Chapter 1

Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Fiction, Historical, Tear Jerker, Pregnancy, Slow,

Desc: Sex Story: Chapter 1 - The Moresby's are all set for a happy life together, until world and personal events exert their influence.

When Mariella St.Vincent was only nineteen years old her father arranged for her to marry. Although her husband had been chosen for her, she found the match to Richard Moresby, the Ninth Earl of Eastchester, quite agreeable. Her husband was fourteen years her senior and a career soldier, he was also tall and dashing. Mariella was fair-haired, pale-skinned, and beautiful! She looked forward to bearing his children and living happily for many years on the Eastchester Estate, in Derbyshire.

However, fate intervened, and after only two weeks of marriage, Richard Moresby's regiment was posted overseas on active service. He wrote as often as he could, but the mail still took some time to arrive. And then it stopped. As a new bride, and one unaccustomed to Army ways, she feared the worst. She knew the dangers of her husband's profession, and while the letters kept arriving she managed to live with her fear and loneliness; but not knowing anything was worse! After an interminable wait, she was visited by a senior officer from Richard's regiment: they had suffered heavy casualties and were returning home. However the news wasn't all good: Richard had suffered serious injuries and his army career was over.

"You must prepare yourself, Lady Moresby, Sir Richard's injuries will have a profound effect on both of your lives!"

"What ... what exactly..." She stumbled over the words.

"I'm afraid that you may find this rather harrowing, Lady Moresby! Sir Richard was caught in the blast of an exploding artillery shell. The surgeons think that he will regain partial sight, but it is too soon to know exactly how much. The blast also shattered the bones in his right leg, and they amputated below the knee. Can I fetch you some water, Lady Moresby!"

"Thank you, no! May I ask you, though: with injuries so severe, how did he survive?"

"It appears that one of his company was nearby and was less badly wounded. This man managed to tie a tourniquet on Sir Richard's leg to stop the bleeding, then, despite his own injuries, he carried your husband back to his lines!"

"If I may be indelicate, Major: my husband's greatest wish before he left was for heirs..." He smiled, sympathetically:

"I believe that there is still no natural impediment to that wish, Lady Moresby."

"And when can I expect my husband home, Major Carstairs?"

"By the end of next week I hope, My Lady!"

The servants were lined up outside Moresby Manor, awaiting the arrival of their employer. More than one heart was broken that day as the automobile pulled up outside the house and a matronly-looking woman in nurse's garb helped him out of the vehicle. He still wore his uniform, but the lower right trouser leg was now pinned up, and the eyeglasses on his face contained black, almost opaque, lenses. His nurse handed him his crutches and then steadied him as he stood tall.

"Richard!" Mariella exclaimed, fighting to control the emotion in her voice.

"Hello, My Dear! Who else is here?"

"All the staff, Darling!" He produced his best smile as he addressed everyone there:

"Thank you all for welcoming me home today! You will excuse me if I don't greet you all personally! Well, as you can see, not quite as much of me has returned this time! But life goes on, and I'd like you all to take a minute to think about all those poor wives and children, sweethearts and parents, whose lives are now permanently blighted by the loss of those who won't be returning, or who will live what's left of their lives with much more serious injuries than mine!

"I have been told that although my sight has been permanently damaged, it may improve a little in time; but until then, and perhaps afterwards, I will need you all to help me even more than you have done in the past ... and my wife, too, of course! She will no doubt try to do too much; but she will need your assistance, which I know that you will give freely! This other lady by my side, is my nurse, Mrs Chambers ... she will be here for some time, too, I imagine, taking care of my medical needs until I learn to function independently. Thank you all again for greeting me ... now let us get on with our lives as best we can!"

Once inside the house all the servants dispersed, except the butler.

"Mr Edwards, will you be so good as to show Mrs Chambers to her quarters ... I thought the room that my grandmother used to occupy! And have someone take her luggage up. Then perhaps you could arrange for her to have refreshments and explain the house routine to her! If you wouldn't mind giving me a little time with my wife, Mrs Chambers, I shall call you if I need you!"

