Behind high walls. Part 1
by R.T. Mason
THE discreet sign on the brick pillar at the side of the large iron gates says simply: ‘Balcombe Manor’. A black limousine draws up along the lane which leads from the main road. The uniformed chauffeur gets out, unlocks the gate and then drives through. In the back seat a pretty young woman glance around, her large eyes alert, inquiring. Are they apprehensive too? The chauffeur gets out again to relock the gates and then drives on, wheels crunching softly on the gravel of the driveway as it winds its way through leafy shrubs and stately old trees.
Yes, the young woman is apprehensive. She is trying not to be and tells herself, as she has told herself ever since it was decided that she was corning here, that there is no need to be apprehensive, that in fact she is very fortunate because a stay at Balcombe Manor is not at all cheap. But her new husband, Roger Filton, is rich and he can well afford to send his young wife here. They have been married just six months. Roger Filton is 45 so he has been in no hurry to make matrimonial ties. Annabel, our young lady in the back of the limousine, is 22; a very pretty girl with a lovely shapely figure, well educated and coming from an excellent family.
These are admirable qualities in a young wife but there are other qualities too that a gentleman may wish to see in a new spouse. In particular that whole area of femininity and submission which nowadays can be so neglected in a girl’s upbringing. Many gentlemen of traditional views will regard such qualities as almost beyond price. At Balcombe Manor, for a not unreasonable cost, they can be taught.
In addition to those ornate iron gates Balcombe Manor’s ten acres are surrounded by a high substantial brick wall. It is a beautiful, mostly Georgian house set deep in the heart of the English countryside. It was chosen for its purpose because of this very remoteness and seclusion from prying eyes, since the training that is offered here is clearly the sort of thing that the common press, if alerted, would make a very big meal of. One has only to think of that unfortunate establishment in Ireland, set up to give adult young women a taste of life at a traditional girls’ boarding school, which in recent months was discovered by the press. It was a highly traumatic experience for all concerned.
Mrs Blackett of Balcombe Manor shudders at the thought of anything like that. So you will not see advertise¬ments for her courses, not even in the most select and refined of periodicals; word of mouth is anyway quite suf¬ficient. Word does get around. Deborah X for instance, a highly admired young wife; oh yes, she spent two months at Balcombe Manor. That sort of thing. In any case it was not intended for the masses. It is expensive and it can only cope with at most five young women at a time. Because personal tuition and attention are essential. All applicants are vetted.
The black limousine comes to the end of the drive, in front of Balcombe Manor’s handsome facade. The chauffeur gets out and opens the rear door. Annabel Filton, looking a little nervous, alights. She is quite tall, with lustrous shoulder-length chestnut hair, in a restrained well-tailored navy-blue suit with matching patent leather court shoes. As the chauffeur moves round to collect her cases from the boot a housemaid appears at the front door. Smiling, she conducts the visitor in. Annabel has time to glimpse through glossy laurels an immaculate lawn shimmering in the afternoon sunshine. In the shade to one side in an old-fashioned garden swing-seat sit two young women in quiet conversation.
Inside, across a richly carpeted hall, the maid knocks quietly at a door. They enter a sumptuously appointed office/sitting-room. Opposite, behind a splendid rosewood desk is seated a maturely handsome woman, her thick grey-flecked black hair drawn somewhat severely back. She rises, smiling and extending her hand.
‘It’s Mrs Filton of course: Annabel. Good afternoon; I am Sylvia Blackett. Bring us some tea, would you, Bridget please.’
The maid curtseys and quietly exits. Mrs Blackett indicates two wing chairs looking out on the shimmering lawn. They sit down.
‘Good; now first things first. I shall address you by your Christian name, Annabel, because you are very much in the position of pupil and teacher. For the same reason you will address me as Mrs Blackett. So, Annabel, your husband has sent you here for two months of training. He is clearly an eminently sensible husband, if I may say so, and I do not say this because of my fee. Standards of behaviour in young women simply seem to go from bad to worse. Don’t you agree, my dear?’
Annabel hesitates, then nods. She does not necessarily agree and she has remonstrated with Roger at length after he suggested that she come here. But thankfully she is not a rebellious young woman.
‘Yes, I’m sure you do. Well, he may rest assured with us. When you leave you will be a credit to him, Annabel, and a credit to your sex. You will embrace all the traditional feminine virtues. Self-discipline and charmingly feminine submission to the male. That is the goal, is it not, my dear?’
