Inveigle ~ Chapter Ten

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Deborah was looking out of her front window, the woman in green had passed by two more times. Who was she exactly? She knew she was a regular, customer, she had seen her in the booths many times. The ‘low’ girls in the pecking order didn’t like her, she was too harsh and only took pleasure, she didn’t give. She often wore a full face mask, even when using a girl. Next time she came she would take a peek at her though a spy hole. It wasn’t very often a customer was told to respect the girls more, but she was coming close, especially if she had any more complaints from her little teddy bears.

The day had gone so fast, it was nearly dark, the girls must be starving. She had been toasting tea cakes and had plates and butter on the table. Two pots of tea awaited and beside them were three types of jam.

A gentle knock came on the door, and Deborah shouted to the girls to come in.

With flushed faces they came in and stood to attention. “Don’t be silly, no ceremony here, plop yourselves down in the easy chairs, there are enough to pick from. Hungry?”

“Oh yes, we are!” Answered Samantha for the both of them.

“Then let’s have tea, I hope the girls offered you something?”

They looked at each other and smiled before they replied. “Yes we have been well looked after.”

“I bet you have too!” laughed Mummy Bear.

What took place next was a delightful hour of warm food and tea, around a glowing fire with good conversation. Eventually the worn out girls fell asleep and Deborah went for a walk around her passageways, after covering them with tweed blankets.

It was a quarter to midnight when a commotion woke the girls with a start. There were screams and raised voices, both inside and outside the building. One name kept coming to their ears. ‘Annie’.

They went out for a look and found that horror was on the streets that night. Police whistles could be heard, people were running about, some girls who worked the streets were huddled in a group under a gas lamp.

Pale faces and panic were afoot, rumours were rife, but one thing was certain. A young woman known to all in the pub across the street had met an untimely and horrific death at the hands of Jack the Ripper that night.

Annie Chapman had been brutally slain.

The streets appeared to shrink away as Mummy Bear took control and ushered all her girls inside. Deborah was like a mother hen gathering all her girls as quickly as she could and making sure every single one was accounted for. The girls were ordered to their rooms, doors and windows were bolted, hot milky drinks laced with brandy were taken to every girl by the maids, and they too took a draft of the soothing mixture.

A rare thing happened that night, The Inveigle closed. Deborah hung a simple sign on the main doors.


Everyone who read it understood the sentiment and agreed with it. A dense smog settled on Whitechapel, and bought a strange hush to the streets.

It was an uneasy muffled silence.

The gas lamps could be heard burning, and horse hooves sounded as if they were wrapped in felt. It was a strange night, a long night. The Whitechapel Murderer had struck again, and he had a partner in crime now … fear. It spread like a forest fire through every working girls heart. It would soon have an adversary … anger. This spread just as quickly through the lovers of the girls. Their customers needed them keeping safe.

What an eventful welcome the Inveigle had given the girls. They went upstairs to bed as instructed, and the hot drinks were handed to them, something else struck them hard that night as they sunk into their baths. They were somewhere completely different, somewhere unique.

They were at… ‘The Inveigle’. They were in another world.

Jacqueline was at her London home, waiting for her Doctor husband to return. He soon did, he looked ashen, and he had blood on his shirt. The poor dear must have had a terrible case, she poured him a port while he changed.

He walked upstairs with his doctor’s bag, took a decanter and glass from the dressing table and with shaking hands poured himself a brandy as he sat on the edge of the bed. He looked in the dressing table mirror and smiled, then stayed there for nearly an hour as he slowly calmed his mind.

The gong rang out.

Refreshed he came and sat at the supper table with his wife.

“Found anyone suitable for us to take home darling?” She asked.

“I thought I had, but she proved to be disappointing, so I got rid of her.”

“Well don’t worry, because I have.” Jacqueline announced, proudly and coldly.

The doctor stopped eating, wiped his mouth with a napkin and put his chin in his hands as he looked at her interestedly.

“Not one, not two, not three even, but four little treasures all waiting for collection.”

“Four?” said the doctor in surprise.

“Four of our runaways, well, three runaways and an accomplice. Maybe even a man if I am not mistaken. A young frightened man to play with would be different wouldn’t it?” She cackled almost like a witch.


“At ‘The Inveigle’, somehow they have all ended up there. Victoria, Fae, Charlotte and Samantha, they are all in residence with that awful woman.”

“Well, well. Fancy that.” He slunk back into his carver chair and smiled.

“Let’s start with Victoria shall we? She needs to be punished for helping them.”

The doctor pushed his chair back and walked to the fire. “You haven’t been seen have you?”

