JUSTINE MARQUIS DE SADE PDF
Free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook. Justine (or The Misfortunes of Virtue) is set just before the French Revolution in France and tells the story of a young woman. Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue - Free download as PDF File .pdf) or read online Download as PDF or read online from Scribd By the Marquis de Sade. Justine, or The Misfortunes of Virtue is a novel by Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade. . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
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Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue (Oxford World's Classics series) by The Marquis de Sade. Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Les crimes de l'amour by marquis de Sade. No cover available. Read “Justine”, by The Marquis de Sade online on Bookmate – The Wordsworth Erotica Collection includes some of the finest Victorian and Edwardian.
But as, in so saying, the holy man had placed his hand beneath her chin and gave her far too worldly a kiss for a man of the cloth, Justine, understanding his meaning only too well, pulled back sharply and said: Too little time has gone by since my station in life was far above the lowly circumstances in which such favours have to be begged for, for me to be reduced to soliciting them now!
I asked you for the guidance I need in my youth and misfortune, and you would have me purchase it with a crime. Justine, twice spurned on the very day she was sentenced to a life of isolation, entered a house with a notice in the window, took a small furnished room which she paid for in advance, and was now at least table to surrender undisturbed to the mortification engendered by her circumstances and the cruelty of the few people to whom her unlucky star had led her.
The reader will allow us to leave her in her dark coop for a while and return to Juliette so that we may tell as briefly as possible how, from her unremarkable beginnings on leaving the convent, she became within the space of fifteen years a lady possessing a title, an income of 30, livres, gorgeous jewels, two or three houses in Paris and in the country, plus, for the time being, the heart, purse, and confidence of Monsieur de Corville, a Councillor of State, a man enjoying the highest credit and poised to become a Minister of the Crown.
Her path had been thorny. Of this there can be no doubt: The woman who today occupies the bed of a prince may well still bear upon her person the humiliating marks of the brutality of the depraved libertines into whose hands she was thrown by her tentative first steps, her youth, and her inexperience.
On leaving the convent, Juliette had promptly gone off in search of a woman she had heard mentioned by her friend, the former neighbour who had taken to debauchery. She had kept the address and appeared shamelessly on the doorstep with her bundle under her arm, her plain dress in disarray and with the prettiest face that ever was and the air of one who was only too willing to learn.
She told her story to the woman and pleaded with her to grant her the same protection that she had bestowed on her friend a few years earlier. I shall need proof. Follow my advice strictly, be accommodating in observing my rules, be clean and thrifty, behave candidly with me, courteously with your companions and deceitfully with men, and under my direction you shall be in a position a few years hence to withdraw from this place to a room of your own with a chest for your clothes, a pier-glass, and a maid, and the art which you acquire in my house will provide you with the means of procuring the rest.
Once this sermon was done, the newcomer was presented to her companions, she was shown to her chamber in the house and the very next day her virginity was put up for sale. Within a space of four months, the same merchandise was sold in turn to eighty persons who each paid as though for unused goods, and it was only at the expiry of her thorny novitiate that Juliette was granted entry to the sisterhood. From that moment on, she was truly acknowledged as a full daughter of the nunnery and bore her share of its lewd and exhausting labours—in effect a further novitiate.
She felt that since she was made for crime, then at the very least she should set her sights on the highest peak and refuse to languish in her present lowly condition which required her to commit the same foul acts and be no less degraded, but brought her nothing like the same profit.
She managed to beguile him into keeping her in the most opulent manner and at last she began to be seen in theatres and in the fashionable walks on an equal footing with the luminaries of the Order of Cythera.
It was enough to make her reputation. Such is the blindness of people nowadays that the more impure one of these unfortunates shows herself to be, the keener they are to be on her list. It is as though the depth of her depravity and corruption is the only yardstick by which the feelings which they lavish so shamelessly on her in public are to be measured. He made over an income of 12, livres to her, and arranged that the remainder of his fortune, a further 8,ooo, would be hers should he die before she did; he gave her a house, servants, and a retinue and conferred on her a degree of respectability in society which ensured that within two or three years her beginnings were forgotten.
She conceived her plan and, regrettably, executed it with such stealth that she was able both to elude the arm of the law and to bury all traces of her abominable crime along with her hindrance of a husband. Once more in possession of her freedom and now a Countess, Madame de Lorsange took up her old habits, but thinking that she cut some figure in the world, she put a measure of decency into her proceedings. She was no longer a kept woman but a rich widow who gave gay supper- parties to which the ornaments of town and court were only too happy to be admitted—yet she could be bedded for louis and bought for a month.
To these horrors, Madame de Lorsange added two or three infanticides: These crimes, like the others, went undetected and did nothing to prevent this scheming and ambitious woman from finding new dupes daily and swelling her fortune at every turn as her crimes accumulated. It is regrettably only too true that prosperity may accompany crime and that even in the most freely embraced state of depravity and corruption the thread of life may be gilded by what men call happiness. But let not this cruel and unavoidable reality be a cause for dismay.
Let not the truth of which we shall presently furnish an example that it is on the contrary vice which everywhere pursues and attacks virtue, trouble the hearts of honest, decent persons. The prosperity of crime is more apparent than real. Independently of Providence which of necessity punishes his ostensible success, a guilty man harbours in the recesses of his heart a worm which gnaws at him unceasingly, makes it impossible for him to bask in the felicity which bathes his existence, and leaves him instead with only the grievous memory of the crimes by which he came by it.
