*Warning* As I said earlier this week, the next few segments of this story get very dark but after that the fun of the story will pick back up and the adventure will really begin.
The Adventures of Ratha James Part Five
And so they were three Irish brides for three English lords. Each prayed for the joy that only a good marriage could bring: love, respectability, family, and children. But sadly, for two of them it was not to be.
For Maddie the illusion lasted mere months. She was happy enough, though somewhat anxious with her new husband who seemed to speak over her head at every turn, spinning conversations into things she did not intend them to be. Robert was a hard-worker and the Gamsley’s were known to never need fear a shortage of money for the tea industry was booming and it seemed things could only go up. As lady of the house, Maddie threw elegant dinners that people spoke of for weeks after, entertaining his business partners and friends with her natural grace and happy nature. It was said the young Lady Gamsley did her husband a great service and it was obvious that the two were deeply in love, why the Lady was always in new gowns and bearing some of the finest crafted, exquisite jewelry that London had ever seen. Surely such a fine man visited his blushing bride’s bedchamber every night; it would not be long until there was a little Gamsley heir to fawn over. Lady Gamsley was young, in good health and Robert seemed such a vigorous, thorough man; it was only a matter of time before Madeline would do her duty and fulfill her part of the marriage contact.
But no child came.
They had long feared that the illness Madeline had contracted as a child would prevent her from bearing children. The wasting sickness had nearly claimed her life but not unkind, fate let her live, though in place of her life it claimed those of her future children that could have been born. Madeline was distraught to discover that her body would never quicken with the life of a child, she so wanted a baby to hold to her breast, to love and protect. Maddie was beside herself, but her husband too felt the loss of something he was promised and Robert did not like to be duped or played a fool. The wife he had bought and provided for but it was the children he wanted, a son to create in the image of himself.
Cheated of an heir to strengthen his family, Lord Robert quickly found other ways to recoup his losses on a barren wife. More dinners were demanded, but instead of the new friends that Maddie had grown accustomed to, a new crowd – all unfamiliar men – descended upon the Gamsley house. A depressed Maddie soon found her presence required whenever her husband met with these new potential business associates, and instead of her beautiful wardrobe, she was restricted to only two or three dresses that left her scandalously indecent. It was not long before Robert began trading his wife for business favors. Maddie found that she had no defense against her husband when he came for her with gentlemen in the dark of night. Though she fought, she was helpless as they ravished her, sometimes brutally, while Robert slept peacefully in another room or sometimes stayed to help hold her. Since there was no threat of a false child taking his name, Robert took his money’s worth from his wife in the only logical way he could think of: by selling his wife’s body.