Chapter 19: The Breakup
Copyright© 2005 by Argon
Historical Sex Story: Chapter 19: The Breakup - 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
Richard Carter, 3rd Baron Lambert, woke up with a royal head ache. Not that he had slept enough, but the butler, Oldroyd, was standing by his bedside, shaking him hesitantly.
“Lady Lambert’s compliments, milord, and you must wake up and prepare for the ceremony.”
“What time is it, then?” Richard croaked.
“Almost nine o’clock, milord.”
“All right then,” Richard moaned. “Anything else?”
“Yes, milord, there is this parcel here, from Miss Wilkes. It was delivered by messenger ten minutes ago.”
Richard made a grimace. Probably some other last minute idea of Ellen’s, something for him to wear at the wedding. He ripped open the parcel to find two smaller boxes and a letter inside. He opened the larger box, and to his surprise, he found the gold and sapphire necklace, his engagement gift. His addled brain did not grasp the meaning of this and he opened the second box. The sapphire ring he had had the jeweller made for her to match the necklace was in it. A nagging worry grasped him and he ripped open the envelope. The letter was in Ellen’s handwriting, and he saw three spots were water must have fallen on it.
“Milord Lambert,” he read. ‘Strange, why does she address me that way?’
“the events of last night have finally convinced me that I cannot be your wife. I have informed my parents and yours of my decision and the reasons for it. Furthermore, I hereby return your gifts, so that you can return the necklace to your grandmother, for her to keep until such a time when you will find a woman who is more tolerant of an unfaithful husband.
“Oldroyd, my clothes! No time to shave! Be quick about it, damn you!”
Richard jumped from the bed and had to sit down again. The room spun around him. With the help of his servant, he was able to dress more or less properly whilst Oldroyd saw to it that the coach was ready. Once dressed, Richard ran down the stairs. His grandmother was standing in the hallway, an accusing look on her face.
“You know already?” he asked.
“Of course. Ellen wrote to me as well. How could you ever do this, Richard?”
“I was drunk,” he tried to defend himself, the cheap excuse sounding false even in his own ears.
“Then don’t drink. Where are you going?”
“To Ellen, of course. I must bring her to reason. I shall be back later to dress for the wedding.”
Lady Lambert rose her brows. “Well, Richard, good luck!”
His grandmother’s last words were on his mind during the coach ride. What did she mean by that? Did he need luck? Ellen surely would not forego the wedding she had been planning for over a year, would she?
Richard arrived at the Wilkes’ house and knocked. It was Lucy who opened, and her gaze was hard as stone.
“I must talk to Ellen. She is out of her mind. She wants to cancel the wedding.”
“I know, and I agree that she is out of her mind. Not that I blame her after what you did.”
“Let me talk to her, please. I’m sure we can still save the wedding.”
Lucy sighed. Personally, she held no hope in that regard.
“Wait, I shall ask her.”
She was back in short time and motioned for him to follow her. She led him to Ellen’s room and opened the door. Ellen was sitting at the window, her back to him. Lucy closed the door behind him, and Richard walked over to Ellen, touching her shoulders. He jumped back when she shook free of him.
“Do not touch me!” she hissed with venom in her voice. “You reek of spirits and of perfume. Did you not even have the decency to wash off the residue of that trollop before you came here?”
‘Oh God, what does she know?’ Richard thought.
“I came here as soon as I received your parcel and letter. Come on, Ellen, you do not want to cancel the wedding, do you? This is our day.”
“There is no ‘us’ anymore! When I saw you with that trollop on your arm, ‘us’ ceased to exist.”
“You saw me?” Richard asked, quite shocked now.
“Marjorie Binnings made sure to let me know where you went. Oh, didn’t you know that James Taylor is her nephew?” she added with sarcasm. “She set the trap, and you obligingly stepped into it. I hope it was worth it.”
The pieces of the puzzle fell into place. Marjorie Binnings finally had her revenge. Once more, he had fallen for the goading of a false friend. First the Tremonts, and now Taylor. A thought came to his mind.
“Don’t you realise that they goaded me into this situation.”
