Saturday, 24 September 2016

Chapter 8: “What luxury to have such a beautiful woman attend to me in such an intimate manner!”

The Reform Club, Pall Mall

Edmund Molloy, a journalist for the Daily Courier, has volunteered to join an expedition run by Professor Challenor which is looking to confirm the existence of prehistoric creatures on a lost plateau in South America.  He has been seduced by the Professor's passionate wife Edith and is engaged in a tryst at the Great Northern Hotel in London's King's Cross.

Over lunch (we both took roast chicken), Edith told me of how she had first met Professor Challenor, when he had literally knocked her off her feet at a Royal Zoological Society lecture while arriving late for a lecture. She had inadvertently shown rather a lot of leg as she sprawled on the ground. He had said: ‘You’ll do!” and courted her for a month before asking her to marry him, just as he obtained his chair. On the whole, she had not regretted it but said that lately his interest in connubial activities had lessened enormously. She said that in the past he could always be relied on for a rough but well meant ‘seeing to’, as she described it, but these days he seemed diffident and distracted. She felt that this expedition was his last chance to invigorate what he believed to be a declining career. Unwilling to play the political games of the much more polished Somersby, she felt that he had been unfairly denigrated by his peers. He did not mind being regarded as controversial and, in fact, relished it but he hated to be ignored. 

“But if what the Professor says is true then he is about to make one of the greatest discoveries in history!” I said. 

“Indeed and in one way that would please me enormously but looking at it in another way I would lose him” she said, rubbing the rim of her water glass with a wet finger, in the manner of a glass harmonica. 

“How so,” I asked, wishing she would desist from making the annoying noise. 

“He would become so famous that he would, no doubt, be forever giving lectures, very much the thing he enjoys most, all around the world,” she answered, thankfully picking up her glass and taking a sip of water. 

“But surely you would travel with him, wherever he went?” 

“Yes as, no doubt, I would have to make all his administrative arrangements,” she said. I smiled, as that had been the phrase I had used to gain entrance to the Challenor’s house. 

“However, he has little time for me when we are travelling. His mind is too much taken up with other things. Showing off, mainly. I prefer it when he is at home writing or researching. Then he will occasionally call for me in his study and order me to remove my drawers and assume the normal position,” she played a different note on her, now, emptier glass. 

“The normal position?” 

“Yes, as I was when you visited the other day. Standing in front of his chair, bent at the waist, my forearms on the arms of the chair, my skirts up at my waist, my feet eighteen inches apart and my posterior presented. Just this process of preparation, I should tell you, gets me dripping wet, ready to receive him as he roughly thrusts into me.   Speaking of it does the same!” She wriggled on the chair and I started to become engorged at the mental image of the process. 

 “Is there no kissing or caressing?” I asked. 

“Indeed no. He does not have your enjoyably sensitive touch, Edmund! Just thrusting and then spurting although I am no longer able to actually feel his ejaculation on my vagina walls. He has but a dribble, I think!” 

“Oh!” I said. Edith looked at me in an amused manner. 

“Have I shocked you again, Edmund?” 

 “No. Yes. Well I have never heard a woman use the word vagina before! I mean. Good Lord.” I said. It was not quite true. Madame Nathalie had referred to that part of a woman’s body the other evening but she had called it a cunt which, oddly, seemed less shocking given we were naked in a brothel than this very proper lady using the medical term in a busy restaurant. 

“I want you to know about George and my carnal activities. You need to be reminded that you have no exclusivity over my person in that area. After I have finished with you here I might, for example, go straight home and molest him under his desk!” 

“You have intimate relations under his desk?” I asked. It was a large desk, I recalled, but not that large. 

“Sometimes when George is sitting and reading I crawl under his desk, unbutton him and gamahuche him. I never quite know his reaction. Usually he tells me to ‘desist, woman’ but never quite pushes me away. Until recently, anyway.  He used to just lean back in his chair and let me give him a really wet one, dribbling all over his stones. Goodness, Edmund, I am getting quite wet thinking about it. After lunch I will fellate you again too, I think!” 

“I am already looking forward to it!” I said. We lingered over lunch and were the last diners in the room. “When do you have to leave?” I asked. I waved at the waiter for the bill and shuddered at the prospect of what the total might be. I remembered Britten’s comment about men having to pay for sex indirectly and wondered whether I would have to pay for the hotel bill too. Probably, I thought. A woman was not likely to pay and neither should she, I supposed. I felt mean and ungrateful as to my initial thoughts. Perhaps McCandless might at least give me a pay rise now. I was famous after all! 

“Eleven,” answered Edith. “I must leave at eleven!” It was nearly three in the afternoon. 

“We have some hours at least!” I said. “More than that. Eleven tomorrow morning! George thinks that I am staying with my friend Mabel in Reigate. We can spend the night together!” 

“Oh!” I answered, thinking that that took our little arrangement to a new level of intimacy. “Doesn’t that carry some risk?” I asked. 

“Hardly at all! George does not know exactly where Mabel lives and he regards anywhere south of Battersea as distant as Morocco. In fact, I have promised her tea here later, in exchange for being an alibi, as she will be in town. She thinks it is perfectly normal for anyone married to George to have a little fling, as she puts it! She doesn’t know him. He can be like a big old bear!” she smiled fondly and in a way it made me feel less guilty as to what I was doing.

“I am having dinner with Britten. I have to meet Lord Hoxton tonight in Piccadilly for an hour or two, also.” I said. “It never occurred to me that we might have a night together! I had better check in with my editor, too. I really do not wish to be apart from you that long!” She looked at the fob watch pinned to her blouse.

 “We have an hour and a half before Mabel arrives!” “A little time apart will just build our mutual desire for each other later on. Now let’s go upstairs again for more carnal intimacy and then afterwards you can run your errands and I can have tea with Mable. You can do some more drawings!”

After lunch we arrived back at our room just as a maid emerged, having changed the chamber pot. She gave me a knowing look and winked impertinently. “And here is a nice clean pot to christen!” said Edith. 

 “You could just use the bathroom down the corridor!” I pointed out. 

“How boring! We lovers must not be shy about our bodily functions! All can be a source of carnal pleasure!” she said hiking up her skirt and squatting over the pot which she had just removed from the nightstand. I turned away. “No! Watch me! Watch me pee for you!” I did, as she relieved herself of her share of two bottles of Hock and a jug of water. I took my turn and put the pot away, washing my hands in the bowl. When I came out from behind the screen she was naked apart from her stockings. 

“How did you get undressed so quickly?” I asked, removing my jacket. 

“By abandoning my underthings completely. I was just wearing my blouse and skirt at lunch!” she laughed. Although I then noticed she was still wearing her boots. 

“Soon you will be walking the streets quite naked!” I said, shrugging my braces off my shoulders. 

“And wouldn’t that be wonderful?” she said, pulling the covers down on the bed. “If we could all walk around naked!” 

“Not everyone’s naked form is as aesthetically pleasing as yours!” I said, thinking about Professor Challenor, as I unbuttoned my shirt. I grimaced at the thought. 

“You are thinking about George, aren’t you?” she said, laughing and stretching her body again, her hands above her head, her breasts lifting enticingly.

“Well some things should, perhaps remain covered!” I said, dropping down and untying my own shoes. I removed my socks too. Madame Nathalie had observed that men who removed their clothes and left their shoes and socks until last looked ridiculous. 

“Perhaps we need a committee to decide who can walk around naked and who should remain covered up. Like the Royal Academy hanging committee. It should consist of three men and three women and they should vote.” 

“Do the men vote for the women and the women for the men or do they all vote on both?” I asked, taking my undershirt off. 

“Both. I am sure I have just as good an appreciation of the naked female form as of the male!” she said, sitting on the side of the bed and removing her boots. 

“If there is a tie?” I asked. 

“I, as president of the committee would have the casting vote!” she said. 

“You would need a lot of time if we were to vote on every person in London. Rather more people than pictures submitted to the Summer Exhibition I would think!” I said. 

“Yes, that is true. We would need multiple committees; one for each borough. I would have to rush around voting on special cases. Perhaps using a hands on approach to assess them! Speaking of which, come over here!” I had pulled my drawers off and walked over to the bed, naked. “Now how would I assess you?” she said. “Hmm, legs really rather top grade. Nine out of ten!” she said stroking my thighs. Torso? Oh yes! Very fine. Perhaps even superior to the classical ideal of the Ancient Greeks. Nine out of ten also.” 

“Only nine?” I asked. 

“Vain boy!” she slid her hands over my buttocks and squeezed. “Posterior? Hmm. Such packed muscle here, such sharply defined gluteal insertions. Built for thrusting I think! Certainly ten out of ten!” 

“I’m glad you score my bottom so highly!” I said. 

 “And now to get to the point. Your masculine equipment!” she cupped my ballocks. “Such very big stones, with a nice downy coating of red gold hair. Most pleasing! And the cock! There it goes, lifting upwards. So curved! So rampant. So delicious looking!” she leant forward and popped her mouth over my bulb. “Mmm, mmm!” she mumbled as she slowly gamahuched me. She pulled off after about ten movements. “Bloody marvellous! Eleven out of ten!” 

“Eleven! I am flattered!” 

“Get into bed!” she kicked the covers down to the foot of the bed and began caressing my manhood with her hand. “Such a lovely big one!” 

“How do you know that mine is big, medium or small?” I asked, pointedly. 

“You silly boy! You do not think that George’s and your phalluses, or is it phalloi, are the only ones I have contemplated or, indeed, touched?” 