"Very well, My Lord!"

"I am so sorry, My Darling: I fear that all of this has hit you hardest of all!" Richard Moresby said to his wife when they were alone at last, "I believe that every soldier who serves his country knows the risks, but a part of him never believes that he will be the one to get injured or killed! I know that I am no longer the man that you married, My Love, but I promise that I shall do everything in my power and within my resources to make you happy!" She took his hand in hers.

"It was a shock, Darling; but at least you came back to me! Hopefully we will have strong, healthy children in time, and we shall both live to be happy and proud of them!"

"Yes, a happy ideal! And in a few months, when the wound on my leg has healed completely, they are going to give me one of those false ones; then at least we'll be able to walk in the grounds together again! My biggest regret, Darling, is that I can no longer look upon that beautiful face of yours; but I have it locked safely away in my memory, and in my heart!"

"And when will we be able to try for children, Richard?"

"Not yet, I fear, My Love ... but soon I hope!"

"Richard, when Major Carstairs was here, he told me that your life was saved by one of your men ... do you know what happened to him; did he return, too?"

"Indeed he did!" Lord Moresby exclaimed, " ... In fact, you will be meeting him soon, I hope! As a token of my gratitude, I've given him a job and the use of one of the estate cottages! He's going to be one of my gamekeepers!"

"Then I truly look forward to seeing him so that I can thank him personally! What's his name?"

"Jack Campbell."

Time passed, and the Earl grew stronger, physically and mentally, and more used to his limitations. Although there were things that he couldn't do, something that he still could, was to ride. Richard and Mariella Moresby mounted their horses with the aid of his grooms: it was going to be more of a steady walk, rather than a canter or a gallop around their estate; as although Lord Moresby was now fit enough to ride, his impaired sight and leg injury meant that he would need to stay close by his wife's side. So as they rode they talked: Mariella describing as much as she could of the landscape that he knew so well but could no longer see for himself.

As they made their way slowly along one of the bridle paths, a man carrying a shotgun stepped deliberately onto the track in front of them. Whether it was the unexpected sight of a stranger with a gun, or the fact that she didn't think that she'd ever seen such a handsome man before, Mariella gave a little gasp that her husband heard.

"What is it, My Dear!"

"Begging your pardon, Captain! I believe I startled Her Ladyship!" Jack Campbell said. Richard Moresby smiled.

"Alas, Captain no more, Jack! Just Sir Richard from now on! Mariella, this is the man who saved my life! How are you, Jack: how are your family in London?"

"My Lady!" Jack said, touching the peak of his cap. "My parents and family are all well, Sir Richard, and I'm settling in to the 'keeper's cottage quite nicely! Joseph is good man, and I'm learning a lot from him!"

"Yes, he's been my family's gamekeeper since before I was born! As a boy I spent many hours in his company: it was he who taught me to shoot! I really must call in on him one day! Well, if you'll excuse me, Jack, we have a little more riding to do, then we must return to dress for dinner. I hope we'll meet again, soon!"

Jack once again looked up at Mariella with his blue eyes and touched his cap. She in turn nodded to acknowledge him. She wanted to look back as their horses walked on, but she didn't.

"Salt of the earth, and a damn fine soldier ... as were all those brave lads. Such a damn pity so few came home!" Sir Richard declared, wistfully.

"You know, Mariella, the best way to see the estate is on foot: I shall have to get Joseph or Jack to take you out one day! Would you like that, Darling!"

"Yes, Richard, I think I would!" she said: the image of the handsome gamekeeper was still fresh in her memory.

The time had arrived for Sir Richard to be fitted with his prosthetic limb, so he and Nurse Chambers were travelling down to London by motorcar. She would visit her own family while he was receiving treatment; and how well he did in London would determine how much longer she stayed in Derbyshire with him after that. Before he left, Sir Richard had contacted his Head Keeper: to arrange for Mariella's walking tour of the estate. At that time it was undecided who would be her guide, and she couldn't say who her preference was for.

