The picnic basket was filled with the best the farm could offer, beef, lamb, pork, bread and cheese. There were apples, pears and plums carefully stored from last year and finally, sweetmeats purchased from the shop in the village. In spite of their nervousness, or perhaps because of it, they both ate heartily. Ever since the first moment Charles had set eyes on the vision that was Amelia he had determined to take action. Many, many times he had imagined the that she would appear in response to his letter, but the days had passed since he had written and his brain had started to despair even as his imagination had gone off on wilder and wilder flights of fancy. He must act now or she would be lost for ever.
They washed the picnic down with copious quantities of ale. Charles hoisted the jar over his arm and poured the ale in a stream directly into his mouth. He attempted to persuade Amelia to try the same method, but laughingly, she refused. A mistake would pour ale all over her beautiful riding habit, which already was muddied from dragging across the farm yard, despite all her attempts to keep it off the ground. Charles poured her ale into a cup and she drank up the cool, golden liquid. By the time they had both drunk their fill, both were quite relaxed with a nice feeling inside. They looked at each other and smiled, Charles launched into his prepared speech “When we last met Amelia you told me that you would not marry me for a number of reasons. I’ve been thinking about them and I’d just like to say that I respect your desire to be an independent woman and I would do my best as your husband to treat you as an equal. I consulted my lawyer and he said that the recent change in the law, gave married women the right not to be owned by her husband and to keep whatever she owned as her own.” Amelia tried to interrupt but Charles went on “With regard to the farm, I have spoken with my brother. There are two other farms on the estate and subject to certain conditions, he will rent them out to me. With the three farms, I can become a ‘gentleman farmer’ and no longer have to be a farm labourer. I have taken an option on a small cottage in the village where we can live so that you would not have to live on the farm, and of course you will still have No 1 Westerly Mews in town.” He paused for breath. While he was talking, Amelia was gazing at him steadily the love light shining in her eyes. She so wanted this man to be hers. He looked at her, her brown/green eyes were sparkling; she looked absolutely lovely and ravishing. He ploughed on “And there is one other thing”. He moved awkwardly towards her, put his arm round her and kissed her. She did not object. Her bosom heaved as her breathing increased. Then his hand was resting on her boot and slowly sliding up her leg to her stocking. If a girl is lucky, there comes a point in her life, where emotional love and physical love come together, when the world stops and the future can take care of itself. Its that point which a well brought up girl will have been warned of, that dangerous moment when caution is thrown to the four winds and the potential consequences totally ignored. ‘The joy of love’ it is called by the old song, warning ‘is but a moment long’ Amelia kissed Charles and gave herself to the moment. He tore at her drawers and when she was free, entered her. Her body moved in rhythm to his own. Before his injury in India, Charles as a young, innocent officer had been taught the erotic, eastern way of love making by a series of beautiful Indian girls and despite have most of a limb missing, he found that he was still able to apply the lessons he had been taught and was responsive to Amelia’s needs as much as his own.
When they had finished they lay together on the grass under the trees. It had been an idyllic moment of love. Charles whispered into her ear “Now will you marry me, my darling?” She turned her head, looked at him and smiled her most dazzling smile “I would still have to promise to obey” she said. “You rascal” he replied and started to tickle her very firmly. She laughed “Get off” and they fought, but they were still in a state of undress, and as the sun was beginning drop in the sky a cooling breeze was getting up. Charles held her firmly in his arms and kissed her passionately again, then they separated. As they were making themselves look respectable once again, Charles said “My brother has the living in his gift. I’m sure he can persuade the vicar to omit the word from the ceremony. You will marry me he pleaded”. “Oh yes” replied Amelia “I love you with all my heart” She helped Charles to his feet and together, holding hands and gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes, slowly walked down to the track and headed slowly towards the farm. Enoch would pick up the picnic basket in the morning.
It was not until Amelia was riding very slowly back to the village that a thought came to her. Whenever she had considered marriage to Charles, she had always had the anxiety that he would discover on their wedding night, that she was not a virgin. He had been concentrating so much on making love to her that as far as she knew, he just had not noticed and certainly, she had not remembered the only other time, when she was taken (not it should be said completely against her will) by the Count, a jewel thief she had crossed swords with. The circumstances had been so different. She had been dressed in a man’s garb, wearing a mask and enveloped in a flowing cape. The thought soon passed. She was to be married. The door on her previous life as a lady ‘private consulting detective’ had been slammed shut, locked and bolted with the return of The Great Detective himself and now a new door had opened onto a world diffused with all consuming love!