Luke immediately notices that things are run a little differently on this plantation...

Master of River's Bend - Chapter 2
by Chrisus
Series: Master of River's Bend
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Chapter 2: "The Welcome"

Beauregard St Jean's plantation - River's Bend - is well named given its position within a narrow loop of the wide river flowing past its frontage. The two thousand acres of prime alluvial soil nestles comfortably within the elbow of the Mississippi where it changes course and almost doubles back on itself. This in itself is fortuitous as it gives the plantation a river frontage on three sides.

Luke recalls his father's description of River's Bend as idyllic and indeed it is and he is reminded of some of the oil paintings of similar pastoral scenes adorning the drawing-room walls in the homes of his parents' wealthy friends. The plantation is shielded from the river by a solid wall of natural vegetation which grows right down to the water's edge affording it a high degree of privacy. And yet, in the far distance, there is a tantalizing glimpse of a white, colonnaded fa‡ade of the moderately sized mansion house contrasting with the verdant green of the venerable trees surrounding it.

As the boat which has brought Luke from Natchez to River's Bend inches its way towards the wharf, honking wild ducks and other waterfowl noisily protest at this incursion into their territory as they swim away. All around the boat, Luke sees the concentric ripples and hears the gentle plopping sound of slow moving, fat-bellied fish as they breech the river's surface.

Luke is entranced by the magical scene and his excitement - which he has barely kept in check since leaving home - is near its climax.

Ahead of him the wharf is a scene of intense activity as a gang of near naked slaves load heavy bales of cotton onto the empty barges waiting to take River's Bend's rich harvest down river to the auction-houses and then on to the insatiable cotton-mills of Britain, France and New England.

Luke is surprised - and pleased - to see that the slaves are, without exception, all light- skinned mustees while their overseers are black. This is unexpected but nevertheless he is gratified to see there are no black slaves. He wonders about the reason for this and looks forward to finding out more from Cousin Beauregard.

The slaves are all shirtless and their muscular bodies are deeply tanned by the sun. They wear threadbare britches of unbleached calico which conceal nothing. The pants, saturated by their wearers' profuse sweating, cling to their legs much like a second skin and sensuously highlight their strong leg and thigh muscles as they bend and flex while manhandling the heavy bales onto the barges.

And Luke is delighted to see the slaves' ample genitalia clearly outlined through their scant trousers which are made almost transparent by the slaves' sweating. In particular, he pays attention to how the thin fabric stretches suggestively across their muscular asses and clings to the inner recesses of their sweaty ass-cracks. Altogether the slaves make for a most erotic sight.

As Luke watches the slaves at their labors, he lasciviously runs the tip of his tongue over his lips and, at the same time, he feels a stirring in his loins. Momentarily, his dark desires overtake him and as he watches the black overseers apply their whips to the straining backs of the light skinned slaves he fantasizes he is one of their number.

If first impressions are anything to go by, then Luke is mightily impressed. River's Bend Plantation surpasses all his expectations!

Waiting at the end of the pier are two men - one white and the other black. Luke surmises that the white man could be his cousin Beauregard St Jean and that the black man is most probably his chief overseer.

Luke is bemused by the white man's near-naked appearance; barefooted and shirtless he wears the same threadbare trousers worn by the slaves. Momentarily, Luke thinks this man must also be a slave and then as the boat draws nearer Luke can see the man's features are strikingly familiar and remind him of his own father's. Obviously this man is a blood relation. Could he be Beauregard St Jean?

Luke uses the few minutes left before the boat ties up at the pier to assess him and Beauregard St Jean - if indeed that is who he is - isn't as Luke had imagined him to be. Possibly, his preconceptions of his black sheep relative had been colored by the lurid comments of other family members who regarded him as the "devil incarnate". Perhaps Luke had expected to discover Beauregard is a repulsive, debauched caricature of a man made so by his dissolute lifestyle. But this isn't the case! The man waiting on the pier is tall, well-built and with handsome features.

Luke estimates his age as about forty, although he looks some eight to ten years younger and he stands at just over six feet tall. He wears nothing but his trousers and even from this distance Luke can see he doesn't wear any undergarment. Hatless, the bright sun glints on his straw-blond curls and stripped to the waist, his bare chest gives Luke ample glimpses of his imposing physique.

Luke remembers the family's comments that Beauregard is "unorthodox" and perhaps he is just exhibiting his eccentricity by dressing down as one of his slaves. However, there could be method in his madness. The day is unbearably hot - one has only to look at the unhappy slaves sweating profusely as they struggle under the weight of the heavy cotton bales - to confirm just how warm it is.

Luke is overdressed and wears a new suit, a handmade linen shirt and tasteful cravat purchased just days ago by his mother with the intention of favorably impressing his cousin on their first meeting. Luke is feeling the heat; the perspiration trickles down his chest and belly and he is self-consciously aware of the wet patches under his arms. How he wishes he'd used more eau-de-cologne before dressing this morning.

The black man, by contrast, is dressed in a light colored "planter's" suit and white straw hat and carries a cruel looking whip perhaps as a sign that he is Cousin Beauregard's chief overseer. Still, Luke does wonder at his clothing; he would have expected things to be the other way around and for Beauregard to be formally dressed while his overseer was more casually clothed. But once again Luke recalls his father's warnings about Beauregard St Jean being unorthodox.

