In 1800 Maria and I were summonsed to Mistress Pickles. Jenkins, dressed in her customary Butler’s attire led us and stood in the corner as the Mistress bade us sit, then offered us sherry wine. We accepted and Jenkins served us most deferentially, offering us small glasses of the dry, Fino wine the Mistress favoured.
‘I have been discussing your future with Maria,’ she said to me and I felt a sudden fear that perhaps I was to be separated from my love. I had had no idea that Maria had been discussing me with the Mistress. 'We have agreed that you are to leave this house.’
I almost dropped my glass and looked, with terrible fear in my eyes I imagine, at Maria who merely smiled serenely. The Mistress continued. ‘Do not be alarmed, you are both
to leave and together. Do you remember that splendid occasion of Lady Chatterton’s wedding?’ I nodded, mute with anxiety. ‘It is my intention to replicate it for you, for Maria has asked for your hand and I have agreed. Do not cry, silly girl, this is an occasion of deep happiness.’ Tears were running freely down my cheeks, tears of unalloyed joy. ‘Your joint fortune is more than adequate for you to live in comfort in the abode of your choosing. You will together find such an abode during a visit to Dorsetshire that Maria has decided will be your place of residence. There you will have a small household which I shall supply and I shall occasionally send some of our guests to visit you, that they might enjoy the country air, recuperate from their travails and enjoy the pleasures that we offer here but in a more remote setting.
And thus it was that at the age of 39 I moved from Mistress Pickles's house with my lover and took lodgings in Lyme Regis which served as our base while we sought our new home. We found it, high on a hill overlooking the sea and surrounded with pasture. It was a grand but small house of eight bedrooms with perhaps four acres of garden, a few outbuildings and stabling. The kitchen was large and its range was burnished. The main reception room was high-ceilinged and wood floored. A breakfast room, withdrawing room and scullery completed the downstairs accommodation. I was without adequate words to describe my joy and my amazement that we might indeed afford such luxury.
A local agent secured the property for us and, the matter resolved to our mutual pleasure and satisfaction, we returned to London and to Mistress Pickles.
The day of our ‘marriage’ dawned and Maria and I were not allowed to see each other. I was an honoured guest in Mistress Pickles’ apartments and Jenkins and the seamstress attended to my toilette and my dressing. I wore fine silk bloomers such as I had never felt but on the highest born guest of the household. The fabric caressed my thighs and the ribbons at the knees, above white silk stockings, glistered in the candlelight. A tightly laced corset of white satin clenched my waist and then three petticoats and then the dress, oh, and such a dress it was. It shone and gleamed and shimmered as it was held over me and lowered, buttoned and hooked into place until I, feeling like the Queen herself, was led to a mirror to wonder at the generosity and kindness of my Mistress. The final glory was a ring of white flowers from which a veil hung like gossamer and this was placed atop my long, unfettered hair.
I was led by Miss Jenkins who, clad now not as a butler but as a fine gentleman, took my arm. We entered the ballroom to a fanfare of music and there, at the end of the room and before the congregation, stood my love, my Maria. Her black, tailed coat framed her delicious body perfectly. Silver buckled shoes covered her feet and her hair, always short and lustrous shone in the light of the chandeliers.
Our ‘wedding’ was not as grand as Lady Chatterton’s. We did indeed have a ceremony of sorts. Mistress Pickles solemnised our union with a blessing that made tears run again down my cheeks. At her speech’s conclusion, Maria lifted my veil and, before all, kissed me most passionately. Loud applause greeted this.
There was music and dancing thereafter. A magnificent feast was provided but whereas Lady C’s evening had been a Sapphic indulgence, ours was a celebration of love and friendship. The ladies of the household and indeed some invited guests made me the happiest of brides. My own First Lady attended as did Lady Rampton and to my astonishment, Lady Chatterton and her ‘wife.’
A feast ensued and presents of such generosity and variety were given and gratefully received. We danced and drank and sang and such merriment there was, the like of which I had never known. My heart sang and I truly believed I might die of happiness.
