13th February 1817
I must submit myself. I must comply with what the duke of my heart requests of me. A painful intercourse that results in blood. Blood all on the sheets and duvet. The pain, oh the pain. He thinks I squeal out of pleasure, but I scream of agony.
“Oh my sweet Duchess,”
Never Elena, Elizabeth or Eliza. None of the many names people have blessed me with but Duchess.
I sit in the drawing room. Sitting, reading. Sitting and sewing. Sitting and staring. Staring out the window at would could have been but will never be.
I hear voices from the library, the dining room after I am dismissed after dinner to allow the Duke to discuss ‘business’ and other matters with other Lords from other mysterious manners. I smile and hide the scars. They will not see me falter under this blinding spotlight of being the only woman in the room despite this abbey also being in my own tenancy.
“Writing me some Valentines poetry I see,” My Husband says after one of his heated ‘meetings.’
I look down at my diary then back into his black hollow eyes. “Of course my darling,” I stretch a generous smile as I close my notebook and place my hand over it.
He reaches out to pluck my notebook from my lap but my grip is proven better for I am stronger than him after all the torture he has put me through all these years.
Realising that he is failing at this notion he reaches towards my chest and breathes sweet loving things in my ear, if only they were true. I refuse to give him the satisfaction of an ‘early Valentines treat’ but that does not stop me of deceiving him otherwise. I sigh deeply at his touch. He jerks his hand away and moves towards the Drawing Room door.
“I’ll see you in bed later My Duchess…” I nod gracefully before returning to my diary.
He will never understand me. Never understand a woman’s agony. The painful duty it is to produce a male heir to her husband, for I cannot reproduce it seems. The only thing I can produce is a pile of blood unlike any I have seen before. But I will try. I will cry. I will beg for all of it to be over but the pain is never satisfactory enough for human nature.
I can hear voices from the upstairs. Probably some of the servants having a secret affair or planning sweet Valentines plans amongst themselves whilst I submit myself to my bed chamber. They are luckier than me. More free than me, as much as they may complain. “Elena, the girl who crossed boundaries who merely had to flutter her eyelashes at a Duke to make him weary.” “They say she is the most beautiful woman in all the county, she was bound to have some wealthy suitor one day.”
“Yes I agree Mrs Patmore it was her destiny it is sure, but…him? Our master? She could’ve done better I mean he’s…strange. And the way he treats his mistresses!”
“Hush Mrs Hughes! Your tongue would be strung out for that” I hear them whisper in the echoing corridors but refuse to repeat a word I have heard, for their sakes more than mine. I wander pass them and curtsy on appearance before making my way, slowly every deathly step, to the bed chamber.
Step. There is a creaking in the floorboard. Step. I hear my husband’s voice; “My Duchess.” The deadly scene that is forever repeated inside my head. Step. I hear a cry, not that of pain much like my own, empty and robotic. A cry of pleasure and affection. Step. “My dear Duke?”
Step. No Answer. Step. I am closer to the door now. Step. “Oh My Dearest Duchess!” It’s a shout. Is he calling me? He does it again. “Oh My Dearest Duchess!” No. It is out of pleasure. Step. “Oh my Duke.” It is like an alternate universe where the other side of the door is the ideal other world how you should be, how you should behave. Step. My hand is on the handle now.
“Bollocks…” I hear some rustling around the room and a confused voice. Female it may seem. “She’s back…” From where? I was still in the same building as you my Dearest Duke. I turn the handle slowly… “Here’s your shirt”
“Here’s your corset”
“I can’t do that up!”
“You have to…” I fling open the door to see my husband wearing nothing but his shirt and undergarments scattered on his body with my ladies maid, wearing…well, very little it would seem.
“Elena please don’t be mad, I know we’re struggling to have a child and so I thought…”
“Oh, so its Elena now is it? You’ve had me believing it was Duchess for all these years have you not? And so you thought what exactly? To find an alternative elsewhere? My ladies maid in fact? You’re full of bullocks.”
“No you listen. I have been kicked, abused, used and now completely dehumanised by you and taken for a fool. My body can not physically give you a child but I would’ve thought you’d stay faithful anyway! But you never gave your heart to me as you said you should, you promised me diamonds but instead they’re trickling down my cheeks every night after intercourse. It’s about time you stuck to your word is it not?”
“Yes Elena, anything but to promote me as a scandal!”
Then give me your heart.
I rip it out, slowly at first. Twisting it around inside his cowardice body until taking it out his body once and for all. My Lady’s maid gasps in horror. “You’re a…” Before she can utter another of her miserable words I take hers out too, quicker, less torturous this time. She deserved that much under his influence. Blood flows over my hands, wrists and lips. A different blood this time, a different blood I have ever known.
I look towards his pathetic pale body lying there on the floor at the end of the king size bed. Goodbye Husband. “Goodbye, Duke Valentine.”