Revolutionettes, Chapter 11

  • Posted on March 11, 2018 at 11:14 am

By Amanda

1799-1801 – Paris 

“Yes,” Monique said, stepping into my home and smiling.

“Yes…?” I replied, not sure what she meant.

“I will come and live with you. We’ll make a go of your tavern.”

I was elated. She immediately turned and picked up two bags which she carried to the bedroom. I closed the front door and followed her.

“You’ve left the stables already?” I asked.

“I told the gentleman last week that I must leave. Said I’d a sick cousin I must care for.” She placed her hands on her hips and looked around. “I haven’t much to unpack, I fear, but I’ll need a place to put my things.”

“The wardrobe has plenty of room.”

I helped her unpack and we soon went down to the tavern to prepare for the following night’s business.

Monique and I never had said that we were sweethearts. Our relationship seemed largely unspoken. We just seemed to fit together and it was very comfortable, I think for us both. I felt in no way that she was falling in love with me, nor I with her, but what we had was warm and reassuring and it was the most I could hope for, since even after so many years I did not believe that I would ever love anyone but Molly.

With the first Saturday night we were living together, we hosted fifteen women in the tavern. And the following morning when I counted the take and took into consideration the drink that we would have to replace, it turned out to be the first night that we had made a true profit. It was little more than twenty francs, but that was something, and I was happier than I had been in months.

For the next six months the tavern managed to turn over at least twenty francs a week. We had begun opening our doors on both Friday and Saturday nights and our patronage and fame grew. Best of all, I was able to afford a piano and we had a Negro girl named Jezebel who came in most nights and sang while another, Angelique, played.

My tavern was turning into something to be proud of. I was meeting women from all over Paris and even other parts of France. And the Madame had seen fit to introduce me to three other women from her circle, a circle that in time I would learn extended not only to the colonies via Catherine, but reached to England and indeed across continental Europe.

I was quite satisfied with my success, though it was moderate. My ship provided a small profit of nearly a fifteen hundred francs each season which I had decided I would save and use to make a downpayment on another vessel. Already I was able to haul twice the cargo as any of Catherine’s ships. But this time I would procure a ship with both passengers’ quarters and a large cargo hold. I wanted to help her with the slaves she was moving out of the American south. It seemed a noble cause and one she was still quite involved in.

My one ship had caused me to have to rent an office, hire a crew, and a man to manage it, as well as get cargo for the ship after Catherine’s shipments dried up during the growing season and winter. I was spending a great deal of money for such a small profit, and I guessed that for only the cost of a second crew I could double my income. Of course I did not take into account that my insurance cost would double, but even that was not so significant.

I set Catherine’s lawyer — and since I had begun to pay him, my lawyer — on a quest to find me a proper vessel.

His search lasted for two months. I was at home minding dinner when he came to call. I was surprised to see him there since it was customary for him to send word or wait until I came to get my allowance.

“I have found a ship, I think,” he said as he entered my home and removed his hat.

“It has passenger space?”

“Yes. But it is not new. I believe it would be wise to assume the mortgage on a vessel. It will cost less to acquire that way, and we won’t have to wait for it to be built. It’s already crewed as well.”

“You’re sure this is best?”

“I am. The vessel is already contracted to a Dutch company. It will be providing a handsome income from the day you sign the papers.”

“What of Catherine? I want to ship for her in the fall.”

“That can be arranged,” he said. The way he looked at me told me that he knew why I specifically wanted room for passengers. It was a dangerous pursuit. My ship could be confiscated.

“Have you received any word from Catherine?” I asked.

“Only that things are as they have always been. She would not share any more intimate details with me, I assure you.” The lawyer half smiled. What he did or did not know about his employer would remain a mystery, though I had every reason to believe that he had no idea about her darker secrets.

I regretted that I did not have a letter for him to send to her then. I should have written her, but I had no way of knowing I would have seen him that day. All the same, I resolved that I would write both Alice and Catherine that night and bring the letters to him in the morning.

