Erotic Adventures: 4. A Rebellious Turn of Fate.

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Summary

Eugenia had been in love forever. She and Charles had learned about each other's bodies as children. Now twenty-one, she and Charles can complete what they had so often come close to doing. This day had been planned for some years. Eugenia Hammond and Charles Austen had played together as children whenever they had been able to escape the confining influences of their mothers. Their growing close, and even intimate, relationship had been a secret from all but Eugenia’s younger sister, who helped her evade their mother's constant prying and interference, while spying on the pair of them. Then, Eugenia had been sent away. Her mother had found out too much, and she had needed to separate the two companions before irreparable damage were done. Eugenia had been allowed home only for the marriages of her two older sisters, and for the funeral of their father, but that had been enough for she and Charles to make their plans. Love, always found a way. They had made a pact together that would go forward when she reached her twenty-first birthday, gained independence from her mother, and controlled her own inheritance. That day had now arrived.

Genre:
Romance / Adventure
Author:
johnksutherland
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
9
Rating:
5.0 5 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

A Fateful Day

Miss Eugenia Hammond rode toward home early in the afternoon. She was alone, as she intended to be. She'd left her sister, Anne, and her lifelong friend and companion, Angelica Merriwether, in Stoneythorpe, a small village of but forty houses; a smithy, two Inns; one of them a coaching stop, and a church that had once boasted one of the largest congregations per head of population in the entire county.

The attendance at church was not so much a testimony to the religious predisposition of the inhabitants of the village or to the loquacity of its vicar, as to the village of Stoneythorpe having been the uneaseful birth place of one of the last witches burned in England, and that was what needed to be atoned for in prayer and dedication of one’s life to the confining and strangling embrace of the church.

However, that same church had been almost empty that morning. The Reverend Tyson, a newcomer to the parish, was an eager, fire-and-brimstone preacher, waxing ever more loud and eloquent each Sunday as his first months in his new parish passed, hoping to inspire at least some of his congregation into changing their ways to the gospel according to Tyson.

Unfortunately, his enthusiasm for his calling, and wishing to ensure that there would be no backsliding to those more earthy times, sometimes over-ran his wisdom, of which he seemed to have little. Now, the Inn; the source of more than one of those temptations, was usually better attended than the church, once he had clearly demonstrated his ineptitude at preaching.

The last straw, had been when he had continued to abuse his parishioners to a two hour lecture on various evils that seemed to encompass most of the innocuous—to them—habits of his long suffering audience each Sunday. Drunkenness, blasphemy, adultery, fornication, and other ways in which the devil (the Reverend’s greatest benefactor, and into whose embrace he drove so many of his parishioners) worked his way, were his favorite targets.

Witchcraft, and various Druidical ceremonies were still practiced at propitious times of the calendar, The spring equinox, in celebration of the fertility of mother earth, in out-of-the-way places, when it was warm enough to doff one’s clothing. Nudity, at such times, was a necessary prelude to the more serious business about to take place between like-minded, naked, adults, especially men, anxious to give of their seed, and share it with as many females as possible. Certainly, such Rites of Spring, had more of immediate pleasure to offer everyone, than Tyson in his pulpit, spreading guilt everywhere.

Witchcraft was not spoken of, other than in dark corners, nor was it practiced openly, though fornication—the universal celebration of being a temptation-prone human—was widely practiced when the opportunity presented itself.

Tyson’s tenure would be short-lived once his bishop learned of the setback the church had suffered in his overzealous hands with the steady loss of practicing Christians, while the inevitable human failings of his flock had blossomed to compensate for that loss, and in other, far more delightful practices out of the ken of the church.

Angelica had been loath to see Eugenia go home alone, without escort.

“But who will ride home with you to ensure your safety if we don’t? You may just have turned twenty-one, but that does not warrant you regarding yourself as an old-maid on the shelf just yet, and of no interest to the opposite sex.”

That was unlikely ever to happen. Eugenia was by far the most beautiful young woman in the entire area, and would have had any number of men tripping over her, except she had turned them all off. None of them interested her. There was only one man she was interested in.

“We cannot be sure that the Austen boy; Jasper, is not still in the area, and up to his usual tricks with unaccompanied women, as he waylays them, though some of them seek him out, foolish girls.”

The ‘Austen boy’ as they commonly referred to Jasper, was no longer in the area, Eugenia knew that. He was abroad, and would be for the rest of his life if he had any sense, though his elder brother; Charles, was in the area, for she had seen him several times since she had returned from London, though without giving any sign that she had noticed him at all. She had seen him in the village not ten minutes earlier, and was impatient to be gone, herself, after that. She also knew that he was certainly aware of her presence, as she was of his, and constantly sought some sight of him, yearning for an excuse to bump into him, as though by accident, and to strike up a conversation; all innocent enough. She could be patient longer. He had even followed her discreetly after that, possibly to ensure her safety, but would not invite trouble by openly approaching her in public just yet, as she would have liked him to, and raising all those usual hateful tales from her mother about that family—if she heard of her seeing him in the village—and who saw no value in him whatsoever, but she did see a threat still hanging there. Fortunately, her mother knew not even one tenth part of what they did together. He, and Eugenia, needed to be patient just a little longer, and then all of their careful planning and waiting would be rewarded. They could then do exactly as they chose to do.

