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    AC Benus
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Carême in Brighton — a mystery novel - 13. Chapter 12: Dalliance at Rottingdean & Crossroads

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Chapter 12: Dalliance at Rottingdean & Crossroads

 

Several weeks after Charlotte’s birthday ball, with the Princess safely tucked away at Claremont House for several weeks more until she’d need to travel for State affairs, Carême was feeling weak.

The famous chef de cuisine was, as usual, driven in his unforgiving pursuit of self-disciplined perfection. He competed with no one but himself at this stage in his career, but he always chased that better, more naturalistic flavour or appearance to his work, and it required much from him.

The reasons for this he confided to Kitchiner’s care. Carême relayed how the spells of his ‘chef’s lung’ were cropping up to slow him down more frequently, and to a greater degree, than previously. When asked what and how severe these effects were, the chef described a period where he could feel a weakness in his muscles accompanied by lightheaded pains and rapid, shallow breathing.

Kitchiner diagnosed it as chronic air-intake compromisation – “diminished oxygen absorption into the circulatory system” – and indicated rest and fresh air.

Providentially, the climate had decided to cooperate, presenting a spate of mild weather. What struck inattentive denizens of the City of Brighton as ‘unaccountable’ was uncontroversial to those closer to the land. The old folks of the countryside knew the unseasonable weather was nothing inexplicable and had a term for it. Yes, for Primaveral Summer was upon southern England, and, which like its better-known cousin, Saint Martin’s Summer in autumn, presented to people a pleasant stretch of warm and dry days, in contrast to the main season this period interrupted so welcomely.

Thus, the good Doctor’s prescription of a “day off” was timely. For one, the hard-working cook had had nothing resembling one since December 26th, Boxing Day. And two, the clear skies and southern sea breezes opened a window of opportunity not long to remain unclosed.

The Doctor simply told Carême to spend his holiday outside; to draw in deep draughts of renewing air; and refresh his system. The chef had agreed only when Kitchiner announced whom the Doctor had asked to go with him, and remind the Frenchman that, according to the calendar, days to rest and recreate were vanishing quickly as the Grand Duke Nicholas’ visit loomed ever closer.

Such a State Occasion at the Pavilion would require Carême to give his all; and he would too, which is what troubled the chef’s friends in England so much.

These thoughts and others filtered through Carême’s head as he made his way across the Pavilion’s property to the Regent’s horse stables.

Ever a designer submerged in a world of design, Carême strolled on the gently curving paths of crushed stone, noticing the natural grouping of trees and shrubbery – almost as if mounded islands amidst the sea of grass – varying by height and shape. Around the base of these ‘islands,’ flowerbeds stood in for fields and meadows en miniature. This picturesque approach was so different from the formal, regimental combination of low boxwood bordering rectangular beds of flowers he’d expect a palace the size of the Pavilion to have in France. He liked the effect the English gardeners had achieved.

He turned the corner of one such island and was greeted by the full glory of the Royal Stables. This structure found situation on the far north-west end of the estate, and frankly, dwarfed the marine villa itself. A central dome – some eighty feet in circumference – rose six and a half stories to a colonette-style cupola. Composed of iron ribs alternately dressed in stone and glass, the ethereal structure reminded Carême instantly of a Paris monument built just around the time he was born. La Halle au blé was constructed as the world’s first modern grain exchange – auction house and storage facility – to feed a hungry capital city. Its dome was of the same proportions as the Prince’s private horse barn, and featured the same broad ribs of skylights to illuminate the interior.

As Carême continued crunching gravel underfoot towards the Moorish grand entrance, he thought how ironic it was that the Paris structure was built to house nutrition for the people, while the Regent’s extravagance was only ever intended to provide for his personal property, things more valuable to the Royal than human life – sixty horses, several of whom were money-making champions on the racetracks.

His reverie was broken by a figure waving at him, for parked on the wide crushed stone expanse before the stable entrance was an open-top carriage. The yellow lower half featured the Prince of Wales feathers painted on the door. A team of perfectly curried horses were hitched and standing by in glossy black perfection. A groom stood in front holding the bridles. Lady Morgan waited next to the team, so he smiled and hastened his step.

As he strode up to her, Carême also noticed a red-liveried driver in black top hat, and a boy in street clothes, buzzing about the carriage.

The two old friends kissed cheeks.

“Look, Chef! The Prince lent us a carriage. We’ll get to Rottingdean in style.”

“Ah, oui. And will Lord Morgan be joining us?”

“He shall meet us there later this afternoon, but he’ll ride out on his own.”

Just then, the chef noticed the driver and boy lifting flat baskets onto the board along the rear of the conveyance; otherwise known as the “boot.”

“Do you see, Carême? Kitchiner provisioned us with half a dozen groaning picnic baskets.”

