It was a particularly lovely spring day and the two of them had planned to take a picnic to the horses’ favourite pasture. After they dismounted and tied the animals to a nearby fence, Mary commanded Irene to remove every article of her clothing with the exception of her riding boots. She had her place both hands on the trunk of a tall tree and spread her legs while Mary teased her labia with the leather tongue of her riding crop. Only when Irene was soaking wet and trembling with need did Mary fully insert the blunt end of the crop to bring her to a crashing climax. It was such a thrilling success that the two women spent every day in the pasture for the last week, finding new and creative uses for their riding equipment.
Today, however, as they were preparing to enjoy their post-activity bath together, Irene received a telegram that caused the colour to drain from her face.
“What is it, my darling?” Mary asked in alarm.
“It’s my husband, Godfrey. He and Eduard are back in London and Godfrey has been taken ill. They fear for his life,” Irene said in a strained voice, and she immediately summoned the carriage to take them to Eduard’s west end flat.
When they arrived, they were ushered into a large sitting room where a tall, olive-skinned man with handsome Grecian features was nervously pacing in front of the fireplace.
“Irene!” he cried when he saw her, and Mary was touched by the affection with which they greeted one another.
“How is he, Eduard?” she asked him anxiously.
“Not well,” he replied, “though he was able to take a bit more food today. He’s suffered a terrible shock and, well, I think I’ll let him tell you what has happened.”
He led them into a large bedroom where a Godfrey lay. He was extremely pale and though Mary had never seen him before, she could imagine how his face must have looked before it had grown thin and hollow.
“This must be Mary,” Godfrey said warmly as the two approached his sickbed. “Irene has told me so much about you. You’re just as pretty as she described.” He kissed her hand with thin white lips, and she instinctively squeezed it back in a show of support.
Irene knelt beside him, took his other hand and waited for him to speak.
“You remember Riggs, my old valet?” he asked Irene. She nodded. “The damned scoundrel found a letter I wrote to Eduard two years ago and gave it to a man who is in the business of making money off such things. He wants seven thousand pounds from me by the end of the month or he’s going to expose me to the public. I’ll be ruined, Irene. We both will.”
Both Mary and Irene gasped in horror and stared at one another, then at Godfrey, who looked as though he might not make it to the end of the month.
“Milverton’s his name,” Godfrey continued, fighting for every word. “And he is not one to be trifled with. I do not know that I will survive this, but I want to be sure you and Mary take steps to protect yourselves in the event that he tries to come after you. Eduard is certain he’s being followed and so has reason to believe this fellow wants to dig up more scandal. Please, you have…so much…to live…” and he trailed off, his voice giving way to a nervous spasm.
Irene poured him a glass of water and called Eduard, who came rushing to his side.
“Shh, my love, shhh,” he murmured as he placed a cool cloth on his lover’s forehead.
Mary slowly retreated from the room as the full implications of the situation cast their crushing weight upon her shoulders.