Honeysuckle Weeks as Samantha Stewart SAM's WAR
The d'Arcy Manor Mystery
by Van ©2006



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Sam paused as she approached the police station—then broke into a happy smile.  A familiar shape was parked in the slot usually reserved for Foyle's transportation.  A quick glance at the number plate, a hand passed across a small, shallow dimple in the left rear mudguard, and her first impression was confirmed—Sam's Wolseley had been returned!

Sam's smile became a wry grin.  All right, it wasn't her Wolseley.  She walked a slow circle around the saloon, and gave the roof an affectionate pat.  "Sorry I let that Marie person lay her hands on you," she muttered.  "I'll do my very best not to let anything like that happen again."

She entered the police station and beamed at Sgt. Rivers.  He smiled back, and tossed her a set of keys.  They were the Wolseley's, of course.  "Try not to lose it again," he said.

Sam laughed as she removed and hung up her coat.  "I've apologized to the boss and to the motorcar in question, just now.  Perhaps you should hold a muster so I can apologize to the entire force, en masse."

"Maybe after lunch," Rivers laughed.  "You're expected," he continued, and nodded towards DCS Foyle's office.  "In you go."

Sam straightened the front of her uniform (her spare uniform, her only uniform until she could replace the one Marie had stolen), rapped on the office door twice, then entered.  Foyle was behind his desk, a young Army officer was in a guest chair, and in the other—"Marion!" Sam cried.

Marion Ravenwood was out of the chair and into Sam's arms in an instant.  The women shared a warm embrace while the men stood.

"I-I'm sorry," Sam mumbled.

Marion held Sam at arm's length.  "Sorry?  For what?"

Sam's eyes were welling.  "I-I couldn't rescue you," she responded.

Marion laughed, and pulled Sam back into an embrace.  "Don't be silly.  If you had, you would have ruined everything."

"What?" Sam gasped.

"Let's do things properly," Foyle suggested, and gestured toward the officer.  "Lieutenant John Steed, Military Intelligence."

Sam touched her cap in salute.  "Sir."  If Sam wasn't mistaken, his uniform made the Lieutenant a member of the Coldstream Guards, and she definitely recognized the commando flash on his right sleeve.  He was a handsome devil, although he hardly seemed old enough to be a serving officer.

"So pleased to finally meet you, Miss Stewart," Steed said, and extended his hand.  His manner and voice betrayed his public school and upper class background, but his friendly charm and boyish smile were disarming.

Sam reached around Marion and took the offered hand.  Steed's grip was firm but gentle.  "Uh... pleased as well," Sam responded, a blush colouring her cheeks.

"My escort," Marion explained, in a whisper, "in case there are more German spies lurking in the bushes."

"What were you saying about my spoiling things?" Sam demanded.

"Miss Ravenwood agreed to allow herself to be captured by our double agents," Steed explained.

Sam frowned at Marion.  "You were pretending to be a prisoner."

Marion laughed.  "There was no pretending involved, I assure you!  I expected a little polite pistol waving and possibly a blindfold, not to be trussed up like a violent lunatic."

"Lady Jane?" Sam asked.

"She was recruited by Whitehall to serve as Marion's introduction to the Countess," Foyle explained.  "Her Ladyship's ill-fated rescue was attempted in ignorance."

"As was mine," Sam sighed.

Marion still had one arm around Sam's waist.  "Stop that!" she scolded, and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.  "Jane acted out of pride and a desire to impress her upper-crust friends."

"If Lady Jane's concern for Miss Ravenwood had been genuine," Foyle intoned, "she would have welcomed your assistance, possible hidden affiliations aside, rather than treat you like an enemy."

"Speaking of affiliations," Lieutenant Steed said, directing his most winning smile at Sam, "would you be fluent in German or French, by chance, or, dare I hope, in both?"

"None of that!" Foyle said sternly (the twinkle in his eyes softening the rebuke).  "The Hastings police are already stretched dangerously thin.  I won't have you recruiting my key personnel out from under me."

Sam blushed at the compliment.  "No German or French, I'm afraid," she told the Lieutenant.  "A little Latin."

