The Poet's Princess

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The airy-fairy land

Date: 1633 AD

Scene: Faubourg Saint-Germain, Paris

Dramatis personae:
Jean-François Sarasin and I = We
Vauquelin des Yvetaux, poet
Guests at the party

It takes us some time to realise that we are but two specks of dust on the soiled pavement of the city. Even if we hate asking favours, we bow to the necessity and search our pockets for the letter introducing us to Vauquelin des Yvetaux. We make for the Faubourg Saint-Germain in two minds about our encounter. We have heard some strange tittle-tattle about the eccentric poet who fancies a shepherd’s look and behaves at a whim. Guarded against all eventualities, we enter his reception room. To our great relief he receives us gracefully and amiably and takes us on as assistant-shepherds of his chimerical herds.

Charming shepherdesses and gallant shepherds welcome us warmly in their midst. They congratulate us on our promotion to the chosen few and invite us to a dance by the lake. Spinning round and round its emerald-green sweep, we flirt a little with the water-lilies, raising from the polished surface their faces of playful nymphs.

Dance-worn we sink into the lush grass, lulled by sweet music into an airy-fairy land.

“Eat, drink, make merry. Do as you wish. Though pray, do not disturb our heavenly harmony!” Exhorts us Monsieur des Yvetaux appearing from nowhere with a buxom shepherdess.

“I am the truth, the life, the purpose. Follow me blindly without questioning my reasons. Your way to happiness passes through my dreams!”

We make a pledge of unconditional surrender and the rosy-cheeked Galatea rewards us with an intoxicating smile, spilling tipsy rosebuds out of her rosy mouth.

“Isn’t it wonderful to forget all but ourselves? Taking life’s pleasures as they come? Isn’t it heavenly falling in love?” Whispers my poet taking me in his arms.

Sun filters through the blossoming cherry trees, all light and sweetness. Rejoicing in Jean-François’ soft lips, I abandon myself to his lavish attentions.

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