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Up in Heaven

Up in Heaven

Pierre la Tour Up in Heaven

1. my first affair

    Marcia Phillips, Nee Edmunds, lifted her champagne goblet and smiled at her husband of a day across from her at the festively set, white-linened table the headwaiter himself had set up for them in the living room of their bridal suite at the Waldorf-Astoria.
    “To our marriage, darling,” she said in a soft, throaty voice that shook and spoke a quivering eager feminine curiosity and, above all, a candid sensuality.
    Across from her, Max Phillips raised his glass to join in that toast, an appreciative smile curving his sensuous mouth.
    “And-to ecstasy, my sweet,” he added, his smile deepening as a vivid flush stained the pale ivory of Marcia's satiny cheeks.
    The marriage of Max Phillips and Marcia Edmunds had roused great social interest, both being drawn from New York's elite families. Max was black-haired, sleek, lean, and athletic of body- thirty-eight, in the very prime of life. Steel blue-gray eyes, aquiline nose, with perceptively thin nostrils, a full mouth that suggested his voluptuous temperament without equivocation, a strong chin and jaw and arching broad forehead, gave him the mien of a self-made individual, candid and ardent — which he indeed was. Inheriting the family fortune, he nonetheless had made one of his own through his importing firm, which had given him full opportunity to pursue his own pleasures by way of many trips to Europe on buying excursions.
    As for Marcia Edmunds, she had been ranked, three years before, as one of the loveliest debutantes ever to be introduced to the Four Hundred. Her mother, a stern, matriarchal dowager whose type is now virtually extinct, was famous in her day as a toasted beauty in musical and charitable activities. Marcia was twenty-two, and it was plain that she had a noble heritage of beauty, and a very desirable one.
    She was stunningly formed, 5 feet 7 inches in height-more than the average girl. This tallness was in no way suggestive of meagerness or artificial sveltness. Her body was that of a young Juno, with magnificent round jutting breasts superbly spaced, erect and crowned with voluptuously developed buds. Her hips were sensually rounded, vivaciously resilient, agilely full and ripely feminine, and the gradually swelling sleek curved calves completed a pair of the most beautiful legs in all New York-as some reverent columnists had remarked on the occasion of her costly debut at this same palatial hotel. Long, beautifully moulded arms, whose upper curves were mouthwatering, were temptingly firm and rounded in ivory-skinned velvety-fleshed charm and grace. Patrician wrists and delicate long fingers knew the art of caress, of evocation. The arching roundness of her throat might have inspired an ode.
    As to features, they were provocative and alluring, as Max's approving eyes noted lingeringly now above the goblet of his own champagne.
    Ovally set cheeks, high forehead, snowy and intelligent; green eyes of dark yet luminous depth and facet, fringed by a very long gossamer dark-brown lash, emphasized in allure by narrow, exquisitely curving brows. A small Grecian nose, subtly flaring, mercurial, evidencing a vivid nature. A curving full and sultry mouth, whose ripe upper lip betokened a flair for petulancy, would make quarrels exciting and reconciliation far more so. A dimpled rounded chin.
    In a word, dazzling and desirable. Max silently envied his own good fortune, for this was his wedding night. They had been married at four o'clock that afternoon at Holy Trinity Church. It had been a lavish ceremony, with hosts of friends of both families. Max's father was dead these ten years, but his mother, a doughty outspoken woman whom he admired for her gusto, attended. She told all and sundry in her hearing that her son had won a prize, and he agreed with her.
    He smiled, thinking of it. Yes, looking at his beautiful young wife across the table, amid the fabulous luxury of the bridal suite, he was certain of it.
    He had wooed her for six months. She had been drawn to him by his wit, good humor, sophistry, and vast experience on the Continent and throughout America. He loved life. He was not, for all his dabblings in affairs and liaisons-and he had had many-blase in the least. Beside him, all her younger suitors palled. Then, too, his family was established, of traditional aristocracy. He was wealthy. These attributes added to his fascination for her and made him a perfect marital partner- in all save one respect. And that she would learn tonight.
    He had told her the Waldorf-Astoria had sentimental attachments for him, and suggested that they spend their wedding night here in the lavish setting of great wealth. Here-where the sofa was gilded with costly ornamentation for all of its lush softness and yielding upholstery, where murals, tasteful and expensive, bedecked the walls, where a blue-tiled bathroom, large and superbly furnished, offered the most discreet privacy and luxury for the most intimate of functions, where the great canopied bed loomed in a vast room whose carpeting was of thick, soft blue velvet, into which the slippered or bare foot sank with elegance.
    They had a rich and lengthy meal. A connoisseur of pleasures of the table as of the bed, he believed that savory food of superb cuisine with varied and appropriate wines was ideal preparation to passion. It was aphrodisiac far more suitable than the cantharide itself, too crude a symbol for the intellectual male.
    And when intellect was combined with passion, it composed a rare lover. Marcia had sensed this, physical virgin though she was, in accepting this man over a dozen younger and easily as wealthy and patrician candidates.
    The chimes of the silver clock above the mantelpiece rang. They had spent three hours at the wedding supper, lingering from course to course, pausing at each to whet the palate for the next good things to come. Already, he had marked her with approval as a bon vivant like himself. He admired her grace in pouring the wine with a gesture that unfurled the sleeve of her beautiful blue satin negligee. She had, with a teasing smile, excused herself after being carried across the threshold to change into the gown with its gold satin belt and dainty gold leather sandals with platform heels, a thong at the arch and open toes. She wore beneath the negligee a lacy black bra and brief panties of the same gossamer material-for now secretly she wished him to take the droit des noces, the right of the first night. Hence, she being virgin, the right to unveil her and the removal of the negligee would be too decisive to fan the flame of passion. Wise virgin indeed. Also, gun-metal gray chiffon hose, held up flawlessly on those sculptured legs with green crepe-satin rosettes, were part of the unexpected ceremony after being carried across the threshold of their suite.
    They were to spend three days here, it was agreed, thence to Italy, Greece, and Sardinia. It was early June of 1938, the world, though uneasy, was not yet plunged into war, Hitler's putsch still another ten months away. They were lovers- or would be, when the ultimate ceremony of the wedding was attained. And for lovers, nothing save their love exists.
    She smiled at him from across the table, setting down her emptied goblet.
    “It seems incredible, Max darling,” she murmured, “a few hours ago I was a nervous bride on whom hundreds of eyes were fixed and now, my darling, you have only one pair of eyes to adore me with.”
    She nodded, a fond smile curving naturally red lips, which needed only the whispered touch of lipstick. “Yes, I'm yours now, alone with you- your wife, your sweetheart. I'd rather be that, I think, than just the wife part.”
    “Oh, of course, darling. When we met I said to myself, “There's a handsome dog who is obviously the type to get a girl mad over him, till she has him.'”
    “Ah, and after that, after she has him,” he murmured, reaching for her hand, fingers entwined, exchanging a long searching look.
    “And after that,” she said roguishly, the dimples in her creamy chin coming and going provocatively, “she'll just be plain mad for him.”
    “Marcia!” He pretended to be shocked.
    “But Max,” her fingers tightened and her eyes grew soft and fond, “you didn't think you were marrying an adolescent, I hope?”
    “No, my darling. But you see, reputation means a good deal in your circle and I was accosted by heaven knows how many people who told me you were a paragon.”
    “In what way?”
    “In every way. You weren't one of those silly-brained debutantes whose only ambition in life was to break into print for many madcap escapades. That isn't to say you were staid and dull, dear-heaven forbid you ever should be that…”
    “I don't think I shall-with you, Max dear.” Her voice was throaty, cajoling, teasing.
    “For that, my precious one, I think you shall have a kiss.” He rose, came to her, and bent down, his hands caressing her shoulders, his lips moved down her forehead to her eyelids, thence to the tip of her nose, before they fused with hers in a long and ardent quivering kiss.
    “Ah, and now, I shall go back to my place before I succumb to your witchcraft, Marcia, darling,” he chuckled.
    “Thank you, kind sir-my darling,” Marcia whispered and blew a kiss to him, which he caught.
    “Yes, paragon, but one with virtue. Yet somehow I felt you'd be unique, dearest, a wonderful sweetheart-the most desirable in the world.”
    “You do find me desirable, my darling husband?” Her voice was very low.
    “I think that kiss of a moment ago was ample evidence.”
    “Evidence, but hardly ample.”
    “Marcia,” his eyebrows raised in a mock surprise, “can this be the timid bride speaking on her wedding night?”
    “Not timid, Max-I-well, darling, it's said a man and his wife shouldn't have any secrets from each other, and I don't mind too much confessing I've looked forward to tonight for some little time.”
    “No, don't get up to kiss me yet, my sweetheart. Oh, but I do want your kisses terribly, but there's something else I want first.”
    “You promise?”
    “Of course, with all my heart”
    “I accept! Then-it's this, my love, my husband — I've come to you-well-shall we say-chaste? That's to say, I have had no affairs with any other man before you.”
    “That, my adorable Marcia, I would have guessed instantly without your saying.”
    She blushed and smiled. “Thank you, my loyal advocate. But-that's not to say I haven't wanted love, Max dear, love in the Continental sense, where it's meant to be a joy for both the lovers, not just a selfish pleasure of the man. You see, I have read books. I've read the great love stories, Max, of Heloise and Abelard, of the Browningsyes, and in a less ethereal way of Frank Harris and his amours. I've secretly pictured myself as a scienced lover's mistress, but till I said yes to you at the altar today, my love, I've never given anyone rights over me.”
    He lit a cigarette for them both, then watched her intently, a little quizzical smile on his lips.
    She resumed, “Tonight, you shall have every right-not only because you're my husband, but because I desire you to be my lover also-my first love. Assuming I can be wife and sweetheart enough to you to make that hope come true.”
    “My darling, I know already that it will-for both of us-be rare delight we shall have of each other, and not only tonight.”
    The blush deepened. For an instant her eyes were downcast, then clearly she fixed them on his face, resuming, “I hope that-and sense it-but I've a curious request to make of you. Don't think me pathological for it, for you have told me your cultural tastes, your personal habits, and likes and dislikes, just as you know mine, but I know absolutely nothing about-well-about your feelings on love-on wooing a girl. Our courtship was grand, but it went only to kisses and caresses. Thrilling as they were, they told me only that you were very gentle, considerate, and very devoted and adoring-all very flattering to an impressionable girl like me.”
    “And you wish to know?”
    Her lips made a laughing smile. “I wish to know, my dear sir, by what right of love's ability I shall let you into my bed tonight. I wish to know some of your amorous adventures before you saw me, desired me, and won me for your wife. No- don't protest-I fear I can't tell you any such story, for I have been, like Bayard, sans peur et sans reproche, in the matter of love affairs, as you know, but-well-this is my plan. I want you to love me passionately, with all your body as well as with all your soul. That's such a lovely line in the old service, I wanted it today. Do you think me quite shameless, Max dear? I truly did-that line where it says, 'with my body I thee worship.' Do you recall it?”
    “I recall it, angel,” he said in a low voice, staring at her bemused.
    She flushed again, inhaled her cigarette, exhaled a long lazy cloud, of blue smoke and watched it, perhaps to distract herself, then said, “Well, first you're to shave or bathe or whatever it is a husband does the first night till his spouse summons him, with fear and trembling, to her side. Only I shan't have any fear and trembling if you document yourself the way I want you to. Put on a dressing gown, then come sit beside me on the lovely circular loveseat before the window. Please pour out the champagne, but not too much. First I want your words to excite me, and then we shall see what we shall see. Is that too much to ask of my darling husband?”
    “You're amazing and intoxicating, my dearest, and I foresee that I shall have no need of the champagne to inflame me for you.”
    “No, no, Max, no wooing now. Go and do just what I've told you, and later you'll find a receptive sweetheart, all too eager for you.”
    Finishing his cigarette, he arose, kissed the top of her head in mock obeisance, and left her.
    Marcia rose, walked to the window and glanced out over New York's twinkling lights. They were on the topmost floor of the great hotel, which for an entire century had been identified as the most luxurious and aristocratic.
    Then she pulled the Venetian blinds and turned off the light, leaving only a mutely glowing lamp near the circular loveseat before the great double window of the living room, and seated herself, stretching her body like a cat, flexing her arms, tingling with anticipation and excitement. She smoked a cigarette and then lay back, eyes half closed in reverie, arms clasped across her breasts, her lips slightly parted, nostrils flaring subtly, the swell of her bosom quick and responsive.
    She was, as she had told him avowedly, a virgin. But in our enlightened and advanced day, there's a differentiation in that very term, which once had meant but one thing: the possession of the hymen which the lord and master would break in his feudal act of conquest on the wedding night. That is to say, her mind was sensitive, cultured, and for a girl of her set, remarkably free of inhibition. That indeed was one reason why she had chosen Max from all her suitors. She felt that this virile cultured man, older, wiser and more experienced, would be far more interesting a husband and lover than those youths of her own age who inherited wealth, were snobbish and superficial of mind. For there is, she knew, more to marriage than four bare legs in a bed.
    Half an hour later he returned to her in slippers and purple satin dressing gown.
    “My liege lord, welcome,” she said smiling, patting a place beside her. “Now sit down, light a cigarette and begin.”
    He took his place beside her, his eyes drinking in her beauty, and he said humorously, “Where shall I begin and on what theme?”
    “Darling, I'm very serious about all this, you know. I expect to be everything a girl can be to the man she adores, and you're going to help me by telling me your exploits. Yes Max, your exploits in the boudoir-in the bed. No, not since childhood, but as a man. And I think-on your travels, mainly-for I've always thought that European women brought up to regard lovemaking as a very delightful pursuit and with no guilt complexes attached give a man much more joy than one of our primly cloistered debutantes. Don't you agree?”
    “To be sure, we're a race of puritans, Marcia. On the one hand we grant ourselves every prurient temptation-the movies, the theater, magazines, comic books. On the other, we're afraid of candid behavior to the point of neuroticism and frustrations. And I may say here and now, my beloved, that your attitude delights-not that I wasn't sure you'd be so frank and sweet and thoughtful, but that you actually want me to qualify my own rights to be your lover. Is that it?”
    “Yes, my darling. Oh, yes, I can envision myself, when you tell me of your adventures, as this or that beautiful woman in your arms. And it will make me all the more jealously passionate now that I've got you for my very own.”
    They kissed, but tenderly; he sought no overt caresses of her beautiful and scantily clad body so close to his.
    Then sitting back and lighting a cigarette, he pondered, “In a way, my dear, to relate to you the stories of my adventures, as you put it, is almost to give me leave to make myself out a rake!”
    “Oh, come, Max, surely you don't think me so prudish that I'd expect a handsome, virile, worldly, and very obviously handsome and attractive man of your age to be a monk. No, my dear, no more than I'd expect you to be cheaply promiscuous. I'm a bit selfish and my ego wants me to believe that in choosing me as your lifelong wife, you performed an act of selectivity based on your good taste.”
    “Roue!” she teased back, and they both laughed and held hands a minute. Very gravely, moving closer to him, she murmured, “Max, this is our very first night-a timeless night, to be remembered for all our lives. I want to absorb you- spiritually, physically, yes that too-but right now I want to sublimate with you, to see you as you were when you made love. Don't hold back anything. I mean that, yes, the most physical details. I want to know them all-how you react to love, to caress, and-to physical types of beauty and feminine attractiveness. Isn't-well-isn't there some sort of magic carpet which brought you to new beauty after beauty in the various countries you visited?”
    “It's a very curious thing that you should use that phrase, beloved, for Jules Romains uses it in his Man of Good Will. Yes, there is a magic carpet of my youth, shall I say, whereon I was transported to some extremely delightful as well as exciting meetings. It does depart a little from the rather tried and boring stories that men tell of their conquests and of this or that waitress or hotel maid. But-do you actually want to know all and everything, as you put it?”
    She nodded, eyes fond, teasing. “But everything, my liege lord. How the girl looked naked in bed, how her skin felt, her thighs…”
    “Marcia,” he gasped, half laughing, half incredulous.
    “You're not to think me wanton, my love. In a way, this is a most important session for me now, which precedes our making love. Instruct me, then, my dearest, on your body-its desires. Speak those words which you spoke then of the things that thrilled you so I'll know how to please you — when our time comes.”
    He could not believe his ears. But she was impassioned and sincere. And he thanked his good fortune that he had found so enlightened a young woman who brought that most exciting combination to the bridal bed, of emancipated virginity and ardent eagerness for love!
    “Well, then, Marcia, I'll accede to your wishes. First, a brief background. As you know, my father began this importing business toward the last year of his life. But, as he was already independently wealthy from his other pursuits in the market and investment house, he used it only as a hobby.” She nodded, her eyes studying his face.
    “It wasn't till I was twenty that I had my first girl, and that was on the occasion of my graduation from Columbia, where I'd majored in languages because I was then very interested in the importing business and decided to make something of it. I'll say only that she was a girl in my own class. We were infatuated with each other, but she was much too neurotic to make a joyous lover, and fortunately I did not involve myself too deeply with her, not wanting to hurt her.
    “Well, after college, I spent two years working for a very fine import firm to learn the competitive angles, but I made only one extended trip through the Continent and had my mind too much on my job to think of girls. It wasn't till I was twenty-eight, by which time I had taken over Dad's firm and expanded it and put in it a good deal of my inheritance as working capital, that my first real opportunity came.”
    “So you had only one girl till you were twenty-eight, darling?”
    “Yes. So you see, my sweet, I started on a chaste course myself.”
    “Ah-but you didn't finish it, did you?” she teased naughtily, her eyes very soft and doting.
    “Shall I stop before I offend your chaste ears, my love?” he smiled.
    “If you do, I shall lock myself in the bedroom and not let you in.”
    “A fate indeed worse than death!” They both laughed heartily and he took her hand and kissed it, while she kissed his hair gently.
    “Very well. But once I start, young lady, there's no holding back.”
    “I don't want you to suppress a single detail. Let's say this is my emotional champagne, which they tell me every timid young virgin needs before going to bed with her husband,” she said softly, and again he marveled at her adorable candor.
    “Very well, and again may I say I'm amazed and delighted in your interest in my humble gifts. Should I hypocritically avow that all my life till this hour had been but preparation…”
    She laughingly put a hand over his mouth, shook her head, said, “No, Max, you idiot, words won't convey that to me. Tell me what I'm to expect. Do you realize, my dearest husband, that all over America men are going to bed for the first time and while the man has whims and quirks, the poor girl is left in the dark as to what to expect in bed. For example, had I let you undress me and kiss me a bit and then carry me to our bridal bed, I should still, happy as I was from your interest in my body, have absolutely no way of knowing what makes your emotions tick- whether to expect a satyr devouring me or perhaps have my bottom paddled.”
    “Marcia,” he laughed, flushing a little, “if you keep that teasing up, perhaps that may happen to you too.”
    “Ah, you see, you said 'too.' That indicates you have other notions in mind. Well, my eager spouse, you're to inform me about them.”
    “Wouldn't you like it much better to be taken by surprise?”
    “Oh, but I shall be. For the act itself always surpasses the talk of it, Max, my love. This is a prelude, you see. Now, go on!”
    “Marcia, I'm still a bit dumbfounded. This must certainly be the most unusual wedding night in history,” he jested, lightly squeezing her slim hand.
    She smiled provocatively, eyes resting on his handsome face. “I want it to be. This is an unusual night for me, too, you know. Let's make it memorable. No, another thing, Max, my darling. I am not exactly a child, even if I am known technically as a 'good girl.' So I want you to use the words you'd generally use to describe the things you said and did. Please, do begin, my cavalier.”
    He leaned back, eyes studying the ceiling a moment, while he lit another cigarette.
    Then he said, “Well, my first really remarkable experience came when I was twenty-eight, as I just said. I had made London my first stop, to investigate some linens at a commission agent's. They were Irish linens, rather top quality, and I felt that there was a market for them here, especially as no American firm had that particular quality. So I felt that I had to make an all-out effort to cultivate the agent's friendship so I'd get the business. I made myself as charming as I could.”
    “Which, my liege lord, if I may be permitted to interrupt at this point, is extremely charming.” Marcia smiled a delicious look at him.
    He took her hand, brought it to his lips and kissed it. “You are pardoned. Now then, Marcia, my love, this commission agent was a man of about thirty-five. We spent two days together, lunching and dining in each other's company, at my invitation, so I could register on his impressionability. At last, on the third day, he agreed that I should be given a prior option to contract for a good quantity of the stuff I wanted, and I gave him a certified check on a London bank to bind the deal. He suggested a supper at a famous nightclub in Piccadilly as a celebration, and of course I agreed.
