Monday, 10 April 2017

Chapter 12: “Your mind is not engaged on the task in hand!”

The Palm Court at the Carlton Hotel, London

Journalist Edmund Molloy is embarking on an expedition to a lost world in South America, looking for dinosaurs, in the footsteps of Canadian explorer Waring Blanc.  Part of the expedition is being funded by Blanc's niece Marguerite, who recently met expedition leader Professor Challenor's wife, at a planning session.

“Were you close to your uncle, Waring?” I asked Marguerite. We were in the Palm Court of the Carlton Hotel on Pall Mall, where Marguerite was staying.  We were sat right under one of the palms. 'An early taste of the jungle!' as Marguerite had put it, smiling at me beguilingly.  Or. at least, I was beguiled by her smile.

“Not close, as such," answered Marguerite, toying with a bourbon biscuit.  "He lived in Panama City for much of the last fifteen years and I have been living in New York for some time but we enjoyed writing to each other on geological subjects.  An interest of mine."  An odd interest for a beautiful woman, I thought.  But Marguerite gave the impression of being somewhat unconventional.   She was not married, for example, which was curious given her beauty and age.

“It seems we are all travelling half way around the world looking for a plateau on the basis of your uncle's journal alone!” I said.  "Was he a reliable fellow?  Not prone to flights of fancy...?"

“Ah, but there you are wrong, Mr Molloy!” said Marguerite. “It is not just my uncle's account. As I said, I am a geologist and I have heard stories of such a plateau before!”  I noted this distinction of describing herself as a 'geologist' as opposed to simply being 'interested in geology' but I did not want to interrupt her conversational flow, especially as a revelation seemed possible.

"Really?" I asked.

"Indeed.  I have conducted my own research on the stories from the region." she continued and crunched her biscuit, scattering brown crumbs on to the tablecloth.

"I did not know that!  Have you some corroboration for your uncle's tale then? Have you told Professor Challenor?" This was an exciting new development. 

“Although I have never been to the region I have been corresponding with a number of geologists in Brazil, although the country has yet to found a proper university. Through them, I heard stories of a Spanish conquistador, in the early seventeenth centur,y who reported a plateau deep in the jungle protected by flocks of gigantic predatory birds. Anyone who tried to approach was attached by these creatures, which he described as having a twenty foot wingspan. The man, Don Diego Mendoza, later made a drawing of the plateau which I tracked down in the University of Salamanca. I have not yet shown the copy I had made to the Professors but I am convinced that it is the same plateau!”

“Well, that is a surprise,” I said. “Did you tell your uncle or was this after he had left?”

“A good point, Mr Molloy. In fact I was the cause of his expedition. I wanted to accompany him but I was unable to do so at the time he chose for...personal reasons. He would not wait and set off with young Véronique in tow, against my advice, I should add. He had a lot of experience in the jungles of Central America and had worked on the Panama Canal, as he was an engineer. Véronique was actually born in Panama City but her mother died of fever when she was small. Waring just brought her up as if she was a clever boy. She was a strong, intelligent and self-sufficient young girl when I met her, for the only time, four years ago.  I suppose I saw something of myself as a youngster in her.   For sure, I was a tomboy, much to my parents distress."  She smiled to herself.

“How old would she be now?” I asked.

“Let me see. Sixteen or seventeen, I reckon.  I fear she is dead but I feel that I should make some attempt to find out what happened to her, for the sake of the rest of the family.”

“So you think that there is little chance of us finding Véronique on the plateau?” I asked.

 “Alive?  I very much doubt it, sadly," she replied giving me a wan smile. She really was a beauty and  has, as readers will be aware, something of the dark, luminosity of the actress Ethel Warwick about her. "The vicissitudes of jungle life for a young girl without access to modern medicine would likely have done for the poor creature on their own. It sounds too, from my uncle’s account in Professor Challenor’s possession, that she suffered some terrible accident."

"Attacked by a creature, perhaps?" I asked, realising as soon as I said it that it was a rather insensitive thing to say. 

"I do wish to know the fate of my niece and see what my uncle Waring discovered but I am less convinced of the possibilities of creatures from prehistory.  However, I am prepared to believe that there may, indeed, be some other sort of undiscovered animals or, more likely, giant birds on the plateau.  Some sort of large condor, perhaps."

"It does sound more likely than dinosaurs, I suppose," I said.  I didn't think that Lord Ventnor and McAndless would be too impressed with a colony of condors, however giant.

"I am prepared to bet that whatever my poor niece's fate was, she was not eaten by dinosaurs!  Although some cities in Brazil are as civilised as Europe or North America as soon as you leave that civilisation the perils increase exponentially. There is some, hope I suppose. Perhaps a miracle...”  She sipped her coffee and looked wistful. She looked utterly beautiful this afternoon, the day after our meeting at Professor Challenor’s house. She was dressed in dark green and wore a rakish hat topped with an aquamarine feather which gave the impression of a pirate, perhaps. I wondered what she would look like in the trousers and boots she had ordered that morning, as she had told me.  The trousers all clinging to her legs,  The gaberdine crotch pressing against her feminine mound and tight over her posterior.

“Edmund? Are you still with me?” she smiled.

“Sorry. My mind was miles away!” I said.

 “In the jungle?” she asked.

“Indeed!” I said. Wondering what her intimate hair was like.

“You are very brave, undertaking this expedition with no experience!” she said.

“Oh, no more so than you!” I said.

“In fact, I have experience of hunting, safari, camping, geological expeditions across the Americas and even the jungles of Central America. Both Professors are the same and as for Lord Hoxton...  No, you are the one stepping into the unknown!” she smiled at me but I was not reassured. I had been thinking much upon this very subject, of late.  "Like a virgin," she added and raised an eyebrow as she held her coffee cup to those big, sensuous lips,

“Well, I am happy to have such experienced adventurers as my companions!” I said, somewhat flustered by her enticing femininity.  “So, can you give me an adventurous story for my article on you?”

“If you like!"  She paused and frowned slightly.  Thinking.   "I was travelling in New Mexico about five years ago...” she began.

“Where is New Mexico? What is it like?” I asked.

“The South West of the United States. Desert. Hot. Rocky. Cactii.”

“Cactii?” I asked.

“Plural of cactus,” she said, smiling.

“Oh! Of course. How stupid of me.  My friend William has one in a pot on his windowsill.”

“These would not fit in a pot. These would not fit in his room!”

 “Sorry. Do continue!”

“Although it is hot during the day it can be cold at night so my companion and I were lying close in our tent one night...”

“Your companion?”

“It is foolish to travel into the desert alone, Edmund,” she said.

“Of course. And what was her name, your companion? I asked.

“His. What was his name?” she replied.

“His? In a tent? Together?”

“Do not come the puritanical Irishman with me, Edmund. I am in my thirties. I have not refrained from...encounters...just because I am unmarried.”

“Oh! I never meant to imply...” I said, blushing.

“You can imply what you like. I met him in San Francisco. Before the earthquake of oh six.”

“Is he still your, er, companion?” I asked. I was disappointed that Marguerite seemed to have a man in her life, although not surprised. I supposed. “I wish to write about those who are left behind because of the expedition.” I began.

“Well you will not be writing about him. He is in my past, joining some others, I should add.”   She looked at me evenly.  "I am not currently looking for a replacement!"

“Of course not!"  I said; even more disappointed.  "Courageous Miss Blanc heads into jungle to forget lost love,” I said. I looked up at Marguerite, smiling but the expression on her face wiped my smile away in short order.

“The less detail about my personal life the better," Mr Molloy.  "I am happy to speak of my relationship with my uncle Waring and his experiences and this one story about my encounter with a cougar in the desert but that is it!”

“Of course! Of course!” I did not want to upset someone with whom I would be spending months of my life. Particularly one so beautiful. She told me her tale of the cougar sniffing around outside the tent. Her companion had gone outside to investigate and was attacked, which she admitted was a rare occurrence. Still, Marguerite had shot the creature with a rifle. Old McCandless would be delighted with the story.

"We were both quite naked at the time of course!" she added.  I spluttered into my tea and she grinned.   "That is a piece of information that is not destined for your readers!"

"I, ah, well...of course!" I manged, thinking about Marguerite standing naked, with  a rifle to her shoulder.

"You are thinking about me naked again, are you not?" she asked.

"Well, I..."

"Do you think about my naked form a lot, Mr Molloy?  Do you find me attractive?  Sexually attractive?"

"No.  Well, sometimes.  Of course!  Not like that. Gosh.  I mean..." I was totally flustered by now.  Not least because of her amused smile and piercing gaze.

"I appreciate I am some years older than you..." she ventured.

"Age is not important.  Passion is important!" I said, thinking of Edith.

"Indeed!  How interesting."

 "For the article,"  I said, desperately trying to change the subject, "would you pose for a photograph holding a rifle?"

"Naked?" she asked.

"No, no, no.  Of course not.  Photographers don't take pictures of women naked!" I said, then remembered the ones from the Babylon Exploration Society 'menu'.

"I can assure you they do," she answered.  "I have seen photographs in Paris that would shock your Irish sensibilities to the core, Mr Molloy!"

"Really?  Naked?"  I imagined Marguerite draped along a chaise longue.  Perhaps just wearing her hat.  "That is Paris.  London is different!" I maintained.  "I was, of course, suggesting one of you quite dressed.  In your boots and trousers.”

“No thank you. I find those sorts of photographs rather ridiculous. I will consent to a head and shoulders portrait.”

"I will arrange it!"  I would get The Courier's main photographer, Smaile, to take the photograph.

“So what about our new warehouse for all our equipment?” she said, changing the subject, thankfully.

“It’s not really a warehouse.  Just a couple of hotel rooms. Edith, I mean, Mrs Challenor. has organised it."

“Is there anything you want to tell me about yourself and Mrs Challenor?” she asked. I could feel my face burning.

“Nothing,” I muttered.

“I see,” she said.

 “Well, thank you for coffee, I would appreciate you not mentioning my additional research on the plateau until I have discussed it with the Professors.  I do not wish for them to learn of this development from the pages of your newspaper.  I would also suggest that you create an additional tent for my cougar story, Mr Molloy."