She stepped aside, giving the chef his first unencumbered view of the two at work at the rear of the carriage. The ‘boy’ was Thomas Daniels, difficult for Carême to recognize right away for not wearing his chefly whites.

Carême turned smiling eyes back to his hostess for the day.

“Doctor Kitchiner also,” she said slyly, “thought we’d need a steward to shepherd all the food.”

“Oh, the Doctor did, did he?”

“Indeed. He may or may not have also indicated – via prescription, you understand – that the Chucklehead may form part of your personal refreshment.”

“Lady Morgan!”

“Now, now, dear Chef. No need for protests, for I can assure you, as the well-worn novelist that I am, I’m skilled in the art of being both the most trustworthy and inattentive of chaperones.”

After a momentary pause of digestion, the chef understood the thrust of the reassurance.

Just then, the men had finished their task. Thomas ran over, whipped off his cap and said to Sydney Morgan, “Baskets all stored, mum.”

He dared to grin at Carême for the briefest of moments, his mercurial blue eyes not risking a lingering sparkle there. He too had barely seen his brooding, Byronesque boss out of his work clothes either.

“Very well done, lad,” Lady Morgan replied. To Carême she extended her arm for the chef to crook. “Shall we?”

“Oui.”

The young man gallantly jogged and opened the carriage door for them, offering a hand while the lady stepped up.

As the pair of old friends settled in and positioned the charcoal-burning foot warmer and thick lap blanket over legs, Thomas closed the door and dashed up to sit next to the liveried driver. As he repositioned his cap, he looked back for one more glimpse of his handsome mentor with a happy beam.

And so with a gentle slap of the reins, the horses picked up their feet and crunched the gravel on the path winding around the corner of the massive enclosed tennis courts forming that end of the stable building. Soon, they turned onto a broad road lined on both sides with a double planting of stately poplar trees. This grand-yet-natural allée, in the best of true Mogul landscape design, pointed like a die to the Pavilion’s North Gate. The grandest adit and exit to the palace grounds, this “front door” was a tall stone Indian-style arch capped with a copper-clad onion dome.

The gate attendants saluted the approaching carriage and stood by open iron portails as the merry little party sailed on through. As they did, Carême looked up to see the intricate plaster work ceiling of the gate house.

Turning right on the public thoroughfare, the carriage soon made another right onto the wide, grassy parkway of the Steine. Rounding one of the Pavilion ground’s island of trees, the vehicle was rolling smoothly along in front of the building’s fenceless east front. Here a few well-heeled gentry strolled their morning constitutionals. Nash’s tent rooves for the Music and Banquet Rooms, and their rising towers of complementary colonettes, anchored the two extreme ends, while the cladding for the great onion dome over the Salon was rising halfway between them. The Salon’s exterior loggia of delicate stone tracery was also under construction and would eventually be part of a continuous walkway around this side of the marine villa.

Carême closed his eyes. Although currently a work in progress, the completed form of the Pavilion based on the architect’s great model in the Central Corridor filled Carême’s sight as they travelled past the structure.

After a matter of several minutes, the carriage turned left and began rolling out of town on the King’s Road. Soon there was nothing but open sea to one side, and open countryside on the other. The fresh air felt invigorating, and Carême breathed it in deeply.

Lady Morgan was pleased to see this. She adjusted the coach blanket a little higher, and Carême glanced at her.

“So, what is on the agenda today, Madame?”

“Rottingdean is just the next settlement up the coast from Brighton, but a world away. Quiet, self-contained, I thought we’d stop when we get there and walk the beach. Then I know a peaceful, grassy place where we can spread out and relax.”

“Sounds marvellous.”

They enjoyed the views. Mostly sunny, a few grey clouds occasionally cast shady patches on the blue sea rolling onto shore rocks. The open fields periodically resolved themselves into low stone walls, fencing farm houses set well back from the road. Some people were out when they came up to these farmsteads, like women doing laundry and men slopping hogs.

Tranquil coastline, with a broad ribbon of stony beaches, glided past. The highway began to rise in elevation and take a gentle bend inland. The beaches disappeared, becoming limestone bluffs with no margin between them and the surf.

The landscape transformed into a broad-shouldered meadow, gently rising a few hundred feet in the air to blot out the western horizon-line with a jade mantle of grass. On the crest of this hill stood the most picturesque and perfect of windmills. Five or six stories in height, it was the type where the top “barn” of the building – sitting upon a fixed, octagonal tower of sloping sides – could be rotated in and out of the wind. Now its four blades turned in lassitude with the mild offshore breeze.

“That’s Beacon Hill.”

The chef nodded affably at the Sydney-Morgan-supplied information, but in another moment found himself wondering what this single, weather-worn sentinel was doing up there. It seemed a lonely island unto itself.

