Chapter 27: A Passage to India

Copyright© 2005 by Argon

Historical Sex Story: Chapter 27: A Passage to India - 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  

When Richard returned from The Netherlands, rumours abounded already that the mother of the Colombian ambassador had entered into an affair with the notorious Marquis de Ste. Croix. Whilst this would have made for a juicy piece of gossip under any circumstances, the fact that the Marquis had interviewed Doña Maria’s son after just two weeks to formally obtain permission to court the lady was just unheard of. Older and more knowledgeable members of London’s society of course remembered the Marquis’s devotion to his first wife until her untimely death during child birth. For the younger idlers however, it was a sensation.

For her part, Doña Maria was a changed woman who was looking at least ten years younger, her mature beauty enhanced by an inner glow. It was common knowledge that she and the Marquis spent every free minute in each other’s company, visiting the theatre and the salons, travelling into the countryside and eating at the Ste. Croix, the oldest and most prestigious club of the Marquis. He even changed the club’s rules, allowing the members to dine with their wives or consorts, a change welcomed by the majority of the members and appreciated by their spouses who could, for the first time, enjoy the exquisite cuisine of the Ste. Croix. For members unwilling to mingle with the fair sex or preferring the companions employed by the club, there was a second dining hall.

All this and more, Ellen told her husband when they lay in bed together the first night after his return, after their pent up needs had been satisfied. Richard did not know the Marquis, but he had no problems accepting that a mature man could easily fall for the beautiful Spanish lady. He had a good idea that his own father may not have been immune to her charms which he told Ellen.

“That’s easy to imagine,” Ellen concurred. “Your father and your mother had broken up during that time, and think how beautiful Maria must have been over twenty years ago! I don’t think she had known much happiness in her marriage, and then she had been a prisoner for three years. I used to tease Eleanor that Antonio might just be her half brother, but of course that is silly.”

“Yes, it is, Dear. I have seen a painting of Antonio’s father, and there is a definitive likeness. The thought alone, good heavens! How does Antonio take to getting a stepfather?”

“Oh, they had a long talk, out on Oxford Manor. Apparently, the Marquis was able to dissuade Antonio’s misgivings. They’ll spend the next weekend with Antonio and Eleanor.”

Richard chuckled softly. “How does it feel to have been the match maker?”

Ellen laughed happily. “I did not do a thing. One moment he was busy acting out his routine as charmeur, trying to impress me, the next moment he had lost his French accent along with his heart. The stupid Gainsworth woman could only gape.”

“I suggest you keep distance from that woman in the future, Darling.”

“I will, but I have to invite her at least once in return. I will make sure to have Maria and her Marquis attend as well,” she ended with a mischievous grin.

On the next weekend, Richard and Ellen, with little Anthony, Mabel, Millicent, and young Sadie, travelled back to Woodbridge Manor to enjoy the last weeks of the summer. They were awaited impatiently by Melissa who was eager to continue her series with the second motif, Meeting the Squire. Again, the whole extended family met in the meadow by the river. Richard complained of back pain in the evening, having sat on his bay horse for over four hours, and Ellen had a sore neck from looking up to the ‘Squire’ just as long. The worst part, however, had been to keep Ricky in position for more than a few seconds. They had a finishing session on the next day, and that was the last nice day in a while. For two weeks, the rain poured down, transforming the roads and paths into mudholes. Temperatures dropped too, and soon the leaves of the trees turned yellow.

In mid-October, Ellen posed a last time, wearing a water-logged coat and a drooping hat, as well as her old oversized boots. As Melissa had predicted, this last painting was the strongest, conveying the hardness of a shepherd’s life during the cold and wet season. Ellen herself shivered whenever she saw the painting, remembering those days of miserable cold and of hunger. Melissa received a more than adequate commission for the paintings which were mounted on the side wall of the dinner room of Woodbridge Manor.

By the end of the month, Richard, Ellen and their entire entourage moved back to London, and the preparations for the passage to India began in earnest. Ellen informed Mabel, the wet nurse, and Millicent that they would accompany her. The girl Sadie who had become a close friend of Millicent and a valuable help around the household asked fervently to be included, and Ellen finally relented. She would be in charge of food during the passage and for the few months in India. Millicent and Sadie were upbeat about the prospect of travelling to India, but Mabel was morose lately. The son of her former master who had been her lover and who had promised to take care of her once he came of age had become engaged a few weeks ago, and no support for Mabel or her daughter had materialised.

They would travel in the Star of India, a newly built East Indiaman. As the head of the government commission, Richard ranked top among her passengers, assuring them of the most spacious cabin. They were no novices to sea travel anymore, but they sought advice from the Pembrokes with regard to appropriate clothing and the customs of Anglo-Indian society. They also received advice from Colonel Weatherby, another member of the commission and representing the War Office. He was a veteran of several military campaigns in the Subcontinent, and he would travel alone. The third member of the commission, Mr. Samuel York, was from the Trade Ministry, and he would be accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Rebecca York. Richard was by far the youngest of this group, but his rank within the Foreign Office was quite high, he having replaced the hapless Gilbert Hume as head of the Department for Trade Relations. The fourth member was a Director of the East India Company, Mr. Roland Cummings, who would look after the Company’s interest. It looked like a stalemate in the commission between free trade proponents, Richard and Mr. York, and those siding with the East India Company.

At the last minute, however, the Admiralty protested against the fact that the War Office was represented, but not the Navy, and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs relented, offering the Navy a seat in the commission. On the insistence of Sir Robert Norton, this position was filled with none other than Vice-Admiral Sir Anthony Carter. This was a political move since Sir Robert knew the Admiral to be a proponent of free trade, just like Richard and Mr. York. Sir Robert was now assured of a majority in the commission.

