On her eighteenth birthday in April 1557, Rose Bingley is given a diary by her mother. In it, she records her feelings, thoughts and the great love she bears for her childhood sweetheart, Oliver Moore, whom she secretly plans to marry.
When her uncle informs Rose that she is to wed the wealthy Lord Richard Coulby, she is horrified and heartbroken. Only when she discovers that her family name and fortune depend on it, does she agree to marry this stranger, who is twenty years her senior and has some very unusual views on how to conduct a marriage.
In Norfolk, England, during the reign of ‘Bloody Queen Mary’, Rose embarks on her first few months of marriage and chronicles her story of love, longing, betrayal, danger and sexual awakening in this, her diary.
This book is fiction, and is intended for adults only. It contains spanking and discipline as well as explicit sexual scenes and age-play elements. If this offends you, please do not purchase this book.
The girl had rather pretty eyes, he mused, watching her. Her long lashes were dark and thick, and every now and then her gaze would flick up to meet his, as if she were seeking his approval.
She was certainly attractive enough, and skillful too, her mouth working diligently as she knelt before him.
He thought of the state of her rump then, the pale flesh sporting bright scarlet lines where the rod had struck it… weals which she would most certainly feel whenever she sat for the next day or two, at least. It was a shame he could not admire that view from his current stance, but alas, her plump bottom was once more covered by her threadbare gown.
Her splendid breasts were on display, however, swaying slightly as she bobbed her head. That view combined with the memory of her gasps of pain just moments earlier was enough, and with a grunt he grabbed her hair and held her in place as he spent himself.
"Thank you. Now tidy yourself up and resume your duties," he said, rearranging his own clothing.
Once she had left his bedchamber, he sat down on his feather mattress and sighed. Having willing maidservants was enough to satisfy a man’s base needs, but there was always that underlying sense of something missing. Pleasures of the flesh, after all, were only half as pleasurable if they did not also include real feelings?regard, affection, that sort of thing. Most men in his position wanted a wife in order to beget an heir and a spare. He, on the other hand, saw that as a secondary reason to wed. For he did not want a mere wife, rather something far more special…
Thursday, 15th April 1557
Mother gave me this delightful diary as a gift for my birthday, and I could not be more pleased. For I have so many thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams… and now I have a place to put them.
I should hate for anyone to ever read this little book of mine, so I must find a suitable hiding place for it. Luckily, Mother generally leaves me to my own devices and hardly ever enters my bedchamber, so I’m not overly concerned.? Ever since Father died, I’ve been able to enjoy far greater freedom than most of the other young ladies I know. And as much as I miss him, Diary, I am truly grateful not to have to bend to Father’s will in everything I do.
Especially on the matter of marriage. I am now eighteen years of age, all grown up and ready to wed. And unlike those poor girls I encounter in our social circles, I shall enjoy the greatest blessing of all ? the ability to choose my own husband.
My sweetheart’s name is Oliver. Wonderful, handsome Oliver Moore. Soon, we will marry and my name will be Rose Moore. We will have many beautiful children and a long, happy life together.
I’ve known Oliver since I was very young. He happens to be distantly related to our family, and as such was usually present at picnics, dinners, and the like. Over the years I grew more and more fond of him, and then one day a few months ago our eyes met across the table, and I felt a tingle go right through me, starting at the pit of my stomach and spreading all the way through my body.
The way he was looking at me was different, somehow, and in that instant I noticed so many things about him that I never had before.
He’s two years my senior and is much taller than me. True, I’ve inherited my small stature from Mother, so almost every adult I’ve ever met towers above me… but when I stand beside Oliver, I feel somehow protected, rather than intimidated, by his height. His eyes are as green as wet grass and his hair is black and wild… but I digress.
That evening, after dinner, Oliver asked me whether I would like to go for a walk. Even though we had walked and talked together countless times before, there was suddenly a strange feeling in the air, and I couldn’t think of a single thing to say.
Until we reached the ancient oak tree and he stopped walking. Pulling me towards him, he stared at me for a long time then he said but two words: "You’re beautiful." Before I could respond, he had taken me by the shoulders and put his mouth on mine.
Diary, I am so glad to be able to confide this to someone at last, even if it is just to you, on parchment! The feelings that overcame me when Oliver kissed me for the first time… well, I hardly know how to describe them! His lips tasted sweetly of wine and his hands reached up to stroke my hair.
I wasn’t sure what to do ? I’ve never been kissed before ? but somehow instinct took over and I found myself clinging to him, returning his embrace and I must have done something right because he let out this deep groan and pulled me even closer. His tongue was in my mouth and despite my initial shock I felt so excited, so breathless, so enraptured at what he was doing to me that I never wanted the kiss to end.
After far too short a time, he pulled away. "Forgive me," he said, "I must stop now, or I won’t be able to help myself."
I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that, but it sounded rather urgent. And besides, he continued before I could think of a reply.
"Rose, you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met, and I’m completely in love with you. I want you for my wife."
He looked so sincere and so handsome standing there in the dusk with his hair tousled by my hands and his lips still shiny from my own. With a pounding heart, I nodded.
Oliver smiled so broadly that I found myself beginning to giggle. Love truly is happiness, dear Diary.
Since that evening, we have been secretly meeting at every opportunity, talking, kissing and making plans for the future. We haven’t quite found the courage to tell everyone yet ? Oliver is concerned that Mother will disapprove and find some way to prevent us from being together.
But we’re in love and I am hopeful. After all, Mother rarely concerns herself with what I do, and Oliver’s family, though not very wealthy, have titles and a respected name in society.
Well, I must end this for now; it’s almost suppertime. And as Mother promised me a veritable feast for my birthday, with relatives coming to stay from all over the country, I want Margaret to coil my hair more elaborately than usual and help me dress in one of my best gowns.
