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Philosophy in the Bedroom
By Marquis de Sade
TO LIBERTINES Voluptuaries of all ages, of every sex, it is to you only that I offer this work; nourish yourselves upon its principles: they favor your passions, and these passions, whereof coldly insipid moralists put you in fear, are naught butthe means Nature employs to bring man to the ends she prescribes to him; hearken only to these delicious Promptings, for no voice save that of thepassions can conduct you to happiness. Lewd women, let the voluptuous Saint-Ange be your model; after her example, be heedless of all that contradicts pleasure's divine laws, by which all her life she was enchained. You young maidens, too long constrained by a fanciful Virtue's absurd and dangerous bonds and by those of a disgusting religion, imitate the fiery Eugénie; be as quick as she to destroy, to spurn all those ridiculous preceptsinculcated in you by imbecile parents. And you, amiable debauchees, you who since youth have known no limits but those of your desires and who have been governed by your caprices alone, study the cynical Dolmancé, proceed likehim and go as far as he if you too would travel the length of those flowered ways your lechery prepares for you; in Dolmancé's academy be at lastconvinced it is only by exploring and enlarging the sphere of his tastes and whims, it is only by sacrificing everything to the senses' pleasure that this individual, who never asked to be cast into this universe of woe, that this poorcreature who goes under the name of Man, may be able to sow a smattering of roses atop the thorny path of life.
DIALOGUE THE FIRST
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Good day, my friend. And what of Monsieur Dolmancé?
LE CHEVALIER — He'll be here promptly at four; we do not dine untilseven—and will have, as you see, ample time to chat.
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — You know, my dear brother, I do beg into have a few misgivings about my curiosity and all the obscene plans scheduled for today. Chevalier, you over indulge me, truly you do. The more sensible I should be, the more excited and libertine this accursed mind of mine becomes—and all that you have given me but serves to spoil me… At twenty-six, I should be sober and staid, and I'm still nothing but the most licentious of women... Oh, I've a busy brain, my friend; you'd scarce believe the ideas Ihave, the things I'd like to do. I supposed that by confining myself to women Iwould become better behaved...; that were my desires concentrated upon myown sex I would no longer pant after yours: pure fantasy, my friend; my imagination has only been pricked the more by the pleasures I thought to deprive myself of. I have discovered that when it is a question of someone likeme, born for libertinage, it is useless to think of imposing limits or restraints upon oneself—impetuous desires immediately sweep them away. In a word, my dear, I am an amphibious creature: I love everything, everyone, whatever it is, it amuses me; I should like to combine every species—but you must admit, Chevalier, is it not the height of extravagance for me to wish to know this unusual Dolmancé who in all his life, you tell me, has been unable to see awoman according to the prescriptions of common usage, this Dolmancé who,a sodomite out of principle, not only worships his own sex but never yields to ours save when we consent to put at his disposal those so well beloved charms of which he habitually makes use when consorting with men? Tell me, Chevalier, if my fancy is not bizarre! I want to be Ganymede to this new Jupiter, I want to enjoy his tastes, his debauches, I want to be the victim of his errors. Until now, and well you know it, my friend, until now I have given myself thus only to you, through complaisance, or to a few of myservants who, paid to use me in this manner, adopted it for profit only. But today it is no longer the desire to oblige nor is it caprice that moves me, but solely my own penchants. I believe that, between my past experiences withthis curious mania and the courtesies to which I am going to be subjected, there is an inconceivable difference, and I wish to be acquainted with it. Paint your Dolmancé for me, please do, that I may have him well fixed in my mind before I see him arrive; for you know my acquaintance with him is limited toan encounter the other day in a house where we were together for but a few minutes.
LE CHEVALIER — Dolmancé, my dear sister, has just turned thirty-six; he is tall, extremely handsome, eyes very alive and very intelligent, but all the same there is some suspicion of hardness, and a trace of wickedness in his features; he has the whitest teeth in the world, a shade of softness about his figure and in his attitude, doubtless owing to his habit of taking on effeminate airs so often; he is extremely elegant, has a pretty voice, many talents, and above all else an exceedingly philosophic bent to his mind.
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — But I trust he does not believe in God!
LE CHEVALIER — Oh, perish the thought! He is the most notorious atheist, the most immoral fellow… Oh, no; his is the most complete and thorough going corruption, and he the most evil individual, the greatest scoundrel in the world.
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Ah, how that warms me! Methinks thatI'll be wild about this man. And what of his fancies, brother?
LE CHEVALIER — You know them full well; Sodom's delights are as dear to him in their active as in their passive form. For his pleasures, he cares for none but men; if however he sometimes deigns to employ women, it is only upon condition they be obliging enough to exchange sex with him. I've spoken of you to him; I advised him of your intentions, he agrees, and in his turn reminds you of the rules of the game. I warn you, my dear, he will refuse you altogether if you attempt to engage him to undertake anything else. "What I consent to do with your sister is," he declares, "an extravagance, an indiscretion with which one soils oneself but rarely and only by taking ample precautions."
