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THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY
"But how is it possible to shout and roar the way you do when you discharge?" the Duc demanded of Curval upon bidding him good morning on the 23rd. "Why the devil must you scream that way? I've never seen such violent discharges."
"Why, by God," Curval replied, "is it for you, whom one can hear a league away, to address such a reproach to a modest man like myself? Those little murmurs you hear, my good friend, are caused by my extremely sensitive nervous system; the objects which excite our passions create such a lively commotion in the electrically charged fluid that flows in our nerves, the shock received by the animal spirits composing this fluid is of such a degree of violence, that the entire mechanism is rattled by these effects, and one is just as powerless to suppress one's cries when overwhelmed by the terrible blows imparted by pleasure, as one would be when assailed by the powerful emotions of pain."
"Well, you define the thing very well, Président, but what was the delicate object that could have produced such a vibration in your animal spirits?"
"I was very energetically sucking Adonis' prick, his mouth, and his asshole, for I was cast down with despair at not being able to do more to my couch companion; all the while I made the best of my hard situation, Antinoüs, seconded by your dear daughter Julie, labored, each in his own way, to evacuate the liquor whose eventual outpouring occasioned the musical sounds which, you say, struck your ears."
"And it all worked so well that now, today," said the Duc, "you're as weak as a baby."
"No, your Grace, not at all," Curval declared; "deign but to observe my career, my motions today, and but do me the honor of judging my style and vehemence in sport, and you shall see me conduct myself quite as ever, and assuredly as well as you yourself."
They were at this point in the conversation when Durcet arrived to say breakfast was being served. They passed into the qirls' quarters, where those eight charming little houris were distributing cups of coffee and hot water; the Duc therewith demanded to know of Durcet, the month's steward and presiding officer, why was it the coffee was being served with water?
"You'll have it with milk whenever you wish," said the financier. "Would you prefer it thus now?"
The Duc said that yes, he would.
"Augustine, my dear," Durcet said, "a little milk in Monsieur le Duc's cup, if you please."
Thereupon the little girl, prepared for any eventuality, placed Blangis' cup beneath her ass, and through her anus squeezed three or four spoonfuls of milk, very clear and perfectly fresh. This cunning feat produced much pleasant laughter, everyone requested milk in his coffee. All the asses were charged in the same way Augustine's was: 'twas an agreeable little surprise the month's director of games had thought to give his colleagues. Fanny poured some into the Bishop's cup, Zelmire into Curval's, and Michette into the financier's; the friends took a second round of coffee, and the four other girls performed over these new cups the same ceremony their comrades had over the first cups; and so on and on; the whole thing entertained their Lordships immoderately. It heated the Bishop's brain; he affirmed he wanted something beside milk, and the lovely Sophie stepped forth to satisfy him. Although all eight definitely wished to shit, they had been strongly urged to exercise self-restraint while dispensing the milk, and this first time to yield absolutely nothing else.
Next, they paid the little boys a good-morning visit; Curval induced Zélamir to shit from him, the Duc applauded what Giton brought to light. Two subaltern fuckers, Constance, and Rosette provided the spectacle in the chapel latrine. Rosette was one of those upon whom the old formula for promoting indigestion had beed tried out; at coffee, she had had the world's worst time keeping her milk free of foreign ingredients, and now, seated upon the throne, she released the most superb turd you could hope to lay eyes upon. Duclos was congratulated, they said her system was a resounding success, and from then on they used it every day; never once did it fail them. The conversation at the dinner was enlivened by the breakfast's pleasantry, and a number of other things of the same kind were invented and proposed; we shall perhaps have occasion to mention them in the sequel.
After-dinner coffee was served by four subjects of the same age: to wit, Zelmire, Augustine, Zéphyr, and Adonis. The Duc thigh-fucked Augustine while tickling her anus with his thumb, Curval did the same thing with Zelmire, but may or may not have used his thumb, his hand was not in clear view; the Bishop toiled between Zéphyr's tightly squeezed legs, and the financier fucked Adonis' mouth. Augustine announced that she was ready to shit, how would they like her to do a little shit? The poor dear could not wait another moment, she too had been exposed to the indigestion-producing experiments. Curval beckoned her to him, opened his mouth, and the delightful little girl dropped a monstrous turd into it; the Président gobbled it up in a trice, not without unleashing a veritable stream of fuck into Fanchon's hands.
