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Archive for February 25th, 2011

Regular readers know that once per month I publish little tales of heroic whores; if you like this one you might also enjoy the others linked here.

Deputy Leclerc pulled his coat closer about him against the icy wind of early Ventôse; how he hated this time of year!  It used to be that the beastly weather was made more bearable by the anticipation of Carnival, but the National Assembly had banned it as indecent and the subsequent governments had continued the prohibition, so there was absolutely nothing to ameliorate Leclerc’s misery.  Ah, well, c’est la vie; perhaps someday when the chaos had settled and all corrupt elements had been purged from society, the celebration might be allowed again.  He shrugged inwardly; it was best not to think too much about such things, so he turned his attention to avoiding the deeper puddles and quickened his pace a little.

“Why in such a hurry, Monsieur?” came a sweet voice from a doorway nearby.  “Surely you have a few minutes to tarry with me?”  The whore was both young and beautiful, and though her winter clothes disguised her figure somewhat he did not think he would be disappointed when the rest of her charms were revealed.  Well, why not?  His spirits were in need of lifting, and he could blame any delay on the weather.

Her room was small but comfortable, and though her fee was high for a streetwalker she was clearly no ordinary fille de joie; he mused that in less egalitarian times she might’ve made a courtesan.  She certainly had the manners for it, inviting him to remove his boots and warm his feet by the fire while she got him a large mug of bouillon.  She then sat with him while he sipped the hot, flavorful broth, making small talk about all manner of subjects while he enjoyed the music of her voice and grunted a response now and again just to keep her going.  He soon felt a pleasant drowsiness overcome him, and since he was warm and comfortable and in no hurry to return to the winter outside he did not fight it, but instead drifted into sleep.

He awoke some time later on his back in a dimly-lit room; he felt dizzy, nauseated and weak and it took him several minutes to realize that he had no idea what was going on.  He tried to get up and immediately regretted it, then an unfamiliar feminine voice said “I would advise you to lie still for a while, Deputy Leclerc.  The embrace of the poppy is not so easily escaped by one unused to her caresses.”

A wave of nausea engulfed him as he jerked his head toward the voice, which tutted and then asked “Why do men never listen?” as he proceeded to be violently ill on the dirt floor.  When the sickness had subsided he lay back on the straw mat and the strange woman sat down beside him, cleaning his mouth with a wet flannel and feeling his forehead with a soft, warm hand.

“Who are you?  Where am I?  What is going on here?” he croaked, without waiting for any answers.  “Do you know who I am?”

“But of course we know, Deputy Leclerc, which is exactly why you have been brought here.  I am your nurse, here to ensure that you are well for your trial in the morning.”

Trial?  He asked incredulously; “By what authority do you presume to put a deputy of the National Convention on trial?”

“Why, by the same authority that we all presumed to storm the Bastille and set up our own government, namely the natural right of all men and women to liberty and equality.”

“The National Convention is the duly elected government of the Republic, and only the Committee of Public Safety has the right to administer justice!”

“In the opinions of many, the Convention lost its mandate to govern women when it sent our champion, Madame De Gouges, to the guillotine.”

“Many?  What many?” he scoffed.

“You will see in the morning,” she said, and would not elaborate further.

Leclerc did not sleep well, though neither his nurse nor his accommodations could be faulted for that.  No, it was the reference to Olympe de Gouges which worried him.  Could he be in the hands of the remnants of the Girondist party?  If so, his time on Earth was nearly over; he did not think they would be as averse to bloodshed now as they had been in the past.  He tried to engage his nurse in conversation, to no avail; she had apparently said all she wished to say and showed admirable restraint thereafter.

But the morning eventually came, and his nurse was replaced by a woman who presented a basin and ewer and bade him make himself presentable, followed by another who brought him a generous breakfast.  Soon after he was finished the door was opened and Leclerc wondered if he might not be suffering some aftereffect of the opium with which the whore had drugged him, because into the room came two tall women dressed as Amazon warriors!  He started to laugh but it soon died in his throat because their spears were quite real and the scowls on their faces quite serious.  They ushered him out of the room and though he considered making a break for it he realized that he had no idea where he was and no way of knowing the way to the exit.

In a few moments he realized he must be in some portion of the Carrières de Paris which had been renovated to include rooms and at least one large chamber into which he was now led; the rough walls of the former mine were covered with decorative hangings and the space was ringed with wooden benches crowded with spectators.  A jury box lay on his right, and directly ahead of him a judge’s bench and witness stand.  All of the seats were already occupied; he was the last participant to arrive.  He was astonished to note that he was the only normally-dressed person there; everyone else, from judge to prosecutor to jurors to spectators, were all arrayed in colorful costumes far more suited to a Carnival celebration than to a courtroom.  And as he surveyed the scene, he noticed something far more disquieting; every single masked face he could see was that of a woman.

The trial was like a nightmare; he heard his own voice pleading not guilty to the charges, saw himself standing and sitting and answering as he was bidden, listened to the women in their outlandish attire give evidence against him, and heard the damning recitation of his misdeeds against humanity in general and women in particular not merely for the past few years, but stretching back through his whole debauched life.  And as the testimony unfolded a common thread became apparent to him, revealed by the nature of the charges and the details of the witnesses’ accounts:  Every one of them was a whore.  He fancied that he recognized the judge and prosecutor beneath their masks as well-known courtesans, and it was not too difficult to guess that jurors and spectators were all demimondaines as well.  He realized now that he had misinterpreted the nurse’s calling Olympe de Gouges “our champion”; before she had become an advocate for the rights of women, a Girondist sympathizer and an outspoken critic of the increasingly-common executions, the noted writer had been a courtesan.  The demimonde apparently considered her one of its own, and the judge honored the great lady’s aversion to violence by sentencing Leclerc to a peaceful death by overdose of opium.

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