Elizabeth completed finishing school in June of 1898, but she wasn’t scheduled to return home until August. That’s when acquaintances of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Longmont, would be traveling back to Shanghai. It would be unthinkable for a young woman to sail unescorted. While she looked forward to seeing friends and family, she wasn’t sorry that she would miss at least part of the sweltering Shanghai summer. Just shy of her eighteenth birthday, her education complete, she was now prepared for one thing, and one thing only; to marry an English gentleman.
The day she arrived at the boarding school, at the age of fifteen, was the first time in her life she had been in England. She was very excited when she arrived, visiting the land of her heritage that she had only heard about. Once, in her first year, the girls had been taken on an outing to Kent. It was the first time in her life that she had experienced anything like it. She had never taken a breath of pristine, clear air in her lifetime, or been in a pastoral environment. The beauty was so much of a contrast with Shanghai or London, it almost brought her to tears.
For the rest of her first year in England, she fantasized about marrying an English gentleman and settling down in a large estate somewhere like Kent. She had grown up reading the romantic novels of Browning, Hardy and the Bronte’s, and fancied herself the matron of a Thrushcross Grange in the wild moors of Yorkshire or the mysterious Thornfield Hall.
Quickly enough, however, she learned that it was an impossible dream. She would always be seen by people raised in Britain as a provincial, barely English at all, because of her colonial upbringing. The subtle reminders she received in polite company made her certain that she would never be accepted as an equal or considered suitably marriageable. An Englishman with a job similar to her father’s clerical job with the foreign office would have been considered relatively low in England. Rather than living in a large house with servants, her mother would probably have had to work, either as a shop girl or a servant. Now she understood why her parents had never come back to England.
Her family was able to live a comparatively extravagant life in Shanghai. Her father’s friendships with members of the merchant’s guild, which he nurtured through his membership in The Shanghai Club, allowed him to be invited to join their co-op. The fact that the co-op invested the opium trade, which was extremely lucrative, was an open secret. Though the opium trade was forbidden by the crown, the ban was rarely enforced. So long as the right people on the Shanghai Municipal Council were bribed, and as long as the trade wasn’t so large as to threaten the qing bang, or green gang, the local mobsters that controlled much of the opium and prostitution trades, it was allowed to go on.
Elizabeth hated Shanghai and couldn’t bear the thought of living there for the rest of her life. The stench of the smothering humanity in crushing poverty surrounded her. Though she lived in the English concession, isolated from any Shanghainese except the servants that lived in her house, she couldn’t escape from the brutishness of life there.
From the moment she was wakened by the sound of the cart collecting the chamber pot contents that were used to fertilize the fields, her senses were assailed continuously throughout the day. The stifling heat and humidity of the summer season was unrelenting, as were the swarms of insects. She sprayed her ankles with paraffin to repel the mosquitos, and slept under nettings, but they attacked anyway. The never ending rains during the monsoon season turned the city into a sweltering, muddy swamp.
When traveling by rickshaw through the city, her family was constantly accosted by penniless people, begging for anything that would allow them to buy the rice that would keep their children alive for another day. The locals spit constantly, covering the streets and sidewalks. Every spot that offered the least amount of shade or shelter from rain was crowded with opium addicts, their hollow stares making them look like so many cadavers as they sat motionless, occasionally swatting at the swarms of flies. Each morning bodies were fished out of the stinking, filthy river, to be taken to anonymous graves. Life was cheap in Shanghai; at least for the Chinese, who arrived in a constant stream, hoping to find a better life among the wealthy foreigners than they could expect in the poor, rural areas.
Once, the rickshaw carrying her family had turned a corner, encountering a huge crowd, and before her father yelled at the driver to turn around, she had seen something she would never forget. A small, thin man, pitifully filthy and clothed with nothing more than rags, was bound with his arms behind his back. A man held the point of a sword against his back, forcing him to bend at the waist. Just as he bent, another man swung a sword with both hands as hard as he could down against his neck, severing his head. The crowd yelled as his head dropped onto the street. The headless torso stood for two seconds or more before falling.
Her father tried to cover her eyes, too late. She began shaking uncontrollably, her father hugging her against him as the driver slowly negotiated the rickshaw through the now dispersing crowd. She leaned over her father’s lap and vomited over the side, onto the street. Her father ordered the driver to turn around and take them home, where Elizabeth spent the rest of the day in bed, crying. She had been nine at the time.
Once Elizabeth was safely back in Shanghai, her mother eagerly adopted her new role of finding a suitable husband for Elizabeth. The Europeans in Shanghai often entertained, hosting lavish dinner parties for each other. Now Elizabeth understood for the first time the primary purpose of these occasions, which was to feature the debutants to eligible bachelors. Her father wanted her to consider only Englishmen, but her mother was more pragmatic. If the son of a wealthy merchant happened to be French, and wanted to marry her daughter, c’est la vie
At one such occasion, Elizabeth was introduced to Aston Larksley. After graduating seminary in England, Aston had been called into the mission field and had been sent as an intern to the local missionary, Mr. Cocklesfield. He had been living with the Cocklesfield’s and their two daughters for almost a year, and Mrs. Cocklesfield had been less than subtle in trying to forward the case for her oldest daughter. She constantly reminded him how important the right wife was for a missionary and was always creating opportunities to place them together.
Aston, painfully shy around girls his age, not to mention uninterested in the homely Vicky, had not cooperated to date, making the situation in the Cocklesfield household untenable. Mrs. Cocklesfield had become very angry at Aston and was none too kind, even as she continued trying to encourage the relationship. The Cocklesfield’s argued constantly when out of the earshot of Aston, creating a palpable tension in the household. Mrs. Cocklesfield thought her husband wasn’t helping to further her daughter’s interests with the recalcitrant young man, while Mr. Cocklesfield thought his wife’s pressure was making it less likely that Aston would want any woman, let alone the daughter of this domineering bully.
