Beloved Reader,

I've a story too devilishly fiendish to tell…so it must be told. It's the story of a chambermaid who worked and lived in a madhouse. A prim and proper woman, until she involved herself too closely with a certain inhabitant of the asylum…

"Your linens, please!" a soft voice requested outside a resident's door.

"I can't now, I'm learning to fly!" a voice said from inside the room.

Madeleine sighed. "Your linens, Cleante! Now or never!"

Cleante jumped off his perch and went over to the door. "Not until you guess what kind of bird I am today."

Another sigh came from Madeleine as she slightly smiled and said, as if she had said it a hundred times before, "There's but one bird in a madhouse…a loon."

Cleante laughed heartily and provided Madeleine with the requested linens.

Next, Madeleine opened the slot on Bouchon's door. She looked inside and saw him sitting on the floor with a hand down his breeches.

Madeleine was slightly shocked at first, but then she was able to collect herself and try to obtain Bouchon's linens. "Bouchon! Stop that! Please, give me your linens."

Bouchon just laughed.

"That man's linens are always disgustingly soiled," Madeleine muttered to herself as she shook her head. She looked at Bouchon again, who was moving the hand down his breeches more rapidly now, and at the same time laughing and staring at Madeleine's eyes through the slot.

"I'll ask you one more time, Bouchon. Your linens, please! Remember your manners."

Bouchon reached for his linens with one hand as his other hand was still down his breeches. He stuffed the linens through the bottom slot to Madeleine, who did not want to touch them or even look at them.

"Thank you!" she called to Bouchon as she picked up her basket walked away.

Soon, Madeleine was before the door of her favorite "patient." As she opened the slot on the top of the door, she could hear humming from inside the room, as well as the familiar sound of a quill pen writing on parchment.

"Your linens, please!"

"Maddy," the voice said in a singsong manner, "I need you!"

Madeleine shut the slot. She slightly smiled and then looked around. She did not see anyone, so she stuck her key through the keyhole and rushed inside with her basket of linens.

Little did she know that out in the shadows was the Queen of Tattling: Charlotte. Charlotte slowly moved over to the door to find out what she could hear…or see. Alas, there was no way for her to see what was going on, so she put her ear up to the door to hear as much as she possibly could.

As Madeleine entered the room, she did not see the man who should have been present. She put her basket on the floor.

"Marquis?" she called.

The curtains of the canopied bed soon moved apart and the Marquis popped his head out, while providing a sinister laugh.

Madeleine jumped back, frightened. The Marquis laughed.

"Honestly," Madeleine said, "Sometimes I wonder if you really are insane. You'd have to be, to want to frighten someone like that. I believe that one day there will be a word in existence, based on your name. Perhaps…sade…sade-istic, something of that sort."

"And what would be the definition of said word, my little coquette?" asked the Marquis as he smirked, still hidden behind the bed's curtains.

"I haven't much time," Madeleine said as she picked up her basket and walked over towards the Marquis' bed.

"Then you've brought what I asked for?"

"Yes. Now come out from behind those curtains," Madeleine ordered.

"I mustn't, said the Marquis. "I'm not dressed properly."
"You aren't?" asked Madeleine, quite curious.

"Do you dare to look?" the Marquis asked, while smirking and widening his eyes. "I am not wearing anything but my breeches."

Madeleine was speechless at first. She finally was able to give the Marquis permission to come out from behind the curtains. "You may come out freely," said Madeleine, acting nonchalantly. "I assure you I will not be frightened of a man who is just wearing his breeches."

"Yes, my little dumpling, but will such a sight excite you?"

"I should say not!" Madeleine said, acting a bit offended, as she reached for some items that were in the basket, under some unclean linens. "Well, here they are, Marquis. The new vest and coat you asked for." Madeleine took the clothing from the basket and held them up for the Marquis to see.

"Perfect!" the Marquis exclaimed, as he finally emerged from behind the curtains of his bed.

Madeleine tried to avert her eyes from the slightly nude man before her; she had not seen a man without his upper garments on before. After a few seconds, she was able to look at the Marquis' bare chest. She blushed a bit.

While eyeing the clothing, the Marquis said, "And just in time…you don't know what it's like, wearing the same clothing day after day."

"I don't?" said Madeleine, slyly.

"Mine have holes in them," was the Marquis' reply, as he picked up some clothing that was hanging over the chair at his desk and pointed to a hole in his sleeve. "Look around this room. Does it look like a room that should have a man wearing clothing with holes in it?"

