Chapter 18: Noblesse oblige
Copyright© 2005 by Argon
Historical Sex Story: Chapter 18: Noblesse oblige - 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
“Are you certain that it is in good taste for us to visit Binnings’ stupid reception?”
Richard Carter, 3rd Baron Lambert, had asked the question before, and his grandmother’s answer was no different from her previous ones.
“Of course you can go, Richard. Besides, poor Ellen has been preparing for over a week. Marjorie has worded her invitation in a very conciliatory tone, so you are obliged to go. You have a position in society, Richard, and you have to act accordingly. Noblesse oblige! Now go and pick up Ellen. I am sure that she is excited already, and the girl has earned every bit of pleasure she can get.”
There was a lot of milord here and milord there as Richard readied himself to leave. So much had changed over this year! His whole life had turned upside down, and he still felt dizzy at times. Moving in with his grandmother had been one of the nicer consequences. In his will, his Uncle Andrew had bequeathed the house to Richard with the obvious condition that Old Lady Lambert would continue to live there. A sum of twenty-thousand pounds from the old Admiral’s fortune had also gone to Richard to allow a lifestyle in keeping with the title as Andrew Lambert had written.
Aunt Emily had elected to stay in Portsmouth. She had always been uncomfortable in the bustle of the capital, and the memorial church service for her husband had not improved her views. Andrew had been promoted to Rear Admiral posthumously, and a plate with his name and a brief description of his accomplishments had been dedicated and mounted in Westminster Abbey, in spite of her wish to have the service in Portsmouth.
Friends and fellow officers had shown in large numbers and, despite the shielding by her close relatives, she had felt overwhelmed with the sheer number of people who claimed to sympathise with her.
The eulogy was delivered by Richard’s father, Rear Admiral Sir Anthony Carter, who had been visibly moved by the occasion, and Richard had seen that his mother had difficulties keeping her countenance whilst her husband recalled the first meeting between the boy Andrew and the youth Anthony Carter.
Lucy had been there too, and she had cried softly when Sir Anthony mentioned the four fatherless daughters left behind. All in all, it had been a solemn and fitting ceremony, but Emily Lambert had decided that this was all she wanted to see of London’s society for a long time.
His aunt’s needs had been well taken care of. Andrew Lambert had not been rich by any means, but he had made prudent and secure investments that would allow his wife and daughters a comfortable life, and his daughters an adequate dowry for when they would marry. In addition, the government had granted the widow an annual pension of £800.
All this left Richard in a position he was not prepared for, at least mentally. He’d had to give up his seat in the Commons, and he currently planned for his maiden speech in the Lords. He was also courted by the ruling Whigs to accept a post in the ministry, but nothing was available in his preference, Trade, and Sir Robert Norton advised him to bide his time until something worthwhile came along.
Over all these thoughts, his coach had arrived at the Wilkes’ home where he alighted. Ellen was ready. She was even wearing her cloak already and, after a brief conversation with Sir Jonathan and Lucy, he led her to the coach.
“You look most wonderful tonight, Ellen,” he said in admiration.
Her long blond tresses had been tamed into a thick braid, but a part of her curls had been left to frame her face. She was wearing his grandmother’s gift around her neck, and the sparkle of the sapphires competed with her blue eyes.
“Thank you, Richard,” she smiled. “I confess to being nervous. It’s been a while since I was on a ball.”
“A year,” Richard stated. “What a year it was!”
“It was, wasn’t it,” Ellen consented. “Let us not speak about it today, Richard. We don’t want to be the spectre at the feast. Look, we’re already there.”
A footman opened the coach door, and Richard alighted and helped Ellen climb down. Offering her his arm, he led her up the stairs and into the foyer. He could not help but feel apprehension. The last time he’d been here had almost been fateful.
He helped Ellen take off her cloak and then took off his own, handing both to another footman. The place was crawling with servants. He also noticed Ellen’s dress and he held his breath. Elisabeth Wilson had outdone herself, he decided. The dress was a dream of light blue silk, and it showed Ellen’s figure to it’s utmost advantage. Richard had to fight the urge to wrap his arms around her. Side by side, they entered the ballroom.
“Lord Lambert, Miss Ellen Wilkes!” they were announced, and a few people even looked up.
