To-day she is attending the ball at the Greek ambassador’s. Does she
know, that she will meet him there?
At any rate she dressed, as if she did. A heavy sea-green silk dress
plastically encloses her divine form, leaving the bust and arms bare.
In her hair, which is done into a single flaming knot, a white water-
lily blossoms; from it the leaves of reeds interwoven with a few
loose strands fall down toward her neck. There no longer is any trace
of agitation or trembling feverishness in her being. She is calm, so
calm, that I feel my blood congealing and my heart growing cold under
her glance. Slowly, with a weary, indolent majesty, she ascends the
marble staircase, lets her precious wrap slide off, and listlessly
enters the hall, where the smoke of a hundred candles has formed a
For a few moments my eyes follow her in a daze, then I pick up her
furs, which without my being aware, had slipped from my hands. They
are still warm from her shoulders.
I kiss the spot, and my eyes fill with tears.
Originally posted 2007-06-19 16:23:48.
The drawing-room has already thinned out to a marked degree, but she
apparently has no thought of leaving.
Morning is already peering through the blinds.
At last I hear the rustling of her heavy gown which flows along
behind her like green waves. She advances step by step, engaged in
conversation with him.
I hardly exist for her any longer; she doesn’t even trouble to give
me an order.
“The cloak for madame,” he commands. He, of course, doesn’t think of
looking after her himself.
While I put her furs about her, he stands to one side with his arms
crossed. While I am on my knees putting on her fur over-shoes, she
lightly supports herself with her hand on his shoulder. She asks:
“And what about the lioness?”
“When the lion whom she has chosen and with whom she lives is
attacked by another,” the Greek went on with his narrative, “the
lioness quietly lies down and watches the battle. Even if her mate
is worsted she does not go to his aid. She looks on indifferently as
he bleeds to death under his opponent’s claws, and follows the victor,
the stronger–that is the female’s nature.”
At this moment my lioness looked quickly and curiously at me.
It made me shudder, though I didn’t know why–and the red dawn
immerses me and her and him in blood.
Originally posted 2007-06-19 16:29:03.
Venus and Adonis is an erotic narrative Shakespeare poem.
Venus in Furs is the orginal novel of female domination vy Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.
We can only guess what was on the greedy publisher’s mind.
All night long I waited in the ante-room, raving as in a fever.
Strange images hovered past my inner eye. I saw their meeting–their
long exchange of looks. I saw her float through the hall in his arms,
drunken, lying with half-closed lids against his breast. I saw him
in the holy of holies of love, lying on the ottoman, not as slave,
but as master, and she at his feet. On my knees I served them, the
tea-tray faltering in my hands, and I saw him reach for the whip.
But now the servants are talking about him.
He is a man who is like a woman; he knows that he is beautiful, and
he acts accordingly. He changes his clothes four or five times a day,
like a vain courtesan.
In Paris he appeared first in woman’s dress, and the men assailed
him with love-letters. An Italian singer, famous equally for his art
and his passionate intensity, even invaded his home, and lying on his
knees before him threatened to commit suicide if he wouldn’t be his.
“I am sorry,” he replied, smiling, “I should like to do you the
favor, but you will have to carry out your threat, for I am a man.”
Originally posted 2007-06-19 16:26:48.
“My friend has complained about you,” said Wanda to-day.
“Perhaps she feels that I despise her.”
“But why do you despise her, you foolish young man?” exclaimed
Wanda, pulling my ears with both hands.
“Because she is a hypocrite,” I said. “I respect only a woman who is
actually virtuous, or who openly lives for pleasure’s sake.”
“Like me, for instance,” replied Wanda jestingly, “but you see,
child, a woman can only do that in the rarest cases. She can neither
be as gaily sensual, nor as spiritually free as man; her state is
always a mixture of the sensual and spiritual. Her heart desires to
enchain man permanently, while she herself is ever subject to the
desire for change. The result is a conflict, and thus usually against
her wishes lies and deception enter into her actions and personality
and corrupt her character.”
“Certainly that is true,” I said. “The transcendental character with
which woman wants to stamp love leads her to deception.”
“But the world likewise demands it,” Wanda interrupted. “Look at
this woman. She has a husband and a lover in Lemberg and has found
a new admirer here. She deceives all three and yet is honored by all
and respected by the world.”
“I don’t care,” I exclaimed, “but she is to leave you alone; she
treats you like an article of commerce.”
“Why not?” the beautiful woman interrupted vivaciously. “Every woman
has the instinct or desire to draw advantage out of her attractions,
and much is to be said for giving one’s self without love or pleasure
because if you do it in cold blood, you can reap profit to best
“Wanda, what are you saying?”
“Why not?” she said, “and take note of what I am about to say to you.
