Suburban Souls Volume I
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Category: Erotica/Classic Erotica
Description: A Classic of 20th Century Erotica! The intensity of the emotion and the stubbornness of the protagonist's futile sexual pursuits make fascinating reading. Whether the book was written as a novel or a confession or an expiation is a matter of conjecture. Lilian was a girl who understood the power she possessed over the narrator, and exploited this to her own end. Yet, she is portrayed as no more evil or sinful than the author himself. Repeatedly, Jacky blames only himself for his obsessive infatuation and the attendant self-inflicted and oft-invited, psychological masochism he suffers. Jacky and Lilian are co-equal protagonists and antagonists. The dedication of the book reads: I dedicate this story of sordid sensuality to my heroine, one of the wickedest women in the world.
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/Sizzler, 2004
eBookwise Release Date: December 2004
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [233 KB]
Reading time: 163-228 min.
My great fear in setting forth this simple adventure of love and passion is that I shall not be able to carry home to my reader's mind the feelings, the hopes, the doubts and fears that so long racked my soul and stirred up all that was good and bad in the heart and brain of the writer--a very ordinary man.
I have always been a great reader of amatory literature and all books and novels relating to sexual matters, whether willfully obscene or cunningly veiled; whether written by medical authorities, novelists, or even issued from the secret presses of Belgium and Holland. I often remarked that such tales were far from true to nature. I do not speak of lewd worlds, where impossibilities are presented merely to augment the sale of the volumes, but of the few which impress us with an idea of truth, being incidents which, although highly colored, might perhaps have happened all the same. Such are some of the best French novels. But most of them are written by men who misjudge women, and when lady novelists write about love they seldom show us a woman as she really is, their sympathy for their own sex guiding their partial pens in spite of themselves. Really true tales of sensuality are thus rare, and I come forward to give you mine, where I have carefully endeavored to keep my imagination within bounds and tell nothing but what did really happen.
It will hurt me, and drag open smarting, half-healed wounds, but I mean to do it and go through it as an expiation.
I am the hero. I cannot help smiling as I write that word. I guess my readers will think I am going to praise myself, and with excuses lead up to an eventual conversion. Do not be led away. I am not a good man. Some may call me vile. You must not put me down as a professional romance-writer. No, I am plain Jacky S., of the Paris Bourse, writing plain facts, and if I were to see the error of my ways and retire to a monastery at the end of the story, it would be feeble-minded and contrary to human nature. So pity me, and do not crush me beneath the weight of your righteous self-satisfaction. Had I been my own maker, and had I, as a baby, possessed the knowledge of the world I have now, I should have been a good man, without voluptuous longings or abnormal passions, and I should not be writing this vicious book. I know some men get more pleasure out of one Sunday's church-going than I have ever done in a year's enjoyment of wine, women, and gambling. I know not how they do it. I should like to be as they are, but I cannot change my nature, and I shall go to my death as I was born.
Let all young men who read my story, and who will spit out their pitiable contempt for me, the unworthy author, wallowing in the slime of sensuality, take a scribbling diary and jot down their secret longings for a few months. Truthfully, mind you. At the end of a quarter's record, just hark back and see if the chronicle agrees or disagrees with my arts.
Why are we as we are? Hereditary influences, education, surroundings--Heaven knows what. Conclusion: some men are bad, a few are good, most of us are betwixt and between.
I am at the top of the sinners' class and my only excuse is that somehow I manage to be intensely wicked on an honorable, chivalrous basis of my own. You shall find out my style of villainy as you read on.
I have spoken the prologue. Let me now try and introduce the actors in this miniature drama of lust.
