Drinking with Thine Enemies

10 February 199-
from the Château de _______
to the Marquise de Merlot et son Entourage

la Première Partie


Greetings my sardonic and audacious companions of the Grand Monde!

I dutifully script this recent epistle in an endeavor to whimsically titillate and succor your wickedly clever natures, as well as contribute a spot of deviant entertainment. During the hectic months past there presented on a particular Sunday evening, before your beloved, brooding Melusine (along with her shadowy escort, Prince Noir), a bevy -- nay nay -- an array, a veritable panoply of luscious scandalous occurrences, the most scrumptious of which beseeches -- nay nay -- BEGS to be imparted a la Dangerous Liaisons correspondence!

The Prince and I, having dined richly and then donning evening attire, commenced our jaunt to a concert engagement at Salon Du ____. As we strolled nonchalantly through the crisp evening air, nothing struck us amiss in the tenor of the evening, nor were we bombarded with any symbolic happenstance to alert us to possible emotional calumny looming before us.

Indeed, other than the Prince expressing a slight torpidity due to his indulging in a bit of charming gluttony, we anticipated an evening of sipping sparkling beverages, mutual bemused commentary on the inept cavorting of the lesser classes, and perhaps observing with dispassionate aplomb the maladroit yet vociferously conspicuous theatrical posturing on the part of a certain Mlle. Pantye Shield whose Amour du Jour was said to be presenting entertainment tonight.

We were not disappointed. Indeed, our platter was verily replete.

So to speak.

As it were.

To resume without too discursive a pause: As you must be apprised by now, Mlle. Pantye Shield (having been unloaded by the relieved yet amiable Comte d'Marionette), segued with alarming rapidity to an amorous [sic] liaison and subsequent (within a mere three simulated orgasms no doubt) engagement to a Mssr. Bibelot.

An abbreviated summary of this liaison's begetting goes thus: After sedulously enduring a number of years of unrequited love and yearning for Mlle. Pantye Shield (and once she had been deposited quite finally outside the Comte d'Marionette's embraces), Mssr. Bibelot found himself suddenly on the receiving end of Mlle. Pantye Shield's womanly passion and heart-touching devotion. After a few moments (some say months, but who is really keeping track of time), he became thoroughly beguiled and entered into this expeditious yet formal engagement.

Mssr. Bibelot was encouraged no doubt by Mlle. Pantye Shield's cacophonous (and renowned, if one does one's societal homework) avowals as to his carnal finesse. And I ask each of you, what man does not ache to suppose he personally has unlocked the freezer door, defrosted the ice and enkindled the fiery blossoming of orgasmic sensation in his shy, unsullied sweetheart? (Long-standing obloquy, however, reveals that Mlle. Pantye Shield has experienced her "first orgasm" a myriad of times and with a multitude of gullible paramours.)

But I digress.

Mssr. Bibelot is a delightful lad and one hopes his heart remains unscathed throughout this breathlessly achieved liaison with Mlle. Pantye Shield. As we all know, the Mlle.'s past is copiously littered with emasculated Mssrs., sexually-thwarted Chevaliers, certain bewitched Dukes, secretive married upper clansmen, relieved Comtes, and in this Season, a hydrophobically enraged Comtesse Nyquolytt -- Mon Dieu! I get ahead of myself! I must return to the Salon now that the historical groundwork for my tale has been duly implemented!

The Salon was vexatiously crowded, and having been hampered from procuring our customary table by an efficiently swooping Mlle. Pantye Shield and her entourage of drooling handmaidens and obsequious male escorts, the Prince and I elected to sit in the upper berth adjacent to the ballroom floor where there was a cumbersome square pillar directly inhibiting our view of centre stage. With flawless stupidity, Mlle. Pantye Shield had compelled us to seek an area where we would have to exert effort in order to view her stage performance, and when not on stage, her melodramatic social antics. (She is usually so careful to make certain all can see and hear her -- the dreary tactic of a Social thespian and not at all conducive to gracious social dignity.) In any event, effort exertion was not in our blueprint for the evening, so we opted instead for distorted glances with which to nurture our caustic back and forth narrative.