"There you are," he said to the Duc, "you see that night-time merriment has no damaging effect upon the following day's pleasures; you're lagging behind, Monsieur le Duc."
"I'll not be behind for long," said the latter, to whom Zelmire, inspired by an urge no less imperious, was rendering the same service Augustine had a moment before rendered Curval. And, yes, as he pronounces those words, the Duc topples over, utters piercing shrieks, swallows shit, and discharges like a madman.
"Enough of this," said the stern, austere voice of the Bishop, moderation's exponent; "at least two of us must preserve our strength for the stories."
Durcet, who, unlike the Duc and Curval, had no surfeit of fuck to fling carelessly about, assented wholeheartedly, and after the shortest possible nap, they installed themselves in the auditorium, where, in the following terms, the spellbinding Duclos resumed her brilliant and lascivious history:
Why is it, Messieurs, the radiant creature inquired, that in this world there are men whose hearts have been so numbed, whose sentiments of honor and delicacy have been so deadened, that one sees them pleased and amused by what degrades and soils them? One is even led to suppose their joy can be mined nowhere save from the depths of opprobrium, that, for such men, delights cannot exist elsewhere save in what brings them into consort with dishonor and infamy. To what I am going now to recount to you, my Lords, to the various instances I shall lay before you in order to prove my assertion, do not reply, saying that 'tis physical sensation which is the foundation of these subsequent pleasures; I know, to be sure, physical sensation is involved herein, but be perfectly certain that it does not exist in some sort save thanks to the powerful support given it by moral sensation, and be sure as well that, were you to provide these individuals with the same physical sensation and to omit to join to it all that the moral may yield, you'd fail entirely to stir them.
There very often came to me a man of whose name and quality I was ignorant, but who, however, I knew most certainly to be a man of circumstance. The kind of woman with whom I married him made no difference at all: beautiful or ugly, old or young, it was all the same to him; his partner had only to play her role competently, and that role was as follows: ordinarily, he would come to the house in the morning, he would enter, as though by accident, into a room where a girl lay upon a bed, her skirts raised to above her waist and in the attitude of a woman frigging herself. Immediately his entrance was noticed, the woman, as if surprised, would spring from the bed.
"What are you doing here, villain?" she would ask very crossly; "who gave you permission to disturb me?"
He would beg forgiveness, his apologies would go unheeded, and all the while showering him with a renewed deluge of the harshest and most biting invectives, she would fall to giving him furious kicks upon the posterior, and she would become all the more certain of her aim as the patient, far from dodging or shielding his behind, would unfailingly turn himself and present the target within easy range, although looking for all the world as if he wished only to escape this punishment and flee the room. The kicking is redoubled, he cries to be spared, blows and curses are the only replies he receives, and as soon as he feels he is sufficiently excited, he promptly draws his prick from his breeches, which he has hitherto kept tightly buttoned, and lightly giving his device three or four flicks of the wrist, he discharges while rushing away under an unremitting storm of kicks and abuses.
A second personage, either tougher or more accustomed to this sort of exercise, would not enter the lists save with a street porter or some other stout rascal willing to sweat for his hire. The libertine enters furtively while his opponent is busily counting his money; the churl cries thief; whereupon the hard language and blows begin. Whereas with the former debauchee, the blows were scattered somewhat over his body, this one, keeping his breeches down about his ankles, wishes to receive everything squarely in the center of his unclothed bum, and that bum has to be buffeted by a good heavy boot, amply studded with hobnails and well coated with mud. At the moment he felt himself about to discharge, our gentleman ceased to parry the blows; planted firmly in the middle of the room, his breeches still lowered, and agitating his prick with all his strength, he braved his enemy's assaults, and, at this crucial juncture, dared him do his worst, insulting him in his own turn, and swearing he was about to die of pleasure. The more vile, the more lowly the man I found for this stalwart libertine, the more scurvy his antagonist, the heavier and the more filthy his boot, the more overpowering would be my client's ecstasy; I had to employ the same tact and discrimination in selecting his assailant that I would have had to devote to embellishing and beautifying another man's woman.
