Continues from chapter two
The letter from The Bootmaker arrived six months to the day after Countess Alexandra Gladstone’s visit to his mansion. Breaking the envelope’s seal of black wax featuring its distinctive letter B, she read its contents with great haste.
I pray that you are well. I have finished your pair of boots. Please forgive me for my immodesty, but I am particularly proud of the result. The leather is of the highest quality I’ve ever secured and in an amount I had not anticipated. As a result, I have a surprise for you. It is the product of a new venture for me and you are the inspiration. I remain humble, for you will be the judge of my efforts.
I continue to work on the machine that you so generously assisted me with during your previous visit, but it is not completed. I fear it may be beyond my knowledge and skills. I have finished a second one, of smaller scale, that I hope will lead to a solution.
If you are detained by obligations in London, I can arrange to have your boots and your surprise item shipped to you via railway and hackney. If you do have time and interest in visiting Brunel Hall, you always are welcome. May I suggest you arrive on May 18th and plan to be my guest for as long as you so choose.
Yours in appreciation,
The letter intrigued Alexandra. She wrote a short response informing The Bootmaker that she would visit him on the day he had suggested.
A month later, at the Euston railway station, she was lost in thought as she braced for the long trip from London to Blackpool.
What compels me to make this journey? Is it the delightful attentiveness of The Bootmaker; his expert touch on my feet and legs; his hours working with fine leather to create what I expect will be a work of art for me?
Is it the surprising pleasure of being bound, the black leather cuffs on my wrists, the collar with its chains pinning me to the table, the restraints on my ankles boldly spreading my legs – all of this arousing a newfound desire in me?
Is it the machines? Why do I feel they silently compel me forward? One is literally shrouded. The other I have not seen. Are they figuratively obscuring my fate? What do they hold for me? I have no illusions that The Bootmaker has designs on me, but do these machines somehow hold a key to my unspoken and forbidden desires?
It was dusk when Alexandra arrived at The Bootmaker’s mansion. The wind roared and fog enshrouded the Jacobean residence, perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. From the window of his study, The Bootmaker could hear the coach arrive, but he only caught a glimpse of Alexandra as she walked to the front door.
The butler escorted her to the study and The Bootmaker kissed her white-gloved hand. Her youthful, radiant face and alluring dark eyes showed no wear from her travels; her amber hair combed long, reaching her shoulders. The pink dress was lavishly trimmed, with a décolletage and a train. She wore a gold necklace with an enamel shield-shaped slide with two pearls.
“It is an honor to welcome you again to Brunel Hall, Countess Gladstone. I hope your journey went smoothly, despite this ghastly weather.”
“It is a pleasure to leave London to be in your company. I look ahead to a few sunny spring days in the countryside.”
“Your optimism should be treasured.”
They sat in an adjacent sitting room and conversed for more than an hour. The Bootmaker appeared more vibrant to Alexandra. The long robe that had concealed his body was replaced with a stylish black suit with a waistcoat and black cravat. He wore dark spectacles with small rectangular frames that concealed his light-colored, almost white, eyes.
“I’ve planned dinner; after you have time to settle in your bed-chamber and rest from your journey.”
Alexandra thanked him for his thoughtfulness. A female servant ushered her to a chamber on the third floor. Darkness had descended and the wind continued to howl. After a long, soothing bath, Alexandra dressed for dinner. Pausing at the foot of the ornate poster bed, she suddenly felt the presence of someone standing in front of her.
The shimmering specter of her late husband, Viscount Charles Gladstone, appeared.
“I cannot be long. Please place your trust in The Bootmaker. With your assistance, he may enable us to be together one last time as husband and wife, before my soul departs forevermore.”
The ghost vanished. Alone again in the gloom, Alexandra felt a strange calm. She held on tightly to his words of advice about The Bootmaker, with the tenacity of someone who has lost her love too soon.
After Alexandra had rested, The Bootmaker welcomed her to the dining room. It radiated color and opulence, dominated by gold. In addition to the dining table and chandelier of that hue, there were gold drapes, painting frames, decorative molding and mirror frames. The chairs were upholstered in purple, providing balance in color and a regal flair.
Servants moved around the table gracefully, pouring glasses of port and delivering the appetizer.
“You have an impressive staff.”
“Actually, Countess Gladstone, I hired them from the town for this occasion. My usual needs are modest. But I thought a sumptuous meal was in order for your visit. They’ll return to the town after dinner is served. I’ve also invited my butler and other servants to visit relatives for a few days. They’ve already departed.”
Alexandra took in his words. The Bootmaker rarely was subtle. In this case, he wanted her to know they would be alone soon.
