Sunday, September 13, 2009


"Murder!" Alice said with alarm. That was rather more than she had expected. "Murder?" she repeated, her voice decidedly less audible. "Here?"

De Sauvinage nodded. "It was more than forty years ago, when this villa was still occupied by the Duke."

"Which Duke?" Alice asked, forgetting her terror for a moment.

"The Duke of this villa," de Sauvinage said with a touch of irritability. "I don't know his name."

"It's a rather important fact," Alice said, her tone conveying a distinct shade of disapproval.

"Well, it is not one that I possess," de Sauvinage said with finality. "About forty years ago -- no, I cannot be more specific than that," he added, anticipating another interruption from his audience. "The Duke was away on business, of some unknown type," he rushed to say, regarding Alice with a severe look, or so it appeared from behind the disguise. "His younger brother was in charge of the estate and had some very questionable companions allowed as guests in his brother's absence."

"One of these men was the notorious Comte Sangsue, a reviled man of irregular hours and unpardonable tastes."

Alice shivered. It was quite too horrible to contemplate.

"The Comte had, unbeknownst to his host, had his henchmen spirit away a noble young lass and he received her in secret in this very house."

"No!" Alice interjected. The horror of it all! She thanked her lucky stars once again that having had to be kidnapped, she had at least been spirited away by men who knew their place. Her heart went out to the poor unfortunate even as her finely honed sense of morality shrank from the likely (and only vaguely understood) fate the poor young woman suffered.

"Indeed," Alice's own kidnapper continued. "Sequestered in a room of this villa--"

"On this floor," Alice filled in, her voice breathless with terror and excitement.

"On this floor," de Sauvinage agreed, though once again reminding her, "but probably not this room, he had her secreted away to use her for his filthy Gallic purposes."

"How terrible!"

"Indeed," de Sauvinage repeated. "When night fell, he crept away from the other revelers and made his way to the room where the frightened young woman awaited her unspeakable fate."

"Unspeakable," Alice repeated with dread fascination.

"The story was told that she did her best to resist him, shrieking in terror and fighting off his advances with all decent outcry."

"And did he…?" Alice could barely bring herself to ask.

Gilet de Sauvinage leaned toward her, his voice dropping to a whisper. "At the very last minute--"


"She evaded his advances--"


"By falling out the window and plunging to a horrible death!"

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