Seduction was hardly ever my forte; I was not very good at it. Most women laughed at my attempts. I was usually the plain, straightforward man with an obvious need who seldom took a woman’s refusal seriously until she hit him a couple of times. I will have to admit to a rape or two in the line of duty, but I am truly ashamed of those, although I may well have enjoyed them.
When the old lady with the fan told me she wanted me to go into the city and seduce a woman, a girl really since she was barely eighteen years old, I begged off.
“But she’s true beauty,” the Madam said, showing me a miniature painting of a dark haired young woman with a fine profile.
“Then she would not look at me,” I said. I spread my hands and turned about once.
Madam Von R-- chuckled. “But you do clean up well and when you are properly dressed, there is nothing really offensive about you. Give it a try. If you fail, we’ll find someone prettier. Right now, I have no one else to send.”
So I shaved, found clean linen, polished my boots and rode on into the city, feeling the fool. I carried a note of introduction from a man we had compromised and my goal was to ingratiate myself in the household and then get the girl to betray her uncle and guardian, a high Tory official who was enriching himself at the expense of those rebels who had not fled.
The young lady received me, dressed in a modest but stylish manner, her hair loosely curled about her ears and lying halfway down her straight back. She took my arm, showed me the gardens behind her uncle’s large home and then sat with me in a vine-covered gazebo. She seemed at ease and very self-assured. I felt like an adolescent dummy with unruly joints.
We talked of weather and shortages, and I eventually asked her opinion of the conflict.
“I’m not allowed to have one,” she said calmly, her heavy-lashed eyes on my face. “Why do you ask?”
“Mr. B--, your guardian, is well known for his, shall we say, his outright support of the King and the King’s minions. Isn’t he proud of his part in the Hale affair?”
“Ah,” she said with a tiny smile, “minions is an odd word to pick. It suggests you may be a rebel. Is that so?”
“If I had to choose, yes, I would choose those who oppose the government and its taxes and restrictions on us, not just the King, but his minions as well.”
‘Fah,” she said with a shake of her head. “Politics. And men are dying for it aren’t they?”
“Oh yes,” I said, “many men, Americans, Germans, English, all sorts.”
“What can a maiden do?” she asked. “It’s men’s affair isn’t it?”
I shook my head and looked serious, taking her hand gently. She did not withdraw it. “Many women have suffered, many have worked for their cause, on both sides, but I know the patriot side better where women have labored to support the men in arms, the cause of freedom.”
She licked her lips and swallowed. “I met a man, a young officer, who told me some women had sacrificed their,” she hesitated, “their reputation, their bodies in support of the King, the loyal cause. Can that be true?”
I released her hand and sat back, crossing my legs and admiring her youth and beauty; I thought about the madam’s “nieces” and their sacrifice. She had such good posture, such grace. She was quite desirable. I chuckled. “It is true I fear. Some women in these parts have thrown themselves at redcoat officers and their foreign friends, fallen on the backs, spread their legs, oh, sorry, that was crude.”
She flushed very prettily and looked away. “I understand,” she said.
“You may have noticed girls flocking to men in gaudy uniforms, the more gold lace the better.”
“It’s a pity for, so I’m told, women have given themselves to men who have made promises they cannot keep, men who have wives and families in the old country and are courting American girls and taking them as wives, wives they do not intend to maintain.”
“That’s terrible,! Can it be true?” She looked horrified.
“Ask about. I’d wager there are a dozen girls in your circle of friends who have been so deceived. They may not admit it, of course.” I was very happy with the direction the conversation had taken, made my excuses, asked if I might call again and escorted the lovely girl back to her home. At the door, I bent and kissed her palm, pulling her close. When I looked up, our noses almost touched and we could feel each other’s breath. She smiled. I kissed her lips very quickly, bowed and departed and she put her fingers to her soft mouth. My cock stirred.
I dined at a tavern. played some cards, ignored the place’s whores, and slept well and deeply. In the morning I pissed off my erection, scraped my face, broke my fast, hired a rig and went to the girl’s home, knocked, entreated her to ride with me and within the hour was alone with her in the countryside, ignoring the call of my swollen stones.
“No chaperone?” I asked as we watched the old river glide past.
“I’m eighteen now, a proper spinster,” she said with a laugh. “My uncle may not trust me, but I do not tell him everything I do.”
She let me hold her hand, and we put the conversation back on the revolution.