And that was what I did. I wrote them both and delivered the letters. The next time I saw him, he not only had good news regarding my new ship but a letter from Catherine and Alice each.

I was relieved to learn that Catherine had indeed reopened the tavern. It was not what it once was, and likely never would be again, but it was something at least. It seemed so sad to me that such a wonderful thing as she had done for all of us, women of this mind, that is, was gone forever and over nothing more than wealth and the need to pass it on.

My own tavern, however, was far better. It was turning a tidy profit on its own. Not great wealth that would sustain such a lifestyle as I had lived with Catherine, or even Josephine, but it was fine enough that I always had enough money to do what I wanted.

I began to wonder if I should not develop my own inner circle of close friends. I dreamt of the days when I might, like Catherine, throw elaborate parties filled with debauchery and sin. Little by little I found myself collecting erotic literature. I was looking for hints about how I might accomplish all that Catherine had.

I had managed to collect quite a library of positively awful stories. I had them hidden away just as I had seen Catherine do, folded within the pages of more respectable books. I needed a home, though. A proper place to throw parties. The tavern would not do.

I began searching Paris for a larger home, one suitable for my plans. My ships were creating enough of an income that, coupled with my allowance and the little money from the tavern, I would be able to afford a town home not at all unlike that owned by the Madame. That should be large enough, I thought.

I would start small, however. I would create a tea party as I had seen in New York. I would begin to develop my inner circle through carefully evaluating those women I knew best from my Friday and Saturday nights.

There was no doubt that the Madame and Monique would of course be there. Angelique and her lover, the ex-slave Jezebel, also seemed to be likely possibilities. I needed more, though. I had to be careful, however, these had to be my closest friends only. What I wouldn’t have given to have Alice and Eliza there to join me. Catherine as well. I knew so many women, but they were all spread across the globe, leaving me only with the few I knew in Paris to choose from.

I began to wonder if perhaps I should not save my money to buy a third ship and then seek out a larger home. I had heard of steamships by now, and wondered if I could acquire such a vessel. Of course they were still very new, and I did not know that they were not considered seaworthy at all.

In the end I chose to find a new home. It would allow me to begin developing my inner circle. I already had two ships and with only a small amount of money I could acquire a third at any time.

Again my lawyer helped me. I sent him about looking for a larger house. I asked to entertain properties on the outskirts of the city, but if there was nothing I could afford there, then he should find a town home within the city.

And so it was that by the year’s end I had a new town home. It was very large for something in the city. The house had three floors. On the first the kitchen, sitting room, a formal dining hall, and a parlor. On the third floor, several bedrooms. And finally, the second floor, and the reason I bought the house. It had a party hall. Really little more than a large open space with room for a small orchestra. Of course, for my uses there would be no music, no dancing. Also, the house was built in such a way as to have a small, private courtyard which was neither visible to neighbors nor from the street.

The place was sufficient for my tea party and hopefully the debauchery I wished soon to indulge in. I had assembled a list of six women I would invite to my first tea party, when I received word that Catherine was coming to Paris to breed a horse. I worried that the horse might not survive the journey.

I decided to delay my first tea party until she arrived. It seemed to be perfect that she should be at my first gathering, seeing that most of what I now knew and enjoyed I owed to her.

It was early spring when Catherine arrived in Paris. She bred her horse as she had come to do, then came at once to my home.

I welcomed her into my home and soon took her out to my tavern. I needed her approval, I craved it. She had been the first, and now there was me and the destiny I was making for myself.

“And the tavern supports itself, you say?” Catherine asked as I led her up the back stair to the apartment above.

“Indeed. For quite some time now.”

“Well that’s certainly more than I could claim, but of course Paris is much larger so surely you must have more patrons.”

“Perhaps,” I agreed. “But Madame La Granade sells me the drink at I price I could not get elsewhere.”

Catherine smiled at me and laid her palm against my cheek. I closed my eyes and enjoyed her touch. It seemed a lifetime since I had last felt it. And seeing her then only served to remind me how much I missed her and the others.

“My daughter,” she whispered. “You make me proud. To have accomplished so much in so short a time. Were I to start with so little, I do not think that I could have done as well.”

