny waist, encircled in a leather belt, seemed out of proportion above the swelling backside. But her merry bounds and delicious capers caused an incident which if in olden days might have been glossed over with laugh and joke, in our strange epoch of false shame gave rise to a most dramatic resounding result. As she scaled difficult parts of the rough road, Georgette would turn to see if the others were following, and it happened at one time that she noticed her mother close behind her, while a little lower down, Albert and her sister kissing each other. We should like to be able to say that this complete conjunction of four lips excited her indignation, but we should in that case be telling a falsehood. Georgette was much amused to note the state of fatigued security of her mamma, who took such trouble not to try and see what was going on behind her back. A thrill of mad gaiety ran through the young lass’s frame, and she laughed so heartily that she was within an ace of tumbling down to the foot of the mountain. But the writhing brought on by her fit of merriment was the cause of a little accident in the interior of her wellnourished body, and twice the explosion of what poets have dubbed a sonnet, and what we call by a shorter word, as if one syllable of our chaste language was quite enough to designate this indiscreet detonation. At the sound of this trumpeting which was neither discreet nor modest, Madame Panat turned as white as her habit-shirt.

"Well, I never!" she gasped, with a feeling of such consternation that it seemed she must have thought the rocky ground was slipping away from under her.

She was powerless to say another word. Georgette stopped dead, red and confused, and her embarrassment increased, as by the side of the indifferent guide, she saw Albert, looking slyly at her, a smile on his lips, and her sister glaring too. Henriette was green with fury, bad temper, indignation and perhaps shame. Georgette could not exactly divine what the grimacing physiognomy of her eldest sister portended, but she was sure it boded evil for her. She was very much troubled in every way.

The return home was sad and desolate, as lugubrious as the departure had been joyous.

In vain Albert tried a thousand times to rekindle conversation and create fresh merriment. He had to give himself question and answer, and took refuge in talking to the guide, who to lose his equanimity required something more than the sonorous, breezy breath of a feminine bottom. Henriette felt herself irrevocably dishonoured by this slight accident, and Madame Panat shared her disgrace. What would Albert think of such a breach of good manners; such impoliteness; an offence against the most elementary rules of civility? He would be bound to say to himself that these young ladies had received no proper care during their bringing-up, and he most certainly already suspected that Henriette allowed herself the same scandalous freedom as her sister. Who knows’?—he might very likely think that they were cursed with some ridiculous infirmity. What would be the fate of the marriage after this? The fearful news would be spread about everywhere. Henriette would no longer dare to dine at the table d’hôte. They must hurry back post haste to Limoges, just at the moment when they had met this handsome, rich, clever, and amiable young man, whom Henriette loved, while he returned her affection, and was quite agreeable to make her his wife. He would naturally now hesitate at entering a family where the girls behaved in such deplorable fashion. He took no notice of his charmer, and chatted unceasingly with the guide. There was no doubt about it, he was greatly disgusted, and Henriette could understand his feelings.

"Oh! the wretched, dirty little beast of a girl!" she growled between her set teeth.

These sad thoughts so absorbed Henriette that she paid no heed to where she was going, and in a twinkling found herself in the midst of a thorny bush, causing her to utter a piercing cry. Albert turned round, caught her in his arms, so that she should no longer endure the pricking of the sharp briars, and tore her from their midst, but her thin muslin frock which she had put on despite her mother’s advice to the contrary, got caught on a branch and torn from top to bottom.

Henriette was too dense to notice Albert’s confusion, and supposed he had done this purposely and was the cause of her dress being well-nigh stripped off her back. She felt inclined to slap his face. She was a prey to rage and the greatest degree of shame, as she dragged the fragments of her dress at her heels, especially as not having anticipated this accident, she had that morning put on an old and common petticoat which was far from being immaculately clean.

"Oh! my poor child," asked Madame Panat, "what has happened to you?"

Luckily Albert had a few pins about him.

"You are our saviour," said Madame Panat, as kneeling behind her eldest girl, she took the pins one by one from his hand and tried to repair the disaster as well as possible.

