Grace of the Lady Elgin, Chapter 1

  • Posted on April 30, 2022 at 3:33 pm

Karin has already contributed several excellent stories to this site… and here’s a new delight for you to savor. Thanks, Karin, for the erotic treats. — JetBoy

by Karin Halle

In the wake of storms on the Great Lakes, the shores were regularly littered with debris, some of which could prove useful to beachcombers, especially those who otherwise had very little.

Thus it was that on the morning of Saturday, September 8, 1860, a fourteen-year-old girl left the cabin she called home after her mother had left for her job in the Illinois village of Port Clinton. Susannah Croft made her way to the shore of Lake Michigan to see if anything of value had washed up in the overnight gale. After the previous storm, she had retrieved a small timber crate that contained eight cans of lovely, delicious peaches.

Susannah knew she could not hope to be so lucky a second time, but in the innocence of her youth, she was still an optimist – the hardscrabble life she endured had not yet weighed upon her spirit as it had upon her mother, Harriet.

Harriet had not yet sent the girl out to find employment, allowing her instead to remain at home to cook and clean and sew. The woman had many good years ahead of her and wanted to spare her daughter for as long as possible. Besides, a few extra dollars would barely make any difference to their straitened circumstances.

Susannah clambered over the rocks, arriving at a stretch of clear shore covered by a fine grit. A large object, clearly not native to the spot, lay in the distance ahead of her. As she approached, she saw to her horror it was a human body – white as marble, and just as lifeless. She assumed it had been swept from a ship caught in the gale.

The victim was a girl who looked to be not too many years older than herself. She lay without a shred of clothing, fully exposed on her back, with her legs apart as though nature had determined that mere nakedness was not sufficient degradation. The head was tilted slightly to one side.

Susannah was distraught at the sight, but not afraid. She had seen death often, including her own father and brother, who had both passed on in their little home, her father from an accident and her brother as the result of an unidentified fever.

But how had the castaway come to be naked? Kneeling beside the body, Susannah removed her jacket and laid it discreetly across the girl’s hips – there was nothing she could do to preserve the modesty of the upper torso.

She closed her eyes and said aloud, “Almighty and merciful God, protect this poor soul and take her into Thy care.” She then clasped the ice-cold hand.

The slight movement caused water to spurt from the girl’s mouth, a common occurrence with drowning victims. Not so common was the little cough that followed. Then the eyes flickered open for a moment.

“Praise the Lord!” Susannah exclaimed. She attempted to help the scarcely living soul to her feet, but stopped when the injured girl cried out in pain.

“You must try to rise,” Susannah urged. “My home is not far.”

With great effort the girl managed to stand, though not without various pains that caused her to wince, moan, and even cry out. Laboriously, they made their way to the shack, where a fire would provide some sorely needed, comforting warmth.

With the girl seated on a stool before the hearth, Susannah fetched a blanket, but when she placed it across her shivering guest’s shoulders, the poor thing gasped with pain.

Fetching a lamp, Susannah looked closely at the girl’s back. One side, she observed, was scratched and torn from the shoulder to the haunches. Though the cuts were not deep, they were fire-red and angry-looking.

“Oh, you poor dear,” Susannah murmured. “That is very dirty, and needs to be washed. I shall apply some salve that Mother has, which may ease your suffering a little.”

She fetched warm water and the softest piece of cloth she could find, and gently cleaned the gashes.

The girl twitched repeatedly as Susannah bathed her wounds, but made no complaint. Susannah next applied the salve, with strokes as gentle as she could make them, and the girl hardly winced at all.

As she tended to the patient, Susannah introduced herself, asked the girl her name, and enquired as to what had happened.

“My name? I cannot seem to recall,” the girl said uncertainly. “All I remember is … rushing water, then I was lifted up and flung, and I was knocked against something, and then I was overboard and in the water … it was rough and the waves were fierce and I was very much afraid. And then … that is all that I can remember.”

“And before that – before you were on the ship?” Susannah prompted.

With a gasp of dread, the girl whispered, “I can’t remember … I remember nothing. Nothing at all!”