Ellen was overjoyed to have her father-in-law accompany them, and of course, he was to be joined by Lady Carter who would not pass on the opportunity to see the Far East. The only one not happy with the development was the Captain of the Star of India, Mr. Hemmings, who fretted over the prospect of a real life Admiral, and a veteran of Trafalgar at that, who would criticise his every manoeuvre. There was no love lost between the Company and the Navy in the first place, and Mr. Hemmings expected grating comments from Sir Anthony.

The next three weeks went by in a flurry of last minute activities for all involved. Harriet and Ellen decided to share the services of Millicent and Sadie rather than bringing along even more servants. Of course, Sir Anthony was accompanied by the ever faithful Mr. Little whose wife grudgingly granted permission for her husband to go on one last journey with his admiral. Lucy would have loved to accompany them, as would her husband, but his practice did not allow a longer absence. Therefore, on a Sunday in mid-November, the Star of India weighed anchor and left the Pool of London on her maiden voyage to India.

Sensing the apprehension of Captain Hemmings, Sir Anthony made a point of staying in his cabin during the up-anchor manoeuvres, and he only joined the rest of the passengers when the ship was well under way. The accommodations were nothing short of luxurious compared to a man o’ war, and the passengers were comfortable staying under deck most of the time whilst the Star of India fought her way westward through the Channel and through icy rain. Of course, Sir Anthony would walk the quarter deck from time to time, but he never wore his uniform, and he never interfered with the running of the ship other than shooting the sun with his sextant at noontime to check their progress. Captain Hemmings’ apprehensions slowly vanished, and when they reached warmer latitudes, the Captain and his illustrious passenger could often be seen in friendly discussion.

Crossing the equator occasioned celebrations on board. The crew was fresh, and many a sailor had his customary rites when crossing the equator for the first time. The passengers were included in the harmless fun, and Richard as well as Mr. York from Trade had to suffer through a baptism ceremony. The women were of courseexcluded from these proceedings, but they watched the fun nevertheless. Even little Anthony received his rites when the boatswain rubbed a little sea water on his forehead. John Little, for his part, related the story of how he, just a little east of their current position, had been rescued from a small boat by the Medusa frigate in 1799 after he had escaped from enslavement.

“Best thing that could happen to me,” he said “Found my place in the Navy.”

A few days later, they cast anchor at Saint Helena. With the Emperor Napoleon dead, Saint Helena once again was little more than a rock in the South Atlantic where British ships took fresh water en route to India. The Governor and his wife were more than happy to invite the passengers for dinner. He was a Rear Admiral, and he and Sir Anthony were vaguely acquainted. The whole group made use of the brief stay and walked across the island. It felt good to exercise the legs again and to have unlimited use of fresh water.

Little Anthony and Mabel’s daughter Sally had been real troopers during the passage so far. Fortunately, they were not teething yet and if anything, the rolling motions of the big ship served to pacify them even more. Both had grown considerably, though, and Ellen felt the weight when she carried her son on her arm.

After four days, the ships weighed anchor again. The gentle weather continued until they reached the Cape of Good Hope where they had to endure a week of choppy waves and shrieking winds before they reached the Indian Ocean. Sailing south of Madagascar, the waves continued to be choppy, but then the sailing became smooth again when they started across the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.

Finally, after almost five months, the ship sailed past Ceylon and changed to a north-northeastern course into the Bay of Bengal. A month later, the Star of India sailed into the mouth of Hooghli River and cast anchor in what was the centre of British India.

For the next days, whilst Richard and his father organised proper accommodations for their stay in Calcutta, Ellen with her mother in law, her child and her servants remained on board the Star of India, watching in rapt attention as the cargo was transferred to lighters and brought ashore. Dark-skinned men, many of them frightfully undernourished, did the hard labour of moving the cargo from the hold, whilst the land breeze brought them the smells of the city. Richard and his father would return in the evenings, full of tales of a strange country. Sir Anthony had never been to India before, although his service had once brought him into the Great South Sea and to Australia, and he was as fascinated with the new experience as was his son.

After the second day ashore, they announced that lodgings had been procured in the house of one of the Directors of the East India Company who was presently visiting London. The next morning, after a last breakfast as guests of Captain Hemmings with whom they had become good friends, the extended Carter family was brought ashore where several coaches were waiting for them. Again, Ellen noticed the emaciated state of the dock workers. On the busy streets, she saw women wearing beautifully arranged but strange clothing. She had already learned that the traditional women’s garb was called a sari, and she could not help but admire the way the gay colours brought out the dark beauty of the women. Of course, with her long blonde hair in a waist-long braid, Ellen herself was the target of stunned looks, as was Harriet Carter with her reddish-blonde mane.

After just twenty minutes, the coaches arrived at a stately house of three stories, in the middle of a lush green garden. Strange birds could be seen and heard, and flowers of all shape and colours pleased the eyes. They alighted from the coach in front of an imposing front steps, and at least twenty servants were lined up on the steps and waiting for them. An old and dignified looking gentleman of colour bowed deeply and welcomed them to his master’s home.

To their surprise, they were shown bedrooms on the third floor. Whilst Ellen and Harriet first thought this to be a snub, a smiling Richard soon clarified things. The mosquitoes that pestered all warm-blooded beings all through the night did not fly as high as the third floor, and thus the upstairs rooms were reserved for the owners and their honoured guests. Still, drapes of gauze enclosed the beds to ward off any flying pests and ensure a safe and relaxed sleep. Whilst the fevers known as malaria were not too frequent in Calcutta, caution was still applied, and the guests were advised not to walk the garden at night without a veil.

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