Annabel says quietly, ‘Yes, Mrs Blackett.’ She is reasonably submissive already though and she has been able to see no good reason to come here to learn it. There has been considerable argument, accompanied by tears on Annabel’s side. But husband Roger has been adamant. The course has been highly recommended to him.
‘Stand up, please, Annabel.’
Annabel stands, her high heels sinking into the expensive carpet. She has a full womanly figure, the jacket of her suit showing the bulge of ripe breasts while, below, her straight skirt likewise indicates generous buttocks.
‘Yes; most charming, but we are not exactly a Twiggy, are we, Annabel? And I don’t imagine you are wearing a foundation garment?’
Annabel bites her lip and shakes her head. She has heard some talk of foundation garments in connection with Balcombe Manor.
‘No, I thought not. But a good firm foundation is the very basis of proper femininity, Annabel. Tight-lacing is a constant reminder to a young woman of that so essential self-discipline. A young woman of quality does not allow her body to sway and jiggle and flop, she keeps it under firm control. Tomorrow morning, young lady, we shall take a trip into town, to my corsetiere. We shall see about that too too exuberant flesh.’
Annabel pushes back a lock of errant chestnut hair. She had noticed, when Mrs Blackett was standing, that under her elegant plum-coloured gown she was remarkably slim-waisted for an older woman. The reason is now evident. Mrs Blackett has not finished.
‘And while we are on the subject of discipline, Annabel, there is that other very key area. Physical chastisement. Were you whipped at school? Caned?’
Annabel is still standing, rather as a schoolgirl might before her Headmistress. Mrs Blackett’s stunning words make this very appropriate. Flushing red the young woman shakes her head. Mrs Blackett gets to her feet, deep brown eyes smiling.
‘Another area of quite essential discipline, my dear. Just remember, those so charming Victorian and Edwardian ladies whom we so very much admire were all brought up with the constant threat of a sound whipping across their buttocks.’
She lightly touches Annabel’s arm. An Annabel who can feel her knees trembling.
‘So you’ll be pleased to hear that we have a regular regimen of the cane and strap here at Balcombe Manor. It is administered by myself and by Gillman, my senior servant, who is a mature and experienced man. A system of demerits is operated. All aspects of a pupil’s behaviour are kept under scrutiny arid demerits are recorded in her Record Book which she must keep up to date at all times.’
Annabel’s head is spinning. A friend who knew someone who was here had smilingly alluded to the cane but Annabel assumed it was simply a joke. Mrs Blackett squeezes her arm.
‘All pupils are assessed stringently, Annabel; that is how one learns and progresses, is it not? You can therefore expect to receive a whipping most days.’
A soft knock at the door. It is the maid with the tea: choice crockery and elegant silver on a tray. Mrs Blackett, as she deals with the tea things, is giving further details. So that body control can be achieved more rapidly and also to get the full effect of body discipline, a restraining garment will be worn at all times, including in bed. Annabel will only remove it for her bath. Annabel sips the fine China tea but its taste goes unnoticed as she listens to what Mrs Blackett is saying. Did Roger know all this? Can he be a party to this subjugation of his wife?
Almost as if Mrs Blackett can read the younger woman’s thoughts she smiles across at Annabel. ‘It is all as your husband would wish, my dear. It is what he would wish to do himself but to be effective it needs a third party, someone who can take an objective view.’
Mrs Blackett’s beringed hand puts down her cup. ‘He will naturally be permitted to visit you; up to twice a week is allowed – more than that does interfere with a girl’s training. And you will be allowed to see him in the privacy of your own room. We are understanding of a husband’s needs and there is no reason why he should be completely deprived of his wife’s marital services for the two months she is on the course.’
Annabel flushes. So Roger will be allowed to come and… and make love to her. So that he doesn’t get deprived. While she…
Mrs Blacken smiles her charming smile. ‘Does all this sound a little unwelcome, my dear?’
‘No… no…’ Though of course it sounds highly unwelcome. The cane and being constantly in corsets when she has never dreamt of wearing them.
The older woman’s tone is suddenly firmer. ‘I don’t think you are being quite honest, Annabel. I detect that you do find all this less than ideal. Now in the first place I require a pupil to be completely honest with me, and in the second place if one is unhappy about something one has to learn not to show it. So for a start we could call that two demerits, couldn’t we?’