“You tease me. Of course you could,” I laughed.

“No. I have known wealth and privilege all of my life. I honestly do not know how I might begin so humbly. Indeed you’ve had great fortune, but you’ve also been wise enough to use that to make your way in the world.”

“Which reminds me,” I began. “Catherine, your generosity has been something I could not have done without. But my ships and my tavern support me now. And you are right, I do wish to make my own way in the world. So I think from now on I should refuse the allowance that you have been giving me.”

“The allowance,” Catherine chuckled to herself. “Well, that was a gift from Madeline to you, not from me. It was her dying wish.”

“But surely she would like to see me living so well now, on my own. And of course my gratitude to you both knows no bounds, but the time has come for me to fly on my own wings,” I said confidently.

“I hear Josephine in you,” said Catherine, nodding her head. “I think Madeline would be proud of you, of all you have done. As am I.”

“And so you will come to my tea party tomorrow?”

“I wouldn’t miss it.” Then she eyed me curiously. “I thought that I would pass on a legacy I could be proud of, perhaps to someone in Philadelphia, Alice or Eliza. I had no idea it would be you who took up my banner, and all on your own too. What we had in the United States might be gone, but you have breathed new life into it here.”

“I only hope I can do justice to it. I fear I am not you.”

“No, you are you. The girl who endured a year with my mistress. The girl who has begun to build a fortune of her own, from having once been a seamstress paid only a dollar a week. You survived Maddy’s death, and the loss of what I had built. You’ve no idea the strength you have. You are a powerful woman, never let yourself forget that.”

She stood and we walked toward the front door. I did not live in this apartment any longer, but I did maintain it.

“And so you said that you and Monique have…”

“Yes,” I laughed. “She’s a wonderful girl. But I’m afraid she is not happy. She wishes to be independent. She does not like relying on me to sustain her.”

“No, I would not think she would.”

“I’m afraid that in time we will part ways,” I confessed.

“Do you love her?”

“In a manner of speaking, I suppose.”

“But not like Molly? Remember, girl, it’s never again like that first time,” said Catherine.

“I know. But I am sure I am not in love. I don’t feel as if I’m floating, nor giddy at her touch.”

“Well, I should hope that if she does go her own way, you do not discover that you were in love after all.” Catherine took my arm and we found a coach to take us back to my town house.

Finally after so much time the day had come. The day of my tea party. I had Catherine there. Monique and, of course, the Madame. Angelique and Jezebel. I had also invited Penelope. She reminded me of the precocious and quite endearing Alice. And last of all Nan. Nancy was at the tavern nearly every night we were open and spent much of her time in my company. I knew she was hoping to gain favor with me, but she impressed me. And of course feeling admired influenced me as well.

My maid, Josette, served the tea. She was a young girl I had acquired from a house not unlike the one I grew up in. She was being raised in a home for girls. I had watched her a time and she stood out to me. Perhaps it was that secret instinct we such ladies have for knowing one another. I did not know for certain, but I had gone to the lady of the house and requested Josette specifically to come and be my servant. Even if she was not like me, she was shy and demure and always did exactly as she was told. I could rely on her silence should she see anything that would give us away. She was paid well and had fine quarters and good food. Speaking out would cost her all that, and I imagined she would not be willing to give it up.

My other servant, my cook, I was sure was a sodomite. He was much like a woman indeed, and at twenty-five had never married nor did he have any woman he was courting. He was, however, visited from time to time by a gentleman and I simply left them to one another in his quarters, less than interested in what relationship they truly had. What mattered was that I could enjoy a measure of freedom within my home.

We sat talking. The ladies complimented my home. All but Penelope were far wealthier than I, so I knew they were only being polite. But all the same it was nice to hear.

We drank tea for only a short time. However we remained in my parlor talking and getting to know one another better. The good Madame had brought cigars and we all enjoyed one, much to the distress of my maid. I found myself amused by her reaction to seeing we ladies sitting about smoking.

