Free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook. Justine (or The Misfortunes of Virtue) is set just before the French Revolution in France and tells the story of a young woman. Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue - Free download as PDF File .pdf) or read Memoirs of a Voluptuary, Or the Secret Life of an English Boarding School, Justine, or The Misfortunes of Virtue is a novel by Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, A censored English translation of Justine was issued in the US by the Risus Press in the . Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
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Justine by Donatien-Alphonse-Francois de Sade. An early work by the Marquis de Sade "Justine, Or, The Misfortunes of Virtue" The Days of Sodom & Other Writings ebook by Marquis de Sade, . ISBN: ; Language: English; Download options: EPUB 2 (Adobe DRM). Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue (Oxford World's Classics series) by The Marquis de Sade. Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format.
Shall we feel remorse for establishing an exact account which will enable the wise man, who reads with profit and draws the ineffable lesson of submission to the will of Providence, to answer part of his secret stock of unanswered questions and heed the fatal warning that it is often to redirect our steps to the path of duty that Heaven strikes those next to us who best appear to have discharged theirs?
Such are the sentiments which led us to take up our pen, and it is in deference to their unimpeachable sincerity that we ask of our readers a modicum of attention and sympathy for the misfortunes of unhappy, wretched Justine. She had nevertheless been given the finest of educations. At an age which can prove fatal to the virtue of any young woman, she lost everything in a single day.
Cruel bankruptcy brought her father to so ruinous a pass that his only means of escaping the most dreadful fate was to flee in haste to England, leaving his daughters in the care of his wife who died of grief within the space of one week after his departure. The one or two relatives who remained deiiberated on what was to be done with the girls. Mine de Lorsange, then known as Juliette, was already to all intents and purposes as mature in character and mind as she was to be at 30, which was her age at the time we tell this story.
She seemed alive only to the sensation of being free and did not pause for a moment to reflect upon the cruel reverses which had snapped the chains which had bound her. A virginal air, large, engaging blue eyes, dazzling skin, a slender, well- shaped figure, a voice to move the heart, teeth of ivory, and beautiful fair hair—so much, in outline sketch, for the younger sister whose simple grace and delightful expression were of too fine, too delicate a stamp not to elude the brush which would capture them entire.
She told her she was a foolish girl and said that given their ages and pretty faces, it was unheard of for girls to starve to death. Justine was horrified by this pernicious example. She said she would die rather than follow her lead and categorically refused to share a lodging with her sister Juliette once she saw that she had set her mind on the kind of abominable life she had commended so warmly.
And so the moment it was clear that their intentions were so different, the sisters went their separate ways, making no promises to meet again.
Would Juliette, who, she claimed, would 1 One of seven Ionian islands which, in Greek mythology, was sacred to Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. In the imagery of 18th-century French gallantry, Cythera stood for sexual licence. And for her part would Justine put her moral purity at risk by associating with a perverse creature who would surely be a victim of lewdness and public debauchery?
And so each made provision for their money to be paid and left the convent the next day as arranged.
This woman loved me once. Why then does she turn me away now? Because, alas, I am an orphan and penniless, because I no longer have means to call on and because people are valued only in terms of the help or profit that may be got out of them.
But the charitable churchman answered ambiguously, saying that the parish was overburdened and that it was not possible for her to receive a portion of the poor-box, but that if she were prepared to work for him he would gladly give her lodging in his house. Too little time has gone by since my station in life was far above the lowly circumstances in which such favours have to be begged for, for me to be reduced to soliciting them now!
I asked you for the guidance I need in my youth and misfortune, and you would have me purchase it with a crime. Justine, twice spurned on the very day she was sentenced to a life of isolation, entered a house with a notice in the window, took a small furnished room which she paid for in advance, and was now at least table to surrender undisturbed to the mortification engendered by her circumstances and the cruelty of the few people to whom her unlucky star had led her.
The reader will allow us to leave her in her dark coop for a while and return to Juliette so that we may tell as briefly as possible how, from her unremarkable beginnings on leaving the convent, she became within the space of fifteen years a lady possessing a title, an income of 30, livres, gorgeous jewels, two or three houses in Paris and in the country, plus, for the time being, the heart, purse, and confidence of Monsieur de Corville, a Councillor of State, a man enjoying the highest credit and poised to become a Minister of the Crown.