Though horrified, Susannah sensed it was important to keep her patient in the best possible spirits.

“You have been spared by the grace of God Almighty,” she said, “so I shall call you Grace until your memory returns.”

Only when her mother returned from the village at suppertime did Susannah and Grace garner any news.

“The Lady Elgin was lost in the storm,” Harriet informed them. “She must have been one of the passengers.”

“The Lady Elgin,” Susannah repeated to Grace. “The Lady Elgin – does the name have any meaning for you?”

“None. None at all,” Grace said sadly.

“A great many lives were lost in the tragedy,” Harriet went on. “The remains of the poor souls who were taken are everywhere. It will take time to identify them all. Meanwhile, child, you shall stay with us. Susannah, run to the village and fetch Doctor FitzHerbert at once.”

“I am very appreciative, Mistress Croft,” Grace protested. “But I cannot repay the kindness of you and your daughter. And I have nothing at all with which to pay a doctor.”

“You are no trouble to us, child,” Harriet assured her. “And Doctor FitzHerbert – well, he shall take one of Susannah’s excellent broths in settlement of his fee, and will be quite glad of it.”

Harriet spoke truly. The doctor, excited by news that the wreck had yielded another survivor, arrived at the shack within the hour. He was astonished at the girl’s condition, for, upon examination, he concluded Grace might have a broken rib but, with the exception of the savage scrapes on her back, she was otherwise uninjured. He noted that he could find no injury to Grace’s head that would explain her memory loss.

“The loss of memory might be merely the result of shock,” he said. “Or, as she was half-drowned, her brain might have suffered from a lack of air, causing the memory loss.”

“Will her memories return?” Susannah asked.

“Perhaps they will, in time,” the doctor mused. “Or possibly only some. Perhaps not at all. These things we do not know, cannot know – only God in His glory knows the human mind.”

He turned to Grace.

“Nevertheless, you are most fortunate, young miss,” he said. “I would call your survival a miracle. Many have been washed ashore on the tides, and few are still living. Most of the bodies were quite badly disfigured, and I suspect that a great number will defy all efforts to identify their remains.”

After dining, the doctor thanked Harriet for her hospitality and Susannah for her hearty broth, then took his leave.

Harriet told Susannah to defer clearing the dishes until the morning. “I think our poor visitor needs to sleep now,” she said.

Harriet had a room to herself, and Susannah would share her little bed with Grace. She offered her spare nightshirt to her guest, but Grace insisted she would sleep without covering, lest the material irritate her wounds.

Susannah thought nothing of it. She and her mother had spent many a restless summer night lying atop their bedclothes, spread-eagle and in a wholly natural state, yearning for a breath of wind from the lake. Yet her heart went out to this wretched creature, who feared even the slightest touch against her ravaged skin. In an instant, Susannah resolved to show her sympathy by sharing Grace’s burden. She, too, would sleep naked.

Grace watched in silence as her hostess disrobed. Then the girls climbed into bed together and cuddled closely, spooning to keep warm as there was no fire in the little bedroom.

“The touch of your flesh against me is soothing,” Grace purred, “and warm.”

They drifted to sleep, and did not wake until late the next morning, long after Harriet had left for Port Clinton.

“How do you feel this morning?” Susannah enquired. She was still spooned against Grace’s back, but not too tightly, as she had been the night before.

“There is less pain,” was Grace’s reply, “thanks to your care, and your mother’s salve.”

“Let’s get up and I shall apply some more,” Susannah suggested.

“Presently,” Grace replied.

She reached behind her with one hand and, following a short, groping search, found a spot her rescuer had always regarded as inviolable.

Susannah gasped in shock. “What are you doing?”

“Please let me,” Grace said. She turned carefully in the bed, so that they now faced one another. “I shall be as gentle with you as you have been with me!”

As a country girl, Susannah knew of the regenerative nature of the loins, and the urges they were said to produce in animals. But as a human being, blessed with the knowledge of right and wrong, she believed in her heart she would never succumb to base instinct. Yet this new sensation took her by surprise. It was immoral, she knew, yet the feeling was wonderful. She tingled all over, but she tingled most where Grace was touching her.

