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WARNING: SOME DIRTY HUMOR:
One morning, the bishop placed his hand upon her thigh. "'Holy Father, 'cried she, I've come to confess my sins, not commit them anew… "'
My colleagues have called me old-fashioned. Even barbaric. But here we favor an aggressive course of treatment. Quite. I do not seek popularity or renown, Monsieur Delbene. Mine is a higher mission. To take God's tiny blunders and those He has forsaken... and condition them with the same force, the same rigor... one would employ to train a feral dog or a wild stallion.
You know how I define "idealism"? Youth's final luxury.
St. Augustine tells us that angels and demons walk among us on the Earth... and that sometimes they jointly inhabit the soul of a single man.
-Then how can we know... who is truly good and who is evil?
Well, we can't. All we can do is guard against our own corruption.
I hear he's got a whetstone and a chisel, and he uses them to sharpen his teeth.
- He's a writer, not a madman.
What's he doing in here then?
That's not so.
- He writes books so wicked, so black with evil, that one man killed his wife after reading them. And two young mothers miscarried their babies. I'd say that's murder enough.
Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when it's lubricated. This is a rare vintage from an obscure village in Bordeaux. Rather than crush the grape underfoot, they place the fruit on the belly of a bride, reap its juices when the young husband steers his vessel into port. Full-bodied flavor, just a hint of wantonness. Bottoms up.
- It's from our own cellar. I recognize the taste.
I should have told you it was the blood of Christ. You'd believe that, wouldn't you?
I hope you'll judge him by his progress here, not his past reputation.
But you've no right to publish...behind my back without my sanction.
-Have you truly read it, or did you run straightaway to the dog-eared pages?
Oh, enough to discern its tenor.
It's not even a proper novel. It's nothing but an encyclopedia of perversions. Frankly, it even fails as an exercise in craft. Characters are wooden. The dialogue is inane. Not to mention the endless repetition of words like "nipple" and "pikestaff."
-There I was taxed, it's true.
And such puny scope. Nothing but the very worst in man's nature.
-I write of the great eternal truths... that bind together all mankind the whole world over. We eat, we shit, we fzzk, we kill and we die. But we also fall in love. We build cities, we compose symphonies and we endure. Why not put that in your books as well?
-It's a fiction, not a moral treatise.
But isn't the duty of art to elevate us above the beasts
-I'd have thought that was your duty, Abbe, not mine.
Be grateful, child. In my experience, poor girls who are orphaned never wed. They wind up spinsters or, worse still, nuns.
- Thank God that fortune has spared you... from such a fate.
I've all the demons of hell in my head. My only salvation is to vent them on paper.
- Try reading for a change. The writer who produces more than he reads ... A sure mark of an amateur. Here. Start with the Bible. It's cheerier and more artfully written.
This monstrous God of yours? He strung up His very own son like a side of veal. I shudder to think what He'd do to me. Why are you doing this to me? Stop it. I'll die of loneliness. I've no company but the characters I create.
- Whores and pederasts! You're better off without them
Simone the young wife reading smut in bed: To the young maidens of the world, wrest yourselves free from the tyranny of virtue... and taste without shame the pleasures of the flesh. Male power lies in the clench of a fist, but a woman's power lies elsewhere: in the velvet cavity betwixt her thighs.
Dr. Royer-Collard sleeping next to Simone: It's late, Simone, darling. Put your poems aside.
You should court the doctor's favor, not his contempt.
- The doctor? I ought to carve my name into his backside and fill the wounds with salt!
You're here, safe, surrounded by brick and mortar. My prison is far crueler. It has no walls. Everywhere I go, they point and whisper. At the opera, they hiss at me when I take my box. When I went to church, the priest refused to even hear my confession. He said I was already damned. Why must I suffer for your sins?
- That's the way of all martyrs, isn't it?
Give me back my anonymity. That's all I ask. Let me be invisible again.
Well, if you won't read it to your own mother, perhaps you ought not to be reading it at all.
- It's not your cup of tea, Mother.
Oh, go on, darling, give it a read.
- " Monsieur Bouloir was a man whose erotic appetites... might discreetly be described as... postmortem. A habitue of cemeteries, his proudest conquest was a maid... six decades his senior, deceased a dozen years."
That's terrible. Oh, that's too, too terrible. Well, go on.
- "The vigor with which he made love... Mm-hmm… caused her bones to dislodge. Still... he granted her the highest compliment he accorded any woman. "
- "Well worth the dig."
I failed to save your soul in life. I won't fail in death. Dear Heavenly Father, prove Your infinite mercy... and open Your gates to this man, no less Your child than any other. There is... in each of us... such beauty... and such abomination. No man is exempt. Forgive him. Forgive us all.
Kiss the cross.
Beloved reader, I leave you now with a tale penned by the Abbe de Coulmier, a man who found freedom in the unlikeliest of places: at the bottom of an inkwell, on the tip of a quill. However, be forewarned, its plot is blood-soaked, its characters depraved, and its themes... unwholesome at best. But in order to know virtue, we must acquaint ourselves with vice. Only then can we know the full measure of man. So come. I dare you. Turn the page.
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