The road rose in elevation again and grew narrower. Houses came up to it that now featured low fieldstone walls topped by white picket fencing. Their coach was rolling into a town of two-story masonry buildings with leaded glass windows and high thatched rooves. Windows boxes hung in place, and no doubt, in season added gay colours to the earth-toned village scene.

The artist in Carême wished he’d brought his sketchbook.

After a couple of blocks, the houses stepped back and an impressive set of accommodations fronted the road with its back to the open sea. “King of Prussia” read the Inn’s sign as their carriage glided past.

Beyond it, all manmade shelters disappeared from the scene. To the left, more grassland rose in smooth undulations to the north-west, while a spectacularly clear view of the English Channel greeted them to the right. The road was now hugging the seaward rim of cliffs sixty feet above the shoreline.

The carriage slowed, drawing up to a narrow pathway off to the right.

“Here’s where we get off.” Lady Morgan smiled to her companion as the coach came to a stop.

Thomas gallantly hopped down and again opened the door, offering his hand for Lady Morgan to use as she descended. Once she was down, he left it extended, and this time Carême took it. He didn’t need help, but the relaxing ride has softened him a bit; he therefore squeezed the young man’s fingers with affectionate gratitude.

“This way,’ Sydney Morgan called.

Carême reluctantly let go of the boy’s hand and followed. The narrow path wound its way along the cliff-face down to a half-mile strip of sandy beach. When the chef glanced back, Thomas had re-taken his seat, and the driver pulled the carriage away.

He caught up with Lady Morgan. “Where are they going?”

“They are heading to the place we will have our picnic. Rottingdean is tiny, and we’ll have a pleasant walk joining them later.”

“D’accord.”

Down the trail they went. The sounds and smell of the surf carried by the mild sea breeze lightened both their hearts. For a moment, this place seemed a world away from all their earthly cares.

In another minute or two, they were walking the seashore, and Carême could now see the sheer vertical of the cliff-face made of the same white chalk for which Dover is so righty famous.

Lady Morgan interlaced her arm with her friend’s. “I do hope the scenery meets with your approval.”

“It does, Madame. Only a short drive from Brighton – et voilà! We are alone, as if the only two people in the world.”

“Yes. Sometimes it is best to feel this way. To embrace the ephemeral as the here and now that matters. Let our niggling and nagging concerns leave us for a while.”

“Oui. I have had little opportunity to experience it, sadly, but there was one place where I’ve felt this peace.”

“Oh, yes – where?”

“In the woods and countryside around Château Valençay.”

“That is Talleyrand’s private—”

“Napoléon’s gift to Talleyrand. But not for private use – it was given for work.”

“Yes, I’ve heard it functions as a sort of diplomatic guesthouse.”

“Oui. Consequently, I was very busy there, modernizing the 16th century kitchens to give State Dinners three times a week”—a lick of salt air greeted the chef’s nose, and he inhaled deeply—“but on my midmorning breaks, François and I could stroll out of the formal gardens and see some of the beautiful Loire Valley. Some days we’d go out for much longer – pack picnics, find shaded glens to be by ourselves, to reconnect. We’d always bring Le grand testament by François Villon with us. My François is so good at reciting the tragedy-tinged words of the old poet, he knows several of the Ballades by heart now.” Carême paused, slightly overcome by the memories of their past closeness, wishing perhaps heroically – if somewhat naïvely – that their personal good times would return.

Lady Morgan’s words came back into range. “Sounds ideal,” she said.

Carême smiled. “Yes; nearly as wonderful as being here, with you.”

Sydney Morgan’s spirit lit up. She so relished the moments when she thought Carême was happy.

They continued to walk the beach with thoughts turned to enjoyment of the moment. Up ahead, the white cliff angled sharply towards the sea. This was the place the sand ended, so the strolling pair turned and made their way back.

Half an hour later, they walked along the residential streets of the village, and Carême could see the fancy patterns some cottages had in their thatched rooves, either scalloped borders along the line of the eaves, or egg and dart motifs at top along the ridge. He also noticed the carefully maintained evergreens, most shaped to resemble megalithic standing-stones, planted in the margins between houses and their low-slung stone walls.

Soon they turned the final corner, and the village church appeared off to the left. Another masonry monument, its most striking feature was a truncated tower rising above the crossing of the nave. Its pyramidal roof looked accidental; as if its red clay tiles were meant to serve a year or two while money was collected to continue raising the tower. But, as that was evidently a century or two ago, the temporary cap still in place looked exhausted from a too-long life of service.

Lady Morgan led Carême around the front of the church, and to his surprise, the long flank of the building facing the south-west had a sunny lake studded with swimming ducks. It also had a clear view of the rolling open countryside outside of town. This side of the building was infinitely preferable to the other, which housed the parish graveyard.