Aston longed to have a mission of his own; he didn’t realize how much he had to learn. Mr. Cocklesfield had much to teach him, but he wasn’t of the disposition to force his knowledge where it wasn’t asked for. It appeared Aston would have to learn the hard way that he wasn’t going to change the world in a day. Aston, for his part, was frustrated that Mr. Cocklesfield, who he thought to be a bit doddering, seemed to make little headway with his charges.
The Shanghainese continued to stubbornly hold onto their superstitions, lighting joss sticks and praying to their ancestors, rather than turning toward the one true God. He was sure he would be able to do better.
Finally it appeared his prayers were being answered. He received word that he was being assigned his own mission, in a place called East Africa. The current missionary and his wife were ready to retire and move back to England. It didn’t matter that he didn’t know anything about East Africa; he would finally be free to do the Lord’s work, and he was eager to begin. He only had to wait until the complicated logistics could be worked out, and it couldn’t happen quickly enough for Aston.
The days crawled by slowly and painfully. Mrs. Cocklesfield, realizing her dreams for her daughter’s happiness were slipping away, was doubly cruel on Aston. Mr. Cocklesfield, feeling pity for the boy, allowed him freedom to go his own way. Aston spent his days and evenings talking to anybody he could that was able to give him any intelligence on this strange place called East Africa. Mr. Cocklesfield told him about the library at The Shanghai Club, which had the most extensive and up to date collection of foreign newspapers and magazines in Shanghai. He introduced Aston to a friend of his that had membership in the club, who offered to take him as a guest one afternoon.
The businessmen and state officials who frequented the club read the European newspapers voraciously. Even though they were out of date by the time they got to Shanghai, it was better than nothing. Elizabeth’s father, Mr. Farrell, in particular, kept a very interested eye on any news of the British Empire. He knew more than most about East Africa, and enjoyed discussing it with this eager young man.
Mr. Farrell despised missionaries, but Aston was a comely young lad, and polite, if a bit over eager and naïve. Mr. Farrell offered to take Aston with him to the club anytime he was going, to allow him to peruse the extensive library at The Shanghai Club. While the businessmen drank and smoked cigars in the lounge, Aston spent many hours poring through books and newspapers, learning what he could about East Africa, and discussing it with Mr. Farrell.
East Africa had come into the crown only recently. The Berlin Treaty of 1885 had allowed the Germans and the Brits to peacefully agree on which lands in Africa each would be allowed to colonize during what was being called the Scramble for Africa. The British weren’t prepared to invest the money necessary to colonize this seemingly worthless land, as they were directing their efforts to South Africa, so they granted a charter to the Imperial British East African Company. The charter granted immunity of prosecution to British subjects whilst allowing them the right to raise taxes, impose custom duties, administer justice, make treaties and otherwise act as the government of the area. In 1894 the crown declared a protectorate over East Africa, effectively dissolving the IBEAC. Now that the military would maintain a presence in the area, access to the mysterious interior would be greater, making it possible for the missionaries to settle in areas formerly considered too wild.
Then, as if in answer to another prayer, Aston met Elizabeth at a dinner party hosted by her parents. Aston normally avoided these dinner parties, but Mr. Farrell had personally invited him. Elizabeth was so confident and beautiful, Aston was certain that she was out of his league. Nonetheless, they hit it off from the beginning. The more he enthusiastically spoke of his upcoming assignment, the more romantic this faraway, strange land sounded.
Somehow, Aston got up the courage to ask for her hand, and unbelievably, she accepted. It remained only for Aston to approach her father. When Elizabeth’s mother found out that Aston had spoken to her husband, she approached him.
“You told the ass you wouldn’t permit it, I presume?”
“I did not,” said Mr. Farrell.
Mrs. Farrell was flabbergasted.
“You despise missionaries. The young man is a fool, and likely to get himself killed in that barbaric land. I won’t permit my daughter to do such a damned fool thing.”
“Your permission,” Mr. Farrell said coolly, “has not been requested. I believe this to be my decision. I told the boy I would talk to Elizabeth and let him know my decision. He seems quite keen on her. I want to make sure the girl knows what she’s in for.”
Mrs. Farrell left the room in a huff, unable to believe that her husband would permit their daughter to leave forever, and to such a dangerous land. She seemed to forget that her parents had likewise objected to her marrying someone from the foreign office that would take her God knows where over the years. The irony wasn’t lost on Mr. Farrell, but he said nothing.
Plans were hastily made and the two wed a few days before their departure. Their honeymoon was spent in the most expensive and luxurious hotel on the Bund, which Mr. Farrell had reserved and paid for.
Elizabeth nervously dawdled over her meal, picking at her food. Aston, lost in his thoughts, was no less nervous. They both knew what lay ahead for them, but neither had any idea exactly how to go about it. The girls at Elizabeth’s school had pooled their knowledge of what went on, but it was incomplete. The last minute talk by her mother had been equally vague. She knew only that it was something that she would have to get used to, and that it “wasn’t so bad” once you did. She was concerned about the pain that she had heard accompanied the first time.
After dinner they took a stroll along the Bund, the riverfront area where the wealthiest foreigners built their mansions, and where most of the grand hotels and businesses were housed. Finally, unable to put it off longer, they retired to their room. Aston took Elizabeth in his arms and hugged her tenderly, then kissed her on the lips.
“Oh, I can’t believe the most beautiful woman in the world married me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
They kissed again, then Elizabeth said, “You can have the bathroom first, darling.”
After ten minutes, Aston came out, wearing his nightclothes and began to turn down the covers. Elizabeth took her bedclothes into the bathroom and disrobed. After she had freshened up and brushed her hair, she put on her bedclothes and a robe. She nervously took one last look in the mirror, bundled up her courage and, with a forced smile on her face, entered the bedroom.
Aston was sitting up in bed. He couldn’t believe how confident and sure Elizabeth seemed, when he was so nervous. For the first time, he wondered if she were a virgin. It had never occurred to him before that she might not be. Elizabeth stood in front of him momentarily, unsure what to do.