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Soil oneself!… Precautions... Oh, how I adore the language those agreeable persons use! Between ourselves, we women also have exclusive words which like these just spoken, give an idea ofthe profound horror they have of all those who show heretical tendencies… Tell me, my dear, has he had you? With your adorable face and your twenty years, one may, I dare say, captivate such a man?
LE CHEVALIER — We’ve committed follies together—I'll not hide them from you; you have too much wit to condemn them. The fact is, I favor women; I only give myself up to these odd whimsies when an attractive man urges me to them. And then there's nothing I stop at. I've none of that ludicrous arrogance which makes our young upstarts believe that it's by cuts with your walking stick you respond to such propositions. Is man master of his penchants? One must feel sorry for those who have strange tastes, but never insult them. Their wrong is Nature's too; they are no more responsible for having come into the world with tendencies unlike ours than are we for being born bandy-legged or well-proportioned. Is it, however, that a man acts insultingly to you when he manifests his desire to enjoy you? No, surely not; it is a compliment you are paid; why then answer with injuries and insults? Only fools can think thus; never will you hear an intelligent man discuss the question in a manner different from mine; but the trouble is, the world ispeopled with poor idiots who believe it is to lack respect for them to avow one finds them fitted for one's pleasures, and who, pampered by women—themselves forever jealous of what has the look of infringing upon their rights—fancy themselves to be the Don Quixotes of those ordinary rights, and brutalize whoever does not acknowledge the entirety of their extent.
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Come, my friend, kiss me. Were you to think otherwise, you'd not be my brother. A few details, I beseech you, both with what regards this man's appearance and his pleasures with you.
LE CHEVALIER — One of his friends informed Monsieur Dolmancé ofthe superb member where with you know me provided, and he obtained the consent of the Marquis de V*** to bring us together at supper. Once there, I was obliged to display my equipment: at first curiosity appeared to be his single motive; however, a very fair ass turned my way, and with which I was invited to amuse myself, soon made me see that penchant alone was the causeof this examination. I had Dolmancé notice all the enterprise's difficulties; he was steadfast. "A ram holds no terrors for me," he said, "and you'll not have even the glory of being the most formidable amongst the men who have perforated the anus I offer you." The Marquis was on hand; he encouraged us by fingering, dandling, kissing whatever the one or the other of us brought tolight. I took up my position… “Surely some kind of priming?" I urged. "Nothing of the sort," said the Marquis, "you'll rob Dolmancé of half the sensations he awaits from you; he wants you to cleave him in two, he wants to be torn asunder." "Well," I said, blindly plunging into the gulf, "he'll be satisfied." Perhaps, my dear sister, youthink that I met with a great deal of trouble… not at all; my prick, enormous asit is, disappeared, contrary to all my expectations, and I touched the bottom of his entrails without the bugger seeming to feel a thing. I dealt kindly with Dolmancé; the extreme ecstasy he tasted, his wrigglings and quiverings, his enticing utterances, all this soon made me happy too, and I inundated him. Scarcely was I withdrawn when Dolmancé, turning toward me, his hair in disarray and his face red as a bacchante: "You see the state you've put me in, my dear Chevalier," said he, simultaneously presenting a pert, tough rogue of a prick, very long and at least six inches around, "deign, O my love, deign to serve me as a woman after having been my lover, and enable me to say that in your divine arms I have tasted all the delights of the fancy I cherish supremely." Finding as little difficulty in the one as in the other, I readied myself; the Marquis, dropping his breeches before my eyes, begged me to have the kindness to be yet a little of the man with him while I played wife to his friend; and I dealt with him as I had with Dolmancé, who paid me back ahundred fold for all the blows wherewith I belabored our third; and soon, into the depths of my ass, he exhaled that enchanted liquor with which, at virtually the same instant, I sprayed the bowels of V***.
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — You must have known the most extreme pleasure, to find yourself thus between two; they say it is charming.
LE CHEVALIER — My angel, it is surely the best place to be; but whatever may be said of them, they're all extravagances which I should neverprefer to the pleasure of women.
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Well, my chivalrous friend, as reward for your touching consideration, today I am going to hand over to your passions a young virgin, a girl, more beautiful than Love itself.
LE CHEVALIER — What! With Dolmancé... you're bringing a woman here?