A third wished to find himself in what in a whorehouse is called the harem, at the same instant two other men, paid so to do and on hand for no other purpose, began a dispute. Both would turn upon our libertine, he would ask to be spared, would throw himself upon his knees, would not be listened to, and one of the two champions would directly snatch up a cane and fall to belaboring him all the while he crept to the entrance of another room where he would take refuge. There he would be received by a girl, she would console him, caress him as one might a child who has come to be comforted, she would raise her skirts, display her ass, and the libertine, all smiles, would spray his fuck upon it.
A fourth required the same preliminaries, but as soon as the strokes of the cane began to rain down upon his back, he would frig himself within sight of all. Then this last operation would be suspended for a moment; there would, however, be no interruption in the dual attack of blows and oaths; then he'd get hot again, frig some more, and when they saw his fuck was about to fly, they'd open a window, pick him up by the waist, and fling him out; he would land upon a specially prepared dung heap after a fall of no more than six feet. And that was the critical moment; he had been morally aroused by the foregoing preliminaries, and his physical self only became so thanks to his fall; 'twas never but upon that dung heap he loosed his fuck. When one went to look from the window, he was gone; there was an obscure little door below (he had a key to it), and he'd disappear through it at once.
A man paid for the purpose and dressed like a rowdy would abruptly enter the chamber in which the man who furnishes us with the fifth example would be lying with a girl, kissing her ass while awaiting developments. Accosting the expectant libertine, the bully, having forced the door, would insolently ask what right he had thus to meddle with his mistress and then, laying his hands upon his sword, he would tell the usurper to defend himself. All confused, the latter would fall to his knees, ask pardon, grovel on the floor, kiss his rival's feet too, and swear he was ready to relinquish the lady at once, for he had no desire to fight over a woman. The bully, whom his adversary's pliability rendered all the more insolent, now called his enemy a coward, a contemptible fellow, a whoreson ass-fucker, and a dog, and threatened to carve up his face with the edge of his sword. And the more ugly became the one's behavior, the more humble and fawning became the other's. Finally, after a few minutes of debate, the assailant offered to make a settlement with his enemy:
"I see damned well that you've got no guts at all," said he, "and so I'll let you go, but upon condition you kiss my ass."
"Oh, Monsieur, I'll do whatever you like," said the other, enchanted by this solution, "I'd even kiss it if 'twere all beshitted, if you wish, provided you do me no harm."
Sheathing his sword, the bully directly pulled down his breeches, the libertine, only too delighted, leapt enthusiastically to work, and while the young man let fly half a dozen farts at his nose, the old rake, having attained the summit of ecstasy, loosed his fuck and swooned with pleasure.
"Every one of those excesses makes sense to me," Durcet said in a faltering tone, for the little libertine was stiff after hearing tell of these turpitudes. "Nothing more logical than to adore degradation and to reap delight from scorn. He who ardently loves the things which dishonor, finds pleasure in being dishonored and must necessarily stiffen when told that he is. Turpitude is, to certain spirits, a very sound cause of joy. One loves to hear oneself called what one wishes only to merit being, and it is truly impossible to guess how far a man may go in this direction, provided he be ashamed of nothing. 'Tis once again the story of certain sick persons whom nothing delights like the disintegration of their body."
" 'Tis all a question of cynicism," was Curval's deliberated opinion, pronounced while toying with Fanchon's buttocks. "Who is unaware that even punishment produces enthusiasms, and have we not seen certain individual's pricks stiffen into clubs at the same instant they find themselves publicly disgraced? Everyone knows the story of the brave Marquis de S*** who, when informed of the magistrates' decision to burn him in effigy, pulled his prick from his breeches and exclaimed: 'God be fucked, it has taken them years to do it, but it's achieved at last; covered with opprobrium and infamy, am I? Oh, leave me, for I've got absolutely to discharge'; and he did so in less time than it takes to tell."