“You’re so beautiful, Elizabeth.”
“Thank you, dear.”
She slipped off her robe and got into the bed on the other side. Neither knew whether to leave the light on or off. Aston turned off the lamp, assuming Elizabeth to be modest. Her heart raced as she awaited his touch. Aston moved to her, tenderly taking her face in his hands. As they snuggled together, Aston could feel her breasts against him through the thin material. Tentatively, he began rubbing her body, getting more and more excited.
He placed his hand on her breasts and kneaded them through the material. The nipples stiffened, and Aston became very aroused. He lifted her nightdress and rubbed her bare bottom as they hugged. She could feel his stiff pole against her stomach. He continued lifting her nightdress, and she helped him take it off of her. He felt her bare breasts, playing with them as she lay on her back.
He began taking off his nightclothes, and when he was naked, rolled on top of her, hugging and kissing her as he played with her breasts. When Aston’s penis felt the warmth of her vagina, he began pushing it in. Her little opening resisted the swollen member, but Aston, in his excitement, pushed harder and harder.
Before he had penetrated her, he spilled his seed in her. Elizabeth felt the warm, sticky sperm enter her as Aston, with a final push, entered her fully, breaking her hymen. Elizabeth yelped as the skin tore, scaring Aston.
“Are you quite alright, darling?” he asked concernedly, as he rolled off of her.
“Yes, I’m fine darling,” she said, disappointed that it was over so quickly. “It just hurt, but I expected that. I’ve heard that it only hurts the first time.”
Aston was gratified to learn that it was indeed her first time, and she would always be his alone. Taking her bedclothes, Elizabeth felt her way through the darkness into the bathroom and lit the lamp. She couldn’t believe how much blood there was; it hadn’t hurt that badly. She used a cloth to provide pressure and put on her underpants over the cloth. Slipping back into her nightgown, she went back into the bedroom and got under the covers. Aston had his nightclothes back on, and they lay together, murmuring, until Aston went to sleep. “Is that all there is?” Elizabeth wondered. “Surely, not,” she thought, turning over and going to sleep.
The next morning, Aston was appalled at the blood on the sheets. He had no knowledge of a woman’s anatomy, so he didn’t know about the tearing of a hymen. For all he knew, it had come from her vagina. Elizabeth assured him it was okay, and would only happen the first time or two, but Aston decided to give her a day or two to recover.
Although Elizabeth had sailed once before, both to and from England, she was very excited. If she had realized the privations of sailing steerage class, she would not have been. The lack of privacy made a repeat of their first attempt at lovemaking out of the question. The trip to Hong Kong took only a couple of days, and they would have three days in Hong Kong before boarding the ship that would take them to Bombay.
The couple spent the three nights at the residence of the local Wesleyan missionary and his wife, again without the privacy required to have intimacy. Once again they were herded into steerage class like so many cattle. As before, conditions were meticulously clean, but there was no mistaking the sour odor that hung about the steerages and their occupants. The Larksley’s had the advantage, as a married couple, of their own cabin, while the single passengers might be expected to sleep four to a bunk, with bunks on either side of them. However, the walls were thin, allowing them to hear and be heard by all the families and couples around them.
The trip to Bombay took a week. The young couple could hear every sound in the surrounding cabins, discouraging them from making love on the noisy, iron cot. Hormones, however, are a powerful thing. The second night out, with Aston hungrily pressing his hard penis against Elizabeth, she whispered in his ear, “sshh” as she lifted her nightgown and slipped off her underwear.
Aston removed his bedclothes and eagerly rolled on top of her. Trying to be as quiet as possible, he slowly pushed his member against Elizabeth. Reaching down, she grabbed his penis and guided it toward her opening, rubbing it up and down her slit to spread her outer lips. Trying to be as silent as possible, Aston slowly pushed against her vagina, though his impulse was to hastily push it in, into the deliciously warm and moist sheath that he had felt on his wedding night.
The head was in, and they had made very little noise. A baby cried somewhere, and a gentle snore could be heard from the cabin next to theirs. Elizabeth, aroused like she had never been, eagerly anticipated full penetration as Aston slowly worked in more and more of his length. She spread her legs widely and wrapped her arms around him as they kissed deeply.
When Aston was fully inserted, she brought her knees up into the air, allowing him greater access and he began pumping his hips, driving deep into her vagina. Aston stifled his grunts as much as possible, and Elizabeth felt the warmth from his sperm inside her. The sperm allowed Aston to easily slide in and out of her smoothly. It felt heavenly. Too soon, however, Aston rolled off and lay silently, regaining his normal breathing.
Now Elizabeth understood what all the excitement was about. It felt wonderful, and being able to provide such pleasure to her man made her glow. They kissed and put their nightclothes back on, then went to sleep.
The next morning, Elizabeth was certain that the occupants of the cabins near them looked at her askance, though it was probably in her imagination. Nonetheless, she resisted further attempts by Aston to make love before they reached Bombay, though he persisted in trying to convince her otherwise.
Two nights later, with Aston hugging her in bed, pressing his hard member against her, Elizabeth reached into his nightclothes and fished out his hard penis. While Aston played with her breasts, rolling the nipples between his fingers, she squeezed his penis firmly, then relaxed her grip, over and over until, hips bucking, he shot a wad of sticky, warm sperm that landed on Elizabeth’s torso. Another wad shot out of his convulsing penis, then a thick stream oozed out, covering her hand.
After a week in port, where they stayed with another missionary and his family, they boarded another steamer, and thus hop scotched their way through the Arabian Sea toward their destination. Bad weather in the Gulf of Oman delayed their trip to Muscat, causing them to miss their connection. Now they would have to improvise.
Fortunately, Mr. Farrell had pressed two hundred dollars into Aston’s palm as they shook hands after the wedding. It would come in very handy now, as they had to make new bookings. They arrived in Mogadishu just as the ship that they were originally scheduled on to Mombasa was boarding.