Annabel’s face flushes deep red again.
‘Yes, Mrs Blackett,’ she answers submissively.
‘That’s better, young lady. We shall call it two demerits.’ Mrs Blackett rises with a rustle of her rich gown and goes over to her desk. She returns with a small leather-covered notebook, maroon grain with Balcombe Manor printed in gold. The book is handed to Annabel, together with an expensive gold Parker pen.
‘Sit down and start your record, Annabel. Write on the first page: Annabel Filton: Her Record Book. On the next page write the date and: Two demerits. Underneath write: Lack of honesty and lack of self-control. When you have done that you will receive two strokes of the cane.’
Annabel’s hand seems scarcely able to write; the words that appear are hardly recognisable as her normal firm handwriting. Two strokes of the cane! Has Mrs Blackett actually said this?
That lady has pressed a buzzer and the door now opens. A man, of similar age to Mrs Blackett, in a dark suit like the chauffeur. His face has the impassive expression of the well-trained English manservant.
‘Ah Gillman. This is our new pupil, Mrs Filton. Would you fetch a medium-weight cane, please?’
His expression does not change. ‘Yes Madam.’ Looking at Annabel he says, ‘Good afternoon, Madam,’ then goes out. In no time he is back, a wicked-looking three-foot cane in his hand.
Annabel is trembling all over. She has put the Record Book and the pen in her handbag, as instructed by Mrs Blackett. Annabel’s big green-brown eyes fix on the cane, mesmerised.
‘Stand please, Annabel. Remove your skirt; then raise your slip and lower your knickers. Gillman will give you two strokes across your bare bottom.’
The green-brown eyes dart to Mrs Blackett in disbelief. She is looking as impassive as Gillman, now flexing the cane. What Mrs Blackett has said is impossible.
‘Please…’ she whispers. ‘I didn’t mean… it won’t happen again…’
Mrs Blackett’s voice is brusque. ‘Don’t be silly. And don’t prevaricate. Get that skirt off; and then get your knickers down. I assume you don’t want Gillman to have to undress yon.’
The desperate eyes go from Mrs Blackett to Gillman and back again. As a last resort she pleads what new pupils at Balcombe Manor frequently plead.
‘C…can you… do it then… Please, Mrs Blackett.’
‘I could but I am not going to. A pupil’s first caning is always from Gillman. I find there is a little extra shock value in having a male servant do it. And Gillman is a very experienced man, aren’t you, James?’
Gillman sounds as if it is all in the day’s work. ‘Yes, Madam, I have had some experience of young ladies by now.’
‘Of course you have. Now will you get that skirt off, Annabel! Or shall we put two further demerits in your book for insubordination?’
There is clearly no getting out of it. Annabel is here for two whole months, unless when Roger comes to visit she can persuade him to cancel her stay. Trembling hands go to her waist. Annabel lowers her skirt and steps out of it. Mrs Blackett places it on a chair. An unhappy glance at the older woman, and Annabel raises her lace-edged white slip. She is wearing flesh-coloured nylons, their darker welts tautly fastened by straps of a white suspender belt. Annabel’s thighs above the nylons are full and pale; she is not a sun worshiper and this at least will meet with Mrs Blackett’s approval. A feminine lady’s flesh should remain soft and pale, not coarsened and made dark by the sun’s searing rays. But Annabel’s knickers, white nylon, are tight and very brief and Mrs Blackett will not approve of this.
‘Slip them down, to the tops of your stockings. And then bend over the chair.’
Mrs Blackett pushes Annabel’s head firmly down in the pink brocaded seat, then slides up her slip, pushing it and the suit jacket up beyond the bending girl’s waist. Twin full moons are thrust up and out over the chair’s arm. Full sumptuous pale moons that have never known the kiss of cane or strap – as they have also never known the tight grip of a restraining garment. James Gillman’s face is as impassive as ever but his eyes are devouring this marvellous sight.
Mrs Blackett’s soft hands arrange Annabel, pushing her long legs further out and straightening her knees. She delivers a light slap to the soft bottom.
‘Try and keep quite still, Annabel. Show some dignity; Gillman doesn’t want to have to struggle with a bottom that’s squirming about like an eel. He will give you three strokes. The third one is because I regard your knickers as quite unsuitable. Perhaps you didn’t know but it will serve as a reminder in future. A young woman’s knickers should properly cover her bottom, not leave half of it bare. And they should be loose-legged.’