"What do you think I should I wear, Richard?" she had asked him.

"Oh, a pair of stout boots and nothing too restrictive!" was all he said.

"Then not a long skirt and petticoats. You men have it much easier! Do you think I dare wear a pair of your knee britches, Richard ... I can alter them to make them fit me better!"

" ... Well, as you're only going to be on the estate, and largely out of sight, and it was my idea; they are the most appropriate form of apparel!"

Sir Richard's motorcar was loaded with their travelling luggage, he kissed his wife goodbye, and then he and his nurse set off for London. Mariella didn't know exactly how long he would be away: it could be a week, or it could be longer. It was high summer and she was looking forward to her own excursion. She loved her husband, but she now spent much of the day in or around the house as his mobility was limited; and even simple horse rides had to be planned in detail, and the weather had to be constant before they could go.

A pair of her husband's knee-length tweed britches had been altered to fit her slender waist; but despite there being generous amounts of material still there, they couldn't adequately disguise her shapely female derriĀre! And although Joseph was a trusted employer, and Jack was the man who had saved Sir Richard's life; such a garment on a woman, married or otherwise, was still considered to be shocking! But when she tried them on and looked in the mirror at her reflection, she found the sight both thrilling and liberating; and when worn over cotton drawers and without a tight-bodied camisole, quite the most comfortable things she thought she'd ever worn! She of course wished that her husband had his sight back; but at the same time she was glad that he couldn't see her ... for although he had himself suggested her choice of attire, she was sure that if he had seen her wearing them, his approval would be just as readily rescinded!

It was agreed that she and her guide would meet by the stables. Despite her elevated position, her new outfit drew a few smirks from the young stable boys: but a sharp look from Her Ladyship was the only censure needed to have them scurrying off to attend to their duties elsewhere. Mariella was not a scold by nature, and she smiled to herself after they had gone ... and she had to admit that she must have looked a strange sight in her mannish clothes.

She was clad from the waist down to her knees in tweed, below which were long hose, and on her feet her own petite walking out boots. The upper half of her body was covered with a plain, white, ladies shirt; over which was worn one of the fitted waistcoats that she usually wore under her riding habit. She also wore leather gloves on her hands, and one of Sir Richards tweed caps on her head, to keep out the sun. However, although masculine by nature, in no way did the clothing detract from her innate femininity. The faintest of smiles appeared on her visage as Jack Campbell walked towards her. Before meeting Mariella, Jack had called at the house to collect various foodstuffs from the kitchen, which he carried in a pack on his back.

"Good morning, Mr Campbell! I was expecting Joseph!" she said; not entirely truthfully.

"Good morning to you, My Lady! Joseph sends his apologies ... he has estate business that prevents his attending you himself; but he is confident that my knowledge of the estate is now sufficient to undertake the task in his stead! I took the liberty of cutting you a staff, which you may find useful as we make our way along. Does Your Ladyship have to be back by any particular hour?"

"Thank you for the staff! May I call you, Jack, Mr Campbell! I only have to be back in time to dress for dinner this evening! Shall we proceed!"

The Earl's Estate covered several thousand acres, much of which to the north of the Manor House was forest. The rest was parkland: some of which had been landscaped to provide pleasing vistas; but the majority was natural meadows and heathland, which in the past had provided the ideal environment for game shooting parties. Although Sir Richard could no longer shoot, himself; he had expressed a desire to maintain the game stocks for future sport, or to provide for the needs of the Manor House. And where there was game, there were poachers: which meant that Joseph and his keepers must remain vigilant. Sir Richard and his father and grandfather had always been privately unconcerned about poaching on a small scale; but publicly it was not condoned, lest it became the norm rather than the exception. First offenders when caught were cautioned, but repeat offenders were prosecuted.

There were also several lakes on the estate: some kept well-stocked with game fish; some purely ornamental; whilst others, fed from natural sources, provided the water supply to the house.