Parked to the side of the water by a wide margin of lawn stood the carriage and men.

As soon as he saw them, Thomas Daniels dashed to the boot. A moment later, he came running towards the chef and novelist and whipped out a blanket for them to sit on in the grass.

As they were lowering themselves onto it, Sydney Morgan reached and took the boy by the wrist. “Why don’t you join us too.”

To the lower-lip-bit glance he shot him, Carême nodded, letting Thomas know it would be all right. To show he acquiesced, Thomas removed his cap and scrunched it in his hands.

The newly formed trio sat in easy comfort: one looking at the lake and waterfowl; one glancing at the church; one gazing up the grassy slopes to the breeze-turned windmill about a mile away. Then the three would trade off points of interest to admire.

“The sea is much quieter here, eh, Carême?” Lady Morgan observed.

“Oui, Madame, but if one listens very closely, the low-toned rumbles are always there.”

“So they are; so they are,” she replied. “Young Master Daniels, have you been down below the cliffs, on the beach, before?”

“No, mum.”

“Oh, you simply must go.” She suddenly turned sly. “Perhaps in summer you can bring monsieur Carême again, this time with his sketchbook.”

“Yes, mum.”

“I hear,” clipped Sydney Morgan in a far-too casual manner to be casual, “The King of Prussia has some lovely, private accommodations as well.”

Carême suppressed his smile as he watched the teen boy colour all ways to Sunday.

Lady Morgan continued as if she’d seen not a thing. “Chef Carême and I were having a very interesting conversation. Weren’t we, dear friend?”

“On the beach? Yes, I suppose we were.”

“About what,” Thomas asked.

The chef replied, “Ouf – about setting troubles aside, sans souci. About relaxing into the moment and enjoying it.” Now the chef blushed on his own, sensing what the novelist’s point had been all along.

“Oh, yes.” The boy smiled. “Lettin’ your hair down, as we’d say around here.”

Lady Morgan laughed, thrilled to have been discovered. “So true! Although the fashion for men these days is to eschew the ponytail, I suppose – like all fashions – long hair will be back soon enough.”

After that charming if vapid bit of bons mots, the trio once more relaxed into their respective living for the moment, only this time, all eyes settled on the blue sky and rolling clouds above the windmill.

A few minutes later, Carême observed, “Odd, its being up there all by itself. In Holland, for example, windmills to pump water are lined up in a row.”

“That one’s to grind flour, Chef,” the lad said.

I think”—Lady Morgan suddenly sounded adamant—“a trip up there is warranted for a closer inspection, don’t you, Chef? The views are spectacular.”

Carême took a breath of fresh air and shrugged. He wasn’t opposed to a little hike across such pleasant meadows.

As the novelist had just stood, man and boy were obliged to follow suit.

Carême extended his arm. D’accord. Shall we, Madame?”

Lady Morgan acted surprised. “Oh, I’m staying put. After all, I’ve seen the views already. But Thomas will accompany you, and in the meantime, the carriage driver and I shall unpack and lay out the picnic for your return.”

“Are you sure, Madame? You will get lonely—”

“Heavens, no; I won’t! You see, I’ve packed a book to read. So, let’s say, you two go for your walk – as it’s about noon now – and at two o’clock, the driver will pick you up from the windmill and bring you back so we can eat.” While Carême referred to his watch, she added, “Lord Morgan will be here by then as well, so it’s settled!”

Carême lacked proper reason to protest, but in the meantime, Thomas Daniels smiled, setting his cap back on his head, and said, “Shall we?”

 

 

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The walk up the gentle hill was easy. The slope was verdant, as sea air seems to tweak the vigour of all grassy patches growing close to the water.

Thomas, with hands in pockets and eyes cast upwards, suddenly recited something in tempo with the sound of the men’s feet stepping and dragging through the grass.

 

“Blue skies shall overarch us at the end

When innocent sleep will aid our choosing,

And every love’s a melted lover’s sigh

Reborn fresh under some new warm-weather sky.”

 

After a few unharried paces, the chef remarked, “That is lovely, Thomas. Who have you quoted so well in the context of our current situation?”

“Ah, a farmer lad. A humble poet of our age I think future times will shure regard as our best: John Clare.”

“Well, it is certainly measured and perfect in its beauty.”

The young man grinned helplessly. “I couldn’t agree with you more.”

As they slowly drew near it, the windmill assumed less and less the character of a feature on the landscape and more of an impressive destination. Once the silent pair crested its hilltop, they found a wooden bench for visitors a fair distance off. They went up to it and did what it invited hikers to do: sit and admire the vista with the sight of the turning windmill and endlessly rolling sea in the background.