She steps back and looks at Gillman. ‘Right James. Three nice hard ones.’
The pain, when the cane makes its contact with her bare bottom, is something quite out of Annabel’s previous experience. Squarely across the fullest curve of her ripe rump, it is like a hot iron searing her soft and most sensitive flesh. Annabel’s breath bursts out in an instinctive and most unladylike howl while her whole body jerks in violent reaction. But there is no time to attempt to come to terms with the savage pain before the second stroke lashes down almost on top of the first.
Annabel lets out another gasping wail as a second narrow stripe rapidly reddens across her pale, quivering buttocks. The pain is still rising, intensifying, when the third and final stroke cracks down. Again it produces the desperate yelp, the frenzied flesh-wobbling writhing of ripe nates.
Gillman steps back. Mrs Blackett, bright-eyed, moves forward to pull the shaking young woman to her feet. Annabel’s stricken bottom feels as if it is literally on fire.
‘Not a very dignified performance, Annabel. We will certainly have to do better than that or we will be getting demerits for inability to take the cane properly. Now please take those knickers right off. If you’ve nothing more suitable with you you can go without until we can get some acceptable ones tomorrow.’
Still shaking with the pain and shock Annabel steps out of her knickers, then puts on her skirt. She glances at Gillman and quickly looks away. As well as suffering the intense pain she has never felt so humiliated in her life.
‘Write your third demerit in your Record Book, Annabel. Put it down as unseemly attire. Gillman will now show you to your room. Your time is free until dinner which is at 7.30. I should have a rest and then Gillman or one of the maids will introduce you to my other young women. I have three more pupils in residence at present.’
Mrs Blackett smiles her charming smile. ‘Oh, one thing, I do approve of your stockings. Tights are quite an abomination. All right, my dear?’
Annabel says numbly, ‘Yes, Mrs Blackett.’
Another smile. ‘Don’t be distressed. The first caning is a shock and it is meant to be. It gets a girl nicely in the right frame of mind. Don’t brood over it; just remember it is in a very good cause. Now here’s something for you to read. It is not difficult and you will be questioned on it in due course.’
The book she has handed Annabel is bound in maroon grained leather like her Record Book. It is entitled ‘The Submissive Woman’. With her bottom still searing, pulsating, Annabel goes out with Gillman. She ascends the stairs in front of him, all too conscious of that red-hot bottom; conscious also of the fact that she has no knickers on under her tight skirt and that Gillman, close behind her, is well aware of this.
Annabel’s bedroom is cosy, feminine, looking out over the garden, and has its own en suite bathroom. Her cases have been brought up and her things put away. She looks around but her mind is still full of that horrendous happening not five minutes ago. Bending over the arm of that chair with her bottom bare. And this man, this servant, viciously caning her. Gillman, it seems, is also still thinking of it.
‘I hope you won’t regard it as personal, Madam – what I had to do. It’s my duty, you understand, part of my job. I have to do it to all the ladies.’
Flushing, Annabel shakes her head.
In his obsequious manner Gillman asks if she will take a rest now. He will come back, in an hour, to take her out to meet the other ladies. They are probably in the garden, afternoons being generally set aside for relaxation.
Annabel says yes. She feels in urgent need of a period alone before meeting anyone anyway. Suddenly she recalls Mrs Blackett’s remark about being under scrutiny. Annabel looks away, not wishing to meet Gillman’s eyes.
‘I… I suppose you have to make a note of everything I do and report it to Mrs Blackett. Tell me please… Gillman… am I doing anything that will get me demerits?’
Gillman shakes his head. ‘I do have to report to Mrs Blackett, that’s part of my job, Madam. But there’s nothing at the moment, except that you’re supposed to call me Mr Gillman. With the maids you can use their Christian names. I’ll go then, Madam – unless you would like me to put some cold cream on your bottom. It does help with the sting.’
The thought of it is just too much. ‘Am I allowed to refuse..? Or would that be another demerit?’ she blurts angrily.
‘Oh no, Madam. You can say yes or no, it’s not a caning matter. If you make a sexual advance to me, though, I have to report that.’
The big green-brown eyes are suddenly bright with moisture. Annabel blinks rapidly to stop the tears. ‘Well I’m not going to, Mr… Mr Gillman.’