After almost three months, they finally landed in Mombasa, tired, smelly and sleepy. They were met by a representative of the African Inland Mission, who had arranged their transportation to their final destination.
The English were building a rail from Mombasa to Kisumu in neighboring Uganda, but it wasn’t completed, so their meager possessions were loaded onto an oxcart, and they set off on the long trip to Kangundo, more than three hundred miles inland. The trip took weeks, during which Elizabeth saw the most fantastic sights she had ever seen.
There were birds of every imaginable species, millions of them, most of them alien to Elizabeth. She couldn’t believe how big and open this country was, and how pristine. At night, as they camped, she could hear the fearsome roars of lions. Aston, sensing her discomfort, threw logs onto the fire until she had gone to sleep. Their driver had a large musket, the only meager defense they had if they encountered charging elephants or rhinos. By day they kept to the railway, passing hundreds of laborers and their English overseers, by night they camped near the camps of laborers, who had been imported from India.
Their driver pointed out crocodiles, sunning themselves around the natural springs that were full of hippos. The driver kept his distance from the territorial hippos. To the west they could see the snow covered Mt. Kilimanjaro, day after day, rising almost twenty thousand feet above sea level. Elizabeth had never before seen a mountain, and this was one like few others in the world.
They finally reached the mission, which resembled a fortress more than a church. The walled compound housed a number of outbuildings, in addition to the chapel, manse and schoolhouse. Mr. Thurman introduced them to Mary and David, the converts who lived inside the compound. Upon their baptism, Mr. Thurman had given them proper, Christian names. David was the general handyman inside the compound, while Mary did the cooking and cleaning.
They both spoke some English, just enough to get by. They had lost their daughter to malaria, and their two sons had died in the bloody civil war of 1892, during which their entire village had been burned to the ground, its inhabitants either dead or dispersed. Without children to help them as they aged, and with their village destroyed, they had decided to convert to the strange ways of the white devils in exchange for a permanent home. Mary farmed a small plot of land, David tended to a flock of goats and some chickens. Mr. Thurman had doubts as to the sincerity of their conversion, but they were capable servants.
Mr. Thurman spent the few weeks he had remaining in country introducing Aston to the local tribesmen, orienting him to life in the mission and teaching him as much as he could about the culture and history of the local indigenous peoples.
Elizabeth sat in on Mrs. Thurman’s classes with the local children as she taught them English, mathematics, reading and Bible studies during the school day and individual piano lessons after hours.
Mrs. Thurman spoke nothing but Swahili to the children, except during English lessons, or when she didn’t understand the proper translation of a word. She insisted that the children speak English, insofar as they were able, during school. Elizabeth was going to have to immerse herself quickly in the language.
Fortunately, linguistics had always come easily to Elizabeth. She had grown up speaking Shanghainese, English and French, and had studied Latin in school. But this language, with its odd noises and clicks, was unlike any she’d heard. She had to constantly use English to ask Mrs. Thurman about the meanings of words and proper usage and grammar.
On weekends, Mrs. Thurman took Elizabeth to the houses of the local villages, introducing her to the parents of the children. Mrs. Thurman’s Swahili was adequate to allow her to communicate, but once she left, Elizabeth would have to have the children interpret, or take Mary with her.
Finally, the day arrived for the older couple to leave. An ox-cart, loaded with their possessions, awaited them. The missionaries and their wives were in the chapel, praying. After Aston had prayed for the safe travels of the Thurman’s, Mr. Thurman blessed the young couple and prayed over them, after which he summed up his many years in the field for Aston.
“Aston and Elizabeth, I’ve been doing the work of God my entire life. Do you have any idea how many sinners I’ve been able to convert to Christianity?”
“No idea, whatsoever,” Aston said.
He was silent, allowing that to sink in.
“Surely you jest,” Aston said. “What about Mary and David? There must have been many more.”
“Mary and David may have converted, but I didn’t convert them. Here’s what I’ve learned in almost forty five years of studying God’s word and doing His work. I’m not asked to convert anybody, and I’m not able to convert anybody.”
“But what about the Great Commission?” Aston protested.
“The Great Commission requires that you go into the world, baptizing men in the name of Christ and teaching them to obey his word. We’re required to teach men God’s word, and testify to the living Christ that lives in us. Nowhere is it said that we convert men. That’s God’s responsibility, thankfully, not ours.”
He went on, “Your job, Aston and Elizabeth, is to love these people. Just love them, and show them what a life in Christ looks like. God will do the rest. You can never be sure of a person’s conversion, only God can be. But you can be certain whether you love them or not.”
With that, they said their goodbyes and the old couple rode off on the cart. The compound seemed eerily silent. Mary and David were out in their fields with the crops and the animals. Aston was indescribably excited. For the first time since finishing seminary, almost two years ago, he would have his own mission. For the first time since their marriage, they would have privacy. They would have their own home.
Elizabeth felt overwhelmed and intimidated. She would have Mary to help interpret as needed, but she felt inadequate for the enormity of the job Mrs. Thurman had done for all those years, seemingly effortlessly.
The children began to arrive, signaling the beginning of the school day, and Aston went to begin preparing his first sermon. He would have to learn to deliver it phonetically until he learned the language, relying on an English-Swahili dictionary. He pitied the blighters that would hear his first sermons, until he’d gotten the hang of the odd noises, clicks and clucks that constituted the native tongue.
Alone that night, Aston watched mesmerized as Elizabeth brushed out her auburn hair in her nightgown and robe. Aston was sure there had never been a fairer creature in existence.
“I can’t believe we’re finally alone,” Aston said.
“Yes, we’re definitely very alone,” Elizabeth said.
She was very conscious of being in an alien land, and wasn’t entirely comfortable with it yet.
“Come here, darling,” Aston said.
They embraced, hugging and kissing. Aston helped her out of her robe and they got into bed. Aston grabbed a hand towel before he slipped under the covers. He put out the lamp and turned to her, pulling her to him. For the first time since their wedding night, it didn’t matter how much noise they made. Yet both of them still felt the need for discretion, afraid that somehow someone would hear them if they were noisy. Never mind that Mary and David’s hut was across the compound.
