Adapted From A Traditional English Folk Song
(For those who would like to hear this song played at its best, I'd suggest any of the versions performed by Fairport Convention. 'Matty' has been in their repitore for almost thirty years now and has been recorded many times. The definitive example is on an album called 'Lief & Liege' and has the late, great Sandy Denny handling the vocals. But all the bands various versions are worth listening to. Janet)
Lady Darnell, well muffled against the sharp winter weather in her fur coat and thick velvet dress, entered the church accompanied by her ladies-in-waiting and made her sedate way to the reserved family pew. The gathered commoners of the estate waited in respectful silence as the unusually unsmiling Lady took her place before nodding to the Reverend Father, granting him permission to begin his service. One of the privileges of her station was not having to wait, not even in the church. But considering that it was her family who had paid for the construction three generations previously and also considering that it was her husband who employed everyone for miles about, she felt that she deserved these small indulgences.
The Lady settled back into her seat and prepared to be bored for an hour or so. Not that she wasn't bored most of her life. Her marriage to Lord Darnell, only just over a year old, had always been a loveless one, made only because of political expedience between her father and the previous, and recently deceased, Lord Darnell. However, both she and her husband worked hard at keeping up appearances with the result that only their closest and most senior household servants knew the truth of how they really lived. Lady Darnell toiled hard with her responsibilities and she maintained a tight grip upon the affairs of the house and estate in the absence of her much older husband. However, things within the marriage bed had been degenerating over last year to the point where their lovemaking, which had been lacklustre at best, had now ceased to take place at all. Lady Darnell knew full well that her husband was almost incapable of satisfying a woman unless he first used that damned riding crop that he carried about with him at all times upon her bare posterior... and the Lady had quickly put a stop to that kind of abuse within weeks of the wedding by the simply expedient of telling her husband that, were he to continue with such a perversion with her, she would inform her powerful and influential father about this. With this stalemate reached, it looked as if there would not be a legitimate heir to the Darnell estate... although the way that the Lord used his privileges (and crop) with some of the common wenches, there might well be several illegitimate claimants... if some of the bastards were not already running about! Of course, what was sauce for the goose was most certainly not sauce for the gander and, as a Lady, she was not permitted to chase after some of the male peasants which was a shame for, without a manly husband, her 'needs' were becoming urgent. And, as a good looking woman who had only seen twenty-three summers she would not have had many problems attracting suitors... apart from the fact that she was part of the nobility. But ever were she living at Court, her long blond tresses, her trim yet buxom figure and her quick smile would have attracted the attentions of many of the most powerful men in the land... and with them, of course, discrete liaisons could have easily conducted. Yet, out here in the countryside, there was little hope for her. Not that some of the young peasant lads didn't make her blood pound in her veins... that youngest Groves lad, for example. Lady Darnell had to stifle a smile as she though of how the locals called him 'Little' Matty Groves; little, indeed! Barely eighteen, he towered over every other man in the village; broad of shoulder yet lean at the waist, he had gained his now inappropriate nickname only because of him being the twelfth and youngest son of Groves the Smith. Now with him she'd gladly be the anvil to his hammer at the smithy!
At last the vicar finally droned to a halt and the final hymn was sung. Now she could leave... but only after all the commoners had departed. Tradition demanded that the Lady and her entourage be the last to depart so that they would have the chance to 'mingle' with their yokels outside the church, giving the Lord and Lady a chance to praise, reprimand or instruct each of their peasants without the need to summon them individually to the big house. Resigned to carrying out her duty to the fullest extent, Lady Darnell ensured that she spoke to at least one member for each and every family there - bar one. As each family was spoken to, they departed and returned to their own homes for their midday meal. Finally, only the Lady and her maids along with their coachman remained... and the Groves family. With a face broadcasting sorrow, Lady Darnell approached eldest of the brothers and, again, expressed her sympathy over the tragic loss of their father who had passed away only a fortnight previously. Again the Lady asked if they were coping and if their was anything that she or the Lord could do to help.
"You are very kind, my Lady, to ask... but no, we need nothing but your prayers."
"And your mother?"
"Alas, my Lady, she is old and grieves. She sends her apologies for not attending the service but..."
Lady Darnell smiled graciously... as she had been instructed in her youth. "Do not worry yourself, James. That is perfectly understandable. Now, get yourselves off home and attend to her."
The Groves family muttered their thanks, tugged at their forelocks and turned to depart.
"Oh, Matty," the Lady called. "Just before you go, would you please have a look at the grey mare for me? I think that one of her shoes is coming loose."
Flashing his oldest bother a rueful glance, Matty turned towards the Lady's coach. "Not at all, my Lady," he said as he strode purposely over to the horse, followed by Lady Darnell who, unseen by all apart from her maids, waved them away. One by one, Matty lifted each of the horses' hooves and examined them. "I see no problems, my Lady..." he commented hesitantly, well aware that contradicting one of is betters was a risky course of action.
"That is because there is none," she replied.
"Then I don't understand, my Lady..."
"Why do you not come home with me, Little Matty Groves? Come home with me tonight... and sleep with me till light?" whispered the Lady, surprising herself with her own daring.
Matty was aghast. "Oh, I can't! I can't come home and sleep with you till light for by the rings on your fingers tell the world that you are Lord Darnell's wife... and his property!"
"What if I am Lord Darnell's wife? Lord Darnell is not home for he is out if the far cornfields bringing the yearlings home. He will be away... at least three or four more days."
"I... I do not know, my Lady. It would be dangerous..."
"Which would add spice to the coupling, would it not? And I know tricks that the village girls have no knowledge of..."
"I... I will think on it, my Lady. But now I must go."
"Indeed, Matty, indeed. Until later, then..."
Lady Darnell smiled at Matty's broad back as he now followed the rest of his family back down the hill into the village. Perhaps she would not have been smiling quite so widely if she had known that the coachman was not as far away as she had thought and that the man had overheard almost every word of the conversation...
After returning his Lady and her two maids back to the Manor House, the coachman acted quickly for he knew well where his duty lay and he had long decided that his master must learn of what was planned long before the sun was to set. Leaving the house with a lopping pace, the servant set off towards where he knew Lord Darnell was labouring in the fields. Bending his back, he ran... and ran until, after several hours he came upon the broad mill stream, so flooded with winter waters that the stepping stones had totally vanished under the grey, swirling surface. With little other choice, the coachman removed his shoes and swan across the...
As darkness fell, a pleasantly surprised Lady Darnell pulled the nervous Matty into her boudoir where the fire roared in its grate, casting a welcoming orange glow around the sumptuous crimson velvet draped room. The sharp hiss and pop of the burning logs was the only sound as the flames danced and twisted onto themselves struggling to warm the large room against the impending winter chill.
Matty's palms were damp as he felt her soft fingers entwine into his. Her fragrance was overpowering yet seductive. His ardour was instantly aroused as she glided across the thick carpet towards the large four poster bed, the soft glow of the fire silhouetting her body under the sheer white silk gown that she wore. He could have not resisted her feminine charms if Satan himself burst into the room.
She moved into his embrace, pressing her body against his. Her full breasts firm against his chest, he could feel the hard nipples straining against the silk. Matty's hands moved along the gentle curve of her spine, gliding down to cup the soft round bottom pulling her towards him.
.... There is more of this story ...