“This gentleman,” the madam gestured to the pale youth standing beside her, “has a proposition for us.”
In the soft gas-light, a dozen young women sat on chairs and sofas around the edge of the room. Aged between eighteen and forty, all were dressed fashionably, but with hints of immodesty – here a blouse not buttoned to the neck, but showing pale, bare flesh; there a skirt too short to cover the ankles, exposing a glimpse of fishnet stocking. Many wore more make-up than would be considered respectable, and several wore their hair loose. And all were attractive, highly skilled, and, as the madam ensured that all prospective customers knew, expensive.
“This is an opportunity for a long term position. At first, you must be willing to go away for a week. After that, if you are successful, you will be away for a year.”
Several of the women glanced at one and other, uncertain.
“What does that mean,” one of the older girls asked, “to be… successful?”
The madam nodded, appreciating the question. “Perhaps our client might explain the details?” She stepped aside to let the young man step forward.
“I know the request is unusual.” Barely twenty years old, clean shaven, but in an expensively tailored suit, the young man shifted from one foot to the other as he spoke. “But the situation is as follows. There is a certain gentleman, of high birth… of very high birth… who wishes to take a mistress for a year. He will be holding, as it were, interviews, at his home. Whoever impresses him the most, will stay with him for one year.”
“So, what do we have to do,” one of the women asked, in a lilting Irish voice, “to impress him?”
“That has not been stated.”
“Some of us have particular talents, and some of us can charge more if we are,” noted a dark-skinned girl, “unusual. Whoever goes should be… suitable… to his tastes.”
“Given the situation, it would be best if you were to be amenable to, shall we say, a range of situations. If you were flexible, to different wishes.”
“So where would we be living,” the previous voice enquired again, “if we’re successful? If I wanted to live in a hovel, I could have stayed in Ireland.”
“I understand,” the man noted, “that the gentleman has several residences. He has a town house, but his main residence is, I believe… well, it’s a castle.”
“So this gentleman,” a third questioner chimed in, a woman in her mid twenties with a London accent, “lives in a castle? And has a house in London? And wants someone to be flexible, like you say, for a year?”
“Largely so,” the young man nodded. “I do not actually know how much time he would want to spend in your company, as he is a busy man, and so you may not find the position taxing. Though to be clear, there is some travel involved. His city residence is not in London, but in Paris. And the castle is in Switzerland.”
There was some whispering around the room. “Where the hell is Switzerland?” one asked. “I think it’s in Germany,” another assured her. “Is this man some sort of royalty?” a third mused.
“Ladies, if you please,” the young man ventured to reassure them. “The details may seem confusing and the request is unusual, but the gentleman is a very unusual, very powerful, very wealthy man. And the opportunity is, at its heart, quite simple. You will travel, with me, to the gentleman’s home, where you will have the chance to persuade him of your… charms. If you are successful, you will live for a year in luxury, as required indulging one of the most remarkable men in Europe.”
The women seemed less impressed with this than he had hoped. Around the room there were more whispers of uncertainty. “I don’t know if I’d want to go abroad…” one muttered. “I couldn’t leave my old mam, she needs me here in London,” another shook her head. “Just sounds a bit fishy to me…” another muttered.
“I’ll do it.” One voice spoke up, clear and confident. It was the London girl who had spoken before. “So long as I get paid, what’s the problem? I like a bit of variety. And what’s the worst that happens? I get paid to go on a little trip, and maybe I get to do it with royalty in a castle. Then I come back here. But maybe, best chance, I get kept in luxury for a year! Of course I’ll do it!”
The muttering around the room subsided, but several of her fellows looked at her as if she were mad.
“The gentleman will be very… discerning,” the young man noted.
“Oh, I’m plenty skilled enough, if that’s what you’re asking!”
“All of my girls,” the madam reassured him, “know how to satisfy a gentleman.”
The young man looked at the girl. Maybe twenty five years old, with a thin face and slender body, with generous breasts and pale brown hair, she was certainly not unattractive, and there was a sparkle in her grey eyes. “I can believe that. But in this case, I must be certain.”
“My house,” the madam noted, “offers no free samples.”
“And I will pay,” the young man nodded without hesitation. “But I need to be sure.”
