I was not certain that Alice's sister would accept my guileful invitation. Oh, of course I knew that by this time my beautiful mistress must surely have explained to her that all was not well between us. Nevertheless, I could not so easily forgive the brash young woman the annoyance which her wagging tongue had caused me, an annoyance which surely had had a great deal to do with the rift between Alice and myself. I was greatly surprised, therefore, to receive a note back the very next day by messenger informing me that Marion Murdock - that was Alice's sister's married name - would be pleased to call upon me the next day at two in the afternoon as stipulated. She had added a postscript which made me chuckle:
"I must confess I fail somewhat to see what good can be gained by this visit However, since Alice has told me that she is reconciled with you, I feel I owe it to her future welfare to visit you and decide for myself your true intentions regarding my dear sister, whom I recall you did not treat too well in the past." - and it was signed with her initials, "M.M."
You may recall, if you have read the first volume of my memoirs, that I had originally planned to capture both sisters together and to include Marion in the punishment designed for Alice. Initially that idea had itself not been unpleasing, because Marion was a fine specimen of female flesh, flesh and blood rather, and a larger and more stately type than Alice, who was rather petite. One could indeed do much worse than to have Marion at one's disposal for an hour, to feel and to tickle and to whip and to fuck!
That stimulus had been so entertaining to my vengeful mind that I had an armchair made specially at a shop which did such work, for the project.
The release of a secret catch would set free a mechanism in this chair that would be actuated by the weight of the occupant, which would instantly cause the arms to fold and firmly imprison the sitter. The shop owner had furnished it with luxurious upholstery, and when the catch was fixed and hidden it surely made the most inviting of chairs. As you will recall, Alice unsuspectingly chose this chair when she entered the Snuggery… You will also recall that on the fateful day of my rendezvous with Alice which led to the defloration of her maiden charms and her complete conversion to my will and to the service of my fucking pleasures, Alice had appeared alone and had told me that poor Marion had become ill and had spent such a bad night that she could not come to town. So in reality you can see, dear reader, I was only now accomplishing what I had long since planned.
You can imagine with what impatience I sat in my salon until the bell rang announcing the presence of the long-awaited married sister, who had caused me such displeasure and hampered my courting of my beloved Alice. In order to give her no suspicions, I had refrained from putting on only my drawers, dressing gown and slippers; from the first time I had met this paragon of female pulchritude, she had impressed me as being somewhat sanctimonious and prudish as regards such intimate matters as sucking and kissing and cuddling. One of the things I planned to discover for my very own self this exciting afternoon would be an admission from her own soft lips as to how far she had proceeded with her lately lamented spouse before he had had to shuffle off this mortal coil. So, dressed in my very best, and with my most welcoming smile on my face, I opened the door and greeted Marion.
As I have said, she was a handsome figure of a woman. Alice had been twenty-five at the time of her surrender to me, a true virgin untouched; Marion, unvirgined but for my purposes practically as pure, was two years older. With a swift glance I constated her charms and my heart began to pound. At the same time, too, I must confess to a twitching of my private parts, a trustworthy and never-failing indication that Marion had already begun to rouse the basest carnal desires of which my bachelor nature was capable.
She was about five feet six inches in height, and magnificently proportioned for that stature. Her hair was jet black, whereas Alice's was dark brown; and she wore it in a popular style at the time: a delicious little fringe of affectations curb all along the top of her high arching forehead, and a prim, huge oval-shaped bun at the back of her head, which suggested somewhat the semblance of a crown. Well, perhaps it was symbolic, for surely she would be my queen of lust for this entire afternoon; and I vowed to myself that I would have her hair unbound and falling in a glossy sheath against her naked skin before she was allowed to dress and return to her own home.
Her nose was a trifle snub, which gave her an aspect of disdain, quite in keeping with what I already knew about her. Her nostrils were widely flaring, quite sensuous, as was her mouth, somewhat small with a pronouncedly ripe upper lip that completed the delineation of insolence and contempt which she appeared so rancorously to show to the male sex. Her eyes were a dark imperious blue, very widely set apart from the bridge of her exquisite nose, and surmounted by exaggeratedly thin-plucked eyebrows and extremely short but thick lashes.
In this period, to be sure, women wore far too many clothes for my immediate savoring pleasure - though contrarily I must admit it was always delightful to prolong the moment of my conquest by having to remove the many garments turn by turn! This paradox heightened my pleasure a good deal, as there was always the element of suspense in wondering just what treasures I should at last espy naked when all the outer conventional costume should be removed and the bare flesh come into ardent view. And from the victim's viewpoint, to be sure, it was far more agonizing, as her suspense was being constantly augmented till the supreme moment of humiliation in finding herself Eve-naked in my presence while I remained fully clothed.