Fumbling with her nightclothes until she helped remove them, Aston quickly stripped off his and pressed his burning, hot flesh against her bare flesh. He eagerly kneaded her breasts, playing with the nipples. As he mounted her, she spread her legs wide, and they began to couple, with Elizabeth helping to guide his throbbing member to her opening. She rubbed it up and down her slit to help spread her outer lips. It felt good, rubbing on her down there.
It had been quite a while since they had dared have sex, with the distraction of the older couple in the house, so Aston was overanxious. He quickly began pressing against her opening, and before he was halfway in, spilled his seed. As he began to grunt, Elizabeth hurriedly began to ride his pole before it would be too soft to enjoy, but all too soon he slumped onto her, making it difficult for her to move. They used the towel to clean up, then got dressed under cover of darkness and went to sleep, one of them totally satisfied, the other frustrated again.
As Elizabeth settled into her new life, one of the unexpected delights was the joy she derived from the children. They lived in filthy conditions, barely subsiding on the maize, millet, pumpkins and whatever else their families were able to scratch out of the earth using primitive tools and methods. God knows they knew nothing of hygiene, religion or anything else, save what the Thurman’s, and now the Larksley’s were able to teach them. The children were only able to attend school sporadically, in between their responsibilities in the fields. Their parents didn’t value the education they were receiving and rarely allowed any of them to attend after they reached the age of maturity.
Sadly, after six years of marriage, Elizabeth still had no children of her own, but she loved each of these children as her own, and they loved their teacher in return. She wistfully wondered if she would be forever barren, and whether Aston would still love her. She realized that their lovemaking had become routine. While Aston still desired her, the urgency was no longer there, nor had he improved in pleasuring her. She didn’t loathe being used by him, but she didn’t derive immense pleasure either.
One afternoon John Brown showed up at the compound. Aston groaned as he saw the boorish brute, walking behind his ox-cart, piled high with the goods he traded. The two men had taken an instant dislike for each other, the first time Mr. Thurman had introduced them. Mr. Thurman seemed surprisingly tolerant of his bad manners, foul language and drunkenness, but Aston couldn’t hide his disapproval of the man.
Nonetheless, turning away a white man was unthinkable. There was nothing to it but to give the man a berth for the night. Keenly aware of Aston’s dislike of him, Brown stopped only occasionally, when out of food or water or in need of a place for the night, with insufficient light left in the day to find other accommodations.
Brown had been plying the trails of the interior for almost thirty years, long before most white men dared tread the mysterious interior of the Dark Continent, trading goods from the Arabs and Europeans on the coast to the natives in the interior, and he never ran out of stories to tell about it. In seemingly every story, he barely escaped with his life in scrapes with the natives or the wild beasts of the jungle. Everybody knew he embellished his stories; Aston called it prevaricating, but Elizabeth enjoyed the break in the monotonous evening routine in the manse.
Brown was an extremely loud man with a booming voice. Since he was hard of hearing, anyone that talked to him likewise had to speak loudly, which made the normally quiet abode a cacophony of yelling when he was around. He was a large man, both in height and in girth, with a long, unkempt beard. Though he honored the wishes of the Larksley’s not to smoke inside, his clothes and body reeked of the tobacco he smoked incessantly. He pulled on a flask full of whiskey often, though he knew Aston forbade it in his house.
“It’s like mother’s milk to me,” he had protested the first time Aston asked him not to drink spirits in his house. “Ye woon’t deny me mother’s milk?” he said with his strong Scottish burr.
Aston had given up trying to get him to stop drinking while in the mission. At least he would eventually drunken enough to stagger off to his cot in one of the outhouses, stopping to urinate in the middle of the yard, leaving them in peace.
His badly sun damaged skin, what little showed above his beard, resembled the bark of a tree; dark and lined with crevices. His bulbous nose showed the broken veins of a heavy drinker. Everything about him was oversized; his voice, his ego, his body, his appetite, both for food and drink; he seemed to barely fit in any room he was in.
Brown always brought gifts, though Aston urged Elizabeth not to accept them.
“It would be rude to turn down his gifts,” Elizabeth reasoned. “Besides”, she thought, “the schoolchildren love the little trinkets he brings. A bit of ribbon for her hair, and small mirrors and the like for the children.”
This time he brought stories of discontent among the natives inland. Leaders among the Akamba frequently protested the foreign taxation and interference with the native’s lives. Now, with the advent of a hut tax, a new leader had stirred the people up, and there were frequent protests. The hut tax was especially onerous on the leaders and most prosperous of the people, who were most likely to have multiple wives, and as a result, multiple huts. The tax of two rupees was intended to force the natives to work for the British, since there was little currency in circulation among the natives. While the protests to date had been peaceful, memories of the Hut Tax War of 1898 in Sierra Leone were still fresh.
“I don’t know why the brass want to stir up trouble,” Brown said in his harsh, loud voice. “The natives aren’t reliable workers anyway. Give me a group of Indians or Chinese any day. Now they know how to work. Why don’t they just import another 10,000 Indians, they’ll finish that railroad in a year. If they keep stirring up the natives, it’ll be like ’92 all over again. I tell you, it wasn’t safe to have a white hide back then.”
His voice trailed away as he saw the look on Aston’s face. Looking over at Elizabeth, he could see that she was disturbed.
“Ah, now, don’t be worryin',” he clucked. “The Brits will deport or kill this leader, like always, and the natives will be back in line in no time. No time at all.”
And sure enough, the leaders of the Freedom Fighters, as they called themselves, were deported to coastal towns, far away, and the rebellion over the hut tax began to die down.
The next time Elizabeth saw Brown’s ox-cart wending its way toward the compound, she was just dismissing the final piano student of the day. Putting on her bonnet, she stepped outside as he pulled up to the house.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Brown,” she said.
