When Carruthers falls I am expected to make his widow an offer
Carruthers Bride or the The Coward of the fifth of June.
The the wind howled around the quayside as I stepped onto terra firma for the first time in weeks, the wind threw sharp shards of ice to sting our faces as we looked up at the sails as they were finally furled and stowed as our captain grinned at our discomfiture, "Au revoir!" he joked as if he knew we should soon be recalled.
Those such as were left, and we were few enough, I shuddered.
My best uniform packed securely in my Valise, awaited me, and just a few more duties before I resigned my commission, how could I continue after taking command and ordering the retreat, retreat indeed, the first retreat in our regiment's glorious history.
It was purgatory, all I saw was Carruthers tortured face, "Take Command, I am finished," he shouted as a ball took his shoulder, "Onwards!" he yelled.
But I did not drive forward, "Back lads!" I ordered and the bugler sounded the retreat as one by one by beast and man we fell in that hail of balls fired upon our lusty steeds, and I wheeled "Blackadder" my trusty stallion around as tight as I dared, and I ran.
It was poor Carruthers that haunted me, and his dear young wife Katherine, such a sweet young thing that he had married but three days before we embarked upon our adventure.
I met her at the Swan at Hillsborough, a long and tedious carriage ride from Tilbury where we docked, all dressed in black, Carruthers mother beside her, like a vulture waiting to pounce, and Julian Carruthers, Carruthers brother, though I own I never knew Carruthers had a name but Lieutenant and then Captain.
"I am so sorry." I said to the assembled group as I entered the establishment to find his family waiting.
"You left my son to die I understand." the old woman snapped s soon as the pleasantries were concluded.
"In am here to show respect," I replied, "Not make excuses."
"Then perhaps you will do your duty!" she snapped.
"Of course Madam" I said promptly.
"Then make this baggage an offer." she snapped.
"Madam?" I queried.
"This peacock, we cannot sustain two dowagers," she said, "I have my Julian to think of and the delightful Miss Acock."
I was dumbfounded, the audacity of the witch, her son not dead two months and she wished his widow remarried, I felt sick to my stomach.
"The notion is so distasteful that I own I should strike you down if you were a man," I snorted, "I shall bid you good day!"
I spun on my heel and left them immediately, my valise was still where the coachman left it and like common labourer I threw it on my own shoulder and went to the Hare and Hounds for lodging unable to countenance remaining a minute longer with such evil company.
I should have been more sensitive, how was I to realise sweet Katherine thought I meant I found her repulsive when nothing could have been further from the truth, she lacked the buxomness and curvacious hind quarters of the appealing wenches that frequented the dock sides and alleys of Tilbury but she had a gracious air and pleasantness that should be enough for any man blessed with the where with all to employ maid servants for the night time.
I was still in gloom and anger as I made my needs known and soon enough a room was made available for me and a repast to fully equal the horrors of shipboard fare was slopped onto a filthy cracked plate to compound my misery.
"It's the coward of the fifth of June," a voice said, I gathered my fame preceeded me.
"Captain Oakley at your service sir!" I replied to the yokel sitting across the bar, "Widely known as the Coward of the Fifth." I admitted, "By those who know little of the situation."
"We never retreated under Lord Barchester." the yokel continued.
"Nor came under such fire from such well concealed lairs I shouldn't wonder," I replied, "I was afraid and I ran," I said, "And I shall live with that for evermore." I said, "The looters rushing on our fallen comrades, and that's when I ordered left wheel and we went at them as the looted our friends corpses out in the open, and cut them down in droves."
The yokel was quiet now, "You didn't hear that we routed them then, just that we retreated." I suggested, "after Barchester led us into the trap and when he fell Carruthers led us further against foes we could nor even see so well had they gone to ground, our sabres useless against their shot?"
"Beg pardon sir." he said, "We heard the regiment retreated,"
"And you're right, I should have carried on and died with Captain Carruthers, " I admitted, "but I don't want to die for my country I want to win wars for my country!"
"Sir," the yokel said, "I was twelve years with the colours," he said awkwardly.
"Will you take a glass of ale?" I asked.
He shook his head, "Tis bad luck to drink with officers sir, but I say thank you."
I took a walk, my whole purpose had been to tell of Carruthers' heroic death to his beloved, I had wrote down what I believed she wanted him to say, and indeed I copied it out for Katherine.
"Take Command, I am finished," I wrote "Onwards!" and "Tell Katherine I love her."
I risked the wrath of the Swan and delivered the letter, Julian took it from me and read it aloud, "Liar!" his mother snorted, "Love her, Ha!"
"Mrs Carruthers!" I exclaimed.
"He loves his mother!" the old witch continued, "Not that, that, beanpole!"
Katherine burst into tears and fled the room, I went to follow but she rounded on me, "You are truly despicable!" she said, "And to think poor Bromyard said you were his friend."
I let her go.
"Shall you set up a second dower house?" I asked, "Or shall Katherine return to Mablethorpe," I asked still not understanding.
"Oh no, we have secured her a post as Governess to Lord and Lady Faulkenby,"
"But her estates?" I asked knowing she was wealthy in her own right.
"Passed to Bromyard and now Julian of course she has no claim on them now!" she snapped.
"Oh!" I said.
"And you brutally cast her aside," The old witch complained, "She believed you had regard for her."
"I did!" I admitted, "But I own she is a noble woman far above my station."
"The more fool you!" the witch concluded, "I suppose you will not now join us for the Memorial service tomorrow?"
"I shall from duty." I agreed,
She continued "Then shall you join Julian and his friends from the Militia for a game of cards?"
I knew where this was going, Lt Carruthers had suffered a penchant for cards and gaming, a compulsion matched only by his lack of skill.
I professed my skills to be rusty but let myself be drawn in.
They tried very hard to lull my senses, but I knew a card sharp when I saw one and by a dazzling display of incompetence I managed to lose all the seven rounds of cards we enjoyed and left seven shillings the poorer, their ploy to let me win the first few games and then up the ante having failed completely, and then I bade them goodnight and returned to the Hare.
The Landlords daughter was pleasantly buxom and willing and I had my french skins with me so I enjoyed a pleasant enough diversion for one shilling and six pence halfpenny, and no I have no idea what the halfpenny was for, but she was well versed in her trade if old before her time, her slot remarkably loose for one so young while her lower lips would not have looked out of place atop a sow's head they were so coarse and large, and her hairs, she had hairs enough below to re thatch an whole family of badgers!
I shall not deprecate her udders, buxom though she were when dressed when released they rivalled the finest specimen in the finest barnyard but perhaps only in size, as I own they were entirely more cow like than those of a very cow!
