Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Dangerous Game

Gaspard’s mishap reminds me of a similar story of my own. I had been having a very discreet dalliance with a woman—let’s call her Genevieve— who, though of family and possessed of all the social graces, had been known to be quite free with her affections. This did not particularly bother me. Romance between women like her and men like me is conducted, in most cases, like a business transaction—or at least I think so, from what I have heard of business. Anyway, I’m a terribly charming bastard, and by the by she decided, as rich and crazy women often do, that she was deeply in love with me. What was worse, she thought that I must be in love with her. She had even broken off all of her old sordid associations, and expected that I should honor this by doing the same. This, my dear fellows, is a very tight spot for a cad to find himself in. On the one hand, I could not bear to concentrate all my superabundance of loving energy on just one woman. It would be a waste on par with the burning of Alexandria, and what is more, it could endanger the doll herself (but more on that later). On the other hand, she was very liberal with the long green. I resolved that I would have to continue in my present course, but conduct my affairs with even more care and secrecy. It would be like walking a tightrope.

Unfortunately, I have never been any damn good at tightropes. One night about a week later, while at my local lounge, I became acquainted with a young redhead whose milky white skin was so alluring that I couldn’t resist. By the time we had finished acquainting ourselves somewhere in the wee hours, my back was criss-crossed by angry, ghastly, bleeding scratches. Ah, the wounds of love! The next day, my Genevieve telephoned me up and invited me to dine in with her that evening. I agreed, cleaned my injuries, put on a three-piece suit, and went out for my midday walk. On the promenade, I met Gaspard, who looked exhausted and tired, like he had just spent the night in his auto. We decided to stroll on past the bar for a minute or two. Of course, if you have ever read our other tales, you know what happened. We tied one on, and it left me in an expansive mood. Expansive and absent-minded. Upon entering Genevieve’s rooms, I gathered her up in my arms and kissed her with fire and gusto. In no time at all, my jacket and waistcoat had been discarded. Alarm bells should have been clanging in my head, but the fumes of the liquor had clouded my judgment. As soon as she took my shirt off, she let out a piercing scream, and I knew that I was done for. Women who have her experience, when betrayed, are more dangerous than jungle cats. She started hurling all types of accusations. My mind was racing. Should I tell her that she herself had caused these gashes, and had merely forgotten? Or perhaps that I had been lashed by a local constable for flippancy. In the end, I opted to tell her that they were merely the result of a hotly contested fencing match in which I had performed some less-than-stellar fleches. As I said before, I’m a charming bastard, and with many small blandishments, I won her over. Her faith in me renewed, we resumed what had been interrupted. But alas! She soon found a more intimate mark in a more intimate place, which I was unable to convince her was caused by an errant leech during a routine bloodletting. She slapped me hard several times and screamed at me to leave and never come back. I walked out of there shaken, but glad nothing worse had happened. You can never tell with her kind.

Well chaps, that’s all for now, but I’ll tell you another story or two at a later date.

Trouble in Paradise

As our loyal readers by now will know, the life of the rake is largely spent courting or attempting to court as many women as possible. The benefits of this lifestyle are obvious, yet the disadvantages of living so promiscuously are not always apparent to those who are unused to such behaviour. A few personal anecdotes should go a long way in helping you avoid any romantic imbrogli of your own.

