© 2001 Charmbrights Ltd. All rights reserved.
The author has asserted the moral rights under sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
A note to the Political Correctness brigade: I have used the terminology appropriate to the early nineteenth century. Terms such as 'Indian' and 'savage' which might give offence today are authentic and in no way intended to be derogatory.
As the stage-coach rumbled and bumped on its bone-shaking way on the seventh morning since she left New York, Becky wondered if her poor bottom would ever be comfortable again. The journey had been bruising to her twenty-year-old body in a way that nothing in her whole life had been, and even the prospect of marrying in the next few hours did not loom large in her shaken mind.
It had all started when her parents died some five years earlier in one of the periodic mini-epidemics that surged through all big cities. As a sixteen-year-old orphan of poor parents the only respectable options open to her were to work for minuscule wages in a factory or, if she was very lucky, to get a job as a maidservant in some richer household. Becky was in luck; the pastor of her parents' church, the Reverend Jones, needed a girl to keep house for him as his wife was sickly after having seven pregnancies in as many years. Her time with then was happy, for the pastor was that rarity in America in the early nineteenth century, a truly good and godly man, and he treated her kindly. The work was hard, keeping a house neat and tidy, looking after an invalid and the three surviving children, preparing meals for then all, and cleaning the pastor's church, but she managed quite well once a routine was established.
Then, just after her twenty-first birthday, a mild epidemic of influenza struck in March and Mrs. Jones succumbed in the first days, as did the two-year-old daughter; their deaths seemed to sap the Reverend Jones of all will to live, and he too died a fortnight later. The two boys were taken in by members of the congregation, but there was nowhere for Becky to go.
The advertisement for a bride to go and join a pioneer in the West seemed like a god-sent opportunity to her. She read carefully all that he wrote, that his name was Charlie, that he was a thirty-year-old teetotaller, had gone out West four years earlier, and had already established a small farm with a log cabin which he had built himself. What he offered was marriage and a home, but there were few women in the frontier, except saloon girls - this reference she did not understand - and so he was looking for a "mail order bride". The advertisement came through the church and there was a reference from the pastor of Charlie's local congregation confirming the facts, so Becky took her courage in her hands and accepted this proposal of marriage from a man she had never seen.
Now the stage-coach would reach the small settlement of Hard Shoulder Narrows in a few hours and the enormity of her venture was being borne in on her, not least by the aches and pains from the journey. In a few hours she would be a married woman; tonight she would learn all about what men and women did in bed at night to make babies. Of course, she knew that she was to "give herself" and that would make her a "proper woman" and that a baby would then grow in her belly and be born through her private parts nine months later, but beyond that all was very vague. The Reverend had visited his wife's sick room some nights and there were gruntings and groanings and much creaking of bedsprings, but what they actually did she had never known, and her own mother had not explained anything to her.
The stage-coach drew up in a small town with a saloon, a hotel, a tiny church, and a jailhouse. On the other side of the street was a larger building which was a general store.
As she got down from the coach, a man stepped forward and said in a surprisingly deep baritone voice, "I'm Charlie, are you Rebeccah?"
"Yes," she replied meekly, "but everyone calls me Becky."
"Becky it is then," he smiled at her and they both stopped to take stock of the stranger they were to marry in the next half-an-hour.
She saw a small man, only her own height of 5'6", about 130lbs. with fair hair, a small moustache and kind face, smiling widely. She was immediately taken with him, and was sure now she had made the right decision. This was the man she would belong to in a few minutes and he would then control the rest of her life, and she was sure - though she didn't know why - that he would take good care of her.
He saw a tallish woman with homely features, a plump figure, and reddish hair. She wasn't a beauty, but she was here and she had agreed to marry him. As housekeeper to a pastor, he knew she must have been capable and respectable, so she would suit him down to the ground. Life on the frontier was not easy, but it was easier if there were two of you to share the work and to help each other.
In the back of his mind was the thought that keeping her would cost less than he had been paying in the saloon for his weekly coupling with one of the saloon girls, and he could have her as often as he wanted, all to himself, and she was almost certainly a virgin. Of course, she wouldn't know any of the tricks the girls did; she wouldn't play games with his prick, but a proper respectable wife shouldn't do such things, they were for sinners.
Home Sweet Home
Just then an odd looking man, dressed in clothes that appeared to be roughly sewn together animal skins, with a dark skin and jet black hair formed into two long plaits went past.
"Who was that?" she asked.