    “At the club, dear, we got to chatting about Paris and Parisian life and present day manners and things like that-a bit frankly. Suddenly, he said, 'Do you happen to be free tomorrow evening, sir?' There was something odd about the way he said it, and he smiled in a peculiar way. So I replied, 'yes.' 'I don't suppose you're easily shocked?' he went on. I reassured him on that point, and he continued, 'In that case I can promise you won't be bored, and you'll have an opportunity for seeing for yourself that our English ways have progressed a good deal since the era of Queen Victoria.' We arranged to meet the next day, Marcia dearest, and he said to me, 'The party begins at nine. But I want you to have dinner with me first. You will, of course, be my guest for the whole evening. Over dinner I'll give you a few necessary explanations.' Then, Marcia, in a very pointed way, he added, 'Don't go wearing yourself out today. Go to bed early.' I was a little surprised at that, but I only asked if I should be dressed formally. He said I was only to suit myself, that I wouldn't be judged by what I wore. Next day we met at 7:30 in a fashionable West End restaurant. I'd taken his advice, my darling, and my curiosity as you can imagine was at a feverish pitch. He had taken a quiet table and began at once with his explanations, as he had promised.”
    Marcia, lazily reclining against the loveseat's padded back, smiled encouragingly, lit another cigarette, and watched him, her eyes admiring the jut of his jaw, the fine distinction of his strong features. The sound of his voice, vibrant and masterful, especially delighted her, for she knew he could make that voice persuasively gentle, cajoling, and beguiling.
    She was magnificently at ease in the negligee. One would never have said of this woman, so poised and assured, that she could be a bride of a few hours who was soon to know the ordeal of initiation into conjugal rights.
    “Do go on, Max. It's very interesting already. You're a wonderfully realistic storyteller and remember, I had a course in physiology at school, so I'm not unacquainted with the facts of life. Only, I don't know how men regard them and talk about them. That's why I want you, my husband, who has every right over me, physiologically as well as psychologically, darling,” and her lips formed a tempting promise of delight, “to indoctrinate me.”
    “Very well, my dearest, I'll hold nothing back, then. But-” he too now smiled meaningfully as he studied her beautiful face, so like a cameo, “but, I warn you-in giving my imagination free reign verbally, you may have to, later on, pay the penalty for over-exciting me, for you know very well that in your negligee you're already maddening enough.”
    Now a lovely pink tint stained her cheeks, but her smile deepened as she retorted, “I expect to take the conditional consequences, Max. So go ahead.”
    “Very well, then. With that warning delivered, I say no more. Now, then, back to my friend. 'Our society,' he told me, 'consists of three young couples, a young woman who's been divorced from her husband, and two bachelors. I am one of the latter. We are all people of some social status, not Bohemians as you might find in Soho.' I told him I was sure of that. He waved it aside with an impatient smile, and went on. 'One of the husbands has a title, actually. We meet once a week in a house belonging to one of these young couples, a very cozy, charming house, only a few yards from Mermn street. We spend the evening — not playing bridge, as might many of your countrymen at such a gathering-but celebrating a private little feast of gallantry. This is no very exceptional pastime among the bright young things, but what makes it all the more amusing with us is that we are careful to observe a strict code of rules.' Well, Marcia, you can imagine that by now this somewhat vague discussion and the suspense he'd created overnight for me, had impressed me greatly.”
    “Indeed, yes, darling. I myself am impressed already. And what then?”
    “All right, you minx, don't interrupt me or you'll make me self-conscious.”
    “If I interrupt, my love,” she told him gravely, but with mocking delight in her lovely eyes, “it will be rather to make you conscious of, not yourself, but me!”
    His eyes widened at the exquisite implication latent in those deep green eyes.
    He took her hand and held it to his heart. Then he went on. “My friend then said, 'Yes, a strict code of rules. There are other places in London where proceedings are far more casual, where there's no fixed rule about who comes and who doesn't. Comparative strangers are made welcome, and it's by no means rare for the guests not to know what they are in for. It is hoped the drinks will get them into the right mood. These improvised meetings are sometimes quite successful. I'm not pretending, my dear Mr. Phillips, to set myself up as critic, but with us, you see, the observance of certain regular rules and the fact that the participants are always the same, serve to create a greater sense of intimacy and a far more heady atmosphere. So, at least, I can't help feeling. But there is one thing that especially concerns the two bachelors. The basis of our meetings being that the guests must come in pairs, the two bachelors, of which, as I told you already, I am one, have to undertake to provide two young women. Our young divorcee, when she's there-for she travels a great deal- counts as one of these. One more, then, must be provided by hook or by crook. Sometimes I myself undertake the responsibility, sometimes my colleague does, just as convenience dictates. The young divorcee is paired off with either of us, according to circumstance and ad libbing. When she's away, each of us has to find a substitute. I always add that such substitutes are usually chosen from among four or five girls who are quite well known to all of us and are well aware of what's in the wind and do not require asking twice, even on short notice. We keep clear of outsiders. So far, so good-nothing very complicated about that, is there?' I agreed with him.
    “He went on, Marcia, as follows, 'But there is nothing improvised when it comes to our actual meetings. A game without rules has no excitement, don't you think? It's a sort of much ado about nothing. We have a number of systems, each with its own peculiar charms and on these we ring the changes, Mr. Phillips. Tonight, for example, we follow one of the simplest of the lot. As we go in, you'll see a small table by the door, and on it two wooden bowls, each containing numbers 1–5. Each member on arrival draws a number. The men from the bowl on the left, the women from the bowl on the right. The lady and gentleman holding the same number, during the course of the evening, will be expected to have a private interview of very sentimental nature.' ”
    Marcia's eyes were very bright, and her superb breasts swelled voluminously. She had taken Max's hand and was holding it ardently, her eyes never leaving his.
    He took a puff of his cigarette and resumed: “My friend smiled and added, 'Not at once however. The first hour of our meetings is devoted to drinks and conversation, to set the scene, as it were, to establish a mood of perfect trust, friendship and intimacy. Not until the master of ceremonies gives the word-and a different person performs this function at each meeting-do the guests look at their numbers. I should have said, by the way, that one is not supposed to know what number is his until the proper moment arrives, and till then each one is completely in the dark. It is a set rule that each person, when the draw is made, shall put the number into his pocket or her handbag without so much as glancing at it. It makes it much more thrilling to wonder for a whole hour which of these ladies present is to fall to one's lot. The ladies especially have a very charming way of looking around the room with ill-disguised curiosity.'
    “I had to ask my friend a question then, Marcia. It was this: But what happens should a wife draw the same number as her husband, or one of the bachelors the same number as the girl he brought with him?
    “He answered, 'The master of ceremonies decides. Sometimes he rules that the company shall abide by the first draw, or sometimes he makes some or all of us guests draw again, and go on drawing until the luck turns.'
    I said to him, 'If I understand you correctly, each person has in the course of the evening a private interview with only one other? There's no further general post, no attempt to stage more complicated arrangements?' ”
    Marcia squeezed her husband's hand with convulsive interest.
    “'Not the way we're playing tonight,' my friend replied with a smile. “The system to which you will be introduced is-and for your sake I much regret-peculiarly prudish; so modest in fact that when the moment comes for couples to proceed to business, they will withdraw to various rooms of the house, or if that is impossible, for there are not enough suites available, into opposite corners of the drawing room. I should add, however, that, Mr. Phillips, the doors are left open and between the whiles there is no ban on exchanging visits. Generally speaking, however, you will find that the laws of decency are respected.'
    “'What I don't quite see,' I told him somewhat nervously, for I confess, Marcia, my love, I was not only vastly intrigued but also a little fearful of such an exhibitionistic process as the outline indicated, 'is what part I am to play in all this. Am I to be just an onlooker?'
    “He chuckled, retorting, 'Don't be so impatient. So far from being a mere onlooker, you will have a star part. You will realize that this rather specially prudish system carries with it certain compensation by no means to be despised. Each time we employ it, it is combined with the lottery.'
    “'What lottery?' I asked him. 'Are you referring to the method of drawing lots that you've already described to me?'
    “'Oh, by no means, Mr. Phillips, one of us, sometimes a gentleman, sometimes a lady, is instructed to bring a guest of honor of the same sex as his- or herself. The choice is left entirely to our discretion, and we are advised to pick any casual companion, provided, of course, that the guest is agreeable to the company.'
    “'But what about no outsider, as you have already indicated?' 'Well, Mr. Phillips, that's the exception which proves the rules. The outsider, instead of being a mere hit-or-miss chance, becomes the central feature of the evening. Listen carefully. Tonight it is my turn to provide the guest of honor. We have at our place of meeting a lottery wheel. It contains too many numbers, but that doesn't matter. If a blank is drawn, that is, if the pointer doesn't indicate one of the numbers from 1 to 5, we start again. What happens is as follows: As soon as the ladies have drawn their numbers from the bowl and put them in their bags, you are put up as a lottery prize. The master of ceremonies starts the wheel, which is decorated with highly colored stripes, and keeps it going till the pointer falls on one of the first five numbers — let's pick three as an example. That means that the lady who has drawn three will be able to do what she likes with you after she has had her interview with gentleman number 3. But the lady in question will, at the moment, as you doubtless realize, know nothing whatever about her luck, and for a whole hour she's the winner. I think you'll admit this little bit of ingenuity does not exactly diminish the piquancy of the situation and you, particularly, will be the gainer. There are two other details I ought to give you for your guidance. It's the custom, if not the rule, for the lady to decide on the degree of intimacy she may wish to give to the tests she will impose on you. These tests may be varied and many, but whatever they are, your part is to obey implicitly. I have known the winner to shut herself up jealously with her prize and remain in complete privacy with him the entire evening. I have known others where it has been her whim to have a circle of onlookers, consisting of either the whole company, a select group of witnesses chosen by herself, or by one individual-her husband, for example.'
    “You can imagine, my sweetheart, that by now I was thunderstruck at this inventive proposal and I may add, somewhat flattered that I should be invited to such a gathering. Yet, on the other hand, I had a certain diffidence in a strange country. Though one does what the Romans do, one doesn't care to expose oneself to blackmail or meeting unsavory people.”
    Marcia squirmed feverishly on her seat, eyeing him with delight. “Oh, what a charming and original story, my darling. You've got me all excited. Now you just can't stop. You must tell me all- and I do mean all-down to bedrock details, or shall I just say down to bed.”
    “Imp, what an atrocious pun, though appropriate. Yes-I'll satisfy your feminine curiosity-but there's that penalty you'll have to pay.”
    She blushed furiously, eyes averted an instant, then said, “I'll pay it eagerly in advance without even knowing what it is, but you just must go on.”
    He went to her, kissed her creamy throat; she closed her eyes suddenly, caught her breath. The delicate and subtle scent of a Lentheric cologne titillated his sensuous nostrils. The smell of sweet feminine naked skin fresh from the bath, spiced with the ethereal scent of artifice, made his lips quiver with desire. But he forced himself to continue, knowing now her own utter compliance- nay her own spontaneous and imaginative eagerness for their union-and so he resumed, “So, I asked my friend, “Well, then, but why not? Why not keep it all perfectly discreet?'
    “'How am I to answer that?' my friend chuckled, his brows arching as if in wonder at the ways of sophisticates. 'Maybe the lady in question doesn't want to appear selfish in keeping the others away from what, out of politeness to our guest of honor, we consider to be the feature of the evening. Or again, when it's her own husband she chooses as witness, the natural thing is to assume that her action is dictated by a wifely thoughtfulness, or again a delicious touch of perverse caprice which will cement their own conjugal intimacy. The affair, you see Mr. Phillips, brings into play a whole scale of the most delicate sentiments, and must not be thought of in terms of mere viciousness. That's why such an evening can be carried through at all, only by persons of taste, imagination, and education and good breeding. Each of us is held strictly accountable for his guests. But to go back to your question, don't forget the assumption that by the time the winner takes possession of her prize, the intimacies of the various couples will have reached a stage of, shall we say, pause. The actors, therefore, will be momentarily at loose ends and grateful for this new distraction and the round of drinks accompanying it. Don't forget, either, that the evening will by then be well advanced, that the restraining atmosphere in which it opened will have become rather oppressive, and that the effect of drinks and other things will have tended to warm people up a bit and so lead to certain infringements of the earlier discipline. As a matter of fact, my dear American friend, I'm pretty sure that if you told the winner that you disliked the idea of being watched, she'd make every allowance for your feelings. But there is something else I must explain.'
    “I was, Marcia, by now thoroughly intrigued by this prospect of a hedonistic love-feast. Such, generally speaking, it seemed to be. And my ego as enormously basking in the subtle allusion that I was guest of honor.”
    “I don't doubt it, my darling Max, and when you were younger, I'll say this-you were probably-a devastating person even then. I found you so, and you're still young, you know.”
    “I shall try to live up to that wonderful testimonial, my dear, and you will have only your beautiful self to blame, Marcia, if at the conclusion of our first night of love, you find yourself somewhat taxed because I try to live up to your glowing words.”
    Now the young woman really blushed scarlet and buried her face a moment against his chest. He kissed her hair, his eyes flaming, then composed himself and, slipping his left arm around her soft shoulders, murmured, “And this little nuance now, my sweet Marcia, proves all the more to me how fortunate among men I am to have you for my wife on this magic night. And when we have finished the tour of my magic carpet, as you've so admirably visioned it, this suite will really be even more the site of my most joyous and beautiful adventure, save this difference, it will be for life.”
    “Oh, Max-darling,” she breathed and turned her face up to be kissed.
    “Now to go on, my pet. My friend, as you know, was about to explain another detail, and I was all attention. He went on, 'The lady in question has a second privilege, against which there is no appeal. When she has had her will of you, she can put you up as a prize in a second lottery for the satisfaction of the other ladies present. She is, in fact, at liberty to give you away, since you are her personal property. In this way, the guest of honor may be made the object of as many as three spins of the wheel. So it's just as well I warned you, isn't it?'
    “I said to him, Marcia, “There is one thing I'm not quite clear about. While the first part of the evening is proceeding, while, that is, the various couples are going about their ordinary business, what does the guest of honor do? Surely the time hangs rather heavily on his hands?'
    “'Not so heavily as you might fear. We have a little ceremony designed to do honor to our guest, to underline the fact that the possession of his person is something rather special, and this takes the pattern of a sort of ritual toilet. He is delivered to the tender care of a woman-young and pretty, make no mistake about that-who will behave with the utmost correctness. She is not a member of the society, but is attached to it, so to speak, for certain duties. Shall I add only that the choice of this is perhaps of her own nature, for as you know, certain women derive intense pleasure in performing rather servile duties to the male.'”
    “Oh, my darling, now you have really tantalized me and I shan't let you evade telling me of those duties either! Penalty or not, in fact, perhaps they'd be a delight for you that-well-you might like me to perform later on, when we are better friends and closer…” Her voice was flurried, soft and vibrant, her eyes deep and luminous.
    He couldn't resist kissing her again, with more than casual enthusiasm. Her response, her evident feminine curiosity and her interest in him was overwhelmingly captivating to the ego of the most shallow male, but, sophisticated as Max Phillips was, he understood her sincerity. He would make no rules he told himself, he would let the night unfold its own magic. And he felt sure it would be a night such as he had never known in all his life as a voluptuary.
    This paradox of the virgin who was wise entranced him; he had never before possessed such a woman, so young yet so mature.
    Then he went on, ardently, holding her right hand in both of his, “You shall learn all those rituals, just as I did, for they were new to me, even if I'd read about them, I dare say, as much as you did. Yet reading, my own sweet, is an ineffectual sublimation when one has as companion such a wonderful, intelligent woman. Never delude yourself, Marcia, into thinking a man is afraid of a girl of intellect; on the contrary, my darling, a man of any wisdom at all realizes that a beautiful girl who desires love has the capacity for it and, if uninhibited and tolerant of mind, makes the most exciting of all lovers.”
    She nodded, watching him, her hip pressed against his, and their bodily electricity began its work as stimulant.
    He resumed, “Then, Marcia, my friend continued, 'You will be anointed with very rare perfumes and exquisite unguents and you will be presented to the winner, who must be made to feel she is inordinately lucky in her prize. We rely on the absolute loyalty of our guests, of course. He must do his utmost to keep the lady assistant from stepping out of her role, which is at once delicate and strictly limited in extent. Otherwise he'll infringe on the rule and will expose her to severe reprimand. Now, this ritual preparation takes place precisely during the time about which you were speaking. It may very likely last for the whole of it. Should the necessity arise, the master of ceremonies, duly informed that you are ready, will ask the winner and her first partner to bring their interview to a close.'
    “'It all seems admirably ingenious and well planned!' I said, Marcia, 'but is it always the ladies who get the benefit of the lottery?'
    “'Not at all,' my friend retorted. 'Didn't I tell you that we sometimes have an evening at which the guest of honor is a woman? When that happens, everything is transposed. The symmetry is complete-the lottery, the winner's privileges, and so on-but it's the man this time who rules the roost. The only point in which the parallelism breaks down is that the young person who superintends the ritual toilet remains the same. It seems to us it would be better so, and the ladies concerned don't seem to mind. Women are more adaptable in those matters than men.' ”
    “Now there's a pretty compliment to my sex,” chuckled Marcia, sitting near to him and giving him a passionate glance. “I'd say it was indeed very ingenious and well planned. But tell me how did that famous evening actually turn out?”
    “Better than even my friend had led me to expect, Marcia.”
    “Oh, now, you're generalizing! You must absolutely detail everything! I shall be vexed if you don't.”
    “I see you mean it. Very well, I've no intention at all to hide anything from my lovely wife. The atmosphere, darling, was one of politeness, good breeding, perfect ease-nothing at all resembling a squalid orgy. And the only effect of the drinks the company took was to make them more careful than ever not to indulge in vulgar excesses, and the more daring the situation became, the more ceremonious were its participants. I noticed no relaxation in discipline such as even my introducer had intimated might take place.”
    “And-and-you really, Max dear-you really were made a lottery prize?”
    “Certainly I was.”
    Marcia made a face that was supposed to suggest pique. “How did you like it and who won you?”
    “A lady of title, actually-I'll say a marchioness — but of course would never reveal her name. She was a lovely golden-haired creature. If I'd met her in the street, my darling, I should have thought her a bit grand-not exactly my type, but deliciously slim, provocative in agile movements. She had, Marcia, gorgeous blue eyes in a face that looked almost as innocent as a child's. I got the impression, too, that she regarded our rather peculiar form of amusement, with which, I gather, she'd been familiar from the first days of her marriage, as no more immoral than ballroom dancing. That attitude, as you can guess, made a definite impression on me. It gave me at once a certain depth of acquaintanceship to our meeting and made me, for one thing, feel less nervous than otherwise I would have been. Yes, she appeared to rank its complications with the other elegance of social life. It may startle you to know, Marcia, my sweet, that I can perfectly imagine her and her friends organizing a party of the kind I have described to aid charity. The only difference in that case would be that the numbers drawn from the bowls would cost ten guineas each. You can have no idea how gracious she was in all her dealings with me. Wait, I'm not going to skip anything, as you wanted, but you must let me tell this in my own way, as it happened, as it registered on me. When the ladies were told they could look at their numbers, hers was number two by the by. She came over to me and said, in a slightly husky voice, 'This is a great happiness. I'm glad that luck has favored me tonight of all nights.' Then she went with her partner like all the others for the first part of the program. She managed to get close enough to me to say, 'Don't worry, I won't keep you waiting long.' And she was as good as her word, Marcia, for no sooner had I been led back into the drawing room dressed in my fine silk robe, than she appeared.”
    “How was she dressed, Max?”
    “To be sure, she wasn't as appetizing as you are now.”
    “Wicked flatterer, I'm not impressed so don't tell me, and don't have any ideas-yet. Now tell me.”