The eventide advanced with entertainment provided by Mssr. Bibelot's ensemble of musicians, as well as surprisingly adept crooning by Mlle. Pantye Shield. Her stage presence was moderately awkward but her delivery was pleasing, and although she is working with music and songs proven to be a delight to the ear, the very fact that she does not dissonantly annihilate these sultry ballads is enough to credit her with some talent.

(The recent scandal whispering through Society of late is that Mlle. Pantye Shield has been imbibing quite lavishly in alcoholic concoctions before reaching the stage. Apparently this is to assist in lessening her awkward mannerisms and frigid stage presence -- however, it appears to be a Catch-22, as this pickling of her performance is rumored to be rendering her vocal technique rather slattern-like -- thus, the whispering behind fans and programmes allude to her presence as a tipsy and quaint decoration as opposed to a well-toned songstress.)

Traipsing ever forward: After another trepiditious ballad by Mlle. Pantye Shield, the dapper Comte d'Marionette appeared suddenly at her side and began escorting her out of the ballroom, with the Comte speaking solemnly into the Mlle.'s ear. As they progressed to the outer antechamber, I noticed the expression on Mlle. Pantye Shield's countenance was one of constipated displeasure. With her brow furrowed, her lips pressed tightly together as though epoxyed shut, a supercilious bearing to her carriage, and a harpy-like grip upon the arm of Comte d'Marionette, the Mlle. sauntered out of immediate view.

Alas! If I had but followed my perspicacious intuition, I might have been audience to a piquant incident which was related to Prince Noir and myself post-incident by the Comtesse Nyquolytt.

To recommence with my narrative, Much later that evening as Prince Noir and I twisted our way through the remaining carousing patrons of the Salon, who should I espy garbed splendidly in the attire of a gentleman, loquaciously conversing in heated manner with one of the garcons of the Salon? The Comtesse Nyquolytt!

I greeted her with a flourish of social exuberance but before my next breath was exhaled, and preempting commencement of frivolous chatting, the Comtesse Nyquolytt launched into an astonishingly vengeful monologue, effusively describing how the Mlle. Pantye Shield had achieved the banishment of the Comtesse and her entourage from the Salon!

Mon Dieu! As you all must certainly surmise, the Prince and I were absolutely mesmerized by the euphoric realization that we were in the presence of a fabulous scandal-in-progress, running veritably amok with intricate ignominy. We awaited each slanderous statement from Comtesse Nyquolytt like hypnotized morphine addicts watching the purest powder being measured out sans additives!

In short stead, however, the Comtesse amended her earlier outburst to restate that in actuality it had been a certain of her convoy who had been ejected: the burly, cantankerous Baroness Louve and her submissive and tremulous husband, the Baron Huissier. The Comtesse Nyquolytt was incredibly rabid over this nasty and presumptuous intrusion by the Mlle. Pantye Shield into her Salon soiree, and, assisted I am sure by a lavish dose of amphetamines, was reciting to the Prince and I in excruciating detail her thoughts, feelings, thoughts, feelings, and thoughts and of course her feelings on this malicious gesture by Mlle. Pantye Shield. The Comtesse Nyquolytt regaled the Prince and I with variations on this tale of social cruelty, each recitation differing only by her selection of profanity and usage of quaintly foul jargon peculiar to those who labor on shipping docks or in the janitorial strata of society.

In essence my dear companions, the Comtesse Nyquolytt's famous facade of genteel Victorian damsel was usurped by a crudity of character so spectacularly exhibited that one could have mistaken her for a charwoman, raging serving wench, jilted whore or irate stevedore. It brings quite a fascinating picture to mind, does it not?

Regretfully, the Prince and I felt our bodies clamoring for rest, and resignedly we chose to depart. You cannot imagine how I longed to perch like tiny dark vulture in a cozy corner of the Salon to watch as the Mlle. Pantye Shield either left the Salon for the evening, or slid toward the powder room for freshening up, not knowing that the Comtesse Nyquolytt lurked just around the bend, pacing agitatedly with her talons poised, her tongue numbed by drink and eager with rage to engage in a shrieking cat fight, or at the very least, a viciously nasty exchange of insults, accusations and a breathtaking contest of tawdry posturing.