The affairs of Madame de Lorsange had reached this pitch when Monsieur de Corville who, at 50, enjoyed the credit which we have already mentioned, resolved to devote himself entirely to her and to keep her for himself alone. One June evening, the fine weather tempted them to push on by foot as far as the town and, feeling too weary to return in the manner in which they had come, they entered the inn which serves as a staging-post for the Lyons coach, thinking to send a rider thence to fetch them a carriage from their chateau.
They were resting in a cool, low-ceilinged room which looked out on to the courtyard when the coach we have mentioned drove in. Observing travellers is a natural pastime; anyone with an idle moment to spare will gladly occupy it in this way when the occasion arises.
Madame de Lorsange stood up, her lover did likewise, and both watched as the passengers entered the inn.
At a cry of horror and astonishment which escaped from Madame de Lorsange, the young woman turned, revealing features so sweet and delicate and so fine and shapely a figure that Monsieur de Corville and his mistress could not restrain a desire to intervene on behalf of so wretched a creature. Monsieur de Corville approached and asked one of the constables what the unhappy creature had done. Where were the crimes committed? She was tried at Lyons and is on her way to Paris for confirmation of sentence.
Monsieur de Corville, sharing her wish, spoke of it to her escort and made himself known.
They raised no objection. Madame de Lorsange and Monsieur de Corville now resolved to spend the night at Montargis and asked to be given a suitable apartment with an adjacent room for the constables. Monsieur de Corville took full responsibility for the prisoner. Her hands were untied and she was shown into the room of Madame de Lorsange and Monsieur de Corville.
Her guards dined and went to bed in the adjoining chamber.
When the poor unfortunate had been persuaded to take a little sustenance, Madame de Lorsange, who could not prevent herself from feeling the keenest interest in her and doubtless was telling herself: The story of my life, Madame said the beautiful, unhappy creature to the Countess , would furnish you with the most striking example of the misfortunes of innocence. To tell it would be to accuse Providence and complain of its workings.
It would be a sin of a kind and I cannot bring myself to Tears then streamed from the eyes of the unfortunate young woman, but after letting them flow freely for a moment, she began her story in these terms. With your leave, I shall withhold my name. I come of a family which, though undistinguished, Madame, was respectable, and I was not born to the mortifications which have been the source of the larger part of my misfortunes.
I lost both my parents when very young. With the modest means they left at my disposal, I had thought to obtain an honest situation, but constantly rejecting offers which were far from honest, I exhausted my small inheritance more quickly than I realized.
The poorer I grew, the more reviled I was. The more I stood in need of help, the smaller grew my hopes of finding it or the more frequently was it held out to me in unworthy and shameful forms. Of all the hardships which I endured in my distressed condition, of all the horrid propositions that were made to me, I shall mention only what befell me in the house of Monsieur Dubourg, one of the richest merchants in the capital.
I had been directed to him as the kind of man whose wealth and credit were most suited and best able to alleviate my fate. After waiting two hours in his antechamber, I was shown into his presence. Monsieur Dubourg, who was about 45 years of age, had just risen from his bed and was wearing a loose-fitting robe which barely covered his state of undress.
Being about to have his peruke arranged upon his head, he dismissed his valet and asked me what I wanted. After listening to me most attentively, Monsieur Dubourg asked me if I had always been a good girl. But I ask only to be of service. You are neither old enough nor sufficiently presentable for me to find you a position as you ask. But if you were to adopt a less ludicrously strict attitude, you might aspire to a modest future in any libertine circle.
And it is in that direction that you had now best move. The virtue of which you make so much serves no useful purpose in the real world. Those of us who actually dole out charity, which is something we do as little as possible and then only with the greatest reluctance, want to be compensated for the money which is taken out of our pockets.
Now, what can a little girl like you do to repay the help she receives, if not to agree to whatever is asked of her? The mania for obliging others without asking anything in return is now a thing of the past. They felt that in the case of a girl like yourself, for example, it was far more worth while to take a return on the moneys advanced in the form of the pleasures afforded by libertinage than to take pride in having acted charitably.
The reputation of a liberal, charitable, generous man is, to my way of thinking, as nothing compared to the smallest hint of the pleasure you could give me.
In consideration of which—and here my views are those of almost everyone of my tastes and age—you will understand, child, that any help I give you will be proportionate to your agreeing to do whatever it pleases me to ask of you. Do you imagine that Heaven will not punish you for your callousness?
Heaven is the last thing in the world which interests us. Whether what we do on earth pleases Heaven or not is the last thing which gives us pause. Being only too aware of how little power Heaven has over men, we defy it daily without a qualm. France has more subjects than it needs.
The Government sees everything in broad terms and is not overly concerned with individuals provided that the machinery runs smoothly overall. But enough of politics which you cannot possibly understand. Why do you complain of your fate when you could so easily change it? But let us leave aside this question too and simply keep to what concerns us both at this juncture. The duties which I should expect of you, and for which you will be reasonably, but not excessively paid, will be of a quite different order.
You will answer to her and each morning, in my presence, either this woman or my valet will subject you to. I was too humiliated to take it in as it was being made, and my head spun, so to speak, as the words were said. Being too ashamed to repeat them now, I beg you to be good enough to imagine the rest.
The cruel man spoke the names of high-ranking churchmen and I was to be their victim. You are now At 16 you will be free to seek your fortune elsewhere. Until then, you will be clothed and fed and will receive one louis each month. It is a very fair offer: I have not been giving as much to the girl you will replace.
