And so : the girl wins (through asking her two masters all the hard questions) some sort of Jeopardy! by mail competition. The prize ? A fur coat. Which the husband wants to borrow for the wife to wear to impress his friends. And so he does. And on it goes.
On it goes ? On it goes. Since it's too dificult to get two girls that share a cock but not the bed to efficiently share wardrobes... Tho' he does try, for instance the "only one" pair of shoes that goes with the mink in the wife's 300 pair collection was gifted by her to the maid upon the happy occasion of the latter's mink acquisition as described above. But now if the wife is to wear the mink out of the house, she needs the shoes back, and so she has to ask for them, for she won't go barefoot. Except, she says, that won't work anyway, as the girl's destroyed the shoes already with her great feet (which is quite the insult in the chinese society of the post-war French). And so they quarrel yet again, and in the words of the good gentleman, "Tres bien! Tou l'aurais voulu!" and so he goes outside the house with the maid.
Which of course poses its own problems, as the sweet girl isn't trained for this purpose, and so she says the wrong thing and does the wrong thing and her "husband" dutifully points out to her to "not talk all the time" after the second thing she's said. Somehow this is so perfectly natural in the context (of mores!) that it passes unnoticed.iii
Do you know what the man above has just said ? He's said "she's very lively", by means of an excuse wrapped in a compliment wrapped in... something apparently very bitter.
The dinner goes splendidly well, as the client appreciates the girl's constant torpedoing of her husband's attempts to talk business, and so a friendly invitation is proffered. Which the husband can not, of course, in any way deflect. So he is now to call his wife (you remember her, the woman left at home with no shoes and no mink) to tell her to...
Uhm... to degaje as they say, to go take a stroll or better yet catch a film at the Cinema while he fucks I mean... enfin, sees to the business at hand. With his client. And his... uhm... yeah.
The wife doth protest, and the husband doth end the conversation with a sharp "do what you're told"iv. So who do you think opens the door ?
Why, the maid, of course.
There's about half dozen of them, enjoy.———
- 1963, by Jean Girault, with Francois Perrier (!), Jacqueline Monsigny, Mireille Darc. [↩]
- The middle class businessman has a wife, who is his peer : educated, idle, obnoxious. He also has a... shall we say soubrette. A younger woman, of lower social extraction, very eager, very pert, just as coinceited, stubborn, ambitions, what shall you call it. Proud.
The soubrette loves him, and will do things for him. The wife, idem. In different ways and different things, of course, but still, idem. They don't exactly hate each other, but they can't quite stand each other all too well, either. So what exactly are the limits of who says what to whom when and who "has to" and who "hasn't to" what when where and why ? There you go, mores. [↩]
- The gentleman he is trying to impress, let it be said in passing, is also married. His older wife has long cracked and she is now taking refuge in drink. It wasn't a very woman-friendly time or place, la belle France, la France d'amour &tout ca. [↩]
- In characteristic French fashion, there's a lot of manhandling and generally dragging the women about as a plot device. I do mean literally, grab her wrist and go, she'll fall in step eventually. This is inaugurated with the maid, proceeds in due course to the wife and eventually the client is repositioned around in the same manner. [↩]