The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 14

He was older than Esme by at least fifteen years and had made a bad marriage of a woman in North London, yet he was cheerful, unaffected, and inexplicably likable. He paid great detail to Constance and made Esme smile at a time when she needed to. His hair was wavy and sandy coloured and his eyes searched you like a little boy. His mind was speculative, thoughtful and engaging, and with his visits that followed his pedigree became more and more acceptable. It further seemed that his parents had property in many of the more fashionable parts of London and rented out to a number of well-heeled and well-to-do families.

It is likely that Esme was never really in love with him, although she may have thought she was! Perhaps she was flattered by him after those months of austere exile and a simple biased breath went a long way. In their relationship there grew a sort of touching erotic need, a kind of understanding of cause and need.

Then quite suddenly they married! Those guests that attended Marylebone registry office in April 1929 wished them all the very best in their future happiness and they took up home just a few streets away from Constance in what was a large white-faced Georgian villa with high pillars and endless creeping Acadian Ivy and as Spring moved towards Summer they seemed to be happy.

That certain morning his side of the bed was still warm. Esme thought he must have only just got up and perhaps tried not to wake her in doing so. The pale red curtain that seeped light because it would not close properly against the bedroom window and noted for replacement was still drawn from last evening. The sound of water running in the bathroom confirmed her thoughts and her hand touched the silk nightdress he had tossed lazily to her side of the bed. She yawned and turned her head once more to the pillow. His enjoyment of her that night had been whole and brutal!

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