Georgette, her hands on her hips, forgetting she was the cause of the misfortune, laughed like a pretty little angel of mischief and exchanged mocking glances with the guide.

"There! That’s done! Now you can get along all right!" quoth Madame Panat to Henriette, who started off in a rage.

Gabas was reached once more in silence; the horses were put to, and after three hours, which seemed endless, they reached the Eaux-Bonnes, intime for dinner. Henriette refused to appear again at the table d’hôte, throwing herself in tears upon the bed as soon as she reached the hotel. Her mother consoled her, and tried to help her to feel fresh hope. Henriette wiped her eyes, determined to make a final effort, and after taking a long time to dress, she went down to the dining-room, where trying to appear at her ease, she made a sensational entrance. Wine and nice dishes, with compliments from Albert who seemed just as gallant as the day before, brought back all her hardihood. She tried to be audacious and grew too bold, saying a thousand artless silly things that made everybody laugh at her.

As her neighbour asked her what was her beau ideal among men, without listening to him and thinking he was talking like some other guests at the same moment about asparagus, she replied:

"I like them when they are very big and long, with a fine violet knob that you can scarcely get into your mouth. And there should be lots of creamy sauce."

Then she said also:

"Marriage changes a girl you know. My friend Louise used to be very quiet. Now she is much more open!" meaning that her young friend was less secretive and more frank than when single.

However, when she saw every head turned in her direction, and all eyes and ears fixed upon her lips, as she listened to the fits of gaiety each of her repartees caused to burst forth, she really believed, and so did her mamma, that she was meeting with great success. She was happy in her triumph, and got drunk with the outpouring of her own verbosity. But a too significant mocking glance of a neighbouring lady, and the long face pulled by Albert, revealed to her the true nature of the impression she produced.

"Why do you stare at me like that?" she said in a state of confusion, tears welling up in her eyes.

She imagined her adventure and that of her sister was known already, and that they were all jeering at her. Her assurance left her at once, and in her agitation, she knocked over a glass of claret which made a crimson stain on a young lady’s white bodice. Without a word of excuse, she started up from the table. Her mother imitated her, and both women made good their retreat, with frowning brow, albeit sweeping along majestically, driving in front of them Georgette, who went off quite quietly, indifferent to the family catastrophe.

"The young one is very nice, but how rude her sister is!" was whispered as they passed.

Happily, neither Henriette nor Madame Panat heard this opinion, for they were so sensitive to worldly verdicts that they would have been in despair.

Henriette’s grief changed into violent rage when she felt herself safe in the bosom of her family in her room, by her mother’s side, in the presence of her younger sister, the cause of all her troubles.

"Didn’t I tell you, ma, not to bring her with us?" she exclaimed.

"What’s come over you now? Are you going mad?" retorted Georgette, who could not make out why her sister was so vexed with her.

Madame Panat quite agreed with her eldest daughter.

"Henriette is right. You behaved most illmanneredly. You are responsible for all the misfortunes of the day! If Henriette misses this brilliant marriage, she owes it to you."

"To me?"

"Yes, to you alone. Must I remind you of your filthy rudeness this afternoon? You forgot yourself. You committed the vilest indecency."

"It was my shoe that creaked," said Georgette, who remembered at last what she had done, and risked this lame excuse with a deep blush.

"You need not lie. I heard you distinctly."

"And so did I," added Henriette.

"What then? " replied Georgette, trying another system of defence. "It’s impossible to restrain oneself now and again. You the other day, at mass—"

"What do you mean, you little fool?"

"Are these the manners and politeness you’ve been taught at the convent?" said Madame Panat, without allowing Georgette to answer her sister.

"Oh! do let me be!" cried the youngest girl at last, "you make me sick!"

"Impertinent cat!" cried Henriette, slapping Georgette’s face with all her might, but the blow was no sooner received than she paid her sister back generouslywith two soundingsmacks which metamorphosed the eldest girl’s face into a tomato of the ruddiest hue.

"I forbid you to strike your sister!" said Madame Panat, dragging Georgette away by the hair.

"She began!" retorted Georgette using her hackneyed phrase in scenes of this kind.