    “She was dressed also in silk. Everyone in the party now wore clothes of uniform cut and color, Marcia-not a false note anywhere. She came over to me, kissed me-that's all part of the ritual, I gathered-and whispered in my ear, 'Tell me what you'd prefer. The others, naturally, hope that we shan't shut ourselves away. Here they come, you see, now that they know we are ready. But I will do exactly as you wish.' This being my first time, I preferred a certain amount of privacy. The others, therefore, had to remain content with witnessing our extremely long kiss, after which we withdrew to an upper floor. She took me into a very quiet room, well furnished, probably the one she'd just left, and said, 'Don't lock the door. That is strictly forbidden. Anyone who likes has a right to be present at our meeting, my husband or the others. But I'm pretty sure that they won't avail themselves of the privilege; I made a sign when we came upstairs.' And sure enough we weren't disturbed. The door was only partly closed, Marcia, for form's sake and it added, I can say, a note of spice to which I was certainly unused.”
    She flushed beautifully then murmured, “And the interview?”
    “Quite exquisite, my love. The lady was at once passionate and obliging-exceptionally so. Of her own accord she offered me opportunities that I should never have dared to suggest. Though of course my role was that of the obedient servant. And then, when I seemed anxious to throw discretion to the wind-and you must recall, I hadn't then met you, my love.”
    Again Marcia blushed and squeezed his hand. He went on, “Yes, Marcia, I admit she tempted me greatly, but as I sought to forget what the future might hold, she said to me very sweetly in that lovely cooing voice of hers, 'Look darling, I simply can't keep you to myself, the other girls are counting on my not being selfish. One at least,' she added with a shy smile, 'or possibly two, are going to take advantage of your presence among us. I really should feel awful, it-it wouldn't be you they'd blame, but me. So we must be careful.' A little later, we went down the stairs and she announced, very charmingly, that their good fortune in having an American as their guest was so great she felt she couldn't refuse to share him.”
    “Where were the others, Max dear?”
    “Most of them, my love, were drinking and smoking in the drawing room. Two couples were entertaining one another elsewhere, but they had been warned and put in an appearance almost immediately. The ladies didn't want to miss the new lottery, again most flattering to me.”
    “You were put up again-I think the phrase is?” She, flushed.
    “Ah, yes-twice.”
    “Oh, no,” he chuckled, “even being younger then, one had consideration for-shall we say- waning of enthusiasm?”
    She nodded and, with a teasing little smile, put her hand on his knee. He shivered exultantly at her ecstatic attentiveness.
    “No, there was an interval of an hour. But in her little speech, the first winner-my charming little blonde-had announced that there would be two other lucky ones beside herself.”
    “How nicely you put it-but you must not spare my girlish modesty, my love, for I asked for this. Now, there's someone you haven't mentioned yet — the young woman. Shall we call her the officiating priestess whose duty it was to prepare the- victim-for the sacrifice?”
    “She, too, did her task superbly. I assure you, time did not hang heavily on my hands while I waited for the first lottery pairing in the person of my blonde.”
    “But,” insisted Marcia with keen interest, “didn't that-wasn't that preparation-awfully exciting? Wasn't there a temptation for you both?”
    “Now it's my turn to say how nicely you put things, honey. No, her adequacy was remarkable, quite remarkable, and if I may say so, she had a keen sense of the limitations in which she might do her work. So far as I was concerned, the fact that she faintly resembled a cute hospital nurse helped me not to lose my head.” He paused, regarding Marcia.
    “A cigarette, please, dearest,” she murmured thoughtfully.
    The supply was exhausted so he rose and walked over to the glass-covered coffee table in the center of the room and brought back the silver-plated humidor and his lighter and lit a cigarette for himself and one for her.
    He stood back, looking down at Marcia, who had leaned back, her head resting on the edge of the circular loveseat. Her left hand was languidly extended in her lap, palm upward. The right hand held the cigarette. Then her eyes turned to his. She murmured vibrantly, “But Max, that is only the beginning. Surely you are not going to leave it at that?”
    He studied her pensively before replying. He was orienting himself to this new exciting personality. It had only been half glimpsed at their meetings before the wedding; her kisses, her embraces, had been quite indicative of a passionate and candid temperament. But nothing had prepared him for this intense curiosity in his erotic past. Few women would, he concluded, admit to such interest, for their jealousy would be too great to admit that their lover or husband could have found consolation in a woman other than themselves.
    But she was sincere; that was the crux of it. She wanted to know his amorous predilections so she could please him. If that were true, and he had no reason to doubt it, what a glorious mistress she would make. “But haven't I been explicit, sweet?” he asked.
    “Oh, silly, of course you haven't, and you've made the outline so enchanting I feel like the Sultan Shahriyar with Scheherazade, though that is not, my love, to imply at all that you have any lack of masculinity. Here I am, waiting for the story to be told me, and you stop it there. That's hardly fair since I said I would take the consequences.”
    “How beautiful you are, Marcia. I like your coiffure, so free and flowing. I can hardly keep from plunging my fingers into it and feeling the soft elusive silk.”
    “You shan't, not till you've satisfied my feminine curiosity. I want to know everything. Yes, my darling, don't be afraid. I want you to tell me what you did with all those lovely girls. How lucky they were, too, for you were almost inexperienced then, long before I knew you. I'm envious of them; I want to put myself in their place, but I can't unless you tell me all.”
    Then he sat down, not too close to her, and said, “Well, how shall I start my darling?”
    “Oh, you tantalizing creature! You exasperate me, Max. Begin, why of course, with that charming girl who prepared you-the one like a hospital nurse. Describe her-what she did-your reaction to it. Please, honey, if you want me to love you tonight. Please.”
    He smiled voluptuously. “My dear young lady, this is our wedding night. You're alone with me, the door can be quickly locked, and I've no doubt the suite is soundproof, so figure out for yourself what chance you'd have escaping my caresses- odious though they may be.”
    She laughed heartily, though a sweet pink flush suffused her cheeks. “Oh my darling, you idiot- do you actually think this will be a rape tonight? Oh, laugh-yes, Max-for I've read how many wedding nights are just that. But not yours, my dear one. I'm way behind you in experience, I know it, but I do feel I can satisfy your every wish. And I can do it better if I know something of your past love-making. Please, it's much better stimulant than all the champagne.”
    “How engagingly you please, my dear one. Very well, I shall spare your tender ears not a single detail or love word, though I warn you, you may be quite shocked before the night is done.”
    “By your words or your deeds, my liege lord?” she whispered, very very sweetly.
    He felt his heart pound erratically at that thrilling intimation. “Then listen, Marcia-and may I apologize in advance for anything I may say that will offend you.”
    “In advance, too, my beloved Max, you won't offend me. I know you to be a cultured man of fine taste, a very darling man. Besides, I'm yours, and what you feel I too feel. Make me feel it, live it with you as if I were there invisibly watching over you, my love. Yes, and ready to step in to please you if any of those fascinating women did not!”
    Again he drew a deep breath. She stupefied him. What man could count himself so lucky as to have a girl like this ready to sleep beside him-all his- a beautiful face and body, an imaginative mind which no man before had savored yet which was all his, eager to be, desiring to give him all possible joys of the flesh!
    “Well, my curious minx, let's see. I was taken by the master of ceremonies to a boudoir adjoining the bathroom of one of the large suites on the second floor of the house.”
    “Yes? He did-did he stay then-while-”
    “Oh, no, Marcia, sweet,” he chuckled, at her almost ingenuous, yet so exquisitely delicious avidity to learn each nuance. “No, he showed me the door, bade me a courteous au revoir, told me I would be sent for when all was in readiness, and said only that I wasn't to-shall we say-become too excited.”
    “Ah? And what did he mean by that, my handsome reprobate?”
    He flushed and so did she, but her sweet, widened, humid eyes fixed so ardently on him that he couldn't digress or evade. Nor did he, wishing suddenly with a tingle of excitement to test this probity of hers, this candor and to stimulate her by words-to deeds, to daring, and to delights.
    “Well, let's see. Since I was to satisfy the whims of perhaps three women, I was to conserve my energy so that none would be disappointed.”
    “How very charmingly replied, my darling one. But tonight, you see, you shall have only one insatiable young woman. But I warn you, she will demand all your energy.”
    It took his breath away to hear this from those soft, full red lips, to see that sweet cameo face so lighted with teasing promise. And he knew then, without doubt, that Marcia would fulfill that promise to the ultimate degree. Oh, to crush that maddeningly rounded, firm lithe body to his-to know its naked beauty and virgin treasures!
    As if abashed by her own daring, the young brown-haired beauty bowed her head, studied intently the play of her left hand on her lap, then puffed on her cigarette. “Go on, dear,” she murmured.
    “Very well, my love. I entered this room and found standing before the mirror a handsome brunette. She was about twenty-four, with a very voluptuous rounded form and a face like a girl just out of finishing school with that paradoxical addition of a primness of composed features. Her skin was intensely white, though I have no doubt that yours-the finest-would far surpass hers.”
    “Oh? Pure conjecture,” Marcia laughed, pretending to draw the folds of her gown about her ripe young body.
    “I'm not so sure,” he retorted laughingly. “At any rate, the young lady was dressed in a white satin housecoat with trim little black leather pumps and sheer black hose which as I could see, since the skirt of her housecoat was not too long, covered pretty calves and ankles.”
    “Ever the roving eye.” Marcia throatily chuckled, puffing at her cigarette. But the surge of her bosom indicated that all this preamble had not been without emotional results.
    “And why not, my darling? You were not in sight then.”
    “Oh, all right, don't rub it in. What did the girl say and do?”
    “I'm coming to that, you charming curiosity cat. She smiled very sedately and said, 'What a pleasure it is to prepare such a handsome guest. The young ladies will truly have a treat in store for them. And now, sir, if you will do just as I say, I'll prepare you for the evening ahead.' She had closely bobbed hair and a pretty little nurse's cap-that is why I said she suggested the hospital nurse. And, indeed, she had a clinical precision to her which both surprised and enchanted me. She came to me and said, 'I'm going to undress you now, you know, a special robe is set aside for you. Then too, I must perfume and anoint you. I trust you won't be offended, it's quite customary, as perhaps the master of ceremonies told you.'
    “I told her, Marcia, my love, that I understood that, as a matter of scientific curiosity, I was hers to do with as she would. She then undressed me completely-yes, even my shorts-and when I was naked as a babe before her, without the least hesitance or flushing on her part, she said, 'My, what a strong and handsome body you have. It's a real delight for me. If you like, you may call me by my name. It is Irma.'
    “So, Marcia, I told her it was far more to my pleasure that such a lovely girl attend me, and she smiled faintly and said that I was certain to afford all the others great joy tonight. Then, to my surprise, she went down on her knees, took a jar of ointment and showed it to me, asking if I had any objection to it. Of course I said no, curious to know what she would do.
    “But before putting on the ointment she began, to my intense surprise and, I confess it shamelessly, my complete delight, to tongue bathe me!”
    “Oh? How original, dear; certainly such a preparation as that must have made you very amorous.”
    He trembled. So wise, so candid was this lovely virgin-already he felt his male senses stirring pleasantly in his vitals. “It did, I shall not deny it. Indeed, in the first few moments when her soft little tongue began to lick my feet and ankles, I experienced the usual phenomenon of desire.”
    “You mean, my love, that you had an erection?” softly came the astounding word from his virgin wife.
    “Marcia, you provocative darling! Yes, and if you keep up such interruptions you will produce the same effect and won't have a chance to hear the story you asked for.”
    “I intend to produce that effect. I'd be a poor sort of wife if I could not. But as to interrupting to spoil the story-no, no, my lover.”
    And once again, the sophisticated Max was left speechless by the charmingly bold coquetry of his wife.
    “Very well, you persistent Circe,” he chuckled, “you shall know the worst. But I shall have no mercy for the flushes on your cheeks. You yourself have asked for them.”
    “Oh, and I'll ask far more, my dear one, before the night is done. Do go ahead. I shan't interrupt you-unless, of course, you leave out something especially spicy. Oh, I'll know.”
    His brows again raised in tribute to her divine frankness. Then he went on, inhaling his cigarette as if to bring back memories. “So, then, this pretty black-haired Irma naturally perceived my-erection-and raising her piquant face to mine, she said very gently, 'Oh, how well formed you are, Mr. Phillips.' Doubtless she, like the others, had been informed of my name. 'It is truly a pity I am not to be counted among your fortunate ladies of the evening. But, if you permit, I will endeavor to pay my own humble tribute to your virility.' Now Marcia, you can imagine my state of mind at such a declaration, made under such circumstances.”
    “I can indeed,” twitted Marcia, making a move, and he noted that her left hand subtly untied the belt of her negligee.
    Was that an invitation?
    No, he was sophisticated enough to understand that it was only a sign that she enjoyed the story and wished to hear its continuation.
    Pretending not to note that exciting maneuver, he looked up at the ceiling and went on. “She then, Marcia, began to bathe my thighs from the knees upwards with her fingers. Then, dipping into the ointment, she began to lave my feet, ankles, and calves. The dual ministration made my erection more onerous to bear. Naked and virile, and alone with so lovely a young woman who was endowed with so servile a temperament, I admit I had a desire for her. Also, her costume fit her petite form adorably. It clung to her hips and thighs and bosom most tightly, suggesting more than nakedness itself would have done, as that negligee of yours suggests the most divine body. But the analogy stands there, my sweet Marcia, for I am sure…”
    With a soft perfumed palm against his mouth she silenced him, laughing and turning to him a face roguish and bewitchingly teasing, shaking her head till her curls danced. “No, kind sir, no flattery just yet. Pray, go on with this tale out of the New Arabian nights.”
    “So I shall,” he said, removing her hand gently and placing a kiss on that soft young palm. “If you but give me leave to speak. Then hear me. When at last she had finished the tongue bathing of my thighs, perilously near that which took her regard most…”
    “You mean your penis, don't you, darling?” blithely intervened the brown-haired beauty, and this at last drew a gasp of astonished pleasure and sensual admiration from the handsome sophisticate.
    “Er-yes-the devil take me if I can go on telling stories when this minx I married only a few hours ago plies me with words like that,” he sallied.
    “I fear you have no choice,” remarked Marcia merrily. Now her left hand completely unfastened the belt and she slid just a few inches closer to him on the loveseat. “Go on, please. Don't keep a lady waiting; it's bad manners,” she cajoled him. When he recovered his poise, he said, “She put her lips now-very well, since you wish frankness, I shall grant your request-to my penis-and began the most elusive series of delicate fringing kisses, like butterfly flutters, that anyone of ardent love could dream or conjure. I closed my eyes, Marcia, and I felt my blood boiling. I felt myself throb with a tremendous vitality. But just as quickly as she had begun she stopped, as if nothing had happened, and began now to work the ointment on her fingers into my thighs. Toward the end, she caressed…”
    “Your testicles, darling?”
    Again she astounded him and made him gulp.
    “You little devil! Yes, my testicles, if you must know, and on these too she applied the ointment. Then rising, she began to lave my waist and belly with her lips and tongue while her soft fingers stroked and caressed my back and buttocks. I was by now almost delirious with passion.”
    “You wouldn't be the man I married if you hadn't been,” capriciously declared the exquisitely provocative young wife. And before he could express his adoration of her she hastily added, “Please light me another cigarette and kiss it for me, darling.”
    He did, then he went on. “She made me turn then, and again knelt and began to tongue bathe me from behind, working in the ointment as for the front. But then, to my amazement, she put her hand on my buttocks, opened them, and I suddenly felt her tongue…”
    “On your anus. You see I read books too, my darling. Oh, how very thrilling and lovely. There are times I wish I had been born a male.”
    “Marcia, another remark like that and that'll be the end of my storytelling and the start of your bridal duties.”
    She sighed deeply as with remorse, but her eyes and lips laughed to belie it. “I almost wish I could let myself be persuaded, darling,” she whispered, nibbling at his ear, then sitting away primly as he turned to kiss her, “but I just have to hear the story. So I'll be good. Word of honor!”
    “Very well, then, but this is the last time,” he warned jestingly. “I uttered a groan of delight and she at once desisted, murmuring, 'Oh, did I startle you? I didn't mean to embarrass you.' I told her in a rather unsteady voice that it was on the contrary so thrilling and unexpected that I found myself overcome with emotion, and she said in a very sweet, clear voice, 'Well, then, perhaps if the master of ceremonies should question you as to the services I rendered, you will be kind enough to say they were satisfactory.'
    “I assured her I would and she thanked me. This dialogue was so remarkable that I shall never forget it, and only the very evident sincerity of the young woman and the thrilling sensual feelings she engendered in my body kept me from bursting into hilarious laughter at the sheer audacity and fantasy of it all. At last, she completed the bathing and anointing and helped me on with the robe that had been set out to wear. Then standing before me, she murmured, 'If you would wish to repay me, there is yet a little time, I believe.' 'How shall I repay your delicate and intimate service, my sweet Irma?' I asked her. She glanced at the door, then smiled at me confidingly and murmured, 'By administering to me what I did to you. That is, if it does not disgust you.'”
    “What a perfectly darling girl she was, Max. Oh, I wish I had been Irma then!”
    He almost dropped his cigarette. Then clearing his throat, he murmured, “So do I, but do you want me to go on?”
    “Oh, by all means, darling, I'm fearfully excited.”
    As if to prove it, the stunning girl gently loosened the folds of her negligee so that the satin of the bra might be visible to his eager eyes.
    Because he was a connoisseur, wise in love's ways, Max tantalized himself by not looking at the expanse of flesh and lingerie and, eyes to the ceiling, went on.
    “I told her that such a privilege as she wished me to grant was too great an honor and she remarked, flushing a bit, that she would not have offered it-in fact she almost never did-were it not for the fact that I had struck her fancy for my discretion and considerate behavior toward her. Without the least show of coyness, she removed her garments and stood before me naked except for the pumps and hose with their coquettish, red crepe garters at the top. She told me that I doubtless knew, being a man of the world and cultured, that there were many women who found the act of intercourse distasteful and who took their pleasures in a limited way in a method that suggested Sapphism. She said that in preparing the victim for the sacrifice-to use that lovely phrase you coined — it gave her a twin pleasure. First, it satisfied her own rather special sensuality and secondly it roused the candidate to take his or her pleasure with others who desired just that. Actually, in fulfilling the duties as intimate maid, she gave and received pleasure.”
    “A very extraordinary young woman, Max dear, and you didn't try-to convert her, while you were alone? Especially when she was all naked? Tell me, was her body lovely? What was she like?”
    “I said she was petite, dearest. I'd say about five feet tall, no more. A very white skin, creamy white. A swan-like neck, lovely arms perfectly proportioned, not too robust at the upper curves at all, with dimpled shoulders and a fine supple waist, a magnificent and well developed bosom-like two small canteloupes they were, and the darkest nipples I had ever seen in all my life.”
    “Mmmmm, she does sound appetizing. I marvel at your self-control, my Max.”
    “I marvel at my own now when you're exciting me, you provocative little devil,” he countered, and they both then laughed merrily and held hands a moment, exchanging passionate glances. He felt his blood traveling, tingling, singing in his veins.
    “Well, do go on, you've only painted your Venus with words down to the waist. Surely she had other charms,” Marcia taunted.
    “Indeed she did, Miss Curiosity. Her thighs were short, but beautifully rounded. She had plump long calves, very rounded, dimpled knees, and a very compact, almost boyish bottom, except it was far too spacious to be mistaken for a boy's.”
    “You won't mistake mine for one, I assure you my love.”
    His blood flamed. “I've half a mind to investigate the truth of that flippant and boastful remark here and now, with the good flat of my hand applied to it,” he retorted.
    She shrank back pretending fear. “Oh not yet. At least-not till you've piloted your famous magic carpet home again, sweetheart. Then you may do as you wish to me-and I shan't utter a word of protest.”
    And once again the promise in her deep green eyes was so thrilling as to make time stand still.
    He went on, lighting a cigarette for each of them. “I complimented her rather extravagantly on the beauty of her body-it would have been ungallant to do otherwise-and she thanked me very sweetly, then said, 'and now it does grow a bit late-if you wish?' And with this she lay down on her back on the sofa, beckoning me to her with a lovely gesture, her hand motioning toward her loins.”
    “I'll bet you bounded there like a satyr, ready to rend and rape her.”
    “Not at all, I was dignified even in my youth, I'll have you know,” he chuckled, remembering with relish that thrilling scene. “I approached her, and when I reached the sofa, as if my intuition had told me-for I'd never performed at any time the practice she wished applied to her-I knelt and applied a kiss on the most charming spot of all her body.”
    Marcia's soft hand reached for his free one, squeezed it hard and with her lips at his ear whispered, “Oh, you rascal, and what do you call that spot? I want to know the sweet word you have for it and if I like it, you shall call mine that too, and I shan't be a bit jealous. Tell me, Max.”
    All his self-control was called on now. The scent of her, the warm heady nearness of her, the knowledge of her candor and amorous precepts made him fiery with desire. But mastering himself by recalling what joy the real amorist gains through prolongation, through anticipation, through putting off the magic moment to the very end, he said, “Her quim, my darling. There, does the word shock you?”
    “Oh, not altogether. On the contrary, I love it. It's so spicy and yet so apt and I like it much better than others such as cunt and pussy!”
    “Now,” she laughed, “you have been shocked. Will wonders never cease?”
    “Oh, you adorable minx, wait till I get you where I want you!” he breathed reverently.
