I should like to offer my sincere apologies for the break in this series. Business affairs called me abroad, and I was unable to continue the record for the time being. The narrative is now resume with, I hope, the approval of indulgent readers.
It will be recalled that in the preceding articles "Marcel," a Frenchman living in England, is greatly interested in such members of womankind as have suffered from the loss of a limb, either from birth or otherwise. Marcel has previously described his varied experiences in Paris. Among those was Zelie, a pretty, chic Parisienne with only one leg. Zelie introduced him to the household of Monsieur Georges Laroche, a wealthy Paris business man, and his beautiful young wife Denise, who is quite without her lower limbs. Marcel also became very friendly with the Laroches, to whose beautifully appointed house Zelie and he were constant visitors. Continuing his narrative, he says:
I had not long been intimate with the Laroches before I discovered that among their very extensive circle of friends there were, in addition to Zelie, other pretty women minus one or more limbs. This, in the circumstances, was not altogether surprising. The Laroches were most hospitable folk, throwing their beautiful home open to their numerous friends. And, possessing the special interest they both had, it was natural that they should always be delighted to offer friendship and hospitality to such - and, in fact to any individuals of their own class, both men and women, who shared this interest.
Of course from the very nature of things their circle was comparatively small. But I met there at different times no fewer than nine - four of whom, in addition to Zelie, were constant visitors.
I thought it rather extraordinary, considering the odds against such a thing happening, that Denise Laroche should number among her limbless friends another lady, like herself, suffering the loss of both legs. This lady, who, with her husband, was a very frequent visitor and whom I shall call Madame X, was a very handsome and attractive, if rather plump, woman of about 35 or 40, a Roumanian married to a very rich Frenchman of well over 60.
She was even more completely helpless than Denise, as below the hips she possessed no suggestion in the way of lower limbs. There was a little mystery about her, and discreet rumour had it that before her marriage she had appeared on show in many parts of the world as a "Beautiful Halflady." I understood, however, that she would have indignantly denied the imputation had it ever been made in her presence.
She was fond of referring, with a little sigh, to her "accident," but I was assured by both Zelie and Denise that from the formation of the lady's body at the hips it was very obvious that no amputation had ever been performed and that she had undoubtedly been born as she now was.
The amusing part of it was that - like practically all woman so born - she was really secretly vain of her uniquely formed body. I have heard her, for example, though I must say not in Madame Laroche's presence, make it quite plain that she thought her own formation more neat ("chic" was the word she used) than Denise's, whose condition below the hips she frankly described as "untidy."
And all her frocks, at any rate, those she wore at the Laroches were specially made to fit with glove-tight smoothness of a perfectly fitting silk stocking. She could have adapted no surer means of revealing the extraordinary way in which the lower part of her body was rounded off. It made it quite obvious to anybody sufficiently interested to think about the matter, that no surgeon could possibly have performed the operation in so complete a manner, nor could he possibly have been able to model the lower part of the trunk on such perfect, shapely lines.
She was a most charming woman, with an attractively effusive manner, and, except when she felt it necessary to sigh over her "accident," she accepted her misfortune with as complete a cheerfulness as did Denise.
One can get used to anything even the most bizarre outlook on life, and I came to take things more or less for granted at the Laroches. But you can imagine how odd it was to see Denise and Madame X both seated on the same couch, with Zelie occupying a big easy chair nearby, all gossiping happily together quite unconscious of the amazing appearance they presented.
Madame X looking as if her shapely hips had been poured into one of the smooth-fitting, pocket-like sheaths she liked to wear. Denise in a delicious, practically skirt-less confection which afforded fascinating glimpses of her little silk-clad stumps; and Zelie in a wisp of a frock that revealed, as she sat, nearly the whole of her single limb, and every now and then a movement of that restless little stump. Three beautiful women, laughing and talking together, completely unconcerned about the extraordinary fact that they had just a single leg among them! An amazing, unforgettable and, to me, an intensely fascinating sight.
Two other charming visitors to the Laroches' parties were Corinne and Judith. Corinne was 19, dark and petite, and had been a dancer before she lost her right leg in a motor accident. She was usually accompanied by her "boy," a pleasant young fellow a few years older than herself, whom she obviously worshipped.
She had lost her leg only a couple of years before I met her, and she was still almost incredibly and yet delightedly amazed at her wonderful discovery that she could still fascinate a handsome boy now that she had only one leg. Her amputation had taken place at the knee, the long, slender stump being neatly rounded off at that point.
She obviously liked to draw attention to her condition, for I noted that all her pretty, slim-fitting frocks were fashioned to fall just short of the knee.