"Well, if that's all," Madeleine said as she picked up her basket, "I'd better get back to my duties."

The Marquis rushed over to the door and stood in front of it. Again, Madeleine tried to keep her eyes off of the Marquis' bare chest, but now it was right in front of her.

"Not until I thank you properly for your hard work, my dear," the Marquis said.

"That will not be necessary," Madeleine replied. "I simply provided the horseman with your money and he brought the requested vestments back to me."

"I must pay you --"

"I don't need any money," Madeleine interrupted.

"I am not speaking of coins, my darling girl."

"Then what?" Madeleine asked, already knowing the answer.

Instead of answering in words, the Marquis answered with his lips…and his tongue. As the Marquis' tongue entered her mouth, Madeleine was slightly surprised at first, although she had been kissed this way once before by the Marquis. The last time, and this time, it not only surprised her to find his tongue in her mouth, but it made her eyes involuntarily widen in shock. While the kiss was surprising, it was, at the same time, pleasurable to Madeleine. She closed her eyes and enjoyed it, forgetting where she was. She accidentally dropped the basket to the floor, which broke up the kiss.

"Oh!" exclaimed Madeleine in surprise.

The Marquis bent down and picked up the basket. He smiled as he handed it back to Madeleine. He couldn't help but notice that her cheeks were bright red.

"My dear," he said, "If you'd like, I could give you some of my parchment, so that you may fan your face…you appear to be very…hot at the moment."

"I'll…I'll be fine," Madeleine replied as she fanned her face with a hand. "I must get back to my duties now."

"If you must, you must," said the Marquis, as he put on his new clothing.

As Madeleine opened the door, she almost hit someone: Charlotte. She had been listening with an ear on the door during Madeleine's entire visit.

"Charlotte!" Madeleine said in surprise. "What were you doing?" she asked, as she closed the Marquis' door.

The Marquis heard what was going on. He went over to the door and slowly opened the slot on his door, to watch and listen to the conversation.

Charlotte smirked at Madeleine. "Traffic with the Devil, Maddy, and you'll pay the Devil's price."

Unsure of how to respond and at the same time embarrassed about what Charlotte must have heard, Madeleine just said, "I've got to get back to my duties." She walked away as quickly as she could.

Charlotte continued to smirk as she watched Madeleine walk away. Charlotte glanced back at the Marquis' door and saw his eyes staring at her from behind the slot. She stepped back, startled.

"My, my," said the Marquis, "At Charenton, even the walls have eyes."

Was the Marquis referring to Charlotte or his own eavesdropping?

Charlotte was a bit taken aback at the Marquis' accusation. "You're mistaken," she said. "I did not see a thing. But I do know one thing: You, Marquis, are a wicked, wicked man. The Devil himself."

The Marquis smiled. "You're quite dauntless," he said. "You may just be a match for me. But could you speak the same way to me, alone with me in my quarters?"

"I know your tricks," Charlotte replied. "You think I will go into your quarters right now just to prove I've courage enough to do so?"

"You cut me to the core, my dear Charlotte. I've secretly longed…nay, yearned for your kiss. Just to caress your beautiful cheeks would please me for a thousand years. To touch and kiss your luscious lips…to look into your eyes, which show your boundless intelligence and womanliness…"

Charlotte blushed. She looked pensive, almost wanting to believe the Marquis was telling the truth, yet at the same time wanting to run away from his door and as far away from him as possible.

"I've…I've heard your stories, before," was all she could think of saying.

"And what did you think?" asked the Marquis, always happy to have a conversation about his books with one of his beloved readers. "Deliciously naughty? Dare I say…erotic?"

Surprising to both Charlotte and the Marquis, Charlotte giggled. "Naughty, yes," she commented. "I couldn't even understand some of what you wrote…Ve…Venus mound?"

They both laughed.

"Come inside, my sweet…let us discuss my stories. I'll explain everything you wanted to know…with words or with actions, whatever your preference.

The curiosity overcame Charlotte; she took out her keys and began unlocking the door.

"Yes, yes, my little vixen," the Marquis whispered, "put your long, hard key into my tiny little hole…"

I leave you now, Dear Reader, to ponder the following: Was the Marquis lying about his yearning for Charlotte or did he just say such things to keep her from telling others about Madeleine's long stay today in his room? And did he mean her harm or did he merely wish to become her tutor in the ways of love?

Until next time…