"She has rights that you do not possess. She’s older than you. You owe her obedience."

Georgette’s sole answer was a jet of saliva directed at Henriette’s shoe, but she aimed badly and the spittle fell on one of her mother’s boots. Never had the good lady experienced such a feeling of indignation.

"Do you know what you’ve done?" she enquired, her hand raised to strike.

"What I choose!" replied Georgette, shrugging her shoulders.

Madame Panat, her threatening fingers still uplifted, asked herself how she was to tame such an unruly daughter. Henriette, her eyes full of tears of rage, came to her assistance.

"You are too soft-hearted, ma," she said. "That girl will become a criminal, you’ll see. She’s allowed to do whatever she likes."

"You must beg your sister’s pardon on our knees at once."

"Beg her pardon because she hit me? Never!"

"This is too much! Wait a bit and you’ll see!"

Madame Panat seized Georgette by the shoulders and tried to bend her down. But the young girl resisted with all her might and main, kicking, biting, scratching. She too was exasperated.

"Come and help me to punish her, Henriette," said Madame Panat, breathless from the effects of this struggle.

Mamma had no need to repeat her appeal, and Henriette, throwing herself on her sister, succeeded, despite her bucking, in holding her down as Madame Panat desired.

"It’s a shame!" grumbled Georgette, her head now under her mother’s petticoats, gripped between her fat thighs.

Unaccustomed to such an operation, Madame Panat was too clumsy ever to have succeeded if Henriette had not seconded her with her help, and experience of cruelty. It was she who lifted up her little sister’s dress and petticoat, rolling her chemise out of the way, umbuttoning her drawers and dragging them down to the garters. Madame Panat remained impassible during this preparation, without ordering or forbidding it.

"Mind you don’t let your bottom speak up again, you dirty beast. If you do, you’ll have an extra dose!" said Henriette.

"It’s cowardly!" groaned Georgette, in cavernous tones, stifled between her mother’s legs.

"Will you have my belt, or the hearth broom?" kindly proposed Henriette.

"Let the broom alone. They’d put it in the bill," said Madame Panat, economical to the last. "Pass me your waistband!"

Madame Panat at first dealt rather light blows on the budding buttocks, squeezed together like shivering twin sisters afraid of a coming storm, and resembling also an elegant Easter egg, light and rosy; but when the hemispheres were left free by subsequent distension, they grew larger and appeared more vast, jutting out impudently, full of pride and unrepentant; consequently deserving less clemency. Madame Panat became implacable. She struck at them with a vigorous hand, forcing loud groans from Georgette.

At one moment, the eldest sister, fearing that this chastisement might cause an open scandal in the hotel, went out into the passage to listen to the noise of the bottom-slapping.

"You can go on, ma," she remarked, coming back in the room, and closing the door. "You can hardly hear a sound. It’s only as if you were dusting your clothes. Your petticoats stifle her cries."

Madame Panat seemed to take a fancy to this unwonted exercise. The peaceful, motherly woman, usually so cairn, had gleams of furious vengeful joy in her little eyes, and she contemplated with lewd satisfaction akin to voluptuousness, the secret corrugated orifice in the middle of the filial bottom stretched in pain before her, and half open beneath her ferocious cuts. The brown bottom-hole, no bigger than a wee dot, tried to draw itself in and disappear in the fleshy folds of the protecting posteriors, but nothing saved it from growing more and more scarlet every second under the barbarous slashes of the belt. This indiscreet flower, cause of all the harm, whose petals seemed so many vibrating cords to propagate the burlesque ringing blast and the comical music of the intestines attracted her gaze persistently.

"There is the enemy of Henriette’s happiness," she said to herself. "There lurks the venom that has poisoned her life!"

So as to approach the corolla more easily, she pulled apart the meeting mountains of the darling miniature bum, whilst the other hand brandished the belt, the buckle swinging free and unheeded, at the risk of seriously wounding the victim.

"There! Will that teach you to be decent? I’ll show you what it means to break wind in public!"

All the barbarity and vileness that had slumbered in her inmost being for years, at the back of her husband’s shop, awoke in a second.