“Then please come this way,” the madam gestured towards the stairs, “and Millie will follow in a few minutes.”
Upstairs, he was shown into a well appointed bedroom, with a chair and side table, a sideboard with glasses and a decanter of sherry, and, dominating the room, a large bed with a crimson cover. Hanging on the walls were framed etchings of men and women locked in intimate embraces.
The madam poured him a glass of sherry, and left him alone to muse over the etchings, and wait for Millie.
She kept him waiting for a quarter of an hour, and he grew impatient. But when the side door of the room opened and he looked around, he immediately stopped feeling annoyed.
She had changed her clothes. She no longer wore a respectable dress. Instead she wore a long, full black satin cloak, open at the front. Her hands were clad in long purple silk gloves, and while she held a satin bag in one hand she used the other to brush open the cloak, giving him a glimpse of what she wore beneath: high heeled boots; black stockings, tied with purple bands above her knees, purple gloves, and a matching under-bust corset which, finishing beneath her generous bust, allowed her breasts to hang free. Between her stockings and the corset she was quite naked, revealing a trimmed patch of dark hair.
“Do you like what you see, Sir?”
The young man stood up immediately to greet her. “Very much so, madam!”
She smiled as she stepped forward. “Call me Millie. And what do I call you, Sir?”
“My name is Henry. Henry Thanford.”
“Well then, Henry Thanford, there’s no need to hurry.” She walked up to him, and placed one hand on his chest, guiding him backwards. “Sit yourself down again, and tell me something.”
She walked towards the bed, and put her bag down, turning towards him and drawing the cloak closed about her. “What do you think my best feature is? Some people think that I have lovely eyes?”
“You have got beautiful eyes, Millie,” he agreed, sipping the last of his sherry.
“More beautiful,” she asked, stepping one foot forward, letting the cloak fall open just enough to show off one slender leg, “than my legs?”
“Perhaps not,” Henry smiled.
Millie turned her back on him and slowly inch by inch raised the hem of the cloak, revealing her boots, her stockings, her bare thighs. “Well now that you can see both of my legs, would you say,” she asked, drawing the cloak higher, revealing her firm, round buttocks, “that they are better than my arse?” And she leaned forward slightly, swaying her hips to make her point.
“Your arse is particularly….” he was not quite sure how to continue.
“Yes,” Henry agreed. “Inviting.”
She let the hem of the cloak drop to conceal her flesh again, but turned now to face him and stepped slowly closer. As she reached his chair, she leaned forwards and opened the front of her cloak. “But what about,” she moved her shoulders slightly, so that her heavy breasts swayed, just a yard from his face, “my chest?”
“You have fantastic breasts,” he assured her.
“I know.” She stood up straight, but brushed he cloak aside, and cupped her breasts in her gloved hands. As he watched she slowly massaged her tits, letting him glimpse hardening nipples between her fingers. “And you’ll like them even more, soon…. When they’re brushing against your chest, you’ll really like them then…. But perhaps I have an even better feature.”
“Better than your breasts?” Henry asked, staring at her round tits.
“You tell me, Henry.” She let the cloak fall closed over her, breaking his view. She turned and walked to the bed, and sat down, facing him. She parted her knees, drawing the cloak open, and she moved one hand down to between her thighs. “My best feature, may be my pussy.”
She raised one foot onto the bed, giving him a clear view of her pink lips and her trimmed mound.
She let her gloved fingers slide down between her legs, and started to explore her own slit, pushing her lips apart, caressing herself, letting a finger slide momentarily inside, letting him watch all the while.
“You like looking at me now, don’t you?” she asked, as she played with herself.
Henry just nodded.
“But you’ll be even more impressed when your hard cock is deep inside it. You do have a hard cock, don’t you?”
He nodded again.
“Very,” he managed to say.
She slipped two silk-clad fingers into her pussy, and parted her lips, showing letting him look deep into her. “Show me.”
He unbuttoned his trousers, while she continued to touch herself.
“Oh, Henry, I will enjoy that,” she smiled at him, as he released the thick, hard shaft that had been straining under his trousers. “But not yet.”
She continued to watch him as he watched her, her fingers still exploring her own pussy, as he started to stroke his own shaft.