“Of course I know that. You could have said ‘no’, couldn’t you?”
“I was drunk,” Richard started his excuse, but he was cut off by Ellen.
“Some excuse. How could I live with a husband whose fidelity does not survive a glass of wine?”
“Ellen, this is a custom. The friends of a groom give him a farewell party. One last party before he is tied down in marriage.”
Richard knew it was stupid before the last word had left his mouth. Ellen exploded.
“Tied down? That is precious! Myself, I had been looking forward to being married to you, and I assumed that you felt the same. Obviously, that was my mistake. I will never tie you down, though. You are free.”
“Come on, Ellen, we can still work this out. The guests have all arrived. What can we tell them?”
“Are you out of your mind, Richard? Do you honestly believe that I would hold nuptials with you, hours after you left the bed of a whore? I have more self respect than that!”
“Ellen how can you be so cold and unforgiving? We love each other, don’t we?”
He sounded like a whining child, even in his own ears.
“Cold?” Ellen choked. With brimming eyes she looked at him. “I wept my eyes out of their sockets the whole night whilst you lay comfortably in the arms of that ... that woman! Unforgiving? When did you ever ask forgiveness of me? You didn’t. You expect me to accept your cheating, and I can never do that. How can I forgive you, if you do not even admit to any wrongdoing? That is not all. For weeks and months, you hardly acknowledged my existence. You were too busy being your lordship with good friends like Taylor. We have been growing apart ever since your grandfather died, and it became worse after you inherited that accursed title. You have acted as if you had second thoughts about our marriage ever since.”
“Well, who wouldn’t?” Richard responded hotly, prickled by the nagging guilt he felt. “This is not the most advantageous match that I can have. I have turned down quite a few offers, some with substantial dowries. Yet, I considered our engagement binding.”
Ellen turned white as a ghost. The voice in which she spoke was flat and lacking of any feeling.
“Please, just leave me now. We said all there is to say and more.”
“If this is how you feel, I shall leave. I shall tell the guests that you changed your mind.”
Ellen laughed darkly.
“Don’t worry. If I know Binnings, the story is already all over London.”
With a sinking feeling, Richard realised that she was right.
Later that morning, Eleanor showed up. Lucy was angered.
“Now he is sending you? Do you want to hurt her even more?”
Eleanor was near tears anyway, and Lucy’s words were the last straw.
“How can you think that?” she sobbed accusingly. “I thought you knew me better. I came as Ellen’s friend, to console her. I don’t care about Richard. He does not deserve her.”
She pushed Lucy to the side and ran up the stairs. Lucy considered running after her. After al, this was her house, and people did not push her aside. But Eleanor knocked on Ellen’s door already.
“Who is it?”
Eleanor hardly recognised her friend’s voice.
“It’s me, Eleanor. I came as soon as I heard. May I come in, please?”
The door opened, and Eleanor was shocked. Ellen was almost unrecognisable. Her eyes were red and puffy, her lips parched, and her hair in a tangled disarray. Eleanor could not stop her own tears which rolled down her cheeks.
“Oh Ellen, I am so sorry,” she said, opening her arms.
With a choked cry, Ellen flew into her friend’s arms. The racking sobs tore into Eleanor’s heart. Crooning soothingly, she led Ellen to a chaiselongue and sat her down. Her own voice only a hoarse whisper, she repeated her words over and over: “I’m so sorry, Ellen.”
It took a long time for Ellen to calm down. When her sobbing subsided, Eleanor stood up and retrieved a wash cloth from a basin and washed Ellen face with cold water. Ellen looked at her gratefully.
“You are a darling, Eleanor. You should not be here, though. I don’t want you to get in trouble with your family.”
“Are you out of your mind, Ellen? Mother would have come herself, but she is too busy to control the damage tonight. She will come in a few days. She asked me to tell you that she understands you. Father has given Richard a full dressing down, Lord Lambert or not.”
That was a mild understatement, Eleanor thought. Sir Anthony had been furious at his only son. When Richard claimed once more that it had just been a customary bachelor’s party, he had gripped his son’s lapels and shook him.
