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There were crumbs around my mouth. I wiped my lips delicately with my napkin and yawned. After the meal which the servant had brought to my room, I had sipped my liqueur. It had not been taken. The servant who brought the tray was the young girl who had curtsied to us when we had been taken to the stable that morning. Her name was Mary. She was unlearned but pretty. It pleased her to wait upon me. The flush of pleasure lay on her cheeks.
She appeared not surprised to find me naked except for my stockings and boots. On her coming back for the plates, the wine bottle and the glass, I took her wrist and sat up. I swung my legs over the bed. 'Ma'am?' she asked. The housekeeper had not called me Ma'am. I sensed ranks, classes within classes, initiations. I drew Mary down beside me. 'I dares not stay,' she said, 'they will punish me.'
'With the strap?' I asked.
She gazed at the floor. Her feet were shod in neat black boots. Small feet. I would lick her toes perhaps. No. Crumbs of dirt between them. My nose wrinkled with distaste. My hand slid from her wrist and covered her hand. She trembled visibly. Her rosebud mouth was sweet.
Such gestures are fatal. They have meaning - like commas, dashes, question marks. I have walked between words. I know the dangers of the spaces between them. I passed my hand up the nape of her neck and felt her hair. It had not the silkiness of mine, but it was clean. I turned her face, moving my lips over hers. She started like a fawn. I held her. There was a taste of fresh bread in her mouth. 'Tell me,' I said.
'There are no answers,' a voice said. It was Jenny. She had entered quietly. I neither moved nor sprang up as perhaps she wanted me to. Instead I pressed my mouth again upon the girl's. She trembled in her freshness, a salty dew between her thighs. I felt intimations of boldness. Jenny's hand fell upon my shoulder.
She drew Mary up from my embrace. The girl turned and went, leaving the plates. I made to rise when Jenny fell upon me, spreading my legs by forcing hers between them. The hairs of her pubis were springy to mine through her thin cotton dress. It was a new dress. Small mauve flowers on a blue background. I wanted it. 'There is a wildness in you,' Jenny said. Her tongue licked suddenly into my mouth and then withdrew.
'Let me kiss your thighs,' I begged. She laughed and rose, pushing herself up on her forearms slowly so that her breasts bobbed their juicy gourds over mine. Bereft I lay. Would she seek my tears - kiss the salty droplets? On Christmas Eve I had been carried upstairs with my drawers down. The sea-cry, the wind-cry. Jenny turned to the window and looked down. The darkness now beyond - the mouth of night.
'The stations are all closed - the people have gone. The ships have sailed,' she said. I began to cry. She turned and shook me roughly. 'The reception will begin soon, Beatrice - get dressed. Stand up!'
Words stuttered in my mouth but knew no seeking beyond. I wanted my nipples to be burnished by her lips. Instead I obeyed quietly as she told me to remove my boots and stockings. In place of the stockings I was to wear tights such as dancers do on the stage. They were flesh-coloured. The blurr of my pubic curls showed through. They bulged. A top of the same material was passed over my shoulders. It hugged my waist and hips, fitting so tightly that my nipples protruded into the fine net. 'Longer boots,' Jenny said. She pointed to the wardrobe. I padded to it. They had been made ready for me, polished. Sleek- fitting, I drew them on. The heels were narrow and spiked. 'Brush your hair - make yourself presentable,' Jenny said. 'I shall return for you in a minute.'
I had not then seen the house except for the back stairs and the entrance hail. There was buzzing of voices as I was made to descend with Caroline - she dressed as I. The grooves between our buttock cheeks showed through the mesh. A piano played. It stopped when we entered. People in formal evening dress gazed at us and then turned away. Gilt mirrors ranged the walls with paintings between them - one by one around the room. Mary and another girl moved among the visitors with champagne. On sideboards there were canapés in numerous colours. They looked as pretty as flowers on their silver trays.
The piano played again. Mozart, I thought. Men looked at my breasts and buttocks. Their eyes fanned Caroline's curves. The high heels made us walk awkwardly, stiffly. The cheeks of our bottoms rolled. To the one blank wall farthest from the doors Jenny led us, a hand on each of our elbows. There were clamps, chains, bands of leather. Caroline first. Her legs were splayed, her ankles fastened. Her arms above her head.