“I, ah, suppose not!” I said. Was I just the next in a long line of diversions? Although she intimated that the lack of marital attention from the Professor had been quite recent. Or had I just imagined that? Would I be discarded next week? Or next day? Anyway, we were soon kissing and caressing each other, her hand on my member and gently massaging me. I slipped my hand between her legs and gently stroked her hot, wet parts, slipping a finger inside her once more. 

“Get on top of me,” she suggested. I did so, conscious of her tiny frame but supporting myself on my elbows as I had done with Hoshimi. She took hold of my manhood and pushed it down so that it was close against her parts but pointing downwards, with my tip pressed against the sheet. I pulled my hips up so that my manhood rubbed against her bud and her wet folds below. I had noticed that her sex was some way between Madame Nathalie’s fleshy protuberances and Hoshimi’s neat slit. I pondered putting together an album just of drawings of women’s parts. Anyway, as I slowly slid myself up and down against her sex I realised that it was as close to the act of copulation as you could get without actual penetration and the sensation was very similar, with my member sliding against her wet parts. She was gasping now and cursing. “Bloody hell!” she cried and “damn” more than once. Her hands were grasping my posterior. “Oh God!” she cried at last and I could feel another flood of hot liquid on my shaft. I kept thrusting and soon I was spending once more. This time I soaked the sheet with my emissions. 

“Edith! Edith” I cried. I collapsed on top of her, our bodies slippery with perspiration. “Edmund!” she said and kissed me. “That was lovely!” I kissed her back and we gently kissed and caressed each other for some time. I rolled off her and went to piss again. She hopped out of bed after me and insisted on kneeling and holding the pot for me. 

“What luxury to have such a beautiful woman attend to me in such an intimate manner!” I said, ruffling her hair as she knelt in front of me like a woman of the harem. 

“What pleasure for me to have such a splendid cock rubbing against my vulva!” She laughed. “Now, would you like to draw me once again?” 

“If it does not sound like an odd request I would really like to do a portrait of your intimate parts!” I said. 

“Of course! If only I had the ability to draw then I could reciprocate! Now how would you like me?” I had her on lie on the floor with her legs spread and drew the treasure between her thighs. I did another drawing of her, sat facing the back of the chair, her bottom presented, including her puckered anus. A view, I thought, wryly, her husband would probably appreciate. 

“Now I really must get dressed for tea with Mabel,” she said, after I had gamahuched her again as she sat astride the chair. I knelt behind her and licked her presented parts from the rear causing her to spend once more. As she came I even kissed her rosy anus in appreciation. I was stiff as a barber’s pole of course so she got me to frig myself as I knelt astride her hips. I ejaculated over her belly and she rubbed my spend into her skin. What a delightfully wanton woman she was. Professor Challenor must be a very odd fellow indeed to ignore such a passionate beauty. It was not surprising she sought entertainment elsewhere.

An hour later I was in McCandless’ office. “We have been looking for you everywhere!” he said.

“Lots to do!” I said. “I am due to see Lord Hoxton this evening!”

“I am sure! Hoxton told me last night that there is a liner leaving for Manaós in a couple of weeks, which he wants the expedition to be ready to join. Anyway, Lord Ventnor is delighted with your piece and there is huge interest in the expedition already. We have had so many telephone calls today! I thought that you had taken leave of what senses you had, when you stood up last night but we are already planning a thirty percent larger run for tomorrow’s edition. Now, you will need some expenses to buy the clothing and equipment you need. “Lord Ventnor does not want to stint and was having lunch with Hoxton and Miss Blanc today to discuss potential costs! Here is a hundred pounds.” He always pronounced it as ‘poonds’. “Lord Ventnor has told me that you mustn’t worry about the receipts, we have opened a special expedition account and anything left over you can have as a sort of bonus!” Well that was a phrase I never thought I would hear him say! “I am not for this lax allocation of money willy-nilly, myself. I like everything properly accounted for but if you want to buy your wee lassie a present, on account of being away so long, that would be quite acceptable.” I could have kissed my editor as he passed me the bundle of five pound notes. Less than five per cent of this would easily settle the bill at the Great Northern Hotel and still leave more than enough for my needs. I folded the large notes up and put them in my jacket pocket. It was amusing that he thought I had acquired a ‘wee lassie’ based on my happy mood following my experience with Hoshimi. Of course, since then I had acquired Edith as my ‘wee lassie’ or, rather, she had acquired me, to be more precise.

“I will write up a pen portrait of Lord Hoxton tomorrow morning,” I said. “I already have a lot of detail about his life from the notes I gathered for his obituary, so I will just get some good quotes this evening.”

“Excellent, laddie!” 

“I thought a profile of every member of the expedition would be a good idea. We can keep the stories going until we leave. Then a piece on the equipment we need to gather, how we will get to our destination, what we will eat, etcetera!” I said, thinking I should really be writing all this down, rather than spending time in bed with Edith.

“Well done, laddie! I have been wrong about you Molloy! You did, as you told me, just need the right opportunity! Lord Ventnor has authorised you a ten percent pay rise and you will earn another twenty percent over that for the duration of the expedition! Oh, and we will need details of your next of kin. And while you are about it write up your own obituary, in case you are eaten by a dinosaur. Not too long, mind, as no one will care that much, except a few followers of rugger, perhaps! And your wee lassie no doubt!” I laughed but was starting to have doubts about the perils of the expedition. Even if there were no dinosaurs, a trip up the Amazon, the last great unexplored region on earth, was not exactly a row across the Serpentine.

“Thank you sir! And please thank Lord Ventnor!” I stood up, as I had arranged to get some dinner with Britten before heading off to the Albany. Edith had suggested that dinner together in a public place that evening might not be wise, anyway and she intended to ask her friend Mabel if she might be able to stay in town a little longer. “Molloy you have a real chance here! A real chance to be the most famous journalist in the world since Henry Morton Stanley, d’you ken? Don’t bugger it up!”

“I will not, sir. Oh, these are from Mrs Challenor!” Edith had given me them just before I kissed her goodbye. “Some of the slides from last night’s presentation so that we can use them in the article!”

“Bloody well done, Molloy. You are on fire my boy! Damn fine looking woman that Mrs Challenor. Too good for that aggressive ape of a man!”

“I believe that they are very close, nonetheless!”

“What a shame!” said McCandless. “See if you can get an interview with her too. And Mrs Somersby!”

 “The sad state of the anxious women left behind as their men folk plunge headlong into an unknown whirlpool of jungles, snakes, head hunters and creatures from another time!” I said.

“You have it exactly, Molloy!” He thumped me on the shoulder and nearly sent me flying. “Find out if Hoxton has a particular woman at present. Who was that handsome creature he was with at the museum, with the pretty daughters?”

“Lady Caroline? I don’t know how public their relationship is,” I said, already thinking that interviewing her would be a very pleasant task indeed. I would have to ask Hoxton later. I left the office and hopped onto the Number 9 omnibus towards Trafalgar Square.

“So how did your assignation go with the lovely Mrs Challenor?” asked Britten, getting straight to the point, as we climbed the stairs to the gallery in the Reform.

“I drew some pictures of her!” I said indicating the portfolio under my arm.

“Really? What sort of pictures?” he asked as we headed towards his favourite table.

“What sort do you think?”

“I am hoping they are of Mrs Challenor in a state of undress!” he said.

“Then you are quite correct!” I said. “Now, tonight, I am going to pay for our drinks. I have just been given a pay rise and a rather large sum for expenses for the expedition. I would like to spend some of that on you, my dear William, as you are the progenitor of my new found confidence with women!”

“Well, if you insist, but everything goes on a chit here so...”

“I will pay you the equivalent sum. I do insist!” We sat down.

 “Mr Britten, sir and the famous Mr Molloy!” said the waiter. “We have seen your photograph on the front page of the Courier today, not that it is a newspaper we habitually provide for our members, of course. The club had hoped that you would favour us with your presence again tonight. Everything you wish for this evening will be provided by the club!”

“Goodness me, Molloy. Your fame spreads and your money is safe!” laughed Britten.

“May I suggest a bottle of Pol Roger to start with, sir?” said the waiter, knowing Britten’s tastes, obviously.

“That would be most agreeable!” I said. He withdrew.

“Right. It’s quiet,” said Britten, looking up and down the gallery, once the waiter had gone. “I insist you show me those drawings now!” I untied the folder and produced the one I had done of Edith kneeling in profile by the fire. “Good Lord!” said Britten. “You are a better artist than I remember. Or perhaps you just need the right subject. I showed him the other pictures I had done, concluding with ones I had done after lunch; with her astride a chair, facing the back, her bottom and nether regions proudly displayed and the portrait of her private parts.

“Bugger me!” said Britten. “I mean, bugger me!”

“She thought that you might enjoy these!” I said.

“Bugger me!” said Britten. “Perhaps you should draw some of the girls at the Babylon like this. I’d love one of Bettina and Anna. Perhaps one of the two of them together. Displaying their cunnies! Of course, if Challenor sees even one of these you are a dead man!”

“That, I realise. That is why I rely on your discretion, old chap!”

“You have it! I will insist on seeing them again, though. I don’t suppose you could do me one, could you? Do you think she would agree if she knew it were for me?”

 “I will certainly ask!” I replied, suspecting that she would agree with alacrity, so decided not to ask her. I put the drawings away as a small group of senior Reform members approached our table and Britten introduced me. We chatted about the expedition and I informed them I would be mentioning the club in my account of the preparations.

“Do we support dinosaurs or are we opposed to them?” asked one whiskery gent.

“We support those who chase them!” said another. “I think.”

“You must put Mr Molloy up for membership, old boy!” said one of the other club grandees to Britten.

“If he returns without having being eaten by a dinosaur, I will do just that!” said Britten.