Like them you will suffer too, I grant, but you will earn far more than the vast majority of them. He seized me by the collar of my dress and told me that on this first occasion he himself would show me what was involved. But my plight gave me courage and strength, I managed to struggle free and, as I rushed to the door: You are not worthy of the wealth which you abuse so vilely, nor even of the air you breathe in a world made foul by your brutal ways. I was returning dejectedly to my lodging plunged into the black, depressing thoughts to which the cruelty and corruption of men inevitably give rise, when my eye seemed for a moment to catch a glimpse of fair weather.
The woman with whom I lodged was acquainted with my distress. She now came up to me and said that she had at last discovered a house where I would be gladly received, provided my behaviour was beyond reproach. I accept most gladly! He lived in a first-floor apartment in the rue Quincampoix with an aged mistress he called his wife who was as least as spiteful as he. If ever even the tenth part of a denier should find its way into your pocket, I shall have you hanged, do you hear Sophie?
If my wife and I enjoy a few comforts in our old age, they are the fruit of our unending labours and extreme abstemiousness. Do you eat a great deal, my child? Good God! Soup is something we hardly ever make, just once, on Sundays, and we have been working like Turks these forty years.
We do not require much in the way of attendance and there is no servant but you. Not only was there infinitely more work than my age and strength allowed me to undertake, but would I be able to live on what I had been offered?
I took care, however, to avoid making difficulties and moved in that same evening. But a calamity so terrible in its consequences for me stood waiting at the finish of my second year there that it is with no little difficulty, when I think back, that I now bring myself to relate a few humorous details before telling you of the setback I mentioned.
So let me say, Madame, that no lights were ever lit in that house. Fortunately, the apartment of my master and mistress looked on to the street lamp outside and this freed them of the need to have any other glim: They made no use of linen.
No wine was served, water being, as Madame Du Harpin held, the natural drink of the first men on earth and the only drink prescribed by Nature. Whenever bread was cut, a basket was placed beneath to catch the crumbs that fell, and to them anything left over from meals was carefully added, the whole being fried together on Sundays with a little rancid butter, this constituting festive fare for the day of rest.
Clothes and upholstery were not to be beaten, for fear of wearing them out, but were to be lightly switched with a feather duster. The shoes worn by my master and mistress were bottomed with iron, and both husband and wife still clung reverently to the footwear which had served them on their wedding-day.
But there was one practice, odder still by far, which I was required to follow regularly once a week. But would to God that these shameful practices were the only ones to which these dreadful people subscribed.
Living on the floor above was a gentleman with a decent competency, being possessed of rather fine jewels. Now perhaps because he lived so near or perhaps because his effects had already passed through his hands, the extent of his wealth was well known to my master. I often heard him and his wife say how much they regretted a particular gold casket worth 30 or 40 louis which would certainly have remained in his possession had the attorney he employed known his business better; to make up the loss of the returned casket, the honest Monsieur Du Harpin now proposed to steal it and I was charged with the business.
What is there to prevent me from turning against you the same weapons which you place in my hand, for what reasonable objection could you make were I to rob you according to your own principles? I settled for this reply but from that time forward I was aware both of the misfortunes which hung over my head as a result of such a proposition and of my error in answering him so categorically.
But there was no middle path: I had either to commit the crime he spoke of or to reject what he proposed out of hand. Had I then had a little more experience of the world, I should have quitted the house at once. But it was already written in the book of my destiny that each honest prompting of my nature would be repaid by misfortune. I was therefore forced to submit to fate, it being impossible that I should ever escape it.
Monsieur Du Harpin allowed close upon a month to pass, that is until about the time of my completing a second year in his household, without mentioning or giving the slightest sign of ill will towards me for having refused his bidding, when one evening, withdrawing to my chamber after my work was done, there to enjoy a few hours of calm, I suddenly heard my door broken down and not without fright observed Monsieur Du Harpin leading a police officer and four men of the watch to my bedside.
You will find it in her room or about her person. Against evidence so incontrovertible there was no reply. I was immediately seized, bound, and led to the Palace prison, during which time I could not gain the smallest hearing for anything I might have said in my defence. The trial of any hapless person who lacks credit or protection is a quickly expedited business in France where virtue is thought incompatible with poverty and the ill fortune of the accused is proof sufficient of guilt in the eyes of magistrates.
An unjust assumption persuades courts that whoever was most likely to have perpetrated the crime is in fact the person who committed it; sentiments are gauged by the state in which the accused appears and the moment he is seen to have neither title nor wealth to prove that he is honest, it becomes self-evident that he is not.
In vain did I try to defend myself and provide the court advocate I was briefly allowed to have with the best arguments: A woman of 40 years called Dubois, notorious for abominable actions of every kind, was also on the point of having sentence of death carried out on her, her sentence at least being better deserved than mine since the case against her was fully attested, whereas it was impossible to find any crime that could be laid at my door. I had aroused the interest of this woman.
One evening, only a few days before we were both to forfeit our lives, she told me that I should not go to bed but, doing nothing to attract attention, should stay by her side and keep as close to the gates of the prison as could be managed.
It will be my handiwork. It is possible that someone may well be burned to death, but no matter, for what is uppermost is that you and I shall escape. Three men, who are my accomplices and friends, will meet us and I shall answer for your freedom. The flames caught, the conflagration was horrible to see, ten people were burned to death, but we made off safely. That same day we reached a cottage in the forest of Bondy belonging to a poacher, a different kind of criminal from the others but a close associate of our gang.