Once several minutes of private contemplations had passed, the boy removed his cap, shoved it in his jacket pocket and sat on the edge of his seat. Leaning forward, and with elbows on his knees, he regarded Carême with curiosity.

“It’s a pleasant day, n'est-ce pas?” said the chef.

“It is indeed.” The undercook’s eyes cast glances behind Carême. “Though it seems some darker clouds are rolling in from the west.”

“Ah, oui? Well, still, it is warmer than I anticipated—”

“I liked what Lady Morgan and yourself were saying back there; back there by the church.”

Carême fidgeted.

“About living for the present,” Thomas explained. “Although I like to consider it from another angle as well.”

“Which is?”

“Regrets. Fundamentally, don’t have any. They’re impossible to live with.”

Carême grinned, feeling like challenging the teen’s philosophical turn. “And what manner of regrets are you speaking of?”

The boy sat back, confidently placing hands behind his head. “Missed opportunities. You see, it seems like life intersects our paths every now and again with crossroads.” The boy’s voice shone with sincerity. “What do we do when we encounter one? Put on blinders, ignore what opportunities the new direction could offer – and, possibly regret it later. Or, explore the new path, even if only for a little while, so later, a person has no regrets and feels they’ve made the right choice all along.”

Carême wiped the contentment off the young man’s face. “Is there something you want to tell me?”

Thomas’ hands slowly descended into his lap. “Well, for one, I appreciate all you’ve taught me so far, and I look forward to what more will come my way in the Great Kitchen. The end-of-year bonuses you paid out were also more than generous. You shure made a lot of people very happy.”

“Well, for the rest of the kitchen, it’s wise for a chef to make his people happy. But for you specifically, as I have already mentioned, stay focused on your career, and you will go far.”

“Thank you, Chef. And I suppose there is a second . . . thing . . . I might want to tell you.”

Carême was silent, knowing the boy would venture information on his own. The chef noticed the darker clouds were suddenly right over them.

“Well, on a personal note – we’re split. No longer together.”

“‘We’ means you and the Kitchen Comptroller?” Carême asked.

“Yes, that’s right. Officially.”

It started to drizzle. First, randomly timed drops no bigger than pinheads fell.

“D’accord, Thomas, but you should also know that François and I are not ‘split,’ officially or otherwise.”

The skies opened up, pelting the pair with large, fast-falling raindrops.

The youth suddenly stood, grabbing Carême’s hand. “Come on. We’ll make a run for it!”

The ground getting soft where they trode, the two bolted for the windmill’s door.

It was unlocked, and Thomas ushered the chef inside. The sound of the rain squall was reduced to muffled pinging on the exterior clapboards, for inside was a different world.

The steady sound of wooden machinery at work was accompanied by the smell of timber meshing with timber and the axle grease used to keep all running smoothly.

Thomas shouted: “Haa-looo?”

There was no reply.

They were alone, and Thomas closed the door to the outside world.

Exploring for a few moments, they peered up the length of the great revolving wooden shaft. It went all the way to the mill’s loft, where light filtered in through the opening. Ladders rose here and there, tier by tier, up the building’s height.

After this, a new sense of boldness illuminated the younger man’s face, which Carême noticed as a fetching glow.

The chef found a sturdy pillar to brace his back against, waiting for the teen boy’s tempest to break upon him as well.

It did, although it was a gentle, tender assault on the handsome chef’s resistance.

Keeping himself a good way back, Thomas glanced to the dusty heights of the space, reciting:

 

“But for my joy, I stamp my lonely footfall

Upon the wild’s shadiest gravel path.”

 

He slowly lowered his eyes, locking them on Carême. He continued:

 

“With no ear to listen, nor eye to see,

Or mind to judge what wrong from right might be,

My sole companion, a soul free from wrath,

With hate for none, and abiding love for all.”

 

The chef smiled. “More of your John Clare?”

Thomas, full of shy glances and uncomfortable gesticulations, came to stand before his mentor. “No – Byron this time; the poet who resembles you so dearly, Chef.”

Despite himself, Carême was moved and reached out to take the young man’s hand. The boy, under the master’s touch, calmed down right away.

Thomas asked in a pained way, “Why is it François hates me as much as he does?”

Carême was slow with his answer, but he was honest. “Because he thinks we are sleeping together.”

“A dalliance? That’s shure rich.”

“Why?”

“Because”—Thomas re-thought his reply midstream—“well, because we’re not.” The young man took a step forward.

“No, we’re not. But, in fact, you and I already have a relationship, don’t we?”

Thomas was taken aback. “We do?”

“Oui. Only in the last few days have I realized it’s you – you are my official ‘minder’ for Doctor Kitchiner. You have been the Doctor’s man in the Great Kitchen the whole time.”