One spot in particular made her tremble each time Grace’s fingers moved across it. There was moisture too, which Grace spread liberally, as though slathering a goose with butter. Without even intending it, Susannah parted her legs. She longed for more of Grace’s ministrations, even if she was unwilling to admit it to herself.

Grace’s finger burrowed between the fleshy parts of her privates, to the very edge of her most sacred recess. Susannah felt herself challenged – she wondered how that finger would feel placed inside her, but also knew she must remain intact for her future husband, whoever he might be, on their first night together.

She could not decide which impulse to follow, but Grace’s actions made the decision for her. With her finger poised at Susannah’s entrance, she flicked her thumb against that luscious spot whose acquaintance Susannah had made only moments ago.

“Oh yes!” Susannah sighed. The words were out before she knew it, and Grace, thus encouraged, slid her finger forward – inside Susannah’s very body! Only a little way, to be sure, not even past the barrier, but soon …

Grace’s thumb continued to arouse Susannah, to the point at which she no longer cared about some unknown future husband, should there even be one.

“Oh yes!” she gasped again. “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

She felt the tension against her maidenhead, then the release. Grace’s finger was inside her now – completely.

Susannah had just enough time to think, I am now a woman! before a new sensation, more powerful than any she had ever experienced, began to build up inside her – and not just at the point where Grace’s finger was performing the proper office of a cock, but through her entire being.

The feeling continued to build, then reached its peak and crashed over her senses like a wave upon a rock. Susannah was aware of nothing but the ecstasy of being a woman. Every part of her clenched, then suddenly relaxed as the release surged through her.

A voice in her head cried out, “Oh sweet Jesus!” and her mouth echoed the words.

Her whole body shuddered as she gradually became aware of Grace’s finger plunging into her, and the thumb circling that magical spot, and Grace whispering, “Oh, you beautiful girl. Come for me, and keep coming!”

The overwhelming sensation was building up again, and Susannah silently prayed for its arrival.

This second time was even better than the first, because Susannah knew what was happening, and what she would experience when the climax arrived. She went rigid. She went limp. She cried out. She sobbed with joy.

“In the name of heaven, what are you doing to me?” she wailed.

“I’m fucking you,” Grace said simply. “It is God’s secret gift to women, but only for those who seek it out. Do you like me to fuck you?”

“Like it?” Susannah moaned through her sobs. “I adore it! It’s the most unbelievable … the most …”

It happened again – not as intense this time, but it lasted longer. Susannah wondered if she might faint, but she was determined not to allow herself – there was no way on God’s earth she was going to miss even a second of this rapture.

She was still crying uncontrollably as Grace rolled gingerly onto her back, wincing and gasping as she did so.

“Darling Susannah, do you think you can do those things to me?”

“Oh yes! Let me, please let me! Please?”

“Yes, but be gentle. I am very sore.”

Susannah Croft was gentle. The only thing that mattered was to return the ecstasy Grace had bestowed upon her. Her forsaken maidenhead was no longer a concern – a husband, and men generally, were no longer important. Even the duty to bear children was meaningless. Susannah Croft knew that, from this moment forward, the only thing she cared about was Grace – the shipwreck survivor she had not even known a mere day earlier.

Susannah idly thought of her mother – would she disapprove? She realized she didn’t care too greatly about that, either.

Their lips pressed together lightly for a moment. Instinctively, Susannah opened her mouth, and Grace’s lively tongue entered. This was kissing of a kind Susannah had never known, and she sucked the writhing muscle in encouragement. She also tasted the wetness that was trickling forth, and she knew that it was good.

As they kissed, Susannah’s hand found Grace’s breast and rested lightly upon it. It was fuller than her own, and elegantly shaped – the most perfect thing of all God’s creation. Its twin was equally perfect. Susannah had to kiss those emblems of womanhood.

Then, suddenly, she needed to see Grace’s most private place. Nudity was nothing new to her, but never had she been so close to another female, nor closely inspected those parts that made a woman. As she shifted position, Grace spread her legs wide.

