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Anonymous

Count Alexis

CHAPTER ONE

If Madame Benoit shrugged her shoulders with a knowing look when the purity and austerity of my manner of living was discussed, she had good cause for it.

Madame Benoit was an old friend, a friend of my childhood. About twenty-four years ago she married a tax collector in the little town of N-, where I made the acquaintance of the gentleman whom I called Monsieur Benoit at first, and who simply became Benoit to me afterwards.

My dear friend had the weakness to confide everything to his wife, even to his old love scrapes, which were familiar to her, and that is why Madame Benoit shrugged her shoulders when my wonderful qualities were enumerated.

Benoit had died some years previously and being somewhat lonely in my bachelor quarters, I took an apartment near my late friend's widow.

There was a good deal of whispering to be sure, but Madame Benoit was forty-two years old and I was forty-eight. The fire of youth was probably soon to be extinguished for my neighbour but as for myself, the older I got, the younger I felt.

My time was spent in dressing, eating, and visiting. I rose late. However, if I was in bed even five minutes before eleven A.M. I was up at eleven sharp. It was my rule at five minutes past eleven every day to be in my bath, as I usually took a cold bath in winter as well as in summer.

Fifteen minutes after eleven, I jumped out of the water to be rubbed down by my faithful Jean. This operation lasted ten minutes. Then, warmly enveloped, I gave myself up to the delightful operation of touching up my beard with a dye brush and as I was almost bald, the work was not arduous.

My lady friends only saw me at night when I lit up to great advantage, adding to this that when I was not under the scrutinizing eye of Madame Benoit I was very lively, even adventurous, as you will see when you read on.

At noon my toilet was completed and as the clock struck twelve I might have been seen every day rapping at the widow's door.

I generally found one or two callers, not too old, however, to have deserted the ranks of the armchair maids and widows, still on the qui vivre for a husband.

I would chat for a quarter of an hour, and Madame Benoit would give one of her shrugs when fat Mademoiselle Rosalinde would say between two languishing glances: "Ah, how well does Monsieur Dormeiul carry his forty years. It is the effect of regular habits; a well spent existence will bear its fruit."

Naturally I would stammer some polite answer but when Madame shook her head with an 'Ough!' I slipped out of the room. How, I could not say. Far from being timid, heavens knows, I cannot yet understand the terror which seized me when I was in the presence of my terrible neighbour and her friend.

I always took my first meal of the day on the corner of the Rue Montmartre where I read the morning papers. This took one hour and a half altogether.

About two o'clock I strolled along the boulevards and there, in a little shop, I sought my sweet scented correspondence. Mademoiselle Hortense, who kept the little shop, was an old acquaintance of mine.

Ah, Hortense was a queer girl! If just for fun, you had a fancy to stoop down near her, and while her handsome dark eyes gazed fixedly into yours, you slipped your hand dexterously under her petticoats, you would find a firm and well shaped leg in a nicely gartered stocking.

Following the stocking, which led you far, you would have found the contour of a thigh still half covered by the stocking, but as to the other half-oh! you ask me the feeling one has on such occasions? Oh, nothing, but the devilish sensation which always seizes me when I come in contact with the warm, soft palpitating flesh of a woman!

And Mademoiselle Hortense's flesh was so soft in its firmness! You proceeded to pass your hand gently around her thigh, when all at once to your surprise, you could get no further. It was merely her other fat thigh which pressed closely against this one. And there between, a little upwards, was one of nature's marvels, with a tuft of curly hair hidden away in the midst of the soft silky bush you would find it a little more moist than it had been a moment before.

I touch the slit with my finger and Mademoiselle Hortense's looks grow more and more sensuous. My finger moved gently upward and inward, when she would open her thighs widely…

My trousers become uncomfortable. Mademoiselle throws one arm about my neck and presses tighter and still tighter as my finger moves faster and faster. I feel it slip all the way up the passage, which is in an amorous blaze. It becomes wet!

What is going to happen? Why nothing, it is all over. Mademoiselle Hortense would straighten up all at once and tap on my hand for form's sake. Her look was no longer intense. Pretty soon boxes would be quickly opened. I used to buy in this way, every fortnight on Thursdays, a pair of gloves. I had at one time many pairs of gloves.

It is time that I should return to my deliciously perfumed correspondence. Some days I found it quite voluminous, other days I had none. The day on which I started these memoirs, I found a tiny note awaiting me.

One Thursday for the reason just given, I remained later than usual at Mademoiselle's. On other days I only took the time to get my letters and exchange polite salutations with her.

Happy possessor of a loving message, I left the shop and walked with a quick step as far as the Rue Coq-Herron where I had a small room.

There, lying back in an easy chair, I could, without fear of interruption, devote myself entirely to the charms of a somewhat hazardous literature inspired by a little god called Cupid by some, but whom others insist upon calling Mammon.

Although each day seemed to repeat itself, yet it was always new to us and it was with the same trembling hand that I tore open the delicate envelope, and always with the same kind of emotion that I plunged into the perusal of a dear, capricious letter. I enjoyed at that time a pleasure that no doubt many persons would fail to understand. I unfolded the letter which read thus:

My dear Friend,

I will need you this evening at the Hotel X-. Do not forget your promise of the day before yesterday, or I will pull out-you know…

Truly yours, Pauline.

Pauline was a handsome girl but I could not obtain anything from her but correspondence for a long time. I accepted writing to her with the hope that I would gain my point some day, but in vain. You will see later on how I succeeded.

Although it was too early to keep my appointment with Pauline, nevertheless I directed my steps in the direction of the Hotel Xsimply because it was my regular hour. When the sweet little maid opened the door, she said mockingly, as she looked at the clock: "I could have guessed it was you!"

The roguish remark was worth the five francs I placed in her hand as I familiarly walked into the little parlour, whose open doors seemed to tender me a pressing invitation. And then I heard the melodious voice of a siren: "Julie!" said the voice, "if Monsieur Lorille comes, bring him in at once."

Julie had no time to answer, as I was already in the room. A splendid blonde was half sitting, half lying on a sofa. I remained standing before her with bowed head. I have always been gallant and I was humbly awaiting when a peal of laughter caused me to start.

"I have not called for a mirror, you are mistaken!"

The little woman was indulging in a hearty laugh at the expense of my bald head. A novice would have been confused, but I answered:

"What, Madame, such charming beauty as yourself, could not do better than admire her own image, she would then imagine that all around her was beautiful."

"Upon my word, Monsieur."

"Monsieur Dormeuil, at your service."

"Monsieur Dormeuil," continued the blonde, "you must forgive me. I like to laugh but I am not the worse for it. Be seated."

Before the charming creature could finish her sentence I was by her side.

"Never having had the happiness to meet you before, Madame, would it be an indiscretion on my part to ask your name?"

     

 

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