They had been far too close as children, and had been allowed too much freedom—or so her mother had begun to realize with growing alarm—and there had been too much deception from her daughter regarding that. Unfortunately, she had learned of it all rather late; years too late, but had still been unable to put a stop to their meeting, as they still did—secretly—from time to time, though by the time she heard of it, it was all weeks-old news.

‘They had been seen walking together in the village; riding together by the river; they had been sitting next to each other in church to share a hymn book (there had been a suggestion that they may have held hands, out of sight, under a fold of her dress as they had sat together, with possibly even more going on under there, once he discovered that little opening she had sewn into her dress for him to find), or had bumped into each other at the smithy’.

And those were just a few of the times they had been seen. How many times had they not been observed when they had been together? And what had they been doing at those times? It was enough to drive a mother to distraction, especially when she could not get a straight answer out of her own daughter—regardless of the threats—and who had tossed her hair proudly, and had simply said, rumors, Mama; rumors. They had (no doubt) got up to even more than she felt comfortable suspecting, and for far longer than she dared wish to believe. That was why she had sent Eugenia off for a lengthy stay in London. Distance was a safer antidote to temptation, than any other remedy. It would certainly keep them apart, and would do what her mother’s threats could not, with so many other silly daughters to keep an eye on.

The girl had seemed out of control. She had no longer taken care of her own reputation, or listened to the cautioning of her own mother. She did not want them to renew the questionable friendship that they had carried on behind her back as children, and even under her nose, on her own estate. Eugenia had her own thoughts on that, however, and with Charles’ gentle guidance, in their few private moments together, before she was sent off—he was always sensible and cautious, where she was inclined to be emotional and reckless—they had bided their time, and that time had come. It was now; this very day, and this very afternoon.

“Of course you must stay, Angelica. What sort of a friend would I be if I expected—never mind even thought—that you might not stay, as you want to. I would not be so selfish.” (Though she had selfish reasons of a different kind). “Besides, who would then see you safely home?” They both knew that the groom could ride back with her.

Eugenia’s younger sister, Anne, who had also accompanied them, had decided to stay with a close relative of their mother, in the village, until the morning. Eugenia had suggested it to her before they had left home, but without telling her why she had thought it desirable, other than to say that Mama would likely be in one of her worst tempers that same evening, and Anne had better stay away. Anne was curious, how it was that Eugenia would know that, but knew better than to pressure her sister. She was about to kick over the traces again, probably with more finality this time, and Mama had only herself to blame for it. Following that ominous warning, Anne had also suggested that she might change her own plans, and on the following day she might visit Satterthwaite, some ten miles further, with other of her friends. There were preparations being made for the village festival which was to go on for all of two weeks, so she could not be expected to return before the early evening of the next day—if then—when she would undoubtedly find out what Eugenia had done and, hopefully, the furor with their mother might all have quieted down by then.

The way Eugenia had looked at her and smiled, suggested that her optimism on that score might be misplaced. If it were serious, her mother could easily hold one of her moods for as long as a month. It had something to do with Charles Austen, she was sure of that. He and her sister had been in love for ever, since they were about twelve or even younger, but with Eugenia being under age until now, and not in control of her own future, it had been an impossible circumstance considering her mother’s utter hatred for that family. That she and Charles were keeping an eye on each other in the village at this time (which she had observed), watching and waiting, but for what, presaged some gentle conspiracy between them. Something was obviously afoot. About time.

“You will take care won’t you, Eugenia? You must not do anything that I would not do. Or is that what you intend to do, now that you control your own fortune? You are the only remaining sister I have at home. Who will distract Mama from my own deficiencies in character, and moral failings if you don’t?”

“You have none, Anne. It should be much more peaceful for you with me out of the way. Don’t worry for me. Though don’t expect me at home again for a long time. If ever. At least, not to stay. I doubt I shall be made welcome after this misstep. You may not even be allowed to speak of me or utter my name over dinner or in your prayers. I shall be expunged from memory; pruned from the family tree.” She could make fun of it now, but it had been an impossible torture, to wait for her twenty-first birthday to come.

Anne could not keep the excitement out of her voice as she took her sister by the arm, leaned closer into her and lowered her voice, so as not to be overheard. “Oh, you mischief you. You are eloping. So that is what you and Charles are up to.”

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