A FOUR-LEGGED FIEND, A FOUR-LEGGED
HE'LL NEVER LET YOU DOWN...
Le Pacte des Loups (The
Brotherhood of the Wolf) & Harry
I do not normally concern myself with
cases concerning Animal Welfare, but the following Correspondence
brought to my Attention an alarming chain of Events in the South of
my own Country, involving Persons of Quality of my intimate
Acquaintance, & a large & savage Beast:
(twinned with Sleepy Hollow district, NY),
Mme la Marquise,
Permit me to recall myself to yr Mind -
as a very junior Naval Officer, I attended your Salon in Paris before
the War, & found the experience... most educational. I recall
your particular Curiosity about Ropes & Sailors' knots. I still
have the Scars to prove it.
However, I now find myself in an even
tighter Fix. While travelling abroad, I decided to bring back an
exotic pet Beast, of a species never before seen on these Shores.
Unfortunately, I was then severely maul'd while hunting a Lion &
have been recuperating at Home, an Invalid nurs'd by my devoted
little Sister. The Surgeons are still debating the future of my Arm.
I am not optimistic. However, I do find that having Impure Thoughts
concerning my Sister helps to pafs the time...
Meanwhile, the Beast has had its Taming
neglected, much to the detriment of its Temperament. How should I
keep it amus'd until I am well enough to take charge of It
Yours most anxiously,
JEAN-FRANÇOIS, Vicomte de MORANGIAS,
late of His Majesty's Navy
Frank! Darling! Hello, Sailor!
Long time no hear! (You must have heard
about my poor dear Valmont's Demise in that Duel - nasty business.
But it wasn't my Fault. No, not at all. That smarmy little rodent
Danceny can say what he likes... I deny everything.)
Myself & Poor Dear Valmont in Happier
Do get well soon - I thought something was
wrong from the Hand-writing! Let me know if there's anything I can
do... All the Nice Girls may love a Sailor, but Bad Girls love them
As to your Sister: do try to get out
more when you are feeling better. I may have to pay you a charitable
Visit. Of course, I have lost the sight of an Eye from the Small-pox.
One must adjust the best one can to thefe Trials! But some do say my
Patch is rather fetching, and you might think just a touch
Please, my dear Boy, make sure your new Pet
has lots of Toys to play with, so it doesn't get bored. Small, cheap
items that make squeaky Noises when chew'd are best: you know the
sort of thing - domestic Animals, domestic Servants,
Father H. Sardis,
The Priest's House,
Esteemed & Illustrious Madame la Marquise,
I should be greatly honour'd if you would do me the Honour of
Subscribing to our enclos'd privately-printed Admonition to His
Majesty on the pernicious Influence of Scientists & Philosophers
in High Society, undermining the Mother Church in this Kingdom. I can
assure you that we have the approval of the highest
Ecclesiastical Authorities. If you decide to join our Pacte, I can
offer you a Plenary Indulgence (signed by His Holinefs the Pope) for
any Sins you have committed or might be considering to commit in the
near Future! (This offer expires if you do not reply within 14 days;
if you do not reply within 28 days, you expire. Most
Madame's most Humble & Obedient Servt.,
Fr. Henri Sardis
(pp 'The Wolves of God')
Dear Father Henri,
Usually when People write asking Me to
endorse privately-printed Publications, the Books come in plain brown
Covers & have most interesting & educational Engravings...
This, alas, is dry stuff & unlikely to do well in a competitive
As to Philosophers, Scientists, & c,
they are really nothing to worry about. Socrates, I'm told, was
permanently [somewhat inebriated] & indeed, Aristotle,
Aristotle was a B____ for the Bottle - Ahem! - Now where was I...?
Ah, yes. What this boils down to is
sales figures, doesn't it? All these popular Fellows like
Diderot & Rousseau outsell your dusty theological Tomes, &
you fear that People are reading them, with a result that your Parent
organisation's Influence is diminishing, yes? Fear not. You should
know by now that when fashionable People buy books of Learning, it is
solely to display them on their book-shelves & make themselves
look intelligent, rather than actually to read them. The same
is equally true of theological & devotional Books, of course,
which people buy to make themselves appear Devout, but never
read. Everyone knows that Diderot's biggest seller is La
Religieuse, a charming novel of convent life to which I am sure
you cannot take exception...! (Indeed, I have spent many a
happy hour reading it in bed of an evening, & instructing my
Maidservant in its precepts through a most pious rôle-playing
Game of 'Mother-Superior & Disobedient Novice'.)