Little folds of pink flesh, like lips, opened beneath Susannah’s gaze. She put her thumbs to them and peeled them back to see inside. Here she found a darker pink, with a sheen of clear moisture. (It must be part of loving, Susannah decided.) An indentation led deeper inside, beneath the tiny protrusion which she now knew gave so much pleasure. This work of God that lay between a woman’s legs outshone all others!

Acting solely on instinct, she put her lips to those beautiful parts and kissed Grace there. Grace’s deep sigh was her reward. Wanting to taste those parts, and that fluid – the nectar of love – she bore down harder and kissed more deeply.

Grace’s fruit was even sweeter, juicier, than the canned peaches Susannah had retrieved after the previous storm.

“Should I put my finger in you?” Susannah asked,

“Oh, yes, my love. And fuck me!”

“I shall … fuck you,” Susannah declared. If her mother heard her use such a word, she knew, her mouth would be washed out with soap.

She carefully inserted a single finger into Grace’s hole – and was amazed by the warmth and the texture. She began, gently, to pump her finger in and out, as she knew males did it with their manhood.

“Use two fingers!” Grace panted.

Two? Susannah wondered. Was that even possible? Would they fit? Yet surely Grace knew her own capacity, and the passage to her womb felt slippery and pliable enough.

Cautiously, Susannah slipped her fourth finger alongside the third, and she knew at once her fears had been unwarranted. Grace easily took both deep inside her, grasping them tight with her inner muscles. Susannah began to pump with her hand.

Then she remembered the thing Grace had done to her. With the thumb of the same hand, she burrowed between Grace’s slick pink folds, massaging the little bulb.

Grace twitched and gasped, “Oh, yes! You are learning!”

Susannah pressed down on the bulb, which seemed to respond by swelling against her thumb. Twisting her hand, she was soon able to pump with her two middle fingers, simultaneously squeezing the growing bud between thumb and forefinger.

“Ah, you are an enchantress!” Grace gasped, and she began to tremble.

As Susannah watched in disbelief, Grace experienced the same joy that she had dispensed only a few minutes before. Presently she reached up to pull Susannah down towards her, and kissed her again.

The taste of Grace’s mouth itself became sufficient reason for living. Timidly Susannah pushed her tongue forward. Now it was Grace’s turn to suck, and she made a soft humming sound as she did so – obviously one of approbation.

They kissed thus heedlessly awhile, but soon Susannah needed to explore Grace’s body, and to touch all of the firm but yielding flesh. She found herself delighting in playing with Grace’s breasts one again, discovering the dimple in her belly, and inspecting the bud that peeped from the pink folds between her legs. She would never lose her astonishment that something so tiny could afford such enormous pleasures.

Presently, she remembered something and told Grace to turn over. She wanted to apply lotion to Grace’s poor torn back, but before she could do so, she was entranced by the plump round globes of her bottom. She knew, of course, what lay between those globes, but still was compelled to look. Parted Grace’s flesh, and beheld the most delicate flower ever.

Dragging her attention back to the loathsome cuts and scrapes on Grace’s back, she put a little ointment onto the tips of her fingers and spread it over the wounds. Three times Grace hissed in pain, and three times Susannah apologized, but each time Grace told her that she knew Susannah would never intentionally hurt her.

Only in the middle of the afternoon did they finally leave the bed. After attending to the call of nature, they ate a little, although neither was very hungry.

As evening approached, Susannah donned a nightdress – she was fearful of her mother’s reaction if she were to find her entirely bare in the presence of a guest, and for no apparent reason. Indeed, when Harriet returned, she wondered at Susannah’s night attire. “Why in the world are you not dressed?’ she asked.

“Grace cannot bear the touch of cloth on her wounds, and I thought she would feel less shame for her nakedness if I too was naked. I have put this on only because you were due home.”

Harriet smiled, with a most peculiar expression on her face. “I saw you two in bed before I left this morning. You will recall that you were both unclad.”

Susannah’s face registered shock, but Harriet was not offended. She was not even perturbed.