But for all that she was a kindly soul and bore my intrusions with commendable fortitude, asking only that I recommend her to my regiment when I return.
The next morning dawned brightly and early without even break fast I went forth to Auldgate to see my mother, my reputation had preceeded me and I was received with less than rapturous delight by my mother and my sister Gwendolyn when I arrived shortly after break fast.
"You are naught but a damn fool James!" Gwendolyn announced, "How in heavens name do you think any man will come to court the sister of the Coward of the Fifth"
"They will forget soon enough," I suggested.
"But James," mother cautioned, "Our fortunes are strained enough and."
"Mother," I corrected her, "Gwendolyn's lack of suitors is hardly my fault, just look at her, all puffed up with idleness."
"Mother!" Gwendolyn squealed, "Must I remain thus to be insulted!"
"With father now cold in his grave and myself as head of the family yes you must!" I insisted, "and what is the worse I fear I shall have to enter into trade, but that is not why I came," I paused briefly.
"I fear I shall have to make an offer of marriage to Carruthers widow Katherine."
"No!" Mother retorted. "She has nothing, the lands will go to the brother."
"She is delightful, and beautiful, and" I insisted.
"Excellent traits in a courtesan, less so in matrimony," mother suggested which was ironic in that she herself was widely regarded as the most hansom of her time and widely expected to marry better than my father.
"Well, I bring the information, not to discuss my happiness with you, do I make myself clear?" I said somewhat forcibly.
I spent some time looking over the household accounts, as always the expenditure exceeded income by a hansom amount, but while there remained the slightest prospect that Gwendolyn might yet marry well then in Auldgate she must remain, and more promissary notes issued and mortgages obtained until no single thing remained and mother must away to the dower house, though dower cottage might better describe it on our country estate, if a single farm might bear the deion of estate.
I took luncheon and thereafter with a feeling of guilt I proceeded to visit Lord Faulkenby to ascertain the nature of Katherine's future employment.
It was no great surprise that Katherine refused to see me, but when I stayed and explained to the noble Lord about how our retreat and regroup had caught the Frenchies unawares, eventually Katherine slipped quietly into the room.
The black of widowhood only made her seem more slender and girlish that I remembered, so finely sculpted like a Greek goddess, so firm and as I stared I suffered such discomfort within my tight breeches the like of which I have seldom endured, and I desired nothing so much as to take her hence and unwrap her firm ripe body from the darkness of widowhood and let the light of matrimony glow within her once more.
"You said awful things," she told me after a long and frosty monosyllabelic conversation.
"And what did I say." I challenged.
"That marrying me," she sobbed briefly, "Was so distasteful that," she gulped, "That you should strike."
"That suggestions of remarriage so soon were so distasteful!" I corrected, "I certainly didn't mean the notion of marriage to you was distasteful, quite the reverse!"
"Well I find the notion of marriage quite repulsive," Katherine suggested, "and the night of my wedding something I would not wish to repeat."
I stared at her in confusion.
"I don't understand?" I said.
"You men are all beasts." She said and that was our interview terminated.
Lord Faulkenby saw me out, "I say Oakley, bad business seeing brother officers widow reduced to governess,"
"I should make her an offer like a shot, sir!" I replied, "But I think she believes all men to be beasts,"
"She's not for this life Oakley, she should be with someone, she is much like your mother, a home maker" he advised, "Like Ann and I, only" he said, "She has her bed and I mine if you see."
"You think I should?" I asked.
"Yes, she'll submit for an heir and spare and use a skin and a chambermaid," he said. "look I'll persuade the gel, you just make an offer, put it in a letter if you wish."
And so I did, he called Higson his secretary and we drafted an offer of marriage, seldom has a matter of such passion been done so coldly but that is how it was done, by a sense of duty.
I was with mother when the reply consenting to marriage arrived and with it the news that Lord Faulkenby had agreed to his private church being our venue with the barest minimum of family to be in attendance.
My mother ranted and wailed at the news, poor Gwendolyn almost burst a blood vessel so apoplectic did she become, but as I somewhat callously informed them they could always deport to the workhouse, or indeed make way to the north where Mother's father still clung to tenuously life among the smoke and mines of Durham.
My marriage was a sad affair, the Carruthers family, Gwendolyn's mother in law and brother in law stayed away, my mother came and stared frostily and seldom has a less passionate kiss been used to signify a marriage as in a hand me down wedding dress and a well worn regimental uniform we tied the knot before the Lord and Lady Faulkenby, Faulkenby's brother the eminent surgeon Lionel Faulkenby, and several of his brother's medical friends, I suppose I should have suspected something odd was afoot but I didn't, I suppose I was distracted.
There was no Honeymoon, we stayed in Lord Faulkenby's guest room.
Katherine came to bed as late as she dared, "I shall submit just once for the legalities," Katherine announced.
I watched her, as she undressed but she merely laid aside her dress and lay upon the bed, there was something odd, I took it to be nervousness, and I undressed myself in the hope my torso or prong might embolden her but to the contrary she shrank back into herself, I almost refrained from touching her but I felt I had to appease her.
"I am no unplucked virgin," she announced, "So defile me and claim me," she said, "And then," but there were tears, "Please don't hurt me like Bromyard!"
"No, just a token then we are one for ever." I agreed.
"Then with no more ado," she said and I went to mount her, "What are you doing!" she demanded.
"Conjoining!" I said,
"Then allow me some comfort!" she said and grabbed the pillows but them by her hips and rolled over onto them face down.
She looked divine with her bottom in the air but a nagging doubt ate at me,
"Katherine," I said, and she gripped her own buttocks and spread her self so her small brown bud was displayed and offered to me.
I touched her anus, "Am I to slide within here?" I asked.
"Are you a celibate until today?" she asked.
"No Katherine, shall I place myself here," I touched her anus, " Or here" I reached down to the warm slippery wetness that was her vagina.
"Nooo" she squealed, "Not there , there," she pointed to her anus.
"Have you never, in there, anything." I asked.
"Of course not, that is where the baby comes out." she exclaimed.
"Then you're a Virgin," I gasped.
"No, I'm a married lady!" she said, "You don't understand the proprieties."
"You're a bloody Virgin!" I shouted.
Suddenly the bed chamber door flew open, Dr Faulkenby attired in his Doctors smock entered.
"Step outside Oakley there's a good chap," he suggested, "Put some uniform on first lest you over excite the chambermaids."
"No Katherine wailed!" but on seeing Lord Faulkenby was there, waiting in the passageway she relented and as I grabbed my breeches and went out, cast from my own bed chamber on my wedding night, so the Lord waited with me until came the verdict.
