A Day in the Life, Revisited
This story is a loose sequel to A Day in the Life. It was written by me, Dave Potter, but thanks must go to Cafter Homme for the extensive editing and revisions which have made it a far better tale than it was originally.
5 years later
Beneath her breast, her heart beat ten to the dozen. Today was to be such an exciting day, for today her husband had told her that she would be allowed a conversation with her old friend Lady Eastham on the eve of the lady’s ceremony. That was why they had travelled in a curtained coach all the way from Throwley to Eastham Hall the previous evening.
Lady Eastham wasn’t really an old friend of course; not strictly. She hardly knew the girl in fact but then these days she hardly knew anyone. However, she did feel an affinity with the fellow human being. For, like her, Lady Eastham had been born an orphan. Back then her friend had been known as Catherine Halcombe. When she had left the house of her “uncle” to marry Mr. Cavendish, Catherine had taken her place and similarly been transformed into a lady of standing. For her “uncle” was not really a relative at all; instead he was a publicly-spirited gentleman who had taken her in and brought her up as a lady despite her lowly status. And, following her departure, out of charitable duty, he had done the same for another poor orphan, Catherine Halcombe. The same Catherine who, a month ago, had married Lord Percival Eastham and thus become Lady Eastham. The same Lady Eastham whom she was going to see today. For today, now that they had returned from their honeymoon, it was time for Lady Eastham to have her ceremony.
The maid slowly unlaced the monoglove, de rigueur for most of her waking hours and helped her to slowly flex her muscles, allowing the blood to rush back. Without much reprieve, tight kid gloves were worked onto her now-free hands and, once they were buttoned up, she was helped up out of her chair and towards the ladies’ drawing room.
Lady Eastham was waiting for her. She was still wearing her maiden’s mask as was to be expected and thus, combined with her own trammelling, no verbal communication would be possible. Ladies of distinction however, do not need to use their voices in the rare conversations that they are granted. Instead the two ladies minced up to one another, grasped each other’s gloved hands firmly, warmly, and then sat down at a small table. In front of each of them was a writing book and a pen. Her own book had been given to her by her husband on their wedding day and in it were recorded all her conversations. She had had it for five years now and it was still only a quarter full. She did not expect to ever need another in her life. Lady Eastham’s however was brand new and crisp. This was to be her first post-marital conversation!
How are you finding married life so far, Lady Eastham?
I am happy. Lord Eastham is a good man. Then she stopped writing as if she wanted to say something but did not know how to.
But there is a problem?
Lady Eastham’s hand shook. Some things are difficult.
The bedchamber? Her mind was cast back to the first few halcyon days of her own marriage. On their wedding night Mr. Cavendish had stripped her off all her garments save for her stays (he loved to encircle her waist with his two hands) and they had entwined and intermingled their bodies, kissing passionately and consummating their union with gusto before lying side-by-side and talking for hours of the future. That had been then, of course. Before her own ceremony.
The bedchamber? No, not at all. I was scared at first I do admit, but now I find great pleasure in it. I talk of other things.
Please, tell me if you feel you can.
My plugs. Lord Eastham informs me that all married women of status wear them. Of course, in our uncle’s house I wore a soap bottom plug, but the one that I have in me now is much larger and I feel so full and bloated. Plus, it is only the first of a series. And then I have a second in my other hole.
As her friend wrote, she became aware of her own plugs. Yes, she too wore two at all times and, yes, the bottom plug was larger than when she had been a maiden. And she acknowledged that at first, during the early months of her marriage, they occupied her thoughts night and day, so painfully and intrusively and relentlessly did they stretch her and remind her of those most intimate areas. She remembered vividly, on the morning after her wedding night, when her husband had presented the box of ivory plugs to her and let her take them out and hold them in her hands. The largest had been so huge! How would she ever manage to take that inside her? She recalled too the struggles every morning and evening after her enemas when Woakes forced those monsters within her. The maid was kind and gentle, but she had groaned with pain as the plug stretched her inside and then, the moment her muscles became accustomed used, the next one was brought out. And the next, and the next. Now though, not to have such a huge insertion there; well, it would truly feel strange, as too would the other things. Yet, even now, she still resented it.
