Justine (Chapter 5)
An Adaptation of the Classic Story by the Marquis de Sade
Sunrise and awakening are not merciful to the unfortunate. Refreshed as they are by sweet sleep, they find themselves cruelly thrust back into the world of their cruel miseries once more.
"To be born to such a life! Can it possibly be worth it to go on?"
The dawning of the day brought a fresh wave of rememberances to Justine, reminding her of the horrors she had faced. It was just then that, suddenly, through the brush, she could hear two voices.
"Come Jasmine!" said the first. "It is here that we can thus proceed with our fordden pleasures, unhampered by my interfering and disaproving aunt!"
And Justine, her eyes not yet sufficiently scoured, it would seem, was priviledged to watch the two debauchees commence that operation for which Sodom was condemned to fiery destruction.
Afterwards, pulling up his breeches, the first man exclaimed, "I espie the bonnet of a spying wench! Jasmine, my dear, we are found out! Some whoring slut has discovered us! Come out of there, you strumpet, quickly!"
Imperiously, the man began to wave about his walking stick. Justine, terrified, came tumbling forth from where she had hidden all night, amid stinging insects and the thorny brambles of the brush, and fell on her knees.
Once more, lifting up her hands imploringly, as if to Heaven, she beseeched the man, who was called Bressac, "Oh sir! have pity on a poor, miserable wretch of a girl, whose every footfall drags her, inexorably, toward the rocky coast of sad, broken, unremitting suffering!"
Count Bressac laughed; he was not a man given to excessive pity and, likewise, he positively loathed the female sex.
But, curious, he wanted to know what this strange young girl's story was, and so he said, "What? It is pity you want from us, you simple ass? Why, you may count on being flayed alive! And, we'll leave what is left for the birds, to pluck out your eyes, as well as the other tender pieces of your bony, dun-colored and altogether unappetizing derrier. But first, tell me: What is it you have seen here today, slut? Wench? Eh?"
And reaching down, he grabbed Justine by the hair, pulling her savagely toward him, a glower upon his face.
Justine said, "Nothing! I swear to you! Nothing at all have I seen! Just... heard the two of you talking. That is all."
"And... nothing else?" asked Bressac, a rather nervous scowl spreading across his face.
"No!" protested Justine. "Nothing else! I swear it."
Bressac let her go, pushing her back rather roughly.
He stated, "Very well. Be glad that is all you have to report. Otherwise..."
And he drew his hand across his throat. Justine realized, well enough, what this particular gesture meant.
"Now, sit! And tell us what has happened to bring you to this troubled condition."
Justine did just that, seated between the both of them. She related all the sad tale of her misfortunes.
"Oh my," said Bressac to Jasmine, his manservant. "I find this record to be, oh, so arousing! Come Jasmine, it has inflamed the murderous passion within me. Let's kill this wench! She's a positive nuisance!"
"Indeed," cried Jasmine, suddenly bounding to his feet. "She'll be far better off!"
And with that the two men began to fashion ropes from their clothes and kerchiefs.
"We'll bind the slut between these four trees! The pain will be enormous. You can sit on her back!"
And so, stripped naked and bound by arm and foot, Justine was suspended between the four trees, as if she were being drawn and quartered. Bressac and Jasmine then pressed down upon her back, until it felt as if her abdomen were going to explode.
"Oh mercy! Mercy! I implore you for mercy! Kill me now, for rather would I be dead than endure this agony one moment longer!"
Bressac said, "I shall spare you this time, Therese! BUT, you shall have to come with me, and be a servant to my aunt. She is looking for just such a girl as you. I promise you though: if ever you should defy my will, or betray me in any way, I shall bring you back here, to these trees. And then, I promise you, I SHALL FINISH THE JOB."
And with that, Justine was untied.
Justine threw herself upon the hard carpet of earth, her hands thankfully upraised to Bressac, as in a gratitude surpassing all others. The two men then lead Justine, half-nude, shaking and trembling still with pain and fear, back to their chateau. They occasionally whispered among themselves, but Justine said nothing.
"I must introduce you to my aunt!" said Bressac, unmerrily.
Justine was shown to a room, and Jasmine later brought her some food. She was told to clean up, and given clothes to change into. Soon, she had an audience with Countess Bressac.
The Countess was widowed; her husband, Bressac's uncle, having died just recently. Bressac was dependent on his aunt's largesse, the money supplied to him by his skinflint of a father barely enough to cover his expenses, let alone his indulgent vices and sensual excesses.
Countess Bressac spent most of her time in Paris, but came to her nephew's chateau thee months of the year—months he roundly dreaded and abhorred, as it interfered with his orgiastic debauchs.
"Now, my child," began the Countess, "You must tell me everything that has happened to you, to bring you to this sorry state."
And so Justine, once again, began to relate the horrific details of her life up until that point, at which the Countess exclaimed, "My, what an unfortunate pathway you have been thrust down! I am sorry to hear of your sad, even tragic circumstances. I believe you. However, I can only positively verify that your father was a banker from Paris, a man I've known of for many years. As for the rest, I will have to make discrete inquiries. Now, as far as Du Harpin," she began, a cruel smile crossing her face, "he shall get what is owed to him, I'll wager. My good friend the Chancellor will look into the matter. He will do anything for me. We'll prove your innocence and win you a pardon. But, I warn you, you'd better be telling me the truth!"
Justine swore that she was.
It was only a few days later that news arrived from Paris, that the inquiries had proven everything Justine said to be the honest truth. She was quickly made a chambermaid, and put to work. Soon, she bean to think she had left her former tragedies behind her, her mind becoming clear; untroubled.