"She's a virgin." the Doctor insisted.
"Oakley, the girl is intact!" Dr Faulkenby exclaimed as he flung the bed chamber door open.
"Then she was never married to Carruthers?" I suggested.
"No!" Lord Faulkenby agreed, "But what to do, if you claim her all evidence is gone, but." he broke off in confusion.
"No, let us anull the marriage for non consummation." I said.
"Capital!" Lord Faulkenby agreed with a pleasure I scarce understood, and then a plaintive voice, cried out.
"James please rescue me from this impropriety!" Katherine pleaded, a strange request perhaps but as I entered I saw the blankets held aloft to hide her face and yet all her charms displayed as crudely as a Turkish whore.
"Have you all seen gentlemen?" I asked, and when nothing but mumbles were cast in reply I asked that they should leave us.
"I was not married to Bromyard?" she queried as she rearranged the blankets to hide her nakedness, "He quizzed me deeply about what I knew of love and when I said naught but from watching rabbits and the stallion and mare, he seemed greatly relieved."
"No, that is what the," I couldn't bring myself to call a brother officer a sodomite, "That is what lower orders do when they have children enough and to spare."
"Have you and Lord Faulkenby plotted this that by so doing you might wrest my estate from the Carruthers and seize it for yourself?" she asked as I sat on the bed beside her.
"Not I but," I paused, "I think I was persuaded to marry you for pity, not profit."
"But,!" she paused, "Not again! not twice am I to be used lovelessly."
My mind was in turmoil, "It is not lovelessly," I exclaimed, "You are a very handsome woman, I shall be proud to show the world you are mine."
"That is not love!" she snapped.
"And what know you of love," I retorted, "Nothing!"
She glowered at me in anger and she looked so beautiful with her dark eyes afire that I nearly took her by force that very instant, indeed I had ripped the bed clothes from the bed and torn away her chemise before sanity returned.
"I have needs." I exclaimed.
"Then use me as Bromyard did and allow me to hate you for it!" she wailed.
"Yes, indeed!" I agreed and I rushed and tured the great key in the lock, then I cast my breeches aside, "I had a Turkish whore in the Medusa," I explained, "And when she was discomfited she would suck the juices from me."
I saw Katherine's eyes widen, "Discomfited?" she asked.
"When she bled," I approached her, swung onto the bed and knelt before her, "Perhaps you shall be my Turkish whore this evening."
"Oh the humiliation is more than I can bear!" she protested, she went to push me away but the touch of her fingers on my manhood was more than I could bear, and to her horror it twitched of it's own accord, once, twice and again and I knew all was lost as the churning increased within my very testes and the seed of love gushed forth, splattering her forehead and face and then as it subsided it dripped from her chin and dribbled to her sweet yet tightly bound breasts.
"You excite me to excess," I apologised, she glistened with my milk, it covered her nose and eyelids and chin and breasts.
"You are the filthiest most vile person I have ever encountered." she protested.
I took her ruined chemise and began to wipe her face and when enough was wiped clean I kissed her.
She pushed me away and so I kissed her forcibly. "I shall not tolerate this disobedience!" I exclaimed, "It is for me to decide how I use you,"
I saw my milk on her breast and I went to wipe it away but seeing the milk had already seeped within the bindings I bared her mammaries entirely so I might cleanse them but all I succeeded in doing was to smear it all about her so she might appear despoiled, yet I saw a change, her breast, the tip became somehow darker and the teat itself grew.
"I feel nauseous," she said in confusion and she gathered herself up an rushed from the bed and would have fled the bedchamber but for the door was locked.
I caught her and wiped her clean, and the little by little despite her protests I unwrapped my prize, her corsets barely functioned such was the firmness of her belly yet her breasts swelled nicely but my appendage hardened once more and she tensed with anticipation but I merely slotted it in the groove of her behind and enjoyed her warmth and nibbled her neck and caressed her breasts as I did so, running a finger through the tangle of hairs down her lower belly causing her to gasp and cry out.
"Are you as disgusting as you are insatiable?" she asked as I rocked gently her firm buttocks making a tolerable impression on my desperately straining manhood as I released my frustrations, knowing surely that despite my needs I dared not claim her as my wife and soon enough the stickiness exploded up her back.
I cleaned her as much as I could, and then we went to our marital bed, cuddled together with her facing away.
She protested but I held her close and played with her breasts which I found fascinating.
"You're worse than Bromyard," she protested, "At least he was brief in his abuse." but there was no sincerity in her comments.
I woke with the dawn, she was humming happily as she lay beside me but she became silent when she saw I too was awake.
I had to leave her, I could not trust myself with her so that same morning I returned to Auldgate and spent an uneasy week with my mother and sister.
We met at the High Court, Katherine and Lord Faulkenby to one side and myself and Fortescue-Gurnsey my lawyer on the other, whilst behind was a press of those from the regiment and from the news sheets and of course the Carruthers, they of all people knew they faced the loss of all Katherine's property if my petition succeeded
"This is an odd business," Lord Justice Pratt, exclaimed before we were half an hour into the case, "Mr Oakley there is no way that you can prove your assertion that Mrs Carruthers rejected your advances on her wedding night and indeed still does."
"I have evidence from an eminent surgeon!" I protested.
"And a friend," he observed, "I am disinclined to proceed." he said.
"Then check for yourself!" I suggested.
I saw the inner smile within the Justices outer frostiness.
"Would you consent my dear?" he asked Katherine, "Or how shall we ever know?"
"No my Lord, ah Yes my Lord," she said quietly from the stark oak seats where she had been set.
"Then we shall adjourn to St Thomas's infirmary." he announced.
We made haste there and a surgeon and nurse who must have been put upon notice took Katherine off and after a while we were ushered in to the operating room where was Katherine seated upon a table her feet in stirrups and unclothed below her waist.
There three Lord Judges, a surgeon, the old witch Carruthers, a nurse and I all squeezed in that room, and then Katherine protested, "It cannot be right."
"Hush or they'll tie you down the nurse cautioned but Katherine persisted.
They subdued her as she struggled and kicked and they placed a sheet over her head and passed a belt right round the bed and around her waist and a second around her throat and the third around her waist again, this time around her arms as well, then they tied her feet securely to the stirrups.
She was too much the lady to scream but her protestations became wearing so wad of cloth was procured and thrust firmly into he mouth and secured it with a neck tie and at that time the Lord Justice announced, "Can't see a damned thing, scrape away the fur sir, let us see the truth."
