Ihbat

Ihbat

Chapter 1

My name is Ihbat. That has not always been my name. But it is my name now. That is my name. This is my task. My task is to set down on paper the history of my life. Or at least the history of the life of Ihbat. Nothing matters before that person came into existence. And so, with the help of Allah, I shall begin, and thus fulfill the task that it has been commanded I fulfill.

Ihbat came into existence thirteen years three months and five days ago. He, I, awoke on a bed in a beautiful room. It was a room decorated in a style that I was unfamiliar with. A style of the East, of the Orient. Fine rugs covered the floors, Arabic inscriptions made in gold leaf glittered behind their frames on the walls, and silken cushions were scattered on the huge bed on which I lay. There were no windows, but light was not absent, coming instead from a crenellated skylight. It was a beautiful place.

But I, Ihbat, (even though I didn’t know it at the time), was in no position to enjoy the beauty. Instead I was puzzled, confused, scared. I had not been in this place when I had fallen asleep. In fact, I had never been in this place before. Nor anywhere like it. Nor had I fallen asleep. What had I been doing? I’d been at school… no, not school. I’d finished school already. I was on my way home from school. Yes, that was it. Walking back from school. No, not walking, riding. Riding my bicycle back through the olive groves to my parents house. Then I felt a pain, just a little one, like an insect bite. A bite on my leg. Then I felt dreary. I stopped my bike, rubbed my eyes. The dreariness increased. Then I passed out.

Then I passed out and now I awoke. In a strange room. An Eastern room. Or at least one that appeared to be Eastern. I don’t know to this day where that room, or indeed that whole institution was. It could have been anywhere I suppose, from Timbuktu to Tokyo. But it was Arabian in character and ownership.

After some time I got up and looked around. There beside my bed was a teapot and a glass. I was thirsty, so I poured myself a drink. Besides the pop was an envelope. It had my name – my former name – on the front. I opened it. Inside was a letter. I read it.

Al-Ihbat,

Welcome to your new school. Medrassah Purdah. That is the name of this school. From now on you will be learning and living here. Forget your old school and forget your family. Forget your former life in all its entirety. It will be easier for you that way. You must adapt now and begin your new life. The life of al-Ihbat. When you feel ready to embark upon that new path, ring the bell.

And that was it. I was confused. What did it all mean? Who was al-Ihbat? I? I looked across at the table. There was a silver bell. I rang it. Silence. Then, after a minute or so, the wooden door to that sumptuous room was opened and somebody walked in.

 

Chapter 2

It was a woman. Or at least I assumed so. I didn’t know for sure. I didn’t know because she was covered completely with veils. Black cloth shrouded here entire body. Well, all of it aside from her eyes. They, and only they were left free. I looked at them. They were definitely a woman’s eyes. A beautiful woman in fact. And I was a man who took an interest in such women. Underneath the silken sheets, something hardened.

“Al-Ihbat, I am Fatima,” she said. She spoke Greek. I was surprised. “I am to be your maid here. May I call you Ihbat for short. It would be easier.”

“You may call me what you want,” said I, “but I am no lhba whatever. My name is Nikos.”

“No, Ihbat,” corrected she. “Your name was Nikos. Now it is Ihbat.”

“Oh.” I was confused. “Where am I?”

“Medrassah Purdah,” she replied, “The School of Purdah.”

I didn’t comprehend. “But…”

A gloved hand appeared from under her veils and was raised up in front of her face as a gesture for me to be silent. “Come!” said she.

As always, when a woman beckoned, I came.

I got up from the bed, wrapping a sheet around me to hide my nakedness. “You don’t need that,” said she, and with a flick of her gloved hand, whisked it away. My standing member was plain for her to see. I know not what her reaction was though. It is hard to gauge the reactions of someone that you can’t see.

I followed her to a side room. In it was a bath, full of steaming perfumed water. “Get in,” said she.

I did as I was bid. Then she began to undress. She removed her black shrouds. Underneath was, as I’d imagined, a fair maiden. No, that is not true, she was far lovelier than I’d imagined. Her dusky tanned skin completed her dark eyes and long brown hair. And her curvaceous figure was enough to make any man…

And beneath those veils she wore but a tiny white bikini.

“I will be attending to your bathing every day,” she said, climbing in with me. Let me rub your back.” I couldn’t believe this. This was not real, it was a dream, a fantasy. She moved lower down, towards that aching rod. “Christ!” thought I. She touched it, slowly moved her smooth hands up and down the shaft and then…

Clink, click. To this day I can’t believe it.

She’d grabbed my hands and twisted them behind my back, fastening them together with a pair of golden handcuffs. Before I knew what was happening, the same had been done to my ankles. I was bound and helpless!

“Sorry, about that Ihbat,” she said, standing up and getting out of the bath. “Now, get out and let me sort you out.”

I was more confused than ever. It had been so erotic, so steamy, and now…

I stood in the middle of the floor and she approached with something. It was golden. “What is it?” I asked.

“Shhh..” she replied, grasping my cock again. So, it was all part of her game. She like tying people up. I played along and let her stroke it. I re-entered the world of pleasure. She was an expert, she knew how to make a man… oww, arrgh, click, click.

What was she doing? She grabbed hold of it, wrenched it back and then placed the golden object over the top and fastened it into place. What was it?

“Now that is out of the way,” she said, we can get started.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Getting you ready, as I will everyday.”

“But what is this?”

“That is a chastity belt. It keeps that irksome little member of yours out of harm’s way.” Now come!” She had picked up something else golden.

“No! No!” said I, backing away. But restrained by my wrists and ankles there was little that I could do. It was a collar. She fastened it around my neck and locked it shut. Then she picked up and a gag and moved to place it in my mouth. I shut that orifice firmly, but she simply squeezed my nostrils until I had to open up to breathe and then that too was put in place and secured. I was helpless, restrained and silent.

And confused.

“Now, back to the bedroom and I shall explain all,” said she. I meekly followed. I had no choice. She sat me down on the bed and then sat down besides me, stroking me provocatively, causing immense discomfort lower down where my cock, unable to achieve an erection, struggled in its golden prison.

“As the letter stated,” said the Goddess, “You are now Ihbat, and what’s more a student at this school, the School of Purdah. You shall learn soon enough what Purdah is, and what your role and future are to be. In the meantime all you need to know is the following. I am your maid, and I will do anything you bid. Anything that is, except remove your cuffs, ankle chain and chastity belt. They you will be wearing 24 hours of the day, 7 days of the week. The gag you will wear whenever you step out of this room. Inside this room, if you behave, you need not wear it. The reasons behind these restraints will soon become apparent.”

“Now, this room is yours. It is where you will live and spend all your time whilst not in classes or at prayer. In it is all that you need; books to read, a toilet to relieve yourself, a bath to relax in, a bed to sleep upon, tea to drink. Meals will also be served in here at set times. I will serve them to you and I will feed you as it is obvious that with your hands behind your back you will be unable to do so yourself. I will also clean your bottom everytime that you have been to the toilet for a… Number Two. For the other toilet visits, you will of course, sit on the bowl. With your little penis restrained so, standing up to urinate is of course an impossibility.”

“Now, I will move onto what happens when outside of the room. Everytime that you step outside of the room you are required to wear this.” She reached under the bed and pulled out a garment, a mass of cloth. “I shall now wear it to demonstrate how you will look and how to put it on.” She put the cloth over her head and it unfolded all around her. It covered her completely, including her face. Over that face there was a grille of embroidered thread. There was also embroidery – flowery designs – down the front of the garment, and on the top which was shaped a little like a Muslim’s skullcap. The back billowed out as it was pleated. The garment was made of heavy-looking black material. The embroidery was in gold. The garment was beautiful, yet frightening. It covered all the body, leaving no trace of who was underneath. Even behind the grille there was no evidence of the maid’s facial features. It looked encumbering and hot. “It’s called a burqa,” she said. Her voice was considerably muffled by the material. She was hardly audible. “They wear them in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Fatima took off the burqa and her lovely figure was revealed once more. “Within this room you will wear these. She picked out another garment from under the bed. This was white and voluminous. They were a pair of trousers… of types. She gestured for me to stand and put them on. They were specially designed so that they fitted over my bonds. They were fastened at the waist with an extremely tight belt that left me breathless, and round the ankles below the cuffs, where they were gathered and tied with ribbons. They contained a lot of material and ballooned out around me. The outside was cotton, but inside they were silk and the smooth cloth brushed against my legs and caused my imprisoned desire to heighten. Inbetween the silk and the cotton there was obviously a lot more cloth, that caused the trousers to be huge in size. As I sat down I felt like a girl on her wedding day, wearing one of those wide white puffy dresses.

“And on top you wear this.” She produced a cotton shirt, that like the trousers was also voluminous, and also line with silk. She fitted it around my torso. It had no arm holes and was fastened by ribbons  at the neck, just below the collar and the waist. Down the front, like the burqa, it was embroidered.

“Now the burqa,” she said. That awe-inspiring dress was placed over my head, the inbuilt skull cap fitting perfectly. Behind the grille I noticed that a piece of thick black cloth had been stitched, that being the reason why all traces of Fatima’s facial features had been eradicated. Also eradicated was most of my sight. With the burqa over my face, only dark outlines remained. It was hot and the material clung to my face irritatingly.

“A final precaution,” said she who held all the power, and to my surprise, she fastened the burqa to the collar by means of several hooks inside that formidable garment. “Now, we can guarantee that you won’t be removing it,” she said. And she was right! Even with the use of my arms I could not have taken the thing off. I was completely imprisoned within the cloth! She smoothed the rest of the burqa over me and adjusted it so that it looked right. The pleats billowed out behind me. “Now finally, you slippers,” she said, “so that your feet are as silent as your mouth.” A pair of embroidered velvet slippers were placed on my feet.

“Stand up!” commanded she.

And so I stood, a sweaty, restrained and enveloped figure, anonymous and silent to the outside world.

“Good,” commented my maid. “”Now wait whilst I get dressed again and then I’ll take you to your lessons.”

 

Chapter 3

And so I walked out of that door, following the black veiled Fatima. Well, walked is not really the word, more like shuffled as the overpowering garments and short ankle chain, (eight centimetres is all I have ever been allowed), permitted little walking. And so I shuffled silently, save for the rustling of material, down countless corridors until I entered a room.

I couldn’t see a lot of the room of course. I couldn’t see a lot of anything. With the cloth and grille covering my eyes, the world was dark and indistinct. Even today I have not grown accustomed to that. Taking away clear, distinct sight was perhaps the worst thing that they ever did to me. Well, maybe…

But I could make out that this was a classroom, of sorts. Veiled in a manner similar to Fatima was a woman, obviously the teacher. Sat on the floor all around her, dressed in the same burqas as I had been forced to don, were the students. All were, like I, silent.

“This is the new student, Aisha,” said Fatima. “Ihbat. Don’t worry, Ihbat has no problems with English.”

“Good, welcome Ihbat,” said the teacher. “Sit down, we are about to start today’s lesson. This class is Purdah Study. Everyday we look into different aspects of how we live in Purdah and listen to real-life stories. I lecture you and you listen. Obviously, you do not ask questions or write anything, as you, like all the first year students here, are unable to do so. Now, today we will hear the tale of Noor, a young lady living in Britain, though separate from British Society.”

The teacher took out a book and started to read from it.

‘My name is Noor, and I am 22 years old. Ever since I left school I have been living in Purdah. As all of you knows basically what that means, I won’t go into that aspect of things. Instead I will describe my daily life. I wake up each morning for prayer in my bedroom. I sleep dressed in padded mittens and a burqa which covers me completely. Every evening, before I go to bed, my father ties the end of it together, (it was made deliberately long for me). This way any non-mahram male who might chance into my room by accident is prevented from having a fit of fitna and being tempted by my curvaceous form. What’s more, tied so and wearing the mittens, I cannot get out of the burqa so that the temptation to free myself is taken away. The temptation to pleasure myself in an un-Islamic way is also eradicated. However, I can walk in the burqa, and more importantly pray.

I stay in the burqa until my mother comes in and frees me. I then relieve myself and bathe, before dressing for the day. I am required to veil fully, including several layers of eye veils, every time that I leave the room. My dress is as follows:-

Tight shoulder length gloves in black.

Thick stockings in black.

Turkish trousers and a closed shirt.

A tight headcovering that leaves only my mouth and eyes free.

When I have put these on, I eat.

Then comes the next stage.

A thick floor-length black dress. A head covering and face veil of thick black material that leaves only my eyes free.

Thick fingerless mittens.

Then over this, a floor length abayah.

Triple faceveils including eye veils.

Two pairs of thick black socks.

Finally, an afghan burqa with face mesh.

This is my day’s clothing. Father, (it is he who insists that I live in Purdah), has stipulated these as mandatory for outside of my room. Most days, I go downstairs and sit with my mother and sisters in the living room. We sit on the floor and are silent if men are in the house, as Father believes that a woman’s voice is awrah, that is it is forbidden as it tempts men. We sit in attendance of him. We are forbidden to watch the television as it only shows the work of the devil, though this I don’t mind as to be honest, I can see very little anyway underneath all my veils. I am also very hot as even though Britain is a cold country, Father keeps the heating constantly on as he misses the heat of Pakistan. We do not complain about this of course.

It is sometimes asked how I use the toilet. The truth is, we wear nappies to stop any accidents, but I have trained myself sufficiently so that I rarely have accidents.

The routine only changes when I go outdoors. Then my nappy is removed and I am forced to don a chastity belt for my own protection. A chain is also attached to my ankles, and my hands are also cuffed to the sides of my body, held beside the chastity belt. My mouth is gagged so that I am not tempted to say something and thus tempt men with my young female voice.

We go out once a week around the town centre. Father accompanies us, and takes us out to show us the British women and how evil their lifestyle is. He points out girls wearing short skirts and mini tops, talking loudly to all and sundry, bearing their cleavages and legs, and teaches on how evil that is and how we will never be allowed such freedoms.

This is my life in Purdah, where I am kept hidden and pure until I am married. Father has already chosen a husband for me, a man in Pakistan who is a scholar and sixty years old. He believes firmly in Purdah and Islam. I will be his third wife.

Thank you for listening to my story and thank Allah for all of his beautiful creations and mercy.’

And that my students,” added the teacher, “is a perfect example of a life in Purdah.”

The lesson continued for another hour or so. All the time the teacher kept pointing out examples of how women living in Purdah, (which I learnt meant seclusion from men), should avoid tempting menfolk around them. To be honest, I found it all rather strange. The thought of that young girl, whom I imagined to be beautiful and ripe for picking, living controlled and enclosed like that made me feel hot, and my imprisoned manhood struggled hopelessly within its prison. I tried on several occasions to bring my hands round to my front and slip them into the belt, but I could not do it and even if I had, the belt was so tight, that I doubt I could have got a baby’s finger inside it, let alone the hand of a fully-grown man. The idea of her wearing a nappy like a baby, also increased my frustration, as did the thought of her being shown weekly the freedoms that she could never enjoy. Consequently, because of all this, and the layers of cloth that covered me, a soon grew very hot and sticky and my body was drenched in sweat. Looking around at the fidgets of some of the other students, I guessed that they were undergoing the same thing.

To divert my mind away from such thoughts, I set to wondering as to why was I being subjected to all this, being covered up like Noor, and told the lives of Middle-Eastern women. I could not figure it out. That I, a 17 year-old Greek boy, with a libido equal of any of my countrymen, a manly chest and may I say, handsome set of male equipment, with a respectable history of seductions behind him, should be trussed up and covered like an Arabian maiden…? It was all very strange.

 

Chapter 4

The lessons didn’t end with Purdah study. Next we were subjected to Islam, then two hours of Arabic, and after that some English. By the end of the day I was exhausted and drenched, and my cock painfully ached for release. ‘That,’ thought I, ‘I can get tonight in bed.’

However, when time to return to my room came, and Fatima stripped me of my clothes and bathed me, I was surprised to discover that the only bondage that she removed was my gag. The cuff and chastity belt stayed on, and after bathing she fed me some falafels, couscous and tea.

“Fatima,” I said, being relieved at being able to speak, (though she’d only given me the right, so long as I promised not to ask any questions about my predicament, nor make a fuss), “were you telling the truth when you said that I was your Master and you would do whatever I wanted?”

“Of course,” she replied with a smile.

“Right then,” I said, gazing at that gorgeous beauty, who was again stripped down to a bikini. “Will you kiss me?”

“No problem,” she replied, and pecked me on the cheek.

“No, I mean properly.”

“Are you sure that you want that?”

Have a stunning, bikini clad whore kiss me on command. Of course I was sure! “Yes,” I said.

Then that hot fox, put her lips to mine and we engaged in what was the best kissing of my life. That vixen obviously knew what she was doing, and as her tongue did things that I could not believe a tongue could do, my cock sprang to life, pressing painfully against the walls of it’s golden prison cell.

“I can do more than that,” she said, freeing herself, and starting to caress my body with her hands, her long nails causing waves of rapture. She moved lower down, caressed my ass and inside my legs. My manhood was on fire!

“Free me! Free me!” I cried.

“Sorry, Ihbat, you know I can’t do that, now, lick my pussy!”

And to my astonishment, she whipped off her bikini bottoms and thrust her wet pussy in my face. I licked it the best I could and her warms juices flowed into my face.

“That’s good! That’s good!” she cried, climaxing, and drawing herself away.

“Free me, Fatima! I can’t stand this!” I cried.

But she heeded me not, and instead, pulled out another burqa. Time to sleep my little trussed up stallion,” she said, and place the burqa over my head. I soon discovered it was like the one that Noor was forced to wear, overly long but unlike where Noor’s father tied it shut, this one was zipped. I was in a burqa sleeping bag!

“Night, Ihbat,” said Fatima.

“Don’t leave!” I cried.

“Ok, then,” said she, I’ll sleep by you.

And then that hot chick laid down beside me and snuggled up to me. Seeing her curves and feeling them and the warmth of her body next to mine sent me mad with desire.

“Release me! Release me!” I cried.

“You want more?” she asked, before adding, “So do I. But like that you can’t pleasure me. Don’t worry, I’ll do it myself!” And at that she started fingering herself and groaning in ecstasy.

My frustration was unbearable, but of course, I had to bear it. It was a very long time before I managed to sleep that night.

 

Chapter 5

The weeks and months that following were spent in a very strict routine. Everyday I was woken by Fatima, released from my sleeping burqa, washed, fed, and dressed. And then I studied all day long. The lessons were boring, pointless and the same; a solid diet of Purdah Study, Arabic, English and Islam. The last one irked me the most. Islam is of course the backward faith of the Turkish animals who raped our Greek homeland for centuries. Why should I study it? It was inferior to my Orthodox Christianity, the One True Faith. Everytime the teacher rambled away on the words of the Prophet I wanted to scream out loud. But of course, gagged and restrained as I was, I could never have done so, so instead I sat and listened in disgust.

It was the latter subject that also got me thinking as to why this was happening to me. Why kidnap a young Greek boy and tutor him in the practices of the Eastern religion and how they keep their women. Such a life as I led could not have come cheaply, so why? I wondered at first if it was not a plot of the Turkish dogs to dishonour yet another heroic Greek, but on reflection I guessed that it was perhaps not. Then I wondered if it was not all planned by Fatima, who just played at being a maid, but instead was in fact the woman behind it all, and who craved for a handsome young man like myself to be constantly at her service, licking her out with my tongue. But then I rethought. If it had been her, then she would surely have had a taste of my cock by now, for that no girl can resist, yet every night she would refuse to unlock me whilst she performed.

And boy how did she perform! She was a nymph, like one of the Sirens of yore. Her lithe body wrapped around mine, and she was true to her word. Whatever I asked save for the releasing of my restraints, she did willingly. I saw her finger herself in so many ways, she attached a dildo to my chastity belt and fucked herself with that, she licked my ass, drank my piss, and then made me do the same. It was heavenly, incredible and yet… not once did I climax. Every minute of every day I was mad with desire, yet never did I achieve it. My life was a hell of frustration. In the end I realised that all the things she was doing only made it more uncomfortable for me, and I asked her to stop, but even then, just the sight of her, or the image of her in my mind as I sat sweltering in my cocoon during those long tedious hours of Islam and Arabic, it drove me wild.

And so it carried on, a life of frustrated hell. And confusion, for of course I was still entirely ignorant of why this was happening to me, who was behind it all, and what was going to happen in the future. Those weren’t the only things that annoyed me as well. Another was my physical shape. I, like most of my race, had always been a typical Adonis since puberty, and had long prided myself on my well-toned body. All these months of enforced inactivity had caused, I noted to my disgust, a certain flabbiness, particularly around my chest and buttocks, and wearing silk everyday also seemed to have the strange effect of softening my skin. This bothered me as I knew that I would need my strength when the moment to escape presented itself. With everyday that passed, I hated by silken feminine bonds even more.

Then, after I had been at Medrassah Purdah for around six months, something happened. After the day’s lessons, one Thursday I was called into the office of the Headmistress. Never before had I seen her, or been called. Fatima surprisingly ungagged me before leading me down some corridors to some large wooden doors which she proceeded to knock upon before leaving me. A minute or so later, a voice from within called “Enter!” in Arabic, (I had, by that stage, a basic command of the tongue), and so I pushed my body against the wood. It opened and I entered a large room with several bird cages in which canaries twittered and a fountain gurgled in the centre. By the fountain, on a rug, was a woman, shrouded in a red burqa with golden embroidery. “Sit, Ihbat,” commanded she. I did as I was bid.

“Ihbat,” she started. “You have been commanded here today as a congratulation. Today the first stage of your schooling here has come to an end. You are ready to enter the next level. Do you have anything to say?”

I had of course a thousand things to say. “Why? Why am I here?”

“The reason behind you being here will soon be made clear to you. Basically you were chosen because you filled the requirements of the owners of the school.”

“What requirements?”

“Physical requirements. Your body seemed the right shape.”

My body! Did they perhaps need me as some sort of sex slave? I was as perfect as a male could be after all. And that would explain why Fatima had been assigned to tease me. “Who are the owners of the school?”

“This school is owned and financed by three organisations. The first is the Islamic Association, the second the IPO and the third the SFVI.”

“What do those initials stand for?”

“You will find out over the next year. Your next level of study includes studying the history and aims of our three owner organisations.”

“How long will I stay here?”

“Until you are married.”

“But how can I get married if I don’t have the chance to meet anyone to marry.”

“We will find you a spouse.”

“What if I don’t like them?”

“That is of no concern.”

“But which woman wants a man dressed up in veils who can only talk about Islam and Purdah?”

“No woman wants such a spouse.”

“Then how will you find me a wife?”

“Ihbat, have you not guessed yet? We will be finding you no wife. We will be finding you a husband. Have you not noticed the changes in your body? Every day for the last six months. Fatima has been feeding you with food and drink laced with hormone pills. She reports that your skin is now soft and feminine, your buttocks rounded and budding breasts are starting to appear. Ihbat, we are turning you into a woman, a woman of Purdah, a woman of Islam.”

A woman! I couldn’t believe it! But I was a man! A strong man! A Greek man! I would be no woman! What she described, why it sounded like homosexuality, I hated Gays, sick creatures, puffs! “You will not change me into any woman!” I cried. “I am a Son of Alexander the Great!”

“You were a Son of Alexander the Great,” corrected the Headmistress. “You are now a Daughter of the Prophet. Now you can either accept that gracefully and submissively as a woman should, or we will impose it by force!”

“I am a Greek!” I cried. “I will never surrender to an Eastern Barbarian!”

And I didn’t. And they did what they promised. Back in the room, Fatima replaced my gag with a different one that had a small hole in the middle. This gag was never taken out and I was fed through a tube that was pushed through the hole and down my throat. The hormones were obviously increased in quantity now as well, as the speed of the changes got faster, and daily I watched in horror as small breasts appeared on my chest, breasts with nipples that Fatima used to pinch and caress, sending waves of pleasure through my being.

The breasts weren’t the only new part of my life. Every morning, after my bath, my handcuffs and ankle cuffs were fastened to rings, one hanging from the ceiling and the other embedded in the floor and I was shaved all over until the only hair left was on the top of my head. Then, on my face, make-up was applied, long false eyelashes attached to my eyes and false eyebrows stencilled in. My hair, which was now quit long, was conditioned and combed daily, and often styled. When I saw myself in the mirror I realised with dread that I was now an attractive looking young lady, the sort whom I used to chase after, and only the pain of unfulfilled desire in my loins was left to show that I was really a male.

My lessons also changed now. The English was dropped, as was Purdah Study, (we had more or less exhausted the subject anyway). The Islam and Arabic remained but they were joined by some new subjects; Study of the Medrassah Purdah Founders, Dance, Sexual Techniques and Deportment. The last three were taught in my room by Fatima as they required my burqa and veils being removed. In deportment I was taught how to walk and sit in a seductive manner, in Dance how to do the belly dance and other Eastern moves and in Sexual Technique, well… I prefer to forget about that. When I first heard that I would be studying sex I was excited. So, at long last I was to be released from that hateful golden girdle, I thought. But of course, it was not to be. Instead most classes involved Fatima wearing a huge rubber dildo which I was forced to suck upon, whilst she pointed out what was right and wrong with my technique and paddling me for my mistakes. Other times we looking into French kissing, and different sexual techniques, where for the first time I had the humiliating experience of having something shoved into my anus, that being Fatima with the large strap-on. In fact, I was forced to wear a dildo in my ass everyday from then on, (“So you get used to the feeling”), something that was always a hateful reminder of my humiliation and subjection, and did not help with the old frustration, since as my back passage was now caressed every minute of every day by a large intruder, my cock was now even more alert than previously.

The dildo was not the only new addition to my daily wardrobe either. Every morning I was forced to don a kind of glove that held both my arms together behind my back in a painful position. This was kept on throughout my lessons causing my arms to be dead at the end. When I misbehaved Fatima also kept it on throughout the night, which was even worse as it prevented me from sleeping on my back, and of course, was not comfortable anyway.

The lessons on the Study of the Medrassah Purdah Founders turned out to be interesting. The school it seems was built fifty years ago under the auspices and with the finances of three organisations. The Islamic Organisation was an international group based in Saudi Arabia that promoted Islam and Islamic values. IPO stood for International Purdah Organisation, a multi-national, multi-faith society that promoted Purdah as a way of life for all women, and whose eventual aim was to keep every woman at home and under the command of her husband or father. The SFVI was a little strange. The initials stand for the Society for the Furtherment of the Venus Ideal, and it was founded in 1842 by one Wilhelm van Wettering, a rich Dutchman who lived in the East Indies. He kept his wife and concubines forever in a state of bondage where the use of their arms was restricted. Apparently he had got the idea from his father-in-law, one Jacob van Hessel who had been to Italy to see the treasures of antiquity. This Dutchman had apparently been so awe-inspired by the beauty of the Venus de Milo that he had had a copy made, and this he presented to his son-in-law upon his marriage upon his marriage to his daughter, Gabrielle van Hessel. Van Wettering too, it appears, was transfixed by the Venus Ideal and so proceeded to turn his new wife into one, using a corset designed by van Hessel, a corset, that held the wearers arms crossed behind her back in such a manner so that they appeared to be amputated. The Venus Corset is what he named it. Others – rich and perverted men who van Wettering invited to banquets and orgies at his mansions in the Netherlands and Borneo soon became transfixed by the image of the armless and helpless female, and so it was that the Society for the Furtherment of the Venus Ideal was born; a society that promotes and indeed stipulates that the arms of the wives of its members must at all times be rendered useless and bound. Knowing that such organisations were behind the strange institution where I was held, and that I was being transformed into a woman at the will of one or all of them filled me with a dread that made me shiver.

 

Chapter 6

I studied in such a manner for a further year. By the end of my time I had become a fully fledged female with tantalising curves and feminine graces. Well, a female aside from my imprisoned cock and the male fire that still burned constantly in my heart.

It was soon after my 19th birthday, when I was again summoned to the Headmistresses Office.

“The time for you to leave this school will soon be upon us,” she said. “Your studies have been completed. You are mentally ready for marriage.”

“Then have you found me someone?” I asked.

“We have not looked yet,” she continued. “I said that you are mentally ready, but Ihbat, you are not physically prepared yet.”

“But I am fully a woman now,” I said in a vehmenous tone. “Except for my manhood.”

“Fully a woman yes, but not a woman sufficient enough for our clients. Do you want some tea, Ihbat?”

“No,” I said. “Fatima has just given me some.”

“That is right, I commanded her to. In a minute or two you will start feeling drowsy. There was a strong draught in that tea. You are going on a trip, Ihbat.”

“What?! Draught? Why? Where?” But already the drug was taking over. I fell to the floor with a slump.

I awoke in a hospital bed, wearing nothing. I tried to get up, but realised that my hands and feet were tied down. I instinctively thought about my crotch, but it wasn’t painful. I looked down. I couldn’t see genitals! I couldn’t see them, not because they weren’t there, but because something else obscured my view. Two large silicone footballs that heaved with every breath. “I’ve been given a tit job!” I exclaimed to myself.

“And not just a tit job,” said Fatima who was stood behind me. “All your body hair has been removed through electrolysis, including that surrounding your little friend.”

“My… is that…?”

“Oh, he is still there, as encased as ever, in his little gaol. He’s not as big and male these days, the hormones have taken their toll, but he still works. Not that you’ll have the opportunity to find that out though.”

“Oh Christ!”

“Stop that Ihbat! You’re a Muslim now, remember. Yes, your new titties are quite something aren’t they. Even better than the ones the school gave me. I’m rather jealous!” And at that she started playing with my new nipples. The caress of her long nails sent ripples of pleasure through my body. New tits, more buttock fat, some nice fat collagen lips, permanent eyebrows, and non-removable long eye lashes. My dear Ihbat, you look like a little doll, a fuck toy worthy of a prince. Well, perhaps you will get a prince after all, though you’ll be no mere fuck toy, but a fully-fledged wife.

Married to a man. Being fucked by a man, like a homosexual freak. The thought was too mortifying for words.

“I think I’ll have a play with your new love toys,” continued the maid, caressing those huge, firm mounds. The old, awful frustrating returned with a vengeance as her wonderful hands grasped my new appendages.

I was released from the hospital that day and taken back to the school where my normal regime was re-established. One day however, instead of leading me to my lessons, Fatima instead took me to a large photo studio and stripped me of all my clothes barring the chastity belt. Then, to my horror, a man appeared.

Strange as this sounds, I felt awful. For so long had I been completely covered up in the presence of anyone, let alone a man, (this was the first man that I had seen since Nikos became Ihbat actually), that I felt naked, unprotected and weak.

“But, Fatima,” I protested, (my voice box had also been altered in the hospital and there was no way of telling now that I had ever been a man), “Purdah states that I must be covered in front of men.”

“I know, but this is an exception. We have to make sure that you get a good husband.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that a man must see what he is about to marry before he actually does so, and then once he has chosen, hide that jewel off from the rest of the world. So we have to make sure that when he sees you first, it is in the best possible light.”

What she meant by the ‘best possible light’ was having me dress up in all manner of outfits and photographing me. There were wedding and cocktail dresses, bikinis, jeans that were put on wet and then dried so that they were so tight I could hardly move my legs, a Victorian gown complete with excruciatingly tight corset that took an hour and two fainting fits to put on, some oriental dresses such as a kimono and ao dai, short skirts, pencil skirts, an Arabian Nights outfit, uniforms, (army, air hostess, schoolgirl), baby girl dresses and even some shots where clothes were not required. All in all, it could have been viewed as a pleasant experience for most women, but for me I just felt awful. Apart from the feeling of vulnerability caused by being without my veil, for the first time ever I was put on display as what I had actually been turned into; a hot chick for some guy to play with at his whim. Plus of course, the modelling session also brought home the realisation that I was soon going to be passed onto a man, a man who would violate me and control me. A man much like whom I used to be and still was inside. To say that the thought of being forced to suck, or take a cock up my ass terrified me, is the understatement of the year.

Following the model shoot it was back to normal, though without the lessons. Daily I was entombed within my mound of cloth, and daily did Fatima bring me to the brink of unbelievable ecstasy, but not once did I ever hurdle that insurmountable fence.

Then, a fortnight later I was summoned for the third and final time to the Headmistress’s Office. “Ihbat, I hope you have enjoyed your time with us. I am pleased to say that I have found you a satisfactory student. Here is a souvenir of your time at Medrassah Purdah.” The souvenir, which I perused when back in my room was a large book. On the cover was a photograph of me in the school uniform burqa. Inside were some quotes from the Purdah philosophy that I’d had drummed into me, and so photos of me at my lessons. Then there was a variety of pictures of Fatima in all manners of dress and position, to remind me of the girl that I never could have. And lastly there was a selection of images from my photo shoot, a selection that, it must be said, horrified me as to my eyes I really did look sexy and ready to be raped.

“And now, the news,” she continued. “We’ve found you a husband. You’ll be married in five days time.”

 

Chapter 7

I was lain on a huge, sumptuous king size bed. My only clothing was a harem outfit, such as one would expect Scheherazade to be donned, with a gauze veil, silken Turkish trousers and a tiny top covering my (distressingly) un-tiny breasts. Of yes, and a thick collar of gold with ‘Ihbat, the Property of bin-Husseini and Allah alone’ inscribed in Arabic. And from that collar, a chain that attached me to the bedstead.

After my final meeting with the Headmistress I had returned to my room and had been ensconced by Fatima in a sort of leather cocoon which I knew, (from my studies), was a common way in which members of all three founding organisations used to transport their Purdah-living wives, as of course it guaranteed that no prying eyes could see them, and what’s more, (due to a face mask), that the person trapped within could see no one, thus ensuring absolute safety and the elimination of all opportunities for temptation.

Being put into such a garment was unpleasant to say the least. Apparently, it has already been described in one text, written about one of the wives of the SFVI and deemed by many to be fiction, so I need not go into too many details, except to say that it was uncomfortably hot, that within it I was unable to do anything – move a muscle, see, hear – except breathe, and that the merciless lacing at the waist, the elongated laced neck and the tight headcovering made even that activity difficult. Thankfully, it was only a few minutes before the sleeping drugs kicked in.

And when I awoke I was on this bed, dressed in my traditional sleeping burqa. I lay there for several hours until two maids came in, fully veiled including their eyes. I knew however from their low voices that Fatima was not one of them. They stripped me, took me to a bathing room, handcuffed my wrists to a ring hanging from the ceiling and fully prepared me. I was washed thoroughly, my hair also, and then that was braided. Make-up was expertly applied to my face, my nails decorated and my hands hennaed. My whole body was perfumed. My chastity belt was even removed but they showed no surprise at the presence of my cock and balls, (the former immediately springing to life, and only losing its virility when one of the maids doused it in cold water), and instead just concentrating on making certain that every part of my genitals was spotlessly clean and perfumed. Then to my horror, a hot needle was produced, and a gag shoved into my mouth, and they proceeded to pierce my ears and nipples and foreskin, (the latter two operations being excruciatingly painful), whilst I cried into my gag. That done, golden rings were place through all my piercings.

Then, my chastity belt was replaced, and my hands released from the ceiling and cuffed to the belt instead. The gag was left in and I was dressed, firstly in the harem outfit that I have already described and afterwards in three full body veils and a glorious red velvet burqa with gold embroidery. Unfortunately, the burqa had a piece of black cloth sewn behind the grille and I was now completely blind.

Following this I was led out by the maids, over a distance that I could not determine until I entered a room. There the marriage ceremony took place, to a man that I could not see. I heard a room full of people, but I just stood there, blinded, restrained and ignorant for several hours until someone led me away and back to the bedroom, where I was stripped of my burqa and body veils, freshened up, the collar, (my wedding ring I later learnt), attached and locked onto my neck and chained to the bed.

And it is there that you find me waiting, waiting for my husband to have his way with me. A man named Ahmed bin-Husseini they tell me.

 

Chapter 8

Ahmed bin-Husseini came several hours later. He smiled when he saw me and started to kiss me and caress my lithe body. He disgusted me and I tried to wrench myself away, but of course it was impossible. Then he turned me over onto my front, lubricated my anus, (which to be fair did not need a lot of lubricating as after all my training with dildos it was more than big enough to accommodate his little thing), and shoved his throbbing penis into it.

It did not take him long and afterwards I was required to clean off his manhood with my tongue. It was disgusting and I almost wretched. Then he gave me a drink and within moments I found myself paralysed, (such a draught is also described in the story I mentioned earlier concerning Araksia, a SFVI wife. It is common practice to initiate Society Wives into their new life under its influence).

“Now my dear sweet Ihbat, a gift from Allah in Heaven. It is time for me to show you how you will live. As your training at Medrassah Purdah will have told you, you are now the wife, the property of a member of one of three societies, the Islamic Organisation, the International Purdah Organisation and the Society for the Furtherment of the Venus Ideal. Well my love, I may tell you that I am a member of two of them, the latter two. I am of course a Muslim as well, as are you, but by marrying someone who is till technically a man, then I violate religious laws and so cannot be part of their society. That however, is immaterial. You are now a Society Wife and that means that you will be living under the twin pillars of Purdah, which of course you already know all about, and as a Venus.

And with that he produced the garment that I had heard so much about and dreaded with all my heart – the Venus Corset. My body, now paralysed entirely, (barring the mouth, which was now whimpering and crying for mercy), was easily maneuvered by my new husband, and my arms, crossed behind me at the top of my back, and then my whole torso encased in that fearsome piece of corsetry. He laced it with a passion and my life was squeezed out of me. “Forty centimetres is the sat I set for my ladies,” he exclaimed.

This done, after he had finished panting with exertion, he took me again, excited as he was by the shape and helplessness created by the Venus Corset. By now I had recovered most of my bodily movements, (as the draught is not strong), but of course I was still entirely at his mercy, and indeed the thrashing of my legs seemed only to excite him further.

“You will be wearing this 23 hours a day, 7 days a week he explained, with only an hour’s bathing as rest. Then, your wrists will be handcuffed together and strapped to the ceiling ring as they were this morning. Your chastity belt will also stay on, I have no interest in your cock, and indeed only kept it there to remind you of your humiliation and to keep you from being able to climax. You will be required to be fully veiled everywhere outside of your room as you were in the school, and outside of the Wives’ Quarters, you will be gagged as I am a Muslim and believe the female voice to be awrah.

Everyday you will be required to sit in attendance of me for five hours whilst I entertain friends or attend to business. Otherwise your time is your own, except when I require servicing.

Other things, let me think. Oh yes, your toilet visits will be replaced by a daily enema, and you shall be sharing a room with my second wife, Lina. That is all, I am tired now and need to sleep. Goodnight.”

 

Chapter 9

I slept with him that night, but the following morning, after another humiliating bout of anal sex, I was escorted to my new room, bathed, clothed and fed by my maid, who like Fatima stripped down to her underwear to see to my needs, and like Fatima was incredibly sexy, though she – Jay was her name – was Thai, not Arabian, and unlike Fatima was interested in playing no sex games, attending to me with an indifference that I found almost as excruciating.

Then, whilst I was eating, the door opened and a figure wearing a beautiful green burqa walked in. The burqa and other veils were removed and I met Lina.

Lina was of course beautiful. Bin-Hussein only selected beautiful women and he had the power and money to select only the very best. But it was not her beauty that captivated me, but her personality and smile. Once undressed down to a chastity belt and Venus Corset she sat down besides me and smiled. “Are you Ihbat?” she asked. “I’m so glad that you’ve come. I was so lonely here with only the maids and other wives for company, (and I don’t much get on with them I’m afraid). I do so hope we can become friends.”

And we did. For the first time since my kidnapping, here was someone who liked me, was friendly towards me and did not want to play unfulfillable sex games with me. She smiled and laughed and we talked daily for hours on every topic under the sun. However, I’m afraid that whenever I saw her laughing brown eyes, long dark hair and smiling mouth, I felt pangs of desire even stronger than I ever had with Fatima or anyone else. The fact was, that I was in love with her, and she with me, (she didn’t know that I was man, but confessed one night in tears that she had always preferred women.

After that we kissed and stroked each other with our legs and intermingled our still-free lower bodies in bed every night, but of course, not once could we do what lovers want to, and now even more than ever the frustration was killing me.

And so that became my life. Everyday I awoke besides my love, a love whom I could never have, was showered and prepared by the maids, (including the humiliating experience of an enema, something which I haven’t got used to to this day), and then shrouded in a mass of heavy cloth until I was stifled and almost blind and then forced with my love to walk to bin-Husseini’s chamber where we sat, his four wives on a carpet in silence whilst he conducted business, smoked his hookah or laughed and played with friends. Then, when it was time for the midday nap, he would summon one of us to pleasure him, (normally orally), whilst the rest were sent home. Whenever Lina was called I felt so jealous that another man was enjoying her that my heart burned, and when I was called I felt dread and disgust at having to service one of my own sex.

In the afternoons we would sit in the Wives’ Quarter with the other wives, (Aisha and Sham, though later on Sham disappeared as she was the eldest and bin-Husseini was bored of her, and replaced by Scheherazade, an Iranian). Like Lina, they interested me little, I found them haughty and boring, though I have to admit that it was there that I learnt the allure of the veil. Previously I’d never understood why some men find veils sexy, yet there I grasped it. Sat beside this women, talking to her and hearing her beautiful voice, knowing that she was a lady on a par with Helen of Troy, but unable to see anything of her features, my imagination went into overdrive, knowing that she was so near, yet so far, so perfect and yet so unattainable. I was always glad to return to my chamber but then seeing my Lina in there in all her loveliness, well… no stress was relieved.

So we spent our days gossiping, listening to songbirds, drinking Arabian tea, and admiring each others clothes, whilst at night, at erratic times we were summoned to pleasure our Husband and Master, in all manner of strange and unpleasant ways.

And all the time of course, clad in a Venus Corset. An uncomfortable garment that left my waist tiny and my arms dead, and I forever helpless and unable to do the simplest things like open a door or hold my beloved Lina.

My life as such continued in such a way for just under a decade until the charms of youth slowly started to fade.

 

Chapter 10

Then one day I was summoned to bin-Husseini and after I had milked him with my mouth, he told me.

“I have divorced you,” he said. “Your charms are fading and you have started to bore me. I have a new She-Male wife being prepared at Medrassah Purdah. You are to be remarried.”

“Thank you Master,” I said.

He didn’t tell me who my new husband was to be, but manys the tear that was shed as Lina and I knew that we were to be separated forever. Two days later, I was prepared as I had been for my marriage to bin-Husseini and ensconced in blinding burqas married in another Islamic ceremony.

Then I was returned to my chamber and enclosed in my travelling cocoon before being sent to sleep.

I awoke clad in a burqa, my Venus Corset on, and a key – the key to my chastity belt!- hung around my neck. I sat and waited.

Two hours later, the door opened. A burqa-clad figure walked in. ‘A maid,’ thought I.

The figure stopped and wiggled. It lay on the floor and then stood up. It was removing its burqa. After a while I helped, and the figure was free.

“Lina!” exclaimed I.

“Ihbat!” exclaimed my love.

“But…”

“But…”

We laughed.

“I was told that I would find my husband waiting in here.”

“And I was told that my wife would be coming.”

“Then you must be… but you’re a…”

“No,” said I. “They transformed me. I still have a…”

“Then we are husband and wife! Bin-Husseini has a heart after all! He tired of us and so he put us together so that we may at least have some happiness.”

I couldn’t believe it. “The key… to my belt, it’s around my neck.”

“Mine too.”

I took off hers with my mouth and opened up those precious realms.

“Now your turn!” she said, using her mouth to take off that precious golden key. She moved down to my lower regions and fitted it to the keyhole. It would not however, turn.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I can’t get it to turn.”

Then a terrible but familiar laughter filled the room. It came from a loudspeaker on the wall.

“Ladies! You are free of me,” said bin-Husseini. “You are married to each other and now live in your own little palace, all paid for by I. However, I could not leave you without one little joke. Ihbat, I had your belt soldered shut whilst you were sleeping. It can never be opened. You will forever live up to your name.” He laughed once more and then the loudspeaker was turned off.

“Live up to my name?” I said. “What does he mean?”

“Ihbat, have you never realised?”

“Realised what?”

“Ihbat. It’s Arabic for frustrated. You are al-Ihbat. The Frustrated One. That was their plan all along. You will never receive any sexual satisfaction.”

FINIS

Copyright © 2004, Dave Potter

 

 

 

A Day in the Life: Dolly and Molly

A Day in the Life: Dolly and Molly

This story is a loose sequel to A Day in the Life and A Day in the Life Revisited. It was written by me, Dave Potter, but thanks must go to Cafter Homme for the editing and corrections which have made it a better tale than it was originally.

 

Chapter 1

Lord Henry Eastham put down the letter that he had just read and gazed across at his young wife, asleep on the bed.

Whether she was actually physically asleep or not, he could not say for sure. Her heavy breathing suggested that she probably was, but with a waist compressed to such incredible proportions, her breathing was always laboured anyway. It was one of the things that he loved so much about her. No, Lady Eastham was asleep because he had decided that she was asleep. Her maids had attached her securely to the bed, spread out like a starfish, wrists chained to the upper two bedposts, ankles to the lower, so that she could barely move a muscle, just as they did every evening at nine. He had come upstairs half an hour later and taken his pleasure with her, and she had been awake then because he had heard her gagged groans from beneath her new face, but afterwards he had shut her eyes and climbed off. That was what was so marvellous about his wife, or, to be more precise, about how he and all the other men in the Society kept their wives. When he decided she was asleep, she was asleep. Whether or not she actually was sleeping was immaterial, just like all her other actions, wishes and wants. Lying stock still on the bed, her eyes closed, she had the appearance of being asleep.

And that was all that mattered.

After gazing upon his sleeping spouse for a few moments, he returned to the letter from William Cavendish. Its contents had shocked him but did not particularly worry him. The repercussions would be minimal and repeat offenses could be prevented from occurring. Even so, it was embarrassing that this had happened under his roof and it was important that he be seen to do something, otherwise his standing within the Society would diminish. But what to do, exactly?

He rang the bell and within a minute Fanny arrived. He let his eyes linger upon her corseted waist for perhaps a moment more than was polite and then said brusquely, “Tea, please.”

Two minutes later she had returned carrying a tray with a small teapot, delicate jug of milk and fine china cup and saucer. She set it down before him and he gave her bottom a pat as she did so. She said nothing of course. Whether she liked it or not was immaterial. In Lord Eastham’s house such behaviour was de rigueur.

“How are you these days, Fanny?” he asked.

“I’m fine, Your Lordship, thank you for asking.”

“And your parents?”

“You forget Your Lordship, they’re both passed away. I have no family now.”

“Not even a brother or a sister?”

“None that survived childhood, Your Lordship.”

“I am sorry to hear that. You are an excellent maid, Fanny. I do appreciate your hard work.”

“Why thank you, Your Lordship.”

“I do so hope that the world treats you better in the future, girl. Good night.”

Fanny bade her master goodnight also and left the room. What she did not realise that the decisions made by that master during the short two minutes that it had taken to make his tea would change her life irrevocably.