“Aye, greetings, lassie,” he boomed. “I haven’t eaten since the morn. I’m famished. Have you any vittals?”
She scurried into the house as Brown pumped water into the trough for his beast. When Elizabeth looked outside a few minutes later, he had his shirt off and was washing it in the trough, after which he hung it on the pump handle to dry. His entire body was covered in a thick mat of hair. He looked as woolly as a bear. Elizabeth had never seen anybody with that much hair on their body. She had only once or twice seen her father’s bare torso, never Aston’s or anybody else’s, but she knew that Aston’s wasn’t hairy.
After the beast had drunk its fill, Brown led it out of the compound and hobbled it in a grassy area. He then went back to the trough and cleaned up. He dunked his entire head into the water repeatedly, then shook his long hair and beard. Using soap, he cleaned his hands and arms.
“Have ye a towel I can use, Lass?” he yelled into the house.
She hung one on the peg outside the door, averting her eyes.
“Here’s one,” she said, as she went back into the house.
Taking a pail of water to the porch, he peeled off his boots and began washing his feet. Moments later Brown entered her kitchen.
“Aye, that feels good, thankee,” he said. “I haven’t had those boots off me feet in a fortnight. Any luck with them vittles?”
“Mr. Brown,” she protested, “You aren’t dressed appropriately, and I’m alone in the house. Please leave.”
“No appropriate?” he boomed. “What are you afeard of? You’re as safe with me as if ye were with your own father. Now how about them vittles?”
“Shortly,” she said, going back to her stove.
She added coal to the fire and stirred it up, then set a pot on top. She measured in some maize and water to make porridge. That, a piece of cheese and some pumpkin would have to do.
“Where’s our missionary?”
“He received a shipment of smallpox vaccine and went to administer it to everyone in this region who hasn’t been inoculated yet. David went with him to translate, and they dropped Mary in the village of her youth to visit relatives.”
“When’ll he be back?” Brown asked.
“I don’t know, two or three days.”
After Brown had wolfed down his meal, he went outside and smoked a pipe while Elizabeth cleaned up. He checked his shirt, but it was still wet. He went back inside with his flask, and took a long draw of whiskey. He sat at the table, waiting for his shirt to dry, and told stories of his travels since he had last been at the mission.
As the afternoon waned, he began to get comfortably buzzed from the whiskey and his Scottish burr became more pronounced, with long rolls of his r’s. Suddenly, as Elizabeth was getting up to fetch them some tea, he grabbed her wrists and sat her on his knee.
“Tell me, Lassie. Do you ever let your hair down?”
“Please, Mr. Brown!” she protested.
“Well, you should. You’re a comely young lass. You’ll be old soon enough; you can dress and act old then. Let your hair down while you’re young, I say.”
She shivered at the closeness of this lusty old goat. She looked down at his red nipples, the only part of his torso that wasn’t covered by hair. Suddenly she felt an overpowering urge to kiss him on the lips. The thought repulsed her, but the urge wouldn’t go away.
Elizabeth got up and took the kettle off the stove, trembling. After she prepared the tea, she excused herself to the bedroom. When she came back in, she had taken her hair down and brushed it out. Her long, auburn hair shimmered in the afternoon light streaming in through the windows.
“Aye, that’s better,” Brown said, as she entered the room.
Elizabeth stared down at the floor, embarrassed, yet flattered. Brown looked at the girl as he never had. She was a scrawny young thing, and could use some meat on her. But she did have nice hair, and he could see how a man might get lost in her clear, light blue eyes.
“How ‘bout that tea?”
“Oh, of course,” Elizabeth said, rousing herself from her reverie.
The tea steeped, she took the pot to the table to pour. Her hand shook, and she couldn’t pour without spilling.
“Here, now, lass,” Brown said softly, putting his hand over hers to steady her as she poured the tea into two cups.
He looked at her as he sipped his hot tea. She didn’t touch hers; she sat silently, staring down at the cup, trembling a bit.
“Why did I let my hair down?” she thought to herself. “Why am I such a fool? Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!”
She felt his eyes on her, and she grew irritated with him, making her feel like such a young fool. “Fat, old goat,” she thought. “Why would I care what he thinks of me, anyway? He probably thinks I’m a tart, letting my hair down for him. Why, oh why did I do that?”
She angrily got up from the table and began to walk away. She wanted to be out of his sight. He grabbed her wrists once again, and pulled her onto his knee.
“Now, lass, don’t run away. What’s wrong?”
“Let me go,” she shouted, struggling to free her wrists.
He kissed her on the lips, hard. Pulling one hand free, she slapped him on the face and got up. He followed her as she scurried away from him, backing into the wall. She flailed her arms, trying to scratch him or hit him, but he grabbed her wrists and held them tightly. He put his lips on hers and kissed her again. She quit resisting and kissed him back. She could smell the whiskey and tobacco on his breath, making her slightly nauseas, but she kissed him anyway. His lips parted as he kissed her; she had never experienced that. She parted hers slightly.
Letting go of her wrists, he began tugging at her dress. She could feel it rising up her legs as she kissed him. She panicked and began to struggle, but he kept his lips on hers. When he reached the hem of her dress, he put his hand under it and clamped it onto her mound, over her knickers.
“Ungghh,” she involuntarily grunted.
Nobody had ever touched her there. He rubbed her mound with his rough, large hand as he continued kissing her. She quit resisting, reveling in the warm feelings emanating from her groin. Slipping one of his beefy fingers under her knickers, he found the warm opening and began probing it.
“Awwwww,” she groaned, as he broke off their kiss.
She slumped against the wall, putting her arms around his neck to help support herself as he continued fingering her. Slipping a second finger into her, he stretched her like she had never been stretched before. It felt so good, she began bucking her hips, riding his finger, trying desperately to get deeper and deeper penetration.
“I knew there was more to you than could be satisfied by our young missionary,” he said with a smirk.
