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The Sisters
-By Richard Bonte, with Jayne Louise Cramforde

The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

The Sisters

-by Richard Bonte, with Jayne Louise Cramforde _______________________________
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either figments of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde



Austrians in London………………………… 15

Carlton-Smythe’s Country Home………. 25

Berlin Banking Blues……………………….. 33


Heroes, Art and the Proletariat…………. 47

Dabbling in France …………………………. 61

Love and a French Education ………….. 67

Loving Fantasies……………………………… 87

Cowboy Love ……………………………… 119


The Duel ……………………………………. 139

Herr Konsul sails to New York……… 147

Mademoiselle de Ville………………….. 155

The Slaver………………………………….. 167

The Merger………………………………… 171

Homeward Bound……………………….. 173


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

Chapter18: Mama…………………………………………179

Chapter19: Matchmaking………………………………183

Chapter 20: A Match Made in Heaven…………….. 191


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

Chapter 1: School

Hammersmith, West London, 1890

Daphne Konsul was thirteen, but she could have been eighteen or even twenty-one. She stared at her own copy of the painting: a red-haired Andromeda–with long legs, red pubic thatch, slim hips and large breasts– beckoned invitingly to this raging sea monster.

She looked at her own body in the mirror and felt it compared quite favorably. Daphne had reached her full adult height of five foot seven inches and when she turned slightly to observe her sleeping sisters, the reflected light off the snow outside seeped through her nightie like a naughty X-ray. Her breasts jutted out, her buttocks were firm and when she shivered her nipples quivered violently from the cold to form their own profile.

Her flattering rendition of Sir Edward J. Poynter’s full frontal nude ‘Andromeda’ hung on the wall. She herself had copied Poynter’s 1869 painting of the goddess chained to a rock complete from memory after she had visited it with her sisters on a school art trip to the Grosvenor Gallery in London.

Now she turned to look out over the snowy park that stretched out forever in the fog. This vast icy wasteland where the light in winter looked no different from that of the spring seemed like Siberia. Only the


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

distant Hammersmith Bridge with its yellow streetlamps and distinctive drawbridge look showed that she was in West London.

“It’s that time, girls. Wake up before Ms. Flora bangs her stick,” she said in German to her sisters Ruth and Claudia who both appeared to be the same height as their sister even though they were two and four years older. Whereas Claudia was very blond with mischievous blue eyes, Ruth’s hair was black and her eyes a gypsy-green color. As for Daphne, she was a combination of the two with dirty-blond hair and brown penetrating eyes. All three of them were of similar height and sublimely beautiful with straight noses, perfect teeth, shoulder-length lush hair and symmetrical features.

The two older sisters swung their legs out of bed and placed them on the cold wooden floor,

“Where are my slippers? You didn’t take them again, did you, Daphne?” said Claudia, rubbing her eyes.

“You left them in the toilet, don’t you remember?”

“No,” she yawned.

“It was just yesterday! You went to the Scheisse hole with your slippers because you were too lazy to put on your hob-nailed boots. And since it had snowed lightly you thought the slippers would be fine. Even so, you brought your boots with you just in case. When you got to the Scheisse hole, you had to take off all your


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

clothes to pee; then you had to put them back on again. Because of the snow, you wore your boots back and forgot about your slippers.”

“You’re right, Daphne, but we don’t need all the details” said Ruth, “Now I have to go.”

“Oh no, you don’t! I’m going!” said Daphne and Claudia in unison.

They jostled each other in their rush to put on thick socks and boots as well as layers of wool sweaters over their nighties. Then they shoved through the door with Claudia going first followed by Daphne and then Ruth lumbering down the wooden stairs and making a terrific racket with their heavy boots. A loud ‘Silence!’ was heard in a neighboring room but this command just made the sisters laugh more as they pushed through the back door out onto the quiet snow.

They paused for a moment to take in the icy stillness. The snow was crusty and much deeper than when Claudia had ventured out before in her woolen slippers. Then a crow started squawking and the girls began to laugh. Their laughter rang out and echoed off the lone outhouse about thirty meters away.