"Of course.  Of course!  Two tents!  As is proper!" I said.

"Are you calling me improper, Mr Molloy?"  she said.

"No!  No!  Of course not!  You are a very proper and respectable lady!" I said.

"In fact, I am neither!" she laughed.  "Now, I need to get to the bank. This expedition surely isn’t coming cheap!  Give my regards to Mrs Challenor.”

“Indeed I will!” I said, realising too late that I had revealed that I was, indeed, planning to see her.   Marguerite gave a little smile of triumph.

I kissed Edith softly on the lips having spent deep inside her once more. Our sexual desperation had been such, that morning, that we had not even removed our clothes. She was without drawers again and I had swiftly unbuttoned my trousers and freed myself. I had pushed her onto her back on the polished wooden floor and slid inside her wet and welcoming core. She pulled her knees up; her skirt and petticoat around her hips and I hammered into her as she pushed back against my every thrust. I slipped my forefinger into her tight and slimy anus for the first time and she gasped as I postillioned her with it.  I spent early but kept thrusting and, much to my surprise, I maintained my erection and was able to continue to roger her. I felt her insides grip my manhood as she reached her peak but we were both so desperate for each other that we continued to rut violently on the bare floorboards as if we might continue indefinitely. She crossed her ankles over my back and although now I could feel myself losing my tumescence slightly I carried on thrusting deep inside her and added a second finger to violate her back passage.

“Christ!” she cried and a flood of wetness indicated that she had spent again. My ballocks convulsed once more, although I suspect that there was not much left to ejaculate. We continued to move, slowly, until like clockwork toys, we gradually became inert and motionless. We lay together, both perspiring heavily in our clothes, until our breathing and heartbeats returned to normal.

We were lying on the floor of an empty suite at the Euston Hotel, the day after I had interviewed Marguerite. All furniture had been removed apart from a desk and two chairs. It was Somersby who suggested that we take rooms at an hotel next to Euston station, so that it would be easy to load everything onto the Liverpool train. The Euston Hotel had offered the suite at a substantial discount, in exchange for being able to claim that they were 'the first step in the Challenor Expedition'. In one corner of the room were the Gabardine tents that made up the first part of our supplies; Hoxton having been overruled as to the necessity for them.  I stood up and put myself back inside my trousers, buttoning myself back up. I looked down at Edith, her legs still spread wantonly, white liquid running from her pink entrance over her perineum and anus. I resisted an urge to smell the fingers I had just extracted from it.

“Are you alright, Edith?” She looked somewhat dazed, as if she had drunk too much absinthe.

“That, Edmund Molloy, was a proper fuck and no mistake!” she said, standing up as well. She slipped her pocket handkerchief between her legs before letting her skirts drop back down. She smoothed the wrinkled fabric over her thighs. “Bloody hell! I feel properly ravished! There is something delightfully debauched about doing it on the floor, do you not agree?”

“It was very special. I have missed our intimacies these past few days!” I said. Since the meeting at the Challenor’s house we had all been busy undertaking our various tasks. Edith had arranged the hotel suite and then the furniture had to be taken out to make room for the first of the supplies. There was a knock on the door. “Come in!” I called. A hotel porter appeared with some ground sheets for the tents.

“Just put them next to the tents,” said Edith, indicating the corner of the room, as we heard a train whistle in the adjacent station. Our room looked out onto the courtyard towards the imposing Euston Arch, which served as the gateway to the station itself.

“We have some boxes of tinned food coming up,” said the porter, smiling, as I gave him sixpence from McCandless’s expenses fund.

“Put those in here too!” said Edith. “Clothes and items that obviously relate to individuals should go into the bedroom through there, where we will sort them.” Edith had already written five labels on pieces of paper which she had placed on the floor with the expedition member’s names on. Each expedition member had provided trunks (I had had to purchase mine) to be filled with expedition clothes and equipment. Personal items would be packed separately. In the corner was a pile of army canteens.  The day before we had all visited Burberry’s and been fitted for our expedition trousers and jackets. They promised to have them ready in three days.

“Yes, ma’am!” said the porter, dropping the large stack of groundsheets onto the floor. “Good luck lugging these around the jungle, sir!” he said. “If one of them dinosaurs starts after you I’d drop everything and run like hell, beg pardon ma’am.”

“Wise advice, young man!” said Edith. “We will be going downstairs for luncheon shortly but you have your own key, do you not?” she asked.

“Of course, ma’am. We will always knock first, of course!” he said, looking at me knowingly.  There was something of a musky scent in the room, I had to admit.

“Thank you! Preparing all these lists and monitoring what has arrived and what is due does involve some concentration sometimes. I do not, for example, want to be interrupted mid-count!” she said.

“Of course, ma’am. I’ll make sure there are no interruptions!” said the porter, winking at me. “Mid-count or otherwise!”

“How thoughtful,” I said, giving him two half crowns.

 “You will let your colleagues know?” He nodded.

 “No interruptions! No comments!” he said, winking again. “You should know, Mr Molloy, that there is a young lady down in the lobby asking after you. We are getting quite a few dinosaur enthusiasts, for want of a better term, visiting the hotel hoping for a glimpse of an expedition member, just to warn you.”

“What was her name?” I asked, hoping it might be Agnes.

“I don’t know, I am afraid. Five foot four, stylishly dressed. Very, very pretty. Your sweetheart perhaps?” He looked at Mrs Challenor in a sort of ‘now you are for it’ way.

“She says she knows you but she may be fibbing!” I frowned.

“I will go and see! Excuse me Mrs Challenor!” I said and headed for the door as two more porters arrived with several boxes. We would have to have two porters just to lug those around the jungle, I reasoned.

 “Oh and perhaps you could provide a nightstand in the bedroom so we may wash our hands and such like,” said Edith to the porter. “Much of this material is quite grubby!”

“Of course, ma’am!” he left with me and as we were only on the first floor we descended the stairs together. “I’ll make sure it is fully equipped sir! I always need to go afterwards!” I turned to glare at him but he had already slipped away from me at the bottom of the stairs.

“Mr Molloy!” I turned towards the feminine voice. It wasn’t Agnes, I realised, disappointed. I looked and saw a girl waving at me. It was the girl I had met at the Great Northern Hotel who had asked me to sign her newspaper. “I don’t suppose you remember me!” she said as I crossed the busy lobby to greet her.

“Of course I do! Who could forget one so lovely?” I said. “Daisy, isn’t it?” I recalled her card. “Daisy Thompson. Of Pimlico.”

“How clever of you to remember!” She stood on tiptoe and kissed my cheek, rather to my surprise.

“Not really, Miss Thompson. I am a journalist. I have a good memory for people!” I smiled. She really was very pretty indeed. She was wearing a dark purple skirt and jacket, white blouse with fob watch and a straw boater with a purple and white striped ribbon. She looked very stylish.

“Do you spend much time in railway hotel lobbies?”

“Oh! Yes! No! How funny! You must think that I lurk in such places like a high class...well you know. One of those girls!” she sniggered. “I wonder if there are any here?” she looked around. “What about that lady! She looks likely!”  The woman she indicated was dressed in a rather daring black and pale blue stripe.

“I do not think so,” I said. “I suspect she may just be French rather than a....”

“Isn’t it the same thing, though, really? My friend Alice says all the best professional women of easy virtue in London are French! What do you think? Do you know any such women?” Of course, I thought of Madame Nathalie and blushed at the same time.

“You do! How naughty! Is she French? Have you enjoyed her services?”  What a bold girl!

“I, ah, well... I met her through a friend. French, yes.” I stammered.

“Lucky girl!” said Daisy. She had slightly buck teeth which meant that her full lips were always just parted, giving her the look of someone who just needed to be kissed. “I am not, however, a high class, oh dear, what is a polite word for it? Or should I use an impolite one?”

“Perhaps there isn’t one,” I ventured. “I have heard the word ‘toffer’ used for a high class one, on account of her clients!”

“A toffer! Goodness me! Yes! I’m not a toffer but perhaps I might be good at it!” she chuckled, rather dirtily. I must have looked shocked as she winked at me and grinned.

“So, what are you doing here in the Euston, if not looking for high class clients?” I joked, wondering, as I said it, if I might have gone too far.

“Well, I came to see you, actually. I have always been an avid Courier reader and I gather that this hotel is now your London base of operations. I just wanted to meet you again, I suppose. Oh dear, that sounds rather silly and desperate doesn’t it?” She looked crestfallen.

“Not at all. I am flattered. Would you like a coffee or tea?” I asked.

“Really? Oh that would be just terrific!” she said. We sat in the hotel cafe and both took tea. “I just can’t abide coffee, Mr Molloy.”

“Edmund,” I said. “Professor Challenor’s wife is the same!”

“Edmund!” she giggled. “I always think that coffee tastes like burnt mud. Perhaps I have a very unsophisticated palate!” I smiled.

“I can’t think any part of you is unsophisticated, Miss Thompson. You seem like a very smart lady about town!”

“Thank you! How perfectly sweet of you! I have come far! I was not always But please call me Daisy! I hope we will become friends!” she reached across and squeezed my fingers in her white-gloved hand. “Oh!” she said looking at her glove. She took them off and squeezed my hand again. “There! Bare skin against bare skin is so much nicer, Edmund, don’t you think?”

“Indeed!” I agreed. “The more bare skin the better!”

“Edmund! How outrageous!” she laughed. “And how much of my bare skin could you cope with, do you think! If I was a toffer I would need to negotiate a price! How much do you think I might be worth?”

“Well...” I looked up and down at her, taking in her sparkling green eyes, full lips, delicate chin and round cheeks. She had something of a cute little rodent about her. I looked down at her chest and saw a surprisingly large swelling which I had not noticed under her coat when I had met her previously.

“Goodness, Edmund! You are bold aren’t you?” she said, leaning forward and actually resting her bosom on the table, provocatively. Presenting it for my appreciation. I swallowed.

“So are you, Daisy!”