At the same time that Lady Eastham was sleeping and Fanny’s destiny was being altered, the author of the fatal letter, William Cavendish Esq. was sitting in his own bedroom, also drinking tea and also gazing upon his own sleeping wife.

Mrs. Cavendish however, unlike her sister in silence, Lady Eastham, was sleeping on her front tonight since the sexual congress that she had just enjoyed – or endured – with her husband, had been of the more prohibited type. As he had started taking to do more and more often, he had ordered Woakes to arrange his living doll on her front with her large and extremely alluring plugged bottom high in the air with a bolster placed underneath it. She was, as always in bed, entirely naked save for the corset around her waist, the monoglove binding her arms together and the hood and then porcelain cast enclosing her head. Not that this really counted of course. As far as William was concerned, the ceramic head topped with a golden wig was Mrs. Cavendish’s real head and the only sort of real waist was a corseted one; she was naked. For, in his mind and those of all the Society members and their wives, she had ceased to become a woman per se and was instead a very special china doll.

Albeit a living and breathing one.

Nonetheless, something had now changed. Something drastic. Not that one could tell from either his demeanour or hers, but the change was real nonetheless.

It dated back two months to when they had both attended the masking ceremony of the new Lady Eastham. Sometime during that ceremony, it transpired that Mrs. Cavendish had overheard two maids chattering. Quite without meaning to and by chance, those maids had given away the Society’s secret and undone years of indoctrination. They had essentially told the silent and unmoving Mrs. Cavendish that real society ladies do not wear masks or china heads, are not permanently gagged and fed liquidised food and do not have their arms bound in monogloves most of the time. Instead, they had let it slip that she was an indoctrinated victim of a sadistic group of men who desire to turn their wives into china dolls.

Indeed.

He gazed upon her sleeping form and wondered: was the woman inside his doll actually asleep or not? Did she love him or hate him? How did she feel about being taken anally most nights? How did she feel about being silenced and anonymised? What difference had this realisation made to her life?

He had only learnt about her discovery because, a week before, on a whim, he’d decided to allow his doll a conversation. These were increasingly rare occurrences, since he didn’t really care for what she had to say or indeed her thoughts and feelings as a person. After all, do normal china dolls think and feel? But he was bored and slightly tipsy on port and the idea of a “chat” had appealed, so he’d unlaced her monoglove, taken out her conversation book and let her write.

He’d expected the usual submissive, mindless blah, proof if it were needed that the Society’s intensive indoctrination programme in the years leading up to marriage had worked flawlessly. What he had instead received that day had shocked him profoundly. She’d revealed her discovery and pleaded with him to treat her as a “normal” wife. He had comforted her, hugged her, and then replaced the monoglove, to her weak protestations.

Then he had written straightaway to Lord Eastham. The letter that His Lordship had just finished reading unbeknownst to its author.

Chapter 2

Upon reading the letter, Lord Eastham had realised immediately who the guilty culprits had been: Fanny Baker and Millie Bainbridge. Both girls were pretty dull intellectually, and no great shakes as housemaids either. He had only employed them – and tolerated their repeated mediocre performances in their roles – because they were extremely pleasing to look at, did not complain when he gave their buttocks or breasts a squeeze, and were too stupid to ever mention to the authorities about what went on in Eastham Hall.

His initial thought upon having read the missive was to sack the pair of them on spot. However, after he had sent for a maid and Fanny had arrived in person, he’d started to have second thoughts. Was a mere sacking punishment enough for such irresponsibility? And if kicked out of his employ, how could he guarantee their silence? Plus, he had long held fantasies about doing far more with one or both of them – particularly Fanny – than giving their bottoms a grope.

And almost as soon as he thought about this, a solution precipitated into his mind. Oh yes, a great solution! One that would satisfy the Society, satisfy William Cavendish and, most importantly, satisfy him.

On the morrow he ordered his carriage readied and rode out to the railway station. There he took the first train to Sheffield where he changed for Throwley. Three hours later he was hammering on the door of the isolated Throwley Hall, where his friend and fellow Societyman William Cavendish lived with his own doll wife. The two men met and spoke in the dining room for about an hour. Then, Lord Eastham left and returned directly to his home. After enjoying his evening meal, he withdrew to his study and promptly summoned three of his servants to him. The first was Nolan the butler. The two men spoke for around fifteen minutes after which Nolan departed looking extremely grave. Next, he summoned Millie Bainbridge. He spoke to her for around fifteen minutes and she left looking quite distraught. Finally, he summoned Fanny Baker.

“Fanny, please sit down,” he said, smiling and showing the lowly maid to the best chair in the room.

“Why, thank you, Your Lordship.”

“I’ve been thinking about our little conversation last night and I have a proposal to make to you. Life has been unkind to you in the past, I understand that, yet you have continued to work diligently in my employ and proven yourself to be a first-rate housemaid.”

“Why, thank you, Your Lordship, you’re too kind.”

“No Fanny, no I am not. You have earned that praise and it is my belief that you have earned far more than that. Indeed, I have called you into my office today in order to offer you a promotion. Lady Eastham, as you know, lives in a rather, how shall I put it, unusual manner and although she is most happy with her lot, I sense that she is lonely. During our evening conversations, she has repeatedly mentioned to me about how excellent you have proved to be when serving her and what a delightful girl she finds you to be. Thus, it is that I would like to offer you the position of Companion to Lady Eastham. The wage is quadruple the amount you are currently paid but I do appreciate that you are happy in your current work and this role may not suit…”

“Oh no Your Lordship, it would suit me right proper would that!”

“Well, are you sure? It is a big step up and…”

“Oh, Your Lordship, thank you very much, I’d be honoured!”

“Well that is excellent and, as it happens, I have another bit of news for you. I believe that you are good friends with Millie Bainbridge, am I correct?”

“Oh yes, Your Lordship, me and her is like sisters.”

“How delightful! Well, only this morning I met with a dear friend of mine, Mr. William Cavendish, and he asked me if I have any intelligent and able young ladies in my employ who would be happy to act as a companion for his wife. Immediately I thought of you and Millie but I wanted to keep you employed in this household, so I offered the Cavendish position to her and she has accepted too. Ladies, you are both going up in the world!”

“That’s unbelievable, Your Lordship, thank you so much!”

“It is nothing,” he replied. “On the morrow, you are to travel to Sheffield and visit the draper. You will need a new wardrobe after all for your new position. As this is being prepared, you shall continue in your current post but then in, shall we say a fortnight, when your new clothes are ready, you shall be inducted into your new role.”

“Thank you again, Your Lordship, you’re too kind, you really are.”

“Well, if that is how you think, please, permit me a little kiss on that pretty cheek of yours and then you can be off.”

“Of course, Your Lordship! For you, anything…”

And so he had his peck on the cheek – which strayed towards her rosebud lips – and then she was sent on her way with a pat on the bum.

And as she closed the door behind her, Lord Eastham muttered to himself, “Brainless cow!”

Chapter 3

Lazily, Fanny Baker opened her eyes in her new bed on the first morning of her new job. Almost immediately, despite the succour of sleep still being in her head, she knew that something was wrong. She had opened her eyes but nothing had changed; the world remained black.

Not the black of a dark night but pitch black, the total absence of light at all.

More than that, something was covering her head. Enclosing it, tightly, as if it were in a bag. She tried to bring her hand to her face to check what it was but that hand would not move. It was firmly secured to the frame of the bed above her head. In panic she screamed.

No noise came out.


The night before she was due to begin her new position, in accordance with the new duties and status, Fanny had been told that she would be moving to new quarters, up in the West Wing next to Lady Eastham’s rooms. It had been an emotional day for the young maid. That morning she had tearfully bade goodbye to her friend Millie who had set off for her new job at Throwley Hall, and then the change in her circumstances had been announced at dinner by the butler to all in the servants’ dining room. There had been a couple of muttered snide comments about people who got a promotion by flashing their tits rather than doing any work, but most people had applauded her respectfully. She had never felt so proud and so beloved.

After that she had made her way up the wide staircase to the upper-class quarters. Her bedroom, when she was shown it, was incredible. It wasn’t as grand as her mistress’s of course, but it was still huge, dominated by a four-poster bed and, worryingly, a lacing bar that dangled from the ceiling. There was a large wardrobe full of the new outfits delivered that afternoon in the draper’s van. She opened it and looked at them. Fine satin and velvet, lace trimmings and exquisite embroidery. After that day, she would look incredible. She sat down on the bed and smiled. How lucky she was! Of course, she had always known that His Lordship had a soft spot for her; that was why she endured the little strokes and squeezes that came her way, but she never believed he would favour her in such a manner. If she played her cards right and let him do more than stroke or squeeze, who knows? Perhaps her own little place in a nearby town which he could retreat to when he grew tired of his strange, china-faced wife.

Just thinking of Lady Eastham made her shiver. What a freaky way to live? Silent and hidden, more like a piece of the furniture than a real, living person. And what was she as the Lady’s companion supposed to do with her? She imagined some very dull one-way conversations in the ladies’ drawing room. Oh well, however tortuous, it would be worth it. The salary alone, plus the status and the prospect of further boons to come her way, had made this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Fanny was shaken from her reveries by a knock on the door. It was Nolan the butler who was wheeling a trolley.

“His Lordship thought you might like some tea before you retire,” he said.

“That’d be lovely, ta. Just leave it there.”

“As you wish, Miss Baker. Good evening.”

“Goodnight Mr. Nolan,” she replied.

She did not know that they were to be the last words she would ever speak.


Lord Eastham looked on with sadistic pleasure as he saw the china doll on the bed start to squirm, groan and test her restraints. As no one else was present, she could see nothing and his trousers were tented, he unbuttoned them and took his member in his hand. In less than a minute he had erupted over her new porcelain face. Then he revealed himself.

“Good morning Fanny,” he said, “and welcome to your first day as Lady Eastham’s companion. Immediately she stopped her squirming. He took out a damp flannel, wiped the semen from her face with care and then opened her eyelids to reveal a pair of dark brown doll’s eyes with a tiny pinhole in the centre of each one.

“I guess you are wondering what has happened to you since you drank that cup of tea last night. Well, you shouldn’t be confused, as the truth of the matter is entirely obvious: if you are to be Lady Eastham’s companion in life then it is only natural that you must live in the same mode that she does. However, because you are not a member of the aristocracy and only a lowly serving girl, it would have been inappropriate for you to have a dolling ceremony as she did. So it was that your head was fitted last night when you were sleeping off the effects of the drugged tea.”

Immediately the squirming, bucking groaning and general non-acceptance of her life began again. Lord Eastham stopped speaking. He enjoyed moments like this and wanted to savour this one. Already his trousers were beginning to tent again. With his wife he had not had such a pleasure, as she had been indoctrinated to accept, nay, embrace her doll status. But this brainless wench had had no such preparation and her predicament was panicking her. As he watched her battle in vain against her restraints, he remembered the previous evening.

Half an hour after giving her the tea, Nolan had returned and then summoned his master. Lord Eastham had come along together with the Earl of Norfolk, the founder and Chair of the Society whom he had contacted the week before and invited along for the occasion. The three men had then stripped the sleeping maid, tied her to a chair and cut her hair off with shears before then shaving it as bald as an egg. After that they had fitted the fearsome hood which was then laced up tightly at the back, before inflating the gag to full capacity. Then the china head had been produced, another perfect product from the Staffordshire manufacturer Wade, whose owner was also a Societyman and who made all Society heads to their purchaser’s unique specifications. Since his wife was a blonde-haired and wide blue-eyed doll, Lord Eastham had decided to go for a stark contrast and so ordered Fanny to become a raven-haired beauty with brooding dark brown eyes and rosebud lips. Not unlike the Empress Sisi in fact. The rear half of the head had been fitted first, then the front joined onto it and, finally, the mass of black ringleted hair affixed on top.

The vision complete.

Fanny was then untied from the chair, lain on the bed, and her wrists and ankles were attached firmly to the four posts by bronze chains before the counterpane was lain on top of her, and she was left to rest in peace.


Eastham stayed silent until Fanny had ceased in her futile struggles, after which he stroked her ersatz hair and began his litany again.

“Fanny, from this day forward you shall live exactly as your mistress does, for you shall be her companion in everything. You are now a doll just as she is and, to help make that clearer to you, I have decided that you are to be renamed. Your new moniker is Dolly. Dolly the dolly. Simple, like you, and easy to remember. At this moment, as I impart this joyful news to you, all the servants are being addressed by Nolan who is instructing them that you must always be referred to as ‘Dolly’ from this day forward.”

She started to buck and groan again, doubtless due to the shame of this ordeal. His Lordship’s member grew even stiffer. When she had calmed herself again, he continued:

“Unfortunately, as you are doubtless aware, your waist is currently much broader than Her Ladyship’s. therefore, you shall undergo a period of intensive waist training. I have already ordered the new stays to accomplish this. Your personal maid has been instructed to ensure that your waist circumference, twenty-eight inches at present I believe, does not exceed sixteen by this time next year. Oh yes, and your maid is to be Lottie. I believe you two are close friends.”

The bucking started again in earnest. Lord Eastham had been lying. The plain, almost boyish Lottie Wilkins, one of the most efficient and hard-working maids in the hall, was also the one who had muttered about people getting promotions by flashing their tits the previous evening. Nolan had informed him straightaway. The two girls absolutely hated one another.

“Now, I shall ring for Lottie in a moment and she shall administer your first enema and then prepare you for your first day as Her Ladyship’s companion. However, before we do that, whilst we are still alone, I have one little confession to make.” As he said those words he moved his face right next to hers, so close that he could feel and hear her breath entering and exiting the holes in the button porcelain nose. “Dolly, I lied to you earlier. I did not choose you for this position because of your hard work; instead it was due to a very different reason. A month ago at Her Ladyship’s dolling ceremony, you and Millie Bainbridge – now renamed Molly the Dolly I believe – spoke freely about our practices. Either purposeful or simply careless, you let another doll know that how she and Lady Eastham – and now you too I suppose – live is not the norm, and – I am using your words here – our society is ‘evil’. Now, my dear doll, such an abuse of trust is absolutely unforgivable. You have caused both Mrs. Cavendish and Mr. Cavendish great upset and so, it is only right that you – and Millie – share the burden as it were. Whatever bed you are lying in dear Dolly, it is you who has put yourself there. And with those thoughts, goodbye.”

Softly he kissed her pottery cheek and then rang the bell for Lottie.


Four hours later a figure walked into the drawing room at Throwley Hall. “My darling, meet your new companion, Molly the Dolly!” announces William Cavendish as a flame-haired, green-eyed doll tentatively enters, unsure on her new heels.

And at the same hour we can find Fanny… nay, Dolly, sitting alongside Lady Eastham, her shoulders in agony from the monoglove that has been laced onto her for the first time in her life, her breast heaving from the overtightened stays but her face placid and tranquil.

 

Chapter 4

Four months later

Ticking of the clock pounded through her brain, tormenting her, driving her mad. It was only a faint sound, barely discernible through the tight leather hood and pottery cast that now covered her ears, but in a world of almost complete silence, it engulfed her entire being.

I say ‘almost complete,’ for there was another sound: that of heavy, laboured breathing; the constant battle to force air in and out of dangerously-compressed lungs and then through the tiny holes in the pot head. The eternal battle for air that both enraged and comforted her. She hated it, she longed for a break from that unending struggle to just keep herself alive and yet, at the same time, it was a blessed reminder that she… and the figure sitting across from her… were alive. For breathing was the only non-artificial thing about them.

She was doing her job, the “promotion” that she had eagerly accepted and looked forward to. She had been excited by the fact that she would become almost a lady herself, wearing fine dresses, sleeping in fine quarters and doing no physical work. Well, all of that had turned out to be true, but in the cruellest possible way. She now was Mrs. Cavendish’s companion indeed, but keep her company was all that she did do. It was all that she could do nowadays.

She closed her real eyes behind the doll ones and remembered. She remembered running in the fields as a little girl, singing songs at Sunday School, laughing and joking with her friends, flirting with the boys. She recalled glorious summer Sundays lying on the grass staring up at the fluffy clouds in the sky, cups of tea around the kitchen table, wild nights at harvest time when everyone drank home-brewed ale and danced around the hayrick. She had been poor, unimportant and ignorant, but she had been, in so many ways, happy.

And now…?

She stared at Mrs. Cavendish. How ironic that they spent nearly every waking hour together and yet had never spoken and knew nothing about each other. Instead she just sits there, in the armchair across from her, dressed in the finest of gowns, her ample chest heaving up and down, her face blank and artificial. Who is she? What is she like? What does she dream about? Does she hate the husband that did this to her or does she love him? Does she realise that she is a victim of a group of sadistic, evil men who just like to control women or does she think that it is normal? She remembers that once, when they were free, Fanny had told her that they don’t realise, that they think it’s normal. She also remembers that Fanny is now Lady Eastham’s companion. She has met her several times of course but, corseted to fainting and her head hidden beneath a doll head, then she would never have known that it was her old friend. She recognised Lottie though, that plain bitch who preferred women to men and always hated the fact that Fanny had more normal preferences and didn’t find her attractive at all. And now Lottie was Fanny’s maidservant. She shuddered when she thought what that meant.

She stared again at Mrs. Cavendish. She had no choice. It was almost impossible to turn her head these days without shifting her whole body. She could glance from side to side but that just meant blindness since her eyes then did not line up with the pinholes in the doll head. She took in her mistress’s gorgeous cream gown with printed roses on it and her minuscule waist, emphasised with a huge red ribbon. A wave of hate passed over her. Her gown, although fine, was far plainer and her waist was far broader. She was now nothing more than an anonymous clotheshorse and yet even in that role this bitch was eclipsing her.

And it was more than that. Madam had been trained so that she could accept all of this. She knew no different. Ignorance is strength. For her this was all normal. Oh, to have that peace of mind, that serenity, that ability to accept and not be angry. How she hated her with every fibre of her being!

Nor was that all. That cow, that submissive, putrid little doll whom it was her life’s curse to accompany, yes, she could not speak, move, express opinions or anything else, but she could still be a woman. She was a wife. A woman’s purpose in life is to marry and please her husband and, in a perverse way, that bitch was doing that. Every night she would lie with him and he would enter her. Oh the memory! She was no virgin of course, she had lain with several of the serving boys and, although she had not really loved any of them, it had been good, oh yes, it had been wonderful! The feeling of a man inside her, his rod slipping up and down her cavern, caressing her down there, his arms entwining her, the ecstasy, the joy, the…

The thoughts caused her breathing to grew heavier and she felt her head spinning. She tried to fight it but then she blacked out.

She awoke. How long had passed? Seconds? Minutes? Hours? Nothing had changed. The clock still ticked and Mrs. Cavendish still stared vacantly back at her. Bitch! Tonight that cow would enjoy a man whilst she lay alone as she did every night, her sex on fire due to the insertions in both her nest and her bottom, but with no way to relieve them. It was so unfair!

But a woman is not born to be just a wife. No, she has an even higher calling than that, the highest calling of all. The be a mother and raise a brood of gorgeous children. She loved children but they did not love her. The doll head with its staring eyes freaked them out and the few that came to Throwley ran from her and Mrs. Cavendish. But soon, that cow across from her would find a child that ran towards her, not away. Soon, she would be nursing one, having it suck on the teat of one of those ample breasts that now heaved up and down across from her.

Oh yes, a week ago it had been announced that Madam had missed her period and today the doctor had visited and another announcement made: Mrs. Cavendish was expecting! Her stays were going to be loosened and she would be pampered whilst the new life grew within her. How evil was that! That this mindless, pathetic girl who rushed to embrace becoming a doll should be gifted with a child whilst Millie herself was left unsatisfied every night.

God how she hated her!

A click to her left shook her out of her reveries. Although she could not see what it was, she knew from past experience: the door had been opened. Into her line of sight appeared Mr. Cavendish. He was a handsome man with a rugged face and excellent dress sense. She could see why that worthless freak had fallen for him. He went over to his doll wife and pecked her on her porcelain cheek. “I had to check on the mother of my child,” he said warmly. She did not move or react.

Then he turned towards Molly and gazed upon her for longer than was decent, his eyes resting on her now 20-inch in circumference stem-waist. “And her charming companion too, of course,” he added. He walked over to her and she involuntarily wiggled her monoglove-clad arms even though there was no life in them. His hand brushed her cheek and she cursed that she could feel nothing. Then it strayed down, brushing her heaving breasts almost accidentally. Oh, the feeling of a human touch on her body! It was exquisite but all too infuriating for its briefness. “Your waist is progressing well, Molly,” he commented. “Soon it shall match my wife’s.”

And then he departed.

God how she longed for him!

God how she hated her!

But none of those feelings came out and instead she just sat there, unmoving, her artificial face smiling as the clock ticked endlessly on.

Chapter 5

A year later

The congregation are assembled, the minister stands with his prayer book and the groom waits nervously by the altar. Then, the familiar strains of the wedding march strike up on the organ and the bride enters, a glorious vision in white. She moves slowly and daintily down the aisle and all present admire what they see: her sumptuous dress, her minuscule waist and her proudly-held head, covered by a bonnet and thick white veils. At the altar those veils are flipped back to reveal her face. She is as pretty as a doll! Indeed, she is more than that. She is a china doll! Her lips do not move and her eyes stare unblinking.

And thirty minutes later she has become one Mrs. Stephen Nolan.


In the year that has passed, much has happened. Both Dolly and Molly have settled down silently, uncomplaining, as the companions of Lady Eastham and Mrs. Cavendish respectively. They meet regularly, for every other month the Cavendishes make their way over to Eastham Hall whilst on the alternate months the Easthams travel to Throwley. Although friends before, His Lordship and William Cavendish have become even closer and nothing makes them happier than seeing their two wives and their two wives’ companions sitting in a row, all tight-laced, monogloved and expressionless in the drawing room. It is just exquisite.

But for William Cavendish, it has become more than that. Indeed, the presence of a new doll under his roof has changed the whole dynamics of his household. Mrs. Cavendish always excited him, but now there is double the temptation. At first he was content to just let his eyes drift over the newcomer’s ever-improving figure and flawless porcelain complexion but then, as with Lord Eastham before him, he found that he could not resist a stroke or a squeeze.

And Molly the Dolly could not resist him.


Things came to a head though, when a happy event took place within Throwley Hall. Worried about his future legacy, William had started undertaking his nightly congress with his wife not only vaginally, but, furthermore, without protection. And within three months, nature took its course and her periods stopped.

Which was wonderful news of course, but as her stomach grew and her stays had to be loosened, the doll that he was married to began to appear less and less appealing in comparison to the one that he had merely employed. He found himself sneaking into her room at night to gaze upon her sleeping form and, before a fortnight had passed, he had taken to lying next to her and gently stroking her whilst also bringing himself to fulfilment.

Before the month was over, they had consummated their new-found relationship.


As with so many things, what happens at Throwley Hall, also happens at Eastham. His Lordship however, had always foreseen the day when he slept with his wife’s companion and so had made plans. However, he had delayed it for his own perverse pleasure.

He knew that Dolly hated him. On the rare occasions when he allowed her to have a conversation with him, she swore and railed against him in misspelt English with crudely-formed letters. She really was as dumb as they come, and her anger and malice excited him to no end. So, he formed a plan. He wanted her to want him as much as she detested him, to plead with him to sleep with her yet hate herself for doing so.

It was not hard. All Society members learned that their doll wives loved to lie with their husbands. The reason was simple: denied of any skin-to-skin contact, forced to live life second-hand, ‘through a glass darkly’ as the Society’s spiritual head, the Rev. Halcombe had put it, the brief physical contact that they enjoyed with another human being during sex became a beacon of hope and reality in their lives. It was the only thing that made them feel human.

And indoctrinated as they all were, they knew that they should love it and should adore their husbands anyway. That they longed for that time was only natural. It was God’s will.

But with Dolly it was all so different. She had received no education and was under no illusions. She knew that he was to blame for her misery and only he could free her, yet chose not to. She abhorred him with every fibre of her body and so shrank away when he neared her. Still though, he set to work. He instituted weekly conversations ‘to discuss the progress of his darling wife’ and during these would ask her what she thought of him. Using her brainless bluntness she told him that he repels her.

“So, you wouldn’t like to sleep with me?” he asked.

Not for all the money in the world, she wrote.

“Fair enough, because I never shall unless you ask me to.”

And I never will ask you to you shit!

However, whilst all this was going on, his plan to break her was progressing. The cook was ordered to put copious quantities of Spanish fly, a strong aphrodisiac, in her liquidised meals and Lottie was under strict instructions to keep sizing up her bottom plugs as well as also adding a frontal insertion.

And then, every evening, an hour after she had been put to sleep, he would enter her room and slowly stroke or tickle her beauty bud. She would buck and groan but he would never let her do more than that.

After four months of mental and physical torment and intense internal debating, she humbly wrote in her conversation book, Please lie with me.

“Why? Do you love me?”

No, I hate you. You are a louse.

“I only lie with women who love me.”

Two weeks later she told him she loved him.

Which was all well and good except that Lord Eastham had never been a fan of congress with a sheath. And so he went about it au naturel and, after five months, Dolly too missed her period.

Which potentially posed a problem. After all, who had access to her but His Lordship? And what would be the talk in the county if it became known that he had made a servant pregnant? But, as I said before, Lord Eastham was a man who had made plans for such an eventuality. The very week that Dolly missed her period, quite out-of-the-blue, the butler Nolan declared his undying love for Lady Eastham’s Companion.

And the very next week they were married with the Rev. Halcombe presiding in Eastham Hall’s private chapel.


In the reception afterwards, William Cavendish seeks out his friend.

“Bertie, old fruit, I must say, I don’t know how you do it! I’m in awe, I truly am!”

“Whatever do you mean, old bean?”

“Well, getting Nolan to marry the doll like that. I mean, it’s an awful shame for you since he’ll be using her from now on but at least the scandal of the child is covered up. How much did you have to pay him to agree?”

“Pay him? Oh, not a penny, old chap. Did it for free. And what is more, he won’t be stopping my access to her. In fact, she’ll consummate her wedding night in a couple of hours’ time with the same fellow who impregnated her in the first place.”

“What on earth do you mean? Nolan is prepared to ride solo whilst you’re on his mare?”

“Not at all. Nolan won’t be riding solo tonight just as he has not for many years. My guess is that he will be busy galloping his way through the night on Parker as he does most nights.”

“Parker? Which mare is that? Can’t say I’ve noticed her before.”

“You haven’t because Parker’s a stallion not a mare. Nolan is a raging pederast you see. Damn good butler but a shirt-lifter. I’ve known for years, naturally. That’s why I had a word with him before Lady Eastham was dolled and another before I dolled up Dolly here. It keeps his mouth shut. Better that than him languishing in the nick.”

“Aha! I get it now! Absolute bloody genius! He keeps quiet about your tendencies and you keep quiet about his; he gets to appear as a normal family man and you get to roger the doll; he gets a child and you don’t get any scandal.”

“Got it in one, except for one minor detail: if it’s a boy, it’s his, although I’ll provide for the lad well enough of course. But if it’s a girl, the Society gets her. As you know, we’ve been getting worried that these orphanage reforms may cut off our current supply of dolls, so what better than to breed some of our own? Everyone’s a winner… except Dolly and the baby perhaps!”

They both chuckled heartily at this and took long puffs on their cigars. Then Cavendish turned to Eastham and said, “Listen old bean, I’ve been meaning to ask…”

Eastham held his hand up. “You needn’t bother, old chap, I know what you’re about to say: Yes, I can help. Wilkins the footman and Peters to gardener are also raging queers who are rather fond of each other. Do you fancy employing them both at Throwley Hall? I’m guessing young Molly is getting itchy for some wedding bells too…”

The End

 

Copyright © 2018, Dave Potter

 

Bunnykins

Bunnykins

Trang was a normal girl in Vietnam. She was slim, sensuous and her face could bewitch most men. It certainly bewitched Dave Potter when he saw it on the internet dating site. He started contacting her, learnt that she was an intelligent, independent woman, and within a month he was catching a plane over there to Ho Chi Minh City.

They met, they talked, they kissed and they fell in love. “Would you mind going for a professional photo shoot?” asked Dave. Trang of course, did not mind. She went to the most expensive studio in town, (after all, Dave was paying), and posed for a series of elegant photographs wearing her traditional dress, the ao dai.

Dave left, but returned again three months later. A week after his arrival, they were married, and a month after that, they were on the plane jetting towards Southern California where he lived.

After alighting from the plane they drove south and south, until they were but a few kilometers from the Mexican border. Then they stopped at a large house. “Do you live here?” asked Trang.

“Yes I do my honey,” replied Dave.

They got out of the car and entered the luxurious marble-tiled confines. “Sit down,” said Dave. “I’ll make you a drink,” he added. He disappeared and returned a moment later with an iced coffee. Trang took it with a smile and sipped it slowly. Then, strangely, she began to feel dizzy, her whole went hazy and Dave smiled.

She awoke feeling groggy. She was no longer in the luxury mansion, but instead a hospital room. She was lain on a bed and all around her, doctors milled about. She tried to get up from the bed, but discovered that she was tied down. Dave came into view, smiling. “What’s happened?” she asked. “Have I had an accident?”

“No, my dear, I’m just having you modified a little, that’s all. So that you more suit my tastes.”

“Modified? What? Where?” She was very confused.

“Where? Oh in a place where the law does not matter,” said her husband with a laugh.

Then a doctor came up to her, injected something into her arm, and the world went black once more.

When she awoke the seond time she found that she was no longer in the hospital. Instead, she was in a bedroom. A very pink bedroom. A bedroom covered with pink silken sheets, pink hearts and large pink soft toys. The only non-pink thing in it was Dave, who was sat at the foot of the bed, again wearing a broad smile on his face.

“You’re awake my darling!” he exclaimed. “Very good! Welcome to your new life Bunnykins!”

‘Bunnykins’? What did he mean? What did that English word mean? She sat up and discovered that she was naked, save a tiny plastic pink bikini. She felt different. Curled hair brushed against her face.But why? She put her hand to her face. Her hand didn’t work! What was happening? She asked Dave. Except that she didn’t ask anything. All that came out of her mouth was a gurgle. She couldn’t speak!

“You’re wondering about the modifications that I’ve made to you I suppose?” he said.

Trang nodded.

“Well, the hands. I’ve had them changed in hospital. The fingers have had metal rods inserted beneath the skin, so that they cannot bend and the fingers themselves have been sewn together and these fantastic pink false nails, an inch in length attached to the tips of each one. Then there’s the wrists, also unmovable. Your hands are useless now. Left for decorative purposes only. And you mouth? You will find that that will no longer open wider than a one inch ‘o’, the size of my cock in fact. Inside, your voice chords have been snapped and your teeth removed and the mouth itself reshaped so that it is smaller and therefore, more comfortable for my tool. Of course, speaking is not an impossibility. Your mind however, I have left unchanged. I wish you to appreciate every second of this change in your life. Now, what else, ah yes, your feet. In a permanent en pointe ballet position. Walking any distance is now impossible for you, but you can mince about the house to my pleasure. Your breasts and buttocks have of course been enhanced, that goes without saying. Let’s get you up and dressed.”

He picked his wife up and laced a pair of en pointe boots on her feet and then covered them with schoolgirl white socks and white girly shoes that disguised the fact that the feet were held at an angle. Trang tried walking on these and found it almost an impossibility. They then went over to a wardrobe and Dave brought out a ridiculous little girl’s dress in pink, festooned with bows, which he proceed to dress his wife in. “You might be wondering why you are finding it difficult to resist me. I shall explain,” said he. “You are now being fed on a compound designed by nutriotional experts. It provides all the vitamins and nutrients that you need for daily life, but none of the chemicals that give you strength. Consequently, whilst fed on it you shall always be healthy, yet alas also weak. Certain of your muscles though, I require to be always toned. Therefore, you will be pleased to learn that thrice weekly you will be having butt massages to keep that now enlarged part of your anatomy firm and pleasing to me.” He finished tying the dress around her, then led her to a chair where copious amounts of make-up were smeared onto Trang’s face: bright pink lipstick, black line on her eyebrows and to her horror, enormous false lashes that obscured her view a little. He then produced a large pink ribbon and tied to to her hair. “By the way,” commented he, “your hair will be forever curled and blonde from now on.” Then, with a smile, he delcared, “My little girl Bunnykins is complete! Take a look at yourself in the mirror.”

Bunnykins turned to the looking glass that he held before her. Staring at her was a little Asian-girl fantasy, ready to be plucked and used and then cast aside. She blinked and her false lashes batted up and down. “Pretty aren’t you, Bunnykins?” said Dave, brushing her blonde ringlets. “Now bend over!” Bunnykins did not heed her husband, so he bent her over himself, so that her arse was facing the air. Pulling down her bikini panties, he said. “One more thing. Your lovely bottom is not large enough for me to enter yet, so it must be trained.” Then to her surprise, he thrust a large and well-lubricated dildo into it, causing her to gurgle loudly. “Such a pretty sound, your gurgle is,” was the only comment that Dave made, before righting her. “Now kneel!” he commanded. This time Bunnykins obeyed.

“Now, your main, nay, only purpose in life is to receive cock, so today, I am going to introduce you to the art of blowing.” He unbuttoned his fly and took his tool out. Bunnykins unwillingly took that erect member into her modified mouth and started sucking. “No! No! Harder! Harder!” cried Dave, grabbing her head rougly and fucking her face with vigour. As he came a minute or so later, Bunnykins looked up and saw one of the the photos of her in her ao dai from the photo shoot in Vietnam, and realised what a terrible change had happened to her. Gone was proud, independent, intelligent Trang. Arrived was Bunnykins the Bimbo, Dave’s little Asian girl fucktoy.

Copyright © 2004, Dave Potter

A Day in the Life, Revisited

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

Travelling in Bondage

Travelling in Bondage

by D

March 2011.

“Travelling in Bondage” was written by me possibly in 1998 and was one of first items of mine that was ‘published’ on the Net. It was originally written as a partial explanation of my private lifestyle at that time and designed to be read only by a specific friend of TB and myself. As he also ran a web site specialising in D/s writings, he asked for permission to publish it, which was why it first saw light of day on the Leviticus site.

For some reason, it was removed from that site later and, after many years of gathering dust, is now published here at the Confining Clothing Group as it has certain elements that relate to the group’s main interests.

As I said in the original Preface, it is a factual record of my life back many years ago and not a work of fiction. As such it brings back a lot of memories for me when I read it again a few days ago – the first time I had done so for over a decade. I hope you enjoy it.

“D”


The most important element about this article is that it is NOT a work of fiction, but is an accurate and truthful account of aspects of my life, past and present. I am a submissive who has been in a 24/7 D/s relationship with her Master for five years. I count myself as very blessed to have such a wonderful Master who understands me so completely, and whom I strive to please to the very best of my ability all the time. This article is written with his permission and encouragement.


TRAVELLING IN BONDAGE.

My name is ‘D’, I am in my twenties, and I am the chattel of my Master, The Bear. Ours may not be the most typical D/s relationship, as I have a career that he permits me to pursue but, when I am at home, I must forget that I am Dxxxxxx. She may be the person who puts the key in the door lock, but it is ‘D’ who steps into the house.

One aspect of our relationship which has been very important from the start has been my Master’s decision that within the house – and, as I will relate shortly, outside it too at times – I must be kept under some form of restraint all the time. This can vary from simple enough methods, such as wearing hobbles or short-chained handcuffs, through to full restraints that do not allow me to move a muscle. More usually it takes the form of my being made to wear often uncomfortable and confining clothing. As I type this article, I am dressed in such a way so that the simple act of using the keyboard is made difficult by thick gloves and by having my arms tethered to my sides just above my elbows. In addition I am wearing very heavy clothing, corsets and a floor length cape which only opens up to waist level. That I am gagged as I type is perfectly usual, as my Master does not wish to be disturbed by my chatter.

It was probably a few months after my Master and I decided to share our lives that we first ventured outside the house with me under restraint. Of course, that was not my decision but one of The Bear’s ideas. A week or so earlier he had brought me a calf-length cape which was normal enough to wear in public. However it did not take long for the arm-slits to be sewn up, rings for padlocks to be sewn on at collar, waist and hem levels, and for an innocuous cape to become a restraint item. Naturally, as soon as I had finished modifying the cape to my Master’s specification, he took me out for a walk wearing it. But he harnessed my hands and arms behind my back before he caped me, so that I was in bondage even before I stepped out into the street.

It soon became quite usual for us to go out with me harnessed and caped. We went to the cinema, to the theatre and for long walks with me made helpless under my cape. Occasionally we got strange looks………. Why was that girl still wearing her cape all buttoned from throat to hem in a perfectly well heated cinema or theatre? Once a young woman of my own age came up to me and commented that I must be very hot dressed like that. (The cape was made of wool and was fully lined, so she was right in thinking I was hot, wearing it in the cinema.). I just smiled and said I was okay. She looked very puzzled as she moved away.

Also a man came up to my Master and said, laughing, “I wish I could keep my wife like that!” The Bear just smiled back and moved me away before the man could take any further interest in us. I think he must have realised what was going on, but my Master’s silence showed him that it was not a good idea to pursue the matter further.

Soon after this, I started to make various garments for myself as my Master’s instructions, including the prototype of the indoor ‘uniform’ which I am now wearing. Luckily making clothes has always been a hobby of mine. I get ‘difficult’ items – corsets, stockings, gloves, boots etc. – from ordinary or specialised suppliers, but all other ‘normal’ clothing I make myself. So it was no surprising that my Master instructed me to make myself a proper full length cloak with a hood and the usual ‘extras’. Also he ordered me to make it of the heaviest material I could find and to line it throughout – “Just in case we have a BAD winter!”.

From then on, when I was not working, and if the weather did not make wearing a long cloak look too extraordinary, I had to wear my cloak when I left the house in my Master’s company. Because it was full length, not only could I have my arms harnessed or kept immobile in a single sleeve or straitjacket, but I could also be hobbled as well – just to make walking that bit more difficult. Also its extremely deep hood was very useful, and not just for keeping my head and face warm when it was cold outside. For, when the weather justified it, my Master would wind a scarf around my lower face, as though protecting me from the chill. In fact the scarf was there to hide the fact that I was gagged.

So it was that I started being taken out under duress and in bondage. At first he would only take me out at night but later we went out in daylight as well. Then one day, when we were about a mile from our house, he hailed a cab.

Before he got into it, he said, “Time for you to look after yourself. See you at home, and DON’T loiter!”

With a final wave, he got into the cab and drove off, leaving me standing on the pavement, cloaked and hooded, hobbled and harnessed, and completely helpless. Although I was not gagged that evening, I could not call a cab or get on a bus as I had no money. Even if I had, I would not have been able to use it, as my arms were locked into a tightly laced-up single-sleeve behind my back under the cloaks dense drapery. So I set off to walk home, half terrified, half weak with excitement. Even when I did eventually get home – my hobbles were long enough to climb steps but still made walking slow and difficult – I was soaked in sweat and shaking. Even then my Master had another little joke to play on me. For he was not there when I arrived and, cloaked and helpless, I could not ring the door bell (we have a pull-type device so using my nose would not have been possible.)

So I had to stand on the door step, hoping and praying the neighbours would not notice me, or that a ‘helpful’ policeman would not come up to me to find out why I was standing there. By the time my Master did let me in (he was aware of my arrival and had been watching me unseen all the way home – he had stopped the taxi as soon as he was out of my sight), I was a complete nervous wreck. But, as a submissive, I had to silently accept his little joke and just hope that he never played it on me again. Of course he has – several times – the last time making me get out of the car and leaving me with a two mile trudge home which, close hobbled, was most unpleasant.

From just going for walks or to the cinema with me cloaked and under bondage, my Master soon extended the rules concerning how I might be dressed outside the house when under discipline. If he was with me, I must ALWAYS be cloaked, hooded, harnessed and, preferably, gagged when I left home. Of course going shopping or visiting friends were times when this rule had to be waived. But travelling from A to B I was to be kept in bondage whenever it was possible.

Travelling in the car was easy. Our garage is attached to the house, so I could be ‘loaded’ into the passenger seat before he drove out onto the street. Once he fastened my seat belts about me (he has now replaced inertia belts by ‘positive fixing’ ones in the passenger seat, so he can tighten them as severely as he likes, and so they will remain fully fastened until he choses to unfasten the belts) and we are on our way, he will probably pull my hood right down in front of my face so I can’t see anything, as well as probably being gagged under the hood’s canopy.

He has also fixed a steel bar across the bottom of the passenger side foot-well. Once I have been belted to the seat, he will push my feet down to the bar and will then shackle my hobble to it. I always secretly hope he will forget to do this, as having my ankles shackled as well removed the last vestige of opportunity to move any part of my body to ease my position during the journey. (I do admit that, if driving conditions are bad, he will be less severe with me, as it would be HIGHLY embarrassing if we were involved in a crash with me so totally restrained!) Sitting motionless, even in a well-upholstered seat of a Jaguar, becomes very unpleasant after an hour or so, while being swathed in my uniform and my heavy cloak and hood is exhausting because of the heat under them. Being gagged and unable to see just adds to the misery of a long journey, but I am in no position to complain if that is how my Master wants me to travel.

And it is…………. My Master boasts that he has the perfect passenger in the car; one who is silent, uncritical of his driving, motionless and undemanding for the whole of even the longest journey. The only limit to the duration of any journey is set by how long I can go before needing to use the toilet. Except, of course, using the facilities at a service station would not be possible……….. So my Master is inclined to drive onto a back road after a several hours, and let me out in some unfrequented place where I can be allowed to answer the calls of Nature without anyone looking on. As the whole process adds maybe twenty minutes to any journey, more often than not he will just let me suffer until we reach our destination.

Once upon a time, I used to look forward to the weekends when we drove away from home to spend a couple of days with friends. Now the journey there and the journey back, always in bondage, makes me rather less keen to go away for the weekend. But, as an obedient submissive, I have no say in this matter. I go where my Master takes me. And, if he wishes me to Travel in Bondage, that is his privilege, and I must accept his decision with good grace and without complaint.

Travelling on foot and by car was just the start of my experiences of ‘Travelling in Bondage’. For my Master, the Bear, has a keen mind and a fertile imagination, so it was not long before I found myself faced with a new mode of travel which had to be undertaken in Bondage.

He had been invited to Spain for the week (we live in London) and, as I was not working at that time and was at his beck and call 24 hours a day, he decided that it might be fun for me to come along too. As I love travel and had not been to Bilbao before, I was excited that we were going abroad together. Admittedly it was only late February, so sunbathing and swimming were not on the agenda. But it would make a change from the strict control under which my Master kept me at home. Only when the date of our departure grew near did I learn that his control was not going to be relaxed just because we were going abroad.

A friend who knows ‘our little ways’ drove us from London to Portsmouth where we would board The City of Bilbao, a 20,000 ton ferry which would take us on the two day trip to Spain. A cabin had been booked for us and, under normal circumstances, I would have been really looking forward to the trip. But, as I was helped into our friend’s car, I was swathed in my heavy, full-length, winter cloak, its bulk closed up about me to conceal the fact that I was made helpless by a locked straitjacket, and by the short hobbles joining my ankles. Also, for the 90 minute drive to the docks, my hood was drawn up over my head, concealing the fact that I was well gagged under its gable.

I have to admit that I was in a total panic; I thought of the emigration men who would check our passports, of customs men and of the crew on the ship. I just could not see how we could get away with my being kept in Bondage for the sea journey. In fact I did not understand how my Master thought we would even get aboard the ship without being exposed as ‘deviants’.

In fact my Master was having a joke at my expense. For his friend pulled off the motorway before we reached Portsmouth and my strait jacket and hobbles were removed, my gag similarly be unlocked and taken from my mouth before all my articles of suppression were put away in one of the suitcases. I heaved a sigh of relief and hoped that it was the last I would see of them for a good while.

It was cold with snow flurries when we boarded the good ship City of Bilbao, having passed through emigration without anyone even giving us a second glance. As we stood on the promenade deck as the ship cast off and slowly moved down past the naval dockyards, I was delighted that I had my heavy cloak to protect me from the cold, its deep hood keeping my head and face snug and warm when other travellers were shivering and hurrying back into their warm cabin and or into the bars and restaurants of the ferry. Before we had swung round the Isle of Wight, The Bear also went inside, telling me that he expected me in the cabin in half an hour. So, almost alone, snuggled into my wonderfully warm cloak, on a freezing winter afternoon I watched the Isle of Wight slip past as the ship made its way out into the English Channel, the sea grey and calm, the air chill, occasional flurries of snow blowing across the water.

Feeling relaxed and happy, I made my way to our cabin exactly at the right time. I felt great but, as soon as I entered that tiny room, my heart sank. For spread out on my bunk were the items I had worn in the car, plus one or two more than I did not know my Master had brought with him. Half an hour later, he was locking me into the cabin’s main cupboard. I was not only straitjacketted, and hobbled but I was locked inside a stout containment sack which was exactly where I spent most of that trip down to Spain. Occasionally my Master would let me out of the cupboard to use the toilet, to be given food or water or allowed on deck for exercise when the stewardess was tidying our cabin. But my world for most of that journey – and for the return trip – comprised mostly of the inside of a cupboard. Not that I saw it often as he kept me blindfolded virtually all the time.

As he said when we eventually disembarked at Bilbao, I was lucky it was such a smooth crossing, or else I might not have had such an enjoyable time. ‘Enjoyable time’? I could think of many more pleasant ways of travelling to Spain than that chosen by my Master for me. But, as a obedient submissive, who am I to question how he makes me travel?

************

My job means that I have to go to various locations far from home. So flying is second nature to me now. But…………………

“I wonder if I could fly you abroad,” My Master had said one evening recently.

“I don’t understand, Master. I fly a lot.”

“In a nice comfortable seat?”

“Not always comfortable. But yes; in a seat anyway.” I replied, puzzled. “But why do you ask, Master?”

“Umm…… I was just wondering. You see, I think we could save some money next time we go abroad together.”

“How, Master?”

“Freight, my sweet little ‘d’. By sending you by freight…………….”

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo…………………………. ”

*******************

So that is it. One submissive’s story about how she travels in bondage. As yet the air-freight idea is still – thankfully – only an idea. But knowing how my Master loves solving problems, I do not put it past him to find a way to send me abroad as freight. NOT a pleasant prospect !

 

D’s Tales

D was a talented writer of Victorian bondage fiction who also practised some pretty extreme restrictions and bondage in her real life. She was someone who I communicated with some years ago.

Several years ago she died tragically in a car accident. An online friend of hers asked Bo_Emp to preserve her work on Tales of the Veils. When he too passed away and that site went defunct, I set a new blog to preserve that work. These stories though, which never fitted the TOTV ethos, I have now transferred here, a more natural home for them, as a tribute to a fine author of erotica who should not be forgotten.

DP

Following are the writings of D outside the scope of TOTV.
With D having passed away in May 2014 I Bo_Emp (editor of TOTV) finds it important that her writings, which I enjoy, are available on the net.
The material below plus her TOTV story Claire’s Tale is as far as I know all that D has published online. All of this are for now (June 2014) also to be found in the Files section of the Confining Clothing Yahoo group.