They are a cross that we ladies must bear she wrote slowly.
This did not seem to satisfy Lady Eastham, who even in silent, expressionless grace, wrote the next part in haste.
But that is not all. There is also the masking. They say that it is a day of great joy for any lady and yet, somehow, I feel full of trepidation. I am so silly but I cannot help myself. Were you the same Mrs. Cavendish? Were you nervous also?
She recalled in her mind’s eye her own masking ceremony. It had been a full month after her wedding and their honeymoon in that remote castle in the Scottish Highlands. Her husband had taken her to her new home, Throwley Hall, for the first time. She had found it a strange place; grand and well-kept but utterly isolated, as if Mr. Cavendish wished to keep her away from society. That had disappointed her a little; she’d hoped that after her marriage she would be inducted into London society, but when she had mentioned it one evening in the bedchamber, her husband had replied that London was decadent and the season was aimed at girls not already wed. A newlywed spouse such as her had no need of it.
And as a good, obedient wife, she had acquiesced.
Two days after their arrival at Throwley, the masking ceremony had taken place. Unlike Lady Eastham, she had been given no prior warning. Instead, that morning after her enema, her husband had entered her chamber whilst she was still embarrassingly bent over on all fours, her plugged bottom in the air, to tell her that in the evening they would be holding a great party for one of the most significant events of a young wife’s life. “Tonight will show the world that you truly have become my wife and that a new stage in your life has begun,” he had told her cryptically.
The rest of the day had, of course, been spent in preparation. Special occasions always meant a fine dress and an extra inch or two off of her usual waist. She was laced down slowly before a glorious dress of pink satin with a wide crinoline and adorned with real red roses was brought out. It was fitted carefully and then complimented with a monoglove, although since the dress was off-the shoulder, this glove had no straps looping around her shoulders and the cover that was laced over it was in pearly white.
Why was it that such details stuck in her mind?
But the monoglove nor the fourteen-inch waist were not the true shocks of that evening. No, instead it was the mask… or lack of it. Her hair was styled, her face made-up and then, without her pot mask, she was led downstairs. But why? Had her husband not promised her on their engagement night that, after their marriage, she would be masked at all times? Had he changed his mind? Oh, how her heart had soared in happiness! How she hated that awful mask that concealed her face to the world! How she longed to feel the breeze on her cheeks, the touch of another human on those cheeks, and the freedom to see, hear and speak untrammelled! Yes, he had changed his mind! Truly she was blessed!
Slowly, her heart a-flutter, the maid had helped her down the grand staircase.
A party had gathered; a party of her husband’s friends and their wives. Her uncle was present too, smiling, proud of the girl he had raised out of poverty and turned into a fine lady. The ladies were all masked though and, despite her happiness, she had felt naked and ashamed.
Then, still totally unaware of what was taking place, her husband had taken her by the waist and guided her to a chair in the middle of the room. She still remembered exactly what he had whispered in her ear, “My darling, whatever happens, do not be afraid; it is for the best,” just before he announced to the room, “Let the ceremony begin!”
It had started with her hair. Two maids had approached with scissors and cut off her long, beautiful chestnut hair. She had been confused, stunned, but she let them do it. A wife must be obedient after all. And then, after she had been shorn, they had taken our razors, covered her head with cream and shaved her until she was as bald as an egg. It had been so humiliating, so embarrassing, with all those people watching. That, however, had only been the entrée.
Her husband had approached her with a beautifully-wrapped present. Right before her eyes, it was unwrapped to reveal a box from which her husband extracted a most-unexpected item: A leather hood, which was promptly fitted over her uncomprehending head and laced up at the back. The hood covered all the head, from the crown down to the shoulder bone, and over her neck it incorporated a severe neck corset. As this was laced tightly, she had felt her chin being raised into the air along with a sense of strangulation. The lacing all down the rear of the hood was then drawn tight, practically gluing the hood to her face and bald cranium, leaving only her eyes, and mouth exposed by circular openings in the finely-worked leather. Thankfully there were two small holes lined with metal rings placed just over her nostrils, so even with the intense compression of her airways and everything else, she could still take in all the oxygen she needed. But, she had pondered, what was the purpose? What did this mean?