Eventually the sun set and we went to the dining hall to enjoy a supper. I had not planned on this initial party lasting so long, but I was happy to let it continue until the ladies wished to leave.

We ate and talked. As I sat looking around my dining table I realized that I’d not invited a single ‘boy’ to the tea party. In fact they seemed rare in Paris, strangely. I had to find more. It would not do to have parties only for we clucking hens. We needed boys. Many women preferred them to the ladies. I myself even had a special place in my heart for them, though in my life I had come to realize that I very much preferred a true lady in my bed.

There were plenty such women who visited my tavern. Some were even courting ladies there. I knew nearly every one of my patrons by name, and spoke with each of them any time I could. I knew so little else about them, though.

The six women I had before me now would certainly be required for any proper guest list I might make, but I very much needed to add diversity to such a list.

It would take me nearly another year to develop the proper relationships. But when it was done, I had four boys and three more girls whom I would consider inviting to a private party. Of course the women of the tea party and the others did not include my dearest friends from America: Constance and her beloved Mary, Josephine, and of course Catherine, Alice, and Eliza. Even if they could not make the long journey to Paris, I would invite them.

I wondered, though, what would I do at such a party? Had Catherine not already done nearly everything that could be done? Of course she had, but I realized that it would all be fresh and new to my guests. They had never known such things, and I could still provide them with a grand spectacle. Perhaps I would not present a live show at the end of the final night, but to offer absinthe and stories and simply a place that we could indulge such lusts as we could nowhere else might be enough.

Monique had moved on with her life. She had returned to training horses. I missed her, but I was happy that she was doing what she loved. I still counted her among my dearest and closest friends and believed that she would likely always be a part of my life. There was no ill will between us. I understood her need to be independent. Besides, she much preferred the tom boys to ladies like me.

I had been forced to find another bartender when Monique returned to her first love. For weeks I had been trapped behind the bar serving the drinks. That is, until one of the tom boys offered to take the job. Nathalie was her name. I paid her generously and she proved to be a perfect employee, even helping me clean the tavern after we closed each night.

It seemed that the time had come for me to begin preparing for my first gala party. I arranged everything I would need. My cook had all he required to create a fine spread of treats for the women. I had imported cigars from South America. I had all manner of obscene literature at hand. Surely I would find something in my collection to titillate my guests.

Finally I wrote the invitations. First I sent those off that would have to cross the ocean to New York and Philadelphia. The party would not be for another six months, but they had to arrive in time for my American friends to come if they indeed wished to do so.

Waiting another two months, I then sent those invitations throughout Paris that I wanted to. I had no close friends from other parts of Europe, mostly because I did not travel. And as I looked at my rather short guest list, I thought to myself that perhaps I should plan to travel at least some part of the year. I could even pick my destinations based on names I might pry from the good Madame’s lips.

I stood looking out my window. I had handed off my letters to a courier to have them delivered. I would soon begin to receive confirmations or declines. I hoped for the former from everyone but could think of at least three of the women who might not want to come.

Surprisingly, shortly after sending out the invitations I began to receive my first confirmations.

Within a month, all but one of the women from Paris had agreed to come. I had also heard back from Catherine. She was preoccupied with a new battle she was fighting with her husband and could not leave. Alice and Eliza however sent word that they intended to be at my party. I did not ever hear back from Constance or Josephine. I had no way of knowing if they might just arrive, and so I planned for them to be there.

And so when the day finally came that I expected my guests to arrive, I found myself brimming with excitement. However I had to prepare Josette, my maid. She might well see much of what would be happening, and I could not have her reacting badly to it.

“Josette, dear,” I began, after she responded to my ringing bell.

She casually curtsied before me, keeping her eyes down. I did not demand this of her but she did it all the same.

“What do you understand about the ladies you serve tea to every Tuesday?”

“Understand, madame?” she asked. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

“Hmm, is that so? Well, then, perhaps I should ask you this. Have you any idea why I picked you over any of countless servants I could hire in Paris?”

She shook her head.

“Well. It is because I seemed to sense a difference in you. Something about you that makes you fit quite well into my home, if it’s true.”