Steed smiled, and shook his head.  "A pity."

"What a smooth customer," Marion muttered, and all present laughed.  "Anyway..." she continued, giving Sam another hug, "your concern was selfless, and you were very brave."  She turned to Foyle.  "I'm taking her to lunch."

"It's quite a bit early for lunch," Sam observed.

"Lunch, breakfast, whatever," Marion muttered.  "We can get some coffee, at least."  She guided Sam towards the door.

Sam glanced at Foyle, and he smiled and nodded.  She smiled back, nodded at Lieutenant Steed, and they headed for the door.  Sam looked Marion up and down as they walked.  "You're none the worse for wear, I see."

"Oh, what the Countess did to me?" Marion laughed.  "That was nothing.  Let me tell you about the time I was the prisoner of a Turkish warlord.  The old battleaxe who ran his harem, the senior wife, she knew a thing or two about tying people up, and she hated foreigners.  Anyway, it all began when—"

The door closed and Foyle and Steed could hear no more.

"Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall while she tells that tale," Steed sighed.
The d'Arcy Manor Mystery—EPILOGUE
An hour later, a late breakfast in their stomachs, Sam and Marion were leaving a rather scandalized tea room in their wake.  Sam smiled.  She wasn't sure she'd ever be able to return to the establishment in question, but she wouldn't trade Marion's friendship for all the tea and biscuits in Hastings.

Sordid tales of Turkish seraglios aside, Sam had finally learned something more of Marion's current adventure.  The Wolseley—Sam's Wolseley—had visited no less than three safe-houses as the Countess and her maids spirited Marion to the coast.  Troops had descended on each nest of spies as soon as they departed, and apparently, MI-5 had made quite a haul.  When they reached the coast, a fishing boat and its traitorous captain and crew were added to the bag.  The Countess was "captured", but the two maids escaped.  There were whispers that the Royal Navy had sunk a U-boat just off the coast, but it might or might not have had anything to do with the Countess' plan.

"We'll never know what really happened, will we?" Sam muttered as they walked the streets of Hastings.

"Want my best guess?" Marion asked, and Sam nodded.  "Okay—the Countess is completely opportunistic, playing both sides against the middle.  She either got turned by MI-5 or saw an opportunity to sell out the Germans at a profit.  I'm betting she was supposed to expose the German sleeper network without blowing her cover, but something went wrong when we got to the coast."

"What?" Sam asked.

"How should I know?" Marion laughed.  "I was bound and gagged and blindfolded, with wax stuffed in my ears, remember?"

Sam took Marion's hand and gave it a squeeze.

"Anyway, " Marion continued, "something happened and they had to take the self-serving bitch into custody, possibly to maintain the cover of other aspects of the operation.  Who knows?"

Sam sighed.  "And the maids?"

"Minions," Marion said with a dismissive shrug.


"Servants, hired help, henchmen—"

"I know what minions are," Sam laughed.  "They weren't captured?"

Marion shrugged.  "Apparently not.  Johnny thinks they've fled to a prearranged rendezvous in Ireland."


"Lieutenant Steed," Marion purred.  "There's so much gossip leaking about this fiasco... I'm beginning to suspect most of it is purposely being spread, to mislead the Germans.  Anyway, you're right.  We'll probably never know what really happened—not all of it."

Sam smiled as they neared the station.  Samantha Stewart, Counter-Spy!  It was a delicious fantasy, but now it was over, and she was back to her duties as a police chauffeur.

As they approached the front door, an army staff car and a light, 4x4 lorry pulled up and stopped.  Several soldiers jumped from the back of the lorry and took up guard positions.  All were armed with sten guns or American Thompsons.  As Sam came closer, she could see that they were commandos.

Foyle and Lieutenant Steed emerged from the station, and as Sam and Marion approached, a commando Sergeant exited the staff car and opened its back door.  He reached inside and helped a female passenger emerge, and she was—the Countess!