Her path had been thorny. Of this there can be no doubt: it is only by serving the most shameful, bitter apprenticeship that girls of her sort make their way.
The woman who today occupies the bed of a prince may well still bear upon her person the humiliating marks of the brutality of the depraved libertines into whose hands she was thrown by her tentative first steps, her youth, and her inexperience.
On leaving the convent, Juliette had promptly gone off in search of a woman she had heard mentioned by her friend, the former neighbour who had taken to debauchery. She had kept the address and appeared shamelessly on the doorstep with her bundle under her arm, her plain dress in disarray and with the prettiest face that ever was and the air of one who was only too willing to learn. She told her story to the woman and pleaded with her to grant her the same protection that she had bestowed on her friend a few years earlier.
I shall need proof. Follow my advice strictly, be accommodating in observing my rules, be clean and thrifty, behave candidly with me, courteously with your companions and deceitfully with men, and under my direction you shall be in a position a few years hence to withdraw from this place to a room of your own with a chest for your clothes, a pier-glass, and a maid, and the art which you acquire in my house will provide you with the means of procuring the rest.
Once this sermon was done, the newcomer was presented to her companions, she was shown to her chamber in the house and the very next day her virginity was put up for sale. Within a space of four months, the same merchandise was sold in turn to eighty persons who each paid as though for unused goods, and it was only at the expiry of her thorny novitiate that Juliette was granted entry to the sisterhood.
From that moment on, she was truly acknowledged as a full daughter of the nunnery and bore her share of its lewd and exhausting labours—in effect a further novitiate. She felt that since she was made for crime, then at the very least she should set her sights on the highest peak and refuse to languish in her present lowly condition which required her to commit the same foul acts and be no less degraded, but brought her nothing like the same profit.
She managed to beguile him into keeping her in the most opulent manner and at last she began to be seen in theatres and in the fashionable walks on an equal footing with the luminaries of the Order of Cythera. It was enough to make her reputation. Such is the blindness of people nowadays that the more impure one of these unfortunates shows herself to be, the keener they are to be on her list.
It is as though the depth of her depravity and corruption is the only yardstick by which the feelings which they lavish so shamelessly on her in public are to be measured.
Juliette had just turned 20 when a certain Count de Lorsange, a nobleman from the province of Anjou aged about 40, became so smitten with her that he resolved upon making her his wife since he had not fortune enough to keep her as his mistress.
He made over an income of 12, livres to her, and arranged that the remainder of his fortune, a further 8,ooo, would be hers should he die before she did; he gave her a house, servants, and a retinue and conferred on her a degree of respectability in society which ensured that within two or three years her beginnings were forgotten. She conceived her plan and, regrettably, executed it with such stealth that she was able both to elude the arm of the law and to bury all traces of her abominable crime along with her hindrance of a husband.
Once more in possession of her freedom and now a Countess, Madame de Lorsange took up her old habits, but thinking that she cut some figure in the world, she put a measure of decency into her proceedings. She was no longer a kept woman but a rich widow who gave gay supper- parties to which the ornaments of town and court were only too happy to be admitted—yet she could be bedded for louis and bought for a month.
To these horrors, Madame de Lorsange added two or three infanticides: considerations of all kinds—fear of spoiling her pretty figure or a need to safeguard twin amours running in tandem—led her to resort on several occasions to abortion.
These crimes, like the others, went undetected and did nothing to prevent this scheming and ambitious woman from finding new dupes daily and swelling her fortune at every turn as her crimes accumulated. It is regrettably only too true that prosperity may accompany crime and that even in the most freely embraced state of depravity and corruption the thread of life may be gilded by what men call happiness.
But let not this cruel and unavoidable reality be a cause for dismay. Let not the truth of which we shall presently furnish an example that it is on the contrary vice which everywhere pursues and attacks virtue, trouble the hearts of honest, decent persons. The prosperity of crime is more apparent than real. Independently of Providence which of necessity punishes his ostensible success, a guilty man harbours in the recesses of his heart a worm which gnaws at him unceasingly, makes it impossible for him to bask in the felicity which bathes his existence, and leaves him instead with only the grievous memory of the crimes by which he came by it.