Hence, seeing Marion appear in nominal attire of the fashion would heighten my own excitement, as I could not be too certain as to the embodiment of her delightful curves nor physical charms, save that I had recalled her to have a somewhat slender waist from which - if the bustle's contours could be faithfully believed - there flared impudently rounded, full and ample hips. She did not have so goodly a girth as Lady Betty Bashe, but she nonetheless gave in every way the prospect of being an absolutely breathtaking morsel of pulchritude when she should finally be stripped down to the indisputable state of helpless nakedness that I meant to exact from her as a part of the expiatory punishment she had earned by flouting my courtship of her sister Alice. There can be no male who finds the opposite sex fascinating and provocative who cannot tremble with hardly suppressed excitement at the anticipation of fulfilling all his most lustful whims. I dare say that in each of us an incipient sadism lingers, product of earlier, less gentle ages when women were slaves and men their lawful masters. Who has not chafed under some haughty girl or woman's scorn, baffled and raging at the knowledge that no retaliatory move is possible under society's code that treats the female as the helpless, weak creature that must be protected at all costs from villainy and violence. And when an inconstant female dares to slap a man solely because he seeks to steal a flattering kiss, he is deemed a blackguard if he even yields to the impulse to raise his hand and give her back measure for measure.
Thus in a sense, man being a rationalizing animal, one might say that in the project of entrapping Marion to atone for her having set my beloved Alice against me, I meant to strike, as it were, a blow for all men who had endured frustration and sarcastic treatment at a woman's hands. And I felt certain that I could dare affronting her without danger from the authorities, precisely because Alice was now fully converted and on my side.
It would have been ideal could Alice have been present on this occasion; I had thought of the fantasy of having her aid me as a lovely, inventive executioner against her very own sister. Then, knowing this to be impossible because of Alice's unavailability in town, I had thought of summoning the eager Fanny, that charming maid who herself was so exquisitely acquiescent in passionate games. But no, this vengeance was rightly mine and no one else's; it must not be shared with any stranger, as Fanny would be to Marion in such a game.
You can therefore imagine with what impatience I awaited the ringing of my bell this fateful afternoon, having envisaged all kinds of the most mouthwatering plans for the consummate and gradual humbling, stripping and fucking of arrogant Marion, who, slightly older than my dear Alice, represented an even more pedestalled and smugly secure kind of female goddess from whose pedestal I meant assuredly to topple her step by infinitely subtle step down to the mire of her degradation and despairing shame!
So all was in readiness at last. I wore presentable attire, not wishing to flout or shock Marion at the very outset - that would come later, when her suspicions had been lulled. It was curiosity that had killed the proverbial cat; it was the same precept which was bringing Marion to my apartment where she would come as respected guest to parlay warily - so she thought! - as to my future intentions towards her sister, only to discover in good time that Alice's fate had already been settled and it therefore impinged upon me only to determine her very fitting own!
And now the moment had come; the bell pealed at my door, and my heart began to beat more quickly as I went to answer it.
I silently applauded my own impulsive decision to adopt propriety in my clothing, since had I shown myself in dressing gown, Marion would well have believed that "the leopard cannot change his spots" and suspected a trap forthwith. No, in waistcoat and trousers of the finest Ascot cut, even with spats to gild the lily as it were, she could not see me otherwise than as an elegantly attired if worldly gentleman to whom she was coming for a cup of tea and an earnest discussion on her sister's possible betrothal and marriage. Doubtless, I told myself even as I went to the door, she would come full of sententious and pious maxims, ready to sermonize me as to the wrongdoing of my past and her prayerful hopes that my nature would be sanctified in future as regards her only living kin, dear Sister Alice. And to be sure, such a lecture would allow her full occasion for delivering those famous rejoinders full of underlying sarcasm at my expense, while she would bask in the comfortable knowledge that the social code prescribed my accepting them in all meek humility, leaving her safe from reprisal. And then, oh my lady, what a fall from grace there would be!