Elizabeth had feelings that she had never experienced before. She loved Aston. He was young, handsome and cared for her deeply. At the moment, she could think of nobody that she despised more than this crusty old lecher. Yet, she had never been more excited. She longed to be used by this cad, to feel him deep inside her.
“Let’s see you then, lass,” he said as he pulled his finger from her.
Her breathing came in rasps, she was so excited. When he removed his fingers, she felt empty. He reached behind her and began unbuttoning her dress. She felt like she was in a dream, watching what was happening but powerless to stop it.
When he had unbuttoned her halfway down her back, she shrugged her shoulders and allowed the dress to come away from her body, then pulled her arms out of the sleeves. She was bare from the waist up, save her chemise. He stood her, and allowed the dress to fall to the floor.
She shivered, exposed to the leers of this lusty old man, who devoured her with his eyes. She had never felt so exposed, so vulnerable. He hooked his thumbs into her knickers and pulled them down, then lifted her chemise over her head. She stood, naked to his gaze, her shoes and feet covered by her garments.
He had never seen such fair skin. She was naturally fair of skin, and her skin had never seen the sun; even her face was protected by a bonnet or hat every time she went out. He could just make out the blue veins under the skin on her breasts. The breasts were smallish, yet firm and full, with stiff, pink nipples. She had a small patch of red hair surrounding her womanhood.
Standing, he untied the cord holding up his pants and allowed them to drop to the floor. He wore no undergarment; his erect penis stood high, coming out of a thick mat of dark pubic hair. He pulled her to him and they embraced, kissing once again. He grabbed a breast, pulling the nipple and tweaking it. She winced as he grabbed the other breast and pinched that nipple as well.
Elizabeth had never been so ready. He leaned her over the table and entered her in a single thrust. Despite the girth of his member, her moisture allowed him to easily slide into her. He thrust deeply, over and over as she whimpered her pleasure. He grabbed her hair and pulled it as he rode her, reaching around with the other hand to pinch her stiff nipple.
“I knew ye’d be a wildcat,” he said.
Suddenly, reaching around her, his hand looked for and found her little button. He began rubbing the button with a finger as he pounded his member into her. Elizabeth had never felt anything quite like this, and jumped as she was jolted with waves of pleasure, emanating from her clitoris and spreading throughout her body.
She felt what seemed to be an overpowering urge to urinate, then her body exploded in orgasm.
“GuHHnng, Uh, Uh, Uh, OOoooh, MMMM, GRRRUMMM, uh,” she grunted and groaned loudly as her body shook violently with her orgasm.
Somewhere during her orgasm he filled her with his hot sticky sperm, his crotch pressed firmly against her arse, and he added his grunts and groans to hers. Elizabeth slumped against the table, unable to move, and he supported himself with his arms on the table.
Finally, he pulled out and a thick stream of sperm oozed out of Elizabeth, running down her leg. She suddenly felt cold.
“Hold me,” she said.
“Surely, darlin’,” he said.
They stumbled into the bedroom and lay, she enveloped in his thick arms, resting against the furry mat on his chest. They said nothing. After a while, Elizabeth began shaking.
“What’s the matter, bird?” he asked.
“What’s to become of me?” she lamented.
“Shh, shh, that’s alright,” he said, caressing her hair. “Nothing has changed. You don’t need to say anythin’ to your missionary.”
Lying in his arms, Elizabeth realized that she had known all along that sex was supposed to be like this; rough, raw, full of lust, hot and sweaty. She realized now why she had been attracted to the old man, even while repulsed by him.
While Aston sipped from the cup of life, this old goat drank it in in big gulps. He took what he wanted, while Aston politely asked. She realized she needed to be taken and used, not placed on a pedestal to be admired.
As dusk began to fall, Brown got dressed and went out to gather his ox into the barn.
“Noombi, Shetani,” he yelled, then whistled loudly.
David’s dogs jumped up, barking and began running around David’s goats, herding them back into the compound and into the barn. The chickens followed them into the barn and went into their coop while Brown scattered millet and maize for them. After watering the animals, he went back inside.
Elizabeth put a pot of beans on the stove that had been soaking all day, and began cutting up vegetables to add to it. She rinsed the salt off of a big hunk of fatback, which she cut in thirds. One piece went in with the beans, while each of David’s dogs got a piece along with a bowl of cooked pumpkin. Brown went back to his whiskey and his stories as Elizabeth listened.
When bedtime arrived, Brown made no sign that he would take his usual place in one of the outbuildings. They lay together in the bed as man and wife, nestled against each other.
The next morning, Elizabeth put on her robe to go to the outhouse, while Brown stood on the porch and urinated into the yard. When she got back into the house, she put on a kettle. Brown came up behind her and held her, playing with her breasts through her nightclothes. Getting himself aroused, he guided Elizabeth back into the bedroom and laid her down, then undressed and lay beside her.
They snuggled together as Brown’s hands roamed under her nightclothes. He found her opening with one, then two fingers, while locking his lips on hers. She helped him remove her nightclothes and she lay naked before him. The teakettle whistled from the kitchen. The morning light filtered through the drapes, casting a bluish glow in the room.
Brown took her hand in his and placed it on his sac. Never having touched a man’s sac before, she didn’t know what to do.
“Are they sensitive?” she asked, tentatively touching his scrotum.
“Aye, but it feels nice if you’re gentle.”
She softly caressed his balls, with his hand over hers to show her where and how much pressure to apply. She was fascinated with his sac. It started out soft and smooth, the balls limply hanging well below his groin, but as she rubbed it, it began to tighten against his body and felt leathery, with ridges on it. The penis was getting harder, despite having had an orgasm less than twelve hours ago.
He groaned in pleasure as she rubbed up sac and penis. He showed her where the pleasure was; in the channel along the underside of his penis, not in the head or the upper side. He showed her that she could squeeze tightly, and it wouldn’t hurt.
She was becoming aroused, and she was ready when he began fondling her. He slipped a finger into her moist opening, pumping it in and out of her, until she ached to have him rub her clitoris again. She had never known the power that little button held until he awoke her to its presence the day before.