The affairs of Madame de Lorsange had reached this pitch when Monsieur de Corville who, at 50, enjoyed the credit which we have already mentioned, resolved to devote himself entirely to her and to keep her for himself alone. What with thoughtfulness or attentions on his part and discretion on hers, he had succeeded and had been living with her for four years together on exactly the same footing as if she were his legally married wife, when a superb estate which he had just bought for her near Montargis prompted in both the desire to spend a few months of the summer there.
One June evening, the fine weather tempted them to push on by foot as far as the town and, feeling too weary to return in the manner in which they had come, they entered the inn which serves as a staging-post for the Lyons coach, thinking to send a rider thence to fetch them a carriage from their chateau. They were resting in a cool, low-ceilinged room which looked out on to the courtyard when the coach we have mentioned drove in.
Observing travellers is a natural pastime; anyone with an idle moment to spare will gladly occupy it in this way when the occasion arises. Madame de Lorsange stood up, her lover did likewise, and both watched as the passengers entered the inn. At a cry of horror and astonishment which escaped from Madame de Lorsange, the young woman turned, revealing features so sweet and delicate and so fine and shapely a figure that Monsieur de Corville and his mistress could not restrain a desire to intervene on behalf of so wretched a creature.
Monsieur de Corville approached and asked one of the constables what the unhappy creature had done. Where were the crimes committed? She was tried at Lyons and is on her way to Paris for confirmation of sentence. Monsieur de Corville, sharing her wish, spoke of it to her escort and made himself known. They raised no objection. Madame de Lorsange and Monsieur de Corville now resolved to spend the night at Montargis and asked to be given a suitable apartment with an adjacent room for the constables.
Monsieur de Corville took full responsibility for the prisoner.
Her hands were untied and she was shown into the room of Madame de Lorsange and Monsieur de Corville. Her guards dined and went to bed in the adjoining chamber. To tell it would be to accuse Providence and complain of its workings. It would be a sin of a kind and I cannot bring myself to Tears then streamed from the eyes of the unfortunate young woman, but after letting them flow freely for a moment, she began her story in these terms.
With your leave, I shall withhold my name. I come of a family which, though undistinguished, Madame, was respectable, and I was not born to the mortifications which have been the source of the larger part of my misfortunes. I lost both my parents when very young. With the modest means they left at my disposal, I had thought to obtain an honest situation, but constantly rejecting offers which were far from honest, I exhausted my small inheritance more quickly than I realized.
The poorer I grew, the more reviled I was.
The more I stood in need of help, the smaller grew my hopes of finding it or the more frequently was it held out to me in unworthy and shameful forms.
Of all the hardships which I endured in my distressed condition, of all the horrid propositions that were made to me, I shall mention only what befell me in the house of Monsieur Dubourg, one of the richest merchants in the capital. I had been directed to him as the kind of man whose wealth and credit were most suited and best able to alleviate my fate.
After waiting two hours in his antechamber, I was shown into his presence. Monsieur Dubourg, who was about 45 years of age, had just risen from his bed and was wearing a loose-fitting robe which barely covered his state of undress.
Being about to have his peruke arranged upon his head, he dismissed his valet and asked me what I wanted. After listening to me most attentively, Monsieur Dubourg asked me if I had always been a good girl. But I ask only to be of service. You are neither old enough nor sufficiently presentable for me to find you a position as you ask. But if you were to adopt a less ludicrously strict attitude, you might aspire to a modest future in any libertine circle.
And it is in that direction that you had now best move. The virtue of which you make so much serves no useful purpose in the real world. Those of us who actually dole out charity, which is something we do as little as possible and then only with the greatest reluctance, want to be compensated for the money which is taken out of our pockets. Now, what can a little girl like you do to repay the help she receives, if not to agree to whatever is asked of her?
The mania for obliging others without asking anything in return is now a thing of the past. But since there is nothing so illusory and so quickly dispelled as pleasure, people have begun demanding more palpable gratifications. They felt that in the case of a girl like yourself, for example, it was far more worth while to take a return on the moneys advanced in the form of the pleasures afforded by libertinage than to take pride in having acted charitably.