They walked at a steady pace, which Jack set to accommodate Mariella's convenience; but as the sun rose higher in the sky, he noticed that she appeared to be tiring.

"Would Your Ladyship care to stop shortly to rest, and to have a bite to eat!"

"I think that would be most welcome, Jack: where do you suggest?"

"Well, we are quite close to one of the feeder lakes, My Lady: perhaps no more than ten minutes!"

"Perfect!" she replied, "I don't even usually come this far on horseback with my husband! How far are we from the house now?"

" ... I reckon about three miles, My Lady! Only the keepers usually come this far north!"

The lake was fed from an underground source, so there were no fish. Many years ago, clay pipes were laid in gradually sloping, hand-dug trenches leading towards the house. The engineers responsible had considered it inadvisable and impractical to lay one, long, continuous length, so several smaller lakes, which acted as header tanks, interrupted the flow at intervals, and each lake could be isolated from the next or preceding one in the chain.

"It's very peaceful here!" Mariella exclaimed when they reached the lake, "Richard said that you lived in London, Jack: this must be very different for you!"

"Yes, My Lady ... but when you grow up around constant noise, you almost stop noticing it! But the countryside is rarely completely quiet either: whether it's the birds or the beasts; or just the rustle of the leaves on the trees..." He took off his pack and laid a clean cloth on flat ground.

"I'm afraid the food might be a trifle warm, My Lady: but the water in the lake is cool and pure enough to drink!"

"Please help yourself to something to eat, Jack ... and would you object if I removed my boots and hose!"

"No, My Lady ... if it pleases!" It was an unprecedented level of informality; considering the difference in their social status; but they were some distance from other people. He tried not to look directly at her as she unlaced her boots and rolled down her thick stockings. They were both feeling quite relaxed by now, so Mariella also unbuttoned her confining waistcoat.

"Jack, I'd like to ask you about how my husband received his injuries; if the memory isn't too painful for you! I believe that you were also injured that day. I have asked him myself, but he says it's not something that he remembers very well..."

"Well, My Lady, it is my understanding that sometimes the memory of people who have been in such situations as Sir Richard, is impaired ... it is supposed to naturally assist the healing process. But there are other poor souls who can't forget, and the memories continue to haunt their waking and sleeping hours. I believe that I have been fortunate in that respect: I remember, but I do not suffer.

"The events of that day are still quite clear to me: we were stood down and trying to get some rest; although we were under constant bombardment. It was probably not rest in the sense that you understand it, My Lady; but in such situations I have seen men fall sound asleep while on their feet. Sir Richard was with the other officers in their tent when the shell landed nearby ... I was perhaps thirty feet away at the time. I thought that I had escaped injury completely, but when I first stood up to see if I could help, I could see blood coming from my thigh.

"When I first got to the officers' tent, I believed that everyone there was dead; but then I saw your husband move slightly. Apart from his leg, which I knew then was probably lost, I couldn't see any other injury, so I tied the tourniquet using a length of guy rope from the tent and bound the wound as best I could. I found my sergeant and told him that I had to get the Captain back before he bled to death. The other uninjured lads were looking after the wounded, so I managed to get Sir Richard over my shoulder and made my way back as best I could.

"I must have lost quite a lot of blood myself, because I don't remember what happened after that. The next thing I knew, I was lying on a cot. I was weak, but I was alive. I asked someone about my Captain, and they said that he was only a few beds away. The rest is quite straight-forward, My Lady: we stayed there until it was time to be shipped home. As my injuries were less severe than your husband's, I acted as his aide and we spent many hours talking about our respective lives. And begging your pardon, My Lady, but he talked about how beautiful you were, and how much he was looking forward to seeing you again ... at that time his eyes were still bandaged and I don't think he'd been told the full extent of his injuries! Well, when we arrived back in England we were together briefly in the Charing Cross Hospital, which is where we parted. But before we did, he offered me the keepers job." Mariella was truly moved by the account:

"Thank you, Jack, for telling me that, and for all you did for Richard!"

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