'Hang your head back - let your bottom protrude!' Jenny snapped at her. I wanted to be blindfolded. I knew it was good to be so. Black velvet bands swathed our eyes. In darkness we stood, our shoulders touching warm. The manacles were tight. I had seen my uncle. He watched upon our obedience. I heard his voice. There was silence in the room. The last chords of the piano tinkled and were gone. A wink of fishes' tails and gone.
Caroline first. I heard the intake of her breath as he passed his hands up the backs of her thighs and squeezed her bottom cheeks. 'My doves,' he breathed. He placed a broad, warm palm on each of our bottoms. People clapped. The room stirred again, came alive. We were left. Knuckles slyly nudged our bottoms from time to time. Were we forbidden? Female fingers touched more delicately. With the protrusion of our bottoms and the splaying of our legs, our slits were at pillage. Mine wettened into the mesh of the tights as slender fingers quested and sought the lips. And found. I tried not to wriggle my hips.
Champagne was passed between our lips from goblets unseen. I absorbed mine greedily. I could hear Caroline's tongue lapping. There was dancing. I heard the feet. The plaintive cry of an oboe accompanying the piano. If it were a girl playing I would know her by her slimness, her tight small mouth that only an oboe reed would enter.
Her face would be oval and pale, her breasts light and springy. She would speak little. Her words would be dried corn, her days spent in quiet rooms. At the high notes I envisaged her on a bed in a white cell. She would not struggle. Her stockings would be white, her thighs slender.
Laid on her back, she would breathe slowly, quietly, fitfully through her nose. Her dress would be raised. Knees would kneel on the bed between her legs. Her knees would falter, stir and bend. Her bottom would be small and tight. Hands would cup and lift. She would wear white gloves of kid. I had almost forgotten the gloves. They would be decorated with small pearl buttons spaced half an inch apart. No words. Her mouth would be dry. A small dry mouth. Her cunny would be dry. A small dry cunny. A tongue would moisten it - her fingers would clench. She would close her eyes. Her eyelashes would have the colour of straw.
Her knees would be held. The knob-glow of a penis three times the girth of her oboe would probe her slit. A small cry. A quavering. In her dryness. Entering, deep-entering it would enter. Lodged. Held full within. The tightness there. In rhythmic movement it would move, the lips expanding around the stem.
Silently he would work, upheld on forearms bared, gazing down upon the pallor of her face. Her buttocks would twitch and tighten. A crow would alight at the window. Pecking at stone it would be gone.
The penis moving, stiff. A small bubble of sound from her lips, suppressed. The tightening of her buttocks would compress the sealskin walls that gripped him. In his oozing he would groan. Deep in him he would groan. His face would bend. His lips would move over her dry eyelids.
She would not stir. There were no words to speak for her. In the white cell of her room a rag doll would smile and loll against the wall. Through her nostrils now her breath would hiss. Music scores would dance through her mind. The oboe of flesh would play in her.
'Pmmflffl' Her breath explodes, mouth opens. He ravages her mouth, she struggles, squirms. His loins flash faster. Faint velvet squelch between their loins. Her cuntlips grip like a clam. He clamps her bottom, draws the cheeks apart. Mutinous still, her tongue retreats, unseeking to his seeking. The sperm boils. In the itching stem the lava rises. The bed rocks.
Music of lust. There is dryness here in the love-lust dry. The curtains falter and wave. Her bottom is lifted, back arched. His pestle pounds. She receives. The squirting she receives - the long thin jets. Spatter- tingling of sperm. Their breath hush-rushes. Her arms lie limp. Long-leaping strands of wet. The oozy, last jet of come. The dribbling. The last tremors. Bellies warm. A weakness, falling. The strong loins of his urging are paper now.
Strengthless he lies, then moves from her. Her face is pallid. She awaits his going and rises. Her dress is straightened. A vague fussing of hair. Quiet as a wraith she descends. 'You will have tea now, dear? You have had your lesson?' she is asked. She nods. Her knees tremble. A warm trickling between her thighs. The oboe, yes. The tall ship sailing. I emerged from my dreams. We were loosed and turned about, our bonds replaced. My bottom bulbed to the wall. I waited.