“You looked so pretty together,” she said with a melodic lilt, “that way.”

“You are not angry?” Susannah whispered in disbelief.

“The only anger I feel is that you have not attended to your chores,” Harriet told her. “What do you imagine we shall have to eat tonight?”

Susannah hurried to prepare a meal for them all, assuring them that it would soon be ready.

“I have more news of the disaster on the lake,” Harriet announced over their meal. “It seems that the Lady Elgin was rammed by another vessel in the storm, and she quickly broke apart. Many bodies have washed ashore all along the coast, but there are more survivors in addition to Grace, thank the Lord.”

She paused as both girls whispered words of relief, then went on.

“It is unknown how many were aboard, nor how many have survived. And most passengers bought tickets without booking, so it is not known who might have been aboard.”

With that news, conversation came to a halt. With Grace’s assistance, Susannah set about clearing the table and washing the bowls, while Harriet took her ease.

When it came time for bed, Harriet wished them both goodnight. Then, to Susannah’s utter astonishment, she said, “Should you girls wish to play games with each other tonight, please do not make too much noise. I need my sleep, as I must work tomorrow, and in any case, I have no wish to hear such things.”

Turning, she went to her room. She left Susannah gaping after her.

The youngsters slept during the night, partly out of consideration for Harriet, but mainly out of embarrassment lest the adult overhear them. And provided that Susannah attended to her chores the following day, they could devote many hours to loving each other.

Although they woke at a reasonable time, Harriet had already left for her employment. Susannah performed her chores and treated Grace’s injuries. Then they partook of a midday meal.

The afternoon was spent in Susannah’s bed, before Susannah dressed in preparation for her mother’s return. Grace donned Susannah’s nightdress. She had been naked since her rescue and, although her wounds were still tender and were irritated by the cloth, she wanted Harriet to find her covered when she returned.

The evening meal was ready at the customary time, and Harriet thanked both girls for not overlooking the daily housework. As they relaxed after their meal, Susannah broached the subject that had been uppermost on her mind.

“Mother, what will become of Grace when she is well?”

“I do not know,” Harriet admitted. “Unless she can recall her name, or something about herself, it will be nearly impossible for her to contact her kinfolk.” She didn’t add the words, “If she still has any kin alive.”

“Might she stay with us, Mother?”

“As soon as I am able, I shall find a way to earn my keep,” Grace added, “should I be permitted to stay, that is. And I can teach Susannah her letters, so she will be able to read and write … and I can teach her to work numbers, too! Then she might be able to secure a good position.”

“I know my numbers,” Susannah insisted indignantly. “I can count. I am fourteen,” she added proudly.

“You need more than that, dear,” Harriet told her. “I can count, too, and I am thirty-seven. But there is much more. You must be able to work numbers – to make them work for you. You need to know how to add and take away, and be able to do times.”

The notion that Susannah could learn these things caused Harriet to dream. Although she did not possess such skills, she still had a good situation at a local manufactory. Yet she wanted more for her daughter than mere subsistence. The world of the future would leave the ignorant behind, and schools were being established in many small communities – even Port Clinton would someday have a school. And schools would need teachers …

“And you do not want Grace to leave, do you, child?”

“No, mother – I love her.”

Susannah had not intended to say that, but she could not take the words back.

A bleak look flashed across Harriet’s face. Susannah blushed with shame and hung her head.

“I’m sorry, mother, but it’s true. And I am certain that you know what I mean.”

Nodding slowly, Harriet turned to Grace. “And you? What do you say about that?”

“Only that I love Susannah – truly love her. And I want very much to be with her. And I also very much desire your acceptance.” She couldn’t gauge Harriet’s thoughts from her expression, so she went on. “I understand that such things are … unconventional, and are indeed disapproved of by many.”

Harriet, still silent, nodded.

“But I sense that you do not feel that way,” Grace continued. “Although you may not approve, you have in the last few days indicated that you can accept the feelings that Susannah and I have for each other. I believe too that you know the depth of those feelings, and that they are genuine.”