_Never feel secure with the woman you love,_ for there are more
dangers in woman’s nature than you imagine. Women are neither as
_good_ as their admirers and defenders maintain, nor as _bad_ as their
enemies make them out to be. _Woman’s character is characterlessness._
The best woman will momentarily go down into the mire, and the worst
unexpectedly rises to deeds of greatness and goodness and puts to
shame those that despise her. No woman is so good or so bad, but that
at any moment she is capable of the most diabolical as well as of the
most divine, of the filthiest as well as of the purest, thoughts,
emotions, and actions. In spite of all the advances of civilization,
woman has remained as she came out of the hand of nature. She has the
nature of a savage, who is faithful or faithless, magnanimous or
cruel, according to the impulse that dominates at the moment.
Throughout history it has always been a serious deep culture which has
produced moral character. Man even when he is selfish or evil always
follows _principles,_ woman never follows anything but _impulses._
Don’t ever forget that, and never feel secure with the woman you
Originally posted 2007-06-19 14:58:18.
The painter has gone. It is a hazardous thing to do, but I risk it.
I go up to the gallery, quite close, and ask Wanda “Do you love the
She looks at me without getting angry, shakes her head, and finally
“I feel sorry for him,” she replies, “but I do not love him. I love no
one. _I used to love you, as ardently, as passionately, as deeply as
it was possible for me to love,_ but now I don’t love even you any
more; my heart is a void, dead, and this makes me sad.”
“Wanda!” I exclaimed, deeply moved.
“Soon, you too will no longer love me,” she continued, “tell me when
you have reached that point, and I will give back to you your
“Then I shall remain your slave, all my life long, for I adore you
and shall always adore you,” I cried, seized by that fanaticism of
love which has repeatedly been so fatal to me.
Wanda looked at me with a curious pleasure. “Consider well what you
do,” she said. “I have loved you infinitely and have been despotic
towards you so that I might fulfil your dream. Something of my old
feeling, a sort of real sympathy for you, still trembles in my
breast. When that too has gone who knows whether then I shall give
you your liberty; whether I shall not then become really cruel,
merciless, even brutal toward; whether I shall not take a diabolical
pleasure in tormenting and putting on the rack the man who worships
me idolatrously, the while I remain indifferent or love someone else;
perhaps, I shall enjoy seeing him die of his love for me. Consider
“I have long since considered all that,” I replied as in a glow of
fever. “I cannot exist, cannot live without you; I shall die if you
set me at liberty; let me remain your slave, kill me, but do not
drive me away.”
“Very well then, be my slave,” she replied, “but don’t forget that
I no longer love you, and your love doesn’t mean any more to me than
a dog’s, and dogs are kicked.”
Originally posted 2007-06-19 16:03:01.
To-night I accompanied her to a soiree. In the entrance-hall she
ordered me to help her out of her furs; then with a proud smile,
confident of victory, she entered the brilliantly illuminated room.
I again waited with gloomy and monotonous thoughts, watching hour after
hour run by. From time to time the sounds of music reached me, when
the door remained open for a moment. Several servants tried to start
a conversation with me, but soon desisted, since I knew only a few
words of Italian.
Finally I fell asleep, and dreamed that I murdered Wanda in a
violent attack of jealousy. I was condemned to death, and saw myself
strapped on the board; the knife fell, I felt it on my neck, but I
was still alive–
Then the executioner slapped my face.
No, it wasn’t the executioner; it was Wanda who stood wrathfully
before me demanding her furs. I am at her side in a moment, and help
her on with it.
There is a deep joy in wrapping a beautiful woman into her furs, and
in seeing and feeling how her neck and magnificent limbs nestle in
the precious soft furs, and to lift the flowing hair over the collar.
When she throws it off a soft warmth and a faint fragrance of her
body still clings to the ends of the hairs of sable. It is enough to
drive one mad.
Originally posted 2007-06-19 15:38:11.
On my couch at night the fear of losing her and despair took such
powerful hold of me that they made a hero and a libertine of me. I
lighted the little red oil-lamp which hung in the corridor beneath
a saint’s image, and entered her bedroom, covering the light with one
The lioness had been hunted and driven until she was exhausted. She
had fallen asleep among her pillows, lying on her back, her hands
clenched, breathing heavily. A dream seemed to oppress her. I slowly
withdrew my hand, and let the red light fall full on her wonderful
But she did not awaken.
I gently set the lamp on the floor, sank down beside Wanda’s bed,
and rested my head on her soft, glowing arm.
She moved slightly, but even now did not awaken. I do not know how
long I lay thus in the middle of the night, turned as into a stone
by horrible torments.
Finally a severe trembling seized me, and I was able to cry. My
tears flowed over her arm. She quivered several times and finally sat
up; she brushed her hand across her eyes, and looked at me.
“Severin,” she exclaimed, more frightened than angry.
I was unable to reply.