Mon Dieu! We, one and all, recollect the intimate, stifling, and genuinely annoying soul-sister friendship that was once shared between the Comtesse Nyquolytt and Mlle. Pantye Shield. Ah how the Seasons waxed and waned and so too between the Mlle. and the Comtesse did their staunch friendship erode as lovers were traded back and forth betwixt them (most times unwittingly), couture ideas and personal styles borrowed or redefined, and their screeching chatter and churlish laughter that once pervaded any social venue on any given evening faded gradually into eagerly whispered hostilities. Their competitive rift had indeed been building toward a vitriolic crescendo -- and who would have imagined t'would have been so public a climax! (Well, I dare say we all would have HOPED for at least as much!)

As I mentioned, the hour was late and the Salon was making haste to shut its doors so I decided to gamble that an addendum would reach my alert ears in the future as to the conclusion of this exercise in blatant social incompetence.

I was quite correct, for not a week later I retrieved from the Mlle. Pantye Shield her vituperative version of the above-described evening. This addendum, however, shall await a future missive to you. I shall torment you with anticipation and taunt you by saying that la deuxième partie of this episode is very definitely savory!

Yours effervescently in smooth black satin,

Melusine de Nuit


la Deuxième Partie


Ah scandal! How it adds thrill to the soul and ornaments the ordeal of outlasting a stale societal season! Such is the fabulous scandal I have recounted to you in the first part of the Les Danse Bouffons correspondence. This second recounting shall be a diligently catalogued Part Two, or epilogue, as it were. It gives in radiant and sullying detail the description of the Eviction of La Comtesse Nyquolytt from Le Salon, as recited from the perspective of the Evictor, the relentlessly animated Mlle. Pantye-Shield, who is now wed to the unsuspecting and gullible Mssr. Bibelot.

With a determined and anticipatory tenacity, Prince Noir and I returned the following Sunday to attend a subsequent performance by Mssr. Bibelot's musical ensemble. This of course was the Sunday just after the previous Sunday -- on which eve we were accosted by Comtesse Nyquolytt, who was in the throes of a screeching snit after having been exiled from Le Salon by her former soul-mate/spiritual sister, Mlle. Pantye-Shield.

Wanting to hear from a more ambiguous party, and with no small amount of malevolent maneuvering, I approached the Proprietress of Le Salon and inquired sweetly whether her Salon embraced and put into practice a tactic of ousting well-dressed and clement. She responded with a vociferous negative and implored me to explicate further. And indeed I did so.

I nonchalantly mentioned that an acquaintance of mine, Comtesse Nyquolytt, and her stylish clique had been unceremoniously requested by one of the vestibule stewards to vacate their presence from the Salon, apparently at the impassioned behest of one of the entertainment cotillion, the ballad vocalist, Mlle. Pantye-Shield. Furrowing my brow with feigned demurity, I inquired congenially: Was this dismissal one that the Proprietress herself had sanctioned? Were the Comtesse Nyquolytt and her entourage exhibiting boorish and gauche behavior such as to distort the comfort of those relaxing at the Salon? I impressed upon the Proprietress that Mlle. Pantye-Shield was as well an acquaintance and I sighed subtly but mournfully at being caught in the midst of this muddled predicament.

Much to my surprise, yet non-surprise (so to speak) (as it were), the Proprietress declared she had most certainly not been notified as to the said eviction and that only under dire conditions would she deem it germane to request stylish and composed patrons to depart the Salon. Indeed, the Proprietress assured me ardently that this sort or dislodgment would not be authorized on the mere whim of a member of a theatrical ensemble. She assured me she would research the situation with the steward in question, and remind him of his menial station and restricted puissance in regard to management decisions of patronage and ejection.

I, Comtesse Melusine de Nuit, now proffer a personal manifesto regarding my above strategic orchestration of checks and balances: Singing Two Songs An Evening Does Not Upgrade One From Social Minion to Social Maestro, or, One Must Do More Than Merely Exhibit A Flair For The Obvious.

That conveyed, I now advance to the referred to epilogue.

On this particular subsequent Sunday, the Prince Noir and I, our musings atremble with munificent hope and anticipatory craving for a spectacular and formidable swan song to the prior week's scandalous vilification, jauntily capered around the Salon.

