Dressed as a young lady for my step-sister's dinner-party. Phoebe's long satin gloves. My parentage and boyhood. I am left under the guardianship of a girl. How "Dennis" was transformed into "Miss Denise."
Phoebe the maid, though she was as big and strong as a grenadier, had the deft, neat hands of a French woman. She threaded a white satin ribbon amongst the shining curls of my coiffure, buttoned the last button of my long satin evening gloves, and dusted lightly with a powder-puff my white shoulders. Then she tucked a tiny lace handkerchief in my glove and said:
"There, now you are ready, Miss Denise. Stand up!"
"Miss Denise indeed!" and "Stand up!" The insolence of it! I remained seated.
"Ah!" said Phoebe with a malicious smile, "you don't like being ordered about by poor servants, do you? You are the young master of Beaumanoir, the wealthy aristocrat, the great landlord, Dennis Evelyn Beryl," and she uttered my name with amused contempt.
"Bah!--I do not trouble my head about your position--you are in your own house--it is true, but you are under the control of your beautiful step-sister who very properly stripped you of your foolish trousers two years ago to punish you for your impertinence. You are over eighteen years old--I admit it, but for two years you have been mincing in petticoats in a girls' school. You are a young gentleman, are you? Nobody would believe it. Your hair reaches down below your waist. You have the figure, the face, the soft limbs, the hands and feet and the breasts of a girl." I was dreadfully ashamed at Phoebe's outburst. I could not deny a word of it.
"You are a very important person, I suppose," she went on jeering at me, "with a great career in Parliament! Heavens how you used to plague my ears with your boastfulness! It may all be true. What I am concerned with is that you should he beautifully dressed for the dinner-party which your step-sister Miss Deverel is giving on her twenty-third birthday. Stand up at once, or I will lace you into a corset one inch tighter than the one you are wearing now."
"Oh Phoebe," I cried, "I can hardly breathe in this one."
I was alarmed. Her tone was so menacing. She was much stronger than I was. She could carry out her threat if she chose. I stood up. I had a special reason for being obedient tonight.
"That's better, Miss Denise," she said.
"Now Miss Denise, those smartly-gloved hands behind your back!"
"Behind my back! Like a child!"
"Don't argue. Behind your back with them at once, palm to palm, the fingers pointing down."
I obeyed. How humiliating it was!
"Now lift up this pretty face."
She took my chin and tilted back my head.
"I must say, Miss Denise, your governesses have done wonders for you at your school. You always were a pretty girl of course, but you are quite lovely now."
I blushed--was it altogether from shame, or was there not some thrill of pleasure and of girlish vanity in the blush? Oh my two years at a girls' school had left their influence upon my disposition.
"Now put the high heels of your satin slippers together under your frock."
She looked down to the billowy satin and tulle of my skirt.
"Have you done it? Are the toes daintily turned out?"
"I'll make sure."
She stooped and thrusting her hand under my dress, felt my feet. The blushes deepened on my face, and let me be frank--a soft wave of voluptuous delight swept over me. I am to write the truth here, at the order of my guardian and step-sister Helen Deverel, and she knows me so well that I could not hope to deceive her. Therefore I am frank about it. The thought that here was I dressed with all the dainty luxury of a very fashionable girl, standing obediently with my hands behind me at the bidding of a maid, while she adjusted my satin-slippered feet in the attitude of a school-girl troubled my passions. There was something sensuously bizarre in the contrast which fascinated me. Besides, apart from the queer mental impression produced in me, the actual touch of Phoebe's hands on my insteps and ankles gave me a delicious physical sensation. For she was wearing long white satin gloves. I asked her why, and she glanced at me shrewdly. "Miss Priscilla's orders," she answered, "No one is to touch you, or dress you without long satin gloves on their hands. But why do you ask, Miss Denise?"
I was confused.
"Did the feel of the gloves on your nylon stockings please you? Answer at once."
"Yes Phoebe," I replied shyly.
Phoebe nodded her head.
"Miss Priscilla is a very wise lady. Now stand without moving until she comes to inspect you."