    “I can hardly wait,” she whispered, and she kissed his ear and then sat away again saying primly, “Now be good and don't you stop, if you love me and want me.”
    He took a deep shuddering breath and continued, “She uttered a sigh of pleasure and murmured, 'Oh what pleasure you will give those fortunate women tonight. Yes, yes, please kiss me in there-especially there.' And so granted this prerogative, I could hardly show myself to be ungracious, especially as she had shown such amorous compliance in treating me. I therefore continued to stroke her thighs and belly and hips very gently; I continued kissing her slowly and admiringly-she had a beautifully fashioned and adorable quim, veiled by the glossiest black flower at the loins- till at last I dared insert my tongue beneath.”
    “Ohhhhh,” sighed Marcia, closing her eyes, and her left hand brushed aside the negligee's folds at her stunning thighs.
    Her nostrils shrank and widened sensuously now for she too was inspired by this recital; in truth, it was aphrodisiac as she had said it would be-for him as much as for her!
    He took a covert glance and saw the frilly panties that sheathed her ripe young loins. His lips trembled, blood inflamed in his cheeks, his temples throbbed and he felt his virility harden in bold assertion.
    Conquering the tremendous urge, he resumed, “Encouraged by this reflex, I concentrated my attentions thus, tonguing her quim slowly and lingeringly, making the rounds of the outer lips until at last, heartened by her sighs and her convulsive tremors, I dared to thrust deep within the velvety hole itself. She uttered a choking cry and her hands seized my cheeks and she panted, 'Oh, yes, yes, yes, that's wonderful. Please don't stop now!'
    “Nor did I. I wished not only to reward her for that sweet introduction to a night I now knew would be incredibly thrilling, but also to satisfy my own desires since I could not perform in any other way with her. Of course, the thought of possessing her occurred to me when I first saw her, so beautiful and naked, lay herself down on the sofa in such a charmingly graceful and confiding way. I dare say that I might have overcome scruples had there been no other item on the program for the night, for she was exceptionally lovely and enticing. But now I thought only of satisfying her, and my tongue at last ventured to her clitoris and began to friction to and fro.”
    Marcia huddled, arms around her bosom. “Oh, Max-oh, my dear!” her eyes closed but her long mascaraed lashes fluttered vibrantly.
    “Her fingers pressed hard into my flesh while her sighs and almost incoherent words intoxicated me, told me to go on as I was, and I did not hesitate. I quickened my tonguing of that most sensitive spot of all her lovely naked body and soon a violent spasm of passion shook her. She twisted, writhed, and moaned on the sofa, and her head fell to one side, eyes closed, till I thought she had fainted with the intensity of the emotion. Then at last she wanly sat up and thanked me in a choking voice for the bliss I had so generously given her. She knelt down and kissed my feet and then my hands as I sought to raise her, and she said, blushing, “Almost-I wish I could be longer with you and perhaps even overcome my diffidence to the act with you, but I fear I must prepare you for the summons. The time is getting on. Oh-it was so lovely. I do hope you'll come again and that the draw will bring fortune as it did tonight.'
    “I helped her on with her robe and after she had put on mine, I took advantage to caress and kiss her breasts, which I had utterly neglected during the operation. Her dark nipples were very hard with passion and she didn't let me touch them long, saying in a faint voice that her bosom was almost as sensitive as her quim and that if I kept it up I would surely be very late and she would be reprimanded. At last I was ready-and in more ways than one, the naughty devil. In a moment the master of ceremonies came for me.”
    “Well. What a remarkable beginning-it was only the beginning, wasn't it my love?” breathed Marcia.
    “Why to be sure. And now, have you had enough?”
    “Oh, good heavens, no, darling. You've only just begun. Not only do I want to hear about all the rest of the evening but I insist you tell me of your specially exciting experiences in other European cities. Your magic carpet can not just stop in London.”
    He sighed with mock distress. “But my dear, it's already eleven. Do you realize that if I comply with your wish-and my wife's wish is my law-” here she kissed his hand and laughed silently-“it will be hours before we get to bed-and then and then-you'll have little sleep, Mrs. Phillips.”
    “Who wants to sleep on her wedding night? I can do that when I'm old and no longer desirable in your eyes, Max. So you go right ahead. And besides, I am not in the least bit sleepy anyway.”
    “What a woman I married. Yes, your metaphors were very apt. I'm the Scheherazade and you are the cruel Shahriyar, making me tell you interminable stories when I'm dying for your kisses.”
    “You won't die, you only think you will-and then it will be so much fun.” He was shaken by her wisdom for she too was a believer in the glorious art of prolongation.
    “Then I shall carry on from the point where that charming slim blonde escorted me, after the introduction I have already recited for you, to the quiet room.”
    “Yes, I remember. Oh do expatiate there; she seemed to be so delicious.”
    “Ah-she was. Her name-the first only would she give me and that was very wise and discreet and eliminated any risk for either of us-was Clarisse, a very sweet name, harmonious and in keeping with her beauty. She had, you'll recall, asked me if there were anything I'd prefer with her. Well, when we were alone in the room she repeated that question, gazing at me smilingly with those ingenuous eyes. I said, 'Yes; first, my lovely hostess, I desire to see your body in all its natural beauty.' And with a gracious smile as if she, great and titled lady that she was (my friend told me afterwards what rank she occupied) were dispensing alms to the poor, she undressed. She wore only a silk dress, stockings, and sandals. The stockings-yes, I anticipate your unspoken question-were dark brown, very sheer silk and charming sky-blue rosetted garters held them up on divinely formed legs. She stood amid the pile of fallen garments aureoling her dainty feet, exquisite yet lascivious in that touch of sandals, hose, and nudity. Her blonde hair was piled in a chic pompadour, her face was a perfectly bewitching oval. Her breasts thrust out like two sleek young pears, well spaced and pointed with delicate and pink nipples. Her waist was slim, her thighs long and high set. She had a snowy skin that was simply ravishing. And-as to her quim- it was very thickly downed, with dark golden fleece. Her buttocks were long undulating ovals, rather well set apart and very saucy as well as firm and resilient to the extreme. It was a regalia of beauty before me.”
    “You were most fortunate of men-as if led into Mahomet's Paradise,” Marcia laughed.
    “Indeed I was. Clarisse then said with a charming smile, 'Do you like me? And may I call you Max.' I told her I thought she was heavenly and that I should be honored beyond my desserts if she called me Max. She said then in a charming speech full of decorum and sweetness that, as I doubtless knew the rules, she trusted I would not take it amiss if she took the lead, but that under any circumstances she felt she could deny me nothing. She said that if I wished to take any special pleasure with her, she would do her very best to bring it about under the rules by which she had every right on me. I said, smiling, that I was like a beggar being led to a Lucullan feast and that what she desired would be my desire also. With this she blushed, kissed me passionately, and let me fold her in my arms and hold her to me a long time. Then, stepping away, she bade me take my robe off, which I at once did. She clapped her hands with joy, exclaiming, 'Oh, what good fortune I have to be the very first tonight. How strong you are! But I must not destroy all that strength, the others would be very angry with me.' She walked to a long deep couch, lay down, and summoned me almost imperiously, like a beautiful Roman matron might summon a slave on whom her desires had fallen. I came readily and stood watching her, admiring her.
    “Then she murmured, 'I wish first to be stirred by you and to stir you too. Have you a rather good amount of control, Max dear?' I told her I believed I had, though I added at once, lest she think me a braggart and roue, that I was not promiscuous and had had but a few erotic adventures, certainly nothing like this. She said, “That is lovely for me to know, for you are fresh and it is almost as if I had you for the first time. Come then, Max darling, mount me, but in reverse. Do you know the lovely custom of what the French call soixante-neuf?' I said I did and without further ado gently mounted her, my head between her thighs and my loins proffered to her mouth and tongue.”
    “Oh, darling-darling-how very exciting. How you must have been bursting by then,” broke out the lovely Marcia, and Max gulped with emotion at such a sage and wanton remark.
    “I was, I confess it, my lovely one. Her arms went round my hips and her slim long soft fingers began to caress me as she murmured, 'I shan't try to be greedy or bring about pleasure too soon and you must make every effort to hold back yours. But do you on the contrary accord me all the kindnesses you wish, for Max, I am very amorous of you and very happy to be so lucky in the lottery of love.'
    “And then with this, she took my penis in her soft rosy mouth, holding the head very lightly between her lips, and blowing on it with tiny gusts of breath. I felt a volcano fire infuriate my being and I had to summon up at one time all my self-control to distract myself. I plunged my tongue instantly deep beneath the golden tufts of her quim hair and at once found her clitoris and began to tickle it. She uttered a soft lowing cry of delight, 'Oh, you angel! To do what I like the best at once without being told! A paragon among lovers, darling, that's what you are. Oh what joy you give a woman. Do go on-do go on-there-am I making things too difficult for you with what I'm doing, darling?' I panted 'no' and resumed. She writhed and arched in the most captivating way and the sweet fragrance of her flesh and her perfume intoxicated me. With all my strength I held back my crisis, distracting myself more and more by the very rapid plunges in and out of my tongue till at last, with a cry of passion, she announced that her spasm was at hand. When it was over she begged me for a cigarette and after it had been smoked she murmured, 'Now I shall require that vitality you held back and I warn you I shan't spare you this time. Only you must lie down and I shall mount you. That way I am the mistress of ceremonies and you my submissive slave.' Helping her to rise and cupping her breasts while kissing and tonguing the nipples, I told her that I was hers with all my flesh and spirit and that she was so exciting that I should never forget this night's rendezvous. She blushed, smiled, and kissed me back and when I lay down mounted me, after first tickling my testicles and penis gently with her fingers to produce the maximum tension in my loins. Then, Marcia, she opened her quim with one hand, used her other to introduce my tool in her charming slit, and sank down very very slowly till she was fully impaled on my spear. She kissed me and began to tongue bathe me as slowly she jousted upon me until, her passions newly aroused, she began to speak in the most delightfully lascivious way, commanding me to thrust my finger into her bottom hole and work it to and fro like a penis, which I at once did. Ah do you blush for crushed modesty, sweet one? I warned you!”
    The young woman's negligee was now almost off her body and she was in truth blushing, but she shook her head sighing and said, “Oh, no-no-it-it's not that. It's so delicious the way you tell it. I wish I were there now in your arms. But don't stop. Go on-go on-you must!”
    He crushed out his cigarette and filled her champagne goblet from the bottle reposing in the ice bucket. They then clinked glasses; her eyes were very luminous and misty, her breath quick, her lips moist and ripe, as if tumescent, as if ready for the act of consummation.
    “Do go on, sweet,” she prompted in a soft whisper that was throaty proof of her excitement.
    He smiled, kissed her hand again, and then regarding the ceiling as if thereon he could photograph the past events with a movie camera, he continued, “I felt as if in a dream, Marcia, darling, recumbent like a Pasha being enticed by a beautiful naked blonde Circassian slave; but this reverie passed quickly. Clarisse was far too-shall we say-active for me to attain serenity. She kept murmuring, 'Oh darling, ohhhh, it's so nice, but don't tire yourself, lie very, very still, let me do all the work. Oooooh, sweetheart, how strong you are in me. Keep working your finger, don't stop that at all. Ohhhh, it is so very specially thrilling when you do that during it. I must keep you strong for the other girls though oh, how much I'd love to have you all to myself tonight. Mmmmmm, darling-is it nice for you?' And she punctuated this very lascivious yet uninhibited monologue with passionate quick kisses, pinching, and palpating of her hands, the while she twisted and weaved that lovely bottom of hers in the crevice of which my forefinger continued to plunge and friction. Then at last she uttered a cry and begged me to throw my arm round her, but to keep my other hand at this pleasant duty. With this, obeying her, I felt her body stiffen and a mighty tumult shook her. She sank her teeth into my shoulder, almost to the blood, and lay moaning, inert.”
    “Ohhh, Max, darling-oh my darling, how you make it sound.” Marcia breathed quicker and leaning forward with a quick feline motion she slipped off the negligee, leaned back in her bra and panties, her hose with their rosettes, and pumps, half nude and superbly desirable in every way.
    His eyes dilated with desire at that vision, but she quickly whispered in a purring, teasing voice, “Now that's not an invitation. I'm just warm after all that rich food and champagne, so go right ahead! Did that end your interview with the lovely blonde, dear?”
    “Oh, no, she felt she owed me a restoration of my powers, as she piquantly put it. And when she'd risen from me, glowing and looking adorably flushed, she kissed my penis and then my mouth and begged me to excuse her just a moment while she repaired to the adjoining bathroom to freshen up. From the male point of view, it was intensely satisfactory because she had whispered at the first moment of taking possession of me that no precautions were needed as she'd taken them beforehand, adding that she knew this would give the male more pleasure.”
    “What a considerate love partner.”
    “Wasn't she? There is, as you must know from all your reading, a certain sordidness to that preparation in the act of love, a delay that makes love-making seem at that moment a bit too prosaic. Happily I was spared that. When she returned, very quickly, I noted that she had perfumed herself and applied fresh lipstick. Her pompadour was still very prim and I chuckled at the thought that this stately beauty could indulge so wantonly in passion without disturbing her coiffure.”
    Marcia giggled sympathetically, crossing one beautiful leg over the other, puffing on her cigarette, her left hand resting idly on the seat between the two of them. Max's eyes shot furtively to the jut of her wonderful breasts; they were agitated in movement now, evidencing her inner stimulation by his recital.
    “She asked me, in fact, what I had found so mirth inspiring and I told her. She laughed herself and said I was extremely whimsical as well as extremely virile. She begged me then to indulge her erotic fancy, taking leave of me with great reluctance. I gave her carte blanche of course. My eyes followed her beautiful nudity, watching her fluid movement, the supple hips and thighs and waist, the jouncing elasticity of her bosom. Then, she begged me gently to sit up and I did, on the edge of the couch, and she knelt down, putting her long hands on my thighs and intimating that I was to part them wide, which I did at once.
    She then bowed her golden head between them and while her fingers stroked the insides of my thighs, rousing the most delicious sensations, her lips and tongue gently began to attack my organ and testicles with a deft and lingering attentiveness that rendered me at first quite languid but then began to kindle new fires in my loins. The moment she perceived this, she laughed softly and rose saying, “That's as much as I dare if you're to be fit for the others, my dearest. Now, what time is left you may spend with me as you will, barring another act of love, of course.' She was so charming in her speech. I told her gallantly I'd like nothing better than to be with her all night and complimented her on her beauty, at which she flushed with pleasure. Then I asked if I might, since she would permit nothing bolder, take her on my lap and caress her lovely sweet body. She agreed at once and sat down on my knees, circling my neck with a soft snowy arm and smiled at me complaisantly, giving me a look that authored my wishes.
    “I began at once to cup and mold her lovely firm naked breasts, the nipples of which had darkened and stiffened like petulant buds under the sun's warmth. Then I nuzzled the breasts with my lips and she moaned, letting her head fall back, whispering that I must not excite her too much or she might forget her obligations to her friends. More and more I had the feeling of an unreal fantasy, yet the warm pressure of her buttocks and thighs on my legs dissuaded me. Imagine my having so much intimacy with a handsome, titled woman whose existence I knew nothing about a few hours before and-as if that were not enough — to have her calmly propose to share me with her friends.”
    “Oh, Max, it must have been a wonderful feeling. I can almost see it, you tell it so vividly and I think-”
    “Yes, my sweet?”
    She blushed furiously and regarded the floor as she murmured, “I think I shall have my work cut out for me tonight if I'm going to make you forget all that.”
    “You angel.”
    She shook her head, “Oh, no, not angel. I don't want to be angelic tonight of all nights, Max, my lover. But do go on.”
    He smiled with delight at her sensual mood; it was inflaming and inspiring to say the least.
    “Then seeing that caressing her bosom seemed to rouse her desires, I contented myself with stroking her back, bottom, and thighs, and she closed her eyes and gave herself up to it like a contented little kitten, sighing softly and stretching and turning gently. At last she rose, her eyes wide and humid and murmured that we must prepare to say au revoir now. I rose now too and took her in my arms, drew her tight against me, and took her lips, forcing my tongue between them. For a few moments she avidly returned this manner of kissing, her hands stroking my hips and thighs, and I felt my organ bold and eager again, thrusting intimately against her. With a saucy smile on her pretty mouth she said I was breaking down her self-control. She then led me to the bathroom and waited for me to freshen up and put on my robe and slippers. She then led me to the downstairs room, having herself resumed her scanty attire, and announced to the party present in the salon that I was to be put up for lottery.”
    “I'll bet you were sorry to leave her, Max.”
    “I was indeed. But the notion of being bartered off as at a slave market auction was very flattering to my male ego, I assure you.”
    “You said two more girls had you.”
    “Yes, there was about 15 minutes to pause now, during which the lottery was run again, with myself as stake. I then drank and smoked and chatted with one of the other women, a wife of one of the men there who had been making rather hectic love to another husband in a corner of the salon as I came in. She asked Clarisse how I had behaved and my blonde inamorata said it had been thrilling beyond expectation and she only hoped this woman would be fortunate enough to draw me.”
    “Didn't you feel self-conscious, Max?”
    “Extremely so, at first, but after coming down with Clarisse, I felt very proud and competent and — well-very intrigued by the future prospect and quite willing to let it come as it surely would.”
    “Oh, and who won you next?”
    “A third girl, whom I hadn't seen before. She was one of the wives of those three young couples present. After that the divorcee who had come with the other bachelor. That of course came after an hour pause between my second and third 'interviews' as my introducer so euphemistically termed them.”
    “What happened with the second girl? What was she like?”
    “Oh, very delicious and amoral. She was a strikingly svelte redhead, though not as tall as my blonde Clarisse. She had a drink with me; we chatted a bit on American life and loves and then she asked me to go upstairs with her and leave the door open. She said she wished her husband and the divorcee who had won me last, as you know, to witness.”
    “Now I'm sure you were embarrassed at that.”
    “Pretty much so, at first. Never in my life till then had I made a public demonstration of love-making.”
    “Fibber-the way you kissed me in Ciro's the other night-”
    “Oh, that doesn't count as love-making really. You know very well what I mean, you sly minx. Now I insist on silence, darling, or I finish my story here and now.”
    “I'll be good.” She clapped both her hands over her mouth, looking like a naughty little schoolgirl, eyes big and wide.
    “That's better. By the way, you look so charming in that combination, my darling-just like the little wench in Le Roe Pausole. All you need are furry blue pompom mules.”
    “Then you must buy me a pair for our trip.”
    “I shall. In fact, if your service is satisfactory tonight I rather think I will lock you up in the stateroom of the Roma and keep you in nothing but those pompoms. That way you won't get into trouble.”
    “Oh, but I quite well might, dearest. The nine-month trouble, you know. But it is a very interesting paraphrase of that old American saying, to keep a girl bare and pregnant all the time.”
    “Marcia,” he breathed, and this time his desire flamed and would not be appeased till he had taken her in his arms and exchanged a long and searing soul-kiss that left them both flushed and trembling.
    “I shall move away if I'm that much of a stimulus to you, dear. Now please tell me about the redhead.”
    “I'd so much rather-” he said very longingly, but she interrupted with a charming little laugh and pouting mouth. “I know what you'd rather, but I wouldn't, just yet.”
    He shrugged his shoulders fatalistically, sighed, then resumed:
    “Her name was Gilda. She was slim, with lean though solid thighs and calves, pendant breasts with a fine thrust and firmness to them, and large dark nipples. But with very ripe hips and bottom and a pale tawny skin that was mouth-watering. She undressed me at once, then asked me to take off her clothes. She wore her auburn hair in a thick chignon at the back and I asked her if she would be sweet enough to loosen it, so she told me complaisantly to do it for her after I had undressed her.”
    “How old was she, Max dear?”
    “Not more than twenty-one, on my word of honor, though she looked much more mature. Her voice was very sexy-low and throaty. I suppose you'd say she had a broad forehead, rounded applelike full cheeks, a turned up nose, a very small but ripely sensual mouth, and a pretty cleft chin. Her arms were a bit too short for perfect beauty, but the rest of her body was extremely appetizing.”
    “You lecher.”
    “You asked for it, you know, darling. Besides, she couldn't hold a candle to you. Neither could Clarisse for that matter.”
    “Pooh, who wants a girl to hold candles? When I've got you-and so much better equipped than a candle,” was Marcia's astoundingly frank and tempting reply.
    The blood suffused his face. He chuckled by way of distraction. “Now after that buildup I see I shall have a good deal to live up to.”
    “I fully expect you to, Max, my sweet, or I very much fear I'll have to have our marriage annulled on the grounds that it wasn't consummated properly.”
    “You enigmatic, stupefying little devil, you.” He breathed and had to have another kiss then and there. He felt her firm long rounded thighs pressed ardently against his and the hammering of his pulse clamored.
    “Now that's more than enough. What about Gilda? You are keeping that poor girl waiting.”