But a word of counsel: Misplaced delicacy brought you to the foot of the gallows while a gruesome crime enabled me to escape the rope: You are young and pretty. I shall answer for making your fortune in Brussels, if you wish. I am bound there now, for I was born in that city.
Within two years, I shall raise you to untold heights, but I warn you now that it is not along the narrow paths of virtue that I shall lead you to fortune. Anyone of your age who wants to get on quickly in life must be prepared to undertake more than one trade and be adept at managing more than one intrigue at a time.
Do you hear me, Sophie, do you catch my drift? Make up your mind quickly. We must leave this place, for we shall be safe here for a few hours only. But I am also appalled that I should owe my life to a crime and you may be assured that if I had been given any choice in the matter, I would sooner have perished than set my hand to it.
Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue
I am only too sensible of the dangers I have run by committing myself to those feelings of decency which will ever grow in my heart. But whatever the thorns of virtue, I shall always prefer them to the false beams that shine on prosperity, for these are dangerous marks of favour and the fleeting accompaniment of crime.
I carry within me notions of religion which, thanks be to God, will never desert me. If Providence makes my course in life arduous, it is only so that I shall be the more amply rewarded in a better world. This hope is my consolation: It is a joy which would be soon extinguished in my heart were I to desecrate it with criminal actions and, being then filled with the fear of tribulations yet to come in this world, more terrible by far, I should also have in view the dreadful prospect of the punishments which heavenly justice reserves in the next for those who offend against it.
The callousness of the rich justifies the knavery of the poor, my child. If their purses would open to satisfy our needs and if humanity reigned in their hearts, then virtue would take root in ours. But as long as our distress, the patience with which we bear it, our honesty and our subjection serve merely to add weight to our chains, our misdemeanours are their handiwork and we should be dupes indeed to reject crime as a means of lightening a yoke which they fasten around our necks.
We were all born equal in the eyes of Nature, Sophie.
How I love hearing rich people, the judges, and the magistrates, oh, how I love seeing them preaching virtue at us! Oh, how difficult it must be for them to refrain from theft when they have three times as much as they need to live on, how difficult never to think of murder when they are surrounded only by admirers and submissive slaves, how exceedingly painful indeed to be temperate and sober when they are intoxicated by sensuality and the most succulent dishes are set before them—and they must find it trying indeed to be frank and honest when the need to lie scarcely ever arises.
But the likes of us, Sophie, have been condemned to crawl on the earth, like the serpent upon its belly, by that same barbaric Providence which in your folly you have made your idol.
We are looked on with scorn because we are poor, humiliated because we are weak, and in every part of the globe find nothing but gall and thorns—and yet you believe that we should deny ourselves the uses of Crime, though Crime alone opens the door to life which it sustains, preserves, and prevents from losing altogether.
You would wish upon us only toil, despair and suffering, poverty and tears, odium and the gallows! No, Sophie, no! Either the Providence which you revere was made only to deserve our contempt, or else its intentions were quite different.
Learn to know Providence better, Sophie, acquaint yourself with its ways and be persuaded that if Providence places us in situations where acting wickedly becomes necessary and at the same time allows us to choose to be wicked, then its laws are served no less well by evil than by good and Providence thus gains as much by the one as by the other. The state into which we were born at her behest is a state of equality.
Whoever disturbs that state is no more guilty than anyone who seeks to restore it, for both parties act upon impulses implanted in them, and have no choice but to act upon them, clap a blindfold to their eyes, and enjoy the result.
But in my heart a stronger voice than hers fought against her sophisms. I heard her out and then declared for the last time that I was resolved never to allow myself to succumb to corruption.
I leave you to your wretched fate. But if they ever hang you, as will surely happen given the fatality which saves crime and inevitably punishes virtue, at least remember to say nothing of us. Their principles and customs, the gloomy place where we had halted, the degree of safety they believed they enjoyed, their drunkenness, my youth, innocence, and appearance—all served to encourage them.
They left the table where they had been sitting, talked among themselves, and consulted Dubois. I leave you to imagine, Madame, the effect this execrable proposition made upon me.
Les crimes de l'amour by marquis de Sade
But the jade merely laughed at a predicament which to me was appalling but which to her seemed a matter of small consequence. Here you are, required to oblige four lusty lads like these! There are ten thousand women in Paris, my girl, who would pay out good money to be in your shoes just now. What must I do? If you are prepared to pay this price, I guarantee the rest. By accepting, I should be courting new perils, I own, but they were less pressing than those I faced at that moment.
I might be able to avoid those which still lay in the future but there was nothing to preserve me from the danger now threatening me. Save me from these brutal men and I shall never leave you. I have just admitted her as a full member. I order you not to do her any violence: You can see for yourselves how useful her youth and that pretty face are going to be to us.
We must use her to further our interests and not sacrifice her to our pleasures. But the passions can have such power over man that no words can tame them. The men I now faced were in no mood to listen to reason. All four advanced towards me together in a state which was hardly calculated to allow me flattering hopes of being preserved, and with one voice declared to Dubois that even if there had been a gallows on the spot, I should still be their prey.
And the quarrel growing warm, all four champions grabbed each other by the hair and let fly with their fists, brawling amongst themselves and knocking each other to the ground. Meanwhile, only too happy with this turn of events which gave me time to make good my escape, and with Dubois being occupied in trying to separate them, I made a run for it, reached the forest, and the hut was soon lost from view. Thou seest my weakness and my innocence, and knowest the trust with which I place all my hopes in Thee.