So I suggest that you inform His Holiness
that he is backing a lame Dog, rather than a Wolf, & that
certainly your secret Society is not going to find many members
unless it comes up with more exciting Merchandise than a Hardback
with no Pictures, droning on about the Sinfulnefs of the modern
World, which most of us actually like! (You might try offering
a free cuddly toy wolf to all new members. Or what about Saints &
Bishops trading-cards? Very popular with young Folk!)
By the way: Why are there Dog-biscuit
Crumbs in the Envelope? Don't tell me you're that hard up
for Communion Wafers?!
I heard no more from my acquaintances in
the district for 2 years, but there were Rumours that a large Beast
was eating its way through the Peasantry of the Diftrict. Then I
heard from a young Italian lady:
Tessier's House of Pleasure for the Gentry,
I am an undercover Inspector for the
PSPCA (Papal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals),
currently investigating the case of a large exotic Beast being kept
without a licence, and indeed without a Muzzle, in unsuitable
Conditions. It has been preying on local Residents.
Under cover of my disguise as a doxy in
the above-named local Establishment, I have been able to garner some
information from the Clients & the other Girls. However, I am
wondering how to proceed. There is now a Naturalist in the area,
aided by a Native Medicine-man - a Stockbridge or Mohican Indian -
from New France, who is investigating the Creature, with a view to
sending it back to His Majesty for taxidermy... I need to
discover who is controlling the Beast, yet I do not wish it to meet
such a Fate. Can you advise?
A Naturalist who has been in New France...?
Is he blond, perchance? Hmmm...
Proceed with caution. I suspect your
parent-Organisation may be implicated. I also advise stocking up on
I have made further enquiries with my
Secretary on the subject of Stockbridge Indians:
A frequent sight in Stockbridge on a Saturday
She assures me that the Stockbridge
Colonies are close to Edinburgh and that there is indeed an excellent
Indian restaurant in the vicinity. Let's discuss this
tête-à-tête over a Chicken Tikka
Dear Mme la Marquise,
Please advise me! My Mother is trying to
poison me, while my brother Jean-François is making inceftuous
Advances! (He seems a changed Man entirely since he return'd from
Africa a few years ago, having been severely maim'd by a Lion!) Where
can I turn for Help?
Yours in Desperation,
MARIANNE de MORANGIAS
PS: I enclose a recent portrait of my Brother &
So you're darling Frank's charming
little Sister!!! My, this is a turn-up for the Books!
Well, I can only suggest that you lie back
& think of Ancient Egypt, dear Girl...!!! So long as past
Generations haven't made too regular a Habit of it, the effect on the
Breeding-stock should be minimal...
Alternately, pafs on this letter to him,
and say I shall be with you on the next Stage South... Since my poor
dear Valmont departed, I do find other Vicomtes so
consoling... And we are old friends...
PS: My Secretary wishes to know who made
your Riding Habit, as she wants one. But I don't pay her enough to
buy one, so tough! She hasn't even got a Horse, anyway.
Dept. of Ancient Monuments,
Dear Mme la Marquise de Merteuil,
Do you know anything about the causes of
serious Damage to a Grade A-listed ancient Monument, known as 'the
Ruined Abbey': Pillars being broken, Stones knocked over, & c.?
It has been claimed that a couple of young Gentlemen, both allegedly
of your Acquaintance, were seen hacking at each other with Swords in
the vicinity the Night before the Damage was first reported to my
His Majesty's Inspector of Ancient
I'm sure I don't know what you are talking
about. Befides, if the Building is already a Ruin, what is the Fufs
But my suspicions regarding the Identity of
the myfterious Naturalist were soon confirmed: he was indeed another
cher ami of mine...
Mme de Merteuil,
I am delighted to learn of your Arrival
hereabouts. I believe we met at one of your Salons in Paris before
the late war in the Colonies. You express'd great enthusiasm for my
practical Demonstrations of tribal Anthropology, especially on the
subject of mating Rituals and Shamanism...
I know you do not normally deal with this
kind of Case, but do you know anyone who can provide a good Home for
a large, furry, human-devouring, extremely strange & exotic
Beast? It needs a lot of Space, fresh Meat, & long Walkies. It
suffer'd some Wounds in the process of Pacification, but the charming
undercover Animal Cruelty Inspector, Signorina Sylvia, afsures me it
will recover. It is house-train'd (I think).