“No, I’m sure of it, no.”

“Then go a few extra times, use the cheap girls, try to find out if any have ill feeling towards any of the recent arrivals. We will need information from the inside. Every house has a potential traitor, I’m sure you’ll enjoy tweaking one out of the woodwork my dear.”

“Yes, I shall.” Jacqueline’s face grew as dark as the space under the stage, at ‘The Inveigle’. Where at that very moment sat Ida, the girl in charge of the lamp lights, she was thinking about the nights events. She had been tempted at one time to work the streets, but was right now was very glad indeed to be under the stage and under the safety of Mummy Bear, despite the spankings on the stage she had been given. Then like all the other girls she went to bed.

She was still asleep the next morning as ‘The Inveigle’ slowly came to life once more.

Deborah as always was one of the first to arise and she went across to the ‘Three Bells’ for breakfast and ordered kippers.

Albert, a wholesome young lad of around twelve was often used by her for errands, she summoned him over. He took a welcome break from the sweeping, and came to her side. “Ey up Missus Deborah.”

“Hello Albert. Fancy earning a florin or two?”

His eyes almost popped out of his head. “Bloody hell, a florin or two. Who have I got to kill?”

She laughed. “I want you to hang around outside. Eventually a woman in green will turn up across the road, she has done so for the last three days. She has posh boots, and tan soft leather, matching gloves, a fur stole, and a parasol, no hat.’

“Yes Missus?”

“Follow her, I want to know where she lives. Here is a florin now, and another if you find out. Don’t let me down, this is a big un.”

“Yes Missus, I’d better get back to me sweepin’ up, me gaffer is lookin’ at me.”

“Okay love, don’t get in trouble on my account.” She looked over to George the landlord and shouted sorry to him.

He smiled at Albert’s return, placed her kippers before her with a piping hot pot of tea. “No problem Miss Deborah, on the house as always.’

“Thank you George, you are so kind.”

The two girls had slept like logs, despite the fear of the night before, and awoke feeling hungry. They yanked the bell pull and in just minutes the two girls dressed in navy blue and white maids outfits appeared. Two hot baths and full English breakfasts were ordered. They had so much to talk about, and they did, non-stop.

They talked about the murder and who this horrible person might be who commits them. They talked with sadness about the poor victim. They discussed their journey to the Inveigle and the building itself, so many twists and turns in both! Then the people, oh how they had fallen in love with their new friends, especially Mummy Bear, it was just like having a real mum. Then they talked of the pub and its occupants. What was that word they used? Bohemian! Oh how they loved Bohemian Society. Then they discussed their room, and how it might look one day. This soon became a favourite thing to talk about.

Afterwards they then discussed the day ahead, and what might happen, they soon found out as the door to Mummy Bear’s Parlour opened to their knock.

“Oh hello my lovelies, just sit down a minute, I’m almost ready. She went back to the window and spoke to a small boy. That’s her, just follow and make a note of the address and who lives there. That’s a good lad. Now stop looking at the pictures you’ll go blind with them mucky thoughts! Be off with you!” She pulled the sash window down with a thud.

Deborah spoke sternly to a young girl called Anna, who was still bent over the table, bloomers down, skirts raised and a glowing red bottom on show.. “You Miss Ledwock are becoming one of my most regular visitors, I’m beginning to think you like the birch across your bare cheeks”.

The short haired girl blushed as much as her bottom as she turned to look over her shoulder, to see the new girls looking interestedly at both the birch on the table, and her glorious red cheeks.

“I just punished this girl for the fourth time in two weeks, this bunch of supple twigs leaves her bottom feeling like it has had a thousand bee stings, but she never learns do you?”

“No Mummy Bear.”

“Off you go, shall I see you next week?”

The girl looked to Samantha and Charlotte, smiled and made her reply to Mummy Bear. “I hope so Mistress!”

The girls understood what had happened before their arrival, and looked knowingly at each other and Mummy Bear.

“She does not know it yet, but she is to become maid to Mr Trentham, I can tell by looking at him that he needs someone to look after him. The first thing I will give him after her hand will be this birch, with instructions that every time she needs it, he sends her to me with it in her hands. She’s a clumsy girl and I think she will be here a lot! She’ll enjoy the humiliation of walking here with it in her hands, maybe with a sign around her neck, maybe in her vest and open back bloomers! Anyway, enough chatter about Anna, let’s be off!”

The girls smiled, she amused them with her talk and manner. She’d be a lovely mum, and they might enjoy being naughty now and then too!

