It was drawing towards late October when Lord Seyton Clover proposed a new gambit to his 'charge' - as he now referred to Charity. “Charity, me dear...” “Yes, Your Lordship?” “I was wondering if you had seen much of the inside of a theatre, an opera house?” “No, Your Lordship.” “Well, my dear Charity, as these venues are meant forthwith to be your succour and vocation place in life, I suggest that before this week is out, you and I shall investigate at least one of these aforementioned places.” “As Your Lordship wishes.” “Ah, no, sweetling, tell me that you have not gowns enough to wear, for I have seen you dressed most becomingly in total black, and should I find trimmings - some bauble or other, - this is the expression in colour which I should wish you to adopt.”
Charity had averted her eyes, cast them to the floor, disappointed. For with the first few words he had uttered, he had raised her spirits, so that they had soared like a homing pigeon. Now ’twas the black which he would have her wear! “And my hair, Your Lordship?” He had pondered on this: “I think perhaps a wig, my dear. I should not wish to disclose your true personality just yet: let those ravenous predators, whichever sex they be, wait until I, we, are ready!”
He had looked at her, smiling, his beautifully moulded lips showing the hint of white teeth, a small patch below the lower lip near the corner of his mouth. “Yes: I think that we could risk a brunette covering for your initial sortie into the colourful jungles of Drury Lane. It will be easy enough, with cosmetics, to darken your lips and shade your eyebrows.”
Well pleased with what he had proposed, he bade the girl come before him, once more to run through the song he had presented her with a week prior. They practised long and arduously: with a mesmerist’s strong hold, his deep eyes affixed her own. Charity could feel herself again in that all-embracing warm cloud, which bade her sing most perfectly and with the gravest purity.
Yes! Up and up soared the untarnished notes of her voice, low they fell, fluttering like leaves falling in the heart of an autumnal forest. Then, she would be acting from the script and from the directions he gave her, her fingers moving, her feet pointing and lifting, trailing her body low, sweeping the ground with her torso. She was becoming an all-round performer. Ah, would that not surprise them! No more sneers and jeers for this ‘dilettante’ composer! How brilliantly would his protegee perform for him. Why, maybe the King himself would summon her to perform at Court! Not that he, an aristocrat, needed such favours: still, it would be amusing to have Charity unveiled and himself proclaimed for the creative genius he knew himself to be!
An end there would be to the sly digs and clumsy guffawing as he entered the Blue Periwig Coffee House or the Beefsteak Club! Oh, no! He had something now which would set him head and shoulders above the herded mundanity of his titled friends, and here, musing about his cousin. Lord Fitzroy Rispian, thought he, - family as well!
At length, as the night shadows were trailing towards the midnight, he summoned a finale to their exertions. The efforts of the evening had fair worn Charity to a frazzle. She looked wan and pale, and Lord Seyton Clover, as though realising that he had taxed his charge’s strength to the utmost, summoned the butler to fetch them refreshments - madeira cake, fruits, cheese, hot chocolate - whatever Miss Charity Cottrell wished to partake of.
Charity, fragile through her exertions, placed herself delicately into a winged red-plush velvet chair, the colour of which set her own pearly translucent skin off to perfection. There was, however, the suggestion of dark smudges beneath her eyes, the colour of which looked this night like smoky sapphires as she stared wide and long into the logs of the brightly burning fire.
If Lord Seyton Clover noticed this, he said nothing. He merely perched himself, with perhaps an unusual familiarity, upon the arm of the chair, his elegantly tailored arm resting so that his fingers could almost touch the golden aurial of hair and heat rising from the silky blonde hair. Charity lent back further into the chair, closing her eyes, savouring the warmth which glittered forth from the fire in the grate.
A small, contented smile played about the corners of her mouth, her breasts heaving gently up and down, the creamy abundance of those breasts tantalising to Lord Seyton Clover’s hidden gaze, their very form and size begging him to unleash his checked emotions.
He longed to kiss her neck, which neck as he raised himself gingerly away from the chair, he could see was swan-like and flower-like at the same time. How he longed to plant kisses along the snowy bank of her flesh: those enticing white breasts drawing him on, so that he longed to fringe the lace edgings of her gown with his own tickling tongue, longed to bury his head between the cleft of flesh which shadowed her massive bosom.
To take her breasts and go on and on so that at length his mouth might encounter her rose-red nipples. How he longed to cup that mass of breast between his fingers and suck hard upon their sustenance. He was reaching towards her when the butler arrived with their refreshments, and like a man stung, he withdrew.
Gulping at the thoughts which had been coursing through his heated brain and fast kindling loins, he waved off those ignoble thoughts - until another time. “Charity, me dear, there are refreshments come.” She had been snoozing, her breath coming out in sweet, quiet mouthfuls. “Oh...what . . . ?” She yawned, “Oh, what a Good idea!” She turned sleepily-tinged, sensual blue eyes up into his face. He mastered his own expression so that there was little to show apart from the little he wanted her to see and that was restrained kindness. “C'mon then, Lady, tuck in, for ’tis surely well past your bedtime already, so I do believe!”
He slipped off the arm of the chair and drawing another one up, twinned it beside hers. He helped Charity to select delicacies and placed them upon her plate for her.
The butler was standing, waiting for further orders, by the door.
“Have Fibbins get me landau. You can retire now.”
Charity could not but try to suppress a small and pleasurable yawn, which once again commanded her features. Yet, something perturbed her. She did so wish that His Lordship might, just for a second, attempt something which would encourage her that he was capable of human feelings - prove them as keen as the next man’s. Obviously, he was departing very soon. They ate in silence.
Charity ate heartily, for she was famished she decided: in more ways than one. Lord Seyton Clover passed a celery stick to her and she nibbled speculatively upon it. He ended his meal by taking a late peach and fondling its smooth velvety roundness between his hands, lifted it to his mouth and, with the juice coursing over his chin, bit into it. Hard.