“You are impressed with me, aren’t you?”
“You’re impressed with my breasts? And you’re impressed with this tight, wet pussy?”
He nodded again.
“Well, you know what impresses me?” she asked, looking directly at his hard cock. “You know what really impresses me?”
He shook his head.
“I’m really impressed,” she assured him, still playing with herself, still watching him stroke his haft, “with the triumphs of British industry.”
She laughed. “Don’t you believe me?” And sliding a gloved finger deep into her slit, she asked, “Don’t you believe that I am now thinking… of the wonders of the industrial age?”
He shook his head.
“It’s true, Henry. What I’m thinking of now, is the wonders of industry. How up and down this country,” she mused, her finger now rhythmically pressing into her pussy, “there are workshops and factories… making things… that our ancestors couldn’t have dreamed of… Like porcelain.”
He watched her fingering herself, and she watched him stroking himself.
“Do you think about porcelain, Henry, while you’re watching me pleasure my pussy?”
He shook his head.
“But I do. All the things that can be made form that smooth, glossy, hard material.” She pulled her hand away from between her legs, and reached across to the bag that she had carried in. “Like this….”
And from the bag she drew a long, white, china shaft, ten inches long, slender, slightly curved, with a pronounced bell shape at one end. She raised it to her mouth, and let her tongue caress it, and then slowly lowered it to between her thighs. She pushed the tip gently between her pink lips, and gave a slight gasp and a smile and the head vanished between her pink lips.
Henry watched as she slowly began to slide the porcelain dildo in and out of herself, and now she watched his face, seeing how he stared transfixed at her pussy as she slowly pushed deeper.
“Now, Henry, now that you’re watching this smooth shaft sliding into my pussy, now you see it exactly where you want your cock to be… now are you impressed by porcelain?”
“Oh God yes!” he agreed.
“Then, you’ll be even more impressed by this.”
She swung her leg back down, to place both feet on the floor, and concentrating, clenching her pelvic muscles, she let go of the dildo and stood up. The top half of the china shaft stayed snugly inside her.
Taking small, deliberate steps, she stepped towards him. “Now you know begin to see how talented I am. Now you can see how much control I have?”
“But you can only imagine,” she noted, “what it will feel like when you are deep in my cunt.”
She leaned forward and reached out to him, and started to undo his coat.
Eagerly, he let go of his shaft, and began to undo his tie and then his waistcoat.
Millie stood, reached down and slipped the dildo from between her thighs, and put it on the table next to him. She unclasped her cloak and cast it aside, and as he pulled off his jacket, shirt, then shoes, socks and trousers, she stood in front of him, letting her fingers toy tantalisingly between her thighs again.
As he pulled off the last of his clothes, she leaned forwards towards him, and put her hands on his chest.
“And so, Henry, what is my best feature?”
He didn’t answer.
“What do you think?” She let her fingers gently caress paths down his chest towards his groin, the soft silk delicate on his skin. “My eyes? My lips? My legs? My ass? My breasts? Or my pussy?”
Barely in a whisper, he mumbled, “Your pussy.”
“You realise, that you could have said my best feature was my lips? If you had, I’d take you in my mouth right now.”
He swallowed hard as he thought of that.
“And if,” she reached back up to her chest, and cupped her breasts in her hands again, “you had said that my chest was my best feature, then your cock would now be nestled in my cleavage, and I’d be showing you how I can make you come just with my breasts…. But as it is, you said you liked my pussy best. So, do you know what’s going to happen now?”
Henry shook his head.
“We’re going over to the bed, and you’re going to find out exactly how talented I am.”
She stepped back, and he needed no further invitation. He leaped to his feet and taking her by the arm swiftly stepped across to the bed. He turned to face her, but, freeing her arm, she guided him on to the bed. But she did not follow.
“What are you doing?”
“What am I doing?” She opened her bag again, and now drew out two lengths of scarlet silk, each several yards long. “I am about to make you come like you have never come before.”
“But what are they for?”
“Do you want to know exactly how good my pussy is? And do you want the best climax you have ever had?”
Henry nodded eagerly.
“Then lay back.”
Nervously, Henry lay back on the bed.
