The Churchyard Of The Annunciation

9But the candidates were not equally possessed by the same feelings and consideration for the servants in the house. A student in classics had been surprised by the mistress with the kitchen maid, a swarthy wench from the south, with two golden round butterflies for ears among her locks and with a necklace hanging in the valley between her breasts. Her mouth, a thick red-wax seal cleft in the middle, looked like a ripe fruit among leaves showing amidst her dark, long, curly hair; her wet, dark, blackberry-like, twinkling eyes with their yellowish-orange pupils that made you think of the eyes of a cat, had been fixed several times upon the scholar and they had looked deep into his boar's eyes. He had quickly closed his eyelids as he had felt the look of the woman strike like a thunderbolt, burning his eyes from afar, as the light of the sun does when reflected by the splinter of glass of a mirror that one holds in one's hand. The mirror was hot and beyond it he could sense the enveloping, winding movement of her snake-like body, splitting into two long tails below her hips, as well as the sleepy desire of the woman who had tucked up the lower part of her skirt. You could see the grapes of her breasts bouncing under the unbuttoned shirt that revealed her naked chest below the strong, bare neck, while the rows of small beads on the belts girdling her slender waist seemed to be the smile of her belly hiding underneath. They could not speak but mutual desire and consent shone in their eyes. The mistress would not leave the study for anything in the world. When the maid lazily lingered about, feigning to carefully dust the furniture, the former would ask her with exasperation: "Aren't you done yet?" And the wench was not quickly done on purpose. One morning, as she was scrubbing, on her hands and knees, the checkered white-blue pattern of the bathroom floor, the plump lass innocently presented to the eye of the young scholar who had come to work, under the short lap of her too short skirt, a purple plum-shaped cleft amidst a tangle of hair. He stopped suddenly in the hall, on the mat in front of the bathroom door. Unable to control himself and forgetting where he was, he stepped into the bathroom and closed the door like a thief. Before the girl could stand up from all fours he pierced the hard, rough crack with a blind thrust, making her heave a deep, neigh-like moan. Shocked by a premonition, the mistress rushed to the bathroom and slammed the door open that the man had forgot to lock; as she entered, the wench's head was rhythmically banged against the wall, which made the ornaments she was wearing in her hair jingle as a censer as they hit the tiles. Suffering this violent handling with a deep, hidden pleasure and panting in an interrupted present continuous, the lass kept muttering a question: "What-are-you-do-ing-mas-ter?" Struck and shaken by disgust and revulsion, the mistress instantly and unawares turned her indignation into desire, drawn by the irresistible attraction the mare feels when she scents the stallion. Her limbs burning, her hand shaking, she drew the bolt and locked the second door too, which opened into a narrow vestibule for drying towels, separating the bathroom from the hall. A rod of fire burned her from the crown of her head down to her feet, and up to the nape of the neck. She would have liked to squeeze in between the two bodies, so that her wretched monkey should also have her share, half of the powerful thrusts, so that she, too, should be fiercely banged with the same rhythmical energy of the two superposed human backs, clinging hard to one another at the shoulders and moving loosely down at the hips. The previously obscure lexical meaning of an expression revealed itself to the woman, whose mind instantly translated the image into words: "Faire la bête à deux dos." The swarthy woman was still bent over on all fours, swinging sideways like a boat. The six-legged creature would take half a step forwards with each jerk and push of the two clashing bodies that made it up, with each thrust ever more vigorous and deep, thus moving in the comfortable space between the walls as some sort of many-legged compass. The mistress felt the thrust of a knife that cuts a melon in two halves cleaving the very core of her nature; mesmerized, she dropped her satin skirt then her silk urchin's bloomers. Her beautiful chimp hands seized her breasts that were as beautiful, flexible and small as those of a stiff high-school girl and furiously squeezed the nipples between their fingers. A double groan precipitated the orgasm and the beasts, coiling into each other, collapsed onto the floor, finally separated, convulsing as if whipped. Lying on one side, the culprits realized they had been seen by an accomplice only to eager to join in. No words could be uttered. The sunshine adorned their bodies with a silvery apparel. The fiery look in the eyes that had then slipped into a sleepy, dreamy languor, the impersonal, white paleness of the face, the wet, half open, flower-like lips, the whiteness of the upper legs above the rose-yellow stockings, the shoes, the painful grin on the chin made this freak look lovable, and the beauty of her desire to blossom poured out of her body as light does in a forest clearing. No ethical or cultural barrier could prevent the materialization of the divine order. A hairy, muscular badger, the man was now experiencing a moment of sheer animality for the first time in his bohemian youth. His wild nature, which had just been appeased, was stirred up again in a stormy, whirling upsurge. He put a hand under the thighs of the mistress, who was biting his mouth, chewing it like a pomegranate, while with the other hand he removed the clothes still hanging on her body. Standing on his hind legs as a beast that was used to fighting on the barren cliffs of the mountains, his upright body was reminiscent of old mythological figures. As with his forearms he was holding her under the knees, her legs hanging and swinging over his bent elbows, his rough hands slipped up the thighs to her bottom, under her flexible body, and lifted her slowly, gradually, like a prey, off the carpet, to the right height that was found instinctively. Hanging thus in the air, fully in the power of the erect male that was leaning on his soles and heels, the frail body of the woman met the lasting, cleaving thrust, that tore it, made it crumble inside. Three times was the storm aroused in her entrails and three times was it consumed by the lightning. And when in a giant thrust the male finally let himself go, a hot lye oozed into her, burning her to the tiptoes. The scholar had been turned on by all the smells he had despised in the study; the aristocratic perfumes added a new flavor to the beastly pleasure. The flesh, the delicate face, the sighed words, the whisper of the mind and even the caricature softened the violence and in their beastly, disgusting intercourse, the mates experienced the exalted happiness of one's self-denial when obeying a commandment. The communion with the living earth had cancelled the conventional distinction between servant and mistress in this twain possession of Lucifer; after the lady had fallen into a swoon, gasping and wriggling in agony, in a poisoned elation, the wench, suddenly corrupted into ladyship, crawled on her knees on the rough string mat, out of her mind. Her mouth, gaping as a hungry sex, was looking for appeasement. The mistress, too, rolled over, landing on her hands and knees. The cheeks, the eyelids, the soft circle of the ear, the women's chins were rubbing against the terrified man as in a steam bath; naked as they were, they both fell on the male to devour him as ants would devour a cricket that helplessly moves its angular legs. The story spread from man to man and the doctor, finally awakening to reality and being tortured by shame and remorse, did not show up at the last exam and disappeared. The academic world, too, came to know the adventure of the mistress, but nevertheless declared it utterly unlikely because of the way the woman looked. And ever since a new, melancholy virginity had gradually stolen into the house and the only person who refused to believe in it was old Somoshkesh, the coachman. A prolific author and a great stylist who debuted with a book only at 47, regarded as a Romanian counterpart of Baudelaire and Poe, Tudor Arghezi (1880-1967) wrote this fairy-tale lampoon (first published in 1936), filled with sarcasm directed at politicians and academics, and crowned with apocalyptic visions of rising dead, starting from the ordinary wish of an ordinary man to get a decent job with help from his good minister friend. Although he receives his PhD title from a doctoral board whose members owe him their works, and the minister is also indebted to him, Gulica only succeeds in becoming the administrator of a cemetery.

by Tudor Arghezi (1880-1967)