    “Yes, I am, and that's not very gallant, is it? Oh, very well, Miss Curiosity. When we were both down to fundamentals and her hair was properly flowing down her shoulders, I took her in my arms and kissed her telling her she was extremely lovely and I was more flattered and honored than I could say and was entirely at her disposal.
    “She put her hands on my penis, fondling it a moment, exclaiming with delight on my vigor (on which she said Clarisse had documented her). She asked again if I objected to being watched, and I said rather chivalrously that I knew it was certain that in her embrace I should forget everything else. She then blushed and said I was very nice and she would do her level best to see I was not disappointed. Had I felt like punning, I'd have asked her to do her horizontal best instead.”
    “Oh, you. No embellishments like that again, please.”
    He mock bowed his head as if chided. “Your wish is my dearest command, my sweet lady. She then knelt down and began to tongue bathe my organ after having taken it in her mouth, and proved instantly that she was as adept as Clarisse or even the charming Irma, if not more so. Then, seeing that I was in a fine state of ardor from all that had occasioned before, she rose and drew me by the wrist to the bed, the sheets of which were now drawn and inviting. She mounted ahead of me, taking a position on all fours, and she asked me to possess her from behind.”
    “The little hussy, and on such short acquaintance too!” giggled Marcia.
    He flushed and laughed, his voice unsteady and with good reason.
    “Quite so, but the provocative pose of her tawny nakedness, I confess, rendered me heedless of any such petty considerations. I spent a few moments in stroking and squeezing her lovely-shaped and very ample bottom.”
    “Pervert! And I had to go and marry him,” Marcia sighed, looking at the ceiling and rolling her eyes in mock distress.
    He pinched her thigh, she slapped at his hand, giggling affectionately. Then he resumed:
    “Then being of sufficient girth to attempt the interview she requested, I held her luscious hips and steered myself gently towards her gaping quim, which was very thickly fleeced, more than Irma's or Clarisse's. And for a moment or two I tantalized us both by rubbing the head of my tool to and fro against that furry softness, she squirming and sighing, till at last passion overtook me and I forged onwards, her quim-lips were full, very soft and velvety to the touch, and apparently she was already attuned, for they seemed to be slightly moist and parted readily at my entry. I then thrust in slowly until she had the full measure of my devotion.”
    “What a sententious and puritanical phrase, Max! I'm ashamed of you.”
    “I accept the censure. Very well, I thrust slowly into her quim till I was buried to my balls. There, does that satisfy you?”
    “Mmm, I think it will in due time.”
    He now shuddered with desire. Who could boast of spending such a wedding night worth the prelude of telling of his past conquests to an amorous and warm-blooded bride whose inquisitiveness tantalized him enormously?
    “Just at that moment, I heard a noise behind me and looking around saw that Gilda's husband was entering, arm in arm with the pretty divorcee, a chestnut-haired girl of very Juno-esque proportions. They nodded, smiling, and waved as if to bid me continue without pause for the amenities and took seats near the bed on either side.
    “Gilda's husband was a genial fellow about thirty, blonde, clean-shaven, with a sturdy build in proportion to his very handsome features. He seemed to think this the most natural thing in the world, sitting forward in his armchair supporting his chin with his folded hands like a student in an anatomy clinic. As for the divorcee, she was more relaxed, watching us both with an amused gaze. I confess I hesitated at the audience, but Gilda, wriggling her saucy rump, begged me so throatily and most seductively please not to stop but to fuck her good. Your pardon, darling, but that is the very word she used.”
    Marcia leaned back, hands clasped up behind her head, a maneuver which then threw forward and tautened the ripe rounding of her vibrant breasts in the most tantalizing manner. He licked his lips, eyed her, then resumed, his manly voice now unsteady. “So what could I do but comply? Besides, the previous stimulation and now this very flattering housing of my tool in so warm and voluptuous a haven (which also was much tighter than Clarisse's) made natural and immediate demands on me. I therefore, gripping the young woman's bare hips rather masterfully, began to thrust in and out, quickening my pace steadily. With her head buried on the sheets, she sighed and groaned and directed me: 'Ohhhh, harder- yes-that's it-faster now. Oh, please-don't spare my pussy-it wants a fuck so bad. Ahhhh, you're wonderful-ohhhhhh, so hard. Henry's so much smaller in my cunt than you are. Ohh, Max, darling, give it to me good. Ohhh fuck me hard.' I was amazed and I was also rendered fiercely passionate as you can imagine, my sweet, and releasing one of her writhing squirming velvety hips, I artfully thrust my forefinger into her yawning slit and applied the tip of it against the clitoris, which was already filled with yearning.”
    “Gracious, you don't dare stop now.” “No, I don't at that,” he chuckled. “The moment I touched that galvanizing button she writhed and groaned, 'Oh, oh, Henry, Henry, he's tickling my little button. Oh, he does it wonderfully, he is going to make me come so hard-better than you ever made me do. Max, Max-faster now, keep them both up in my cunny-ohhhhh-darling- ohhhh, get ready. Can you come with me too? I want you to. Ahh-ram me, Max. Oh, give me it all-ahhhhhhhhhhhhhere I come-ohhhhhhhhh, Max.'
    “And she arched and twisted like a bucking broncho, her nails clawing the rumpled sheets; a few body-deep strokes of my penis and I flowed my vital juices furiously into her quaking vagina and fell atop of her, crushing her, as we succumbed to the fatal spasm.
    “After we disengaged, she turned triumphantly to her husband and told him it was one of the loveliest fucks she had ever had and she expected him to profit accordingly when she decided to grant him the privilege of her bed again. To my embarrassed surprise, the divorcee herself complimented me on my ability and fine vigor and said she hoped sincerely I would save some of my energy for the final interview with her.
    “I promised her I would, though I admit I was beginning to feel the strain of all this tribute to Venus under the guidance of such dynamic women as Irma, Clarisse, and Gilda. However, Gilda bade me lie down and began to tongue bathe me from head to foot, leaving my penis for last while Henry, rising, caressed her bottom and thighs as she crouched on all fours. I would have preferred privacy, I admit, but surrendered to the wish of the participants, since after all I was their guest.”
    “That, I must say, Max darling, was connubial freedom to the nth degree.”
    “Wasn't it, darling? Naturally, closing my eyes and concentrating only on my very amorous partner I was able to cast aside the embarrassment of having an audience, and Gilda herself remarked on the vitality I had, for my penis began to rise when she furled her ambient tongue along it. She then desired that I sodomize her, asking very sweetly, as my Irma had done, whether I found it repugnant.”
    “And did you?” breathed the beauty at his side, her hands cupping her bra-sheathed breasts, her eyes very bright and fixed on his.
    He nodded, studying her expression, feeling desire now with her so near, so uninhibited, so scantily attired, feeling his vigorously virile manhood beneath the robe shiver with the presentiment of passion. “Yes, I had never done it before and, from a viewpoint of scientific detachment, was curious to see whether the practice would hurt the woman, for I'm not cruel in my wooing, darling, though I am demanding.”
    “So much the better. It is said one hurts those whom one loves,” she murmured.
    “True-but the hurt is relative. Oh I'll make you cry out for mercy, never fear, if that's what you are driving at, darling.”
    “It is, my liege lord,” she whispered and squeezed his left hand.
    He slipped his left arm around her waist, took her right hand from her beautiful full breast, kissed it and then her lips and throat, and sat back and went on: “I agreed, and Gilda thanked me profusely. Then she asked her husband to prepare. He got a jar of vaseline while she took the same position as before, that is, on all fours, her thighs spread very wide apart. I knelt up behind her at commendable distance while the complaisant Henry anointed her bottom-hole and said laughingly, 'Have no fear of harming her, she really enjoys this practice enormously as it appeals to her masochistic desire for actually being enslaved by a cruel master.' That temperament I comprehended so, anointing my organ with some of the vaseline, I showed no pity on her and grasped her very tempting firm buttocks, yawned them till I beheld her anus-very plump, Marcia, and quite agile and mobile, judging by the contraction of the sphincter muscles-and I proceeded to thrust my penis head firmly against that second entry into paradise. Gilda assisted with an abandoned and very lascivious offering of her behind, continuing to keep her thighs widely parted till I felt myself slip in. The tightness, the warmth of the cavern excited me-and I forged on steadily till I had half my vigor buried where she desired it. She uttered a cry of joy, imploring me to imbed myself to the hilt and I did, while at the same time reaching for her clitoris with a forefinger and titillating it slowly while I remained, gripped by her rectal walls, feeling a sense of physical possession over a woman never before achieved.”
    “You say-she really did enjoy it? I should think it would be unaesthetic perhaps, dear one,” murmured Marcia.
    He smiled wisely, holding both her hands against his lap and looking deep in her eyes. “As to the estheticism, there are moments, darling, moreover-if both parties are bathed and cleaned and so anointed-it is relatively hygienic apart from the psychological notions one would bring from the outset as you seem to have. As for hurting, no-the fit is intensely narrow, true, but for the woman, it causes a most gratifying friction especially when coupled, as I did it, with the fingering of her quim or clitoris. At any rate, judging from Gilda's immediate cries of bliss and throaty groans and the writhing spasms of her beautiful naked body, she took greater physical pleasure in this act than in the previous act of intercourse.
    “She did not let me have orgasm, however, saying she wished to have me retain a final sufficiency for the divorcee, whose name by the way was Lois. She asked me to make her spend by tickling her clitoris. I did, of course. The urgency to orgasm was lightened for me by the fact that I had already sacrificed so many tributes to Venus before this act. As you, darling, already know by your reading, when the male has taken off the first ardors of his liaison, he is more able to practice control and hold out for a very long time without too great a hardship on him, thereby granting his female partner many repeated pleasures.”
    She nodded, eyes dancing. “I've read that, of course, darling. Do go on. What happened after you made Gilda spend?”
    And his eyes again flamed, his pulses throbbed, to hear this virgin, this beautiful warm-blooded young Juno use the mystic words of physical passion which links the stranger male with the stranger female in undying intimacy.
    “Then, my inquisitive minion, she put her mouth to my organ, which was rather diminished by then, and sucked and cleansed it till I felt my remaining energies solidified. Then she told me there would be an hour's pause before I had my final lottery interview with the divorcee and I might, if I cared to, spend that hour drinking and chatting with that young woman.”
    “And you did?”
    “Yes, but by then I wanted privacy again, thinking that the final seance might be another public affair. So Henry and his red-haired wife, Gilda, left. I was further amazed when he thanked me very seriously for giving his wife such pleasure. I am afraid I was nonplussed and embarrassed, but I carried it off as well as I could, even jesting that I would be happy to render such services again if needed.”
    “You sly dog!” She pinched his upper thigh.
    “Trying to see if I'm still awake? Well I am — if you want some proof, my darling.”
    “Oh, no, no, save it, darling. You've a long way to go yet. Light your timid virgin's cigarette and then tell me of the divorcee. Was she nice for you?”
    “Indeed. We stayed in the same room and chatted companionably for that one hour. True, Clarisse and my introducer and one of the other couples visited us to chat and drink, but they left when Lois gave them a sign. Then I had full opportunity to examine my final tutoress and found her as delectable a female as any of the others. She was, as I've said, chestnut-haired, ripe-formed like a Juno. Indeed, she had some of the attributes of you, but beautiful as she was, she did not in any way equal you.”
    “Thank you so much, kind sir,” she said, holding his hand and bringing it to her left breast lightly then pushing it away when he sought to carets that fascinating turret.
    “She was twenty-six, but looked much younger. From what she led me to believe, her husband had been a wealthy man in his fifties when they wed, and she had wed him to help her parents out. There was no love there, of course, but she did make the best of the bargain. However, he was impotent, I gathered, and that was one reason why she'd lent herself so eagerly to these parties, especially as my introducer had from time to time been her lover. I inferred that last-she didn't tell me.”
    “Aren't you smart though?”
    “Again I thank you. So much flattery in one night is one thing I never hoped for. But to go on: She was of medium height, very full curves but without excess. Her breasts, which she at once showed me by slipping down her robe to the waist, were set closely together, with full dark nipples and aureoles. The skin was extremely pink and white, very pleasing and esthetic. Her round dimpled shoulders and full, classically molded arms were bewitching. Her eyes were dark blue and closely set, her brows thick, her nose aquiline and sensuous, her mouth full and ardent, a bit large for purity but indeed perfect for amorous byplay, as I found for a good reason.”
    “Oh, of course.”
    “Minx-you will interrupt! I shall be obliged to exact penalties herewith and henceforth.”
    “I'm duly chided.”
    “You'd better be. Now, oh yes, her cheeks were slightly oval in casting, giving her a somewhat exotic and piquant mien. She asked me if I had any preferences with her; otherwise, she wished to order me, but she said-she had a very lovely silvery voice-any orders she would give would not be inconsiderate. I said at once that I was at her disposal and that I could imagine concluding such an enchanting evening in no more delightful way than with a beautiful woman as sensitive and capable as she seemed. She kissed me and I caressed her breasts during the kiss. Then she rose, removed her clothes (I had my robe and slippers on) and, as we were on the sofa, she suddenly dangled herself over my knee and asked me to take off one of my slippers and thrash her soundly till both our passions were roused and then to ravish her-to drag her by the hair, fling her down on the bed or the floor as I chose. In short, to tyrannize her. I apologized in advance, but she said rather fiercely she would be most vexed if I were too gentle. So I accepted this challenge. This evening was, needless to say, remarkable in its diversity and broadening of my sexual experiences.”
    “Indeed it must have been, and I admire my darling husband for his vitality in satisfying all those rapacious wenches.”
    “As I've said, normally I'm not at all sadistic in my sexual expression, but I was under an obligation. And having read-as you, my sweet-about women with perverse natures, I was rather curious to see how she would react. I therefore tucked in her waist with my left arm, disengaged my right slipper, hooked my right leg over her lovely black-stockinged legs, and pinioned her effectively so that at once she could do nothing save take what she had asked for, as I was in earnest, to the bitter end.”
    “Is that a pun, Max?” Marcia looked very innocent, eyes wide, lips in a cute curve. He smiled and then shook his head, “A very bad one, only. She murmured, 'Don't spare me-I want to be mastered by you. I've dreamed of it ever since I had such good luck in the lottery. If you like, pretend I have offended you or been naughty, treat me as a father would a naughty little girl-and don't be afraid to hit hard. I want to suffer-it gives me such pleasure when the act of loving follows. Please do it to me.'
    “Under such an appeal I had, I felt, a responsibility. I therefore raised the slipper and descended the flat sole vigorously on the right cheek of her very spacious behind, which was made the more provocative by dint of a wide shadowy cleft between the globes. She stiffened with pleasure. 'Yes, that's it, only harder-keep on-oh, please, only harder.' Such appeal was in her voice that I had to accede. Therefore, I began to spank her with full sweeps of my arm though with lengthy intervals between the blows, alternating on her buttocks from hips to the base, and those soon grew violently red. Her groans, cries, sobs, and interjected phrases roused my lust enormously. I must tell you, I soon found myself falling into the role I had to play by instinct. I laid on the harder as I saw her carnation skinned flesh redden, writhe, and contract and her cries and sobs and broken phrases of delight excited me more and more. She began at about forty strokes to make wild twisting and writhing attempts to get loose, adding to the charm of her beauty a highly suggestive tone. I continued in a fine mettle to the sixtieth blow, at which she feverishly cried for me to have her.
    “Then, casting aside the robe, I shoved her off my knees onto the floor. By now Clarisse and my introducer had come in to watch-as a matter of fact exchanging kisses as they were regarding the highly erotic scene. Casting off my robe, I fell on her, dragged her a few feet and then mounted and possessed her with furious strokes, my hands gripping a breast and a swollen, very warmly inflamed bottom-cheek as I thrust myself home. Her quim, Marcia, dear, as I expect you insist on knowing, was plump and delicious, the lips long but very full and pink and velvety, her fleece not too thick. She at once clamped her pretty legs about mine. Her arms clasped me feverishly and she bit and sucked rather than kissed in her delirium. It was intense, the most frenzied act of sexual intercourse I had ever had to that moment and Lois requited me in full, responding like a nymphomaniac under my plunges, until at the last a mighty spasm seized us.
    “When she recovered, she kissed me passionately, murmuring brokenly that she had never known such joy. I carried her to the bathroom where I put a cold towel and cold cream on her buttocks, which I had treated rather harshly. There was, she said, a little time yet and she asked if I would please her a final time. I at once agreed, though I felt I could hardly accomplish more that evening.”
    “I don't wonder. Even for you that was a Herculean workout, lover,” Marcia breathed.
    She inhaled her cigarette, bent to the tray on the little tabouret before her and then, laying the cigarette down temporarily, plunged her hands to her back, loosened the straps of her bra and let it fall.
    “Marcia-oh-my darling wife. My beautiful wife and sweetheart,” Max breathed passionately. For now his virgin bride was clad in panties, hose, and pumps. Her body from the waist to throat was naked-ivory naked-and her wonderful breasts, like young melons, full jutting out, firm, the nipples very slightly tumescent, very rosy with wide aureoles of a slightly darker hue, exciting breasts with a wonderful soft valley to entice caresses and tongueings and kisses-breasts which yearned for a master's hand to cradle them during the act of love.
    His hands cupped by instinct. He moved to her but she forfended him; she covered those wonderful fruits of pleasure with her soft hands, a smile wreathing her lush mouth, as she murmured, “Not yet, not yet-this is a sort of Tantalus for you, my sweetheart, a reward promised, and when you finish the story you shall taste your reward as much as and as often as-yes, dear, all that you like until you are fully sated with me.”
    “At least, then, a kiss from your sweet mouth, before I go on,” he begged, and this was granted. He controlled himself. Yes, again he knew the delicious Tantalus in keeping his hands from roving those fruits of beauty and feminine splendor and his palms and fingertips tingled with anticipation.
    The kiss was very long and gentle, it flamed to ecstatic heights before it ended and left them both rather breathless.
    “Now quickly, before I let myself be tempted, Max dear,” she murmured.
    “Well, to conclude with Lois, she knelt on the bare floor and bade me span her neck with my bare foot and finally crouching on all fours, she implored me to sodomize her, after restoring my penis to life in a manner I know you can't ever guess.”
    “She sucked it, darling? Or-she rubbed it against her sweet quimie?”
    He breathed erratically at this, his blood boiling. He shook his head. “No, guess again.”
    Marcia pondered. Then she giggled, “She let you rub it against her bottom-hole, then?”
    “Wrong again. I told you you'd never guess. No-on her knees, facing me, she cupped her naked breasts with her hands and enclasped my organ with those lovely mounds, frictioning and rubbing, squeezing till I felt a last vestige of desire rise in me-and I was again ready to do her will.”
    “Oh, what an adorable girl-and to think that she remains a divorcee with all that knowledge of making a man happy in bed.”
    He was no longer amazed by his young wife; she had revealed herself as the most intelligent and responsive young woman whom he had ever known and it was amazing to find such sympathetic temperament in a virgin-a girl who had not ever experienced the male in a body that was so prescient for what it must do to satisfy him.
    “I quite agree with you. She hadn't at all any vulgarity, and even those extremely intimate functions she demanded of me were solicited in the most gentle phrases during the peak of excitement, which you will admit is rather unusual.”
    “Oh-yes-” and her face flushed to the temples, a lovely brown-haired virgin, and she lowered her eyes, “I–I want-to know, really, what you thought about that. If you thought a girl was crude or immoral-if she used-rather crude expressions-when she was being made love to.”
    His eyes widened with ecstatic anticipation. “No, my dear one,” he murmured, “for when two people are closely mated, affectionate lovers, there is nothing that is sordid in their wooing. It is done in privacy and the mutual joy is the only law.”
    “Thank you-thank you-for your lovely way of saying you want me-dearest-I want-I want now, oh, yes, so much more than ever before when I stood beside you in church this afternoon, to be the sort of mistress and lover you've always dreamed of. And that is one reason, I confess, that I asked you to tell me so much of your past, so I can learn for myself, so to speak, of your likes and desires.”
    He kissed her breast and then her hands dropped to her lap and she whispered, blushing deeply, eyes lowered, “If-if you like, now-you-you may caress them all you like, dearest.”
    “No-I've learned from you, too, this night, my darling-to be patient and to prolong our bliss. But if you'll permit it-I'll kiss each lovely globe once-to salute them. Oh they are glorious, Marcia — never have I seen such beautiful, firm ivory breasts as these before. I adore them-and later I shall show you truly just how I worship them.” He had kissed each nipple and the beautiful woman caught her breath sibilantly, her head falling back, her hands clenching while a spasm of desire shook her.
    “There. Now to continue. I shall be very patient. To make a long story short-for it's 11:30 and I've much else to tell you-I sodomized sweet Lois, very satisfactory from her viewpoint, and by dint of cupping one of her breasts and fingering her well developed clitoris, I got her to have a superb orgasm, though I myself had none, having been very much more than handsomely depleted by all these handmaidens to Priapus! We then adjourned to the salon to take leave of one another and I felicitated my host and thanked my lovely procurers for those memorable joys experienced with them.
    “And that, Marcia, was the highlight of my first trip to London.”