“Bolder by the minute!” she answered. I grinned. “I am not, for example, wearing a corset today!” I had surmised as such from the way she had rested her upper body on the table, although now she sat back in the chair thrusting her chest upwards towards me. I was in danger of becoming mesmerised by it. Like a cobra with a mongoose, I thought, recalling Lord Hoxton’s taxidermy display.

“If you are without a corset you must have a very trim waist!” I observed.

“I think I have a pleasing body. One a gentleman would appreciate!” she said, looking at me boldly. I remembered Edith’s comments about her when we had first met.

“Well, this gentleman is very appreciative, at this moment!” I said. She parted her lips and my own tingled.

“Do you believe in love at first sight, Edmund?” she asked.

“I, ah...well, I didn’t!” I said, overwhelmed by her vivacity, cheekiness and beauty.

That is an excellent answer!” she said."Although I suppose it is second sight!" She laughed.

“Ah there you are!” said Edith. I looked up, saw her approaching the table and stood up. “And what are you two talking about so intently, Miss...?”

“Thompson. Daisy Thompson.” She stood up and smiled at Edith. “We met before!”

“Ah, Mr Molloy’s avid follower! Good afternoon to you. Let me introduce myself properly. I am Edith Challenor!” Daisy took the proffered hand.

“Goodness! Of course. Professor Challenor’s wife! I read the interview you gave to Edmund. He is a little in love with you I think!”

“Edmund’s eyes are on rather younger ladies than myself, Miss Thompson. He has recently been disappointed in love and I have been urging him to get back in the saddle, as it were. I am very glad to see him talking to such a lovely young thing as yourself!”

“Thank you, Mrs Challenor! We were, in fact, discussing love at first sight!” said Daisy as she and Edith sat down. I followed them.

“Were you now! Well, when I first met my husband we had a similar epiphany and despite our little frictions over the years I am still very much in love with him!” said Edith.

“That is lovely to hear!” said Daisy.

“Mrs Challenor is the expedition manager,” I said, inventing a title for her. I was not at all certain about Daisy and Edith conversing in this manner.

“I see. There must be a lot to organise!” said Daisy. “I was an office manager myself recently, until the company I worked at closed because the owner passed away. Poor Mr Brown!  He was so kind to me!  Now I am looking for work. Hence my many train trips. It is not easy for a girl to find work. Respectable work, that is.” She winked at me again.

“Really?” said Edith.  “Now I was just looking for Edmund so that we could have lunch. Why don’t you join us? I may be able to offer you a few days paid work!”

“Really?” asked Daisy.

“Really?” I asked.

Over lunch Edith spoke mainly to Daisy rather than myself; about herself, about her job and about the expedition. I drank half a bottle of Beaujolais and attacked some rather disappointing lamb cutlets.

“So you see, Daisy, if I may be so familiar, I could really do with an assistant. Our equipment and clothing has to be assembled and some will need to be chased up from suppliers who seem to have little sense of urgency. Bills of lading will need to be prepared and material sent to Liverpool for storage before being loaded on board the ship. The men gaily order things but with little sense of timetable, follow on or administrative organisation!” said Edith.

“Oh! Really?” she asked again, all eager, like a little Guinea pig.

“Really?” I asked again.

“Really! I can offer you an initial four days work at one pound ten shillings a day. Then we shall see if we need you for any longer. Do not worry if you have to attend interviews for more permanent positions, although I may well be able to extend your employment if I find you suitable!”

“Gosh that would be really nice of you! I am a little short for paying my rent!”

“Give the lady five pounds, Edmund!” I pulled one of McCandless’ notes from my wallet.

“Oh, Mrs Challenor and Mr Malone I could kiss you both! My rent is due tomorrow and all I have is a three-penny bit to my name!”

“You poor girl! In that case I can tell you that I am looking for someone to manage the affairs of my house. A housekeeper. Deal with the bills and such like. I have been doing it myself but do not see why I should for much longer. I recently inherited some money from my great uncle and so now have some funds of my own for once; given my parsimonious husband refuses to employ anyone for such a role. I myself have been in similar straits to you in the past, so well appreciate your situation,” continued Edith.

Daisy was a lovely girl but I was not sure why Edith was so keen to engage her. I hoped she would not be based upstairs in the hotel room. Surely Edith wouldn’t want that?

“Oh thank you! Both of you!” said Daisy and actually started to cry.

“There there!” I said, stroking her arm.

“There, there!” said Edith, stroking her back. “Now let us have a look at what they have as a sweet! Something with chocolate would be good!” said Edith.

After lunch we all went up to the room where a pile of clothes had arrived from the Army & Navy. Daisy set too, sorting them by size and putting them next to our names. She was laying out drawers next to my name.

“I have guessed that these are yours, Mr Molloy!” she said folding them precisely.

“You show no embarrassment at handling men’s underthings Daisy!” observed Edith.

“My previous job was for a company that imported such garments for men and ladies from the Continent. They are, when it comes down to it, just clothes, albeit that some of the ladies ones were particularly lovely. Old Mr Brown, who ran the business, would often get me to model them for the catalogue and for advertisements in the ladies magazines. I would dress in them and a lady illustrator would make pen and ink drawings. Mr Brown seemed to enjoy watching me be drawn!”

“I am sure he did!” I said.

“Mr Molloy is an accomplished artist. I am sure he would enjoy drawing you too!” said Edith.

“To be sure!” I replied. I wasn’t certain what game Edith was playing but she was playing something.

“What game are you playing, Edith?” I asked her, after Daisy had gone for the day. “It is, of course, up to you what you do with your money afterwards but I thought that, for the present, this room offered us some opportunities to be together without interruption!”

“As it still does, as you will find momentarily, if you remove your clothes,” she said, unbuttoning her skirt. She undid the buttons on her blouse as I undressed too.

“You will lie on your back and I will straddle you,” she said, as I pulled down my drawers. “I do not see why it should be just I who risks splinters in the posterior! I think, perhaps, we need them to bring back the rug!”

 I lay down but was still worried about the Daisy development, as I now thought of it. Fortunately, my manhood was less concerned and responded to Edith’s touch once more. She held me upright and settled down upon me, enveloping me with her wetness. She bounced up and down on me but stopped after a few minutes. “Edmund! Your mind is not engaged on the task in hand! You should be caressing my breasts and fingering my arsehole!”

“I’m sorry. I am just surprised at the addition of a third party to our little administrative centre here!  Disappointed!”  She leant forward and kissed me.

 “Ah, you nearly have it! A third party indeed! Do you find her attractive?” Edith started to grind her hips again.

 “Daisy?” I asked, placing my hands on Edith’s thighs but thinking about Daisy’s bust.

“Yes, of course!   Perhaps George is right and you really are a slow Irishman!”

“Yes, she is very pretty. Like a little Guinea pig. But less furry!”

“Well, I intend to find out how furry she is! I intend to explore every part of this little Guinea pig and you will help me!”

“What? What do you mean, precisely?” Although I already had an inkling.

“Do you remember how I said I would like to ravish a pretty young girl?”

“Yes. It was an enticing image!” I replied and unconsciously thrust up against her hips.

“And do you remember me saying how I would like to watch you take another woman?”

“Indeed. An arousing thought!”

“There you have it! An added excitement in our games! I intend, before you leave for Brazil and with your assistance, to seduce Miss Daisy Thompson and have intimate relations with her while you watch us. You will then take her while I watch you and frig myself!” I gasped and ejaculated at the same time.

Chapter notes on this episode can be found here.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Chapter 11 “The more I think about it, the more nonsensical it seems!”

The Strand

Edmund Molloy, a journalist with the Daily Courier, has committed the newspaper to back an expedition to South America to look for dinosaurs on a lost plateau.  Having had an artistic encounter with three lady friends of fellow expedition member Lord James Hoxton, he has returned to the wife of the expedition leader, Professor Challenor, with whom he is having a torrid affair in a hotel in King's Cross.

“Of course the Amazon is a perilous region,” said Edith, an hour and a half later, as we lay naked on top of the sheets, warmed from our hot bath. The maid had lit the fire while we were having dinner. “But at least George has been to the region and has cognisance of where most of the perils lurk!” 

“And we will have Lord Hoxton with us, who is also familiar with the the place and brings great expertise at dealing with dangerous animals!” We were lying head to tail. I was on my back and she was lying next to me on her side, her head level with my hip. She was gently massaging my erect member as we conversed. We had already performed soixante-neuf upon each other, after our bath and now she was using her skillful fingers to revive my interest once more. 

“You obviously believe in George’s dinosaur story!” she said, pulling my foreskin over my knob again. 

“Do you not?” I asked, stroking her thigh. The golden hairs on it were catching the light from the fire; the only illumination we had in the room. 

 “I know that George believes and his Glossopteris sample is real. It is unknown today and may well be a relative of an extinct species but the survival of a plant in a remote place and the survival of prehistoric creatures are two very different things!” 

“Well, we will find out!” I said, stroking her bottom. She wriggled, invitingly. I could smell her musky scent. It was a scent I wished I could bottle. I had told her as much. ‘Eau de Cunt, Edmund?’ She had asked, laughing, in her delightfully dirty way. As I went about my business in London I had taken to wondering how other resepctable looking ladies consucted themselves when in private. Did they also delight in torrid sexual activity and swear, unapologetically, like East End dockers? Or was Edith unique in her uninhibited behaviour? But then there was Agnes, lasciviously gamahuching me and swallowing my essence like a music hall trollop. Even Mrs Somersby was happy to speak of the most intimate activities. And as for Lady Caroline and her daughters. Well, really! I turned my head and kissed Edith’s soft fluff. Her smell was almost overpowering. 

“I am just worried that if George is proved wrong he will be a total laughing stock and his career will be over!” said Edith, stroking my ballocks. 

“Surely, if he just proves the Glosso-what-is-it is real then that will be enough?” I said. 

“Perhaps if it had been the quiet, scientific expedition he had envisaged originally. Now, however, I am afraid that your newspaper’s involvement will mean that it is dinosaurs or nothing. The more I think about it the more nonsensical it seems. Without George here, bouncing around enthusiastically it all seems completely unlikely. Reality sets in, Edmund!” I was personally very glad that the Professor was not bouncing around there or I would have been bounced out of the window in very short order. 