 “I doubt I could afford the fees!” I said as they tottered off, cigar smoke trailing in their wake like a transatlantic liner at speed.

“I suspect, if you successfully achieve the aims of this expedition, Molloy, you will not have too many problems with money. You will be able to write a book about your experiences. Or perhaps a fictionalised novel version, featuring your handsome friend and the inspiration he provided you to take such an adventurous leap of faith. Better still you can write a privately published edition featuring lots of sexual adventures with the native girls, let alone the lovely Miss Blanc! There is a Babylon Exploration Society member who produces limited editions of such erotic books. The Society members always subscribe. The rewards are financially handsome for both publisher and author.

“That is a coincidence,” I said. “I have just started to record my new sexual adventures in a sort of journal. Starting with Agnes and continuing with the Babylon girls and now Mrs Challenor!”

“I must introduce you to the chap!” said Britten. “He is half French but we shouldn’t hold that against him too much! He doesn’t have a froggy accent or any such disturbing Continental traits. Never smelled any garlic on him or anything, either. His Frenchness is just an unfortunate accident of birth. Went to Winchester and New College, Oxford. Not that dreadful French university, The Sorbet.” I smiled. We polished off the first bottle of Pol Roger in short order and were well into the second. “So, if your account of your activities with Mrs Challenor is to be believed, and I have no reason not to, then you were really just an inch from penetrating her! You could have just slipped it in!”

“It certainly felt like that!” I agreed, amused at his specific interest.

“Do you think you will proceed to the act itself? Perhaps tonight?”

“I do not know. She sets the pace and may feel that is too much of a betrayal of her husband. I am perfectly happy with the status quo!” I said, while already wondering what it would be like to slide myself up inside Edith Challenor’s hot cunny.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Chapter 7: “I see that you have brought your drawing things!”

The Great Northern Hotel, King's Cross, London

Journalist for the Daily Courier, Edmund Molloy, goaded by his former sweetheart and wishing to impress the older Edith Challenor, wife of a famous professor of natural history, volunteers his newspaper to support an expedition to a plateau in South America which is reputedly the home of living prehistoric creatures. After Professor Challenor's revalatory lecture at the Natural History Museum, Mrs Challenor arranges an assignation the following day at the Great Northern Hotel. His friend, William Britten wants to find out the truth about Molloy's relationship with Mrs Challenor so takes him to the Babylon Exploration Society, an expensive brothel.

Britten quizzed me incessantly in the Arabian Room at the Babylon Exploration Society. Initially, about my volunteering for the Challenor expedition and how it would change my life, as I would, he maintained, become well known. The Italian girl, Claudia, poured us some Claret, as we sat. cross-legged, on some of the ornate cushions in the room; although Britten had struggled to settle himself elegantly amongst them. “Only heathens sit on cushions!” he observed, wriggling uncomfortably. I observed that, perhaps, his discomfort was because his clothes appeared to have shrunk over the last six months, which saw me receive a somewhat painful thump on my shoulder.

Claudia, was dressed in diaphanous baggy trousers so sheer that her dark, intimate hair was almost completely revealed. She wore a short, gold-embroidered bolero top which barely covered her large breasts and had no fastening whatsoever at the front. She wore bells on her ankles and wrists which jingled merrily as she saw to our culinary needs.  Neither Anna, nor, disappointingly, Hoshimi, were ‘available’ that night but Britten had been lucky and had his favourite blonde German girl, Bettina, attending on us as well. She was even less modest than the Italian, as she had left her blue silk robe completely undone, giving us regular flashes of her blonde moss and well-formed bust. She and Britten were obviously very comfortable together and both regularly caressed each other as she bustled about. He was still paying for it, though, I thought, an image of a naked Edith, her legs spread on her white linen sheets, slipping into my mind. I smiled, smugly.

Eventually, at our request, the girls left us alone and Britten, as I had expected, started to ask me about Edith Challenor. I dissembled. “Look here, Molloy,” he said after I had tried to change the subject several times, “you do not go from a situation where you have just met a lady, to having her nip your ear with her teeth in greeting and engaging in private liaisons in the darkened recesses of the Natural History Museum, within a period of thirty-six hours, without something else having occurred in the interim. There is a palpable sense of a connection between the two of you!”

“We have just become close friends quickly,” I said. “It happens sometimes!”

“Love at first sight!” said Britten, grinning.

“Not love!” I said.

“Lust then!” he answered. I blushed. “I thought so. You are a terrible liar! Look here, I cannot understand how you were quite happy to tell me the most intimate details about Agnes yet about this woman I am getting nothing from you at all!” said Britten. "It is jolly unfair!"

“She is married. It complicates things,” I said, fiddling with the stem of my glass. “And now of course I will be travelling with her husband...  All rather difficult.”

"So you will not be seeing her again in any, improper, circumstances, then?"  said Britten, I blushed.  "Excellent!  What a bounder you are!  Although the lovely Mrs Challenor is quite worth breaking a commandment for!"

"Oh dear!  I am behaving rather like a bounder aren't I?  My only defence is that this is something Edith is seeking, as her relationship with her husband is not as it should be nor as she deserves!" I said.

“I am sure the Professor will be perfectly understanding as he breaks all your limbs!" he said. "Have you kissed?” he asked, peremptorily.  I nodded. “Excellent!” He smiled and took another sip of his drink. “Have you touched her, intimately?” I thought about this and realised that I had actually kept my hands off her, as she had asked me to. I shook my head. “Has she touched you intimately?” I blushed again. “Really? Was there any nakedness involved?” I nodded again.“Come on, Molloy, I want the whole story!”  I sighed and started from the point I had heard Edith and the Professor in the throes of passion at their house. I concluded with the details of our assignation tomorrow, although, to be on the safe side, I did not reveal the hotel.“Good Lord, Molloy, when you jump, you jump with both feet don’t you?”

I turned down the charms of the lovely Claudia and left Britten happily with both ladies, one on each knee, when I bid them goodnight. As I closed the door on them I heard giggling and the tinkling of bells.  I almost went back into the room at that point but I was tired, emotionally drained and, I admit, thinking that I should be saving myself for Mrs Challenor, who seemed to need my companionship. I returned to my flat in Shepherd’s Bush and undressed. I did not, however, put my pyjamas on. I thought about Edith Challenor and, as I stood there naked in my bedroom, positively enjoyed my blossoming erection. I caressed my ballocks and took my manhood in hand, thinking about her ripe and rounded  body. I climbed into bed and enjoyed a long slow one, unusually, ceasing my strokes if I felt myself close. My mind was full of images of pink nipples, round buttocks and that livid pink gash between her legs, glistening with its own juices. “Edith!” I cried, spurting into my hand.

“Edith!” I cried, as I spotted her in the foyer of the Great Northern Hotel the next morning. The weather was foul and it was pouring with rain.

“Edmund, you look like a drowned rat! What a beastly day!” she said, smiling. I wanted to take her in my arms but instead shook her hand. “Just the day, in fact, for cuddling up naked somewhere warm and cozy!” she whispered, conspiratorially.  “I see that you have brought your drawing things!  I am ready to display myself for you!”

“Indeed, although whether any of my paper remains dry is to be seen!” I said, shaking my cap and stuffing it into my jacket pocket.

“The room will be ready at midday. You can buy me some tea!” she said. She was dressed in shades of blue-grey and wore a sensible felt hat which was still spotted with raindrops. We were just about to go and get some tea when a young woman approached me from across the other side of the foyer. 

“Mr Molloy?” I nodded, wondering who she was. She was a very pretty, even beautiful, brunette with striking green eyes, wearing a brown coat over a dark green ensemble and a rather rakish hat.

"Indeed, miss," I replied, quite taken with her. She nodded at Edith.

“I just wanted to say how very brave you are taking on such an expedition. I am looking forward to reading your accounts in the months to come!” She had a slight south London accent, I thought, although my perception of English accents was by no means perfect. She did not have quite the refined tones of Edith Challenor or Agnes but she wasn’t a cockney either.

“Oh!” I was surprised. I had just delivered my account of last night’s events to the Courier’s offices that morning. I had woken early, toyed with myself while thinking of Edith for a while but decided to save my essence for later. I had made some toast and sat down and typed up my story for the newspaper, as last night McCandless had said it would not make this morning’s edition and he wanted an in depth piece for the following day. “Were you at the lecture last night?” I asked her. “How did you recognise me?”

“No, Mr Molloy but I have just seen your photograph on the inside page of the Courier!”

“What?” I said, my first uncharitable thought being that McCandless had stolen my story.

“Yes, there is a copy over there on that table!” she said. I hadn’t picked up the Courier that morning. I didn’t even register the newspaper in the office, even though they were lying around there as usual. I had just deposited my story and left. Yes, some of the other staff had briefly mentioned the night before’s events but I thought that was just general office talk, not because it was in the newspaper itself. Frankly, my mind was more taken up with Edith Challenor’s ripe body than dinosaurs. The young lady had gone over to the table, which held a selection of the day’s newspapers and brought a copy of the Courier back to show me. There, taking up nearly a quarter of the third page, was the photograph of Challenor, Somersby, Hoxton, Miss Blanc and I at the museum. ‘Courier to fund dinosaur expedition!’ it said. There were just a few lines of text with the promise of ‘much more tomorrow’. Obviously they couldn’t put it on the front page at such short notice and I wondered what story had been moved to make way.

“You are national news, Mr Molloy!” said Edith, smiling.

“Do you have a pen or pencil, Mr Molloy?” asked the young lady, ignoring Edith completely, I noticed.