I opened the door to her. My pulses leaped at the sight that greeted my eager eyes. In an adorable little felt hat with a feather that set a jaunty note of imperious sophistication, cape and rustling silken dress whose hems descended to her ankles, Marion stood before me, her lovely haughty face a bland mask of disdain and smug security; oh, yes, from the very lineaments of her features there could be no doubt she had come to rub salt into my wounds by archly recalling to me that she had never approved of me and that if her sister proved weak enough to succumb to my manly virtues-whose existence she herself still doubted-it was vital that she remain the calm, dispassionate counselor and guide to steer her sister safely through the reefs and treacherous currents which my questionable character was inexorably certain to set before poor helpless Alice as a way of life.
There was a kind of fitting justice to Marion's visit I had, as my readers will recall, originally had that treacherous armchair in my Snuggery fashioned expressly for the purpose of holding Marion in it and rendering her quite helpless while I went about the delicious procedure of ensnaring her sister Alice and compelling her to submit to my desires. And as you also know, at the last moment, Marion had not been able to keep the appointment-though Alice surely had no reason to complain of lack of attention she had received from me on that occasion!
I kept my face as bland as I could to bide the sudden delighted emotion that surged through me as I beheld Marion here on the very threshold of my apartment, the first step across which would lead to her coerced surrender and my own sweet revenge! And I congratulated myself upon my wisdom in having agreed to the landlord's insistence that I rent not only my modest suite of sitting-room and two bed-rooms but the unusual "lumber room" - so he had called it - which had once actually been a confinement chamber for lunatics; the house had once been built as a private lunatic asylum, and to this room which I now referred to as my Snuggery, inmates who ultimately were destined for Bedlam had been confined. I may say with some little pride as well as amusement that since my acquisition of this admirably equipped room, it had been put to far better diversions!
Marion wore a fashionable green frock with high collar and full bodice and long, low skirts that were puffed and descended over her ankles. Her fashionable little bonnet tied with laces under her rounded chin, and altogether she was a most prepossessing sort of female. Alice had told me that she had been married three years, and of course I knew that she had been separated from her husband because of his crass infidelity. In my mind, the man must have been a fool to have allowed his wife to discover his penchants for liaisons with other females, since my first glance at Marion made my pulses race and my vital order throb with eager anticipation. There is an old adage that one should be able to eat one's cake and have it too, and assuredly Marion's husband would have done better to have practiced that adage. Never mind, I told myself, I would practice it for him!
"I am here, as you see," she spoke in a cold, disinterested voice, whose inflections showed a rich contralto, whereas Alice had always the most delicious soprano voice - whose timbre never failed to make me shudder with lust when she was undergoing the delightful dalliance with feather or lips or tongue or fingers under my ministrations. Marion's voice pleased me enormously, more than I can say; it suggested such a poise and worldliness as to convince a stranger at first impression that here was a creature who would be in complete control of herself at all times, no matter what the situation. Well, my beauty, I told myself gleefully, this afternoon will see whether or not you are capable of the normal reactions of a trapped and helpless victim! I do not think there's a man alive who has not played with himself the delightful game of conjectural imagery. By which I mean the fanciful visualization of what a fully clothed female must look like when she is bereft of everything except her blushes. As I have already commented, the overly modest and even bulky clothing which was currently fashionable heightened my interest in this little game, and in a sense I had to admit that the more clothing the woman wore, the longer it would take to bring her to this desired state of Eve-nudity. And prolongation is always one of the most exquisite nuances of carnal gratification.
All this flashed through my mind in the space of an instant, needless to say, for I was already replying to Marion's disdainful comment: "And it shall be my pleasant duty, dear Marion, to provide you with a justifiable reason for having made this visit to me. Would you not take a cup with me in my sitting room?"
She swept in, glancing about with her lips pursed in evident contempt of my surroundings, though even Alice had complimented me on their decor and neatness for a bachelor. That was another black mark against Marion's account which, I, promised myself, I meant to settle to the very fullest measure of my capacities - and hers! - before this afternoon wended its way to its exciting end. Finished with her inspection, she turned back to me and remarked almost insolently, "Mind you, I shan't stay long. The only reason I came, if you must know, was that I had some shopping at the milliner's and at a book store not far from your apartment. And since you made such an important point of communicating with me, I decided to grant you this meeting."