Her husband had quickly followed this with the next item: an inflatable gag. Gags were de rigeuer for her of course after all of her years at Highfields but, even so, this one looked severe. Her husband had then bent down and kissed her on the lips before whispering, “I love you, my perfect wife,” just as the entire company (or at least those not wearing monogloves) began to applaud. As soon as the kiss faded, her man had fitted the gag through the mouth hole in the hood and strapped it behind her head using a harness. After that he attached a valve to it’s end and started to pump. Slowly but surely the gag grew inside her, getting larger and larger until it filled the entire orifice and began to press against the compressing hood. When her eyes had begun to water and she felt that she could endure no more, her husband stopped pumping and detached the valve. The gag did not decrease in size at all. Her husband then returned to the box and extracted another item. It was half a human head, the rear half, made of fine white china. He moved behind her and attached it to the back of her hood somehow. Then he returned to the box and brought out the other half, the front half. It depicted a beautiful china doll with rosebud lips and large, cornflower blue eyes. Slowly he approached her, bent down and kissed her leather-clad forehead, a gesture more for him than her muted senses, and then moved the mask over her and clicked it into place. In an instant her hearing had been dimmed, the heat had increased, and her sight had been reduced to two pinholes even smaller than those she had endured in the masks she had worn at Highfields.
The final item was extracted from the box: a beautiful wig of golden, ringleted hair. Her husband fitted it onto her new head and the room applauded yet again. “Ladies and gentlemen,” she remembered hearing him say through the leather and china, “today, my Mrs. Cavendish is born afresh. She has become a new woman! She has become a perfect wife!”
She was shaken from her reveries by the scratching of pen on paper. Lady Eastham was writing again. Are you alright Mrs. Cavendish? Do you need a maid?
She did not shake her head for she could not. Instead she wrote with her unsteady hand. No. I am fine. You will also be fine. The masking ceremony will be beautiful.
After her conversation with Lady Eastham the maid had come in and declared that she needed a rest after all her exertions. She wasn’t tired in the slightest but, as with everything else in her life, the perfect wife of Mr. Cavendish had no say in the matter nor any way of getting a say and so she merely let the servant lead her to her bedroom, unlace her monoglove (always a relief!), lie her on the bed, and then attach her wrists and ankles to the bedposts (to prevent indecent “fiddling” as if such a thing were possible under her many layers of clothes), and shut her eyes. Usually at this point she drifted off but today, perhaps due to the excitement of the morning and the memories that her conversation had conjured up, she could not sleep and instead played over in her mind those first few days and weeks following her masking ceremony.
Her new head changed her life. She would have never believed it after all those years wearing a mask, but it really was something else.
The constant compression and enclosure, the muffled hearing, laboured breathing and extremely limited sight, just two pinholes through glass lenses. She now experienced life second-hand. Before, she had done that partially, but her hair had still been there, the wind blowing it and, of course, there had been the breaks.
Every day at Highfields under the care of her uncle, the mask had been taken off. In the morning for bathing and breakfast; at midday for lunch and a flannelling down; dinner for the same; and then just before bed for the cleaning of her teeth. It had been a small relief, always in a darkened room, but it had been a relief nonetheless. What was so hard to bear about her new head was the total lack of release whatsoever.
Within minutes of its fitting she had begun to realise that she would no longer be removing it for all meals. Her husband had presented her with a glass of white wine to celebrate the occasion. This had a straw in it which was fitted through a tiny hole in the pursed rosebud lips of the mask and which itself connected to a hole running through the gag. She could suck liquids up without removing anything and she knew there and then that certain meals could now be missed. What she had not realised – but came to to learn over the coming days – was that all meals from that day on would be missed, and instead all her food was to be liquidised.