When he was erect, he guided her on top of him. She straddled his crotch and lowered her opening onto his shaft, shuddering as she felt it enter her. She leaned her upper body forward, supporting her weight with an arm on either side of him, making it easy to pump him as she wished; long and slow, or fast and furious. Her movements were usually limited, with the weight of Aston on top of her. Now, she was able to control the action.
She had never known the joy of being in control of lovemaking before. After she had taken the full length of Brown’s penis, she quickened her pace, urgently trying for deeper and deeper penetration.
Her tits hung above Brown’s face, swaying with her motion, and he eagerly played with the stiff nipples. Her impossibly tight vagina somehow accommodated the girth of Brown’s fat member, driving him mad with desire, but his orgasm of the night before allowed him to endure. Sweat trickled down Elizabeth’s brow and between her breasts as she bucked her hips, driving her crotch against his.
Finally, after more than fifteen minutes of devouring every inch he would give her, she collapsed, resting her head on his chest, their sweat co-mingling, while catching her breath. At his signal, she moved off him, shuddering again when they decoupled, as she had shuddered when they coupled. He laid her next to him, her head against his shoulder as they lay silently.
When she had caught her breath, she reached down to caress him again.
“It’s soft,” she said with surprise.
His penis had grown semi-flaccid.
“Aye, but ye can fix that,” he said, as he guided her hand back to his crotch.
She continued playing with his scrotum and penis. It fascinated her; it was the first she had ever played with. The semi-flaccid penis was a little hard, and a little squishy, all at the same time, and it didn’t seem to bother Brown when she bent it or pulled it. Quite the opposite, he loved the attention she was paying to it.
When it had regained some of its stiffness, he turned Elizabeth on her side and entered her from behind, spooning against her. Reaching around her, he kneaded a breast, allowing the nipple to poke out between his fingers while he gently clamped it and pulled.
Nobody had ever pinched her nipples before, though Aston enjoyed rubbing her breasts. It felt like a thousand tiny pinpricks emanating from her nipples, accentuating the longing in her loins. She desperately wanted Brown to touch her down there again. Taking his hand, she guided it toward her mound.
Pulling his hand away from hers, he rubbed her taut belly and said, “Ah, ye want me to rub your naughty little cunny?”
She said nothing. He continued rubbing her belly as he stroked her from behind.
“Ye want me to rub your little cunny?” he repeated.
She nodded her head, embarrassed.
“Well, all you has to do is ask,” he said.
“Please,” she said timidly.
Her body ached for the pleasure of his touch on her button. His fat member filled her completely, stretching the skin of her vagina tightly. The button was fully emerged from the folds of her lips, waiting to be touched, to be rubbed, to be caressed.
“Please what,” he said teasingly.
“Please touch me,” she said.
Though embarrassed at her lustful need, she frantically needed relief. She had never been so aroused, and was panting.
“Touch me where?” he asked.
“My vagina,” she said, barely loud enough to be heard.
“My cunny,” she said loudly. “Is that what you want to hear? I want you to touch my cunny.”
“Yes, that’s what I want to hear,” Brown said, immediately clamping his hand on her mound and allowing his finger to find her wet, warm slit. “Tell me what you want me to do while I touch your hot little cunny?” he asked, as he stopped pumping his member into her.
It took her a moment to register that he had discontinued pumping her. The loss of penetration momentarily confused her. Fearful that she would be frustrated, she blurted out, “I want you to penetrate me while you touch my cunny.”
“That’s a little better,” Brown said, chuckling. “Tell me again what you want me to do?”
Yelling now, she said, “I want you to fuck me hard while you rub my pussy. I want you to drive your big dick into my pussy and rub it.”
He began pumping her hard while he found her hard button. It was standing up, well exposed, and he drew circles around it with his finger, teasing it. The circles got increasingly smaller and smaller, teasing her with the nearness of his touch as he pounded her raw, sore pussy.
She was panting now. Though he hadn’t yet touched her clitoris, the skin of her vagina was pulled so tight by the girth of his penis that even touching near her clitoris pleasured it. She could feel her orgasm approaching, and nothing in the world mattered except the hard dick filling her pussy and the pressure on her clit.
Her tight vagina squeezed Brown’s member, and his balls began to tingle, signaling his release. He slowed his pace, taking her in long, smooth strokes as he lightly put his finger directly on her clitoris. She immediately climaxed.
“Unnnggg, Unnggg, Uh uh, uh, uh,” she cried in staccato rasps.
“ARRRGGG, Uh, Awww,” Brown groaned as he spewed his sperm into her.
She could feel the warmth of his seed in her as she continued to orgasm. Finally they stilled, lying together silently. Finally they got up, dressed and began to get ready for the start of the day.
Brown opened the gate to the compound; the children would begin arriving soon. No time for Elizabeth to reflect on what had happened and how she would deal with it. She made some porridge for their breakfast and gave the dogs some boiled pumpkin for theirs.
The first of the children arrived, early, and Elizabeth asked them to milk the goats that were without sucklings. After they had finished, Brown let the goats out of the barn and the dogs followed them into the fields outside the compound. The sun crowded out the dawn as Brown hitched the ox to the wagon. The chickens were let out and raced around the compound as a group, clucking and scratching in the yard.
Elizabeth gave Brown corn cakes and a chunk of goat cheese to take with him. A tear streamed down her face, unseen by the children, as he allowed the ox one last drink.
“Now what do ye want to do that for?” he asked, as she wiped away the tear.
“Never mind,” she said.
He wouldn’t understand. He had nothing to worry about. How would she go on? How could she go on, with this sin on her conscious? Let alone Aston, what would become of her soul? She knew that she should repent her sin and ask forgiveness, but she desperately wanted to repeat the sin, often. Another day was starting; she would have to just put one foot in front of the other and act out the routine of her day. There was no time for reflection now.
“I’ll be back this way in two weeks,” Brown said. “I’ll stop by.
To be continued….
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