Walking In Silence
A fictional story about a young governess who is the ‘victim’ of older and more powerful people…

Travelling in Bondage
A real-life account that is a partial explanation of my private lifestyle…

Catalogue Illustrated
A fictive catalogue of a 1873 store selling restrictive clothing for i.e. girls’ schools…

Return to 1873
A real-life diary of days spent as a Victorian Young Woman kept under Strict discipline…

Return to 1873

Return to 1873

by ‘d’

A diary of days spent as a Victorian Young Woman kept under Strict discipline

Introduction : The top floor

At the top of our house is a floor that is kept normally locked away. It is our `time warp’. Once, immediately after the house was built in the 1840s, it would have been where the servants slept but, long before we bought the house, it had been transformed into a separate self-contained flat (apartment). Because of our lifestyle, and because we felt we could do without the flat’s income when we bought the house, we decided to reclaim the floor and to set it aside as our `homage’ to the bad old Victorian days.

Those of you who know us, or have read about our life style, will know that I am a twenty nine year-old submissive (and masochist!), The Bear being my Master. Our particular `kink’ is that we both enjoy transporting me back to the harsher days of the mid Nineteenth Century, and making me live and dress and act completely as a somewhat unfortunate and badly treated young woman might have done in those days – days when young women had little or no rights even in the most civilised of Western countries.

During the years we have been together, the top floor has been transformed. Two small bedrooms have been knocked into one large room to make `The Schoolroom’, and the flat’s living room has been converted into a combined bedroom and punishment room. The tiny kitchenette remains, although locked off most of the time, the bathroom has been `simplified’, and all the carpets and modern furnishings have been removed. The window in the new bedroom has been boarded up and sound-proofed, all other windows double or triple glazed and have been either permanently covered up or have opaque window glass so it is impossible to look out.

All `mod cons’ have been removed. There is no electricity, no central heating and only cold water plumbed through to the top floor. Its walls have been painted a depressing off-white colour, or are a drab grey-green, and all the furnishing are either genuine Victorian pieces or are modern replicas, suitably `aged’. It is a dark, silent place, totally cut off from the outside world, and just right for containing a Victorian young lady who is to be kept under the harshest of discipline..

Sybilienne Conventions and Dress.

One important aspect of our role-play has to do with a totally fictitious school for young ladies called St Sybil’s. (Readers will find it referred to in my fictional stories, especially in `Claire’s Tale’). In the six years we have been together, we have acquired or I have made several complete sets of uniform clothing for a `Sybilienne’.

It is NOT a comfortable or convenient means of dressing, being heavy and entrammeling, being under-pinned with a full length corset that is always be worn laced up as tightly as possible, and finished off with a floor length cape without armslits that must always be at least buttoned closed down to waist level. To add to all that, I have to wear gloves all the time and have my head and hair covered by two tight fitting coifs that match the rest of the heavy woollen uniform and leave just the front of my face exposed. As can probably be understood wearing such a uniform all the time can be both oppressive and tiring – it is meant to be just that ! But it is what I must wear whenever we `go back’ to Victorian times.

Eighteen months ago we had our first major `time travel’ experiment. I went to live in the top floor as a Sybilienne for several weeks. It was a time that was designed to see whether it was possible to `transport’ me back in time and to find out how I would really react to a longer term `immersion’ into our scene. It was partly successful but what we both learnt was the ways in which `real life’ could worm its way even into the shut-away top floor of our home.

My need for baths and showers, for 20th century food, and for stimulus not available in our `Victorian world’ all interfered with the total success of our experiment. But we made up our minds that, when the opportunity occurred again, I would volunteer to be shut away in the top floor, and that this time I would HAVE to live in accordance with our `Full Sybilienne Rules’.

This time there would be NO modern-day comforts or pleasures.

The Sybilienne Rules are tough enough if we are just scening for a day or two, so I knew I was in for a hard time once I was shut away in the rooms upstairs. This would be especially so as my Master, The Bear, had made it plain that he was going to be a very strict and unforgiving taskmaster, and that I would be properly punished for my faults, no matter how trivial or unavoidable. So I was fully aware that I was in for a very hard time indeed as soon as I was locked upstairs for the duration of my stay in `Victorian Times’.

As things turned out, my stay there was even more fraught than I had anticipated for a whole variety of reasons, nearly all unpleasant!

The one task I knew I would have to complete each day was making diary entries, and this article is the end-result of those efforts. They were primarily written so my Master could see how I was reacting to my incarceration, as well as a schoolroom exercise, as readers will see. They are largely reproduced here just as they were written at the time I was locked away: some very minor editing has been done to make them more comprehensible to the reader who does not know us well. Apart from that, the entries remain as originally written.

It was only when our friend, Leviticus, showed interest in them that we considered them for publication. I hope that they prove interesting to his readers and fans.

As a final note, it is our intention to repeat this experiment. However next time it will be for a great deal longer, with NO relaxation in the severity of the lifestyle, nor of the discipline’s strictness. Now that really SHOULD produce some interesting diary entries!

‘d’

London, February 2000

My Diary for December 1873

Monday, 27th December

I am into my first full day living back in 1873, having stepped back in time yesterday when the rest of the world was celebrating Boxing Day, and still recovering from the excesses of Christmas Day. However, although I know what day it is now, as my Master allows me no external light, and there are neither clocks nor watches in my quarters, I am unable to tell what time it may be. But I do know that I was brought up here fully dressed in my Sybilienne attire yesterday, to spend an evening in the school room before being put to bed.. But how long I was allowed to sleep, I do not know. Certainly my Master did not say and, as I am strictly forbidden to ask him any questions at all on any subject, I know that I will be unable to know what time or night or day it is for as long as I remain here.

As usual when sleeping up here, the low truckle bed had been placed in the ‘punishment room’ and I am left strapped to that at night. As its mattress is thin and the bed hard, sleep is not usually easy (as I know from last year when I was locked up here for three months). What was different was that my Master this time locked me into my sleeping irons so that, as he said, I would not be tempted to touch myself. These sleeping irons are something that I do not like being locked into, but even I must admit that they do their job with cold efficiency.

Made of steel, the sleeping irons comprise of a long ‘back bar’ onto which are attached three sets of restraints. At the bottom, a rigid pair of ankle irons: further up, similar cuffs to hold my wrists behind my back and, at the top, a deep steel collar that is locked about my throat. Because the back bar is adjustable, I can be secured either drawn rigidly out, as though lying to attention on my arms, or with my ankles drawn up. Whatever way the bar is fixed, this device is uncomfortable at the very best, and can be agonising too. A night spent locked in my sleeping irons is never an enjoyable one.

Thankfully, the Christmas period had been long and tiring and I slept reasonably well, although not for long enough. I seemed almost as tired when my Master woke me this morning. As he was watching me getting dressed, and between lacing me REALLY tightly into my corset (the long one), my Master announced that I must – as part of my school work – keep a diary of my stay up here. And it must be written with an old fashioned steel pen, using a proper ink-well, all of which makes writing rather slow (as I am now discovering). Also he informed me that I will receive schoolroom punishments if my diary entries are not accurate and neat WITHOUT ink blots. At least I will have plenty of time while locked up here.

But there were other things to do before I would go to the schoolroom. First of all I had the sweep and then scrub the floor in the room where I slept. Getting the bucket and brush and clothes from the bathroom was the start of this labour which took, I suppose, about an hour. Only when I had finished that task to my Master’s satisfaction was I allowed food or drink.

After eating so well for the last few days, my new Victorian diet came as a nasty surprise. While I was still in bed, my Master brought up the supplies which will have to be all I’ll eat while locked up here. Water comes from the bathroom tap, but I am allowed black tea IF there is enough hot water (my Master says that I am not to be trusted with boiling water) which, at the very best tastes horrible. I had a cup for my breakfast, and I found myself wishing it had been water – that would have tasted better. For food, I will have to survive on bread and, sometimes, cheese. But no butter or anything to put on the brown bread. However, my Master says that he may allow me hot food if I stay up here for more than a day or so. Not that his promise is all that enticing as he did the same when I was here before. My ‘cooked meals’ then consisted of things like over-boiled cabbage with equally over-cooked fatty chops which I hate. But I have to eat all given to me or I am punished.

After breakfast, I was brought in here to the schoolroom, where my Master AGAIN tightened my corsets so that I thought I was going to faint. Also, to make sure that I don’t stray from my desk, I have my legs bound together under my skirts.

My first task was to write out the new Constitution for Mutual Punishment, having been told, I would be punished unless I reproduced it with total accuracy. This Constitution is a new part of my life that effects me outside my Sybilienne role. A short while ago, The Bear, my Master, and I signed a mutually binding agreement with another Master and his slave ‘m’. Its basis is simple but frightening; If one of us submissives does anything wrong and needs punishing, the other (innocent) submissive will be punished in an identical manner. In the short time it has been in operation it has proved to be horribly effective, as ‘m’ has no wish to see me punished for her faults, and I am horrified at the thought that she, my friend, should suffer for my mistakes. As soon as the Constitution came into effect both I and ‘m’ had to learn it by heart; a chilling process but one that reinforced in our minds how we must both improve our behaviour. (Fortunately any punishments I earn for myself while up here will not rebound onto poor ‘m’.)

Thankfully, I learnt The Constitution by heart reasonably well last week, but I am not too sure I have got it right. I checked it through carefully – I know I’ll get punished if I cross things out, but that will be a minor problem in comparison with what will happen to me if I cite it incorrectly. So I did do one crossing out, hoping that my Master would go easy on me for such a small mistake.

After I had finished that work, I obeyed my Master’s new orders about what I must do when I am ‘unemployed’. Essentially, when I have finished my set work and he has not returned to the schoolroom, I am to kneel on the floor next to my desk, straight backed and straight upright from the knees as always. NO lounging back on my heels for me! It was a bit of a struggle getting down on my knees because of my legs being tightly trapped togther. My skirts and petticoats also don’t help but at least they pad my knees so they don’t get too sore when kneeling on the bare boards of the schoolroom floor.

Even so I was feeling tired, my back aching by the time he came to see me. He took my exercise book aware to check what I had written, leaving me on my knees while he did so. Fortunately he passed my effort at remembering the Constitution, although he told me that I would have to do an additional twenty minutes exercise this afternoon for the crossing-out.

After that he came over to where I knelt, and pleasured himself. (I have been instructed that I may only say ‘pleasured himself’ when describing personal matters in this diary. It is the only aspect of my life here that I may not report on fully.) Afterwards, he checked my attire and then told me that I might start writing my diary. Which is what I am doing now.

My Master also instructed me to briefly describe my quarters here. They are on the second floor of the house, and comprise of a small bathroom, various built in cupboard in the passage way at the top of the stairs, a smaller room (about 11′ a 9′) which is known as the Punishment Room. That is mainly because my punishment seat is always kept in this room, bolted to the floor near the wall opposite the door. In addition, my low bed has been placed in here just as it was when I spent three months here last year. Also new is the trestle over which I am tied down before being caned. This normally is kept in the cellars but had been brought up here in case my Master thinks I need severe punishment. Seeing it in that room does not make me feel at all happy, as I know what pain I will experience if I am bent over if for a whipping.

Otherwise the room is unfurnished apart from a small table with a wash bowl, soap, tooth brush and towel on it. (I am not allowed to use the bathroom, even relieving myself must be done at set times in the pot kept under my bed. In fact I only go into the bathroom to empty it, and to fetch cold water when needed. To clean my teeth I have the choice of salt, baking powder or the normal coarse soap I use for washing.)

My Master has permanently boarded up the window in that room, so light comes from a solitary candle. The room is white walled, the floor is of bare boards which I must scrub once a day.

The schoolroom is much the same, except it is slightly larger – in fact it is two small ‘servants’ bedrooms knocked into one room. It measures approximately 14′ x 10′ and, although the window is not permanently boarded up, as with my last stay up here, the windows are double curtained and the drapes nailed in place so not light can get into the room from outside. Also, as the windows are double glazed, it is just as silent as in my bedroom/punishment room. The furniture here is a genuine old cast-iron seat and desk in one which we found in a scrap yard. There is a table and chair for my Master when he is correcting my work or hearing me recite lines I have learnt by heart. To one side of the table is an easel and blackboard. Fitted onto the right hand wall is the posture back-board while, projecting from the wall at the back of the room, is what looks like a solid wooden bench-type seat (and can be used as one) but is also a chest in which various items are kept. Finally there is the schoolroom cupboard which is kept locked normally, my work books being kept in my iron desk’s drawer. Like the other room, the school has bare walls and a wooden board floor which I have to scrub daily, normally before I am given my last meal of the day. If I take too long scrubbing it, or do not do it to my Master’s satisfaction, I will have to scrub it all over again, which means I miss my evening meal and am put to bed with an empty stomach.

Those are my quarters and I will spend most of my time in one of other of those rooms. The only times when I am not in one or the other is when I am very briefly allowed to go to the bathroom for water or to empty my chamber-pot, or when it is exercise time. That last occupation I will explain after this afternoon session.

*********************************

Monday 27th December. Evening.

I had to stop writing my first entry in this diary rather abruptly as my Master came back. To my surprise it was already lunchtime (the morning seemed very short whereas I remember time dragging past so slowly when I lived up here for three months previously.) Lunch was just bread and cheese washed down with water. Not that I minded it being probably inadequate as, laced up this tightly, I have very little appetite for food. I feel hungry but, as soon as I have eaten a few mouthfuls, I have had more than enough, which sometimes makes finishing off a meal rather hard. However I am thirsty most of the time as the clothing I wear is very hot and heavy. Fortunately water is not rationed and I can drink as much as I need at mealtimes.

After lunch I was permitted to go to the bedroom (I will call it that, if I may, rather than punishment room as it’s called more normally), so as to use my chamber pot. This I can only do at certain times or when told to do so by my Master. In fact I may not alter my position without his permission, never mind go into another room. Anyway, as to using the chamber pot, I could not do that on my own even if allowed to do so; for the crutch strap of my corsets is always locked tightly in place, and this has to be unlocked and unfastened by my Master before I can relieve myself.

After this, I was made to go back to the schoolroom and there to black lead my desk. As it is made of cast iron, it has to be kept very clean. In 1873 black lead would have been used for this purpose; now we have to use a substitute but it is a long and tiresome business, and one I particularly dislike as the desk and seat have lots of little curlicues and decorative bits on it that are difficult to clean. At least for this (and for scrubbing) I am allowed to remove my gloves; with them on the task of polishing into the little crack and crannies would be almost impossible. My Master always closely inspects the desk and seat after I have cleaned it, and I am in trouble if he finds any dirty bits or places where the polish has not been buffed off properly. Today I was lucky as he was more interested in getting me ready for my exercise period, rather than in looking for faults with a magnifying glass. Yes, he has been know to use a glass to make sure every millimetre of the desk was properly cleaned.

Exercise is the time of day that I probably dread most of all. I do see its necessity but that does not stop me from disliking it intensely. The format is always the same because I cannot go outdoors while dressed like this. Anyway I am confined to this floor for as long as it suits my Master, and I have to get some form of exercise other than scrubbing the floors, which is backbreaking exercise anyway!

For exercise, I have to be masked and cloaked on top of my normal attire. Obviously with my uniform Sybilienne cape buttoned closed from chin to floor, I cannot put on my cloak , so I am dressed by my Master. This afternoon, to my horror, he also gagged me under my mask, which is something he may do outdoors now and then but normally does not do it for indoors exercise. My circuit starts at the end of the passageway on this floor along which I walk until I reach the top of the stairs. Then I go down them to the first floor landing which I must walk round and then climb back up the stairs to my floor. Then I walk down the passageway to its end, before turning there and starting a new circuit. It does not sound too bad except for several things.

Firstly: I am really weighed down by my burden of clothing; full Sybilienne uniform with its cape and then with a massively heavy hooded cloak worn over everything else.

Secondly: although my Master eases my hobbles (without doing so it would be impossible for me to walk up and down the stairs), my legs are still partially bound and they are fettered by the dragging weight of my petticoats and skirts. This makes walking difficult and tiring on its own.

Thirdly: as my skirts are all floor length, I have to normally pick them up slightly when walking around. But this is impossible with the skirts of my cloak during exercise as my hands are trapped under my sealed-up cape. In consequence I have to go up and down stairs with a great deal of care so as to ensure I don’t step on my skirts or trip up on them. Luckily the stairs are typical Victorian ‘servants wing’ stairs – in other words they are narrow, and they wind down via two small landing so that they take up the smallest space possible inside the house. So, even if I was to fall, I would probably not hurt myself. But my Master always waits watching at the bottom of the stairs, both to make sure I am alright, and also to check that I do not slack.

Taking exercise is exhausting and, my Master watching me, I cannot slack or slow down. If I do, he will just tell me that I have to do extra time. Normally my exercise period will last three-quarters of an hour (it seems twice as long), but today I had an added twenty minutes for the crossing-out in my exercise book. It seemed endless and, had I not been silenced, I would have begged to be allowed to rest. But that is not normally allowed and, as I would be punished if I stopped without being told to, I would certainly be punished. So I carried on, even though my legs seemed on fire and I was gasping for breath – although I am not sure if ‘gasping for breath’ is the right description as I could not breath through my mouth, as it was stopped up by my gag.

Tuesday, 28th December. Morning

I went to bed in tears last night but feeling wonderful too as my Master locked me in my sleeping irons, promising me that he would be even more severe with me unless I behaved better today.

I did not sleep as well as before and it took me a time to go to sleep because of the pain and joy I felt. My hand throbbed non-stop but so did my crutch more pleasurably from his ministrations. But I am running ahead of myself.

Normally before punishment I am locked in the cupboard downstairs. Yesterday, I was gagged and blindfolded, hooded and then sat on the bench at the back of the schoolroom for a while, so I could focus on my failings and on the punishments to come. After a time, still hooded, blind and silenced, I was dragged across to stand in the centre of the room. There my Master removed my left glove and informed me that, as I had spilt ink on the white gloves I had worn earlier, my hand would be the recipient of the punishment to come. I was to hold out my hand, supporting it by my other gloved hand, and then to await my punishment.

I stood there, shaking and moaning silently within, but with my whole body electric with anticipation, my crutch betraying my excitement. Wearing my coifs and with the thick hood fastened down over my head and face so that I felt half suffocated, I could not hear anything beyond the darkness of my own fear-filled world. Then there was an appalling pain across my open palm as my Master drove the rod down to administer the first stroke of my punishment.

Because I had not heard the rod cutting through the air before striking my hand, the impact caught me by surprise, making the pain of impact seem worse than it might have been. I know I would have filled the room with my cries had I not been gagged. But, almost before I could assimilate what had happened to be, another and harder blow fell across my palm. This time I howled into my gag, distressed at the awful pain and appalled (as always) at how the pain make me shake from head to toe with desire and want. Had I not been silenced, I would have begged my Master to hit home even harder with the next stroke.

But the stroke never came and I felt bereft waiting for it for what seemed an age. And then it impacted horribly with my hand, making me stagger and sending lights up in front of my eyes like a firework display. It was SO SO hard to hold my position; my legs seemed to have turned to jelly and I was shivering all over. I think I screamed so loudly that not even my effective gag could hold back the sounds that filled my head and made me body shudder as though hit by an vast electric shock. The blow was vicious but I could not wait for the next one. When it came I was torn by the agony of its impact and the onset of an incipient orgasm. But that event was drowned by the terrible impact of the rod smashing home across my flesh again. My legs gave way and I recall staggering forward. Blindfolded and hooded I can’t say what really happened next but I think I was dragged across to the table, and bent back over it, my Master throwing back my petticoats and skirts before unfastening the crutch strap of my corset so I felt cold air strike my private parts that I could feel convulsing.

He used me with total brutality, not minding if he hurt me, leaving me still hooded and gagged, while I dissolved into a series of orgasms or maybe it was just one that seemed to last a lifetime; I don’t know.

I think I must have fainted. For the next thing I remember was feeling him still inside my body, now using another opening, yet with me at long last being able to see and hear and cry out. When he had finished with me, he stood back, tidying his clothes as I helplessly slipped to the floor to lie there, my hand sending arrows of pain up my arm as, unaided, I seemed to continue to orgasm. It seemed like a dream; maybe it was my imagination. But I think I had yet another orgasm as I lay in a tumble of clothing on the floor half under the table,

In the end my Master brusquely informed me that I had half an hour to undress, see to my toilet needs, wash and eat my supper which was in the other room. With that I turned and left the upper floor, locking the door on the stairs behind him. Some how I managed to drag myself into my bed room, where he had left me a meal of bread and cheese as usual but, wonder of wonders, with a segmented orange as well. One handedly I undressed, used the pot and then – for once satiated and not wanting to touch myself – washed and ate my meal as I prepared for bed. Some how I managed to do everything before he reappeared, grim faced as always. But, when he saw me kneeling by my bedside as though in prayer, he smiled and handed me a chocolate!!!

“For being such a brave little girl,” he said.

Today I think I can still taste that delicious chocolate on my tongue. Oh I know that’s just my imagination but it was such a delightful and utterly surprising treat. Opposing that delight, my left hand still throbs and it swollen, it’s palm laced with the marks of the rod’s blows. Putting my glove on that hand this morning had me fighting back moans of pain and biting my lips to prevent my Master hearing me. As I write now, later in the morning, it is throbbing away inside the glove that feels even tighter than normal, showing that it is swollen still. It is really too painful to use, so that I had to scrub my room this morning using one hand only. Unfortunately my Master was just as demanding as yesterday and I missed my breakfast for the second day running, having to made do with just water again after I had re-scrubbed the whole floor.

That done, my Master just ordered me to button up my cape from chin to floor and to go and stand in the corner of the schoolroom, facing the wall. There I have spent all the morning up to now when I have been allowed to sit down to write this diary. My legs are aching and my back is sore from standing to attention for so long. As he pointed out just now, I should be enjoying the rest because, this afternoon, he is going to exercise me till I have reached the stage of wanting to beg him to allow me to stand in the corner once more.

******************************

Tuesday 28th December. Evening.

I am totally exhausted. My Master was not exaggerating when he promised me a long exercise period. It seemed to last an eternity and I have no idea how I survived it. Then to make me earn my supper, he made me kneel under the desk so as to pleasure him while he did some reading or maybe writing above me. He made me wear a mask that has just one opening in it, one opposite my mouth. Wearing that, my arms tightly strapped behind me under my buttoned up cape, I had to keep him ‘amused’ with the threat of being further punished if he should get bored or annoyed with my efforts to please him. Now, to add to my still throbbing hand, aching back, and exhausted legs, my knees and thighs are sore from kneeling between his legs to ‘amuse’ him. I have no idea how long I was there but at least I did not disappoint him, for I have been put to work to write this entry in my diary before supper. Then I will be allowed to go to bed. How I have survived today, I am not sure. But I seem to have done so.

Wednesday, 29th December. Morning

I was woken this more feeling stiff and sore and with my hand still throbbing, but not as badly as yesterday. Again I felt awfully tired, as though I had not slept enough which makes me wonder of time up here is different to normal time elsewhere. But I had little opportunity to think about that problem because, right from the start, my Master was hustling me along, ruling me with a metaphorical rod of iron, and once more making me miss my breakfast because he thought I had not cleaned my room properly; he found a trace of dust on the bed rail, and made me clean and scrub the whole room again.

I have to admit that, even as tightly laced into my corsets as I am now, I am feeling hungry and long for something other than bread and cheese washed down with water, that diet broken only by a disgusting tasting cup of black tea. But, surprisingly, I seem to be coping alright; my Master believes in making sure I get enough exercise up here. My afternoon ‘walks’ certainly make me expend more energy than any aerobic work out, as does the endless floor scrubbing that he makes me do.

Really I should be even more tired than I am as I seem to be ‘bubbling’ all the time with fear and expectation, as I am never sure what is going to happen next to me, being it good or bad. Again this morning, after he’d laced me horribly tightly into my corsets, my Master locked my crutch strap in place and remarked that I was disgusting, juicing all the time. If he was genuinely cruel, he told me, he would whip my pussy till it had REAL cause to weep. Of course that threat just served to make me even hotter so that, when I was sat down at my desk to learn ANOTHER page of Hebrew, I was shaking with desire and yearning, which was barely ideal for learning just a hard section of incomprehensible text.

Today – so that I do not ‘feel that I am being spoiled’ – I have my arms twisted up behind my back, my wrist up at shoulder blade level. He used an old harness I have not seen for some time to do this. I am not sure why he did this to me, but he informed me that he wanted to know how comfortable it would be after a few hours with my arms immobilised in that way. I could tell him now that it is MOST uncomfortable, even when I am just sitting at my desk, trying to learn from the book that is propped up in front of me. Just to make things worse, he also told me that, except when I am getting dressed or undressed, or am cleaning and scrubbing, I will have my arms immobilised in some way or other. He says I am becoming too self-sufficient so that, making me rely totally on someone else for every single necessity of life, will nicely humble me.

The idea of not being able to feed myself or do anything else is something I find incredibly exciting. When I was last up here for a long period, he made me wear my cape buttoned up all the time when I was not working, and instigated a rule that I was not allowed to lift its hem without his permission. The feeling of helplessness then was overwhelming and exciting. This time I think he means to make it even more comprehensive and to make me rely on him for all sorts of things. Even so, it is little things that can be unpleasant, like having an itch on my nose, or wanting to scratch even, that are strangely unpleasant and frustrating.

On the topic of wanting to scratch, I have only been allowed to wash in icy cold water since coming up here a lifetime ago (or so it seems). I long for a hot bath and to be able to wash my hair. It is confined under two tight coifs for 16 hours day and, although I comb it out and then plait it at night, it feels itchy and horrid. Last time I was up here, I was allowed to wash it regularly, but I can see my master won’t allow me that sort of luxury this time. In fact he is being incredibly strict with me. I get barked at if I even breath loudly, and I have spent most of the time gagged this morning because he says I am a noisy slut. In fact after my time learning the Hebrew (again an nearly impossible task, so I dread being tested on it later), he sat me down on the bench, leaving me there gagged and blindfolded and hooded as well. What I have not explained about that bench (which is really the top of a small chest in which are kept various school room items) is that it is narrow across the top and has a small ‘back’ that prevents me from sitting on it in comfort. Being so narrow, I have to perch on it with just the back part of my posterior supported, my legs holding me upright and still. Because of this it is a strain sitting there and I hate being left there for long, especially as, unable to see anything nor able to hear much, I do not know if I am being watched. What I DO know is that, if I move even a fraction of an inch to ease my posture, I might be seen by my Master. And that would lead inevitably to punishment. So I sit uncomfortably perched on the chest, tense and excited for what seems like an eternity, not knowing if he is looking at me. All the while my stomach is turning over with fear, because the strain of keeping still grows every second, just as the heat under my airless hood grows all the time.

Time stands still and, by the time I heard him ordering me to stand, I was juicing with fear and anticipation of what would inevitably happen if I moved just a fraction of an inch. I could barely get up; I was stiff and sore but also shaking with longing for relief.

At least I no longer am hooded and blindfolded, and I have my cape undone to the waist and have my hands freed of the paralysing harness so I can write this entry. Once more I am wearing those awful white gloves over my normal ones, and my heart beat accelerates with fear every time I dip my pen into the ink well. I think I have manages to make this entry without dropping ink onto the gloves, but I thought that last time……

********************************

Wednesday 29th December. Evening.

Again, this may be a short entry. For the time since I last wrote in my diary has been only too eventful, leading me towards a punishment session that is due to take place after I had written this entry.

It started with my Master finding a spot of ink on my left gloves AGAIN! And also saying that my diary entry has been badly written. I howled inwardly to hear this awful judgement, as my poor hand is still sore from the last time it was whipped. I would beg him to beat me elsewhere rather than on my hand but, knowing him and the way he always says that a hand whipping is the ONLY suitable punishment for shoddy writing, I know that nothing I might say would change his mind.

Of course I said nothing; I am too well trained to utter a word in my defence if I have been told that I may not make a sound without his express permission. So I stood still as he removed my cape and harnessed my arms cruelly tightly up my back. He then led me to the other room, extracted the chamber pot from under the bed and told me to use it. Of course – as he knew full well – this was impossible. So he teased me, making me speak so as to beg to have my clothing adjusted and my crutch strap unlocked. It was when he was unlocking the cruelly tight strap that he discovered yet again that I had been juicing during the morning. He rubbed his fingers in the evidence of my lust and made me lick his finger clean, leaving my mouth tasting of my own desire.

Even then my humiliation was not over. For I had to beg him to hold my skirts and petticoats out of the way so I could squat down over the pot. Even afterwards, I had to ask him to clean me, a task he said he was unwilling to perform for a girl so badly behaved as myself. In the end he relented but not before I had begged him most earnestly to have pity on me.

Even after he had done that and had readjusted my clothes, I was humbled even more, as it was my lunch-time and, as he pointed out, if I did not eat it, I would be punished for wasting food. With my arms fastened behind me, of course there was no way that I could do that, and again I was forced to beg him to help me. As he fed me, I was made to realise how I was complete at his mercy, relying on him for everything, and unable to do anything to help myself.

When he had pushed the final crumbs of bread into my mouth and given my a last drink of bitter tea, I was placed back on that awful bench for what seemed an eternity until it was time for my afternoon exercise. By now, this time is assuming all the aspects of punishment and I dread it. With good cause as I lost concentration walking up the stairs after I had been walking for what seemed like forever. I did not slide my foot forward so as to push the skirts out of the way before stepping up. Just a second of carelessness, and I trod on the hem of my cloak and the next thing I knew was being dragged forward and falling down to lie helpless of the stairs, totally unable to get up again, so tangled was I in my layers of skirts and cloak; with my hands immobilised behind me I was more helpless than normal and I had to lit there until my Master came to my rescue. He knows perfectly well that I can walk up and down those stairs without tripping. So he informed me that I would have to ‘Pay an appropriate price’ for my carelessness.

Even apart from that incident, my exercise period seemed endless and more exhausting than ever. I am very fit normally, but the weight of my clothes and the steepness of the stairs makes this daily ritual one that I truly dread. My legs are burning before long and my back aches horribly. But, to add to all that, being masked and gagged during my exercise periods means that I am alway short of breath, my lungs burning as I climb up and down the stairs, longing for a moment’s respite, but knowing that to pause even for a few second will mean that I am punished for my weakness. So I have to battle on, sweat dribbling into my eyes, until at long long last, I am told my purgatory is over.

So I am now here at my desk, still feeling exhausted and wondering what that price I will pay for tripping during my exercise period, and how my Master will punish me for my earlier faults. My stomach has turned to water and I am shaking with delicious fear. Because I know he will punish me well for such unforgivable faults.

Thursday, 30th December. Morning

I am still trembling and my crutch burns with what happened to me last night. For my Master decided that the source of my lust would have to be punished, as he judged my carelessness was brought about by its dominating my thoughts so that I was careless about IMPORTANT aspects of my life here.

I blush to think of what he did to me and of my reactions to his punishment. All I know is that the area between my legs is still sore and throbbing and that walking is painful, which will make this afternoon exercise period total purgatory for me. But the time he spent correcting me will remain etched in my mind for a very long time. Never before have I known such mingling of pain and pleasure. He was only too right when he called me a ‘pain slut’ but I am paying for my enjoyment this morning. I am actually glad that I have to wear petticoats and heavy skirts under my cape because they hide the fact that I am waddling like a duck this morning. Even my Master did not over-tighten the crutch strap of my corset this morning – the first time since I have been up here.

But in no other way has he been lenient with me and also I am beginning to worry about how long he is intending to keep me under this regime. Tomorrow night and the morning is going to be the start of the New Millennium, but my Master shows no sign of bringing my stay to an end. I know I asked him to keep me up here for as long as possible. But I had thought he would have freed me from here in time for the celebrations. Of course, being under the Rule of Silence, I cannot ask him about this. He may be teasing me but …………………

Strangely, I slept well last night, even though my pussy area seemed on fire and he locked me in my irons overnight. As I was being locked up for the night, I wondered how my fellow submissive, M, was getting on and what her Master was doing to her. That her Master and mine talk a great deal probably means that she knows what’s happening to me. I just hope and pray that her Master is not trying to balance our situations and is making her suffer like me. (Not that she would object!)

At least my hand seems a lot better this morning. Even so, scrubbing my room’s floor was both backbreaking and painful this morning. My knees seem to be always sore, and my back aches to. But I feel surprisingly fit. At least I got my breakfast this morning; well, part of it anyway; my Master found a tiny trace of dust on the bed frame again but he just punished my by leaving me with just bread to eat, and water to drink. So, corset laced up tightly or not, I am hungry all the time now.

Strange how food doesn’t seem to matter so much when I am wearing my stays. But it gets to a stage where I also start to dream about food, even though I know that – this tightly laced up – I can only pick at whatever food my Master sets before me. Not because it is dull and unpalatable (which is always is up here) but because with my stomach so compressed, eating almost a penance. Two mouthfuls and I feel full. Half an hour later and I am assailed by hunger pangs.

Ah well, I seem to remember reading that a human can last easily for 30 or more days without food, providing he or she has enough liquids. And my Master is always watchful to make sure I do drink enough. So maybe my hunger pains are just make-belief; me thinking I need food when it is merely an unnecessary luxury I don’t really require.

****************************

Thursday Evening, 30th December

My Master says that the entry I made in this diary for this morning was rubbish. I have read it through again and it seems to be a little rambling but not rubbish. But, if he says it is rubbish, it must be.

Maybe being up here for this length of time is getting to me. I haven’t seen daylight for what seems like forever and I am uncertain of the time. I either sleep heavily or not at all. Either way, I am tired when I get up, and everything seems such hard work. Yet when I was exercised this afternoon, I seemed able to climb those awful stairs as well or maybe better than when I first came up here.

What is strange is the mental state I am in as I climb up and down the stairs; I have said how I have to concentrate as I take every step or I am in danger of tripping on my skirts. Now each step seems a challenge that has somehow become something almost of beauty. I feel a surge of satisfaction as soon as I lever myself up to the next thread. It is …………. I was about to say ” almost an orgasmic experience”. But that would be exaggerating. Instead it is a moment of fleeting but intense happiness. Maybe lack of food is effecting me, but I don’t think it is that. It has something to do with the feeling of being owned and controlled up here which is so intense.

I think that as I have lost all right to decide what I can or cannot do, I am focussing on things that I can achieve on my own, and gaining pleasure from each tiny triumph. My Master may order me to climb those stairs, but I have to do it; I have to force my aching limbs to climb or descend each step. I may have lost all vestige of personal freedom, but I have gained something else which I do not yet really understand.

I had been sadly correct when I had said that exercise today would be painful. It was – exquisitely so. I wear heavy flannel pantaloons over my corsets and these reach down to below my stocking-covered knees. They become heavy with sweat when I am exercised and rub against the inside of my thighs. I cannot begin to describe what this is like when the flesh is that area is abraded and raw from last night’s punishment. Yet it was something of a triumph – yet again – for me to be able to ignore or ride over the misery caused by sweat-damp material rubbing coarsely against my poor flesh. Each step caused me to wince yet I was able to carry on. And it was something of a mixed blessing as that area is close to my most sensitive regions which, given my innate predilection for pain, caused me to taste bitter pleasure along with the misery of being so harshly exercised. To be a Sybilienne it IS necessary to absorb sufferings and to feed on them too.

Friday, 31th December. Morning

I think I fainted being laced up this morning. I am not sure as I had been used and I was in a dream-like state when my master laced me up. It has happened before but not like this. Maybe I just had another orgasm. I don’t know. To have an orgasm just because I was being laced up? It was not even very painful, though tightening the crutch strap is now near agony as I have been whipped there. Naturally I have not be allowed to see anything of the damage down there, now may I touch the area.

To speak of an orgasm while being laced up is silly, of course. Physically it would be impossible but something happened and even now, hours later, I feel disassociated from my body; I know I hurt in all sorts of places but I can not accurately feel where the pain is or how intense it might be. But one thing is certain; each time I breath in any manner but the most shallow inhalation there is a pain surprisingly at the back of my ribs, where they join my spine. So doing things like scrubbing my room had to be done slowly and careful so I did not need to breath in deeply. Even moving from one room to the other must be controlled, not just by my hobbles but also by my desire to avoid unnecessary pain.

Having been laced up tightly for days on end, I find that I am now breathing solely through the tops of my lungs, or so it seems. It is as though my ribs have been compressed by the continuous pressure of my stays, allowing me only partial usage of my lungs. This feeling is born out by the fact that I not only suffer pain at the base of my ribs if I breath too deeply, but I become light headed when I exert myself at all. In some ways it is a pleasant sensation but I know that it is a dangerous one and, when my head starts to spin, I stop and wait until the sensation stops.

I have never experienced anything like this which is, I suppose, brought about by the severity of my lacing and lack of food. I tried to eat what little breakfast I earned for myself, but even the tiniest mouthful is now hard to force down, thanks to the compression about my stomach. I admit freely that I am terrified of what will happen during this afternoon exercise period. For climbing the stairs I need liberal quantities of air and, laced this tight, I do not see how I could obtain it.

Yet, if I put that thought out of my mind, I feel strangely at peace. Writing this diary calls for all the concentration I can muster and I know that I am writing more slowly and more labouriously than before. My fingers feel numb and I look down at my writing to see that it is not as neat and compact as once it was.

For all this, I also feel something approaching euphoria at times. This morning my Master’s harsh words merely washed over me, and although I understood what he was saying, they seemed remote and almost as though he was speaking to someone other than myself.

One thing does intrude into my strange state. That is the knowledge that tonight is the end of the year – a special year outside, though it is just 1873 in here. I would have thought that my Master would have allowed me to return to the ‘normal’ world for the final hours of the 20thCentury, but he shows no sign of doing so. He has ignored the subject and I may not ask him about it. I suppose that, if he wishes to keep me here during the Century-end and Millennium-end celebrations, that is his decision and I must accept it as best I can.

I have just noticed that I have smudged the word ‘wishes’ in the last sentence, and that there is evidence of my doing so in the ink stain on my glove. I know that I will be punished for my carelessness – presumably in the same hideous manner as has been the case when I first soiled my glove. Yet the delicious fear which I normally feel before such punishment is not there now. Instead the feeling of having left my body is ever stronger. I see everything so clearly and yet physical aspects of my existence do not seem to be of any importance now.

I realise that what I write must make little sense, and anyway the time allocated for my diary writing is over, my Master having just entered to tell me to wind down my writing. So I will stop so I may go to the corner of the room and there kneel facing the wall while he decides what is to be done with me next.

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Friday Evening, 31st December

It would appear that I am not to be allowed to rejoin the world for tonight’s celebration. My Master looked at my diary this morning and informed me that, although he had considered the idea, the disgustingly sloppy manner in which I had written it made him realise that I had failed to earn such relief from my present servitude.

Instead I am to spend the night chained to my desk, copying pages from a book he will give me. He has deemed my hands to bruised to be whipped again so this is to be my punishment. While the world celebrates I am to be left up here copy writing at my desk until such time as my Master thinks I have learnt my lesson.

He threatens to keep me at my work all night long and to make me go without sleep right through until tomorrow night. I cannot imagine how I will cope with that, but I will just have to do so, if that is his command.

If the future appears grim, at least this morning’s diary entry alerted to him as to my fear about trying to walk up and down the stairs during exercise while so severely laced-up. For he actually loosened my stays a fraction before preparing me for exercise. It was still as purgatorial a time as ever, but I was able to breath without too much pain, and I did succeed in struggling through the time allotted for exercise.

However, as soon as it was over, he retightened my laces so that I am in as parlous a state as this morning.

Writing is harder than ever this evening. Time flies as I struggle to write without smudging or blotting my work, yet at other times it stands still.

My Master has returned and has ordered me to cease work.

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Epilogue

February 2000

If you have struggled though my 1873 diary this far, I must tell you what indeed had happened while I was locked away back in my private time warp.

Right from the first moment of my incarceration, The Bear, my Master, had started to play games with my estimate of the time. He made my nights extremely short, and similarly shortened my days so that, when I thought it was 31st December it was, in fact, only the 30th, and not the evening but midday. He had literally deprived me of more than a whole day or, as far as I was concerned, inserted 30 extra hours into my mental calendar.

His original idea had been to keep me locked away until the evening of what I thought was 1st January, so that I would emerge imagining I had missed all the Millennium celebrations. Then he would be able to surprise me by telling me we were soon going to walk down to the Thames and watch the end of the Century with the millions of other people lining the river for the grand firework display.

Unfortunately, that never happened as work intruded and I had to make some urgent phone calls which meant he was forced to liberate me 24 hours ahead of schedule. Even so I was totally shocked and surprised when I discovered how effectively he had distorted my sense of time.

Interestingly, regardless of what I may have written about being starved, I only lost less than a pound in weight during my time locked away and, once I had a long long bath (Oh it was bliss!) and a good night’s sleep, I felt tremendous.

Since then we have discussed the experiment in some depth. I want to try a far longer time shut away in my ‘Sybilienne World’. As always, the demands of 21st Century living and work make that a pipe-dream, certainly for the next six months. But, when we can arrange for me to be incarcerated again (probably under even more stringent conditions) I hope to keep another diary. And, if Peter is not too bored by this one, perhaps he will allow me to publish it here as well.

‘d’

London. February 2000.

Walking In Silence

Walking In Silence

by D

walking_in_silence6

An Introduction by the Author.

Some months ago, I came across a story by an author who called himself ‘Leviticus’. I was immediately taken by the sheer quality of his writing, and I lapped up his ‘Valley’ stories, persuading my Master to read them – which he did with great relish.

As I had some time on my hands, My Master suggested that I should try my hand at writing. The result of this was a story (still uncompleted) called ‘Claire’s Tale‘. The early parts of the story were published through an E-group, but then work over-took me, and I had to stop writing. Six months later, a friend asked me if she could publish Claire’s Tale in a new site she was opening. I agreed and then, shortly afterwards, she told me that Leviticus had been asking her about me – it seems that they were old acquaintances.

So I contacted Leviticus and, to my considerable surprise, he asked me if I would write something for HIS site. The result of that request is ‘Walking In Silence’, a story that requires some explanation.

It might help to know that I am in a long term D/s relationship with my Master, The Bear; we have been together for six years and that time has been the happiest of my life. One of our ‘kinks’ is for me to dress up as a Victorian young lady and to undergo the sort of discipline and even oppression that was sometimes handed out to young women during the 19th Century. This led me both to research the era and to making my own clothes that were copies of the more restrictive type of clothes and school uniforms to be found, mainly in mainland Europe, during the middle part of the century.

It was an age when young women, as well as boys, were subject to draconian punishments and when the birch could be used on my sex as well as upon males. It was the era of sometimes extreme corseting, of young women suffering from ‘The Vapours’ and when women had NO rights whatsoever throughout most of the ‘civilised’ world. It was a time when good family and wealthy parents did not guarantee that a young woman would not be subject to the harshest of treatments at the hands of her men folk, or from her governesses.

(Anyone who has read Henri Portalles’ ‘Livres d’Images’ will understand what I am talking about.)

Victorian governesses have always been the source for many stories and books, ‘Jane Eyre’ probably being the most famous. And, as ‘Claire’s Tale’ dealt with the mishaps of a post-school young woman at the hands of her governess, I wanted to reverse the roles in some way in this story. So, in ‘Walking In Silence’ the hapless heroine is a young governess, this time the ‘victim’ of people older and more powerful than herself.

She, like Claire in the earlier story, is my alter ego.

So, if you want to know what happened might have happened to me had I been transported back in time over one hundred and twenty years, please read on.

Oh yes, and the usual warnings. This is a fantasy for grown-ups who are broad-minded and do not object to occasional brutality. But perhaps we should remember that the 19th century was a brutal period, for all its civilised trappings. And women were only too often Society’s victims.

Have fun reading about Arabella Poyser. And thank you, Leviticus, for allowing me to ‘publish’ this story alongside your own mini-masterpieces.

WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter One

It seemed an ideal situation. Two well behaved children, a lovely house in the outskirts of the city, and no interfering parents to look over my shoulder all the time. Oh yes; and annual salary of thirty guineas a year which was almost double the amount that I had been previously paid by Mr and Mrs Hetherington when I had to deal with their two boisterous children.

Please allow me to introduce myself before I go on any further. My name is Arabella Poyser. I am the younger daughter of the late Reverend James Poyser and Mrs Poyser of Gillmarston Rectory, situated in the village of Old Gillmarston in the County of Norfolk. It was there that I spent my formative years, growing up in rustic tranquillity until I was sent to Mrs Hughers Academy for Young Lady at the age of thirteen. There I remained until I was twenty years of age; first as a pupil and then as a Student Teacher. Finally, I was given employment as an assistant governess in the house of a wealthy gentleman who lived near Henley in the Royal County of Berkshire.

There I remained for several years before being ‘passed on’ to a neighbouring family, the Hetheringtons where I was sole governess for the first time But then, with Thomas due to depart to become a boarder at Eton College and Miss Sarah approaching seventeen, there was no further need for a resident governess. Mr Hetherington could have merely dismissed me but, instead, he found me a position with the Symingtons. Perhaps the use of the word ‘with’ in this context is incorrect. For the post was not ‘with’ the Symingtons, but ‘at’ one of their houses, looking after their wards

May I explain further? The children I was to look after and tutor were orphans, the offspring of Mrs Symington’s younger brother. He and his wife had died in India during the terrible cholera outbreak of 1869, leaving little Caroline and her elder sister, Charlotte, in their aunt’s hands. She, a society lady who divided her time between her town house in London and a similar residence on the French Riviera, had no time for her wards and so they were ‘kept’ at Fairacres, her husband’s ‘rural retreat’ that she and Mr Symington rarely visited. For several years a Miss Hassack had been the children’s governess but she, for no reason given to me when I accepted the post, had abruptly left. Hence the opening at Fairacres which I most gratefully accepted.

“We have several house rules which you must comply with, Miss Poyser.” Newly arrived at Fairacres, I stood in front of Mr Harding who, it seemed, ran the establishment as Mr Symington’s agent. “They are simple enough, but I would be grateful if you would sign this contract. It merely states that you agree to comply with our house rules.”

He slid a somewhat bulky document across the desk towards me.

“You may use the hall to read the contract,” Mr Harding continued. “When you have done so, please come back here and sign it. If you do not wish to comply with the rules laid down the agreement, I must ask you to leave forthwith. I will have the carriage take you and your bags to the village but, from there on, you must find your own way home.”

My heart stopped for a second, and I felt an icy lump forming in the pit of my stomach. For I had assumed that the post at Fairacres was assured. I had no home to go to. Both my parents were dead, and my sister and her husband lived in Scotland. In addition, I had spent my poor savings on new attire, my old clothes seeming too shabby and worn for such an important family as the Symingtons.

With a trembling hand, I reached out and picked up the document before bobbing a curtsey to the man behind the desk and turning to leave the room. In the hall, my pathetic luggage piled near the front door, I read the clauses of the agreement that I knew I had to sign. I had no alternative.