"Oh, just some Indian," Charlie replied, "They comes into town from time to time. Usually they gives no trouble, but if they gets some liquor inside them they can be a problem. Don't pay the savages no mind; nobody else does."
He led the way to a horse and wagon that was standing outside the church with the reins wound round a hitching rail.
Lifting her trunk on to the wagon, he said, "We'll leave this here while we get married."
Then he led her in to the church where there were three men waiting for them. Becky was introduced to them as "the Reverend", "my friend Fred" and "my friend Enoch". The pastor started the service immediately and with no special introduction.
"Do you take this woman, Rebeccah Charity Harris, to be..."
"Do you take this man, Charles Ebenezer Pearce, to be..."
Almost before Becky had caught her breath they were outside, on the wagon and leaving town. It took half an hour to reach the farmstead and as they approached it there were fields with new growing corn and one with a few cattle in. The farmhouse itself was a low log cabin with a turf roof and boards over the windows. It seemed small compared with the houses she had known in New York, but a surge of happiness ran through her body as she realised, for the first time, this was her home to keep and make nice in her own way. Of course, to please her - husband - but essentially as she wanted it.
Almost before taking her cloak off, Becky started to be a housewife. She set a kettle to boiling on the stove and moved a few things about, just to be tidier. Charlie took her outside and showed her how the shutters opened and closed, where the water-pump was and where the privy was, and stressed the need to keep the windows and door barred and bolted whenever he was not there.
"Why must I do that?" she asked, mystified.
"In case of Indians attacking," came the disquieting reply, "It ain't happened yet, but it might. Someone's been selling them guns and they're getting sort of fidgety."
Soon it was evening and as the sun set Becky looked around for a lamp to light.
Charlie said, "We don't use no lamps hereabouts. We kinda go to bed when the sun sets and git up when it gits up. You go in the room now and I'll come in in a while."
Becky went into the bedroom and was suddenly very frightened of the enormity of what she had done. She had travelled for days and married this total stranger, and now he was to do to her, whatever "it" was that would make her a woman, his woman. She had been proud and happy to have her own house and a husband, but now she must "give herself" and that was all a part of it.
Pulling herself together, she quickly undressed and put on her best flannel night-dress with the buttons down the front from neck to waist. Then she got into the big bed, obviously made by Charlie for two to sleep in, 'And what else?' she wondered.
Charlie came into the room a little while later and undressed. He climbed into the bed beside her and as his body touched her hand she was startled to realise that he was naked. Of course, she had seen the pastor's two boys naked in New York, but they were only seven and five years old. This was a grown man and she thought he should have known better than to get into bed naked.
He rolled towards her and stroked her face. Then his hand trailed down over her shoulder and on to her bosoms, which made her nervous again. As he felt her trembling, he did not persist with this stroking, but lifted the skirt of her night-gown up to her waist and thrust his hand into her private parts, poking and probing in a very rude way. Before she could protest or push his hand away, he had climbed on top of her, pushed her knees apart and was poking her much harder with a thick stick which he had somehow brought into the bed. Then she screamed as the stick went right into her private parts, splitting something and hurting her terribly.
If this was "giving herself" and being "made a woman" she wanted as little of it as possible. Charlie bounced up and down on her for a few painful seconds and then she felt a hot sensation right inside her and he shuddered and rolled off her. Within a few moments he was snoring beside her and as the pain in her belly subsided she could feel something oozing out of her body.
She woke during the night to find him on top of her again, and it was just as painful as before, though it took longer this time for Charlie to finish. In the morning, about dawn he took her again. This time it didn't hurt so much, though she was sore from the in and out rubbing.
Charlie slipped from the bed and put his trousers on with his back to her, then went into the other room while she rose and took off her night-dress. She was appalled to find blood on her thighs, her night-dress and the bedclothes. Quickly washing her thighs with cold water, she dressed and went into the other room.
"Where do we wash clothes?" she asked.
"In the creek, like everybody," came the reply, which was not comforting to a city girl, "Why? What needs washing?"
"The... the bed clothes, and... my night-gown," she stammered, blushing.
"Blood?" he asked.
Again she blushed even deeper and nodded.
"Hey!" Charlie shouted, "I got me a virgin!"
Becky quickly became accustomed to Charlie's demands on her body; he would roll onto her almost every night and again some mornings. It didn't hurt any more, but she was puzzled that he seemed to think that she might enjoy being impaled by his "thing" as she thought of it. He also rubbed and squeezed her bosoms, even demanding to see them sometimes in the morning when it was light enough. He insisted that during the summer she sleep without a night-dress though she thought that might be rather sinful.