We stood aside as the surgeon procured from his portmanteau a razor of the cut throat style and when the nurse produced bowl and soap he advanced with his razor and commenced to scrape away the hairs from between her legs, I am sure it made not a jot of difference to what might be seen but then with clothes pegs and twine he firmly eased apart the lips of her womanhood until we could peer within unhindered but for the seven pegs placed cruelly upon her.
Finally the Surgeon completed his task and he pronounced, "She is indeed Gentlemen she is intact."
I saw, I saw right inside her to where the membrane glistened, and I wanted to climb right onto that bed and spear right through it and claim her, but decorum demanded restraint.
"Very comely," Lord Justice Foolsome agreed while Lord Justice Addisoats added his comments to the effect of.
"Ah so that's what one looks like," Addisoats said, whether he meant maidenhead or womanhood I knew not.
"Ha but could it be a trick?" Justice Lord Pratt announced, "A film of intestine secured with bull semen perhaps?" and before he could be halted he reached forward and delicately felt around within her womanhood.
"Ha, What say you Addisoats,?" Lord Pratt asked as sweat poured from his bewigged brow.
Addisoats shook slightly as he reached forwards, a strange look appeared on his visage and for a moment he seemed at once overcome with the vapours, he swayed upon his feet and grunted unintelligibly and all at once smiled like he was a simpleton.
"Oh she most certainly is" Addisoats simpered and then Lord Foolsome tried his hand, in fact both hands, Katherine renewed her struggles but after no more than five minutes Foolsome pronounced himself satisfied.
"Have we seen enough?" Lord Pratt asked and Lord Addisoats decided he required a further examination and then Foolsome also required a further sight and.
"Surely you have seen enough!" I demanded.
"Ah yes, quite so, lovely gel quite delightful." Lord Pratt suggested "Back to the Bailey Gentlemen."
We trudged those few hundred yards to the Bailey and took up our places, "Be upstanding," the usher suggested, and before more than two had stood he ordered "Be seated,"
"Ahem," Lord Justice Pratt intoned, "it is clear that the gel, I mean, Mrs Carruthers is indeed intact and therefore her marriage to Mr Oakley, and indeed to Mr Carruthers must be declared null and void, what say you, Addisoats."
Addisoats "Very comely so pink and," he said before Pratt interjected,
"Intact man was she intact,"
"Yes perfectly," Lord Foolsome added, "we are of one accord!"
"But this cannot be." The old Mrs Carruthers interjected.
"Silence," Lord Pratt ordered, "She can hardly have healed up again, no her marriage to Carruthers is void, and ah," he paused, "Who is her guardian?"
"She is of age sir, her own woman," I explained.
"Quite so, quite so, twenty one a widow and a virgin," Lord Pratt mused. "Remarkable!"
There were a number of formalities to clear up, "You must make formal application to the Carruthers for the return of your estates." Lord Faulkenby informed her,"And you must stay with us until matters are resolved, as a guest of course."
I strode across to Katherine as soon as I could, "How do you feel?" I asked.
"What do you care?" she said.
I was shocked, "Of course I care!" I said.
"You don't want me, you just want my Lands well sir," she insisted, "I shall wish you good day!"
"I wish to discuss the matter!" I declared.
"Well I do not!" she announced, "Lord Faulkenby would you escort me please!"
I couldn't understand, I thought she would be pleased and I watched dumbstruck as she went from the courtroom.
I had the war office to visit to resign my commission, but with no Katherine it seemed little point, but I went anyway, I requested an appointment and was astounded when I was called to see General McMillan-Fuller.
"The coward of the Fifth of June," he said, "Your reputation precedes you Captain Oakley."
"Then you'll understand why I wish to resign." I explained
"Resign, ha, I own I thought you should have been cashiered," he said "but when I read the reports and checked with the men your second charge was a triumph was it not?"
"Only in so far as the first charge was suicide," I said, "Sabres against ball and shot we were nothing but ball fodder, I fight to win not to die for my country."
"Quite so," he said, "So what did you do?"
"I called the retreat and relied that the Frenchies would break cover to loot our chaps, and then they were sitting ducks as we wheeled around, I ran out of fleeing blue backs to sabre to be honest," I explained.
"Well, how about half pay, go on reserve, maybe give the new chaps a talk, school boys, what do you say?" he asked.
"If you want me, yes sir, certainly." I agreed in some confusion.
I realised my bags were with the Faulkenby's so I made my way to their town house, I was greeted with some unexpected warmth by Lord and Lady Faulkenby as soon as their man showed me in.
"Come along in we dined early," he exclaimed, "Cook will find you something if you require it."
"How is Katherine." I asked.
"Top form sampling my ginger wines." he explained, "Thought you'd come, stick to port though if you get my drift!"
They were in the little sitting room, the table strewn with discarded bottles, "Oh look it's my husband!" Katherine giggled, her hair was dishevelled her bodice laces loosened and she was clearly drunk, as was Lady Faulkenby, but for all that they were laughing and joking most agreeably.
"More potent than whiskey!" Lord Faulkenby insisted, "My Ginger wine, smooth as silk then wham!"
"You let Katherine try some?" I enquired, "Why?"
"Makes them compliant," he pointed out, "I'll protect her," he said, "From all but her husband."
"I don't think she wants me!" I said sadly.
"It's what you want Oakley, if you desire her then take her man, show her what is offered and then if she rejects you." he paused.
Lady Faulkenby looked up, her bosoms heaving with laughter, "Johnny, can we play Johnny?" she asked.
"Blue room," Faulkenby advised as he swept his wife into his arms and carried her away.
"Bed time," I told Katherine.
"But we're not married!" she insisted.
"But I have needs," I suggested, "So come." she tried to stand but her knees buckled and she flopped back, I caught her round the waist and swept her up onto my shoulder, she was so light and firm and so easily did I whisk her up to the Blue room.
A click of the door lock and we were in privacy and then her buttons and hooks I undid as elegantly as my need permitted and then her garments fell away and there she was in her underthings and with a few laces and bows she was undressed and gloriously available.
I sampled her lips with mine, then her breasts one teat at a time and then I explored that tight membrane that impeded me, and my nerve left me.
The poor sore lips that protected her woman hood still bore the marks of the clothes pegs, I kissed each one in turn, then I explored between with my tongue.
"Mmmm," she moaned.
Quickly I stripped off my uniform, even my boots and lay her down across the bed I spread her legs as she had been at the Infirmary and suddenly felt guilt.
I couldn't bear it if I found she rejected me when she recovered I decided, but she looked so lovely, I rolled her over and used that lovely warm groove between her buttocks to relieve the passion of the moment and then I gently cleaned my filth from her before I lay down beside her and kissed her goodnight.
