Madame Marie d'Vine
In 1888, Belle (Belle) Marie. Poor pretty Belle Marie lands in Louisiana, at the heart of New Orleans, an infant found on the doorstep of Jhansi Moret-Puget, a caring woman with many children of her own, hears the cries of a hungry infant, and rushes to her aid, she’s not the first baby abandoned to her doorstep, and knew what to do, as the child had been lucky she’d been found where she’d been left. Jhansi had a way of everyone’s trust, and with that, their love She held many secrets.
Respectfully brought the child to Madame Marie d’Vine. Madam Marie couldn’t place the child, or her mother, so she decided to raise her generously, yet with strict protection. Ma’rie spoiled Belle who grew to be rebellious, heartbreaking, and by no accident, settled next to a random woman who spoke to her on the street. Belle moved into the huge villa next to Jhansi Puget, who days after discovering Belle as an infant, the police discovered the body of who could’ve been the body of the child’s mother.
She was floating in the bayou, located behind a string of houses in what seemed to be a few days. Almost seventeen years later, Jhansi gets more beautiful with age, and by the looks of Belle moving next to Jhansi, of all people besides Ma’rie, Belle has to respect Jhansi almost twice as much.
“A man that is good, and in control of your life is the best thing that can happen to you,” Jhansi tried to urge. Belle was out for kicks, and some things never seemed to change.
One man knew exactly where Belle had been, and brought her to where he thought she belonged. Madame Marie’s only ambition was to help people. She grew up in the stores she now owns on several properties of land, and never wanted to leave it. The d’Vine’s had been the only heir to a slave master she never knew, and when her mother died too, she claimed the land they left her, and she kept. She owned a tavern, and grill below, kept the rooms upstairs as a hotel, and for women who didn’t mind attending to the needs of men. Women paid a share of stay, and the rest of the money was theirs.
Women came, and went at will. Madame Marie cared for anyone on her property. Her place had a maximum upkeep, and somewhere many people called home, may have hid, others stayed until they had made enough money to move on, and men usually needed to use their stay for a night. A man’s horses were treated, and their carriages attended to. They ate, drank, rarely stayed, and set off from such an establishment that stayed clean, and traveling men often left with a sack of delicious food.
Depending on what he’s willing to pay from the bar and grill, which also kept business alive, Marie fed many hungry mouths to feed with, or without money. She’s always had enough for the helpless. Madeleine Marie, Madame Marie’s mother was Creole, her father, French Canadian, and in inheriting the land from her parents, before being a Madame, Marie oversaw the croppers, and all the help herself, while her parents ran business, and had to stay social with guests during those times of settlement.
Marie’s parents had little family time, but were grateful for a roof ahead. While Marie was an only child, they sowed potatoes, blue, black berries, and oranges which would go to people in need, just as her great grandpa in Tampa West. That property was inherited too, they donated food all her life, and now her land was so rich she didn’t mind trespassers, nor had the d’Vine’s ever wanted for anything, and with all that, Marie inherited a good will, and was a happy woman who continued her parents traditions.
She never married, and so, hadn’t any children of her own. Marie did not know Belle’s mother, but the handkerchief she left had the name Belle stitched on it, so became Belle’s name, and Marie’s first name her last. Madame Marie gave Belle a good life, and furnished Belle with everything. The long sandy haired, blue gray eyed fair skinned beauty wanted, but as she grew, was rebellious, with an utter promiscuity on her mind, and Ma’rie hadn’t known how much she’d spoiled Belle.
Mentioning her beautiful, was something that would blush a young girl, but not Belle. She raved in compliments, and somewhere along the lines, became very ungrateful. Belle, and her friends were old enough to walk from school together, and would sneak around Marie’s establishments, admiring all the pearls, dresses, and trinkets the women of sale wore. The extravagance was another reason most of the women were in no hurry to leave Madame’s. Gifts were often given just as women were bought, or sold.
What did Belle need to have everything of a woman, she was only a child? Although Belle’s findings had been by mid afternoon, there was too much to see in the adult world of business than Marie cared for Belle to be exposed to. The older Belle became the more Belle wanted to be like the women she saw, without knowing someone’s truth, yet knew of money exchanges for time upstairs. She admired the way women were called on by men clients of day, and night, how the women blushed, and giggled.
Belle never thought the women sad, and fancied red rouge Marie forbade her, even pink, and she looked forward to the day she would wear the fanciest frocks. Belle looked at all the Guerlain perfumes men brought the women from France, and longed to sachet in fishnet lace stockings, Victorian shoe heels, and burgundy red velvet bodices with frills and lace. Belle had a grand education, but refused to further herself. She knew she didn’t want to be a “washer woman,” the cook, the maid, the mother.
Belle wondered what it was like tickling men with feathers. She loved being called pretty, and imagined taking the John’s who frequented, and watched her grow into a young woman. Belle’s Ma’rie did not approve of Belle running to the ranch. Every now and then there had been much too much for such a young girl to see, and most certainly behind Madame’s back. Ma’rie objected to Belle’s spying activities, none of her business, so she forbade Belle even delivering mail from the house.
Madame Marie knew the wiles of their world, having worked alongside her mother. Ma’rie’s mother worked her fingers to the bone cleaning, pressing clothes, linen, and cooking for people, and like her mother knew, there was always some man, or two that would try to swell Belle’s head behind her back. Marie knew, because people had done the same things to her, behind her parents back too, especially after her father had been killed. Belle parading her cheap thoughts had broken Ma’rie d’Vine’s heart.
She prided herself on how well Belle had done in the fine private school of Mr. Gentry. She had her heart set on Belle obtaining a respectful position in life. Besides the money Ma’rie would give Belle, at sixteen years of age Belle had a mind full of different ideas, and Madame thought to have Belle married before her thoughts became too late. Madame Marie set her eyes on some of the more serious young men in town for her daughter to marry in hopes she could suppress her wiles.
Madame knew dignified families, well educated from established backgrounds with sustainable income, business, properties, and respectable homes. The Madame hearing of Belle running with that Leoli Montague, was no wonder she’d been caught. She was way too outspoken, wearing a harlot’s outfit, and in the streets primping, and prancing in gypsy folly. Poor girl. How had she thought Ma’rie wouldn’t notice she is wearing gifts unsent by her? When Marie figured Belle out, she forbade her.
Befriending that, Leoli running loose, was not a good idea for anyone. They for many years, carried a bad history, most of them are still in jail, and the others no doubt, were on their way, and Ma’rie flipped.
“You could get caught up with those boys, or worse. You could get pregnant.” Belle insulted Ma’rie with outburst, from Belle wanting to be so grown up.
“How do you know I wasn’t already pregnant?”
“Well if that had been so, I would want you to come to me. I can help,” Ma’rie said.
She could not believe her ears. She wondered where Belle would have the inclination, or time to lose her virginity, but she had, and Ma’rie’s heart broke to hear Belle, tear into her about the issue.
“But I will have sex anytime I want to.” Marie only protested Belle’s attitude, and knew they needed to talk, and asked that they do, but Belle felt the grass could be greener. On the other side of town, Belle ran away with Leoli, (Lee-0-lie) who was promiscuous. She had too many bad brothers. Leoli, and her brothers did whatever they wanted since most of the time their parents practiced voodoo, and witchcraft.
Out in the world of adults, Belle soon meets a man, and in all his faults, was not convinced that she stopped working for every Tom who dicked her.