Her monthly visitor came and went with monotonous regularity and she was no nearer having a baby. She even asked Charlie if he wanted to start one, and he explained he had been trying night and morning and that his penetration of her and the hot sticky liquid he left in her was supposed to make a baby.
She was now a happy and respectable wife, with a few friends at the church and among the other wives. Charlie was indeed hard working, sober and quite a pillar of the community. Becky reflected when praying that, although she didn't love Charlie, she had much to be grateful for, and asked God to send her a baby to complete their little family.
The attack was totally unexpected. Charlie was milking one of the cattle beside the house when a dozen or so mounted Indians came over the rise and started to yell. He was cut down with an arrow in his back as he ran to the house and Becky, coming outside to see what the commotion was about, was just in time to see an Indian stand up brandishing his bloody scalp. At this she fainted.
When she came round some minutes later, she was still on the ground beside the cabin which was on fire. Groggily she tried to get up but was immediately grabbed by the hair and her captor waved a wicked-looking knife in her face. Convinced that she was about to die, she closed her eyes and started to pray.
Then she felt the knife at her throat and almost fainted again. It moved swiftly downwards, splitting her dress down the front and leaving her nakedness visible as the savage tore it off her body. She did faint then.
When she recovered her senses once more she was face down across the knees of a man on horseback. It was not the most comfortable way to ride, she thought disjointedly. Then she realised she was naked, and the knees belonged to an Indian, and not to a "man". This was clearly going to be a fate worse than death. She was being kidnapped to be the slave of an Indian tribe and all the braves would take their turns using her in the way that only a husband had the right to do. She had heard all the tales, and there was one outcast white woman in town who had lived with an Indian tribe for some years. Nobody spoke to her. She resolved to kill herself at the first opportunity, as any respectable woman would.
When they reached the Indian village, she was unceremoniously decanted on to the ground then dragged, by the hair again, to a post where she was tied up and left. Nobody came near her for a while, then the first ones to show any interest in her were the children, the most daring of whom threw dirt at her. Soon the squaws came to inspect her and she was poked and prodded and her arms and bosoms were squeezed. She was almost beetroot coloured all over with shame.
Several braves came and looked at her, but all turned away without so much as touching her, let alone molesting her. Then she realised, they were waiting for it to be dark. Sex, in her life, had always been an activity of the night and she assumed they observed the same convention.
A large Indian with a fine head-dress came to look at her, and then cut the bonds holding her to the tree. Taking her by one arm he started to lead her towards a large tepee. This was Becky's opportunity; wriggling from his grasp, she ran towards the woods beside the village, expecting to be shot and killed any second. As she ran frantically, a hand grasped her hair and jerked her painfully to a halt. It was the Chief again; he had caught her with little effort and to dissuade her from running again he cuffed her round each ear, making her head ring. Then he took her to his tepee and threw her on the floor, shouting something in his own language.
A squaw came in and threw some clothes beside her, so Becky scrambled to her feet and started to put them on. This earned her another ringing box on the ear.
"Wash clothes," said the Chief, "Not wear them."
"You speak English?" asked Becky, amazed.
"Speak white tongue to trade," he explained, "You mine. You wash, cook, mend. I save you from die."
And so Becky came to live as a menial slave in the tents of the Indians. As time passed her fear of being raped by the Chief subsided since he evinced no interest in her at all. He had several squaws, whom he used quite openly in front of her at any time the mood took him. The first time he did so, she was horrified.
She and one of the lower ranking squaws were scraping a bison hide ready for curing when the Chief came in to the tepee and said something to his woman. She at once stood up and dropped her clothing; he too stripped and they lay on the bedding of skins and started to fondle each other's private parts. This was the first time Becky had ever seen an adult male naked, and the size of his "thing" was a revelation. No wonder it had hurt when Charlie first took her. However, this seemed different, because the squaw was not just letting the Chief have her; she was a willing, even eager, participant.
After the Chief had finished, which took a long time, he rose and dressed. As he left the tepee he patted Becky on the head in a friendly way, as one might a pet dog. The squaw came back to the scraping with a very satisfied smile on her face and made a gesture to Becky, waving her hand in a big arc over her belly, which obviously meant that she believed or hoped that she had just been made pregnant.
After that, Becky saw the Chief use his younger squaws quite often and several of them did become pregnant. All of them seemed quite unconcerned that Becky was in the tent as they lay with their husband, and he clearly didn't care who saw him, or them, naked. Becky herself had almost forgotten that she only wore a small apron most of the time, as befitted a slave scarcely more than an animal.