Ezra Bedford brings us a novella in the style of late-19th & early-20th Century fiction.
Disgraced and recently released from prison after being sentenced unjustly for the crime of embezzlement, Granville Machin applies for the position of a live-in secretary at an affluent London Home after reading a most curious advertisement in a daily paper
It will change his life and prove more curious than he thought when the man he thinks will be employing him turns out to be a woman.
A dominant woman with a monstrous West Indian housekeeper who shares her own views on the subject of men.
She had known she was her late-aunt’s favourite and it was sentiment she returned. But to realise her late-mother’s sister had not only made her the sole heir to her goods and chattels but actually knew her – and to the core, it would appear – would have been somewhat mortifying to her. “Would”, that is, had the sealed letter handed to her after the reading by the senior partner of Pepys, Mangrove, and Pepys, not assured her that her revered aunt was not only disinclined to be punitively judgmental upon the sexual tastes and desires most of society frowned upon, but had actually shared an active fantasy life of a similar kind herself and – having been too old to act upon her desires after the death of her controlling husband – was of a mind to share what she had learned on the subject in the third-person since.
As, by now, all the legal niceties will have been completed and you will be in possession of all that accrued to me upon the death of your late and much unlamented uncle, I hope that this most sincere of letters will be of help in allowing you to know the joy in your own personal relationships that eluded me in my own lifetime.
I refer to the desire I am certain we both share to exert complete authority – in matters social, domestic, and, yes carnal, over a male of our choosing.
From my final resting place, I can hear your sharp intake of breath as you read these words in your loving aunt’s handwriting, asking yourself how I could ever have reached such a conclusion as to your inner longings and divined your most intimate desires without us ever – as is wholly right for two respectable ladies who, moreover, are (were) pretty much the only worthwhile family available to each other.
Do not be too surprised.
These desires of yours were also shared by your mother and, if my sister and I were correct, were no doubt passed down to us from a long line of our female ancestors in turn – though, to our knowledge, and unsurprisingly given the way society is so slow to evolve in regard of women, none of our forebears were ever in a position to know the practical delights of… ownership… of such an exciting and immediate kind.
I shall not linger with more words to explain my reasoning as to how I seem so certain you share these sentiments, as my malady appears to be growing stronger and all I wish to do at this moment is sleep, though I would ask, should what I suggest be distasteful to you, that you simply regard my own imperfections as those thrust upon me by the fickle whim of indifferent nature and remember me with that love and affection I have felt for you since my sister first presented you to me those thirty-four years ago.
With the above in mind, I would suggest – if your feelings on the matter are those of distaste – that you break off from reading further and simply remember your aunt with all the affection with which she, if allowed, will remember you in the afterlife.
That being the case, I will say goodbye now, my dearest niece, and wish that the security of the estate I leave entirely in your hand fetches you nothing but joy and happiness in forms of your own choosing.
As to whether, unlike me, you find the more… unsavoury… aspects of your uncle’s business dealings not to your tastes, that is a question for you and for you only. Know this, though: as distasteful as I came to find my late-husband – hateful even – I found much satisfaction and, yes, financial reward to be had from continuing at least some of his more lurid and not entirely legal schemes. Enough, anyhow, to provide a lady reaching her dotage some much needed… diversion.
Should, my dear, you not be… too… repulsed by my certainties and continue to read, then what I write below may be of some help in allowing you to acquire a man to your… tastes.
You, of all people, know that what I now point out is not done with any intent towards malice but simply a plain truth the women of our family in possession of a mirror have been acquainted with throughout the generations.
We are not beauties!
Powerfully constructed and with faces of character?
But of that female ilk able to enslave a man’s senses upon first, or even subsequent, sight?
From our long and loving acquaintance, I know that you are practical and honest enough to acknowledge this truth and, also, strong and intelligent enough to know that a man’s heart can be owned in more ways than the allure of a miniscule waist and a perfectly oval face with bow-lips. Ways I shall outline – energy and my malady willing – towards the end of this, my final letter to you. For first I wish to run you through a practical approach to ownership in a world where such human servitude to another (and especially in regard of that of man to woman). It will be your choice if you take the approach I suggest, but I feel certain you will, at the very least be… entertained by it.
Let us begin; and be assured that your aunt has researched the physical and legal possibilities of what she is about to suggest:
“How to Make a Legal Slave of a Man”