“Professor Challenor, may be an arrogant, pompous, insensitive, self-centred, insufferable bully,” I said, carefully, “but he is not an idiot. He must well know that his reputation rests on this expedition. He has undoubtedly studied the issue extremely carefully!” 

“You are right, of course. He has been researching this for nearly a year! Thank you, Edmund! I feel better! Now let us perform soixante-neuf once more. This time I will go underneath!” This presented a rather different experience than when I was the lower partner. The angle at which I gamahuched Edith was different with me paying more attention to her swollen bud, rather than her entrance. I was also, given the gentle guidance of Edith’s hands on my bottom, more active in thrusting into her mouth. She massaged my anus with one finger and caressed my ballocks with her other hand as I gently thrust in and out of her mouth. I was careful, as I did not want to choke her. She was very mobile beneath me and I had to keep her thighs forcefully parted with my hands, resting my chest on her belly. I think that I preferred the other variation where the woman is on top. Still, it was an interesting experiment. Neither of us spent in that position and instead Edith wriggled out from beneath me and pushed me onto my back so she could straddle me once more. This time she did not sit upon me like a horse but lay full length atop me, her soft breasts pressing delightfully on my chest and causing me to spend by the gyrations of her active hips alone, as I lay there, almost inert. Her toy. Her plaything. Her instrument of pleasure. I wondered how long it would be until she tired of me and moved on to another. Perhaps Britten. Would we have any more opportunities anyway before the expedition left for Brazil? For now, I was happy with thecurrent state of affairs, as I lay in post coital companionship, the covers pulled up over us. My now soft manhood was still retained in her velvet sheath as she kissed my collarbone. I started to feel drowsy and soon fell asleep, still lodged inside her. 

The next morning Edith was in an athletic mood; knees up to her shoulders, hands gripping the brass bedstead over her head and hips thrusting back against me, enthusiastically, as I pounded into her. 

“Fucking! Fucking!” she cried as she reached her climax, just after I had pumped my essence inside her once more. She held her position and then gradually relaxed; placing her legs back flat on the bed and releasing her grip on the bedstead rails. She kissed me. “I really do think it is my new favourite word. If Lady Caroline can use it, so can I!” 

“Perhaps you should try it on the Professor. It may invigorate him!” I laughed, still shocked, but rather excited, to hear it being uttered by such a woman. 

“Dear George and how was Liverpool? I am quite desperate for you to give me a good fucking! Yes! I will try it!” she laughed. “You are pleasingly realistic about our situation. No petty jealousies are evident!” 

“You are the Professor’s,” I said. “I am only here to provide services he is unable or unwilling to undertake. Rather in the manner of a dance instructor, perhaps!” 

“A precise analogy, Edmund," she said patting my bottom. "Now roll off me as I need to piss!”  I got dressed, paid the hotel bill and left Edith to have breakfast alone. We had had one last passionate kiss before I left the room. “Back to best behaviour for a while, sadly!” she said, stroking my behind. I left, burdened with my overnight bag, gun case and portfolio and decided I had best drop them off at home. I deceided to spend some of the Courier’s money on a taxicab. As I placed my portfolio on the back seat, next to me, I realised that I had not taken any payment for the drawings I had done for Hoxton. However, that session had been so enjoyably bizarre I did not regret it. Well, perhaps the money would have been nice. I did have the three ‘cunt portraits’, as Lady Caroline called them. Well, in fact there were four, as Emily insisted on me doing another of her where she had three fingers inserted into her livid, red entrance. 

 Today was the day of the meeting of all the members to discuss the expedition but first I had to type up my account of my interview with Edna Somersby and deliver it to the Courier. After going home for a wash and a change of clothes I headed off to Fleet Street and the office and set to on the typewriter. McCandless was not there this morning but a telegram awaited me from Challenor in Liverpool. ‘Meeting today. My house. 7.00pm.’ I worked in the office all day and wrote up a few minor (very minor) news items for the next day’s edition. I also added some pages to my private journal, while the memories were as fresh in my mind as Edith’s intimate scent was to my nose. My real work would come this evening, when I returned to the Challenor’s house and what a strange experience that would be, if Edith was in evidence.  I headed out into the bustle of Fleet Street and the Strand decided to walk to the Challenor's house.  How would I react to Edith;s presence if she was there this evening.  I knew that I must not react at all or disaster could ensue.  My place on the expedition, my job and my teeth, all at risk.  I strode towards the Strand my stomach in knots.

Mason the butler let me into the Challenor’s residence with an inevitable sneer and showed me into a room I had not previously entered, which was obviously the dining room. The mahogany table was covered in maps, schedules and other bits of paper. On the far wall was a large painting of a pair of those ridiculous looking birds I was to become so familiar with in the coming months; toucans.  Lord Hoxton and Professor Somersby were already there, discussing tents. 

“What ho, Molloy!” said Hoxton. “Enjoyable evening, yesterday?” 

“Very much, thank you!” I said. 

“Got that stuff I promised you! Forgot yesterday!” he said patting his breast pocket where he kept his wallet. 

 “Oh, thank you!” I said. It should be eighty guineas; over three months salary! 

“Miss Blanc is here!” announced Mason, holding the door open for the lady as she swept into the dining room. 

“Good evening, gentlemen,” she said, shaking hands with us all in a very masculine way. She was from North America, I supposed. She was dressed in a simple moss green, buttoned short-sleeved dress over a white blouse. She looked business like rather than glamorous, as she had at the museum. She removed her gloves and matching green hat and Mason took them from her. She sat on one of the Hepplewhite chairs around the table, which I pulled out for her. “Thank you, Mr Molloy. And where have we got to?” 

“All the travel arrangements have been made, Miss Blanc,” said Challenor. “We leave on the Booth line ship SS Hildebrand from Liverpool to Manaós two weeks today! There is a question as to first or second class accommodation.” 

 “I don’t travel, second class, Professor Challenor,” she said. My first thought was how this would impact on the Courier’s proportion of the expenses. 

 “I was going to go first class myself anyway,” said Hoxton. “It’s a long voyage and the Hildebrand is a fabulous vessel. We don’t just have to cross the Atlantic we travel a thousand miles up the Amazon itself on top!” 

 “On the liner itself?” I asked. “Can the ship negotiate the river that far upstream?” I tried to imagine a liner in the Thames. 

“The Amazon is a vast river, Mr Molloy,” said Hoxton. “However, up near Manaós sometimes the banks are only fifty yards from the ship, although we will be there in the rainy season so the river will be wider. Still it is impressive being up on deck so close to the jungle!” 

“First class it is then!" said Challenor.  "Edith!” he cried at the top of his voice, making Professor Somersby visibly jump. “Edith!” he shouted again. The door opened and Mrs Challenor entered. 

“Good evening, everyone,” she said. “I am so sorry for the pounding your eardrums have just taken. I actually have very good hearing, which is something George does not seem to appreciate at all!” 

“Mrs Challenor, good evening. We have not been properly introduced. I am Lord James Hoxton.” She offered her hand and Hoxton leant down and kissed it, which was a bit familiar, I thought. She greeted Marguerite Blanc with a rather continental kiss on the cheek. 

“You are a very brave woman, Mademoiselle Blanc!” 

“Oh I don’t think the Amazon will be so bad!” she said, smiling. “And it’s Marguerite.” 

“The Amazon, no, but months on end with my husband? That is an altogether different and more alarming prospect!” Somersby laughed and Challenor glared at him. 

“Hello again Leon,” Edith said, giving him a kiss too. “Give my regards to Edna and the children!” 

“I will indeed,” said Somersby, clasping her hand. 

“Mr Molloy!" she nodded at me but did not approach me, I was glad to see.  "I hope you are recovered from your fall down our steps!” she said. 

“I am perfectly fit, thank you, Mrs Challenor!” I replied, desperately trying not to blush or react in way that might raise the suspicions of her terrifying husband. 

 “He deserved it. Coming into this house under false pretences like a wolf in sheep’s clothing!” said Challenor. 

“Now now, George! You are all in this together. Like a team."  Challenor harrumphed. "Now why did you bellow for me just now? Mason is bringing some cold meats and pie and a bottle or two of Burgundy...” 

“It’s not the damn food, woman. I need someone to take notes!” said Challenor. 

“Professor Challenor,” said Marguerite. “I appreciate that I am a guest in your house but I would prefer to hear you speak rather more civilly and respectfully to your lovely and charming wife!” 

“What?” said Challenor. “Why?” He looked genuinely baffled. 

“Miss Blanc,” said Somersby. “I think that you will soon learn that Professor Challenor finds it quite impossible to address anyone in a civil and respectful way! It would be like asking a lion to refrain from eating meat!” 

“I’m happy to take notes!” I said. “I can do Pitman’s.” 

“You are a man, Mr Molloy, albeit the lowest sort, being both Irish and a journalist,” said Challenor. “Note taking is a woman’s job! Thinking is a man’s job!” 

Marguerite stood up at this point with a dangerous looking flash in her eyes. “Professor Challenor, I have never heard such nonsense! For someone who is so dismissive of the ability of women you seem quite happy to take a woman’s money for your expedition. Perhaps this woman has now decided that it should not go to support such an intolerable man, with apologies to you, Mrs Challenor!” 

“Indeed, we all wonder how poor Edith puts up with the fellow,” said Somersby. “She must be a perfect saint!” 

“Thank you for your intervention, Marguerite,” said Edith. “However, if George does make unreasonable demands on me I jolly well tell him! Just because he tries to bully me doesn’t mean that I am bullied! I am very happy to take notes.” 

“Right! Good! Far too many damn suffragettes these days!” grumbled Challenor. “Fetch some paper!” he said to Edith. 

Please, Edith, can you fetch some paper,” said Marguerite. 

“You, madam, are going to be more annoying than the riverine insects!” said Challenor. 

“I do hope so!” said Marguerite. Edith found some blank paper on the table and sat, pencil poised. 

“Point of action number one,” barked Challenor. 

“George, we are all sat around quite a small table,” said Somersby. “It really isn’t necessary to roar at the top of your voice!” 