She was dressed all in black, as Marion had seen her before, and had added a black trenchcoat and a hat with a transparent veil of black lace—as stylish and glamorous as ever.  However—she was a prisoner!  Her wrists were cuffed in front and padlocked to a thick leather belt buckled and locked around her waist.  In addition, her ankles were shackled and a steel chain attached to the belt kept the hobbling chain off the ground.

"It's our captured spy, herself," Marion laughed as they drew near.  "You look good in chains, even if they are just to impress the locals."

The Countess ignored Marion, but she favoured Sam with one of her evil, aristocratic smiles.  "Driver Stewart," she purred.  "It's a pleasure to—"

Sam's heart was pounding and her face flushed, and she became aware of mild pain in her right hand.  She opened her fist, and flexed her fingers.  The Countess was sitting on the ground, a dazed expression on her face and her hat skewed at a rather comical angle.  "What happened?" Sam asked.

Marion was trying very hard to contain a giggling fit, and failing.  "You coldcocked her!"

Sam blinked in surprise.  "I what?"

"You punched her lights out!" Marion chortled, and could contain herself no longer.  One hand keeping her hat in place, she bent at the waist and quaked with laughter.

Foyle, Steed, and the Sergeant were doing a better job of controlling their mirth; but all present, save Sam and the Countess, were clearly amused.

Sam blushed, furiously.

Foyle cleared his throat, and assumed his official frown.  "Prisoners in custody are not allowed to lose their balance at this station.  Do I make myself clear, Sam?"

Sam blushed even brighter.  "Yes, sir.  Sorry, sir.  Won't happen again, sir."

"See that it doesn't," Foyle said, then nodded to Lieutenant Steed.

Lieutenant Steed cleared his throat and nodded towards the Countess.  "Sergeant?"  The Sergeant lifted the Countess to her rather wobbly feet.  "Miss Ravenwood, this is the woman who attempted your abduction?" Steed asked.  Still laughing, all Marion could do was nod.  Steed turned to Sam.  "This is the woman?"

"Yes, sir," Sam answered.  "She was the leader."

Steed nodded and the Sergeant returned The Countess to the back of the staff car.  He then climbed in beside her and pulled the door closed.  Steed opened the front passenger door, then turned and gave Foyle a smart salute.  "Chief Superintendent, thank you for your assistance."

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Foyle responded with a smile, and shook Steed's hand.  "Let me know if I can be of help in the future, although I would appreciate being involved a little earlier in the chain of events, should similar circumstances arise."

Steed's smile became rather apologetic.  "Unfortunately, my superiors tend to value secrecy over local expertise."

"I understand," Foyle responded.

Steed turned to Marion and touched the brim of his hat.  "Miss Ravenwood, I hope to see you in London."

"It's a date, Johnny," Marion answered, then winked at Sam.  "I'm a sucker for a man in uniform."

Steed smiled at Sam.  "Miss Stewart, we're all in your debt."  He snapped another salute.  "It was a pleasure to meet you."

Sam blushed and returned the salute.  "Lieutenant."

"Ain't they a cute pair?" Marion asked, directing her remark to Foyle.

Sam smiled, closed her right hand in a tight fist, and shook it in Marion's grinning face.  "You want some of this as well?"

Steed laughed, and climbed into the staff car.  The engine started, the commandos climbed into the back of the lorry, and the army vehicles departed.

"Where are they taking her?" Sam asked, quietly.

"Scotland," Marion answered.  "To a castle... some place."

"Officially," Foyle said, "she'll be interrogated, and eventually... she'll meet the fate of any captured spy."  He noted Sam's grim face, and smiled.  "Unofficially, since she actually isn't a captured spy, I suppose she'll cool her heels in some chilly suite of rooms, enjoying the view of a half-frozen loch through the frosted panes of draughty windows, for the duration... unless Military Intelligence has further use for her."

Sam nodded, then turned to Marion.  "You're going to London?"

Marion nodded. "On the afternoon train."

Sam glanced at her boss.  "May I drive her to the station, sir?"

"Of course," Foyle answered, then motioned towards the station entrance.  "But first, we have some unfinished business."