Miss Priscilla, then, that old maid whom I had once been fool enough to despise, had foreseen that the touch of the satin gloves would make its sensuous appeal to me. She had deliberately intended that it should. Why? My old fear returned to me--a fear that she and Helen Deverel her niece were in a plot together to nullify me, to make me of no importance, perhaps by some enervating system to reduce me to perpetual subjection. If so I had reason to shiver; they were so clever, they had shown such insight into my character and failings. On the other hand there was the promise of Helen Deverel given to me in the most emphatic way two years ago that the day after I returned from the girls' school I should be allowed to resume the dress of my sex, if the head schoolmistress sent me home with a good report. Well I had returned this afternoon with an excellent report. Tonight I was to be Miss Denise Beryl, a cousin of Evelyn's. But tomorrow I was to resume my liberty. I was to be once more the master of Beaumanoir.
I was turning over these doubts in my mind when Phoebe interrupted my reflections.
"You have moved your feet, Miss Denise," she said sternly. "In that tight pretty satin gown, every tremor of your limbs is visible."
"I wasn't thinking Phoebe," I said humbly, "I am sorry."
Phoebe was appeased by the humility of my voice.
"I will forgive you this once," she said. "There's no doubt Miss Denise that you ought to be kept in girls' clothes all your life."
"All my life!" I exclaimed horrified.
"You are so much easier to manage," she replied. What a selfish argument! All she thought of was her comfort, not one consideration did she give to me, my position, the career which awaited me. No! As a youth, I should give her orders. Under discipline and dressed as a girl I received them from her. That was all she cared about.
I was careful not to move again, and Phoebe busied herself in putting away the school-girl's dress which I had laid aside to appear as a grown up young lady in a revealing gown with a long train.
While I am waiting thus for Miss Priscilla, let me explain briefly the circumstances which brought about my present position.
My father, who was probably the wealthiest commoner in England, had inherited the great estate of Beaumanoir in Hampshire, a house in Park Lane and a large fortune, which by skillful business he had greatly increased. He married late in life and I, his only child, was born when he was fifty-two. I was baptized Dennis Evelyn, and the second name, which is given to girls as well as to boys, I always resented. I resented it all the more, because in complexion, features, limbs, and figure I was, alas! as the taunts of my school friends assured me, more like a girl than a boy. My father lost his wife when I was twelve and a year later married a second time--whence came all my troubles. He married a middle-aged widow Mrs. Deverel, who had a daughter Helen, a girl just four years older than myself. She was a beautiful girl with dark hair, a pale sweet face and a slim figure. She had the most winning manners and at once set herself to charm everybody. She succeeded with everybody--except me.
I resented my father's marriage, and the intrusion of these new people into our house. I would not call the new Mrs. Beryl, "mother," nor Helen, "sister." Mrs. Beryl was considerate and Helen laid herself out to please me, but I distrusted them both. I always had a fear that they meant to take my place in my father's affections and oust me from my inheritance.
I remember particularly one day when I was home for the holidays. I was thirteen at the time, Helen seventeen; she stopped me as I went out of the drawing-room, and as she came in, she laid her little hand upon my arm and said wistfully:
"Evelyn, can't we be good friends ? I am so unhappy that you dislike me."
The name Evelyn irritated me. I looked at her ironically and replied:
"I suppose that you really want to marry me, to get hold of my fortune, don't you?"
It was a foolish answer. If it had not been uttered I might not be standing now in the fashionable ball-dress of a wealthy young lady, waiting the moment when I should take my place at her birthday dinner party, a living tribute to her domination from the five-inch heels of my smart satin slippers to the white ribbon in my curls. For to that foolish answer I attribute the beginnings of her hatred and resentment. She turned away deeply wounded and never made advances to me again.
That same year in the autumn my step-mother died and the shock of her death prostrated my father. He was then sixty-five. He had a great affection for Helen and a great faith in her capacity; and at her suggestion, Miss Priscilla Deverel, an Aunt of hers, was introduced into the household to act as companion to Helen and to assist her in the management of the house. Miss Priscilla was really a remarkable woman. She was a fully qualified doctor and had a great medical reputation. She gave up her practice to join us. But to me at this time she seemed merely a harmless, slightly ridiculous old maid. She was forty-seven or so when she came to Beaumanoir, a wrinkled thin ungainly woman, who dressed very badly, was very patient and submissive, and whom I treated with the utmost disregard. I did not resent her presence in the house, as I did Helen's. For I looked upon her as of no importance whatever. The first time I had any doubt about her was a year later when I was ill with a cold: I was then between fourteen and fifteen, and Helen brought her to my bedroom. At first I would not allow her to examine my chest, but Helen threatened to tell my father of my refusal and to send for a doctor from London. That for a special reason I dreaded. I let Miss Priscilla open my night-gown and I saw at once--for my pride was on the look-out--a flash of wonder on her face. I flushed scarlet. I had a secret which I had always tried to conceal. My bosom was much too developed for a boy's and developing as I grew. I had not merely the nipples of a boy, but the white globes of a girl's breasts threatened to become prominent. Miss Priscilla examined them carefully. Then she turned to Helen and exchanged with her a significant look. When she looked again at me a slow smile of triumph was spreading over her face. It seemed to say: "I have got you," and when she went out of the room I thought with some discomfort of the impertinences which I had showered upon her. However, I soon took courage. She could do me no harm, I thought. What a fool I was!