“Humph! Point one. Immediately book first class tickets for all expedition members on Booth lines SS Hildebrand,” said Challenor. “Point two! Book a hotel in Liverpool for myself for the five nights before our departure so that I can supervise loading and also avoid the damned fuss that will no doubt be stirred up by your newspaper in London, Molloy! Unfortunately, the Midland Adelphi has been demolished, Edith, as I discovered, having foolishly not booked, and its replacement is not complete, so I will have to stay at the North Western again!” 

“It’s not exactly a flea pit, Challenor!” said Hoxton. "Stayed there meself.  Very attentive maids!" Marguerite shook her head.

 “Would that be a room for two, George?” asked Edith. 

 “No, of course not! Why on earth should it be?” replied Challenor, scowling. “Oh! I see! Do not think that you will accompany me, Edith. You are to stay here and organise things from London!” 

“Of course, George,” she nodded and glanced at me. 

As the evening continued, we put together a long list of items we would need. Hoxton had, much to my surprise, as he always seemed so indolent, already listed much of what we should need. He had said that the expedition was so well known suppliers were even offering large discounts in exchange for being mentioned in the Courier’s articles. I noted down the key names. Mason brought in supper and the wine and I noticed that Marguerite ate heartily and drank heavily with seemingly no deleterious effect on her whatsoever. 

“How many local porters will we need?” asked Marguerite. 

 “The trick in Amazonia is to have as few people in your party as possible. How many did you have Challenor?” asked Hoxton. 

“Just myself, my guide Bumbo, who I have written to so I may avail myself of his excellent services once more, and a couple of local bearers!” replied Challenor, helping himself to a thick slice of ham. 

“Exactly. When I went I had one guide, a gun bearer and four porters. The smaller the group the less likely you are to attract the attention of hostile Indians. A great group of people will cause a right hullaballoo!” said Hoxton. “So we travel light! Hunt and fish for food. No large tents, just a few light canopies to help keep the rain off. It will rain. Constantly. Every day! We would be better travelling in September!” 

 “How ghastly! It sounds like Lancashire!” said Somersby. 

 “Or Ireland!” laughed Challenor. 

“I don’t think my newspaper would be in favour of waiting until September!” I said. 

“Well really!” boomed Challenor. “We simply must ensure that the newspaper’s editor’s views are paramount. Forget everyone else! But I cannot wait! The cat is out of the bag, ladies and gentlemen and others may try to race us to our objective. Undesirables! Americans, I am afraid to say, Miss Blanc. The French, God help us! Or Germans, even worse!” 

“I am Canadian, Professor, not American,” said Marguerite, patiently, as Hoxton poured her another glass of Macon and winked at her. 

 “Of course, although, practically, there is no difference!” he said. 

“There sure is but I have to say that I completely agree with Professor Challenor. We need to be on our way as quickly as possible!” she said. Challenor nodded at her. 

“Thank you Miss Blanc. It will take us at least three weeks journey from the main river to reach the village where I met your uncle!” said Challenor. “And the plateau is some way beyond that. Perhaps another two weeks! The terrain is difficult. We will need machetes!” 

“Well that is good, the rainy season should be ending by the time we get to the plateau,” said Hoxton. 

“And where exactly is the plateau?” asked Somersby, spreading a large map of South America upon the table. 

“Ah, I am afraid that for the reasons I mentioned I am not willing to say, precisely, at this point!” said Challenor. “Germans!” 

“This is ridiculous, George! Are you one of these people who thinks that the Germans are our enemies! What if we were to run into trouble? How can we be rescued if no one knows where we are?” asked Somersby. 

“Perhaps you would rather stay at home, Leon?” replied Challenor, smiling, which was never an agreeable sight. 

“Our exact location does not matter. As soon as you enter the deep, dark jungles of Amazonia you are lost to the world!” said Hoxton. “Have you been to the maze at Hampton Court, Professor Somersby?” Somersby nodded. “The Amazon rainforest is a maze the size of Europe with no clear entrance, exit or simple solution! You can get quite lost moving twenty feet from your camp! It is full of poisonous insects and snakes, electric eels which can knock you unconscious, piranha fish which can strip the flesh from your bones, jaguars and cannibals! Even the plant life is a trial, with thorns that can penetrate even the thickest conventional clothes. I have arranged lightweight gabardine clothing by Burberry, which will give us some protection. You, Miss Blanc, will have to consent to wearing trousers tucked into boots, rather than skirts. You will be surprised at the nasty creatures trying to get underneath your skirts.” 

“Thank you, Lord Hoxton but I have a lot of experience of dealing with nasty creatures trying to get underneath my skirts!” she replied, winking at Edith. Edith grinned. 

Having discussed clothing and boots for some time, with Edith adding items to Challenor’s, list of actions, Edith stood up and said: “I think perhaps we need a natural break at this point while Gibson clears the detritus!” She indicated the plates and glasses and rang the bell. 

“Not the glasses!” said Marguerite. 

“Well said, Miss Blanc!” said Hoxton. 

“You can call me Marguerite, James. Although, given your reputation, that familiarity is not an invitation to explore under my skirts!” 

“I had never thought of such a thing!” grinned Hoxton. 

“Lord Hoxton,” replied Marguerite, “when I first met you at Professor Challenor’s lecture I could feel your eyes undressing me, even as you took my hand. By the time you released it you had got me down to my corset and stockings, I would venture!” 

“Perhaps, Lord Hoxton was admiring your lovely dress!” I said. "He appreciates a fashionable woman."

“So I believe. You, Mr Molloy, were even worse!  I could feel you going straight to my birthday suit without any contemplation of my underthings whatsoever!”  Needless to say I blushed. I admit that given my heightened sexual awareness I was imagining what every attractive woman I saw looked like naked. 

 “Mr Molloy was an art student. He has a great deal of experience of naked women. I am sure he just saw you as a potential drawing exercise!” said Edith 

“Yes, I would bet that one works once in a while with some poor girls!” said Marguerite. 

“Perhaps they enjoy having their figures immortalised by Mr Molloy! He has recently completed some drawings of some lady friends of mine and they were delighted with them!” said Hoxton. 

“Oh Lordy! Really? Well, I think I do not want to explore that subject or the circumstances any more, thank you!” said Marguerite.

Fortunately, Mason entered at this point with the maid and they began to clear up, which saw everyone stand up and move into the hall. 

 “Facilities are down the hallway past the stairs, gentlemen!” said Challenor. 

“You can come with me Marguerite, if you need to refresh yourself!” said Edith and the two women disappeared upstairs. Hoxton and I waited in the hallway, looking at Challenor’s fossil display case. 

“About now, perhaps, Marguerite will have her drawers around her ankles. She will be sitting down on the seat. She will push and the force of her stream will force her pink lips apart...” said Hoxton. 

“Don’t!” I said, grinning. “That is a distracting thought. Of course it could be Edi...Mrs Challenor!” 

“Is there something going on between you two?” he whispered. 

“Not at all. We got on quite well during my interview of her. That is all.” I replied wondering if I could control my blush reflex by sheer force of will. 

“It’s just that I keep catching little glances between the two of you. And don’t think I didn’t notice you slipping away together at the Museum, either!” he said. 

“I confess that we have made an arrangement for me to draw her portrait; as a surprise present for her husband!” Britten once told me that a successful lie should always be told with utter conviction and should include as many elements of truth as possible, to give it veracity. 

“What sort of drawing? I keep looking at the back of Mrs Challenor’s head and thinking of that lovely nude you showed me with the superb arsehole! Her hairstyle is very similar as far as I can recall!” said Hoxton, folding his arms and leaning against the wall. 

 “That is another person entirely!” I said thinking that that side of Edith’s personality almost was another person than what we were seeing today. 

“Hmm! If you say so!” he said, looking unconvinced. 

“Well, apart from anything else, she is old enough to be my mother. In fact she is six months older than my mother!” My mother was just sixteen when I was born, which had been something of a family scandal. 

“Doesn’t matter as long as their cunnies are still juicy. Last month in Paris I had a French woman who claimed to be thirty-eight but turned out to be fifty-seven. She looked very good naked and everything was still very much in working order!” said Hoxton. 

“Well, I have little experience,” I said. 

“Lady Caroline, for example, is forty-three. You’ve seen her naked. Would you guess that?” 

“Not from her body, I admit. Maybe a few lines around her eyes give it away a little!” I replied, recalling her superbly lush form. 

“Well I tend to roger them from behind so I don’t see their faces!” laughed Hoxton. 

“Oh, I like to see their faces. I like to watch them as they come!” I said, without thinking, 

“Good for you Molloy!” he said, slapping me on the back with even more force than McCandless employed, “I’ll bet your innocent Irishman guise works wonders on the girls but really you are a proper man beneath it all!” 

“And what are you two gentlemen discussing, hidden under the stairs?” asked Edith, who we had just heard descending above our heads. 

“The beauty and elegance of women of a certain age, Mrs Challenor!” said Hoxton. “That the older woman offers so much more than the inexperience of a girl!” Edith looked at me quizzically and Hoxton said “Hah!” loudly. Fortunately, at that point Somersby reappeared and Hoxton disappeared down towards the ground floor facilities. 

“Were you talking about me?” hissed Edith. 

“Only indirectly. Hoxton suspects something so I told him that we had made a secret arrangement to do a drawing of you as a surprise present for the Professor’s birthday!” I said. “We really do need to be careful!” 

“That was quick thinking! So, George is going to Liverpool for five days before you all leave and I am remaining behind until the last minute. We can have five days and five nights of fucking!” she whispered. 

“Shhh!” I said, glancing around anxiously. “Fucking, sucking, fingering, and licking!” she said and giggled. I heard someone walk across the tiles of the hall and stepped out into the open, fortunately it was Hoxton. 

“Still fascinated by the exhibit under the stairs, eh, Molloy?” he said, as Edith stepped out too. 

“An immediate cessation of speculation as regards perceived but mistaken situations would be appreciated, Lord Hoxton!” said Edith, quietly. 

“The last thing I would want to do, Mrs Challenor, is cause such a beauty any distress or anxiety!” he replied, taking her hand and kissing it. 