Gillman’s voice remains perfectly calm. ‘That’s all right, Madam; but some ladies do, at the beginning of their stay.’ He exits, just as Annabel’s tears well uncontrollably out. The trickle becomes a flood as she throws herself face-down on the bed. Annabel’s body jerks and rolls, overwhelmed with wracking sobs.
The sobbing continues for some time, at last becoming less intense, more intermittent. Annabel turns over, onto her back, to gaze up with tear-reddened eyes at the ceiling. She lies immobile, perhaps dozing for a while, her body exhausted by emotion. Her eyes open, the tears start again; then stop, and then start once more.
At length she gets up off the bed and goes to the window. Outside, standing by a flower border she can see two young women. They wear long light summer dresses and flowery hats against the bright sun. Annabel bites her lip. They are presumably fellow pupils here and presumably, under those light dresses, if what Mrs Blackett has said is anything to go by, is some form of tight restraining foundation garment. And are there also fresh red stripes on their bottoms as there are on her own?
In the bathroom Annabel splashes cold water on her face which is red and blotchy from crying. It is almost time for Gillman to come for her. She puts on powder and some lipstick, but cannot completely disguise the signs of crying. She would like to put on knickers but has none that Mrs Blackett would approve of. And outrageous as it may seem, from what has happened so far there must be a chance of Mrs Blackett – or even Gillman – slipping a hand up her skirt to check. And that clearly would mean one or more strokes of that horrendous cane.
Gillman when he knocks has that same obsequious manner. Annabel again experiences a hot flush at the thought that this man has caned her bare bottom. He asks if she is rested and feeling better; then takes her outside.
In the garden the three other girls are found seated together in a leafy arbour. They are Rosalind and Susan, both blondes, and Felicity who has reddish-gold hair. They are all young and pretty women, each, like Annabel, wearing a wedding ring. All three are in those elegant dresses, 1930s-looking with low necks and calf-length skirts, and broad-brimmed hats that Annabel has seen from the window. Gillman, having made the introductions, goes off.
Rosalind and Felicity have been here for three weeks, Susan for two. These periods seem to have been long enough to quell any rebellious spirit for they are all most docile and seemingly accepting of their lot. Annabel is warned to follow instructions to the letter otherwise there will be many demerits; but if she does she will find life very pleasant at Balcombe Manor.
Susan, laughing, says, ‘Like a holiday.’
That is really too much for Annabel. ‘A holiday when you’re getting caned?’
Susan has beautiful big blue eyes, clear and innocent. ‘You mustn’t be negative, Annabel. The cane is just a reminder to keep you up to the mark and to teach you to be submissive. You have to learn that submitting is the most wonderful thing. After all this Woman’s Lib pollution submitting is a cleansing act. Mrs Blackett will teach you that.’ She gives a blissful smile. ‘All I want from life is to submit to my husband.’
Annabel frowns. ‘Will your husband cane you then?’
Susan produces another sunny smile. ‘Of course. And he caned me when he visited last week, because of a shortcoming that Mrs Blackett told him about. He caned me and then he made love to me. It was just the most marvellous and wonderful thing.’
Annabel cannot find a ready answer to this. She pictures herself submitting to a caning from Roger. The thought is scary but also distinctly erotic. Rosalind suggests a walk through the garden and they get up and go out, into the warm sunshine. Rosalind says that Annabel should have a hat on. A girl must keep her skin soft and lovely for her husband. There is something else that Annabel must ask about. Corseting. Do they really have to wear a foundation garment all the time?
‘Of course,’ Rosalind replies. ‘Tight-lacing is the essence of femininity. It may feel strange at first but once you’ve been tight-laced for a few days it begins to feel really marvellous. A lovely sense of your body being controlled and disciplined. And it’s super for your figure. My waist can he tight-laced down to 19 inches now.’
Annabel is not at all sure she wants to do that. There is of course the other question. What do they do here all day? Mrs Blackett didn’t actually say.
‘Oh all sorts of things,’ Felicity says. ‘All kinds of lectures and talks, by Mrs Blackett and various other people who come in. There’s Music and Movement every day after breakfast, that’s to improve your grace and poise; and of course there’s your reading programme. You must really study at that and make notes because Mrs Blackett tests you. Most afternoons are free of organised activity but you are supposed to use the time constructively. Walking in the tranquility of the garden is highly beneficial if you concentrate on positive thinking. About being feminine and submissive, that is. In the evenings we often watch a video film. Yesterday there was a lovely film about country house life in Edwardian times.’
