Chapter 7: Healing the Wounds

Copyright© 2005 by Argon

Historical Sex Story: Chapter 7: Healing the Wounds - This is set twenty years after the events of "In the Navy". The lives of Anthony Carter and his family are turned topsy-turvy by the arrival of Ellen, a young shepherdess. Follow the lives of the Carters and their friends and relatives during the late regency era and explore foreign countries and cultures with them. History is not necessarily dry!

Caution: This Historical Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   mt/ft   Fa/ft   Teenagers   Consensual   Romantic   Rape   Lesbian   Heterosexual   Historical   Tear Jerker   First   Oral Sex   Masturbation   Petting  

Sir Jonathan was thoroughly drained. He had come from the Carters’ house where he had tended Richard’s wound. Lucy waited for him when he entered the door. Not trusting his voice, he whispered.

“Richard is alive. He’s wounded, but not severely.”

“Thank God!” Lucy whispered, overcome with emotion. “And Finney?”

Dr. Wilkes found his voice again.

“Dead. Right through the chest. Not a thing I could do. He was dead in a minute.” His voice cracked again. “Poor Richard took it hard. He is devastated over killing a man.”

“Oh god, the poor boy!” Lucy exclaimed. Then she rushed into her husband’s arms, needing the comfort. For a minute or two, they stood, finding comfort in each other. Then, Lucy sighed.

“I better tell Ellen. Maybe she’ll stop crying then.”

She rushed upstairs and barged into Ellen’s room. A split second later, her scream made Jonathan Wilkes’s blood freeze. He ran upstairs, taking two steps at a time where he found his wife holding up the limp body of their stepdaughter as high as she could. Jonathan Wilkes jumped to his wife’s help. With shaky fingers, he found a pen knife in his coat pocket and cut the shawl. Another precise cut, and the part around Ellen’s neck fell apart. Together they placed her on the bed and Sir Jonathan checked her breath with a mirror. Nothing! Taking her face in his hands and stretching her head back, he drew a deep breath, placed his mouth over the girl’s and exhaled. He saw her chest move and repeated the process. He was rewarded with a violent cough by Ellen, followed by a rasping breath and another cough. Still, it took a minute before Ellen opened her eyes. Seeing her stepparents she began to cry.

“Why did you do this? I can’t live when Richard is dead. Please, let me die!”

Her voice was hoarse and her words barely intelligible.

Lucy shook the girl.

“Ellen, he is alive! Yes, Richard is alive! He is at home. He was slightly wounded, but he will recover. There is no reason for you to kill yourself.”

Ellen looked up. “But you said he was stabbed through the chest,” she cried at her stepfather.

“Not him, Ellen, it’s Finney who died,” he said gently.

“Richard killed him?”

“Yes, and he does not take it lightly I’m afraid.”

“That’s all my fault.”

“Maybe a little, Ellen. Mostly it was Finney’s own doing. He insulted Richard,” Sir Jonathan said reasonably.

“I will prepare something calming for you, Ellen,” Lucy said. “You need to sleep now. In a few days, when everyone has calmed down a little bit, you will make apologies to those you treated badly. I imagine that poor Richard also needs to sleep after his ordeal.”

“That reminds me, Lucy,” Jonathan interjected, “Harriet asked whether you could prepare something for Richard to help him sleep. Perhaps, the same for Ellen. She did not sleep for days, did she?”

Ellen shook her head.

“Ellen, will you be all right whilst I go over to the Carters? Can I trust you not do anything desperate?”

Ellen was quiet. Did she want to live? Richard had survived. However, another man had died and she had alienated almost everyone whom she would called her friend a few days ago. Her doubts must have been evident, for her stepfather gently took one arm and then the other and tied them securely to the bed frame. Then he did the same with her feet. Lucy looked her question.

“Just making sure, dear. Things will look different for her when she’s had some sleep. Ellen, we will leave the door open. Try to sleep. If you need anything, call. Lucy and I will try to be with you as much as possible.”

“Lucy, can I ask you for something?” Ellen asked meekly.

“Yes, of course.”

“Can you ask if I may see Richard? Just for a minute. If he says no, ask him to remember the morning when he came to my room. He will know then.”

“Ellen, I will try. It’s not just Richard, though. In fact, Richard will be easy compared with Harriet. I’ll do my best though. Is this important to you?”

“I need to see him, please!”

Lucy nodded and left the room. When she reached her kitchen she had to sit first. The shock of seeing Ellen hanging from the ceiling finally got to her. After a few minutes, she collected herself with an effort. She gathered a few ingredients and mixed herbs to prepare a calming tea and a mild sleep potion. She contemplated taking her husband’s coach but decided against it; she needed the exercise of walking to clear her mind. It would be difficult to persuade Harriet to allow Ellen a visit to her home. She thought of ways to convince her friend but she remained dubious.