2. my second affair

    “What was your next most exciting adventure, darling?”
    “Well, Marcia, that experience had changed my attitude towards woman. I don't mean I'd become overnight a Don Juan, but I do mean, darling, that I'd changed the mental pigmentation of my identity, to coin a phrase. Let's put it this way. I got the impression that women never before discovered so many good points in my general outlook. I tried, therefore, to be more differential, more noticing, toward people and of course, especially, women. That, by the way, is one explanation of how, when I first met you at the soiree given by Mrs. Caswell, I said to myself, 'There is a woman for me,' Marcia, and you've revealed already beyond my highest expectations that you are a woman, all that it implies. I had, you see, enveloped myself in a shimmering cloud, a glory cloud. I felt permeated by a sort of electric energy, and why not? Hadn't I proved myself able to cope with four striking attractive women, each of whom had her own special sexual penchant, each of whom I left satisfied with my behaviour as a man and a gentleman. Ergo, I am aware now, you see, of another world which interpenetrates the world of every day, now at one point, now at another. Now that I am on the alert for its manifestations, I can detect its presence everywhere and comprehend that by entering it I can forget the mundane world with all its boredom. This realization of mine becomes a good deal like a magic carpet, as you've so vividly created the term, on which I am free to travel where my will fancies. You see, it came upon me that, throughout the world, wherever I chanced to travel, now that I had zest and depth enough to recognize these women who were candid in their sensual desires, I could recognize the initiates. Or, by entering the room, let's say, could at once discern three or four women who were waiting for the sign. Not that I'd give it to them necessarily, but it was always there.”
    “I think I understand, darling. And was I such?” She sat back on the loveseat, hands in her lap generously and fearlessly providing him with the glorious sight of her proud ivory twin turrets taut and full and firm, waiting for that sign.
    “Yes-oh, yes-at once, I knew you for my petite mistress-my little sweetheart-from all others apart.”
    “I love you, Max,” she breathed. “I am yours, you know that-wait-wait, and let me prove it as nothing can do. But do go on, it's so thrilling to be like this.”
    “Thank you, my sweet, for your perfect trust, and I too pledge myself body and soul not to dash your hopes. Now, a year's interlude follows and our scene on my magic carpet changes to Berlin.”
    “A German girl this time, eh darling?”
    “Yes-a baroness, no less. I was travelling in style, you see.”
    “Indeed you were. Tell me all about her and light me another cigarette, with a kiss to flavor it, please.”
    He did, then he started: “Well, Marcia, by this time, my business was now nicely founded and I'd gone to Germany in search of pottery, glassware, and Dresdenware. I'd found what I wanted, purchased the stuff, and arranged to have it sent across. Then, I took a two-week holiday in Berlin. After a week, I met an interesting fellow from the German consulate service who spoke flawless English and French and, comparing notes, found that we had a few mutual London friends. After dinner that night he asked me to come make a little speech on American life to a group of wealthy and influential people who gathered regularly-a sort of Union League clique, to put it in an understandable setting.”
    “Yes, I understand, dear.”
    “Well, I made my little speech about the glories of America. I boosted free trade, as I thought politically wise, and after my speech I was congratulated on all sides. I noticed two women standing far back who were apparently waiting for the others to finish with their remarks. One was between thirty-two and thirty-six, on the plump side but with wonderful black eyes and a dark olive complexion and the kind of face, at once voluptuous and classical, that one sees in Italian pictures of the later Renaissance. The other was younger, probably twenty-five. She stayed in the background and I did not have much time to note her particularly.
    “The rather plump lady with the handsome black eyes paid me a number of compliments in excellent English. Then injecting an even stronger note of charm into her smile, she said, 'I am the Baroness-' At the moment, I did not quite catch the name. 'I should have liked to ask you some questions about your country. Would you, if you are staying here in Berlin, find it too great a bore to take tea with me tomorrow at five o'clock?' I hesitated a moment and she added, 'We shall be entirely alone.' This she said with a gleam in her eyes.
    “I told her it would be a privilege for me except that my consulate friend had invited me to the theatre at half past seven, and since we'd have a box I'd have to dress formally. What with changing and eating, I'd have but little time to spare. She retorted with that same air of voluptuous magnificence, as if we were old friends, “That can all be arranged. Put on your evening things before you come. No one will notice if you wear an overcoat in the street, and in my house what will it matter how you are dressed? As to a meal, I'll see that you get enough for your tea to keep you from dying of hunger, and you are sure to go on to supper after the play.' She gave me her card and said she lived only a few minutes from the theatres. I thanked her and promised to be at her home at the hour named. I had a feeling that she wanted to introduce me to her friend but some other people came up just then and monopolized me. The name on the card was Baroness Mina Von Kastein.”
    “Ah, I sense a real international intrigue, Max, darling. You're a wonderful storyteller. I'm on to your real ways and look forward to the days- though not too soon, dear, as you can understand — when you'll tell our children wonderful stories of adventure.”
    And again, Max was as ecstatic over the imaginative loveliness of his young wife's brain as her wonderfully exciting young body, a study in plasticity that she had abandonedly revealed half nude.
    “I'm touched, darling, by that little nuance. Well, to hasten on with it. The next afternoon I dressed in my evening clothes, put on a muffler and overcoat and took a taxi to the address on the card. I'd been imagining many things since that meeting, including an amorous interview. I told myself everything depended on circumstance. If when I went there, I found four or five women in her salon, I'd look forward to an afternoon of literary chitchat. If I did find her alone, all would depend on the attire in which she would choose to receive me, the degree of formality in her manner, the absence or presence of any servants.
    “After all, with a pair of voluptuous and roguish eyes like hers, a man could easily give the wrong interpretation to the affair. However, I say now, my mistake was in submitting myself in advance to a ready-made situation, instead of being able to change it to my own desires. Such a situation, Marcia, is often a woman's way of seeing what value is attached to her, and her ultimate surrender may quite definitely depend on the way one handles it.
    “In short, I reached the house and rang the bell of the apartment indicated. Almost at once the door was opened by a young and quite pleasing maid. She took my overcoat, glancing curiously at my evening clothes, and showed me into a large room where she left me. I saw no more of her until I left. The room was lighted by two windows and housed much fine furniture. In the middle of the floor stood an occasional table with all the paraphernalia of tea and, in addition, sherry, port, and sandwiches. After I'd been there three or four minutes a door opened at the far end and the Baroness entered. I was at once struck by what she was wearing. Her clothing could hardly have been less formal-a housecoat of dark-blueish colored silk, very low cut at the throat, flowing girdle, and a pair of very pretty silver cloth sandals. She had made up her face with great care and even at a distance I detected a whiff of heady perfume. The smile on her lips and in her eyes gave me the feeling she was entirely the mistress of herself. She begged me at first to excuse her for not being up to the level of my evening clothes. 'Between us,' she smiled, 'we strike a happy average.'”
    “Ah, the plot thickens.”
    “It does indeed, Marcia. May I kiss your lovely bare breasts once again, please, sweetheart?”
    Marcia nodded, blushing, closing her eyes. And bending, he kissed each lovely aureole then the buds, and retreated. A tremor shook her, her fingers opened, closed, opened like tapering petals.
    “She took a chair close to the table then, Marcia, and made me sit opposite her at some little distance. Placed thus, she accentuated the provocative nature of her negligee, for that it was! Her bosom, ripe but without the least flaccidity, so far as I could visually determine, was daringly exposed — a good half of the upper curves were naked. That olive satiny skin was, I admit, devilishly intoxicating, and the perfume together with her own captious femininity proved quite devastating. I now see her point in placing me away from her. Had I been next to her I might have seized her at once and so destroyed the illusion she quite obviously wished.”
    “What a master psychologist you became.” “Didn't I? Well, she flexed her arms and moved in her chair during our first chitchat-the least movement of her body produced a series of daring undulations. A harem type of beauty, I thought to myself, or a Wagnerian heroine, only dark. On the whole, very pleasant to look at with a ripe sensual mouth, moist and sensitive, indeed deserving of more than the eyes' tribute. She'd obviously be disappointed, and rightly so, if I were unresponsive to such courtesy. She explained that her rather odd last name was her husband's and Dutch but that she herself came from Berlin. Her husband's family were Huguenots from the south of France. He had left an estate there but her small income prevented her from going very often, though she loved France. And a little later she said, 'Shall we have tea now or would you like to wait a while?' I said I would wait.
    “'Shall we smoke then?' she asked softly, and a gleam of mischief shone in her eyes. She offered me a cigarette and took one herself, raised it to her lips but made no effort to reach for the large box of matches that lay upon the table convenient to her hand. I got up, opened the box, struck a match, and approached the Baroness. She took the proffered light, half closing her eyes as she did so. As she was puffing on her cigarette somewhat pensively, she kept her beautiful long lashes lowered.
    “Then slowly they raised and her luminous dark eyes fixed on me, a half smile lifting the corners of her lips. I bent to her and kissed her quickly. Then, hardly seeming to move my lips, I fused my mouth to hers. She uttered a soft throaty sigh, her free hand came up to touch the back of my neck as if to indulge me freely and she closed her eyes again. I kissed her a third time, a lingering and very persuasive and flattering kiss. She put down her cigarette and leaned back slowly, her hand slipping from my neck to my left hand.
    “This, Marcia, was open invitation. As a representative of America before-shall we say-the German menace, I had a national honor to uphold.”
    “No rationalizing now; you know you found her desirable.”
    “So I did. But here's the continuation. A fourth kiss produced a very passionate result. Her tongue darted like a hummingbird's tongue against my lips, brushed them fleetingly, then withdrew; and that told me all I needed to know. My left arm circled her satiny neck, my right moved down to the naked upper curve of her ripe full breast and she did not deny me, but opened her lips so that I might insert my tongue.
    “After a few minutes of this, she murmured 'Let's make ourselves more comfortable, shall we?' and I drew back to let her rise. She took the lead and I followed her to the sofa. She turned to confront me, tilting her head with that maddening half smile on her ripe red mouth.
    “I came to her; my left arm took measure of her waist, very supple for all her ripeness-understand me, she was not at all stout, but very oriental in beauty-and my right hand undid the flowing sash of the girdle. A few moments more — the almost transparent dress, for all its dark color, had slipped to the floor and she stood naked except for the silver sandals. She wore no stockings. She cupped her breasts gently and, letting her head tilt back, I paid my tribute to those wonderfully big, yet solid and satiny breasts crowned by exceedingly voluptuous dark brown nipples with wide aureoles-after which she turned felinely and lay down on the sofa.
    “Her nakedness once more had become reconciled to its rich and solid contours, Marcia darling, and displayed a massive and exciting beauty which had something in it that was reminiscent of the ideals of the ancient world, of the denizen of the women's apartments in a Greek house. Or, if you prefer, of the harem of a woman's body that is seen as a cushion of living flesh, a melting warmth, a deep darkness of voluptuous delights.
    “She looked up at me, eyes half closed, throat pulse hammering, and murmured vibrantly, 'Take me-now-I'm yours-conquer me. But-keep on your clothes please-if you wish to give me the utmost pleasure-please.'
    “I was startled but understood her-or thought I did. I had removed only my muffler and overcoat, or rather, the maid had taken them. I was about to take off my coat when she shook her head emphatically, tightening her lips, her luminous eyes imploring me. So I unbuttoned the fly of my immaculate trousers and that of my shorts and drew forth my organ, liberating it, already reddened and rigid with desire for her and she said, 'Yes, yes, that's it-now take me-oh-quickly, come to me,' she gasped.
    “I knelt upon the couch, my hands wandering lightly over to her breasts and belly, her staunch elastic olive-satiny thighs, her pudescence-or to be less poetic, her quim-fur-was remarkably thick and prolific-very black, yet downy and soft as the finest silk, extending down to the cleft of her buttocks. Sensing that she preferred an instant conquest to a dalliance, I tried to acquiesce to her mood. I parted her thighs and lowered myself; in a moment was lying upon her, cushioned upon those full ripe breasts, so solid I felt I was being arched up by domes. Solid domes of lovely vibrant warm naked flesh. She moaned, closing her eyes, turning her head to one side. Her fists clenched at her side, she seemed to take an attitude of anguished submission, a submission that, while not defiant, embodied a ravishing clue to her personality. I prodded my organ against that downy fur and she moaned again, 'Yes, yes, I am yours-I submit, master-take me now.' And I thrust without waiting through her thick down to find a pair of petulant plump velvety lips, moist and eager to be pried apart. A moment later I had buried very slowly half of my length down her quim, the convulsive tremoring of which proved her readiness of passion.”
    “Yes, my sweet?”
    “May I lay my head in your lap and drowse while you tell the story?”
    “But-of course, darling.”
    He moved aside to make room for her, and gently she laid her head down on his lap, her hands folded over her bare waist. And with her eyes closed, she whispered, “If it will help inspire you in the storytelling, love, please caress my breasts all you like.”
    “Oh darling,” his hands gently caressing touched those rhythmically swelling naked ivory goblets. She sighed and he resumed, his eyes averted from her lest he forget the past and remember only the present.
    “I began to possess her, slowly and not knowing her temperament in the act. She continued to clench her hands, her thighs abandoned, head thrown back, face contorted with passion and flushed, eyes closed, lashes and nostrils flaring. A little later, her mood of excitement, though not falling below what was to be expected, being not markedly intense and showing no sign of cumulative frenzy, she exclaimed vibrantly, 'Oh, master, hurt me-screw me hard and be brutal, very rough, please crush me, hurt me, pinch me, torture my wicked flesh. It burns for you-please!'
    “I was suddenly at sea. Her request was genuine enough, I know. It was not a sudden whim prompted by desire either, I felt strongly. It was clear to me that from the first moment she had offered herself to me, she had been waiting for an opportunity to say just this. Somewhere deep down within most women, you know, there is a trace of masochism, though so faint it generally fails to be shocking-save for Lois, as you recall-and indeed this trace adds a certain pleasant spice to the sexual act, Marcia. It's probably a throwback to the far distant feudal times. Many women, for instance, adore a few gentle bites, and if they dared to, would ask to have them made not so gentle, were they not afraid of seeming perverse to a male with a lack of finer appreciation for these things. The feeling of being crushed and smothered for quite long periods too is associated with the female's love for masculine mastery. After all, Marcia darling, doesn't the very act of copulation carry with it, for most women, a certain masochistic connotation?
    “I had, of course, a feeling for what is demanded by good manners and this came to my aid. My brutalities lacked conviction. I bit her nipples lightly, I pinched her buttocks, even her bottom hole, and gouged her sides with my elbows. They were little more than pretense for, after all, I had met her but the day before. But no doubt they stimulated her imagination, which did the rest. She flung her head and clenched fists about, arched, twisted, and groaned for joy. A frenzied orgasm followed, taking me by surprise, and I hastened to follow suit, my nails clenched in her bottom cheeks till at last I knew relief.
    “During this lustful session, darling, I encountered a distinct thrill. I do not say I'd prefer masochism throughout a sexual relationship, but my sensibility sympathized with this lovely plump woman. I understood only too well her demands, her unsatisfied desires, and so would have found it perfectly natural and productive of a certain sense of relief to take full advantage of the liberty of action she accorded me. When we were seated again by the table, and while she served tea, the Baroness said, 'You were kind and intelligent, Herr Phillips. It's so difficult to find the right kind of man. I can't stand a mere brainless brute. I ought to have a regular lover, I know, but he'd have to be someone who'd understand and dominate me, someone, that is, of superior type. I see but few people and I can't pick up a lover in the street.' I then asked her why she wished me to retain my clothes. 'Because,' she smiled, 'it gives me the feeling that you are dominating me, raping me, being arrogant and contemptuous of me. You ought to have called me foul names, but I didn't ask you to do that. If you'd been wearing riding clothes, I should have begged you to keep them on, including your boots, especially if those boots had spurs, so you could trample me and spurn me as a naked slave, prostrate before her master.'
    “She had remained naked and continued with a gentle smile, her voice the same, talking of things she found delicious, as simply as if discussing a collection of antiques. Occasionally, she leaned forward and took my hand. And I eyed her body, especially that furry slit. She saw I was looking and admiring it, and said without the least coyness, 'We could go on, but I do not want to make you late for the theatre. I wonder if you'd be free to come at the same time tomorrow or later?' However, I told her, alas, no, I had a trip to Amsterdam to prepare for in a day or so. This wasn't quite true, but I did not want to involve myself too deeply.”
    “Wise man.”
    “When it drew near time for my leave-taking, I asked her to let me tidy up a bit. Like her, I was in rather a mess. She sighed and said she didn't want me in her bathroom, in case I'd run into-here she stopped. 'Your maid?' I asked. 'Yes, not that I need give account of myself to her, and anyhow she's probably got a shrewd suspicion. But I shouldn't like her to see you like this. There's a bureau over there with a glass, if it would do- and in one of the top drawers you'll find eau de cologne, a comb, brush, and some small towels. Come see for yourself, but do drink some port first.' She at once led me over to the bureau. Then she said, with a flash of those lovely black eyes, 'While you are combing your hair, arranging your tie, and all that in front of the glass, please leave me to my own pursuits. Don't take any notice of me. I want to give you one more proof of my devotion and humility.'
    “I thought I saw again in her voice and facial expression, a hint of that roguishness which I thought I'd already found, on more than one occasion, when she wasn't engaged in making pathetic requests to me. For instance, Marcia, when she'd fallen on her knees by the table and played the part of an ecstatic worshipper. I neglected to tell you that: just before she lay on the sofa, she knelt down and kissed my shoes, cupping her breasts and bowing her head, saying, 'I'm yours, you know that-have no fear-take me, master me.'
    “She took out the comb, brush, and eau de cologne. Then rather shyly she said, 'Couldn't you, while I'm doing what I'm doing, call me some bad names?' I told her that I hadn't the least desire to call her bad names-and what for instance? 'Something like filthy bitch, repeated several times, and other worse words only too vile to repeat which would have some bearing on what I soon shall be doing.' I began to make my toilette.
    “She crouched naked at my feet and began to lick my toes and between them and up till she reached my penis, which she cleansed, mouthing and nibbling, passing her voluptuous tongue to and fro along it, and my balls. A few minutes later, I proceeded very slowly I must admit, to put the finishing touches to my hair. No words of the kind she wished had passed my lips, nor indeed did they at all. When I finished and dressed, I took my leave of her. She bade me au revoir. She hoped it would be that-and we were on a level of good friends.”
    “Well-what a remarkable woman. And did you ever see her again?”
    “No-and yet yes, in a way.”
    Marcia's eyes opened, smilingly fixed on his handsome face. Bending down to her, his hands caressed lightly and slowly the rich ripe curves of her ivory bosom.
    “What does that mean?”
    “Well, it was about two years later that I had occasion to go to Berlin on another trip. I had her card and rang her up. There was no answer. I tried an hour later, and this time I heard a woman's voice, but not hers-for hers was quite distinct and I hadn't forgotten it-reply, 'Yes, and who is it?' 'A friend of the Baroness. I happen to be passing through Berlin and wish to speak to her.'
    “'She's not in Berlin.'
    “'Will she be back soon?'
    “'No, she is away for sometime.'
    “'That is terribly disappointing.' My voice, Marcia, must have sounded sincere, for she went on with a greater show of interest:
    “'Are you a friend of hers?'
    “'Yes. I paid a call on her about two years ago. I have just come from Paris and should so much have liked to see her again.'
    “'You aren't Herr Phillips, by any chance?'
    “'Indeed I am, do you know me?'
    “'I was with my aunt at your lecture. I don't suppose you noticed me. Oh, of course, I had a look at you.'”
    “Max, I think another affair of yours is coming to light. Am I right?”

3. my third affair

    “Well, Marcia, I was at loose ends in Berlin, and due for a three-week stay, so my mind began to work subtly and quickly. The niece? Was that the young woman in the background? I hadn't recalled that she was too prepossessing, but she was not repulsive or I'd have recalled. Who knows? Why, she might have been her aunt's pupil. I told her then that I had noticed her, but hadn't been so fortunate as to be introduced to her. I asked if I might come to see her, if she didn't think it would be too bold. She said, 'Certainly. Come, if you would like to.' But that invitation lacked warmth. I said, 'Yes, how about this afternoon about five.' She said, 'Yes, that would be agreeable.' She wasn't too affable, but at least she agreed. So I risked another step forward, Marcia, thus:
    “'If you are doing nothing this evening, and if you won't think it too indiscreet on my part, I'd like to suggest dinner at a restaurant after we have had our talk. Anywhere you like.'
    “'I don't think I can give you an answer now; we'll see about it later,' she said, interspersing her remarks with one or two scarcely perceptible giggles, which I took as a good sign. I added hastily, 'That's arranged, then, I'll be with you at five. Would you tell me if it's the same address?' and here I quoted from my card and she assured me it was, and her soft voice seemed much more friendly.
    “So, Marcia, I took a cab to the address. A young woman opened the door to me. It was, I saw instantly, the niece-rather tall, fairly slim; one of those platinum blondes whose hair lacks lustre. Her features were delicately molded. Her face was alive rather than pretty. Her eyes were a shade too light, but looked intelligent. She showed me into the living room. Everything seemed the same. I recognized the table, the divan, and the door through which the Baroness had entered. The niece, who was very correctly dressed in an afternoon frock, received me with decorum, as if I were a business man.
    “She led me to two armchairs, standing some distance away from the famous table. I took that as a bad sign, but I showed nothing of my mood. We had a self-conscious conversation at first, and I learned that the Baroness had gone to Rotterdam to see relations of her husband. She felt, the niece explained, that political situations in Germany were menacing. She was right, of course-I knew already-and wished to be in a neutral country in case of trouble. She felt her niece could keep the apartment and was paying half the rent. I asked her if she had been living with her aunt before. 'Certainly, I was,' she retorted a bit sharply and seemed to be turning something over in her mind. She bit her lip. Then, 'I was here when you came that day,' gesturing with her chin toward the apartment that lay beyond the doors whence the Baroness had appeared. 'I was pretty angry.'
    “'Were you?' I asked intrigued.
    “She said, Marcia, 'I had been angry before that. She had not introduced me to you after the lecture. On the way home I complained of her negligence. You see, I had a pretty shrewd idea of what was in her mind. She had promised that, the next afternoon, if you mentioned me to her, she would call me. She swore later you had not so much as mentioned a word about me.'
    “I said I had no idea at all that she was living in the apartment. She gave me a mocking look, Marcia, and said, 'You said to yourself, that young woman is an innocent little fool; she's no idea of what has been going on.'
    “I put on as well as I could an innocent look, and said, 'So what?'
    “She replied, 'I know what happened, of course.'
    “'Everything, are you sure?'
    “'I think so,' she said with hardly a hint of provocation, and added, 'You see, Mina and I were great friends-she told me about it afterwards.'
    “I ventured boldly then, Marcia dear, 'And when she'd done that, did you still complain of being neglected?'
    “She shrugged, looked me straight in the face, and said with bravado, 'Mina and I did not have to hide things from each other-or play each other a shabby trick. We were as intimate as women can be.' I told her I regretted my negligence of her. I said, however, that we could make up for lost time, it was not too late, and asked her to come sit on my knee. I asked her name; she came and sat on my knee and, with an assumed air of sulkiness, said 'Erna von Blomberg.'
    “'Well then, Erna, my dear, I confess, since I see I can be perfectly frank with you, I made this appointment today with you with the deliberate intention of repairing the wrong I had involuntarily done you.' She then said that she felt that was clear in our phone chat, but I had to admit truthfully that I had not remembered anything at all about her, so it was not very flattering.”
    “Well, now, and how did you talk yourself out of that, my clever Lothario?” murmured Marcia, her naked breasts swelling vibrantly.
    “I told her, on the contrary, that I did notice her, but since her aunt had not felt like introducing us, I could not guess that she was bored to tears elsewhere in the apartment. And even if I'd known, my interview with her aunt had quickly taken on a-rather confidential nature. She interrupted only to say, 'I know about that.'
    “I said I wanted to stay with her as many charming hours as we could manage but didn't want to disappoint her, as I had promised her a fine dinner. I said didn't she think it would take up a good deal of time that could be better employed? I'd so much rather stay here with her until quite late making love and doing foolish things.
    “'Do you really mean that?' she asked, jiggling up and down on my knees in an excess of gaiety that was far from being assumed. 'But how will you get any dinner, my pet? I've hardly any food up here.'
    “I suggested a delicatessen then that might send up food-caviar, chicken in aspic, a Russian salad, Rhine wine, champagne. She slipped off my knee and said it would be marvelous, she knew just the place, and she rang up. I made the order as generous as possible. We went to the living room. Erna hung around my neck and whispered in my ear like a little girl who can overcome her shyness only through hiding. I admit to being astounded at this fit of sudden modesty: 'If you don't mind, it would be so much fun, so lovely; it is something I've never really had a chance of doing. If you don't mind, we won't start till the food has been delivered. Then, when we are quite sure of not being disturbed-some time past midnight-we'll both undress completely. Would you like that? The apartment is beautifully warm, we shall not be cold. The whole thing will be sort of a party. We'll put on the phonograph. I've some Viennese dance records and we can interrupt dinner as often as we like, just as one leaves one's table in a restaurant to dance. It'll be heavenly.'
    “This idea, Marcia, must evidently have been a dream of long standing with her, often imagined but never realized; she wanted to squeeze out the last possible drop of pleasure, for after exchanging some lovely stinging kisses, which at once told me she had a fertile temperament and was intensely ardent, she murmured, 'We shall have to go and get the things from the kitchen-the food and plates, the drinks from the refrigerator, but we can go as we are-and maybe exchange caresses and nice kisses on the way. It'll be all the more fun doing ordinary things in a state of passionate excitement. As a rule-love-making is such a stale, gloomy affair. People so often behave as though they wanted to be through with a tiresome duty. You must make me drink a lot. You'll see that the drunker I am the nicer I am. If you like, I'll sit at the piano and spread my legs very wide so you can caress me while I play some waltz or adagio-if you wish.”
    “The naughty little trollop.”
    “She was. I assured her I found the proposal enchanting and knew just the sort of excitement she wanted to create. While we waited for the caterer's delivery, I asked her whether she had not, in the Baroness' day, been given an occasional opportunity to hold one of these intimate parties or orgies. She told me 'yes,' and rather scornfully enumerated some of them, saying she did not have a happy memory of them. I asked her, when she was alone with her aunt, how the latter's desire for pain and humiliation showed itself. She said it was odd, but it hardly showed at all. She was always imperious to her niece.
    “When at last the food was delivered, Erna paid the man, brought back my change, and then threw herself into my arms. After some ardent kisses we stripped naked, each helping the other. Then we enjoyed the first course, after which Erna showed me by caressing my penis that she wished attention-and she received it.
    “We lay on the divan, she beneath me, her mouth glued to mine, her hands stroking me, as I teased her by prodding my organ into her love-hair. She had dark blonde quim-fur but not too much, almost as if it had been shaven for the occasion, and her slit was delicate to the extreme, her quim exceptionally tight. I fondled her breasts, which were saucy little pears with tiny dark buds that stiffened and enlarged after a few kisses, such as yours do, dearest, when I caress them.”
    Here Marcia blushed, sighed, put her hands over his, pressed tight against her panting young ivory breasts.
    Her legs crossed, her body quivering, she was like a harp ready to be played by the master artist, only requiring the proper notes to be struck to bring forth glorious music.
    Here he went on, after a moment of love-play, silent and delicious for both: “Erna suggested, after we had attained our first climax-which hadn't taken too long a time-that she would purposely hold back longer the next time, as she wished to savor its every moment I could spend the entire night sleeping and loving her in bed and then we wouldn't have to think of parting. 'We'll just go to bed when we can't stand anymore. Is that not a very good device? Even if you sleep in Mina's bed, I can come and pay you a visit. It'll be as though our little party were still going on. I haven't got any pajamas to lend you, so you will have to sleep naked and I will too, just to keep you company. When we wake up tomorrow we'll be as stark as a couple of angels. I'll leave a note for the charwoman, telling her when to come back.'
    “It was so agreed. Erna had a lovely lithe body. Her bottom was oval, svelte, and very mobile, her thighs long and slender-as were her calves. She had the ability of a young hussy, well-trained and exceptionally passionate, even abandoned. We went back from course to course to exchange caresses. She particularly liked me to wriggle a finger in her tight little bottom-hole while I sucked her nipples. After a dessert of rum cake, she sat on my lap with her back to me and while I fondled her pretty little breasts, I had her from behind. I mean in her quim-she didn't wish to try the other way of love-making except for my finger giving her a postillion while we were locked tight in each other's embrace.
    “I pass over the rest of our amours, my dear, not only because it's late, but because she was impure. Erna was uninhibited and showed me that she was made for love and needed it, but that she was impure. Now here let me interpose my own feelings on the subject of purity, darling, the more propitious because, after all, you do come to me virginal. A virgin of twenty is often purer than she was at twelve. Purity in a young girl is proof against all the ordinary chances of life. But there is a point where this admirable paradox breaks down, there is a moment when this purity ought to melt in the heats of love, in the overwhelming crush of sexual ardor. And I feel that even after my sojourn with the very impure Erna, I could not but feel the more tenderly toward a young woman, untouched and proud as yourself, my darling Marcia, whom I was ordained to meet. I promised myself the happiness of introducing a young woman such as this, should she ever come my way-and she has, tonight-to all, little by little, of the exaltations that life and love have taught me-except those which she-you-would certainly not desire for reasons not of modesty but of personal taste. For I attribute to you an infallible gift of discrimination.”
    “Oh, Max-angel-but go on. Surely there is another trip this magic carpet took?”
    “Yes, three more episodes, only. The last extremely short. I shall take leave of them hurriedly as the lateness of the hour and my desire for you make it quite obvious I can't satisfy myself with words much longer, especially when my fingers are tasting the glory of your beautiful young and hard breasts.”
    “Oh, yes, yes, dear-a glass of champagne and a cigarette, then I promise to be very good-or rather, extremely naughty to make it all up to you.”
    He procured her requests; she sat up, heedless of her fallen negligee or the abandoned bra, half nude, divinely beautiful with that nuance of sweet wantonness.