Annabel hesitates and then asks that paramount question. ‘What about those demerits; the caning?’
Rosalind gives her a wide-eyed look. ‘You have to think about that in a positive way too, Annabel,’ she says softly in her calm, very feminine voice. ‘It is intended to show you how you can improve. We each have to take our Record Books to Mrs Blackett before dinner every day. Each of us has an appointment time in the hour before dinner. Either Mrs Blackett will deal with the demerits or Mr Gillman will. But you mustn’t think of it as a punishment.’
They stroll on, through splendidly kept flower borders and then across the immaculate lawn and into the rose garden. It is almost like being in a dream with the heady scent of the roses and a blackbird trilling, and Annabel’s three beautiful companions in their elegant dresses reminiscent of a bygone age. Am I dreaming? Annabel wonders. But she knows she isn’t. She knows that across her bottom, which is bare under her skirt, there are three very real red stripes. If she were to put her hand up – which of course she daren’t – she would be able to feel their ridges clearly with her fingertips. But she doesn’t need to touch them to feel them. What about the others? she asks. Are they still getting caned – after three weeks?
Rosalind smiles serenely. ‘Oh yes. You are here to improve yourself and so the standard gets higher. Oh yes, we all still get the cane – or the strap.’
They continue to wander in the garden and Annabel has to admit it is highly satisfying and restful. They are allowed to walk freely except that they are not permitted to go near the front gate or the driveway. They return eventually to the arbour and it is here that Gillman later comes to tell them it is time to prepare for dinner. Annabel has already noticed that none of the others has a watch, and she has been told that they are not needed because their day is organised for them and there is always someone to tell them what to do. Annabel still has her watch.
They return to the house, each to take a relaxing pre-dinner bath. When Annabel emerges from her bathroom she finds the maid, Bridget, has brought a dress. In her slip Annabel sits at her dressing table while with long sensuous strokes Bridget brushes Annabel’s thick chestnut hair, then coils it high on her head. The maid holds out the dress which is similar in style to the ones the others were wearing: pale green silk with a calf-length pleated skirt and long sleeves. Annabel puts it on and it is very lovely. The maid then leaves, taking with her the blue suit Annabel had arrived in and also Annabel’s watch.
Henceforth Annabel will have no independent knowledge of the time while at Balcombe Manor. In the lovely green silk dress, again without knickers, and with her own suit and watch gone Annabel feels completely divorced from her own life. As she sits down again to put on her make-up she wonders what Roger is doing, and whether he is thinking of her at all.
Meanwhile, in their own rooms, the other girls are being tight-laced into their corsets: Rosalind by Gillman, Susan and Felicity by two maids. While Annabel sits dreamily in her room waiting for the call to dinner the other girls go down in turn to Mrs Blackett’s office. Later when they meet, with Annabel, in the dining room Rosalind and Felicity each have two fresh cane stripes on their bottoms.
* * *
At 9.30 the next morning the shiny black limousine is again at the big iron gates, now going out. In the back seat Annabel is accompanied by Mrs Blackett and they are driving to town, to Sylvia Blackett’s corsetiere. The chauffeur drives smoothly, expertly, while Mrs Blackett puts questions to Annabel on the book ‘The Submissive Woman’. She is supposed to have started it last night while waiting for dinner and afterwards. But Annabel is unable to concentrate, her mind returning again and again to the events of the day and the things the other girls have told her. Her ignorance of the book is at once apparent. Mrs Blackett lightly pats her thigh.
‘Write 5 demerits in your Record Book, Annabel. Put down: Private study quite inadequate.’
Annabel gives Mrs Blackett a stunned look. Five! Mrs Blackett tells her, ‘You’re properly on the course now, my dear, and you must take matters seriously; we can’t have a girl not pulling her weight. But I think once we’ve got you tight-laced it will help. It does give a young woman that sense of purpose and discipline.’
It is a private house in Chelsea that they go to. A maid opens the door and takes their coats and hats; then conducts them into a sumptuously appointed sitting room where they are greeted by an elegantly dressed man of perhaps 60. Annabel had naturally assumed it would be a woman and this increases her feeling of embarrassment and apprehension. She is introduced to Mr Delvine whose keen eyes size her up. Annabel is wearing the green silk dress again, with her darker green high-heeled court shoes, and is looking very lovely in spite of her apprehension.
