Tuesday, November 7, 2017

From the Top Shelf - In a Mist, Chapter 9

The story so far:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Today's chapter was something of a puzzle to me when I first read it. There's plenty of talk about music but sadly, no spanking, yet the prose is exquisitely erotic. There are hints of sensuality scattered throughout, and the relationship between Lennox and Elizabeth reaches a new level.
In a Mist Chapter 9 - Elizabeth discovers a new side of Lennox and is morally corrupted

By Friday the wind had freshened and was now blowing in from the sea, bringing gusty squalls and thick patches of mist. The sun disappeared for good beneath low banks of grey cloud and it began to drizzle.

Elizabeth was awakened on Saturday morning by the rain beating in through her open bedroom window. She groaned in vexation, for she had set her heart on spending the day down by the sea in the company of Arthur Lennox.

But now, as she stood at the window wiping the sleep from her eyes, she saw that the whole of the seashore was blanketed dismally in mist. The trees and grass were lank and sodden with rain. Deepening puddles lay everywhere upon the drive. The only good thing about the day was the sweet fragrance of summer fecundity enveloping the garden.

She was about to close the window and put on some clothes when she saw Lennox, in macintosh and galoshes, emerge from the hallway below, carrying a small leather case.

He walked rapidly across the squelching lawns towards the thatched summerhouse in the woods beyond the low outer wall. He scaled the wall easily and entered the summerhouse.

Inquisitively she remained at the open window, staring at the summerhouse, its tarred-board walls adorned by criss-crosses of quaintly rustic logs.She watched and waited, heedless of the rain soaking her face and her hair. She put her elbows on the sill and, supporting her head in her hands, wriggled the tight seat of her pyjama trousers in restless curiosity. Her well-whipped bottom felt alive with exciting sensations. She was torn between the desire to go back to bed in order to play naughty games with herself, and the equally imperative urge to discover what business Mr. Lennox had, alone in the summerhouse on such a dreary wet morning.

Then floating across from the old wooden shack came the strident cry of a horn, its clear bell-like notes almost tripping each other up in their breathless speed--yet at the same time imbued with a strange poignant melancholy. a cascading waterfall of sound, the liquid flow punctuated by peculiar bent notes, slurs, growls, and dizzy leaps. Like the heads of fish darting up confusedly above the surface  of the rushing water.

Above all, it was infectiously rhythmic, even in its abrupt staccato runs. Half awake though she was, Elizabeth found herself tapping her feet to it. She had never heard anything like it before in her life and felt drawn  towards it, as if it were a magnet.

Throwing on her dressing gown, she ran downstairs and into the rain, heedless of anything but the music. In her dash for the summerhouse, she almost tripped and fell several times on the slippery leaves, for she was eager to catch her extraordinary tutor in the middle of the dazzling high-note piece he was now playing with such fire and bravura.

Bursting in on him, she was amazed to find Lennox seated cross-legged in his shirtsleeves on the old oak picnic table, a silver cornet raised to his lips, his eyes tightly closed in fierce concentration as the passage he was playing ended in a thrilling crescendo.

Only when he'd finished and he heard the enthusiastic applause of one dainty pair of hands, did he realise he had an audience,

"Elizabeth, how you startled me!" he said, catching sight of her and blushing almost guiltily.

"Mr. Lennox, how you startled me!" Elizabeth exclaimed, eyes brimming with admiration. "You never said anything about being musical--let alone being a musical genius!"

He blushed with embarrassment. "I'm just a novice--an amateur. I never get the time to be anything else--and as for being a genius, I'm afraid I'm something of a fraud. That last piece I played was copied from a gramophone record by Louis Armstrong--"West End Blues"--except," he added in wry self-deprecation, "he plays it an octave higher!"

"Louis who?" she asked earnestly, eager to learn but baffled by all the bewildering technicalities. "Is he some new French composer?"

He laughed wholeheartedly. "I can see I shall have to include one or two lessons on jazz music in our school curriculum! Louis Armstrong is an American negro--and the finest jazz trumpet player in the world."