She woke early and angry, "You!" she gasped.
"Yes, I can't keep away." I replied sleepily
"So you want me now I have property!" she announced.
"I want you," I agreed, "Is that what you think, I want your money?" I asked.
"Well don't you?" she asked.
"No I want your body," I said, "I want your hips and lips and breasts and your mouth and I want that womanliness that,"
"No," she said as she recoiled in shock pulling the bed clothes around her, "Never, I hated every moment with Bromyard, every single." I dragged the bedclothes from her, "Moment." she said,"If you have the least consideration," she continued but as I advanced she exclaimed "Please don't!" she went to struggle but when she saw I was in earnest she gave in.
I lifted her from the bed and laid her down again, my knees planted between hers and I parted her womanhood with my fingers and then kissed it, "No, please," she wailed,, "I shall be your friend and consort but please take a serving wench for this distasteful carnality,"
"What!" I demanded,
"I shall understand, you have needs, take my lands but leave my body!" she said prettily enough.
"No," I contradicted her, "I desire you immensely." I advanced towards her my manhood barely an inch from her soft warm lower lips.
"Oh no," she protested as she tried to push me off but I was too strong for her and I eased the tip of my manhood into the slot between her lower lips and thrust mightily.
It hurt I cried out. "Ah" the resistance was total, the agony extreme.
"Then stop if it hurts you, you fool, what do you hope to gain by this." she asked.
I thrust again, again the resistance, she cried out, I cried out and again, she cried with pain and I did too my tears mingling with hers and then I gave up and collapsed upon her.
"Once more, just once!" I promised, and I rose up and pounded down and yet up inside her, she screamed and suddenly I was inside slipping an inch inside her the resistance gone, just glorious virgin flesh as yet unsullied, so soft and warm yet tight and eager.
"Oh that is paradise, truly I have found heaven upon earth," I exclaimed, as my rod passed entirely within her so the very root engaged her belly and my testes slapped her pinkness as I pulled back to thrust anew.
"I hate you!" she sobbed, "What pleasure can there be in hurting me so?" she asked through her tears, and as my guilt returned I resolved to leave her alone, I eased back but as I did so the need overcame me and my testes churned and the seed gushed forth, some inside her and much up her belly and up between her breasts, "Ugggh!" she protested, "If I never endure such a disagreeable experience again it will be too soon."
"Well that shall be instantly!" I rounded on her, "Because you are become a woman, my woman, if you find it distasteful then learn to use your hands and mouth, I've claimed you now young lady, you're mine your estates are mine, and when I am denied a whore you shall serve me."
"Beast!" she snapped. "I'm bleeding!" she wailed, "Look!" there was the faintest trail of blood.
"My fellows say this is always the consequence of marriage, here let me look." I asked and thus I found myself inspecting her innards once more. "It is nothing!, It is beautiful." I replied.
"Oh my you are truly mad," she said.
"Is not my manhood a thing or beauty," I asked as I stood cupping my appendage in the palm of my hand "so why should your softness not be beautiful to me?" I asked, "Come suck it!"
"No!" she protested,
"Then I shall take you again." I replied,
"No for pity's sake!" she retorted please, she turned away as I offered her my appendage to suck so I grabbed her waist and threw her over the bed end to use her as Bromyard had and she screamed, "Noooo"
I advanced anew, my rod straining in anticipation as I sought the land of sodom and but for a split second I should have done it, for it was but a lightening quick revision for me to drive deeply into her softness instead of bruising myself on her unwilling tightness.
"Noooooo, Oh oh," she gasped, I grabbed her breasts for better purchase and suddenly I was back in Marseille with Mimi, as she gripped me and yet her hips writhed as I took her from behind her, it was glorious, tight warm and flowing with her juices as I pushed her face into the bedclothes and stifled her squeals and as I thrusted it became better and better, until I had to let her breathe.
I let her raise her head she gasped for breath. "Oh, I couldn't, Uggh, breathe," she complained, "Oh god."
"Sssshhh," I told her, "Be quiet,"
"I can't." she said, "You're too big Mister Oakley, you're tearing me apart, the pain is." she struggled for a suitable deive word, "Is," she said, "Intolerable!"
"Then you must practice with your mouth," I suggested,"If this is not to become a regular item."
"Mister Oakley , we are annulled, I am not," I thrust extra hard, "ohhh, pleasse," she complained, "Why do you torment me,"
Because you are so gloriously tight and naive you stupid girl I thought, "Because I need to" I explained, and with a final thrust I felt that glorious release and I filled her completely.
Her face was buried in the pillow, even when I withdrew and went to let her up she still buried her head in the pillow.
"It's over," I suggested, "Get some rest," and I rolled over and slept soundly.
A tickling feeling woke me, my manhood stood half erect, my nightshirt rucked up and the bedclothes cast aside.
I opened an eye and there was Katherine, a guilty look on her face and a hand on my appendage.
"No!" she gasped, "I mean no harm!"
"No harm done," I gasped.
"I needed to see." she said, "How can something so huge impale me, yet."
"Yet?" I queried.
"The pain subsides and leaves." she sought for words,"Emptiness, fulfillment, a thousand different,"
"It is new to you, womanhood," I consoled her, "Confusion is to be expected."
"Now I have become Mrs Oakley," she asked, "Are you satisfied?"
"I was earlier, but your tender fingers," I accused as she stroked my manhood and it strained under her gossamer touch.
"You have bent me to your will, I submit," she said, "surely there is no need for repetition?"
"I have that need presently," I cautioned
"I feel I should know what you seek from me?" she said seriously.
"Everything, I wish to possess you!" I exclaimed,
"Then I shall bear it," she said, "I shall bear it stoically." she said nobly, but she shuddered as I made to rub my manhood against her.
"Lie back, let me make love to you," I asked softly.
"Surely you are sated?" she asked, but my rod was stiff as iron.
"Just lie back and." I helped her to lie on her back, and she brought her knees apart and I slid so easily between her sweet lower lips.
"Oh that is much kinder," she said, "Why could you not ease gently within before" and she raised her head and kissed me.
"It is the maidenhead, the breach of it is invariably painful I understand" I offered, "But when it has eased there should be joy in this for both of us.
"This is no joy!" she husked, "It is tolerable not agony"
I started a gentle motion ploughing her, but how could I restrain myself, she was glorious in every way that I grasped and then tore the shirt she wore to bare her breasts and then I buried my face in her neck kissing and nibbling and then as she gasped I kissed her mouth.
"Oh," she was gaping, "Oh it's too much my lord, I cannot bear it and she screamed.
