An entrancing preliminary to punishment. Gagged at my step-sister's dinner-party. Lady Hartley's views about young ladies. "They should be dressed beautifully and treated as dainty convicts." I am bound and fettered in my evening gown and high-heeled shoes. In the corner, like a child under Miss Priscilla's observation.
"Certainly she must be punished," said Helen. She pushed towards me a gilt chair with a white satin seat. "Sit," she ordered, "fold your hands in your lap and cross your ankles like a good girl." She raised her right hand before my face and I beheld a magnificent star sapphire ring she wore. Though I was certain I had never seen it before, it was oddly familiar and quite absorbing. I found I could not look away from it...and that staring at it concentrated my attention on Helen's voice.
"It is the rule in this house, Denise," she said, "that one punishment always involves a second to be inflicted later on; and so that you may not forget it, we make the culprit remember and recall it whenever asked."
"Oh!" I protested. "I am to be punished twice for the same fault."
"That is the rule. It teaches pretty young ladies to be careful to avoid punishment altogether."
"You are to endure the humiliation of the pedestal," she told me. "Repeat that."
"I am to endure the humiliation of the pedestal," I complied.
"At dinner, the subject of your punishment may come up," she advised. "When I show you my ring again, you will repeat those words."
Strangely, I knew that no willful act of my own would countermand that order. I would be compelled to announce my punishment at the sight of the entrancing ring.
Miss Priscilla meanwhile squeezed and rolled into a ball a small lace handkerchief. She came over to me with the ball in her hand.
"Open your mouth, Denise!"
I obeyed. She thrust the handkerchief into my mouth.
"Close your mouth now, dear!"
"Oh! Oh!" I cried in a stifled voice, wringing my hands.
Miss Priscilla smiled at my sufferings. She took up a bigger handkerchief of the finest linen and carefully folded it. This she adjusted over my lips and tied the end very tightly behind at the back of my hair, binding my mouth so that I could not utter a sound.
"Now stand up Denise!"
I stood up and Miss Priscilla carefully smoothed down my shining skirt. What a bizarre spectacle met my eyes in the mirror! I saw a grown-up girl in an exquisite evening gown of white satin with her mouth gagged, her white throat flashing with jewels, the delicate bows and bright buckles of her luxurious little slippers, peeping out from the hem of her skirt. But what made the spectacle so piquant and seductive to me was the knowledge that the pretty girl was myself, an effeminate youth in corsets with his satin-gloved hands quite free. He could have torn the gag from his lips in a second. There were only two ladies to prevent him. But he did not dare. He was undergoing discipline in girls' dresses and satin slippers at their hands. He was being punished by them. He was in subjection.
"Now go downstairs into the drawing-room, Denise," said Helen. "Our guests will be arriving in a minute."
I was to be seen by her guests in this ignominious condition. The shame of it came home to me. I looked piteously at Helen. But there was no sign of relenting in her face. Luckily, I thought, the guests will not recognize me. It is only Denise the girl whom they will see with the gag in her mouth and Denise disappears forever tomorrow. I went sadly out of the room. As I turned to latch the door, I heard Helen ask:
"Well, what do you think?"
And Miss Priscilla reply:
"... In a few weeks he will be the prettiest fetichiste-du-pied in the world." And then they both laughed heartlessly.
I was troubled by the words. What was a fetichiste-du-pied? I must find out. I had an intuition that phrase was the secret to the riddle, was the clue to the plot they had concocted to nullify and ruin me. But I had no time to think about it now. My heels were so high and thin, my skirt so tight, that I had to be extremely careful in going
downstairs. There were two big maids like Phoebe waiting in the hall to receive the guests and they both burst out laughing when they saw me.
They knew who I was at all events and my cheeks grew hot with shame.
There was no one as yet in the drawing-room, but my heart sank at the ordeal in front of me.
"Who are you, you pretty thing?" she asked.
I could not answer.
"What's the matter?"
She turned me round and saw the gag over my mouth. She stared at me astonished for a moment. Then the truth broke in upon her and she clapped her hands with pleasure.
"You are Denise. And Helen has gagged you. How delicious! You are a perfect girl now, Denise."
I blushed to the roots of my hair, and unconsciously I placed one foot upon the fender to warm it, lifting my skirt an inch or two. Doris uttered a rapturous cry.
"What adorable feet! And, oh Denise, what divine little satin slippers. Let me see!" I blushed again, but this time it was with pleasure.
"What lovely buckles and what fairy-like bows! And what jolly high-heels. Show me your ankles!"
I raised the skirt higher, and the delicate cleanly rounded ankle in its shimmering cobweb of nylon and lace came into view. Doris went into an ecstasy. "I should like to perch you on still higher heels dear, and keep you in a glass case to show to my friends. That's really all that you are fit for now. Walk across the room you exquisite thing, and let me see how daintily you can do it in your beautiful high-heeled shoes." I was delighted with her admiration, but I shook my head at her request.
At once she stamped her foot peremptorily. "Quick, or I'll punish you," she cried. "Pick up your skirt and let me see those buckles flashing on your dainty butterfly bows this instant."
I submitted. I was beginning to learn that one of the inevitable consequences of allowing myself to be dressed as a girl was that everyone, even young girls like Doris, who knew the secret, treated me as a little child in spite of my long gown and fine jewels. I walked daintily across the room and back. Doris applauded me laughing.
"I don't know a girl, Denise, who wouldn't envy your figure and your feet and ankles. Oh, but you must be kept in high-heeled shoes all your life! It would be ridiculous now that Helen has got you so smart and pretty to let you go back into stupid trousers."
