Of the amorous encounter which took place between
Venus and Tannhäuser
Venus and Tannhäuser had retired to the exquisite
little boudoir or pavilion Le Con had designed for the queen on
the first terrace, and which commanded the most delicious view of
the parks and gardens. It was a sweet little place, all silk curtains
and soft cushions. There were eight sides to it, bright with mirrors
and candelabra, and rich with pictured panels, and the ceiling,
dome-shaped and some thirty feet above the head, shone obscurely
with gilt mouldings through the warm haze of candle light below.
Tiny wax statuettes dressed theatrically and smiling with plump
cheeks, quaint magots that looked as cruel as foreign gods, gilded
monticules, pale celadon vases, clocks that said nothing, ivory
boxes full of secrets, china figurines playing whole scenes of plays,
and a world of strange preciousness crowded the curious cabinets
that stood against the walls. On one side of the room there were
six perfect little card tables, with quite the daintiest and most
elegant chairs set primly round them; so, after all, there may be
some truth in that line of Mr. Theodore Watts
I played at picquet with the Queen
Nothing in the pavilion was more beautiful
than the folding screens painted by De La Pine, with Claudian landscapesthe
sort of things that fairly make one melt, things one can lie and
look at for hours together, and forget that the country can ever
be dull and tiresome. There were four of them, delicate walls that
hem in an amour so cosily, and make room within room.
The place was scented with huge branches
of red roses, and with a faint amatory perfume breathed out from
the couches and cushionsa perfume Chateline distilled in secret
and called LEau Lavante.
Those who have only seen Venus at the Louvre
or the British Museum, at Florence, at Naples, or at Rome, can not
have the faintest idea how sweet and enticing and gracious, how
really exquisitely she looked lying with Tannhäuser upon rose
silk in that pretty boudoir.
Cosmés precise curls and artful
waves had been finally disarranged at supper, and strayed-ringlets
of black hair fell loosely over Venuss soft, delicious, tired,
swollen eyelids. Her frail chemise and dear little drawers were
torn and moist, and clung transparently about her, and all her body
was nervous and responsive. Her closed thighs seemed like a vast
replica of the little bijou she had between them; the beautiful
tétons du derrière were firm as a plump virgins
cheek, and promised a joy as profound as the mystery of the Rue
Vendôme, and the minor chevelure, just profuse enough, curled
as prettily as the hair upon a cherubs head.
Tannhäuser, pale and speechless with
excitement, passed his gem-girt fingers brutally over the divine
limbs, tearing away smock and pantalon and stocking, and then, stripping
himself of his own few things, fell upon the splendid lady with
a deep-drawn breath.
It is, I know, the custom of all romancers
to paint heroes who can give a lady proof of their valliance at
least twenty times a night. Now Tannhäuser had no such Gargantuan
facility, and was rather relieved when, an hour later, Priapusa
and Doricourt and some others burst into the room and claimed Venus
for themselves. The pavilion soon filled with a noisy crowd that
could scarcely keep its feet. Several of the actors were there,
and Lesfesses, who had played Sporion so brilliantly, and was still
in his make-up, paid tremendous attention to Tannhäuser. But
the Chevalier found him quite uninteresting off the stage, and rose
and crossed the room to where Venus and the manicure were seated.
How tired the poor baby looks,
said Priapusa. Shall I put him in his little cot?
Well, if hes as sleepy as I
am, yawned Venus, you cant do better.
Priapusa lifted her mistress off the pillows,
and carried her in her arms in a nice, motherly way.
Come along, children, said
the fat old thing, come along; its time you were both