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04 February 2009 @ 11:21 pm
[1928] A Story About Love  
I dedicate this story to Jake (nplusm) who will not only know which character I love best, but will also probably love the same person. (I fancy he will not be alone in this ;> but I also like to fancy that I'm not totally transparent, which I suppose is cute of me) The rest of you should read it too, and tell me what you think, or if it inspires any stories of your own.

The Tall Lady is a niece of Madame Rosalie's. She was married to an army officer up at Bordeaux when she was 16 years old. Her husband treated her shamefully; he beat her and forced her to write begging letters and to borrow money of her relatives, and then he would take this money and waste it gambling and in drink. In short, he was a Brute.

Madame Rosalie accidentally heard of all this, and one day went down to Bordeaux and took the Tall Lady away from the Brute and told him she would kill him if he followed.


Now, Madame Rosalie had a butler and combination man of business, by name of Jules Carmonne. He was a painter of some ability and served Madame in many ways right faithfully. Jules loved the Tall Lady, or said he did, but she did not care for him. He was near 50 and asthmatic and had watery eyes. He made things very uncomfortable for the Tall Lady.

One night Jules came to Madame Rosalie in great indignation and said he could not consent to remain longer on account of the way things were going on. What was the trouble? Trouble enough, when the Tall Lady was sneaking out of the house after decent folks were in bed, to meet a strange man down in the evergreens. Well I guess so!!

How did he know?

Ah, he had followed her. Moreover, he had concealed himself in the evergreens and waited for them, to make sure.

Yes, and who was the man?

A young rogue of a painter from Fountainebleau named Antoine de Channeville.

Madame Rosalie took Jules Carmonne at his word. She said she was sorry he could not stay, but he might go if he wishes to, of course. And she paid him his salary on the spot - with 2 months more to the end of the year.

The next day Madame Rosalie drove her team of shaggy ponies down to Fontainebleau and called on the young rogue of an artist. He came out bareheaded and quaking to where she sat in the phaeton waiting. She flecked the off pony twice and told him that as Carmonne had left her she must have a man to help her. Would he come? And she named as salary a sum about five times what he was then making.

Antoine de Channeville seized the wheel of the phaeton for for support, gasped several gasps, and said he would come.

He was getting barely enough to eat out of his work, anyway, although he was a very worthy young fellow.

And he came.

He and the Tall Lady were married about 6 months after.


"Antoine and the Tall Lady are man and wife, and are devoted lovers besides. They have served Madame Rosalie most loyally for these 15 years. They say Madame Rosalie has made her will and has left them the mansion and everything in it for their ownest own, with a tidy sum besides to put on interest."

- Elbert Hubbard II, Little Journeys Vol. II: Famous Women © 1928

The very much real Rosa Bonheur (1822 - 1899)

And what, praytell, does "flecked the off pony twice" mean? Without using Google ;> I just want to know if I know someone who already knows.
nplusmnplusm on February 5th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
It is a sweet dedication. Thank you.
Kburgunder on February 6th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
She so totally reminds me of my Aunt Dot.
sculptruth on February 5th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)

I didn't know your story was about Rosa Bonheur!!!

I have no idea what that weird phrase means. I tried to google its meaning, to no avail. I wish I were smarter :P
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Douglaschiaspod on February 5th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
An "off pony" (or "off horse") is the horse on the right side - the "off" part being the "off side," that is, the side opposite the driver's heart.

And flecking? It means what it almost sounds like - to tap lightly.

So she probably just nervously tapped a riding crop or light whip against the right-side pony.
Kburgunder on February 6th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
Thank you, Mr. Spod :)