As could be presumed, on this particular evening the musical ensemble and our corresponding cavorting would be somewhat on the back burner to our captivated curiosity and keen scrutiny. I awaited an opportune moment to graciously address Mlle. Pantye-Shield and inquire as to her version of this past Sunday's nefarious happenings. I had but barely begun coddling Mlle. Pantye-Shield's impeccable narcissism with sumptuous cajolery and a comportment of sympathetic concern when she interrupted my facile conversational treatise to catapult into a protracted and bounteous account of her version of this Sunday past's turpitudinous exhibition.

I shall endeavor to recollect and transcribe her oration with a minimum of parenthetical commentary!

When the Mlle. Pantye-Shield and Mssr. Bibelot began copulating and cohabiting on a recurrent basis, and their union was conferred the classification of "betrothal" (now marriage), the rotund Baroness Louve had been rancorously admonishing Mssr. Bibelot that he was in danger of being disgraced and compromised by his enamored association with Mlle. Pantye-Shield. Apparently the Comtesse Nyquolytt as well engaged in this virulent barrage of cautionary caveats. Such ploys failed to disengage the Mssr. Bibelot (who was implacably secured to Mlle. Pantye-Shield, persuaded no doubt by her strategically obvious passion, unrelenting vigor and conspicuous devotion).

It was reported that the adipose Baroness Louve then began assailing Mlle. Pantye-Shield with vague yet sinister threats of such a maligning character and duration that Mssr. Bibelot was propelled into censuring her. Mssr. Bibelot informed the Baron Huissier that the Baroness Louve was not permitted to attend any concert, or patronize any venue at which the Mlle. Pantye-Shield was holding court. It seems Baron Huissier agreed that this segregation of social groups would be best for all concerned. [One wonders, does one not, where the backbone dwells in the Baron Huissier? Obviously his diplomatic concordance with Mssr. Bibelot was not able to withstand the shrewish control maneuvers of his wife/termagant. Thus one can conclude that Baron Huissier's backbone dwells somewhere between the ponderous thighs of the Baroness Louve non?]

But I digress.

To complicate matters, Baroness Louve's entourage included a Marquise Jouffle and the inescapable Comtesse Nyquolytt. The Marquise Jouffle is the Comte d'Marionette's paramour and at this point I simply MUST digress a bit: With rambling verbosity, Mlle. Pantye-Shield divulged that although the Marquise Jouffle was her current "best friend," it was the Marquise Jouffle who quite concupiscently lured Comte d' Marionette away from Mlle. Pantye-Shield. Apparently, Mlle. Pantye-Shield introduced the Comte d' Marionette to her dear comrade-in-petticoats, Marquise Jouffle, and unbeknownst to Mlle. Pantye-Shield, the two were irresistibly beguiled by one another -- and continued to be so beguiled, all the while enjoying an assortment of libidinous trysts behind Mlle. Pantye-Shield's very back! (Is poetic justice not the most RADIANT of THINGS!?!)

The Comte d' Marionette eventually confessed of the triangular dilemma to Mlle. Pantye-Shield. Mlle. Pantye-Shield then assured me quite fervidly that upon hearing this confession she stepped peacefully aside, invoking within her demeanor her customary dignity and grace so that the despairing lovers could enjoy each other without any continuing phobia, disrepute or clandestine intrigue.. Mlle. Pantye-Shield further advised me, in the same fervid vein, that she has completely forgiven both of them for this betrayal.

It seems this betrayal turned out to be quite convenient for Mlle. Pantye-Shield. After Comte d' Marionette and the Marquise Jouffle were a socially established couple, Mlle. Pantye-Shield happened to glance up at Mssr. Bibelot, her long-time platonic friend, and was instantly bewitched. Huzzah! She fell post-haste in love and they instantly began their amatory courtship, which then led to their marriage and, conveniently as ever, a place for Mlle. Pantye-Shield on the literal (as opposed to social) stage as a ballad songstress in Mssr. Bibelot's popular concert ensemble . Thus, with a limelighted future locked into, and a doting male companion to coddle to her every romantic fixation, Mlle. Pantye-Shield was able to confer her meek and serene blessing upon the Marquise Jouffle and Comte d' Marionette and remains bosom companions with the both of them.