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — It is a matter of an education; that of a little thing I knew last autumn at the convent, while my husband was at the baths. We could accomplish nothing there, we dared try nothing, too many eyes were fixed upon us, but we made a promise to meet again, to get together as soon as possible. Occupied with nothing but this desire, I have, in order to satisfy it, become acquainted with her family. Her father is a libertine—I've enthralled him. At any rate, the lovely one is coming, I am waiting for her;we'll spend two days together… two delicious days; I shall employ the betterpart of the time educating the young lady. Dolmancé and I will put into thispretty little head every principle of the most unbridled libertinage, we will sether ablaze with our own fire, we will feed her upon our philosophy, inspire herwith our desires, and as I wish to join a little practice to theory, as I like the demonstrations to keep abreast of the dissertations, I have destined to you, dear brother, the harvest of Cythera's myrtle, and to Dolmancé shall go the roses of Sodom. I'll have two pleasures at once: that of enjoying these criminal lecheries myself, and that of giving the lessons, of inspiring fancies in the sweet innocent I am luring into our nets. Very well, Chevalier, answer me: is the project worthy of my imagination?
LE CHEVALIER — It could not have risen in another: it is divine, my sister, and I promise to enact to perfection the charming role you reserve forme. Ah, mischievous one, how much pleasure you are going to take in educating this child; what pleasure you will find in corrupting her, in stifling within this young heart every seed of virtue and of religion planted there byher tutors! Actually, all this is too roué for me.
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Be certain I'll spare nothing to pervert her, degrade her, demolish in her all the false ethical notions with which theymay already have been able to dizzy her; in two lessons, I want to render heras criminal as am!… as impious… as debauched, as depraved. Notify Dolmancé, explain everything to him immediately he gets here so that his immoralities' poison, circulating in this young spirit together with the venom I shall inject, will in the shortest possible time wither and still all the seeds of virtue that, but for us, might germinate there.
LE CHEVALIER — It would be impossible to find a better man: irreligion, impiety, inhumanity, libertinage spill from Dolmancé’s lips as in times past mystic unction fell from those of the celebrated Archbishop of Cambrai. He is the most profound seducer, the most corrupt, the most dangerous man… Ah, my dear, let your pupil but comply with this teacher's instructions, and I guarantee her straightway damned.
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — It should certainly not take long, considering the dispositions I know her to possess…
LE CHEVALIER — But tell me, my dear sister, is there nothing to fear from the parents? May not this little one chatter when she returns home?
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Have no fears. I have seduced the father… he's mine. I must confess to you, I surrendered myself to him in order to close his eyes: he knows nothing of my designs, and will never dare to scan them… I have him.
LE CHEVALIER — Your methods are appalling!
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Such they must be, else they're not sure.
LE CHEVALIER — And tell me, please, who is this youngster?
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Her name is Eugénie, daughter of a certain Mistival, one of the wealthiest commercial figures in the capital, aged about thirty-six; her mother is thirty-two at the very most, and the little girl fifteen. Mistival is as libertine as his wife is pious. As for Eugénie, dear one, I should in vain undertake to figure her to you; she is quite beyond my descriptive powers… satisfy yourself with the knowledge that assuredly neither you nor I have ever set eyes on anything so delicious, anywhere.
LE CHEVALIER — But at least sketch a little if you cannot paint the portrait, so that, knowing fairly well with whom I am to deal, I may better fillmy imagination with the idol to which I must sacrifice.
MADAME DE SAINT-ANGE — Very well, my friend: her abundant chestnut hair—there's too much of it to grasp in one's hand—descends to below her buttocks; her skin is of a dazzling whiteness, her nose rather aquiline, her eyes jet black and of a warmth!… Ah, my friend, 'tis impossibleto resist those eyes… You've no idea of the stupidities they've driven me to… Could you but see the pretty eyebrows that crown them… the extraordinary lashes that border them… A very small mouth, superb teeth, and, all of it, of afreshness!… One of her beauties is the elegant manner whereby her lovely head is attached to her shoulders, the air of nobility she has when she turns…Eugénie is tall for her age: one might think her seventeen; her figure is a model of elegance and finesse, her throat, her bosom delicious… There indeed are the two prettiest little breasts!… Scarcely enough there to fill the hand, but so soft… so fresh… so very white! Twenty times have I gone out of my head while kissing them; and had you been able to see how she came alive under my caresses… how her two great eyes represented to me the whole state of her mind… My friend, I ignore the rest. Ah I but if I must judge of her by what Iknow, never, I say, had Olympus a divinity comparable with this… But I hear her… leave us; go out by way of the garden to avoid meeting her, and be on time at the rendezvous.
LE CHEVALIER — The portrait you have just made for me assures my promptness… Ah, heaven I to go out… to leave you, in the state I am in…Adieu!… a kiss… a kiss, my dear sister, to satisfy me at least till then. (She kisses him, touches the prick straining in his breeches, and the young man leaves in haste.)
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