I stopped instantly. "What?" I asked.
"No don't stop you torment me please." she wailed and she was grasping my buttocks forcing me ever further into her, "Possess me." she said "I am yours, I am oohhhhhh." I had lost all control pumping and spurting within her and she was kissing me.
"Ohhh," she protested, "I am so savaged and yet,"
"It will ease with time, my sweet." I reassured her.
"You use me like a whore," she challenged as if she knew anything about whores.
"My perfect little whore!" I whispered, "I love you."
"I believe you think you do!" she said, "But tis lust, vile lust, not love."
We made our way to break fast, the evidence of our passion clearly marked upon Kathrine's neck and in her gait.
"Did you have a good night?" Lady Faulkenby giggled as she saw us, "My husband is very naughty plying us with his wine to lower our resistance."
"Very," Katherine announced, "Captain Oakley has taken advantage of me and it seems I am now his lawful chattel and play thing."
"Yes, but we are married in the sight of god," I reminded them "Yet set aside by man!"
"Ha, that will make a wonderful pay day for the lawyers." Lord Faulkenby chortled as he joined us, You are content Katherine, are you, please be honest."
"I had to force her sir," I admitted, "but."
She glowered, "I think in time I," She looked at me with all seriousness.
"It was very considerate of Oakley to wait, now we must wrest your estates from Carruthers." Faulkenby suggested.
"Why the kindness, sir," I asked impudently.
"I'll tell you," he said, "both of you, now Oakley, look at me and look at Katherine."
I did as he said, a beautiful girl and an old man, "Now imagine the lines of a hard life and whiskers on her, go on!"
I stared, "I was young once, and her mother was very fair, a great and tempestuous beauty," he explained.
"Ah,!" I agreed, the eyes and the finger nails, and the lips, so similar.
"Can't be proved mind!" he added.
"He has such voracious appetites," Lady Faulkenby explained, "Well had," she laughed.
"It pained me when Carruthers used her so, sweeping her off her feet with her mother at death's door and the father passed on long since," he seethed."Twas an outrage."
"He never said tell Katherine I love her." I said, "On the field."
"He called me Katie," she said, "I saw the lie instantly, but it was a kindness."
"And Carruthers?" I asked.
"Card sharp, cheat, renegade," Faulkenby raged.
"He used Harper and Bond cards." I suggested.
"H and B, do you know this?" he asked quizzically.
"The brother Bromyard did, the pattern is subtly different and I can tell which card is which at a glance!" I admitted.
I glanced at Katherine, she was peering at me, "I think perhaps we should change before we take our walk Katherine." I suggested as I saw her discomfiture,
"Yes please excuse us," she said and rushed from the room, "I am so sore!" she exclaimed, as soon as we were out of earshot, "My whole body is wracked, I must have relief!" she pleaded and we rushed for the bed chamber, I locked the door.
"I have soothing lotion," I suggested.
She had cast her dress and her under things aside as she waited for the lotion, which I brought in a glass bottle, I smeared some on my finger.
"No please, let me!" she pleaded but half heartedly and then with great tenderness did I slide my finger within her and began to work the "Lotion" around within her.
"Ohhh," she said,
"What is it my love." I asked.
"Your finger is cold, but the pain, indeed the pain is soothed," she said in surprise.
I withdrew my finger, lubricated it once more and inserted it again between her soft pink lips.
"That is enough Mr Oakley," she declared. "Mr Oakley enough!" she repeated, "Please."
"Yes my love, let me inspect your secret place more closely for the cause of your discomfiture," I suggested and I peeled her lips apart with my fingers to peer inside.
"What do you see?" she asked,
"A deep cleft leading upwards, pray keep silent a moment and close your eyes and hold your ears,she obeyed.
"The light has gone now," I announced.
"Ha very funny!" she said.
"No there is a spot deep inside which requires soothment, yet I cannot reach it unless." I left the notion hanging.
"Unless what?" she asked.
"I apply it with my rod." I suggested.
"It was that rod that made me sore," she replied, "But the spot troubles me so pray try to sooth me."
This time she applied the lotion, smearing it all around my rod until it strained to the utmost and they lying back upon the bed she ordered me to sooth her.
I slid easily and painlessly within her, and she exclaimed "Ah Mr Oakley, I thank you, I am greatly soothed."
"Call me James please my love." I requested.
"But to your duties Mr Oakley," she insisted, "my soothing, please, rub the lotion in sir, this instant."
I began to plough her once more, "That is indeed soothing," she said, "perhaps you could rub a slightest bit harder," she requested, "And the slightest bit."
"Like this?" I enquired,
"Perfect!" she said "that is indeed soothing," she mewled slightly without making words and then she asked, "Is this love?"
"Yes my dear Katherine," I whispered, "I do believe it is."
"Oh!" she exclaimed, "Then perhaps," she said enigmatically but there is a time and a place for everything and this was not the time for conversation, "Ohhhh, James." she gasped as helplessly I flooded her with my love juices.
She cleaned herself up and cleaned me which I thought was very thoughtful for a whore, and then came the realisation that this was my wife, I thought that perhaps in time I should persuade her that her bad chamber duties would become tolerable, but already it seemed that she was tolerating and even enjoying her duties.
"James," she said as she lay beside me in her nakedness and rested her head on my chest, "How shall you wrest my estates from the Carruthers?"
"I shall," I said, "Give it due consideration but for now," I informed her, "I am more than content with you,"
"Sweet words James but, I think the estates will make the matter sweeter?" she replied.
"Katherine," I said, "Seriously it is you I want, by my side at Luncheon and in polite society and beneath me in the bed chamber, you, that is what I desire."
"A small farm, an extravagant mother, a great cuckoo of a sister, James, you need my estates." Katherine said knowingly, "Don't take me for a fool."
"Mother and Gwendolyn are always welcome at Grandfather Jesmond's house," I explained "should the need arise."
"You're not serious?" she gasped, "You will not fight for that which is rightfully mine, I mean yours, I mean ours?"
"For what is yours my dear yes, I will fight." I agreed, "Shall we confront the Carruthers in their own lair or shall we serve papers?"
"Confront" she said defiantly, "But not now, I feel there is a sore spot that you missed, so pray administer some cooling lotion if you please my husband."
"You promised me a chambermaid?" I reminded her.
"Certainly, I shall wear a chamber maid's attire if you so wish," she said deliberately deflecting my aside while at the same time grasping my manhood and slotting it exactly within her.
We attended the Carruthers unannounced as they wallowed in the sumptuous luxury of Mr Raffles hotel and guest house, Mrs Carruthers weighed down with a mass of peeling face paint was hardly delighted at our appearance, and her younger son Julian Carruthers was positively hostile.