They made a beeline for the outhouse, shoving and singing ‘Schuss und Scheisse! Schuss und Scheisse!’1

1 Shoot and Shit, Shoot and Shit
2 Richard II, Act 2, Scene 1 by William Shakespeare


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

“I’m first!” shouted Daphne as she barged ahead. But then Claudia pulled her back and tried to move in front. Seeing this, Ruth pushed the two of them in the snow and got to the outhouse first.

Daphne and Claudia sat up with snow on their faces and tears in their eyes,

“So you get to poopoo first! Watch out a spider doesn’t crawl up your ‘you know where’!” Claudia cried out laughing as she pushed off Daphne to be next in line.

Inside, poor Ruth was standing next to the stinking hole. There was obviously no light inside so she had left the outhouse door open; she wanted to inspect for spiders or other bugs that might be crawling around. There was a rag lying there which she used to wipe down the old wicker chair placed over the hole. The wicker seat had been cut out so the students could sit on the frame and do their business. However, they had to be careful not to jostle the chair and collapse into the hole. And since the smell was so horrific, no one had any desire to spend more time there than was necessary.

Out of solidarity, the girls waited for each other to finish before they went back to their school, an old stone structure that looked like a prison.

“And to think Papa has spent hundreds of pounds sending us here!” said Claudia with disgust. “At least I won’t be here long now. You two still have a few more years left! Ha, ha!”


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

“This jail’s supposed to ‘build character’ as he says,” Ruth added, imitating his voice.

“One of the best finishing schools in England– ‘Miss Flora’s School for Young Ladies Schuss und Scheisse’!”– Daphne concluded in her bell-like laugh as she imitated Miss Flora. The three sisters joined in chanting ‘Schuss und Scheisse’ and their delightful laughter drew a great roar from inside the building.

It was Miss Flora herself, a ‘fairy-tale’ witch as the girls would say: a repulsive, menopausal old spinster, she had a long chin, grey stringy hair and a large hairy wart on her face. She was equipped with a monocle and a long bamboo cane, and she was standing there shivering at the open door.

“What’s the matter with you three?! It’s Sunday morning. Can’t you be quiet?”

They saw she had her cane waving and thought themselves in great trouble. They were not wrong so they decided to try the soft approach,

“We’re sorry, Miss Flora, but we needed to go to the –”

“Of course, you needed to go to the toilet! Obviously, but did you have to be so noisy about it?”

“We didn’t mean to make so much noise, Miss Flora.”

“But you did, didn’t you? Everyone needs to urinate, first time in the morning especially; I myself go at least five times a day and twice at night but naturally


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

I’m much older than you three. And of course, if you want to be crude about it, everyone needs to make time for one complete bowel evacuation during the day assuming you eat properly which is what you do in this wonderful school. Not too much white bread, mind you, but a good mixture of grains, salad and prunes keeps a young lady healthy and regular. That’s what I always say. However, from what I can see you consume far too much! Is this what you were going to tell me at 7 am on a Sunday morning?!”

“Miss Flora, the toilet is so dirty!” declared Daphne plaintively.

“You, Daphne, are a chatterbox. I heard you wake up the others this morning! To the basement with you!”

She gave Daphne’s bottom a vicious swat but Daphne didn’t feel the force of the sting because of the two long wool sweaters she was wearing under her coat. She gave a sigh and walked slowly to the basement.

“Come on, move it!” bellowed Miss Flora who was about to have another crack at her bottom with her bamboo switch but Daphne stopped and angrily faced the hysterical teacher. Then the youngest sister walked slowly to the basement and let herself in, closing the door gently behind her.

Put off by these tactics, Miss Flora hesitated for a moment but then grabbed her jailer’s keys and quickly locked Daphne in.


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

Then she spun around to face the others.

“As for you two, you need to wash your hands at least after visiting the toilet. Better yet, into the needle bath with the two of you!”

