Dollhood, A Woman’s Choice
By Cafter Homme
Based on a story and outline by Dave Potter & Cafter Homme
This is a collaboration between myself and Dave Potter, revolving around a society that allows and appreciates forced surgical transformation. Not for the faint of heart.
Our story is set in the same alternative world as Dave’s The Tale of Anastasia, Doll Wife, Alison Becomes A Lady of Leisure and Dr. Edwards’ Special Birthday Present. However, whilst they are all set in the latter half of the 20th century, this takes place in the middle of the 21st. Therefore, technology has advanced and with it the possibilities to modify and control wives and companions, and this story aims to reflect this in the full.
This can be considered a sequel to An Artist’s Masterpiece, though it does not follow it chronologically, instead proposing that the freed Emily Rivers has released a modified version of that story to the public, skipping the self-incriminating elements in Book 5, setting off a public relations disaster for the Society of Dolls. Their response follows.
Cafter calls this story a collaboration between the two of us. In the early stages it was, but over the last six months or so, he has carried it forward whereas I let it die off. That would have been a shame since I think it’s an excellent work and I thank him for letting me publish it on this site. Please leave comments and criticism as he, like me, appreciates feedback greatly.
Emily the doll stared mindlessly ahead, perched on the edge of her seat in the fine drawing room of the Hodgkinsons’ home, her gargantuan chest heaving up and down, each breath tugging on her two remaining wedding rings making her ever-sensitive nipples even sorer than they were before. Across from her sat Chastity and Hope Hodgkinson, the two daughters of the house. They both stared vacantly ahead, they both had heaving breasts, they both had minute waists, and they both were devoid of their arms. All three wore elaborate fleur-de-bouches in their mouths to stop the drool from exiting. All three had been modified into dolls.
Two automaids entered in their fineries, accompanied by a third pushing a cart, which carried their daily meals. In the corner of her locked vision she saw the two girls shift a bit in their place. Were they new to this, or perhaps even eager? Emily was neither. Upon the cart lay three clear rubber phalluses, revealing a core made of the finest looking nutritional mush this side of London. Her maid released the false flower in her mouth with an embroidered cloth placed below to prevent the discharge from falling onto her prominent chest and down her stays. Without further ado (for none was needed or offered), her attendant lodged the sizable feeding apparatus into her mouth. Her tongue and supplemental muscles went to work reflexively, slowly massaging out her food, and with nothing better to do but stare into empty space and guess which Hodgkinson doll would finish first, her thoughts drifted to the past…
The right-hand Hodgkinson doll finished her meal first. I know because I remember which attendant removed it’s charge’s feeder first, because that doll was me: Hope Hodgkinson. Well, that was my name before I married. Now I am Hope Collins, loving wife and property of John Collins. I am his wife but I am not a woman.
I am a Doll.
I remember Emily. Once upon a time, I envied her, I sincerely did. She was the example of a perfect woman, a happy woman, a true doll, and Father rightly believed that having such an example around once in a while would be good influence on my sister and I, so she was paraded before us by Father’s friend, Mr. Battersby, every other Sunday, and truly we all longed to be her. Of course, none of us remotely guessed how unhappy she was inside, as was to be revealed years later in her writings and activism. How could anyone be unhappy when they looked, moved, and behaved so wonderfully, so refined and elegant? How could anyone be unhappy if they were a doll with a man to love them, and beyond that an estate as luxurious as Humphrey’s?
Yes, we were quite naive.
Why did I shift a little in my place when our food was brought by the automaids? Was I trying to adjust my frozen gaze? Was I disturbed by it? Was I eager? Even now that question is hard to answer. That was a long time ago, and I was still a new doll at that time; “fresh out of the box” as the saying amongst the dolling community goes. I was eager because I was told that one should be, that this was what every girl wanted, that swallowing pureed food like that was the height of delicacy, efficiency: consumption without moving a voluntary muscle, refueling for our singular purpose.
Yet I was disturbed too, troubled; for I was beginning to sense that maybe, just maybe, everything they had told us might not be entirely accurate. For the first time in years I was bursting with questions, unafraid of the consequences, but only after losing the voice I had been given by God to ask them with. Why did the size and shape of the feeder feel so degrading; why did I miss my arms by my sides; why did I miss having the energy and ability to walk and run freely; why did I miss being able to talk to people and express my emotions?
Why did I miss my life before it was “perfect?”
These days, I am much more content. There is little that I miss and nothing that I regret. I am still a Doll and I am still John Collins’s wife, but much has changed. And so I offer you this chronicle as my quiet rebuttal to Emily Rivers (neé Lowood)’s writings on our community. She may wish to abolish the entire practice of Dollhood, and surely I see how her experience may inform that position, but I implore the reader to make their own opinions after reading my tale. This life is not without it’s unique joys.
But I am getting well ahead of myself. Instead, I should go back, way back, twenty years back, to when my beloved sister Chastity and I were still small children playing in the nursery, and our darling nanny was reading us a story…
“…and so, the Lily stayed where the Gardener planted her, for He knew best. He would come along, every day, and shower her with water. Not too much, and not too little, because He was so wise, He knew exactly what she needed.
“Little Lily the Perfect Flower just gathered the rays the sun gave out as it admired her glow, making herself even more beautiful for all who walked through the garden. And the guests smiled, smelling the roses, and the chrysanthemums, until they finally came to the Perfect Flower. They would look at Sweet Lily, and wish that their gardens were so pretty, but they never knew the secret of her beauty. No, only she knew the secret.”
“What is it? What is it!?” We chimed in. Chastity and I had heard this story many times, but it was more fun when we pretended it was brand new.
Nanny smiled down at us, cross-legged in the garden, we couldn’t have been older than six or seven years old, “Well, the secret was that Lily always did what she was told! How could she be a Perfect Flower without the Gardener’s grand design? What if she had moved her pot to where she thought best, and then no sun had shone on her petals at all? No, it was His job to think, and hers to be silent and beautiful, because He said so. And Lily the Flower was happy, because she accepted this, and had made Him truly proud.”
Chastity giggled and clapped. This was her favourite story, and she was especially giddy once it reached its end.
“Now go along to the playhouse, girls! You have a little bit of time before your Pappa gets home.” With that, Chastity dashed off, but I remember taking my time, holding back. “What is it, Hope?”
This was one of those moments. As much as our Nanny treated us like we were her own flesh and blood, she still had to glance at the engraved H on the monogrammed locket about my neck sometimes to see which one I was, so absolutely identical were Chastity and I.
So I was never one of a kind, really.
“Miss, why aren’t you a doll like Mummy?” I remember the look on my nanny’s face like it was yesterday, a mix of puzzlement and restraint, like she had been preparing for this question since we were born, even though it quickly disappeared to the warm smile we always knew her for as I was picked up onto her lap. “Well I can’t be, no matter how much I want to. To be a true Lady, not of Leisure but of Dollhood, like your Mummy, an honorable nobleman would have to whisk away alllll my silly worries, pay for my changes, clip my wings, and then take care of me like I take care of you girls. Like the Strong Knight in yesterday’s story, remember? Or your husband someday. But that’s not my place, little one, that’s for good girls like you and your sister. You’ll understand when you grow up.”
I thought I understood then of course, like all kids do. That evening when we all sat in the drawing room watching the telly, that is, my whole family, I looked up from the plush rug to Mother seated on the chesterfield next to Pappa. She didn’t look down at me, I knew she couldn’t, but Father always told us how proud of us she was, how happy she was when we were behaving, or spending time with her. He would kiss her on the cheek often in those years, one hand holding her close and playing with her breast, as her only signs of life – blinking and breathing – would get faster and deeper as he did.
One of my warmest memories is getting up and sitting at her side, and resting my tiny hand on the semi-glossy plastic skin of her finely-manicured ones, daintily tied together in her lap with a white lace bow. She couldn’t move her arms to reciprocate, or tell us her love first-hand, but Pappa always told us she could still feel and hear everything, and he communicated for her, so we did our best to be on our best behaviour in her presence. You might think, as a Doll, silent and still, she wasn’t really a mother to us; I mean it’s common knowledge that Dolls need a surrogate to have children in the first place, but Chastity and I held our mother in the highest regard, like something expensive and fragile, like a silent angel watching over us. Oh how we wished to be her, to be a good wife for an honorable Knight, a careful Gardener.
We grew with these tales and this life for many years, and our childhood was like anyone else’s, really; quite carefree for the most part. Pappa rarely let his business influence us, and only took Mother with him to events or dinners, at the bank or otherwise, so our large estate was like an oasis we rarely left, nor did we really want to. Living in the big city like I do now with John, I often miss those days just for the quiet. Early on, I had a deep-seated dream of traveling the world, like the adventurous men we saw during our thirty minutes of family telly-time after dinner, but a drive in the autocarriage with Nanny to the shops in Reading was usually enough to satisfy me. Wearing my small training gag and a bow around my wrists as we walked down the streets, I remember the stares and murmurs just out of earshot, which only got more prominent the older I became.
I knew why they stared, though: they just wanted to be me, nearly nobility and a future member of the exclusive Ladies of Dollhood. But all of them were like Nanny, who walked beside me with a hand against my back, free to do anything she liked whether it was driven by Noble intentions or those of lust, hate, jealousy, sloth, anything at all sinful. As much as they wanted, these people simply did not have the means to become a true woman; an untainted, essential woman, and that was really sad. To tell you the truth, I was usually uncomfortable in public for this reason, a sort of guilt I carried around, so my yearnings for travel and adventure faded with age.
Chastity on the other hand had taken to the nursery stories of untamed wilderness and proletariat horror much faster than I. I think she felt unsafe when not within the Hodgkinson Estate’s grounds from an early age. Even an untended garden at the home of one of Father’s work colleagues was enough to unsettle her, and if you had asked her in those years, it would have seemed to her that the Soviets and the destitute and a live polar bear were all right outside of those gates at the end of our drive. That said, I was not so immune myself, and so we held onto the simplicity of childhood for as long as we could. Days of study were interchanged with etiquette training, womanly values, and play. We were taught womanly crafts like fine embroidery, but not with the intention of mastery, of course there was no time for that, just pleasant recreation. And truly, we wanted for nothing.
Yes, those early years were carefree and insulated, but we had always known there was a role for us to play, and Chas and I were getting antsy. At age thirteen, finally, we were given our training gloves, made of fine white leather, one for each of us. I still remember that day clearly. I was sooooo excited! That was the day we began our transition, ceasing to exist as children and starting our journey to be adults, well… women, well… Dolls.
Our Mother was led to the chesterfield across from us to watch. It wasn’t ceremonial per se, but it was still an important moment in every young Doll’s life. You wouldn’t believe it, but her pleasantly empty, blinking stare always kept us on our best behaviour, in a way that only our Nanny’s rarely-used yardstick came close to.
The gloves were made out of the finest dyed leather and they both looked and smelled wonderful. I let Nanny waft it under my nose first like a rose, breathing in the aroma of the finely-worked material deeply before I obediently placed my arms behind my back, clasping the two hands together and let her work this new, magical, big-girl item onto me. I locked eyes with my Mother for the whole time, staring, head held high in pride, smiling with my lips parted slightly, imagining I was her already.
That was the beginning. The introduction. The day when I began to have my independence taken away and my reliance on others increased. To some people that must sound like a nightmare, but to Chastity and I, brought up as we had been to embrace the Dollhood ideal from before we could even walk, it was like heaven. Real ladies were totally dependent because they could be. Poor ladies wished to be like that but did not have the option; the privilege, the responsibility to shed all responsibility. We did so because we were blessed, and also obligated to be an example for the rest of Britain.
Even so, when Nanny started to work the glove properly onto me, securing the strap that went across my collarbones and then beginning on the laces that ran the length of it, for a moment, a second or more, I did not feel quite so blessed. My smile faltered and inside, I panicked. It hurt! The strain on my arms and shoulders as the laces slowly but surely brought those two wings, formerly so free and mobile, together was unexpectedly severe. There began a dull ache and within moments it grew. I yearned to cry out but I did not, I couldn’t let myself. This was what I had longed for! So I bit my lip and tried to put on a false face for our Nanny, for Mummy.
Nanny knew me too well, though. That and the fact that a solitary tear had escaped my left eye against my best efforts. “Now, now then,” she said softly, ceasing the lacing and stroking my hair. Then she got out her handkerchief and wiped that tear away. And in that simple gesture I finally understood, and my heart leapt with joy! She had wiped it away because I was unable to, just like Mummy! I was becoming a doll, a real living doll! I looked across at Chastity who was patiently waiting to be fitted after me, hands clasped behind her, and she smiled too.
Nanny did not lace me up any further. She declared that it was was tight enough for my first day and moved on to fasten Chastity. When she had finished, we stood up and stared at one another, mirror images that we were, aside from our golden lockets. My sister looked so feminine and elegant in her pink satin skirt, her arms drawn behind her like that so, from the front at least, she appeared to be totally armless.
We quickly ran to sit beside Mother, leaning into her warmth. We were becoming closer and closer to her every day!
Later that day, both Chastity and I were feeling the glove’s effects, trying to help each other redistribute the pressure, but it was no use. As much as we tried to rub our backs together, neither of us could massage away the tight pain the monogloves caused us in our shoulders and arms.
“My darlings,” said Nanny after she had found us fiddling, “I know it hurts a little, but be strong; the pain will deaden with time and one day, when you both truly graduate as dolls, that pain will be gone completely, as too will those infernal arms that caused it. Until then though, you must endure with femininity and grace.”
Knowing our sweet Nanny was right, we both smiled and curtseyed. I went to her to give her a hug but then realised that I could no longer perform that action of affection. It made me sad. Being helpless for some things was an honour and a privilege, but I still wanted to show love somehow.
We went downstairs to present ourselves to Father when he arrived home from work, but when the doors were opened, to our surprise, a huge party had assembled in secret in the gardens – friends and relatives, Ladies of Leisure, and many Living Dolls! Pappa gave a speech about the start of our journey and we danced and smiled and, when we wished to eat or drink, someone in Nanny’s staff always fed us. It was strange yet fun, disconcerting yet enjoyable.
