chapter 1Monsieur Lafayette was a gentleman well known in France in the latter end of the nineteenth century. He had a country estate only a hundred miles out of the city, where his wife and children lived in luxury. He also had a large apartment in Paris and kept a mistress in another.
He spent most of his time in the city, having fun with his mistress and other acquaintances, eating, drinking, having fun and gambling.
Living this lifestyle for more than twenty years had taken it's toll on his body. He was no longer a handsome 'young thing'. He'd had several bouts of syphilis, during which, he retreated to the fresh air of the countryside. Doctors treated his symptoms with a tincture of Mercury.
He now had a 'portly' figure and a ruddy complexion, symptoms of his heavy drinking and gourmandising. Indeed, he had a reputation as a glutton, eating and drinking as much as he could before he headed off home.
He was not, however, as affluent as he seemed to be. For years he had lived, supported his family and at least one mistress on his inheritance. He liked to be well dressed, which meant keeping up with the latest Paris fashions.
All of these expenses had cut a large hole in his inheritance after the tax man had taken his chunk. He had also amassed large gambling debts. He calculated that if he paid all of his debt off, he would have to sell all his property and declare himself bankrupt. That would cause a scandal of utmost proportions that he was unlikely to recover from.
The situation put him in an awkward position. He did not want to go public about it. If his wife found out about it, she was likely to leave him and go to stay with an aunt in Marseilles. His mistress too was likely to leave him and look for someone younger and richer to keep her in the way she had grown accustomed to living.
He sat an the pavement outside a cafe one day, drinking coffee, thinking about his predicament. He could try to find himself an honest job, but he could not simply wait on tables. He needed a job that would earn him a significant salary. He was too old and unfit to join the army and he could not afford to bribe his way up to an office level high enough to pay off his debts. He was too old for the clergy, or any academic role. What could he do? What was he good at?
Then, suddenly, it occurred to him! What if something happened to his creditors? What if they suddenly died of apparently natural causes? If they died, he would no longer be in debt and his reputation would be saved!
Ahh! ...but, how would gentlemen in apparent good health, suddenly die of natural causes? That was the plan he had to work on...
4 chapters, created 4 years , updated 4 years
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