“A newspaperman always has a copious supply of writing instruments, miss!” I replied showing her the inside pocket of my jacket, which was, as usual, stuffed with pens and pencils.

“Would you mind signing an inscription to me, please!” she asked, indicating the white space at the top of the page, just above the photograph..

“Oh! Of course! What is your name?” I pulled out a soft black pencil as I knew that my fountain pen ink would blur on the cheap paper the Courier used.

“Daisy,” she smiled. “Daisy Thompson. Here is my card,” she said handing me a card with an address in Pimlico upon it. “I am a single lady living on my own and I intend to follow your adventures closely!”

‘Dearest Daisy’ I wrote. ‘For my first avid follower. With kind regards, Edward Molloy. Challenor Expedition.'

“That is perfect, Mr Molloy,” she said. “I feel quite honoured! Thank you and good luck! I am sorry but I need to catch my train!” She darted forward, stood on tiptoe and kissed me on the cheek. She nodded at a porter who picked up her small suitcase and they left the main entrance of the hotel. She gave me a shy wave as she went through the doorway.

“Dear Mr Molloy, I am a single lady living on my own. Please come to my home and ravish me! Honestly!” said Edith. “Edmund you will obviously be attracting a coterie of excited young ladies with damp parts waiting on your every word. Her palpable excitement almost excuses her lack of manners.  I could almost smell her arousal”

“Edith, you are a shocking woman!” I said.

“The best sort, surely?” she agreed. “Now, let us have tea!”

We sat and discussed last night’s events. “I have mentioned you in my story!” I said.

“Really?” she said, blowing imaginary steam from her cup.

“Yes. ‘The slides for the lecture were presented by Professor Challenor’s striking wife, Edith, who handled the process with quiet and elegant efficiency.’”

“Hah! You might as well have written, your correspondent has completely fallen in love with his expedition leader’s wife!” she said.

“No one would assume that,” I frowned. “Anyway, fallen in lust, not love; as you love the Professor!”

“Fallen in lust! Yes! A perfect description!” she said, looking around the cafe. “No unnecessary and tiresome emotional entanglements.  Just animal passion!"

"Animal passion?"  I asked.

"Indeed.  I am without drawers again today, Edmund. I am finding that it keeps me in something of a state of simmering excitement, knowing that if you were to reach under this table, pull up the hem of my skirt and slide your fingers up the inside of my stocking you would be able to access my private parts quite easily.  My moist parts, I should add!”

“Edith, you are making me quite engorged!” I laughed.

“Excellent! Now I will get even more moist than before! Last night, at the museum, I do think a drop of my intimate juice ran down the inside of my thigh. I was quite literally dripping for you! All I could think about, to be crude, was your great big, throbbing, curved cock!”  Although I was getting used to her directness, it still gave me a little frisson of excitement to hear her speak so in such a public place.

 “Does the Professor not have...?” I began the sentence and tailed off, as I realised it was a question I should not be asking.

“In fact, George, is well endowed, although, admittedly he no longer has your youthful upwards thrust. He is rather less than horizontal these days, although it still does the job perfectly well. If you want flattery, however, to boost your fragile male sense of worth, you do have a significantly larger knob and general diameter! There is, however, no competition between you and George as George has already won it by marrying me!”

“I cannot disagree with that!” I said. I really did need to learn to say less. The last thing I wanted to happen was for Edith to disappear in an offended huff.

“Well, now I really cannot wait until we go upstairs!” She stroked my thigh, under the table and I felt her fingers brush across the, now quite stretched, crotch of my trousers. “I am looking forward to wrapping my fingers around you once again! Lots of intimate contact is in prospect!”

 “But of course I would not touch you. Just as I did not yesterday!” I said. “No contact on my part!”

“Yesterday was an aperitif; a little test by me upon you, if you will. Are you a man who can control his passions when appropriate? Who won’t get sentimental or emotional and declare undying love and all that sort of nonsense? Frankly, I was assessing you to see if we might continue our intimate arrangement. You passed with flying colours, of course. And, indeed, flying semen!” she laughed and several people in the cafe looked at her. She grinned at me and winked. “Although I am, of course, wedded to George in every way, well nearly every way, I was intending some rather more mutually tactile elements to our interaction today!  Full bodily contact!”

“Now I really am stiff!” I said. “By the way, if I may ask, what was the Professor’s attitude towards your person last night!”

“Ah, I do so enjoy discussing such matters, Mr Molloy! Carnal matters. Sexual matters. I would have loved to tell you that he stripped me naked, threw me on my belly and took me violently from behind. Sadly, he did not. George was excited, of course, but his mind was more on his Iguanodons than my person. I changed into my peignoir and unbuttoned myself all the way down the front. I sat provocatively on the chair in his study, I ‘inadvertently’ rubbed myself against him at every opportunity but he did not respond. Later, I stripped off completely and went into his bedroom only to find him fast asleep and snoring, as usual. I went back to my own room and climbed into bed naked!”

 “I slept naked too, last night!” I said.

“I frigged myself and the thought of your pumping manhood spraying me with your sperm brought me over the edge once more!” she said. “Three times yesterday!” I felt her leg rub against my calf under the table.

“I spent too, thinking about your lovely body!” I admitted.

“What fun! Perhaps we were frigging ourselves at the same time; each thinking of the other! An amusing thought!”

"A distracting thought!" I said, an image of her coming into my mind. legs apart, frantically rubbing away.  She smiled at me and raised an eyebrow, obviously knowing what I was thinking.  I felt her boot rub up my calf.

We talked for another half hour and then Edith stood up. I stood too. She showed me a large brass key fob from her bag. “We are in room 204. Why don’t you settle the bill and come up in around ten minutes?”

I watched her leave the cafe, then ordered another tea and sat impatiently, constantly looking at my pocket watch. By the time I ascended the stairs and approached the door of room 204 my heart was pounding, presumably to pump as much blood as possible into my already completely engorged member. What did she mean by full body contact?  What exactly would that involve?  I rapped on the door. “Edmund?”

“Indeed,” I replied.

“Do come in!” I turned the knob and entered the room. She was standing, fully clothed, but without her hat, gloves and jacket, six feet from the door. She stepped past me and turned the key to lock the door, before turning back towards me. She held out her arms and I stepped into her embrace. She stood on tiptoe and I bent down to kiss her. This was a very different kiss from before. Long, slow and wet. I felt her hands on my behind as she pulled me close. “You are already ready for me, it seems!” she said, smiling and running the backs of her fingers across the protruding groin of my trousers. “I will undress you!” She did so quickly and efficiently, removing my garments and placing them on a chair, tidily. Professor Challenor’s untidiness must drive her to distraction, I thought, incongruously. She knelt down to attend to my socks and shoes and I stroked the back of her bare neck, below her loose chignon. Finally, she pulled down my drawers and stood up as I stepped out of them. “Your manhood has such a delightful curve, Edmund, and it is so rampant!” She reached for it and clasped it gently. “I have often wondered what it would be like to have a penis, throbbing in front of one’s person. Standing in front of some beautiful young girl, her legs spread, her parts moist and pink, while anticipating thrusting into her wetness! Being enveloped and sucked into her wet chamber. I would quite like to have a beautiful young girl like that and perhaps in other ways too! If not a penis, then a tail!” She laughed, pumping me gently. “A tail would be most entertaining. You could rub it against things, people and even yourself. I wonder whether it would be anatomically possible to have one of sufficient flexibility to penetrate oneself?”

“You would have to ask your husband about the anatomical possibilities. I have no idea how flexible a monkey tail, for example, would be!” I said. She embraced me again and I was conscious of my naked, tumescent state as she pressed against my skin with her wool skirt and white cotton blouse. I felt her fob watch, cold against my flesh.  The fact that I was naked and she was not increased my arousal, for some reason. Bravely, I reached behind her skirt and undid the buttons at her waist. She took a step back and let her skirt drop to the floor. I undid the mother of pearl buttons on her blouse. Underneath, she was, as I had discovered when I embraced her, not wearing a corset, just a petticoat and a camisole. I undid the bow at the back of her petticoat and it fell to the floor as well, leaving her dressed in just the camisole, boots and black stockings held up by pale blue garters. I pulled the camisole over her head to reveal her magnificent bosom. I stepped back to admire her. “That student was right at the lecture last night. You are a fabulous creature, Edith!”

“Thank you Edmund! Now come closer again! Remove my bbots and stockings!” I knelt down in front of her and I could smell her arousal as I gently removed her boots, garters and stockings. She lifted each delicate foot in turn, supporting herself by placing her hand on my shoulder, as I carefully rolled her stockings down and pulled them off her feet. I moved slowly and cautiously, as if not wishing to startle a bird that that landed nearby. I still rather thought that she might change her mind, tell me it had all been a terrible mistake and order me to leave. Sensing no uncertainty on her part, however, I clasped the twin globes of her buttocks and breathed in deeply, inhaling her pungent odour. “Kiss it!” she said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Kiss it! I know you want to! Push your face into my sex and kiss it!” I placed my lips on her silky hair and moved them downwards until I encountered her bud and its rigid pink hood. I kissed it slowly but firmly, tickling it with just the very tip of my tongue. She gave out a little moan. “Get into bed!” she ordered, huskily. “This is not the time for delicate and tentative activity!”

I pulled down the sheet and blankets and lay on my back. She lay on top of me, my manhood pressed against one of her soft thighs. We kissed again and I boldly caressed her back and behind. Her skin was beautifully soft, like warm silk. Her own hands stroked my arms, flanks and the side of my legs. I felt her lasciviously open her thighs so that she straddled my hips and I felt her intimate hair against my shaft. Although I knew that I was being very forward I took a risk and slipped my hand over her bottom and cupped her hot sex. She did not object but just wriggled sensuously, so I ran a finger between her wet folds. “Oh that is very nice!” she sighed. “I have an idea! Sit up!” she said climbing off me and sitting on the white sheet, her legs apart, her sex boldly displayed.

