"Without terror, virtue is impotent." ~ Robespierre


10 September 199-
from the Château de -------
to the Marquise de Merlot


Foibles and Fancies in the Fall ...

Greetings my sparkling cohorts and cronies! It has been a surly, tepid summer, seemingly bereft of unique events and the delicious calumny that often follows heels upon same. Yet your own dear Comtesse de Nuit has managed to gather bits and morsels to succor, if only mildly. Thus the latest intrigue goes:

Many of you are, of course, unenthusiastically acquainted with the Comtesse Nyquolytt, that lurid personage of synthetic poise and melodramatic glamour who flutters and sighs her way through le Grande Monde. Well, this insidious termagant decided a week or so ago to set her tawdry cap for her long since ex-beloved, the Baron von Viking , who is the current beloved of one whom resembles Comtesse Nyquolytt quite tangibly in aesthetic, one we know as Mlle. Mewling!

Since the ignoble day of rejection the FIRST time she attempted to lure the Baron away from Mlle. Mewling, among others, the Comtesse Nyquolytt has trudged forth a new and contrite person (if not yet cured of her legendary yet frenzied accessorizing). Ah how she beckons to all in society these days with a contrived demeanor of candid friendship and affectionate camaraderie! Yet although I staunchly resolve to place no genuine trust in her, I naturally cannot allow myself to disregard this jeweled opportunity for social entertainment and succulent intrigue.

To elaborate: The Baron mentioned nonchalantly to me a week or so ago that he received a tender and wistful communiqué from the Comtesse Nyquolytt imploring him to have a private audience with her. He acquiesced, and apparently she then "confessed" to the Baron that she was falling in love with him all over again.

She conveniently recited (in a hauntingly beautiful manner, no doubt) to the Baron her problems with Le Mssr., something about his being too young and unstable for a deeply committed relationship. And she again sniveled about the heartbreaking indignity she has withstood because of the secret love affair of her soon-to-be ex-husband Mssr. Gadabout with her former best friend. (Naturally Le Mssr. is unaware that the Comtesse is lamenting for the Baron as she is careful to maintain a façade of rapture when around Le Mssr.)

Not surprisingly, the Comtesse Nyquolytt lapsed into a fit of weeping. She moaned that she was quite tormented by her re-awakened passion for the Baron. As well, she proclaimed to being equally torn over Mlle. Mewling because she utterly ADORES her, and did not wish to cause her pain.

With adroit rapidity she then switched moods and began cajoling the Baron with the logic that "we are now both capable of experiencing a rich and rewarding relationship with each other as we were not ready years ago. Ah, if only we could be given the chance to pursue this."

The Baron related to me that he told Comtesse Nyquolytt to "try and get over it, because if it did not happen 4 years ago when I was more vulnerable to you, it is not going to happen now."

Is this not tiresome and predictable of Comtesse Nyquolytt? By the by, I have it on good authority (a certain Prince in our midst) who relates scoffingly that Comtesse Nyquolytt fabricates events for her own private diary! Imagine! Deliberate personal duplicity in what is supposed to be an historical and autobiographical chronicle! Mon dieu!

In any event, any reputation the Comtesse Nyquolytt possessed was threadbare to begin with, and the only social status she has currently enjoyed was as an inferior member of our weekly Salon gathering. I predict that any frantic attempts on Comtesse Nyquolytt's part to reclaim her vanishing social dignity will be conspicuously deficient.

But this seething epic of gaudy conspiracy has not yet concluded, for the whimsical contrivances of Fate served to further spice this intrigue. On Thursday last, Comtesse Nyquolytt and Mlle. Pantye Shield arrived at my doorstep. I ushered them into the foyer and I assumed a cordial yet chilling demeanor. As the Mlle. Pantye Shield hurried down the corridor to visit with the Dauphine and Lady Shasha I serenely confronted Comtesse Nyquolytt as to her rumored Declaration of Rejuvenated Yearning for the Baron.

My celebrated comrades, I shall spare you the tedious minutia involved in relating the protestations and whimpering assurances of the Comtesse once she was confronted with my sinister queries regarding her ever-metamorphosing loyalties and circuitous affections. Suffice it to say, she disavowed being in love with the Baron, denied having proclaimed to him of being re-enamored of him, and diligently blamed the entire "misunderstanding" upon Mlle. Pantye Shield! Mon Dieu!