As the lavish three-course meal began, Alexandra told The Bootmaker that much had transpired since her last visit. She had decided to pursue an interest in science and mathematics that began in her childhood. She had read Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” and purchased several books about steam engines at a bookseller near Leicester Square.
The Bootmaker was captivated. He listened intently as she recounted how her father, now deceased, had encouraged her pursuit of the sciences. Her mother had not, showing interest only in Alexandra’s prospects for betrothal. Fortunately, she had married a gentleman who was advanced in thought and supported her ambitions.
Due to Charles’ tragic death, Alexandra was a dowager. She told The Bootmaker that she did not intend to re-marry and have children. She wanted to pursue higher education and invent great things.
“I have an interest in becoming an inventor like you. I hope you do not perceive me as some wealthy dilettante. Will you consider helping me?”
“I won’t just consider it, Countess Gladstone. I shall do whatever you wish; to teach you what I know about science and mathematics, and how my inventions came to fruition. I believe it would be beneficial if you would assist me in completing the design, and construction, of the machine that has eluded me so far.”
Alexandra accepted his offer. As the dinner ended, The Bootmaker poured two glasses of red wine, and she confided that the ghost of her husband had appeared to her, in her chamber.
“Lady Blaylock told me you had an interest in the supernatural and had read in the newspapers about my husband’s death in the dirigible tragedy.”
“Actually, I was honored to have the brief acquaintance of your husband. I made several purchases from his firm. Along with Sir Elliot from The Bank of England, he helped finance several of my inventions, including the ones I’m working on now.
“His ghostly image has appeared in front of me in the workroom a few times now. He does not speak, but he lingers as I work.”
Because of his spectacles, it was difficult for Alexandra to read his expression.
“He asked me to place my trust in you.”
“I hope you do, Countess Gladstone. As I said in my letter, I have finished work on a smaller machine that is of my invention. I would like to show it to you and explain how it works.
“If it proves successful, it will alter the relationship between men and women in a positive manner. Besides myself and the ghost of your late husband, you will be the first to see it.”
When Alexandra inquired about what the machine did, The Bootmaker inquired as to whether Alexandra was familiar with the work of Dr. William Acton.
“The one who wrote ‘the majority of women (happily for them) are not very much troubled by sexual feelings of any kind.’ ”
“That’s the one.”
“The bad doctor could not be more wrong.”
The Bootmaker enjoyed her sharp tongue.
“My machine will push his thesis into the dustbin where it belongs.”
The Bootmaker added: “Your boots have been delivered to your chamber, along with the surprise I mentioned in my letter, Countess Gladstone. It is my first attempt at making a garment. You are the inspiration.
“And please join me in my workroom if you want to see the machine I have constructed, and perhaps you would like to experience it in action.”
Alexandra made her way up the grand staircase to her chamber. She found the boots on the table in the dressing-room. Picking one up, she caressed the softness of the leather and held it up to her nose. Its smell was heady. She admired the high gold buttons and close-fitting style.
She noticed what The Bootmaker had referred to as his surprise for her. It was a corset made from the same olive-green leather. Alexandra smiled, prizing the craftsmanship and even more, its daring and risqué design. She placed the corset back on the table and saw there was a long, black silk robe next to it.
Alexandra undressed, removing her evening gown, the over-petticoat made of the finest silk, the remaining five layers of petticoat, the corset with pockets to hold the whalebone which ensured the garment retained its shape, the silk chemise with a round neck and trimmed with lace, the silk stockings and bloomers.
When finally nude, she pulled the leather corset up her long legs. Unlike her customary corset, which fit from the waist to under her breasts, this one attached to her shoulders with straps and gracefully accentuated her cleavage. The corset had three snaps in the crotch, a style Alexandra never had seen but had heard was becoming popular with the naughtiest ladies of the Viennese and French aristocracy.
Sitting at the dressing-room table, Alexandra stepped into the left boot. It fit her perfectly, following the precise contours of her foot, ankle, and calf. The top of the boot stopped two inches below her knee. She put on the right one, curious about where the buttery leather originated.
Alexandra stood gingerly, having never worn heels so high. She was accustomed to two inches as the tallest. These boots had four-inch-high heels in the shape of a stiletto. She practiced walking, placing her right foot in front of the left, alternating to keep her balance as her hips swayed.
There was a large looking-glass in the chamber. Standing in front of it, the mirror tall enough to capture her entire body, Alexandra admired her appearance. The boots perfectly combined high fashion and naughty sexuality, especially when joined with the leather corset.