“Why are you kissing my wife’s hand again, Hoxton?” asked Challenor, descending the stairs like a tumbling barrel. 

“Because, frankly, I am overcome by her grace and beauty!” he answered grinning. 

“Grace and beauty? What? Edith? What?” He looked genuinely baffled that someone would compliment his wife. 

“Have a mind or someone may steal her away from you, Professor!” said Hoxton. I tried to catch his eye to shut him up. 

“But she is next to useless! Who would want her? She is too old for a man to proudly show off on his arm, she is unable to breed and is far too shrewish! Any man taking her on would have to permanently stuff his ears to stop hearing the incessant, inane chatter! Fortunately, I have learnt to ignore it as I ignore the buzzing of insects or the rumble of traffic. Blank them out, eh, Hoxton? Blank them out!” Challenor strode off, back into the dining room. Edith stood there seething. Hoxton looked at us both and smiled. 

 “All power to you, I say!” he turned and followed the Professor. 

“I so wanted to say something there!” I whispered to Edith. “But I did not want to draw attention to myself!  I am sorry I did not defend you!” 

“You did the right thing! Just when I am proud to be his wife he says something awful about me. That comment about being unable to breed was very cruel! It is something I regret every day of my life!” I looked at her and saw a sparkling tear running down one elegant cheek. 

“I want to embrace you and I cannot!” I hissed. 

“I know you do and knowing that gives me much comfort!” she smiled, wanly. I stood there feeling utterly useless, as I watched Edith struggle to compose herself. 

“Edith you look upset. Has this man upset you?” said Marguerite, descending the stairs. 

“Not Mr Molloy. No. My husband was just... I’m sorry!” More tears came and she pulled a handkerchief from her sleeve and bustled towards the rear of the house. I watched her go and desperately wanted to follow her. 

 “He is a toton, not to appreciate such a woman!” said Marguerite. 

“Perhaps you might see if she is alright?” I suggested. 

“Indeed I will, Mr Molloy. How thoughtful of you!” she patted my upper arm and set off to follow Edith. I returned to the dining room to find the others going through the list once more. 

“Where are the damn women?” asked Challenor. 

“I think you may have upset your wife, Professor,” I said, rather boldly. 

“How? Useless fragile creatures! They are fighting for the vote and yet they don’t have the backbone of a jellyfish. Women will never be equal to men. Their job is to breed and if they cannot even do that what possible use do they have?” he replied. 

“That is very harsh, Professor Challenor. It is not a woman’s fault, if she is unable to have children!” I said. 

“It is not the fault of an artillery shell if it fails to explode but it is just as useless!” he said.

“It takes two to produce children,” said Somerby, unexpectedly joining in. “Have you had yourself checked, George? Perhaps the faulty artillery might be yours, so to speak! Firing blanks, perhaps?” 

“What impertinence!” said Challenor and I was worried he might strike Somersby, so I edged forward slightly. While I was glad of Somersby’s intervention I had a sudden panic that perhaps Edith was not barren after all, in which case... I dare not think about it. 

"Yes, of course I had the test and no I do not fire blanks, as you so crassly put it!” said Challenor.  Really!"  I inwardly relaxed. 

 “Calm down, gentlemen!” interjected Hoxton. “This subject does not advance our preparations one jot and I remind you all that we have less than two weeks until the Hildebrand sails. There is still much to do. Now, what scientific instruments might you need, bearing in mind what I said about keeping things lightweight?” The discussion continued and the ladies rejoined us about a quarter of an hour later. Challenor didn’t acknowledge his wife when they returned but she resumed taking notes. “One thing,” said Hoxton, after a while. “Where should we have everything delivered to? Food, clothing, tents etc. Here?” 

“I do not want the house cluttered any more than it already is,” said Edith. “We have quite enough of George’s rubbish here as it is!” 

“Rubbish, woman?” he barked. 

“Rubbish, George. In every room in the house!” 

“Specimens! Books! Papers! Fossils! Relics! Not rubbish!” he glared at her. 

“Whatever they are, this house is full. I would imagine that you will want your supplies accessible for cataloguing at least. Somewhere else will have to be found!” said Edith. Challenor glared but said nothing.

 “I have an idea,” said Somersby. 

“Perhaps for the first time,” laughed Challenor.

Chapter notes on this episode can be found here.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Chapter 10 “Now you have completely ruined my plan by choosing to accompany him!”

Reggiori's restaurant, King's Cross

Edmund Molloy, a journalist for The Daily Courier, has volunteered to join an expedition to South America to look for prehistoric creatures. Following a visit to expedition member Lord Hoxton's rooms, he has been engaged to draw his lady friend and her daughters.  He is currently staying in an hotel with Edith, the wife of the expedition leader, Professor Challenor, with whom he is having an increasingly passionate affair.

“Would you mind, Edith, if I conducted an interview with you as regards your feelings regarding the Professor embarking on this expedition?” I asked her.  It was eight in the morning and we had been kissing and gently caressing each other for some time.  I just delighted in the feel of her soft, warm flesh. Something about sleeping, naked, together had transformed it into something muskily fragrant, warm and pliant.  It was not the skin of the women I had first encountered fresh from the bath in her house but something offering tangible memories of passion, as if it had absorbed, like photographic film absorbs light, the essence of our passionate coupling the night before.  “I am, of course, writing pieces about all the principal actors,”  I continued, “but there is an insatiable interest in everything to do with the expedition and so those associated with the principals are of great interest to our readers as well.  I intend to interview Mrs Somersby also,” I said. 

“Presumably you will not be asking her questions while you both lie naked in bed, her mouth upon your cock!” she said, after pulling her lips from my knob, where she had been slowly and wetly gamahuching me. 

“Indeed not. It would be very difficult for her to answer while applying her mouth to my manhood!” She prodded me in the stomach. 

“I do not think that you will find Edna Somersby quite as accommodating as myself, Edmund! Although she is always fun!  I will answer your questions but only if you are penetrating me at the same time and you only have as long as it takes for you to spend. So softly and gently this morning,  I would suggest.” She lay down next to me on her back and I positioned myself on top of her, resting on my forearms.  She guided me into her wetness. I pushed once and lodged comfortably inside her as deeply as I could. 

“There! Lovely! I find this very comforting. Ask away, Mr Molloy!” 

“Mrs Challenor,” I began, then paused. “I really need a Pitman’s stenographer to take notes!” 

“Perhaps one of Lady Caroline’s daughters might serve, although I doubt if either could do shorthand. It would be amusing to have one of them sitting in that chair while you attend to me in this manner!"  

“I am not sure whether amusing is the correct term.”  I frowned, looking at my notebook on the bedside table, where I had been entertaining Edith by writing an account of our bathroom copulation the previous night; she adding her own recollections to ensure accuracy. 

“It would be even more amusing to then watch you take her in turn!” added Edith. 

“Really?” I asked, pausing in my gentle thrusting. 

“Yes! I would love to watch you screw another woman!” 

“But, aren’t we...” I began. 

“We are not a we, Edmund. There is me and then there is you, whose role is to attend to me, sexually. If I decide I will get sexual pleasure from watching you with another woman then you will do as you are told!” she grinned and poked me in the side.  “Like a good boy!”   I told her of how Lady Caroline had asked me to invite her over to join myself, Lady Caroline and her daughters the previous evening.  A detail I had omitted when giving my account the previous night. 

“Oh! I would have gone, I think!” 

“Really?” I asked. 

“Oh yes, I rather think so. I would have sat behind you both and watched you penetrating her wet, pink parts, your lovely cock coated in her juices, your ballocks bouncing, the muscles in your buttocks flexing.  Yes. I would have sat behind you, with my lags akimbo, frigging!  I have never seen another couple do it.  I would like to very much.  It would be most arousing!  Just the sight itself and the fact that they know you are watching.  For it to be someone I have had myself would be doubly arousing!” she laughed. 

“I just assumed...”  I began, realising that her comments had aroused me into thrusting into her once more. 

“Never assume anything as far as I am concerned, Edmund!” she said.  “Now, your interview is not proceeding very well. While Lady Caroline’s ripe and juicy daughters are unlikely to be able to do shorthand I, however, can. Pass me your notebook and I will record our discussion while you pose your questions and take me at the same time!  However, I do think it will be easier if you are underneath!"  I rolled off her and grabbed my notebook, which I passed to her. I lay on my back and she sat astride my hips as I guided myself up into her wetness. She wriggled, impaled.

"There that is much better!" she said.  She held up her notebook and sat, pencil poised, looking at me expectantly.  She raised an eyebrow.  "Shall we proceed, Mr Molloy?"  I pulled my hips down and thrust up, forcefully.

"Oh!" she said and smiled. She began taking notes, as I asked her about her birthplace, her family and education. She had attended Somerville Hall, as it then was, in Oxford, I discovered, and she complained about the fact that it was not permitted for her study there to result in a degree.  There was a small digression upon the matter of women’s emancipation.  She said that she had met Professor Challenor in her early thirties, when she had started to despair of ever finding a husband. 

“And did Professor Challenor take your virginity?” I asked, giving her a particularly forceful thrust. 

“He did indeed, on our wedding night. He is quite a traditional man!” she said, rotating her hips gently.  “Although I admit to being surprised that he asked me to lie on my front with my posterior in the air. Presented, as he put it.  I had little concept of copulation but I did know enough to know that it was usually conducted face to face.   I put his request down to the fact that he had spent a great deal of time studying great apes.  I imagine that this little revelation is not going into your piece for the Courier?”  She smiled at me over my notebook and I smiled back as I gave her three quick, hard thrusts. 

“It is by way of researching character background,” I said. “It will go into my personal sexual journal!”

“How exciting! Oh! I will enjoy you reading aloud your other adventures to me in due course! Especially those concerning other women!” 

“And what would your personal sexual journal contain, Edith? 

“Many exciting and arousing episodes, Edmund.  I hope that you are not under the mistaken impression that you are the first young man I have fornicated with!” 

“I am the young man who is fornicating with you now and that, for me, is more than enough!” I replied. 