Ten minutes later I felt a mixture of relief and trepidation. For I had read the contract which I must sign, and had come to the conclusion that, although some of its clauses seemed strange, its general tenor was not unreasonable. It stated that my salary would be paid quarterly, half in arrears, half in advance, either by cash or banker drafts as I might wish. I would be provided free of charge with full board and lodging, including coals for my room and the schoolroom area, food, and light. I might order (via Mr Harding) all items needed for the schoolroom, and I was at liberty to teach the girls in whatever manner I pleased, subject to their spending at least half of the days learning English, Latin, needlework, and The Bible. Finally I would submit a written report on their progress to their guardians once every six months.

So much was more than satisfactory. No young governess could ask for more pleasant or reasonable terms of employment. However it was the clauses listed towards the end of the agreement that caused me concern. Amongst these were ones that stated that, although I might walk in the ground within one hundred yards of the house, I might go no further afield. In addition I must not leave the estate under any circumstances or risk immediate dismissal without notice.

Although nominally I was allowed half a day each week off work, these 26 days per year would be accumulated so that, when I left Fairacres, I would receive payment for them in lieu of actually having any time off at all while employed there. Along with this clause was another one which stated that, when not actually looking after the children, I must remain in my room or in the schoolroom unless Mr Harding wished me to work for him in ‘some clerical capacity in keeping with Miss Poyser’s status and age’. However I might take exercise in the grounds (not further than one hundred yards from the house, of course) providing I obtained Mr Harding’s permission to do so, and providing I was ‘suitably attired’.

These clauses seemed petty rather than worrying. But what did concern me was the final two which I will reproduce in full.

Clause 27. Miss Poyser understands and agrees that Mr Harding (or his assigned deputy) may deal with any dereliction of duty or failure to comply with these rules on Miss Poyser’s part. Mr Harding (or his assigned deputy) may not fine Miss Poyser for such offences or impose financial penalties upon her, but he may employ any other means of correction that seems to him to be commensurate with Miss Poyser’s faults.

Clause 28. Miss Poyser agrees that she is legally bound to obey Mr Harding’s instructions or order in all matters, and that she has NO form of restitution or appeal against any of his rulings, decisions or demands. Therefore she agrees to accept whenever means of correction he may deem fitting in the event of her failing to act properly (as laid down in Clause 27.)

I read the final two clauses time and again, uncertain of what to do. Eventually, I summoned up all my courage, rose from my chair and crossed the vast hallway to knock on the study door once more. When I heard Mr Harding biding me enter, I opened the door and walked in, pale but I hope not with my fear too apparent.

“You agree to sign?” The man behind the desk asked even before I had shut the door behind me.

“Well, sir, there are some items I cam not clear about.”

“What, Miss Poyser? What?” His voice was harsh and abrupt as his looked up at me, his eyes piercing me so that I hurriedly lowered my gaze.

“The last clauses, sir,” I stuttered. “Twenty seven and eight, sir.”

“They are self explanatory. Completely self explanatory. Now, are you going to sign, or shall I send for the carriage to take you away?”

As he spoke, he pushed the pen holder across the desk to me.

“Miss Poyser, I do not have all day to chatter with you. Sign or go!”

With a trembling hand, I reached out and picked up the pen. I carefully dipped it in the ink well, and then signed in the blank space on the final page of the agreement.

I signed my name under the words, ‘I, Arabella Poyser, do of my own free will, and in full knowledge of this document, do sign this agreement and contract as indication of my full compliance, both real and implied, to its terms and conditions, both real and implied, understanding that these conditions will apply in full until such time as I am dismissed from the employment as set down in this agreement and contract.’

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WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Two

I heard the pen squeak across the paper as I signed my name at the bottom of the contract. The two words formed in shiny fresh ink on the heavy velum.

Arabella Poyser.

“Now date it. Please.” Mr Harding’s voice was hard; the ‘please’ abrupt and perfunctory. But I did so.

Thursday, the Fifteenth of October in the Year of Our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Eighty Three.

Having done as I was told, I stood back from the desk and looked at the man who now reached out to inspect the contract I had just signed.

I would have taken Mr Harding to be in his mid forties. Tall and lean, he seemed to possessed that wiry strength you sometimes find in men of light built. Only his hands, large and spatular, seemed less than neat. For all else about him was precise and composed, from his dispassionate features to his highly polished shoes.

“Now, Miss Poyser, to business.” He spoke in more relaxed tones as he locked the contract away in the desk. “There are only a few points that I wish to clarify before you start work. Firstly, you will have seen in the contract that I have an ‘assigned deputy’. That is Miss Harding, the housekeeper. Yes, we share a common name. Not surprising as she is my sister. But our relationship is unimportant to you, Miss Poyser. What should be important however is the need for you to obey her instructions as though they came from me. You understand that?”

“Yes, sir,” I replied, barely able to force my voice above a whisper.

“Good.” He reached behind his chair and dragged on the heavy bell pull hanging from the wall. I knew that, as he did so, a bell would be ringing somewhere in the depths of the building, summoning a servant to answer Mr Harding’s imperious call.

“If you work hard, do as you are told and obey the house rules, I do not see why you should not find working at Fairacres to be congenial employment. You will find me strict but fair and I am sure the same applies to Miss Harding.” The man paused for a moment to allow his words to sink in. “You must also understand that I run this establishment as Mr Hetherington’s agent. Trusted agent, I might say. He is rarely here so, apart from your half-yearly report that I will forward to him, you will have no contact whatsoever with him or with his wife. Think of me as your employer, and you will not go wrong. Miss Poyser.”

He looked up at me with a smile. A smile so thin that his lips barely seemed to move from their usual hard line.

“A final word of caution. Remember you are governess here, Miss Poyser. You are not a ‘common’ servant, and you will stay well clear of such people dealing only with them on a formal basis. Keep your congress with them to a minimum. If you need to discuss anything, broach the subject with Miss Harding first. She will bring it to my attention if she feels it necessary. Otherwise you will keep to the school room and nursery quarters and to your own room, which you will find adjacent to your place of work. Of course, if Miss Harding or I summon you down from your eyrie, or if you wish to take exercise in the park, you may leave your quarters. But otherwise you will confine yourself to that area of the house. Is that clear?”

I nodded, dumbly. Already I could see that working at Fairacres was likely to be a lonely business, but that was a fate only too well know to many governesses.

I did not have long to brood on my fate. There was a sharp knock on the door behind me. I heard someone enter the room and then, with a swish of heavy skirts, a woman strode past me. I had been expecting a servant to answer Mr Harding’s summons. But it was no common servant that swept into the room . Instead it was a black dressed woman, tall and gaunt and only too evidently the sister of whom Mr Harding has spoke off earlier. If the man’s eyes had been cold, this woman’s were icy. She looked me up and down, slowly and clearly revealing a mixture of distrust and dislike, reactions I had done nothing to earn. Eyes focussed on the carpet at my feet, I stood silently as she stalked slowly round me so as to inspect me from every side. Then, after a seeming eternity, she halted by the desk.

“Look at me, girl.” The woman’s voice lacked the apparently cultured tones to be found in her brother’s speech. But I did as I was told and focussed on the hard face three feet from where I stood.

“You do your job and tutor the girls, and we will have no trouble. In fact, you could even grow to like it here. But get any hoity-toity ideas about your station, and I will be down on you, Miss. Down on you hard. Now, come with me and I will show you your room, and where you are going to work. After that I will introduce you to the children.”

She turned on her toes and, with a swirl of fustian skirts, swept from the room. I hurriedly bobbed a curtsey to the man behind the desk and followed in her brisk, long-striding wake.

The next few hours matched the horror that any junior governess knows when she takes up a new post. A strange house, strange servants, hostile looks and an inward fear that you are not going to like this new place of employment. The difference this time was that there were no parents or senior governess to tell me what to do. Just Miss Harding with her brusque tones and freezing stare. I took in what she showed me, asked as few questions as I could and waited with some trepidation to meet the children. However, as we waited in the schoolroom for the nursery maid to bring them to us, Miss Harding made one final remark that made to look at her questioningly.

“When the children are having their supper, you will come down to the servants quarters. I will have a uniform ready for you by then.”

“Uniform?” I queried. “But I am the governess. I wear my own clothes.”

“NOT in this house,” Miss Harding snapped back. “You may have the title of governess but governesses here wear uniforms, as do all employees. Even me.”

She ran her hands over the flat bosom of her black dress, its waist circled by a belt from which dangled a heavy bunch of keys. The dress did not look like any servants uniform I had ever seen. But I could not raise any further queries as, at that moment, the door opened and in were shepherded the two girls who were to be my charges at Fairacres. Thankfully, their arrival meant the departure of Miss Harding, and for the next few hours I was left alone with my new pupils, trying to get to know them.

They were not at all what I had expected. Identically attired in dull brown pinafore dresses, their hair centre-parted and dragged back from their faces into tight buns behind their heads, neither girl could be deemed ‘pretty’. But they had fine bone structure, their eyes were a delightful blue green and their hair the same dark gold shade that even their harsh hair style could not sully. Charlotte, the elder, was approaching seventeen, tall and gangly like an unbroken colt. Her younger sister, now fifteen, lacked her sister’s height but was similarly slender. And both were clearly ill at ease, not raising their eyes to look at me as I introduced myself to them.

Having told them a little about myself, I made them sit at their desks. Then I mounted the low podium on which stood my own larger desk and chair, and proceeded to find about their own accomplishments. Three hours later, I had discovered that my pupils had been poorly taught, knew little Latin, sewed badly, wrote ungrammatical English and were weak at all forms of mathematics. But I also discovered what I thought was a glimmer of very real intelligence in both of them. Yet, strangely, they seemed very reluctant to reveal their agile thought processes, apparently wishing me to think them dull and even stupid.

I was deeply puzzled at this behaviour but I did not have time to probe further as the nursery maid, an surly young woman maybe a year or two older than myself, came in to take the girls away for their supper and to prepare them for bed. I knew, from what Miss Harding has told me of schoolroom routine, that I would not see them again until the next morning. So, after they had trooped out after the nursery maid, I tidied the books we had used, cleaned the girls’ slates and wiped the blackboard on the wall behind my desk. It was only then that I remember that Miss Harding has told me to report to the servants quarters to find out about my ‘uniform’.

By the time I had found my way deep into the bowels of the house, and had been guided to Miss Harding’s ‘private room’, it was nearly seven o’clock and it was plain that the housekeeper was not pleased at my tardy arrival.

“I will be kind to you this time,” she growled at me as I apologised for being late. “But NEVER keep me waiting again. You have had your last warning and there will be no more. Now come with me.”

She lead the way to a well stocked laundry room, its wooden shelves near groaning with linens and napery, towels and sheets, bed clothes and furnishings and, along one wall, shelves piled with what appeared to be servants’ clothing. But she did not look to the shelves as she led me into the room. Instead she pointed to the polished wooden expanse of the central ironing table. On it lay a heap of clothing that seem to contain far more items than was in all my impoverished wardrobe.

“The Mistress requires that you surrender all your personal clothing for as long as you work here. Your possessions will be laundered and kept safely for you, so you can reclaim them when you leave. Until that time you will ONLY wear uniform items of dress. One of the maids will help you take this lot up to your room. And you will then hand over to her every item of clothing you possess, other than what you wear at this moment. When I say ‘every item’, I mean just that. Down to handkerchiefs and fichus, stockings and underwear. All you may retain are your shoes, and those I will inspect tomorrow to ensure their suitability. You understand?”

“Even bonnets?” I asked lamely, thinking of the precious savings I had recently spent on one beautiful bonnet, the first new one I had ever really owned. Before its recent purchase, I had made do with second-hand ones that I reworked for my own use.

“Of course,” the woman snorted. “I said ‘everything, didn’t I?”

Two minutes later I was staggering upstairs, laden down by vast arm-fulls of clothing. Behind me came a raw boned maid, carrying a similar pile. At last we reached my room in what was referred to as ‘The Nursery Wing’. There my new uniform garments were placed on my bed and, as the maid waited, I lay my own pitifully small collection of clothing next to them. When I had done, she picked up the smaller pile, pausing at the door before departing.

“You’ll leave what you wear now, miss, outside you door when you go to bed. I’ll collect them first thing in the morning.” With that she disappeared to begin her long descent back to the servants’ quarters.

That evening I sat in my room and wondered what the future held for me. With no family present, and embargoed by my status from going to the Servants Hall, I would clearly be spending my time alone when not working. It was a fate common to governesses, and one I had come to accept. So, looking at the monstrous pile of garments on my bed, I decided to see just what my uniform comprised of. Half an hour later, I was both pleasantly surprised and also gravely disappointed.

The pleasant surprise came from the quality of the garments I was to wear. Each was extremely well made, every seam double-stitched with minuscule stitches, each fabric of good quality; certainly better than I could have afforded on my small salary. Also I had been supplied with more than adequate numbers of clothes. Four complete sets of underclothing, two corsets, three sets of petticoats, six pairs of stockings, three pairs of gloves, three dresses, two capes, one heavy cloak, and even two bonnets. For night wear, there were four nightdresses and two warm dressing gowns. In addition, I had been given eight lawn handkerchiefs and various other more private items. In fact the number of garments in my possession had virtually doubled in an instant. For that I was indeed grateful. As I was in respect of the garments’ sizes. I had no idea how, but Miss Harding had selected clothing that seemed exactly the right fit for me. Either this was an amazing coincidence, or someone had written to my previous employer and asked for details of my size and shape, facts easy enough to ascertain by anyone looking in my old room and inspecting the clothes I wore whilst in the employ of Mr and Mrs Hetherington.

But disappointment tinged and almost eradicated such pleasurable feelings. For the clothing I had been supplied was unattractive in design, its material heavy, the cut the dresses looked uncomfortable. Even such minor drawbacks as petticoats that appeared too tight for ease of walking merely added to my mounting depression at the thought of wearing such ‘uniform’ during my stay at Fairacres.

Later, as I finished the meal that had been brought up to my room by the surly nursery maid, I felt slightly more sanguine. The food was plain but well cooked and sustaining. A generous slice of beef and onion pie with gravy and boiled potatoes, followed by a bowl of cold summer pudding revealed that I was likely to eat more than adequately at Fairacres. At least, I told myself as I undressed for bed, I will be able to save virtually all of my wages, as I will not need to buy new clothing while employed here. And I had my books to read and my journal to write up each evening. So I should not be too bored, even if my social life would be extremely limited. Limited? I smiled to myself as I struggled into my crisp new nightdress. It would not be ‘limited’. It promised to be non-existent.

After I had bid goodbye to my best dress and all that I had been wearing previously, placing the garments outside my door in a small basket I found there, I knelt by my bed to say my prayers. The litany taught to me by dear Papa, so long departed to join his Maker, rolled out in whispers for the usual ten minutes. Then, cold and stiff, I got to my feet and slipped into bed. I propped myself up on an elbow and snuffed out the candle on the bedside table.

Settling down into my new and strange bed, I thought that Fairacres might prove to be a congenial place to work, regardless of the somewhat worrying aspects I had already come across. After all, I had two pleasant enough girls to teach, and a degree of freedom within the schoolroom not often granted to young governesses. ‘Yes,’ I thought as I slipped, exhausted, into dreamless sleep, ‘I think I am going to like it here.’

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WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Three

I woke the following morning to knocking on my door. Half drugged by sleep, I called the person outside to enter and sat in bed, blankets pulled high under my chin, as the maid who had helped me the previous evening came in. She carried a heavy tray on which rested a lit candle, a clean washing bowl, and two jugs, one holding cold water and another hot; the latter cooling rapidly after its long journey from the kitchens. Also on the tray was my breakfast; an egg, slices of still warm bread and some fresh-churned butter.

The maid placed all but the candle on my wash stand, removed the bowl and jugs I had used the previous night and left without a word, even ignoring my soft-toned ‘Thank you.’ As she closed the door behind her, the room was again plunged into darkness.

I clambered out of bed and felt my way to the window. Drawing back the dull brown curtains, I looked out into darkness. Clearly in this house, the day commenced early.

Twenty five minutes later I was washed and dressed and my breakfast was eaten. So, after I had tidied my bed chamber, with nothing further to keep me there, I made my way to the schoolroom, my candle held aloft and I made my way along the silent corridors that, bare-boarded, led to my daytime domain. As I expected the schoolroom was empty and, for a moment, I was tempted to go to the girls’ quarters to see if they were getting up. But then I recalled Mrs Harding’s harsh words, as she explained my duties to me the previous day.

“You will be responsible for the girls only during their schoolroom hours. That is seven o’clock through to half past eleven in the morning. And one o’clock to six each afternoon. At all other times the nursery maid will look after them. Under MY supervision. So you will NOT interfere with what happens to them at times other than those I have specified.”

“But what if…………………….”

“NO Buts!” Miss Harding almost snarled the words at me. “You will NEVER involve yourself in anything other than the girl’s schooling. You will not go to their quarters. You will not concern yourself in their meals, in how they dress, in where they sleep, in anything other than what happens in the schoolroom. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, Miss Harding. You make yourself very clear.” I murmured in reply.

Fifteen hours after that brief exchange, I waited alone in the schoolroom, watching the light of a drizzling dawn gradually illuminate the room. I snuffed my candle and set to sorting the text books I had found in one of the cupboards until, at long last, the door was thrown open and the nursery maid chivvied Charlotte and Caroline into the schoolroom to start their day’s lessons.

May I speak of myself for a moment before continuing my tale? On that grey morning I was some two months past my twenty seventh birthday, a tall and plain young woman, the sort you pass by in the street without giving her a second glance. I was a governess because it was one of the few respectable ways in which a young woman of my background and station could ward off starvation and ensure she had a roof over her head. In some ways I was suited for such an occupation as I enjoyed looking after small children. But, offsetting that asset, I gained no great satisfaction from merely being a teacher of elder children. Maybe, because I was so near to their own age, I lacked the natural authority of a more senior governess. But, whatever the reason, I found children over the age of thirteen or so hard to control by the force of my will alone.

Perhaps, from what I have related so far of my tale, it may be seen that I enjoy writing; that art and reading being my passions. So it was only natural that I should have attempted to pass on my enthusiasm for the written word to my charges, but I regret that I must confess to little success. For I was (and, indeed, am) a less than brilliant teacher, knowing myself to be competent but uninspiring as a governess. I reckoned myself fair and reasonable with my pupils, but I had suffered sufficiently at the hands of high-spirited children to know that I must always maintain discipline in the schoolroom. Unless shown from the start, even the best mannered child can soon turn into a rebel, and that was not the transformation I was paid to effect.

That morning, as I had been sorting through the book cupboard, I had found the various ‘tools of my trade’ placed reverentially on the top shelf. From the shiny nature of the canes’ handles and the wear upon the straps, it was plain that they had been used, probably frequently, by my predecessor. If indeed they had, it was little wonder that my charges had proved so reserved when I had first met them. For they must have wondered if I was going to prove as fearsome a governess as the departed Miss Hassack.

I flexed the lightest of the three canes between my hands and inwardly shuddered. Like most girls of my class, I had been subjected to corporal punishment from an early age, even though my good if ineffectual Papa had shied away from correcting his daughters, and had left that task to Mama. But, once a pupil at Mrs Hugher’s Academy for Young Ladies, I had been subjected to harsh discipline, so that I was only too aware of the pain that even a light stroke with such an instrument of correction could inflict upon an offender.

Given other means of ensuring schoolroom control, I would have happily broken or burnt those penal instruments. But I was only too aware of my lack of natural authority, and I knew that I might have to resort to those awful devices if persuasion and commonsense did not make the girls maintain their previously obedient and quiet demeanour.

Immediately below the low platform upon which stood my desk and in front of the girls’ places was a book table. It was here that text books were piled ready for use, and it was where the girl’s slates were kept when not being used. Now, I thought, it can serve a new purpose.

I took from the cupboard the medium weight cane and one of the straps. These I proceeded to lay on the book table so that they would always be directly in my pupils’ line of sight every time they glanced up at me behind my desk. The cane, over two foot in length and the breadth of my thumb nail, I placed at the front edge of the table, its curled handle towards where I sat. Behind it I laid out the heavy strap. It was a Scottish tawse, over a foot in length excluding its rounded handle, and split in two for most of its length. Some four inches in width, it would produce much pain if used across a girl’s open palm and, of course, it might also be employed to ‘warm’ her posterior as well.

Looking down at my handiwork, I shuddered again, hoping that I would never have to use those cruel instruments of correction. As a girl, I had been the victim of frequent corporal punishments; not because I was a bad or rebellious pupil, but because teachers at Mrs Hugher’s Academy, including the Principal herself, reckoned that the simplest and most effective way of instilling knowledge into a girl’s head was to drive it there with the rod or birch, unless the pupil assimilated it at the first time of asking. Later, as a pupil-teacher, I was taught just how to use such things, and how best to extract the maximum of pain with the minimum of effort. But I had hated doing so, and had even been whipped myself for not ‘laying on’ hard enough when order to correct some poor girl only a year or two younger than myself.

In consequence, once on my own and employed as an independent governess, I had shied away from using corporal punishment at my previous posts, only using it as a final resort and then with great reluctance. I have to admit that, even then, I employed that means of discipline rather ineffectually too.

When the girls’ entered the schoolroom and made their way to their desks, I saw their eyes widen as they saw the cane and the tawse laid on the book table. But they went to their places and, having curtseyed low and bid me good morning, meekly obeyed my command to sit down, each focussing their gazes up at me, rather than looking down at the book desk. But I knew I had made my point. Now it was time to see whether a threat was sufficient to keep my charges in order when my own malleable character was barely likely to convince them not to test my patience.

The morning passed quietly enough. I had discovered the previous day where the sisters’ worst lack of knowledge lay. So I had them working at their Latin primers for the first two hours, ensuring that they kept their heads down and absorbed in both the written word and my verbal tuition. Once or twice I was surprised by one of the girls translating a sentence with perfect fluency when, moments before she had stumbled over something less complex. Whenever it happened, the girl in question would bring herself up short, almost as though she had made a mistake in doing so well.

When I had pointed this out to the older girl, Charlotte, she had dropped her gaze, and blushed.

“I am sorry, Ma’am,” she stuttered. “I must have translated that passage before. And somehow remembered it.”

“Perhaps,” I murmured to myself, unconvinced by the girl’s explanation. “Anyway, there is nothing to be sorry about. Your translation was excellent. Now turn to page 32, and we will look at the first passage at the top of the page.”

After Latin, I moved on to Divinity, testing them on their Biblical knowledge and setting them a test on the Ten Commandments. By the time the nursery maid arrived to collect the sisters, I had been surprised several times by sudden glimpses of intelligence from each of the girls. After they had gone, I sat at my desk, wondering what was happening, and why Charlotte and Caroline seemed so reluctant to let me know just how well tutored they really were. I was still pondering this quandary when the rude maid, who seemed to have been assigned to look after me, arrived with my luncheon.

As I looked at the suet dumplings in gravy, I realised I was not at all hungry. But I forced some food down, knowing the cause for my lack of appetite. Before dawn, in the candle-lit gloom of my bed chamber, I had made further discoveries concerning my new uniform. The first was that the corsets supplied to me were both longer and more heavily boned than the ones I was used to wearing. As if that was not enough, when I tried to do up my dark grey dress, I found that it was cut tight about the chest and waist, so that I was forced to lace myself severely into my corset so as to compress my torso sufficiently to do up the buttons of my dress. And that garment was itself less than comfortable. Made of serviceable but decidedly heavy serge, it possessed a high boned collar that, when done up, half choked me, its upper edge projecting up into the soft flesh under my jaw.

So it was little wonder that, so tightly laced into my corset and further constrained by the formidable tightness of my dress, I was in no mood to eat such things as suet dumplings, tasty though they might have been. So I merely tasted the food and drunk the water supplied with it.

When the downstairs maid returned to collect the tray, I noticed that she looked at my still partly filled plate, and then how she smiled to herself before leaving without commenting. The smile puzzled me at first. But then I told myself that, as a junior servant, she was probably not as well fed as would be one of my station. Therefore she would have seen what I had left, happy in the knowledge that, on the way back to the servant’s hall, she could stop off in some hidden place and eat my left-overs. Doubtless that would be enough to make the normally hard-faced girl smile for once.

The afternoon passed slowly for me, and probably even more so for my pupils. I had hoped to take them outdoors for a walk but I was informed by the nursery maid that this was only possible if I first cleared such an excursion with Miss Harding. So we worked on the girls’ mathematics, and their needle work, before I tested them on geography, a subject in which they revealed almost total ignorance.

As the clock ticked round to six, the nursery maid entered the schoolroom to retrieve the girls and to take them back to their own rooms. But, before she left, she handed me a folded piece of paper. It contained a cryptic message.

You will come straight down to the laundry room as soon as you have completed this afternoon’s lessons. Do NOT keep me waiting again. Maria Harding (Miss)

The hand may have been that of a poor educated woman but there was no doubting the command in its words. I hurriedly put away my pupils’ books and then, having snuffed the candles that lit the schoolroom, I hurried down the flights of stairs that led to the basement of Fairacres. Breathless, thanks to my exertions and the brutal compression of my stays, I entered the laundry room to find that Miss Harding has arrived before me. She fixed me with an icy stare and then, turning slowly gestured towards the ironing table behind her.

In the middle of its smooth expanse stood a single plate. One that I recognised. For it still held the remains of my luncheon, suet rolls now mired down in a sea of cold congealed gravy.

“Yours, I think,” Miss Harding said in chilling tones.

“Yes, I think so too,” I admitted, my voice barely above a whisper. “I did not feel hungry.”

“Really…………… I wonder what Mr Hetherington would say if he knew that the money he generously allows for your rations was being wasted.” Sarcasm joined ice in the woman’s voice as she glared at me. “Well, girl, it is my duty to ensure that his money is NOT wasted. The contents of that plate will be your supper tonight.”

“But I can’t eat it!” I protested. “Not cold and congealed like that.”

“You will eat it, girl. Because, if you do not, it will be sent to your room for your breakfast tomorrow morning. If you do not consume it then, you will find it appearing for your lunch. And so on. Until you DO eat it. Unless, of course, you wish to starve yourself to death.”

I felt all fight drain out of my body. I knew I was beaten.

“I will eat it, Miss Harding,” I said slowly.

“Now?” The woman asked.

“If you wish.”

From a pocket in her dress, the woman produced a spoon which she handed to me. Shuddering, my hands trembling, I took it from her and walked to the table. A chair stood nearby and I sat down on it, and began to eat.

I will not trouble my readers with the details of that meal. Suffice it to say that it took all my fortitude to force the vile dish down. But in the end the plate was clean enough to satisfy even Miss Harding. Feeling nauseous, I got up from the chair and started for the door.

“And where do you think you are going, miss?” Miss Harding’s harsh voice stopped me in my tracks.

“To my room.”

“Ma’am!” she barked abruptly at me.

“To my room, ma’am,” I said in a defeated whisper.

“You think that just eating your lunch is recompense enough for the bad example you have set the servants who saw that you had returned your food?”

“I hope so, ma’am.”

“Well, your hopes are not going to be met.” The woman snapped out the words as she strode across the room. “Far from it. For you, my girl, must be taught that, in this household, NO-ONE wastes food.”

I watched as she opened a cupboard set on the far wall, her body hiding whatever it was she extracted from its depths.. Then she turned again to face me, and I saw that, in her right hand, she held a rod. A three foot length of black malacca cane. It was an instrument of correction the like of which I had never seen before, so brutal did it look in Miss Harding’s white knuckled hand.

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WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Four

My mouth must have dropped open when I saw the dreadful rod in Miss Harding’s hand. Shying away, putting the wide expanse of the ironing table between us, I half turned, determined to run from the room and the crazed woman who came slowly towards me. Then, to my horror, I saw Mr Harding standing in the doorway. I halted in my tracks and watched as he closed the door behind him, turning a heavy key in its lock.

“Miss Harding told me about your wasteful ways,” he said slowly as he pocketed the key. “I had hoped that you would settle down here without my having to show you that we don’t put up with stupidity at Fairacres. But it seems it will be necessary to teach you a salutary lesson, so that your behaviour will be less self-centred in future.”

“You can’t,” I babbled, terrified and confused. “You can’t do this to me!”

“Oh, but we can.” The man smiled as he walked towards me. “The contract you signed yesterday gives us every right to punish you as and how we wish.”

Suddenly he reached out and snatched my arm. I struggled briefly but he was too strong and dragged me to him so that his face was inches from mine, her cold eyes boring into mine.

“Miss Poyser, we can approach what has to be done in two ways. Either you are sensible and accept your punishment quietly and like an adult. Or you can make us use less acceptable means of ensuring you are properly corrected. And, if we are made to use force to subdue you, I will greatly increase the degree of your punishment. Greatly increase it. Now, what is it to be? An unseemly scuffle which we will inevitably win? Or you acting like a well brought-up young lady, and accepting your punishment as being correct and due?”

My head spun, and I think I might have collapsed had not Mr Harding dug his fingers into my arm, holding me upright.

“Well, Miss Poyser? Which is it to be?”

“I will accept my punishment,” I stammered, my voice barely audible.

“Excellent,” I heard him murmur as he guided me round the table to the far end. “Now spread you legs, please, and bend forward to lie on the table.”

Too shocked and weak to think, I obeyed, my corsets groaning from my movements. Behind me I heard a swish of material and, glancing sideways through tear-filled eyes, I saw Miss Harding kneeling down. A moment later she had tied my left ankle to the low cross bar that joined the wide-spread table legs. Then moving across behind me, she fastened the other ankle in place so my legs were spread under the heavy fall of my skirts to the maximum width permitted by my tight petticoats.

A hand, Mr Harding’s I think, pressed down on my back between my shoulder blades, pinning me to the tables smooth surface. Then I felt something pass across my back a few inches lower down. It was tightened and I began to realise that a broad strap must have been passed over my back and down under the table, to be drawn in until I was flattened against the smooth wood beneath my chest and torso, crushed down so that breathing, already made problematical by the compression of my stays, became painful. I gasped for air in quick shallow pants, fearing that my ribs might break under the awful pressure imposed upon them..

Helpless now, I closed my eyes and sobbed gently, terrified of what I knew was to come. I had not been whipped for years, but the memory of those awful occasions when I had been disciplined at Mrs Hughers Academy was still branded on my psyche.

As I contemplated my fate, a wrist was grabbed and then the other one, to be tied together and then pulled across the table so that I was racked out on its surface. I must have moaned or perhaps even protested at my cruel handling. I can not recall which. But I do know that my hair was tight gripped, my head pulled up and back and, as I started to scream or cry out, a bulky wad of material was rammed into my mouth. Choking on the fearful gag, I felt something being tied round my head and between my teeth so the material was thrust deeper into my mouth, muffling my cries and making me choke on its mass.

“Miss Poyser, you will BEHAVE!” I heard Mr Harding voice close to my ear, its tone harsh and curt. “Cease your struggles and make no noise. Or your punishment will be increased.”

I did my best to obey, knowing my own helplessness as I listened to the man continuing his monologue.

“Before your correction starts, there are one or two points that I must make plain to you. It may occur to you to leave her after we have finished with you now. Do NOT try to do so. You have no clothes and no money. In fact, unless you leave naked, we will have you taken as a thief for stealing the uniform you wear. That is, providing you can leave the grounds. Which is something I doubt you capable of doing. So, Miss Poyser, you are best advised to accept your punishment and to return to your work, a better and more careful young woman. It gives me no pleasure to see you being corrected in this manner. But it is my duty to run this house smoothly. If that calls for me to have you flogged, so be it. It is what I will do.”

With my eyes tear filled, I sensed rather than saw Mr Harding move away from the table. When he next spoke, his voice came from the direction of the door.

“I will now leave you to undergo chastisement, Miss Poyser. The proprieties must be observed and I do not witness the exposure and humiliation of female staff. Miss Harding will now take charge. And I hope and pray that we never meet in such a manner again.”

I heard the key turn in the lock and the door open and then, after a brief pause, close again. I was alone with the woman who must be standing behind me, and I was more afraid than when her brother had been present. I moaned into my gag, trying to beg for mercy but the sound that emerged past the wadded material was muffled almost to extinction, no words audible in its hushed sound.

Then, to my horror, I felt my skirts being raised, then my petticoats. I struggled briefly against my bonds, but I could barely move a fraction of an inch and, to make sure my efforts were only too soon terminated, the unseen woman hissed at me to be still.

Skirts and petticoats dawn up and raised to waist height, my voluminous flannel nether-garments were then dragged down. I felt cold air above my stocking tops, the back of my thighs exposed as was the curve of my posterior. I shuddered and bitterly recalled such sensations when readied for correction at Mrs Hugher’s Academy, and fear welled up in my throat in sickly bile whose egress was blocked by the plug of fabric that filled my mouth.

“There we are, my girl. All ready for punishment.” Listening to Miss Harding voice, I was shocked to hear what was nearly a friendly note in her words. Previously everything she had said to me had been curt and near rude. Now she had adopted a relaxed tone of voice as if we were discussing flowers over tea and cakes.

“I am now going to whip you,” she continued in the same conversational tones. “And when I have finished you will return to your room. There you may do what you wish to ease your suffering. But tomorrow morning you will act as though this ‘incident’ never happened. But be warned, if it is reported to me that you behave abnormally on the morrow, you and I will have a second meeting down here in the evening. I hope that is clear, my girl.”

Howling soundlessly into my gag, I vaguely heard her move behind me. I closed my eyes, my exposed nether cheeks clenching in my fear as I waited for the first blow to fall. But the woman had not finished tormenting me with words.

“Oh, I forgot to mention something.” She said, almost with a laugh in her voice. “If any of your clothes are marked afterwards, just put them outside your room for the maid to bring down to the laundry. She will not be surprised to see them blood stained.”

Almost as the final syllable was falling from her lips, I heard the hideous whistle of a heavy rod cutting through the air. I heard it strike flesh and then, after the most tiny of pauses, the pain of its impact hit me.

Dear reader, if you have been whipped by governess, parent or pedagogue, you will know with bitter memories what I speak off when I say that I felt my skull to be exploding as the pain surged into my consciousness. You will understand when I speak of a line of cold fire across my haunches, fire white hot and sinking deeper and deeper into my flesh. You will no doubt recall the convulsions as your body tried to tear itself away from the next blow. You will again hear your screams echoing round your brain, and remember your garbled pleas for mercy. Yes, dear reader, we share those terrible memories, and I am sure you weep for me as I speak of the murderous pain that even the first stroke caused me, as Miss Harding brought that monstrous rod flailing down across the soft flesh of my posterior.

And then came the second stroke. The horror of the first blow was consigned to the void when the next struck home. I screamed afresh, head shaking, fingers twitching as I struggled against my bonds. I screamed afresh and no-one heard me. Probably not even Miss Harding as she readied herself to deliver the next stroke, so gag-muffled must have been my shrill cries.

The third. And a fourth. And then the fifth. Evenly spaced, they were well enough separated in time for each to be its own dire punishment. Each one enough to teach me to always eat what I was given. Each one more than enough to ensure my contrition and every one on its own sufficient to make me desire but one thing in life – to please Mr Harding and Miss Harding in all that I did, then and in the future.

When the sixth has struck home, searing me from head to toe with its all consuming agony, I collapse, still and beaten, barely conscious but somehow sure that I had somehow survived my punishment. My posterior felt as though someone had held a red hot griddle across it for half a lifetime, and I knew I would live in pain for days to come. But I had survived, I had………………………….

Then the seventh smashed hope, driving breath and hope from my tortured body. And an eighth. And a ninth and……………………. I may have fainted before the tenth and final blow. Perhaps it is my mind that has shut off the memory of that terrible last stroke. I do not know. All I remember is the wad of material being dragged from my mouth and sucking in air to burning lungs. And I remember pain. That pain I remember best of all.

I do not recall making my way back upstairs to my bed chamber. Perhaps I was helped, perhaps I crawled; I am not sure. But I do remember finding myself slumped across my bed, half kneeling, sobbing hysterically and feeling that my whole posterior had been slow-roasted. It probably took me an hour to undress; each movement sent shafts of fresh agony coursing through my body, and I wept and moaned as I slowly removed garment after garment from my sweat soaked body. I tried to wash but gave up, dragging my nightdress over my trembling carcase, screaming as its material grazed my backside. Then I set to clearing the room. Outside the door I placed blood stained under garments, knowing that, in the morning, my nightdress must join them.

Finally, unable to pray, I dragged myself onto my bed and lay face down. Still crying, still wracked in pain. My first full day at Fairacres had ended, and every last ounce of the previous night’s optimism had been drained aware to leave bitter despair in its place.

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WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Five

I slept little, if at all, that night. By the time the maid arrived before dawn with my water and breakfast, I was already on my feet, not wanting her to see me lying on my stomach, the back of my nightdress stained with the final evidence of my punishment. She would doubtless be aware of what happened the previous evening – Miss Harding has made that clear. But I was not going to give the sour faced maid the opportunity to gloat.

I stood, shivering in the pre-dawn chill, as she placed the washing bowl and jugs on the washstand, and my breakfast on the writing table. She said nothing until she reached the door. Then she turned towards me.

“I’ll fetch that night dress later, Miss. And anything else you wish to put out for laundering too.” As she spoke I thought I heard a hint of grudging admiration in her voice.

As soon as she had left, I fell upon my breakfast. Having gone supperless the previous evening, I was ravenous. No threats of further punishment were needed to make me finish every last crumb of that meal. But, when it was finished, I knew that I had to face up to the awful task of washing and tending to my poor ravaged posterior. That I moaned and cried out once or twice during this awful business is of no surprise. But I held back my tears and, in time, stood naked in the centre of the room, my soiled nightdress at my feet and ready to face the new day.

I will not bother my readers with a description of what it was like to dress that morning. Lady-readers who have drawn under-garments, petticoats and heavy skirts over a freshly chastised posterior will not need reminding of the awful misery of such a task. For the rest of my readership, I will merely state that it was a highly painful and unpleasant process but one accomplished in the end. At last dressed, I dashed cold water on my face in the hope of hiding my swollen lids and reddened eyes, and made my way to the schoolroom.

That morning I taught standing up, making sure that I was employed at the blackboard for much of those endless hours as possible and, at other times, prowling the room as though checking that my docile pupils were not cheating at the tests I set, nor skimping on the work assigned to them. I hope I gave them no cause to believe me freshly chastened for, had they done so, my power of command in the schoolroom would have been grievously compromised.

When the nursery maid came to collect my charges for their mid day break, I noticed how she looked at me with hooded eyes. I smiled back at her and spoke lightly about nothing important. For she was, I was certain, yet another of Miss Harding’s spies, just like the maid who served me in my room. The woman acknowledged my words with a nod but, as with the other maid, I felt that she might have been impressed by my stoicism. Little did she know what that smile cost me, nor how my body shook under the concealment of my clothes. As soon as the door closed behind her, I limped to my desk and leant over it, my weight resting partly on my hands, tears but a part of an inch away from emerging. There was a knock on the door, and I straightened up and was smiling as the other maid brought in my luncheon. Fried mutton chops and the inevitable potatoes with a helping of anaemic cabbage along side the meat.

I thanked the maid and, for a second, I thought she was going to say something. But, instead she turned and left the schoolroom without a word. It was then that I saw the folded paper on the tray, half concealed under the plate.

My legs turned to jelly, my stomach to water as fear surged through my whole being. But I had done nothing wrong, I told myself as I reached out with a shaking hand to pick up the paper. Turning it over, I discovered it was sealed which seemed strange until I realised that an unsealed note would doubtless have been read by the maid. Carefully I lifted the seal with a paperknife and read the words written with a neat, spidery hand that most definitely was not Miss Harding’s barely legible scrawl.

Miss Poyser. I wish you to know that it gave me no pleasure in sanctioning your punishment last night. But you must know that, if you fail to behave properly, I will sanction its repeat or worse so as to maintain good order in this household. That is my primary task.

The matter is now in the past and I trust that you may make a fresh start at Fairacres. For I do not bear grudges and merely wish to see this household running smoothly and well.

On another subject, I would like to discuss a matter with you. I shall come to the schoolroom after classes this afternoon. I hope that this will be convenient for you.

With respect I remain Josuah H. Harding (Agent.)

I read the missive several times, astonished at its almost placatory tone. “I hope this will be convenient to you” was barely the sort of language that the man had used the previous night. Perhaps he had decided that I had been overly chastised by his sister. After all my fault was trivial. Yet he also threatened further dire punishments if I did not “behave properly”.

In the end I ceased trying to find a solution to this puzzle and just wrote a brief note in reply, saying that I would remain in the schoolroom until such time as he might wish to come to see me. Lacking sealing wax or a seal, I merely folded up the note and, when she came to collet my tray, instructed the maid to hand it to Mr Harding with utmost expediency.

The afternoon dragged by with slowness that was trying for me and doubtless crushing for my pupils. They behaved well enough, did their work with little sparkle or enthusiasm, but without giving me any reason to chastened them for slackness. Latin followed Bible Study which, in turn had succeeded Mathematics. By late afternoon candles stood in holders on the girls’ desks and on mine, the far corners of the room sunk into wintery gloom. I grew cold and I had to rub my hands together before I wrote on the blackboard. The previously mild weather has clearly been replaced by chillier days. I looked at the empty grate at the back of the room, and determined to ask Mr Harding if we might now have a fire in the schoolroom.

At long last the nursery maid entered to collect her charges, the girls bobbing their curtseys to me before leaving the room. As the door closed behind them, I realised that I knew nothing about the sisters, apart from having some idea of their scholastics shortcomings. I knew nothing of their likes and dislikes, of their previous lives, of what they did when not in the schoolroom. They remained enigmas.

I had just finished tidying their books away when I heard heavy footsteps in the uncarpetted corridor outside the door. Moments later Mr Harding entered the room. I would like to say he strode in, but he was too neat in all his movements to stride. Instead he walked with the same precision as he did all else.

I curtseyed low and, on rising, indicated my own chair on the dais, asking him if he would like to be seated. He nodded and sat down while I remained standing, hands clasped behind my back, almost like a schoolgirl before her teacher.

“You are recovered from last night?” He asked, looking up with piercing eyes so that I was forced to lower my gaze and look at the wooden floor at my feet.

“Thank you, sir. As much as can be expected.”

“Good. The matter is closed, unless you force me to reopen it. Now I have one or two things to discuss. Firstly, are there any things you require for your work? Books, pens, ink, the like?”

“We are well supplied for now, sir.” I replied before taking my courage in my hands and broaching what I knew would be a trickier subject. “However, sir, it has turned cold and I wondered if we might have the fire lit during schoolroom hours.”

With my eyes lowered I could not see Mr Harding’s expression, but I somehow felt his eyes boring into me again.

“A fire? At this time of year? My dear Miss Poyser, you have clearly been employed in a most eccentric household if they had fires in the schoolroom at this time of year. In winter, yes, they may necessary. But not now.”

I heard him get up from his chair and, when I looked up, he had moved to stand near the girls’ desk, his gaze on the empty grate. Then he turned to face me.

“Your pupils have warm clothes, Miss Poyser. Tell the nursery maid to dress them in them.” He paused and frowned. “No, I will get Miss Harding to instruct her to dress the girls more warmly. We do not want them catching chills. And, if you are cold too, I suggest that there are mittens amongst the clothes given you as uniform and warm capes too. You will wear them.”

“If you say so, sir,” I murmured, again knowing I was defeated and that no fire would burn in the schoolroom until he deemed it to be winter once more.

“I say so,” the man replied in minatory tones. Then, his voice lightening, he continued, “I have another thing to discuss with you. Your predecessor, Miss Hassacks, used to take the girls out two or three times a week, letting them walk in the ground for an hour or two on such afternoons. I am charged with ensuring that the girls remain in good heath. So, Miss Poyser, you will exercise them too. I suggest each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, commencing tomorrow. One hour and one half each time, shall we say?”

My heart leapt; at last an excuse to leave this oppressive schoolroom and to breath God’s good air.

“Of course, Mr Harding. I would be only to happy to take the girls out for exercise.” I tried to keep the excitement out of my voice and, for the first time since arriving at Fairacres, I actually felt like smiling. Of course, I did not. No well trained governess would dream of betraying her emotions in front of a superior. Nor, for that matter, in front of an inferior.

“Excellent, I will make sure the nursery maid knows of this plan.” Mr Harding, far superior to me, could afford to smile. And this he did; briefly and with his mouth drawn in a tight, barely curving, line.

Too soon he turned to leave. I dropped into another curtsey and heard him go from the room before I had risen to my feet. I sighed and then grimaced for curtseying when one’s backside has been recently flayed is no laughing matter. But at least now, with Mr Harding and the nursery maid gone, I could limp and nurse my pain to myself, feeling how my under clothing had adhered to the newly formed scabs along the deeply etched lines where the rod had torn into my flesh twenty four hours earlier. It would be a long time before I forgot Miss Harding’s handiwork, of that I was sure.

I returned to my bed chamber to find my evening meal already standing on my table. That the soup was near cold and the bread hardening did not matter to me. I ate it without tasting it, knowing that my plates must be returned clean of sign of food. This I did happily, as I was still hungry. But then hunger is something known well to many governesses. At least I was well enough fed at Fairacres, and for that I was deeply grateful. But I was not grateful when I tried to remove my under garments. But in the end I soaked them free of my wounds, a further small piles of soiled clothing being left outside my door as evidence of my sin and of the retribution brought down upon me for my failings.

That night I slept on my side, waking with a muffled scream when I rolled on to my back and posterior. But at least I slept better than the previous night, the hideous wounds across my nether cheeks now healing and no longer oozing to stain my clothing. But, when the maid arrived with my water and breakfast, I was already on my feet, a blanket round my shoulders against the bitter cold of the high attic room. Drawing back the curtain I saw the light of my candle reflected on the ice formed on the glass. I stepped back, shivering, before moving to the wash-stand to perform my morning ablutions. Then, teeth chattering, my hands turning blue, I dressed as rapidly as possible. Minutes later, even though I was fully dressed, I could still feel the chill invading my clothes. I moved to the wardrobe and took one of the capes that cape with my uniform clothes from its hook. I threw it round my shoulders and then set to eat my rapidly congealing breakfast. This time, wincing, I sat down to eat for the first time for a day and a half.

Cold was an old enemy. At school, during what seemed like endless winters, we had to break the ice that would have formed overnight in our washing bowls. Chillblains came and stayed through till Spring, food arrived from the kitchen cold and we shivered ourselves to sleep under thin blankets each night. Even in a well-run household like my first employer’s, servants rooms were never heated and, as a junior governess, I was deemed on a par with a senior scullery maid and was allowed no fire in my tiny chamber. Here at Fairacres I had been promised coals for fires but it was plain that Mr Harding was a gentleman who deemed it to be winter only when the ground was frozen hard and snow lay waist deep upon it. Obviously I would have to relearn all the old means of keeping warm I had employed as a schoolgirl.

