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Le Pacte des Loups (The Brotherhood of the Wolf) & Harry Potter

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:

Château de Morangias,
(twinned with Sleepy Hollow district, NY),

Dear 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 again?

Yours most anxiously,

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 Times

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 better...!

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 Piratical...

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, Children...

 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 horribly.)

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 publishing Market!

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:

Mme Tessier's House of Pleasure for the Gentry,

Cara Signora Marchesa,

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?


Dear Sylvia,

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 Dog-biscuits.

I have made further enquiries with my Secretary on the subject of Stockbridge Indians:

A frequent sight in Stockbridge on a Saturday night

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 Biriyani!

Château de Morangias,

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,


PS: I enclose a recent portrait of my Brother & myself. 

Dear Marianne,

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,
Gévaudan District

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 Department.

yours sincerely,

His Majesty's Inspector of Ancient Monuments 

Dear Sir,

I'm sure I don't know what you are talking about. Befides, if the Building is already a Ruin, what is the Fufs about?

But my suspicions regarding the Identity of the myfterious Naturalist were soon confirmed: he was indeed another cher ami of mine...


Dear 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 Details...

Yours very sincerely,

Le Chevalier de FRONSAC

Greg, Sweetie!

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 gullible Idiot kind Perfon willing to take it off yr Hands.



(Species as yet unclassified)

Faithful temperament, very obedient.
Eats anyone anything.
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 abroad.

Contact: 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 Profpects.

But what in Satan's name have you done to Frank de M.?!!! Answer me, you Wildlife-botherer!!!


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 you?

Yours in gratitude,

GREG de F. 

Dear Grégoire,

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, SUNSHINE...!!!


Madame -

Sylvia is tending the Vicomte?! You cannot be serious! But she - the Knife - she stabbed him -

Shocked & Stunned,

G de F

Dear Greg,

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 Together!


Mme de Merteuil

PS: I hear from M. Hagrid that our furry friend Fluffy is growing... Heads.


Dear Madame,

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 within.

with Fondest Regards,

J-F de M

Well, darling,

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.

Je t'embrasse toujours.

Mme de Merteuil

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