Friday, 16th April 1557
Forgive me for not returning to you sooner, Diary, but something awful happened yesterday. I am in despair, and my eyes are sore from weeping all night. In fact, I’m afraid to begin writing about it for fear of shedding yet more tears and drenching you.
My birthday banquet was wonderful. One of my cousins, who is presently at court serving the Queen, sent us some marchpane as a special treat and I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything quite so delicious.
Oliver was there, of course, in an ivy-green doublet slashed with blue, which really brought out the emerald colour of his eyes. And so were lots of other relatives and acquaintances of ours.
My best friend in the whole world, my cousin Anna, whispered excitedly that she would be staying in my room, so I was able to look forward to a whole night of exchanging gossip with her. I haven’t been able to see her as much as I would have liked over the past couple of years ? she lives some distance away ? and now I could finally tell her all about Oliver.
Even my uncle John and aunt Ellyn had made the journey to the Bingley manor, all the way from Suffolk!
Talk at the table was lively and interesting ? at least for the most part ? but when the older guests began to discuss religion, I was grateful for the chance to escape. Oliver had caught my eye across the table, and that meant I should slip out of the room, and he would follow shortly thereafter.
He looked so handsome striding towards me that I felt my knees go weak with love for him. After a passionate kiss, he whispered "Happy birthday, my beautiful Rose," and pressed something into my palm.
It was the most beautiful gift I’ve ever received: a little emerald pendant surrounded by tiny seed pearls, on a delicate gold chain.
With tears of joy in my eyes, I stood up on tiptoe and kissed him. "Thank you. I will treasure it always."
"It was my grandmother’s," he said in a gruff voice. "I promised her I would give it to my wife once I was wed."
"But we aren’t yet married!"
"We are betrothed. It’s almost the same thing. And I know that I want you for my wife and no other, so I see no reason not to give it to you now."
We embraced once more, but then we had run out of time and had to make our ways, separately of course, back to the feast.
And then it happened. The feast was over and most of our guests were leaving. I stood to go up to my bedchamber with Anna, still delighted with my gift from dear Oliver, when Mother spoke.
"Rose, your uncle and I wish to discuss something with you before you retire for the night. Anna will wait for you in your bedchamber."
Once we were alone in the dining hall, my uncle John spoke to me. "Rose, you are now of an age to marry. As your mother, my sister, has proven herself to be unwilling or unable to handle this matter as she should, I have made the necessary arrangements."
Suddenly my knees went soft and I found myself sitting down, hard, on the nearest stool. "Wh?what do you mean, Uncle?"
"I have found a perfect match for you, dear niece. He is a gentleman, well-established in society, with an impeccable reputation and enormous wealth. You are to wed him within the fortnight."
My mother interrupted him, for which I was glad, as I would not have been able to make a sound for shock.
"John! A fortnight? Surely that does not leave us enough time to arrange a wedding ? nor does it give poor Rose a chance to grow accustomed to the idea!"
"I see no point in waiting, nor does the groom-to-be. We have been making arrangements for quite some time now. And it need not be a lavish affair… he has, after all, been married before."
The marchpane began to feel like lead in my stomach, and I found myself barely able to breathe. I wished I hadn’t asked Margaret to lace my stomacher quite so tightly.
"Married before?" I managed to squeak. "How old is he?"
"Eight and thirty."
"But that is ANCIENT! And what happened to his wife?"
BANG! Uncle John’s fist hit the wooden table, hard, and it was as though a dam had burst deep inside of me. Despite my intentions to the contrary, I began to sob.
"There there, now, Rose, please don’t weep." Mother stood and came to where I was sitting. Patting my shoulder awkwardly, she tried to reason with my uncle. "Look at how upset the poor girl is!"
"And who is to blame for that? You, sister! You have failed in your proper duties as a mother, letting the child have her own way in everything and even," he snorted incredulously, "allowing her to believe she might choose her own husband!"
"I have!" Sorrow gave way to fury. I felt anger the likes of which I have never felt before, dear Diary, and to my surprise, I raised my voice in sudden defiance. "I have chosen my husband! Oliver! We are betrothed and we will be wed!"
There was a long silence as my mother and John stared at me, obviously astounded at my outburst.
"Oliver? Oliver Moore?"
"Yes, Mother. We are in love and have promised to become man and wife. We are ?"
"Enough!" Once again, Uncle’s angry fist sounded his displeasure. "There will be no more discussion. With your father gone, God rest his soul, I am your nearest male kin, Rose, and I make the decisions."
He rose and strode towards where I was sitting, my face still wet with tears, my Mother’s hand still on my shoulder. Then, to my astonishment, he cupped my chin firmly and stared deep into my eyes. His breath was sour and his nose scarlet from the drink, and it was all I could do not to recoil from him. "Now listen very carefully, niece. You must answer my question truthfully; do you understand?"
I was unable to nod with his hand gripping my face like that, so I managed to murmur my assent through squashed lips.
"Has Oliver… are you still a maid?"
A hot blush instantly bloomed in my cheeks. I could feel the heat of humiliation and I think Uncle felt it too, for he let go of my jaw. "No. I mean, no he hasn’t. Yes, I’m still a… a maid."
"There are ways of making sure you are telling the truth."
"I swear it, Uncle! We have kissed, but nothing more!"
At last, he stood back. "Very well. That will do for now. I suggest you go to bed and rid yourself of the ridiculous notion that you will marry Oliver. In fact, you are forbidden from ever seeing him again. Do I make myself clear?"
Oh Diary, I cannot continue. As I write this, my eyes are spilling over with tears and making it hard to see the words. I will come back to you later, for now I must cry myself to sleep.