My meal finished down to the last crumb of bread, my chamber tidied, I glanced at myself in the cracked mirror on my dressing table. I saw a wide-eyed young woman, face pinched with cold, looking back at me, half of her face deep in shadow, the other illuminated by the candle’s flickering flame. I paused a moment, gazing at my reflection and wondering if any man would think me attractive. And I wished I knew what men found attractive in women. All I saw was a serious face framed in severely combed dark gold hair, the straight locks parted in the middle to be pulled hard back into a compacted bun at the base of the young woman’s skull. And the rest? The mouth – too wide. The nose – too short, insolently turned up slightly at its end to rudely accentuate wide nostrils. The eyes – too wide-set, too enquiring. Their lids – too heavy. The eyebrows – too straight and the left one marred by a childhood scar that bisected it half way along its length. The chin – maybe be pleasant enough, as were the well defined cheek bones. But the whole? No charming dimples, so rosy cheeks, no sweetly bowed lips, and melting eyes. No golden ringlets. Nothing that could judged as being beautiful by the conventional standards of feminine beauty in the year of Our Lord 1883.

I shivered and turned away, knowing that lonely years stretched ahead of me as I gradually aged, alone, another spinster governess moving from post to post until she was too old to find employment. And then?

I suppressed a moan and, grabbing the mittens from off the table, hurried from my chamber before the awful spectre of my future could catch up with me.

WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Six

The schoolroom seemed even colder than my chamber as I arrived, my upraised candle illuminating its darkness with a flickering light. I looked up at the clock’s slow hands and saw that I still had twenty minutes to wait before my pupils were due. I walked to my desk and, having placed the candle in the holder there, I pulled on the thick knitted mittens I had taken from my room. They were welcome even if their cut-off fingers did leave the last knuckle of each digit exposed so that I had to blow on them to get some warmth into the stiff joints.

My breath came in white billows of cold-induced steam. I could barely believe it was only October and yet this freezing. So I moved across the room to peer out of the window, but like my own, its panes were white with ice and I could see nothing but impenetrable blackness beyond. Shivering, I pulled my cape round my body, welcoming the garment’s heavy mass as, with shaking hands, I began buttoning the floor-length cape up around myself in an effort to retain whatever bodily heat I had left.

I closed its warmly lined material about me down almost to waist-level. Then, I dropped its fabric and sought to draw it round me so that I might push my hands out through its arm slits and then , with only hands exposed to the freezing air, fasten the remaining buttons. For a moment or two I felt blindly for the slits. When chilled hands could not find them, I turned towards the candle and looked down, seeking them in the cape’s walls. A moment or two’s searching told me the strange fact that the garment had no arm slits. It seemed that, once buttoned down to its hem, the wearer would have her hands and arms trapped under its folds, only being able to use them by lifting up its hem and thus freeing a hand. Obviously the seamstress who made the cape had been guilty of an oversight in not inserting arm-slits into the garment. But that, I thought, is something I can legitimately ask Miss Harding to have rectified. Alternatively, I could return this cape to my wardrobe, and just wear its twin in future. As that garment undoubtedly would have hands openings in place.

Glancing at the clock I saw that I still had ample time to go to my chamber and to change into the other cape. So, retrieving the candle from its holder, I made my way back to my room. There I was in for another surprise. For the other cape, the twin of the one I wore, was also devoid of arm slits. Puzzled, I returned to the schoolroom.

The conundrum of the lack of arm-slits soon left my mind as I prepared for the day that lay ahead. Books had to be put out, mathematical problems selected, fresh chalk retrieved from the supply cupboard and the candles at my charges desk lit. Eventually, when returning to the dais, my eye fell on the book table, and I saw the heavy rod lying in front of the tawse. I picked it up, flexing it between my mittened hands, and wondered if I would ever be called upon to use it. I hoped not, as the memory of my own punishment was still etched in pain on my mind, and I most sincerely had no wish to inflict even one fraction of that misery upon either of my charges. Yet I was beginning to worry about them. There was something strange about the way they seemed so listless and almost lacking in intellect. When I tested them they always seemed to do just well enough to avoid even verbal chastening. But I had the impression that they could so easily have done so much better.

‘Perhaps,’ I thought to myself, ‘it is time to encourage them to try harder, and to reveal how intelligent – or otherwise – they really are.’

The idea was only half formed in my mind when the door opened and the nursery maid ushered in the sisters. I watched them go to their desks and then, in perfect unison, drop into deep curtseys before rising to the feet after a silent count of five, and sitting meekly down in their places. I also noted that they, like me, were now more warmly dressed than the previous day, hip-length capes hiding their arms as my own, longer version, did for me. Of course their outer coverings were pf the same dull brown colour as the rest of their clothing, whereas mine attire was all of clerical grey, clearly a sober enough colour for a humble governess to wear. But, a few minutes later when they had to open their desks to retrieve their slates, I noted that the sisters also wore short-fingered woollen mittens, almost as though our uniforms had been designed by the same hand.

But their attire was of no interest to me. Instead my mind was again focussed on the puzzle of their behaviour. They seemed such dull pupils, yet I was sure they were not. But I was in no rush for any confrontation, and I took my time in making them prepare a passage of Latin for verbal translation later in the day. Then after a cold slow ninety minutes, I ordered them to put away their Latin primers and to get their slates out for a mathematics test. The previous days they had revised their scales of weights and measures, and it was on that I was going to test them.

“You will leave your desks when I ordered you to,” I said brusquely to the girls. “Charlotte, you will stand in the right hand corner behind your desk: Caroline in the left hand corner, both facing the wall. There you will remain until I have written the questions on the blackboard. When I have finished, I tell you to return to your desks. You will do so WITHOUT looking up at the blackboard. You understand?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” the sisters replied together softly.

Making pupils stand facing away from the blackboard while test questions were written there was a common enough ruse, employed by most governesses so as to introduce an element of tension, even fear, into their charges. This time, I wished the sisters to be nervous about the coming test, and so I employed this method upon them, just as it had been used upon me when I was their age.

“Move to your corners…….. Now !”

The girls rose as one, stepped away from their desks, took one pace to their right, dropped into the usual curtseys, and after a count of five, turned and hurried to the back corners of the schoolroom. As soon as they were both facing the wall, I rose from my own desk and started to write on the black board the questions I had prepared earlier..

For ten minutes the silence and stillness in the room was broken only by the harsh squeak of chalk on the blackboard and my movements as I wrote out the test. Occasionally I would glance back over my shoulder to check on the sisters. But each time they stood motionless and silent facing the wall. No fidgeting, no coughs, no shuffling came from their corners. Clearly they had been well trained by Miss Hassack and her predecessors.

At least I was ready and I instructed them to return to their desks. I was pleased to see that both focussed their gaze on the floor and did not look up even after they had curtseyed and sat down at their desks.

“Very well,” I said as soon as they were settled. “You have one half hour to complete the questions I have written here. You may use the right side of your slates for working out your calculations – adding and subtracting and multiplying and dividing. Use both side of your slates if need be and do NOT erase your workings-out.”

I paused for a moment or two, letting my words sink in.

“You may commence NOW!” I glanced across the dimly lit room at the clock, noting the time was 9.52 am. At 10.22 their writing time would be up.

The girls looked at the board, Caroline’s mouth moving slightly as she silently read the first question to herself. It was a simple starter, one that any well educated young woman should be able to answer.

Question One.

If a recipe states that it requires two pounds of sifted flour to make a cake for 15 persons, how many tablespoons of flour will be required to make a cake for 3 people ?

The answer, as I am sure that all lady readers will have already worked out instantly in their heads, is nineteen full tablespoons and one fifth of a spoonful. However the younger sisters, Caroline, being young and inexperienced, was forced to work our her sums on her slate. The elder girl however read the question on the board and then wrote down her answers with only a moment or two’s hesitation. This I watched through veiled lids, thinking that Miss Charlotte was more intelligent that she would like to make out. To work out the answer to that question in one’s head required better brains and steadier intellect than she had so far revealed to me.

After twenty minutes or so, Caroline was still struggling with her sums. But her sister, from what I could see of her slate, had completed all the test. But, clever enough not to let me easily see that fact, was writing down some figures at the side of her slate.

“Time!” I called out as the clocks hand reached twenty two minutes past the hour. “Hands behind your backs and clasp elbows.”

The girls immediately did as they were told, their capes briefly billowing as they adopted the pose that would not allow them to alter the answers on their slates, right mittened hand gripping left elbow and vice versa.

I rose from my desk and made my way to where they sat. Both girls, their eyes demurely lowered, sat stock still as I picked up their slates and return to the dais, there to correct their answers.

It was the younger girl’s work that I looked at first. Much working out adorned her slate and it was clear that she had struggled to finish the test in time. But she had done reasonably enough. She had three questions that were wrong, although she had revealed that was mainly owing to mathematical errors rather than not knowing her tables and scales. In addition she had not quite completed the final question, although her workings showed she was on the right track and would have probably reached the correct solution had she been given a few minutes longer to complete the test.

I marked her as having achieved 6 out of 10. Not a brilliant result but satisfactory enough. Very much what I would have expected from a girl of her age and education.

Then I turned to Miss Charlotte’s slate. Here was a totally different set of answers. Not so much in their results but in the way the girl had approached them. Neatly arrayed down the left hand site of the slate were the answers, seven correct, three wrong. In other circumstances I might have considered that to be passable; not good but sufficiently accurate enough to avoid bringing her to task for carelessness or lack of knowledge. However the minimal workings at the sides of the slate appeared to bear no relation to the answers. They seemed random figures that looked to have been written there for effect rather than to aid the girl with her sums. I was only too plain that the girl had added them so as to convince me how hard she had worked to achieve her answers, something that my carefully observation had shown to be a sham.

I sighed and knew what I would have to do with Miss Charlotte. I picked up the slates and walked to the girls’ desk. I stopped first at Caroline’s.

“You must be more careful in future, Caroline. And please do NOT confuse perches and furlongs in future. But you have done well enough. I am pleased with your efforts, if not totally satisfied with your overall accuracy. Just try a little harder from now on.”

I placed the slate back on the girl’s desk and I could sense rather than hear her sigh of relief. For I had written ‘Pass’ at the bottom of her slate.

I moved a few paces across to her sister’s desk and placed her slate on the desk top. I watched as I saw her eyes widen as she saw the dread word ‘FAIL’ written at the base of her efforts.

“I think that you and I have some problems to clear up, my girl,” I said as coldly as I could. “I think you are under-estimating me, Miss. I think you are producing work that you think will meet my requirements but no more. I think you are being DEVIOUS. Now, stand up.”

The girl, red spots showing on her pale cheeks, did as she was told, struggling from her seat with her hands still clasped behind her.

“How old are you, Miss?” I asked rhetorically.

“Seventeen, Ma’am,” came her whispered reply.

“I thought you were sixteen.”

“It was my birthday yesterday,” came the soft reply that made me stop in my tracks. But only for a moment. I knew what had to be done, and the fact that I was unaware of the girl’s birthday would not prevent me from doing my duty.

“Well, girl,” I said after a moment’s pause, “your birthday present from me is one I trust you remember. And I hope you always remember why you received it. Take off your mittens.”

Without a look to see if my order was being obeyed – I knew it would be – I walked to the back of the room and, from the cupboard, selected a suitable instrument with which to administer my pupil’s birthday present. With it in my hand, I walked back to face Charlotte, seeing how her eyes widen when she saw what I carried.

“You are no longer a child, my girl. At seventeen you are a young woman. And as such you will be punished like one. You are fortunate that I cannot prove you have been trying to make me think you are less intelligent than you are. Had I cast-iron prove, you would have suffered much more than will now be the case. But, even so, you are going to learn a VERY salutory lesson., and a very painful one.”

I turned and faced the other desk where sat an ashen faced Caroline. I pointed to the corner of the room behind her.

“Go and stand where you were before,” I snapped. “Face the wall again. You may listen to your sister’s punishment so that you too can learn not to under-estimate me, nor to believe that I can be easily fooled.”

The girl, clumsy with her arms behind her, scurried into the corner as I turned to face her sister. I saw that her mittens lay neatly side by side on her desk and that she too had returned her arms to their appointed posture.

“You know what is about to happen?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” came her almost inaudible reply.

“Miss Hassack whipped your hands before?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Very well. You write with your right hand? So we will start with that one. Hand out NOW!”

The girl’s heavy cape flapped about her slender frame as she brought her hands out from under its shelter. Grasping her right wrist with her left hand, she held out her open hand, palm uppermost, at just above waist-level. I barely glanced at it as I flexed the cane between my hands. Not as thick or heavy as the one that lay on the book table, it was the same diameter as my fourth finger and was a good two foot long. I moved to the side, standing level with the girl’s right shoulder, cane now in my right hand.

Carefully measuring the distance by bringing the rod slowly down until it was over the girl’s open palm, I felt calm. I was only doing my duty and Charlotte was to be punished because she was devious and chose to hide her natural ability from me. She would have to pay for that crime, for such was the natural order of things.

“You will not move you hand until ordered to,” I warned her. “And, if you flinch from a blow, it will merely be repeated…… twice over.”

I raised the rod, my hand at shoulder level, wrist cocked so the end of the rod pointed to the ceiling. Then, using skill acquired over my years as a pupil teacher and then a governess, employing both arm and wrist to increase the rod’s speed, I brought the instrument of correction slicing down through the air to crack home across the girl’s open palm.

I hear her breath being sucked in, followed by a moan that she cut off as she bit her lips against the pain. As I slowly raised the rod again, I could see the mark of impact running across her palm, just below the pads at the base of her fingers. The hand shook but she held it steady and we both prepared for the next stroke.

Again I brought the rod flashing down, this time with more speed and an extra downwards motion of the wrist just before impact. This time the young woman gave a gasp followed by a low moan as the pain surged through her body. Glancing at her face, I saw her eyes tight shut but tears beginning to squeeze out from under their lids. As I looked at her now visibly trembling hand, the new mark seemed deeper etched into the flesh, just below the first one that now was showing signs of the deep bruising that would build up over the next few minutes. But the blows already delivered were of little interest to me. The girl had to be chastened, and that I would do to the best of my ability.

The next stroke drove a cry from the young woman’s lips as it strike home just below the previous two. Now her whole body seemed to shake, as sobs wracked her and fresh tears fell from under swelling lids. I lowered the cane and, maybe for a moment, Charlotte must have thought her punishment was over.

“I do not want you using this correction as an excuse for poor handwriting. So the rest of it will be delivered on your left hand. Change hands, girl. NOW!”

For a moment I thought she was going to beg for mercy or forgiveness. But, as a creature of her time, just as I had been a child of mine, we both knew that such pleas would have fallen on deaf ears. Indeed they would have only served to increase the duration and intensify of her punishment. So, though she sobbed quietly to herself as she ‘changed hands’ to grip left wrist with right hand, a hand on fire from the strokes already delivered, she said nothing as I walked round to stand to her left, ready to recommence her punishment.

Having assured myself that my aim was accurate and my skill unimpaired by not having been forced to correct a pupil for some time, I lifted the rod so as to start the real meat of the young woman’s punishment. So far I had not employed all my skill and strength, as I did not wish Charlotte’s writing hand to be hurt more than superficially. But now I must do my duty properly, so as to ensure that the young lady was never tempted to be devious or untrustworthy again. I raised the cane higher than before, rose slightly on my toes and brought it screaming down to impact across the open palm. This time she did indeed howl, as the pain of the blow swept up her arm and through her whole being in a single instant of time.

Those ladies who read this sad tale, and who have been the recipients of such a method of correction, will doubtless be wincing at the memory of their own pain when they too were hand whipped. But no such thoughts passed through my mind as I raised the rod again, shutting out the sound of the young woman’s moans that now seemed continuous. I was not paid to be merciful or sympathetic; my task was to teach the girl to be better behaved in future, to be more open and docile. I might have suffered in just such a matter when I was her age, but now I had to play the governess and follow the traditions and practice of my day and age.

I balanced momentarily on the balls of my feet, rod raised high, and then brought it down for the second time across the palm of Charlotte’s shaking hand. This time, as the blow struck home, the young woman had every right to scream. For the stroke had landed just where I had aimed it – on top of the previous one.

I stood back to allow Charlotte a moment or two to recover, for she had curled up, bent at the waist, her hands sunk into the material of her garments, as though seeking shelter there.

“Stand straight, girl,” I said after I thought she had enough time to compose herself slightly. “Hand out properly, and NO moving after the next blow. Or you will receive bonus strokes for failing to hold your position. We still have a long way to go before you have learnt your lesson, and I think neither of us would wish the requisite number of strokes to be increased further.

Sobbing, the girl straightened up and stretched her left hand out in front of her, her other gripping her wrist. She moaned as tears slid down her cheeks. But she said nothing. Like myself and thousands of similarly brought-up young women, she knew she had no alternative other than to receive her punishment, regardless of what it might cost her. I smiled at her stoicism and adjusted my own stance so as to ensure the next, and the next and the next blows fell exactly where I wished them to land.

***********************************

A Footnote Ladies of good breeding and education from across the Atlantic will doubtless think that I gave the wrong answer to the first question of the test which I set for my charges. Might I most humbly point out to them that certain measurements differ in their United States of America to those traditional Imperial measures used in this fair land ruled by our Sovereign, Queen Victoria. I believe that the measures for such things as a tablespoon or even a gallon of liquid is, in America, but four-fifths of the same nominal amounts used in Her Majesty’s British Empire.

WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Seven

As always, the schoolroom correction took longer than expected, and the routine was disturbed. But the young woman who had tried to fool me learnt a very salutary lesson that icy morning. She may have only received three strokes across her right hand, but her left would be useless to her for a day or two and painful for perhaps a whole week. For she received six strokes with that whippy rod, the final blow planted diagonally across its predecessors. The shriek that this most agonising of cuts drove from between her clenched teeth even made me shudder.

It was little surprise that she was still sobbing quietly to herself an hour later when the nursery maid came to collect poor Charlotte and her younger sister. After knocking and entering the room, I gestured for the maid to come over to the dais.

“I have been forced to correct Miss Charlotte,” I informed her. “Just across the hands but painful enough, I warrant. I trust you will give her assistance in dressing, even in eating, if she needs it.”

“If she needs, it, Ma’am,” the maid muttered in reply.

“Oh yes, and what time will the girls be ready to go outside for their exercise?”

“They will be at the East Wing door at half past one sharp, Ma’am.” The maid paused for a moment and then continued. “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, Ma’am. But if I were you, I’d be down there a little before that time. It would be in your interest, Ma’am.”

“In my interest?” I asked. But I was too late. The maid had turned away and was signalling the girls to leave their desks. This they did with their usual low curtseys before following the maid from the room. Both walked out with shoulders slumped as though defeated, and I noted how tears of sympathy for her sister still stained the younger girl’s flushed cheeks.

Still puzzled over the nursery maid’s cryptic remark, I had found no answer to its dilemma by the time the older maid came in with my luncheon. As usual I ate it at my desk, remembering to finished every last crump so that Miss Harding might have no cause to seek to correct me again. My meal over, I glanced at the clock, seeing that I had plenty of time before I needed to prepare for our adventure outside the house. For it seemed like an adventure to me. For I had seen so little of Fairacres since my arrival and to be able to view more of the house and its widespread grounds would indeed be a treat for me. So it was that, feeling more happy than at any time since my arrival, I set to preparing further lessons for my charges.

At ten past the hour of one o’clock, I tidied my desk and returned to my room. Unbuttoning my cape and hanging it up, I glanced across at the window. Ice still remained on its glass. This I scraped away so I could see that the ground below was still white with overnight frost. Clearly daytime had failed to increase the temperature out of doors, the sun absenting itself behind a heavy veil of cloud. It would be cold out there, I thought as I walked to my wardrobe to ready myself for the afternoon’s expedition in the grounds.

I first found a pair of heavy knit gloves and placed them on the wash stand, ready to put on, before I took the ‘uniform’ bonnet from its shelf. Like all my clothes it was made of drab grey material and, as I inspected it, I was surprised at its weight. Doubtless its frame work was of wood which would account for its weight. Such a mode of bonnet making was cheaper than the more usual stretching of fabric over a woven reed or even plaited straw framework where wood was only used sparingly to keep the bonnet’s weight down to a minimum. But, looking at the close fitting example of some amateur milliner’s art, I realised I could barely expect a three guineas hat to be part of my uniform.

Placing the bonnet next to my gloves, I dragged the cloak I had been given from its place behind the door. It had been hung there by the maid when we had together brought my uniform clothes to my room during my first day at Fairacres. So I was not prepared for the garment’s weight. I staggered back a pace or so and knew that wearing this cloak was going to be a tiring business. For a moment I was tempted to leave it in my room and to go outdoor wearing one of my capes. But some warning voice told me this would not be advisable and so, with some reluctance, I threw the massive folds of the garment round my shoulders, staggering again as they settled in place, the cloak’s vast envelope draping itself about me.

A few minutes later I was making my way down to the door that stood on the ground floor of the East Wing in which the schoolroom and my own chamber were situated. I had fastened the cloak at its collar, the bonnet now upon my head, and my gloves tucked into the dresses pocket. Although the weight of the cloak was far from pleasant and its massive folds swirled and surged about me as I carefully walked downstairs, I was still reasonably happy about going out doors. It was true that the bonnet’s projecting sides blinkered me severely and that its wooden frame weighed heavily upon my head. But I pushed these inconveniences aside as I stepped from the final stair and turned towards the door that would lead into the gardens. As I did so, a black shape loomed up in front of me and my heart, recently so light, grew instantly heavy. For the tall figure of Miss Harding stood by the doorway.

“Good afternoon, Miss Poyser,” she said in spectral tones. “You are taking your charges for a walk, I am informed.”

Terror of the woman made me curtsey to her, an act of submission that no governess should perform towards a mere housekeeper. But I had not seen her since she had flogged me so brutally, and I was still terrified of the unbridled power she so obviously enjoyed within the walls of Fairacres.

“Yes, Ma’am,” I whispered as I rose to my feet, again cursing myself for using the honorific title of “Ma’am” when addressing her. “Your bro…. I mean, Mr Harding gave his permission for them to get exercise outdoors on a regular basis.”

“That I fully realise,” the woman replied slowly as she stepped towards me, a thin hand snaking out to tweak on side of my cloak. “You realise you are incorrectly dressed, don’t you?”

Terror knotted my stomach. ‘Oh Merciful Lord, let me not fall foul of this woman again,’ I pray silently to myself as her other hand reached out to adjust the dense fall of my cloak. Then, to my surprise she stepped back to observe me from a yard or more distance.

“Normally, Miss Poyser,” she said after a long moment of silence, “the nursery maid takes the girls out for their walks. But I gather that you wish to accompany them. That is correct?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Very well, as my brother has no objections, you may walk with the girls, but……. There are certain conditions which must be enforced when you leave the house. You are young, perhaps frivolous, and yet to prove yourself trustworthy. So, as men sometimes work in the gardens, we will have to take certain precautions to ensure that you behave in a manner than is compatible with the high standards demanded in this household.”

“Precautions, Ma’am?”

“Yes, Miss Poyser; precautions. Now kindly put these on.” From a bag that she carried she produced a pair of leather mittens. Not of the type I had been wearing earlier, but ones where the fingers were sewn into a single pocket, only the thumb being separate.

For a moment I was about to protest that I had my own, perfectly adequate, uniform gloves. But one look at Miss Harding’s thinly drawn lips was enough to persuade to hold my peace. I took one of the mitts from her and forced it onto my hand. Its leather was hard against my flesh and, as I pulled it on, I discovered that it was almost inflexible, making it impossible to curl my hand. Once inside the covering, my fingers were rendered useless, even the thumb being granted no movement, thanks to the solidity and density of the leather than enclosed it.

Clearly Miss Harding was aware of the mittens qualities, for she held out the second one, indicating that I was to insert my right hand into its interior. This I did with something of a struggle until it was fully imprisoned in the leather. The woman before me however did not release my newly enveloped hand. Instead she tightened the strapping that passed about the glove at wrist level. Drawing it in and buckling it in place so there was no chance of my ever removing it on my own, she swiftly ensured that I was genuinely helpless. The right gloved locked in place, she repeated her work, this time with my left glove. But she had not completed her work. Indeed she had barely begun.

Next she produced a wide belt and, pushing aside my cloak’s heavy folds, she buckled it about my waist. Then she took my left hand and somehow strapped it to the belt at the right side of my body. Then she did the same with my right hand, again strapping its wrist down to the belt so that my arms were crossed before me and pinned hard down against the bodice of my dress. It was uncomfortable but that did not concern me; what worried me was why Miss Harding was immobilising me like this.

“Ma’am, restrained like this I won’t be able to really do anything if…………..”

“Restrained like that you will have to behave!” The woman snapped out the words as she proceeded to buttoned the massive walls of my cloak about me, until I was enveloped within its mass from chin to floor.

Having checked that the garment was totally sealed shut, she retrieved yet another item from her bag. This time it was a three inch deep strip of some canvas-like material. To my surprise she passed this round my head and then drew it tight across my mouth. As I parted my lips to protest, she tied the two ends of the tough material together, the broad knot slipping past my teeth and into my mouth. Gagging on the foul-tasting material, I tried to redouble my protests but the sounds that did emerged past the knot was garbled and indistinct.

Ignoring my distress, the woman produced another strip of the same material and this again she passed round my head below my bonnet at the back. Again she knotted it at the front so that the new strip forced the original knot deeper into my mouth, dampening the sounds I made even further.

The hard faced woman, a slight smile playing on her thin lips, looked at me with something approaching satisfaction.

“There are house rules here, my girl, that have to do with unmarried young women,” she said, her face only inches from mine. “We expect such young women to be chaste and modest at all times and most definitely to behave themselves when away from their quarters. Your charges recognise that, and they accept that they must be silenced and masked out of doors. As yet we have not yet received the walking mask and proper gag which are being made for you, but I think the present arrangement will do until we get them. After all, we could not expect the girls to so docilely accept their own restraints if they saw that their unmarried and rather pretty governess is allowed out of doors any less severely restrained than they are.”

She reached forward and tightened the outer canvas strap, forcing the inner knot yet deeper into my mouth and making me again gag on its hard mass.

“Maids and their ilk,” she went on, “are of course of too low a class to be effected by these rules. So the nursery maid will be in charge of your walk. You WILL obey her whenever you go outdoors for exercise. If you do not, you will doubtless find yourself making renewed acquaintance with the laundry room and the ironing table. If you really do wish me to be forced to correct you again, just be less than instantly and utterly obedient to the nursery maid when you are out of doors.”

I saw her look up and listen for a second. Then she began to raise my hood, resting it on my head so that I could feel its weight pressing down.

“Your walking companions have arrived.” She announced.

Through tear streaked eyes I watched as the nursery maid led two heavily cloaked figures past me. They seemed to glide slowly past, each with their deeply hooded heads bowed low so they could only see the floor at the hems of their outer garments. There was no doubting that the anonymous figures were those of the sisters, the leader being the inch or two taller than the second, just as Charlotte was a trifle taller than Caroline. The silence of the hallway was broken by the sound of shuffling feet and the swish of the hems of their massive cloaks as their dragged across the flag stones of the floor.

“They are a trifle more comprehensively secured than you, Miss Poyser. Each wears a strait-cape reaching from chin to knee and, of course, they are hobbled as well. I doubt if the dear girls are not going to run away from here when kept thus restrained.” The steely smile was back as the woman came as near to being amused as I was ever to see her. But it soon flickered and died. When she spoke next, the cold impassivity of tone had returned.

“Johnson, let Miss Poyser see one of the girls’ masks. Miss Charlotte’s, I think.”

The maid, who had halted her little train just in front of where I stood, stepped forward to stand in front of the taller figure. She reached in under the gable of the massive hood, unseen fingers seeking out the ties that held the hood in place. Using experience and feel rather than sight, she undid the strings and pushed back the great hood.

“Effective, I think,” Miss Hading said as I stared in shocked surprise at my charge. Not that I could have told who she was. For the whole of her head and face was locked away inside the stiff carapace of a helmet-like leather mask. Laced down the back and, as I was to learn later, padlocked shut behind the wearer, the dense walls of the rigid mask utterly eradicated all the girl’s features. Even her nose was only discernible by a slight rise in the front, with two small brass bound holes situated under what must be the hapless Arabella’s nostrils. Even her eyes were hidden behind narrow slits which, again I was to learn in due course, were in turn covered internally by two layer of black-dyed muslin.

“We have seen enough, I think, Hood the girl, please, Johnson.” Miss Harding turned to me as the nursery maid began to re-hood Arabella, hiding away from sight the hideous mask that rendered her totally anonymous. “That excellent mask also has an internal silencing device; one which ensure the girl’s complete silence. Oh yes, as yours will in due course. So I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you about it. You’ll find out all about that gag soon enough.”

She reached out and dragged my hood forward and then down so that I was forced to lower my head to see out of its tunnel which now pointed to the flagstones at my feet. I could feel the woman’s hard figures reaching inside the hood’s vast cavern until she found the tie strings which she knotted brutally tightly under my chin. Now the hood could not be shifted away from its position even by a gale.

Hands withdrawn, she adjusted the material, further blinkering me and cutting down my fields of vision until all I could see was the floor in front of me. Just at the edge of my limited of sight, I caught a glimpse the lower few inches of a dark cloak. I realised that it must be the younger sister’s, for she had been standing behind Charlotte.

“Pay attention, Miss Poyser,” My attention was drawn by the extremely muffled sound of Miss Harding’s icy voice. Although she could have only been standing a foot or so from me, I could barely hear her words, thanks to the density of the hood’s fabrics. “I am sure you can see Caroline standing in front of you. Well, for the time you are outdoors, you will follow her. Stay close or you’ll lose her and then the nursery maid will be forced to report you to me. And I don’t think you’ll enjoy the consequences if she does. Oh, there is one last thing.”

There was a pause and then, appearing in my incredible limited field of vision, was the sight of the nursery maid, ready attired in an outdoor coat. She had something in her hands but I could not see it as she dropped to her knees facing me. The weighted hem of my cloak and my skirts were lifted and then I felt something passing round the ankle of my left hand bootee. The same pressure was exerted and remained round the right one before the woman rose and disappeared from my sight.

“You are now hobbled like your charges, Miss Poyser. But I have been kind because you may not be used to such restraints, whereas they are. So I have allowed you a whole twelve inches of leeway. Enjoy it, because it will soon become less generous. One final thing. You told my brother than you felt ninety minutes was an ideal length of time for exercise. I must applaud you, because I know that your predecessors found forty five minutes a great strain, and an hour of walking under restraints to be more than she could bear. Indeed that was one of the main reasons why she left here without pay and without references. But I am sure you are of far more resolute character than she was. Now that is enough chatter. Enjoy your walk, Miss Poyser. It is just the first of many, I am certain.”

I howled soundlessly into my makeshift gag. But then I heard the nursery maid say something and watched as the hem of Caroline’s cloak move forward, sliding across the floor away from me. I stepped forward to follow, and nearly fell as the tether tied between my ankles brought me up short. I staggered for a moment or two, then regained my balance and hurried after the now disappeared cloak hem. Fortunately my desperate shuffling and the fact I facing the correct direction to start with meant that I managed to catch up with my marker. I was at the back of the three female queue, now as anonymous as my charges and about to start what I already knew was to be a purgatorial exercise session.

Tears nearly blinded me as I shuffled through the now open doorway that led outside as we set off on what was to be a terrible and unforgettable experience for me.

WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Eight

Stepping outside the house for the first time since arriving at Fairacres, I felt none of the joy I had expected to accompany such an occasion. In fact the reverse was true. Unable to see anything other than a few feet in front of the dragging hem of my cloak, the view of the gardens and the estate was hidden to my eyes by the manner in which the giant hood blinkered me, the tears welling up in my eyes not helping my vision either. In fact, as I stumbled over the doorstep and moved outside the house, all I could see was the bottom of Caroline’s cloak and the gravel path way along which we walked.

As I shuffled along in my pupil’s wake, I tried to make sense of what was happening to me. It seemed ridiculous that I should have to be so formidable concealed outdoors, even to the extent of having my voice silenced. Yet Miss Harding made it plain that this would be the case in future, and that I would be expected to take this dreadful form of exercise with my charges whenever they went outdoors. And Miss Hassack? Was it true that she had been subjected to the same horrors and had left because of them? And my pupils: why were they so hideously masked and hidden away outside the house, even to the extent of being horribly silenced and close hobbled? I had never heard of young women being so formidably kept under rigid control and to be so totally hidden from the sight of ‘outsiders’. What was the reason for these seemingly excessive precautions?

The unanswered questions reverberated round my mind, momentarily making me forget what I was doing and where I was. But that was soon to be brought back to me with startling clarity. I had been vaguely conscious that the path on which we walked veered slightly to the right, round towards the back of the house, I assumed. I had never seen what lay to the rear of Fairacres’ vast building as the trees lining the drive had shielded that view when I had arrived in the carriage and the nursery wing faced East, allowing no view behind the house. But, as I laboured on, taking tiny paces, weighed down by my monstrous coverings, I was little concerned as to what lay unseen ahead of me. But I should have been concerned; extremely concerned.

Following the younger sister’s cloak, I noticed that the path along which we now walked was no longer of neatly raked gravel but was made of coarser stone. It was more irregular and I was glad that my laced-up boots reached above my ankles, for it would have been easy to have turned one on that rough surface. My eyes focussed on the ground in front of me, I concentrated on where I was walking, trying to avoid the larger stones that rolled out from under the hem of Caroline’s cloak or over which it dragged. So brutally hobbled it was no possible to avoid all such objects but at least the tunnel of my hood down which I peered allowed me to see them before I might step on their rough edges.

I had just avoided a viciously sharp flint as I slowly moved along the broken path when I realised that walking was becoming more difficult. Close hobbled, my petticoats and weighty skirts also fettering each pace I took, walking had been a struggle from the first step I took outside the house. But now it seemed more onerous to move forward at all. For a moment or two I genuinely could not understand why this should be. Then I realised that we must be walking uphill, and that the gradient of the slope was becoming more and more severe with each pace. Breath hissed through my nostrils and I tried to suck extra air round the brutal makeshift gag blocking my mouth. But that awful silencer was becoming more effective the longer in place. The knot was now soaked with my saliva and seemed to have grown to totally fill my mouth so that, if I breathed through it, all I inhaled was a miserable stream of saliva-filled air that burnt my lungs.

My legs soon began to ache from the unaccustomed exercise. I considered myself to be a fit young woman in an age where such qualities were not commonly thought of as being of any merit. I was also someone who would happily walk all day long, but not close hobbled and burdened by such a monstrous weight of clothing. Perspiration started to dampen my underclothing, for the chill air came nowhere near to penetrating the layer upon layer of dense materials that cocooned by whole body. Even the air trapped inside the long cavern of my hood seemed hot, warmed and made stale by my own rapid breathing. Sweat trickled down from under my bonnet, stinging my eyes and making me blink as I struggled to follow the cloak that was my only guide in my solitary world of misery.

I moaned into my gag, sure I could not continue any longer, so great was now the steepness of the hill we climbed, and so exhausted was my body and spirit. But then, just as I reached the end of my reserves of strength, the ground levelled off under my feet and, perhaps a dozen tiny paces further on, began to slope gently downhill. I said a silent prayer of thanks and carried on, my heart lighter, even if my body cried out for me to stop and give it time to recover from that brutal climb.

I had lost all track of time as I had climbed that dreadful hill. All I knew was that it seemed an eternity and now we were going downhill, presumably back to the house and the end of our walk. With aching limbs, I walked on, each step an effort, legs aching horribly and my head pounding from the heat and lack of fresh air. To take my mind away from my miserable state, I again tried to work out why the girls were treated in this cruel manner. It was plain from the awful mask I had seen locked down over Charlotte’s head and face, and the wear evident on it, that this was no newly introduced part of their lives. That mask had been used many times and so I had to believe that the sisters had been kept hidden away for a long time. Perhaps even years. But why? They seemed harmless enough, docile and obedient, and certainly two girls who had so far revealed to me no sign of being troublemakers. Then why were they kept so close? They had nowhere or no-one to run to that I knew of. After all, they were orphans being looked after by their nearest and, as far as I knew, only close relatives.

I was still puzzling over these questions when I was aware that we were walking on level ground again. ‘We’ll be back indoors soon,’ I told myself. I trudged on with tiny paces, feeling that I had survived yet another of Miss Harding’s strange assaults on my dignity and self-respect. Then I stumbled slightly. Blinking sweat from my eyes, I looked down the close tunnel of my hood. To my horror, I saw I was walking on a path made of broken stone, sharp edged flints peppering its surface. I howled silently into my gag as I realised that, beneath my shuffling feet, the ground was rising again. As it grew ever steeper, I felt my mind go blank as my stomach knotted with all-consuming fear. Pain mounted again, the air inside my hood grew ever hotter and less usable, as I climbed ever upwards, following the dark hem of Caroline’s cloak. I sunk into my personal hell as I laboured pace by tiny pace up that awful hill.

How I survived that afternoon, I cannot tell. Life had made me unwilling to give in to any set-back, even when continuing might seem like purgatory. So I walked on, blinded by sweat, roasted alive inside the carapace of my coverings and weighed down by their mass. The third and fourth time we climbed that hill I felt as though I was going to faint. But somehow my legs kept moving and my body remained upright. On and on we trudged until I lost track of where I was, even who I was. I think I would have continued walking had I not tripped over the step leading into the hallway, and had stumbled forward to stop just behind the cloaked figure I had been following for seemingly all my life. I stood there, head swimming and lungs burning, probably swaying and barely able to stand. Only when I grew aware that the sisters had been led away and someone was undoing the tapes that held my hood in place, did I slowly start coming to my senses.

“Enjoy your walk, my dear?”

I blinked in the sudden light as the massive hood was pushed back. In front of me stood Miss Harding, her lips thin but smiling. She reached forward and began untying the canvas strips that served as my gag. When the knot of the inner one had been undone and the saturated material dropped to the floor, I ran a dry tongue round inside my bruised mouth.

“I am leaving,” I whispered through parched lips.

“Leaving?” The woman standing in front of me, hands on her hips, smiled wider at my statement. “You intending leaving here? Now?”

“Yes,” I said, not sure how I had gained the courage to speak so openly to the woman who I had come to fear so much. “I am leaving now. Even if I walk out naked.”

Miss Harding took a pace back, looking at me with eyes that seemed black in the dying light of the day.

“Like that?” She asked, gesturing to the cloak still tight buttoned about me. “With your hands tethered. And hobbled?”

“No.” I stuttered my courage running out rapidly. “Wearing my own clothes. If you would please let me have them. I have a little money and can afford to ride back to London.”

“Oh, a lady of wealth, are you?” Miss Harding laughed at my words; a harsh cackling laugh. “Hiring a carriage? Oh, that will impress the servants!”

Abruptly, as though cut off with a sharp knife, the laughter ceased and the lips grew thin and straight once more. My courage spent, I dropped my eyes, afraid to look at the frightful woman. I stood in silence as she moved away from me and I heard a key turn in an unseen locked. Then she was back before me. With claw-like hands, she took my shoulders, wheeled me round and pushed me across the hallway. Suddenly I realised she was guiding me into a dark room as, after a final push, I stumbled forward to come in painful contact with a wall. Behind me, a door slammed shut, leaving me in total darkness. I cried out but it was too late.

I discovered that I was in some sort of tiny alcove, no bigger than a cupboard, presumably set into the house’s immensely thick outer walls. From the musty smell it could not have been used for a long time; in fact I sensed rather than felt cobwebs brushing against my face. I stood in the darkness, wondering what I could do before despair descended on me like a black cloud and, yet again, I wept. Hands still strapped down to my waist belt and the dense walls of my cloak sealed about me, I was totally helpless; all I could do was to stand on exhausted legs, facing the back of the alcove, and pray that I would not be forgotten.

I am not certain how long I remained in that tiny prison but, perhaps after half an hour, I heard a key being inserted in the lock behind me, and then the door was opened, flooding the interior with light. Roughly I was dragged out into the small hallway where I found myself facing Miss Harding, now accompanied by the nursery maid and another woman who was as hard-faced as my main tormentor.

“Listen to me, girl and do NOT speak! Understand?” I tried to nod but my choking collar allowed me to only move my head fractionally. It seemed enough for Miss Harding who continued in harsh tones that sent shivers of fear through my over-heated body. “You threatened me just now. Threatening to run away. Well, girl, that is NOT going to happen. You are going to remain here; like it or not.”

“But…………………”

“BE QUIET!” The woman roared. “That is your last warning. One more word from you and we will go straight to the laundry room. Only this time you will receive a whipping which will make your first one seem like a mere caress. You understand, girl?”

I nodded.

“Good. Now, you must get in into that simple brain of yours that you are NOT leaving here. It is necessary that the children have a governess. Why is of no concern to you. But it would be very inconvenient for us were you to leave. In fact you will not leave.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but one look into Miss Harding’s cold eyes was more than enough to make me to close it again.

“But Mr Harding and I agree that the girls do not really need tutoring any longer. They must know enough after so many years in the schoolroom. So you, Miss Poyser, will stay here as governess but without any real duties, as I am sure you’ll be glad to hear. Imagine that; being paid for doing nothing.”

The woman gave another of her tight lipped smiles. But it soon faded.

“Unemployed but paid. Well, that is a dangerous state of affairs. Especially as you have already threatened to leave here. So we have decided that you must be made to stay. Whether that is your wish or not.” Miss Harding paused and turned slightly to gesture towards the new woman who stood by her side. “This is Grant. She has been here for many years and is someone whom Mr Harding and I trust absolutely. She will be responsible for making sure you remain here. When necessary, such as now, she will be assisted by the nursery maid, Jenks, as you will remain in your current quarters which of course is in the nursery wing, and that is under Jenks; control.”

She looked at the maid who blushed slightly, doubtless unused to such flattery.

“You, Miss Poyser, will co-operate with her and Grant. You will treat their orders as though they came from my brother. AND they will report to me regularly. If their reports tell of your being less than totally co-operative, I will have you brought down to the laundry room. And even you, girl, know what will happen then.”

With this final warning, she turned to the woman who stood slightly behind her and to one side.

“Take her up to her room now. And remember what I said. NO mistakes.” She gestured the women forward but, as they approached me, she held up her hand.

“One final thing. Miss Poyser, you will not speak or utter a sound from now on. If you do, you will be forcibly silenced. And in a far less mild manner than you were whilst exercising just now. You will have no further warnings. Just a single word, a solitary syllable, and you will have your mouth plugged up so cruelly that you will wish that The Maker had never granted you the power of speech..”

She gestured to the woman to carry on with their task. Moments later, my hobbles at last removed, I was being bundled upstairs towards the nursery area and my room, the two women forcing me to climb ever upwards towards a fate which was as yet unknown to me. I desperately wanted to plead with them, to try to persuade them to let me go, to help me escape this nightmare. But Miss Harding’s words echoed round my brain, filling me with terror and ensuring that I remained mute.

At last I was pushed into my chamber, my legs burning from climbing the stairs at a time when they could barely hold me upright.

“On the bed. Face down.”

It was Grant who spoke, her voice as harsh as Miss Harding’s, her granite face as hard as her mistresses.

I looked at both women, fear and need battling within me. In the end fear won and I said nothing, moving slowly to the bed. With my wrists strapped tight down to the belt about my waist, and so heavily encumbered by my cloak, even lying down was problematical. In the end rough hands grabbed me, forcing me down and forward, pulling up my legs and swivelling me until I lay on my stomach on the hard bed. I felt hands grab my ankles and they were fastened tightly together. Then, from the downward pressure on this new binding, I must have had my feet tied to the bed end. Finally unseen hands pulled up the cloak’s great hood, dropping it so that its massive folds covered my head and face, plunging me into darkness.

Lying there, unable to see what was happening about me, I heard the woman moving round the room. This was followed by the sound of furniture being shifted, the two occasionally speaking in low tones so that I could not hear what they said. For the thick drapery of the hood muffled sounds as well as ensuring that I was struggling for breath in the hood dark interior. In some ways, I was less unhappy than I had been recently. At least I could rest my weary body, slowly recovering my strength as I lay there on my stomach, ignored by the two unseen women. It was true that it was airless under my hood and I was still grossly over-dressed. But I was being left alone and even that seemed like a mercy after the hideous experiences of the last hours. I even tried to ease my position slightly but, with my hands shackled underneath my body, there was no way in which I could make myself more comfortable. But I was used to discomfort, and such minor aches and pains did not overly trouble me.

What did however worry me intensely was just what was to become of me. A paid but yet unemployed governess? Such a creature could not exist. It was impossible that anyone would pay me wages for doing nothing. But yet that was what Miss Harding had told me would happen. And she was a woman of her word, as I knew to my bitter cost. Over and over in my mind I turned this conundrum until I suddenly became aware that the woman must have left. For the room was silent, the dimly heard sounds of their activities had ceased and I was alone once more. Carefully I tested my bonds. But my ankles were well secured and my wrists cruelly immobilised. I might be able to wriggle around slightly.. But what good would that do, except to annoy my captors? So I lay still, as fatigue and mental turmoil gradually overcame me.

WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Nine

Incredible though it may seem, I must have fallen asleep as I lay on my stomach on my bed, shackled and helpless, not knowing what terrors lay in store for me. It does seem almost impossible but I know I must have gained some rest from my living nightmare, as I remember jerking awake as an unseen key was turned in the unseen lock of the door. For a brief moment I fought against my bonds, mindless fear overwhelming me. But swift recall of my predicament made me force my body to relax, knowing that any struggles would be in vain and might even anger my tormentors.

Still covered by the cloak’s giant folds, I lay still, listening as the door was closed before I could hear footsteps approaching across the wooden floor to stop by my side.

“I hope you remember everything that Miss Harding told you, miss.” The voice was that of the nursery maid. Her tone was neutral but I thought I could detect a note of concern in her words. “I have to report you if you speak or do anything except what you’re told to do. Sorry, miss, but them’s my orders. I can’t help ’em.”

As she was speaking she must have reached down and pulled back the dense drapery of the hood that covered my head and face. For the first time for what seemed like an eternity, light hit my eyes, making me close them until used to the luminescence given out by the candle which the young woman held in her left hand. I blinked, growing used to the light and, as my head was turned to face away from the wall against which the bed rested, I was able to see the maid and, beyond her, the room.

She must have seen my eyes widen as I saw how barren the room now was.

“Sorry, miss, we were told to clear this chamber. Just left you the bed, wash-stand and a chair. That’s all, but it’s how Miss Harding told us to do it.” She moved out of my line of vision and I felt her untying my ankles a moment or two later. “Grant will be here soon with your supper, miss. Take care of her, miss. She is Miss Harding’s favourite.”

Barely had she finished speaking than I heard the door open. I lay still as the older maid came into sight, carrying a tray that she then put down on the floor by the bed. Her tone when she spoke was brusque and she did not bother to hide the way in which she clearly despised me.

“Sit up,” she barked.

Stiff and cramped, my legs still weak from that awful exercise period, spine aching dully, my wrists were strapped to the wide belt around my waist, I had difficulty levering myself round and then up to sit on the edge of the bed. Neither maid sought to help me, the elder one sneering at my efforts.

“Eat your food,” she said as soon as I was perched on the bed side.

I opened my mouth to protest that such action would be impossible as long as my hands were immobilised. But I remembered Miss Harding’s dire warnings, and I limited myself to waving my still mitten-encased hands so as to indicate my predicament.