Eric Arvel was a correspondent of the financial press. His duties brought him to the Bourse nearly every day, and he used to watch the market and send off long columns of criticism on the rise and fall of stocks and shares to newspapers in England, Germany, and Russia. He was a man of many languages and I never knew his precise nationality. I expect he was born of English and Continental parents and had been brought up in Great Britain. But his business and birth have very little to do with the present memoirs, although I often thought he was of Jewish extraction and the German strain seemed to predominate. Besides his financial elucubrations, he wrote letters of Parisian gossip for many newspapers, and had other strings to his bow. I think he was often employed by houses of business in London to travel and collect debts, or help to get evidence for solicitors in Great Britain. He journeyed greatly at one time all over Europe, and once had a mission that took him to China and Japan, returning from those countries with heaps of curiosities, such as quaint idols, dainty porcelain, and beautifully embroidered silk gowns, wherewith to delight the females of his household. I never troubled about his writings or his doings. It was no concern of mine what money he had or how he accumulated it. I had known him for years, how many I cannot now remember. I am forty-seven, as I write now, and I am nearly sure we must have been acquainted twenty years before. I occupied a good position on the French Stock Exchange, and earned and spent money like water. When plying his avocation, he frequently fell across me and other members of my family, who were in the same line of business, and he knew all my parents at home. He was perfectly straightforward in all his monetary transactions, which is paying him a great compliment, as journalists are generally shifty paymasters. We seemed to have a little sympathy for each other, as we had many tastes in common, and so we got drawn together, although I think he was about twelve years my senior. I do not know his precise age, but we will say he is about sixty. He was fond of tales of scandal, liked gossiping about people, and was pleased to know how much money they possessed and if they were in good circumstances or not. I used to feed his curiosity and chop funny stories about all sorts and conditions of men with him. I would furnish him with what information I could for his articles, and he in return gave me a cunningly worded advertisement as often as possible. He liked reading as I do and I lent him books. One or two were of a spicy sort. I furnished him with reviews and magazines for years, sending him packets of papers twice and thrice a month. His tastes seemed to lead him towards lechery. I was always fond of women and so our conversation was often of the most lascivious kind. He was a great smoker and was seldom without the Englishman's briar in his mouth. I am also a votary of the weed, and we would swap tobaccos and have many a long chat together about the scandals of the Exchange, the amours of our circle of financiers and the latest echoes of the London clubs, for I am an Englishman, although my life has been passed in Paris. I never was much of a scandalmonger myself, being too indifferent to the wagging of the world, but I used to collect little stories to please my friend. I do not think he was very liberal-minded, nor very particular to a lie or two, especially when he fell to boasting about how he had succeeded in one thing or another, but I took good care never to contradict him. He possessed the usual vanity of ordinary middle-class folk, and gave his opinion on current topics boldly, albeit I could often see he had never studied the subject he was talking about. He was very fond of money, but careful and saving withal. One trait that always grated upon me was that he seemed pleased to hear of the downfall of anybody even when the victim of circumstances was a perfect stranger to him and had never been in his way. So I suppose there was a little envy and a great deal of jealousy in his composition. In appearance, he was tall, corpulent, and a trifle weak at the knees. He was far from ill-looking and must have been handsome in his youth. He was fair, with a thick moustache and no beard; bald, with a fine-shaped Roman nose and open nostrils. He was shortsighted and wore a pince-nez. His eyes were blue and he bit his nails to the quick. Some ten years ago he had suffered from a mysterious malady, and he wasted to a skeleton, so that everybody thought he was not long for this world. He spoke vaguely of some kidney trouble, and then he rallied, miraculously as I thought, and grew quite stout.
During all these years I had only met him as one man of the world meets another and cared nothing about his private life. He had frequently begged me to come and see him at his suburban dwelling at Sonis-sur-Marne, which, as all the world knows, is about twenty minutes ride by train from the Eastern station of Paris, but I had always refused, or put him off on some specious pretext, as I was very diffident about making fresh acquaintances, and if there was one thing I hated more than another it was pushing myself into people's houses. But in 1895, having been bitten by a mania for possessing and rearing dogs, I happened to have a very fine litter of fox terriers, and I asked Mr. Arvel if he would care to accept a bitch six months old, who promised to make a nice animal. He seemed very pleased at the offer, telling me that he wanted a dog who would be watchful and give the alarm down in the country, and he asked me to come to lunch and bring the puppy, who I had christened Lili. Oddly enough, I found that my friend's house was called Villa Lilian, and this name was cut into the stone at the side of the gate. The name of Lilian or Lily is destined to play a great part in my life, as my mistress--for I have a mistress, as every Parisian has--was also named Lily. This latter lady plays but an insignificant part in this narrative, and so I pass her by for the present.