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I want to write down, upon these pages, the happiest moments of my love life, the most exciting episodes, the most gallant adventures.
I do not know what has brought me to serve Eros and Venus so wholeheartedly throughout my life, but I am convinced that the immortal goddess stood by my cradle and that Amor has smiled down upon me ever since my early childhood.
The way of life in the ancestral castle, as dictated by my father, was one of strictest austerity and severity. No matter how far I try to think back into my childhood, I cannot remember ever having seen a smile upon my father's face.
He was always sad, and in mourning, which was easy to understand, since my dear mother died while very young, only two years after I was born.
My father was more than twenty years older than my mother, and the old nobleman never was capable of recuperating from the severe blow fate had dealt him. Strictest devotion and austerity regulated his life from the day of mother's death; when I was ten years old, he followed his older brother and entered a trappist monastery. In the white habit of the followers of the Abbot de Ranee he spent his life, and ended it without ever having spoken a single word since his entrance into the monastery. I was given into the care of my aunt.
This aunt was my father's younger sister. Quite contrary to both her austere brothers, she had a vivacious, one might even say, loose, character. She consorted with the most brilliant minds of her time, the most famous artists, authors and philosophers. I remember having seen, upon more than one occasion, the gnarled figure of the old Monsieur Voltaire...
I loved my dear aunt very much. Her open mind, her consideration for me, her free education which did not bother with old-fashioned prejudices, have all contributed to my becoming what I am today.
* * *
The old family castle was witness to my first love affairs.
Our lordly mansion was famous in the entire neighborhood. My father had barely left the front door when my aunt decided to do a lot of remodeling in the fashion of the time. The home lost its austere character. Marble nymphs and fauns were placed in the gardens, cascading fountains and waterfalls were designed and a labyrinth of bushes were artfully arranged. The living quarters were furnished with beautiful furniture and the latest conveniences.
I was delighted with the changes my aunt brought to the ancestral estate; my vivacious nature had always wanted to live in such a place. The shrubbery reverberated with my singing; I ran through the beautiful lanes with the gorgeous flowers, and I frequently bathed in one of the basins with marble nymphs, offering my naked body to the cooling, streaming cascades.
My senses awakened early and rapidly, and I was soon acquainted with the game of love, at least in theory. I would experience actual practice somewhat later.
But I already knew every exciting detail from the many beautiful books, adorned with fine engravings, which were distributed throughout practically every room in the house. My aunt, who loved this form of literature, never tried to hide her passion for it and it was therefore very easy for me to acquaint myself with the contents of those beautiful works.
More than once I took one of these little books, in prose or in verse, to my bedroom with me, and I learned from them about everything I wanted to know.
I often stood in front of one of the large mirrors and compared my own body with those of the heroines in the books, who were drawn by some of our finest artists. I discovered, according to these artists, by the simple process of comparison, that I should be considered very pretty. I also discovered something else. I tried out some of the detailed descriptions of the various caresses on my own body. It was not very difficult to find the sensitive spot which was hidden in the middle of my young, barely discernible fleece. And my nimble, quick fingers gave me my first joys.
I had just turned fifteen years old.
When I think back to that time, it seems to me that I must have been a fairly delectable young lady. I was tall and slender; my neck was graceful; I had two small, marvelously graceful breasts; my pretty, well-formed legs were supported by tiny feet, just like the marble nymphs in the garden. This body supported an oval face with blue eyes, simultaneously impish and passionate, a little mouth with dark red, full lips and two rows of regular, pearly white teeth. My golden blonde hair cascaded down my slender, softly sloping shoulders...
I now fully understand that in those days I was an extremely desirable woman. Therefore, I am not surprised at the adventures I was about to experience. To be honest, I must add that I called them upon myself with all the fervor of my passionate nature.
* * *
My dear aunt had seen to it that I received a good elementary education. I was soon able to read, and also to write with fairly good skill. I was also instructed in the most liberal philosophy which is indispensable for a young and free spirit wanting to fight the horrible prejudices of a bygone age.
But my aunt was convinced that it was about time to further my knowledge in all fields, and to give me the brilliant instruction which is absolutely necessary for a young lady of my rank and standing. With incredible skill she selected the proper man to be my teacher.
The young man in question was originally destined to become a member of the clergy. A brilliant student, he had completed his studies in short time, but then he left the Seminary. He had become interested in the New Philosophy and its morals, and he absolutely refused to be consecrated into the priesthood. It was for this that his family had severed all ties with him. Since he was a member of a noble family, my aunt was very happy to be able to take him under her wings.
The young Baron, Francois de Bâ€” was several years older than I. He was extremely brilliant and his knowledge of Greek, Latin, and ancient and modern literatureâ€”sacred as well as profaneâ€”was astonishing. I was especially interested in the worldly, modern literature and he made a perfect student out of me.
He was also very proficient in many other things, but I will reserve that for a next chapter.