“Madame?”

“Have you not noticed the way some of the women who come here look at one another? And at you even?”

Again she shook her head.

“I shall just come out with it then. Josette, I suspect that you would much prefer the touch of a woman if you had such a choice.”

“Madame!” she gasped.

“Oh, don’t seem so shocked. Surely you had to know that I myself do. Did you never wonder why Monique and I shared a bed when there were other rooms for her to sleep in?”

I smiled as I got up. I placed my hand on her shoulder and encouraged her to look me in the eye. “Truly?”

Josette shook her head. “Tis not my place to speak of such things,” she said quietly.

“No, but still you can understand them, can’t you?”

She nodded.

“And you? It is your desire too, is it not?”

There was a long silence. She hardly blinked and her eyes seemed distant. “Tis improper, madame,” she finally managed.

“You would speak to me of impropriety? Here in my home? Indeed, out there beyond my walls, this my be true. But here we are free women. You are free.” I looked deep into her eyes. “I ask you again, do you not desire the touch of a woman?”

She gave a single nod of her head and quickly looked away, blushing.

“Have you ever known the exquisite joy?” I asked softly.

She shook her head.

I suddenly found myself overwhelmed with temptation. Oh, how I desired to be a girl’s first. To touch her as no other ever had. I felt as if my flesh was burning for her. And how perfectly scandalous, indeed, that I should contemplate doing such a thing with my own servant.

I desired to whisk her away, carry her to my room and violate her tenderness with my wicked device. And surely this showed in my face, for her expression became fearful.

“Madame?” she asked of me. “It is but a thought to me, only something I dream of. But please, I beg of you, if I never indulge myself, then surely I can be cured of it.”

“Cured?” I laughed. “I have indulged. I have indulged in such debauchery as you would never believe, and I can tell you without any doubt that you do not wish to be cured, dear.”

I moved close to her, letting her feel the warmth of my breath on her neck. From the corner of my eye I saw her blushing, and she seemed to dip as her knees grew weak. “Would you have a man know you? Waste your youth on him only to discover in your autumn years that you should have followed your heart?”

“Madame,” she said in a breathy whisper.

“If that is your wish, then I leave you to it.” I stepped away from her. “Tonight and for at least the next three days you will see such terrible wonders as you have never known. You must not be shocked. To react in any way would bring a dark cloud over my party.”

I was beginning to have a positively awful thought. Perhaps I could give my guests a proper live show. Not only the taboo of knowing the help, but for it to be the girl’s first time. Surely that would provide a thrill. What of her, though? I wondered if it was proper to use a girl’s first time for entertainment. Especially one so shy as Josette. I felt like a monster for thinking it, but the temptation was wearing down my will.

“Are you to use me in your games?” she asked, sounding afraid. I cupped her cheek in my hand and smiled.

“You cannot imagine the temptation,” I said. “But I will not abuse you.”

I did not let it go at that, though. I should have, and perhaps I shall always feel a hint of guilt for not leaving the poor girl be. No, I waited an hour and then went to find her again. She was in my room making my bed. I approached her from behind and wrapped my arms around her waist. I pressed my lips to the back of her neck and she leaned her weight back against me. I felt her grow weak in my arms and her head fell back.

I pressed my lips to her neck again but this time I parted them and just pinched her fair, soft flesh between my teeth. She was trembling in my arms.

“Madame,” she begged, but I continued to shower temptation on her.

“Can you imagine it?” I asked her. “To feel the soft warm flesh of a naked breast against your palm?”

A quiet gasp escaped her lips.

“To feel the silky hairs covering the mons of another such as yourself?”

She now had nearly all of her weight supported in my arms. Gently I laid her on the bed and crawled over her. I pressed my lips to hers and cupped one of her breasts in my hand.

“I mustn’t,” she whispered.

I ignored her. I untied the front of her dress and pulled her breasts free. I covered a nipple with my mouth and suckled her. I could feel her breath coming shorter now.