‘A full-bodied young lady,’ he observes. ‘And definitely in need of a little restraining, I should say. Would you slip out of your things, my dear.’
Annabel’s heartbeat quickens. She had definitely expected a lady. Is she to have to take everything off? Yes she is, apart from her stockings and shoes. The dress, her slip, her bra, the suspender belt, each in turn must be removed; there are no knickers, of course. Annabel eventually stands nude, trembling slightly and with difficulty controlling the urge to put her hands and arms across that thick red dish-brown bush, those full, pinkish-brown-nippled breasts. Across her ripe bottom the stripes left by Gillman’s energetic caning can still be faintly seen.
Mr Delvine measures Annabel: hips, waist, bust; then goes out of the room, and returns. In his hands is a cream-coloured satin garment. It is a busk front-fastening Edwardian control corset with back lacing. The silk laces are loosened and the basque is slipped around Annabel’s statuesque figure and fastened. She gasps slightly at the sensation of the cold satin on her bare flesh. And then gasps again, in earnest, as the lacing is tightened.
‘Stand firm, and brace yourself,’ Annabel is instructed. As Mrs Blackett, seated on a sofa, watches intently the basque is drawn drum-tight around Annabel’s full figure, and then tighter yet. It pushes up her breasts, enclosing the lower halves but leaving her nipples free, while below it extends to contain the full upper curve of her hips. The tight-lacing continues, the laces are finally tied. Dangling free are four two-inch-wide silk suspender straps with metal fastenings. Mr Delvine bends to fasten these tautly to Annabel’s stockings and then she is finished.
‘How does that feel, my dear?’ smiles Mrs Blackett.
The feeling is enough to literally take Annabel’s breath away for she has the panicky thought that she won’t be able to breathe and is going to suffocate. This does not prove to be the case, though, for she can breathe perfectly well but the sensation of being held in an iron grip remains. She weakly shakes her head. There is no real answer to Mrs Blackett’s question. The feeling is indescribable.
Mrs Blackett smiles at Mr Delvine. ‘It looks excellent. I’ll take two others for her as well, one a long-line, I think. Perhaps one in black, and shall we have one in blue, Annabel? I have an awfully pretty blue dress for you. And of course we want some knickers for her, Mr Delvine.’
Mr Delvine produces a pale basque similar to the cream one plus a black long-line corset which will enclose the whole of Annabel’s generous buttocks. There is also a selection of pretty silk French knickers in various shades. At last, at least, Annabel can put knickers on. With her head still spinning she slips on a pair of cream coloured lacy-edged ones. Then her own cream slip and finally the green dress. She is complete now. A properly attired pupil of Mrs Blackett.
Annabel and Mrs Blackett have lunch at an expensive restaurant but Annabel can only toy with her food. The constraining feel of the tight-lacing is eerie, giving her that continued sense that she can’t breathe properly although at the same time she knows she can perfectly well. Annabel also can’t help thinking of Roger. His office is in London and he could easily come into this restaurant. If he saw her and came over she would probably burst out crying. There is as well the thought of those five demerits in her Record Book. Before dinner tonight she is going to get five strokes of the cane across her bare bottom.
Mrs Blackett tells Annabel to eat up and stop dreaming. Time passes, as if she is in a dream. The perfectly normal environment of the restaurant has taken on a new meaning to her: all is changed by being under this training. The chauffeur meets them; they are in the back seat of the limousine again. At the gates of Balcombe Manor. The iron gates clanging to behind them…
In the garden Annabel is greeted by the other girls. It is another lovely sunny afternoon and they go to sit in the cool arbour. Rosalind and Felicity are wearing different dresses from yesterday but in that same elegant 1930s style. Annabel has on a wide-brimmed straw hat with a dark green ribbon matching her green dress. The others smilingly inquire about the tight-lacing. Doesn’t it feel super, Felicity says. It doesn’t feel super but Annabel is at least now getting more used to the constant tightness. Felicity wants to know Annabel’s waist measurement. It is 24. She says that in two weeks Mr Gillman and the maids will have that down to 20.
There is a current of excitement because Rosalind is having a visit from her husband this afternoon. Some time later a maid comes for Rosalind and takes her back into the house. Susan and Felicity giggle like schoolgirls. The three of them decide to go for a walk, through the rose garden and out into the wooded area beyond.