“Having problems, are you?” Grant asked with heavy irony. Then she turned to the younger maid. “Unfasten her, Jenks. We can’t have her complaining she’s being starved, can we?”

Five minutes later, hands at last free of the crushing bondage of the heavy leather mitts and no longer with my wrists strapped down to the broad belt still circling my waist, I was chewing at the dry bread and stale cheese which, together with a mug of water, comprised my supper. The maids, my jailors, once then had seen that I was being meekly compliant to their commands, stood talking, barely bothering to glance in my direction, so certain were they that escape for me would be impossible.

“I’m surprised that Miss Harding hasn’t place her under the same duress as your two girls,” Grant said to the nursery maid. “Strikes me that they are kept nice and safe in their rooms.”

“Very safe,” replied the younger woman. “Locked in their orphan boxes they can’t trouble no-one. Them boxes makes me life easy. And the other things, of course.”

“Other things? I haven’t been up here lately, you know. What other things have you got now?”

“Oh, things like hoods and shackles. Mr Harding got them when Miss Hassacks left. He said the older one was grown up and needed watching more than when Hassacks was here. He told me to use them of her, but not the younger one yet. Not if she behaved anyway.”

I listened to this conversation, appalled at what I was learning as I ate my frugal meal.

“You got any spare bits and pieces? We could use them on this thing.”

Eyes lowered, chewing my dry bread, I did not see Grant gesture in my direction, but it was plain who she was talking about.

“Yes, I suppose so. But Miss Harding didn’t say anything about them.”

“Leave her to me, Jenks. I am sure she’ll be pleased if we make sure this one is kept nice and snug. Proper shackles will do better than what we’ve got here. Why don’t you pop along and get a selection? Oh yes, and bring one of the girls’ hoods. They sound interesting.”

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That night I slept little. It was true that I had been allowed to get out of my clothes and sweat soaked undergarments, and that I had been permitted to wash in cold water and to straighten my tangled hair. But I had been forced to undergo the terrible humiliation of squatting over the chamber pot as my two tormentors looked on. I had tried to shut my ears to their ribald comments then, and to their equally cruel remarks as they made me strip off before fitting me in a clean corset and night gown.

I had remained silent as Grant had tugged so hard at the corset’s crutch strapping that she had almost pulled me off my feet. I had held my peace as my wrists were taken behind my back and fastened inside iron shackles joined by a short rod which, in turn, was attached by a rigid steel bar ti the heavy shackles locked about my ankles. So close were the ankle irons that walking was impossible and the maids were forced to half drag, half carry me across the room before lying me down on my back on the bed.

“She won’t get much rest like that,” the younger maid commented, looking down at me as I lay on my arms, the solid metalwork of my shackles underneath my body. “Must be uncomfortable like that.”

“We weren’t sent her to make her comfortable,” Grant retorted. “Did you bring the hood with you?”

“Oh, I forgot. Do you think we really need to use it?”

“Of course we do. Have to make sure that little Miss Perfect here is all snug and safe for the night, don’t we. Gone on, run and fetch it.”

I lay on my back, my body locked into immobility by the steel and iron of my restraints, waiting for the older woman to say something. But she remain silent until the other maid returned. In her hand was a device that I knew only too well from my time at school, although such things were rarely used even within an establishment as strict and severe as Mrs Hughers Academy for Young Ladies.

While it was carefully inspected by Grant, I was able to see it in her thin-fingered hands. Like the ‘tranquillity hood’ that terrified the pupils at Mrs Hughers, it appeared to be a leather bag about the size of a person’s head, with various items attached to it. Around the bag’s opening was a hinged circle of metal, a three inch deep ‘collar’ that would be locked about the wearer’s throat. At the back of the bag was a double line of reinforced eyelets, through which was loosely threaded a stout length of cord. At the base of this lacing was a pair of steel rings, and from one of them dangled a small brass padlock which, when shut, would be hidden away under the metal of the deep collar to which the leather was firmly attached.

I watched as the senior maid felt around within the bag’s interior. She smiled as her fingers came in contact with something there.

“Ah, so it has a nice silencer within its walls?”

“A big one too,” Jenks replied with a sly smile. “It certainly keeps Miss Charlotte extremely quiet. You could whip her and not know she was troubled by it all when she’s got that plug in her mouth.”

The elder maid smiled in turn and then came towards the bed.

“You’ll doubtless know what this is, Miss Governess,” she said, sneering down at me. I knew well enough. And I also knew well enough not to speak. I just nodded slightly. “Well, I think it’s time you were all snugly settled down for the night. You know what to do, don’t you? Get that silly mouth of yours wide wide open so we can put the plug in your mouth as we hood you. Open it, girl. NOW!”

The horror of the next few minutes does not bear repetition. Let it be said that the two maids forced that awful plug deep into my mouth as they drew the leather hood down over my head and face. Soon they had tightened the laces so the leather was drawn in crushingly tight about my head and face, the plug forced yet deeper into my mouth, doubly ensuring my silence. The small padlock was snapped shut, locking together the two rings at the base of the lacing, ensuring the pressure from the lacing could not lessen by even the tiniest amount.. And finally the collar was fully closed about my throat, half strangling me, to be secured shut by another but larger padlock.

Lost in the stifling darkness of the hood, I could barely hear the maids congratulating themselves on a job well down. But I felt blankets thrown over my body. I was at last ready for the night.

“Sleep well, girl!” I could only just hear the doubtless raised voice of the older woman. “You’ll be quite safe now. And to make sure no-one disturbs your sleep, we’ll be locking the door when we leave. Enjoy your rest, Miss Governess!”

Choking on the gag, I could not answer her taunts. But by then all I wanted to do was to survive within the airless hood, and to pray that morning and release came swiftly to me.

It did not. Instead I suffered endless minute by endless minute, seemingly suffocating inside the hood’s thick walls and choking on the plug as, at the same time, my body cried for relief from my grievously uncomfortable posture – relief that never came as the shackles ensured I could not ease my posture by even a fraction of an inch. No onlooker, seeing my motionless body and leather interred head, would have believed that I was suffering greatly. But I was, and to the very limits of my endurance and beyond.

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“I trust you slept well.” Twelve hours after I had been put to bed, I sat on the solitary chair in my barren chamber, the steely eyes of Miss Harding staring down at me. “It seems that Grant and Jenks have been doing their job well enough. I am pleased. And I trust that you are too, Miss Poyser.”

Even had I wished to answer the woman, I would not have been able to do so. It was true that my bruised mouth was no longer filled with the hood’s terrible silencing plug, but I had a makeshift gag tied in place so as to make sure I did not break any of Miss Harding’s rules about not speaking.

Two hours earlier I had been freed from my living hell. Allowed to use the chamber pot and to wash and dress, I had eaten food identical to that which I had been given the previous evening. Clearly I was not to expect much variety in my diet as long as things remained so grim for me. My breakfast over, the stout leather belt was again fastened about my waist and my wrists strapped tight down against it, rendering me helpless once more. Then a strip of canvas, bolstered by a thick knot at its centre, was used as a means of ensuring my silence. This done, the long cape I had worn the previous day had then been draped round my shoulders prior to being buttoned close about me down to its floor length hem. Then, with no word of explanation, I had been strapped to the chair, my ankles again secured together, before the maids departed, leaving me in pre-dawn darkness.

I sat there, watching the dull interior of the room grow slowly lighter, as the black of night was replaced by the grey of a sleet-chilled day.

When Miss Harding eventually appeared, briskly rubbing her short-mittened hands together, I was almost glad to see her. It was true that the chair was not as uncomfortable as lying shackled on the bed for the night, nor was my gag as cruel as the great plug. In addition I could breath reasonably freely, and was no longer near suffocation as had been the case during the murderous hours locked within the walls of that terrible hood. But I was tense with fear and anticipation of more evil befalling me. At least, when Miss Harding appeared, I hoped that I was going to learn more of my fate. In that, I was not disappointed.

“You must be wondering what is happening, Miss Poyser,” Miss Harding began. “Your fall from grace, if we may call it that, has been sudden and unexpected., I’m sure. But neither Mr Harding nor myself wish you to be kept in total ignorance. Because we believe you to be a sensible young woman. Naive and silly, perhaps. But not without intelligence. So we have decided that you can be trusted with a few little secrets. Once you know them, of course you will never be able to leave here. We could not allow it. And anyway, I am sure you will be wise enough to see that, as soon as you have been told our little story, you will be implicated in it. You will become as much involved as anyone. And that fact should ensure your silence and total co-operation, unless you are extremely stupid.”

Suddenly she frowned and moved past me. A second or two later, I felt the canvas strap that served as a gag being pulled and then loosened. The knot was dragged from my mouth and, as I ran my tongue round parched lips, the makeshift gag was thrown on the floor, and Miss Harding appeared to stand before me again.

“We will not need that,” she said, gesturing at the discarded gag. “I am sure you are disciplined enough to remain mute unless I tell you to speak. The story I am going to tell you should fascinate you, my dear. And when it is told, perhaps I may allow you to speak. Perhaps not.”

The woman paused a moment and then, somewhat to my surprise, moved across the room to sit down on the edge of the bed, her back straight, her hands neatly folded on her lap.

“You know a little about Charlotte and Caroline. How they are orphans and have been adopted by our employers. What you will not know is the fact that they are extremely wealthy as well. Their late mother was a Miss Gordon, her father one of the founders of the Northern Railway. He died relatively young and she inherited his stock in the company. Then, when in turn she died, that very valuable asset passed on to her daughters, your charges, Charlotte and Caroline. So, Miss Poyser, we have two extremely wealthy young ladies living under this roof. Or they would be were it not for several other matters.”

She paused and looked at me, her eyes cold as is the falling snow outside.

“You never enquired about your new employers before you took this post, did you? A shame because you might have learnt of their extremely expensive tastes. Of their great house in London and of their equally elegant French residence. And Fairacres as well, all of which must cost a fortune to maintain and run. But I regret to say that your employers do not possess any great fortune. In fact he has been assiduously gambling away his inheritance for some years now. And her tastes have grown ever more expensive. So, when the girls came into their hands, they must have seemed like angels from heaven. Angels bearing gifts; gifts of railway stock.”

A harsh laugh cut through the freezing air and I shivered at its sound. Not because of the bitter cold, but from the sheer malice in Miss Harding’s chilling laugh.

“A less than straightforward lawyer was employed to help our employers slowly use some of the girls’ inheritance, and reliable staff was employed her to ensure that no-one knew where the children lived. Most people believe that they are still in India, looked after by some purely fictional aunt. That, my dear, is why we ensure that no-one sees their faces when they go outdoors. It is why they are kept under close duress, and it is why you are now our prisoner too. You see, we need you. We need you because our employers want the girls to have a proper governess. But, as they cannot be bothered to concern themselves as to how the girls are educated, it does not matter a jot whether they are given classes or taught anything. Providing a decent and respectable governess is employed here, that is all that the children’s guardians care about.”

Again she paused, but this time she rose from the bed like a gaunt black vulture. She walked across to where I sat and looked down at me.

“Miss Poyser, I will make things clear to you. You have two alternatives. You will either join us and freely share in the task of keeping the girls shut away from the world. In fact you will be another conspirator, and will be just as culpable of imprisoning the sisters and cheating them of their birthright as anyone else here. Or you may be a honest and god-fearing young woman, and refuse to join the rest of us. The choice is yours. But I must warn you, if you take the second option and stay in the ranks of the righteous, you will have to remain here. As a prisoner for as long as may be necessary. Which could be a very very long time, my dear. Perhaps for ever.”

WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Ten

Pinioned to the chair, I felt my heart turn cold as Miss Harding spelt out her ultimatum. The story of how the sisters had been cheated of their inheritance had filled me with horror but now I had been told what alternatives awaited me, I felt terror welling up within me. I knew I could not stand idly by and watch two helpless young women being robbed of their birthright for every ounce of decency in me screamed out at that terrible injustice. Yet……………………. Yet I had seen enough of brother and sister Harding to know that neither bluffed and neither threatened without meaning all they said. If Miss Harding said that I would be kept prisoner along with the girls, that is what would happen, of that I felt certain. But………………….. But if I was a prisoner I could not assist the girls in any way. I would be as helpless as they were, and as powerless to free myself from the Hardings’ duress as they were.

“I see you are having problems making up your mind.” I looked up at the sound of Miss Harding’s voice and saw to my surprise that she was actually smiling. That it was the smile of a hen-stealing fox only served to make its presence all the more shocking. For her features were not ones made for smiling nor, I imagine, ones often creased by such an expression.

“Miss Poyser, I am going to make a suggestion.” The smile slowly turned into a death-s-head leer.

“Clearly your conscience is troubling you. Much as you might wish to join us and continue to work here as the young creatures’ governess, your scruples hold you back from allying yourself with us. I understand that. I too was troubled when first told of the scheme to keep the girls hidden away here. But then I came to see how I could benefit from such an arrangement.”

The gaunt woman turned and walked back to my bed where she sat down, again neatly arranging her skirts before continuing with her monologue.

“I saw the financial and other benefits that would accrue to me were I to join in with my brother and his employers. It did not take much thought before I agree to come here and also to find some suitable servants who could be trusted to keep their mouths shut and who would not overly mind what went on in this house.”

Again she paused, looking down at her fustian skirts before brushing off an imaginary speck of dust.

“Of course, we cannot offer you the same sort of financial inducements as we were initially offered,” she said, looking up at me again. “But you would continue to be paid your agreed salary. In due course, if your work and behaviour here remained excellent, I am sure that my brother would recommend you for an increase in wages. But it is not bribes we offer you, my dear Miss Poyser. No, that would not be possible under the present arrangements. Instead we would be offering you a most unpleasant existence were you to refuse to join us.”

She rose from the bed like a ill favoured crow and went to where the makeshift gag lay on the floor. Picking it up she came over to where I sat.

“Open you mouth please, Miss Poyser.”

Obdurately I kept my jaw closed. I was not going to let her gag me again. She hit me only once, a swinging backhand blow that knocked my head to one side and brought tears welling into my eyes.

“Open!” She barked. I hesitated a moment, not from bravery or stupid bravado, but because my brain was still reeling from the vicious blow. Then I saw Miss Harding raise her hand again and I opened my mouth; wide.

“Sensible girl,” she murmured as she secured the canvas strip in place, the knot filling my mouth. Then, when she had tied the material behind my head, she moved to stand in front of me, her eyes now so cold that I could not meet her gaze, dropping my own and looking down at the small patch of bare floorboards between us.

“That’s better. In fact you look rather sweet with a gag in your mouth. Now where was I? Ah yes, I remember. Well, Miss Poyser, as I cannot offer you bribes, I must offer you a taste of the future if you do not join us. I think you will find it an incentive to cast your lot in with us. What I propose is that we declare a schoolroom holiday for a short period of time. While the girls relax from your tutelage, you will be treated in the manner similar to the way in which you will live should you decide to join the aide of the angels. I think a week or so looking into that future will persuade you to join the ranks of Mammon.”

****************************

After the woman had left me on my own, still strapped to the chair, I had ample time to consider her words. They filled me with fear but I did not see how they could possibly dare to maltreat me too badly. It was true they could leave me locked in my grim little chamber. They might feed me minimal rations, even shackle me in some way. But I felt sure they would not risk harming me. Even the Hardings could not be that stupid or cruel. So, trying to control my natural fear, I sat on the chair and waited to see what would happened next.

They left me in that room for longer than I might have guessed but, when the door was unlocked and someone entered the room again, it was not Miss Harding. Instead it was her brother, now accompanied by a man I had not seen before. Standing well over six and a half foot in height, he was massively built with a beetling brow, and hands the size of navvies’ shovels. A pugilist’s nose sprawled down his face from between piggy little eyes that looked at me in such a lewd manner that I almost cried out in terror. I looked away from his awful face but not before I saw him lick his lips and smile to reveal yellowed and broken teeth.

“I gather that you have not yet made up your mind, Miss Poyser,” Harding said in his usual harsh tones. I am sorry to hear that, but I trust that a week or two downstairs will persuade you not to be so stubborn.”

He turned to his companion. “Untie her and take her downstairs. And DON’T harm her. Understand.”

“Yeah, Mr Hard’ng.” The giant’s voice was as shocking as his appearance but for a very different reason. He spoke in a piping treble, the voice of a little boy.

Two minutes later I was being bodily carried down the back stairs, the monstrous man carrying me as easily as he would have carried a chicken, and with about as much consideration for my comfort when she shucked me over his shoulder. My teeth rattled in my head as he lurched down the steep stairs until we reached the ground floor. There he turned down a corridor I had not been down before, stopping later to throw open a heavy door that I heard creak on its hinges. Again we descended, now entering the house’s cellars. More winding corridors and passage followed until at last he stopped, opened another door, stepped through it and dropped me to the ground. For once I was thankful for the density of my clothing for, although the air was driven from my lungs by my landing on the stone floor at the giant’s feet, I suffered nothing more from his handling that a minor bruise of two.

With the man’s mass blocking the door and the only light coming from a lamp or candle flickering in the passage behind him, I could not make out anything of the room into which I had been cast. A moment later, all chance of seeing where I was disappeared as he stepped back and slammed the door shut, leaving me in total darkness; darkness such intensity and totality that it terrified me as I lay helpless on the floor.

With my gloved hands still strapped to the broad belt around my waist, and tangled in petticoats, skirts and cape, I tried to sit up, even to stand. But my clothing was tangled about my legs and try as I might I found it impossible to get up. In the end I knelt on the unseen floor, feeling the room’s chill against my burning cheeks. I moaned into my makeshift gag and attempted to hold back the tears that dribbled down my face.

Before my jumbled mind could make head or tail of my grim predicament, I heard footfalls, then the sound of bolts being dragged back. Finally, with a squeal of rusty hinges, the door swung open. The sudden light blinded me after the room total darkness, and I looked away.

“No longer the elegant governess, I see!” Miss Harding’s voice cut through the chill air. “Get up, girl. What do you think you’re doing on the floor?”

Gagged, I could not explain how my skirts were wound round my legs and, with my hands useless, I was incapable for getting up.

“I don’t think she can get up, Miss,” The nursery maid’s voice sounded apprehensive in the presence of the formidable Miss Harding.

“Perhaps you’re right. Well, help her up and get her changed.”

It took ten minutes for the two women to strip me to the naked flesh, to seat me on a bucket in the corner of the awful chamber, and then to dress me in coarse clothing that scratched my flesh whenever I moved. Perhaps I should have resisted, but there was no fight left in me. The women handled me like a side of meat, grunting orders but otherwise ignoring the fact I was a living breathing women like themselves. They worked by the light of two paraffin lamps they had brought with them, so that I was at least able to see my prison. And what I saw filled me with horror and dread.

The stone floored room was probably some twelve foot square. In one corner stood the bucket which I had already been forced to use to my profound embarrassment. Near it, along the side wall to the left of the door, was a low platform, apparently made of coarse wood to which were bolted various irons rings, some with chains attached, some standing alone. The final item of furniture – if you could call it that – was a strange wooden box with a hole in its lid. Standing perhaps three and a half food high, it was probably just over two foot wide and eighteen inches deep, front to back. It seemed to be made of oak and it was reinforced at the corners and the whole of its front could be swung open, half the lids being attached to this moving part.

As soon as I had seen the wooden box, my heart had raced, my stomached churning with fear, for I knew what that device was. It was true that I had never seen one before. But I had heard such fiendish devices described and had been told how they were used long ago in more cruel times. Also I had heard such a device mentioned by the two women who were now dressing me in my scratchy clothing. I was on no doubt that the wooden object across that grim chamber from the sleeping platform was an example of the infamous and much feared ‘Orphan Box’.

“I see you find the box interesting,” Miss Harding said with a cold laugh, as I stood in the centre of the room, the nursery maid on her knees as she shackled my ankles together. “I don’t know where the Master or Mistress found them, but we have three here. One each for the girls if they misbehave, and now this one for you, my dear Miss Poyser. But then, as an orphan, it seems only right you should see what life is like kept locked inside one.”

She walked across the stone floor and opened the front of the box, the flickering light from the lamps showing the narrow ‘seat’ inside, and the straps attached to its inner walls. I moaned into my gag, fear making my legs go weak as the woman poked around inside the heavy walled box.

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about, really.” She said, turning to look as me as the nursery maid clambered to her feet, having locked my ankles in iron shackles. “It strikes me as an ideal way of keeping young women like you under control. Locked in your box and nicely kept still by its straps, you can’t get into trouble at all. Silence you as well, and we won’t have to worry about you at all. Just leave you down here during the day, Breakfast and supper between box and bed; a nice quiet life for you and for us too. In fact a perfect life for you while you make up your mind whether you are going to be sensible and join us, or whether you want to spend a VERY long time long up down here.”

I desperately tried to beg for mercy. But the knotted gag that filled my mouth only allowed some indecipherable noises to emerge. Miss Harding smiled again, a glacial look in her eyes that betrayed the upwards curl of her thin lips.

“No need to tell us your decision yet, Miss Poyser. You see, we don’t want you deciding on something and then changing your mind later. And to make sure you REALLY have made up your mind when we do ask you, my brother has thought it best that you stay down here for a while, out of the way, and out of mind for most of the time. So there’s no need to hurry with your decision, my dear. Take your time, because we intend giving you plenty.”

Abruptly the smile disappeared and the strode over to me, her talon-like hands grabbing my shoulders and wheeling me round. With ankles shackled together I almost fell but the two women manhandled me across the room, forcing me backwards into the tight interior of the box, pushing me down until I was perched on its narrow seat. Heavy leather straps were passed wound my torso, across my lap and around my legs until I was secured immobile in place. Even my hands were contained in tight leather bags attached to the box’s rear wall. Fresh tears ran down my face as the straps were jerked cruelly tight about me and then padlocked so there was no chance of their slackening.

The back of my neck rested in a sem-circular opening carved into the fixed rear half of the box’s top, a thin strap holding my neck in place. I was helpless already but the box’s true restraint was still to be put in place. This was done by Miss Harding who slowly swung back the front section, the top sliding backwards do that my throat was gripped by another semi-circular opening in the top. With a sickening clunk the front part shut, sealing me inside withe small wooden prison, only my head projecting from its enclosure.

Unseen by me – the top projected out under my chin, preventing me from looking down – heavy reinforcing bars were swung about the whole box to be padlocked closed. Now I was locked inside my oaken prison, two inches thick timber ensuring that I could never escape from its confines without assistance. I moaned into my gag, knowing that I was more helpless than I had ever been before.

“You look rather charming in there, Miss Poyser,” Miss Harding said with an icy chuckle. “I doubt if governesses have ever spent any time in one of those things. Well, you and that Orphan Box are going to get to know each other rather well. It’s going to be your daytime home for a good while. I’m told they are not too comfortable, but who worries about your comfort, my dear. I certainly don’t; all I am interested in is keeping you out of harm’s way.”

She held up a bunch of heavy keys for me to see through tear-streaked eyes.

“Six locks to your box, my girl. And just so no-one gets carried away with compassion and lets you out of there, each day they’ll be locked in Miss Harding’s own safe. He says he wants them locked in there by seven each morning and he has agreed to release them to whoever is looking after you at nine each night. Fourteen hours a day locked in your Orphan Box, that’s what you have tolook forward to in future.” She smiled again and then abruptly turned to face the nursery maid.

“I think you said that Miss Poyser found wearing that Tranquillity Hood an extremely distressing experience last night. Well, you run upstairs and bring it down here. It’s occurred to me that we can train her into accepting that hood while she is here. In fact, for every second she is locked in that box, she is to be hooded too. Now that really will help her make up her mind.!”

WALKING IN SILENCE Chapter Eleven

I sat on the Orphan Box’s tiny internal perch, jibbering inwardly with fear as the nursery maid trotted from the subterranean chamber, leaving me alone with a clearly pleased Miss Harding.

“Nice and snug in there?” She enquired, smiling thinly down at me. “Orphan boxes are such delightfully secure devices, I always think. Put a young woman in one, strap her nice and tightly to the seat, and then lock the box closed about her and you KNOW she is going to have to behave. NO alternative; as you are going to find out for yourself, Miss Poyser. Well, you can draw some consolation that you’re not the only young woman kept in one of those boxes here. Your charges will be in theirs too. Three of you, all kept well behaved in the same way. Rather charming, isn’t it?”

The gaunt woman laughed at her own cruel jest before turning towards the door, obviously growing impatient for the nursery maid’s return. After all, tormenting me was not something that would keep her amused for too long. But it was plain it was a better alternative than just waiting for the maid to come back. For she turned to face me again.

As she did so, in the flickering lamplight I saw her eyes focus on something out of my line of vision. Swiftly she stepped forward and moved round behind the box in which I was such a helpless prisoner. With my throat clamped tightly both by the strapping inside the box and by the stocks-like aperture in the top of the box, I could not turn my head to see what she was doing. But I did not have to wait long. For she reappeared to stand before me, holding in one hand what I recognised as a spanner. In the other was far bulkier object: a clearly heavy box, yet far smaller than the one in which I sat. Perhaps a foot high and nine inches each side, it appeared to be made of the same thick oak as that which incarcerated me.

“I nearly forgot this,” the woman chuckled. “Of course our sweet girls upstairs don’t have such attachments on their boxes. It was only this one that was made with a head container. ”

She held the wooden object up for me to see. It appeared simple enough, an oaken box with a steel flange around the base which itself was wide open. Projecting down from each corner of the flange was short threaded bolt.

“Can’t our so intelligent governess see how it works?” Miss Harding teased me, clearly reading puzzlement in my eyes as I looked at the heavy object in her hands. “Well, look down girl. See the holes in the top of your box a few inches either side of your chin. Well, they are matched by ones behind your head. You see, all I do is lower this box down over your head and face and then screw the bolts home into those holes. And hey presto!, your head box is sealed down to the main part of the Orphan Box and you are completely shut away from sight. Like to see how it works?”

I howled into my gag as the woman raised the device in her hands and slowly lowered it down over my head. One moment I could see past Miss Harding and view part of the grim cell that was my outer prison. The next she had lowered the box down so my head was within its walls, its lower edge and the steel flange resting on top of the Orphan Box. I could see a tiny strip of light at the join but then I heard what I presumed was a bolt being screwed down, and the line of light grew thinner and died, leaving me in total darkness.

For a few moments after this I heard the woman tightening the other screws down. And then there was silence almost as total as the darkness about me. Only the harsh sound of my breath entering and exiting my dilated nostrils broke that awful silence.

As a child unable to afford night-lights or such luxuries, I had grown used to sleeping in darkness, but the Stygian blackness into which I was plunged surpassed anything I had experienced before. I felt fear creeping up on me; fear of darkness and fear of being shut away inside the two close fitting boxes whose dense wood walls sealed me into my own personal prison. I howled almost noiselessly into my gag, cold terror filling my heart. To be locked in an Orphan Box was a terrible fate but to have my head locked inside its extended walls made it all far more frightening.

Momentarily I struggled against my bonds. But the leather straps that held me in place were steely about my body, holding me immobile on the narrow seat. Even my head was held motionless by the deep wooden ‘collar’ about my throat, its relentless pressure threatening to garrotte me if I even tried to move my head at all. But mere confinement within the box and the cruel manner in which I was strapped in place were far from being all the miseries that afflicted me. For the seat on which I sat seemed to be made of one or maybe two narrow bars passing from one side of the box to the other. When I said I was ‘perched’ on that seat, I was not exaggerating; for only part of my posterior was supported and it was that narrow band of flesh that had to bear all my weight. Having spent countless hour on a similar ‘punishment seats’ when I wa younger, I was only too bitterly aware that remained on one for long was going to be a bitterly uncomfortable, and ultimately painful, experience.

But, locked inside the darkness of my tiny prison, I was beginning to learn other unpleasant facts about the Orphan Box. The first which I had barely noticed when I was strapped inside it, was the fact that, running up from the seat to the top inside the box was a square bar that now jabbed into my spine. Doubtless the excuse for this projection was to keep the inmates back upright and straight but, as minutes slowly passed, I was discovering that it was more an instrument of additional torment rather than a mere posture aid. The upper straps dragged my shoulders back so I was pressed cruelly back against the square bar behind me. Just sitting quietly inside that box was obviously not designed to be a restful way of spending one’s time.

Another nasty little item was the manner in which my feet were fastened. The seat was of such a height that they did not reach the base of the box but, like my legs, were strapped back against a bar running down from seat front to floor. For my skirted-padded legs this was not too bad. But my feet seems to be strapped to some sort of plate that was angled steeply downwards so my toes almost pointed to the floor. Again this was not too bad initially but, as time passed, the manner in which my feet were immobilised began to cause me ever increasing discomfort, thanks to the tightly laced ankle boots that encased my feet and the acute angle at which they were held.

Finally, it did not take me long to recognise that the cadence of my breathing was speeding up, its rhythm growing ever faster as fear and lack of air inside the head box began to make my heart pound and my lungs to burn. Panic began to set in, as the terrible spectre of being slowly suffocated within the head box caught hold of my imagination. I howled into my gag, hoping and praying that Miss Harding might still be near and that she would realise what was happening. But the sound that escaped past the makeshift gag that filled my mouth was pathetically muffled, and I doubted if she could hear my entreaties for help. If she could have done, she certainly did not act upon them, as the head box remain bolted down in place and the air inside its walls seemed to grow ever more foul.

I have no idea how long I remained like that, fighting off ever increasing discomfort and pain, and terrified that I was being slowly suffocated. But I gradually came to realise that there must be some device allowing air into and out of the head box. Whatever it was, it must be cruelly restricted, but my terror of suffocation gradually subsided, although the air in the box remained foul and hot. Now my fear seems focussed on how long I was to be kept in this awful box and how long I would be kept locked away in the cell-like room outside it. Whatever was going to happen, it was plain that Mr and Miss Harding were determined to break me by whatever means they had available. How long I could remain sane and clear headed when faced with such torments, I did not know. But, sitting inside that terrible Orphan Box, I resolved not to weaken and to fight against every fresh trial they produced in order the break my spirit. I would NOT let them win.

*****************

Four days later, I was not in so determined a mood as the nursery maid shovelled some sort of foul-tasting gruel into my mouth, warning me not to spit it out.

“You’ve got to eat it all, Miss,” she said in almost apologetic tones. “If you don’t, I have to report you.”

She paused, forcing me to eat another spoonful of the bitter concoction. I gagged on the horrible mush and the young woman tut-tutted to herself.

“Eat it, Miss. Or she’ll whip you as sure as day is day. And she’ll enjoy that; she will. Great one for whipping the other servants is our Miss Harding.”

I swallowed the beastly gruel and risked asking a question.

“Have you been whipped?” I asked, my voice cracked and barely audible through lack of use.

“Me? Whipped?” The nursery maid laughed at my question. “Course I have. More times than you could count to, Miss.”

“Then why do you stay here? You can surely get another job, somewhere kinder, where you’ll be decently treated.”

I saw terror in the young woman’s eyes. She glanced behind her, as though afraid that Miss Harding was in the doorway, listening to our doubtless forbidden conversation. Relief was apparent in her features as she turned again to face me as I sat immobile, only my head projecting from the tight confines of the Orphan Box in which I was locked.

“I can’t leave, Miss. I’m indentured. Anyway, they’d never let me go.”

“Not let you go? How could they stop you?” I asked.

“Last maid who ran off they told the peelers about her. Had her arrested for theft. Said she’s stolen some silver. She got three years hard labour, Miss. That’s why I can’t run.”

The nursery maid, prim in her black uniform, picked up the gruel bowl and loaded the spoon again with its grey mixture.

“Better to stay and get whipped than to try to leave,” she went on as I struggled to swallow the food she scooped into my mouth. “At least we get fed and even get some money for ourselves. Though Mr Harding keeps it until we’ve done our time.”

“All the servants are indentured?” I asked as soon as I had swallow the gruel.

“Most, Miss. The rest are either friendly with the Hardings or owe them. No one ever leaves here unless Mr Harding wants to see them gone.”

“How long have you been here?” I ventured to ask, after I had forced down another horrible spoonful of gruel.

“Since I was ten, Miss. Funny you should be in an Orphan Box. Because that’s where I could have been if I didn’t come here. The Hardings got me from the local orphanage. There at the orphanage they used these boxes of the eldest girls. Dead terrified of them, those girls were.”

The young woman looked in the bowl, spooned up the rest of the horrible gruel and, after she had given it to me, placed the bowl and spoon on the floor. She walked across to the bed and picked up the heavy tranquillity hood that lay on it.

“Time for this, Miss. And to locked down the head box as well.”

“Oh no, please. Please. A little longer, I’ll…………………………”

The nursery maid, for all that she might feel sorry for me, even sympathise with my plight, knew her duty. And I, helpless within the box, could do nothing to prevent her from gagging and hooding me. Blind within the hood’s dense walls, I did not see her lift the head box, nor did I witness her replacing it and bolting down the screws that held it in place.

For me, another endless taste of purgatory was about to start, and there was nothing I could do to prevent its onset.

**************************

“We have decided that you should have a break from your close confinement.”

I blinked in the sudden light, my eyes painful after so long of being engulfed in the darkness of my tranquillity hood and being locked inside the head box.

Shocked by the unexpected visit and still with my mind confused, and my body pain-filled from so long locked in the Orphan Box, I did not at first comprehend what the woman was saying. Then her words sunk in and, for the first time in days, I felt something akin to joy, as I realised I might soon be released from confinement.

I had lost count how many days it had been since I had first been locked in the Orphan box. For, since that day, my routine had been unwavering. Sixteen endless hours within its confines, tranquillity hooded and strapped into often agonising immobility. Then a brief flurry of activity as one of the servants assisted Miss Harding in removing me from the box, cleaning me up, and making sure I used the pot, before giving me something to drink. Then I was fastened down on the sleeping platform for the ‘night’. There I stayed for another seven and a half hours before I was unchained and unstrapped so as to be allowed to use the primitive toilet facilities. The I had to wash myself as best I could in cold water, and to be given a frugal breakfast before being dragged across the cell to the Orphan Box, there to be locked away for the day. During the slow passing hours that followed I was fed sometime in what must have been the late afternoon, although there were days when, for no apparent reason, my main meal of the day was not given to me. There was never any explanation for this, and I had learnt only too soon not to ask Miss Harding why such things happened to me. For I knew that I would barely be able to withstand the pain were she to flog me and then lock me in the box, perched on its grossly uncomfortable seat.

Now, I realised, she can come to see me at an unusual hour and she was talking about a break in my confinement. My poor addled brain was still trying to work out this conundrum when she spoke again.

“We don’t want you wasting away through lack of exercise, do we, Miss Poyser? We want to keep you healthy and happy, for when you go back to teaching your old pupils. Because you are going to do that, aren’t you, my dear?”

With my throat clamped in the wooden ‘collar’ formed by the two halves of the box’s upper surface, I could not nod my assent nor shake my head to indicate refusal. But I knew I might make enough of a movement to let my tormentor know if I had decided to join in with her devious actions.

“Not made up your mind yet?” The woman smiled thinly down at me.

I shook my head slightly, but enough for her to see my indication of refusal.

“Stubborn child.! Never mind, we are in no hurry.”

She turned away and walked across the room to where her companion, the hatchet faced maid, was standing. She took something from the younger woman and, as soon as she turned to face me again, I recognised it as the heavy winter cloak which I had last worn during that terrible exercise period with the sisters.

My heart leapt with joy. They were going to take me outdoors for a walk – out of the box, out of this dungeon and out of the house. I almost cried out with pleasure, but gagged, and discrete, I remained silent as Miss Harding, the cloaks massive folds gathered in her arms, stood back and indicated that the maid should extract me from the orphan Box. As usual it was a protracted and, for me, agonising procedure as cramped limbs were straightened and my part folded body was straightened up, my trembling legs barely holding me upright.

But this time the pain was worthwhile, for I was about to breath God’s fresh air again after so long of breathing and rebreathing the fetid atmosphere trapped under my hood and within the confines of the head box.

I even did my best to straighten up and to stand upright, rather than letting the maid drag me to and fro. My heart was singing as I felt certain that, if I could see the world beyond the cellars just once every few days, I could outlast my tormentors.

Miss Harding came across towards me and shook out the voluminous folds of heavyweight material. With a broad sweep of her hands she swung it round me and allowed its folds to settle on my shoulders, its bulk billowing slowly down to cover me from chin to floor. I staggered under its sudden weight, weakened legs fighting to keep me upright. My head swam from the effort but I managed to remain on my feet.

Miss Harding came closer and reached forward to fasten the massive garment about my throat. As she did so, she smiled again.

“Oh Miss Poyser, I forgot to mention, you’ll be back to wearing your tranquillity hood for your exercise period. You see, you won’t be going far. In fact, just outside the door to this cell. There is a nice long corridor out there, and we thought you could walk up and down that for a while. No need for sight, as you will soon get to know how many paces it is from end to end!”

She laughed icily and stood back, gesturing to the maid.

“Finishing dressing her and then lead her out into the corridor. We’ll teach her how long it is before we make her walk blind. Can’t be cruel to our little governess, can we?”

End of story

 

Catalogue Illustrated

Catalogue Illustrated

by D

Messrs.
Brightwell and Comfort

humbly present their

Young Ladies

Attire and Restraints

Catalogue

for

Spring 1873

 

catalogue_illustrated1

SCHOOLROOM UNIFORM AND ATTIRE

Basic Dress and Cape

This simple, yet pleasantly chaste, uniform comprises of a dress, gloves and hip length cape.

The dress is made of dark grey twill of medium to heavy weight, and is fully lined with wool mix material, all of the garment having this lining with the exception of the collar and cuffs which are canvas lined for extra hard wearing qualities.

The skirt has its own attached hobble-petticoat. This is made of strong cotton canvas and reaches down to within an inch of the ground. It is very closely cut down to knee level, below which it is equipped with stout leather straps at middle calf and ankle level. These may be used to further hobble the wearer and to adjust the length of her paces from a maximum of fourteen inches down to zero. The straps are equipped with rings so that they may be locked closed.

The skirt of the dress is reinforced against wear at its floor length hem by a two inch leather binding. To prevent it from accidentally rising up, small leaden plates are sewn into the leather binding so as to weigh it down. Its waist is equipped with a built-in and whalebone reinforced belt some four inches deep so the dress may be adjusted to closely conform with the shape of the wearer’s corseted waist. (Suitable corsets to be worn with this dress may be found in the ‘Corsets’ section of this catalogue.)

The cuffs are closed by means of six small buttons and, as well as being reinforced with a canvas lining, they are equipped with a whalebone stay under the wearer’s wrist, this being designed to prevent the wearer from indulging in excessive hand and wrist movement. The cuffs are also designed so that the matching gloves may be tucked inside them. The gloves themselves are made of cape leather, dyed to match the dress. They have long cuffs that are close-buttoned and which reach up to mid-forearm level so as to ensure that they do not slip and so expose any of the wrist, being trapped under the cuffs and lower sleeves of the dress at all times. They also may be supplied with or without stiffening panels with whalebone inserts which largely prevent all hand movement.

The body of the dress is closely tailored and the sleeves are cut and set in place so as to make it impossible for the wearer to raise her arms to shoulder level or above once she has been buttoned into her dress. This is fastened at the back by sixteen buttons and twelve sets of hooks and eyes. The collar, which is very high and tight, is reinforced with twelve vertical whalebone braces, joined by three horizontal wire bands. When buttoned closed, the collar prevents the wearer from moving her head in any direction.

The hip-length cape is made of similar, although slightly heavier material to the dress. It is double lined with canvas and wool, and its front opening may be sealed shut by means of fifteen concealed buttons and eighteen sets of hooks and eyes. The collar is constructed in the same manner as that of the dress and reaches up to the underside of the wearer’s chin and up to the base of her ears at the sides.

The hem of the cape is, like the skirts of the dress, weighted with small leaden plates so as to prevent it rising up. These may be added to as necessary. In addition, pockets are sewn into the cape’s lining at shoulder level, so that further weights may be inserted there. The dress and cape are normally supplied with eight quarter-pound weights at the skirt’s hem, and a further eight at the cape’s hem. All such weights are very thin and suitably shaped so that their presence is not visible.

Further weights and pockets for them may be ordered, as may leaden plates weighing half a pound each for the shoulder pockets inserted into the cape’s lining.

The measurements required for this uniform dress and cape are as per the list set out on Page 43 of this catalogue.

catalogue_illustrated2
Cape – Type 2

SCHOOLROOM UNIFORM AND ATTIRE

Cape – Type 2

This garment is designed for schoolroom wear for girls and young women whose main education has been completed and who do not, in consequence, require to use their hands and arms frequently. It may be worn over any dress but we would recommend that it is worn over our Schoolroom Dress No. 1 which is ideally suited for wear with this garment. It is however supplied with double coif’s that are made of the same material as the cape and which are lined with thick woollen material, these covering all the wearer’s head, leaving only the front of her face, from eyes to chin, exposed. The coifs fit the wearer’s head very snugly, being fastened at the back with strong drawstrings and matching lacings, equipped with locking rings as some wearers may find these coifs unpleasantly hot to wear all the time.

The cape is made of grey ultra-heavy twill, specially made for us for this garment. The weave, although coarse to the touch, is extremely close and dense. The wool used is of exceptional strength. These qualities make the cape very hard-wearing; its extremely close weave and the qualities of its material mean that it will not only last for a very long time indeed but also virtually impermeable.

This extremely heavy outer fabric is double lined. It has an inter-lining made of compacted quilting of considerable thickness and weight, while the inner lining is of woollen felting, again a very heavy and strong material. The overall thickness of these linings are such that, although the cape is generously cut, as may be seen in the illustration, the wearer’s arms are pinned to her sides as there is not free space inside the garment at all, once is has been done up.

There are NO armslits or other openings in the garment which is designed so as to be closed-up about its wearer all the time. To ensure this remains so, the front opening is sealed by a row of eighteen metal buttons that are threaded through very close-fitting button-holes, all of which are wire reinforced to prevent their opening up. In addition, there is a secondary row of steel hooks and eyes, twenty in all. Finally, at the top of the cape and at its hem are double steel rings which may be locked together to prevent anyone other than the key-holder from easing or opening the cape once it has been sealed-up around its wearer.

The garment’s collar is lined with woollen felting and is internally reinforced with twelve vertical whalebone bars, together with four flexible metal bands running round the collar horizontally. As well as being closed by six buttons and six sets of steel hooks and eyes, the metal bands are spring-loaded so as to ensure that the collar is always fastened as tightly as is humanly possible about the wearer’s throat. It is also very tall, reaching hard up under the wearer’s jaw and rising up to the base of her ears at the sides. Once the collar is closed up about her throat, the wearer will not be able to move her head at all in any direction.

The garment’s hem is weighted down by means of nine flat leaden weights set into the floor-length hem between the outer material and its leather reinforced bottom lining strip. Normally these lead plates weigh three-quarters of a pound each, but either heavier weights or more of them may be specified, as many parents prefer to use more lead plates to ensure that the garment’s hem cannot accidentally be raised.

This cape has been specially designed to be worn with a body or arm harness, but its weight and thickness make it an excellent form of attire for those young women who need to be kept under any form of duress or restraint. However, even in the case of exceptionally well behaved girls, wearing one of these capes will have a very beneficial effect, especially if worn all day long for a protracted number of years. It is also an extremely chaste and attractive outer garment for young married women, as its weight will ensure that they act in a modest and decorous manner, its heat making certain that they will not be tempted towards over-activity.

This design has been successfully used on girls as young as fourteen who, as they grow older, have had the number of weights sewn into their capes increased. As the garment weighs some nineteen and half pounds without any leaden plates, it can be seen that, by adding more of these weights, the cape can be used to subdue and control headstrong young women most effectively, thanks to its ‘escape-proof’ design, its burdensome weight and the heat that soon develops and grows within its walls after it has been sealed up about its wearer.

catalogue_illustrated3

SCHOOLROOM UNIFORM AND ATTIRE

Cape – Type 2 – Note

While this garment used on its own is perfectly satisfactory in meeting the needs for which it was designed, its usefulness can be improved by using it in conjunction with other products that we can supply. Some of these are listed in these Notes.

1. Body Harness

This is a canvas garment worn over a girl’s normal day dress and beneath her Uniform Cape.

It is made of strong canvas, reinforced with leather strapping, and it reaches from the base of the wearer’s throat to below hip level. It is put on its wearer by making the girl put her arms out in front of her body so that they can be threaded into the harness’s internal ‘sleeves’, the back-opening harness then being drawn back and over her upper body. The ‘sleeves’ are, in fact, deep pockets set inside the garment in which the wearer’s hands and arms are trapped once the harness has been fastened up about her. This is effected by leather straps set in the back of the garment. All the straps are equipped with locking rings so that it may be padlocked shut about its wearer. Once done up, the harness pins the girl’s arms firmly to her sides, making it totally impossible for her to move them at all.

The wearer may be left inside her locked harness for any length of time (unlike some other products which must be removed regularly to prevent severe damage to the wearer). In addition to this, professional experiments have shown that this garment is ‘escape-proof’ and we happily guarantee each one sold as such.

2. Arm Harness

Although apparently less encompassing than our Body Harness, our Arm Harness has proved highly successful and popular with parents, guardians and governesses since we introduced it a few years ago. As its name suggests, it comprises a complex harness that is locked about the wearer’s upper body and over her shoulders. It is made of extremely strong leather and canvas, and comes equipped with heavy-duty padlocks where appropriate.

The harness is locked in place, as per the illustrated instructions that accompany it. The wearers hands are then placed inside a small leather sack which is laced tightly about them so that the girl literally cannot move a finger tip. The bag comes with a deep ‘cuff’ that is then locked about her wrists prior to her arms being pulled up her back, the bag containing the wearer’s hands being then secured high up on the harness between her shoulders blades. Further locking straps then draw her elbows in together and pinion her now twisted and folded arms into a tight ‘parcel’ behind her which, when she is caped, is virtually invisible beneath the thick walls of her outer covering. This form of harness, although apparently less comprehensive than a body harness, is in fact highly efficient and totally ‘escape-proof’. Although some may see it as a disadvantage of this design, it is widely felt that the harness is more effective in keeping a girl in check because of its undoubted discomfort. Many of those in charge of young woman are of the opinion that a degree of discomfort does young women good, so we know that the less than pleasant aspects of this form of restraint are viewed by many as being a very definite ‘plus point’. We would have no hesitation in recommending this form of restraint, knowing how extremely effective and efficient it is.

3. Chastity Mask (Type 1)

This is a thick walled mask that covers the whole of the wearer’s head and face. Made of the same material as our Schoolroom Capes, the chastity mask possesses two extremely small (3/4″ x 1/8″) vision slits piercing its heavily lined walls, there being no other openings to the device.

