Bergen Catholic Talisman

on-line edition of our literary magazine

“Mysterious” by Jae Woo An

Olga Sergeievich Titov began to suspect Beaumont’s sexual identity. Until he walked into the dressing room and sat on the reddish brown wood chair, Beaumont was undoubtedly a man. An hour of a makeup, however, turned him into an attractive woman. His – or her, thought Titov – long blonde hair was romantically wavy, eyes were mysteriously greenish, nose was carved sharply, and mouth was subtly smiling.

Olga looked at the image of Beaumont reflected on the mirror. His eyes were so strangely deep that she was always cautious when directly facing him. Beaumont’s eyes had magical power. People were often baffled when they looked at his dark green eyes.  Those peridotic eyes were like an abyss that people frequently felt as if they fell into a swamp whenever they looked at Beaumont’s eyes.

“Are you finished?” asked Beaumont. His voice was epicene. It was heavy and deep but also smooth and light.

“Yes… Monsieur Beaumont” answered Titov hesitantly. Titov was not sure whether she should call this guest Monsieur Beaumont or Madame Beaumont. Beaumont stood up slowly, adjusted his old maiden dress, and then left the dress room silently. Everything about Monsieur Beaumont was quite perplexing. Not only were his seductive epicene-looking and his bottomless eyes mystifying, but also his disguise was mystifying. Empress Elizabeth told Titov to help Beaumont disguise as a woman. “Why did her Highness give me such an order?” Titov thought. She pondered for a long time but could not figure out the answer. “How mysterious…”

When Beaumont walked out of the room, she was totally a woman. Though some quick-sighted people realized that she was a foreigner, they never doubted her sexual identity – they regarded her just as a beautiful young lady from a foreign country. None of the noblemen, maids, and guards in the hallway looked suspiciously at her. While walking through the long hallway, Beaumont admiringly looked at familiarly elegant and ornate tapestries on the wall. The Winter Palace, the Russian royal palace, was built in Rococo style, which originated in France.

Beaumont was from France. His full name was Charles Geneviève Louis Auguste André Timothée d’Éon de Beaumont. Working as an agent of Le Secret du Roi, Beaumont was King Louis XV’s favorite officer. Several months ago, Louis XV sent Beaumont to Russia in order to help Empress Elizabeth and to strengthen pro-French factions of Russia. For some reason, Beaumont decided to disguise himself as a lady when he arrived at the Winter Palace. Beaumont first had an audience with the Empress. When he told the Empress about his plan, her Highness could not readily accept his plan. She did not see the need for such self-insulting way of disguise. “How strange that a glorious knight of Louis XV chose to dress up like a woman, though it is for his holy duty!” thought the Empress. The Empress, nevertheless, decided not to question any more, and finally agreed at his plan. So when Empress Elizabeth asked Beaumont her name, Beaumont could willingly answer that he named herself Lia de Beaumont.

“Are you really a man or a woman?” inquired Empress Elizabeth when Lia de Beaumont entered the throne room of the Winter Palace. The throne room was relatively small compared to the entire palace, but the room had the same baroque architectural beauty. The wall was decorated with columns of jasper, and the dome was exquisitely sculpted.

“I am afraid that I cannot answer your inquiry, your Highness, for it would be an unforgivable sin to say that I am either a man or a woman.” responded Beaumont politely, in a low and smooth tone.

“Then what are you?”

“I am neither a man nor a woman, but I am both.”

The Empress looked confounded.

“Though you claim that you are both a brave knight and a pretty lady, right now, you certainly are a charming lady,” said the Empress, “probably you have more beautiful physical semblance than I. But I am worried that your feminine beauty may replace your masculine intelligence and chariness.” Though the Empress said that she was worried, she hardly looked worried. Indeed, she was quite perplexed, but she was more amused to see Beaumont, the French King’s honorable knight, dressed as a lady.

“Your Highness does not need to concern about it. I, as Louis XV’s loyal servant, will do my best to satisfy your Highness’s wishes. Though I will live as Lia de Beaumont during my duty in Russia, d’Éon de Beaumont, working tirelessly and scrupulously, will still be inside her.”

“If so, I will worry no longer, for I trust your shrewdness.” Then the Empress looked at Beaumont’s deep green eyes and fell into puzzlement again. His mystical eyes were odd enough to bewilder the Empress. “Those moldavites are certainly enigmatic!” Empress Elizabeth thought.

“I am glad that your Highness worries no more.” Beaumont said calmly. The Empress did not speak but merely nodded. Beaumont waited for the permission to get out of the room; however, the Empress did not open her mouth. Beaumont finally lifted up his head and looked at the Empress. Their eyes met in the warm air of the throne room. Again, the abyss of Beaumont’s eyes stunned the Empress a bit. Such a stimulus was pretty fresh for the Empress. The Empress came to be even more attentive to this exotic and mysterious French knight, who came to assist her conquering her enemy factions. The Empress subtly shifted her eyes to avoid direct eye contact, and ultimately opened her mouth.

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