Preserve me from the dangers which beset me, or by a death less ignominious than that which I have escaped, grant at least that I be recalled promptly to Thy eternal bosom.
He is stronger who has prayed. I stood up fortified by courage and, since it was now beginning to grow dark, I crept into a thicket where I could spend the night with the smallest risk of discovery. The sense of security I felt, my exhausted state, and the small measure of relief which I had lately tasted, all contributed to my passing a good night.
The sun was already high when my eyes opened once more upon a new day. The moment of waking is the most critical time for the unfortunate: I crouch in their lair and hide myself from men just as they do. What difference is there now between them and me?
What was the point of being born to suffer so pitiable a fate? I was scarcely done when I heard a sound nearby. For a moment I thought it was some beast of the forest but gradually I made out the voices of two men. The horrible offence which outrages both Nature and established law, the heinous crime upon which the heavy hand of God has so often descended, I mean that infamy which was so new to me that I could scarcely conceive of it, was there, before my very eyes, consummated with all the impure refinements and dreadful proceedings which the most considered depravity could inject into it.
The other appeared to be a young domestic in his service. He was 17 or 18 years old and very pretty. The spectacle was as lengthy as it was scandalous, and to me the time seemed to hang all the more cruelly since I dared not move for fear of giving myself away. Finally, the felonious players who had enacted these criminal scenes, doubtless being sated, stood up and were about to rejoin the path which led them home when the master drew near to the bush which hid me to satisfy a need.
My tall bonnet gave me away. He saw it. Our mysteries have been observed by the uninitiate, to wit, a girl. Come here and we shall winkle the hussy out and discover what the devil she is doing here. Dragging myself out, I collapsed at their feet. Few have suffered calamities equal to mine.
I beg you, do not allow the predicament in which you discovered me to start suspicions of me in your mind, for my situation is the result of misfortune and not of any wrongs that I have done. Do not increase the sum of the ills which lie heavy upon me, but on the contrary, I beseech you, kindly furnish me with some means of escaping the rigours by which I am pursued.
It is regrettably only too commonly observed that sensual excess drives out pity in man. Its ordinary effect is to harden the heart. Whether this is because most carnal excesses require a kind of apathy of soul or whether the violent effect they produce on the nervous system weakens the sensitivity by which it operates, it nevertheless remains a fact that a professional libertine is rarely a compassionate man. I observed you both, this other gentleman and you, sitting on the grass, and I believe I noticed that you stayed there a while talking.
That is all, I do assure you. Come, Jasmine. It is still early. All-seeing Themis has pronounced the slut guilty. What we are about to do is no crime, my friend, but virtue. It will be a restoration of the moral order of things, and since there are times when we ourselves unfortunately upset that balance, we should have the courage to redress it whenever the occasion arises. They used their braces, handkerchiefs, anything that came to hand, and in a trice I was bound so cruelly tight that I found it impossible to move hand or foot.
When this operation was completed, the blackguards removed my skirts, raised my petticoats above my head and took out their hunting-knives. I fully believed that they were about to hack and slash my hindquarters which in their ferocity they had bared completely.
Serve me well and you will not have cause to regret it, my child. My mother needs a second waiting-maid. I shall present you to her. But should you take advantage of my kindness or betray my trust Look closely at the oak which was to have been your hanging-tree.
I kissed his knees and swore in every way I could think of that my conduct would be beyond reproach. But as untouched by my happiness as he had been by my distress, Monsieur de Bressac said: Your conduct will speak for you and your conduct alone will decide your fate.
Its magnificent appointments informed me that whatever position I was to have in this household, it would surely be better remunerated than that of head-housekeeper to Monsieur and Madame Du Harpin.
Meanwhile, Monsieur de Bressac went upstairs to see his mother, explained about me, and a half-hour later came to fetch me and presented me to her. Madame de Bressac was a woman of 45, very beautiful still, who seemed to me highly respectable and, even more to the point, exceedingly considerate, though her words and principles were not unmixed with a certain asperity. She was two years the widow of a man of the highest rank who had brought her in marriage no fortune other than the noble name which he had conferred upon her.
The expectations of the young Marquis de Bressac thus centred on his mother, for what his father had left him was barely adequate for his ordinary needs. The estate was worth at least 60, livres a year and Monsieur de Bressac had neither brothers nor sisters. He could never be prevailed upon to enter the army, for anything which took him away from his choicest pleasures was so unbearable to him that he refused categorically to submit to constraints of any sort.
The Countess and her son spent three months of the year on their estate and the rest of the time in Paris, and those three months which she insisted that her son spend with her were torture to a man who could never absent himself from the centre of his pleasures without lapsing into despair.
The Marquis de Bressac commanded me to relate to his mother the same tale which I had already told him. When I had finished my story, Madame de Bressac said: I shall institute no enquiries about you beyond satisfying myself that you are, as you say, the daughter of the man you mentioned.
If indeed you are, then I knew your father, a circumstance which will be an added reason for my interesting myself in your welfare. As for your difficulties with Du Harpin, I shall make it my business to settle matters with a couple of visits to the Chancellor who has been a friend of mine for many years. He is the most upright man in France.
All that is required to overturn the charges against you so that you may return to Paris without fear is to prove your innocence to him. But you must bear in mind, Sophie, that what I promise you now is conditional upon irreproachable conduct on your part. In this way you can see that the pledges which I ask from you will not fail to turn to your advantage.