And it was only the beginning.
We had been wearing our gloves for around a year and had celebrated our fourteenth birthdays in them when the next stage in our dollification came. By this time our behaviour had already altered considerably. Gone were the desires to do things for ourselves, the subconscious attempts to pick something up, or hold someone, before we would realize yet again that such acts were now impossible. Gone too was the pain. Our arms were totally dead for most of the time these days; the only time they sprang into life was each evening when the glove was removed and our assistant maids massaged them thoroughly. As the nerves unpunched and the blood rushed back into them, so too did the pain and it was far from pleasant. I recall, early on, balking at this one evening, tears in my eyes, and asking why it was necessary since we wouldn’t be using them anyway. After all, why wake them up when there was no work to be done?
“My dear,” Nanny had replied, “you are quite clever, which is nice in its own way, and truly it makes my teaching easier, but cleverness is not becoming in a young lady who aspires to become a perfect doll like her Mummy. You should empty your mind of questions and thoughts like that; they are quite unfeminine.”
I remember feeling ashamed when she said this and I apologised quickly, but she merely smiled and hugged me, as my arms rested at my sides, the instincts of reciprocation long forgotten.
“But,” she continued with a wink, “since you asked; I assure you, my dove, the massages are quite necessary, for although your arms are no longer needed and you won’t be using them, you must remember that they are still attached to your body, and still your burden as a young Doll. If they were left restrained all the time, then they could become infected and gangrene could set in which is very very dangerous.”
“Why not just clip my wings now then, so I can become more ladylike?” I asked, before realizing that this was yet another of those sort of questions that dolls do not ask.
“Because of the law, my darling. Silly men in the government have decided that it is illegal to let little girls become dollies before they are sixteen, and so amputations and the other wonderful modifications that you shall soon be blessed to receive are not allowed yet. They think that it is because they are bad for the women themselves and so you must choose to become a doll, which means that you must be an adult and give your formal consent or marry a husband who gives his. An early arrangement would have helped but last year these they made the age of marriage sixteen as well. These are silly people, followers of stupid ideas like communism and socialism and liberalism and a whole host of other silly ‘isms’ that unfeminine people like.”
This revelation was a shock to me. Fourteen years old and never before had I even heard a hint that there were some people who not only didn’t want to be Dolls (or want their Ladies to be Dolls), but who would actively stop others from doing so, too! In my heart I hated them for keeping my future from me, and I made a silent promise to God to never take notice of any silly “isms”. I also prayed for my permanent transition to come with more haste so I wouldn’t be able to ask any more silly questions again and so accidentally become unladylike before I realised it. My chances for a proper husband were soon to be on the line!
My dream came partly true that year. One day in Spring we were called into the drawing room where both Mother and Father were waiting for us. Mother sat silently, staring into the mid-distance with a lavender fleur-de-bouche blooming from her mouth, her enormous chest rocking with every breath, and her useless hands clasped in the waste of her flowing dress, but Father warmly greeted us, kissed our cheeks, and then announced proudly that, because we had both been such good girls and laced our armbinders fully with our elbows touching, he had decided to move the next stage in our dollification forward by a couple of months. We would have clapped in glee if still able or inclined, I tell you!
And there and then we were presented with a beautiful gag each. Of course, we were overwhelmed and gratefully kissed both him and Mother before he ceremonially fitted our new, big-girl items on our innocent faces.
We had worn practice gags before, of course: small, hard balls of white or pink rubber fastened with a strap that we wore with pride at social gatherings or when we were out for a stroll on the high streets in nearby Reading. But they did not really silence us and could, if we wanted, be pushed out partially with our tongues. These new gags were different affairs entirely, and I watched with excitement as Chastity was fitted with hers first. The glorious item consisted of a white leather panel edged in lace, with her name stitched into it in gold thread, which covered the entire lower part of her face, obliterating her pretty mouth and lips completely, and was fastened with two straps behind her head. Once in, a pump was attached to it and the bulb squeezed repeatedly, inflating the gag behind the panel until her cheeks bulged like a squirrel’s. After that the bulb was detached and she was silenced and elegant. Testing it slightly, just a few utterances, a nursery rhyme too, and realizing just how little could be heard past the mass in her mouth, Chastity twirled on the spot, sending her dress blooming through the air, after which her eyes were full of beaming joy! Then came my turn.
As the gag was fitted I noticed indentations for my teeth that must have been from the casting taken at the dentist’s office the month before. The straps were tightened around my head and the leather panel fit quite comfortably below my nose, from ear to ear. At this stage the gag was no problem, but when the pumping began and it expanded inside my mouth, it felt quite strange indeed and also a little scary, particularly when my mouth became so full that I could make no sound at all and my eyes watered. But this discomfort was more than offset by the pride inside me: pride in the fact that I was becoming such a Lady and so dependent that I was now old enough to live without the use of not only my arms but also my mouth!
We bounced up and down in front of our parents in silent excitement before Father sat us down next to Mother and took our picture.
Ladies of Leisure may take breaks from their gags, but the lot of them were lowly in our eyes; noncommittal. If you are going to entrust your body to the man in your life, which all noblewomen must do by law now anyways, it must be fully wrested from your control! That is the only way to express your true devotion: so we were taught, and so it is.
So after that day, my gag stayed put nearly all of the time, pumped so as to suppress noise and any movement of the tongue. Nanny told us that when we grew up and became proven Dolls-to-be, they would be replaced by elegant fleur-de-bouches, but since we were very much still in training, a gag was more appropriate as these could be locked shut and not spat out. And indeed, I must confess, during those first few weeks in particular, had I been wearing a fleur-de-bouche instead, I probably would have spat it out!
It was so frustrating you see, not being able to communicate with anyone. I couldn’t ask for anything, nor tell people things that I wanted them to know. At first, on countless occasions, I tried, the only result being an unfeminine groaning noise. Chastity adapted easily and I think she only groaned on two or three occasions after our fitting, but for me, who was always the more headstrong, I did it time after time before catching myself At first Nanny chastised me, but when the problem continued past the first week, she instituted a regime whereby every groan or whimper resulted in five paddles on my bottom that evening. After a week or two of a sore bum, it worked, and within a month even the thought of trying to speak left my head. That is how dollification works, I see it now; through repeated behaviours, routine, for better or for worse.
Unable to speak – save at mealtimes – and unable to use our hands, gradually our days changed. We played less, talked and sang not at all, and instead began to just sit there, in whatever room we had been left in, unable to open any door, locked or not. Games of ‘Hide and Seek,’ ‘Blindman’s Bluff,’ or even ‘Tea Time’ became far less frequent as we replaced them with ‘Doll in the Dollhouse’ or ‘Best Mummy.’ And with this change in focus, came more changes in lifestyle, or at least, in dress.
The first change came the very next day after we were first fitted with our gags. We awoke in the morning – still gagged I may add – with our golden bracelets clipped to the headboard, and after bathing and attending to our toilette, after our arms were laced into their glove but before we donned our day dresses, our maids fitted us with something most unexpected: a pair of padded, absorbent cotton nappies each. I longed to ask quite why we were to wear something that we hadn’t needed since we were toddlers, something babyish, not adult at all, but I could not and so I simply assented as I always did. However, later that day during our morning lesson, Nanny explained that since we could no longer speak nor open doors for ourselves, then it may be that if we needed the toilet, we could not attract the attentions of a maid or servant, and so the nappies were there to prevent accidents.
I should add here that regarding our toilet habits, at no point had we been expected to clean ourselves. From the earliest days of childhood our maids had wiped and perfumed our bottoms after discharging waste, and enemas were quite common. Thus it was that there was no significant change here after we started to wear our armbinders. I’ve been told recently that this is not the norm.
It was only the very next day that I was forced to use my nappy, as the maids had failed to notice the desperation in my silent eyes as they led us to a visit with Mother in her Doll Room. Unlike before the gag, when we would have hinted our need to “refresh ourselves” like any proper lady would, I had no idea how to signal my needs save for an improper stomping fit right there in the hallway, which surely would have resulted in a harsh paddling or perhaps even the rarely-used cane. So I was left in the bright pink Doll Room with Mother and Chastity, silently emoting to the maid’s back as she closed the door behind her. I sat there for a while, but the pressure only kept building until I could no longer focus my eyes on the wall with the correct level of sultry indifference. I promptly stood up, and began to pace about as gracefully as I could in my well-trained glide to distract myself from what was now likely inevitable.
Mother was of course no help, as she stood silently on her doll stand, the phallic massager buzzing away, muffled under the layers of her dress, as her forceful breaths escaped from under the lovely pink lace choker about her neck, chest rising and falling as she trembled. The doll stand, which she was put on twice a day to save her from the endless sitting of her sedentary lifestyle, held her between the legs like a penetrating saddle, much like a Doll’s special toilette. At that age we didn’t really understand what was happening to her, save for that it was “normal maintenance, terribly necessary for Mummy’s well-being,” as Father had put it.
And so I looked to Mummy’s pouting face, blank as always, the only one I had ever seen, blinking away automatically even as it took on a rosy glow from her exertion. Her eyes did not focus on me, they never had, but I knew she could still see me. So I silently asked from behind my embroidered golden ‘Hope’ for her to somehow tell me how she managed it all day, every day. It was like a prayer to God asking for strength, for the chance of a reply back to my pleading eyes from her was as good as one from on high.
And there and then I filled my nappy.
The second change came only weeks later, when Nanny stepped into our playroom only to find us far from Best Mummy like we had been assigned to play, but something else, something long-forbidden. I can just picture how we must have looked; splayed out on the carpet with our shoes and socks pulled off, dresses bunched up around our hips trying to play Patty Cake silently with our bare feet one day. Chas had of course been mortified when I suggested it, kicking her and gesturing with my eyes in our secret language, but we were sisters and best friends so she would never tattle on me, and besides; I could tell that even Chastity was getting bored with Best Mummy. It did not take much skill to stare at a point on the wall and keep as still as possible, and my unladylike impatience made her the easy winner every time. But using our feet was strictly taboo, and we knew this. Bare feet were only to be seen at bedtime, and we had always been told: “A pen between toes only ever wrote what the devil was thinking.” Even as big-girls, with hands numb in their restraints, we dared not stoop that low.
But her boredom and my curiosity met halfway, and so we kicked off our shoes and plopped ourselves down on the playroom carpet like kids again, helping each other remove our socks with our toes. Using our bound arms as support behind us we raised our legs, silently giggling as we tried to ‘clap’ our feet in the old rhythms, myself even going so far as to moan the nursery rhyme behind my gag to keep us in step, though it overrode my newly-ingrained instincts with difficulty. But, if we were going to go through with this, we had to do it right. And that’s when the door opened.
And when Nanny found us committing our shameful act, we received twenty paddles each with our nappies pulled down, plus five for me when I moaned at her. I had merely been trying tearfully to tell Nanny it was all my fault, to spare Chastity, but she cared not and I learned a valuable lesson about Dollhood. Oh, I can feel the soreness of my behind like it was yesterday. Afterwards, we never wore slippers and socklets that we could kick off again. Instead we were always clothed in light sheer stockings or thick thigh-high socks – depending on the weather – which were securely clipped to new garter belts over our nappies. This covering was accompanied by new shoes with both a lockable buckle, and a significant heel.
This brought our days of running about, and the essence of our childhood, to a close. The tight heels, while much much lower than the steep shoes that Mother wore, kept our once-confident steps trepidatious and mincing for months. What’s more, it seemed that whenever we grew comfortable in our new footwear, we would be greeted the next morning with slightly higher heels, increasing ever so slightly, keeping us on our toes, so-to-speak. Of course, Chastity and I had always begged to wear “heels like Mummy” when we were younger, so we were only appreciative and proud once the punishment was long forgotten.
And in the end, Chas and I got what we had really wanted in the first place. After our charade nearly flew under the radar, we were rarely left alone to play Best Mummy anymore. No, now we spent much more time with Nanny and our maids, keeping us far more active either in the gardens, or the drawing room, and we were even taken with Mother to the township for her visits to Layton’s along with all the other Ladies and Dolls of the area, though we weren’t old enough for anything but the nail and hair salon and those refreshing, tinctured enemas. But just becoming more active, in our own way, left us quite content with our lives.
And of course we never tried to use our feet again.
Our fifteenth year was quiet, and we had less and less influence to change it too, as our Nanny had us focused on gait training, etiquette, and other preparations for our departure to St. Werburgh’s Finishing School for Young Ladies. At that fine establishment we would be given the education and training our resident nanny and governess could not, for she was not a Doll herself. Like all new dolls, Chas and I had always been expected to spend the last of our formative years at the west London boarding school, as the educators there would refine us into a shining example of pure womanly values – and teach us some things that were not so pure, but necessary for our future roles – so indeed we were very eager.
Our preparations for that departure started one cold January day during reading time. I was perched on the edge of a lounger next to my own personal automaid, a Christmas gift from Pappa who had let our common maids go the day before. Oh you wouldn’t believe those early generations, they had such class! She was the newest model, he had boasted proudly to us, and her handmade porcelain mask had rouged cheeks and a lovely carved relief of a woman with her eyes closed, a gentle smile upon her face. She was wonderful! And, as a cherry on top, her forehead had been inscribed ornately with a monogram ‘H’ just like on my locket, and my gag, to alert all that she was mine, all mine! Of course Chastity’s was adorned similarly with a golden ‘C.’ Oh, you should have seen how quickly we stepped toward Pappa on that Christmas morning, even on our clicking, unsteady heels, crying silently in joy and gratitude as his burly arms hugged us tightly, exactly what we had wanted to do in return.