She arrived at the Carters’ house and was met by a red eyed Harriet who hugged her violently.

“Oh Lucy, I am so relieved! My son lives.”

She began to sob in Lucy’s arms who patted her head soothingly.

“I can’t express how happy I was when Jonathan told me,” Lucy whispered. Then she remembered what had happened next and she began to cry herself leaning heavily into Harriet.

“What is it, Lucy? You are so pale! Tell me please!” Harriet looked at her friend with worry.

“Right after Jonathan told me about Richard I went up to Ellen’s room to tell her the good news,” here, Harriet’s eyes became hard, “the girl has neither slept nor eaten for two days. I came into her room,” Lucy’s voice became a hoarse whisper, “and she had hanged herself.”

To Harriet, these words came like a physical blow. She could hear herself screaming at Ellen the morning before when she had vented her anguish and fear. Before she could say a word, Lucy regained her voice.

“I screamed the house down and held her up. Then Jonathan came running and cut her down. She did not breath anymore, but Jonathan blew into her mouth and she began to cough. Oh god, Harriet, it was so horrible!”

“She’s alive then?” Harriet asked with a catch in her voice.

Lucy nodded.

“Why did she do that?”

“She must have listened in on what Jonathan told me about the duel, but she did not hear it all. She only heard that somebody had been killed and she assumed it was Richard.”

“And you came here to help me with Richard? Oh, Lucy, I do not deserve a friend like you.”

Instinctively, Lucy seized the moment. “Harriet, will you do something for us?”

“Anything, Lucy; you know that.”

“Please wait before you commit yourself. Ellen asks for a minute with Richard. She said something strange, that he should remember the morning when he came to her room.”

Harriet was torn between conflicting emotions. On one hand she wanted to protect her son against further hurt, on the other hand she felt horrible about the accusations she had hurled against Ellen. Maybe it was not for her to decide.

“I will speak with Richard; it is for him to decide. Not today though. He is awfully wrought up. Tell Ellen that I will not oppose her visit and tell her I will not scream at her.”

Lucy quickly hugged her friend. “You are the best, Harriet! This is why I love you so much.”

The two women spent a minute to repair the damage to their faces and hair and then went to the kitchen. Lucy left the teas and gave brief instructions for their preparation. To Harriet’s surprise Lucy turned to leave.

“Let us not disturb Richard with my presence. He will think of Ellen if he sees me. Just tell him that I was here and wish him the best, will you? I also need to look after Ellen.”

“Of course, Lucy. I will ask him tomorrow and then send you a note.”

Lucy returned home and rushed upstairs. Jonathan was sitting on a chair beside Ellen’s bed and tried to coax her into eating a buttered toast. He was not overly successful. When Lucy entered Ellen looked at her pleadingly. Lucy sat at Ellen’s other side and took her bound hand.

“I did not talk to Richard. I thought it better to let him rest. I spoke to Harriet though. She will ask Richard herself.”

Lucy saw disappointment and resignation in Ellen’s eyes.

“Keep your hope up, girl. Harriet did not really mean what she said yesterday morning. She was scared out of her mind. She asked me to tell you that she will try to persuade Richard to see you. She also said that you should not be afraid of her.”

Ellen looked at Lucy. “Did you tell her about me and what I did?”

Lucy nodded. “It came out. I did not plan to, but I had a little breakdown and Harriet asked me what had happened. She is my best friend and I could never lie to her.”

“Now she’ll think I’m a lunatic.”

“No,” Lucy shook her head, “she knows that you were desperate. Ellen, tomorrow is not going to be easy for you. You will have to face Richard and his family. It will give you a chance to face your responsibilities and that will help you to heal.”

“Do you think I can ever heal?” Ellen asked.

“Yes, I do,” Lucy said with conviction. “People can recover from much worse experiences. Believe me, I know.”

“Can you untie me, please?” Ellen asked looking openly into Lucy’s eyes. “I promise I will not do anything foolish.”

Lucy looked at her husband and sensing his approval she loosened the bound hand. Jonathan did the same with the other hand and her feet.

Later, Lucy persuaded her to eat two slices of buttered bread, and drink several cups of tea, but the latter did not have the desired effect. Ellen could not sleep for another night while she racked her brain over what to say to Richard if she ever got the chance.

With the dawn’s first light, Ellen rose and washed herself. She also washed her hair, hoping it would dry in time. It was a symbolic act. There was nothing she could do about the ugly bruises around her neck. She decided to wear a scarf to hide those. Then she walked downstairs and sat in the living room waiting for news from Lady Carter.

