Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

THE MARQUIS DE SADE

Sacrilege!

"I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?"1

The nattily-dressed young nobleman escorted the comely French prostitute to a rented room on the second floor of a nondescript maison on the outskirts of Paris. The Marquis de Sade had been frequenting such houses during his trip to the capital, a trip he had ostensibly taken for business reasons. The true nature of his business, however, was the pursuit of pleasure, the kind that the nobility of France had enjoyed for generations without repercussion or recrimination. The newly wed Marquis had been staging garden-variety orgies at several maisons he had rented in and around Paris during October of 1763. However, he had a more singular encounter in mind for himself and the young prostitute, Mlle. Jeanne Testard.

Upon entering the room, the Marquis bolted the door behind them and immediately demanded to know if Mlle. Testard had religious convictions, if she was a faithful adherent to the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic faith. When she responded affirmatively, the Marquis proceeded to harangue her with the most vile and degrading insults. To Testard's horror he also began to engage in the most provocative and blasphemous acts, including masturbating into a chalice, referring to the Lord as "motherfucker" and inserting two communion hosts into the terrified young woman before entering her himself, all the while screaming, "If thou art God, avenge thyself!"

Mlle. Testard, who had already gotten much more than she had bargained for with the Marquis, was mortified by his next request, which was for her to heat a cat-o-nine-tails in the fire until it glowed red, and then to beat him with it. She was then to select the whip of her choosing for him to do the same to her. When she refused to let him beat her, he proceeded to masturbate with a pair of crucifixes, after which he held her at sword-point while forcing her to repeat vulgar, blasphemous impieties.

At 9:00 am the following day, Mlle. Testard's procuress arrived to find her young charge in a most hysterical state. They rushed immediately to the local police commissioner who took the young woman's deposition. Donatien Alphonse Francois, Marquis de Sade was arrested ten days later by Paris Police Inspector Louis Marais, and, for the first of several times in his life, the Marquis was imprisoned for acting on his lewd and debauched convictions.

 

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