Ah yes, preparations. As I was saying, about a month later I was seated next to my new maid in the drawing room, who had been instructed by Nanny to run a five-star massage program my shoulders and neck and then my feet as I read a pre-selected book. This was of course a luxury we had not been afforded before, only able to watch quietly as our Mother was lavished tirelessly by her own automaid all day. Keep in mind, like in Emily’s tales, they were still quite new then, and expensive even for Father, but the Society had deemed them a necessity for all Dolls just a few years before and in the long run they were far cheaper than a real maid.
Trying my best to be still under the heavenly touch of my servant’s vibrating plastic fingers, I tapped my heel against the floor to request for her to turn the page. The book, A Concise History for Dolls, was written a tad simply for my tastes, but I knew Chastity had a hard time keeping up. Had she been a boy, where complete comprehension was a requirement for acceptance into a proper college, I’m sure she would’ve been raising her hand to ask questions, but instead she simply squinted at a word she did not understand, as her automaid soon flipped the page without her cue to keep her moving along. Chas looked over and signalled to me in our secret language of nods and gazes that she would rather just hear it from the telly, and I couldn’t help but agree politely, even though I felt quite the opposite. I wanted to ask a million questions and read another book about this page alone.
Nanny called for us, and in perfect unison our automaids closed our books, put them back on the shelf and returned to help us rise gracefully onto our heels, so we could be led in silence up the stairs and to our bed and dressing rooms.
When we got there I gave a sharp intake of breath and glanced across at Chas. For there, lying on our beds in extravagant boxes were two special garments that we had both looked forward to wearing for so long: our first stays. This was it, this was what years of weighing and meal planning and measuring had been for.
In moments we were eagerly shuffling into position by the bed so the automaids could fit those beautiful garments around our young and yet-unformed bodies. I remember feeling like such an adult when Nanny did up the busk clasps, thinking, “This is what real Ladies – and Dolls – must wear.” I was a child no longer.
But with maturity comes responsibility: the responsibility to maintain our figures. This subject Nanny explained as we were slowly laced up, how to many potential owners our worth would be directly related to our hip to waist ratio. At first it felt good, like a hugging embrace, warm and welcoming, stirring my unformed fantasies of being embraced by a handsome boy. But then I began to worry; I was struggling to catch my breath as the laces slowly forced the metal-ribbed stays inward, the dreamy embrace becoming relentless. I started to panic, my eyes darting around frantically as I panted, hyperventilating through my nose.
“Come now, child! Breathe from your upper body only!” Nanny instructed. But what does that mean and how does one do it? I know now of course; the tiny intake of breath that I enjoy today is always gained that way, but back then I was still a child and inexperienced.
And still the laces closed, inwards and inwards, strangling the life out of me. I heard cracks and creaks and wondered if they were my bones being broken, wondered if this was not my transfiguration under duress. They weren’t broken of course; instead only the sounds of the corset itself adjusting, but I was scared and my breath was coming in ragged gasps. Eventually Nanny ordered the laces be tied off and I was allowed to recover a little. But how could I, for now I realised how rigid the stays forced me to be. I tottered around the room on my heels, rocking from side to side trying to adjust. It was hard. Yes, perhaps that was the first moment when I truly began to realise that life as a living doll was going to be very hard indeed.
Much harder than I had previously imagined. Much harder than all my lessons had ever indicated.
It was in the months that followed that first fitting of a corset that I started to have doubts and unease. They were slight, nothing major, but they were there. Before all had been clear, proper and perfect: I was born to be a Doll and to be a Doll was the very best thing that a young Lady could aspire to for the only truly happy Lady is a Doll. Other Ladies may glimpse happiness from time to time, but a Doll lives it each and every day. She sits there, rigid and beautiful, the very vision of perfection for her owner until he wishes to use her as is his wont to do, and it is truly marvellous. She loves it, she is never bored, and she is never uncomfortable.
She simply is.
But after that corset was fitted, along with all the other restraints once again, all was not perfect. Try to imagine it if you can – and I understand that you most probably cannot, but please, try anyway: Only a few years before this I had been a child, a young girl, living much as you did most probably when you were that age. I played games, ran around and lived in a wonderful world of make-believe. But then I had the use of my arms taken away from me and after that my voice. Actually, ‘taken’ is the wrong word: I eagerly gave them away. And scarcely had I come to terms with that when my feet were trained to perch unsteadily on heels, which meant that free movement came to an end and the best I could ever do was an unsteady mince – far harder without one’s arms to steady oneself, I can tell you!
This was all well and fine, to be honest. An adjustment I was prepared and eager for, certainly, but not a test of my resolve like what I tell you now. Before, there had been respite from the discomfort in my feet upon sitting, relief in my mouth when eating, relief in my arms when they were unbound and clipped to the headboard at night. But now there was no escape from this, for every breath was an effort, the slightest movement an exertion, a constant pressure around the middle that caused one to sit ramrod straight at all times. Nanny would say “with dignity.”
Easy chairs were out of the question, only standing fully relieved the pain, yet that caused similar discomfort to the feet after some time. My days were now sedentary, a constant internalized battle to achieve an impossible modicum of comfort. My nights were now restless, the evening stays only a hair more forgiving than those worn during the day. The books for young Dolls-to-be had never trained for this. They had surely warned it was taxing, but that description had been oft followed by others, such as ‘elegant,’ ‘essential,’ or ‘like a man’s embrace.’
Yet even at this stage, I thought the problem was me. I should not have been looking for escape from the most joyous experience a young woman could have! Certainly, Chas had adapted well and did not shift so much as I did, and I could tell by her small gestures that she was happy in a way that I was not. But I knew the cause, I knew it well, my shame: I was simply not as feminine, as assenting, as submissive as her; as any virtuous woman should be. The path that we were following was the correct one, but it was I who was falling short. In other words, I needed some more training, a proper education.
Which was all well and good, for that April we were both enrolled at St. Werburgh’s School for Girls, the principal academy for producing Dolls in England.
I recall the day that Chastity and I left for school most vividly, and not for the reasons you would expect. Yes, our final day at home was terribly exciting; with friends and family all visiting, wishing us the best on our journey toward Dollhood. So many people came that the front doors were practically wedged open! Of course, with us being domestic hostesses in training and the center of attention today, Chastity and I stood in our heels all morning, silent behind our monogrammed namegags to ease the confusion of our likenesses, nodding along to courteously uncomplicated questions. Nanny had us on our absolute best behaviour, curtseying for each guest that visited, even as our feet grew tired and our chests grew warm. It did not matter: we were silent and overjoyed in the celebratory air, breathing it all in with short gasps, for soon we would be gone.
The men were raucous; uncles, neighbours, and coworkers patting Father on the back and shaking his hand on a job well done, a select few even taking us aside to assess our stock for a potential marriage before the heat of next year’s Society Season! Oh, he was so proud! Pappa insisted on a visual assessment only, but the large hands of our potential fathers-in-law and even a couple Society Scouts still ended up on our newly-sensitive areas. The women, whether they were Ladies or Dolls, were all silent and demure of course, but I noticed expressions of warmth and respect from the Ladies who could give it, and that warmed me significantly, reaffirming my inner desire to live up to theirs and my family’s expectations.
One Lord Chittenham, whom we had not previously met, arrived in a sports-carriage and greeted Pappa quite warmly, unexpectedly so, but Chastity and I almost forgot to curtsey upon the sight of his Doll. As Chittenham raved on to us girls about our father’s previously unheard-of excellence on the college rugby pitch (a complex game that mystifies me), my wide eyes could not stray from her chocolate skin. But the tone is truly not what held my gaze wide in shock, it was how much of it we could see! His Doll, who we later heard him call Belle, would have been arrested for indecent exposure if she had been left on her own in public.
She was clad in not the densely woven and layered fineries of most contemporary ladies but instead in merely a shawl of delicate white lace, which hung over her fashionably empty shoulders and shone brilliantly in contrast to her African complexion, and left nothing to the imagination. Her severe corset covered her midsection but had quite mis-sized cups, or so we thought with innocence at the time, as they left her gigantic breasts exposed as if on a shelf for their display, valentine heart-shaped areola and all.
Belle’s nether regions were on similar display, but we dared not look too closely. Such interest from another woman was deviously improper. Belle’s bare legs led down to vertical ballet heels, continuously stepping as she balanced precariously, even as her face showed not a hint of the exertion she must have been under, a thick-lipped smile frozen on her plasti-skin face. Her eyes too were more joyous than most Dolls, perhaps frozen in that design to resist the internal shame she must have felt at being left effectively nude at such a formal occasion.
We noticed Mummy shake at the sight and click her heel but no one heeded her save for Pappa’s “Hush now, darling.” I don’t believe she approved, looking back, but to which part I have no idea, probably all of it, race included. Chastity and I were far too shocked to opine, but even our sheltered minds knew that this was not the promised future we had been looking forward to. Father had told us stories of men such as this, and how important it was to pick a proper husband for Dolls, as defenseless as we are, but those cautious stories were mostly for the purpose of our understanding of his responsibilities, not learning, as we knew we would be quite incapacitated by the time the Season and talk of betrothal was a serious concern; and what a silly thought, a woman picking her own husband!
Pappa looked Belle up and down, eyes settling on the leash in her husband’s hand, and remarked to Lord Chittenham, “The years haven’t tamed you one bit, old boy, have they?”
I could see the landed man chuckle wryly. Though both were in their mid-40s, he was actually surprisingly handsome, and far fitter than Pappa. “Alan!! I’m hoping they haven’t tamed you, old friend. I have a proposition for you and your Lady now that your roost is emptying, oh my apologies, girls, grown-up affairs.”
I remember Pappa looking uncomfortably curious, gesturing the man and his exotic wife to his personal study so they could talk privately. Chastity and I had only a moment to look at each other nervously before more visitors arrived to join the others all lunching in the garden out back.
Pappa and Chittenham emerged nearly half an hour later rip roaring in laughter, Pappa adjusting his belt as if just relieving himself in the washroom as men do on their own, Chittenham’s Doll strutting precariously behind, and I noticed Mummy beside me shift from foot to foot, she didn’t seem to like Lord Chittenham at all. All I heard before our departure was mention of a couples vacation to one of Chittenham’s estates under the Mediterranean sun.
Our mother’s unrefined behaviour following that news was shocking to the both of us – she almost kicked Pappa a couple times with her heel for his attention – especially since in all of our years we had never seen her misstep from perfect Doll mentality save for during a few slight injuries and ailments. But we could not have asked her for her opinion if we tried, and truly she should not have been trying to give it. It was not our place as Dolls! Besides, who doesn’t want a vacation? A short spanking there in the hall set her straight, for a while at least.
The rest of the morning was mostly uneventful, with continued pleasantries as guests joined and departed. This said, there was still a sizeable gathering present when it was time for us to depart, and so around noon we silently watched the automaids haul out our brand new travelling trunks to the waiting autocarriage in the driveway and Pappa unlaced the bow around Mummy’s dainty arms which usually held them in front of her so politely. Holding her limp hands, Pappa ushered us between the two of them and we had a big family hug as a photographer snapped our photo.
This is when the trouble started.
Just when we thought her inelegant tendencies were behind us, Mummy suddenly tottered forward unaided and unbidden and stood between us and the door of the autocar, her untied arms swinging crudely by her sides. We looked at one another, at her and at Pappa: what on earth had gotten into her? We could see her breath quickening but her face of course showed no hint as to her motives, and she was as silent as ever. At the time our father simply laughed and jokingly said, “Oh darling, you don’t want to see your two baby dolls leave, now do you? Well neither do I, but if you love them as I know you do, please don’t embarrass them so in front of everyone.”
Mummy’s stance softened as she twisted to align her frozen gaze with the party of guests, watching with curiosity and fright from the grand entrance, and Pappa took that moment to grasp her by the shoulders and direct her strongly until she was in the hands of her automaid, now left to struggle against the iron grip around her corseted midsection. And struggle she did even as weak as she was, but once Mummy had been moved to one side, Pappa motioned us, Nanny, and our automaids into the running autocar, our school’s address already pre-set in the dashboard.
At the time, I thought Mummy’s last stand had something to do with her silent displeasure earlier in the day, but looking back retrospectively, I do wonder if it was in fact an act of rebellion, an attempt to show us that she knew what our fate was to be and she wished to prevent it. Perhaps so, or perhaps not; I have often wondered.
What I do know, and Chastity did not see this for she was seated forward in the driverless carriage, but as I looked back on the waving mass of our small Society, I saw Pappa’s genial smile falter when he turned back to our silent Doll mother, still stamping her heel in the perfectly tended white gravel, and as you will soon read, their relationship was never the same.
The ride was short, just under two hours to get from our home near Reading to St. Werburgh’s in Chiswick in the women’s lane of the M4, but the time ticked away. Nanny was quiet, peering out the window at the autocars in the standard lanes zipping by, our automaids were charging from the fuel cells, and Chastity and I were taking a much needed rest (or as much rest as our elaborate traveling wear allowed).
I looked over at Chastity, who had her eyes closed but I could tell wasn’t asleep. Her head was proudly upright like mine and her panel gag was moving slightly, no doubt suckling on the inflated bulb which silenced her. Chastity liked to practice kissing boys, which was rather silly: real Dolls don’t kiss back, we are designed to receive passion and embody it, induce it in others, not give it actively. Everybody knows that, but I left her to her fantasies of the future. No doubt the talk of potential marriages earlier in the day had her head abuzz like it did mine but, and I say this as a sincere compliment, Chastity was always more easily entertained. For this I have always been jealous: simpleness is a virtue for a Doll.
For example, though we were both brought up to appreciate the fineries we wear, Chastity really loved fashion, while I only cared enough to keep up appearances (not that either of us had any choice in the matter anymore). But knowing her, Chastity probably loathed our new school outfits: they were far too plain for her tastes. I’ll describe it, you may agree.