In the evenings, she was dressed for dinner in all her finery, led down to the dining room and made to watch as her husband consumed fine banquets of roast meat, fish and a number of other delights. As he feasted like a king, she dined on the same fayre, except that her meal had been mushed up like a baby’s, watered down, and put in a small bottle hung around her neck from which she sucked.
Her new head was not removed for meals and neither was it removed for the bedchamber. The evening after her masking ceremony, their bedchamber routine changed. Following her routine enema she was left naked save for her corset and head trammelling, and then led into the room. The maid always laid her out on the bed before invariably guiding each wrist to a bedpost and each ankle likewise. Golden cuffs were attached to each of her extremities and these were attached by special chains to the posts. The chains were drawn tight until she could not move a muscle and instead could only lie there, virtually motionless, panting for breath and from fear. Then he had come and taken her, him the active party, she entirely passive. And as he had erupted within her, he had whispered in her ear, “Today Mrs. Cavendish, you have become complete. You have graduated from being a mere lady to a doll, the pinnacle of feminine perfection.”
And with those words he had closed her eyes.
Yes, closed her eyes. Of all the changes that had been one of the hardest. Her new head had eyes just like those of a child’s doll with long lashes that could be closed when the owner decided. And so now, whenever a maid or her husband decreed that she was tired or should not see what was around her, those eyes were closed. Like at this moment as she lay motionless on the bed. Since being encased in her new head, not even the opening and closing of her eyes at will was a freedom left open to her.
Even with that though, as she lay in silence and darkness whilst her husband pounded her for a second time that most traumatic of evenings, was not the worst of it. For she knew that, no matter how complete the hood and head’s control over her was, it was not permanent. It could not be. Already her face was streaming with sweat beneath it on their first night; soon it would smell; maybe later an infection could set in. That was why she had always been flannelled down by her maid at mealtimes. To be a lady was hard to endure, she had had such notions drummed into her ceaselessly during her years at Highfields, but there was always some relief, when she bathed and the whole elegant ensemble was to be removed. And she could wait until then. She had been trained to.
Yet after a week in the head with no removal, no relief had come. Internally she was screaming for them to take the damned thing off her, yet no offer of a bath or even a rub-down was forthcoming. Then, on the Saturday evening, when she was beginning to lose hope, her maid approached with a flannel. Her heart leapt and yet, to her confusion, rather than removing the head, the maid merely moved the cloth up to her porcelain face and covered her nostril holes with it.
And within seconds the dizziness and drowsiness overtook her and her world turned black.
She awoke in the same chair wearing the same dress. Yet she knew that something had changed. Things felt different. Her face and body felt clean and refreshed. The confusion remained with her for a few seconds before she realised: she had been bathed and cleaned, her head and hood removed, whilst knocked out by the drug soaked flannel that the maid had placed over her face. The freedom that she had craved had been granted indeed, but only when she was in no state to acknowledge – or appreciate – it. The hood and head had been replaced before she had re-entered the world.
That evening after her first cleaning, after a session in bed when she had been placed on her front, bolsters under her hips so that her husband could ravage her bottom hole for a change, Cavendish had explained the methodology. “True ladies develop what is called a ‘doll mind’,” he had told her patiently whilst stroking her buttocks. “That is why the hood and china head matter so much. Wearing them, you forget what it was like as an uncouth, uncivilised lady, running around, shouting your mouth off, hearing sinful things and looking common and unrefined. Your new head has made you regal and elegant, like the finest of dolls. But to really ensure and develop that necessary doll mind, I will make sure you are at peace, be that by chloroform if necessary. I will make sure that my wife has only the best.”
Light flooded into her eyes, disturbing those musings. The maid had opened her eyes and was sitting her up. “Time to get you ready for Lady Eastham’s masking, ma’am,” the girl had said. She had not replied of course; she could not. She did not even acknowledge the words with a nod; her unforgiving neck corset and ceramic neck made any head movement whatsoever impossible. She was lifted up, taken to her mat for an enema and then, with her enormous bottom plug reinserted, walked over to the lacing bar. It was time for her corset to be tightened to take in any loose and then bring it down to the formidable fourteen inches decreed for her – and any other true lady’s – ball stays.