“Severin,” she continued softly, “what is the matter? Are you ill?”
Her voice sounded so sympathetic, so kind, so full of love, that it
clutched my breast like red-hot tongs and I began to sob aloud.
“Severin,” she began anew. “My poor unhappy friend.” Her hand gently
stroked my hair. “I am sorry, very sorry for you; but I can’t help
you; with the best intention in the world I know of nothing that
would cure you.”
“Oh, Wanda, must it be?” I moaned in my agony.
“What, Severin? What are you talking about?”
“Don’t you love me any more?” I continued. “Haven’t you even a
little bit of pity for me? Has the beautiful stranger taken complete
possession of you?”
“I cannot lie,” she replied softly after a short pause. “He has made
an impression on me which I haven’t yet been able to analyse, further
than that I suffer and tremble beneath it. It is an impression of the
sort I have met with in the works of poets or on the stage, but I
always thought it was a figment of the imagination. Oh, he is a man
like a lion, strong and beautiful and yet gentle, not brutal like the
men of our northern world. I am sorry for you, Severin, I am; but I
must possess him. What am I saying? I must give myself to him, if he
will have me.”
“Consider your reputation, Wanda, which so far has remained
spotless,” I exclaimed, “even if I no longer mean anything to you.”
“I am considering it,” she replied, “I intend to be strong, as long
as it is possible, I want–” she buried her head shyly in the pillows
–”I want to become his wife–if he will have me.”
“Wanda,” I cried, seized again by that mortal fear, which always
robs me of my breath, makes me lose possession of myself, “you want
to be his wife, belong to him for always. Oh! Do not drive me away!
He does not love you–”
“Who says that?” she exclaimed, flaring up.
“He does not love you,” I went on passionately, “but I love you, I
adore you, I am your slave, I let you tread me underfoot, I want to
carry you on my arms through life.”
“Who says that he doesn’t love me?” she interrupted vehemently.
“Oh! be mine,” I replied, “be mine! I cannot exist, cannot live
without you. Have mercy on me, Wanda, have mercy!”
She looked at me again, and her face had her cold heartless
expression, her evil smile.
“You say he doesn’t love me,” she said, scornfully. “Very well then,
get what consolation you can out of it.”
With this she turned over on the other side, and contemptuously
showed me her back.
“Good God, are you a woman without flesh or blood, haven’t you a
heart as well as I!” I cried, while my breast heaved convulsively.
“You know what I am,” she replied, coldly. “I am a woman of stone,
Venus in Furs, your ideal, kneel down, and pray to me.”
“Wanda!” I implored, “mercy!”
She began to laugh. I buried my face in her pillows. Pain had
loosened the floodgates of my tears and I let them flow.
For a long time silence reigned, then Wanda slowly raised herself.
“You bore me,” she began.
“I am tired, let me go to sleep.”
“Mercy,” I implored. “Do not drive me away. No man, no one, will
love you as I do.”
“Let me go to sleep,”–she turned her back to me again.
I leaped up, and snatched the poinard, which hung beside her bed,
from its sheath, and placed its point against my breast.
“I shall kill myself here before your eyes,” I murmured dully.
“Do what you please,” Wanda replied with complete indifference. “But
let me go to sleep.” She yawned aloud. “I am very sleepy.”
For a moment I stood as if petrified. Then I began to laugh and cry
at the same time. Finally I placed the poinard in my belt, and again
fell on my knees before her.
“Wanda, listen to me, only for a few moments,” I begged.
“I want to go to sleep! Don’t you hear!” she cried, leaping angrily
out of bed and pushing me away with her foot. “You forget that I am
your mistress?” When I didn’t budge, she seized the whip and struck
me. I rose; she struck me again–this time right in the face.
With clenched fist held heavenward, I left her bedroom with a sudden
resolve. She tossed the whip aside, and broke out into clear
laughter. I can imagine that my theatrical attitude must have been
Originally posted 2007-06-19 16:34:36.
Now he is painting me; we are alone together for several hours every
day. To-day he suddenly turned to me with his vibrant voice and said:
“You love this woman?”
“I also love her.” His eyes were bathed in tears. He remained silent
for a while, and continued painting.
“We have a mountain at home in Germany within which she dwells,” he
murmured to himself. “She is a demon.”
Originally posted 2007-06-19 16:15:44.
To-day I visited the Venus of Medici.
It was still early, and the little octagonal room in the Tribuna was
filled with half-lights like a sanctuary; I stood with folded hands
in deep adoration before the silent image of the divinity.
But I did not stand for long.
Not a human soul was in the gallery, not even an Englishman, and I
fell down on my knees. I looked up at the lovely slender body, the
budding breasts, the virginal and yet voluptuous face, the fragrant
curls which seemed to conceal tiny horns on each side of the forehead.
Originally posted 2007-06-19 16:04:04.