Meanwhile, Rodin, greatly aroused, had seized the little girl’s hands, tied them to a ring fitted high upon a pillar standing in the middle of the punishment room. Julie is without any defence… any save the lovely face languishingly turned toward her executioner, her superb hair in disarray, and the tears which inundate the most beautiful faces in the world, the sweetest… the most interesting. Rodin dwells upon the picture, is fired by it, he covers those supplicating eyes with a blindfold, approaches his mouth and dares kiss them, Julie sees nothing more, now able to proceed as he wishes, Rodin removes the veils of modesty, her blouse is unbuttoned, her stays untied, she is naked to the waist and yet further below… What whiteness! What beauty! These are roses strewn upon lilies by the Graces’ very hands… what being is so heartless, so cruel as to condemn to torture charms so fresh… so poignant? What is the monster that can seek pleasure in the depths of tears and suffering and woe? Rodin contemplates… his inflamed eye roves, his hands dare profane the flowers his cruelties are about to wither; all takes place directly before us, not a detail can escape us: now the libertine opens and peers into, now he closes up again those dainty features which enchant him; he offers them to us under every form, but he confines himself to these only: although the true temple of Love is within his reach, Rodin, faithful to his creed, casts not so much as a glance in that direction, to judge by his behavior, he fears even the sight of it; if the child’s posture exposes those charms, he covers them again; the slightest disturbance might upset his homage, he would have nothing distract him… finally, his mounting wrath exceeds all limits, at first he gives vent to it through invectives, with menaces and evil language he affrights this poor little wretch trembling before the blows wherewith she realizes she is about to be torn; Rodin is beside himself, he snatches up a cat-o’-nine-tails that has been soaking in a vat of vinegar to give the thongs tartness and sting. “Well there,” says he, approaching his victim, “prepare yourself, you have got to suffer”; he swings a vigorous arm, the lashes are brought whistling down upon every inch of the body exposed to them; twenty-five strokes are applied; the tender pink rosiness of this matchless skin is in a trice run into scarlet.
Julie emits cries… piercing screams which rend me to the soul; tears run down from beneath her blindfold and like pearls shine upon her beautiful cheeks; whereby Rodin is made all the more furious… He puts his hands upon the molested parts, touches, squeezes, worries them, seems to be readying them for further assaults; they follow fast upon the first, Rodin begins again, not a cut he bestows is unaccompanied by a curse, a menace, a reproach… blood appears… Rodin is in an ecstasy; his delight is immense as he muses upon the eloquent proofs of his ferocity. He can contain himself no longer, the most indecent condition manifests his overwrought state; he fears not to bring everything out of hiding , Julie cannot see it… he moves to the breech and hovers there, he would greatly like to mount as a victor, he dares not, instead, he begins to tyrannize anew; Rodin whips with might and main and finally manages, thanks to the leathern stripes, to open this asylum from the Graces and of joy… He no longer knows who he is or where; his delirium has attained to such a pitch the use of reason is no longer available to him; he swears, he blasphemes, he storms, nothing is exempt from his savage blows, all he can reach is treated with identical fury, but the villain pauses nevertheless, he senses the impossibility of going further without risking the loss of the powers which he must preserve for new operations.
“Dress yourself,” he says to Julie, loosening her bonds and readjusting his own costume, “and if you are once again guilty of similar misconduct, bear it firmly in mind that you will not get off quite so lightly.” – excerpted from Justine, Marquis De Sade, 1787