From that moment, Miss Priscilla became my personal physician. She prescribed specific drugs for me to take...which I could not refuse for fear she would reveal my embarrassing physical condition to my father. She interviewed me weekly about my condition--and during those interviews I regularly seemed to relax into a deep sleep. I always awoke feeling refreshed and happy, but I suspected something happened during my "naps" that I was not aware of and not meant to be aware of.
The next term an episode occurred of which it is difficult for me to write. But I must refer to it, because it affected my future tremendously. I was, as I have confessed, girlish to look at although I took my part in the games of the school and my appearance brought upon me a great deal of chaff and ridicule. It also brought upon me the attentions of the bigger boys in the Sixth Form. One of them, a youth of nineteen called Guy Repton, pestered me. One afternoon I struck him, and gave him a black eye. He attacked me, a master caught us struggling. Guy Repton was expelled in disgrace, and my father was asked to take me away. The head master wrote to my father as follows:
"Dennis is not to blame for the scandal at all, but he looks so much like a pretty girl that I think him unsuited for a boys' school."
Accordingly I returned home, and nobody knew what to do with me. I could not go to another school. I was too young for the University. I stayed at home for six months. My father was already sickening with his last illness. There was no one to control me; and no doubt I bullied the servants, was tyrannical and threatening to the tenants, was rude to Helen and contemptuous of Miss Priscilla. Miss Priscilla had precise old-maidish neatnesses which it was a pleasure to me to offend. To stamp about the drawing-room in noisy muddy boots, to fling myself on delicately upholstered sofas in dirty football clothes--these things I delighted to do because I saw how much they shocked her and offended Helen. Finally Helen made a suggestion to my father that I should be sent round the world with a tutor for a year. My father was delighted with the idea. He was very ambitious for me.
"There is no reason, my boy, why you should make money. I have done that. You must make a famous name. Marry and begin a great family which shall be associated the history of the country."
Oh, how well I remember him saying that! Helen and Miss Priscilla were both at his bedside at the time, and both looking at me with a quizzing enigmatical smile which I did not understand.
"You must go into Parliament, become a Cabinet Minister, perhaps Prime Minister. Therefore go round the world Dennis and improve your mind."
I went, grateful to Helen, but after I had started I began to wonder whether Helen had not some ulterior purpose. Whether she had not removed me from my father's neighborhood in order to oust me by slanders from his affections and rob me of my inheritance. I wrote to him therefore warning him against Helen and Miss Priscilla.
"They are both of them designing women, I am sure. They wish to intrigue me out of my proper position as your son."
It was an unfortunate letter, for it came into Helen's hands ultimately. But at the same time it had its influence on my father. For a couple of months later, I received a telegram announcing my father's death and that he had bequeathed the whole of his immense fortune to me, with a request that I should make Helen such an allowance as I thought sufficient for her and Miss Priscilla. There was however a thorn in that as in every rose. I was not to come into my inheritance until I was twenty-five, and until that time Helen was appointed my guardian. I resented extremely the idea of being subject to Helen who certainly disliked me and at this time was only twenty years old herself. However I reflected that I had the whip hand of her. For she would be absolutely dependant upon me and my money for her meals. I returned to London where I found a letter from Helen asking me to go and see Mr. Willowes the solicitor. Now Mr. Willowes was a friend of Helen's and she had removed the entire affairs of the family from our old solicitor, who had looked after them for twenty years, into this new man's hands. I went to see him in a haughty mood of displeasure.
"I don't approve of the change," I said foolishly, "and I shall restore the business into the hands of our old solicitor when I come of age."
