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.