“Are we going to frig ourselves again?” I asked. “No, we are going to frig each other!” she said, reaching across and beginning to caress my manhood once more. “Oh!” I said. Her touch was marvellous.

“Now, you stroke my parts!” she said. I slid my hand over her belly and my fingertips, slipped through her curls and found her wet parts. She smiled at me as I caressed her folds and she pumped my erection. “Slip them inside!” she said and I slid two fingers up inside her, gently moving them in and out. She leant forward and kissed me once again. She was being much more forward in touching and kissing than she had been the previous day. I touched the side of one breast as I slid my left hand down her soft arm, thrillingly catching her erect nipple with the underside of my forearm as I did so. I looked at her face at this point. She smiled, encouragingly. “Do you want to caress them? Lick them?” At this answer I thought I might well give forth there and then. The anticipation of feeling those lovely ripe bubbies was almost too much.

“That would be lovely, Edith! Really lovely!” She smiled again and shifted so she was kneeling between my thighs, although she did not stop her gentle pumping of my member at any point. I extracted my fingers from her entrance. Kneeling up, astride my hips, she pushed her bosom forward until those big succulent fruits were just six inches from my face. Given what she had said earlier, I thought that the time to be tentative had passed so I slipped my hands up to cup them from the underside, lifting and squeezing gently as I did so. “Damn!” I exclaimed under my breath. “Sorry!” I apologised immediately, hoping I hadn’t soured the moment. She grinned. I stroked her thimble like nipples with my thumbs and then took one into my mouth, licking and sucking it as I squeezed the breast from below.

“Christ!” she muttered. My confidence rising, I gently pushed her over onto her back positioning myself next to her. I began to lick her breasts once more. “No! Head to tail!” she said. I frowned, not quite understanding her meaning. “Like this!” She pressed me back onto the sheet and then knelt astride my shoulders her head over my groin. “And now we will perform what the French call soixante-neuf!”

 “Really?” I said, as she resumed pumping my member and then I felt her tongue upon it. My vision was filled with the sight of her pink sex and puckered anus, surrounded by stray brown hairs.

 “Lick it!” she ordered. I gingerly slid the tip of my tongue between her swollen lips and tasted her hot, musky, salty sex. I felt her mouth envelop me. I reached down and placed my hand gently on the back of her head as she bobbed up and down. My nose now pressed into her arsehole, I started to lick her in earnest as her juices dribbled all over my lips and tongue. It was like jamming my mouth into a plump Galway Bay oyster. “Mmm!” she murmured as I moved my tongue lower to tickle her bud. She flinched when I went for the tip itself and seemed to prefer me flicking my tongue across the shaft. “Every woman likes different things,” Madame Nathalie had said to me. ‘Finding out what those are, early in your physical relationship, will put you in good stead.’ I put my hands under her dangling breasts so that her hard nipples rubbed against the palms of my hand as she continued to gamahuche me. “Oh God!” she sighed, popping off me. “I am coming, Edmund! I am coming!” I felt a hot wet flood over my tongue and dribbling down my chin, as her parts poured forth copiously. After a few moments of stillness she took my knob into her soft mouth once more, whereupon I spent almost immediately. I felt her mouth sucking on me as she took in my emissions. At last she pulled off me and swivelled around so that she was kneeling next to me. “Good Lord, Edmund, I did not mean to go quite so far, so quickly. I was quite overcome!”

“Come and lie with me!” I said. She lay atop my body, both of us perspiring slightly. There was a fire burning in the hotel room. She kissed me again. And again. “It is just lust, not love!” she said, uncertainly.

“And very nice it was, although to have a completely successful physical experience like that then at least some affection is called for,” I ventured.

“Affection. Indeed! George refuses to gamahuche me!” she said and stroked my face.

“I enjoyed it!” I said, feeling superior to the Professor. “You taste lovely! Like oysters!” She then licked her juices off my chin. “I do rather, don’t I! I do keep telling George to lose that horrific beard! It is becoming unfashionable these days. It does not enhance his looks!”  She kissed my cheek and stood up. “I need to attend to something!” She crossed the floor and went behind the screen where the nightstand was. There was no avoiding the sound of her micturating as she squirted noisily into the pot. I heard her rinse her hands using the jug and ewer. She emerged from behind the screen. “Do you need to go? George always needs to go after he spends.”

“Er, yes! Also, I had quite a lot of tea earlier!” I said, getting out of bed. I stepped behind the screen and looked down at the pot which she had left in front of the nightstand, the bottom covered with her pale yellow offering.  I picked it up and held it by the handle below my prick. I was very conscious, however, of Edith’s presence just the other side of the screen and was unable to pass water. I remember being similarly frozen when I found myself stood at a urinal next to Mr Winston Churchill, the Home Secretary, during a visit to the Houses of Parliament earlier that year. I took a deep breath and consciously relaxed.  After a few seconds I was able to emit a short squirt before proceeding as normal.  I was in full flow when she appeared from behind the screen.  There was nothing I could do but continue. I started to try and gently turn away from her but she matched my movement.

 “Don’t be shy, Edmund!” she said, "I want to watch!"  Eventually, I finished and delicately shook myself.  “That was very special! I have never seen a man do that before! Not even my husband! What fun! Another reason to have a penis!” She carefully took the pot from me and replaced it in the cupboard at the bottom of the nightstand. “Our waters are combined! Such are the shared intimacies of lovers,” she said. “Not so much the nakedness, the stroking and the kissing. Not so much the penetration, the thrusting, the grinding of one’s hips, the wetness and the ejaculation. It is the simple intimacy of being comfortable in being together when one pees! Next time, perhaps, you can watch me!” She gave another girlish laugh. She crossed the floor and sat down in front of the fire, after stretching luxuriously, her delicate fingers pointing towards the ceiling, the soft pale hair under her arms displayed. “How lovely to be able to sit naked in front of a fire with an equally naked man in attendance!” she mused to the dancing flames. She turned and looked over her shoulder at me. “Come and sit by me!”

“I have a better idea! Stay there Edith! I will draw you!” I got up and opened my portfolio which, fortunately, had not become wet inside, after all. I took out a piece of cream paper and sitting cross -legged, with the portfolio on my lap, started to draw her with a soft pencil. Although I had not drawn a figure for some years the technique soon came back to me. “You are an excellent model, Edith. Most find it difficult to keep perfectly still, as you are doing!” When I finished I showed her the drawing.

“But that is remarkable, Edmund! You have real talent! May I keep it?” She looked genuinely delighted,

“Yes, of course but you must ensure the professor does not see it!” I said. I was concerned that Edith was so unconventional that she might just show it to him and I was very attached to my teeth. “I will. Although I suspect I could frame it and put it on the wall of his bedroom and he would only notice it if you added a drawing of an Allosaurus to the background! Now, shall I pose for a drawing which you can keep?” I had her kneeling down and drew her in profile, which highlighted her fine nose, round behind and her jutting breasts. I did several more sketches, one of which, daringly, included a hint of her sex protruding from her pale brown moss. “I have a final pose for you!” she said and sat on the wooden chair, her feet on the seat her sex boldly displayed, her face peering over her knees. I took particular care over this one and drew the folds of her sex in detail. “Perfect! One to show your friend, William, I think! Now let us get dressed and go down to lunch. I am quite famished!” She kissed me on the lips.“You can leave first and I will follow.”

 I got dressed and left her in the room, as she dressed herself. As I went down to the dining room I nodded at various people in greeting who all ignored me. I have always been a friendly chap and find Londoners very cold and reserved. If only they knew that a beautiful, married woman had just posed naked for me, exposing her sex quite brazenly.  I wondered what secrets they all had.  

Friday, 1 July 2016

Chapter 6: “This journal contains the most amazing things you will have ever heard!”

The Reptile Hall at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington

Having been rejected by his sweetheart, Agnes, because he lacked an adventurous spirit, journalist Edmund Molloy sought solace at the Babylon Exploration Society, a high class brothel, with his best friend William Britten. Sent by his editor to interview the irascible Professor Challenor, he was informed of the possibility of dinosaurs living on a plateau in South America. His subterfuge of posing as a Natural History Museum employee to gain access to the Professor was discovered by Challenor's attractive wife, Edith, who then seduced him the morning before Professor Challenor was due to give his talk on the plateau at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington.

“Molloy! Molloy!” I looked around towards the direction of the call as I climbed the steps to the imposing Romanesque entrance of the Natural History Museum that evening.

“Britten! Glad to see you! I have managed to get you a seat. It is a sell out!” I said. The lecture was due to start at seven and now, twenty minutes beforehand, a steady stream of people were arriving at the museum. We walked inside to the cathedral like Great Hall and past the giant African elephant that dominated the cavernous space. “We are in the Reptile Gallery, it seems!”

“A most appropriate venue for Professor George Challenor!” said a voice behind us. I recognised Challenor’s arch enemy, Professor Somersby, immediately. He was a tall, slim man in his sixties with white hair and a neat white mustache and beard. He was impeccably dressed in an expensive looking navy blue suit and looked more like a distinguished old admiral than a famous naturalist. 

“Professor Somersby, what an honour. Do you have a few words for The Daily Courier? What are you expecting from Professor Challenor’s lecture tonight?” I asked, pulling out my notebook.

