The libertine gets his greatest joy from the destruction of his victims, but this joy self-destructs, annihilating its own cause. "The pleasure of killing a woman," says one,
is soon over; once dead, she feels nothing more; the pleasure of making her suffer disappears with her life.... Let's brand her with a red-hot iron; let's mark her indelibly; from this injury she will suffer to the last moment of her life and our lust, prolonged without end, will only grow more delicious.
Similarly, Saint-Fond, not content with simple methods of torture, dreams of a kind of infinitely protracted death for everyone. To this end he devises an undeniably ingenious system to avail himself, in this upper world, of the inexhaustible resources of Hell for torturing whom he wishes. Clairwill chides Saint-Fond for what she terms his excesses, and tries to to set him back on the right path:
Get rid of that voluptuous idea that works you up so much—that of indefinitely dragging out the agonies of the creature you want to kill—and replace it with a greater number of victims. Don't try to prolong the murder of a single person, which is impossible, but kill many of them, which can be easily done.