The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist Read Free Book Online

Book: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gordon Dahlquist
still felt a little brutal in forcing even this less transgressive card upon her at all. She remembered her own first immersion—the way in which she had naïvely assured Doctor Svenson it was nothing she could not bear (though she had been unable to fully meet his eyes afterwards)—andthe shocking sudden delicious troubling rush of sensation she’d felt as the Prince had stepped between his lover’s open legs, the lover whose undeniably sweet experience she had herself then shared for that exquisite instant. As a young lady, the value of her virtue had been drilled into her like discipline into a Hessian soldier, yet she could not exactly say where her virtue presently stood—or rather could not separate the knowledge of her body from that of her mind, or the sensations she now knew. If she allowed herself the room to think—a dangerous luxury, to be sure—she must face the truth that her confusion was nothing less than the inability to distinguish her thoughts from the world around her—and that by virtue of this perilous glass her access to ecstasy might be as palpable a thing as her shoes.
    Miss Temple had taken out the card as a way to prove to Miss Vandaariff in one stroke the wicked capacity of her enemies and the seductive dangers they might have already offered, to warn her by way of frightening her and so win the heiress to her side, but as she watched the girl gaze into the card—biting her lower lip, quickening breath, left hand twitching on the table top—and then glanced to the end of the table to see Mrs. Marchmoor studying the masked woman with an equally intent expression—she no longer knew if the gesture had been wise. Faced with Lydia’s intensity of expression, she even wondered if somehow she had done it to gain perspective on her own experience, as if watching Miss Vandaariff might be watching herself—for she could too readily, despite the need to pay attention, the obvious danger, imagine herself again in the lobby of the Boniface, eyes swimming into the depths of blue glass, hands absently groping her balled-up dress, and all the time Doctor Svenson knowing—even as he turned his back—what was passing with a shudder through her body.
    Miss Temple recalled with shock the words of the Comte d’Orkancz—that she would fall prey to her own desire!
    Her hand darted forward and she snatched the card away. Before Miss Vandaariff could do anything but sputter in mortified confusion, it had been stuffed back in the green bag.
    “Do you see?” Miss Temple cried harshly. “The unnatural science—the feeling of another’s experience—”
    Miss Vandaariff nodded dumbly, and looked up, her eyes fixed on the bag. “What … how could it be possible?”
    “They plan to use your place of influence, to seduce you as they have seduced this man, Roger Bascombe—”
    Miss Vandaariff shook her head with impatience. “Not them … the glass—the
glass
!”
    “So, Lydia …” chuckled Mrs. Marchmoor from the end of the table, relief and satisfaction in her voice, “you weren’t frightened by what you saw?”
    Miss Vandaariff sighed, her eyes shining, an exhalation of intoxicated glee. “A little … but in truth I don’t care about what I saw at all—only for what I
felt
…”
    “Was it not
astonishing
?” hissed Mrs. Marchmoor, her earlier concern quite forgotten.
    “O Lord … it
was
! It was the most
exquisite
thing! I was inside his hands, his hunger—groping her—” She turned to Miss Temple. “Groping
you
!”
    “But—no, no—” began Miss Temple, her words interrupted by a glance to Mrs. Marchmoor, who was beaming like a lighthouse. “There is another—with
this
woman! And your Prince! Far more intimate—I assure you—”
    Miss Vandaariff snapped at Miss Temple hungrily. “Let me see it! Do you have it with you? You must—there must be many, many of them—let me see this one again—
I want to see them all
!”
    Miss Temple was forced to step away from Miss

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