Young Master Daniels didn’t act particularly surprised by this confrontation. In fact, he closed the gap between them a little more, saying, “I help out where and when I can; for the Doctor’s sake, but also for yours.”

“And it was you who obtained a sample of the yarrow-laced tea for Kitchiner’s laboratory to analyse.”

“Well, yes. That had to be a discreet, in-house job.”

The chef’s estimations of the boy’s potential had just been confirmed. He couldn’t help but look at the young man with newfound respect for having fooled spying veteran Carême these many long months. But, on the other hand, the chef had no doubts what Thomas Daniels did now was motivated for personal reasons.

Thomas laid the palm of his hand flat over Carême’s chest. The accelerated heartbeat he felt there was all the validation his actions required. “But getting back to François, he thinks we are, but we’re not sleeping together yet.”

“Yet?”

The boy let his hand wander south, drawing his face closer to Carême’s. “Not yet, that is, but since François already thinks ill of me for it”—he licked his flushing lips—“I might as well deserve his bad temper.” Thomas put his hands on Carême’s waist, leaning his lower half full against the chef. “Ness Pa?”

Carême uncharacteristically shrugged, feeling the boy’s blue eyes hard upon him, as well as how hard the young man was against his inner thigh. The chef teased: “Oui, n'est-ce pas?”

Thomas kissed him; once, briefly. “Besides, what he doesn’t know of this dalliance won’t hurt him.”

He leaned back for another kiss, and this time stayed.

Carême found the young man to be an expert, experienced kisser, and in return, grew resolutely hard himself. The combination of the boy’s tongue moving across his lips, and Thomas’ hand pressing against the chef’s member, made Carême’s need insistent for release.

In a natural moment of breaking apart for air, Carême said in artless sincerity, “I never imagined you English could play so passionate the lover.” His comment made the boy laugh, Thomas’ smile warming Carême’s heart profoundly.

The young man replied, “There are many other passions this English lad knows.” He undid the flaps of Carême’s trousers, easing the man out to the fresh air, and caressed him – all with his tender gaze searching every corner of Carême’s visage. He then dropped to his knees to pleasure his master.

Some ten minutes of bliss later, as a slow but relentless climax built to the fore, Carême closed his eyes and let his head loll back. The sound of the Beacon mill’s blades turning, the wooden axle and mechanism creaking, the luscious – almost edible – scent of the lubrication, all contributed to a spinning sensation of body and mind.

Carême’s hands reached down, latched onto the boy’s rabbit-soft flaxen hair and held his mouth still.

He climaxed as suddenly as the showers had come upon them, oddly seeing the gilded dragon atop the Pavilion’s water tower getting pelted by driving rain as he filled the waiting young man’s mouth.

After panting, grunting and nearly melting in pleasure, Carême barely perceived Thomas Daniels rising to a standing position again. Carême felt the boy’s weight as the young man leaned his head against his pounding heart. But in another moment, the chef gradually drew the English lad’s lips up to his own. This repast was finished with a sensual entremet of their own making.

 

 

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Copyright © 2022 AC Benus; All Rights Reserved.
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AC Benus

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The Royal Stables at Brighton,

which included a covered riding house and three tennis courts

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AC Benus

Posted (edited)

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La Halle au blé in Paris,

originally the wholesale grain exchange for the city and region

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AC Benus

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An illustration of the beach at Rottingdean in the early 1800s.

The building on top of the cliff -- with smoke from the chimney -- is the King of Prussia Inn

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Oh but for the use of a time machine for but a few short hours...

I glad that Thomas and Careme understand each other now...

Thomas asked in a pained way, “Why is it François hates me as much as he does?”

Carême was slow with his answer, but he was honest. “Because he thinks we are sleeping together.”

“A dalliance? That’s shure rich.”

“Why?”

“Because”—Thomas re-thought his reply midstream—“well, because we’re not.” The young man took a step forward.

“No, we’re not. But, in fact, you and I already have a relationship, don’t we?”

Thomas was taken aback. “We do?”

“Oui. Only in the last few days have I realized it’s you – you are my official ‘minder’ for Doctor Kitchiner. You have been the Doctor’s man in the Great Kitchen the whole time.”

Young Master Daniels didn’t act particularly surprised by this confrontation. In fact, he closed the gap between them a little more, saying, “I help out where and when I can; for the Doctor’s sake, but also for yours.”

“And it was you who obtained a sample of the yarrow-laced tea for Kitchiner’s laboratory to analyse.”

“Well, yes. That had to be a discreet, in-house job.”

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1 hour ago, 84Mags said:

 I can't help but feel a bit sad for Francois. 

Because his "girlfriend" is away with Charlotte?

