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Chapter 7: The girls escape to London and the Inveigle…
The girls felt like they were wrapped in cotton wool as they stayed in isolation in their bedroom on the upper floor, whilst preparations for their escape to London were made.
The photographs were developed, coloured and framed in Mahogany. This wood, although expensive, was a favourite of the lady whom Victoria was going to see. She took six, each in matching frames with a deep maroon mount, cut in an oval.
Abigail was expecting Victoria, after receiving a letter two days before. Arms outstretched in a warm embrace, ‘Mummy Bear’ welcomed back her old Inveigle Girl at the entrance. ‘‘It’s good to see you Victoria, come and tell me all your news, and show me the photograph. I’m dying to see them! And who are these two naughty girls you speak of so highly of?’’
‘‘Oh God yes Abigail! They’re a really lovely pair, just the sort of girls which would do the Inveigle proud. They’re very attractive, although I’m not sure if either of them has yet tasted a man, only each other. I think they are both virgins.’’
Abigail smiled as she knew that certain clients would pay handsomely for virgins.
‘‘Talking of Sapphists, how’s the ‘masher’ who stared at me just before I left?” asked Victoria. “She almost got me to stay you know! Dressed like that, oooh!’’
Abigail laughed as she showed Victoria through the resplendent Mahogany double entrance doors with stained glass.
‘‘Speak of the devil!’’ Abigail laughed, as Scarlet came towards them on her way out to the bar across the road. She needed her daily dose of absinthe, the delicious pale green liquid which took her away to a fairy land, as it did for many of the rest of Bohemian Society who socialised around the theatres and brothels of London. Even in day time she crossdressed as a man in a top hat, black suit with white gloves, shirt and bow tie. A bright red rose in her lapel matched her glossy lips.
‘‘Me? The devil? Ha, give me some credit Mummy, I’m much worse than that amateur!’’
Victoria laughed. ‘‘Oh it’s good to be back. Why did I ever leave?’’
Abigail took her arm, turned to her and pushed her face up to an intimately close position. ‘‘You would be as welcome as the flowers in spring my lovely. Come back to my bosom, come back and suckle with Mummy Bear!’’
Victoria blushed and had to cool her face with her fan. ‘‘Oh yes please. Being with Mr Trentham has been a delightful adventure, but my heart is still here. I’d love to come back Mummy Bear.’’
‘‘Then consider it done my lovely. Now, tell me about these girls. You said in your letter that they came from the same mill as you and Fae! Are they manufacturing them there?’’ She laughed as she placed two china cups and saucers on the green velvet table cloth.
Victoria looked around the photographs in Mummy Bear’s parlour, the frames, matching the ones she had in her bag, showing all the girls she had ever had working for her. All the beautiful girls she had had, in more ways than one. She looked up to her photograph. It was four years old now, yet it seemed like only yesterday when she had met dear Mr. Trentham for the first time. How time flew.
Abigail poked the fire, and poured the tea. ‘Milk or lemon?’
So it was as if she had never left, a soothing heart warming chat in Mummy Bear’s parlour. A delightful pastime, which made you feel safe, looked after and warm from head to toe.
The photographs were laid out on the table and Abigail was delighted. In fact she was more than delighted, she was ecstatic! Praise flooded from her lips. They were the first coloured photographs she had ever seen. They were naughty and magnificent. She spoke of her plan that every room was to have naughty photographs showing the skills of the girls and to ignite the imaginations of the female visitors. They were all to be coloured like these.
Victoria knew that Abigail would want the girls and the photographs, but all the same, when confirmation came from that mouth, and the eyebrows, it was lovely. She couldn’t help herself, she needed the attention she had missed so much.
‘‘Please may I sit on your knee Mummy?’’
‘‘Of course you may, but take your undergarments off first.’’
Soon Victoria was riding the lap of her Mistress in ecstasy. She was back where she belonged, on Mummy Bears lap. Why oh why had she ever been away. All the girls loved the talented fingers of Mummy Bear!
After another refreshing cup of tea, Abigail stood rinsing her hands. ‘‘That was nice. Did you enjoy your visit to Mummy Bear’s Parlour?” She smiled broadly to herself as she looked down at her hands. She knew that Victoria would be blushing again. She liked to see a girl blush, on all four cheeks if at all possible!