Susan smilingly asks, ‘Are you concentrating on good thoughts, Annabel? Are you concentrating on being submissive?’
Felicity giggles. ‘I expect Rosalind is being submissive in her room right now. I hope she’s concentrating. Lucky girl!’
Annabel wonders what it will be like to have a visit here from Roger. Very painful, she thinks, because at the end of it he will go off and she will be kept here. None of them are allowed to phone out or receive telephone calls at Balcombe Manor, and in addition the television only shows video films, not news or any other regular programme; so the visits from their husbands are their only contacts with the outside world. Felicity tells Annabel she will not get a visit for at least a week so that she can settle in.
The dreamy afternoon passes and eventually Gillman appears, to conduct them in for the pre-dinner rituals. He accompanies Annabel to her room. In his obsequious way he tells Annabel that he has to unlace her, for her bath.
Annabel can’t see why she cannot unlace herself but Gillman tells her Mrs Blackett’s rule is that it must be done for her. He also says that she must not take too long over her bath because she will be the first today to take her Record Book in to Mrs Blackett. That at least gives Annabel something else to think about. Shuddering, she removes her hat and then unfastens her dress and steps out of it. Her slip follows and, after a reproachful glace at Gillman, her knickers as well. He bends to unclip Annabel’s suspender straps, his eyes hot on her thick-bushed mound, then turns her and unties her taut-lacing.
Inch by inch Annabel feels her body being released from its strait-jacket; finally, with all the lacing loosened, Gillman reaches round and unhooks the front fastening. Annabel can see red marks at her waist and on her hips where the foundation garment has hugged her in its vice-like grip. She slips quickly into her dressing gown, conscious of the way Gillman’s sharp eyes are caressing her flesh, then takes off shoes and stockings.
Annabel has a quick warm bath and dries herself, then goes out again to the waiting Gillman. While Annabel could have taken the basque off herself, if she had been allowed to, the same would not be true for putting it back on again for proper tight-lacing does demand the services of a helper. Once again, as she was with Mr Delvine, Annabel is soon gasping as the reinforced satin is drawn tighter and tighter round her burgeoning body. Gillman takes a while, his hands seeming to need to touch a lot of Annabel in the process, but eventually he is finished. A quarter of an hour later he is knocking at Mrs Blackett’s door and ushering Annabel in.
Mrs Blackett inspects the Record Book which is silently proffered. There are just those five demerits entered during the car journey.
‘Good!’ says Mrs Blackett, businesslike. ‘Knickers down then if you please, Annabel; and get yourself over the chair. I think we’ll have Gillman giving them again, shall we? Shall we, James?’
‘As you wish, Madam.’ With his unexcited, even tones Gillman sounds uninvolved, as if it is nothing more to him than opening the door to a visitor or making sure the cats are out at night. But his eyes tell a different story. As those eyes gaze on Annabel’s bared ripe nates, now enticingly framed in basque, wide suspenders, the dark welts of her nylons, there is little doubt that James Gillman will enjoy what he is about to do.
Five strokes of the cane on the bare bottom forcefully delivered by a fit and enthusiastic adult male are not easy to take, especially for one not used to the cane. It is not simply two-and-a-half times as bad as two strokes because if the caner continues to hit with full force, as James Gillman does, the excruciating pain is multiplied rather than simply added to. Before her ordeal Annabel had some thought of taking it in silent dignity, of not letting Gillman, or for that matter Mrs Blackett, see her howling and writhing in agony. But that resolution very quickly goes out of the window once the caning begins. Indeed Annabel’s reaction to the fifth, and fortunately final, stroke is such that she jerks right off the arm of Mrs Blackett’s chair and finishes up on the carpet.
‘We really must learn to exercise more self-control, Annabel; must we not?’
After more of Mrs Blackett’s lecturing Annabel is taken back to her room by Gillman. She scarcely knows where she is. The hot pain is still intense, pervading her whole body, but it is mixed with a feeling of strong arousal which being caned in the ultra-tight-laced basque has brought on. In the state Annabel is in the thought of dinner is quite impossible but one must always present oneself for dinner at Balcombe Manor, whether one is capable of eating anything or not.
Annabel washes her face and puts on fresh make-up. Dreadful Gillman is there, hovering, and he repeats his offer of applying cold cream to her bottom. Annabel shakes her head, fearful that she is going to burst into tears again. She has been here barely one full day. There are two full months to be endured.
The second part of this story can be read here.