"Those are undisputed facts," the Duc commented, nodding gravely. "But can you explain to me their cause?"
"It resides in our heart," Curval replied. "Once a man has degraded himself, debased himself through excesses, he has imparted something of a vicious cast to his soul, and nothing can rectify that situation. In any other case, shame would act as a deterrent and incline him away from the vices to which his mind advises him to surrender, but here that possibility has been eliminated altogether: 'tis the first token of shame he has obliterated, the initial call he has definitively silenced, and from the state in which one is when one has ceased to blush, to that other state wherein one adores everything that causes others to blush, there is no more, nor less, than a single step. All that before affected one disagreeably, now encountering an otherwise prepared soul, in metamorphosed into pleasure, and from this moment onward, whatever recalls the new state one has adopted can henceforth only be voluptuous."
"But what a distance one must first have ventured along the road of vice to arrive at that point!" said the Bishop.
"Yes, yes, 'tis so," Curval acknowledged; "but little by little one makes one's way along, and the path one treads is strewn with flowers; one excess leads to another, the imagination, never sated, soon brings us to our destination, and as the traveler's heart has only hardened as he has pursued his career, immediately he reaches his goal, that heart which of old contained some virtues, no longer recognizes a single one. Accustomed to livelier things, it promptly shrugs off those early impressions, those soft and unsweet, those tasteless ones which till then had made it drunk, and as it strongly senses that infamy and dishonor are going surely to be the consequences of its new impulsions, in order to have nothing to fear of them, it begins by making itself familiar with them. It no sooner caresses than it is seized with a fondness for them, because they are of the same nature as its new conquests; and now that heart is fixed unalterably, forever."
"And that," the Bishop observed, "is what makes mending one's way so difficult."
"Say rather that it is impossible, my friend. And how are the punishments inflicted upon him you wish to reform ever to succeed, since, with the exception of one or two privations, the state of degradation which characterizes the situation in which you place him when you punish him, pleases him, amuses him, delights him, and inwardly he relishes the self that has gone so far as to merit being treated in this way?"
"Oh, what is this glory, jest, and riddle of the world!" sighed the Duc.
"Yes, my friend, an enigma above all else," said the grave Curval. "And that perhaps is what led a very witty individual to say that better every time to fuck a man than to seek to comprehend him."
And the arrival of supper interrupting our interlocutors, they seated themselves at table without having achieved a thing during the soiree. Natheless, at dessert, Curval, his prick as hard as a demon's, declared he'd be damned if it wasn't a pucelage he wanted to pop, even if he had twenty fines to pay, and instantly laying rude hands upon Zelmire, who had been reserved for him, he was about to drag her off to the boudoir when his three colleagues, casting themselves in his path, besought him to reconsider and submit to the law he had himself prescribed; and, said they, since they too had equally powerful urges to breach the contract, but held themselves somehow in check all the same, he should imitate them, at least out of a feeling of comradeship. And as they had straightway sent word to have Julie fetched in, for Curval was fond of her, she, upon arriving, took him directly in hand, and, together with Champville and Bum-Cleaver, they all four went into the salon; the other three friends soon joined them there, for the orgies were scheduled to begin. Upon entering, they found Curval close at grips with his aides, who, adopting the most lubricious postures and providing the most libertine exhortations, finally caused him to yield up his fuck.
In the course of the orgies, Durcet had the duennas give him two or three hundred kicks in the ass; not to be outdone, his peers had the fuckers serve them identically, and before retiring for the night, no one was exempted from shedding more or less fuck, depending upon the faculties wherewith by Nature he had been endowed. Fearing some fresh return of the defloratory whim Curval had just announced, the duennas were, through precaution, assigned to sleep in the boys' and girls' chambers. But this measure was unnecessary, and Julie, who looked after the Président all night long, the following morning turned him over to the society as limp as an empty glove.
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