“Do you not mean, Professor Challenor’s astounding and historic lecture? I think that is how it is being billed! I am surprised that this august institution would have anything to do with the man. What I am expecting, young man, is ill-thought out, sensationalist claptrap, as usual. I am sure your readers will lap it up. I doubt any of the proper newspapers are here tonight!” he strode off arm in arm with a matronly but handsome lady who I took to be his wife.

“Excellent!” I said to myself, writing it down. “Sensationalist claptrap! Perfect!” Britten laughed. “What is so funny?” I asked him.

“You are! In your reporter guise! I have not seen it before! You are hilarious! Look there is another important looking chap!”

 “It is Lord Claygate, president of the Royal Zoological Society!” I said. “I have just written his obituary!” I shot over to the distinguished looking man, who was surrounded by a group of younger but equally distinguished looking men, who all looked to me rather too fastidiously dressed. 

“Lord Claygate! Daily Courier!” I said. Claygate had perfectly coiffed silver hair and a very expensively cut dark grey suit which managed to disguise, to a certain extent, his large bulk.

“Good Lord! The Courier no less," he said, turning his long nose towards me. "Can we expect news of the latest sighting of a giant ape in Tibet, a sordid foreign political scandal involving some minor European royal’s wife and details of Lord Hoxton’s latest conquest from the music hall to appear alongside your account of this evening’s eagerly awaited revelations! All leavened by your inside tips on the latest greyhound racing odds, of course.” 

“We are always first with the news, Lord Claygate!” I said. 

“First with the news no-one else can be bothered with!” he replied, looking at the faces of his companions with delight, as they all laughed, sycophantically. I was, however, somewhat distracted by the arrival of Agnes and her father. I had not expected them to be there. I was even more distracted when Britten went over to talk to them and Agnes’ face lit up in delight. She wouldn’t be so impressed if she knew he went with prostitutes on a regular basis, I thought, rather cruelly. My own experience, I had decided, would be a one off, simply for the purpose of my own education. Mrs Challenor had proved to me that I did not have to pay for the intimate attention of women. I felt a moment’s superiority to Britten and almost immediately felt guilty that I should have such unbecoming thoughts. 

“Is it true that the Royal Zoological Society refused to host Professor Challenor’s lecture on account of the controversy and uproar his talks always generate!” I asked Lord Claygate. 

“Of course not! That sounds like Challenor spreading malicious lies to make him appear the injured party once again. It is simply that our lecture room was already booked for a more prestigious talk. On the dung beetle!” He laughed uproariously and moved on, with his little flock in close attendance. 

“Hello Edmund!” said Agnes as I approached her. 

“Hello Agnes!” I leaned in to kiss her cheek and much to my surprise she turned her head to catch my lips with hers. 

“Are you here in your professional capacity?” she asked. 

“Journalism is not a profession. It is an embarrassment!” said her father. “Although I suppose prostitution is called a profession too!” he added.

“Father, really!” she said, while guiding me away from him towards the stuffed elephant. It looked rather like Lord Claygate, I mused. 

“How have you been, Edmund? I am still very fond of you. I really do not wish ill of you. Perhaps, after an appropriate time, we may be friends again. I think I may have been rather harsh when you were in a delicate emotional state. I am sorry.” She squeezed my forearm rather tenderly. 

“That is kind,” I said. She looked completely ravishing that evening, dressed in powder blue which set off her eyes. “I am fine, just fine I...” I began, wondering what to say to cover the awkwardness of the situation. I was interrupted by someone else causing a stir as they entered the building. 

“It is Lord Hoxton!” said Agnes, a big beam appeared on her face, before she turned away from me, peremptorily. I realised that this was, indeed, the very man I had seen at the Babylon Exploration Society the other night and, indeed, he nodded at Britten. He was accompanied by three very beautiful raven haired women. One was older and I recognised her as Lady Caroline, a famous widow about town. The other two looked very similar and must have been her daughters, who I knew were both less than eighteen years old, although both were dressed in a very adult manner, with daringly low cut evening dresses in a shocking scarlet. 

“Lord Hoxton! Daily Courier! Are you looking forward to Professor Challenor’s lecture this evening?” I said, darting in front of Agnes, rather rudely. 

“Well, I have only recently returned from the Amazon meself so, of course, am interested in what a fellow traveller has to say about the region!” he answered. 

“Lord Hoxton...” I began again, but he had stopped looking at me and was gazing at Agnes. 

“And who is this very beautiful young woman?” he asked no-one in particular.

“I am Agnes Cardwell, Lord Hoxton!” said Agnes, actually dropping a curtsey. 

“She is a friend of mine!” I said. Hoxton turned his piercing blue eyes on me. 

“Really?” he said as if the thought was completely unlikely. “Well, Miss Cardwell and I do so hope you are a Miss, why don’t you join me and my companions!” He took her hand and lifted it to his lips kissing her white glove, although I noticed that the older woman accompanying him did not look that pleased with the suggestion. “This handsome fellow must be your father. Please come too!” They swept off together and Britten and I trudged after them out of the main hall and down the ornate, terracotta-decorated corridor to the Reptile Hall. 

“Never mind, old chap,” said Britten, grinning at me.  "No-one can compete with Lord James Hoxton! Might as well give up all hope now! I wager he will have her down to her stockings, begging for it on all fours, before the end of the week!” 

“Britten! You bounder! At least he will stymie your attempts to ingratiate yourself with Agnes!” 

“True. I know when I am beaten. Unlike you, old chap!” 

The Reptile Hall was dominated by a large skeleton of a dinosaur, a Diplodocus, if I remember rightly, and chairs had been placed either side of it. The front rows, under the creature’s long neck, stretched the whole width of the room, however. In the centre, just in front of the small podium on which the rod supporting its neck was mounted, a three lens magic lantern had been placed pointing at a screen which had been erected behind the platform at the front of the hall. I recognised the cedar wood box of slides placed next to it. Standing beside it was Edith Challenor. “Good evening, Mrs Challenor!” I said, brightly. 

“Good evening, Mr Molloy!” She stood on tiptoe to kiss my cheek but instead I felt a little nip on my earlobe as I dipped my head to compensate for the nine inch difference in height between us. 

“May I present my friend, William Britten!” 

“Good evening, young man!” she gave him a dazzling smile and I experienced a flash of jealousy as she took his hand. 

“Are you looking forward to your husband’s lecture, Mrs Challenor?” he asked her. She was resplendent in a deep crimson evening dress with a surprisingly low cut neckline barely made decent by transparent net around the shoulders. It was a far cry from the sensible clothes I had seen her in before. 

“Dreading it, is probably a more accurate summation of my current mental state, Mr Britten. Mr Molloy, you may quote me in your newspaper as saying that even the Professor’s faithful wife,” she winked at me, “had misgivings about the reception that Professor Challenor’s controversial lecture might receive!” 

“The Professor’s beautiful and faithful wife,” I said. “I am sure it will be a triumph!” She smiled and shook her head. Britten and I found our reserved seats some five rows back, next to a display case featuring various turtle carapaces. We picked up the cards with our names on and sat down. 

“Molloy,” hissed Britten, “did I just see Professor Challenor’s wife nip your ear and wink at you?” 

“I don’t know. Did you?” I asked, looking straight ahead. 

“You went to see her this morning. Didn’t you? What happened?” 

“Now is not the time!” I replied. 

“Handsome looking women!” he said. 

 “Really?” I said. “Can’t say I had noticed!  She's very old.” 

“Well, here is a real beauty!” he said, digging his elbow into my ribs, rather more forcefully than was necessary, I thought. On the other side of the gallery from where we sat, a very elegant young women was taking her seat. She had thick chestnut hair and a midnight blue dress and wide brimmed hat decorated with black feathers. Her clothes were simple but obviously expensive. She wore a pearl necklace which must have cost a fortune, given the size of the pearls. “You seem to know everyone!” said Britten. “Who is that?” 

“I have no idea!” I said. “Shh. Here is Lord Claygate!” The hall was now completely packed. There were even people sat behind the platform. I turned around in my seat and saw that a large group of people, who I took to be students by their raucous demeanour, were standing at the back as well. 

“Shove up, Molloy!” said a voice. It was McCandless and, much to my horror, he was accompanied by Lord Ventnor, the proprietor of The Daily Courier. Britten and I moved in towards the centre, which is where they should have sat, I saw from the cards, while McCandless and Ventnor took our places on the outside edge. “This better be good, Molloy!” said my editor. “I had to persuade his Lordship that this was worth coming to!” Oh no, I thought. What if Challenor was a disaster? Back to obituaries tomorrow! 

“My Lords, ladies and gentlemen!” boomed a voice. It was Lord Claygate, standing on the small platform at the front of the hall. “Despite ill-informed rumours to the contrary, spread by the gutter press,” he looked straight at me, “the Royal Zoological Society is proud to present the eminent naturalist Professor George Challenor to give tonight’s lecture on A Lost World in Amazonia and the discovery of fabulous creatures there!” 

“Good old Georgie!” cried the students from the back of the hall. 

“Mrs Challenor is a fabulous creature!” shouted another, to cheers and a few whistles. Edith looked around and grinned at them. 

“Eminent?” I heard Professor Somersby’s distinctive drawl from just in front of us. There were a mixture of cheers and jeers as Claygate described Challenor’s academic qualifications and then thanked the Natural History Museum and Professor George from the Museum for providing the venue. 

“No one else would have him!” I whispered to Britten. 

“Without further ado I give the floor to Professor George Challenor!” said Claygate and sat down with his claque in the front row. 

“My Lords, ladies and gentlemen!” boomed Challenor, striding onto the platform from the side of the hall. “What I am about to tell you this evening is going to turn everything we know about prehistory upon its head!” 