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AC Benus

Posted (edited)

11 minutes ago, CincyKris said:

Because his "girlfriend" is away with Charlotte?

Well, now I think we have to remember that things are "complex" between our couple; and part of that is certainly François' affair with Brigitte. But, as Thomas says -- perhaps in too overly wry a manner for his own good -- young Master Daniels is already hated for a perceived dalliance with the chef, so striking out with an encounter in the windmill can be defended as manifesting a no-harm-no-foul situation. I'm not saying it's the right defense, but it's one that could be made. 

And then again, the chef does expressly tell Thomas that he and François are not "split, officially or otherwise," so the young many may want nothing more than a romp with the Byronesque Frenchman. Will that stay the same for the boy? Will he come to find himself wanting more? Will the chef...? 

I guess we'll learn more in the upcoming chapters.  

Edited by AC Benus
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84Mags

Posted (edited)

18 minutes ago, CincyKris said:

Because his "girlfriend" is away with Charlotte?

I know, I know. And Careme is married. It truly is complex. But yes, I feel sad for Francois.  

Edited by 84Mags
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As an aside there used to be a really "hot" (with potential action!) Gay Sauna in Rottingdean .I haven't been in over 25 years &  it may have closed!!? Quite appropriate given the chapter!???!!!! Lol 😜😱🤣🤣🌈🤯

Edited by Freemantleman
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On 6/29/2022 at 2:40 PM, drsawzall said:

Oh but for the use of a time machine for but a few short hours...

I glad that Thomas and Careme understand each other now...

Thomas asked in a pained way, “Why is it François hates me as much as he does?”

Carême was slow with his answer, but he was honest. “Because he thinks we are sleeping together.”

“A dalliance? That’s shure rich.”

“Why?”

“Because”—Thomas re-thought his reply midstream—“well, because we’re not.” The young man took a step forward.

“No, we’re not. But, in fact, you and I already have a relationship, don’t we?”

Thomas was taken aback. “We do?”

“Oui. Only in the last few days have I realized it’s you – you are my official ‘minder’ for Doctor Kitchiner. You have been the Doctor’s man in the Great Kitchen the whole time.”

Young Master Daniels didn’t act particularly surprised by this confrontation. In fact, he closed the gap between them a little more, saying, “I help out where and when I can; for the Doctor’s sake, but also for yours.”

“And it was you who obtained a sample of the yarrow-laced tea for Kitchiner’s laboratory to analyse.”

“Well, yes. That had to be a discreet, in-house job.”

Thank you, drsawzall! We will see if this new détente between man and boy holds out. But at least now we know who's been keeping an eye on Carême for the Good Doctor ;) 

Thanks again!

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On 6/29/2022 at 2:44 PM, chris191070 said:

Some really awesome pictures.

Thank you, Chris! As I was posting them, I did wonder if you've been to these places. The view from the windmill looks amazing :)

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On 6/29/2022 at 3:00 PM, 84Mags said:

During the last chapter's comments, I mentioned that the kitchen interaction between Doctor Kitchiner and Francois was somewhat like watching a strategic game of poker. The good Doctor just set down a Royal Flush. It appears Lady Morgan not only agrees with the tryst but welcomed it. Careme and Thomas now have a solid understanding between them. I can't help but feel a bit sad for Francois. 

Thank you, 84Mags! Your comments make me wonder if Doctor Kitchiner's moves concerning this little outing have been geopolitical. They could have been more personal though, along the lines of concern for a friend overworking himself without any downtime to recharge. But then again, the high-level official (un-officially, of course ;) ) for the Prince Regent may have both aims in mind; that's possible. 

Anyway, with this chapter we conclude "Winter 1816-1817." Next up are the four chapters for "Spring 1817" and the State Visit by the Grand Duke Nicholas. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that...right...?

And for all readers of Carême in Brighton, I will gently remind you that this book only has eighteen chapters total. That might be good to keep in perspective.

Thanks again!    

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AC Benus

Posted (edited)

On 6/30/2022 at 4:40 AM, Freemantleman said:

As an aside there used to be a really "hot" (with potential action!) Gay Sauna in Rottingdean .I haven't been in over 25 years &  it may have closed!!? Quite appropriate given the chapter!???!!!! Lol 😜😱🤣🤣🌈🤯

In Rottingdean? Wow, it does not seem to be large enough to maintain this sort of facility, but then again, I guess it's been a popular tourist destination for a long time.

On a side note, a while back I posted a first-hand account of what being "in the life" in this region of Britain was like for a young man coming of age during the war years of the 1940s (and having tons of hot sex!). It's well worth reading, though naturally a bit X-Rated.