"Pity ! Pardon !" implored wretched Georgette.

Her mother, more out of fatigue than compassion, was about to throw aside the waist-belt, when Henriette remarked:

"Look, ma, her left cheek is hardly red," and she spurred Madame Panat on to whip her sister again.

At last, they left the sobbing lass to her shame, lamentations, and suffering. Henriette, who would have liked to prolong the whipping, went away regretfully. She stood a moment in front of the bleeding and broken skin of Georgette’s posteriors, as her young sister was lying on her belly on the bed, not thinking, under the influence of excruciating pain, of covering up what had been so liberally displayed.

"You can’t say now that you haven’t been jolly well flogged," said Henriette, her face lit up with wicked joy, leaning over her sister.

"Come, my dear child," said Madame Panat. "Such a series of events, and all this emotion has quite upset me. I want to take the air and forget all about this sad day."

"Where can we go, ma ?"

"To the theatre, at the Casino. We’ll sit in the back row of the stalls, if you don’t care to be seen."

"With that little slut?"

"Oh! for goodness sake, no! Let her stop here, as a penance, and to prevent her gallivanting about, we’ll lock her in. Come along, my dear girl."

Madame Panat showed her eldest daughter out, and double-locked the door, leaving Georgette to sob at her ease.

Unfortunately for Madame Panat, but luckily for Georgette, old locks on hotel doors are not dependable.

The whipped girl had not noticed her mother and sister’s departure at the moment, she was so overwhelmed with shame and confusion at having thus been flogged at her age in front of her sister. And in a hotel too, when the neighbours: a young man with mocking eyes, a tall lady with a disdainful nose, and all the children, so inquisitive and indiscreet, might have heard the blows. As all became silent at last, she sat up, and felt acute pain. It seemed to her now that some heavy load oppressed her, and made her loins ache. She tried to get a glimpse of her poor posterior, and stood up in front of the mirrored wardrobe. Madame Panat had flagellated Georgette’s bottom methodically, without touching the thighs, whose whiteness remained intact, while above the perfect pair of columns, the living, vivid, throbbing cupola appeared as if flaring with a mass of flames. Her flesh was burning, and what frightened her greatly was that as she touched herself in the most secret spot of her frame, she felt her finger growing moist, and found a little drop of blood therein. To calm the fiery heat devouring her flesh, she went and fetched Henriette’s vaseline and powder, and after having thrown a pitying glance at the bleeding reflection of her bare person in the glass, she commenced smearing the balm over her bruised bottom, when, lifting her eyes by chance, she caught sight of three childish, saucy faces peeping at her with amused and jeering astonishment. In the room where she was, there existed a door of communication, closed at present, but a piece of glass, very high up, above it, afforded a clear outlook from one chamber into the other. Two tiny girls and a little boy having heard a great noise in Georgette’s bedchamber, had rigged up a regular scaffolding of tables and chairs so as to get a view of what was going on, and by the expression of their mischievous faces plainly gave signs that they felt inclined to see the show out.

These mouthing, jibing apparitions, joined to the mocking and indecent gestures they made behind the glass, so shamed poor Georgette that she hardly gave herself time to pull up her knickers and drop her skirts. She had but one idea—flight. The door that Madame Panat thought she had locked easily granted her an issue. But Georgette was no sooner in the corridor, than she asked herself a question. Where was she to go with her pot of vaseline? The other rooms occupied by ladies stopping at the hotel were all locked. She did not dare go down to the drawing-room with her swollen, red eyes. The water-closet was the only refuge left, but she could not decently spend the whole of the evening there. She was in a state of the most lively anxiety when a wellknown voice caused her to start fitfully.

"Halloa, mademoiselle! Not at the Casino this evening?" asked Albert, owner of the voice. "You seem to be in great trouble," he added.

Such words were exactly what were needed to remind her of her misfortunes and intensify them. Georgette began to sob as if in receipt of fresh spanking. Just at that moment, the two minxes and the saucy boy appeared at the end of the corridor, escorted by their parents. The whole family stared at Georgette with insolent curiosity. Her cup was full. Catching sight of an open and deserted room, Georgette dashed into it, so as to avoid her neighbours.

