The House of Elyot


Posted on: January 6, 2011

Here’s something new (well, not that new – actually it’s quite old) for 2011 – a story serialisation.

I started writing this a couple of years ago, got about two thirds of the way through and then had to stop to write On Demand. I’ve never picked the thread up again. I thought it might be a bit of fun to post it here and see if I’m motivated to continue once I run out.

Anyway, it’s Victorian high-melodrama, full of skulduggery and suspense, with erotica and romance in the mix. If you like the sound of that, why not give it a whirl? I’ll post a little bit every week and see how I go.

1888 – Chapter One

“Is the Frenchman here?  He is late.  I can’t set up the equipment myself.”

Odd phrases such as this emerged coherent from the buzz of low masculine conversation that drifted through the door to the anteroom.  Polly half-attended to it, but her concentration was more fully attuned to a thorough examination of the gracious décor of her surroundings.  This was quite the grandest room she had ever been in, and it wasn’t even a proper room; the gent who had brought her here had called it an ‘antechamber’.  Proper posh, it was – flock wallpaper, delicately coloured glass shades on the bracketed gas lamps, finely stitched antimacassars atop the small tables that interspersed the ornate chairs.  If this was an antechamber, Lord knew what the front parlour might be like; Polly’s entire family could live and sleep in a room this size.

“You could have found a prettier girl; she is no more than a drab.”  The querulous remark was made in a foreign accent Polly could not place, having had little to do with folks from overseas in her forty one years.  Then the distinctive voice of The Toff replied.

“It isn’t the easiest task to find girls willing to satisfy your specific tastes.  Even the lowest whores have their limits.  I had to offer this one twenty guineas, which is a King’s ransom considering that full coitus can usually be obtained for no more than twopence.”

The Toff’s words elicited a shudder from Polly, the recollection of why she was here flooding into her consciousness uninvited.  Suddenly the odd scraping and sharpening sounds that had been background noise to the conversation loomed hugely in the foreground.  There was a clink that reminded her of a table being laid, but presumably this was not the laying out of cutlery but of…instruments.

The words of The Toff when he had picked her up bucked and surged in her brain in such a way as to induce mild seasickness.  “He is a very rich and powerful man, but he has unusual tastes, so unusual that he is willing to offer substantial remuneration to a lady who can accommodate him.”  On being asked what the tastes were, The Toff had merely answered, “The infliction of pain.  Are you a mother?”

Polly had nodded, nonplussed.

“The pain is severe, but I daresay nothing that would compare with childbed.  Would fifteen guineas aid the process of making a decision?”

Polly had haggled it up to twenty and blithely ascended the step into The Toff’s carriage.  He was a somewhat mysterious-looking cove, heavily moustachioed and wearing a hat whose broad brim shaded his face.  Her overall impression was of a shadow, albeit one with watchful gimlet eyes.  All her thought in the carriage had been of what she could do with twenty guineas, a delirious fantasy spree of celebration in her head, but now…well, the reality of earning those twenty guineas must be confronted.

She was swallowing with difficulty, a sheen of perspiration on her palms and brow, when a small bespectacled man burst in and bolted through the door to the larger room without so much as a nod of acknowledgement.


“At last,” grumbled The Toff.  “Let us prepare your apparatus, and then we may begin proceedings.”

(N.B. Despite the doomy opening, there are no scenes of graphic torture in this story.)

4 Responses to "1888"

Oo, well, I’m intrigued…

Oh good! I was hoping you would be ;). Thanks!

Fun! 😀

Glad you think so, Rachel! Thanks for reading.

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