Judith was also a dark, plump, lusciously pretty little Jewess. She, too, had lost her right leg; the amputation had taken place 3 inches from the hip, but what remained was very fully in evidence, whether she walked or sat, straining itself quite unmistakably against the taut silk of her extremely tight-fitting frocks.
She always used a single, neat crutch, upon which she swung in slow, lazy undulations, her body clinging to the crutch as if it were part of her. Judith knew all that there was to know about the "limbless kink," she was quite aware of the provocative effect of her shortened limb. It was often commented upon in her presence by the more cheeky of her boy friends, whereupon she would only laugh unrepentantly.
She had three or four admirers among the young fellows who, like myself, were frequent visitors to the Laroche house, and she eventually married one of them some time after I had left Paris for London.
The fourth member of this group of pretty limbless lady friends of the Laroches I have purposely left to the last, as she was certainly the most remarkable of them all.
Now, I want to say at the outset, before, as it were, introducing this girl, that none of her intimates in the Laroche circle found her extraordinary attitude entirely credible. Zelie and Denise were quite certain that she had simply adopted a bizarre pose. Laroche, like myself, was inclined to be skeptical, though we sort of left the matter open. After all, we argued, you never know. The minds of men and women are unplumbed depths, and one is always making the strangest and most incredible discoveries as one goes through life.
It certainly possible that this particular girl was telling the plain unvarnished truth. I know, at any rate, that medical annals can furnish more than one authentic parallel case. On the other hand, she may either have been deliberately lying or, having convinced herself in some way that things had happened in a certain way, she had come to believe firmly in her amazing story. I leave the matter open.
When I first made the acquaintance of Zelie and the Laroches, Lulu - as the girl was called - had been away from Paris for some time. On the night when she did make her first appearance - as far as I was concerned, that is - at the Laroches, Zelie herself was not present. She had been called away from Paris on some business, the exact nature of which I now forget, and was to be absent for some weeks. I remember feeling quite blue at the prospect of being parted from Zelie for so long. But her absence enabled me to establish more friendly relations with Lulu than I should have been able to do with Zelie in the offing.
The occasion of Lulu's reappearance was one of the big parties Denise was so fond of giving, and a crowd of very jolly people were present, including Corinne and Judith, with their admirers; the beautiful Madame X, as usual, most revealingly legless and complete with husband and one or two other girls whom I had met only once or twice before.
Denise, I remember, received her guests resting on her husband's arms, and wore a marvellous, extremely inadequate creation of net completely sewn with silver sequins that flashed dazzling lightning fires at every moment. This glittering costume was provided, instead of a skirt, with tiny, wide pantalettes, from which protruded the beautifully shortened limbs, wonderfully clad in perfectly fitting socks of wide-meshed silver thread. As always, she was an unforgettable figure and, as I heard a quite normally minded guest say, "the beautiful half-body was so exquisite that leglessness in her seemed the most natural thing in the world."
It was while we were all chatting volubly over our first cocktails that I also heard a girl near me say with a little sequel of pleasure, "Why here's Lulu!" And turning, I caught my first glimpse of her framed in he doorway, showing perfect teeth in a dazzling smile and waving a shapely white arm in greeting.
I must confess that I found her immediately and extremely attractive, she was very pretty in a bolder, very provocative way even than Zelie. Her beautifully marcelled hair was of a wonderful red-gold that contrasted attractively with the creamy whiteness of her piquant face, which in turn, accentuated the startling crimson of her heavily carmined lips. Her upper eyelids were painted a delicate shadowy blue, and she was probably the first person I had encountered off the stage to adopt this very theatrical type of make-up.
She stood near the door for a minute or so exchanging friendly greetings with a number of acquaintances - she seemed to know nearly everybody present. Then, locating Denise where she sat on her couch between Georges and myself, she waved gaily and made her way towards us, swinging swiftly and easily along, with a graceful, clinging movement, on a single, very slender pole crutch of gleaming ebony.
As she neared us my eyes fairly goggled at the daring nature of her frock. It was not so much that the frock was of the scantiest proportions. It was fashioned on the usual low-cut, very short and narrow-skirted, glove-fitting lines of the evening frocks of that year.
Its daring was of the fact that it was of the frailest and most delicate, completely transparent flowered chiffon, entirely without any under-slip or opaque lining, and that this flimsy garment was worn over nothing but a one-piece suit of skin-fitting, diaphanous black silk tights. The shapely, black-tighted figure, fully outline beneath the gauzy chiffon, would have been striking enough in the case of a normally shaped girl. But when through the gossamer, all revealing frock, one saw only too clearly, just a single, slender leg and on the left side below the hip, the rounded contours of a plump, shapely stump, the effect was, to say the least, startling.
The whole wonderful ensemble was given its appropriate finishing touch by the little slipper of the same bright-hued chiffon as her frock, perilously perched on the most incredibly high, slender stilt heel I have ever seen.