Towards the end of Spring, a glut of affairs with the fairer sex sapped yours truly of his amorous energies...that trip to Eastern Europe really took a toll on my body. ( A side note: If one is planning on an extended stay in Riga, prepare accordingly by supplementing your regime with an abundance of proteins, but always remember to stick to a proper diet.) I decided that I should perhaps reduce the strain upon my libido by curtailing my exploits. Calm down ladies, Gaspard is still on the market; I am not well nigh to tying the proverbial knot. I merely thought I should limit myself to three, maybe four women. At 22, I'm not the young pup I once was and I can not just disport myself around town bestowing my favors upon every woman who asks for them -- I'm not running a damned charity for God's sake! So, I narrowed down the field a bit and although there are always girls on the periphery, I have been focusing my
romanticismes on a lovely young peach for quite some time now. Although such an arrangement is not quite what I am used to, things are going swimmingly; that is, they were going swimmingly until last Wednesday night. After some serious carousing with Alisdair, I repaired to the apartment of my darling in the early morning hours, as she had been beckoning me to join her all night, not to mention Alisdair needed my bed. (He had been ejected from his hotel the night before for delinquency in his payment and some trouble stemming from an overindulgence in the mini-bar.) At any rate, I flopped into bed beside her and began to doze when she cooed into my ear "Gaspard...hold me closer, I've missed you tonight." I grabbed her and pulled her tight to me, whispering, "Viens ici, ma chere Anastasie..." She turned around and said, "What did you say?" I repeated what I had said in English to avoid confusion, "Come here my dear Anastasia," and pulling her close to me again, kissed her cheek. She immediately flew into a rage, kicked me out of bed, whipped my recently-shed clothes at me and told me in no uncertain terms to get the hell out! I timidly let myself out and slinked downstairs to sleep in my motorcar, as I was in no condition to drive home.

Dear readers, I know you must be asking yourselves, "What could old Gaspard have done to sweet Anastasia to deserve such cruel treatment?" I had actually done nothing to dear, beautiful Anastasia; but therein lies the problem. For you see, I had done nothing to Anastasia because she was sleeping peacefully throughout this whole sequence of events a mere 15 blocks away. I, unfortunately, was
chez Isabelle!!
I cannot express the the shame, I, a seasoned cad, felt after committing this amateur error. It was not so much that I had offended Isabelle's sensibilities, for women are mercurial creatures and are prone to emotional explosion at the slightest provocation. I was unnerved because I should know better than to drop the old name switcheroo on a relatively recent conquest. Fortunately for me, I am not only easy on the eyes, but quite persuasive as well. The next morning I called upon Isabelle and poured upon her such honeyed words that even a Lotophagian would have been satisfied. Thank God for the dupability of womenfolk.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Un Billet Doux, Part Deux

Greetings Citizens,

It is I, Gaspard! First of all, I would like to take the opportunity to correct Alisdair's choice of words. What happened between my former employer and I did not involve any "Shit-canning." Rather, it involved myself taking the initiative. Peeved after my free coffee privileges were revoked over an incident involving a Hazelnut blend and a pint of whiskey, I went on strike. However, it seems that my work at the company was not valued enough for my patron to make any concessions. Shocking, I know. In the end, we agreed to disagree and parted ways. I often reflect that the company was the unfortunate party in that situation.

Moving on, I wish to explain myself in regards to the letter that that Scotsman so rudely shared with you without my knowledge. I don't normally stoop to justifying my behaviour, but I think that you, my dear readers, could benefit from an explanation of that curious correspondence. To the average man, this declaration could seem slightly extravagant, nay, extremely so. Fools! I received sage advice on this subject from a close confederate, a Russian Prince Korasov. He counseled me, "Gaspard, there must be burning passion when you write. Reading a well written love letter is the ultimate pleasure for a prude; it's a moment when she can be off her guard. She's not acting a part, she can dare listen to her heart; so two letters a day." Indeed, that letter to my little flower was only the first of the day! After Alisdair took leave of me later that evening, I composed a second, even more frenzied than the first, in which I described my undying and fierce desire for this lovely young maiden in even more explicit terms.

Korasov's advice, when taken in kind with his other two points ( 1. See her every day, and 2. Pay court to a woman of her acquaintance, but without putting ANY outward signs of passion) is really quite miraculous. Without going into too much detail, my beloved's work schedule prevents me from seeing her daily; alas, I have never even met her. However, I worry not. She has been returning my letters with as much frequency as possible, and we are planning a trip away from the watchful eye of any chaperones . As far as point 2 is concerned, I have also begun to cultivate a relationship with a close friend and fellow starlet of hers. As development has been slow, I have no juicy news to report. Although a gentleman never kisses and tells, I am no gentleman, so rely on me to keep you informed of any future happenings. I must go; as it is my habit to have several possible dates at any given moment, I must literally write between 3 and 4 dozen letters per day. Although exhausting, it is a highly lucrative ( in the carnal sense of the word) endeavor.


