Tracy & Anita Belvoir

Central to developments in France are the Belvoir sisters. Alert conspiricists among you will have twigged that the pronunciation of their name is in sympathy with their old profession and one of their hobbies when they retired to France. (For the benefit of the less sharp that’s beaver breeding, not tennis.) Now, we all know that the word has entirely different connotations nowadays and the number of web sites devoted to them is many and, to say the least, varied. CD scholars are researching possible linguistic, artistic and ethnic links.

The key player in the seduction of the bishop in 1735 and the recovery of The Shroud of Turpin in 1740 was Tracy, but her sister Anita was also involved in the entrapment of the priest. Memoirs of both artistes have recently been unearthed and are, quite frankly, too disgusting to reveal but hint at the bishop’s love of entire families, clams, animals (which don’t have to be dead), bananas and risqué postcards. The party that nearly resulted in his excommunication but entirely accounted for his snaring was attended by the Belvoir sisters, two youthful candle bearers and a charcoal artist concealed, as we now know, behind a large triptych bearing pictures of naked matronly angels breast-feeding someone who we think may’ve been the Pope of the time.

The dinner they had was of mole and oyster bisque with “herb” and swan semen croutons, followed by sea-food pasta (which more often than not contained creatures from the bottom of the monastery duck pond) and banana surprise, washed down with vats of rosé wine. The Dark Albino is looking into religious history to check out any possible linkage with The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster whose key tenet is pastafarianism.

Anyway, after The Shroud of Turpin had been returned safely to the church they retired, as we know, to France with a small fortune and time on their hands. They’d both been accustomed to hard, not to say demanding, work of one sort or another and were gifted with energy and imagination, talents from the old days that were to stand them in good stead. Tennis coaching was a touch hazardous on the rocky slopes of The Alps Maritimes, although their sackcloth tennis skirts were popular among shepherds and, despite the French love of eating virtually anything, beaver casseroles didn’t catch on.

Their fertile minds turned to the manufacture of dentures, created out of the sturdier bones of male beavers. They’d begun by using the large front teeth but found from customer feedback they were too big and made people look silly, so they hand-carved incisor and wisdom teeth and bound them together with clay and wire. Dental hygiene was not high on the agenda in those days and, even though the locals ate tomatoes the size of footballs and celery like small oak trees, dietary deficiencies left them with few teeth and breath like warthogs.

This sideline alone made them wealthy and was their ticket into court society where they also found that perfume and scented baubles were popular. They discovered that although underneath most people honked like a yak’s bottom you could overlay the stench with lavender and dried citrus fruit, enough anyway to make intimate contact more long-lasting.

They’d heard of but not utilised essence of beaver as previously described but being, and being amongst, avidly social animals they soon cottoned onto the idea of potpourri made from varying mixes of tobacco, lavender, lemons and boiled clams, made occasionally more luxurious by the addition of entire beaver scent glands and hashish. (They would eat magic mushrooms rather than waste them in toiletries.) The resultant, enterprising concoction could be used either as a room air freshener, worn in a small pot around the neck, concealed in the underwear or smoked.

Their wealth, beauty, joie de vivre (whether chemically induced or not) and innovative ideas rapidly made them absolutely indispensable company at every major court, social or church function. Being grand-mistresses of The Davey Tilt-and-Trump Facilitation, which came as an intriguing surprise to the male members of CD in the area, they became essential court adornments for which everyone was, in one way or another, embarrassingly grateful and gave rise to the ultimate accolade of being called THE SISTERS OF MERCI.

They died together in interesting circumstances in 1761 in the arms of a platoon of mixed US/UK marine officers in a hotel in Antibes harbour. Their precise final resting places are secret but Tracy was last recorded as being in a vault under a CIA safe-house in New York and Anita is in a crypt in the Rome area under a McDonalds, both of which carry a burial motif of a single sandal surmounted with a clam passant and garnished with vine leaves on a framework of dehydrated beaver tail.