Her golden hair ran down over one shoulder in gentle ringlet curls, the only colour on a black and white dress suitable for an underage Lady-to-be that covered not only her chest but also her monoglove in the back in a single large sleeve. The dress came to six inches above her ankles, which like mine had been further elevated to the school’s minimum heel height of five inches only two weeks prior. Over top of all sat a dark grey traveling coat, a sleeveless cover of firm, warm, felt padding that sat on our shoulders and zipped down the back. These always made me feel like fine furniture being moved, which was such a lovely feeling! Not so lovely was the discomfort of reclining into the seat with our arms bound behind us, a rare but familiar feeling from our day-trips to Reading. How did Ladies of Leisure live like this for their whole lives? It was a true shame the Dollmakers couldn’t just take these useless appendages already!
My gaze settled on the autocars for a while, then on Nanny. We would not be seeing her for quite some time, as only mechanical help, Dolls, and Dolls-to-be were allowed inside St. Werburgh’s doors, save for during celebrations, graduation, and the like. Her simple grey coat covered the simple maid’s uniform she always wore, and though I had grown used to the woman’s firm but caring guidance my whole life, I only now realized how much I was going to miss her, and the home I had grown up in, and my youth, which was about to come to an end. I began to tear up, looking at her, and wanted so badly to tell her how I felt, thank her for the years of being a common mother to Chastity and me, but I never got the chance. Nanny’s attention was occupied with reading her tablet when I saw her brow furrow, “Oh dear.”
Only a few minutes later we were off the motorway, onto the high street, and turning at the grand gated archway leading into the courtyard of St. Werburgh’s Finishing School. And Nanny was quietly panicking. She had tried to reset the destination to go back to the Hodgkinson Estate but it was no use, it was controlled by Pappa’s hands only, as the law stated the autocarriage must be. It seems we were missing a part of the required outfit, but I of course could not ask which.
Even as Nanny fumbled about activating the automaids on the back of their necks, Chastity and I were wide-eyed, looking around at the courtyard of our new home, until she curtly commanded, “Heads up, eyes forward, girls. Hope, I’m quite serious. Unfocused and inviting, like we practiced. As far as I’m concerned, from here on out you two are Dolls, and so you must behave like such. This school is not known for its leniency, any misbehaving will be heard by me and your father. Understand?”
We did not signal our understanding in any way, save for a gentle tapping of our heel on the carriage floor.
“Excellent, my doves. I’m going to miss you both so very much.” I stifled another tear as she stepped out of the large door, followed by each of us, unsteady on our heels but supported by a strong hand from our automaids.
Upon rising, we saw a Doll and her automaid standing by the main doorway step toward us. She had quite an imposing figure for a Doll, not rail-thin like most, but at my mother’s age (or older, it’s so hard to tell with the plasti-skin), she must have grown up just before in vitro gene therapy coaxed the tendency toward weight gain out of us born to be Dolls and Ladies. This stated, her breasts looked far more natural because of these curves, even though they were probably double to triple what they would have been if she were an unmodified commonwoman, and her extreme waist training was impressively severe for such a physique. She wore a more elegant version of our student’s uniform, blue slate grey with white lace, with no sleeves of course, and she wore no neck rose or fleur-de-bouche. Instead her neck featured a very utilitarian silver ring keeping her breathing hole open, and her thick-lipped O-mouth was filled with a strange ball with a perforated texture quite like on the telly’s hi-fi back home. And from it came:
“Good day, Hodgkinson’s!”
If our mouths hadn’t been inflated full already I’m sure our jaws would’ve dropped. A Doll, speaking! We both looked at the oddity, wide-eyed. Of course her face remained pleasantly frozen as she noticed our glances, “Ah ah! Perfect Doll form, please. You do not want to start off on more of a wrong foot than you already have, young ones.”
We didn’t need to be told twice, and Nanny spoke for us. “I’m terribly sorry, Dame Henderson, it was an oversight on my part. I will return swiftly with Chastity and Hope’s neck corsets once current ones can be made.”
“You mean to tell me that these girls don’t even own ONE of such an essential item for their training? This is entirely unacceptable! It seems the Headmaster and I were wrong about admitting Chastity and Hope at all, if their family presents them in such poor standing. We expect the girls we admit from proper Society families to be a step above the rest, that is why they do not enroll for the full three years like the others! How do you think young Hope and Chastity here would fare at the Season two years past their prime?”
Nanny was more flustered than I had ever seen her before, “No no, oh dear, I apologize sincerely, my Lady, my Dame. They grow up so fast! We ran into some… The mistake was not their parents’ but mine.”
The buxom Doll’s heels clicked on the granite and marble paving stones as she toed gracefully to stand in front of me. No longer in the edges of my peripheral vision, I realized that this woman had an entirely unpredictable form of agency, for even though her voicebox was quite emotive and commanding, her face remained as blank as my mother’s, albeit with a more modern silicone plasti-skin, with less of a sheen. The closest I can describe it to is a soft silicone, colored to match fair English skin. It was the oddest feeling, that as surely as I knew her eyes were locked in a mid-distance lazy stare like mine were voluntarily, I could almost feel her peripheral gaze piercing me, inspecting me, assessing my worth as my father’s – and one day, my husband’s – property.
Nanny continued making excuses, “I assure you they have been trained…” but Dame Henderson just stamped her heel on the ground, breasts and bouffant bun jostling away, sharp puffs escaping the silver ring in her neck due to the exertion. “Ah ah! No more from you, governess. These lovely twins will not suffer for your sake.”
A sigh of relief escaped from all three of us.
“Or shall I say they will suffer no more than necessary, no more than to make it very clear that such unrefined presentation will not be tolerated within these walls. Maid, get the training collars.”
Returning from inside moments later, the Dame’s automaid presented ours with two hideously unfashionable leather posture collars, who then fastened them to our necks, making any movement quite impossible. This was not the first time we had worn such a device by any means, but the first we had been shamed with such a thing. Usually a neck corset was a piece of finery like any other, it’s restrictive nature merely part of the fashion, to be worn with pride, but these crude elements left no mystery to their sole purpose, much like a dog collar.
Finally, Dame’s maid connected the ostentatious leash ring on the front of mine onto Chastity’s, with just enough slack that we could stand shoulder to shoulder.
“They will remain like this until you return with the appropriate apparel, so you should proceed with haste. Hodgkinsons, with me.” she stated simply before turning around and strutting smoothly inside the elaborate institution. Our maids bade her will as they were pre-assigned to, ushering us along, and with the rough collar choking me I could not even look back upon Nanny for the last time as we followed our new teacher past the threshold.
We later learned that Nanny was promptly fired upon returning to the Hodgkinson Estate, even after all those years, and over the next several months our home’s entire staff was replaced one by one with mechanical help: automaids, cooks, laborers to keep up with the times. We received our new neck corsets three days later in the Express Post at Pappa’s great expense.
Sir Henry Wainwright’s voice echoed in the Great Hall, addressing our year:
“You girls… you Dolls-to-be… YOU are the future of our great Society. Yes! And I’m happy to say that this year’s class is even larger than the last, and 50% larger than a decade ago. Our virtues are contagious, and like the Leisure Boom of the 2010s, I see in you lot a fine future for us and our ideals. Pray you, just look at our Prime Minister’s wife! A fine Lady. And let us not forget the Queen herself, the leader of that Boom’s avant garde. You young ladies here do not know the days of my youth, when there was finally a complete acceptance of refinement, of Leisure, but still we Dollers faced the ostracization of our people! To become a Lady was controversial, but to become a Doll was taboo. Alas, leisurely ideals have swept our nation’s highest ranks, and what are we but those ideals’ most devout practitioners? His Majesty’s parliament has recognized this and even given myself and Miss Henderson their top honours for investing in the future of our glorious Kingdom. And by looks of the class of 2049, our future looks very, very promising, indeed.”
“Do not tell anyone,” the lionlike Headmaster chuckled to himself, his cheery eyes sweeping over the fifty-some girls in front of him, each gagged in some way, “but when I was receiving my knighthood, I caught a whisper, a rumour in the crowd. It seems the young Princess Elizabeth is considering becoming not just a Lady of Leisure, as expected of her, but the very first Royal Doll.”
A great rustling rolled through the lecture hall, the old church pews creaking at the prospect! Chastity and I glanced at each other for a moment but the collars and link reminded us not to break form, so we resisted the urge to react to the glorious news. A Royal Doll?! How wonderful! Such a conversion would grant us all a certain level of prestige, and encourage many to join. Perhaps a Doll Queen could be in the Kingdom’s future, even though Her Royal Highness was third in line behind her brothers. These were grand tidings indeed, and surely my classmates’ thoughts were as aflutter as mine, but the commotion was brought to an end by a loud stomp on the podium stage from the Dame, standing off from the Headmaster with the other Doll Teachers.
“Thank you, Lilyana.”
“I understand you girls more than many of you may think a man could. But after years extolling the virtues of Dollhood to young Ladies such as yourself, I have become acquainted with the female condition quite closely.”
I felt his eyes on me, perhaps on the linkage between Chastity and I, but I dared not adjust my gaze to check.
“‘The woman Eve is weak, but holy in her weakness and must be saved from herself. She must not partake in the fruit unless it is fed unto her.’ So says the good book of the our Church, and I am not one to disagree with the Lord. Your minds will be improved while you are here, so your bodies can be later remade into arks of weakness, a healthy respite for the strong men that decide to include you in their important lives. It will be a sacrifice, but you girls have been chosen by circumstance to follow this path, and just look at Dame Henderson, honored just as I have been by the King himself. Yes, indeed, there is grace, honor, and distinction in this life, the life of a Doll.”
With that he bid us God’s graces and stepped down from the podium, opening the floor for our Head Teacher, who began our education immediately. Dame Henderson stood behind the lectern, but she did not fiddle with notes like the Headmaster, no, this speech must have been from memory, for she had no other option, staring into nothingness.
“Thank you, Sir. For the new girls in the crowd who are not aware, this is a sacred place, a Dolls-only establishment, the only one in the whole United Kingdom I may add, and so Sir Wainwright is the only man permitted within these walls, but he keeps to his blessed role captaining our ship. If each of you behave, you may not even hear from him until your graduation.”
The old gentleman nodded assuredly, slightly quelling our apprehension about his style of discipline, but I hoped not to make any more waves than this afternoon. How hard could that be? Dame Henderson continued:
“Now, even forgoing the building’s long religious history as a nun’s abbey, St. Werburgh’s is an ancient institution. The school as it is today was established in the Victorian Era as an elite finishing school for young ladies, and then in the Latter Elizabethan Era when dolling as a practice first appeared, our curriculum switched emphasis to the new direction.
“Back then of course, Dolls were very different to what I was created to be, or what you lovely girls will become. The technology we have today just wasn’t there, and I must admit that I feel deeply for those poor girls who desired perfection just as much as we do now, but could not attain it. Skin treatments were unheard of, as too were ‘wing clippings’, airway improvements, and the like. And as for the proper doll functions we will automate for you, so you mustn’t worry yourselves ever again about the likes of blinking or eating or taking care of your husband and owner, oh I assure you, a mere pipe dream! Far too many legal and scientific barriers stood in the way.
“Instead those first dolls, those pioneers, were transformed utilising a far different approach: they were covered in all-encompassing latex suits, coloured like flesh and sealing them off from the world so that they appeared so completely fake that one may have thought these women had been constructed out of rubber in the first place. The only openings in these suits were at the mouth, nostrils (for they still breathed like commonwomen, not like myself), and finally for those most-intimate entryways down below. Even the eyes were obscured behind special lenses.
“However for some models (all at St. Werburgh’s in fact), even these holes were sealed off and instead, a complex waste recycling system was devised wherein the liquids from one’s front hole had to be routed into one’s bottom and then up to one’s mouth so that it may travel through the body again. Yes, your history books may have glazed over that. Dressed in such a way, the dolls subsisted for a week before being taken out of their suits, cleaned and changed and then resealed. And therein lies the deficiency of the old latex approach: it can only ever be temporary, and even though the Doll-girls were usually unconscious as their suits were changed, everyone knows this lack of permanency is what stops a pure Doll mind from being fully cultivated.
“Surely, I hope this is a review to you girls who have joined us today, but please, take a moment, imagine your classmates who do not come from a good family such as yours, a Society family, your classmates who were only introduced to our way of life two years ago, but who have spent two more years than yourself at this institution. For them, the life of a 20th century Doll was quite real, I assure you, for that life was their initiation into our lovely Society!”
I nearly gasped. Oh how awful! Just imagining being encased in that boiling costume, sucking my own waters out of my bottom, it was enough to make me thank God Himself at that very moment.
“Yes, for six whole months your classmates lived that way, to be taught the lessons your parents and guardians taught you over many years, to be taught your place in our Society, in our Kingdom, in the World! So I want none of you Society girls to imagine yourselves more legitimate in your devotion than your peers. I myself was born in an orphanage and then adopted and raised by the Headmaster, all of us Teachers were. So when you graduate proudly from St. Werburgh’s, know that regardless of your upbringing, or your treatment, you girls are all equal, worthy, proper, you are all Dolls.”
We dared not try to look around at our classmates, not until we were led out of the Great Hall in double file, students and their maids, toward what we found to be the upper-years’ Dining Hall, and an awaiting meal perfectly proportioned for our reduced appetites. Here, one of the Teachers allowed us to make smalltalk while our gags were removed for feeding, a luxury we thought was far behind us. And so I met a few of my classmates in-between spoonfuls from my automaid.
I exchanged pleasantries with one Vanessa Firdale directly across the table from me once her gag was out, the most natural option due to our bound necks and corsets. Actually, she was alarmingly short of breath, and when I asked her why, I barely got an audible answer out of her.
“We… huh… myself and the others… huh… the other girls in our class… just arrived at our proper waist size. Huh… it is… quite severe.”
I smiled warmly. “Oh, but you all look positively radiant! I assure you, it will become quite manageable,” I lied. With every movement and breath I felt held in place, resisted against. Like a rigid board I was forced to stay completely erect from my hips to my head. I felt the lower edge of the corset dig into me when I sat improperly. But I wasn’t supposed to think that. “I truly would’ve never known, you all hold yourself quite well.”