"I'm happy that you did, Marion. Alice has always spoken so favorably of you, and even though you did oppose our knowing each other, I shall hope to persuade you that I am not so black as I have been painted." I did not feel it necessary to add at that point that the painting had been done by Marion herself. Alice had inherently a warm and generous nature-which, to be sure, the sweet pursuit of her conquest had fully unleashed! But I could tell at once that Marion preferred this icy veneer as a kind of shield. Therefore the question was: Was she totally frigid and devoid of warmth and a capacity for passion, or was this veneer only assumed to hide her true outlook? Well, that was precisely the question I had posed myself to have answered for me in my snuggery. I also determined to learn from Marion just how thoroughly her former husband had indoctrinated her into the sweet mysteries of physical bliss. Perhaps he had left me two of her three virginities; the very thought of that nearly made me spill the cup of tea that I was bringing to her and setting beside her with the utmost deference and gentlemanly courtesy. For if you have never had in your apartment an arrogant and cool young woman who treats you as if you were beneath her notice while at the same time you are conjuring up visions of her rosy lips deferentially fixed about your manhood, then you cannot begin to understand the riotous images that filled my mind and the shuddering impulsions which titillated all my nerves and sinews! After having poured out my own tea and added cream and sugar to my preference, I seated myself opposite her and fixed upon her the most intent and gracious look it was in my power to muster.
An uneasy silence fell over us, and then finally, after a ladylike sip or two from her cup, she set it down in the saucer almost with a clatter as, fixing her dark, widely spaced blue eyes upon me, she remarked, "What chiefly brought me to agreeing to visit you here, Jack, is the inexplicable part of your note to me. I cannot for the life of me understand how you could possess any kind of information about my future happiness, as you termed it, that would be of the least concern to me. Will you please explain your meaning?"
"Now that is a most intimate matter, and I will not be so brash as to give you a direct answer in a single sentence or two, my dear Marion," I told her speciously.
Her supercilious eyebrows arched, and her blue eyes were extremely cold as she retorted, "If you continue the insolence of treating me like a child, Jack, I shall leave at once. I'm already beginning to regret my visit. Now I insist that you be direct with me and explain precisely how you take upon yourself the audacity of telling me that you could possibly know anything about my person or my thoughts or my hopes for the future. You are well aware, I trust, that my husband and I have parted company. You never knew him, and this is the first time that you have really met me, and yet out of a clear sky you presume upon yourself to be some sort of judge. This is sheer temerity on your part, and I know now why I was so opposed to my sister's infatuation with you. It appears to me, sir, that you have in you the traits of a scoundrel!"
Mentally I rubbed my hands with glee at this little tirade of hers. How beautifully she had added to her account. She had started a brand-new page and it was already scored most heavily against her. Oh, Marion, Marion, how little you know me but how well you will before too many hours have passed, I told myself, and I confess that I was hard put to it to keep from smiling like a predatory beast of prey who finds that the elusive gazelle has unwarily entered his lair!
"You have made an accusation, Marion," I said as coldly as she had done to me, "that is not seemly, for now you have taken upon yourself the temerity - to use your own picturesque term - of judging me without even knowing me, just as you did before when I first knew Alice. I had never met you when I first knew your lovely sister, and I'm now fully convinced that she jilted me precisely because you had already formed your own opinionated notion of what my character must be. I blamed her at the time, I no longer do so, for we are reconciled. But if your own marriage has come to such a drastic end, Marion, would it not be more reasonable to ask yourself if it is perhaps not you who are at fault and therefore, if that is so, that your opinions and your judgments of people may play you false?"
Color flamed in her cheeks and she imperiously rose. "I knew it was a mistake to come here. I should have known that you would regale me with such an ignoble accusation, sir," she flung at me. "You are a bachelor and an adventurer, and even though Alice tells me that she is most happy in your company, I begin to think that you have had some evil influence upon her. Yes, it must be so. And it is a shocking thing for even a married woman to have to say to a supposed gentleman, that I believe this: I believe that you and my sister have entered upon an illicit liaison which is the more shameful because I had warned her of your selfish and cruel nature, and I am certain that you have no honorable intentions concerning marriage, no matter what favors she may already have granted you."
"I will take you up on that at once, Marion," I told her angrily, for I could not much longer contain my irascibility at these insulting charges. "If indeed there is anything which stands between Alice and myself towards the ultimate happiness of wedlock, it is your own perspicacious determination to set us apart and to make us at odds with each other as you did before. But I have effected this reconciliation and I think that Alice is now wise enough and mature enough in her own emotions as a woman to be no longer influenced by your shrewish whimsies and pronouncements. By what right, I now ask you, do you dare to come into my apartment and to insult me with the epithet of vile seducer and adventurer? What do you know of me except perhaps that which you may have heard by rumor only, since only this day do we first meet face to face?"