Deborah took them to the front door and handed them a shiny large key each. “There you are, it looks like you are stopping a while so you may as well have a key to the door. Come and go as you please, but if you return after nine at night make sure you lock the door. If you don’t I’ll spank you! You have been warned!”

“Yes Mummy Bear.”

“Yes Mummy Bear.”

They all giggled and set off for the horse drawn tram stop just at the end of the road. The atmosphere was lighter than the night before, newsboys shouted the graphic headlines and people stood reading newspapers. The keys, the first they had ever owned, were gently put in their bags, treasures beyond compare!

It was their first trip on a tram, and it seemed so busy. As they waited for it to arrive, horse and cabs of every size passed by, no wonder the horse market they passed by on the way in at Camden was so huge. Everybody in London seemed urgent, knowing exactly where to go and what to do. They climbed excitedly aboard a ‘double-decker’ and the girls went straight to the stairs.

“Oh alright then, if you must, let’s climb upstairs! Don’t think about my poor old veins!”

They looked sad and guilty but Mummy bear assured them that it was only a joke, as they went upstairs, and sat at the front, Charlotte to the outside, Mummy bear in the middle and Samantha to the inside. It was open top, but as it was a fine day, the breeze was refreshing to their faces.

Deborah had picked a route which would take them by the Thames and pass by many famous sights of London. She announced that she was taking them to lunch at ‘Brown’s’, which was London’s first ever Hotel. It was beautiful, and afterwards they would go for a stroll through a park.

The day drifted by as easily as a leaf on a mill stream.

Conversation flowed like water over a mill wheel.

Friendship grew.

After the walk in the park, they returned to the Hotel for afternoon tea, according to Deborah this was the best afternoon tea in London, and she had tried a few.

It was sitting down to afternoon tea when Mummy Bear made a surprise announcement. “We are meeting two rather famous circus ladies soon. They are members of the Cooke family, oh they are ever so well known. I would like you to train to become aerielists.” She smiled at their wide eyes, and had soon learnt to look to Charlotte for a comment or some amusing response.

She did not let her down. “Ooooh, what are they Mummy bear? I’d like to be one of them!”

Samantha and Deborah laughed, she didn’t even know what one was, yet she wanted to be one! Charlotte blushed again, she blushed quite often nowadays, at both ends.

Deborah told them that there was no pressure at all, but she had been looking at the theatre and felt it needed something up high for the customers in the upper tiers to feel privileged to see at close quarters. It would make the new increased prices seem more worthwhile.

“How are you with heights?”

They looked at each other and told Deborah about their rooftop escape from the big house. They said how they had to scramble up high in the mill sometimes to free cloth that had got stuck, but what impressed Mummy Bear most was the way they said that they would try their best, for her.

The two ladies from the circus swept in, as if on cue, and sat at the table in an artistic manner. Deborah told them how she envisaged a trapeze act, with sexual content, high sexual spanking content.

The girls looked embarrassed but soon found out the two were regular visitors to ‘The Inveigle’ with their lady friends.

They tried hard to keep their conversation low, but the diagrams that Deborah had drawn left little to the imagination and soon the table had a fit of the giggles and people began to stare.

They finished off their afternoon tea with more decorum. They said goodbye to the ladies and went back on the tram to ‘The Inveigle’, where they finished their discussions with tea and toast. They ate a lot that day!

It was decided that on Monday morning the girls would go to the circus, to learn how to fly! If it was successful Deborah would have the best apparatus and a safety net fitted.

It was time for an early bed, the girls walked slowly up the stairs and turned corners which now began to seem familiar. They opened their door, and both quickly undressed and jumped into the same bed. Once more they talked of ideas for their room, and also much about their act.

Slowly they drifted to sleep, to dream of fantastic leaps, wonderful acrobatics, their wonderful costumes, and a very resplendent room.

Downstairs Deborah saw the boy at her window after he knocked. “Hello Albert, got any news?”

“Yes Missus Deborah, they live in Kensington, a right posh house.” He passed an address.

“Did you see many come and go?”

“Only one Missus, a man in a top hat, with one of them leather bags like a doctor has.”

“No other person?”

“No Ma’am, en I was there ages lookin at em!”

“Good lad, have you got much free time over the next week or so?”

“Yes Missus Deborah, I have, especially for you!” He blushed.

“Well, I’ll pay you a florin a day for two weeks if you don’t get spotted. Here is the other florin I promised you. Most of the time you’ll just keep watch and report what happens, and who visits. Now keep this quiet.”

“Bloody hell missus, yes Missus.” He was quite taken aback.

Deborah smiled at him, good information needed good money, she knew that.