“Yes… I’m sure we do,” Vanessa smiled back, but I could tell that my response did not satisfy her. I pressed on after a spoonful of soup, for I was nervous. Chas and I weren’t used to talking to other girls our age, and I didn’t want to make a poor first impression. “Truly, I was surprised to hear that most of the class has been here for so long. You are all so lucky!”
I noticed Vanessa look off to the Teacher down the long table as she was fed another bite by her maid, the same model as mine save for the faceplate, hers was blank, a school-provided model no doubt. But she didn’t respond, focusing on her meal, and her breath. I took no offense, I knew how hard it could be with new stays. I noticed her roll her shoulders, as if to flex her bound arms. Of course all Dolls-to-be know that doing so only makes them hurt again later, the only real solution is to simplify let them go numb, to forget they exist, but something inside stopped me from telling her that.
A hushed voice to my right, “Do not mind Vanessa. She doesn’t enjoy all this as us proper Dolls do.”
I couldn’t turn my head to evaluate the source of the comment, but I took a chance, whispering back, “So it appears! We should thank God everyday that our bountiful futures include the joys of Leisure and Dollhood.”
My neighbour chuckled as my maid leant down to feed me another bite. “And a heaping of great sex on top of all that nonsense.”
I nearly spat out my food, and even Chastity heard that as I felt her lean her ear closer.
“What, you’re not really in it for the look are you? The best part of the whole arrangement is what the Dollmakers at Ormond Street will do to our you-know-whats!”
I struggled to look to my right to gauge if she was serious, but a gentle hand from my maid reminded me not to strain myself. “Uhm… well I am aware we will have to keep our owners company and satisfied yes…”
A scoff. “You Society girls really are clueless aren’t you? Oh no I don’t mean any offense, but if you don’t know already, Dame Henderson will explain in your classes. All I can say is… the only reason I’m submitting myself to this chastity is the payoff that’s coming after our graduation!”
Before I could utter a word I heard the clicks of a Teacher’s steps behind us, making her rounds. I wasn’t foolish enough to assume that her ears were as useless as her mask-like face, and I rightly surmised that such a perspective on Dollhood would not be encouraged, so I silenced myself until my automaid finished my dinner, refastened my panel gag, and led me and Chas from the table. Guiding my eyes over once I could, I found a raven-haired girl, beautiful in her own right, as her gag expanded in her mouth, leaving only her beaming eyes to tell of her mischief.
And that’s how I met Althea Burns, who would become my friend and confidante in this place before long, impressionable as I was. It helped that we were placed beside each other in nearly every class and meal, so the friendship grew naturally. Althea told me eventually that she had been raised in a brothel, an unplanned daughter of an escort who later went missing, and that the life of a Doll was her only way out of the same fate, even if her lack of proper upbringing and useful familial ties would exclude her from the more affluent husbands, except under one condition. “Hell, even if I’m a Companion Doll, I don’t care as long as I get some action.” I think, looking back, she would regret those words.
Regardless, dear reader, you have no idea how truly fulfilled I felt that night in our new bedroom, blindfold and gag letting me focus on the fluffy pillow beneath my head, golden bracelets and anklets tied to the head and footboards, fresh sheets kissing my skin, left to listen to the quick, corseted breaths of Chastity and my other roommates nearby. Even in forced solitude I felt a connection to them, like I was finally home, part of a community that valued my desires and encouraged my betterment, who would teach me how to be a proper Doll, and perhaps would even teach me how to enjoy being improper, if the girl from dinner was to be believed.
I slept with not a care in the world, but with a strange, pounding excitement in my body, perhaps for the days ahead, like a good Doll should.
As I mentioned before, our neck corsets arrived a few days later, and by then we were in the thick of classes, and quite relieved to be untied from each other. I love my sister dearly, and we are obviously very close after years with no friends but each other, but bumping shoulders and feeling her every movement tug upon my neck was a little too close for comfort.
After that change our morning preparations became quite similar to back home. At nine o’clock the automaids would come in, batteries freshly charged for the day, uniforms impeccable as always, though we would only hear the clicks of their heels on the wooden floors until they removed our blindfolds. Our wrists and ankles would be unclipped soon afterwards, motion and feeling returning quickly once the special golden bracelets were removed. Still, I would refrain from moving my arms, for I knew the more I did then, the more I would want to later in the day. Best not.
Of course with our night stays we needed help sitting up and getting out of bed. I don’t know about the others but there was always a moment before having our heeled slippers put on when I would just hate sitting on the edge there, dressed in nothing but my stays, panel gag, and nappy, hands limp at my sides, toes on the cold floor, feeling the used nappy between my legs lose heat to the open air. I remember always wanting to be freshened up quicker, much quicker: swaddled, held, bound once again in purity, because – if I’m being honest with you, dear Reader – I was concerned that if left unrestrained like this for very long, I may get a taste for it. But I always strove to ignore this feeling, before I was stood up and guided to the powder room for my cleaning.
The rest was always a blur. Lean over the padded bench, straps tied down, nappy off and a scented wipe to clean my liquid waste off my skin, my rear plug removed and replaced with the enema hose, left for fifteen minutes for numerous cycles before a fizzing pessary was placed inside, ginger mint today, oh dear! Tiny plug back in, untied, back up to our feet, corset off, into one of eighteen baths in this wing, a deep cleaning by my maid, a shave if needed, a shampoo. Of my own accord I moved not an inch, save to look at the other girls in their own routine.
Some girls had vastly different schedules, being made into different kinds of Dolls than I, than the Society Standard as it’s called. I never saw them there in the baths, or anytime other than meals, really. They must have had very different routines, but truly I don’t know. I will try to illustrate their various stories in a forthcoming chapter if I can.
Regardless, those girls I shared my morning with would sometimes look at me from behind their gags, or I them. Some would be practicing their doll gaze, trying to see me without looking directly or focussing. Some saw my nudity with indifference, others less so. We didn’t try to speak. Not only had the reflex been weaned out of us, the sound of any vocalization when not explicitly permitted was an easy way to get a visit from a Teacher and her maid. I don’t know how they heard us, but whenever one of the three-year troublemakers struggled, or even one of the brattier Society daughters (upbringing made little difference here), there would be but moments before help arrived. Well, help and punishment.
So we would sit in silence, in a mute building, feeling our maids massage as they wash us, lift here, scrub there. I would often find myself wishing my automaid would focus on certain places, but even then I always did my best to dispel the thought. “We should not want, all is provided for!” I would tell myself, but I have to be honest, my piety was usually ineffective. I would close my eyes, let a deep, silent sigh escape through my nose, and then sometimes even open my eyes to see Althea across the room in her own clawfoot tub, looking at me intently. I didn’t always avert my gaze.
Out of the bath, we would be dried and perfumed, powdered below and swaddled in new nappies, ones we would wear until our pre-luncheon check. Then the lot of us would inevitably be fitted back into our standard corsets before being placed in front of the auto-lacer, which I can assure you, being the cohabitant of one even these days, is a cruel marvel. The speed it works at makes the fitting less of an ordeal, but rarely is there a morning even these days that I am not slumping into my maid’s arms and being brought back to God’s green earth with smelling salts.
Not long after this, we would don our rigid neck corset, always matching the stays below, and farther down thigh-high socks, a requirement for not all the girls but for Chastity and I and a few others a must, which were securely attached to our hips with garter clips. I later found out that the girls who didn’t wear socks (all the three-year sponsored wards and then some) were restricted in a different way: strong surgical adhesive between the toes to keep from grabbing anything. Nanny had threatened it if we ever wrote the devil’s way again, but I had no idea it was the default for so many. Well, purity has a cost.
Back up we would step into our heels for the day, which would be buckled tightly closed. Then came the loose stockings, camisole, and our uniform dress. Soon afterwards our arms would be guided into their proper hiding place, our gloves tied behind us until our elbows touched, covered with the dress’s rear sleeve, and sweet numbness would soon set in for the day. Some girls from other Society families wore their arms in strict reverse prayer, hands tucked up behind their necks and elbows touching, but Pappa and Nanny had never deemed it necessary, since we were only going to lose them and that effortful trained skill eventually. After all this, nothing would be left save for hair and light makeup, which would keep us all from the breakfast table for a long while, until everything was just perfect, as it should be.
I remember looking in the mirror, at the details of the face God gave me, as my maid would comb and curl my sandy blonde hair, just as she does now with my platinum blonde wig. I still miss that face, there is no denying it, but it would not have aged as well as my plastic one has, and for that I am grateful.
After a silent breakfast inhabited only by the soft clinks of silverware on porcelain as our help fed us, our classes would begin: Living with Grace; Embracing Nothing; Restricted Charm and Manners; Doll Theory, History, and Philosophy; Automatic Functions and Bedroom Affairs.
Dame Henderson taught that last one herself, and I think that is what you’re most curious about, so I will leave the rest as largely self-explanatory.
One morning in just our second week at St. Werburgh’s, we started our day off with Dame Henderson. Every day had a rigidly-set schedule, start and finish, rise and shine, fed and retired, but our individual classes were entirely randomized, only our Teachers and automaids knew the schedule. We had been told by our Embracing Nothing Teacher that it was an ongoing lesson in relinquishing control and expectations, but at this point I felt this lesson was simply disorienting. I had relinquished agency long ago! At least our classmates remained the same, so Althea strutted in front of me and Chas behind.
Well, if they wanted to break down our expectations they succeeded, for in Bedroom Affairs that day we walked in to see a half-nude Dame Henderson, standing in front of the class at rigid attention as always. Her maid stood off to the side, a cane perpetually in one hand, like always, just waiting for one of us to break our doll act without permission.
I’ve mentioned that our Head Teacher was curvy, but seeing her without her usual attire, dressed only in hourglass girdle, underwear, mules, and hose revealed just how severe her waist really was in proportion to her bare breasts and thighs, the former of which apparently needed very little support, and the both of which had been augmented drastically.
“Class, take a seat. We have much to discuss. Good. There. Now you may adjust your gaze.”
We were all so anxious to get a closer look at what a doll looked like under her dress, that we could not restrain ourselves for the sake of modesty. I assure you every eye in the room save the Teacher’s own were on her. We found that the Dame’s soft silicone skin treatment continued from her face to every inch of her body, but that was expected. As her coyly attractive mask of a face remained still, so too did most of her armless, unprotected torso, as usual to the procedures that lock the spine into it’s regal pose, but I noticed her legs stepping, balancing, even shivering a touch in the cold room.
“Girls, this is your future. You have seen many Dolls now with proper attire on, but this is what your Husband and Owner shall see when he unwraps you at the end of his day. Be proud in your elegance, in your vulnerability! But I digress, all this we have already discussed. Today we skip the theory, the video instructions and diagrams. Today I show you how I function, and how you will too. Maid, run rehearsed lesson program.”
Of all the AutoServe devices in the room, somehow only hers knew to activate, and after handing it’s cane to another, the faceless machine began to further undress it’s mistress.
As the maid replaced her speaker ball with a classic fleur-de-bouche, an inflated pear with a lovely rose erupting from it’s end and eventually, her lips, Dame Henderson’s speaker continued from the nearby tabletop, “You may notice the stream of saliva which just dripped when my gags were switched. This is quite important, girls. The heaven-sent Dollmakers have made our mouths just as pleasurable as our other orifices for the men in our lives, so Dolls need more lubricant above to service them. Do not worry though, this is what our gags are for.”
I remember having a question in the back of my throat which I was not supposed to ask, or even to think: “Pleasurable for whom?” but the maid pulled down the Dame’s satin hose and then her underwear, and I forgot my silent query, for nestled between her hairless labia was a strange, silver object.
“Ah yes, well this is probably quite unusual for you girls, but let me explain. A Society Doll Wife is customarily left with highly-detailed replicas or direct castings of her husband’s erect manhood filling her for most of the day while he is busy. See, mine are quite different. Since I am a faithful servant to the School, I shall never be wed, and therefore I shall never be used in this way. But as the Headmaster says, ‘Eve is weak,’ and I assure you, the dollification process makes us weaker. Both my passages below have a nearly-inhuman desire to be filled… used, just as yours will once you are complete. The inserts, either your custom ones or my generic, imbibe equal parts relief and frustration, but without them some Dolls have gone quite mad. Mine, as you will see, are also locked in place to protect my purity.”
The robotic assistant walked to the desk and pressed on the intercom, which crackled to life with a familiar voice from the main office. “Hello? Room 14b, oh, is this my sweet Lilyana?”
The speaker ball on the table replied for the doll, and it took on a very different tone than the stern benevolence we were used to from our mentor. “Yes, Headmaster! Sir, may I please have my chastity taken out for demonstration, Sir?”
“Of course, darling.” And nearly as soon as the line was dead, we heard an audible click from between our Teacher’s legs, and a small hiss, during which something inside happened that made her seamless silicone legs shudder. The flowery coy smile and stare remained completely still as a breathy moan came out over the speaker, the maid pulling the two-pronged object out oh-so-slowly. My eyes glanced over to Althea who raised her eyebrows back. This was what she was really here for. There was something about this, the physical reaction of our Teacher, that lit a fire in her eyes. I didn’t understand it at the time but her resulting dedication I did understand, and I idolized her for it. We refocused on the show when the maid wiped off the dual-pronged device and held it up for inspection.
Even as her breathing came in ragged desperation from her artificial airway, sending breasts jostling, the esteemed Dame Henderson described with her simulated voice how it behaved: quite like a fleur-de-bouche, automatically inflating until it was lodged inside, except this object required a remote to be pressed elsewhere to release the pressure, as we had just seen, otherwise it would electrocute the hand that tampered with it whosoever hand that may be.
Reader, I’ve worn such an object only a few times in my life, the first of which was shortly after one of those lunches with Emily Battersby, when I was a new Doll in need of an Owner. Many suitors came by the house, young and old, old money and new, and each one that passed Pappa’s tests received their time alone with me or Chastity, time to evaluate if we would be a good match. I tell you, and my instructors would use the cane on me for this if I were still a girl, the behaviour of many of those men made me thankful to have my defenseless virginity locked away. And even with his failings in those years, Pappa was good to us. Though he alone was responsible for our future, he would occasionally ask me afterwards to signal if it went badly. Many of them did, but together we pressed on, and now I’m the luckiest Doll alive. But we’ll get to that.