Never under any circumstances telephone, e-mail, or use what is known as a "text". These automatically illustrate your lack of interest. Letters should be written on heavy paper and sealed with a wax stamp. As rakes, it may be difficult to obtain so much stationery, as it is quite expensive. Never fear, just steal it! One must convince these silly young things that time and money are being spent on them before any affair has even begun, thus vastly (and falsely) inflating their hopes for a successful relationship.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Un Billet Doux

Faithful readers,

Our humblest and most sincere apologies for this four fortnight lacuna in The Rakish Life. According to MacDowell family tradition, the Feast of St. Fergus is always celebrated in the old country at my Great-Uncle Uchtred's castle in Garthland. Gaspard had been recently, to put it politely, shitcanned, so he came along with, as he is a member of the One True Church as well. In the midst of our religious fervor, we mistakenly challenged some old Seaforth Highlanders to a drinking contest. For several weeks thereafter, all was black. We came to at a ресторан in Minsk, surrounded by a collation of black bread and vodka. We arose from the table and demanded steamship passage to Italy, so that Gaspard could venerate St. Angelo--to whom he has a particular devotion--on his feast day. We were stymied when the locals, through primitive hand gestures and yelling, convinced us that Belarus was, indeed, totally landlocked. Never daunted, we headed north for the Baltic. We seem to recall taking extensive notes of our odyssey, but fate intervened. About seventy kilometers outside of Tallinn, we discovered that, in Estonia, a MacBook G4--the very one that included our journals--is worth a goddamn king's ransom of Vana Tallinn and the Pagan chieftain's twin daughters--being as it was St. Thethmar's Day, how could we refuse?* This sent us off into the abyss for another couple of days. But, finally, a fortuitous dice game allowed us to book cheap freight passage out of Helsinki. Païens ont tort et les Chrétiens ont droit!

And so, here I am again, safely ensconced in my local public house in New York and bringing you a special treat as compensation for our long absence. One day last week, Gaspard invited me over for a round of early afternoon cocktails. I arrived while he was still performing his toilet, and by chance I happened to espy a folded piece of heavy ply écru paper on my friend's writing desk. I read it, of course, and seeing its obvious pertinence to the rakish instruction that is the point of our journal, I committed it to memory. Here it is in its entirety:

My beloved xxxxxxxxxxx [name redacted],

Hither and thither I have gone, but I must warn you that I have been thinking of nothing but you for these past months. And what is more dangerous, I cannot yet expel you from my thoughts. Even merely hearing your name excites in me such heat that I am like a man on fire. Deciding whether boldly to confess my secret passion to you, or to soldier on in lonely agony, has been like a war of the worlds in my breast. Having seen so much of the world recently, I have decided that I can do nothing but, at the closest opportunity, give you all the ecstasy that you deserve. It will be no simple task to achieve this union--we will have to weave a charlotte's web of deceit to find ourselves alone. Even then, we may have only two or ten minutes while the iron is hot, but strike I will. Hardly did the walls of Cluny ever see such depravity--but I must be careful! With but a glance and a half-smile, you have awakened passion in me such as I have never felt. Though you are only newly made fifteen, the glances that have passed between us would put dumbfound both Catullus and Lesbia. I will teach you things that are barely even thought of in the realms of the unreal. I cannot now write any more, as I have a guest about to arrive. Keep these words in your heart. I will write you again at the coming of the new moon.

Je vous prie de croire, Madame, à mes sentiments les meilleurs,


* If in the near future any of you happen upon a ".ee" website containing risqué photos of your sisters, daughters, or several New York society "It" girls, please inform us, as we will have to take legal action. To get in on the profits.