4. my fourth affair

    “A year later, I went to Warsaw and there in a shop where I did business, I met one day a handsome young brunette whose name was Fanny. The proprietor introduced me to her. She was charming, intelligent, slim, and very feminine in actions and appearance. Unmarried, an orphan I gathered, but an heiress of a large estate in the country. Our conversation led from one little thing to another and I suggested dinner the next evening. She said, faintly enigmatic, 'Tomorrow evening-? No.' Her eyes were black, like Mina's, but very romantic and soft and I pursued my established lead, saying I had to go to Cracow the following day and that I'd send her a wire to set an appointment. She smiled prettily and said she would see to it to be free.
    “Now that elated me, and I set forth to Cracow on my indicated time. I had dinner the evening of my arrival at a large restaurant and found myself seated with a youngish woman, not bad to look at. She was kind of plump and voluptuous, a blond version of the Baroness, with fine eyes of an indeterminate color, but a definitely welcoming expression.
    “I had heard her addressed as Miss by the head-waiter of the very fashionable restaurant, and a few moments later some man came to exchange polite conversation with her en route to his own table. I gathered from their conversation that she was a painter. The very first words out of her mouth indicated a voice of refinement, seriousness, and sensuality. Then I set out, seeing she was alone, to monopolize her attention rather scandalously, introducing myself to her as an American businessman, stating that I knew I was transgressing the morals of the country, but as a stranger was desirous of improving my poor Polish as well as paying tribute to one of the lovelier products of the country. She smiled rather engagingly at this and said I spoke Polish well enough, when it came to that, to exchange views and make myself clear. I asked if I could see her home in a cab. She thanked me for the offer but said it was a lovely evening and asked me to walk instead. Walking along, it was soon that we were holding hands. I gave her some tender squeezes on her forearm. We chatted, very close to each other as we walked. She showed, Marcia, a charming willingness to play her part. She had a delicacy and I didn't throw myself at my lady's head; I felt the code and ceremony of love play bulked high in her imagination. We sat down on a park bench, staying for an hour. It was a circular retreat among the darkened foliage of trees set gleaming by an occasional street lamp and the illusion was perfect. She seemed to be in a romantic element, her very own. We talked about love, but impersonally-though from time to time I kissed her eloquent and very full-ripe cherry-red mouth. We arranged a meeting for the morning at ten. When we met again, I told her I must send a telegram either confirming an engagement or excusing myself from meeting it, and I asked her if I remained in Cracow she would grant me the favor of coming to see me the next afternoon and staying with me for a long time. She asked me where, and I said, 'In the one place I can play host. Where I stay. I should like, if I may, to offer you a little festivity in my room.'
    “She professed to find something shocking, saying, 'What? You ask me to do something to make up for this broken engagement, and come to your rooms for a purpose that would save you making the trip?' I told her gaily, 'You are causing me to be unfaithful.' At long last, with many a teasing remark as to my fidelity not being worth much, she agreed, saying, 'I'd better be quite frank, you are in great danger of being terribly disappointed; I've agreed to be your companion, don't count on anything more.' I told her I'd accept the risk.
    “Well, to summarize, I don't regret the afternoon in Cracow. There is a curious memory left from it, a hint of the anachronistic, Marcia. I had already given my Madeline some kisses and she'd returned them with a yielding warmth. I had held her in my arms, even begun to undress her, but at that point she had become pathetic-for nothing positive showed in her reaction-indeed, she was very restraining, but touching; or let me say, laboring under an obvious distress. 'Please-I can't — I have promised someone.'
    “'A man?' I asked.
    “'Yes, he's far away, he'll be away for much longer too,' she added.
    “She was sitting half undressed on my knees. My hands caressed her breasts and sides very lingeringly and gently, not forcing her in the least. She covered my neck with kisses, which seemed as voluptuous and tender as could be wished, interrupting them only to speak, rather breathlessly and in a sad tone of voice, of a genuine distress of which I could not doubt.
    “'Really, I can't-I've promised.' I had a feeling that here was where action meant more than words-and my hand slipped to her belly, and then thighs-up her petticoat. She wore a bra and petticoat now, besides her panties of a very sheer fine silk. I felt her growing amorously restive on my lap. We did exchange more long and sweet kisses on the lips, and she kept on saying in a tone almost like a mother's gentle reproach, 'Besides all, this sort of thing is bad, the diabolic side of life and love.' She struck me as being a woman, perfectly sophisticated, yet torn between desire to yield fervently to my embraces and terror inspired by a complex scruple.
    “For as she agreed, Marcia, almost without my having to ask her twice, and as something quite natural in the circumstances, to remove the obstacle of which I was complaining-her panties- I left her petticoat to preserve this sweet pathos of hers. She said she was really terribly sorry, it was a pity we men attached such importance to the things. Love was from heaven, but this other thing was the mouth of Hell. I had felt I was conversing with a pure heroine, trembling on the brink of her first adultery. Yet gradually, by dint of kisses and strokings, I led her to the bed, drew up her petticoat and mounted her. Everything went as it should, save that now and then, Madeline-who did not allow me to remove her bra, singularly enough-could not hold back a slight moan, as eloquent as before, of maternal reproach.
    “'Oh, darling, this is being terribly vicious. It's awful, really it is.'
    “After we finished our first essay, we had port and cakes. I lent her a dressing gown so she wouldn't have to resume her clothes too soon. I tried once more to lead her toward the bed, but she resisted and said, 'I can't-really-it is impossible-please.'
    “Her tone was so sincere of regret, I realized how easy it would have been for me to overcome any physical resistance she might have proposed. But I felt it would be an extreme spiritual shock were I to attempt it, and so we parted amicably.

5. my fifth affair

    “Now, Marcia, my magic carpet hastens to Budapest. The day after my arrival, I saw several reporters in the lobby of the hotel. The manager had given my name as an American business traveler and they wished to interview me. One, a young woman, wanted to interview me on behalf of an illustrated magazine. I gave out the usual nonsense and asked her if I might see the text before it was printed. She spoke French as did I. She asked me if I knew Hungarian and I had to say no, perhaps she would be kind enough to translate it. Honestly, I trusted. She smiled, sighed, and said she would bring me a rough draft at five. I bade her come to my room and I added, smiling, 'I trust being alone with a strange man won't make you nervous.' She gave me a full-throated laugh.
    “She arrived very punctually the next day. I sat her down at the little table I used as desk for my correspondence. She translated the text for me, laughing a lot at her mistakes in French and said it did not sound as silly in Hungarian. I was standing next to her as she made notes of my numerous corrections. Sometimes I leaned over her shoulder to watch her work. I did kiss her on the neck. She twitched as if I had tickled her, then laughed and threw me a sidelong glance. She uttered a friendly little sibilant noise which I took to mean, 'Let's get through with the work first.' When we finished, she folded her notes, put them in her bag, and without moving from her chair turned to me with a little questioning laugh. It was a shade nervous, but I assumed this to be part of the game.”
    “What a connoisseur you had become! Oh, and I didn't even know you then.”
    “Yes, I regret it too, dearest. She was rather pretty, brown haired, very fresh looking, extremely gay. She was about twenty-five with a fine robust, though not unfeminine figure, beautiful hard round breasts, and lush hips and thighs.
    “I swung her in my arms, lifted her to her feet, pressed her against me, and I kissed her sensuously several times. She responded with a ripple of mirth.
    “Seeing a bottle of tokay and some cake on the sideboard, which of course I had prepared, Gertrude-that was her Christian name-said, 'Let's have a drink to clear my head,' which was not exactly what she meant, as you can imagine, my darling. She gulped down the two glasses. I fondled her a little and made my intentions perfectly clear. Just as we were approaching a wide divan in the corner of the room, she indicated by a sign that she wanted me to free her arms for a moment. Then, slipping a hand under her skirt, she very dexterously removed a little pair of champagne colored silk panties. Then, after a moment's hesitation, she glanced down at her skirt and said, 'I'd better take the skirt off too, it'll be all crumpled.' 'And how about your other things?' I asked softly, 'Why not take them off as well?' 'We shall do very well as I am,' she said. I felt it better not to insist, though I didn't understand her reluctance. Was she in a hurry or did she wish to avoid the trouble of having to dress again? Perhaps she found a certain thrilling reaction in making love like that; a pornographic novel she had read might have suggested itself to her imagination at this point.
    “A few years past, I had the opportunity to view a private collection of erotica, known as the RCA collection, which consisted of hundreds of rare items and I recalled a theme in one of those books of a similar nature. This detail might have been responsible for giving my conduct a character of haste, totally out of keeping with my usual habits, and I thought it might be lacking in interest to my lovely Gertrude. It was not long, Marcia, before I began to think this might be so although almost from the first moment the young woman gave indications of pleasure and multiplied this evidence so convincingly, it was difficult for me to keep a cool head. Her apparent enjoyment might, of course, have been all a part of her code of good manners, which she was applying with the greatest care because I was, so to speak, a mere casual memory, possibly a one-night stand or, shall we say, a body guest? On the other hand, her seeming excitement might have been sincere though mainly cerebral and nourished by an idea that the roguish young beauty had formed of the situation. When we broke off for some twenty minutes in order to finish the excellent tokay, during which time we exchanged several quiet but exciting caresses, I tried to put into words my gratitude but, to my confusion, my charming visitor hinted that most of the pleasure had really been hers.” “The last spicy adventure, dearest?” “Very nearly, my adorable wanton-” “Then please hurry-” she whispered, “for I think I'm very much in love!”
    “I will-I will-my sweet wanton virgin-my virginal wanton-darling!”
    “I like that name, dearest, I want to be wanton with you-give you all-hold back nothing- so do hurry, dearest!” “Yes, yes, yes, of course.”

6. my sixth affair

    “The last was in Vienna, six months or so later. I had taken a summer trip to Italy and through the Swiss Alps, but no amorous interlude presented itself and I was really in the mood for some love, or rather, the physical love which passes as infatuation and esthetic desire for the beautiful feminine body. I went to the Hotel Imperial where I always stay in Vienna, and was taken by a porter to my room. Another porter was in the lobby with a young woman and I found we were headed for the same floor. The woman had fair good looks, was very appetizing, about thirty or thirty-one, I'd judge, and had good manners.
    She was elegantly dressed, wearing some fine jewelry. She was not too slim but strikingly voluptuous. She spoke to her porter in French with a slight accent, and I took from it she was a Czech or a Yugoslav, or even a Pole. I saw her taken to her room down one corridor while we went down another.
    “Half an hour later, I phoned the porter and said in a confidential tone that I had come up with a young woman who was very pretty and I'd like her room number. He showed a certain hearty complicity so I phoned the woman and told her I'd come up in the elevator with her but that I felt shy and hoped that she wouldn't mind my saying I found her to be ravishing and also, if she wouldn't be angry, I suggested her coming round for a little talk as soon as she was settled. I gave her my room number and then said perhaps she'd prefer me to come to her.
    “She laughed, hesitatingly, not a little surprised. We talked for a few more minutes, I keeping my voice light and ingratiating, to suggest a whimsical caprice on my part, something one did only once in a lifetime. She said in a voice broken by tiny gurgles of laughter, 'All right, then-I'll come to your room in about twenty minutes, but please open the door as soon as I knock-or, I know- I'll phone just before I start so you can leave the door ajar.'
    “The ring came in less than twenty minutes. I half opened my door. A few moments later she slipped into the room wearing a silk dressing gown and mules. She thought, I assumed, if people saw her thus in a large hotel corridor they'd avert their gaze, but I confess I felt touched by her courage in setting just the right note to my suggestion. I felt there'd be no beating about the bush. I told her how sweet it was of her to come and how lovely she was, and began by kissing her lovely hands. Then I took her in my arms. I could see she had on next to nothing under her dressing gown. When I opened it, she stood revealed in no more than a shift, without either panties or bra, and her body smelled of bath salts and of scent. “I said to myself that here was an intelligent woman, with a proper feeling for a situation. She knew that if she had come along prepared to play the part of a woman of the world paying a casual visit with hat, suit and the lot, she would have been bogged down in an adventure in the same old rut. She saw that once she accepted the adventure in the spirit of my offer-and my cynicism left her no doubt about that-she must take a line of utter shamelessness and be prepared for the 'assault direct.' A minute later, stretched out on the divan, we were exchanging the most outrageous caresses. I chose now to omit all the usual transition and prelims; first I had to remove her gown. Cupping her breasts and kissing them through the shift, I carried her to the divan in my arms, trussed the shift, removed my own dressing robe, and mounted her naked, kissing her mouth and breasts and neck while my hands kept caressing her belly and thighs.
    “She seemed prepared to second me quite admirably in this. She understood that my methods were not the results of a natural crudity, but dictated by a sense of style. I found out, during a pause, that she was Austrian living in Paris as the mistress of a rich Austrian banker. As she was about to return to her room, she said, giving me a hug, 'Perhaps we shall meet in Paris and if I'm not alone you can bow to me, but you won't kiss me on the lips, will you, or pinch my bottom as you're doing now?'
    “And there, my love-ends my magic carpet's flight, being back in New York with you, the final woman of my most cherished dreams.”

