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"The Stallions Avenge the Honor of the Sicilian Filly"

Gustave Morbid

Morbid had his name legally changed from Merveilleux when he joined the Depressionist movement in the 1860s and dedicated his life to documenting life's dark downside. This painting records the sordid events at the L'Esperance Boarding Stable in Paris, where the stableboys were suspected of taking indecent liberties with young and defenseless animals. As luck would have it a Sicilian duke, newly-arrived from Palermo, quartered his riding and carriage horses there and rumors began to spread.

Nothing was done to staunch the scandal until the night of June 23rd, when a dark-painted horse trailer slipped into the shadows near L'Esperance and four figures appeared, their coat collars turned up and their harness bearing the secret signs of the Black Hand, the Brotherhood of the Mafiosi. They moved ghostlike through the stalls until the surprised the stablehands in flagrante delicto with the beautiful daughter of the Duke's favorite mare.

Justice, though brutal, was swift, and in a matter of moments the stablehands were reduced to savaged piles of meat. The four grim figures rejoined the dark van and melted into the night. The neighbors, of course, had heard nothing, nor did the police look too deeply into the case. It was written off as "a tragic accident," although it was well known in the city that the chief of police had been the recipient of a purse of Sicilian florins, delivered to his home at midnight by four strangers bearing harness with the cryptic sign of the Black Hand...


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