As she swung along on her crutch I was sure that each time the little single foot took its turn in supporting her, only the very tips of her toes could possibly have touched the floor.
I rose as Lulu reached the couch, and Denise performed the appropriate introductions.
"Marcel is one of us, by the way, Lulu," she added with a little secret smile, and I could see the frank interest already in Lulu's eyes quicken perceptibly as she looked at me. For Denise had used a formula with which I had become familiar since joining her circle, and which had a special meaning for the initiated. "One of us" meant that the individual referred to was one of those peculiarly constituted beings for whom limblessness exercised a deep fascination.
"But, of course," was Lulu's comment, as she showed perfect white teeth in a dazzling smile, "one can see with half an eye that Marcel is one of us."
Then she handed her crutch to the maid who had come to receive it and, settling herself on the couch beside Denise, smiled invitingly up at me and motioned to the vacant place at her side.
You will have gathered by now that where limbless beauty is concerned, I am as weak as water. Zelie was far away; Denise's attitude was one of quite friendly, but slightly malicious amusement. Lulu was a new divinity, devastatingly pretty, highly sophisticated and, as was only too frankly demonstrated, most fascinatingly one-legged. She had little need to use the battery of her many charms, which, to tell the truth, she at once turned quite openly at me. I had already capitulated at sight.
Within a few minutes she had learned all about me; my lifelong preoccupation with the fascination of limbless beauty; my recent friendship with Zelie and how it had come about; my other experiences, and anything else I cared to tell her.
She was extraordinarily - in fact, I might say abnormally interested in every detail connected with my kink, putting the oddest and most searching questions to me, quite obviously as fascinated with the discussions I was myself.
And, as we talked, I noted an odd thing. Her stump had lifted so as to be very fully outlined on the gossamer chiffon of her frock, and all the time we chatted the slim, jewelled fingers of the left hand were busy in some way or another with it, smoothing the silk over it, drawing the silk taut so that the outline became more pronounced, pressing the soft flesh through the silk, and caressing it in all sorts of other ways.
I was quite certain that these caresses were not intended to draw attention to the very shapely stump - though, of course, they inevitably and thrillingly did so. I did not fully realise it at the time, but later, when I came to know Lulu better, I knew that these caresses were simply the unconscious revelation of her own tremendously keen interest in the curious topic we were discussing.
Well, the party, I suppose, followed the usual course of all parties; candidly, I was much too occupied otherwise to know how it went on. Of course, Lulu and I paired off for the rest of the evening, and did not concern ourselves a great deal with the doings of our fellow guests. We had kissed within an amazingly short time of our meeting. Then we danced - yes, that is quite true! Lulu, strongly supported by my encircling arm, was able to dance so easily and lightly that my first misgiving was quickly changed to amazed appreciation of her dexterity.
Finally, and inevitably, I escorted her home. She had a tiny but very charming flat off Bois, and I confess I did not hesitate when she invited me in for a final cocktail before continuing my way to my own place. So delightfully intimate had become our swiftly formed friendship, that when Lulu had opened the outer door of the flat with her latchkey, I just picked her up in my arms and carried her inside.
Naturally she did not resist, but nestled closely and confidingly in my embrace. And just before slipping from my arms her lips sought mine in a long kiss.
Her maid, she explained, as she switched on the lights in her tiny, delightfully furnished salon, had gone to bed long ago, so we should have to attend to ourselves. Then she disappeared, to return within a few minutes, pushing before her a dainty tea wagon running noiselessly on light rubber-tyred wheels, and on which were all the ingredients for making cocktails.
But it wasn't the tea wagon that I stared goggle-eyed. I had, of course, expected Lulu to change her frock for a becoming negligee - a French girl, and for that matter the chic English girl, I suppose, always makes such a change after arriving home, especially when she is wearing one of her daintiest evening frocks. Lulu had certainly removed her frock, but that was not all that she had done. Her slim, lovely figure, with its dainty, slender single leg, was now fully revealed, clad only in its skin-fitting open-piece suit of black silk tights.
The beautiful shoulders and slender arms, white-skinned and satin smooth, were covered only by the light dust of powder through which they gleamed. But the rest of the lovely, incomplete body seemed almost as unclad, as the silk of the moulding tights was so thin and transparent that it seemed rather to cast a delicate shadow on the rose-pink flesh than to clothe it.
Nor was that all, for Lulu had discarded her crutch and had changed her little high-heeled slipper for a soft, close-fitting, open, heelless sandal of black velvet. And as she pushed the wagon in front of her she just hopped behind it with that perfection of ease and grace which I knew from experience came of long practice.
