The author of La porte de l’âne (The Donkey Gate), one Louis Stévenard, is something of a mystery, though the well-written and imaginative text is a testament to his narrative skills. Antonia is a Roman woman, the wife of a rather boring official, who has found love elsewhere and is now paying the price. She is suffering the fate of adulterous women, which is to lock them in a brothel and force them to give themself to the first person who comes along looking for sex, while the ringing of bells makes their shame known to the public.
La porte de l’âne was first published in 1920, and subsequently appeared in several editions including this one, illustrated graphically in Schem’s inimitable style.
So is this the same Louis Stévenard who in 1905 published Le secret médical et la syphillis (Medical Confidentiality and Syphilis)? There is a doctor of the same name who received a doctorate in 1892, and was active in the Groupe Indépendant d’Études Esotériques (Independent Group for Esoteric Studies) in the 1890s, but nothing more is recorded beyond the two books which carry his name.
La porte de l’âne was published ‘Aux dépens d’un groupe de bibliophile pour quelques bibliophiles avertis’ (at the expense of a group of bibliophiles for a few informed bibliophiles), in a limited boxed and numbered edition of 500 copies.