Albert followed and shut the door after him. It was his own bedchamber.

He drew the little girl on to the sofa, and invited her to confide in him, showing her every mark of interest and pity.

Choking sobs were at first the only reply he obtained. By dint of supplication, however, he succeeded in getting her to talk freely, and in accents, interrupted by pretty little moans, Georgette, with the genuine artless sincerity which such adventures would cause to arise in a young girl, told of her mother’s plans; her sister’s ambition; how Henriette imagined that she could make Albert’s conquest; her vexation at the unsuccessful day’s outing; and with what cruel injustice she had been made responsible for the great disappointment.

"But I don’t love your sister at all!" exclaimed Albert. "She is affected, artificial, and silly into the bargain. You’re not a bit like her. Why should you be the cause of her awkwardness and embarrassment?"

"She told me that my behaviour had put her out of countenance and you would be sure to think she was as badly brought up as I was."

"It is she alone who is rude."

"No, no. It is I!"

"How do you mean?"

"Didn’t you hear—" faltered Georgette, looking uneasily at him.

"What?"

"The nasty, dirty noise. I did it—with my creaking shoes. That is only what it was, I swear it. It’s the truth! I should never have dared—"

"Ha! ha!" interrupted Albert, with a long laugh, lightly and lovingly slapping the guilty part of Georgette’s young body. The blossoming buttocks, ignorant of their sin, spread themselves proudly out on the sofa, with all the more remarkable magnificence as Georgette, her elbows on her knees and her head leaning on her hand, drew in her bust. "Suppose even that you are telling a fib, is that such a great crime? It is much worse to be false, scheming, and crafty like your sister."

"Yet you made love to her," Georgette ventured to whisper tenderly, as she heaved a sigh.

"I thought she was pretty, but I hadn’t looked at you. I get quite angry when I think such a silly goose takes the liberty to lecture you."

"She is always scolding me!"

"Perhaps she did worse this evening?"

Georgette’s chin dropped and she did not venture to answer.

"But why were you walking about the corridor? What have got hold of here? A pot of vaseline!"

She hardly dared confess, but at last she said:

"They nearly flayed me alive—ma and my sister—by flogging me. As I was spyed upon from the next room, I ran out in the passage."

Despite the reserved nature of this explanation, Albert guessed the whole scene, and greatly pitied the victim.

"I’m a doctor," said he—one lie calling up another—"and in my dressing-case I have some ointment which will calm the smart from which you are no doubt suffering, my little girl. Well then, lie down on my bed, and I’ll anoint the painful parts."

"I should never dare," rejoined Georgette, blushing.

"Come, come," said he, conducting her quickly.

He had very little trouble to make her recline face downwards, and in spite of the maiden’s resistance, managed to pull up, one after the other, her skirts, petticoats, and chemise, which hid her ample charms.

"What adorable bum-cheeks!" said he.

"What brute dared thus to bruise your tender skin?"

"Oh! monsieur, don’t!" cried Georgette, frightened as she felt him untie her petticoat. She was too tired, broken down by the long day’s walk and the evening’s emotions, and found herself unable to oppose any efficacious resistance to his endeavours.

It is extremely probable that Albert applied much balm to appease her pain, but he did not behave like a doctor. At any rate, not like an ordinary physician. In the midst of his nursing solicitude, his lips were not inactive, and doubtless after having applied his mouth to the still bleeding scratches as if to heal them, he did not refrain with bold practised skill from drawing down some fresh drops of vital fluid from the deepest and most secret part of her fleshly being. But he was so talented that there was no pain, and if Georgette experienced surprise and fury for a moment; if she found that he had taken advantage of her confidence and her sad plight; if she shed all the tears that remained to her while regretting the revelation and ravishment of the most precious part of her dear little body—cunning kisses, lively caresses, and passionate embraces made her forget her grief, initiating her to melting, unknown joys that stole away her senses. She fell asleep in Albert’s arms, and enjoyed most delicious dreams in the bachelor’s bed, if we may judge by the heavenly smile that accompanied her slumbers, and which her lover still cherishes in his memory as one of the greatest joys of his life.