Now I ask each of you, does that not bring tears of bliss to your weary, jaded orbs?

Of course it does not.

What the hell does she take us for anyway? What is uncanny, however, is how observing poetic justice in action can bring forth in one an exquisite pang of joy that is not so very unlike its natural counterpart, the exquisite pang of consensual pain -- Mon Dieu!

I now return to the Eviction of Comtesse Nyquolytt section of this correspondence. When the Baroness Louve, the Baron Huissier, the Marquise Jouffle and the inevitable Comtesse Nyquolytt arrived at the Salon, Comte d' Marionette (who was already in attendance) was appalled that his beloved was in the company of certain of those whom the Mlle. Pantye-Shield had banished from her clan of flamboyant companions and heretofore meticulously defined social functions. It was Comte d' Marionette who escorted the Mlle. Pantye-Shield into the adjoining antechamber so she could mewl her protestations to the vestibule steward.

Would that I had been privy to Mlle. Pantye-Shield's winsome supplication to the vestibule steward so he would consent to the ejection of the offending patrons! The Comtesse Nyquolytt, I am led to believe by Mlle. Pantye-Shield, was politely ignored and NOT requested to leave. However, this same polite disregard would naturally outrage the imperious Comtesse to an elevation of indignation far beyond what a mere deportation would bestir within her peremptory nature.

Sometime betwixt the above events, according to Mlle. Pantye-Shield's continuing rabid diatribe, Comtesse Nyquolytt apparently indulged in a maudlin discourse with Mssr. Bibelot reminding him effusively that they once had an amorous liaison with each other. She went on to cavil that Mlle. Pantye-Shield had a beastly and salacious practice of pilfering all of Comtesse Nyquolytt's paramours, as well as pouncing upon the Comtesse's ex-paramours before the imprint of the foregoing paramouršs body was smoothed from the Comtesse Nyquolytt's sheets. Mon Dieu!

Mlle. Pantye-Shield concluded her prolonged harangue with the solemn attestation that there had indeed been an obstreperous and discomforting spectacle between herself, the Comtesse, and a garcon or two of the Salon, beginning after 2:00 a.m. It was inferred in my previous missive to you that the Comtesse Nyquolytt appeared to be lurking in wait for Mlle. Pantye-Shield. This inference was precise. The Comtesse Nyquolytt succeeded in ambushing Mlle. Pantye-Shield after the lamps of the Salon had been put out and the doors shut at close-down. Mlle. Pantye-Shield's impassioned recitation advised of her deep mortification at having taken part in a calumnious display where crass accusations were bandied about, profuse gesticulation was rendered with maladroit zest and a veritable carnival of denigration took place. No substantial or tidy resolution was achieved and the warring factions departed to their respective eventual destinations, each the embittered nemesis of the other.

As of this scripting, Mlle. Pantye-Shield and Comtesse Nyquolytt remain ruthlessly estranged.

As Mlle. Pantye-Shield's eagerness for peevish denigration ebbed, Mssr. Bibelot obediently arrived to claim her arm and escort her into the dance hall. Exhausted, I traversed back to Prince Noir, who rightfully suspected a discourse of this kind had been taking place.

Well, we now have all the succulent components to spontaneous and periodic scandalous occurrences of the same ilk and drama. We anticipate. We envision. We might even pray for supplementary augmentation to this Le Grande Scandale in the near anon!

Until such time as the ebbs and flows of the Fates deem appropriate, I remain,

Glimmering within the mist of other realms,

Melusine de Nuit

NOTE: "Drinking With Thine Enemies" is an exercize in reliving the ancient art of letter writing. The style takes its inspiration from heady classics such as "les Liaisons Dangereuses", "Clarissa", and "Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure", though the content and events described therein are wholly modern.

Any resemblance to persons living or undead is purely coincidental ... we think. As a matter of fact, the question was put to the enigmatic Melusine, and on this subject she remains pointedly silent.

To learn more about the author, Comtesse Melusine de Nuit, please check her Bio on the Editors Page.