© 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.
.... There is more of this story ...