Evidently, Harriet Carter had made good on her promise as early as possible. It was only 10 o’clock when a messenger delivered a billet to Lucy. Ellen looked on intently as Lucy opened the envelope and read.

“Get your cloak, girl!” she smiled. “We have a visit to pay.”

Trembling, Ellen rushed for her cloak and was back in seconds, practically dragging Lucy out of the house. Too late, she remembered the scarf she had planned to wear. Yet, she did not care about the people on the street who stared at the angry blue-red bruises. They arrived at the Carters’ house thoroughly winded and Lucy knocked. Harriet opened the door herself. A long look was passed between her and Ellen and Harriet shook her head.

“You stupid, stupid girl! Come in already!”

Ellen took a deep breath to start her apology but she was cut short by Harriet.

“Stop right now! After what I hurled at you the day before yesterday I am in a very bad position to receive any apologies. Save it all for Richard. He has agreed to see you; why, I don’t know. Oh my God, wait!”

Harriet had finally seen the bruises on Ellen’s neck. She rushed upstairs and to her room before returning with a beautiful blue silk scarf which she proceeded to wrap around Ellen’s neck.

“No need to upset him even more,” she mumbled. “What?”

Ellen’s hand was on her arm.

“Thank you,” she said earnestly. “You had every right and you still have it to hate me for what I caused. Please, please believe me – I didn’t know what I did. I would never hurt him on purpose.”

Harriet looked into the girls eyes and nodded.

“Hard as it is, I think I may believe you. Now go!”

Ellen took a deep breath before she walked upstairs. At Richard’s door, she paused briefly before she knocked. His “Yes!” was loud and clear and she pressed down the handle. She walked quietly to the far end of the bedroom and faced Richard.

“Thank you for giving me a chance to apologise.”

“It is not more than what you did for me.”

The wariness in his voice was obvious.

“I will just say my piece and then leave you alone. First, you must know that I prayed for your survival. Believe me or not, I never intended to imperil your life.”

“Yet you wanted to hurt me and to humiliate me. Why? Is it still about what I tried to do to you? I thought you had forgiven me.”

He allowed his anger and disappointment to show.

“But I did!” Ellen cried. This accusation stung her. “No, I have thought about what I did incessantly for three days and night. I’m still not sure, but I think there is more than one reason.”

“Name one then! What did I ever do to you?”

“That’s just it! You were so nice and gentle, even when I treated you badly. I think I tested the limits, how badly could I treat you before you stopped caring for me. It tickled my vanity. I could treat you badly and I could get away with it.”

“So you wanted to stop me caring for you. Is that it? Why didn’t you tell me then? Just a few polite words, like, ‘Richard, I don’t think that I love you. Please stop visiting me.’”

“But I do love you!” she claimed.

Richard closed his eyes and opened them again.

“You’re not making sense, Ellen. If you loved me, why would you want me to stop loving you?”

“I know that I am not making sense. I haven’t slept in three nights and I am close to insanity. Look, Richard, ever since you saved me that morning, everybody expected us to fall in love. I knew that once you asked for my hand I would have to accept. How could I refuse you? I owe everything to your parents and to you! You know my story. Being forced to marry somebody made me run away before. Here, I could not run away. You and your family tied me down with your kindness and love, but I don’t want to fall in love because I am expected to. Those weeks, before the Tremonts came after me, when you visited me behind your parent’s back, we could talk and I felt something growing between us. It started when you gave me Ricky, that I looked forward to your visits. Then, after you rescued me and I began to stay at your house, your parents treated me as if I were their daughter in law already. I would love to love you, Richard, but not out of gratitude or to satisfy the expectations of those around us. I want to love you for the right reasons!”

“But we cannot turn the clock back. What happened, happened, Ellen. Do you want to forsake our love because everybody is happy for us? That is indeed lunacy!”

Ellen was surprised at the vehemence in his voice. Our love, he had said. She wasn’t finished though.

“There is more, Richard. I’m not so sure that you really love me. Think about it before you answer. Aren’t you just trying to make good for your transgression? Aren’t you trying to make an honest woman out of me to appease your family, and foremost your mother? I listened in on you that evening, when she told you how she was violated. You cannot undo that crime. Even if you put a loving arm around every violated girl on earth, you will not change your mother’s past life. And it’s lucky you can’t. Look at her now! How strong she is, how capable of love and understanding. It’s her past that formed her into the wonderful woman and mother that she is.”

Richard thought long. Then he looked at Ellen, still standing at the far end of his room. He beckoned for her to come nearer. She approached hesitantly and he took her hand.