“The truth is that I like to have some physical companionship when George is away and, as I mentioned at the museum, I had lined you up for my entertainment for the ensuing months.  Now you have completely ruined my plan by choosing to accompany him.  You can have me for the remaining few weeks and then I will seek another; perhaps your friend William. He is a fine looking man!” 

“So you say.  I think he would be very amenable to such an arrangement,” I said, thinking that if it was inevitable that someone else was going to have her it might as well be my friend.

“You must arrange dinner with him before you go!” she said. 

“I will do so!” I said. “Now put my notebook and pencil down as I am going to attend to you properly, Edith!” 

“Please do so, Edmund!” she said.  I grabbed her by the hips and threw her bodily onto her back.  I climbed between her spread thighs and entered her, roughly, She clamped her legs around my hips. “As violently as you like!” I looked down at her lovely face and smiled at her. 

“You are quite gorgeous!” I said. 

“Only quite?” 

 “Completely gorgeous!” I said. 

“I am quite aware of my charms, Edmund. I am not lacking in male admirers. Now, less talking and more screwing!” she said. I shook my head at her language but set too with vigour.  We looked into each other’s eyes throughout as we became increasingly lost in our passions, enjoying almost simultaneous climaxes.

Shortly afterwards, Edith lay on her back with her hands behind her head and one knee lifted, her foot flat on the bed. I sat to one side, drawing her voluptuous form once more. “Did you mean that about watching me take another woman or were you just teasing me?” I asked, finishing my impression of the pale fluff under her arms. 

“I meant it, certainly.” 

“I am due to draw the ladies this afternoon...” 

“I could come!” she said and laughed, dirtily.  

“You could not because Lord Hoxton will be there and he is a member of your husband’s expedition as well!” I pointed out. 

“Oh yes!   How silly of me!  Bugger! I’ll have to find another woman for you, Edmund!” she laughed.  “Have you finished your drawing?” I had stopped sketching to examine it.   It had something of the eighteenth century  about it.  Perhaps even something of Boucher.   I was pleased.

 “Indeed!"  I showed her. 

“That is a particularly fine one, Edmund. You are very skilled and not just in the carnal arts!” 

“Those I am still learning Edith. I have a very good teacher!” I placed the drawing on the floor and regarded another blank sheet of paper. 

“Time for one more quick sketch, Edmund and then you must be off to the Courier!” Edith parted her thighs and placed her hand on her mound.  “I am going to frig myself and you will draw me!”   And I did. 

“Mrs Challenor will particularly miss the marital attention of her beloved husband during the long months he will be away!” read McCandless, in the office later that morning.  “I can’t print that ,Molloy!  What were you thinking, discussing such matters?  Even if she was happy to discuss such a personal issue I am sure that if he read it in the Courier the Professor would contrive to throw you down another flight of steps!  Myself too, probably. You do seem to be getting quite friendly with Mrs Challenor.  Don’t think I didn’t see you sneak away down that darkened corridor in the museum after the Professor’s lecture.  A dangerous game, laddie, a very dangerous game.  Handsome, childless women of that age can lead a young man astray!  Perhaps it is just as well that you are leaving London soon!  Speaking of which, when the Professor gets back from Liverpool I want you to get all the details of the travel arrangements so we can arrange a big send off,  Mayor of Liverpool, a band and such like!”

 “Liverpool has a Lord Mayor,” I said.

“Even better! Get on to his office right away!”

“We have a meeting of the full party the day after tomorrow, to discuss the expedition.  Lord Hoxton is arranging appropriate equipment and such and I am off to the Army and Navy store myself this afternoon!”

“Excellent! Keep up the good work, Molloy, but leave Mrs Challenor alone!"

“Well, I have completed my interview with her so there is no further need to see her!”  I said, rather convincingly, I thought.

“What about that wee lassie who had you up all night the other day?  What’s become of her?” asked McCandless.

“That lady was in the nature of a transient experience!” I said, thinking of Hoshimi’s perfect porcelain doll complexion.

“Well, I hope she was clean and you didn’t pay too much for her!” he said, gruffly.

 “It wasn’t like that!” I said, even though it was.

“Nothing against it, Molloy.  Back in India we all paid for our female company!   You just have to be careful, mind!” he said.  The thought of McCandless inflicting himself on some poor Indian whore did not engender very pleasant thoughts.   He had been in the Gordon Highlanders in the Afghan War at the same time that Hoxton served.

“You know Challenor. He is a violent and aggressive man with a God-like belief in hisself. If you even look at his wife he will break every bone in your body!” said McCandless.

“I take your point, completely. I would not want that to happen at all!” I said, wishing he would drop the subject.

“Aye, well. Consider yerself warned!” he concluded.

I had agreed to meet Mrs Somersby for lunch at the Charing Cross Hotel and walked there down the Strand from the Courier’s offices. We had had no chance to speak at the lecture, as she had left immediately afterwards. She was a very different prospect from Edith but I warmed to her very quickly.  She was down to earth, amusing and obviously fond of her food.

“Do you think it would be frightfully piggy of me to have a fish course between the soup and the lamb? she asked, as the waiter stood there, expectantly.

 “The Courier is paying for everything, Mrs Somersby! Treat yourself!” She grinned like a naughty schoolgirl and ordered a Dover sole in addition to what she had ordered previously.

“Have you already interviewed Edith?” she asked.  “Despite the rather theatrical tensions between our respective husbands the two of us have always got along splendidly!”

“Yes, indeed! I spoke to her this morning!  A little more Moselle, Mrs Somersby?"

“Oh, alright, Mr Molloy!” I nodded at another waiter who went off for a second bottle. She had already demolished the best part of a bottle while eating both her and my bread rolls.

“German wine is very light, Mrs Somersby!” I said.

“Perfect for lunch times!” she laughed. “Please call me Edna!  Edna and Edith! We sound like a rather naughty music hall act. Flashing our stockings and singing dubious songs. Edith would no doubt be quite happy strutting around on stage in her unmentionables, as I saw some of the ladies in Paris do when Leon took me there for a lecture he was giving.  If I had a figure like hers I would do the same!  She giggled.  “In some of the theatres there the girls are practically naked I am told! How entertaining!”

“So I gather, although I have never been to Paris!” I said.

“You should go. Such wonderful galleries and the opera is divine!  Pretty girls too!  A handsome man like you would cause quite a fluttering of feminine Gallic hearts, I would imagine.”

“I’d love to visit the Louvre.   I studied art myself!”

“Really. How marvellous!   I would love to be able to draw!   I am very interested in botany, although I do not have the benefit of an academic training like Edith.  It would be lovely to be able to draw plants and flowers.  Do you draw flowers Mr Molloy?  Or are naked women more to your taste?”  I nearly choked on my wine.  “I see that they are!”

“I am interested in drawing many things! I am looking forward to drawing the wonders of Amazonia!” I said, trying to get the subject back onto the expedition.

“And has Edith modelled for you yet?” she asked.

“I am sorry? I don’t understand!” I said, wishing the waiter would return with the wine.

“Well, as she tells me, she likes to have a series of young men to, er, entertain her when George is away.  I think poor George thinks more of his fossils than he does of his wife’s pleasure.  I am very lucky with Leon. He is still a very virile man, despite being twenty years older than I am.  We have five children and poor Edith has none.  I think her first young man, who was American, was almost by way of seeing if the problem was down to her or, in fact, George.  She seems to enjoy foreigners, although you aren’t really that foreign, being Irish.”

“I am really not sure what you are saying, Mrs Somersby!” I said but knew I was blushing.

“Ah! So you are Edith’s new paramour!  Well she has always had good taste, apart from the single inexplicable choice of her husband!  You won’t enjoy her for long as you will be off to the jungle, vainly looking for non-existent dinosaurs!" she smiled and then a look of revelation came over her face.  "Oh, of course! You met her before the Challenor lecture did you not?  George said you had been to his house and your offer for your newspaper to fund the expedition was a spontaneous one!  Edith had obviously lined you up to be her companion while George was away.  And now you have gone and spoiled it by going too!  Poor Edith!  She will need to find another young man to fulfill her abundant passions!  No handsome young man in London will be safe!”  She laughed as the waiter returned with the Moselle and another served the soup. “Ah, would you be able to bring us some more rolls, please?” she said to the waiter. “Don’t even try to deny it, Edmund!”  So much for her being distracted.

“If what you said had even an element of veracity then it would be a most delicate matter!”  I said, carefully, having tasted the wine.

“Do not worry! I will not mention it to anyone, of course! Even my husband!”  She took a large mouthful of wine as soon as the waiter had poured it.  “Oh my goodness! George is in Liverpool isn’t he?   He telephoned Leon last night!  Are you currently, then, engaged in passionate trysts with Edith!  You said you saw her this morning! Does that mean that you were with her overnight?” I blushed even more.

 “Perhaps we shouldn’t discuss your theorem any more!” I said.

“You were!  What a naughty girl!  So after lunch will you be going back to her house to ravish her?”

“She is not in her house!” I said.

“Not an hotel?  Yes!  How delightfully dubious!   How entertainingly sordid!  So as we have lunch she is probably lying on her back, naked, desperately awaiting your return!”

“Mrs Somersby, I think that...” I began, desperately trying to stem the flood of her fervent speculations.

“Oh, I know what she is like!  Her level of passion is palpable.  We have swum naked together on the Isle of Wight.  Once we lay naked on the beach in the sun for some time and dozed and I opened my eyes to find her pleasuring herself quite openly. You do know that women do that, I suppose?  perhaps she has demonstrated it for you."   I blushed again and she grinned.  When she saw that I had seen her she did not stop, as you might expect, but shamelessly continued until she reached her petit mort.  I had never really indulged in that particular activity, as Leon was always there to satisfy me in that way but I admit that from then on I did have the occasional frig.   I still do!  You look shocked, Mr Molloy!”

“You are a very singular lady!” I said, carefully. These older ladies were most surprising! Who would have guessed, when first looking at Mrs Somersby. that she would openly discuss such matters?  I looked around the restaurant to see if anyone might have heard us, as with every glass of wine her voice was getting slightly louder.

