Pierre Bonnard gazed out from the window of his cottage overlooking his unruly garden. His thoughts were on Mimi, his current life model. Although she was blond, petite and very pretty he had until this moment seen her as merely a nude body to be painted. Now as he turned and looked at his latest impression of her, sitting there on its easel he suddenly saw her for the first time as a very desirable young woman. He had always been thoroughly engrossed in his work and he couldn’t remember when he had last lain with a woman. He was aroused and thought ‘I wonder if it is anything to do with the three glasses of absinthe I have taken or is it a deep seated desire just starting to emerge’.


He was disturbed at this new found emotion and the desire to see her, to touch her, to love her was very strong. He sat for a moment and let these feelings wash over him. ‘Shall I have another absinthe or take a cold shower, or should I take my courage in both hands and go to find her?’  He decided on another absinthe and then a re-assessment of his feelings. The aniseed liquor burned his throat but did nothing to quell his rising desire. Without more ado he donned his coat and set off, slightly unsteadily down the garden path.


A narrow lane led from his gate through fields of late summer wheat, glowing golden in the sunshine and awaiting the scythes of the farm labourers. Eventually he arrived at the entrance to the forest and followed the winding path through the dappled shade. He remembered painting this very scene this time last year. It was at that time one of his most satisfying pieces. After maybe half an hour he reached the point where the path emerged from the trees. Before him was a beautiful vista of flower meadows buzzing with bees and in the near distance lay the village where Mimi lived. Again he thought that he had painted this view also. He set off at a good pace filled with a firm resolution to complete his self-imposed task. The fresh air and exercise cleared his mind of some of the effects of the absinthe and it felt good to be alive.


He reached the first group of houses and followed the lane which took him past the venerable old parish church, with its ivy covered tower and steeple. He thought to himself that it was time old Pere Francis replaced the cracked bell which drove Pierre to distraction on Sunday mornings.  Just beyond the church was the local inn, a somewhat decrepit ale house where he had cultivated many a hangover with some of his fellow local artists. ‘I wonder if I should pop in for another absinthe?’ However his thoughts turned again to the near perfect body of Mimi and he decided to press on.


As he reached her small abode he reached out his hand to knock on the door but suddenly all his resolve faltered. What if her mother answered the door? Madame Du Pont was a large formidable woman with arms like hams and an irritable expression on her florid face. What will I say?  ‘Madame I have come to seduce your daughter!’ No God forbid that would be akin to suicide! I should have bought a gift, flowers or some chocolate from the famous chocolaterie in the nearby town. ‘A little more planning might have paid off’ he thought.

He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, lifted his hand and knocked loudly on the door

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