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Your Stories Await Telling

The Weaknesses of the Greatest


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Of brothels in London, this must surely have been one of the basest.  Frequented by commoners rather than aristocracy, this ramshackle farmhouse lay far from Whitehall.  Its anonymity to Court drew a particular visitor.  He was dressed in decent clothing, which put him at odds with the clientele, he asked to see the Madame.  She was a well-used woman past her prime with no full head of teeth, but an eye for commerce.

"Ye have a hankering for the pregnant ones then?" she asked the visitor, sizing up his purse by his attire.  "Good day," he replied politely.  "I understand that you have a foreign girl ready to give birth?"  "Aye, she'll pop any day now," the woman replied.  "Not sure she can handle your weight, so ye have to take her from the side," she recommended, uncaring about the effect upon the girl.  After all, had she not let the girl stay when she was of no use with clients?  That made her downright charitable, in her mind.  Now there was a bloke willing to pay to be paired with her.

"I am afraid you misunderstand me.  I wish no sexual relations with the girl.  Rather, I am here to relieve her and you of a squawking mouth to feed."  The woman was impressed with the man's diction.  He must be well-educated, the Madame assumed.

"Ye a doctor then?" she asked, wondering if he was one that dealt in infant corpses for study. "No, I wish to take the babe to a religious family that cannot have children to raise as their own," he supplied.  "Well they should offer a pretty penny I imagine," the woman retorted, seeing opportunity in this visit.  "Yes, what nationality is she? I heard she is dark."  The woman thought on it.  "You mean where's she from?  I don't know, but from Italy or Venice or some far away place. Maybe Rome even.  That ought to be worth a bonus," she insisted.

"A gold sovereign for you and one for the girl, but the child must be alive and in good health, and born in the next two to four weeks," the man insisted.  "The child must be forgotten, no record of its birth."

The woman nodded her understanding.  She would get two sovereigns and she would give a shilling to the girl.  "A deal," She spat in her hand and offered a shake.

"Timing is everything.  If the child does not arrive timely, the transaction will be forfeit," he cautioned.  "When the time is nigh, send a runner to this address and tell Mister Peters, a solicitor, that a child is to be born.  He will see to the transfer and payment."  The woman nodded, enjoying hearing a man speak in such fancy words.  "It may be that we need the child quickly ... perhaps ahead of schedule in an emergency," he warned.  "I'll give her a good squeeze meself if need be," she laughed.

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