“You young men think we older ladies are dried out husks with no concept of passion and the joys of copulation.  I am not dried out at all.  I am still able to get quite moist and appropriately receptive!”  I coughed on some crumbs of bread roll that got caught in my throat. Edna grinned. “Perhaps we should now discuss my thoughts on the expedition or your editor will wonder what on earth we spoke about over this expensive lunch.  Frigging probably not being what he imagined!  Well, as we are both having lamb later, perhaps we should look at the wine list for a suitable red!”

“Indeed!” I said.

After lunch, where she gave me some amusing background on the rivalry between the professors, I bid her goodbye. “Are you off to have Edith, now?  I think I might make a nuisance of myself with Leon when I return home!  I am somewhat aroused.  We will never have been apart so long as for this forthcoming expedition. I will sorely miss his physical presence.  Perhaps I should get an additional man myself, although I am not in possession of Edith’s charms!”

“You are charming in every way, Mrs Somersby, and any man would be lucky to have you as a companion, as is the Professor in having you as his wife!”

“You are very sweet!” she said, kissing me on the lips.  She tasted of the Cognac she had had with her coffee. “Do give my regards to Edith, along with everything else you are giving her!” she said as she climbed, rather unsteadily, into a taxicab.

Women were proving to be far more complicated creatures than I had imagined. And it was a great surprise to me that older women continued to indulge in carnal activity.  I had thought that it might be something they grew out of.  I had a sudden and unpleasant vision of my parents. Surely not? Shuddering, involuntarily, I hefted my portfolio under my arm and proceeded towards Trafalgar Square, Haymarket and thence Piccadilly for my appointment with Lord Hoxton, hoping the walk would clear my head.

“Come in Molloy!  The ladies are awaiting your attentions with great excitement!” said Hoxton, as I stepped into his study once more.  Although the curtains were now open the room was not exactly bright. Albany was a rather dingy place.

 “Ah, where are they?” I said, removing my coat. It was drizzling outside and the cold wet air had, indeed, sobered me up, during my short walk from Charing Cross.

“Through here!” he said indicating a doorway.  I realised that it was the one where the ladies had emerged from yesterday. I  entered and was presented with the sight of a large bedroom. The three women were sprawled on a giant bed, which had the look of the orient about it.  It dominated the room.

“Hello Mr Molloy! We are all ready for you!” said Lady Caroline. All three were completely naked on the bed. Sarah, the youngest sister, had her legs apart and was brazenly displaying her sex. Her sister, Emily, knelt next to her, stroking Sarah’s shoulder while the mother stood up from the bed and approached me, kissing me on the lips.

“I am sorry I am late, ladies!” I said, trying to look at the sumptuous display of flesh in a neutral, objective manner. . “I was interviewing Mrs Somersby for my newspaper.”

“That is quie alright, Edmund! Y our work must come first. We have been resting after a fine lunch at the Cafe Royal!” said Lady Caroline.

“We have been caressing ourselves!” said Sarah, slipping her fingers between her pink petals, deep in her black-thatched mound.

“And each other!” added Emily, stroking one of her sister’s breasts while looking at me, as if to guauge my reaction.

“In fact, this little display by the girls neatly brings us to the subject of the first drawing I would like you to do,” said Hoxton.

“We will pose like this!” said Emily and sat up on the bed. Her sister sat next to her.  They both spread their legs and Sarah put her right thigh over her sister’s left. I took a deep breath.  The atmosphere of female arousal in the room was overpowering.  The only way to deal with the situation was to remain professional and detached.

“Would you mind placing a chair just here Lord Hoxton, while I prepare my things, please?”  He did as I asked and I took out a piece of cream coloured paper and some soft pencils. I sat down, holding my portfolio as an easel, as I had done with Edith.  I set to work immediately, trying, and largely failing, to see these two ripe young bodies as an exercise in draughtsmanship and not a sexually provocative display.  All hope of this disappeared after ten minutes when they moved their arms between each other’s legs and started to caress each other intimately.  “Ladies, please, you must keep still and you must return to your original positions!”  They did as they were told, somewhat sulkily, licking each other’s juices off their fingers before getting back into place.

“Good girls!” said their mother.  “They do enjoy caressing each other, even though it may be seen as a rather unusual thing for two sisters to do!”

“Rather,” I agreed, calmly, without displaying my complete shock at their lascivious behaviour.

“I suppose it is my fault!”continued Lady Caroline. “I taught them how to frig properly several years ago.  We all sat in front of a mirror and did it together.  Of course I had to demonstrate on them myself the correct action, at some points.”

“Of course!” I agreed, drawing the pink parts emerging from Emily’s black curly bush. I had a thought and opened my pencil box.  Inside were a number of Faber-Castell coloured pencils. I gently shaded Emily’s parts, nipples and lips in pink. It made the drawing much more lascivious in nature, which I thought Hoxton would appreciate.  The finished drawing was much admired.

“I love the touch of pink on their important bits, Molloy. Brilliantly done!” said Hoxton.  The girls stood behind me while I drew their mother, who Lord Hoxton positioned carefully on her stomach, propped across some pillows. She too had her legs spread and her sex and anus were clearly visible.

“Oh yes, do draw mummy’s shit hole!” said Sarah.

“Do try and watch your language, dear!” said her mother, slipping her middle finger inside her sex. “I am ready Mr Molloy!” she declared.  I spent several hours drawing all three women, individually or in groups.  They all happily acceded to my request to draw portraits of their intimate parts for my own collection.  Hoxton remarking that it was a capital idea and might form the basis of an exhibition at the Babylon Exploration Society. My final drawing had them sprawled in a post coital looking heap on the bed, limbs entwined, wet sex’s wantonly displayed.  I had got quite used to them pleasuring themselves in front of me during the afternoon.  Perhaps the wine at lunch had me in a more mellow mood than usual.

“This is just excellent work, Molloy. I know a couple of people who would like to commission similar pictures.  Could be a nice supplement to your income, what?”

“I would enjoy that, Lord Hoxton!” I said.

“Right.  Shall we take a sister each and then have some tea?  Don’t have much of a kitchen here but I can run to a cup of Darjeeling and slice of cook’s fruitcake. This room was originally the drawing room and my study was the dining room but I decided I only needed a bedroom and a study come drawing room. Don’t eat here. Always go out, dontchaknow?”

“I’d be happy to take tea with the sisters!” I said.

“Take ‘em first, though! Which one would you like? Sarah is only fifteen, of course, but I won’t tell if you won’t tell!”

“I’m sixteen next month!  I know how to do everything, Mr Molloy!  I won’t be a disappointment!  I’m very juicy!” said Sarah, thrusting her hips forward and cupping her mound.  "And I am very good at gamahuching!"  She looked at my crotch, pointedly.

“On second thoughts, I think I ought to go!” I said, hurriedly packing my pencils into their cedar wood box and tying up my portfolio.

“Please don’t go, Edmund,” said Emily. “Sarah and I can lie next to each other while you and Lord James take us. Then you can change places half way through.  That would be amusing!”

“Yes, indeed,” said Lady Caroline. Come along Edmund!  I do enjoy seeing my lovely girls given a good fucking!”

“Thank you,  ladies, it has been very...interesting. I have left the drawings here,” I said indicating the seat of the chair.

“I’ll let myself out!” Emily, kneeling on the bed had just slipped her hand down inside Hoxton’s black silk pyjama trousers and was patently caressing his manhood.

“Won’t you even stay for tea and fruitcake?  Cook's is splendid.  A nice topping of nuts too!” Hoxton said, as Sarah started to remove his smoking jacket.  I closed the door to his rooms behind me and fled onto Piccadilly.

"Quite enough nuts already,’ I thought.

Thinking it prudent not to be seen having dinner in the hotel I took Edith to Reggiori Brothers splendid restaurant at the end of the Euston Road, just across the road from the Great Northern.

“She actually used the word ‘fucking’?” asked an amused Edith, as we sat having dinner.  I had not used that word myself in describing the afternoon to Edith. I had said that she had used a very vulgar word describing copulation which might be heard in the London Irish changing rooms but never by a lady, even though she, indubitably, was one.

“As clear as day!” I replied, scooping up some potted shrimps.

“And Edna Somersby got drunk and told you of the time she caught me frigging myself on Compton Beach?”

“She did! She also knew perfectly well what my role was as regards you.  I think that perhaps we should stop seeing each other!”

“What a silly idea!  We just have to be a bit careful.  George is back from Liverpool tomorrow afternoon and I will go back to being a dutiful wife but I intend to keep ‘seeing you’ until you leave for South America!  After dinner I will leave you to pay the bill and we will give each other a friendly handshake.  You will have a port and a cigar.  Look, they have around forty cigars to choose from."  She indicated the back of the menu where a selection of Havana cigars were listed.

“I don’t really care for cigars that much.  I only have one if I have to for social reasons!” I said.

“I like the smell of them,” said Edith. “They remind me of my father.  George does not approve of women smoking!”

“Is your father still with us?” I asked.

“Both my mother and father are alive and well. They live in Edinburgh as my mother is Scots and my father is a professor of engineering at the University.  I visit them once or twice a year, without George, and my father always smokes a cigar after dinner while I have a cigarette.”

“You smoke cigarettes?” I asked. She certainly was a modern woman.

“Not very often. Perhaps like your partaking of cigars. An occasional treat. I do not like the smell in my clothes and so sometimes if I am away at my parents’ house I have one in the bath!  Not at home of course. George would have a fit!”

“Not something to engender!” I laughed. I was surprised at Edith admitting to smoking.   I had thought it was something you saw from the prostitutes who prowled the music halls and from market girls but that was it.  Britten had told me it was getting more popular with a certain sort of modern woman.  I imagined a room full of plotting Suffragettes, all puffing away beneath a cloud of smoke as they planned the downfall of men.

“Well, you can sit here for a quarter of an hour or so while I return to the Great Northern and prepare myself for your ardent attention!” she said, rubbing my leg under the table with her calf.

“I look forward to it, as ever,” I said.

 “We will have a night of uncontrollable passion, our naked bodies sliding across each other as we grind, thrust, sweat and spend!” she said, whispering in my ear. “Fucking! All night!”

Chapter notes on this episode can be found here.