Within three days, the information requested from Paris by Madame de Bressac arrived and proved to be all I could have wished for. All my thoughts of misfortune faded at last from my mind, their place being taken by hopes of the sweetest consolations to which I now felt justified in looking forward. But it was not written by Heaven that poor Sophie would ever be happy, for should a few instants of peace chance to settle upon her, they would only serve to make her feel more bitterly still the moments of horror which would surely follow.
We were hardly arrived in Paris when Madame de Bressac began to busy herself on my behalf. The First President of the Court asked to see me.
Les crimes de l'amour by marquis de Sade
It was recognized that if I had taken advantage of the fire in the Palace prison, I had taken no part in causing it and I was assured that all proceedings against me were quashed by the magistrates appointed to examine the matter without their having need to resort to further formalities. It may easily be imagined how closely such good offices bound me to Madame de Bressac: However, it did not enter into the intentions of the young Marquis de Bressac to have me draw so close to his mother.
Independently of the appalling lewdness of the kind I have described to you into which the young man threw himself blindly and even more wildly in Paris than in the country, it was not long before I perceived that he hated the Countess with all his being.
In truth, she did all she could to put an end to his debauches or at least to curb them, but she perhaps being over-harsh in her manner of proceeding, the Marquis, further inflamed by the effects of her strictness, plunged with renewed vigour into his excesses, and all the profit the poor Countess derived from her persecution of him was to be heartily detested. Believe me, Sophie, if I did not badger her at every turn she would probably forget what promises she gave to take care of you.
She makes much of all the steps she takes, but they have all been my handiwork. I think I can fairly say therefore that if you feel grateful to anyone, it should be to me, and the return I ask of you will seem all the more disinterested in your eyes since you know enough of me to be quite certain that, however pretty your face, it is not your favours that I seek.
No, Sophie, the services I expect from you are of a different order, and when you are quite convinced by all I have done for you, I trust you will find it in your heart to give me everything I am entitled to expect in return. But answer I did, saying whatever came into my head and without giving sufficient thought to my replies.
The moment has come, Madame, when I must tell you of the only real wrong I ever did in my life for which I reproach myself. Wrong is perhaps not the word, more an unparalleled extravagance, but certainly not a crime. It was simply an error which rebounded against myself alone and which I do not believe was an instrument wielded by the equitable hand of Heaven to plunge me into the abyss which was secretly opening beneath my feet.
I had been unable to see the Marquis de Bressac without feeling drawn to him by sentiments of tenderness which, try as I might, I could not overcome. Whatever thoughts I had about his aversion to women, the depravity of his tastes, and the moral distance which separated us, there was nothing on earth I could do to drench the flames of my dawning passion, and if the Marquis had asked me to lay down my life, I should gladly have sacrificed it for his sake and thought I had done little enough to oblige him.
Yet he could not but be sensible of my eagerness to anticipate and undertake anything which might please him, nor was it possible that he could remain ignorant of my attentions which, in my blindness, extended to seconding his waywardness at least in so far as decency permitted, and to hiding them from his mother.
My manner of proceeding had to some extent earned me his trust and, anything coming from him being precious to me, I so chose not to see how little his heart offered me that at times I was vain enough to believe that he was not indifferent towards me. But how promptly was I disabused by the extravagance of his carnal lusts! Since his tastes, odious though they are, rank with the most expensive, the Marquis made prodigious inroads into his fortune.
Occasionally, I took the liberty to point out the disadvantages of his conduct. But if I tried to speak to him of his mother and the grief he caused her, all I obtained in return was resentment, ill temper, anger, impatience at seeing a fortune which should already be his remaining so long in her hands, the most inveterate hatred for a respectable mother, and the most brazen rebellion against the sentiments of Nature.
Can it then truly follow in the case of a man who, indulging his tastes, has so categorically infringed the sacred laws of Nature that the necessary consequence of his first transgression is the appalling ease with which he goes on to commit all other crimes with impunity? Sometimes I resorted to persuasion through religion in which I have almost invariably found consolation.
I endeavoured to open the heart of this perverse man to its balm, being almost certain that I should hold him in a net of faith if I could succeed in communicating its charms to him. But the Marquis gave me little time to employ these means of persuading him. As a declared enemy of our sacred mysteries, a stubborn kicker against the purity of our doctrine, and a furious opponent of the existence of a Supreme Being, the Marquis, instead of allowing me to convert him, sought rather to corrupt me.
Now if this everlasting world of ours, like all the others which hang in the infinite plains of space, had no beginning and can never have an end; if all the products of nature are the consequential effects of laws by which Nature herself is bound; if her perpetual actions and reactions presuppose the movement which is an integral part of her essence, then what role is left for the prime mover which you gratuitously impute to it?
Believe me, Sophie, the God you admit to is nothing but the fruit on the one hand of ignorance and on the other of tyranny. When the strong first set out to enslave the weak, they convinced their victims that God sanctified the chains that bound them, and the weak, their wits crushed by poverty, believed what they were told. All religions are the destructive consequences of this first fiction and merit the same contempt as its source deserves.
There is not one of these fairy-tales which does not march under the banner of imposture and stupidity. In all these mysteries which stagger human reason, I see only dogmas which outrage Nature and grotesque ceremonials which warrant nothing but derision. From the moment my eyes were opened, Sophie, I loathed all these disgusting shams. I vowed I should trample them beneath my feet and never return to the fold as long as I lived. If you wish to be a rational being, follow my lead. Firmly attached to what it teaches, fervently believing that all the kicks that come my way are no more than the effects of libertinism and the passions, shall I sacrifice the sweetest thoughts I know in life to sophisms which make me tremble?