Of those, the female ones looked at Ellen with a mixture of envy and admiration. After all, she was from a dubious background and had snared one of the most eligible bachelors London had to offer this season. Meanwhile, Marjorie Binnings rushed to greet them.
“My dear Lord Lambert, this is so nice of you to show after what your family has been through his year. I trust you will enjoy the evening.” Her gaze swept over Ellen. “And here we have our beautiful Ellen again. Tell me, this is a Wilson creation, isn’t it? I knew it! Well, enjoy yourself! Ah! There is Lord Liverpool!”
And off she was greeting another guest on this, her most important night of the year. But her big moment was yet to come. Another half hour later, the butler announced the next guests, and even he sounded excited.
“His Royal Highness, Louis of Bavaria, Miss Anita Heyworth!”
There was a gasp around the room. They all knew that the Bavarian King was in London, but he was accompanied by his wife. Now, he led the retired acting legend Anita Heyworth into the room. This was what Marjorie Binnings lived for! This juicy bit of news would suffice for weeks of gossiping and speculation.
The King and Anita stood in a circle of people, but now and then, Ellen could see her. Finally, Anita’s eye caught her, and she waved her hand. After a few more minutes, she resolutely steered the King away from the throng of people. Ellen became nervous when she realised they were headed towards her and Richard.
“Louis, mon cher, I would like you to meet some friends of mine. This is Lord Lambert, the son of my lifelong friends, Anthony and Harriet Carter, and his fiancée, Miss Ellen Wilkes, arguably the most beautiful woman in London. My dears, this is my old friend Louis, King of Bavaria.”
Ellen did her most elaborate curtsey, blushing pink at Anita’s words, and Richard bowed deeply. The King simply offered his hand for a shake, and Richard complied in a daze. Then His Majesty took Ellen’s hand and kissed it.
“Mademoiselle, every time I visit this city, I am enthralled with the beauty of the English women. Today, I was granted the unexpected pleasure to be in the presence of the most beautiful women of two generations. I count myself blessed by this good fortune.”
“Your Majesty is far too kind,” Ellen managed to say breathlessly.
“You must meet my wife. My poor Therese is - how do you say? - under the weather. She asked Anita to accompany me in her stead, but she should be fine again tomorrow. We shall have a little tea reception at our embassy at four. Will you do me the favour and attend?”
“Of course, Your Majesty, we shall be most honoured,” Richard answered, struggling to maintain his good manners. “As we all are by your presence here.”
The King smiled and turned to Anita.
“I wager not two people in this room even know where Bavaria is.”
“After your father’s acquisition of the Franconian duchy, your kingdom extends from the River Main to the Alps, bordering on Austria, Hassia, and Wurttemberg, but also includes the Palatinate of the Rhine. The economy is mostly based on agriculture, but you control major trading cities such as Augsburg, and two major waterways, the Main and the Upper Danube.”
The King stared at Richard. “How do you know this?”
“I chose international trade as my focus of interest, and a grasp of geography and economy is a prerequisite.”
“And you, Miss Wilkes? What do you know about my country?”
“That you have the most beautiful lakes and snow-covered mountains, and that your subjects erroneously believe that Bavarian beer is the best in the world.”
Ellen laughed delightedly at his astounded expression.
“My mother and I spent a fortnight in the Lake District, and there was a traveller, a Count Hohenstedt, who told us all about your kingdom.”
The King slapped his thigh in excitement. “He told me of you! Hohenstedt! That’s is why I knew you! He drew a few sketches of you and your mother and showed them to me. You must come tomorrow!”
They talked for a few more minutes, and from the corner of her eyes, Ellen could see an angry glare from Marjorie Binnings. She wanted to boast with her royal guest, but the King spent his time with those upstarts. Ellen decided not to cause bad feelings.
“Perhaps, Richard, we should not usurp His Majesty’s time. We shall have more time to talk tomorrow.”
Anita answered her with an approving glance.
“She is right, Louis, there are some more people you should meet.”
“Oh well, let us then. But you promised to come tomorrow!”
With that, Anita and the King left them to mingle among the guests. Ellen and Richard danced a few dances and in between, they met several people of their acquaintance. It was not the most exciting event they ever attended, but it was not bad either. Towards the end, Richard was greeted by a youngish man who was obviously more than a little drunk.