"So that is jazz!" Elizabeth murmured with some degree of awe. "My guardian doesn't approve of jazz. He stays it is morally corrupting--"

"Like silk underwear?" he interposed with a wicked little grin. She blushed and grinned too.

"--he says it is primitive jungle music, unfit for a refined young lady's ears."

"I guessed as much," he replied, frowning. "Most of his generation share that erroneous opinion. That is why I took the precaution of practising out of doors away from the house."

"If that's jazz, then I think it's beautiful," Elizabeth said, bursting with pride at possessing such a remarkably talented tutor. Here again was that carefree almost boyish side to his nature that he kept so firmly locked away during school time, but which she'd caught fleetingly after he'd spanked her on the first day.

'Please will you show me how to play your cornet?" she begged excitedly. He gave her the silver horn and showed her how to hold it correctly in her left hand, placing the first three fingers of her right hand over the valves. When their fingers touched he had to briefly turn away and draw breath, to fight back his longing for her. Her slender body still seemed to exude the sensual langour of sleep, and the poignant eroticism of a young girl's dreams were reflected in her eyes.

He coughed and suddenly became starchily pedantic. "The first finger alters the note by a tone, the second by a half-tone, and the third by a tone and a half," he announced, much to Elizabeth's mystification.

Then he got her to hold the instrument to her mouth and blow, with her tongue between her lips. The resulting noise, a loud inelegant raspberry, startled and embarrassed Elizabeth, and had Lennox practically on his knees with laughter.

She lowered the cornet from her lips and started to laugh too. The cord around her dressing gown came undone, and for the first time Lennox noticed she was still in her pyjamas.

"Why, you're not even dressed," he frowned, reproaching himself for not noticing earlier. This was precisely the sort of compromising situation he had sworn so vigilantly to guard against. He must learn to be more circumspect with the girl. Dammit, they were out here alone together, she was in just a pair of scanty pyjamas! If anyone from the house happened to see them--!

"Go back in and put on some proper clothes at once!" he ordered her brusquely. But she looked so crestfallen then that he relented and added, "Tell you what, after you've dressed and had your breakfast, I shall fetch out my little portable gramophone and play you some records--just to show you what real jazz sounds like. Bur mind--" he put a warning finger to his lips, "--and not a word from this to your guardian!"

"Not a word--I promise--you dear, dear man!" she flung her arms around her amazed and disconcerted tutor, kissed him clumsily on the cheek, and scampered back through the poring rain into the house.

Am I doing the right thing, he wondered anxiously for a moment then, shrugging his shoulders, he picked up the cornet and began to play again, this time more gently and lyrically--with all the reflective sadness of his idol, Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke.

The little silver horn wound its way through a slow, elegiac blues. He played it with the pensive fragility of a man walking on eggshells. It complemented his sudden mood of mournful introspection, for he knew he was becoming desperately smitten with Elizabeth Harker, the girl he had been engaged to tutor. The rain, drumming endlessly against the summerhouse window pane, made his blues sound even sadder.

He stopped playing and packed the cornet away in its case. While doing so, he sang softly to himself one of his favourite songs, Bessie Smith's "Careless Love", changing the words in a couple of places to fit his own predicament.

Half an hour or so later, Elizabeth returned looking exquisitely pretty in a long macintosh and rain-bonnet. Lennox had already been to fetch his slightly battered old wind-up gramophone and a thick pile of black shellac ten inch records. He wound the mechanism with the cranked handle, selected "West End Blues" by Louis Armstrong's Hot Seven and placed it on the turntable.

"Listen," he commanded, pointing at the revolving disc, as Armstrong's long bravure cadenza leaped out at them. The wild resonant music transfixed her with its powerful energy. The trumpet's shouting exuberance, the shrill wails of the clarinet, the earthy growls and swooping glissandos of the trombone touched a nerve deep within her.

She felt in love with the names as well as the music.

"This is 'Steamboat Stomp' by Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers," he announced, lowering the needle onto the second record which began, to her amazement and delight, with the authentic blast of a steamboat whistle and a husky negro voice calling "Board!"