She fainted several times before the stays were laced closed at the requisite fourteen inches, the size decreed as standard by society for all ladies (or so she was told). This was di rigueur for her; fainting had entered her life when she had entered Highfields and only increased since her marriage. It no longer bothered her as it once had.
“Ma’am, your husband has decided that you shall wear the same gown tonight as you wore for your own masking,” her maid told her as she brought in the pink confection. Inside she was proud; five years on and she could still wear such a beautiful dress. That was one advantage of the corsets and her new head: she never aged a day. She was let down from the lacing bar and the gown fitted, her bosom then carefully powdered so that it matched the white porcelain of her new head perfectly before finally an elaborate gold and jewelled necklace was draped around her to mask where the real skin ended and the artificial began.
Then, attention turned to her hands. Ladies do not need their hands, for they are entirely dependent on their husbands and servants for everything, as everyone knows. The brief hiatus that afternoon when she had been granted a conversation with Lady Eastham had been the exception rather than the rule and there was certainly no need for her to use her hands this evening. Thus, her “evening hands” were brought out. These were metal replicas of her own appendages reaching to just above the wrist and hinged along one side. Her real hands were fitted inside them and then locked in before being covered with shoulder-length satin gloves. Now the appearance of reality was maintained yet underneath she was completely immobile and elegantly helpless.
As a lady should be.
Thus complete, the doll was guided downstairs, precariously inching forward in her en pointe shoes towards the ballroom where the ceremony was to take place. At the door her husband joined her, kissed her unfeeling ceramic cheek, and then they walked in together.
Her husband guided her towards a seat and helped her sit in it. They were early and she could not stand for long. Then he went off to procure a drink for himself and talk to friends and she was left alone, elegant and impassive.
And at that moment her life changed.
The chair was quite near to the back of the room, and just behind her the young maids were standing, waiting to serve the guests. In both Highfields and her married home, the maids were of the highest calibre (and, as a rule well-corseted and exceptionally pretty; a fact which sometimes made her feel uneasy, particularly when her husband tried to encircle their waists and gave them a peck on the cheek) but in Eastham Hall such standards were not maintained. Their waists were noticeably broader to begin with but they also chattered, something strictly forbidden in most good houses. And it was the help’s chatter that did it.
“I bet the young mistress’ll look a picture tonight!”
“I’ve never seen her without her doll face you know.”
“She’s pretty, an’ no mistakin’.”
“Shame she’ll never be seen again.”
“I know, it’s criminal what them masters do, tying women up and silencing ‘em and making ‘em wear them horrible pot heads.”
“I don’t know why they put up with it! I’d run away or summit. I’d certainly never marry a man like that!”
“They don’t know no different, Fanny! They think all this’ normal! They think all ladies are like that.”
“But how can they? Just walk down any street and…”
“But they never do walk down no street; they only see what the masters want ‘em to see. Those poor girlies believe they are elegant ladies instead of victims of that evil society…”
At that point, Lady Eastham entered the room and applause swept all around, drowning out the faint conversation, already made fainter by her head. Her husband came to her and stood her up, and by the time the applause had died down the maids had dispersed. But she had heard enough. In several short seconds the work of years of indoctrination and training by her uncle had been torn to pieces; she now knew the reality, or a glimmer of it. A lady of distinction? Not her! Instead she had become the silent, passive, and incommunicado plaything of a monster and his brethren. Why Cavendish, her uncle and other men did it, she could not fathom, but transformed free young women into mindless dolls they did. She would never be a person again; her thoughts, ideas, even her looks did not matter to anyone. Along with this distress coursing through her now, they would be forever hidden behind that blank china mask. She now knew she existed only to serve as his elegant accessory.
As these realisations flooded over her, a new victim was shorn of her hair, masked and entombed forever beneath a ceramic shell.
And behind her own porcelain prison and hood, copious tears had dampened her face. Tears that would never be wiped away.
The story is continued in A Day in the Life: Dolly and Molly