Again she brandished the bamboo cane but Ruth and Claudia jumped to attention and started tearing off their clothes as they ran to the ‘needle bath’, a newly installed shower by Smeaton of London. Miss Flora was right behind them, panting to keep up but determined to watch them wash.

Daphne, Ruth and Claudia Konsul had each been a pupil at ‘Miss Flora’s School for Young Ladies’ for upwards of seven years. In fact, the three sisters formed twenty percent of the student body as there were only fifteen students in the small, drafty boarding school reeking of rising dampness. There was no electricity, cold baths were the norm and kerosene lights completed the gloomy picture.

Once a week the girls were allowed a cold ‘needle bath’. Exceptionally, when the weather was very warm, they were allowed a second shower. This was not always the case. Ms. Flora had relented when the Konsul Sisters pointed out that if they were to remain clean and pure, they needed to have access to more showers. What was the point of Miss Flora going off about the outhouse and hygiene if the girls weren’t allowed to wash? Miss Flora even admitted to not being


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

coherent in her behavior and with a great deal of fanfare, allowed a second shower and even the odd bath.

As for Daphne, she was to spend another fifty minutes in the basement. Bad behavior–including ‘Strong-mindedness, impertinence and talking in class’– merited one hour of detention in the basement. Naturally, there were no gas lights in this basement—what sort of punishment would it be if there were lighting?—and large rats ruled the roost, especially since they could not be seen but only felt scampering past. Daphne always stood nearest the door because a little daylight would make its way underneath and the rats would not come near her.

Back in the showers, Miss Flora watched with interest as the two older girls shut the water off and then scrubbed their lithe bodies with hard washing soap.
Then they were allowed to turn the water back on, rinse off and approach Miss Flora who would extend a coarse towel to them with her cane. When she was in a good mood, she would often poke playfully at their breasts and say things like ‘looks like your future husbands will be very comfortable, very comfortable indeed, yes!’ However, today she was in a savage mood and tossed some towels at them. As they went to catch them, she swatted them severely on their behinds,

“Now dry off quickly, run upstairs and put on some clothes and go to the library for study hall.”


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

After another forty-five minutes, Miss Flora shouted for Daphne to leave the rats nest immediately. This was difficult to do as she didn’t have a key so Miss Flora pulled out her jailer’s keys, unlocked the basement door and smacked young Daphne on the behind as she ran to the showers. Again Miss Flora resumed her sentry post and watched Daphne wash.

Miss Flora must have felt bad about her treatment of the Austrian trio because after Daphne had showered, she put her arm around the youngest sister and gently fondled her breasts,

“I see you’re following in the footsteps of your lovely sisters. In the future, we’ll have to keep you locked up for other reasons. I hope you learnt your lesson today and will behave according to your rank and standing. Noblesse oblige, my dear, noblesse oblige! I know you don’t like me now but in the future you’ll be saying ‘Thank you, Miss Flora,’ for the civic lesson you learnt today.”

Suddenly she raised her voice and called out sarcastically, “Now run along, dear! Your Scriptures tutor is waiting!”

A sudden noise from behind the keyhole confirmed that the fifty-year-old Headmaster and Pastor, Dr. Perkins, had again been peeking at his developing young ladies before he met them later fully clothed in class. Another noise signaled that Dr. Perkins—in his rush to get to class and appear composed–had tripped


The Sisters, by Richard Bonte and Jayne Louise Cramforde

over his own feet which brought a brief smile to Miss

Flora’s lips.

And so it went from day to day: daily lessons in music, art, French, English literature, rudimentary mathematics, dance, theater and how to manage servants. These girls were being given an upper-class education and taught proper manners so they could become landed gentry if they married Englishmen, assuming they didn’t go back to Austria. Ms. Flora and Dr. Perkins did the bulk of the teaching and together with the foppish Monsieur Le Clerc for French, formed an excellent—if not dysfunctional and perverse—teaching team.