Mr. Willowes, a young sardonic looking man, twirled his moustache with an ironical smile.
"It is very kind of you to give me warning. Meanwhile here is your first-class railway ticket to Beaumanoir. I have paid off your tutor. Miss Deverel expects you this afternoon and if you will take a word of advice, young gentleman, you will change your tone with her. You are sixteen and a half. She has complete control of you for the next eight years and I rather think that she has had enough of your ill-manners. Good morning."
Wild with rage I was shown out of the office. I had hardly any money. I had to go down to Beaumanoir, and at once Helen threw off the mask. I arrived late, and I noticed that all the footmen and men-servants had been dismissed. There were only the women now and new women-servants in addition, all big and handsome and strong.
"You have just time to dress for dinner," said Phoebe, "if you will hurry."
"I shall be late," I replied. "How is it that there are no valets?"
"You must ask Miss Helen."
I had my bath and coming back into my bedroom I found Phoebe still there.
"What are you doing here? You can go," I said and I saw to my surprise that she was holding up a dainty corset of white satin.
"I must lace you into this first Master Evelyn," she said impudently.
"How dare you? What impertinence!" I began and I saw her move to the bell. "What are you going to do?" I cried.
"Miss Helen is in charge," Pheobe replied, " and I have definite orders from Miss Helen to lace you into a corset and smarten you up."
"Ah here's the androgyne!" Helen cried as I entered the room. "Come and sit down! How do you like your corset and your bright little shoes?"
The company tried not to laugh. I was so confused that I wished the floor would open and swallow me up. I ate my dinner not knowing where to look.
"We have just been discussing your future, Evelyn dear," said Helen.
"I prefer not to discuss my future with acquaintances," I replied haughtily.
"There's no reason why you should," said Helen, "for we have settled it with a unanimous vote. You are too young still for college. For reasons of which you are aware, you cannot be safely sent to a boys' school."
I grew scarlet.
"And you are too overbearing and untidy and impossible to remain at home with a tutor. There is only one thing left for you, dear, and that's a girls' school."
I started up in a rage.
"This is really too much."
"Come with me," said Helen, with a look on her face which frightened me. She had absolute control of me for eight years. She took me up to my bedroom.
"I am quite serious about this Evelyn," she said in a gentle voice. "It is the only thing to be done. I don't know whether you are aware that I can, if I think you fit for your position, let you come of age when you are twenty-one. If you behave very obediently as a girl for two years at the girls' school to which I am going to send you, I may perhaps shorten your minority."
It was a strong inducement. Besides, she need not have offered any inducement. She had the right to do with me what she liked. I saw no escape.
"Of course if I go as a girl to a girls' school for two years, I shall be allowed to dress as a man at the end."
"If your school-mistress reports favorably. I don't want to seem unkind."
But there were other parts to the transformation, as well. My weekly visits with Miss Priscilla were replaced by weekly appointments with the school psychologist. These followed much the same pattern. In time, I came to accept my new position and appearance with an equanimity I would not have thought possible just a few months before. And when I did occasionally wish to revolt, one of my teachers or the headmistress would simply tell me, "Miss Helen is in charge", and I readily accepted whatever they suggested. I was certain something was being done to my mind as well as my body--but I could not imagine what.
I was never allowed to see myself in a mirror, for fear, I suppose, lest I should revolt against the system. But of course I was none the less aware that curves were coming where before there had been angles, that the muscles were all vanishing from my legs and arms which were naturally round, that my breasts were developing into the pretty white round delicately-veined apples of a girl. I was now back at home, waiting for Miss Priscilla to inspect the result. I was in a bedroom which had been altogether refurnished in mauve. Over a thick carpet a covering of mauve satin had been tightly stretched, delicious to feel under one's feet. The room was a girl's bedroom, the dressing-table covered with feminine bottles of perfume and lotion, jewelled powder boxes, gold-backed brushes. Why I asked myself since I was to be a youth again tomorrow? A beautiful little marble-tiled bathroom led from it on one side, and a dainty boudoir on the other. The bed was an exquisite thing in the shape of a swan. It was altogether a lovely suite of rooms--for a girl.
"I shall not sleep here tomorrow," I said to myself, and then the door opened and Miss Priscilla entered carrying a number of leather jewel-cases in her hands.
TO BE CONTINUED
[Don't forget to choose the man you'd love to see feminized (details here)!]