I dipped automatically, struggling to keep my eyes on the floor and wondering where I would look when I bobbed up again. Madame Nesle de la Tourelle was standing just behind Louis, watching the introduction with a slightly bored look on her face. Gossip said that “Nesle” was Louis’s current favorite. She was, in current vogue, wearing a gown cut below both breasts, with a bit of supercedent gauze which was clearly meant for the sake of fashion, as it couldn’t possibly function for either warmth or concealment.
It was neither the gown nor the prospect it revealed that had rattled me, though. The breasts of “Nesle,” while reasonably adequate in size, pleasant in proportion, and tipped with large brownish areolae, were further adorned with a pair of nipple jewels that caused their setting to recede into insignificance. A pair of diamond-encrusted swans with ruby eyes stretched their necks toward each other, swinging precariously in their gold-hooped perches. The workmanship was superb and the material stunning, but it was the fact that each gold hoop passed through her nipple that made me feel rather faint. The nipples themselves were rather seriously inverted, but this fact was disguised by the large pearl that covered each one, dangling on a thin gold chain that looped from side to side of the main hoop.