At this, Marion tossed her head in high dudgeon and then darting me a look of implacable distaste she haughtily responded: "I see that it is utterly useless, sir, to prolong this discussion further. It is a great mistake for me to have come at all, for I consider you unregenerate and determined to offend me with the tone and tenure of your remarks. I shall ask you, therefore, to show me to the door, and I will take my leave of you. I can only hope that my poor sister comes off better than I begin to believe she will, once having returned to you. But you may be sure that I shall counsel her to the utmost of my abilities to make a complete break with you, sir, and to find herself a gentleman of greater courtesy and proper demeanor when in the presence of the tender sex."
Her formal and, indeed, sanctimonious speech almost made me burst out laughing. She was still a very young woman, for all her marital adventure, and yet she dared to set herself up as a kind of sermonizer, a veritable Mrs. Grundy, who characterized and labeled that which displeased her as necessarily being false and meretricious. Decidedly what Marion needed was being pulled down abruptly and rudely from the preening pedestal on which she had so vauntedly perched herself. And I knew precisely how to bring about that downfall in the Snuggery!
"Why, my dear Marion," I said as blandly as I could, "I deeply regret your hasty conclusion about my motives and my character. I wish you would allow me to demonstrate to you a greater and more reassuring proof that I have only the warmest regard for you just as I have for dear Alice."
You may well conclude, dear reader, that I was not at all mendacious in telling Marion this: for, after all, the attentions which I intended to show her forthwith were as warm as any female, however pretentious or regal of degree, could dream of. And this as quickly as possible! Yes, I was fairly itching to undress the haughty and arrogant older sister of my beloved Alice, to find where the veneer ended and the woman began, where the secret emotions which were bottled up under the elegant gown and the overly modest altogether could be probed and brought to the surface. In a word, dear reader, now more than ever I had determined to make haughty Marion pay dearly for having flouted and insulted me in my own quarters. She had come as a welcome guest, only to pay me back with acid and vinegar for the sweet mead of friendship which I had offered to her.
This little speech of mine did not in the least dissuade her from her intention to leave my apartment without further ado. "You will show me to the door, I trust," she said with a sniff, as she drew herself up to her full stature.
"Of course I will, dear Marion." I smiled as I took her arm and inclined my head in the most humbly deferential of gestures. Even duchesses of the blood royal would have been satisfied with my observance of gallant protocol.
"I did not ask for the support of your arm, sir," she gave me a glacial look as she promptly disengaged her rounded arm, while a look of annoyance made her cheeks flush with anger. "Merely come with me and see that I am properly out of your abode, inside which I never mean to set foot again."
Now, to the right of my sitting room on which the main door to my apartment opens, was the door of the Snuggery. It had doors at each end, and the room was nearly square, of an excellent size and quite lofty. The walls, however, were unbroken, save by the one entrance, as light and air came in from a lantern which occupied the greater part of the roof, and was supported by four strong and stout wooden pillars. The walls were thickly padded, with iron rings let into them at regular distances all around in two rows, one close to the floor and the other about a height of eight feet. From the roof beams dangled rope pulleys in pairs between the pillars; while the two recesses on the entrance side which were caused by the projection of the passage into the room looked as if they had at once time been separated from the rest of the room by bars, as if they were cells at one time. This of course, as I have already indicated and which information I gathered from my landlord at the time when he let my rooms, had come about because the house had initially been used as a private asylum for the mentally unbalanced. It was grim, ironic justice, I thought, that Marion should now make the acquaintance of the Snuggery, because in my estimation she was emotionally unbalanced!
I had had the floor covered with thick Persian carpets and rugs, and the two alcoves converted into nominal photographic laboratories, but in a way that had made them suitable for lavatories and dressing rooms. As it now appeared - just as it had to dear Alice - it seemed a most pretty and comfortable room where one could chat in quiet and take a glass of port. Of course, it was actually an admirably disguised torture chamber.
I had, in advance of Marion's coming this afternoon, placed a pair of black velvet drapes over the door entering this secret chamber, and I now adroitly led the way towards to that draped entry rather than to my front door. I was able to do this principally because Marion was still reacting from her choler towards me, and did not notice that instead of taking a straight line to the front door through a little antechamber, she was in reality turning slightly to the right and finding herself against the draped entranceway. I quickly whisked aside the drapes, put my hand to the knob of the door and flung it open, and, with a haughty toss of her head, she passed, not across the little antechamber door, but rather over into that room which was to spell her ultimate downfall and surrender!