Millie took his hands, crossed them at the wrists and bound one of the silk lengths around them, and tied them securely together. Then she took the second bond, and passed it between his arms and over the side of the bed, fastening it to the bed frame.
With Henry now immobile, flat on his back and his hands held above his head by the silk bonds, she knelt next to him on the bed, and let her gloved hands glide up and down his chest.
“Now, Henry,” she told him, as she continued to caress him, “I will climb on top of you, take you deep inside me, let you feel how soft, wet and tight my cunt is, and ride you until you explode inside me…. Probably.”
“Probably?!” Henry blurted out in frustration.
“Yes, probably….” Millie moved her hand down to his shaft, and started to caress him. “Or I might not.”
“Well….” She clasped his cock gently, and started to pump at him, keeping only the gentlest of grasps, so that he could feel the soft silk around his member. “I could…. Or perhaps I could just stop here.”
“No? But maybe I’ve changed my mind…. Maybe I don’t want to go to Switzerland…. Maybe I don’t want to be your friend’s mistress…. Maybe I’m happy to stay here….” She smiled, and continued pumping at him. “So I could just walk away, and leave you here?”
“Oh no, please!”
“Oh I wouldn’t do that…. That would be frustrating for me, too.” She released his shaft, and leaned back, reaching down to touch herself instead of him. “But what I might do… Is make you watch while I make myself come…. And then leave you there – frustrated!”
“Oh God, please! Please!”
Millie laughed. “I could come like this you know…? While you watch?”
“Oh please, I want your pussy!”
“I know! That’s what would make it so delicious…. But you know something…?”
With a laugh Millie sprang forward, swinging her leg over his hip to crouch above him on all fours, her breasts hanging down to gently sway against his chest. “I haven’t changed my mind!”
She lowered her hips until he could feel her hair and her lips just teasing the front of his shaft. “You’re going to find out exactly how good my cunt is!” And she tilted her hips, pushing down.
“Oh God!” he cried as his hard shaft slid into her tight, wet pussy.
“God yes!” she agreed.
He started thrusting upwards – he raised his knees, and with his feet flat on the bed he pushed hard, and fast up into her.
“Yes – yes – God yes – yes!” she looked down at him as he fucked her, and biting her lip she tightened her pussy muscles around him.
“Oh God!” he cried, incredulous. “That’s just….”
“I know…” she smiled, looking down at him, trying to keep her composure. “God, just keep doing… that… oh God, that!”
She propped herself up so that he could feel her breasts bouncing on his chest each time he thrust into her, and her pussy clenched tight around him. “My pussy… is fantastic….”
“Oh God I know – I can feel – oh God!”
“But what… makes it better….” she gasped as he kept fucking her, but kept watching him intently, studying his face, listening to his breathing “is that…I can tell… when you’re going… to come!”
“Oh God I’m going to come now!” he cried.
“I know!” she smiled, and she leaped forward, pulling away from him, so that his cock fell heavy and wet on his own belly.
“Oh God I was going to come!”
“I know.” Millie swung her leg back over to kneel beside him again, and again caressed his chest, his belly, his thighs – but did not touch his shaft.
“What are you doing?”
“Making you wait,” she smiled, still caressing him, waiting for his building orgasm to subside.
“I could have come so fast!”
“You could have,” she agreed. “But you’re not going to. Not yet.”
She swung her leg back over his hip, and let his shaft nestle against her slit again.
“You want me again?”
She arched her hips and let the tip of his shaft find the entrance to her pussy. And then she pushed slowly down, taking him gently inside her.
Now he laid back, and waited to see what she would do. And with a smile she obliged, leaning back and slowly starting to ride him.
“Does that feel good?”
“And,” cupping her breasts in her hands, massaging her tits while he watched, she asked, “does that look good?”
Slowly she rode him, in long, even strokes, raising her hips so that he almost slipped out, and then sliding down to take his full length, over and over.
He started to moan with each stroke, and Millie smiled as she clenched her muscles again, making his moans louder. And then she went a little faster, and a little faster….
“Oh God, I….”
“I know,” she smiled again, and now raised her hips a little too high, so that he slipped from her.
Millie leaned forward. “You were so close, weren’t you?”
She let her breasts brush against his chest again. “So you want to fuck me?”