Every class with the Dame from that day on, my peers and I watched from behind our gags as our Teacher demonstrated the doll stand, the special toilette, a shower mount, a phallic feeder, a ceiling-track-mounted leash, even a suspension harness for different positions in the bedroom, all to show how our bodies would function after the Dollmakers were done with us. Of course I had seen my Mum use some of these things, but I had rarely been explained how it worked to this level of detail.
It was largely helpful, easy to understand, but we had some moments of shock. About a month in, Vanessa and some of the other three-years outright rebelled at the sight of a new training regimen, an oral trainer which we were intended to spend twenty minutes practicing with every class. I didn’t understand why. Indeed, it was uncomfortable to practice in front of each other, but these skills would please our husbands immensely! Our new mouths were going to have automatic functions but I was pleased to know at least parts my tongue would be able to communicate my devotion, and we only had several months left to practice!
Still, that was a hard class. Even besides the disobedient students, who were subject to a severe bare-bottom caning up front after they tried to yell and leave the room (both quite unsuccessfully I may add), I found it quite odd resting my knees on the padded mat, looking at the plastic phallus hanging off of Althea’s hips (over her dress), and then having my panel gag replaced with it as she thrusted. As an improved Doll with our airways rerouted, unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to use suction in our servicing, but Dame Henderson promised us the rolling pulses of our throat muscles would go above and beyond that sensation, and because of the rerouting there would never be a limit to how long they could stay inside us! Yes, I thought that a worthy trade-off too.
But taking the penis trainer in my mouth wasn’t quite as enjoyable as all the theory told us it would be: the way it filled me till I could barely breathe, or the way it prodded at the back of my throat, it was not so pleasant, nor spiritually fulfilling as we had read. And this seemed to be a recurring theme of my upbringing and education; nothing quite satisfied the way Nanny or the Teachers said it would, and I was beginning to think that even sex would disappoint me. Not a subject Chastity could help me with, I knew that, she didn’t understand why I had so many questions and concerns, sexual or not. It was Althea’s devious eyes that kept me going, hoping that she was right.
About once a week, Sundays usually, we would be allowed to speak at dinnertime, and if Chas didn’t have my ear it was Althea on my other side, who would tell me about her life back home as I told her of mine: about all her aunts, the women who collectively raised her in the brothel’s back rooms; about what school was like; about what walking around London alone was like; about flirting with boys; about her mother; about her wayward father who peeked in every so often, only as long as to ease his conscience. Her stories were better than telly time back home, a life with sharp edges and adventure! I enjoyed talking with her immensely, and sometimes when I would remember what was planned for my voice, and hers, I would feel very bad inside. Yes, guilt for being ungrateful for the Dollmakers’ touch, but something else too. I dispelled it. I had to.
Althea also enjoyed our chats. She had no idea what it was like to live outside the city; to be home-schooled; to not have to think about money all the time; to grow up expecting to become a Doll from the start. In hindsight, I think my innocence shocked her, and I also think she enjoyed corrupting me, but my inquisitive mind couldn’t help itself.
Eve is weak.
By the time Christmas break rolled around, Chastity and I had spent just over seven months under the strict tutelage of St. Werburgh’s. Chas had been feeling acutely homesick as we got closer to the two-week visit home, and I must say I was eager as well, but we shouldn’t have been, for in our absence our home had changed immeasurably.
By this time Althea and I were good friends, and when one of our Teachers mentioned that the three-years did not get breaks like us, I took the chance during free-speech Sunday dinner to get the attention of the supervising Doll.
When one is only allowed to speak once a week, perhaps even a couple more times in class, you learn to choose your words and intonation very carefully, so somehow I was convincing enough to receive an audience with the Headmaster the next day in his grand study.
“So, Teacher Margaret tells me that you wish to invite young Althea Burns home with you for the holidays. I must say that this is exceedingly unusual, but the mere request piqued my interest.”
I sat there behind my gag in proper form, looking toward him but not at him. Sir Wainwright had not gestured for it to be removed yet. He continued, smoking an electronic pipe.
“Yes, perhaps this is an opportunity to integrate these classless children into the homes of proper Society folk! I will entertain your idea for next year’s class.”
The ensuing moment of silence crushed my hopes. What use would next year do for me? But I maintained my gaze and posture as he had not allowed otherwise.
The moment dragged until he finally acknowledged my presence with his gaze, which coursed up and down my body, from the rigid neck held high to my severe waist and seemingly-empty shoulders, and finally lingering on my budding chest. I wasn’t too nervous that I was behind some of my classmates in that regard, it was nothing the Dollmakers couldn’t solve.
“But this leaves you in the cold, my dear, and we simply can’t have that. I’ll make an exception this time…”
I nearly jumped for joy, but against every lowly human instinct still in me I kept my composure, eyes still glassy and expression politely good-natured. Seven months of practice was not going to fail me now!
“…if you can pass an oral test. Maid, remove her gag and place a floor pad down in front of my chair. Do not break form, m’dear, or else you will lose your chance.”
Briskly, I was led in front of the Headmaster’s grand leather chair, behind his mahogany desk, placed with knees on the floor, and my gag was removed, all by my obedient helper. Even though my instinct was to inhale deeply, I knew my severe stays would never allow it, so my lips instantly puckered into a mimicry of my mother’s, of Dame Henderson’s too. Inside, I was a little shocked at the casual nature of his request, but I just assumed this was some sort of supplemental education he regularly assigned. Quality control. It made sense to my indoctrinated head back then.
Fishing in his trousers, the grand old man’s already-growing penis erupted out of its fabric prison and I struggled to keep my gaze indifferent to the first real spear I had ever seen in my life. It was so big! And nothing like the trainers! The veins and wrinkles pulsed with need as it grew in front of my very eyes. He gave me a moment to take its hefty measure in my unfocussed gaze before tangling one of his huge hands in my perfect hair, and bringing my head down toward it. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t ready for the warmth, the velvet smoothness, the musty smell. Unable to bob my neck like a common girl doing this important task, he directed my movements for me, forcing my head up and down over his prize, me bending at the hips as my arms strained from their glove, my lungs straining from the exertion. Deeper it went into me with each thrust, and I realized that months of the trainer had made my gag reflex much more manageable. I was doing it! I was being so good! Like a real Doll!!!
“Oh darling, yes use your tongue, suck a little, no teeth. Harder, dear. Yes you’re doing very…ugh…very well!”
Sir Wainwright coached me, citing that skilled fellatio before the conversion would only help me once my mouth was duly improved.
I desperately wanted to thank him, praise him for tutoring me one-on-one, but still I kept sucking, staring straight ahead into his zipper and the tangled bush inside, appearing joyfully indifferent to the sensual violence occurring, until he finally erupted into my mouth!
“Swallow dear, swallow like a good Doll.” And so even though I didn’t much care for the new taste, I did as I was told, just as my new reflexes would make me in mere months!
“I must say, Hope, my Dollgirls are quite nice, especially Lilyana, but with some practice and the Dollmakers’ touch, you could be even better at this. I’ll speak with your father about hosting Althea for Christmas break, you have my word.”
Elated to have this generous man on my side, I rested with his cock buried in my mouth to the hilt until it softened, before being lifted to my unsteady heels by my maid and whisked out the door to a powder room to be cleaned up before I returned to my classes. It was only once I was sitting in front of an edge-lit mirror, seeing my smeared makeup and destroyed hairdo, that I realized I hadn’t said a single word in that whole ordeal.
I hadn’t even told him thank you!
Later that December, six elegant figures exited an autocarriage and assembled in front of the the main house of the Hodgkinson Estate, three of which had fine winter traveling coats covering them completely like piano-shrouds, gagged faces peeking out to the snow-covered grounds from beneath heavy hoods.
I was surprised to see another automaid by the door and not Nanny; she had never missed greeting a guest personally, never mind the homecoming daughters of the household, but instead of a flurry of questions we were led in silence past the threshold into a house that looked quite the same, but felt markedly different. Colder, quieter. Until Pappa came out and wrapped us in a bearhug!
Overjoyed as we were, our Teachers had made it quite clear that our automaids were still reporting back to St. Werburgh’s over the break, and Pappa had to specifically allow us to break form lest we be punished once we returned. He did no such thing, so we remained still and passive even as our insides melted being engulfed in our parent’s warmth again after so long. It was during these last few months that I started to realize what extended time without human touch or physical interaction can do to someone, so you must understand how overwhelming it was, and delightful, to have formality and etiquette broken even for a moment, even if we could not partake.
After Althea was introduced to Pappa via a written Christmas card held out by her maid, us girls were finally unwrapped from our toasty coats and led in to the house, as three or four other mechanical servants unloaded the carriage.
Still, the house felt off somehow, and I realized: Mummy and Nanny were nowhere to be seen. I panicked a little as a thousand tragic possibilities coursed through my head, but my expression barely changed. I hadn’t been allowed to ask.
It was later that day that Pappa mentioned casually how Nanny and the other staff didn’t live with us anymore. He said it even as he was admiring our elegant neck corsets. And still he didn’t tell our automaids to remove our gags. Not until dinner, but as we had still not been permitted to break form, that dinner was spent chewing quietly and listening to all about Pappa’s travels with Lord Chittenham and some other new friends, about work going splendidly, and about his petty troubles programming the new house staff.
He spoke nothing about Mother’s empty seat, and at one point he looked at Chastity, at her pleasant stare, and mumbled something about St. Werburgh’s being a magical place. It was obvious, he finally saw us as Dolls, not young women, and normally I would have rejoiced to such a sentiment, but I was burning to break form and speak with him like the Pappa I used to know before I was gagged.
Surprisingly, he also took an instant liking to Althea, and by the third day of our vacation, it seemed he was making the school-provided automaid unnecessary, guiding her and adjusting her hair and gown when it became unkempt. Just like he used to do for Mother when we were young.
Before St. Werburgh’s I would have glanced toward Chastity, made an expression of disapproval, that he was having more real interaction with my friend than I was, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to be a real girl who had these kinds of concerns, and the Teachers had taught me that sharing such thoughts or judgements was disrespectful, corrupting, sinful even. Besides, I had no idea if Chastity would even acknowledge my break in protocol. She had taken the last few free-speech dinners off, maintaining the act which was soon to be our whole life, while Althea and I went on talking on and on, satiating our appetite for the forthcoming week of silence. It seemed she was abandoning me, but in my heart I knew that wasn’t true. She was just being my model sister once again, being my perfect example.
So I used Chas as my strength, and St. Werburgh’s as my rulebook, and I kept quiet, I kept still, I kept proper and pure. I kept my eyes forward, my lips pursed if my gag was off, my knees together under the folds of my dress, my heels on the floor, my voice silent. And I felt the rigid corsetry from my hips to my chin holding me in place, I felt my shoulders straining behind me, numb past the edge of the monoglove, felt the gag’s bladder filling my mouth entirely, felt the heat between my legs trapped in the dry diaper I wore.
And I cleared my mind. I trusted that Pappa would explain what happened to Mother eventually. It was not my place to doubt my owner, as Teacher Helene would say, and our Owner was Pappa until he married us. But the question persisted in the back of my encased mind until the day it was answered, Christmas itself.
We had arrived around the eighteenth of December, so Christmas Day lay near the middle of our time at home. Of course Chas and I were elated, though you wouldn’t have been able to tell save for our hurried steps down the stairs to the blazing hearth and electric tree. Wholesome excitement sometimes bent the rules of grace, and so the clacking of our bedroom mules thundered through the empty house, past the autobutler, past the cleaner-bots on the floor until we rounded the corner to find Pappa in his chair, ready to dole out the glorious bundle of presents left by Father Christmas while we were asleep. The three of us allowed ourselves to be arranged in a row on the chesterfield, still in loose silk nightgowns on this special day. I hoped Althea would enjoy this, it would be her first Christmas in a proper Society household.
Slowly presents were unwrapped for us and announced, usually by Pappa himself but sometimes by our silent maids, and slowly a pile of goodies accumulated around each of us, even Althea! Corsets, perfumes, neck trainers, makeup, hair ornaments, gift cards to the spa at Layton’s and the Doll Parlour, the list went on, and I could sense Althea growing uncomfortable next to me, before Pappa came over and wiped away a tear she had let slip.
“It’s quite alright, dear. You’re part of the family now.”
The generosity made me proud of my father, and so happy for Althea, that I strained against my better judgement to look over at her and share our love, immediately receiving a stern hand and reminder from my maid behind me. Father, on one knee, noticed but said nothing, nothing that would free us even temporarily, before he stood up and addressed the largest box in the room, what could’ve been a seven-foot-tall obelisk encased in wrapping paper, but instead was anyone’s guess. But Pappa must have known. He read the tag aloud for us.
“To Alan, my old friend made new again. Chittenham.”
And moments later the wrapping paper was off, torn away, revealing a Doll in a bright pink plastic box visible through a glassy panel. I was immediately furious, all good will dispelled. How could Pappa abandon Mother like this! This was strictly against Society rules! This was… wait… this was my Mum!
I could hardly recognize her, so many changes had been made. Her face had been reshaped, shaving her jawbone, making her cheeks look more plump, her nose more petit and button-like. These changes were dwarfed by her lips and eyes, both expanded and boosted in such a way to make them look truly inhuman, like a porcelain doll. Where before she had been a plastic woman, now she was a doll given breath. Her skin no longer had its sparse wrinkles, nor the shiny lustre of passé skin treatments. No, Mother looked like the newest Dolls out of Great Ormond Street, like the St. Werburgh alumni whose husbands brought them back to demonstrate to us Dolls-to-be what lay in our future. And she looked as young as them too, the sun’s rays through the windows muted against soft peachy silicone, with not a freckle or flaw in sight.
