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what I’ve been writing -- II

Another short passage from the book I'm working on, soon to be sold on Amazon.

The request, made by Friedrich, to have Nudische pose for Monsieur LaValle is taken up by the elders at meeting. Herr Weber opens up the discussion with a letter from Fr. Pierre. With a bit of an effort he stands up and reads it to the assembly in his scratchy voice.

“‘I endorse Monsieur LaValle wholeheartedly. We have known each other for ten years. He comes from the wider world culture but will respect your ways. He is a man who walks with the Lord. He is also a very talented artist. He knows that his profession is foreign to you. Perhaps the fees generated could be put to a supererogatory purpose.’”

“What means that word?” Herr Redl says.

Herr Schreiber says, “Supererogatory means something over and above, beyond our daily concerns.”

“I do not believe Nudische would be helping the Lord’s work if she presents herself thus.” This is Herr Bauman.

“My father went to Paris some years ago,” says Herr Schmidt. “It is a pit of temptation and fleshly sin.”

The elders are at the table in front, facing the assembly. The other men are sitting in rows. Behind them are the women, in their dresses and bonnets. In the second row from the rear is Nudische with her bare shoulders, bonnetless, her hair carefully and respectfully braided up. She is nervous because this is the first time she has ever been the subject of discussion. Her breasts quiver, her toes squirming as her bare feet rest flatly on the floor in the middle of the assembled row of modest black shoes.

“That is true,” says Herr Schreiber, “but Helga would not be in Paris.” It is rare for someone to use her real name. “She would be in one of our houses.”

After some more discussion, Herr Weber opens up the floor. The men in the rows look at each other but no one says anything.

They don’t like to take votes. They prefer deciding by consensus. After some cross-discussion, opposition among the elders is dropped. Herr Weber says, “It is the sense of the meeting that Nudische will, as they say, pose, for the French artist. Let us form a committee to discuss the details.”

After some procedural business the meeting is about to close. Herr Weber says, a little louder than before, “Nudische, please rise.”

Nervously, she does.

“As you have heard you are to pose for the French artist. Brother Friedrich will speak to you about particulars. Do you have anything to say?”

Nudische bows her head, her breasts trembling, her hands clasped modestly just above her pubic hair. “I will obey as a good woman should.” She starts to sit but then rises again, her breasts pointing this way, then that. “However I will not be a part of -- fleshly sin.”

“You are indeed a God-fearing woman,” Herr Bauman says. “We will never doubt your virtue.”

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