Finally I sat back, straddling her hips. “You wish to be cured of this? To never feel such elation again? The trepidation? The fear and temptation and desire? The softness found only in another woman’s touch?”

Sweat was beading on her forehead. Her eyes were wide and her cheeks flushed.

I got to my feet and walked toward the door. “Then, as you wish, I’ll not tempt you again,” I said firmly, reaching for the door handle.

“Madame? You intend to just leave me in such a state?” she cried, closing her dress and tying it again. She swallowed hard and looked quite ashamed.

I felt my belly tighten. She was as good as asking me to take her, to have her for the first time ever. I so wanted to do just that, and right then, but I did not. I simply turned toward her.

“Darling girl, how would you like to have your first time be not only a fond memory for you, but something greatly cherished by many?”

“Madame?” She looked afraid.

I approached her, sitting across from her on the bed. “For my guests, a show of sorts. I shall have you, show you all the wonders you would deny yourself. And my guests shall look on all the while.”

Tears formed in her eyes and she looked terrified.

“Such wonders I could show you,” I whispered. “Do this and they shall all love you, you’ll not be a mere servant but a cherished addition to my inner circle.”

I had not the time to get an answer from her then, as someone rang the doorbell. The first of my guests. Josette composed herself quickly and hurried past me. I soon followed, taking my place in the parlor.

I had my back to do the door when Josette led my guest in. “Madame Josephine Prager,” she announced.

I gasped, standing and spinning in a single motion to face Josephine, my former mistress. I nearly ran across the room to stand before her.

My first instinct was to fall to my knees. I could have never imagined missing her as I did, not after all I had endured at her hand, but there I was, awed.

Before I could recover from the surprise of her arrival, Sandra stepped from behind her and tears immediately built in my eyes. However, I did not forget etiquette. “My mistress,” I whispered.

“Elizabeth, dear.” Josephine smiled at me, then took me in an embrace which I was nearly too shocked to return. She soon stepped aside and my attention fell on Sandra. She was trying not to show how glad she was to see me, but I had no such concern.

“Sandra.” I took her hand in mine and kissed it, then bowed low before her.

“I brought her for you,” Josephine whispered next to my ear. I glanced at her, then again at Sandra.

“Is it your wish to be here?” I asked. That was what truly mattered to me.

“It is, miss, so very much indeed.”

I wrapped my arms around her and held her tight for a long moment. I had missed her as well much more than I’d have thought.

“I’ll go and help the maid, miss.” Sandra said with a quick curtsy. She left me there alone with my former mistress before I could stop her.

“Constance sends her regrets,” said Josephine. “She wanted to come but simply cannot.”

I nodded my head. “I’m honored and delighted that you would brave the seas for me,” I said to her as we made our way to a sofa. “How is New York? And all of my friends?”

“All is well, all is as it has been. Though I must admit my home feels empty without a girl to serve me.” She glanced at the door and smiled. “I could always use Sandra to my heart’s content, but it simply isn’t the same.”

When she said this I suddenly felt something I’d not known I could feel, jealousy. I did not want Sandra used in any way, especially in any way that might cause her distress.

“You still desire her,” Josephine said with a smile. My face certainly must have betrayed me.

“I cannot lie to you, mistress,” I replied. “Indeed even after such a time I do.”

“Then I will tell you what you already know. You may take her anytime, should she wish it.”

I wondered if Josephine teased me. Perhaps she knew that Sandra would never leave her. Perhaps she said that only to torment me. I was not sure, but I was sure that even if I put the question to my lovely Sandra again she would refuse me.

Throughout the day most of my guests arrived. However the Madame and several of the others waited until the sun had set.

When at last everyone was there, we sat in the parlor and I passed out cigars to all. I looked around the room at the women, feeling mostly satisfied, though Alice and Eliza were absent and that disappointed me.

Continue on to Chapter 12

2 Comments on Revolutionettes, Chapter 11

  1. robt66 says:

    Josette has a good case for sexual harassment in the workplace. :)

  2. Jennifer says:

    I so so love the way all turns out by now, cannot wait for the next chapter! *_<3_*

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