“Just like you landed on your head!” shouted someone from the back. Challenor glared at him. He began by telling the story of his visit the previous year to Brazil and his search for a particular sort of monstrous bird he had heard described. He then told the story of Waring Blanc and his journal and flourished it over his head like Moses with the Ten Commandments. “This journal contains the most amazing things you will have ever heard! For within it are a series of maps...” 

“Pirate treasure maps?” asked one of the group with Lord Claygate. 

“Oh there is treasure here! But scientific treasure!” He waved at Mrs Challenor and the lights at the front of the gallery were turned off so that the first slide could be shown. Those sat behind him twisted around in their seats to look. It was the drawing of the map of the tributary which led to the plateau. Challenor was a good story teller, I will give him that. His account of Blanc’s journey was full of perils regarding rapids, snakes and hostile Indians. The drawing of the plateau elicited some excited noises from the audience. He described how Blanc and his daughter, who, he explained had produced the fine drawings, had climbed up a tunnel to the surface of the plateau. 

“A secret tunnel as well as a secret map?” said one of Lord Claygate’s group. “It’s just like a cheap novel by that French fantasist!” 

“After exploring the edge of the plateau for an hour or so Blanc made his first extraordinary discovery,” continued Challenor. “An amateur botanist of some note in his native Canada...” 

“A Canadian, Lord save us!” said Claygate, to much laughter. Challenor ignored him but I could see that he was starting to get angry. His dark eyes flashed, dangerously. 

“I have many slides of Waring Blanc’s daughter’s drawings but here I will present an actual sample!” he held up a large piece of card on which had been pressed the leaves and stem of some type of plant. “When Waring Blanc spotted these leaves he was astounded, as he knew exactly what it was. An example of Glossopteris, which even those in this museum believed to be an extinct fern. Blanc has confirmed however that it is neither extinct nor a fern as we know it but is, in fact, a gymnosperm and, in particular, a tree that grows to approximately one hundred feet in height...” 

“This is ridiculous, Challenor!” called out Somersby. “Glossopteris died out at the end of the Permian period, two hundred and fifty million years ago. Are you telling me that it is still growing on top of a plateau in the Amazon jungle?” 

“A secret plateau!” said a man in Claygate’ group. Everyone laughed. 

“You cannot dispute the evidence of your own eyes. Somersby! Here it is!” said Challenor waving the card over his head. “An actual leaf! If we can find a proper botanist rather than someone with no knowledge of the subject whatsoever, like yourself, he will no doubt confirm it!” There was more laughter. 

“Perhaps we should give it to your wife!” said one of the students. 

 “Oh, yes please!” cried another, to lewd laughter from the back. I turned around to glare at the student who was, I was glad to see, rather unprepossessing.

“I hope this gets more interesting than an unknown fern, Molloy!” hissed McCandless. “I don’t think our readers are going to be very excited by that!” 

“Indeed!” agreed Lord Ventnor, glaring at me. I was concerned my journalistic career might come to an abrupt halt that very evening. 

“Blanc’s next discovery was even more exciting!” said Challenor. 

“Lord save us, not an extinct mushroom?” called out one of the students. 

“There are, of course, giant mushrooms in the fossil record, Mr Brown, as you would know if you did any studying at all rather than spending quite so much time researching that fascinating creature, the London hospital nurse!” There was more laughter and I turned around to see Brown’s companions poking him in delight. “Let us go back to 1825 and the second dinosaur ever named by Gideon Mantell. The Iguanodon! Visitors to Crystal Place will no doubt have seen the large quadrapedal sculptures supervised by Owen.” A slide appeared of one of the sculptures. I saw Agnes turn back towards me and grin. “We now know these to be quite inaccurate, since the discovery of the fact that the creature had smaller forelimbs than rear legs.” Another slide appeared showing a creature stood on its hind legs and balanced on its tail. This is the current interpretation of the creature given the Bernissart fossils discovered in Belgium thirty five years ago.” He waved at his wife who changed the slide. Now here is Veronique Blanc’s drawing of an iguanodon.” The posture of the creature was quite different. It stood on two legs but its body was held horizontally and its tail was held in line with its body, raised from the ground. The front limbs were held a few inches above the ground. It also appeared to have a striped body. 

“Ridiculous!” said Somersby. “It would lose its balance and topple over!” 

“Just as we humans do, Somersby. How can a creature be bipedal, I wonder? How do you keep yourself upright? You don’t even have a tail to help you; not a visible one, anyway!” The students laughed. “You seem perfectly able to walk, in your rather elderly and infirm way, unless you have indulged in too much Port, once again, of course!” 

“Honestly, Challenor! Implying drunkenness of Professor Somersby is low, even for you!” said Claygate. Challenor ignored him and went on to show more drawings of extraordinary creatures which he claimed were still alive on the plateau. 

“None of these creatures, which Waring Blanc identified, carry themselves like our current interpretations. Surely, as my ignorant detractors in this room suggest, if you were trying to provide a convincing fake you would show them as we think they are today not, as here, in a completely different manner!” 

“Good point!” I heard Lord Hoxton say. Challenor continued with a detailed exposition of the evidence which generated more and more cries of ‘nonsense’, ‘rubbish’ and such like. Finally, Professor Somersby stood up, just as the final slide of the blurred pterodactyl had been shown. 

“Honestly, Challenor, you really can’t expect us to believe, in the twentieth century, that there are living dinosaurs on the planet. It makes a nonsense of evolutionary theory for one thing. Where is your incontrovertible evidence? One supposed leaf does not count!” 

“Exactly, Somersby! We need evidence. Real, inarguable evidence!” said Challenor. 

“Quite right!” said Claygate. 

“I agree completely!” said Challenor, striking a pose. “So I am, therefore, proposing that we mount an expedition to locate Waring Blanc’s Lost World and not only photograph its wonders but bring back specimens! I am sure the Royal Zoological Society would love to exhibit a living dinosaur in Regent’s Park!” He stood with his arms crossed, his chin jutting out, looking triumphant as the chorus of comments, calls, laughter and insults washed around him. I feared that Mrs Challenor’s prediction would prove sadly prescient. She looked back at me, raised her eyebrows and looked resigned. 

“And who is going to fund what will no doubt be a very expensive expedition? We are not talking about a quick jaunt to Lyme Regis!” said Claygate. Challenor frowned. 

 “Well, I assumed that the Society would fund the expedition!” 

“Well you assumed quite wrongly, not for the first time!” said Claygate, standing up and joining Challenor on the platform. “We do not want the Society to become the laughing stock of zoologists worldwide! I’m sorry but with no money there is no expedition and that is my final word!” 

“Surely someone will fund such an important expedition! We have an opportunity to change our whole outlook on prehistory!” said Challenor. 

“I will fund part of the expedition!” came a voice. People shushed those still making a noise. A man stood up in front of us. “I am Lord James Hoxton. You may have heard of me. I have recently been in Amazonia myself and it contains vast areas of unexplored land. If I had to bet on one place on earth where there might be something undiscovered, then Amazonia is where it would be!” 

“Lord Hoxton’s reputation is well known!” said Claygate looking surprised. “But how much can you fund?” 

“I will pay for one third of the total costs of the expedition! My experience and contacts in the region will be useful and if we do find dinosaurs then I have a bally fine collection of elephant guns!” There was general laughter as I scribbled down the exchange. “I would ask just one thing; that I be allowed to take one dinosaur trophy for my collection!” 

“Agreed!” said Challenor. There was a cheer. 

“Unfortunately, a third of the money will get you to somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic!” said Somersby. More laughter. 

 “I will pay one third, also!” came a woman’s voice. It was the beauty in the midnight blue dress, who now also stood up. She had what sounded like an educated American accent, if there is such a thing. 

“Thank you, madam!” said Challenor. “May I ask your name, please?” 

“I am Marguerite Blanc. I am Waring Blanc’s niece!” There were gasps and an outbreak of muttered discussion in the hall. 

“Now this is more like it!” said Lord Ventnor. “La Belle et la Bête, eh, McCandless?” 

“Are you getting all this, Molloy ? Looks like we may have a story after all!” said my editor. 

“Yes sir!” I said, both delighted and relieved. 

“So now you have enough money to get part way up the Amazon!” said Claygate. 

“Who else will come in and be part of making history?” asked Challenor. The room went silent and everyone looked at each other, expectantly. I still don’t know what made me do it, whether it was thoughts of impressing Agnes or Mrs Challenor but I found myself on my feet and felt every face turn towards me. I could feel myself blushing furiously. “Mr Molloy, is the Natural History Museum going to fund the rest?” asked Challenor. 

“I am afraid, sir, that I may have slightly misled you on that point. I am Edmund Molloy, a reporter for the Daily Courier and...” 

What?” roared Challenor and leapt from the platform, making a bee line for me. “A liar is what you are!  A liar who came to my own house! Who lied to my precious wife as well! I am going to thrash you to within an inch of your life!” By this point he was at the end of the row and I saw Lord Ventnor helpfully getting out of the way so Challenor could get to me. He raised his ham like fist and looked to be about to climb over McCandless, who, I have to say, to his credit, stayed put. 

“But then you wouldn’t be able to fund the rest of your expedition!” I said, loudly and stood up.

“What?” but it stopped his seemingly inexorable forward motion. 

“Because The Daily Courier will fund the final third of the costs!” I announced to gasps and cheers. 

“What?” said Lord Ventnor. 

“Are you out of your mind, laddie?” muttered McCandless. 