‘Look at me, Richard! Did you ever hear that I spent the eve of my wedding in a whore house? No? Do you know how I spent it? Sleeping! So that I’d be rested for the following day and for your mother. A farewell to bachelorhood? Bachelorhood be damned! I wanted nothing more than to finally be with your mother. Tell me, son, what is so dreadful about marrying the finest girl London has to offer? So dreadful, that you have to get drunk?’
Coming back to the present, she remembered something.
“And my grandmother sends her regards. She says, you were within your right, refusing the wedding.”
“Are you telling me the truth, Eleanor?”
“I promise, Ellen. Nobody thinks badly of you.”
“Then how come I feel so miserable?”
“Ellen, I cannot imagine how much you must hurt right now.”
“And I don’t want you to ever know, darling.”
“Listen, I need to go now, and you must rest. I shall visit you tomorrow.”
She kissed Ellen once more on her forehead and hugged her.
After her friend was gone, Ellen stiffened her back and stood up from her chair. No, she would not break down over this. This was not her fault. She could not help it if Richard did not love her enough to withstand simple temptations.
At the same time, something else manifested itself in Ellen Wilkes’s mind: an all-consuming hatred for Marjorie Binnings. This time, Ellen swore to herself, she would have revenge. This time, Marjorie Binnings would pay dearly. She would have to be cunning for that, as she well knew, and she would have to be patient. But she was resolved that one day soon, she would triumph over a destroyed enemy.
She looked at her image in the mirror and laughed a hard, joyless laugh. Better to have lust for revenge than to have no feelings at all. With a wet cloth, she cooled her eyes some more until the redness and the swelling were gone. Then she brushed her hair, dressed in a fresh blouse and skirt, and went to join a surprised Lucy and Jonathan for dinner.
“I don’t know what Eleanor did, but after she left, Ellen came down to dinner as calm and as controlled as you and me.”
Lucy and Harriet had met to talk about things. It was true that Harriet did not blame Ellen for anything, but that did not mean that she was happy about the development.
“You don’t suppose she plans something desperate?”
“No, I asked her, you know. She told me not to worry. She does not feel guilty. And she seems to have found resolve. I just do not know what for.”
“Do you think I can talk to her? I want to tell her that I feel no ill will towards her.”
“I think she would like that. What about Richard? How does he feel?”
“Rotten. According to my mother, he has not been out of bed for three days. She has locked away the wine and spirits, so he must be sober. I will drop in later today and get him out of bed. He has to do his duty. The Lords are in session, and he has to appear tomorrow.”
The meeting between Ellen and Harriet was strained in the beginning, both were at a loss of what to say. Ellen knew that Harriet was angry and disappointed at her son, and she did not want to twist the knife even more. The situation was bad enough for both families, and she considered Harriet her friend. In the end, Harriet just opened her arms and hugged the girl. Ellen hugged her back, and they both wept silently until Harriet let go of her and left.
When Harriet arrived at her mother’s house, as she still called it, Richard was up. Lady Lambert had decided that her grandson had slept enough, and she had told him in no uncertain terms that he had to face the world as it was, meaning without Ellen.
“You have made a mess out of your engagement. I cannot say that I appreciate your behaviour, but since it happened, you have to face the consequences. You can blame yourself as much as you want, but you cannot change anything. Therefore, you must continue your life and do your duty. The Lords will be in session tomorrow, and you better get up and look up the items on the list.”
“Oh wonderful, grandmother. They will all have a great laugh when I show my face.”
“I don’t think so. Most of your peers will be perfectly happy that they are not in your shoes. Some of them have been there, no doubt, and they will sympathise with you. Regrettably, that’s the way men are.”
He became apprehensive again when his mother was announced, but Harriet was calm and determined not to start a fresh argument. In effect, she repeated what he had already heard from his grandmother, and he realised they were both right. He had to face the music.
Whilst he was contemplating how the next days and weeks would go, he suddenly realised that a part of his mind was working in an entirely different direction: bitter revenge on the woman who had twice tried to destroy his life, and who had succeeded with the second attempt.