“Carter, old boy! Where s’hell have you been?”
“Hello, James,” Richard answered cautiously.
“I heard you being announshed, you’re what, Lord Lambert now?”
“Jolly good, old boy! We’ll be having a bash at my house after this. Care to join us? There’s a lot of the old Eton gang coming, and we’ll have some fun, if you know what I mean.”
“Afraid not, James. I’m here with my fiancé. Ellen, this is James Taylor. He was my classmate at Eton. James, this is my fiancée, Miss Wilkes.”
The man looked Ellen over without a trace of shame.
“Pity that. Not that I blame you though. Your servant, Miss. Have fun, old boy!”
The man disappeared, and Ellen looked at Richard.
“What can I say,” Richard sighed, “I do not really count him among my friends.”
“Good for you,” Ellen answered. The man had made her feel uncomfortable; she had thought him uncouth and arrogant.
They left shortly thereafter, and the coach brought them to Richard’s house. Ellen wished Richard’s grandmother a happy new year, a wish that was received with a smirk by the old woman. Anything different than the last year would be better.
Ellen would have loved to stay a little while longer, especially after Lady Lambert retired, but there was a distance between her and Richard that she did not know how to bridge. The easy way the two young people connected and interacted had suffered from the events of the past year. It felt almost inappropriate for her to ask him for a kiss. There were worlds between them, socially speaking, and Ellen realised that many people considered the planned wedding between the young Lord Lambert and the stepdaughter of a mere surgeon, knighthood or no knighthood, a mesalliance. Richard had never mentioned a word, but she had heard through the gossip mill that several families had contacted Richard about a possible marriage, their engagement notwithstanding.
“I had better see you home, Ellen,” Richard said into the silence that had engulfed them, eerily mirroring her thoughts.
“I suppose you should,” she answered. “Do you think we may have some time alone together soon? I miss you terribly lately. We seem to live parallel lives. It’s been weeks since you kissed me properly.”
“I know, Ellen,” Richard sighed. “This last year was terrible, and I could not give you the attention I should have. We have to be more careful now. I am in the public eye, and everything we do will be scrutinised. Things that Richard Carter did with Ellen Wilkes were of much less interest to the gossipers. You have to realise that many women are envious of you.”
Ellen took offence. “I should think many men are envious of you as well!”
Richard realised his poor wording. “No, that is not what I wanted to say, Ellen. I am grateful that you will have me as your husband. You are all I ever want.”
Ellen looked at him and decided he was sincere.
“I’m sorry, Richard. I have been too touchy. I am aware of the gossip and the envy, and it makes me insecure. If you were just to hold me and kiss me from time to time like we did after we became engaged, I would feel assured of your love. We have grown so distant; we never touch.”
Predictably, Richard embraced her in response, but to Ellen, the distance remained. He did not seem to covet her like he did. Maybe things would be better after the wedding she decided.
When she arrived at her parents home though, she saw Lucy and Jonathan in the living room. They had fallen asleep in each other’s arms on a comfortable sofa. The sight of her parents in their loving embrace made her more aware of what was lacking from her relationship with Richard.
Ellen had taken advice from Richard’s grandmother about how to dress and behave at a Royal tea time. She was wearing a charcoal dress that highlighted her hair and complexion. She and Richard arrived at the Bavarian ambassador’s residence at four, and they met the King and the Queen who were sitting with Anita Heyworth. Lord Brougham and his wife Moira were there as well, and they greeted Ellen and Richard friendly.
Majorie Binnings had been invited, too. She had worked hard for this distinction, and when she saw Ellen sitting with Queen Therese, she almost stomped her feet. This impertinent person seemed to achieve almost everything with just a toss of her hair and a smile. Worse, that love sick young idiot, Richard Carter, who could have just every woman London had to offer, would marry this insignificant girl and make her Lady Lambert. She saw her present paramour, Sir Gilbert Hume, come over. Hume was just a bumbling idiot, and his position and connections in the Foreign Office made him barely tolerable. The loss of her true love, James Finney, hurt again. It was not fair. The stupid boy who had killed him and the stupid girl who had lured him were happy together whilst she had to make do with the likes of Hume. Marjorie Binnings decided that something had to be done.