“Ellen, it is true that my parents urged me to win your forgiveness, to win back your trust, because that would help me cope with the guilt I felt. As you said, those weeks at the river were wonderful, sitting with you and talking, watching you handle those sheep and playing with Ricky. I lost my heart to you then. Because I realised that behind that outward beauty there was a wonderful girl. A girl who was able to ignore what I had done and ready to see the other me. I’ll readily admit that most of the magic was lost once you moved into our house. All of a sudden it was like being married without any benefits. One could say that the Tremonts killed the magic,” Richard ended sadly.

“Oh Richard, this is just how I feel! Oh, why didn’t I speak to you openly? Then we would have had a chance.”

“What are you saying, Ellen? We still have a chance.”

“No, we don’t, Richard. Be reasonable. I cannot show my face in London anymore. Your parents will much rather strangle me than allow me to see you again.”

In contrast to Ellen, Richard had slept a little during the last night. He saw the opening in her defence.

“Although, if my parents were against you, you could love me for the right reasons, couldn’t you?”

Ellen was stunned to see her twisted reasoning thrown back into her face. Seeing this, Richard pressed his advantage.

“Just look at it! Everybody expects me to hate you and is convinced that you are loathe of me. There is an even chance that my father will disinherit me if I proclaim my love for you. In her present state of mind, Eleanor will rather pluck your eyeballs than be your bridesmaid. You shouldn’t eat anything my mother offers you, either. But still – I want you!”

Ellen found herself smiling at his words, but she suppressed it.

“This is no joke matter, Richard. I would never cause you to break from your wonderful family.”

Impatiently, Richard shook his head.

“If I cannot have you, what will I do with my family? If they cannot forgive you as I do, they are not so wonderful after all. I am ready to defy the world for you, Ellen! What will you do?”

“You mean it, Richard, don’t you?” she whispered in awe.

He looked steadily into her wide open eyes. It was an eternity for him before she nodded.

“I love you, Richard,” she said softly.

Richard moved his body to the left and made place for her, pulling her down on the bed. With her head against his good shoulder, he breathed the scent of her hair.

“That feels wonderful, Ellen,” he whispered.

“Can I just lie here, Richard? It feels so good, I don’t ever want to move.”

There was a chuckle deep in his throat.

“Your father will come along later to change the bandage. What do you think he will say?”

“Nothing that could make me move.”

His hand caressed her face and her throat.

“Let me take off that scarf, Ellen. I don’t want you to be strangled.”

Ellen froze as he untied the scarf.

“Isn’t that my mother’s?” he asked.

Ellen nodded. “Yes, she gave it to me. Richard, you have to know. She did not want to upset you, that’s why she gave me the scarf. I have these bruises around my neck.”

Alarmed, Richard lifted her face and looked at her throat.

“Who did this to you,” he asked, his pulse racing.

“I did, Richard. When my stepfather returned yesterday, I tried to listen in to what he told Lucy. The only thing I heard was that someone had been stabbed to death. And then Lucy said, ‘The poor boy.’ I thought you were dead. So I went back to my room and hanged myself.”

“You what?” Richard choked.

“I could not live with that guilt,” Ellen said simply. “Luckily, Lucy came up to my room to tell me the good news and they cut me down in time. When I came to, she told me that you were still alive. Even then I did not want to live because I knew that I lost you. They tied me down on the bed for the night.”

Richard was stunned. “Oh dear God! I almost lost you? Ellen, I’m scared now. This was awfully close for both of us.”

“The last days were a nightmare. Let us make sure this will never happen to us again.”

She put her head on his chest again and the two young people clung to each other. As soon as Ellen calmed down a little bit, the three sleepless nights caught up with her. When Richard first noticed a slight snoring sound from her, he looked down at her face. The tension that had been imprinted on her features was gone and she looked at peace. The tenderness he felt for her was overwhelming, and he kissed the top of her head. A fleeting smile passed over her lips and she pressed herself closer against him.

In the meantime, Harriet and Lucy had become worried. At first, there had been the sounds of Ellen’s and Richard’s argument, but then everything became quiet. After an hour, the two women could not stand the tension anymore and came upstairs. Carefully, Harriet opened the door and looked in. What she saw caused an intake of breath. Ellen was lying on Richard’s bed, fully clothed, her head against his chest, and fast asleep. Richard, his good arm wrapped tightly around the girl’s shoulders, was sleeping too. He woke up when the two women entered.

Heeding the silent plea from her son’s eyes, Harriet walked quietly to Richard’s bed. The peaceful image of the two lovers was not lost on her.

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