Among the many intriguing little things I learnt about Lulu, by the way, during my friendship with her, was that she never used a crutch indoors. In fact, her first act on returning from a walk was to put her crutch away in a special rack in which she kept a variety of crutches - all single ones, be it noted, as she never used a pair - and she always followed this up by changing her high-heeled street slippers for one of her many neat little "hopping" sandals.
I also made the very interesting discovery later that silk tights of the thinnest and most diaphanous kind, worn without any other garments, constituted her favourite indoor costume, and I usually found her thus alluringly clad whenever I paid a visit.
However, hopping in her dainty, effortless way, she pushed the wagon to the couch on which I sat. Then, disdaining even to keep an assisting hand on the wagon, she stood before me smiling demurely, perfectly balanced on her single little foot, her slim fully revealed one-legged figure poised for my inspecting eyes, her hand inevitably slipping down to the lifting stump, so daringly displayed in its smooth-fitting casing of silk, and fondling it in the soft, caressing way that gave her so much satisfaction.
"Well, cheri," she asked softly, "will I do? Do I satisfy all the requirements of that fascinating kink of yours?"
Of course I smilingly made the only possible reply and candidly, with Zelie and Denise for the time being completely forgotten, I meant everything I so fervently avowed. Lulu smilingly made a little mock obeisance and then, still maintaining her perfect balance, turned to the wagon and the business of making cocktails.
"You are quite sure I satisfy all the requirements?" she went on with an odd, inscrutable smile. "You see, when we met, you happened to be with the lovely legless Denise. Tell me, Marcel, if the question is not too personal, do you find Denise's condition more, shall we say, thrilling than mine?"
"Denise is certainly fascinating," I replied, "and she has her own particular thrill. But the ideal effect is far more charmingly exemplified in your own sweet self."
"What a nice boy," laughed Lulu, in obvious pleasure, "and supposing I were quite armless as well, how would you regard that?"
It was an odd question, and somehow I felt that there was something more behind the light, airy manner in which Lulu asked it than was apparent. But I replied in the same light vein.
"I shouldn't mind - if you wouldn't!" I said. I have seen one or two armless girls on show, and found them most fascinating."
Lulu laughed outright, and there was an odd, delightful ring in her laughter.
"Do you know, Marcel," she said gaily, "you are a most satisfactory person. Your kink is so satisfactorily comprehensive. As a kindred soul, I salute you. And we'll drink to our continued happy friendship."
I was still puzzling a little, not only over Lulu's rather odd cross-examination, but also the somewhat cryptic nature of her final remarks, as she drew up to the couch a little, ornate table, and, pouring out the cocktails, set the thin, delicately fashioned glasses upon it. And her next action only increased my astonishment and whetted afresh my curiosity, as well as it might.
She settled herself comfortably on the couch at my side. Then, as if the action was the most natural in the world, she kicked off her little velvet sandal, revealing the extraordinary fact that the foot of her silk tights was neatly and daintily "mittened" at the toe, leaving her long, slender toes quite bare.
I had just time to notice that the shapely toes were beautifully manicured, with the little shining nails varnished in scarlet, and that two miniature jewelled rings gleamed from them.
Then, as if quite unconscious of my wide-eyed stare, she reached out with her foot, took the glass in her toes with exactly the same dainty neatness as if she were using her fingers, and bending her leg with perfect ease, conveyed the glass to her lips with an indescribably graceful and effortless gesture.
Then, as she daintily replaced the glass on the table, she could hold the strain no longer and suddenly dissolved into peals of laughter.
"My dear!" she gasped, "Your face! I don't know how I went through it without laughing. Please, darling, don't you like my little trick?"
Of course, I had to laugh too. I told her I had never seen anything so marvellous. But the puzzled light must still have lingered in my eyes. The situation was more than curious. That "little trick" of Lulu's must have meant years of practice. It was not just a case of fumbling and bringing off the trick by a lucky chance.
Her toes were obviously as flexible and prehensile as her fingers. She could use them with exactly the same expertness. And no contortionist could have bettered the supple ease with which she had used her leg. That lissome agility was also the result of long, long practice. Why? surely not just to show her friends how cleverly she could perform a "little trick!"
Lulu was naturally perfectly aware of the puzzled nature of my thoughts as, with a demure little smile up at me, she settled herself cosily in my arms. But I was again more than a little astonished when, drawing her leg up on the couch so that the calf and ankle lay across my knees, she slipped her little bare-toed foot in my left hand and let it rest there just as she might have done with one of her hands. Incidentally I thrilled at the touch of the shapely, velvety toes, and found an exquisite pleasure in caressing them.
Then, without looking at me, but with her cheek pressed close to mine, she began to talk in soft, low tones.
(Marcel will continue the narrative and report Lulu's extraordinary revelation in the next article in this series. W. S.)