I am planning to travel Abroad, probably
to Senegal, & Marianne, my Fiancée, objects to taking the
Beast with us as the quarantine Bills will be enormous. It was
formerly her Brother's pet, but he is no longer able to look after
it, as he has lately suffer'd a severe pulmonary Hæmorrhage
following an unfortunate Accident with a Sword or Two.
And a Knife. Befides which, Sylvia has banned him from keeping any
Pet for 5 years on grounds of irresponsible Behaviour, and lack of a
proper Licence or Muzzle. But I won't bore you with the
Yours very sincerely,
Le Chevalier de FRONSAC
Ah! I remember you, dear, and your
Hobbies! You naughty, naughty Boy! - I'd heard you'd run off to New
France after that embarrafsing Incident with le Duc de _____ eating
some of your 'shamaniftic' Mushrooms & swinging from the
Chandelier at Mme la Marquise de P_mp_d__r's... It was terribly
amusing, but I hadn't seriously expected him to call you out because
of it... You did the right thing, to leave the Country. I detest
Duelling, knowing all too well its Cost!
Why not put the enclof'd Postcard on the
Pub noticeboard? There is bound to be some
Idiot kind Perfon willing to take it off yr Hands.
FREE TO GOOD HOME!
(Species as yet
Faithful temperament, very
Especially fond of children & Shepherd's Pie
made with real Shepherdess.
Some veterinary attention needed.
Previous owner can no longer care
for it on health grounds. Current owner is moving
Chev. G. de Fronsac, at the bar, or
Sorry to hear about your Blood-brother -
saw it in the Papers - but being the Penultimate of the Mohicans
never sounded to me like a Situation with long-term security
But what in Satan's name have you done
to Frank de M.?!!! Answer me, you
My Dear Madame,
Just to let you know that I follow'd yr
Suggestion & advertis'd the Beast on the noticeboard at Le
Gryphon d'Or. A tall, burly & not very intelligent
Englishman, Monsieur Hagrid, exprefs'd an interest, & has
taken the Creature home with him. He even paid me for It! He has
named it Fluffy (mon Dieu!) & claims it will make an
excellent Guard-dog at the School where he works...
Father Henri has disappeared following
the Unpleasantnefs at the Abbey, but a Wolf was recently seen with a
well-chewed Rosary & shreds of Soutane hanging out of its Mouth,
and a very satisfied Expression.
Why are you so curious about the fate of
Marianne's Brother? He's an amoral, scheming, sinister,
heretical Villain who would have ravish'd his Sister, had not their
Mother's Poison knocked her out, who shot my Blood-brother, & who
was in this rancid Conspiracy up to his Eyes! Surely you can
have nothing in common with such a Lunatick & base
Scoundrel? (The Knife was Sylvia's, anyway.)
But how can I ever exprefs my Thanks to
you for helping me out of this Scrape?!!! How can I repay
Yours in gratitude,
GREG de F.
I can think of a few Ways, believe
me, dear Boy... However, since, thanks to you, I am
currently advising Signorina Sylvia on updating her knowledge of
both nursing & nautical matters, YOU CAN FORGET IT,
Sylvia is tending the Vicomte?!
You cannot be serious! But she - the Knife - she stabbed him
Shocked & Stunned,
G de F
She 'put her Mark' on your Bosom
with the same Knife, didn't she?! It's just her quirky little
Way of showing how possessive she is... Anyway - what do you expect
when you dump the poor Girl to go off with your titled little Chit,
his Sister?! A Girl after my own Heart, is our Sylvia, and Frank is
another old Friend of mine. They are devious, dangerous &
strange, & I hope they'll be very happy conspiring
PS: I hear from M. Hagrid that our furry
friend Fluffy is growing... Heads.
Thank you most kindly for the Get Well Card. Signorina S. is most
effective at ensuring that I stay in Bed while my Wounds heal. Please
ask your Secretary if she knows aught of the whereabouts of my black
Waistcoat with the gold Peacock-feather embroidery, or of my crimson
velvet Coat with the facings also black with the matching Embroidery.
On your last Visit, my Valet tells me that she "inspected my Wardrobe
for moths", & now it appears that these Items are mifsing from
with Fondest Regards,
J-F de M
I am delighted to hear that you are
recovering! As to your Coat and Waistcoat, my Secretary informs me
that they were indeed eaten by Moths. Even the Buttons.
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