The reputation of a liberal, charitable, generous man is, to my way of thinking, as nothing compared to the smallest hint of the pleasure you could give me. In consideration of which—and here my views are those of almost everyone of my tastes and age—you will understand, child, that any help I give you will be proportionate to your agreeing to do whatever it pleases me to ask of you.
Do you imagine that Heaven will not punish you for your callousness? Whether what we do on earth pleases Heaven or not is the last thing which gives us pause. Being only too aware of how little power Heaven has over men, we defy it daily without a qualm. France has more subjects than it needs.
The Government sees everything in broad terms and is not overly concerned with individuals provided that the machinery runs smoothly overall. But enough of politics which you cannot possibly understand. Why do you complain of your fate when you could so easily change it? But let us leave aside this question too and simply keep to what concerns us both at this juncture.
The duties which I should expect of you, and for which you will be reasonably, but not excessively paid, will be of a quite different order. You will answer to her and each morning, in my presence, either this woman or my valet will subject you to. I was too humiliated to take it in as it was being made, and my head spun, so to speak, as the words were said. Being too ashamed to repeat them now, I beg you to be good enough to imagine the rest.
The cruel man spoke the names of high-ranking churchmen and I was to be their victim. You are now At 16 you will be free to seek your fortune elsewhere. Until then, you will be clothed and fed and will receive one louis each month. It is a very fair offer: I have not been giving as much to the girl you will replace.
Think it over carefully, pay special attention to the poverty from which I should save you, and reflect that in this unjust society of which you are part, those who do not have enough to live on must suffer if they are to earn enough to get by.
Like them you will suffer too, I grant, but you will earn far more than the vast majority of them. He seized me by the collar of my dress and told me that on this first occasion he himself would show me what was involved.
You are not worthy of the wealth which you abuse so vilely, nor even of the air you breathe in a world made foul by your brutal ways. I was returning dejectedly to my lodging plunged into the black, depressing thoughts to which the cruelty and corruption of men inevitably give rise, when my eye seemed for a moment to catch a glimpse of fair weather. The woman with whom I lodged was acquainted with my distress. She now came up to me and said that she had at last discovered a house where I would be gladly received, provided my behaviour was beyond reproach.
I accept most gladly! He lived in a first-floor apartment in the rue Quincampoix with an aged mistress he called his wife who was as least as spiteful as he. If ever even the tenth part of a denier should find its way into your pocket, I shall have you hanged, do you hear Sophie?
If my wife and I enjoy a few comforts in our old age, they are the fruit of our unending labours and extreme abstemiousness. Do you eat a great deal, my child? Good God! Soup is something we hardly ever make, just once, on Sundays, and we have been working like Turks these forty years. We do not require much in the way of attendance and there is no servant but you. Not only was there infinitely more work than my age and strength allowed me to undertake, but would I be able to live on what I had been offered?
I took care, however, to avoid making difficulties and moved in that same evening. But a calamity so terrible in its consequences for me stood waiting at the finish of my second year there that it is with no little difficulty, when I think back, that I now bring myself to relate a few humorous details before telling you of the setback I mentioned.
So let me say, Madame, that no lights were ever lit in that house. Fortunately, the apartment of my master and mistress looked on to the street lamp outside and this freed them of the need to have any other glim: no lamp of any other kind served to light them to bed.
They made no use of linen. No wine was served, water being, as Madame Du Harpin held, the natural drink of the first men on earth and the only drink prescribed by Nature.
Whenever bread was cut, a basket was placed beneath to catch the crumbs that fell, and to them anything left over from meals was carefully added, the whole being fried together on Sundays with a little rancid butter, this constituting festive fare for the day of rest. Clothes and upholstery were not to be beaten, for fear of wearing them out, but were to be lightly switched with a feather duster. The shoes worn by my master and mistress were bottomed with iron, and both husband and wife still clung reverently to the footwear which had served them on their wedding-day.
But there was one practice, odder still by far, which I was required to follow regularly once a week. But would to God that these shameful practices were the only ones to which these dreadful people subscribed. Living on the floor above was a gentleman with a decent competency, being possessed of rather fine jewels.