What happened now, as a sequel to this adventure? Did Albert disappear without a storm, leaving Georgette to mourn her ingenuousness in silence? He would have been a fool and a rogue to have done so, for in mind, face, and fortune there were few young girls like his victim, and although she had shown him at their first meeting what others only expose after a long and troublesome courtship, she had more than one surprise and joy in store to grant to her husband. Moreover, had Albert so willed it, he could not escape from Madame Panat, who in a moment of temper was quite capable of slapping her daughter’s bottom, but would never have abandoned her to what she called "dishonour." Georgette, returning to her room next morning, had to undergo the severe cross-examination of her mother and sister who had plainly seen that the young girl had not slept in her own bed. Georgette, trembling, begged that her sister should not be present while she confessed everything. Madame Panat consented, greatly to the indignation of her eldest daughter. Georgette, in low tones, with attitudes now timid, and then proud-for she had confidence in Albert’s honourable intentions-made an incomplete avowal, but which sufficed to enlighten Madame Panat.

"Wretched child!" exclaimed the mother.

She went on to preach a long sermon, warning Georgette of the perils of her position, so infamous and shameful, in which she found herself through her vicious instincts.

But ma was not half as sorry as she seemed. She too had faith in Albert. Georgette was very young, and although it would have been much more regular to marry the eldest first, still it was better to return to Limoges with a prospective bridegroom in tow, than not even to bring home, as she had feared at one time, the phantom of a man to divert her daughter’s imagination, and satisfy her husband’s paternal pride.

When Madame Panat saw Georgette crying, full of fear and confusion, she fancied that her discourse had produced a salutary effect, and putting on her darkest frock, smoothed her features until her face wore a most solemn expression. She had Albert’s room pointed out to her, and entered at once with decided step, but without anger.

"I know what took place last night," said she. "You most strangely misused my daughter, profiting by her youth and innocence. I could if I liked have you arrested like s vulgar malefactor."

We shall not repeat all Madame Panat’s speech, which was quite just and as befitted the occasion. We need only remark that Albert, a little tired after his arduous night, momentarily deprived by the very fact of his victory of all controversial spirit and warlike thoughts; intoxicated in short, by all the sweet memories Georgette had left in his brain, offered no defence. He declared that he was ready to repair all the harm that he said the grace and charm of the young girl was bound to drawn upon her.

"She is not a young girl," exclaimed Madame Panat, "but a mere child!"

Albert gave information relating to his family, his property, and the influence of his family who if needed could obtain a dispensation, so as to allow Georgette to be married before the age of sixteen.

Madame Panat was good enough to be satisfied with his explanation and after a searching interrogating glance that penetrated to the lowest depths of her future son-in-law’s soul, she shook his hand and retired.

The young husband’s probation lasted several months, and the marriage was at last celebrated at Limoges with great pomp. Henriette feigned severe indisposition on her sister’s wedding-day, so as to hide all the spite that devoured her.

Many months have passed since then and she has not yet found a partner for life.

Now hearken how history is written. People said that Henriette’s clumsy rudeness had driven a rich betrothed suitor from her side; that a mountain guide, to be revenged on her for her coquetry and perhaps her infidelity, had, at the Eaux-Bonnes, bared the scraggy reverse cheeks of her body and slapped them until he drew blood, in presence of a vast crowd. To sum up, envious rumour ascribes to Henriette, with malicious exaggeration, all her sister’s adventures and those which had such an unexpected dénouement.

As for Georgette, she keeps in the secret drawer of an old desk, the waistband by which her mother brought about momentary torture and the happiness of her whole life.

"If you only knew how we came to get married," she often says to her girl friends, with a smiling side-glance at her husband. "It was through such a trifling thing!"

"No," he replies, "not insignificant at all!"

And he cannot refrain from applying a little slap to the proud fleshy curves that spread out below his engaging wife’s waist, and which beneath his impulsive caress, seem to expand and grow larger as if blooming more proudly than ever.



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