"Come begging have we," Julian sneered.
"And good day to you sir, you know Katherine, my whore, don't you." I asked which nonplussed them all, "Oh yes we fornicate incessantly," I looked at Katherine standing demurely in her black.
"Only with you sir," she said quietly.
"Quite so!" I agreed, "But you see as she was never married to Lt Carruthers legally, and indeed her marriage to me was annulled therefore the properties she brought to the marriage are still hers, are they not Miss Fortesque-Dobbs."
"I use the name Mrs Oakley now sir," Katherine explained, "But yes."
"Nonsense!" Julian squealed, there is not a court in the land that."
"How much?" Mrs Carruthers asked suddenly.
"Everything!" Katherine said boldly.
"Then I challenge you to a duel." Julian suddenly blurted out.
"I say Carruthers, duelling with a lady, what ever next?" I declared.
"No you, you bloody coward," he snorted.
"I was regimental pistol champion two years running remember," I lied, it was three, "Though you wouldn't know that!"
"Sabres then," he said.
"You challenged, I choose the weapons," I said.
"What about a civilised round of cards?" Mrs Crarruthers suggested remembering my gross incompetence.
"Oh no," I demurred, "I have no luck with cards what so ever."
"Better than a ball in the temple," Katherine suggested.
"So what shall you wager against my Estates?" Mrs Carruthers suggested.
"Against the mansion," Julian suggested, "Shall we say your Auldgate Townhouse,"
"Perhaps, that sounds fair but we said a game, not the simple turn of a card," I reminded them.
"James, no," Katherine said urgently, but I had seen the new pack of H and B cards all sealed in their carton with waxed seals that Julian had magically produced, and I knew I had an excellent chance.
"Then we shall play," Julian announced, "Like gentlemen, Regimental rules, Aces low, agreed?"
"Ought to have a senior officer present," I announced.
"Damn you, Oakley!" Julian exclaimed, "You really are a coward!"
"No, shall we say at Auldgate? tomorrow?, invite my solicitor and a senior officer or two?"
"If we must," Mrs Caruthers sneered, and we bade each other farewell.
Poor Katherine was mortified, she couldn't understand why I wasn't upset.
"You bloody fool!" Katherine rounded on me as we left, "You Idiot!" she railed "We shall be destitute!" she hissed as we left the building.
I waited until we were on our way back with the Faulkener's before I chastised Katherine, I took her from the Carriage into a small copse where I made her raise her skirts and bend over my knee like a naughty school girl before I smacked her bare bottom with a small twig, she began by being indignant yet by the conclusion she couldn't stop giggling!
"You have a devious plan," she said afterwards, "I see it now."
It wasn't devious, at all, just careful perusal of the rules of regimental Poker and the application thereof, and the Fifty Thousand acres of worthless Australian desert land near the "Air's Rock," I acquired during a game in Calais was about to become invaluable.
You see I needed witnesses, so I left it to mother to panic when she realised she quite likely to lose the roof over her head and for her to set matters in train.
It was not at Auldgate that we met for the game but the offices of Messrs Fortescue-Gurnsey and Fallings my lawyer's, in the long room at their offices, all oak panels and ancient paintings.
Julian Carruthr, his Mother, Reid their man and Dawlings their lawyer attended as did Katherine and I, while Colonel Crayfish of the Blues and his batman Fforbes and General Sir Gerald Melchett also attended to observe and see fair play, enticed by talk of excellent claret and a decent meal to follow at Auldgate.
Tim Fortescue-Gurnsey my lawyer, explained that under the rules of Regimental poker, the decision of the cards was absolute, "Dammit man you could lose everything!" he said to me.
"Only that which I wager," I insisted.
"But there are no limits, the richest must always win," Tim explained.
"It is a game for gentlemen," I agreed, "No Gentleman would crush his opponent."
"But Estate for Estate, house for house acre for acre no matter where, it's a very cock eyed way to calculate matters." Tim continued.
"Are you trying to wriggle out Oakley," Julian challenged his face now red with anger.
"No, Mr Fortescue-Gurnsey was merely explaining why Regimental rules are inapplicable to the common man." I exclaimed.
"And you should know," Julian continued "You common base coward."
"I shan't have this," I said luring them deeper into my trap, "do you have your cards Carruthers, we shall settle this once and for all, regimental rules, no limits."
"Agreed," he said.
"Then deal someone, do you have the knack Mrs Carruthers?" I asked, she could not believe her luck.
I barely glanced at my cards before setting them down one atop the other, a two and a eight, both hearts. neither was I interested in the five community cards face down though I could as easily read the suit and number from the back as from the face such was my familiarity with Harper and Bond cards.
"What do you wager, Oakley," Carruthers asked insolently.
"Two Guineas!" I offered insolently.
"And I'll raise you Katherines estate." he agreed.
"I'll add Gwendolyn's hand in marriage," I offered.
"Against?" he asked.
"Katherine's Estates," I replied.
"Regimental rules!" General Melchett muttered. "Sisters hand in Marriage you know."
"Ha, you need more than that," Carruthers challenged. "Seven hundred acres two Villages a mansion,."
"Regimental rules," The General agreed, "Shall you raise, Mr Carruthers?"
"Yes!" he agreed.
"Then I fold!" I agreed.
"What!" Julian exclaimed as I pushed two guineas towards him.
"Shall we have another round?" I asked.
I folded twice more which cost me twelve guineas before I pounced.
"Do you have my papers Tim," I asked, as I saw Julian had two Aces and two more in the community cards. Fortescue-Gurnsey nodded sagely and left to fetch it.
He was away just a moment, "Your property portfolio sir," he said with unusual deference.
I extracted the deeds and mortgages for the Auldgate property and handed them to Carruthers, "So you accept the Regimental Rules?" and then I placed the deeds of the family farm on the table.
"My Farm," I said, Katherine gasped, "against Katherine's Estates."
"Need more than that," Julian said without looking at them."
"All right," I agreed and placed the deeds to the Australian holding on the table, the Carruthers peered at it, their lawyer pronounced it worthless and so Julian Carruthers rounded on me.
"But it's worthless!" Carruthers cried.
"Regimental rules, an acre is an acre, a thousand acres a village, a village a mansion," I reminded him.
"Rubbish!" he exclaimed.
"Sin the rules old boy," General Melchett observed, "Writ down, you agreed."
"And you would appear to be thirty thousand acres short of covering the wager, will you accept their note Mr Oakley?" Tim Fortescue-Gurnsey asked quietly.