It is drawn down over the wearer’s head and is then sealed about her collar by a heavy-duty draw cord, two locking rings then being padlocked together so that the mask can not be removed except by the key-holder. Internal tapes at the back are then tightened, drawing in the whole mask so that it presses down on the girl’s whole head and face. However, its extreme thickness eradicates all signs of the facial features of the wearer, not even the outline of her nose being visible. She becomes completely anonymous for as long as she is masked. The masks, thick walled and all concealing, can be supplied with an internal silencer of any type or size. Alternatively, if the girl is to wear her own gag, it can be obtained without such a silencer inside its walls.

catalogue_illustrated4

SCHOOLROOM UNIFORM AND ATTIRE

Cape – Type 2 – Notes – (continued)

4. Chastity Mask (Type 2)

Like the Type 1 Chastity Mask, the head and face covering is made of the same materials as used in making our Schoolroom Capes. Like its counterpart, this mask is fully lined and may be supplied with or without an internal gagging plug.

The difference between the two masks is that this one is not equipped with vision slits. These are dispensed with on the basis that a girl wearing this mask will not require the ability to see anything once she has been masked. When secured in place, this mask totally deprives its wearer of sight and plunges her into total darkness. As such it is an ideal covering for a young woman who is to be kept in isolation.

In addition to its ability to calm over-excitable young women, this mask can be used for minor correction, for it becomes overly warm and somewhat airless inside its walls after a while. Thus few girls enjoy wearing this type of mask, and it may be used to chasten a girl who has erred in some small way.

5. Regulation Silencer (Type 1)

An immense number of different types of silencers exist, several of which we hold in stock. However, many years of experience has shown us that our Type 1 silencer combines excellent efficiency and not unacceptable degree of comfort for the wearer.

The silencer comprises of two linked parts; the face mask and the gagging plug. The first is made of leather, fully lined with thick rubber. It covers the whole of the wearer’s lower face, reaching from the base of her chin up to immediately below her nostrils. Reaching higher at the sides, it is joined behind the head by lacing reinforced by metal clamps. Adjustable rings at the mask’s top edge, at its centre and at its base allow for padlocking the mask closed, three padlocks being supplied with the silencer. Once laced up and locked, the mask presses hard against the wearer’s lower face, sealing it down hermetically.

The second part of this silencer, the plug, is made of wood covered with thick rubber. The wooden core is shaped so as to match that of the inside of the wearer’s mouth, so that it presses down on the tongue and fills the rest of the space within her mouth so as to prevent all sound from directly bypassing the plug. The plug is joined to the outer mask by a flat metal ‘joining-plate’ that passes between the teeth, they being forced up to tightly ‘bite’ the joining-plate when the mask is laced up. The joining-plate is covered in rubber so as to prevent damage to the teeth when they are forced closed onto it. The action of forcing the teeth together like this ensures that the wearer has her mouth closed up all the time.

Although this silencer is far from being as severe or unpleasant as some other designs, it is highly effective as the mask covers the cheeks, thus preventing ‘reverberating sound’ from escaping. All other sounds are stopped by the plug and the mask so that this form of silencer manages to successfully combine effectiveness with simplicity of use.

In view of the different sizes of girls’ mouths and heads, five different sizes of plugs and three of masks are available (a measuring chart is available at the back of this catalogue). In addition, four larger ‘over-size’ plugs are also available, these being more effective than normal versions but they are considerably more distressing to wear. Their ends curve back and down so as to block the girl’s throat. This makes this type of plug extremely effective but they do cause most girls to choke on them for as long as they are in place.

However all types of plugs and masks may be worn all the time without permanently damaging the inside of a girl’s mouth, only being removed at meal times and when her teeth are to be cleaned.

6. Regulation Silencer (Type 2)

This is of the same basic design as Type 1 except that the mask reaches up to cover the whole of the wearer’s face, being terminated at higher forehead level so, if worn with a coif, the whole of the wearer’s face is hidden except for her eyes which look out through two openings in the leather and rubber-lined mask (these openings measure 1″ x 1/2″). As the wearer can not breath through her mouth and as her nostrils are shut away inside the rubber-lined leather walls of this type of mask, two very small holes are pierced through it under her nose, the leather being shaped so as to allow for the presence of her nose. These holes are lined with metal grommets to ensure that they always remain open, this being necessary as the wearer would rapidly suffocate if they closed up. This type of silencer is less pleasant to wear than the Type 1. However it is marginally more effective, which will appeal to those seeking perfect silence from their charges.

catalogue_illustrated5
Cloak – Type 1

OUTDOOR UNIFORM AND ATTIRE

Cloak – Type 1

This cloak has, over the years, proved to be one of our best selling items. It has the advantages of being most chaste and demure, concealing its wearer completely once the hood has been raised so that ill-mannered onlookers cannot see any part of her in public. Its design is such that, once secured inside the garment and with her head covered by its large hood, the wearer cannot be accidentally revealed because the fastenings are both complex and ultra efficient, as well as being made so that the wearer, on her own, cannot open her cloak nor lower her hood.

The cloak is made of heavyweight felted twill of very considerable thickness. This material is impermeable, to the degree that the cloak can be worn in heavy rain without the wearer’s clothing getting damp beneath it. Beneath its outer layer, the cloak is triple lined: the first layer being of medium weight canvas so as to enable the garment to hold its shape at all times. The next layer is of thick-quilted fabric to give it bulk while the innermost lining is of heavy wool. These linings, allied with its basic material, make the cloak extremely snug and warm enough to wear on the iciest day of winter. Yet such cloaks are worn by many girls all the year round; although overly warm on temperate days, this type of cloak is so hard-wearing that the need for any other cloak is obviated.

The body of the cloak is closed by means of twenty three buttons and twenty one sets of steel hooks and eyes. It is equipped with matching rings at the neck and hem so that it may be locked about the wearer.

Its hood is made of the same material and linings as the rest of the cloak and, as such, is very heavy. This factor, combined with the way that the hood is made, mean that the wearer will have to bow her head if she is to see out of it and, even so, she will be very effectively blinkered so that she can only see a small patch of the ground at her feet.

The hood can be worn in a less strict manner but it is designed to ensure that the wearer’s head and face is always totally concealed and that she is unable to gaze idly about her when outdoors. To effect this, the hood is partially closed up and is equipped with nine buttons and seven sets of steel hooks and eyes, as well as having three sets of stout tapes set inside the hood’s cavity to prevent it being blown back from the wearer’s head. Once properly hooded, the wearer has to keep her head demurely lowered because, if she tries to raise it, the front of the hood will collapse before her face, totally depriving her of sight and also cutting off her air supply. In order to prevent the garment from accidentally riding up, ten half-pound lead plates are sewn in around its leather reinforced hem. In addition, provision is made for a further ten plates to be inserted into other pockets round the hem.

Also sewn into the lining on either side of the shoulders of the garment are three pockets (making a total of twelve in this position). Normally four of these pockets are filled with one pound weights, being in the form of lead plates. However the cloak can be supplied with eight or even twelve of these weights in place. If thought necessary, the garments can be supplied with more pockets or ones capable of taking two pound weights. However, in view of the overall weight of the garment and the fact that its hem is weighed down, we would not recommend that a full grown young woman is initially made to carry more than twelve pounds in lead weights in her cloak’s shoulder pockets. However it has been found that, after a few months of carrying such weights, they may be added to without undue problems.

The garment is designed to be worn over our Schoolroom Cape, but it may be worn with any other combination of clothing. As such it is an extremely adaptable and versatile cloak which, as we are informed from time to time, is used even as an indoor garment for their charges by some parents and guardians. However, it should be stated that this cloak is extremely heavy and very warm, so it should only be worn indoors by those young woman capable of bearing its weight and withstanding its warmth.

We have found during the years that we have been selling this garment that it is an excellent ‘training’ device, for any girl or young woman wearing one of these cloaks will be kept very subdued and reluctant to move about owing to the burden of her cloak.

The hood, with its design that makes its wearer bow her head all the time, is good for instilling humility into otherwise less than humble young women, while the weight of the complete garment will ensure that the natural spirits of any girl are subdued after she has been cloaked and hooded for even a relatively short period of time. We would thoroughly recommend this garment for all girls and young woman over the age of fifteen, to be worn whenever they go outside and, if necessary, to be adopted indoors so as to discipline and to chasten its wearers. Given that it will last virtually indefinitely, it may be worn all the time by any girl without the need of a duplicate being purchased.

catalogue_illustrated6

SCHOOLROOM UNIFORM AND ATTIRE

Cloak – Type 2 – (Indoor)

This cloak is designed to be primarily worn as an indoor cloak, although it is sometimes used for outdoor wear if the weather is especially hot and when the adoption of our Type 1 cloak might be excessively problematic for its wearers. However, this does not mean that this type of cloak is any less strict and, although designed to be worn indoors over normal uniform attire, it is warm enough to be used for virtually any purpose.

(This type of cloak has been used by several purchasers as a night attire for their charges, worn in bed over normal night-time suppressive devices – as listed on Page 23 of this catalogue – as it covers up the harnesses etc. worn in bed.)

The garment is made of the same heavy material as our Type 1 cloak, although it is of a slightly lighter weave. It is also thickly lined with a deep quilted layer sandwiched between the outer shell of the cloak and its inner lining made of heavy wool. Its closure is effected by twenty steel buttons reinforced by sixteen sets of hooks and eyes which reach up to the top of the cloak’s high collar.

The hood is constructed of the same materials as the cloak but it is not as large as that used with the Type 1 cloak. This enables the wearer to see out of the hood with her head held in its normal posture, as opposed to the deeply bowed pose necessary when wearing a Type 1 cloak. However, the hood may be drawn forward if deemed necessary, so that this cloak’s wearer must bend her head low so as to enable her to see out of the hood’s aperture. Because it is possible to place the hood ‘normally’ over the wearer’s head, this cloak can be worn in the schoolroom or in other places or situations where its wearer needs to be able to look in front of her or to see anything other than the floor at her feet.

(NB. In view of the fact that this cloak may be worn with its hood ‘open’, many of our customers have decided that, in order to maintain it wearer’s modesty, it is necessary to keep her hooded whenever she wears this type of cloak. We therefore offer to supply each cloak with a pair of matching masks. These are made of the same material as the body of the cloak and are lined with heavy rubber so that, should the wearer perspire within her hood’s walls, this will not stain the material. Extremely small holes are pierced through the rubber lining to permit the wearer to breath inside her hood, for the only other apertures in the hood’s walls are those for vision. These are very small, measuring 1/2 by 1/8th of an inch, and are covered by densely woven black curtains that prevent onlookers from seeing the wearer’s eyes. [If required, the masks may be supplied without vision slits so that their wearers are left deprived of all sight once masked.]

The hoods are fastened at the back by means of wire-reinforced lacing with a metallic band passing round the wearer’s throat so as to seal the hood in place, this band being secured closed by means of a padlock situated at the rear which prevents the hood being eased or removed by anyone other than the key-holder. When the lacing has been drawn in fully, the mask is extremely tight fitting, hence the need for only a few very small holes in the rubber lining as this presses hard up against the wearer’s nostril openings.

We supply two of these masks as one is of normal construction, the second having an integral silencer fixed within the mask’s walls. Should the purchaser so desire, both masks may be equipped with gags. While they normally may be ordered in ‘standard’, ‘large’ or ‘extra large’ sizes, we will fit special gags to these masks at a small extra cost. Similarly, the masks may be equipped with lower-face bindings if required, also at a small extra cost while breathing tubes may also be specified if the purchaser does not wish for the rubber lining to be pierced with breathing holes. However, we would advise buyers to consider purchasing ‘purpose-made’ masks for their charges should their demands apropos these coverings be highly specialised, for we are able to ‘tailor’ such devices to exacting standards and to a wide variety of specifications.)

The Type 2 Cloak comes equipped with pockets for lead weights around its hem and over the garment’s shoulders. The standard weights supplied are eight, each of one half pound, fitted around the garment’s hem. However, any number or weight of lead weights may be specified when ordering one of these cloaks at no extra cost, up to ten weights of a pound each. Any greater number or weight will involve a small extra charge.

A further ‘extra cost’ option available with this cloak is the fitment of a closure curtain inside the hood. This may, at any time and extremely simply, be drawn across the hood’s opening and be sealed in place, thus preventing the wearer from seeing out of her hood interior. We would however like to make it clear that this curtain should not be left in place for protracted periods as it prevents the ingress of air into the hood, thus causing the cloak’s wearer to start slowly suffocating after a while. The curtain may be left in place for two or three hours but, beyond this, its wearer will start to be badly effected by lack of air within her sealed hood.

RESTRAINT AND CONTROL DEVICES (1)

a. Full length Strait Cape

This device is guaranteed to subdue and control the most determined and head-strong young woman, and to keep her under strict duress all the time that she is wearing this garment.

It is made of double-layered heavyweight canvas, reinforced with leather strapping and sewn with wire thread for extra strength and longevity. It reaches down from a high collar to an ankle-length hem, constraining its wearer by means of its great strength and by use of the horizontal straps that are situated outside its walls and which will be buckled tightly closed about the young woman once she has been dressed in her Strait-Cape. These three inch wide straps are made of heavy leather and each is equipped with two sets of locking rings for added security. They are sewn into the garment at chest, waist, hips, upper and lower thigh, knee, calf and ankle levels. Normally those down to knee level are fully tightened and locked, whilst the two lowest straps are left with an inch or so of free ‘play’ so that the wearer can move about, albeit with tiny steps and extremely slowly, the severe hobbling effect of her Strait-Cape making moving even short distances at very slow speeds an extremely tiring and even painful process.

If she is not to be permitted to move about, the calf and ankle level straps may also be fully tightened and then locked so the young woman is made completely unable to move at all, her limbs being extremely and effectively immobilised.

In respect to the wearer’s arms, these may be first incapacitated within the confines of a separate harness, or they may be inserted into the internal sleeves set within the interior walls of her Strait-Cape. These are deep pockets reaching down from arm-pit level to below waist level, being made of specially reinforced canvas. Once the wearer’s hands and arms have been inserted into these ‘sleeves’ she is totally unable to remove them on her own and, once the cape has been closed-up behind her and the horizontal straps have been tightly drawn in and locked closed, she is made completely helpless; her hands and arms are pinned down and totally immobilised at her sides, and they will remain in that posture until such time as she is eventually freed from her Strait-Cape. The Strait-Cape is sealed behind the wearer’s back by means of steel lacing and nine short closure straps made of heavy leather which are all equipped with double rings so that they may be locked closed. The garment’s collar is reinforced with vertical iron plates that force the wearer’s head up and grasp her throat in such a manner as to prevent her from moving her head at all. The collar’s top edge reaches right up under the young woman’s chin and extends even higher at the sides and back so as to completely ensure that her neck is paralysed and her head is locked into complete immobility.

The Strait-Cape is supplied with a matching mask-hood made of the same canvas but this time rubber lined to prevent its fabric from being stained by perspiration. This covering can be supplied with or without eye-slits. If in place, these are always curtained to prevent anyone from seeing the hooded young-woman’s eyes. Owing to the hood’s rubber lining, nostril plugs are fitted inside the hood, these exiting through the rubber lining.

The hood (which is sometimes known by its users as a ‘face corset’) is equipped at the back with steel lacing which enables the extremely strong canvas to be cinched in with great force, ‘corsetting’ the wearer’s head and face in a highly unpleasant manner, if so desired.

This ‘tight lacing’ is very useful in controlling even the strongest willed young woman. For the threat of having her head and face ‘corsetted’ will soon bring such creatures to heel, once they have sampled the misery of having their Strait-Cape’s hood severely laced up.

It is also of some use when it comes to ensuring that a girl locked within her Strait-Cape remains silent. For once her hood has been tightly laced-up, its pressure on her face will force her gag even deeper into her mouth and will press her cheeks down on it fully, thereby ensuring that her silencing plug fills every nook and cranny of her mouth.

It is far from pleasant to be ‘face-corseted’ but many of the people who have purchased our Strait-Capes in the past always use the hood on their charges, and insist on those hoods being laced up as tightly as possible at all times. They have witnessed how effective ‘face-corseting’ can be, and have decided that their young charges will benefit from the unpleasantness caused by having their heads and faces enclosed within most rigorously laced-up hoods all the time.

Similarly, many young woman are kept locked inside strictly laced up and strapped Strait-Capes virtually every moment of their lives. For, once locked within the cape’s embrace, they cannot misbehave and must be docile and obedient at all times. Kept utterly helpless, they soon learn that rebellion or disobedience are out of the question and they become meek and tractable creatures as they should have been in the first place.

RESTRAINT AND CONTROL DEVICES (2)

b. Total Containment Sack

This device has been specially designed to retain and restrain girls and young women who are to be placed ‘In Storage’. It is also most suitable for use in conjunction with our Strait-Cape, if the wearer has a Back-Bar (see page 29) attached to her Strait-cape.

The Sack itself is relatively simple. It is made of four layers of heavily reinforced rubber in the shape of a long sack, shaped to fit a young woman who is inserted through the ‘foot’ end of the sack. Once inside, the sack is sealed and external straps are fastened so as to further restrain the entrapped girl.

Prior to insertion within the sack, breathing tubes must be fitted up the girl’s nostrils and held in place by a special mask supplied with the sack. The long tubes are allowed to fall down to the girl’s feet as she is inserted into the sack and, as it is being sealed, the ends of the tubes are connected to a small control box set within the sack’s walls. The box has a small ‘gate’ which passes through the rubber, allowing a predetermined amount of air to pass into the box and thence into the long breathing tubes. As the sack is hermetically sealed when closed up, this regulated supply is the air which the girl must breath. However, it is rationed carefully so that she will exist satisfactorily only if she remains utterly motionless and does not struggle inside the sack, for she is permitted just sufficient air for survival when totally motionless while even the tiniest movement will burn up more air than she has been permitted, this causing her to slowly suffocate.

Once inside the sack, the young woman is further immobilised by means of the straps passing round the container which will then be drawn tightly in about her and buckled closed prior to being locked in place. The webbing thus formed also will act, if wished, as the supports when the sack is hung up later. For it is equipped with strong steel ‘eyes’ at shoulder level so that the sack can be attached to ropes which may then be hauled up, raising the sack from the floor, until it hangs free. Once clear of the floor, the bottom opening can be double sealed and locked so that the creature locked within the sack’s walls is totally isolated and can only be freed from it by the designated key holder.

c. Storage Box.

This box is made of one and three-quarter inch thick timber, and is reinforced both externally and internally by iron ties. It measures six and a half feet in height, being two foot wide and two foot deep. It is specially designed to be used in conjunction with our Total Containment Sack (see above) which may be hung from hooks and chains attached to the box’s ceiling.

The interior of the box is inter-lined with sound-deadening material, having an interior lining of thick rubber to further ensure that no noise may enter or escape this container, the door being made so as to ensure that it remains sound-proof and air-tight once closed. It is equipped with four external bolts and two heavy and deeply recessed locks which are opened by different keys so that two separate key-holders may be employed, if required. In addition, provision is made for two padlocks to be used to lock the box as well.

In view of its air-tight nature, the box is provided with a Breather Box. This is fitted into the side wall of the box, opposite the very similar boxes found in our Total Containment Sacks. This is to enable the two boxes to be joined by a small diameter air tube, the amount of air flowing through this being controlled and rationed via either – or even both – boxes. Should the young woman locked inside the Box not be inserted into a Containment Sack first, her breathing mask (please see Page 37 for suitable examples) may he linked to the Breather Box so as to ensure that she will not suffocate whilst locked inside her Storage Box.

Whether first placed within a Containment Sack or whether otherwise bound, a young woman locked within a Storage Box will be its prisoner until released as, once the door has been closed on her, it is totally impossible for her to open the door, even if it has not been locked or bolted. She may be left inside her Box in total silence and darkness for as long as is needed.

(Note. It is necessary to ensure that a girl locked inside her Storage Box is ALWAYS connected to the Breather Box prior to the door being closed. Without this she will rapidly suffocate. Also, if a girl is to be left in Storage for any great length of time, she should be bodily ‘plumbed’ and provided with water and – should she be locked away for longer than three weeks – with a supply of sustenance. We are happy to supply Storage Boxes equipped with suitable plumbing and feeding apparatus to those who wish to keep their charges in Storage for protracted periods of time. If properly fitted with plumbing and feeding apparatus, a young woman may be left locked in her Storage Box virtually indefinitely. We will, on request, supply detailed specifications and prices, and we will be happy to provide ‘case histories’ proving that girls may be locked away quite safely for extremely protracted periods.)

catalogue_illustrated7

RESTRAINT AND CONTROL DEVICES (3)

d. Restraint Box. (Type 1.)

This box is designed for daily use and, although essentially very simple to use, is highly secure. Based on the old fashioned ‘Orphan Boxes’ still found in some institutions, it is made of stout timber, it comprises of a box some three foot high and two foot deep and two foot broad. Within its walls is a very narrow seat and rings to act as strap anchors. The front of the box swings open while the top is divided into two halves which will slide apart. Each half has a half circle aperture at its internal centre so that, when they are pushed together and locked, there is a circular opening in the centre of the top. It is through this opening that projects the head of the young woman imprisoned within the box.

Once the young woman has been seated within the box, she is secured in place by means of straps or harnesses, fastened down to her seat as well as having her body and legs totally immobilised. The two top halves are then slid together to clamp her neck in place so she cannot move her head at all, and then the door is closed and locked. Once this has been done, even if she were free of all other forms of restraint, the young person inside the box would be totally incapable of escaping from it, as her hands and arms are trapped inside its walls and its door cannot be opened from inside, nor its top halves slid apart to free her neck. However, our boxes are all equipped with double locks as well as external padlocks to make certain that no misguided person can free the girl inside her box unless having authorised access to the boxes’ keys.

The area around the neck opening is built up so that, when the two halves of the top are slid together, the girl’s throat will be tightly held for its whole length, this ensuring that she can not move her head at all. The box can be supplied with the following ‘extras’ if so desired:-

1. Head Box. This is a solid walled container which, once the girl has been fastened within her Restraint Box, can be placed over her head so as to deprive her of sight and, to a degree, air. It is attached to the top of the Restraint Box by means of eight screws that ensure that the Head Box is sealed down properly. The Head Box can be supplied with either a small grilled opening at the back for ventilation or, alternatively, it may be fitted with a control valve so that the amount of fresh air allowed into the box’s interior may be regulated.

2. Single Bar Seat. This comprises, of a narrow bar running from side to side within the box to act as a seat. As it is made of steel with its narrowest edge, facing upwards, it is extremely uncomfortable to sit on even for a short while. In consequence it may be installed for punishment purposes, or to ensure that the girl inside the box remains awake for as long as she is so restrained.

3. Internal Harness. The normal Restraint Box is supplied with anchorage points for restraint straps. However, it may be fitted with a complete harness made of extremely stout leather which is equipped with heavy duty buckles and lock-rings. Once this has been secured correctly about a girl inside a Restraint Box, it may be guaranteed that she will be unable to move a single muscle until such time as she is released from this form of harness.

e. Restraint Box. (Type 2.)

This box is very similar to the ‘Type 1’ Box, except that it has a permanently attached Head Box fitted to its top. In addition, the inside of both parts of the box are lined with heavy-duty rubber, the Head Box being fitted with a control valve for the admission of a rationed amount of air. This is necessary as the Head Box, once closed and locked, is totally air-tight.

In addition to its normal internal harnessing, this type of Restraint Box comes only with a ‘single bar’ seat, and has provision for a heating box to be placed under that seat. This is an iron box which is accessed by means of an iron door set in the side of the Box. Within this internal container is a removable tray into which hot coals may he placed. Once placed inside the heating box these will heat up the iron walls so that they will raise the temperature inside the box by a very considerable amount. The interior of this type of Restraint Box becomes extremely hot once the heating box has been filled with glowing coals, and will remain like that for several hours afterwards.

This facility may be used for punishment purposes or it can also be utilised so as to help a young woman to lose weight by making her perspire heavily as she sits in her Restraint Box. It can also be employed merely to ensure that the girl within the Box is kept in a state that will dissuade her from rebelling against her fate or from being anything other than docile when eventually let out of her Box. As such this facility is often used merely to ensure that a girls’ behaviour improves generally over time.

RESTRAINT AND CONTROL DEVICES (4)

f. Breathing Control Hood. (Type 1.)

In recent years many of those who have young women and girls under their control have discovered how easy it is to control them by depriving them of air or by rationing it to the extent that any movement causes the offender to run out of air very rapidly. At the request of customers, we have designed and made various devices which accurately ration the amount of air available to the devices’ wearers or even to prevent them breathing at all for brief periods. Unlike earlier (and less professional) devices produced elsewhere, ours are both highly effective and safe, if they are used as per the instructions issued with them.

Our Type 1 Breathing Control Hood is a simple to use device which has been designed so that it may be worn for very long periods without maintenance. It comprises of a double layered ‘bag-hood’ made of heavyweight rubber which is drawn down over the wearer’s head and face, its back opening and deep collar being laced up prior to being secured closed with four locking straps which are equipped with attached padlocks. Inside the hood are two small plugs that, when the hood is fitted, are placed up the wearer’s nostrils. These plugs pass through the wall of the hood into a small control valve. This has an adjusting knob set in its front surface which can be turned so as to select the amount of air allowed to pass through the valve and thence into the wearer’s nostrils. The adjustments vary from ‘5’ – an air flow barely less than that available to the wearer if she were not hooded, down to ‘0’ on which setting no air whatsoever is allowed to pass through the now closed valve.

The air allowed through the valve and the nostril plugs form the wearer’s breathing supply as the mask is otherwise hermetically sealed. As with all our Breathing Control Hoods, this comes with a table showing how little air is necessary for the wearer under various circumstances, and how she can be punished by using the valve’s low settings for various periods of time.

This version possesses no vision openings. It may be worn for extended periods, and the wearer may be kept under suppression by strictly rationing her air supply all the time.

g. Breathing Control Hood. (Type 2.)

This hood is identical to the Type 1 Breathing Control Hood, except that it is equipped with eye-slits. These are surrounded by thick rubber ‘gaskets’ so that no air may enter the body of the mask, other than that allowed in via the valve and nostril plugs.

h. Breathing Control Hood. (Type 3.)

This hood is identical to the Type 1 Breathing Control Hood, except that it is fitted with a built-in gag that is attached to the hood’s inner surface opposite the wearer’s mouth. It is NOT equipped with eye-slits.

The type of gag and its size may be specified by the individual purchasers.

i. ‘MAXIMUM’ Control Hood.

This is the most popular of our range of Control Hoods, as it provides full suppression of its wearer. Its outer shell is made of black leather inside which are two layers of thick rubber which is laced up about the wearer’s head and face in a similar manner to the less severe hoods. The leather ‘shell’ is similarly laced up and locked closed by means of similar locking straps.

Inside its walls, the hood is equipped with dense pads situated over the wearer’s ears so that, once hooded, she can not hear anything whatsoever. Jutting out from the front wall of the interior is one of our ‘Perfect’ gags to ensure the wearer’s total silence while, just above the gag, the larger and longer than usual nostrils plugs are fitted ready for insertion up the wearer’s nose.

Outside its walls, the nostril plugs enter into the back of a control valve, this being fully adjustable as well as having an open connector so that it may, if wished, be attached to a remote breathing control box (Please see Page 41) by means of flexible rubber tubing. Thus the wearer’s air supply can be controlled and rationed either by means of the valve set in the front of the hood, or by a separate and more sophisticated Control Box. However, even using the simpler valve set on the hood’s surface, it’s wearers air supply can be regulated most accurately, even being shut off completely for short periods, if thought helpful.

As an isolation aide, this hood is excellent and cannot be faulted, just as it may also be used for penal purposes as well as being employed as an ‘everyday’ part of any young woman’s uniform attire. It may be most unpleasant to have one’s head and face locked inside a ‘Maximum’ hood for any length of time; but this merely goes to show how very effective and efficient is this form of hood

 

Weekend at Birchdale

Weekend at Birchdale

by Bo_Emp

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Version for Qlair forum.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format without author’s permission.

This story is inspired by and uses the story “The Mask of Birchdale” (by N.Y.C. from the Bizarre magazine) as background. It is recommended reading that story before this, but not a necessity to enjoy the following.

1.

The doorbell rings. If it is her she is five minutes early. But it doesn’t matter, they are ready, and especially Anne is ready. They stayed in bed until late morning, just lying petting like teenagers. Then Anne has been in the bathroom for long to make her body ready for going partying. The brunch table is simple but nutritious. Anne knows normal eating for her won’t be possible perhaps until late Sunday. They have been at the table for nearly an hour and are both completely filled and ready. For the last quarter of an hour they have just sipped coffee and fed each other small bites, which they think the other would really enjoy. They both enjoy being fed by their love, filled or not. Now they both get up and walk arms around shoulders to the front door. Peter would be able to leave in minutes already in white shirt and black trousers. Anne is ready as well, wearing a white bathrobe and nothing else. Peter opens the door for them both to see that it is the woman they expect. But anyway they both can’t help staring for a while before Peter says “You are the maid from Birchdale I presume, please come inside.” The maid nods politely and takes a step forward to start pulling a small suitcase on wheels with her left hand. Anne still intensively stares at the woman entering. Considering what the maid is here to do her appearance is not surprising, and her body is dressed in the usual Birchdale maid uniform of a black knee long dress with white collar and cuffs in addition to a white apron, but it is what is outside the normal uniform where the individual employee is normally identified, which is different. This is all covered in fine soft black leather. Especially the head of course looks different completely masked in black although topped by the usual white cap. The face is a black mold of a human face, but with only two small holes at the nostrils, two circular areas at the eyes consisting a grid of tiny holes, and a hemispheric protrusion at the mouth indicating the maid is gagged. Having closed the door Peter says “I’m in the living room when you two are ready to go to Birchdale.” Then he leaves and while Anne leads the maid towards the bedroom, she can’t make out if this is the around forty years old head maid, Mrs. Burns, the barely twenty years old Mrs. Summer or perhaps even one of colored skin like Mrs. Davidson.

Inside the bedroom Anne says, while the maid opens the suitcase “It seems to be a weekend where all women at Birchdale are to be masked. I’m very happy someone has been send with the clothing to dress me correctly. Only wearing this bathrobe I’m ready to begin right away. Are you Mrs. Burns, Mrs. Davidson or one of the other maids I’m familiar with?” The maid answers by holding a specially made black silk scarf in front of Anne’s mouth. At the middle of the scarf it is sewn around a large ball of cloth with a tube through the center. Anne realizes this is the modern version of the kerchief the first wearer of Birchdale masking, the seventeen century maiden Joanna, had to wear beneath the mask to prevent her from any form of oral communication. Anne opens her mouth wide and immediately it is filled with cloth, but due to the ball being enclosed in the outer scarf none of the cloth slides back to obstruct her airways. While the maid ties the scarf at the back of Anne’s neck, the cloth starts getting soaked by saliva, making it feel like her mouth has been filled with sticky porridge, which won’t dissolve and can’t be swallowed. Then from the suitcase the maid produces a skin colored piece of clothing. Made from spandex this can’t be part of the original Birchdale outfit, but the current Lord and Lady of Birchdale are kinky and have updated the outfit for their own pleasure. The maid holds the full body suit open for Anne to step into the legs with integrated feet. Anne removes her bathrobe, and a minute later she is hundred percent covered in spandex, when the maid ends the closing of the long zipper from the top of the back, down and in between her legs to up just below the waist. A tiny slit at the mouth to let the tube of her cloth gag through is now the only opening in her new second skin. Anne immediately starts feeling a little warm all over, but what makes the largest difference to being naked is that her eyes are covered as well. Her surroundings have become darker and everything is seen through a haze. The suit being elastic clings to her body and accentuates every sexy curve, for those liking forms rather than the touch of skin making her a wonderfully most attractive female form. But what the maid next produces suggests someone in the past or present isn’t satisfied with the natural female form, because the maid holds up a white corset. Anne gets a little scared because she has never worn more than a boned top, and knows that a corset may create extreme chest pain, heavily restricted breathing and occasionally fainting. But she has no need to worry. Just as the maid has tightened the laces to a point where Anne starts hurting and feeling her breath impeded, the maid stops. While the maid turns to the suitcase again Anne cheers up seeing herself in the mirror. Although her waist has only been reduced by something like three inches, she has to admit it is a visible improvement. The corset outer layer is made to cover the lacing down the back with two flaps to be zipped together. Before zipping the maid holds up the item just taken from the suitcase for Anne to see. It’s a padlock to require a key for opening the zipper and thus removing the corset again. As Anne senses the lock being closed, she realizes that the corset has to be removed for the zipper of her spandex suit to open more than giving access to her crotch, and that the suit has to be removed to remove her gag. Without cutting, not herself and only the keyholder decides how long she is to remain an anonymous mute female form. With a pair of boots in her hands the maid gestures Anne to sit down on the bed. The boots are made of reinforced white leather and reaches just below the knees. But what makes Anne widen her eyes, unseen inside the suit, is that their form with high tiny heels forces her feet close to en pointe, to make walking and perhaps even just standing an insecure task. Just being laced the boots only stretch her ankles and feel very tight but doesn’t hurt. If just standing is a problem isn’t directly tested, but indirectly confirmed, as the maid lets her stay sitting for the next items to be put on. Opera length white leather gloves are next. The maid has great trouble getting Anne’s hand inside the first glove, which is extremely tight. When she has pulled it up above the wrist, from where it is laced close, Anne has had plenty of time to get used to that her hand is immobile and practically useless. The tightness of the glove makes her fingers unbendable, and the individual fingers are sewn together making the hand unable to grab or hold anything. But eventually the maid is ready to reach into the suitcase again. Immediately Anne forgets her useless hands and quite rigid arms, and takes a deep breath to suppress a perhaps wrong fear of participating in this weekend arrangement. Because what the maid produces now is the Birchdale mask or hood itself, the most important item in changing her from a normal human being to a submissive obedient female living doll. But it is neither her new appearance or the effect the mask may have on her character that worries Anne the most. She is in doubt if she can handle having her entire head tightly wrapped in an impenetrable sheet of material that could make her faint from overheating or suffocate. With the three other couples and Peter enthusiastically agreeing about the weekend ‘no’ what not an option, but had she been asked alone face to face it would have required long persuasion, and perhaps some training sessions of increasing duration to accept having her head completely encased. Now she has to endure it for more than twenty four hours starting in a few moments. Her only consolation is that Janet, the current Lady Birchdale, enjoys wearing the mask, but Anne fears it is part of her liking to be disciplined. Her face already covered the maid can’t see her fearful expression, and before Anne’s fear starts turning to panic her head is surrounded by the soft leather, which then starts tightening as the maid laces the mask down the back of the head. It gets tight everywhere, but Anne calms somewhat when she finds out her breathing isn’t affected much. The mask has two small tubes to ensure the nostrils aren’t blocked, which have penetrated small cuts in the suit, replacing the need to breathe through the spandex with open but narrow paths for the air. Then Anne opens her eyes, which have been instinctively closed when an object approached. She sees something, but very little. The pin-hole openings of the mask have reduced her sight to two narrow circles, seeming more dark than with the spandex covering alone, and still hazy. The maid having finished lacing, Anne’s head is free to allow her to look in the mirror. Her field of vision is just large enough to see her own entire face. The limited view means it doesn’t matter that she isn’t wearing a dress and bonnet yet. She recalls how Janet at the last yearly ball in memory of Joanna’s abduction to become the first masked Lady Birchdale, popped up among any group of women chatting with her masked doll face. She was unable to make any contribution to the conversation and could not reveal her own opinion, opposed to all the other women often nearly shouting to have their saying. Anne didn’t really notice this at the ball until at their next meeting, where Janet told her that passively listening to a heated discussion in which everybody liked to know on which side the others are without revealing your own view with the faintest expression, is just one enjoyable part about wearing the Birchdale mask and complete outfit. The mask is made of soft natural pale leather not far from the skin color of a white person a little tanned. But without the hues of real skin, no colored irises or white of the eyes, the human features are just sketched by the pin-holes resembling pupils, two lines of black stitching resembling eyebrows, and two pieces of attached leather in dark red resembling slightly parted lips. Anne has become a doll able to move to some degree. Just how much that is she will find out next, as the maid grabs her hand to help her get on her feet. Anne’s thoughts are immediately moved away from her appearance, the tightness of her hood and her increasingly warm head, to put her full attention on trying to stand. Her feet wobbles and her body moves back and forward without able to balance on its own. Only the maid steadying her and Anne more or less leaning against her keep her upright. Supported and with insecure steps the maid leads Anne to a wall, where she can stay upright by leaning her forward stretched hands against the wall. Shortly after a dress is put over her head and with the maid replacing the support of one arm at a time she is able to get the arms through the sleeves and the dress down over her body. Now Anne is able to see she has been dressed in forest green silk. The dress shows her corseted body from its top, just covering her nipples, to the hips. Below it continues being tight to the knees, from where it flares out brushing the floor except at the front. Attached at the top is a piece of white lace to make it little visible that was is seen in the neck opening is the skin colored suit and not real skin. The short sleeves are only reaching halfway down the upper arms, but that is more than enough to cover the rims of the gloves. By turning her head to the side Anne is able to see herself in the mirror while still leaning against the wall. Just the bonnet remains to make the Birchdale outfit complete. While Anne unable to move much tries to get an impression of her figure in the mirror the maid fits the bonnet. Bonnets were a normal thing to wear for women of the seventeenth century, but the Birchdale bonnet is special in being a cap with a wide neck strap attached, both made of thick black leather, and topped by a form giving layer of thick black velvet. In addition to hide the lacing of the mask and covering where hair would have been if unmasked, the bonnet serves to make both the mask and itself irremovable without damaging. In the mirror Anne sees that nowadays the small front buckle of the bonnet is not sealed with wax to reveal tampering, but simply locked with a matching padlock. She doesn’t think of where the key might be, because now her already warm head starts feeling hot and the first drops of sweat are running down the back of her neck. Luckily the spandex doesn’t absorb much sweat, and her face ‘only’ being covered by one layer of leather the perspiration here is low enough to avoid forming droplets that would run into her eyes without any possibility of removing them. Having no option but accepting the sweating Anne’s mind has time to notice that it seems her hearing is now reduced as well. The natural sounds of the room and the small noises the maid makes are attenuated, but as none of them are able to speak Anne can’t determine how much her hearing is affected. Wearing the boots for some minutes she has become more assured standing, and slowly she turns to watch herself in the mirror frontally, only using one hand to steady herself against the wall. The two times she has seen Janet masked in the Birchdale outfit, she has been wearing a burgundy dress, which is perhaps the color Joanna wore the night she was abducted, but apart from Anne is now wearing green, it seems to her she is observing an exact copy of Janet when looking in the mirror. With her very limited field of view her head has to move up and down several times to view herself from bonnet to boots, and after this thorough inspection Anne gets the hunch some detail is different. Then the maid bows down to her feet and the difference gets clear to Anne. To become an exact copy of Janet, and restricted like Joanna, the legs and arms have to be bound. Back then Joanna was probably tied with silk ropes, but now the maid cuffs Anne’s ankles with a short connecting chain. Then she gets up and makes Anne lean against her body to lead both her arms behind the back, where the wrists are connected with a ring through a strap on both gloves. Now the maid agrees with Anne in that her dressing is complete by taking her to the door, where Anne turns to lean with her back against the wall not to fall while the maid closes the suitcase. Just before doing so the maid removes its last contents. Anne is dressed as Janet at the balls, but like Joanna when being outdoors, she further has to be dressed in a large cloak, hiding for the general public her masked and bound condition, and for present day observers the unusual bonnet, that would attract attention much more than a large cloak. The cloak folded over the left arm, which pulls the suitcase as well, with the maids right arm as support Anne slowly and with only small steps possible carefully minces out of the bedroom.

With her changed vision, encased head, corseted body and concentrating nearly only on moving without stumbling, it is as moving through a totally unknown house, due to the low speed seeming much larger than where she had lunch in about an hour ago. Only subconsciously she has noticed Peter has been watching her for several minutes before he takes some steps towards her saying “Now I know how Lord Birchdale felt when he first saw his love, the masked Joanna, approaching him. You are a lovely sight Anne, I’m sure this will add another layer of excitement to our wonderful love life.” Anne has stopped moving and is actually standing on her own, with the security of the maid right behind her, with her limited vision only seeing the face of her beloved husband with an expression of lust much stronger than ever seen. Although her hearing is actually reduced, at this short distance she clearly perceives every word. As Peter takes the last step towards her she feels her crotch anticipating him to enter her any moment. But he just puts his hands to her waist to sense how much closer it has come for his fingers to meet, and then he bows to kiss the lace on both of her protruding and hard breasts, then lifting his head to kiss her leather lips passionately. This affection of Peter, approaching their finest moments of love making, comes as a total surprise to Anne. To her this weekend is just a different way of being with very good friends with the women playing an old role from the Birchdale family tradition, and by that letting the men take the lead and do the talking with their free choice of subjects for a change. In relation to sex she would have expected that Peter and the other men, when not having seen their wives or other women for real for a day, would have been longing for Sunday night when their love is again visible in her full naked glory. And because everything hidden but being close by all the time, an extra passion would be built up making their flesh unite again in an especially intense act. Right now it seems like Peter is actually enjoying her masked, covered and restricted form jut as much as if she were naked. But she loves Peter and has to return his affection. Unable to produce loving words, caress or hug, she relies on the maid and Peter to catch her if loosing her balance, and bows to press her masked face against his crotch, knowing he loves being touched there. She can sense he still does, but only a small increase in hardness is possible. After a while Peter lifts her to stand straight again saying “Thank you my love, neither your open mouth nor hands are needed to make me extremely happy. What you are now is extremely pleasing as well. I think this weekend, what we didn’t think was possible, we will be loving even more passionately than until now. We have an appointment for tea at Birchdale in half an hour, but I’m sure even boiling tea won’t add to our current heat of passion. There will be other subjects at Birchdale doing that. Let’s go.” Anne feels Peter is different from the man she cuddled this morning. Perhaps it’s her outfit that makes her feel that way, but whoever is in front of her she can surely feel that she loves him. The man calling himself Peter is right, she is as hot all over as rarely before. Coming into the living room only her head was hot due to the masking, now her crotch has taken over being the most hot spot, and she is sweating all over longing for a man to remove her dress and unzip her suit sufficiently. But she has to accept her heat will probably increase in a different way as the maid wraps the heavy velvet cloak around her, pulls the hood over her head and closes the hooks down the front. The front edge of the hood is level with her chin, and if not bowing her head Anne is completely blind. Bowing her head she is able to see a small area just in front of her feet, the difference is mostly psychological as she is unable to orientate and thus moving on her own anyway. Then she senses Peter right behind her and clearly feels his strong arms around her waist, quickly realizing this means she just has to move her feet as fast as possible, as no stumbling will occur.

2.

It’s a warm day in spring and although not even looking at the floor Anne immediately senses when they get outside. The black velvet makes her breathe hot air, and although she stays conscious she has no memories of the car ride. What really makes her aware of her situation again is sensing the heating stops, because they have entered the cool environment of a building. Shortly after her cloak is removed, and although her sight is different Anne quickly recognizes the hall of the Birchdale House. Now with Peter and the maid supporting her walking on each side they approach George and Janet, Lord and Lady Birchdale, their hosts for the weekend. Of course Anne is assuming it is Janet next to George, because the woman shows nothing of herself being masked and dressed in a Birchdale outfit looking identical to Anne, except her dress is burgundy. On the other side of Janet one step behind is a masked maid indistinguishable from the one dressing Anne. George while directly facing Peter puts up a big smile and holds his right hand forward to greet Peter. When their hands meet he says “Welcome, it’s always a pleasure seeing you Peter. I expect this weekend to be the beginning of an even closer friendship, and most likely starting a new even better period in all of our lives. The weather is a proof of this and tea is served in the garden. You know where to go and meet Phil, and excuse me for sending you there on your own but Keith haven’t arrived yet. Just run out there, the maids will take care of the women.” While George has been speaking Anne has turned to face and greet Janet. Shaking hands or greeting verbally is not possible, and Anne is about to think Janet is blind and deaf so long it takes before she reacts in the only way possible by turning her head to face Anne and then make a slow nodding movement, which Anne immediately reciprocates. With a look Peter ensures the maid next to Anne is supporting her and then leaves. George makes a gesture to call another maid and while waiting for her stares at Anne but without greeting her or communicating in any other way. Janet is still facing her but doesn’t move and her mask of course doesn’t show any reactions. The new maid arriving she immediately guides Anne and her maid away. After crossing half the hall the maid dressing her walks away to the right with her cloak and still pulling the empty suitcase.

Anne slowly minces through the large building now so confident with her boots that the maid only loosely has her arm under Anne’s armpit. She is back to being most annoyed by having her head tightly encased and would remove the bonnet and mask immediately if possible. From being shrouded in the black cloak in the sun her entire body is sweaty, but that is a familiar condition normally telling her jogging has reached the phase where it does her good, and despite the heavy perspiration her dress and even her gloves remain dry. Just outside the garden door are steps to surmount. Unable to use the rails this is done by the maid standing two steps down in front of Anne, who then lets herself fall forward one foot out from the step. At about the same time moments later she is grabbed by the maid and her foot touches the step below. Then the maid holds her tight until both feet are on the lower step. How to descend higher steps where her chained feet are unable to reach from one step to the next Anne doesn’t consider. At the foot of the stairs a large lawn reaches as far as can be seen. On each side are neatly kept flowerbeds alternating with bushes and larger trees, the latter being dominating to the far sides to bound the garden. Fortunately there is a tiled footpath along the right side where the maid leads her down. A couple of minutes mincing down the path further to the right is a small tiled square surrounded by trees partly shadowing the area. In opposite corners of the square are two identical circular tables to accommodate something like eight people each. The close table is generously filled with cups, plates and dishes with sandwiches, cakes and biscuits, and surrounded by four very comfortable garden chairs. In the two chairs occupied Peter and Phil are sprawling engaged in an amusing conversation. With her reduced hearing Anne only picks up a few words far from being able to grasp what is said. Her passing and nodding make them both fix their gaze at her for a while, but the conversation continues uninterrupted, and none of them as much as nod to return her only possible way of announcing her arrival. The maid leads her towards the far table, which only contains a large pot of tea and four mugs, all placed at the center unused yet. There are no chairs at this table for some reason, which on the other hand explains why the masked woman in the Birchdale outfit wearing a peach dress is standing up a few feet behind the table. It has to be the wife of Phil, Naomi, but until reaching her Anne wonders how she is able to stand unmoving with no maid supporting her and not touching the table. The maid leads Anne around the table, and for the first time this afternoon at Birchdale, she gets the expected reaction when meeting a friend. Naomi meets Anne’s face when she reaches the opposite side of the table, and keep facing her until she nods clearly twice, when they are close. Anne happily reciprocates. Anne has been nearly touching the table to have support if needed while greeting. Meanwhile the maid has bend down to take something from under the table. Seeing it’s an about four feet long iron pole it has been answered how Naomi is able to stand completely still alone on the tiles in her high-heeled boots. The pole is made to stand in a matching hole in the tiles, and then Anne is guided backwards until touching the pole with her back bound hands. A clip connects the ring holding her wrists together with a ring attached to the pole, and Anne is prevented from falling or moving much at all just like Naomi. They are standing just unable to touch each other both facing their own table and both facing the table of the men. They look at each other, but the masks don’t convey any information, moving the head is about the only thing they can do. To Anne exchanging some more nods means she is happy being with a good friend and that Naomi feels the same. Then Naomi tilts her head back facing the sun and shakes her head, which makes Anne aware that there is a gap between the trees leaving just this corner of the square in the burning afternoon sun. The black bonnet is going to make her brain cook soon, but then it occurs to her that Naomi might have been standing here for quite a while making her shake her bowed head towards Naomi in sympathy. But Naomi may think no further communication is possible because she now faces straight forward perhaps to look for the other half of the group arriving.

