The Dandelion Seed

The Dandelion Seed by Lena Kennedy

Book: The Dandelion Seed by Lena Kennedy Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lena Kennedy
Tags: Romance
bystanders to bouts of wrestling.
    And if Betsy had the time and the inclination she would perform with a nice young gentleman upstairs in bed. Betsy’s ideas were changing. She no longer needed the money, so sex was just a biological urge. Betsy was becoming almost respectable.
    One bright sunny morning, while Rolly raised many peals of laughter from the folks outside, Sir Fulke Greville from Brook House came riding by on his way from Epping with his hunting party of young gentlemen. They stopped their horses to watch Rolly’s antics, and then they all dismounted and went into the inn to drink some ale. This was a special occasion which Betsy rose to. She spread a snow-white cloth on the table and provided plenty of food and hot spiced punch. Sir Fulke was a handsome man, now in his fifties, and was still very partial to a pretty woman. That morning inside the inn, he lounged by the large red brick fireplace, and observed the attractive Betsy. For her part, Betsy took him in, with his clear-cut aristocratic features and his smart attire. From then on all Betsy did was in aid of his Lordship, and Sir Fulke and his followers frequently dropped in for some extremely enjoyable evenings, when much of the entertainment was put on especially for the pleasure of the local lord who resided at Brook House.
    For the first time in her nineteen years Betsy knew the meaning of prosperity. Her business thrived, and she often thought of her youth when she and Rolly had begged for money and food in the streets – she in her ragged dress with her bare feet all blue and frozen and, tagging along behind her, the muddy, bewildered little Rolly who was all of five years old. As the crowds had milled around them, no one looked or even cared as the little girl with a mop of fair curls held out her hand for pennies. Betsy once stole some oranges from a woman outside the playhouse at Shoreditch, but the woman caught her and beat her. Betsy could still hear her shrill voice now: ‘Steal from a poor working gel, would yer? Plenty of damned pockets to pick off those who don’t work so ’ard for it.’ Then with a sudden change of heart the woman had taken them home, washed and fed them. Orange Molly introduced Betsy to prostitution while her brother Rolly was hired out to a local sweep master. Rolly’s was a hard and dirty job climbing up those big chimneys to clean them, and his master was often brutal and unfeeling. All the young boys were bound to their masters so there was no way they could escape. So at such a tender age, Rolly was pulled away from the protection of his loving sister to be a small slave to a cruel sweep master.
    Orange Molly had a heart of gold really, and Betsy grew to be very fond of her, so what else could she do except help Molly to entertain her gentlemen? And later, poor Molly died of the smallpox and left nothing but a basket or oranges. Meanwhile, poor Rolly had grown up daft from the bashings his sweep master had given him for running away. One day Betsy had found Rolly in a ditch where the sweep master had left him, black with soot and utterly naked. She bathed him and cared for him until he was able to breathe properly again, she clothed him and then they had fled deep into London town and got lost in the big city. But Rolly was never the bright little brother he had been. He grew up big and strong enough, but his brain remained like that of a child. But Betsy loved him deeply; he was all she had to care for.
    That was the year the Black Death stalked London and people were dying like flies. It had been for Rolly’s safety that Betsy tried to leave the town along with a great horde of other refugees. As they fled they came to the borders of Essex but the soldiers of the Earl had lined the roads and beaten them back. The aristocrats in their carriages had flown but the little people were trapped, driven back into the disease-ridden city to die like rats. It was old Sam who had befriended Betsy then, allowing her

Similar Books

The Funeral Planner

Lynn Isenberg

The Christmas Spirit

Patricia Wynn

Mr Scarletti's Ghost

Linda Stratmann

Dead In The Morning

Margaret Yorke

Too Great a Temptation

Alexandra Benedict

Cry for Help

Steve Mosby

Devil of Kilmartin

Laurin Wittig