You can check it out here: https://gayauthors.org/story/ac-benus/the-great-mirror-of-same-sex-love-prose/6

 

Edited by AC Benus
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Doha

Posted (edited)

On 6/30/2022 at 1:33 AM, 84Mags said:

I know, I know. And Careme is married. It truly is complex. But yes, I feel sad for Francois.  

Yes, me too. I know he has a thing with Brigitte, and yet I can't help feeling that Careme is the love of his life. Humans are complex things. Francois at some stage will need to choose, that is, if a choice is still available. Thomas may capture Careme's heart. Let's see. Thoroughly enjoyed this chapter. 

Lady Morgan is a character!

Edited by Doha
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9 hours ago, Doha said:

Yes, me too. I know he has a thing with Brigitte, and yet I can't help feeling that Careme is the love of his life. Humans are complex things. Francois at some stage will need to choose, that is, if a choice is still available. Thomas may capture Careme's heart. Let's see. Thoroughly enjoyed this chapter. 

Lady Morgan is a character!

Thank you, Doha! I'm glad you singled out Lady Morgan for mention. I think she's something of a hoot in this chapter; so good at being bad, as they say.

Thanks again. Next installment will be up Wednesday 

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Thank you for this lovely day, dalliance and detour. The photos are quite marvelous 

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1 hour ago, Parker Owens said:

Thank you for this lovely day, dalliance and detour. The photos are quite marvelous 

Thanks for all your love, Parker. Muah 

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Well, our Lady Morgan is quite the matchmaker, isn't she! :)

I agree with young Thomas, what Francois doesn't know, won't hurt him.

Ironically, although Francois doesn't hide his own little affairs from Careme, I think he would be very hurt if he knew the chef had an affair of his own. I guess that's the double-edged sword of being in an 'open relationship', or however they want to call their arrangement. 😛

I think Thomas is just a little infatuated with his famous, handsome master, but will he want more in time? Who knows... 

This was a lovely chapter, it was nice to see Careme and Thomas "let their hair down" for once! 

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On 7/13/2022 at 6:15 AM, ObicanDecko said:

Well, our Lady Morgan is quite the matchmaker, isn't she! :)

I agree with young Thomas, what Francois doesn't know, won't hurt him.

Ironically, although Francois doesn't hide his own little affairs from Careme, I think he would be very hurt if he knew the chef had an affair of his own. I guess that's the double-edged sword of being in an 'open relationship', or however they want to call their arrangement. 😛

I think Thomas is just a little infatuated with his famous, handsome master, but will he want more in time? Who knows... 

This was a lovely chapter, it was nice to see Careme and Thomas "let their hair down" for once! 

Thank you, ObicanDecko! I like Lady Morgan's turn of phrase, reassuring the chef that she "makes the most inattentive of chaperones." No wonder Carême blushed :blushing: lol.

I think what you say about François being deeply hurt, if he had confirmation of Carême having a fling, is very true. Perhaps we'll find out why in an upcoming chapter. Speaking of which, Chapter 16 goes up tomorrow! Please be on the lookout for it 

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Lady Morgan is quite the character and seems to have a deep understanding of Carême.  I assume that is from their days of adventure when Lady and Lord Morgan were in frequent company of Carême.  She is quite a free thinker, intelligent, and independent for a woman of that age in England. 

Thomas and Carême's liaison was inevitable, but like @84Mags I feel sad.  Françios does have his own diliance, but at times it seems to be only because Carême is so involved with his work and mission that Françios is left alone.   

The weather does seem to be improving, and a trip in that time machine @drsawzall mentioned would be delightful. Can I hitch a ride? 😄

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16 hours ago, raven1 said:

Lady Morgan is quite the character and seems to have a deep understanding of Carême.  I assume that is from their days of adventure when Lady and Lord Morgan were in frequent company of Carême.  She is quite a free thinker, intelligent, and independent for a woman of that age in England. 

Thomas and Carême's liaison was inevitable, but like @84Mags I feel sad.  Françios does have his own dalliance, but at times it seems to be only because Carême is so involved with his work and mission that Françios is left alone.   

The weather does seem to be improving, and a trip in that time machine @drsawzall mentioned would be delightful. Can I hitch a ride? 😄

Thank you, raven1. Based on the real Lady Morgan's fiction writing, she was every bit the freethinker I attempt to portray here. She seems to have been that rather rare type -- the conservative revolutionary. She wished for immediate progress to alleviate the most pressing of suffering, but wanted the transition to be in the hands of those who could guide it seamlessly from old to new. This description, although applied to a vastly different field, can sum up Carême's approach as well. The man who invented the flourless chocolate cake -- revolutionary! -- also valued, treasured and advanced France's great culinary past. 

As for time machines, I've love to organize Carême in Brighton package tours! We can see things in action circa 1816/1817 :yes:

 

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