Does Beauplaisir need glasses?

Fantomina maintained control over Beauplaisir, but only while her disguise and power of manipulation were in effect. She was “so admirably skilled in the art of feigning that she pleased and knew so exactly how to form her behavior to the character she represented” (2575-2576). Along with being able to change her physical appearance, Fantomina could also change her writing and speaking skills. She manipulated Beauplaisir through the use of her letters from her various disguises which worked to reel Beauplaisir back to her. In one of her letters as Mrs. Bloomer, she wrote that Beauplaisir “had been so cruel in not sending one letter to her all the time he had been absent.” (2576). This combination allowed “the lady” to counter Beauplaisir’s eventual dissatisfaction with her, and in this situation, luring Beauplaisir into pursuing Mrs. Bloomer.  Beauplaisir continually “rejected the belief of having seen” Fantomina before and he “supposed his mind had been deluded by an idea of some other” (2576). This further supports the level of control “the lady” possessed over Beauplaisir.

Beauplaisir was unable to connect each of his encounters with the disguises back to “the lady”. However, “the lady” lost control once her disguise was compromised by her mother and her pregnancy. She lost her ability to hid behind a mask and returned back to her original identity, one that no longer gave her control over the people around her. In this identity, she is forced to answer to her mother and “reveal the name of the person whose insinuations had drawn her to this dishonor” (2583).

“The lady” recognized the power of her disguise, especially when she informed Beauplaisir, as Incognita, “there is but one thing in my power to refuse you, which is the knowledge of my name, which believing the sight of my face will render you no secret” (2579).  “The Lady” understood that if her disguise was compromised, then Beauplaisir would simply move on to a greater challenge. Although the end of the story sees “the lady” sent to a “monastery in France”, she still demonstrated it was possible for her to obtain control over a man using the power of manipulation and various disguises (2584).

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