When I asked The Bootmaker if the boots would invite non-pure thoughts, did I anticipate those thoughts would be my own?
She heard a clock tower in the distance strike midnight. When the bell fell silent, Alexandra put on the black silk robe and began to descend the stairs.
The Bootmaker heard the sound of the heels. He rushed to the open door of his workroom, feeling his pulse race. His ears filled with the sound – her boots like a tremolo on the white marble steps – and it exceeded his expectations. He stood there, mesmerized.
Alexandra’s right hand glided along the marble balustrade. She moved cautiously, aware that she was not accustomed to the high-heel boots. Arriving in the basement, she saw The Bootmaker standing outside the workroom where she had allowed him to make measurements for the machine during her last visit.
He was mute in her presence, a first between them. She understood the effect a woman could have over a man. She broke the silence and smiled warmly as she did so.
“The boots are beautiful. They fit so well that I barely am aware they are on my feet. And if all else fails, you have a bright future in corsetry, Bootmaker.”
He smiled and bowed. Looking up, he saw that Alexandra had slightly loosened her robe. Glimpses of her corset and boots were visible, but The Bootmaker dared not let his eyes linger.
She continued. “Since you are momentarily without words, are you going to show me the machine you have completed?”
The Bootmaker led her across the hallway and lit several candles before she entered the workroom. It was enormous, with a high ceiling like one would see in a factory. Alexandra was amazed by the number of gears, pulleys, chains, cogs, and other equipment on various benches along the walls of the room. He showed her the engine -- about nine feet tall and twenty feet long.
Taking a closer look at one of the machine’s pistons, she saw a large piece of ivory carved into the shape of a man’s cock. Adjacent to it on a separate piston was a long brass shaft with a spherical head. She touched its tip, made of a soft material she did not recognize.
Alexandra turned around to face The Bootmaker.
“What is this machine?”
“I got the idea at a lawn party a few years ago at a French chateau in the countryside, Countess Gladstone. A gentleman I knew was using a hand crank to pleasure a woman with a dildo. I thought, ‘why should a lady be reliant on the presence of a man for this tool?’ And was it possible to invent a machine that could do more things to enhance the pleasure?”
Alexandra asked how it worked.
“This is the smallest steam engine I’ve ever designed and built. There are the major parts – the fire where the coal burns, the boiler full of water that the fire heats to make steam, the steam that is piped into the cylinder that causes the piston to reciprocate, driving the machine. That is a simplification. As I know you are aware, there are hundreds of parts in this engine.
“You’ve met George, the automaton I built. I have designed him in such a way that he will shovel coal at a speed that slowly accelerates -- to feed the fire so the machine moves faster but not too quickly.
“After winding George, he will shovel coal for half an hour. I will assist the machine for a few minutes after my factotum is properly wound. Then I will leave the workroom to give you privacy, Countess Gladstone.”
Alexandra watched The Bootmaker remove George’s front panel. He turned a silver key to wind the automaton, which was made of gold-plated copper and wore an unnerving smile.
The Bootmaker pointed to a spot in front of the machine.
“Stand here, Countess Gladstone.” She did so, sensing an undercurrent of dominance in his direction. She slipped off the black silk robe and handed it to him.
As George began to slowly shovel coal, Alexandra noticed the machine had several pistons with connecting rods. As the steam breathed life into the machine, one of the rods lowered a brass frame that came over and around her body. It was suspended from the ceiling by three heavy chains. The Bootmaker attached a brass collar around her neck and a large burnished piece around her waist.
Like brackets, two brass parts ran vertically on each side of her body, connecting to the collar and the piece around her waist. The Bootmaker quickly placed brass cuffs around the boots at her ankles. He used rope to restrain her arms behind her back, the rope attached to a four-foot piece of mahogany attached to the brass frame.
He moved her left leg and attached the cuff to a brass rod that ran horizontally, then did the same with her right. Her beautifully-formed legs were splayed. The Bootmaker scurried to attach eight black straps to her calves and thighs.
He then applied an ample amount of lubricant to the entire length of the dildo, knowing that it was essential to enhance the pleasure from the ivory shaft. He also spread the water-based lube on the tip of the spherical head, designed for the clitoris, at the end of the adjacent long brass shaft.
Having completed his task and making sure Alexandra was secure, The Bootmaker walked hurriedly out of the workroom. He headed up a narrow, winding staircase to the catwalk bolted to the ceiling, with enough room for him to lay on his stomach and watch his creation come to life.
Alexandra screamed, her lips trembling, as a connecting rod lifted her nine feet off the floor, suspending her.
