The Duchess

Some nights ago I went out to the film “The Duchess”. Yes, despite being on the run from the American police from sea to shining sea, I don’t let this stop me going out to see films. However, where I used to attend matinees because they are cheaper than evening showings, I now attend films only at night because men, like me, on the run, are more difficult for the police to detect in the dark than in daylight.

Even when inside film theatres, I scan continually the other patrons to see if any look like plain-clothes policemen. I’m not able, therefore, to pay as close attention to the films as I would like. It’s among the many additional burdens I bear.

As I watched “The Duchess” I wondered if the patrons sitting on either side of me, would, in their wildest dreams, have imagined that next to them was a man who the police throughout America are looking for, for committing crimes for which he could go to the electric chair, or given a lethal injection. Not only that, but a man who fought as a subaltern in the trenches of France in World War One, and who commanded brigades and divisions in all the theatres of war in World War Two, and who was British military attache in Washington in the days of John F Kennedy, the days of Camelot.

Now, to “The Duchess”. The film is set in the England of circa 1774, and revolves around Georgiana Spencer (Keira Knightly), a daughter of the nobility, who is betrothed by her determined mother, Lady Spencer (Charlotte Rampling) to William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes), a very rich nobleman, in order to give him a male heir. However, after Georgiana marries the Duke, and becomes Duchess of Devonshire, and begins to produce children, they are all girls. Thus she fails to keep her side of the bargain, which the Duke doesn’t take kindly to – a state of affairs not conducive to marital bliss.

Also not conducive to marital bliss was the Duke’s approach to his conjugal obligations, an approach which was…….how shall we say………efficient? businesslike? As I watched I realized how my own carrying out of my conjugal obligations to my late wife, Gladys, had been similar to the Duke’s. How sad it’s only now that I realize the humiliation my poor Gladys must have suffered as she lay back in our marriage bed and thought of England while I lay atop her rigid body and slaked my lust.

Returning to “The Duchess”. An acquaintance of the Duke’s, a Lady Elizabeth Foster, was taken into the household on the Duke’s insistence. Thus there were three in the marriage, for Lady Elizabeth also became the recipient of the Duke’s carnal affections. Before the Duchess discovered this, she and Lady Elizabeth were becoming friends and confidantes, so much so that there was an erotic charge between them. On one occasion, Lady Elizabeth gave the Duchess a mild massage, which led to something much more. As I watched, waves of concupiscence coursed through my body, for I’ve always found the spectacle of two beautiful women making love with each other to be most erotic.

I’ve written before of discovering my wife Gladys and a woman friend of hers in bed together, naked. I reacted as an Englishman of that time – the 1920s – would act, with shock, outrage, and humiliation. I and the two ladies prevented the scandal from leaking. But had it leaked, I would have taken my life, for my honour as an Englishman and as an army officer, would have demanded it.

But I ignored another feeling when I discovered Gladys and her friend – intense desire, for, as I’ve said, I’ve always found the sight, and even idea, of two women making love as most erotic. Had I gone with my ignored feeling on that long ago afternoon, I would have asked Gladys and her friend if I could join them, then stripped off my clothes and done so.

I’ll always regret not doing this, for I never again had the opportunity to make group-love with two women, and I expect I never will, for it’s difficult enough nowadays to find one woman to make love with, let alone two.

I hope all you’ve read so far will make you want to see “The Duchess” , for I do recommend it, and wholeheartedly. To whet your appetite even more, please do watch the British trailer to “The Duchess” here, and the American trailer here.

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