About ten minutes later George and Keith arrive chatting. Warm greetings are exchanged with Peter and Phil before they take the unoccupied chairs, and then at the same time starts eating and drinking and taking part in a conversation among all four, lively from the very start. Perhaps they have noticed Naomi and Anne while walking to the table, but none of the men glances in their direction while seated. About a minute later a masked maid arrives carrying fresh coffee. She refills the cups of the men, puts the pot on the table and goes to take a stand facing the table of the men in the close empty corner of the square. Some five minutes later the two remaining women arrive slowly mincing each with a maid at their side. Janet and her maid walking a little ahead of Jocelyn and her maid show no continued communication is possible between them. Janet lightly supported by a maid as well, makes Anne to believe that the boots they are all wearing now are much stricter than what Janet wore at the last ball, where Anne doesn’t recall her walking insecurely like they all do now. Janet, no matter in what direction she is guided, all the time holds her head straight and at no time indicates she is approaching two of her friends, soon making both Naomi and Anne follow Jocelyn although she will join them after Janet. Soon Naomi, Anne and Jocelyn exchange nods, while Anne admires the royal blue dress Jocelyn is wearing, which Anne finds is her favorite color this afternoon. For some time she will have little trouble watching this dress as Jocelyn is placed right next to her, while Janet is placed on the other side of Naomi. Attached to poles side by side all facing the public, represented by the male table, it is like they are a mannequin display showcasing a seventeenth century style dress available in four colors. But within a minute the mannequin illusion is broken after one of the maids has filled the four mugs with tea, and then both maids starting with Naomi and Anne connect a small tube to the tube barely showing between the leather lips of the Birchdale masks. A mug is held to their chin, and sucking Anne for the first time gets the strange drinking experience where the liquid enters at the back of her mouth and has to run forwards to be tasted with the tongue. Although her entire mouth has been kept moist from saliva sucked into her cloth gag, this is something different and highly needed to balance her long lasting perspiration due to being tightly covered all over. After a few small trying sucks to learn how to drink like this, Anne has quickly sucked half the large mug empty, when the maid removes the mug to go on serving Jocelyn. Anne looks at Jocelyn drinking, but the tube and the mug not being transparent, she can see nothing but a masked head tilted a little down, and the black gloved hand of a maid holding a brown mug steady just below the chin of the mask. Anne looks at the male table suddenly desperately longing for a sweet piece of cake, but has to be content with the maid feeding her tea with no sugar a few minutes later. All too soon the mug is empty and the maid puts it on the table and removes the external tube. All four having drunk one mug, one maid leaves, while the other goes to stand next to the maid serving the men. For close to half an hour all activity takes place at the male table, where the movements of the men show they are having a good time, being confirmed by an outbreak of laughter now and then so loud it can be perceived with the attenuated hearing of the women. Perhaps they are talking about them or women in general, because from time to time one or more of the men actually give the four Birchdale masks a look. The men not being loud it is completely quiet, because the sounds of the surrounding garden are too weak to penetrate the layers of leather. Then the legs and feet are getting fatigued, and it is hot. Very hot. Anne has to think of all sorts of cool drinks not to collapse. She glances at Naomi now and then, and it seems to her she is getting more and more restless from increasing small movements and perhaps even trembling. Suddenly one of the maids starts moving quickly towards them, making Anne turn her head to see that Naomi is bowing head and torso all she can up and down while facing the center of the table, indicating she desperately needs more to drink. The maid fills her mug and lets her drink for long seemingly to drink the entire mug. Then one by one the others are fed about half a mug, before the maid lifts Naomi’s mug and points to the pot to get a nod from Naomi as response to give her even more to drink. Two minutes later the maid puts Naomi’s mug down and removes her tube. Activity at the female table stops again, and soon the burning sun and the weary legs are all they can think of. Anne has just figured the time must be around half past four, when at the same time both maids starts running towards their table and all four men look at them silently. Turning her head Anne sees Naomi has collapsed right next to her hanging from the pole in her chained wrists, head down five inches above the ground. Being lifted and shaken by one maid her head starts moving indicating she has not lost consciousness. The other maid holds a mug of probably cold tea to her chin. Then George, as the only man having left their table, comes to them. Seeing Naomi is able to drink he says “I’m sorry we have forgotten to take the ladies to the room for rest in time. Maids! Leave with the blue dress right away, and come back three of you to take care of the others.” The two maids practically carrying Naomi between them, she is taken back to the house to a highly deserved place out of the sun. Only a few minutes later as much as four identical masked maids arrive, one going to the empty corner to serve the men. Being supported the three remaining women are all able to mince on their own, quickly reaching the shadow and slowly approaching the house. Between afternoon tea and dinner high-class women often relax in their rooms to end bathing and dressing for dinner, Anne reflects while mincing. She is quite sure no unmasking will take place, and that their current dress as a close copy of what Joanna wore wont be changed either. Then bathing is out of the question, perhaps they are just taken to the bed assigned for them for tonight, but she is quite sure George said ‘room’ and not ‘rooms’ indicating they will be resting together.

A small elevator solves the problem of getting one storey up without unchaining their legs, which would require a key. Down a corridor they are each taken through one of four closely spaced doors. The small room inside is a wardrobe or dressing room, having another door opposite the entrance and a small toilet to the left. The maid starts disconnecting Anne’s wrists. It is nice being able to move the arms freely again although they are still tightly gloved. Then her dress is opened and removed. The maid directly puts it on a hanger, and then to Anne’s disappointment gestures her to take her arms to the back again. Arms free lasted less than one minute. Then a mixture of embarrassment and curiosity fills Anne as the maid pulls the zipper of her full body suit open to reveal her intimate parts. Anne has to relieve herself while the maid is watching. Finished she realizes this is necessary as she is unable to clean herself. She is taken out from the toilet without being zipped. The maid opens a drawer and produces a device explaining this. She has to have a large vibrator inserted into her vagina. Since meeting Peter for the first time in the Birchdale outfit, sex haven’t been at the forefront of Anne’s mind, but the maid letting the tip of the vibrator touch her love crevice, Anne senses she is quite hot and wet not caused by sweat alone. Is being masked and restricted subconsciously exciting her, although at least the mask still feels very uncomfortable? Her undisclosed excitement makes it an easy task for the maid to slide the vibrator in, but she does it very slowly anyway with the result Anne’s arousal increases. While accommodating to the stimulation she is zipped again, and the maid opens the other door of the room. A large double bed with two separate mattresses fills the room they enter. Lying hands above the head on the back at the center of each mattress is a Birchdale masked woman without dress just like Anne herself. A closer inspection of the women in the bed reveals both the connected wrists and the chained ankles are further chained to the ends of the bed. So this is resting in a Birchdale outfit, Anne thinks, before wondering where herself and the fourth woman is to lie, as there is only this double bed, and the three other doors seem to match the doors in the corridor most likely leading to dressing rooms as well. This is partly confirmed as the fourth woman and a maid enter from one of these doors. Who is who is no longer to be determined, because without the differently colored dresses they are all completely identically covered and still showing nothing of themselves. But Naomi taken inside some minutes before the others, Anne guesses she is one of the women in the bed. Then where the two standing Birchdale masks have to rest is solved, when both maids clearly gestures and helps the ladies to climb into each half of the bed and make them lie stomach down on top of the woman already occupying the same half. White straps, not noticed on the white sheets, are used to tie first the waists, then the armpits and finally the knees of the upper and lower woman together, ensuring the upper woman won’t slide off her partner. A short chain connecting the ankle chains of the pair as well allows only small displacements from the other body from necks to feet. But their heads can move quite freely, and Anne has to force the woman below her to turn her head sideways and then place her own head likewise resting her head on the other’s cheek, as her head is unable to reach the sheet, and one of them facing the other would squeeze a nose. Except for the head, Anne mostly resting on her corset, is not too uncomfortable. She hopes the same goes for the woman supporting her, that her corset distributes the weight of Anne’s torso, to avoid hurting her. The light being dimmed signals the resting period has begun. Moments later simultaneously Anne senses her own vibrator and that of her partner start to vibrate. The strong stimulation quickly makes resting impossible. Anne has to move her hips and lower body, and being tightly tied to the one below she has to move as well. Fortunately she is stimulated to wanting the same, and soon they find a rhythm of movement that pleases them both. Their bodies moving their heads can’t lie passively cheek to cheek. With reduced sight, in dimmed light and highly aroused, the expressionless anonymous mask, they can sense just as much as see, has to be the attractive beautiful face of the partner pleasuring their body. Beneath the mask Anne’s gagged mouth tries to form a kiss while she presses her leather lips against the leather below her. Both used to let their moist lips touch and suck all over the face of the one they are making love to, their current leather lips do the same, again and again pressing against the leather of the other mask from below the edge of the bonnet to the tip of the chin. Anne would love to have her covered mouth touch all over the breast beneath as well, but that their ties do not allow. As the corsets prevents their breasts from being rubbed by their partner, they are only stimulated by hardening and thus squeezing against the corset. But despite the limitations in contact, most important no skin to skin touching, the vibrators and perhaps the entire outfit increases their arousal minute by minute. Suddenly Anne senses the body below her diverging from their mutual rhythm and shake uncontrolled. Her partner is having a huge orgasm ending with her body going limb despite her vibrator is still running. Anne is close to the edge as well, and rubbing the limb body as much as their bounds allow while pressing her masked nose into the black velvet of the partner’s bonnet, which results in light suffocation, do the job. Anne orgasms as well, and shortly senses nothing but pleasure. As she again becomes aware of her situation, the only thought going through her mind is that now the woman beneath her and herself are truly resting.

When she senses a maid has started untying her she has no idea how much time has passed. She is just rolled of the other woman while to allow the other woman to be unchained from the bed. Of course the same is going on in the other half of the bed, and when all four are detached from the other and the bed, Anne’s partner is motioned to switch bedside with one from the other side, and Anne has her hands moved from behind her back to above her head to be placed on her back like her previous partner was. After Anne has been chained to the bed the woman from the other side takes Anne’s previous position, now on top of Anne. A shiver goes though her body when realizing she will probably be forced to arousal again very shortly. When the vibrators start again Anne immediately senses the woman on top of her tries to ignore her vibrator much like herself. But the devices now vibrate differently resulting in stimulation despite both of them could do without. Slowly and reluctantly their bodies start to make small rhythmic movements, and soon the woman on top of her presses her leather lips against Anne’s upturned cheek, making Anne face her resulting in more ‘kisses.’ Anne can’t help contributing to their mutual body movements as well, and soon she has to try if it feels different kissing this Birchdale mask. It is similar leather surfaces meeting, but Anne now having to lift her head until it presses against the other mask, as opposed to just letting her head sink down, makes it a different experience. For what feels like long they just move slowly and exchange kisses now and then as the vibrators prevents them from resting, then Anne senses her partner starts increasing the rhythm and force of their mutual movements on her own and presses her nose against Anne’s mask to restrict her breath. Anne realizes her partner has changed tactics, understanding only following an orgasm her body will ignore the stimulation of her crotch and allow her to rest. Anne decides to join her, and they work together in stimulating each other by moving and rubbing as much as their ties and tired bodies permit, while pressing their masks against each other to reach the point where the mind switches off faster through suffocation. Anne herself somewhere between exhaustion and pleasure doesn’t sense her partner orgasm before she senses her body going limb and now opposing rather than contributing to the movements Anne is doing trying to force an orgasm on herself. Then subconsciously she moves her head from restricting her breath by pressing nose against nose with her partner, who now no longer presses, to burying her nose in her partner’s bonnet like with the previous partner. Again she regains her senses relaxed and relieved without being able to explain what happened. Until the maids reappear her only thought is that being a masked, covered, restricted, helpless and impersonal living doll is quite pleasing, when knowing her friends are with her experiencing the same.

As expected she has to go through a third stimulation, and hopefully resting period, to have done this with all of the three other Birchdale masked women. It is clear to Anne that the result of this are four living Birchdale outfits loving their duplicates, and not thinking of the human individuals Janet, Naomi, Jocelyn and Anne. Already during tea Anne now and then thought of them as just burgundy, peach and royal blue versions of herself. She moves to the other half of the bed and is again on top. Being identical copies of the the original Birchdale masked subject, Joanna, it comes as no surprise to Anne that the woman below her immediately starts moving at full effort and repeatedly letting her leather lips touch the mask of Anne, who responds likewise. They have both had the same experiences with their previous partners to learn that stimulating themselves to orgasm with the help of the vibrator as fast as possible is the right to do. As soon as her partner has satisfied her initial desire for kissing Anne’s mask, Anne buries her face in her partner’s bonnet. When aware of her surroundings again she lies relaxed on top of a relaxed body. In her mind nothing else counts than she is a Birchdale mask, and this subject, and her duplicates no doubt as well, is ready to do as the men pleases including having them where the vibrator is. Wanting to please overrides that a dinner to regain her strength would be Anne’s primary wish.

mask_of_birchdale2

3.

Both relaxed and spend Anne is taken to a different dressing room. Her suit is unzipped, the vibrator removed and she is gestured to use the toilet. While seated sources blow warm air from the walls drying her sweaty body. She is cleaned and helped on her feet guided to move from leaning against one wall to another for some minutes to get dried on all sides. Then out in the wardrobe another vibrator is inserted, the suit is zipped and her wrists are disconnected to get the dress on. To Anne’s pleasant surprise she is now wearing royal blue. Already while the maid pulls at the dress to make it fit right and be without wrinkles, Anne is holding her hands together on her back. Joanna had her arms bound like this, and this is what pleases the men. She comes out in the corridor at the same time as the peach dress. They look at each other, Anne with a loving expression, which she in her mind sees on her duplicate as well, despite only expressionless masks are facing each other. They are taken downstairs to the dining hall. At the center a large square table is set for celebration. Peach and Royal Blue are guided around the table to the wall opposite the entrance, where Forest Green is already standing leaning her back against the wall. A few minutes later all four Birchdale masks are lined up against the wall to be on display for the men to enjoy until dinner is served. About a quarter of an hour later Keith arrives in a smoking. He first looks at the well decorated table, then at the fine wood carving on the ceiling, before strolling around the table while admiring two paintings of previous Lords of Birchdale. Then like looking at the paintings he slowly passes the four masked women at a distance of about six feet. Unlike the paintings the four masks turn to constantly face him. It makes his mouth widen in a smile while he quickly takes the few steps to the closest mask, and then to their pleasant surprise places a fast kiss on the leather lips of each of them, before walking six feet away again to just observe them with a neutral expression. Anne doesn’t think she is the only one to imagine Keith filling the space where her vibrator is. Something makes Keith turn his head, and all four masks turn to see Peter approaching. They exchange some words looking at the table, too low to be perceived by the leather covered ears, before both turning towards the display of Birchdale outfits apparently commenting them like pieces of fine art, just their taste. Looking straight forward to present herself at the best Anne a minute later sees George and Phil enter followed by no less than six identical masked maids. While George and Phil go to meet Keith and Peter, staying at the Birchdale masks, four maids place themselves behind the right chair on each side of the table, and the last two maids start pouring white wine. After the four men have exchanged some words indiscernible to the women, George raises his voice for them to hear “I suggest we start by each taking the lady in the dress put on at your homes to the table. Phil, would you be the first please, and then you can choose freely where to sit.” Phil goes to put his right arm around the back of the peach outfit to support her while she minces guided by him to the chairs closest. After the resting period Anne is sure the dresses have been exchanged in a way ensuring none of them are wearing the color in which they arrived, implying Phil’s partner now is not his wife Naomi. The men are probably aware of this, right now not much interested in who is behind the masks. Anne has accepted being an anonymous outfit as well, just enjoying she thinks the royal blue she is wearing shines a little more than the others. This means she and Keith, taking her to the left table side, are the best looking couple tonight, even if no one else cares about this. Just as if he was with any partner Keith faces her saying “I think we are going to have a wonderful dinner, don’t you?” Anne nods. After they have been seated Keith continues “You look wonderful my dear. I love slender waists and blank faces.” Anne makes a consenting nod. While George and the burgundy outfit as the last couple are being seated Keith goes on “You are a most pleasing partner. Not only your appearance, but also your quiet communication, is something I wish all women would prefer.” Anne nods three times in a row to express she likes being praised. Then Keith says “Although I’m hungry, I wish I could be on top of you right away to enjoy your tight leather wrapping while being pleasured in your love channel. Fortunately we will come to this before sleeping.” Anne is blushing unseen, and sensations created in her crotch reminds her of her already filled crevice, which appropriately makes her face down for some seconds.

Then George attracts the attention of everyone to say loud enough for all the women to hear “We have been together for some hours of this special weekend already, but even a dozen welcomes is not enough to express how welcome you are. This weekend is to celebrate our common success and realize our common initial interest. I’ll wait elaborating further on this until we have had our stomachs filled. Just before we raise our glasses I like to point out that this dinner consists of four courses to allow us men to sit next to Joanna in all her four forms present. After each course we men stretch our legs for some minutes, and then take a new seat when continuing the meal. Let’s raise our glasses for a wonderful weekend and a dream come true.” Anne having been looking at George to her left, is suddenly grabbed by her chin from the right by the maid standing behind her chair. Quickly a tube is attached to the tube from her gag, and then the maid reaches for her wine glass moments after Keith has lifted his. They toast, the maid doing what Anne should have done if able to use her hands, and then the maid holds the glass to her chin, making the tube go into the glass to allow Anne to suck the wine. The maid is watching Keith, and moments after he puts his glass down again she puts Anne’s glass back on the table. A maid arrives pushing a trolley with two large pots of soup. The two maids standing at the sides come to the trolley and hold up plates, which when filed by the maid bringing the trolley, are served for the men. When it comes to serve the women the soup is taken from the other pot and filled in high cups instead. Ann can smell and see it’s fish soup being served at least for the men. Getting her cup it smells the same, but when Keith starts eating making Anne’s maid lift her cup to her chin, she is able to suck her soup to realize the soup for the women has been blended to remove whole pieces of meat not eatable through a tube. The men have started talking among themselves quickly making Anne loose interest in the conversation, as she can only perceive what Keith is saying. Instead, when not being fed or given wine, she looks around the table to observe that all the four maids feeding the women only look at the male partner, to make the lady they serve eat when he eats and drink when he drinks. A simple rule which requires no communication between lady and maid, and may imply the maids are deaf as well as mute to prevent them from listening to the conversation. Further as men in general eat and drink more than women, the women are practically ensured to get all they want.

Some minutes after eating has ceased George gets up with the other men following him. Anne turns her head to see if they stay in the room chatting, leave or do something else, but she never finds out, because at the same moment her vibrator starts at high power, in seconds making her surroundings unimportant. The combination of an outfit being slightly exciting, being offered much more wine than she would have taken herself, perhaps Keith’s stimulating word and now powerful direct physical stimulation, makes her sit head down rocking in her chair. To be blown out by an orgasm is all she thinks about while her movements slowly gets wilder. Then the vibrator stops, hot and sweating she leans against the back of the chair just relaxing with eyes closed for a minute.

When she becomes aware that she is seated at a dinner table, she opens her eyes to see Peter next to her watching her close. Her facing him makes him say “I never knew fish soup could have such an effect on women.” Anne makes a small nod indicating she has understood. Then Peter continues “Or is it the Birchdale outfit that makes you women play with yourself during a dinner break?” For some reason Anne nods twice to make Peter say “I’m glad it’s being masked and restricted that turns you on, because first of all I’m not sure I would like my lover eating fish soup just before going to bed, second and seriously it can only mean the outfit is enjoyable for you to wear, and third it seems I can look forward to having a real good time when later going to bed with a Mask of Birchdale myself.” Anne nods a couple of times to be taken as yes to whatever part of Peter’s words he likes himself, not sure if her opinion matters at all. In any case she is aware that he probably doesn’t know he is talking to the one he will be going to bed with, her, his wife, Anne. From his surprising sexual reaction when she first showed to him wearing the Birchdale outfit, like Peter, Anne is expecting their encounter in bed to be something very special. George raising a new glass with a different wine stops Peter talking to her. After they have made a speechless toast the men start talking among themselves again and the second course is being served. The men get quail, making Anne wonder how this is made to go through a tube. It isn’t, the woman are served a cup of a yoghurt drink with garlic flavor. It’s nice, but doesn’t match the wine selected for the quail. The women are rarely sucking during this course when offered wine, perhaps to keep them above the table for the remaining dinner.

Quail doesn’t contain much meat and soon the men get up again. Anne leans back to be relaxed when expecting her crotch to be on fire within seconds, but there is no immediate stimulation. She looks around to see her duplicates even have their heads tilted back to be prepared for the treatment. But they are equipped with advanced vibrators. It takes half a minute before Anne starts sensing something in her crotch, not even sure if it’s her own anticipation creating the tickling. They all bend forward starting to rock their hips, because expecting to be turned on they have to create some arousal. Then the vibrator over half a minute increases from trickling to at least the previous level of power. To Anne it’s like the table dissolves in front of her, and when she sees it again it’s because she is pushed by the maid trying to move her chair to its correct position again and make Anne sit right. Hot, out of breath and her mind not totally clear she moves as the maid wants, and then turns her head to see Phil next to her. He is smiling probably having enjoyed their performance as he says “Women only thinking of sex always is regrettably only a dream, but watching you doing it in reality even only for a little while corresponds to dreaming for long.” Anne smiles flattered, but can only make a slow bow to in some way express she likes his dirty talk. Phil continues “To me it benefitted your performance it was not being degraded by loud moans or other obnoxious sounds. A silent woman is much more sexy. With such nutrition as the Ayran you have just had, women could be gagged like you are forever, still getting a varied and healthy diet. Did you like it?” Anne nods twice. Then Phil says “I think it would be fun to have my wife wearing Birchdale outfit each weekend. It is fun, isn’t it?” Although the mask is still annoyingly tight and restricting, Anne’s feet and hands are from time to time tingling from being kept immobile and she is hot and sweaty even when not being stimulated, it is a fun sexy game for a change, and being limited by the weekend the bad sides are tolerable, so she makes a clear nod, although doing it every weekend may be exaggerating. Then as before they start the course with a glass of wine, this time a very fine burgundy. Toasting unites the men, who again only speak among themselves. The men are served game, a favorite of Anne, but today she can’t participate. Like most women she likes vegetables, but tonight the cup of blended vegetables served to the women is lacking to be accompanied by what she can clearly smell. Fortunately after the men have all finished their first slice of game George calls for a stop to stand up and make a speech. Without referring to any kind of notes he says “To the world we are four ordinary businessmen, who found each other in believing in a business model no one else would give a chance. Today I’m not sure it works either. Perhaps it was chance, or our small investments just came at the right place and time, but this dinner and the entire weekend is to celebrate that we succeeded. I’m no longer just a moderately well off Lord like my ancestor, who loved and married Joanna. You are no longer average middle-class white-collar workers. We are all rich. Rich enough to do what we like for the rest of our lives. Let’s toast!” Anne takes a large sip of the burgundy. This sounds far far better than what Peter has told her. He just said their success meant she should consider in which of the better areas of the city she would like to live. And for a start if they needed new furniture. Then, with her, he had marked several days in his calendar to go shopping for clothes. It is fantastic, but by Anne considered a one in a lifetime extravaganza, perhaps even meaning they would have to work harder if actually buying a better house. Peter has never mentioned stop working just to play golf, travel, arrange parties or whatever they would like to do if able to spend most of the time together and do as they please. Anne by habit looks at her duplicates to see if they look just as surprised as herself, but no one has moved extraordinarily and the blank masks doesn’t tell. George starts speaking again “From the beginning we liked each other, and that is what made us do business together. But among the four of us business is just a secondary common interest. What really make us close friends, and what brought us together, is our fascination of the Mask of Birchdale, its associated outfit and the role it gives to women. In my safe I keep the letter written by Phil, in which he on behalf of all of you says that after reading the story of The Mask of Birchdale on the internet, the three of you found it so fascinating that you arranged to meet in real life to discuss it further, and not the least elaborate on how it would be if modern day women and in particular your wives could be made to be masked and bound like Joanna. The letter further says it was Peter who came to the meeting with the information that Birchdale was a real present day name, and the purpose of the letter is to ask if the existence of the Birchdale House and a Lord and Lady Birchdale mean that the story about the seventeenth century Lord of Birchdale and his masked and restricted love Joanna is real. If so would I mind you coming to learn all what I know about what took place then, and if possible see the mask or the current outfit, if the part about a present time ball is true as well. It was one of the best evenings of my life meeting fellow devotees of the Birchdale outfit, and I’ll never forget your looks and the enthusiasm displayed when my wife entered the room masked, dressed and bound as Joanna. Following you were most welcome guests at the traditional ball, where Janet was Joanna all night, and which I think convinced your wives that trying out this mask and what goes with it for a day wouldn’t be that bad, perhaps even interesting, and not the least it would make the four of us happy. Here we now sit with a Joanna each, all of us as happy as any man can be. Let’s make a toast to celebrate Joanna, and wish Joanna after this weekend is with us again soon.” Peter, Phil and Keith stand up as well, and all four look at their partner and let their glass touch the glass lifted by the maid before looking at each other and drink. So it wasn’t purely business trips when the four men met without wives, Anne thinks after her glass has been removed. But not counting Janet sometimes playing Joanna, no women have been involved. She and the other wives have not been let down. Their common interest may even just be described as an interest in a certain episode of history and the traditions it has created. From what she can hear Phil say during the rest of this course, the three other men praise George for his wonderful speech and recall moments from the meetings he talked about. With many wonderful moments shared and each having his version of them, it is no wonder no one have hardly eaten for nearly half an hour before George decides to get up.

Anne for some time has been dozing sitting upright, so she is totally unprepared and only just register the men stand up before the vibrator activates at full power. A long powerful moan being stifled by her gag makes her tilt back to nearly turn over her chair, perhaps it’s the maid who stops it. The next thing she remember is looking across the table, where the green dress is leaned over the table apparently unconscious, as only the maid holding her seem to have prevented her head from knocking into the glasses and the table. Then Anne discovers her own maid is supporting her as well, or she would have fallen off the side of the chair. While getting to sit right Anne turns her head to see that the peach and the burgundy dress are both tilted back on their chairs, their chests moving as much as the corset permits. The men are not seated yet, standing behind the burgundy dress enjoying to observe the women. Seeing Anne position herself right on the chair George comes to be her partner for the last course, and the three other men take their new seats as well. George says “It’s a wonderful toy you got inside you, and it’s clearly visible you enjoy what it does.” Anne nods a couple of times to the rhythm of her breathing slowly decaying towards normal. George continues “Now that we are rich it means you could be pleasured like this all day every day if you like. But I’m sure it wouldn’t work that well without wearing the Birchdale outfit, don’t you agree?” Anne clearly nods twice. George says “Having the vibrator running every half an hour is perhaps a little too much when not celebrating. On ordinary days it should perhaps only be ten minutes three or four times a day. Then it would continue to be a fresh and wonderful experience each time. Is it possible you would enjoy being sexually aroused like that each day when not having to work?” Still having small waves of pleasure running through her body, Anne happily nods repeatedly for some seconds. Then George says “What a vibrator do to you, the Birchdale outfit do to Phil, Peter, Keith and I. It would be wonderful a couple of times each day to watch a figure approach mincing tiptoed, embrace the slender waist and kiss the masked face. I know this means being in your current condition for extended periods quite often, but knowing the pleasures it brings to both yourself and your partner the inconveniences are to live with, don’t you agree?” Wearing this Birchdale outfit, even just for a few hours, but each day sounds a bit too much to Anne, but she has to agree that there has been periods of intense pleasure, and that the men enjoy being with women in the outfit is without question, so when being watched or pleasured she forget the drawbacks and thus has to nod clearly. Then George takes his glass and says directed to everybody “Let’s taste the wine to go with the dessert.” It’s a fine sweet muscat. The desserts are not that different for the men and women. The men get chocolate cake, and the women get chocolate smoothie. George just taking a small bite of cake from time to time, Anne’s maid let her have the smoothie at her chin whenever George is not drinking, to let her more or less decide on her own when she wants to take a suck. The slices of cake are not that large and dessert is soon over. When George has seen all the men have an empty plate he says in a voice loud enough for all the women to hear “On a estate like this it is customary that after the dinner the men and women separate for an hour or so. The men to have a smoke and perhaps a game of cards, and the women to chat or perhaps arrange for meetings where their marriageable children can be presented. This tradition should be maintained even if the women tonight are not able to talk. Let’s all go and digest the dinner.”

4.

The men quickly leave, and then after being seated for long it suddenly feels like when taking the first steps in the high-heeled boots again, but the maids are ready to support them. They are taken to a very small room, empty except for two identical sofas placed symmetrically against opposite walls and an empty coffee table in between. They are guided to sit in a corner of a sofa each. Then Anne’s maid reaches down in the seat corner to pull out a lap seat belt, which she after buckling tightens so hard Anne’s bound hands are pushed deep into the sofa seat back. Then the maid bends down to reach for a strap under the seat, which she pulls around the chain connecting the boots, and then tightens so the boots are pressed hard against the sofa seat bottom. Finally from below the sofa she produces a neck brace with an attached pole. After the brace has been fitted around Anne’s neck it shows the pole fits into a slit at the top of the seat back. Anne has been made completely immobile forced to sit facing the bare wall and the empty part of the opposite sofa between two of her duplicates. After the maids leave Anne can see no movement, can’t move herself, and no sounds are about her high hearing threshold. After a few minutes she starts to doze. But then her vibrator starts at a level just high enough to make her awake, but not in a way to really stimulate her. After about a minute it stops again. In a few minutes any sensations from her crotch cease and she starts to doze again. Then the vibrator starts again and the cycle repeats. Over and over. Anne starts counting the cycles to in a way keep track of time, but before ten she gives up and instead starts imagining how her night with Peter might go. But her pleasant daydreaming is constantly interrupted by the vibrator, and then she just lets her mind flow. At one point a maid again fills her limited field of view and Anne just notes that then about an hour has probably passed.

They are taken to a hall where her mood immediately improves considerably by seeing a podium at the opposite end with four musicians, who, when she are a little into the room, can hear are playing soft classical music. At the center of the room the maids make them stand on their own just to stay within reach if someone looses her balance. The four Joanna’s turn towards each other and all make a number of nods to tell they appreciate what is going on here. When after a couple of minutes it seems the tune comes to an end the peach and the burgundy dress even turn towards the musicians and bow a couple of times. Then the men arrive and after some words from George they start playing a slow waltz. Each man takes hold of a Joanna, and the women try to follow their lead with small insecure steps. It doesn’t seem to bother Anne’s partner, Keith, who just slowly moves her around, his cheek touching her masked cheek, and a strong arm around her slim waist. Anne quickly realizes that next to sex, this is probably the most wonderful to do for the men. She certainly likes it herself, although dancing at least without mask and gag would have been much nicer. After two dances George says loud “New partners please!” Peter takes over Anne, and like with Keith they just dance slowly cheek to cheek without him saying a word. For a minute it feels a bit strange dancing with her husband without him knowing he is dancing with his wife. But not sensing his familiar touch anywhere and not looking at his face, she just enjoys the music without caring who is leading her. George comes next without Anne really noticing the difference. Dancing just becomes a little less enjoyable as her feet start hurting and her legs are getting tired. Then Phil takes her over. It seems the men have agreed to make two dances with each Joanna. As the second dance with Phil starts, Anne wonders if they will start all over again, something her feet clearly signal will be quite painful. As the dance comes to an end George says “Last changing! Partners for the night please!” Phil looks down Anne like he wants to check something and then stays with her. George has taken the forest green dress, Peter the peach and Keith the burgundy. After dancing for a minute Phil says in a low voice only perceivable to Anne because they are again cheek to cheek “I’m happy I could have you in royal blue Joanna. Although you won’t wear the dress in bed of course, it’s more enjoyable looking at you in my preferred color until the dress becomes an obstruction.” He holds her a little out to be able to bend his head down and kiss the blue fabric on each of her breasts. Although Anne can’t sense his touch due to the corset, she feels it as her breasts are being directly caressed making them harden. Dancing cheek to cheek again Anne notices Peter and the peach Joanna are gone. Then Phil says “Touching your soft leather clad arms or face is to me like touching perfect female skin.” He leans back to place a kiss on her leather covered forehead just between the eyebrow stitches. Anne’s hot head starts feeling hotter, her crotch starts tickling and her sore feet are no longer at the front of her mind. Phil says “Am I right sensing you like dancing tight and being kissed although you can’t directly sense my lips?” She is not with the man she loves, uncomfortably restricted and encased in too tight leather, but anyway this is sensual and she is increasingly aroused, making her stop her tiny dance steps and bend to put her masked face to Phil’s chest. They stand like that for a little while, then Anne lifts her head to directly face Phil for the first time while dancing. It’s like seeing Peter on their wedding day, and Anne is happy to be Joanna, when Phil puts his lips to her red leather patches, giving her a long passionate wet kiss, leaving them wet with saliva. Very gently he starts leading her to the music again, but in soft curves they approach the door. Here Phil changes from embracing her to walking next to her with his arm around her back. A few steps behind her are now one of the maids, who have all been waiting at the walls during the dancing.

They all three take the elevator to the first floor and soon enter a small dressing room like in the afternoon. Phil leaves her standing in the middle of the room to take the few steps to the other door, from where he watches the maid take over removing Anne’s dress. Then she takes her to the toilet, unzips the suit to give access to the crotch and removes the vibrator. Phil is still watching, even as Anne relives herself and is washed by the maid. As the maid leads her out from the toilet, Phil opens the door and they enter a bedroom just like the one where they ‘rested’ in the afternoon. Anne is guided to the right side of the bed, where her wrists are shortly disconnected to make her move her hands above her head. Then she is motioned to lie down on her back at the center of the right mattress and her ankles and wrists are chained to the ends of the bed like in the afternoon. Just tied to the bed at the ends she is able to move and twist her body quite freely, including turning her head freely and lifting it sufficiently to see that Phil is still fully dressed watching her closely. While her head has been lifted the maid has arranged the pillow to make her bonneted head rest comfortably when coming down again. But just as Anne is about to let her head rest on the pillow she senses the maid has her hands at her neck. Short straps, attached to a wide strap across the bed just below the pillow, are attached to the neck strap of the bonnet on each side of the neck. The wide strap is tightened pulling Anne’s bonneted head deep into the pillow, resulting in head movement has become impossible. Her head is facing directly up to only see a small circle of the ceiling unless something else or someone come into this fixed field of view. For long, perhaps ten to fifteen minutes, nothing happens. If having danced with Peter like with Phil, Anne would have been increasingly excited lying waiting for him in bed anticipating even closer contact. But waiting like this she is just hot because of her covering. She wonders if this, from some undisclosed information George may have revealed to the other men, is how the first Joanna had to spend her nights in the outfit, or it is a new addition to the Joanna way of life like the spandex suit, or it’s just something that gives Phil a kick. To Anne, if one of the first two possibilities, it would certainly make her more reluctant to spend another night as Joanna in the future. Then the bed moving announces Phil is with her. She senses his hands at her waist. Then they move up to touch the top of her breasts, which is something she can directly sense with only the thin fabric of the suit preventing a direct touch. The hands of Phil shortly passes through her field of view as he continues to her outstretched gloved arms and hands. This being like perfect skin to him, it is no wonder he spends minutes touching and even kissing her arms and hands, but still she can’t see him as he is doing all this lying next to her. Although all this doesn’t do the same to her as when dancing, her exposed slit starts getting moist from anticipating the time for getting the real thing inside her has come close. But first she gets some glimpses of Phil’s face as he starts kissing her mask all over. Just seeing him highly excited makes her more excited herself. Still kissing her mask he comes on top of her. And then she senses his tool at her slit making her lift her body to get her love channel filled. For some minutes it’s pure wonderful sex, and Anne working hard fully covered and with restricted breath makes her fast approach a climax, which soon brings her to be flooded by waves of pleasure while Phil reaches satisfaction. Then Phil moves to the other half of the bed and nothing more happens. She hears nothing and sees only the ceiling for some minutes until the lights are turned off.

Anne has been through a lot this day and quickly falls asleep, but she doesn’t sleep well. Each time she subconsciously likes to turn in the bed, not being able to do so wakes her up, only to experience darkness and silence. Perhaps not used to sleep masked and tightly covered makes her sleep bad as well. But she is at least sleeping lightly when shaken by a masked maid and immediately noticing the room is lighted by daylight, which she hasn’t seen coming. Detached from bed she looks at the other half to see Phil has left. The maid takes her to the toilet, she is blown with warm air, but as she is still wearing gag, suit, corset, boots, gloves, mask and bonnet a real bath is not possible. Anne is aware of this. Their agreement is for the women to wear the Birchdale outfit for their entire stay at Birchdale from Saturday afternoon to after lunch Sunday. It is most likely that the keys for the bonnet and the corset are at their own home. Anne is fitted with a vibrator, zipped and put into the burgundy dress. Breakfast is served in a room facing the garden. It’s a clear sunny day and the men are dressed for sports. Anne arrives at the same time as the royal blue Joanna as the last. The men are seated two on each side of the table all at one end, the women likewise at the other end. It may be a practical thing as the men are served traditional English breakfast, while the women may choose between Ayran, different flavors of blended vegetables, strawberry and chocolate smoothies, while the drinking offered is the same as the men. For the first time wearing the Birchdale outfit the women are allowed to decide something. Anne quickly learns to nod directly forward when she wants the cup of drinkable food lifted to her chin, and to tilt her head a little back when she wants it put down again. To get tea or juice she nods towards her cup or glass, and to get a new cup of something different she nods leaning forward in the direction of what she wants, and then her maid lifts what she think it is until getting a nod for yes. The men talk among themselves not perceivable to the women. Anne and the royal blue Joanna have nodded to each other and to the other two Joanna’s while getting seated, but after that there has been no communication among the women. Nodding, shaking the head, bowing or facing a certain direction are about their only ways to indicate something, and have to be made in a context to be meaningful. Expecting just having to pass the time until lunch Anne could have stayed at the breakfast table much longer, but when the men get up, at once the maids remove their tube extensions and gesture them to get up as well.

In a line, with the four Joanna’s having a maid to their left each, they mince out in the garden to the same square as yesterday. The first table, where George and Peter sit with a tennis racket in their laps, contains a selection of juices and soft drinks. The other table is empty. The four Joanna’s are to stand supported by and chained to a pole at their back exactly like yesterday. It is much freer than the bed this night, the feet have gotten more used to stand nearly tiptoed in the boots, and most important it’s at a different time of day where there is shadow at this corner of the square. But it’s extremely boring. There is nothing new in being encased in the Birchdale outfit, it’s not interesting to look at two men talk, who you can’t hear, and the only maid remaining to serve the men stand as if she has been chained to a pole as well. After less than a quarter of an hour the forest green Joanna has her head hanging down seemingly sleeping standing, and some minutes later the peach Joanna has joined her. None of them seem to have slept well this night. Anne is dozing herself, but wakes afraid to turn over each time her head sinks. After what Anne thinks is about half an hour something happens. Two maids arrive, one carrying a jug of orange juice, the other four mugs, and they walk straight down to the women. Two at a time have a tube extension attached and are allowed to sip juice for about one minute after which the tube is removed again. Those sleeping wake when their heads are lifted to have the tube attached. After the few minutes it all takes, the two maids walk away leaving the jug and the mugs. Who is at the men’s table changes now and then, they might be playing some sort of tennis tournament. One man changing with another at the table is about the only thing that happens during the next half hour. And then only the peach Joanna falls asleep again. Two maids arrive at their table again. If it’s the same as before is impossible to decide, as they seem to have been hired to have the same measurements. They have one minute each to sip juice again, this time it isn’t chilled anymore. The maids leave. Another half an hour has to tick away. As part of their effort not to fall asleep they all look around every one or two minutes to quite often directly face each other, but no one take the trouble to even nod after standing here so long. Two maids arrive again, and they may sip more juice if still thirsty. Anne thinks they have been ordered to do this every half an hour to avoid a Joanna fainting from being dried-up and overheated, which was what might have happened yesterday. If having remembered the number of times they have sipped correctly, the clock is approaching half past noon when four maids arrive, and they are detached from the poles to mince back to the room where lunch was served.

Getting seated now is the best thing that has happened since the intercourse. They are seated like at breakfast with the men at one end and the women at the other, and the selection of drinkable food for the women is exactly the same. Beer is offered to all of them, but the women tired from a bad night, tired from trying to stay awake all morning and physically tired from standing for hours, all only drink non-alcoholic beverages. Anne is not eating much, just hoping for a short meal to quickly get home and remove the mask. But she has to stay at the table for nearly an hour, the men are of course hungry having exercised, before George suddenly speaks loud enough for the women to hear “Dear friends, with this lovely lunch a unique wonderful weekend has come to an end. We men have enjoyed not only one but four Joanna’s and for much longer than the traditional ball. Our wives have experienced living like Joanna, who we know took the inconveniences of the outfit and the bounds put on her with good spirit, seeing how happy she made her love, and freed from the unpleasant tasks and decisions most women have to live with. Now it’s time for doing what each of us prefer individually, our new wealth allowing almost anything. But we’ll stay in contact, and I’m sure we’ll soon miss each other so much we have to meet again, even if not all of us at the same time. Enjoy the new life!” The men toast emptying their glasses and in a minute have left the room.

5.

Immediately following the women have their tube extensions removed, and the four maids help them get up, and in a line, like walking to the garden and back, they all mince to the entrance hall. There is no sight of the men, but just before they reach the doors a maid catches up on them carrying a cloak and gesturing them to part. Anne meets cheek to cheek with the forest green Joanna first, then with the peach, who even let their leather lips touch. Finally she ‘kisses’ the royal blue, while the two others part. Meanwhile the maid with the cloak has moved up behind the royal blue Joanna, and just as Anne has withdrawn from her, the royal blue gets the cloak around her shoulders. The maid bringing her starts closing the front hooks, while the maid behind her lifts the hood over her head. Only a few moments after Anne has parted with her, the two maids guides her out of the door. Meanwhile two more maids have arrived with cloaks, and before the door has closed behind the royal blue Joanna and the maids accompanying her, Anne is virtually blinded by a hood being pulled over her head. A couple of minutes later she is seated between two maids at the back seat of a car and belted. She doesn’t sense Peter enter or the engine being started before the vibrator she had almost forgotten sets in at very high power. She has several small orgasms during the ride, but never gets to climax fully. Anne is hardly able to stand on her legs when after the ride being motioned to get out. She hasn’t even noticed the car has stopped completely and the engine turned off. Being strongly supported by both maids while walking up the driveway she only thinks of Peter has to take her fast. Then her mind gets confused expecting Peter in front of her, but her eyes sees Keith. And then her eyes sees the house of Keith and Jocelyn. Anne stops. After having opened the front door Keith turns around to see Anne standing still shaking her head, which makes him say “Oh, I almost forgot that you are not Jocelyn. Please come inside and I’ll explain to you.” Following Keith the maids more or less carry her, so they are nearly able to follow his pace. Anne is still too aroused to be surprised to end up in the bedroom before Keith says “Being with a Joanna almost all day and night, having sex once a day is not enough for me. And you are highly aroused, perhaps not able to understand what I’m going to tell you before having climaxed. I think we should enjoy each other before anything else. Remember we have all agreed sex with each others partners is fully acceptable this weekend.” While Keith speaking a maid has disconnected Anne’s wrists, and the other is about to remove her dress. While barely noticing her wrists are connected again after the dress has gone, Anne thinks sex – why not. She certainly craves for a man inside her and nods, already being guided towards the bed. Still wearing the Birchdale outfit, which is what Keith clearly prefers, it is sort of part of the package that her ankles and wrists are chained to the bed ends. Meanwhile Keith has undressed and is immediately on top of her. He simultaneously kisses her mask and caresses her gloved arms for some minutes, before in about one movement he unzips her suit, removes the vibrator and puts his hard member in its place. Their bodies start moving rhythmically and mask, chains and the questions of why she is here are washed out of Anne’s mind. She is completely satisfied and relaxed when starting to thinking again. Keith lies outstretched on the bed next to her completely relaxed as well, staring at the ceiling looking very happy and dreamy. Having observed him for less than a minute he turns to look at her and smiles even wider. Then he gets up and gestures a maid to unchain Anne from the bed. Anne gets out of the bed so happy with this intercourse, that she minces directly towards Keith to press her corseted body against his naked skin, and put her head on his shoulder to have her masked cheek touch his. A minute later he gently lifts her from the floor to carry her the few steps to the bathroom. Slowly he loosens his embrace, and when she is standing on her own a maid instead comes up to her. She holds a cloth over the nose of the mask. Anne smells ether.

Then she is seated somewhere unable to move. When she tries anyway her knees are able to move some inches left or right, and her shoulders are able to move some inches as well. All that is in her limited field of view is a wall with basically green wallpaper. She is apparently still in a Birchdale outfit, but she senses she has been bathed, and everything feels fresh, especially the dry cloth in her mouth, but also the tight boots, the gloves and the mask. Suddenly the voice of Keith sounds a little away but loud enough to be clearly heard “Welcome to your home for some time Joanna.” Keith pauses because a monitor is entered into Anne’s field of view. It shows the room from a corner just below the ceiling, and Anne sees she is indeed trapped in a Birchdale outfit, now with the forest green dress. She is seated in an armchair and made immobile like in the sofa the night before with a lap belt, a neck brace and strapped ankles. In a similar chair on the other side of a coffee table sits Keith observing her, but not restricted of course. He continues “You should be able to turn your boot tips away from each other. If you can hear me and see us, then move them apart and together again a couple of times.” Anne does as she is told, making Keith go on “With our new wealth George, Phil, Peter and I have decided to have our fantasy come true, and have Joanna at our side for real and forever. Our wives will all have to wear a Birchdale mask and what goes with it 24/7 for many years to come. But the four of you being real women, the four Joanna’s are slightly different, giving us the opportunity to have a little variation in our love life by swopping you among us from time to time. That is why you are here now. This also means you won’t be looking at the same walls or ceilings forever, keeping you mind sane. While staying with me at least, you’ll further have the freedom to move around in the house and garden when I’m out or like to see you mince around, but the hands stay behind your back and the ankles chained. You have tried the basic selection of food available, and you’ll only wear the one style of dress you wear now in the four colors the first Joanna wore, but we’ll probably try reducing your waist down to wasp size. That’s about all I think you need to know. You’ll see me at dinner.” The monitor is removed, it becomes totally silent to Anne, and she sees only the wallpaper again. Despite the tight mask she senses a stream of tears running down her own now always moist skin on both of her cheeks.

Copyright © 2008, Bo_Emp; moc.oohay@pmE_oB