He nodded vigorously.
She lowered her hips towards him, but hovered just out of reach. “Do you think I’ll let you come this time?”
She smiled, and lowered her hips.
Feeling her wet lips around the head of his cock, he pushed up, hard, making her gasp, and as she leaned over him, her breasts on his chest, watching his face, he rammed up into her, again and again. She tightened her muscles around him and smiled as he gasped, and as he pushed up again and again, he began to moan again, his breath quickening, his face contorting until at last…
Millie leaped forward again.
“No!” Henry whimpered. “So close!”
“I know!” Millie smiled and knelt back. She reached down and gently took his shaft between her finger and thumb. “You must be so sensitive now.”
Millie raised her hips and raised his cock with her hand, guiding him towards her. She slipped the head of his dick between her pussy lips, but as he tried to push up she pulled back.
Henry lay still, and again Millie lowered herself onto the tip of his cock. He pushed up to meet her, and again she pulled back, and laughed.
“I could do this for hours,” she assured him, letting him slide an inch into her again, before raising her hips, and then teasing him with the same motion, again, and again. “But do you know Henry… what is going to happen now?”
He shook his head.
“You,” she smiled, “are going to come.” And she dropped down onto his cock, taking the full length of him into her tight slit.
“God!” he cried.
“So – fuck me!”
He bucked against her, slamming into her, and she rode him, her breasts bouncing as he pumped into her from below. She could see his face changing again, hear his breathing quicken.
“You want to come?”
He didn’t answer, but slammed into her harder.
“I said… I’d let you… didn’t I?”
Henry kept slamming at her.
“Maybe…” she could tell how close he was now. “… I have changed… my mind!”
“No!” he moaned as he thrust again and again into her.
“But I haven’t!” And with a grimace she clenched her muscles as hard as she could. “So come now!”
“God!!!” he cried, the noise trailing into something between a whimper and scream.
He pushed as deep as he could, and she fell forward onto his chest, while steams of cum shot, over and over, into her.
Henry lay there panting, Millie laying across his chest, his spent cock growing limp in her tight, soaked pussy.
“Am I,” she whispered in his ear, “suitably accomplished?”
Still panting, Henry gasped, “God, yes!”
“Good. Then lets go to Switzerland!”
Fredrick stood in front of the members’ pigeon-holes in the Apollonian Club, and puzzled at the message, rereading it to ensure that he had understood its meaning correctly.
“Perplexing, isn’t it?”
“Miss Wolseley!” He spun around at the sound of her voice. “You’ve seen this letter?”
“Indeed, Mr Clifford, all of the members have received one.”
“Even the ladies?” Fredrick frowned.
“Yes, Mr Clifford,” Catherine smiled. “Even the ladies. So tell me, what do you make of it?”
“As I understand it,” Fredrick glanced through the message again, “this Count Schaddendorf, invites all seekers of knowledge – which means this club’s members, I assume – to bring tribute before him. The tribute is to be a young woman, who he shall take – I assume he means carnally – for one night. Whosoever brings the most pleasing tribute shall have, for a period of one year, any book from his most magnificent – his words – library. The tribute shall remain with him for that year. All other tributes and supplicants – we are the supplicants, I assume – shall leave immediately after the selection is made.”
“You have read that almost word for word,” Catherine nodded. “But what do you actually make of it? What do you think?”
“Well, aside from the arrogance of the tone…. I don’t really see how he can expect people to procure willing women to satisfy his carnal desires! Where would one find a willing… tribute?”
“Oh Mr Clifford – you seize upon the obvious, but miss the interesting points! Come and sit with me.”
They walked into lounge, and found a cluster of unoccupied, high-backed leather seats at the far end, arranged around a table. Catherine summoned a waiter, ordered a brandy and a red wine, and then settled down in a chair with its back to the wall.
“I trust that you would want a brandy?”
“It is appropriate for the time of the evening,” Fredrick confirmed. “But I remain surprised by your tendency to drink wine at any time.”
“Any time when it is dark. Generally tea if it is light. And I do not much see why people feel the need to distinguish by the hour.”
“There is a need,” Fredrick observed, half-joking, “because upon such niceties, man rises from barbarism to civilization.”
