This? This is what the marriage act entailed? A sweaty, heaving body, poking and prodding, under the cover of darkness. What a great lot of bother it all was, and certainly uncomfortable. Although he appeared frail and thin, Holcroft still weighed enough to near crush the life from me. After much ado, he sent me back to my rooms, thoroughly mussed and humiliated by the whole ordeal. I don't even know if I pleased him.
With the morning came a new sense of being. I was truly a woman now, and most irrevocably married. My body felt little different, but my mind had a whole new understanding of the heir-begetting process. For that is surely what it was. There was no love between us, but I knew Holcroft needed an heir, and at 68, he needed one quickly. Secure in the knowledge that I had done my wifely duty, I sat back to wait for the changes that would indicate impending motherhood.
But he summoned me again that night.
And the next; and every night for nigh on a month.
And still my monthly came upon me at its usual time.
When my menses appeared, Lord Holcroft began to change in his manner toward me. Little things that I did not notice at first: he ceased to inquire after my day, our pleasant conversation at dinner began to wane, and my wifely duties became even less pleasant than they were before. When he might have taken care while climbing over my body, he roughly mounted, and pinches replaced patting, and his grip became tighter to the point of pain. After the act I was released to return my room, but I would flee instead of wishing my lord a good night.