Two semi-clothed slaves waiting on the pier, deftly catch the ropes thrown to them from the boat and tie them to bollards. As they do so, Luke is entertained to an athletic display of flexing muscles and tautening sinews as they reach out to catch the ropes and tie the boat to the pier. Both slaves are young; Luke estimates they are little more than teenagers but already they possess the bodies of mature men probably made so by hard labor in the fields of cotton and sugarcane which are the plantation's life blood. Both slaves wear metal collars around their necks - as do the other slaves loading the bales of cotton onto the barges - and all are branded on the chest just above the right nipple. As the slaves bend to tie the ropes, Luke sees the crisscrossed pattern of whip marks on their sweat soaked backs and shoulders. Obviously River's Bend's slaves work under very rigid discipline.

Shyly, Luke steps ashore followed by his slave, Nestor and immediately his second cousin enfolds him in a warm embrace and welcomes him to River's Bend.

"Welcome Luke! Welcome to River's Bend. I have been looking forward to your visit with much pleasure. I am glad that you are finally here. Welcome!"

There is no doubting the sincerity Of Beauregard's welcome and Luke warms to his "black sheep" relative.

"Thank you for your welcome Cousin Beauregard and I am glad to be here. I too have looked forward to visiting and finally meeting you."

"Thanks Luke, I dare say you are the only one of my relatives who feels that way." There is a note of bitterness and sadness in Beauregard's reply. "But thank you for saying that and I thank you for coming. To be honest, I wasn't sure if your father would agree to your visit. But I'm glad that he has allowed you to come. I look forward to spending time with you and getting to know all about you. But let's start by being less formal. Please drop the 'cousin' and call me Beauregard."

Wrapped in the tight embrace of Beauregard's bared arms, Luke senses the strength in his cousin's powerful body. He feels the hard contours of his naked chest and the firm flatness of his stomach pressing against him. This is the first time that Luke has been held so intimately by another man and he responds by snuggling even closer. He feels the warmth of his cousin's nakedness radiating through the fabric of his shirt and he's aware of the needle sharp points of Beauregard's nipples pressing against his own. He feels the steady rise and fall of Beauregard's powerful chest and the strong, rhythmic beating of his heart. Luke breaths in Beauregard's manly scent - a heady mixture of sweat and male pheromones - and, as he does so, he becomes powerfully erect.

Luke is rendered helpless by his cousin's nearness to him. He feels the wild throbbing of Beauregard's hard erection pressing against his own pulsating cock and Luke is oblivious to all around him. Any lingering, nagging doubts about his homosexuality are quickly dispelled. At this moment Luke is conscious of just one thing; he and Beauregard share a strong desire for one another and Luke hopes for a speedy consummation of their common lust.

Luke wonders if what is happening to them is the manifestation of the Greek love for which Beauregard is so notorious. Luke hopes so. Momentarily, he feels regret about the trust his parents have placed in him; a trust he knows instinctively that he will soon break. But a voice deep within tells him that he has to be true to his own nature and live his life the way he decides. Besides he is away from home and family and he feels a new sense of independence and anyway who'll know what happens at River's End. He won't be telling anyone and he is sure that Beauregard won't either.

Beauregard releases Luke from his bear-hug and for the first time Luke is able to study him in greater detail. Beauregard possesses a physique reminiscent of the marble statues of ancient Greek athletes which are now "de rigueur" in the drawing-rooms of his parents' rich friends. Every muscle group is clearly defined without being overdeveloped and his skin is flawless much like the marble of those very same statues. However, what surprises Luke is the absence of any body hair on his cousin's manly torso. Luke quickly scrutinizes the broad chest and the clearly defined abdominal muscles but can't find one hair to mar the perfection of Beauregard's body.

And for the first time Luke notices the ornate gold collar fastened around his cousin's neck. This surprises Luke as he'd been taught by his strict parents that it is both unmanly and ungodly for a God-fearing man to adorn his body with baubles. But in truth, Luke likes the collar; somehow it seems most appropriate on Beauregard and not at all out of place.

Instinctively, Luke's gaze roams down to below Beauregard's waistline. The flimsy material of the trousers has been made transparent by Beauregard's sweating and the scant covering does nothing to conceal the swelling bulge of his erection or the clear outline of his two heavily lopsided balls.

Beauregard notes his young cousin's interest and as Luke looks away in embarrassment, he simply smiles reassuringly before turning to the waiting black man.

"Luke, I'd like you to meet Massa Charles of River's Bend plantation."

Luke is surprised to hear Beauregard refer to his manager as "Massa" and wonders about this. Not that he is too surprised. Given the plantation manager's ingrained air of superiority it does appear most appropriate to call him "Massa".

Luke shakes Massa Charles's hand but for the most part he is ignored. Instead Massa Charles turns to the two slaves who have finished tying up the boat and are waiting nearby for further instructions.

"You two, move your lazy asses and unload Mr Trevannion's cases into the handcart."

