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Pennyworth For Her Penny

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Sir Walter Elliot had loved his first wife.

In his way.

After all, she had been a very fine looking woman, and so many women were nothing more than frights.

His second wife -- well, she was young. In a manner of speaking. Perhaps Anne’s age? Well, in any case, comparatively young, and very strikingly handsome. Her origins were not the best, but twenty thousand pounds was nothing to sneer at.

And always so attentive!

For her part, the new Lady Elliot had gained her heart’s desire -- an establishment of her own and precedence over Elizabeth Darcy. Her husband, to be sure, was . . . chronologically advanced . . . but for a man of his age, not unattractive at all.

Caroline had no intentions of enjoying The Marital Act. This was rather fortunate for her.

‘Ummph,’ Sir Walter grunted. It was more difficult than he had anticipated. He had not actually been with a real woman in quite awhile.

Louisa had not exaggerated, Caroline thought, wincing. It was really very unpleasant. And because of his penchant for mirrors, she could see . . . everything.

His hair, she noticed, was a little greasy now, and his frame covered in sweat. She sighed, and shifted uncomfortably beneath him.

‘Urrglblfrk,’ said Sir Walter, and collapsed on her.

He was not a small man. Her breath was knocked out of her. ‘Sir . . . Walt . . . er,’ she gasped. ‘I cannot breathe.’

His long nose dug into her collarbone; something dribbled out of his nostrils. She wrinkled her own, and pushed him away, using what little strength she possessed. He began snoring contentedly.

Caroline changed and locked her door with a shudder, remembering the peculiar conversation she had overheard between her sisters-in-law.

Elizabeth Darcy, she thought, must be quite, quite mad.