Sam was confused.  "Sir?"  Marion took her by the arm and led her into the station—and Sam's eyes popped wide.
The d'Arcy Manor Mystery—EPILOGUE
What had to be every constable in Hastings not occupied by patrolling duties was crowded into the entry hall and the area behind the sergeant's desk.  All were in neatly pressed uniforms, with their helmets or caps firmly on their unsmiling heads.  The exception was Milner, although he was in what Sam recognized as his best suit.

Sam frowned as she removed her coat and cap.  "What—?"

"Keep your hat on, please, Driver Stewart," Foyle said.

"Sorry, sir," Sam mumbled, apologizing for her impatience.

"I meant that literally, Sam," Foyle added, in a whisper.

"Oh!"  Sam positioned her uniform cap back atop her head.

"Come to attention," Foyle said, and all present, with the exception of Marion, braced and stared straight ahead.

"For courage and initiative in the performance of her duties," Foyle said in a formal tone, "Samantha Stewart, Civilian Volunteer, Motorized Transport Corps..."  He reached into his coat pocket and produced a silver medal with a red ribbon.  "...is awarded the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry."

Foyle handed the medal to Marion.  Smiling brightly, she pinned it to Sam's left breast pocket.

"I-I didn't do anything," Sam objected in a whisper, her eyes welling.  "I couldn't rescue Lady Jane, or Marion, or even save myself, for that matter."

Foyle smiled.  "Your prudent course of action would have been to escape the manor and summon help.  Of course, that would certainly have taken hours, and additional hours for us to respond. 
Alone and against superior odds, you acted, gallantly.  We're all very proud of you, Sam."

"Hear, hear!" the constables muttered.

"The proper citation and an engraved medal should be arriving some time in the future, but

"He wanted to give you the award before the fools at Whitehall change their tiny minds," Marion interrupted.

"That's not true," Foyle responded, with a wry smile.  "Well, not entirely.  The actual citation will be classified, and they're still arguing about the details of the cover story they're going to give the press.  At some point, there'll be another presentation ceremony, with your parents present, of course."

"Oh, sir!" Sam sobbed.  Marion gave her a hug, and Sam quickly regained her self-control.

"Isn't that just like a woman?" one of the constables whispered to Sgt. Rivers.

"Don't let Sam hear you say that," Rivers whispered, "or she'll clean your clock."

"I wasn't serious," the officer hissed.

"I know that, lad," Rivers whispered, "or I'd clean your clock."
The d'Arcy Manor Mystery—EPILOGUE

Lady Jane's hands were shaking with anger by the time she finished reading the letter.  It was from one of her few remaining "friends" in His Majesty's government, and had included a clipping from the London Gazette, announcing the award of the British Empire Gallantry Medal to one Samantha Stewart, an MTC volunteer police driver in Hastings.  Phrases like "bravery and initiative" and "assistance to authorities" were bandied about without making it clear exactly what it was she had actually done.

"What she did was give Sir David an additional means of deceiving the Abwehr," Lady Jane muttered to the empty room.  "That snip-of-a-girl gets a medal—and I get exiled to Ireland!"  She threw the letter down on her desk, and stared out the window.  On a clear day, she had a breathtaking view of the Derryveagh Mountains from this tower; but today, to match her foul mood, all she could see was a wet, grey fog.  She was dressed in riding costume and a warm sweater of local wool, and the room was well-heated—but she shivered as she watched water drip down the outside of the thick panes.

Lady Jane turned and stomped from the room.  She made her way down the tower, through the Great Hall, and into a small sitting room.  Like d'Arcy Manor, Castle Cill Seoigh had its own hidden doors and secret passages.  Lady Jane gave an iron sconce a slight turn to the right, until she heard a quiet click, then pulled it away from the wall.  A section of stone wall beside the fireplace opened.  She entered the narrow corridor thus revealed, and descended a set of stairs.

The stairs emptied on a labyrinth of torch-lit corridors, and Her Ladyship tapped along in her riding boots, making turn after turn with easy confidence.  She came to her first destination, a shallow, arched alcove off a side corridor. 

The alcove was occupied—by Marie the maid—and by a particularly cruel apparatus.