Madame de Bressac, a woman of virtue and piety, was not unaware that her son justified his wayward conduct by using all the paradoxes of the unbeliever. Oftentimes she communicated her grief to me and, being of a mind to think me possessed of a little more good sense than the other women who attended her, she took a fancy to confiding her sorrows to me. He reached the stage where he no longer hid them from her. Not only did he surround his mother with the dangerous rabble who served his pleasures but he went so far in his insolence as to tell her, within my hearing, that if she tried to interfere with his tastes once more, then he would convince her of their power to charm by demonstrations thereof in her presence.
Such talk and his behaviour cut me to the quick, and I did all in my power to summon from deep within me reasons for stifling the wretched passion which consumed me. But is love a sickness which can be cured? Every argu- ment I put up against it served only to stoke it higher, and the perfidious Bressac never seemed to me more alluring than when I had assembled in my mind all the reasons that should have led me to hate him. One evening, shortly after quitting my mistress, I was taking the air on the balcony of my chamber, unable to make up my mind to go to bed, it being excessively warm, when the Marquis knocked unexpectedly on my door and begged me to give him leave to talk with me for part of the night.
Alas, every moment granted me by the cruel architect of my unhappiness seemed so precious that I dared not pass up the chance of a single instant with him. He entered, closed the door carefully and, flinging himself on to a chair next to me, said in a slightly embarrassed way: Swear now that you will never reveal anything of what I am about to say. That is threat enough for me. Take my life, sir, it is yours, I owe it to you.
But you must never think that you will prevail upon me to be a party to a crime the very idea of which my heart could never counten- ance. To your unphilosophical eye, two crimes are involved: As far as the destruction of a fellow being is concerned, Sophie, you can be clear in your own mind that it is an illusion. The power to destroy life is not given to man who at most has the power to change its forms, but not the ability to obliterate it.
Now, all forms are equal in the eyes of Nature. Nothing is lost in the immense melting-pot where endless variations are produced. Each quantity of matter thrown into it is continually renewed and given a new shape.
Whatever part we play in the process cannot offend directly against the whole. Nothing we can do outrages Nature directly. Our acts of destruction give her new vigour and feed her energy, but none of our wreckings can weaken her power. So of what concern is it to Nature, endlessly creating, if a mound of flesh which today has the shape of a woman, should reproduce itself tomorrow as countless insects of different types? Have you courage enough to assert that it requires more effort on her part to construct an individual such as we are than to make a worm and that therefore Nature should logically take a greater interest in us?
Or if her degree of concern, or rather unconcern, is the same in both cases, what can it matter to Nature if, through what we call the crime of one individual, another is changed into a fly or a lettuce? But if the most careful study of Nature should prove to my satisfaction that everything which flourishes on this earth, even the least perfect of her works, is of equal importance in her eyes, I should never imagine that the transformation of one of these beings into a thousand others could ever infringe her laws.
I should say to myself: But why should this footling consideration give me pause? On what grounds should it stay my hand? Was she thinking of me when lubricity drove her to conceive the foetus from which I grew? Should I be grateful to her for thinking of her pleasure? In any case, it is not the blood of the mother which shapes the child, but the blood of the father only.
The female womb fructifies, preserves, and amplifies, but does not of itself contribute any vivifying ingredient. If she dealt with us kindly, we can love her, indeed perhaps we should.
But if she showed us acts of unkindness linked to no law of Nature, then not only do we owe her nothing, but everything tells us we should be rid of her: Just for an instant, I beg you, heed your heart and ignore their clamour, and you will see that it reproves the arrogant reasoning prompted by your libertinism! Is not your heart, that judge before whom I ask you to stand, the temple where Nature, which you outrage, demands to be heard and obeyed? If Nature there inscribes the greatest horror for the crime you are planning, will you not concede that it is indeed reprehensible?
If you answer that the heat of passion will destroy the horror of it in a twinkling, you will scarcely have time to take satisfaction from its being extinguished before it catches fire again, prompted by the imperious voice of Remorse. The more sensitive you are, the more agonizing its call will be. Each day, every moment, you will see before your eyes the tender mother whom your brutal hand dispatched to her grave.
You will hear her plaintive voice still speaking the sweet name which was the delight of your childish years. She will appear in your waking nights, she will rack your dreams, she will reach out with bloody hands to reopen the wounds with which you savaged her.
From that moment on, you would not know a single glimmer of happiness on earth, all your pleasures would be poisoned and all your ideas overcast. A heavenly hand whose power you underestimate will avenge the life you destroyed by turning yours to ashes and, without ever enjoying the fruits of your crimes, you will perish a victim of the mortal regret that you ever dared commit them!
I threw myself at the feet of the Marquis, implored him by whatever he held most dear to put out of his mind all thought of an infamous deed which I swore I would keep secret all my days. But I did not know the heart of the man I tried to disarm: The Marquis stood up coldly. But no matter, I shall find other ways and you will have lost much in my eyes while your mistress will have gained nothing. This thought, which with me was the work of a moment, prompted me to change sides at once.
But since so sudden a shift might seem suspect, I made my defeat a lengthy business, forced the Marquis to repeat his sophisms many times, and gave the impression of not quite knowing how to answer them.
The Marquis believed I was beaten, I justified my weakness by acknowledging his persuasive powers, made out at the last that I had capitulated, and the Marquis threw his arms about me.