A rod extended with a magnet that unsnapped the leather concealing Alexandra’s sex. She watched as two other rods extended to the level of her bosom. Both of them had clips that lowered her corset to fully reveal her breasts and also silver objects that resembled boot spurs. The spur-like tips began to move slowly around her tender nipples. She felt her pink buds harden from the metallic touch.
The Bootmaker had chosen not to use a ball gag on her. There was no reason to do so, given they were the only occupants of the mansion. More importantly, he wanted to hear her. He wondered if he would be able to do so, given the increasing loudness of the steam engine, which had begun to send intermittent puffs of smoke up a vent.
As the ivory dildo attached to the rod of the main piston entered Alexandra’s sex, The Bootmaker could hear her first cry of pleasure and pain. Her sex was soaked as the white shaft spun inside her.
“Oh, God, please.” She repeated herself, in more of an affirmation than a plea. She was beginning to lose control, as erotic desire seared her.
Although Alexandra owned a “ladies’ companion,” a secret gift from Lady Blaylock, she never had used it. The sensation she felt from the machine’s dildo was the first since her late husband had made love to her on the night before his death.
Alexandra moaned as the metal spurs rolled slightly faster over her nipples. Another rod extended the long brass shaft with the spherical head, which began to vibrate as it brushed her clitoris. Her breathing became uneven.
The sound of Alexandra’s increasing pleasure filtered upward to where The Bootmaker watched from the catwalk and despite his age, his cock never had been more erect in his life. The sound of the pistons accelerating the pace of the dildo and the vibrating spherical head resembled a metronome.
Alexandra tried to move her arms, but could not as they were tightly bound behind her back. When she struggled to move her legs, there was the only slightest give. It was designed that way by The Bootmaker so there would be no chance of the brass frame – which restrained her body in a reverse T position -- breaking.
As the dildo rotated deeper inside her sex, Alexandra began to feel her first orgasm build, the intensity slow and powerful. Her moans came quicker, her mouth open and her breasts swelling.
Alexandra looked down to see George shoveling furiously. The chuff-chuff sound of the engine grew louder. The machine was approaching its capacity, its pistons and rods driving the dildo and spherical head faster, the spurs moving over her nipples at the same pace. She screamed repeatedly as multiple orgasms thundered through her body.
Seconds later, George’s shovel halted. The machine stopped. Alexandra’s now-sated body swayed slightly within the brass frame, her sighs the only sound in the workroom. Quietly, The Bootmaker crawled backward on the catwalk and walked down the staircase.
Alexandra saw the face and body of a younger man, his eyes pale blue and without spectacles, his hair wavy and blond, and his body trim and muscular. She immediately recognized his facial features as those of The Bootmaker.
“Has the machine reversed time?”
“Only for me, Countess Gladstone – and it does not last long. It may be from extended exposure to the harmonics of the machine I have created and experiments I have done on time travel.”
Adjusting the three heavy chains that held the brass frame around Alexandra’s body, he lowered her to the floor and removed the restraints holding her arms and legs. The Bootmaker undid the brass collar around her neck and the large burnished piece around her waist.
Helping her stand, he swiftly reattached the snaps in the crotch of her corset, gently pulled the top up to cover her breasts, and placed the black silk robe on her. He took the liberty of holding her hand, to make sure she was under no duress.
The expression on her face was one of profound sexual bliss. Feeling newfound strength, The Bootmaker picked Alexandra up and their eyes met. She wrapped her arms around his neck, nestling the side of her face against his. He had not had an intimate moment like this for many years.
Alexandra felt the outline of his erection brush against one of her boots. He held her in his arms and walked toward the hallway. An image flashed through her mind of her lips wrapped around his engorged crest, mewling for this young gentleman’s sweet release.
“Where are you taking me, Bootmaker?”
“To your chamber, Countess Gladstone.”
He carried her in silence up the stairs. When they arrived, he removed her boots. He set her softly on the bed and pulled the covers over her, making sure she was comfortable.
“Thank you for letting me use your invention, kind sir.”
She kissed him on the cheek, her lips lingering as he felt her lashes grazing his cheek.
“I’m here to care for you, Countess Gladstone.”
Alexandra soon fell asleep. The bell of the clock tower tolled two. The Bootmaker’s youthful appearance faded.
Throughout the night, as the wind calmed and the clouds cleared to display the stars, The Bootmaker checked on Alexandra in repose. Standing by the side of her bed, he felt deep gratitude for inventing such a machine that satisfied the sensual desires of this intelligent and beautiful woman.
He anticipated the thrill of working with her, with the foresight that his project – what would soon become their project -- was far from complete.
Continues in chapter four