* * * * *
The painter paints slowly, but his passion grows more and more
rapidly. I am afraid he will end up by committing suicide. She plays
with him and propounds riddles to him which he cannot solve, and he
feels his blood congealing in the process, but it amuses her.
During the sitting she nibbles at candies, and rolls the paper-wrappers
into little pellets with which she bombards him.
“I am glad you are in such good humor,” said the painter, “but your face
has lost the expression which I need for my picture.”
“The expression which you need for your picture,” she replied,
smiling. “Wait a moment.”
She rose, and dealt me a blow with the whip. The painter looked at
her with stupefaction, and a child-like surprise showed on his face,
mingled with disgust and admiration.
While whipping me, Wanda’s face acquired more and more of the cruel,
contemptuous character, which so haunts and intoxicates me.
“Is this the expression you need for your picture?” she exclaimed.
The painter lowered his look in confusion before the cold ray of her
“It is the expression–” he stammered, “but I can’t paint now–”
“What?” said Wanda, scornfully, “perhaps I can help you?”
“Yes–” cried the German, as if taken with madness, “whip me too.”
“Oh! With pleasure,” she replied, shrugging her shoulders, “but if
I am to whip you I want to do it in sober earnest.”
“Whip me to death,” cried the painter.
“Will you let me tie you?” she asked, smiling.
“Yes–” he moaned–
Wanda left the room for a moment, and returned with ropes.
“Well–are you still brave enough to put yourself into the power of
Venus in Furs, the beautiful despot, for better or worse?” she began
“Yes, tie me,” the painter replied dully. Wanda tied his hands on
his back and drew a rope through his arms and a second one around his
body, and fettered him to the cross-bars of the window. Then she
rolled back the fur, seized the whip, and stepped in front of him.
The scene had a grim attraction for me, which I cannot describe. I
felt my heart beat, when, with a smile, she drew back her arm for the
first blow, and the whip hissed through the air. He winced slightly
under the blow. Then she let blow after blow rain upon him, with her
mouth half-opened and her teeth flashing between her red lips, until
he finally seemed to ask for mercy with his piteous, blue eyes. It