How happy his doing so would have made me had not his barbarous plans cast out all the feelings which my vulnerable heart had conceived for him. Had it been possible for me to love him still. You are delicious, child. A ray of philosophy has lit up your mind. How is it possible that such a pretty face could have dwelt so long in darkness? To ensure that the Marquis was firmly snared in the trap, I kept up a certain show of reluctance each time he outlined more of his scheme or explained by what means he intended to carry it off, and it was by this deception, which my unhappy plight fully justified, that I succeeded in fooling him completely.
We arranged that some two or three days hence, depending on the opportunities which came my way, I should, without attracting attention, empty the small sachet of poison the Marquis gave me into the cup of chocolate which the Countess was in the habit of taking each morning. He signed this contract but without specifying in it what I was to do to earn his bounty and then we parted. In the mean time, there occurred something too singular and too revealing of the character of the man with whom I had to deal for me not to pause at this point in my account, which you are doubtless anticipating, of the manner in which the cruel adventure I was embarked upon was concluded.
Two days after our interview, the Marquis received news that an uncle, of whom he had entertained no expectations whatsoever, had died leaving him 80, livres a year. If until then I had not yet seen all of this little troupe it was because, having arrived at Rodin's during the holidays, his scholars were not attending classes; toward the end of my recovery they reappeared.
Rodin himself took charge of the boys' instruction, his governess looked after that of the girls, whom he would visit as soon as he had completed his own lessons; he taught his young pupils writing, arithmetic, a little history, drawing, music, and for all that no other master but himself was employed. I early expressed to Rosalie my astonishment that her father, while performing his functions as a doctor, could at the same time act as a schoolmaster; it struck me as odd, said I, that being able to live comfortably without exercising either the one or the other of these professions, he devoted himself to both.
Rosalie, who by now had become very fond of me, fell to laughing at my remark; the manner in which she reacted to what I said only made me the more curious, and I besought her to open herself entirely to me.
He practices medicine because he has a liking for it; he takes keen pleasure in using his skill to make new discoveries, he has made so many of them, he has written so many authoritative texts based upon his investigations that he is generally acknowledged the most accomplished man in France at the present time; he worked for twenty years in Paris, and for the sake of his amusements he retired to the country.
The real surgeon at Saint-Marcel is someone named Rombeau whom he has taken under his tutelage and with whom he collaborates upon experiments; and now, Therese, would you know why he runs a school? Libertinage, my child, libertinage alone, a passion he carries to its extremes.
My father finds in his pupils of either sex objects whose dependence submits them to his inclinations, and he exploits them But wait a moment Everything is visible from a closet in my room which adjoins the one where he concludes his business; let's go there without making any noise, and above all be careful not to say a word both about what I am telling you and about what you are going to witness.
Hardly have we taken up our post when Rodin enters, leading a fourteen-year-old girl, blond and as pretty as Love; the poor creature is sobbing away, all too unhappily aware of what awaits her; she comes in with moans and cries; she throws herself down before her implacable instructor, she entreats him to spare her, but his very inexorability fires the first sparks of the unbending Rodin's pleasure, his heart is already aglow, and his savage glances spring alive with an inner light A note passed to a boy upon entering the classroom!
Julie is without any defense Rodin dwells upon the picture, is fired by it, he covers those supplicating eyes with a blindfold, approaches his mouth and dares kiss them, Julie sees nothing more, now able to proceed as he wishes, Rodin removes the veils of modesty, her blouse is unbuttoned, her stays untied, she is naked to the waist and yet further below What whiteness!
What beauty! These are roses strewn upon lilies by the Graces' very hands What is the monster that can seek pleasure in the depths of tears and suffering and woe? Rodin contemplates Julie emits cries He puts his hands upon the molested parts, touches, squeezes, worries them, seems to be readying them for further assaults; they follow fast upon the first, Rodin begins again, not a cut he bestows is unaccompanied by a curse, a menace, a reproach Rodin is in an ecstasy; his delight is immense as he muses upon the eloquent proofs of his ferocity.
He can contain himself no longer, the most indecent condition manifests his overwrought state; he fears not to bring everything out of hiding, Julie cannot see it He no longer knows who he is or where; his delirium has attained to such a pitch the use of reason is no longer available to him; he swears, he blasphemes, he storms, nothing is exempt from his savage blows, all he can reach is treated with identical fury, but the villain pauses nevertheless, he senses the impossibility of going further without risking the loss of the powers which he must preserve for new operations.
I dare swear that with two more movements you'd have the impudence to spit at me He takes the youth's two hands, he clutches them tight, and offers himself entirely to the altar at which his fury would perform a sacrifice.
He opens it, his kisses roam over it, his tongue drives deep into it, is lost in it.If my wife and I enjoy a few comforts in our old age, they are the fruit of our unending labours and extreme abstemiousness. Frank J. He was slim, quite tall, and his face was intelligent and kindly. But if they ever hang you, as will surely happen given the fatality which saves crime and inevitably punishes virtue, at least remember to say nothing of us. O Therese! It is odious that considerations of a piddling sort should impede the progress of science the way they do.
Justine, or The Misfortunes of the Virtue or simply Justine , was the first of de Sade's books published. Now, what can a little girl like you do to repay the help she receives, if not to agree to whatever is asked of her? Stefan Zweig. Rodin himself took charge of the boys' instruction, his governess looked after that of the girls, whom he would visit as soon as he had completed his own lessons; he taught his young pupils writing, arithmetic, a little history, drawing, music, and for all that no other master but himself was employed.
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