Speaking evenly, Harriet said, “I am convinced that Susannah loves you, but she is young and innocent, and may not have the wisdom yet to understand her desires.”

Susannah made to say something, but Harriet held up her hand. The girl knew better than to interrupt.

“And you, Grace – we don’t know your age, but I think that you are not too much older than Susannah. How well you know yourself and your feelings, none of us can tell.”

Harriet paused and Grace spoke up.

“I recall nothing of my past life, but I know that my affections are for those of my own sex. And I know how dearly I love Susannah.”

“Perhaps your past will come back to you, at which time many things might change,” Harriet said. “But I think that until that might happen, you should stay, at least for the time being.”

“Oh, Mother, thank you!” Susannah leapt to her feet and hugged Harriet, repeating the words, ‘thank you’.

Harriet looked over her daughter’s shoulder at Grace.

“I am most grateful for your hospitality and your consideration of my plight, and for your tolerance,” Grace said.

Soon to come: Chapter Two!

 

11 Comments on Grace of the Lady Elgin, Chapter 1

  1. Karin Halle says:

    To Jacqueline Jillinghoff, who edited this story, I want to offer my sincere appreciation. As well, thanks to JetBoy for his suggestions and input.

    Karin

  2. Jacqueline Jillinghoff says:

    I had a wonderful time reading this. The language carries an erotic charge that more contemporary-sounding diction often doesn’t. Lovely idea, Karin. And it only gets better.

  3. kinkys_sis says:

    How I loved the way you conveyed the period. Entirely fitting throughout.

    My kind of story, thank you.

  4. Nikki says:

    Beautiful!

  5. kacey says:

    I like it!! 😊 Alot.

  6. Stacy says:

    Thank you for the creativity in spinning a tale of a time in the distant past. I am looking forward to the continuing evolution of Susannah and Grace.

  7. David says:

    Very erotic and nicely written and detailed story Karin. Love the different story and time lines too. Leaves me excited to see what will happen in the next chapter and how the story will progress in future chapters.

  8. Erocritique says:

    .
    I felt the sex was initiated a bit too abruptly, and Susannah didn’t have much of an opportunity to consent to Grace’s intimate touching. The premise was outstanding, and the presentation is first rate. The fact that this story is based on an actual historical event lends an extra level of authenticity to the narrative. Having grown up on the shores of Lake Michigan, the sinking of the Lady Elgin was a topic of study in my history class. (Along woth the Edmund Fitzgerald of course). Like others, I am very interested to see how Grace’s and Savannah’s story evolves. Excellent start Karin. Kudos to you and the JS team.

  9. No One says:

    Very well done with the writing style, the old-fashioned vocabulary gives a lot of flavor. The setting is interesting as well, and the story rather intriguing. Will Grace get her memory back, or will she have to adapt and create a new life for herself? I suppose we shall see.

    I do have to agree with Erocritique that the sex felt very sudden, though. We have this “virtuous” young woman who has never even touched herself before, and now an almost-complete stranger starts fingering her abruptly and she only registers mild surprise before giving herself over? It feels like we skipped a few steps there. Perhaps some hints that Susannah was developing a growing infatuation with Grace (even if she doesn’t realize it herself), and/or a more subtle approach from Grace, would have helped to smooth the transition into the sexual relationship.

    But in any case, still quite an interesting tale and I look forward to the next chapter.

  10. Karin Halle says:

    I wish to express my thanks to those wonderful people who have provided such rewarding feedback on the basis of just part one of the story. I am, once again, thrilled by the JS readers.

    In particular, I want to note my appreciation to Erocritique and No One for their advice about the ‘suddenness’ of the sex scene between the characters. In fact, I was concerned that I was letting too much story pass before introducing the sex.

    Again, thank you all.

    • No One says:

      You’re very welcome.

      I can understand feeling like people might check out early if you don’t get to the sexy bits quickly enough, but I don’t think you need to worry about that on here. I’d say JS readers are well used to slower paces and can appreciate a story taking the time it needs to develop. And besides, people who are just looking to get off quickly are probably not the type who will give any feedback to the author.

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