“I’m told that he does,” Catherine nodded, “but I remain unconvinced. Which brings us back to your letter.”
“Yes, demanding women isn’t especially civilized behaviour, is it?”
“Not as civilization is commonly understood, certainly! But step through the situation, one piece at a time, and let us see what logic emerges.”
Fredrick sat back and shook his head. “Miss Wolseley, I lecture and tutor, daily. I teach. I recognise that you are trying to encourage me to think through this as a logical problem. But, aside from feeling a tad patronised, I must note that I do not have enough information from which to start making deductions. And so, if you would be so kind, please just explain it to me.”
“Very well, Mr Clifford.” Catherine agreed. “This club has, perhaps two hundred members?”
“If you say so.”
“And of those most are simply academically interested, or study theosophy, or are primarily interested in spiritualism. You, for example, are very much an academic, yes?”
“But we still have plenty of members who have, at least dabbled in, deeper, or darker mysteries. And I suspect that most, perhaps almost all, of the men in our fraternity who seek deeper understandings, try, at some point, to use their supposed secrets to sway the affections of women. Seduction is an obvious male application of power. Agreed?”
“I suppose, unfortunately, that may be true. Victor Braystone, we both know….”
“Exactly – but here is my point, Mr Clifford. If every man who dabbles might seek to get women through his art, then a man generally considered to be a master in such arts should not need to turn to his lessers to procure women for him. If he wanted women, he could get them for himself. Nobody needs to peddle them half way across Europe for him. Agreed?”
“I see your point.”
“Moreover, the fact that many dabblers try to use their arts for petty purposes – sexual conquests, to win money, for petty vengeance, and so forth – is exactly why they remain mere dabblers. To excel in any walk of life requires dedication, discipline, focus. You did not win your academic post by chasing women all day. And so here is a man who has attained, allegedly, great wisdom and power through dedication and discipline, and who now offers up the riches of his intellectual storehouse for something, sex, which is likely of little importance to him – and which he should, if he wanted, be able to easily procure for himself. You see how little sense this makes?”
“But most people, men, when they see this challenge, do not think of that. Like you, they fall for the obvious, and start asking unimportant questions, such as, where will I find a woman!”
Fredrick frowned. “Then what is the purpose of the invitation?”
“Of that, I have absolutely no idea. What do you think?”
Fredrick thought for a moment. “The possibilities are considerable. Gather, under false pretences, a group of people who are greedy for knowledge…. Again, I’m afraid that I don’t really have enough information. I could only speculate.”
“But you begin to see the dangers, as you start to think this through?”
“Perhaps. But in any case, you have seen through the ruse, sufficiently, at least that you will not be walking into whatever trap is being laid. You can stay here in London, and the more foolish can take the bait.”
Catherine smiled. “Not at all, Mr Clifford. I intend to find out what game this Count is playing with the members of this club. I intend to go, to establish what his plan might be, and if necessary to take suitable steps against any such conspiracy.”
“Miss Wolseley – if you go…. You would not offer him yourself!”
“Heavens, no! I shall procure an apparent tribute to offer him, though in reality, more of an accomplice.”
“By which you mean, Miss Ferriss?”
“Very good, Mr Clifford. She is always delighted by the thought of a little subterfuge, of a mystery to solve, and, yes, of some sexual novelty. I spoke to her this afternoon, and she is very keen. And moreover, she was delighted when I told her that you will be coming with us.”
“Will I, indeed? Good grief – why ever would I do that?”
“The week that we are all invited, is in the middle of your Easter holiday at the University? So what else will you be doing in that week?”
“Well, it will give me time to work on a particularly troublesome parchment which I am translating. And I really should review my lecture notes for the forthcoming term, and…. Why are you smiling like that?”
“Let me rephrase the question, Mr Clifford. What will you be doing, that is in any way interesting or inspiring? What could you do that will stop you from regretting, every hour of every day, that you had passed up the opportunity of a genuine mystery, and the pleasure of my company? What do you have that will not seem, by comparison, tedious and unfulfilling?”
Fredrick did not answer.
“So, Mr Clifford, tell me, what are your plans for that week?”
“It seems,” Fredrick frowned, “that, for that particular week, I am accompanying you to Switzerland.”