“No!” I cried and addressed the whole room. “If there is the faintest chance that Professor Challenor’s story is true then we must make every attempt to prove it. We have Lord Hoxton on board with his unrivalled experience of the wild places of the world and hunting large, dangerous animals.  Professor Challenor has the map, journal and enormous knowledge of prehistoric creatures!” Somersby made a dismissive noise. “Miss Blanc has provided a good part of the funding and obviously has a personal interest in the outcome. I would like to join the expedition to provide our readers and the Royal Zoological Society with an honest, neutral account of the expedition. I can send my despatches back to London so all Courier readers can feel part of this extraordinary venture!” 

“Lord Ventnor, is this young man really speaking for you?” asked Lord Claygate. 

 “I must be mad,” muttered Lord Ventnor, sotto voce. “Indeed, Lord Claygate, principally because I know and respect Lord Hoxton and trust his judgement. We will put our newspaper’s resources into the expedition and tell the world, exclusively of course, what is discovered!” said Claygate. 

“Well, Challenor, it seems you have your expedition,” said Claygate, looking rather stunned by this turn of events. “I would prefer if we could include another, perhaps more critical scientist to accompany you all. Would Professor Somersby contemplate joining the team?” 

“Certainly not!” said Challenor. 

“I should be delighted!” cried Somersby, although I saw his wife stiffen at his announcement. 

“It is my expedition, I can include, or not, whomsoever I like!” said Challenor. 

“In fact, Professor Challenor, it is mine, Lord Hoxton’s and The Daily Courier’s expedition,” said Marguerite Blanc, “and I would certainly insist on Professor Somersby’s presence!” There was a brief argument but when Hoxton joined in, Challenor had to admit defeat. 

“Alright then! The expedition will consist of myself, as leader, Professor Somersby, Lord Hoxton and Mr Molloy!” There was a cheer. 

 “And myself, of course,” added Marguerite. “I am not investing thousands of dollars in an expedition only to sit in London and wait for Mr Molloy’s accounts!” She nodded at me and smiled. 

“But you’re a woman!” exclaimed Challenor. 

“Indeed and, like my uncle, something of a botanist. I am also a geologist and an experienced hunter who is a crack shot with a rifle and is used to camping out in the wild. I have some medical training too. All of which, I think you will agree, will be useful on this venture!” 

“Those are points well made, dear lady,” said Hoxton. “I strongly support Mademoiselle Blanc’s inclusion on the roster! Provided she is able to rough it!” 

“I can be as rough as the next girl, Lord Hoxton!” she declared smiling at him. He smiled back. Oh dear, there goes another one, I thought. Challenor tried to have another go but he was stopped by Edith. 

 “Now George you have achieved more than you thought possible. You need to concede on some points!” He shrugged and looked defeated. 

“Welcome to the Professor George Challenor expedition to the Lost World, Miss Blanc!” he said, finally. 

“We really will have to change the name!” muttered Somersby. We were all made to stand on the platform and pose for a picture by Smaile, one of the Courier’s photographers, who McCandless had brought along, more out of hope than anything else. There was a barrage of questions and Lord Ventnor only calmed the tumult by saying that the expedition members would issue a statement in the Courier in the next few days on the plans for the venture. 

 “Look, here, Molloy,” said Lord Hoxton as we stood next to the stage, “as we are going to be on this expedition together and appear to be the only normal chaps on it, why don’t you pop around to see me tomorrow. I have rooms in Albany,” he handed me his card. “Say, eight thirty, just after dinner. We can knock back a few glasses of Madeira and I can help you with the sort of things you might need to equip yourself with for the expedition!” 

“That would be most welcome, Lord Hoxton,” I said and we shook hands, him nearly breaking all the bones in my hand in the process and then he .

"Now, I better go and rescue Mademoiselle Blanc from the Professor's students!" he headed towards the back of the hall where Mlle Blanc was surrounded by young men.

 As Britten and I eventually slipped out of the Reptile Hall, Mrs Challenor approached us in the corridor, while her husband showed Somersby the supposedly extinct fern. 

“May I speak to you in private, Mr Molloy?” she asked. I looked at Britten who said he would meet me at the main entrance. She took me down to the far end of the dimly lit corridor, away from the Reptile and main halls. “Thank you, Mr Molloy, for backing George. This means everything to him. I hope you will look after him, as I will miss the grumpy old goat. You must promise me you will ensure that he is not eaten by a dinosaur!” I laughed and said that that promise might be better extracted from Lord Hoxton. 

 “Mrs Challenor, I promise to write to you regarding your husband’s activities,” I said, “so that you may get something of an impression of him in his absence!” 

“That would be very kind. I expect nothing whatsoever from his hand!” She looked down the corridor and took my hand for a brief moment. “After you left today I went straight back to bed and frigged myself until I spent once more!” she whispered, looking down the corridor to make sure no one was nearby. “I could not get the image of your beautiful manhood out of my mind. I am actually becoming moist as I stand here before you!” 

“And I am becoming stiff!” I said, smiling at her. 

“I would very much like to kneel down right here and take your lovely penis into my mouth! To lick it and suck it and make you spend down my throat! Sadly I cannot!” she added. 

“Sadly indeed!” I agreed, shocked at her candour.

"This dress is so tight I do not think I could perform the manouevre anyway!" she laughed.

"It is a very fine dress, to be sure!"  I said wishing I could tear it from her shapely body and free those thrusting breasts. 

“Good God, though, but I am disappointed by this turn of events!” she said. 

“How so?” I asked, puzzled. 

“Because I thought, however unrealistically, perhaps, that the Royal Zoological Society would fund George’s expedition and he would disappear for many months and you and I might have had an ongoing...arrangement.” 

“An arrangement, Mrs Challenor?” I asked. 

“Don’t play the innocent, Edmund. A carnal arrangement! You would satisfy my sexual desires in any way I chose!  Repeatedly!” 

“I very much enjoyed myself today. You are a beautiful, intelligent and passionate woman.” 

“Flattery is unnecessary, although pleasing. I would like to see you again tomorrow for some more private time together! Naked of course. Time is now of the essence!” 

“Is that a good idea, as the Professor and I will now be colleagues?” I asked. 

“I am only interested in my private pleasure, Edmund. If you do not wish to benefit I will find someone else. Your friend, Mr Britten, seems nice!” She smiled and I was not quite sure if she was joking or not. 

“Edith, I would love to spend any amount of time with you, naked or not!” I said.

“Oh, quite definitely naked. I already have an idea as to what we may get up to tomorrow. I will meet you in the lobby of the Great Northern Hotel at King's Cross at eleven o’clock. We will take morning tea, or coffee if you prefer, although personally I despise the drink. I will have booked a room and then we will go separately up to that room and remove each other’s clothes!” 

“I may bring my sketching materials!” I said. 

“That would be most entertaining!” she said. “Now we must get back. Your friend will be wondering about us!” She gave my hand one last squeeze and we returned to the Reptile Hall entrance. 

“Edith!” roared Challenor from just inside the door, where he was standing with Professor Somersby and Professor George of the Museum. “You are not to speak with Molloy! I know what he is getting up to with you!” My heart started to pound and I wondered about making a run for it. 

“Really? Have you uncovered our passionate affair already, George?” said Mrs Challenor. 

“You overestimate yourself if you think any man would have an affair with you, woman!” he said. “Especially a young man like Molloy. No, he is no doubt using the underhand journalist’s technique of speaking about supposedly innocent matters in order to obtain a nugget of something he can twist and trumpet in his disreputable newspaper!” 

“Oh dear!” said Edith. “And there I was thanking him for helping to fund a third of your expedition. No doubt he will find some way to twist that against me. Is that correct, George?” 

“Humph!” said Challenor and barrelled back into the centre of the hall, barging through the crowd towards Lord Claygate. 

“Hello, Edith!” said Professor Somersby, taking her hand briefly. “You have the patience of a saint!” 

“Hello, Leon!” She stood on tip toe to kiss him on the cheek which left him rather flustered. “Where is Edna? I wanted to say hello!” 

“Oh dear, I am afraid that the redoubtable Mrs Somersby has returned home in high dudgeon. She does not like me travelling on long expeditions any more, without her accompanying me!” 

“Yes, the whole day has been somewhat shocking!” said Edith. “Have you met Mr Molloy properly?” Somersby shook my hand. 

 “Indeed, we said a few words outside. He seems like a headstrong sort so I am hoping he will be able to stand up to George somewhat!” 

“I’ll do my best, sir!” I said. 

“I liked the way you faced him down this evening, Molloy!” said Somersby. 

“Mr Molloy is obviously a brave man!” said Edith. “A very brave man!” She smiled at me ,innocently.

“Now, Edith, there is someone I would like you to meet. Excuse me Molloy!” said Somersby, guiding Edith inside. 

“Good night Mr Molloy. Until next time!” said Edith. I walked back towards the main hall but it took me some time to reach the museum entrance as well-wishers from the audience kept stopping to talk to me 

“Make sure you don’t get eaten by a dinosaur!” said one young lady, who obviously wanted to stay and talk but was being urged away by her husband. 

“I hope Lord Hoxton will protect me!” I said.

“I’d be quite happy with your protection, Mr Molloy!” she smiled. Her husband jabbed her in the arm and led her away. At last I met Britten, just inside the main entrance.

“I am not letting you go home until you tell me what is going on between you and Mrs Challenor!” he said.

“Nothing!” I said.

“I do not believe a word of it! Now let’s get a cab and go to the Babylon!”

“I may not be in the mood for that!” I said.

“But I am sure you will be in the mood for some game pie and a bottle of claret or two served by a couple of beautiful young ladies wearing hardly anything at all!” he answered.

“You make a good point!” I said.

 “So come along, then!”

Notes on this chapter can be found here.