He played her other records by Jelly Roll Morton, including "The Chant", "Black Bottom Stomp" (the title of which made her giggle uncontrollably), "The Pearls" and "Doctor Jazz". By this time Elizabeth had reached such a pitch of excitement that she jumped up from her seat, tore off her macintosh and rain-bonnet, and began to dance. She had on a cream finely knit woollen dress that hugged her hips and drew attention to her trim little figure as she swayed and shimmied in time to the music.

Lennox srudied her every movement, noting how she arched her back and wiggled her bottom in naive unawareness of the effect that it had on him. Her child-like innocence made it all the more erotic.

When it was time to change the record, he flicked through his collection and made a supremely apt choice, putting on Bessie Smith's version of "Sister Kate".

An old-fashioned summerhouse in a sequestered English garden was an incongruous setting, to say the least, for a bawdy blues that had originated in the brothels of New Orleans--but Elizabeth undulated and wriggled in such sensual abandonment to it that Lennox shamelessly found himself daydreaming tht she was really some pale Creole beauty bestowing her favours upon him--his amourous plaything, his doxy--to mistreat and abuse according to his whim.

All his dark desires rose to the surface. He wanted to seize her, rip off all her clothes, and feed his lust on her naked body. He wanted to bend her over and examine, with a feeling of proud ownership, the weals he had so recently planted on her buttocks. He wanted to take her from behind--fuck her like an animal.

"Please dance with me, sir," Elizabeth implored, stretching out her arms towards him.

Lennox leaped to his feet and, grabbing her tiny waist, led her on a mad exultant rampage round and round the long narrow room until she laughed and shrieked in breathless exhilaration.  They pounded the floor with their flying feet until the old bare boards bounced and groaned. He spun her round like a top, catching her in his arms just in time to prevent her from tumbling giddily to her knees. Laughing deliriously, they improvised strange outlandish dance steps to "Doctor Jazz".

Outside it was raining hard again. Lymchurch House had disappeared from view,  obliterated by thick mist. Lennox put on record after record, and they danced until exhausted, oblivious to everything except the music and the proximity of each other's bodies.

When they had danced themselves to a standstill, he played Elizabeth a solo piano record so haunting in its fragile melancholy that she thought at first it was by a classical composer.

"Is it a Delius?"

He shook his head.

"Ravel?"

"No," he said softly. "It is Bix Beiderbecke. The piece is called 'In a Mist'. Appropriate, don't you think?" he smiled, pointing the the weather outside.

"It;s so beautiful it makes me want to cry," Elizabeth whispered, tears gathering in her eyes.

At that moment she looked so much like a little lost girl of Pre-Raphaelite days, with her sad blue eyes and her dark-blonde hair in splendid disarray, that Lennox didn't know whether to kneel down and worship her, or seize her in his arms and kiss her violently.
What do you think? Did this chapter add anything to the story?
From Hermione's Heart

7 comments:

Alan H said...

I think it added to the story, giving it more atmosphere and affection and showed both in a different light. Although he punishes her for his own gratification this also shows that he cares for her and shows a softer side.

Enzo said...

I'm not sure what I think of this chapter. It arguably beautifully written, but whether it detracts or adds to the storyline might just be a matter of personal taste. Anytime we can see characters more than flat, black & white caricatures is a good thing; but I am still not sure about this chapter.

I do appreciate you adding the links to all the songs, Hermione. That was very much
appreciated as it helped paint the picture.

Best,
Enzo

Cat said...

Hey Hermione...I think this chapter added to the overall story as it fleshes out the characters...makes them more real. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Hugs and blessings...Cat

Roz said...

Hi Hermione, I really enjoyed this chapter and think it adds more depth to both the story and the characters. Thank you for sharing this chapter. Looking forward to reading more :)

Hugs
Roz

Ripley said...

I liked seeing this side of them. Perhaps it's a glimpse into their future.

Hermione said...

I have to agree with you all. It did add a lot to their characters. But hope we willl not go too long without more corporal punishment.

Hugs,
Hermione

ronnie said...

Lovely chapter, beautifully written and enjoyed the read. We did see the characters in a different light but I am not sure if this chapter added anything to the story.

Love,
Ronnie
xx