The apparatus was T-shaped, and consisted of a vertical iron pipe supporting a horizontal, triangular iron bar.  Marie was straddling the bar, up on her toes.  Her sex was cleaved by the bar and her ankles locked in wooden stocks mounted around the pipe's base.  She was naked, other than the several yards of hemp rope binding her arms to her sides.  Her wrists were crossed, behind her back, twisted upwards in a double hammerlock, and lashed to her other bonds.  Finally, a large rag was stuffed in her mouth and held in place by several strands of hemp wrapped around her head and knotted at the nape of her neck.

Marie's skin glistened with sweat and her blonde locks were a dirty, tousled mess.  Her breasts bulged between neatly hitched bands of rope, and her nipples were captured and stretched by tiny, cage-like clamps.  The gleaming devices were as well-crafted as fine jewellery, but designed for torment, rather than decoration.  The prisoner squirmed weakly in her bonds, her blue eyes begging for mercy.

Lady Jane's cold stare and cruel smile made it clear that mercy was the last thing on her mind.  "Not quite so full or yourself now, are you, Ducky?" she purred, then reached out and gave the tiny wheel of the left nipple clamp a quarter turn.  Marie's eyes pinched closed, and she whined through her gag.  The irony was delicious.  With the Countess a prisoner, the maids had made their way to the Castle, as ordered; but instead of sanctuary, they themselves were made prisoners.  "I promised you one full day and one full night of torment for every hour I was locked in that horrid cage," Lady Jane continued, then gave the right nipple clamp a quarter turn.

Marie whined again, and a tear rolled down her bulging cheek and disappeared into the coarse cloth of her saliva-stained gag.

"I always keep my promises," Lady Jane vowed, then turned and walked away, down the dark corridor.

Marie sighed in despair, knowing that eventually her aching toes and straining feet would tire, and her full weight would settle on the ridge of the bar already cleaving her crotch.  It was going to be a long day.
The d'Arcy Manor Mystery—EPILOGUE
Lady Jane came to a heavy oak door bound in iron.  She threw back the bolt, entered the chamber beyond, and found the Honourable Carey d'Arcy, and Zaza.

Jean Butler as Carey d'ArcyA member of a junior branch of the family, Carey was a permanent resident of Castle Cill Seoigh.  Like her slightly older cousin, her hair was straight and copper-red, and her fair skin was prone to freckles—several million of which were currently on display.  She was dressed in boots and jodhpurs, like Lady Jane, but Carey had removed her blouse and brassiere, and was naked from the waist up.  She had a flogger, a dozen ribbon-like tails of soft leather dangling from a braided handle, clutched in one gloved hand.  Her smooth, toned skin and pert breasts were glistening with sweat, and she was panting from exertion.  Exactly why she was in such an exercised state was quite clear.

Zaza was naked, and her lower body was pressed against a short, vertical post embedded in the stone floor.  She turned her head and gazed back over one shoulder, and Lady Jane could see that her mouth was stuffed to capacity with a burlap rag, and a thin leather strap cleaving her lips made sure it stayed there.  The sturdy oak column was about four feet in height, and Zaza's ankles, knees, crossed wrists, and waist were bound to the post by leather straps, all pulled tight enough to dimple her skin.  The skin in question was shining with sweat, like Carey's—but, in addition—from her back, to her rump, to the backs of her calves—Zaza's body was flushed a rosy pink and criss-crossed with countless thin, angry stripes!  There was no blood, but obviously Carey had been causing their French guest a great deal of discomfort, for a great deal of time.

"I believe Marie has had enough of a ride for the day," Lady Jane announced.  She found a towel next to Carey's neatly folded blouse, and tossed it to her cousin.  "It's a little early for her evening gruel and to be chained in her cell for the night, but you may indulge yourself with rope on the bondage table, if you're in the mood."

Carey let the flogger drop from her hand, patted her face with the towel, then gave her torso and arms a brisk rubdown.  All the while, her green eyes were on her older cousin.  Carey had been Mistress of the Castle for several years, until Lady Jane's return and rightful assumption of the title.  Carey hid her resentment well... but not well enough.