“Well, a young woman visited me last evening, a girl I have known for years. I asked about your tale, about British officers deceiving American women. She said it was true, that she knew of several cases, one in which a very young girl had been defiled by several men who plied her with drink.”
I nodded sagely.
“She said several women had borne children who were now fatherless.”
“Sad business,” I said, shaking my head.
We ate the lunch she had packed, talked some more about various things, enjoyed the soft day, and went on back to her home well before sunset. She invited me in to meet her uncle. I hesitated but agreed. It was a mistake.
The man was furious, and he was not alone. Beside him stood a red-faced British officer, a grenadier by his get-up, with wide shoulders and big hands, a man for forty-five or so I guessed, a professional artillery man. “Here I have invited Captain Charles to come meet you, have given him permission to court you, and where are you, off lollygagging with some cretin.”
I slowed my breathing and curbed my anger.
“Courting me,” cried the girl. “I can’t believe it.”
“He has asked about your dowry,” said her uncle.
“Humph,” said the captain after looking me up and down and making a sour face, “was she out with this ruffian unaccompanied?”
Having been called a ruffian and a cretin in quick order, I began to become a bit annoyed. I grabbed the captain by the front of his fancy uniform, twisted hard, lifted him off his feet and shook him until his teeth rattled and his eyes bounced up and down. Then I tossed him into a chair and drew my big blade. While the girl’s uncle grabbed at my arm, I flicked open one of the Brit’s nostrils and then shook off the older man and told him to sit down. The girl watched from a corner, both hands to her mouth.
“You named me right; I’m a ruffian,” I said to the bleeding captain who had produced a handkerchief from his sleeve and was blotting at his injured nose. “Suppose you tell this gentleman,” I pointed at the angry uncle with my big sticker, “about your home and family. What’s your wife’s name?”
“Eleanor,” he said. “We live in Hemstead, on a rocky hillside.”
“Children?” I asked, flicking off one of his shiny buttons.
“Seven, yes, seven, she just bore me another son.” He sniffed but his nose still bled. “Some months ago. At least I hope its mine.”
“And your intentions here, with this young lady?” I demanded.
He laughed and spat into his handkerchief. “Dalliance, sir, look at her; she’d pass for a milkmaid back home. Man said he’d gi’me a hundred pounds to take ‘er off his hands.”
I glanced at her sputtering uncle. He slumped back in his chair.
“Be gone,” I said to the Brit. “I’d carve out your liver for tup’pence.”
He stood, yanked down the skirt of his jacket with his free hand, bowed to the pale uncle, ignored the girl and stamped away, handkerchief to his florid face.
“Please,” I said to the girl, gesturing to a chair. She sat and the three of us had a long and interesting conversation which led to the family lawyer being called and by sundown a paper drawn that outlined the young woman’s prerogatives as well as insuring her fortune, the money left by her parents plus their farms and chattels. That done, the uncle, now removed completely from his control of the young woman, bowed himself from the room and disappeared.
“I still have a job to do,” I told her when we were alone. “Your uncle has been persecuting and stealing from patriots.”
“You mean rebels,” she said with a smile.
“Indeed,” I said as she crossed the room and sat herself down on my lap with an arm about my neck.
“Tomorrow,” she said. “I think you have done enough for today. I will be leaving here. Shall I join the madam’s merry band of, what shall I call them?”
“I call them nieces myself, a wonderful and happy group of hard workers, that’s what they are.”
She nodded and kissed me. “Am I qualified?”
“You are surely pretty enough,” I said, returning her kiss.
“But,” she said, casting her eyes down in fake demureness, “I am but a simple maiden.”
“There is a cure for that,” I whispered to her ear as I cupped a breast and brought it to my lips.
She wriggled free. “Sir,” she said, “how familiar.”
“Deflowering maidens is not one of my skills,” I said. “I could send you a slim young man who has done scores and is considered a master at it.”
“Really,” she said, kissing me open-mouthed and slipping her tongue between my lips. “Is he as well equipped for the work as you are?”
“I am shocked,” I said, hugging her, “such a question from a maiden.”
She giggled. “Come,” she said, standing and taking my hand, “I will teach you.”
“The process has been known to be a bit noisy,” I said. “Your uncle may be scandalized.”
Up the long flight of stairs she pulled me and into her ornate room. She unbuckled my heavy belt and put my bayonet on a tall chair. Then she came into my arms and melted.