He kept these new thoughts secret, though. He would execute his retribution with a great deal of patience. ‘Revenge is a dish that is best served cold, ‘ had been a saying of his grandfather. Richard would bide his time until he could inflict a maximum of pain and devastation on Marjorie Binnings.
Harriet looked at her son. She was intrigued. He had been devastated, and now he seemed to have gained some strength. He almost showed a peaceful, almost satisfied smile.
“Richard, what is it?”
“Nothing, Mother, just something that came to my mind. Something I plan to do in the future.”
“Richard, there is something you should do. I suggest you write a letter to Ellen and apologise for what you did.”
“What for, Mother?” Richard asked tiredly. “She made it clear that she will never have me back. I would have never thought that she could be so ... unforgiving.”
“Richard, did you ask for forgiveness?”
“Err, no, not really. I tried to explain what had happened, that is was just a custom and that it did not mean anything.”
“Richard,” Harriet said in an exasperated tone, “I promised myself that I would not get angry with you today, but you are making this quite difficult for me. You cheat on your bride on the eve of your wedding, and you tell her, what, ‘Sorry my dear, but everybody does it’? Have you an idea how much you hurt the girl when she saw you in the arms of another woman?”
“It was not my fault that she had to see it. Binnings tipped her off.”
“Richard, it was your fault. This would have never happened if you had spent that evening with real friends. Or if you had simply refused to go to that place. Tell me Richard, did you honestly love Ellen? I am asking you this because your actions speak differently.”
Now the hurt in Richard’s eyes was back, and he struggled to find words.
“How can you ask that, Mother? I would gladly give my right arm to make that evening undone. I look into the mirror, and I despise myself for what I did. I can’t breathe when the realisation hits me that I lost her.”
“Why didn’t you tell her that, Richard,” Harriet asked softly, “instead of justifying the inexcusable? Ellen is a kind and generous girl, as you well know from experience. She would have forgiven you. Well, maybe not immediately, but how could she if you just did not ask?”
“Do you honestly think that there was a chance, mother?”
“As long as neither of you is married to another person, there is still a chance. This will take time and a serious effort on your part. And for that, you must first decide for yourself if you are willing to do everything in your power to win her back. You also need to concentrate on your duties. You have to regain your balance and your values. Don’t dally with any other women if you ever want to win Ellen back. In the meantime, your sister and I will maintain the contact with her.”
Whilst Harriet talked to Richard, old Lady Lambert took her coach to the Wilkes’ residence. Although she had known Lucy for a long time, she had never visited them at their home. It was a matter of social standing. Today, however, Eleanor Lambert did not care about petty issues. The future happiness of her grandson was at stake, and there was also the strong bond she felt towards Ellen. Deep in her heart, the old woman knew how much they all needed Ellen.
To say Lucy was astonished to see Lady Lambert at her door would have been an understatement.
“Lady Lambert, to what do I owe this unexpected honour?”
“I felt I owed it to Ellen to come and visit her. After all she did for my family during our past trials, I for one know what her help meant for me.”
“You will not try to talk her into a reconciliation with Richard.”
Eleanor Lambert snorted derisively.
“If Ellen were to forgive the insult she suffered that easily, I could never accept her as my grandson’s wife. No, I want to convey my sympathy and support, and I want to give her something to express my friendship.”
“Oh well, so be it. She is in the living room. I will show you. Do you prefer to be alone with her?”
“I would love that.” Lady Lambert answered. A thought struck her. “Lucy, how my son could ever give up on you, has always been beyond my comprehension. I would have really liked you to have become my daughter-in-law.”
“That is very nice of you to say, but all things considered, we were not meant for each other.”
“That is what I regret, Lucy,” Lady Lambert sighed as she entered the living room.
Ellen was sitting at a table, doing some needle work, but she looked up when Lady Lambert entered. A series of emotions showed in her face, surprise, apprehension, and finally delight. She jumped up from her seat and hugged her visitor.
“Thank you for visiting. This is so thoughtful of you.”
“Are you quite all right, child?” Lady Lambert asked, enforcing the question with one of her ‘don’t-lie-to-me’ looks.