Apparently, Mlle. Pantye Shield, in her capricious and notorious fashion, overtly flirted with the Baron one evening at notre Salon. Her fawning and flirting presumably caused a tumult of regret, emotion and nostalgia to erupt within the gentille Comtesse Nyquolytt. Thus ensued the ill-fated communiqué to the Baron, and his eventual disclosure to me of what transpired during their conversation.

Blame appointed conveniently elsewhere, Comtesse Nyquolytt embraced me and whispered breathily that she loved me. She then clung to me for a few moments while resting her head against mine. Interestingly enough, Comtesse Nyquolytt begged me not to think harshly of Mlle. Pantye Shield for her flawlessly insensitive flirtations with the opposite gender and the intrigue,. betrayal and scandal that ensued in the aftermath of Mlle. Pantye Shield's copious and whimsical dalliances. She assured me that in spite of this latest misunderstanding, she loved Mlle. Pantye Shield as though they were sisters carved of one unique (and hauntingly beautiful, perhaps?) soul. A brief while later, Comtesse Nyquolytt and a pointedly curious Mlle. Pantye Shield departed my château for environs unknown to me.

It seems, however, that Fate was not yet through spinning the thread for this particular fabric of calumny. Ah no, the social world whirled, paths crossed and twisted, and then arrived Friday.

We were holding court upon this Friday past when the deservedly overwrought Comtesse Nyquolytt made an alarmingly early appearance at notre Salon. (Indeed, this situation was predicted by your own Melusine to the Duke of Set the evening before as being one of the two maneuvers the Comtesse would devise as a response to The Incident.)

Each of you took note of the Comtesse's desperately mawkish comportment as she launched a solitary crusade to salvage her fast-decomposing social reputation. Barely a half hour had past when we were greeted by the arrival of the Mssr. Gadabout, the Duchesse Clamidia, and Mssr. Huzzah.

As this raucous and grinning trio greeted us, Comtesse Nyquolytt leapt toward the footman to send word to Le Mssr.. (A frantic task she had been preoccupying herself with before I had arrived, and since. Such rabid devotion is astonishing, is it not?)

As the Dauphine's eyes met mine (our glances mirrored one another in their expressions of euphoric jubilation) to revel in the unfolding drama, who should sidle around the staircase but the former best friend of Comtesse Nyquolytt and current lover of Mssr. Gadabout (Nyquolytt's not-yet ex-husband), the Mlle. Primavera!

The evening progressed as one would presume. The Comtesse was able to sustain the barest veneer of haughty reserve aand foppish disdain. The Dauphine made numerous visits to the Ladies Lounge with the various ladies of our coterie to "fill them in" on the latest.

Le Mssr. arrived and he and the Comtesse Nyquolytt soon departed notre Salon. She did not even bid farewell to Mlle. Pantye Shield, who was at that very moment in the Ladies Lounge with the Dauphine being "apprised." She did, however, encircle her arms about me and wish me the breathy good-bye of one persecuted.

Mlle. Pantye Shield was notified in enthusiastic detail by the Dauphine, and then myself, of the unscrupulous accusations made against her by the Comtesse Nyquolytt. She became quite peevish at this disclosure, catapulting into a vociferously colorful tirade against the Comtesse, after which she calmed down to a simmering pout.

The rest of the evening proved equally delightful. Mon dieu! The mere act of penning to you the latest exploits of le Grande Monde (and lesser others) exhausts me.

Alas, my blissfully decadent friends, I simply MUST end this communiqué. I have reported diligently most of what transpired in the last week or so, leaving out only the paltry details and excessive redundancy that so often lurk within this type of social pageantry.

As always I remain your affectionately obedient and gleefully entertained,

Melusine de Nuit

NOTE: "Drinking With Thine Enemies" is an exercize in reliving the ancient art of letter writing. The style takes it's inspiration from heady classics such as "les Liaisons Dangereuses", "Clarissa", and "Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure", though the content and events described therein are wholly modern.

Any resemblance to persons living or undead is purely coincidental ... we think. As a matter of fact, the question was put to the enigmatic Melusine, and on this subject she remains pointedly silent.

To learn more about the author, Comtesse Melusine de Nuit, please check her Bio on the Editors Page.