FREE THE BROKEN SPIRIT
"The Box of Pleasures"
"The Bliss Configuration"
box design and written research by Steelgohst
It has long been believed that the first LeMarchand box was The Lament Configuration - "The Box of Sorrows". This most recent find, Free The Broken Spirit - "The Box of Pleasures", may well pre-date the Lament Configuration by nearly ten years.
LeMarchand scholars base this assumption on the recent discovery of the journals of Auguste Girvane in the basement of a house in Nice, France. The house was undergoing repairs to the foundation when the workmen made the grisly discovery of the skeletal remains of Msr. Girvane, with the journals by his side, thus ending the 260 year mystery of his disappearance.
Auguste Girvane was a merchant of high standing with the aristocracies of both France and England, supplying them with trinkets of beauty and complexity seemingly unavailable to other merchants. This was due in part to Msr. Girvane's network of "seekers" and also his "Men of poor breeding". They were violent men he used to intimidate other merchants and dealers into selling or more often "giving" their finds to Girvane, which he would then sell for obscene amounts to any who could afford them.
According to Girvane's journal, it was in 1741 that he first met Philip LeMarchand, a "singularly unsavory individual". LeMarchand approached Girvane one afternoon in the street as he alighted from his carriage at his home, and whispered to him that he had in his possession a "treasure the likes of which mankind has never before witnessed". Thinking him to be insane, Girvane signaled to his man to remove LeMarchand from his presence. Before this could happen, LeMarchand took from beneath his coat a "box of wondrous design" that so intrigued Girvane that he allowed this enigmatic character into his home in order to discover more.
Water damage to the journals make a good many years unclear after this point - but from what can be gleaned it would appear that Girvane's attempts to sell the box proved fruitless. Although the box did appear to draw in those who saw it, it's depictions of torture on it's outer faces simultaneously repulsed and made afraid those who gazed at them. Perhaps they saw their own future in the inlays of iron. Whatever the reason, The Box of Pleasures proved impossible to sell. Incensed at his failure, LeMarchand was forced to re-design his box to make it more attractive to it's potential buyers. With the guidance of Girvane he did just that, giving birth to his most famous work, "The Box of Sorrows".
It would appear from his journals that Msr. Girvane had no idea of the true natures of LeMarchand's boxes. A naiveté that seems hard to believe, but his growing fear of LeMarchand would suggest that he knew something of their dark purpose. His self- inflicted ignorance was no more than an attempt to convince himself that he was not to blame, even though the disappearances occurred ever more frequently with the growing popularity of the boxes amongst the decadent elite.
One day he realized that LeMarchand's popularity had grown to such a degree that he himself was no more that a background figure, almost a servant, and he decided to leave. His plan was to see LeMarchand off on a trip to England, then escape whilst he was gone. Months were spent in planning, money was transferred overseas and property had been bought in an assumed name. He believed that LeMarchand knew nothing of this, and that his future was assured.
The day of LeMarchand's trip arrived, and Girvane went to the docks to see him away. According to his journal, "My heart pounded so in my chest that I felt sure that all of France must hear it". However, LeMarchand boarded his ship with no outward sign that he knew of any deception, and left for England. Girvane then made his way home with all the speed he could muster, and rushed to collect his suitcases from the secret compartment in the wall where he had placed them in readiness.
The panel slid back. On the floor, with a small piece of paper next to it, was Free The Broken Spirit - "The Box of Pleasures". On the paper, in the spidery hand of LeMarchand, the words "For You".
Girvane fled his home without money or a change of clothes, and vanished, until his remains were found in the first days of January 2004.
The final pages of his journal are no more than the ramblings of a madman. He speaks of the box, LeMarchand, and the "people of blood and pain". Some pages have mere unintelligible scrawl, some have many holes in them as if the pages had been stabbed with a writing implement, others appear to be stained with blood and tears. How he found his way to Nice, and the basement of that house, will forever remain a mystery. It would appear, however, that his flight into madness and obscurity did not help. As when his body was removed, beneath him was found "Free The Broken Spirit", as shiny and new as on the day of its making.