Victoria returned by a steam train from Waterloo feeling excited, but a little sad that she was to tell her Mr. Trentham that she was moving back. But it was not the end. She would see him most weeks and she had the news that Mummy Bear had lots of naughty photographs she wanted him to take!
She arrived back at the studio to deliver the news, and it was accepted, as she thought, with mixed feelings.
She comforted Mr. Trentham that night with stories of the girls she knew and why she could never be totally satisfied by a man. She promised him that he would be allowed to watch her with some, and that many of the girls who were to visit him were liberated and always very grateful of any help. And hope was given too…”Maybe, you could spend more time in London. I think she wants lots of work!”
Charlotte and Samantha could hardly sleep. Tomorrow they were going to go on their first trip to London since they had left as orphans, and on a steam train too. How exciting was that?!
Mr Trentham decided to accompany them on their adventure. He needed to see a friend of his who was situated not many streets from ‘The Inveigle’. Hopefully he could use his studio. Abigail was a good client who paid handsomely so long as the work was perfect and on time. He lay in bed in the middle of the night thinking of little else.
As their little country station was on a branch line, they would have to change trains at a town a few miles away. It was then onto a pleasant mainline coastal route which swept up into the city. The town’s station had four platforms and was quite a busy place due to the large market there. Lots of people went there to buy cattle and other livestock. As today was market day, the place was very busy.
As a result, they didn’t notice the lady sitting with the distinguished man with greying hair on the other train opposite. The lady sat back in her seat and nudged her Doctor husband to look.
‘‘So Victoria has had something to do with this has she? We already knew our Mr. Trentham had something to do with it from the card I found in the girls’ room. He’ll have to pay, and so will she. Then we will bring the girls back to where they belong. I know where she will be taking them. I know it very well indeed. I think I’ll need a bigger mask my love.’’
‘‘Yes dear, of course dear.’’ The train pulled away, and went down the branch line on which the girls and Mr Trentham had just travelled.
The journey to London was a happy one for the band of four, a light hearted breezy sort of journey. It matched the weather.
As the train pulled into London the girls went quiet. It was busy. It had gay bright signs and posters, yet also dirty smoke stained buildings. They could see famous places that they had only read about. They were not going back to the slums of their childhood. They were going to a better sort of area, not posh by any means, but a thriving bustling busy area, where anything and everything happened every day.
Victoria and Mr.Trentham guided them to a horse and carriage. The busy streets drifted by like another world, so different from the dark brooding mill where the journey from this place had taken them to all those years ago. It was a triumphant return. Old enemies were left behind and almost forgotten. This was a brand new start, on a bright sunny day. Life and the future looked very good.
The carriage pulled up outside a brick building four storeys high. The outside wall ran in a curve. It was almost like a small Albert Hall.
‘‘Come on girls, this is your new home! It’s time to meet Mummy Bear!’’ said Victoria.
They both looked bewildered and said in unison. ‘‘Who?’’
They looked up at the dark red sign with gold lettering, it read ‘The Inveigle’.
Their eyes slowly moved down to the doorway, and there to greet them stood a most unusual group. There was a young woman in a top hat and dressed in a suit, a small girl whom they thought they had seen before somewhere. She had a purple bowler hat with a feather stuck out at a jaunty angle. There was also another very young girl who winked at them and was smoking a pipe. In the middle of the group was an older lady who was soon to be introduced as Mummy Bear. Leaning against the door was another lady in a top hat, with a bright red sparkly jacket. In her hand was a whip.
Mummy Bear spoke first. ‘‘I knew you were almost here. I have eyes everywhere. So I thought we would do an Inveigle welcome. Eleanor, do your stuff!’’
The lady in the red coat, top hat and carrying the whip, walked out to stand before them. She turned to The Inveigle, swept her hand towards it in a majestic sweep and cracked the whip! Dust rose into the air from where it struck. She looked at them and slowly walked up to their faces.
‘‘Welcome to the wonderful, the marvellous, the naughty and downright rude Inveigle!’’ Her voice boomed and the whip cracked again. ‘‘Come on in!’’
The people in the street let out a little cheer. In just a few seconds the girls knew beyond doubt that this was where they belonged. With pats on the back, happy smiles and promises of friendship they were ushered into a stunningly beautiful and very clean foyer.
They had arrived at The Inveigle for the first time. A delightful treasured memory that would last forever.
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