7. the climax

    “Darling-” Marcia's voice was very soft and muted, quivering with an intensity that enervated him.
    “Yes, my dear one?”
    “Please put out the light. I want you to sit here a moment just thinking about me, and making conjectures whether I'll be as nice for you as all those other lucky ones. I'll be back very soon. I want to get the taste of the cigarettes and champagne out of my mouth. I can't kiss you properly otherwise, you know.”
    “As you wish. Yours to command, mine to obey,” he reached for the lamp cord and tugged it. The room was plunged into darkness.
    He saw her in the shadows, nubile and fluid as a nymph, rise quickly to her feet and hasten silently out of the room.
    He lit a last cigarette. The twinkling pinpoints of light alone illuminated the soft aura of shadows, the atmosphere of desire amid this luxury, the setting of worldly goods and magnificence which was to be their trysting place this night. It was a little past midnight.
    He did not see her return, having closed his eyes. Only the intuition of her presence roused him.
    Then he felt soft hands on his knee and felt softer, long and tapering fingers take gentle hold of the folds of his dressing robe, draw them apart and then slip to the belt of the robe, loosen it.
    “No, don't move, my lover, let me be the priestess of ritual preparation now, please-no, my love.”
    “Yes, yes-” his voice was choked with a great and overwhelming desire for her. Hastily, he crushed out the cigarette, his body shivering, his skin prickled by myriad irradiations.
    Her hands again on his knees, gently, insistently parting them. As if will-less now, he obeyed. Again the fingers took hold of the robe's folds, yawned them, and his male loins were bared to the priestess.
    Pagan now and virgin yearning priestess, who would not be a vestal virgin beyond this hallowed hour. Then he was shaken with ecstasy and torment too sweet to bear and yet too agonizing not to bear at the touch of her elusive soft fingertips that had glided along the insides of his legs, rising from calf to knee, pausing there, thence to lower thigh, tracing a lingering and evocative pattern of response and perception till they reached the apex.
    They were like butterflies, these fingers, so evocative, so delicate and sensitive, that he held his breath for fear he would not savor every nuance they conveyed to him.
    They brushed his navel, made the circles and depth of it, then returned to his knees, his calves, and his ankles-thence to the upper thighs and at last, after an agonizingly Tantalus-ridden pausebrushed the tip of his penis.
    “Marcia-oh-my darling-my sweetheart-”
    “Shhh, don't speak-please, not yet, let me-” she whispered, her voice trailing off, and her fingertips resumed a far more eloquent message.
    She gathered up the head of his hot prong between the middle three fingertips of each slim white hand, pressing them together gradually, then gliding along in delicate friction. He leaned back, hands on the loveseat, giving himself up to an ethereal and sensuous reverie in which, through his titillated brain and senses, the clear sharp memory of feminine flesh, of coquetry, of caresses and words exchanged and kisses taken passed intermittently.
    Then these magical fingertips glided along the shaft, cajoling it and pressing it lightly, never seeming to touch the same surface of over-sensitive skin twice, bringing a varied and yet cumulative league of sensual forces into play over all his being. He felt his very essence summoned up, not imperiously, but in an ecstatic drawn-out etherized sensation, to focus all his life and radiant energy in his male organ. Then, as if divining that their work was done, those lovely tapering fingers took up the caressing of his balls, feeling the crinkly-gnarled sack, brushing the undersides of the scrotum, which they plied with soft wantonness and delicacy impossible to describe, incredible in their summoning forth of vitalized sensation.
    His lips twisted, tensed, and shudder upon shudder rippled his yawning thighs, all his body was relaxed that it might taste every infinite shade of voluptuousness.
    Her fingers suddenly ceased their ardent ministrations; the silence in the great and luxurious salon was torturing yet it fancifully heralded unspeakable joys to come.
    Then her lips brushed his left knee and with the exquisite nibbling of a bee at the corolla of a flower began to traverse his naked thighs.
    His nails drove into his palms; the aura of mystery, of darkness, and of beauty in which he inhaled the smell of her hair, the heavenly odor with which she had adorned her lovely ivory body, enchanted and intrigued him.
    His legs yawned wider of their own volition, to grant her access. Her lips had paused at midthigh then circled around to touch the inside of his leg and her fingers now resumed hold of his penis' head, but with more sagacity than before, more sensual blandishment, for they tickled the circumcisional groove, the tips pressing into the indentation in the sexual flesh that was the weapon of her womanhood, the tool by which her womanhood was to be infinitely achieved.
    Then, quickly to his balls, cupping them up, as if weighing them, determining the potency they bore for her, gauging it and preparing to revere and worship it in this role of priestess.
    Then-again-a pause-a silence.
    And then, he had to suppress a cry of ecstasy and of mad desire. Her lips had brushed the tip of his now surging organ, made it loft in fierce exultance and in proclamation of its male stature.
    And her fingers weaved myriad patterns along his inner thighs till they shuddered and his flesh seemed drawn into the crux of carnal appetite, granted a mystic power far beyond its portent.
    Lightly at first, as if shy and maidenly, as if curious and hesitant, yet latently ardent, those soft moist lips attained him, taught him a new delight, for she was virgin-wanton and wanton virgin in her waking hour. On the head of his rod she placed a series of butterfly kisses, so ecstatic and light as to hardly be felt, yet so cumulative in power that his body was shaken by countless spasms, all of them supercharging him with the knowledge of love's glorious triumph.
    Then suddenly he groaned, her mouth had opened wide and engulfed the head of his rod, his structure delved deep into her sweet warm maiden mouth, tasting the elixirs and the perfumes which, till that moment, no man had ever known. And this, too, was her gift to him, and this her delight to bring him as only she could.
    His fist clenched, head flung back, skin taut and shivering, he writhed in an ecstasy he had never believed could wreak its will upon the male, yet leave him so assured of power.
    And, connoisseur of women as he was, he divined its wonders, learned its very inimitability. This bliss was not the Tantalus accorded by a courtesan or sensualist. It was the wonderful sweet and tender tribute of a maiden who delighted in his pleasure that her own might be the more fulfilled.
    And then her ministrations ceased, leaving him dazed and shaken by the incredible wonder of her presence that was so innocent as to be gloriously wanton, the divine paradox of women.
    She arose from her knees with an enchanting swiftness and suppleness, stood before him and murmured, “Max, come to me.”
    He rose, trembling. The robe fell from his body and he was a naked man, and the root and sacks of immeasurable strength betokened his eagerness and potency.
    She stood before him, arms at her side, head bowed. His hands groped for her in the darkness, found the tresses flowing to her shoulder; thence his fingers tasted the delectable bare velvet of those dimpled curves, so warm and fragrant, firm yet silken-soft, and pulsing under his touch, tipping at his behest and surging at the intimation of his nearness and readiness.
    His hands roamed her, but not hurried-rather in a priest-like worship, as if bestowing on her the mystic and cabalistic benediction. The breasts, fruits of all delight-his hands attained glory in their firm jutting roundness, in their ivory-satined flesh, in the provocative peaks of the nipples that now tumescent rose stiffly to stimulate his own hardness.
    She sensed that for him the proper moment had not come, that this, for him, was also ritual, an appreciation and an approbation of body-offering.
    His hands circled her waist, knew the sweet bare warmth of it, the supple curve and well of it, then the thrilling promontories of ripe, firm, agile hips, the rotundities of her buttocks. His palms passed repeatedly over summits and base, learning by heart the breathtaking descent of fullest bottom-peak into quivering base, thence to thighs that were trembling with a feverish eagerness, as if their owner yearned to learn if she had passed this inspection without being found wanting.
    Then, he knelt; the overpowering urge to worship at her shrine commanded it. Had she not knelt to him?
    And she had purity-the gift supreme-to bring him, yet she knelt to him so he could master her.
    His hands stroked the belly, the life-giving goblet where flowered the seed essence of the male, thence to the silk softness of the lower abdomen, and then his fingers knew the silk growth of her down, of her virgin's pudescence, suave and soft and gentle. Thence to the evasion of the loins, their hollowing-and there found the apex, there the gate, there the fount of her sweet quim-virginity-and his With his palms, he pressed against soft rounded knees, lovely bare knees that quivered with virginal modesty. Never had Marcia shown herself thus to a man and it was the proof of her love that she thus yielded so magnificently.
    Thence he felt her round, sweet, firm young calves and his palms traveled up them to reach the fronts of her lower thigh and then his mouth sought that which his body yearned for.
    The silken down, thick and sweetly fragrant, of her virgin cunt. Her head fell back, one hand rising to her heaving bosom, her legs slightly parted for him, her eyes closed. She too knew the breathless wonder of surrender in the void of darkness that was soon to be brilliantly illuminated with the glow of passion. His lips brushed the tendrils, soft curly ringlets, glossy and crisp at the adorable center like fresh young lettuce, which furnished intangible proof that she was truly a virgin-if proof be needed.
    His tongue crept forth to flicker lightly at the fullest center; then, as if tantalizing her, to depart to the outer fringes of that thicketed tangle, and then again into the very heart of her quim-down, beneath and beyond it, to titillate the petals of her virgin cunt-hole, soft, full velvet petal waiting to be wakened and disposed of at his pleasure.
    Deep, deep, deep into the celestial niche his tongue plied; then she delicately retreated. A sigh as faint as the zephyr emanated from her lips.
    He rose, pulsating with furious ardor, took her in his arms, and his mouth, slowly prolonging the moment of meeting, fused with hers as her naked velvety rounded arms linked round his shoulder. He delighted in her tallness that her body might press him from hip to thigh and sweet belly and breast and meet him readily in complete unison.
    His organ prodded her naked belly, knew the silken torment of her cunt and she moaned so softly, “Yes, yes, now, oh-take me quickly-here — I'm burning for you. Take me-Max, my lover — here, do not wait-take your Marcia, she wants you so terribly-and here-not on the bed-here — darling.”
    Her hands stroked his back and side with insistent adulation.
    He gathered her up in his arms and bore her to the lush low divan, richly upholstered and embroidered, soft as eiderdown, and laid her on it as on an altar.
    Then he knelt upon it beside her, and his hand passed swiftly over her bare thighs, her belly and bosom, till at last a finger delicately probed in her slit to learn, yes-blissful secret-her love-hole was ready, the juices distilled by Venus as lubrication to his entry had been provided.
    “Oh-Max-Max-quickly-oh hurry my lover,” she breathed throatily, arching up beautiful dimpled ivory knees, yawning the gateway to her pussy's paradise.
    Gently his hands placed her legs as he desired. Her head fell back, her hands clenched her panting ripe bosom gourds that throbbed with smouldering ardors.
    Bending his head down, kissing that virgin cunt, he tasted its perfume while his lips were seeking beneath the curly ringlets the petulant soft velvet, moist and palpitating, of her maiden pussy-haven.
    A low gasp of ecstasy was rent from her and he knew her wanton joy. Gently he mounted, laying himself blade foremost upon that altar of flesh and felicity, upon the virgin.
    Now, her hands were drawing his head down that her lips might fiercely bite and sting him with exultant kisses. Her legs yawning and then her knees arched and enfolded him, clasping hard as he found himself upon her ready for the encounter, his penis thrust at the lovely foliage of her slit, his mouth crushing and being crushed in a wild exultance of passion.
    Then he pressed through the furry garden to the lips of her quim. They parted for him, readily; she uttered a soft choking plaint and his organ descended into the chasm of her virginity onward. Oh what mad delight was that warm and narrow velvet-lined channel whose course finitely set his will and pleasure.
    Deep, until half his penis was buried, she disengaged her mouth to murmur, “Lover, forgive your girl-”
    “Why? O my sweet Marcia, why?”
    “I–I-didn't want you to have the bother of a maidenhead. Oh Max-believe me, I'm virgin, yes, but the doctor saw to it you'd not have need to check your pleasure-take me-hard-I'm all yours, all prepared. Use me-I'm your flesh, your desire now. I want it-all, all you gave the others, only more. Oh-I'm dying for you Max-Max- fuck your virgin wife, your naked Marcia-your wanton virgin. Oh, she wants to be a bitch tonight — till you die of joy with her. Take me, fuck meoh don't spare me, give me more than you ever gave them, darling.”
    With a cry of ecstasy, he thrust to his hilt and bladed her pulsating, tightly grooved cunt-hole to his balls, and her legs cast themselves violently around him, like a tigress upon him-her prey- and her arms locked-her mouth pinning-with flaming kisses and tongue-thrustings to hold and capture him tunelessly.
    He felt her sink down into the soft divan, felt his body in complete fusion with her, knew the maddening sting of naked, throbbing woman-flesh merging now with his own, incapable of distinguishing one from the other.
    He lay, imbedded, with his full blade sheathed in her tight warm nipping scabbard and never was a cock more graciously housed.
    Their tongues lashed like whips, engendering suffering too great to be endured by one-both must share it.
    Then, by sharing, the torment became the greater ecstasy. How agile, nimble, firm, and resilient were her naked thighs, which yawned for him to lie between. The firm pressure, heady and intoxicating, of her round velvety naked calves locked his. How like strong vines of the dark mystic jungle were her bare firm arms, pinioning him to crush down those round hillocks of her breasts, which heaved ardently beneath him, their hardened buds scraping his skin with the intimations of her desire.
    Their mouths were sealed, their tongues rimmed and furled incessantly, gliding along teeth and gums and lips. He felt her vaginal sheath contract fiercely, he knew the moment was at hand, and with slow, deliberate calculation that was physical, not cerebral, he drew back from her and she crept up on him, arching up as if reluctant to disperse that mighty scimitar from her throbbing cunt.
    Then, with the knowledge that he had reached the rim of her cunt-chasm, he suspended himself, his body shuddered, and with a mad swift lunge, impaled her to the root.
    “Ahhh-ohh-Max-ohhh-Max-it's so heavenly-ohhh-fuck your Marcia-hard-take her like a naked slave-your bitch-have her-oh I die of my joy. Crush me, my liege lord-my sovereign-ohhh bruise me trample me-it yearns to be yours in subjugation-now-ohhh-pierce me with your lust, my lord-ahhhhh!” she cried.
    Her fingers worked feverishly, digging, prodding, prying, and pinching his armpits, neck, and cheeks, his back and sides, near his anus. His calves were rasped by the fierce excitement of her writhing calves and naked female flesh burned him as for the first maddening glorious time.
    For a lingering moment, tasting her pussy's pulsations, he remained to his balls inside her vaginal cavern; then slowly drew back, scraping the side of the delicate tissued sheath. She moaned and flinched, arching up her writhing warm ivory belly, to beg him to return. Then supporting himself on his elbows and arching up from her, he began to frig-titillate and rasp-scrape the very surfaces of her outer cunt petals.
    “Ohhhhhh, ahhhhhh, ohhhhh, that's wonderful dearest. Oh, my God, I've never felt such pleasure. Ohhhhhh-don't make me come too soon-I want you to fuck me all night long-ahh darling-oh- it's so nice now-but then-in bed-we'll have joy, after you have eased me,” she whispered, biting his ear lobes with her white teeth.
    He buried his lips on one upswelled naked breast-peak, nuzzling for the stiff velvety red bud. He found it and sucked it as if to glean strength for that insensate demand she had just expressed verbally. Indeed, all her body had done this even more eloquently and he continued to rasp against the mouth of her quim, frigging her with the head, sensitizing himself and her.
    Moans, cries, little choking sobs manifested her delight in this. Her palms cupped his cheeks, her head turned restlessly from side to side and her naked legs clenched convulsively throughout that attunement. The master musician was bowing the violin strings and she vibrated.
    Then, without warning, he delved himself back into her up to the balls and she uttered a scream of ecstasy:
    “Ahhhhlihhlihhhhlmohhhhhhh, myyygodddd! Ohhhhhhsooooooogooooood it is for me. Ahh darrrrling-ohhhhhfuck me, fuck me, fuck me hard-”
    Casting hesitance to the four winds now, he assuaged her, his hands gripped her shoulders, his mouth demanded her hungrily.
    He began with violent terse strokes to penetrate her contracting slit; he felt the violent spasms as she learned the transition from virginity to womanhood. She sank her teeth into his shoulder, eyes widely dilated, clouded with the unbearable brunt of passion. Her legs arched, fell, wound tightly round his thighs, now clamped over his sinewy posterior as with digging jabs he sped his blade mightily into her quaking cunt-hole.
    “Ahhh, ohhh-oh-that's glorious. Oh-darling — rape-rape me-fuck your Marcia till she dies of it. Ahhhh-oh it's so good-so heavenly good. Oh my God-harder-more-oh-dig my quim out by the roots. Oh-ram me and-pierce me. Ahhhh-I die of it. Oh I am your naked bitch, beat me-torture me with fucking-force me to all you want. Ahhhhahhhh, anything-oh-ram me-harder-screw out my juices. Oh-oh-I'm yours forever-oh the joy to me. Oh give it to me — hard-ahhhhh-ohhhhh, Max-ahhhhh I feel it in me ready to flow-ahhhhh-ahhhhh hard-errrrrrr make me commmme give it to my pussy- ahhhhhhhhhhh-”
    With a frantic loud cry she leaped up, clamping his manly bottom with her writhing legs, heels digging into his flesh, her belly shuddered, jerked in tumult, her teeth sank into his earlobe to the blood, as with a mighty final thrust he spent himself boiling into her cunt-hole.
    With a cry of agony and joy he finally felt himself bubble forth all of his rooted life, plunged to the depths of her fuck-fathom. He felt the walls of her hot seething love-nook clamp, grind him to dust, and their viscous liquors of lust mingled in carnal compounding.
    Oh, what frenzy, delirious and inchoate, compelled them now. He began to kiss her and stroke her body, murmuring in broken humbled words his tributes.
    “Oh, Marcia, never such joy of a woman-oh was it good for you too, my lovely wanton? Yes, no need to say any more the virgin, but mine, my sweet whore, there to feed my desires, only mine, and so virgin still to the world, but mine, concubine and wanton, naked beauty. What goddess is in your breasts and quim?”
    “And oh, Max-what a god is in your mighty prick. Oh-now-wait here-let me go for a moment to be more beautiful and sweet for you. I need you again and again and again, wait-”
    Here he released her; she rose and bent and kissed his penis, sucking the driblets from it, her own exquisite juices that had flourished; and then she sped from her lover, naked, with hair streaming at her neck and shoulders, to the bathroom, to freshen her naked loins, to apply perfume to be more delicious for an unending night of felicity.
    She returned bearing two glasses of port wine and two lighted cigarettes in her sweet mouth, bending to him, and he took one of the cigarettes and a glass of wine. Then she sat beside him and they drank and smoked silently, for there was no need for words; and when they had finished, with a common subtle awareness of each other's wants, they turned and clasped each other hotly, fiercely, possessively, for what was his was hers, and hers was his completely.
    Their mouths wedded as their bodies had, their tongues merged, gliding, rubbing, tickling, perforating, and the flame of passion was slowly restored. The lambent flame that burns steadily, though less violently, and casts more sensual warmth because of the first tumultuous clash of arms in this tourneying is ended, and now each seeks for a deeper joy.
    Max bowed his head to her naked breasts and cradled his flushed cheek against that velvety shrine. And one hand stroked her inner thigh, which she exquisitely parted for him, a smile of delicious tolerance on her ripe mouth.
    Her hands went to his penis, fondling it, and she murmured very coquettishly and vibrantly, “Darling-I want to be wicked now-very wicked. Tell me, are you full of juices for your little love-slave?”
    “Yes-yes-oh, my darling-being beside you is enough to give me virility enough for a harem.”
    “Braggart. Well I'll test you now, my liege lord. I'll do the commanding and you follow my bidding — the next time you shall dominate your slave- but this once?”
    “All-all you desire, my adorably sweet wife- and lover-all-”
    “Then lie down-on your stomach, Max dear- and do not ask questions or say a single word. Let me do as I wish.”
    He obeyed her, trembling with anticipation.
    She crouched beside him on the wide divan, her hands exploring him, patting, stroking, prodding everywhere; not an inch of his sinewy body did she leave uncaressed. And then, on all fours above him, she began to tongue-bathe him, all of him. Upon reaching his buttocks, she opened them with gentle hands and flicked her warm pink tongue deep-into the crevice.
    “Ahhhhhhhh, oh God-you angel-oh my sweet-my imaginative angel-my wanton.”
    Then he writhed as her tongue delved between the cheeks. He groaned in ecstasy, his nails driving into the lush fabric of the divan. Then she moved to the floor and knelt, murmuring, “Turn on the lamp, my lover.”
    He did, and saw her, eyes luminous and wide with desire, naked breasts swaying and jouncing in their exuberant rhythm of delight, her round ivory buttocks upturned in the most divine salaciousness, and she murmured coyly, “Dear one-you've had two of my maidenheads tonight, now take the last. I want you to-it's my command.”
    With this, bowing her head to the floor, she put her sweet slim hands on her behind, took hold of the velvety globes of her bottom and yawned them to bare the fissure of her secondary love-place.
    “Marcia, oh my sweet, you shameless adorable wanton-yes-yes-yes-”
    He took his place beside her; his hands caressed her upper thighs then squeezed the marvelously full womanly hindquarters abandoned to him, and at the sight his blood grew hot in his veins, his penis stood restored to life and lust.
    She held her buttocks for him and his hands pressed hers in perfect joy, his organ thrust against her ass-hole-voluptuous and plump, shrinking and palpitating.
    “Hard-don't spare my little bottom-hole, Max — oh-Max, Max-I'm so eager to be everything to you.”
    “You are-you are-never shall I need another mistress. Now, my gentle wanton darling-”
    “Yes-ahhhh-yes-hard-hard-give me all of it in my bottom-hole-rip me out with your cruel prick-my sweetheart.”
    “Marcia-my God-my dearest.”
    “Do you like that word when I use it, Max, dearest one? I read those books just for you, no other man would ever hear me say such lovely words-they are our secret.”
    “Yes. Oh Marcia-sweetheart-now get ready!”
    “Ohhhh-it's hard-so hard-and hot-it throbs. My little pussy-hole is afraid-but really wants it-oh so bad. Pierce me through and through till it comes out in my quimmy. Ahhh- ohh I can feel it going in, honey-ohhhhhh Max — ahhhhhhhh-ahahahahahahahah. God, ohhhh, slowly, so I can feel every bit of it-ahhh, darling — ah-my god-oh, my lover-my bottom-hole is being drawn apart-it will surely split-I want it to-do it to me hard-now, is it all in-?”
    “Not yet-oh my darling-is it really nice for my girl-my naked lovely little girl?”
    “Ohhhhhhh-ever so nice-ah-ram it to the balls-ahhh-yes, yes, now, now bottom-fuck me hard and fast-ohhh tear me to pieces-hard- love me-ram me and bugger my bottom-hole- hard-ohhhh-Max-Max-ahhhh-so goodit's so very goooood-you'll never-never knowahhhhh-darrrrlingggggg-aaahhhhhh.”
    He had meant to guide her gently and slowly into the mystic cult dear to the Greeks, but her writhing twists and vibrant moans, her sweet libidinous phrases had undone him, and now halfway in he sank his nails into her naked buttocks and jutted himself violently onwards. He felt his prick decimate her and widen her tight, hot, churning honey-hole channel. He pierced her to his very balls; he felt the wild maddening contractions of her ass-hole, tense against his root; he felt it demand all his balsam and he began to groan, sobbing in delirious bliss to bottom-fuck her with furious erratic stabs.
    Palms pressed now on the floor, head flinging from side to side, hair rumpled, waves falling over her face, eyes wild with ecstasy, mouth twisted and agape, the naked beauty shuddered, quaked, feeling herself the receptacle of Tut. Marcia felt the thrill, as all women with the intrinsic slave complex yearn to feel-yes, even the most proud, the most intelligent.
    “Ahhhhh, oh-god-oh god-oh Max-make me come too-frig my little button-ohhh-frig my clitoris-oh, my little rump-my tickler wants to be frigged-oh bottom-fuck and frig your Marcia hard,” she cried hysterically. His left forefinger slipped between her yawning, quaking thighs-found in the yawning cavern of her moist and quivering cunt-the lodestone of her life, the clitoris, and sped it back and forth. Her cries, her grateful prayers of ecstasy bewitched him. His rammings in and out of her quaking honey-hole grew fiercer, till at last, with a mutually echoing cry of delirium, they attained a mutual climax and sank to the floor, rolling to lie beside each other.
    Their lips met, his left hand substituting for his prick under her bottom, his forefinger probing into that lovely tight, warm crevice and his other hand stroking breasts and pussy, their tongues flickering, while she with both of her white hands plied his diminished organ and sack with gentle persuasive titillations.
    “Now-a last glass of champagne-a last cigarette-and then darling take me to bed with you and use me all night long, just as you like-as a living cushion, a footstool, as whore and slave, a hole to your cock. Wherever you wish to pierce me, take me-” she begged.
    They rose, weak with yearning and half-assuagement, drunk with each other but not yet sated- far from sated!
    They sat on the loveseat, panting and trembling with pleasure, and they savored the bubbling dry wine, the aroma of good tobacco-piquant stimulants to flesh urgencies.
    Then, very gently, he began to kiss her breasts and nuzzle the crests and buds with his palms while she took his penis and tickled and caressed it everywhere with a fingertip, capriciously, yet with a wonderful science-a science the virgin had adapted from her imagination for blissful union with the male she adored. And in another half hour they were again trembling with the trouble- the sweet trouble of ardor anew.
    Arm in arm, they walked to the great bedroom where the canopied bed awaited their trysting.
    “Oh-” she whispered, turning to him in the shadows, her face shadowed with ecstatic presentiments and anticipation. “Oh, I'm so happy with you-the way you first took me-my all-for now-my body stings with love for you-I'm so wide awake and eager to satisfy you. Oh, are you tired of me-yet-do I presume too much of my lover — my strong, sweet lover?”
    He stopped her, turned her, pressed her body against his, his hands molding, kneading her firm buttocks, and his tongue furled with hers while one hand slipped to her pussy and loved it. And hoarsely he said, “Tired? I've got enough to show you how I love you! Now to bed, you greedy wench-and you'll get your due!”
    “Oh, darling, you're so masterful-never-never demand less of me, please, in our married life and we'll be real sweethearts to the end,” she murmured, sealing it with a fierce kiss.
    He then lifted her in his arms and she let her arms dangle. Her head fell back, her dark brown mane floating, and he bent and sucked her nipples, delighting in their flinty hardness.
    “Shall I turn on the light?”
    “Oh, no-in the dark now-I want to be all those women-yes, your new Irma, Gilda-Clarisse-yes, and Lois too, and that Gertrude-and that charming prudish, though so sweet, Madeline — yes and Erna-oh, most of all the wicked little Erna, the scamp who gave you such a wonderful long party. Treat me like her, do everything, everything.”
    Then he maneuvered her to all fours and possessed her dog-fashion, pinching her nipples, squeezing and cupping her breasts until she attained a frenzied orgasm. After a cigarette, they cuddled together, talking in soft murmurs broken by the sounds of kisses, till one last time they fell on each other, but this time she atop and writhing and grinding her nakedness until the last of his juices were hers, forever, on this magic carpet that was the beginning of their marriage.