"No I shall not," I agreed.
"What, call yourself a Gentleman?" Carruthers squealed.
"No sir, a winner," I exclaimed, "I believe you cannot raise enough even with your entire Estates sir, and should you do so I have here," I said with a flourish, "Deeds to my Chateau, and my Vinyard and."
"Enough!" Carruthers squealed, "You win, take it, Katherine's Estates, take all of it."
"No," Mrs Carruthers squealed.
"It's all your fault you old witch," Julian rounded on her, "I warned you,"
"Mr Carruthers, when shall I tell Gwendolyn you will call upon her?" I asked, "You did win her hand fair and square, shall we say dinner at eight at Auldgate?"
"No!" Mrs Carruthers exclaimed but she seemed mollified somewhat although not to excess when I offered the Auldgate property as a dowry for Gwendolyn.
There was reluctant agreement and we went to Auldgate via Lord Faulkenby's abode where we acquired a quantity of his ginger wine.
It was a melancholic crew at Dinner that evening, Melchett and Crayfish strained every sinue to out tell each other's tales of Military derring do, Mrs Carruthers seemed as displeased at the prospect of her son acquiring the Auldgate house as mother did with losing it, and Gwendolyn seemed as displeased at the thought of Julian Carruthers as suitor as he seemed with her as his lover.
Then while Katherine and I fretted as we waited to take to our bed, there came the ginger wine, and as Katherine and I wisely restricted our consumption so the others present became more loquacious.
We slipped away as soon as was seemly but no sooner than had we embraced Mrs Harcourt, mother's aged servant sought me out, "Mr George come quickly," she ordered as she pounded upon the bedchamber door.
I left Katherine and followed Mrs Harcourt downstairs, "It is quite unseemly," she ranted they are inebriated beyond reason.
I stepped into the dining room and stopped stock still, it looked for all the world as if a pitched battle had taken place within it precincts in the few moments since we departed, bodies strewn around in stages of undress, and then on closer examination, I saw the bodies were not inanimate, on the contrary excepting my mother who sprawled insensible upon the chaise longe they were animated beyond anything proper.
It was Mrs Carruthers that was most improperly deported, and from her position upon the floor it was not at first notable but on closer observation Col Crayfish was not assisting the drunken form of Mrs Carruthers to her feet but indeed with his breeches around his knees and her skirts thrown up over her back, the Colonel had his manhood deeply impaled within her whilst in her turn she sucked upon the General's manhood.
"See, just like the Turkish whore I told you about Mrs Oakley do you see," The General asked earnestly.
"Quite so, General, quite so," my mother confirmed drunkenly. "Quite, quite so,"
Young Julian Carruthers on the other hand had at once seen the attraction of my sister Gwendolyn, her penduous udders now sagged and wobbled obscenely as Julian struggled to disrobe her oblivious to his own mother's debauchery not two yards from where they lay.
"I think my Lord Faulkenby mistook the strength of his wine," Katherine observed and she upended a glass and drank copiously, "To bed my husband," she said.
"Yes bed indeed my dear," I said and we left poor Mrs Harourt to deal with the debauched situation when sobriety returned.
My Katherine was quite overcome with the wine and she divested herself of her garments as quick as a flash and then she seized upon my manhood with her perfect mouth and stiffened me instantly, I pulled away and laid her upon the bed ready to drive within her when a thought took me, I bent as if to kiss her but not to the extent that our lips touched.
"Katherine, why do your lips not taste of alcohol?" I asked.
"James for heavens sake just take what is offered and don't ask stupid question," she ordered, "anyway it was water," she admitted, "But it's not seemly for." she stopped her explanation abruptly as I speared deep within her, "Yes, good, you know just what I like," she whispered, "And after such a brief season of training," she added.
Quite what transpired downstairs remained a mystery for a considerable time but it seemed mother disagreed with the notion that Turkish whores served two men at a time by using their mouth and the front orifice and insisted that instead the whore served two gentlemen simultaneously by being one in front and one behind and by the use of both front and rear orifices which I am led to believe my mother demonstrated was entirely possible, whether she intended the Colonel and the General to actually penetrate her was not at all clear but it does seem that in that fashion they conjoined, a troi as the Frenchies have it, and in doing so mother displayed considerable flexibility for someone of a half century and more in age.
It was nearer dawn than dusk when Kathrine and I came again to check the debauched scene, neither mother nor Mrs Carruther wore a single stitch of clothing, and while General Melchett retained his Jacket poor Crayfish had nothing except his cravat and his left sock and from that his big toe protruded somewhat obscenely.
Young Carruthers meanwhile had Gwendolyn entirely naked and seemed to delight in repeatedly entering her from the rear whilst grasping great handfulls of her pendulous breasts, twisting her teats until they seemed inches long and taking his pleasure noisily and at great length while making a "Mooing," sound, while Gwendolyn likewise roused the entire neighbour-hood with her plaintive bellows in that off key Alto voice I had so grown to loathe.
As for Katherine and I we went to our bed and shut out the sounds of other's debauchery whilst we made some of our own.
A sorry crew awaited us at breakfast, except Gwendolyn who positively glowed, young Carruthers repeatedly slumped exhaustedly over the breakfast table, mother and Mrs Carruthers glared at each other whilst the General and Colonel sat quietly looking into their laps.
"Potent stuff that Ginger Wine," the General averred, "Potent stuff."
"Indeed," I agreed, "But who would have thought Gwendolyn would become Carruthers bride."
"Oh god!" young Carruthers exclaimed.
"And which gentleman made offers to which Lady?" Katherine asked, "For I am sure both ladies conjoined with both gentlemen."
"Well," Mother suddenly exclaimed, "I rather think we need more time to consider the matter."
"I own I remember nothing," Mrs Carruthers explained.
"Well," General Melchett exclaimed, "I well remember you agreeing to Col Caryfish's proposal!"
"And I shall stand by my word, will you take me on Mrs Carruthers?" he said, "Become Mrs Crayfish?"
Melchett nearly exploded, but noby held his tongue.
"I suppose we must," Mrs Carruthers agreed and so was their unholy alliance sealed and it was not until later that Melchett admitted his half truth.
"Meant to say he proposed buggery!" he admitted, "Oh well."
"And you sir, having taken advantage of my mother?" I asked.
"Well set out the Wine and I'll ravish her again!" he suggested.
"General!" she protested.
"Was that an offer sir?" I asked.
"Indeed," he said, "What d'you say Mrs Oakley, shall you become Mrs Melchett?"
"Well don't look at me!" I exclaimed, "I'm renowned for my cowardice!"