I dare swear that with two more movements you'd have the impudence to spit at me He takes the youth's two hands, he clutches them tight, and offers himself entirely to the altar at which his fury would perform a sacrifice.
He opens it, his kisses roam over it, his tongue drives deep into it, is lost in it. Drunk with love and ferocity, Rodin mingles the expressions and sentiments of each A little girl of thirteen is the boy's successor, and she is followed by another youth who is in turn abandoned for a girl; Rodin whips nine: five boys, four girls; the last is a lad of fourteen, endowed with a delicious countenance: Rodin wishes to amuse himself, the pupil resists; out of his mind with lust, he beats him, and the villain, losing all control of himself, hurls his flame's scummy jets upon his young charge's injured parts, he wets him from waist to heels; enraged at not having had strength enough to hold himself in check until the end, our corrector releases the child very testily, and after warning him against such tricks in the future, he sends him back to the class: such are the words I heard, those the scenes which I witnessed.
How can one find pleasure in the torments one inflicts? Listen," she said, leading me back into her room, "what you have seen has perhaps enabled you to understand that when my father discovers some aptitudes in his young pupils, he carries his horrors much further, he abuses the girls in the same manner he deals with the boys. Of the fourteen girls you have seen, eight have already been spoiled by these methods, and he has taken his pleasure with nine of the boys; the two women who serve him are submitted to the same horrors O Therese!
I was unable to defend myself against him. The little he had said pertaining to these matters had been motivated by the fear that my ignorance might betray his impiety. But I had never been to confession, I had not made my First Communion; so deftly did he cover all these things with ridicule and insinuate his poisonous self into even our smallest ideas, that he banished forever all their duties out of them whom he suborned; or if they are compelled by their families to fulfill their religious duties, they do so with such tepidness, with such complete indifference, that he has nothing to fear from their indiscretion; but convince yourself, Therese, let your own eyes persuade you," she continued, very quickly drawing me back into the closet whence we had emerged; "come hither: that room where he chastises his students is the same wherein he enjoys us; the lessons are over now, it is the hour when, warmed by the preliminaries, he is going to compensate himself for the restraint his prudence sometimes imposes upon him; go back to where you were, dear girl, and with your own eyes behold it all.
And so I took my place; scarcely was I at it when Rodin enters his daughter's room, he leads her into the other, the two women of the house arrive; and thereupon the impudicious Rodin, all restraints upon his behavior removed, free to indulge his fancies to the full, gives himself over in a leisurely fashion and undisguisedly to committing all the irregularities of debauchery. The two peasants, completely nude, are flogged with exceeding violence; while he plies his whip upon the one the other pays him back in kind, and during the intervals when he pauses for rest, he smothers with the most uninhibited, the most disgusting caresses, the same altar in Rosalie who, elevated upon an armchair, slightly bent over, presents it to him; at last, there comes this poor creature's turn: Rodin ties her to the stake as he tied his scholars, and while one after another and sometimes both at once his domestics flay him, he beats his daughter, lashes her from her ribs to her knees, utterly transported by pleasure.
His agitation is extreme: he shouts, he blasphemes, he flagellates: his thongs bite deep everywhere, and wherever they fall, there immediately he presses his lips. Both the interior of the altar and his victim's mouth Rodin sat down to dine; after such exploits he was in need of restoratives. That afternoon there were more lessons and further corrections, I could have observed new scenes had I desired, but I had seen enough to convince myself and to settle upon a reply to make to this villain's offers.
The time for giving it approached. Two days after the events I have described, he himself came to my room to ask for it. He surprised me in bed. By employing the excuse of looking to see whether any traces of my wounds remained, he obtained the right, which I was unable to dispute, of performing an examination upon me, naked, and as he had done the same thing twice a day for a month and had never given any offense to my modesty I did not think myself able to resist. But this time Rodin had other plans; when he reaches the object of his worship, he locks his thighs about my waist and squeezes with such force that I find myself, so to speak, quite defenseless.
Yes, this will do, merely this, here is my recompense, I never demand anything else from women What roundness, fullness! Oh my! I absolutely must put this to use