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My Beloved Snake, And Said Unto Me

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Jenny leant back into the cushions and shut her eyes luxuriously as the carriage rolled away. It had been a long night, one way or another.

'Jenny.'

She yawned. 'Madame?'

'Why do those men whistle at us?'

'It's – they're being rude.'

'I thought as much.' Madame Vastra's lizard eyes narrowed; she took careful note of where they were, of what the men looked like. 'Next time... But being rude, how?'

'They think we are... lovers,' Jenny said carefully.

'And so we are. We love each other, live together, sleep in the same bed, do we not?'

'They don't think it proper.'

'Why not?'

Jenny sighed. 'Well, we're not married, for a start.'

'What, may not two people live together without being married?' Madame Vastra asked, puzzled.

'Plenty do,' Jenny admitted. 'But it's not thought respectable, and then if you have kids that makes them bastards.'

'You need not worry about that, my dear. It is not possible for a mammal to fertilise a reptile's eggs.'

Jenny laughed. 'We could adopt some!'

Madame nodded. 'Perhaps. Ought we, then, to get married? You must be my guide in all these things. I have tried, but I simply can't keep up with the ways of these times.'

Jenny opened her mouth, then shut it again. 'We can't marry each other,' she said at last.

'Why not?'

'Well, we're both female, for a start. I've explained this to you before! And besides, you can't marry your servants. It's just – people don't do it!'

'I am sure that in that case they don't have intercourse with them, either. You hardly count as my servant, my love!'

Jenny sighed. Disillusioning Madame was always painful. 'I'm afraid it doesn't quite work like that.'

'No?'

'No. There are lots of rich men who sleep with the maids, but you never hear of a rich man marrying a poor girl, do you? Not once he's already had her, at least.'

'Then what about the progeny?'

'Bastards.'

'This is monstrous!' Madame exclaimed. 'Do you know any of these men?'

'A few,' Jenny said, darkly. 'But you mustn't eat any of the ones that actually do pay for the kids' upkeep.'

'Very well; I shan't. However, I refuse to let it be thought that I should treat you so. I insist that we be married as soon as possible.'

'If you like, ma'am,' Jenny said, peaceably, thinking, that's all right, that'll be never.


Ten days later, a J. E. Flint and a Mme S. Vastra were married at the church of Saint Monica in the Edgware Road. The clergyman looked a little dubious (impudent boy, taking advantage of a rich, foreign, widowed employer!), but one doesn't argue with an Archbishop's Licence.

In fact, while the birth certificates were psychic paper – Jenny's had been lost long ago, in any case – the licence was genuine. Dr Benson remembered Vastra fondly from Truro days, when she had sorted out that tiresome little problem of the Timnonites at the cathedral on Christmas Eve. And dear Margaret spoke so highly of her.

The honeymoon was extremely enjoyable, even if they did get sidetracked dealing with some zombies in Vienna. Men still whistled - or worse - occasionally, but for some reason Jenny felt much less guilty about letting Madame eat them, after they were married.