Circumstance Unrelated. Part II – The Book Shop

img_2512Amidst the backdrop of Napoleonic War raging across Europe, soldiers seek distraction from the horrors of the battle field. Major Grant is an officer of the British Army serving under Wellington in France. An officer, a gentleman and a connoisseur of female bottoms, Major Grant finds himself unusually captivated by a mysterious woman…..

My regiment had been placed on alert whilst serving my posting at Horse Guards. This communique was sure to end the rumours that the island of Elba had given up its infamous resident. Napoleon may attempt to reform his army.

By my good fortune, through poor planning admittedly, I chose Christmas Eve to collect a number of gifts from the Temple of Muses in Finsbury Square. Having tied together my small collection of illustrated children’s books, I spied a small gilt edged publication dedicated to famous love affairs. Struck by an urge to possess this small item, I asked the shopkeeper to add the find to my account and bade him a good afternoon. With my small tower of pictures and words balanced against the buttons of my overcoat, I made my way to the door of the shop. Through the glass of the door, across the street, I saw her. Yes! It was she. She had alighted from a handsome cab with a gentleman who took her arm as she meet the pavement. Whilst the pleasant shock of seeing her washed over me, and the rush excitement of being able to look upon her at my leisure took hold, I stood firm; this, however was to be short lived. A young man in the employment of the book shop took my delay at the threshold to be one of impatience, and assuming I was unable to open the door with my wares, did so with such vigour and apology that I almost fell into the street, causing a single horse driven carriage to rear up. The additional small book of text, unsecured at it was, slipped from my arms and fell on to the cobbles. I quickly hunkered down and retrieved it before another set of hooves passed, crushing both bone and book! My ability to scare the horse had drawn the attention of a number of passers by and upon lifting my gaze from the street I knew instantly that it was her dress that I could see under the brim of my hat. She was looking in my direction, however, she could not have known it was I.
Savouring the moment, I slowly lifted my head. There she stood not 20 feet away surrounded by people going about their business at a speed that seemed to turn them into a haze. I focused only on her and the silence I found myself in. I have no true recollection how long I absorbed the vision, however, I vaguely remember the returning sounds of London about me; traders calling, the sound of an accordion and children’s voices. The children were excited and calling for their mother’s attention. No, they were calling for her attention! I stood and took two paces backwards to the safety of the pavement, quite unable to grasp the scenario before me. These children, two small girls and younger boy were, without question, her offspring. I felt deflated, nauseous even. I had assumed she was unmarried. No, no in truth I had not ever looked beyond her beauty and my lust. How very self indulgent I had been! Without thinking where my legs would take me, I turned and walked away as if the devil were at my heels. After a few moments I hailed a cab and returned to the safety of White’s, my club in St James’s Street.
I stayed in my room until supper and consumed a light meal with a little wine. Having changed, settled my account and wished the concierge a Merry Christmas, I departed for Kings Cross Station and the train that would take me home.

The journey in itself was uneventful but not without entertainment. The train was fully occupied and my companions were full of festive spirit; if truth be known I believe there was some over consumption of pre-Christmas bottled spirit! I found it comforting that I could imagine the lady of my dreams hiding in that of many of the women on board the train. One had her neck, another her hair, and another, as if to punish myself, her children. I sat back and closed my eyes listening to the sound of wheels on tracks. Did the shock from this information change anything in my feelings towards her? The answer, in all honesty, was no. Although she appeared to have a husband and a fine fellow too I would wager, he was not of my concern in shameful truth. In fact, I found myself more drawn to her than a moth to a naked flame.
I must have drifted into a deep slumber of naked images of breasts and buttocks reddened by my own hand. Giving me a start, the guard passed through the carriage announcing the soon to be arrival of my destination. Gathering firstly my senses and then my belongings I stood to remove my hat from the overhead rack. Tightness in my breeches told me that my deep sleep had aroused not only my mind, for there was obvious stiffness and swelling. To disguise my embarrassment, I used my hat to cover my retreat towards the carriage door. I was offered a number of festive salutations and hand shakes before reaching the door to which I replied in kind. I am sure to this day that many a person who looked upon me that evening mistook me for being worse for drink, for I found my display of manhood both extremely amusing and embarrassing. Having alighted the train I crossed the platform in the small station which was now desolate apart from a slight flurry of snow in the air. I stood and watched as the great black railway engine pulled from the station. A release of steam, and the violent burst of slide rods pumping back and forth announced its departure from the station and into the ink black curtains of moors at night. A voice called my name once the last carriage past the signal; my father-in-law’s driver had been sent to meet me and with that, all thoughts of her were extinguished as reality dawned. Within the hour I would arrive cold and wet in the house that contained my even chillier wife and her lovely children.

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One thought on “Circumstance Unrelated. Part II – The Book Shop

  1. A writer who enjoys plot twists, angst and cliffhangers! I love the detail in this segment. I don’t write this way but I truly admire those who do and love reading the moving background as the characters progress. Looking forward to the next installment.

    Like

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