And there was less skin to see, for her shoulders were properly empty as had been the style for some years, making her ever-increased bust size even more apparent, once more almost cartoonish. The dress she wore matched the box, so even once Pappa had opened it up to retrieve her, she was still clad in golden ringlets and pastel pink. But it was the eyes that still shone with the same hazel colour, even frozen as they were, blinking steadily, to let me know that my Mother was in there somewhere. As if I needed any more confirmation though, I watched her mutely try to leave Pappa’s support, step toward us unsteadily on reinforced ballet boots reminiscent of Belle’s. I leant forward to be stood up, one of the few things I could confidently communicate to my automaid, and in seconds I was standing with my Mother, leaning into her impossible embrace, almost supporting her in footwear a mere modicum less precarious than hers.
I’m reminded now of Emily Battersby’s telling of meeting Anne for the first time after her sister’s conversion, as even though I was overjoyed to see her, to feel her warmth near me, my Mother was breathing heavily, emotional in a way that I could not console, and even if I could ask, there was no voice left to reply to me, that had all been given up long before I was born. Was she just overjoyed to see us again, or was this the same passion which overtook her the day we left?
And out of the blue Chastity joined us too, nearly jumping for joy in a way that made me certain she did not understand the bittersweet nature of this reunion, and Mother calmed and mimicked Chastity’s gentle bouncing, sending her amply augmented bosom into fits.
And Pappa wrapped his arms around us. “Awwe, dearest, she’s happy to see you. Now, my love, I told you this would all be worth it! Ladies, meet Cushions. Clarice is gone, this is your mother now.”
Cushions curtseyed to us and I nearly cried.
I later learned that Pappa had sent his Doll, our Mother, to the same rehabilitation center that Anne went to (somewhere in Wales, I overheard), one much less gentle than St. Werburgh’s, specializing in behavioural adjustment with very fast returns. It must have been worth the cost, as our new Mother “Cushions” never overstepped her place again.
The rest of our time at home was largely uneventful, but such was the life of a Doll. When not in mealtimes, Althea, Chas, and I would join Mother in the pink and cream Doll Room upstairs, sitting silently on the edge of the lounger while Mother was on her stand, buzzing away. We were not yet designed to accept the inserts on the saddle, nor were we in need of its effects, according to Dame Henderson. It would break our virginity, and we were only allowed such penetration once our ownership and marriage was consummated. This led me to the realization that, modified as I would be that coming April, until I was promised and wed to a husband, my body would receive no relief in the interim weeks, perhaps months if I was unlucky. To a young woman already swimming in amplified hormones, this was not something I was looking forward to.
The last seven months had been life-altering in that department. It was like my body was suddenly awake to its own needs, and many nights had been spent spread out in security and purity, wishing the emptiness between my legs was filled, wishing that just one of my bracelets would unlock, run its batteries dry, anything to see what it felt like down there. I found myself in bed on such a wistful night when there was a hand at my door, and a gentle open and close. Now remember that Chastity and I slept with our gags in, with our eyes covered, so I was momentarily frightened before I remembered I was home, so it could only be Pappa or a maid, until it very surely wasn’t.
A whisper in the blackness, “Hope! Hope!”
It was Althea, tiptoeing on the floorboards, half for stealth and half because her achilles tendon had probably shortened a bit over the two and a half years of constant heels, like mine had. I realized she probably couldn’t tell which twin was which, so I shook my head to the room but dared not make a sound.
And then I felt her warm, unrestrained body join me under the covers.
She removed my blindfold and I lifted my head to allow her to unfasten my gag. As the pressure slowly released in my mouth I tested my strained jaw, before whispering to the classmate cuddled up to my splayed out body. “What is the meaning of this visit? How did you get free?”
She used my outstretched arm as a pillow and looked up at me, wearing nothing but a nightgown, loose stays, and the impressions of the day’s strict attire still printed into her fair skin. “Your old man visited me after the robot put me down for the night. Don’t worry, he didn’t do anything indecent, we just talked, or he talked to me I should say, but he didn’t secure the bracelets correctly when he put me back in bed, and our watchers are still charging for the night.”
This was the first time I had been able to speak with Althea since our arrival nearly two weeks before, so a million thoughts blazed through me. Laying there, I wanted out of my own bonds, but I knew not of the unlocking codes, and of course neither did she. Althea had been lucky. “Wait, pray tell what my Pappa discussed with you!?” I noticed Althea was holding onto me tightly in a way I wasn’t used to. Actually I wasn’t used to having this much contact with anyone, and it felt almost overwhelmingly good. But there was something more to her touch, which my education had taught me to be very fearful of, yet I realized fearful was not an apt description of the feelings in my chest at that moment.
She looked pensive. “Well, it just so happens that he would like me to be Companion to your mother after our graduation. I’m under no illusions of what that would entail, so I don’t know. I’m not like you, Hope. My chances of a respectable husband picking me are very slim. And there’s something I haven’t told you. If I don’t find an Owner, my aunts’ manager will try and buy me for the brothel. To become a house Doll may be too good of an offer to pass up.”
This was a shock to me, but in hindsight there had been signs, of both Pappa’s request and the nature of Althea’s predicament. I didn’t know how I felt about such an offer, Althea being the same age as me, but objectively I knew that such age disparity was far from abnormal in the Society, or in Leisurely marriages. And then I remembered that I shouldn’t think at all, I should just be happy for Pappa and my friend.
“Oh my!! I don’t know what to say. My Pappa decides my arrangements, but as a scholarship recipient, who selects yours?” Althea’s hands were absent-mindedly drawing on my skin now and I could barely concentrate.
“I’m not sure. Some of us are sponsored so whoever paid for our schooling decides. Those girls usually go to that household. But my scholarship came from the St. Werburgh Trust. Maybe the Headmaster? Yes, I think so.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. “Sir Wainwright is a good man, he will know where you belong.”
Althea got quiet. “But, Hope… I… I already know where I belong.” If there was any doubt left to what she meant, her tightening hold on me under my covers left none. It wasn’t a moment before my breath was straining my loosened stays, and her lips were coming to join mine. I followed my training, ceased my struggling, and went to proper doll form, staring at the ceiling with lips plumped as much as I could.
“No, not like that.” she said, using her free hand to direct my face back downward. I gave in and looked back into her eyes. “That’s not how real people do it. I’ll show you.”
And she kissed my lips deeply, cradling my cheek in a gesture so serene that I folded into my very human desires, and kissed her back. There was no user or used, just us, and it felt so good, especially when her hand started exploring my virgin body, when it drifted from my growing breast down over my stays to my womanhood, ripping off my unused nappy to get access to that sacred place. I had never been touched like this. I had never had a chance to touch myself like this. And it was doing things to me that dispelled all doubt, cleared my mind. This. This was how I was going to get my bliss, to be good like Chastity.
I returned her kiss as deeply as I could manage but broke away to look at her. “Althea, we can’t. It’s wrong, it’s a sin.”
She didn’t stop, actually she started to circle two fingers around a weird little bump down there in a way that drove me mad, pulling at my bracelets as hard as I dared, desperate to retrieve my numb hands and feet from their traps, though if they were unbound I don’t know whether I would have stopped her or tried to return the favor.
“It is, my dear, innocent Hope. But it’s worth it, I promise. One of my aunties taught me how when I was getting my first urges.” Her fingers sped up and I almost cried out, so close that she even put my gag back in, albeit hastily inflated and still untied. Now I couldn’t even ask her to stop, as she kissed at my neck and pressed herself closer.
Whether I wanted it or not, I was a Doll in that moment. Receiving pleasure and desperate to return it, yet unable to do so, but it didn’t feel contrived, or hollow. It felt real. Shockingly real and full and overwhelming and then I felt myself climax for the first time!
She laid with me there for a while, held me as I came back to earth, and I tell you, keeping myself quiet in that moment was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my life. But I eventually calmed, and even though I wanted to reciprocate, Althea told me there would be time for me to learn how.
“When? We are destined to be Dolls, we may never get this chance again!”
And she looked deep into my eyes and smiled. She had a plan, a plan to get us out and free and live a normal life. She kept on calling it a normal life but such a fantasy was the farthest thing from normal to my ears. How would a girl like I, who had never even cleaned her own behind, fare in the world of commoners? What would I do without the protective eye of the Society? She laid out her plan to smuggle me out the next chance she got, to hide us away in the backrooms of her brothel home then move out to the country, to change my name, get me some plain clothes, to live as lovers.
Lesbianism is of course illegal in the King’s domain, but she just told me we would cross that bridge when we came to it. I see the plan now as it was, two naive girls heatedly whispering about our confident futures after our first throes of passion, but at the time she had my heart. She told me it would be worth giving up her chance at climbing the social ladder, worth giving up her Aunties’ plans for her to escape their manager too.
She left in the thick of the night, and though my gag and blindfold were reseated correctly, sweet Althea forgot to put my nappy back on. Thoughts and possibilities racing as they were, I did not think of it until the morning when it was much too late.
Chastity told Pappa everything. Silent and proper as she was these days, easy to overlook, my sister had been very much awake, listening in her blackness to our unholy fiddlings and our conspiracies against the defined future set in front of us.
Of course Pappa had been alerted immediately the next morning when my automaid found me lying in a soiled bed. I remember trying my best to hold it in, but us girls were used to the early rise at school, not the lenient wakeup time Pappa had generously allowed. This had left me with almost two endless hours to lay in bed, awake, desperately needing the toilette.
Oh, I had never seen him so furious. I refused to explain the discordant states I was left and found in, feigning ignorance as best as I could, but my efforts were useless. I had never lied in my life, how could one lie with no privacy to protect? In Pappa’s eyes I saw the newfound fire that had resulted in Mother’s second transformation, and I couldn’t help but cry. She sat right next to me, almost a stranger, mute and still, but perhaps I felt her lean into me slightly with her armless shoulder? Her wide breasts were hard to avoid, and as for parsing her behaviour, I had no idea what was Mother and what was “Cushions” anymore.
Then he asked Chastity.
“The whore’s daughter came in the dead of night and debased Hope, bewitched her like a fricatrice would, and I fear Hope is still under her spell. They were going to live as commoners in the city and hide away in their sapphic sin. Please help her see reason, Pappa!”
My eyes were wide. How could my own sister sell me out like this?? And if that wasn’t enough, she concluded with a quiet, “Can I have my namegag back in please?” A thankful nod from our father and the maid had her sealed up again.
I tried desperately to tell him that’s not what happened, that it was not an act of harm but of love, but he would have none of my pleading, personally re-gagging me too, overfilling the bladder until my jaw ached. This left Althea, in only her nightwear but restrained as usual with neck corset, gag, and glove, sitting across the room from us under the close watch of her maid. She knew our plan was beyond hopeless now. She wouldn’t look me in the eye. Pappa stood in front of her.
“Now, young lady, I invite you into my home on my daughter’s generous request, I even propose an arrangement which would leave any other girl at Werburgh’s on their knees in gratitude. And you sully your honor and ours by behaving so impurely! Did you think I didn’t know from whence you came, little temptress, or what you were? Your door swings both ways, it’s all in the background report Sir Wainwright sent me. Yes, they know too. And do you know what we Societymen do to Dolls-to-be suffering from such afflictions when they act on them? Yes, we take the desire out. All of it.”
Eyes wide, Althea was on her knees in front of him in a blitz, begging past her gag, she was broken, emitting a muffled, “Please Sir, anything! Anything but that!!”
I saw then and there just how much my father had changed since our departure, and even if that was Lord Chittenham’s doing, the blame did not rest solely on that man’s shoulders, but on the weak ones of our patriarch.
“Yes, Ms. Burns. Now you know what’s at stake. Now you both know what’s at stake.” He said, turning back toward me. His eyes melted a little at my tears. He was hardly practiced in disciplining us, Nanny had always seen to such things. He looked down to the tearful girl at his feet. “But the rest of your file shows you to be a worthwhile investment once graduated, especially once we quiet that conspiratorial tongue and put it to more appropriate uses, so I’ll give you what most men in this country wouldn’t: a second chance. Nuzzle right here,” he pointed to the zip of his trousers, and what lay within, “if you don’t want the school to hear about this.”
There wasn’t a moment of hesitation before her gagged face was pressing against my father’s privates, debasing herself. I had no idea he could be so classless and cruel, but here we were.
“You will behave, and if by chance you are asked, you will tell your Headmaster how overjoyed you are about my offer, or else we’ll cut the center of your perversions out when you graduate and donate you to the House of the Enhanced Venus for them to remodel you into their monthly special, whatever that may be. Ah yes I thought you would recognize that name.”
I barely understood this last part, but I knew the threat worked. When Father finally picked Althea up from the ground, he whispered something in her ear, a threat or pact I will never know, and as much as I cried and begged for my friend back, she remained like Chastity in the perfect doll act until our graduation three and a half months later.
That Spring was very lonely. My eyes were beginning to open to the life laid out before me, laid out for all of us in the dorms at St. Werburgh’s School for Girls, but still I returned to my proper place as best I could.
For one, we had returned to school, which as an institution was an unrelenting test in behavioural endurance. A glance toward a friend, a heel step too loud, wriggling slightly to scratch an itch, it was all noticed by our automaids. Personal or school-provided, it made no difference, every single one had been instructed and programmed from the first day to keep us on our best behaviour. An articulated plastic hand on the shoulder was enough to remind me of my attendant’s presence and duty, to keep me in proper doll form, and if I did not cease my disturbances, well, a cane was never far away.
Secondly, dear Reader, what was the alternative? I write this now at an age that a commonwoman would consider adulthood, obviously still unknowledgeable of a great many things, but my naivety back then was dramatic. A necessity for my upbringing, for the insulation and protection our Society provides to its young. Regardless, if I had known a way to escape with Althea into the great unknown during those final months of our education, I undoubtedly would have. But I’m sure you know how flawlessly a well-oiled machine can run: there were no independent bodies here to mess it up, to improperly secure a bracelet or a gag. Now I fully understood the house rule. Anything with an unsteady heart and willfulness was silenced and bound effectively, other than Sir Wainwright who stayed out of the day-to-day affairs. No, not one uncaught hitch that entire Winter and Spring, and while I was not necessarily dwelling on escape, deep within my shell I was hoping for it.