To emphasize his instructions, Massa Charles uncoils his whip and lays it across the shoulders of both slaves.


Luke flinches as Massa Charles's whip whistles through the still morning air and he winces audibly at the sound of raw leather striking warm, yielding flesh. Both slaves yelp loudly as the lash adds another fresh strip to their backs and, masochistically, Luke wonders about the intensity of the pain they each feel.

The slaves hurry to carry out Massa Charles's orders and soon they have Luke's luggage securely stowed in a waiting hand-cart. Then one slave stands between the shafts of the cart while the second positions himself at the rear. Obviously one slave is to pull the cart while his companion will push from behind.

Meanwhile as Luke and Beauregard talk, Massa Charles is speaking softly with Nestor. He notices the warm welcome and firm handshake that the plantation manager is extending to his body slave. Luke is surprised by this; he'd have thought that, as a slave, Nestor wouldn't have warranted any recognition from Massa Charles. But such isn't the case; both men continue to talk earnestly until Massa Charles gives Nestor a friendly slap on the back and moves away to rejoin Beauregard and Luke. Nestor, in the meantime, walks to where the two slaves are waiting with Luke's luggage and clambers aboard the handcart; obviously he is to ride rather than walk the considerable distance from the pier to the mansion.

"Ptolemy, I have entrusted your cousin's luggage to Nestor. He'll see that it is taken up to the house. Once it is there, you can arrange to carry it indoors."

"Yes Massa!" Beauregard replies.

Luke is made speechless. The thing uppermost in his mind is the over familiarity - to the point of condescension - that Massa Charles uses in talking to Beauregard. Rather than speaking respectfully to him as his employer or master - and Luke is unclear whether Massa Charles is an employee or a slave - his manner is more that of a master speaking down to his slave.

And the second thing that surprises Luke is Massa Charles's derogatory use of the name Ptolemy in addressing Beauregard. In Luke's experience, it is a name reserved exclusively for slaves and carries with it the full aprobopium of slavery.

But even more puzzling is Beauregard's subservient acknowledgment of his plantation manager as "Massa" in the patois of the common slave.

There are so many things that are puzzling Luke and there are questions that he needs to ask of Beauregard. And do these relate in any way to Beauregard's reputed dark desires?

"Ptolemy, it's best that you return to the house and take your cousin with you," Massa Charles speaks dismissively to Beauregard, "and I will see you at lunch time. Meantime, I have to wait and see this consignment of cotton leave and then return the slaves to their field labors."

"Yes Massa!" Beauregard answers submissively.

Beauregard leads Luke away from the pier into the shade of some nearby trees. Tethered to a low hanging branch is a thoroughbred chestnut stallion and Luke wonders who owns such a magnificent animal. Almost as though he is reading Luke's thoughts, Ptolemy tells him.

"Luke, that's Pegasus, Massa Charles's horse."

And as they approach, Luke is shocked to see a muscular, long-legged and naked slave harnessed like a pony to a strange, two wheeled conveyance. He stops in his tracks and Beauregard, sensing his bemusement, tells him.

"Luke this is one of Massa Charles's pony traps that he is kindly allowing me to use to take you up to the house. The house is about a mile and a half inland from the river and it's too far to walk."

"Beauregard, I don't understand why is a slave pulling the contraption and not a horse?"

"Luke, horses are one of Massa's abiding passions and he owns a sizeable stable of thoroughbreds just like Pegasus. There's a special bond between Massa and Pegasus and Massa rides him exclusively on his inspection rounds of the plantation. Of course, all the overseers ride horses as part of their duties too. However, Massa forbids any slave to ride a horse under pain of a whipping as he considers the horse to be a noble animal and for the same reason he'd never allow his horses to be used for mundane tasks like pulling a luggage-cart. Massa sees that as work more suited to mules or his slaves than his horses. And Kip," Beauregard points to the harnessed slave, "is attached to the stables for use in pulling the cart when required - like now."

"Beauregard, I've only been here for a few minutes and ..............."

Luke runs out of words

"I can well understand your shock and bewilderment, Luke. And there is much I need to explain to you. But first, let's be on our way and I will tell you everything and answer the many questions you no doubt need to ask of me. I want to be completely honest with you from the outset of your visit and after I have told you the truth about River's Bend Plantation, if for any reason you decide to cut short your stay, I will understand and respect your decision."

Luke watches as Beauregard climbs into the trap and taps the seat beside him as an invitation for Luke to sit beside him. Hesitantly, Luke clambers aboard and listens as Beauregard instructs the slave to.

"Walk on, Kip! Walking pace!"

The young slave strains forward to take the combined weight of the trap and its two passengers onto his young body. Luke watches as the muscles in Kip's upper body contort under the stress of their not inconsiderable weight and the tautening of the tendons of his legs as he begins the long haul up to the distant mansion house.

Before settling back into his seat, Luke turns and sees that the handcart carrying his luggage is following behind. Both young slaves have removed their pants and they are now stark naked and Luke notices the strain placed on the body of the slave pulling between the shafts and supposes the slave pushing at the rear is under similar stress.

By contrast, Nestor sits atop of his luggage and is smiling broadly almost to the point of insolence.


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