"Perhaps I'll do just that," Carey muttered, tossed the towel in a corner, and headed for the door.  "Hmm... perhaps I'll hog-tie the English slut and lash her to the table for the night."  The door closed, and she was gone.

Lady Jane smiled and began unbuckling Zaza's restraints, starting at her ankles.

When only her gag remained, Zaza took a step back from the post, and stretched.  She unbuckled the gag strap and spat the rag to the floor, then smiled weakly.  "Merci, madame," she gasped.

"Oh, don't thank me yet," Lady Jane purred.  "Your punishment isn't over."  She found a length of rope, stepped behind Zaza, and began binding her wrists behind her back.  The naked maid made no effort to resist.

"Madame ees most cruel," Zaza whispered.  From her manner, it was a compliment, rather than a complaint.

"I've received news from London," Lady Jane said as she worked.  She had finished binding Zaza's wrists and was wrapping loops of rope around her elbows, arms, and torso.  "Your mistress is incarcerated in a castle near Gairloch, and probably won't be allowed to return to d'Arcy Manor until the end of the war."

Zaza winced as her rope bonds were cinched and tightened.  "And what of Marie and myself?"

"His Majesty's forces believe you are probably dead," Lady Jane answered, then pointed at the floor.  Zaza sighed, dropped to her knees, then settled on her side.  Lady Jane found more rope and began tying the maid's ankles and knees.  "They believe the Abwehr have no interest whatsoever in your fate; however, according to my friends in Dublin, the Republic's counter-espionage service is most interested."  She tied a final knot and stood, gazing down at her helpless captive.  "If Marie or yourself set foot outside this castle, you'll be arrested immediately."

"We are most grateful for madame's protection," Zaza said, a coy smile curling her lips.  Even gleaming with sweat, her skin soiled from the dungeon floor, and her pageboy tousled and limp, she was a seductive sight.  "A pity my mistress could not also make her final escape."

"Yes, a great pity," Lady Jane muttered.  "Castle Cill Seoigh has many empty dungeon cells.  A pity that insufferable 'MTC Driver' isn't here as well."

"Mademoiselle Samantha?" Zaza asked, still smiling.  "Zhe one with zhe rosy cheeks and pretty pink lèvres?"

Lady Jane nodded.  "They gave the trollop a medal," she hissed.

Zaza laughed, then stifled herself when she saw Lady Jane's angry frown.

"Get up on your knees," Lady Jane ordered, and began unbuckling her belt.

Zaza struggled to the ordered position.  By this time, Lady Jane had her jodhpurs and knickers around her knees, and was holding up her sweater and blouse, in front.  Zaza smiled at the sight of Her Ladyship's milky white thighs, plump sex, and copper-red pubic bush.

"Do a good job," Lady Jane growled, "or you'll spend the night tied in a tight ball, in my tiniest cage, in my deepest dungeon."

"Oui, madame," Zaza whispered, shuffled forward, wet her lips, and set to work.

Lady Jane gasped, braced her booted feet wide apart, arched her back, and put her hands behind her back to grip the top of the whipping post.  The tails of her blouse and hem of her sweater settled over Zaza's bobbing head.  Her face flushed, Lady Jane began to pant as Zaza licked and probed her most intimate flesh with her lips and tongue.

Jane imagined Samantha Stewart in Zaza's place—naked, bound, and helpless—humiliated, her spirit broken—using her treacherous mouth for a much better purpose than lying about her loyalties and spoiling Lady Jane's plans.

"There must be a way to lure her to Ireland," Lady Jane muttered, "to Castle Cill Seoigh—and into my power."  Zaza made a questioning noise as she continued servicing her current mistress, but was ignored.  "There must be a way, and I'll find it," Lady Jane vowed, "no matter how long it takes!"  She then screamed, as Zaza took her over the edge.
The d'Arcy Manor Mystery

Chapter 5
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Many thanks to Mr. B (Gillian's husband) for helping me scrub the Americanisms from my prose;
…& it is my heartfelt prayer that Gillian B looks down from heaven, reads this story, and smiles.