So I found myself at my graduation in April, sitting between the two Dolls-to-be which used to be my sister and my best friend, or at least that’s how I saw it then. The third-year Dining Hall had become ever quieter on Sundays as the weeks ticked by. Perhaps there was less to discuss, or perhaps it was less strain on the mind to simply remain in our prescribed mode of being, to chew our food politely and wait for our gags to be put back in.
I had stopped pestering Althea by late January, and had come to some semblance of peace with Chastity’s betrayal shortly afterwards, filling my weekly break with stilted, unenthused discussions with Vanessa across the table. Though I loved my breaks, she was quite unskilled in the art of sustaining a conversation, a subject definitely not taught here, so I unknowingly said my final words in early March before I too receded into the act. Something about that evening’s meal, but I can’t quite recall. Isn’t that funny that I can’t remember the last words I made with my own voice?
So I too was a committed Doll-to-be along with my withdrawn companions, dressed to the nines and arranged in the old church pews when a man and his gorgeous Doll ascended the stage at our graduation, one of the many guest speakers. She was pretty steady on her heels but I could immediately tell that she had never attended St. Werburgh’s. It was easy to spot with a well-intentioned but imperfect strut like that. Otherwise she looked the part, wearing a slim but lovely dress suitable of the ceremony and the reception afterward, a gentle rouge number which framed lifted her massive breasts to frame her two roses beautifully. The man announced himself as Humphrey Battersby, along with his wife, Emily. Yes, the one and only.
Humphrey’s speech wasn’t particularly inspiring, but he was there as a new donor to the school’s trust, “so that more fine girls can get closer to God and our blessed ideals of Leisure!” Such pronouncements were starting to ring hollow to me, even then, but I thought nothing much of him at the time, nothing at all to hint at his private sadism and entrapment.
It was during the fine reception afterward that Lord Chittenham, Father, and Mr. Battersby all chummed together through the bustle of excited families and the clinking of porcelain and glass, joined by a young man I deduced much later to be Branwell Lowood. It seemed they had all vacationed together the previous year while Chastity and I were here and Mother was in Wales. Father and Mr. Battersby got along quite well, it turned out, well enough to lead to our biweekly visits from the Battersbys, and to the introduction of my tale. If I were a trained storyteller and had not given my life to Dollhood, I may end this first Book back in that room, with Chastity and I fully converted, transformed, refined, sculpted, and sitting across from Emily in what was surely your first experience reading about the life of a modern Doll Wife in the late ‘40s. But what is a passing example for Emily Rivers the Damsels in Distress advocate, the author of the four most controversial articles in our country’s recent history, the woman surely villainized in many a Societyman’s thoughts, is not my story.
True, this mention, this connection, is why I was personally selected by the Society to be allowed to speak to you people of our fair Kingdom in such an unprecedented fashion, but it is not my whole story.
My story, the one that will make you understand the multitudes and tolerance of our fair Society, only just begins as I ascend the stage to accept my Certificate of Wholesome Quality, following just behind my righteous sister Chastity, trailed by my defeated love Althea.
After each of us in that long line had curtsied to Dame Henderson and receive our certificates from her maid, we were then guided across the stage to our Headmaster sitting behind a small signing desk, who we curtsied to again in respect.
“As a newly-certified young Lady, newly refined yet still impure and capable of sin, do you, Hope Hodgkinson, willingly sacrifice your womanhood to join your sisters in Dollhood, and your future owner in the light of our great Society?”
I didn’t immediately do what I was told. I didn’t curtsy in agreement. But I also didn’t break form. My gaze did not shift a millimeter. Sir Wainwright continued to read the legalese, an eye on me every other moment. I could see it written on his face: was I being dumb or uncooperative? Neither, yet. I was nervous. Was this the right choice?
“Ahem. Do you renounce your humanity and consent to being reformed into an object dedicated to fulfilling your owner’s every desire, and in doing so, bring your family closer to the King’s favour, and therein God?
I thought about Mother. What would she think if I refused to commit to my life’s goal? What would Father do after he invested so much to get us to this moment? I couldn’t do it. My doubt was inherently self-criticizing. My unhappiness was not enough to ruin my family name. I acquiesced, I curtsied, and Sir Wainwright quickly signed an X in my place before I was hurried offstage to make room for Althea and all my other classmates behind me, and as I returned to level ground all I could think was, “What have I done?”
According to Teacher Dottie, that simple ‘X’ did many things. It made me property of my father, to be traded and sold as he wished, most commonly to an appropriate husband. His natural guardianship was already in place, but that wasn’t true ownership and the right to complete control of me as an object, it was responsibility of me as a person. Now he had both. Barring his sudden and unplanned incapacitation, it made me a property of the Society itself, my future under their discretion. It made my legal birthday exactly sixteen years before the time of signing, a requirement for the rest (which would be upheld by any judge in the country if within eight months of the real birthdate). It also relinquished my claim to a myriad other common laws both national and international, even including some special passages that made sure I would be respected as a Doll in most of Europe, though the UK is still considered a hermit kingdom even as I write this. John says trade is free and plentiful but personal travel is far from it.
Most importantly, signing allowed the Society’s esteemed Dollmakers to start their work on me.
Heels clicking down the back steps, my maid guided me down to the standing room and placed me next to Chastity, where we stood, silent and still, lungs straining against our formal event stays, and waited for the end and the ensuing flood of people through the doors. Finally, once all fifty or so were finished and Sir Wainwright had made his closing speech to the families about how well-behaved we all had been in his care, the doors opened.
Here we toasted, or should I say, they all did, the men, for there were but five women in the crowds who were not committed Dolls, and these were Ladies of the strictest variety, with arms in reverse prayer, useless hands sometimes even entwined with a rosary, and waists to die for. Mouths filled by fleur-de-bouches, these women used their facial expressions liberally compared to the Dolls’ complete inability, and if I could have refocused my gaze to look at their willful beauty all night long, I would have.
And eventually I found myself standing beside Emily, just outside the raucous circle of men hurrawing the labors my sister and I had gone through to get the framed certificates Father was waving about. As I silently bumped shoulders with this blank woman next to me who could not even look at her husband, never mind show him the love I then thought must be coursing through her veins, I realized finally, now that it was far too late, that I didn’t really want to be a Doll, that this was wrong, so very wrong, and I had made an irreversible mistake.
But before I could take even one pathetic step toward the door, Sir Wainwright swooped in to our group to make an announcement, wrapping me in one arm and nearby Althea in another, and announced to the hall: “I have grand news to announce, just grand! This young Doll, Hope Hodgkinson, has done an extraordinary thing during her short time here at St. Werburgh’s: she has made friends with one of our reformed deviants, one Althea Burns, as if she were worthy of such love and respect. Such generosity of spirit from this girl. From what I hear they are inseparable. Truly, truly wonderful!
“On top of this, in dedication to his daughter, Mr. Hodgkinson has also seen to it that Althea will be provided a place at the Hodgkinson Estate in Whitchurch-on-Thames as ‘Cuddles, loving companion to Cushions Hodgkinson and ward of Alan Hodgkinson’, a placement beyond prayer, and a true blessing for an outsider to our just Society. But we must remember it was Hope’s open-hearted generosity that saved this poor girl from a sorry life.”
Cuddles!? I felt as though I was going to be sick.
“Oh and one last thing, we will be instating a new program I have devised for integrating our three-year pupils into Society homes come next winter. You can read about it in the next Doll Society Bulletin!”
With all the men coming up to talk at me, to congratulate my father, I was left no time or breath to ponder any of this as the reception came to it’s close, for us at least. Upon a resounding stomp from the Dame and her teaching staff in perfect unison, our maids maneuvered us to the center of the room in our standard double-file, girl and servant, fully trained and certified and ready to saunter wherever we were guided.
This time it was down the hallway and out the front door to a waiting parade of London autotaxis in the courtyard, every driver (still human, I may add) predestined for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Auxiliary Wing to meet the Dollmakers in residence. The fifty-long caravan was a sign of opulence, of status, and as I reluctantly stepped into my cab with my maid, I knew that my fate was sealed.
END OF PART 1
Appendix to Part 1
Of course, the stories of all the pupils at St. Werburgh’s did not mirror those of Chastity and I completely. Whilst most were broadly similar, the Society Standard education and dollification, there were also some notable exceptions and, if you’ll indulge me here, I’d like to talk about a few of them. Some of these stories were told to me by my classmates, others I saw myself. Maybe, with these notes you’ll begin to understand the virtues of our Society, especially those of diversity and acceptance.
The first concerns a young lady named Emilia Delgany who came from a wealthy family somewhere in the east of England. A new student in the three-year program when I started my one-year, she was a pretty thing with cornflower blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair, and one might say she was halfway along the road to the doll ideal already. But whilst God may have blessed her physically, mentally, it was a different story completely. Right from the first day she rebelled against the doll ideal and her parents’ wish to make her follow that road, a road they’d chose for her so they could join the Society. She deliberately walked in an unfeminine way, her gag was not removed at mealtimes unless one wanted obscenities shouted in the dining hall, and she somehow managed to think of clever ruses which kept her dresses always damaged or stained. Things came to a real head however, on the day when, during her dressing, she somehow managed to disable the automaid that was dealing with her. No one knows precisely how this happened, but the rumour going around at mealtime held that prior to arrival at the school, Emilia had acquired a male admirer back in her hometown who worked for AutoServe, and he had secretly provided her with some voice commands that overrode the Teachers’ control.
Regardless of how, it all happened in the evening of the day when Dame Henderson had informed her that her marriage to a Dr. Aspley of Nuneaton had been arranged and that, following her graduation and final modifications, she would henceforth be legally known as “Bubbles”. Well, that night she disabled her automaid and escaped, running away from the school reportedly clad only in her undergarments. We were all shocked of course, but secretly I was pleased for her. Whilst the doll ideal is the highest that a girl can aspire to and she should have embraced it, at the same time it was clear that she had not and I did not want to see a friend unhappy (and by this time I was aware that dolls could be unhappy with their lot, like Vanessa and a few of the others). So, she gained her freedom and that was that… or so we thought.
Completely unexpectedly, out of the blue, after our graduation ceremony, the Headmaster announced that we would be having a special guest, and onto the stage was brought none other than Bubbles Aspley, wife of one Dr. Aspley of Nuneaton. We all knew in an instant that it was old Emily; she was recognisable, but at the same time the changes made to her were extreme. Most dolls are altered greatly of course, but Bubbles was on a whole other level; she was no longer an example of beauty but instead a parody of it. Her lips resembled a full-size plastic doughnut, whilst her completely spherical breasts were so enormous, each double the size of a beach ball, that she needed an automated cart rolling in front of her to support the extreme weight. She tottered about on en pointe heels and it was clear that she had no ability to speak or even shift her eyes from a fixed gaze. It was also clear from the tears that were still allowed to fall from those eyes that she was both unhappy with her lot and humiliated at being shown off to all her former classmates like so. I shuddered inside, especially when the Society men all whooped and cheered, their approval more than evident.
The story of Heather Ferguson was completely different to that of Bubbles Aspley. As I’ve mentioned, not all the pupils at St. Werburgh’s came from rich families like Chastity and I, a sizeable minority were what we called “scholarship” pupils, girls taken from orphanages or impoverished families and given an elite education that they could otherwise never aspire to. Althea was a recipient of such a scholarship. Well, Heather Ferguson – or Jamila Murphy as she was then known – was one of these. Her background was so low that she was in fact of mixed race – a concept that quite alarmed us, brought up as we were in the ideal of china-white beauty – her father being some sort of Jamaican seaman and her mother a loss-class prostitute. Jamila was sponsored to attend St. Werburgh’s by one Lord Ferguson, an ageing peer whose previous doll wife had died the year before. He sponsored her because he wished to create a perfect doll replacement for his former spouse and Jamila came extremely cheaply. With no family to pay and a evaluation by the Society appropriate to a woman of mixed-race, she was nigh more expensive than her hospital bill. Regardless, over the course of her schooling we saw her visibly transformed, her dusky skin slowly bleached china-white, freckles tattooed on her face and her final wig being of flame red so that, at her graduation she was completely unrecognisable from the brown, black-haired girl that had started her schooling with us and instead appeared as the very stereotype of a Highland dolly wearing only tartan dresses and shawls. We all felt so pleased for her of course, being able to become so beautiful in a way impossible without such serious modifications. What she thought of it however, naturally we never knew. All the “special order” girls were not treated with the same leniency as us, and their transformation was gradual, with many visits to Great Ormond Street.
But if we were pleased for Heather Ferguson, then we felt only horror and pity for Sandra Rowe. She was another scholarship pupil, arriving as a wild-haired and uncouth urchin from the backstreets of Manchester with a broad accent and huge command of obscenities. But her sponsor, a Japanese business tycoon named Takayama-san, had a quite different fate in store for her, and she was taken out of our classes most of the time and both trained and modified in a completely different fashion to the rest of us. We watched in horror as operations to her eyes made them more oriental-looking whilst her wig was jet black. Her ability to speak was removed very early on and she was taught entirely in Japanese whilst from her second year onwards she was dressed only in kimonos. Upon graduation and certification, her legal documents renamed her Yukiko Takayama married her to her sponsor whom she was shipped off to the very next day. Like Heather, her previous identity was erased completely, yet unlike that lucky girl she was transformed into a lesser race, not a higher one. None of us could understand why Takayama had not simply used a Japanese girl for his desires. Years later I received an answer which would have shocked me then: Dolling is illegal in many countries, although bringing over a foreign-made doll to Japan is not. Apparently quite a few Asian and African devotees of the Doll ideal do the same as was done to Yukiko. The Americans have their own strange methods, so they rarely purchase brides from England, but that’s another story.