Our marriage night ended at, perhaps, one of the morning. To claps and kisses I was led by Maria from the Ballroom and followed her, now happily just the two of us, up the master staircase and, once more and to my astonishment, to the private apartments of our Mistress. Maria explained that the Mistress had a guest suite for those of the most elevated of society and she had graciously offered it as the ‘happy couple’s’ honeymoon suite. A fire roared in the hearth, candles shaded with paper cast a warm, subdued light. I saw no bed and so remarked to Maria. She smiled her wolfish smile and opened a large oak door to reveal a second chamber of similar size, lit and warmed as the main room, with a bed worthy of the Queen herself.
Maria took me in her arms and in words so simple promised me her undying love. She caressed me and slowly disrobed me until clad in nought but the veil which she had once more draped over me, she too removed her upper clothes and we held each other in blissfully happy solitude. Maria stepped back and slowly opened the fastenings of her britches until her ladyprick sprang from them. She stroked it, looking into my eyes. She knew without needing to touch me that I was ready for her and took me then, gently and slowly, entering me as I stood leaning back to allow her that access she desired. She led me, still inside me to the edge of the bed then withdrew, turned me and bent me over the silk covers and took me again from behind, loving me and bringing me to a crescendo of ecstasy which overwhelmed me, laid me waste and was simply the most magnificently arousing experience of my life.
That night we made love countless times. I smelt of her, was coated in her wetness. I gave myself to her with abandon and with the greatest of love.
The morning dawned bright through the chinks in the heavy brocade curtains. I rose and found a gown of pure cream silk ready for me and put it on and opened the drapes.
A weary Maria whispered, ‘Ring for breakfast. I need sustenance, you have drained me my darling.’ I pulled the silk cord that dangled by the now diminished fire and moments later Jenkins knocked and entered. She was followed by two servants who laid breakfast upon trays on our bed. Jenkins kissed us both and departed. Was there to be no end to my astonishment?
My trousseau was prepared for me in yet another side room. With Jenkins’ assistance I dressed and watched as, as if I were a lady of substance, servants carried portmanteaux of our possessions to an awaiting carriage.
The last act in Mistress Pickles’ household was to be led by my ‘husband’ to the Mistress’s apartment. She stood as we entered and accepted graciously all our thanks but said that we had earned every bit of affection and good fortune. She kissed us and, as she said, for one final act of love, slipped her hand under my dress and fondled me with Maria holding my hand and beaming proudly.
‘You both have a gift for the Sapphic. Enjoy it, let it continue to grow. We are the luckiest of women. We will correspond frequently and I shall send my Ladies to you when appropriate. Now, be gone and enjoy your lives together.’
I do not know if there were tears in her eyes for I could not myself see clearly. Once again, our housemates clapped and kissed us and waved and bade us good fortune. My cheeks ran with tears, tears of happiness and sadness. The last to kiss me was Miss Jenkins. Taking both my hands she kissed them and then my mouth, her tongue probing for Miss Jenkins was incapable of anything else. She had been my teacher and my guide. She had led me to this and we looked into each other’s eyes and I saw a maternal pride mixed with a lover’s.
She then kissed my Maria and it was the same mixture.
What is true, deep love if it is not both of the mind and of the body? I have read of the Platonic affection women can share but I was taught, nay, driven to love with every inch of my being. I had given that love to Maria but I still and with her unspoken but implicit permission offered it tacitly to my Mistress and my Mentor.
That night, the first in our new home and after a wearying carriage ride and a few changes of horse, we lay in our bed. The house was silent, the staff asleep and Maria held me to her.
‘We are as we are, my darling. We give ourselves to others but always have something that is ours alone.’ I slept the sleep of the dead.
Over the ensuing months we lived, so far as the outside world was concerned, as friends who invited those in need of convalescence to our home.
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<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/lesbian/maudemadeleine-part-13.aspx">Maude/Madeleine Part 13</a>