At that moment Helen and Miss Priscilla came into the room; and the guests began to arrive. There was Mrs. Dawson the clergyman's wife, Lady Hartley and her pretty daughter; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Rivers, about twenty people altogether, mostly young and all of them neighbours whom I had known as a boy. I was introduced to them as Denise Beryl, a cousin,
and Helen explained how I came to be punished with a gag. I had to stand and listen, but my cheeks burned with shame.
"Denise is unfortunately very vain," said Helen. "I had to punish her because she would show off her feet in an unlady-like way."
"She is very lucky to have got off so easily," said Lady Hartley with severity looking down at my feet through her glasses. "I should not only have gagged her, I should have taken her pretty slippers away from her altogether," and then to my amazement and my horror, "Mr. Guy Repton" was announced and my old schoolfellow came into the room.
He had been expelled in disgrace because of me. How did Helen come to know him ? Her first words explained.
"This is my new steward and agent," she said as she introduced him. I was horrified. He was the new manager of my estates. He was a young man of twenty two with a fair moustache. Helen had given him a fine position, a good income. She must have sought him out on purpose, because I had caused his disgrace. She wished to surround me with my enemies, I felt sure. A subtle stroke of hers was thus brought to my notice. Guy Repton would be grateful to her and already he hated me.
Helen did not even pretend to conceal the reason for her choice of him. She darted a triumphant look at me. I felt more and more helpless in her hands.
We were waiting for dinner to be announced, when Lady Hartley, a handsome matron of forty-five, came to me, took me by the arm, and led me into a little drawing room which led off from the big one. She pointed to a sofa.
"I know the rules of this house, young lady," she said. "All punishments come in pairs." I looked around for rescue, but saw only Helen, waiting in the dining room entry, as she raised the sparkling sapphire into my view.
"What is your other punishment?" Lady Hartley demanded.
As in a dream, I responded, "I am to endure the humiliation of the pedestal."
"Very intriguing," she muttered. "I wonder what it means."
We went back into the big room. Violet, Doris's elder sister had just come down.
Dinner was announced.
"Mr. Repton, will you take in Denise," said Helen. "I am sorry to have to give you so silent a companion."
I sat gagged at the dinner-table bright with flowers, amongst those smartly dressed people, unable to eat, unable to talk. I felt terribly humiliated. It was cruel to make me come down to dinner at all. I found it difficult to breathe. I was very hungry besides. It was all I could do not to burst into tears. To make things worse the company began to talk about me, Evelyn Beryl. "It is such a pity that he is coming home tomorrow," said Mrs. Dawson. "It has been so pleasant and peaceful here while he has been at his girls' school." Everyone agreed. It was a revelation to me how thoroughly unpopular I was. I felt ashamed of my past behaviour.
"I think you will all find him greatly changed for the better," said Helen with a smile. "His head-mistress's report speaks most highly of his docility and his ladylike ways." How I blushed. Luckily no one knew that I was present except Helen.
"I can quite believe it," said Guy Repton with a hateful snigger. "I think that you are all a little unjust to poor Evelyn. I don't think that his nature is really bad, but as a boy he was not in his proper position. He must have known that dressed in male clothes he looked silly and ridiculous, and no doubt he felt uncomfortable, and that very
probably made him arrogant and intolerable. But dressed and treated as a girl he would no longer have that feeling of discomfort. He would probably be quite charming." I could have boxed Guy Repton's ears for his impertinence.
"Very likely you are right," said Lady Hartley, "but then he ought to be kept a girl all his life."
"Oh yes," cried Mrs. Rivers turning enthusiastically to Helen. I had thrown a stone through the drawing-room window of her house, just after she and Charles Rivers had got married. She had never forgiven me. Helen shook her head.
"I promised him that he should not have to wear girls' clothes after the two years if he behaved himself." She made a sign to Netta one of the parlor-maids. Netta took the handkerchief from my mouth and the second one from between my lips. My face was revealed, and Mrs. Rivers cried out enthusiastically, "Oh what a pretty girl!"
Netta took the bracelets from my wrists, unbuttoned my gloves there, slipped my hands out and turned the gloves back.
"Yes, a very pretty girl," said Lady Hartley severely, "but if she were my pretty girl, I should tie her gloved hands behind her back, and stand her in the corner with her face to the wall, and her dainty heels together." My cheeks grew red with shame. But underneath the shame I was suddenly conscious of a passionate longing to be punished in that
childish and humiliating way before all of these gaily dressed people. I tried to shake the obsession off. It was dangerous, enervating, effeminizing. But the venom was in my veins. I tried to think of my ambitions, my career. I could only think of the little new shining satin slippers which so daintily imprisoned my feet under the table, the
fairly-like bows, the big blazing buckles, the pointed toes. I felt the high heels sinking deliciously into the thick carpet. Oh to be made to stand upon them publicly in a corner with my face to the wall, and my gloved hands tied behind my back like a naughty child. I, a grown up young lady, in a long satin frock with my white shoulders and bejewelled throat! I rubbed my legs together in a spasm of desire. And then as Netta placed my dinner before me and filled my glass with champagne, Helen cried out with a laugh.
"But dear Lady Hartley, that is exactly what I am going to do with Denise."
The men looked sympathetically at me, but all the ladies were delighted. For myself I had to bend my head over my plate to hide a smile of delight. Mr. Rivers actually pleaded for my forgiveness, but Helen would not hear of it.
"And I think Helen is so right," said Lady Hartley. "I am very interested in the punishment of young ladies. People allow them such a ridiculous amount of liberty nowadays that it is quite refreshing to find someone like Helen. To dress them beautifully and treat them like dainty convicts. That is the only way to keep the silly creatures in good
order," she said sternly.
I ate my dinner quickly, the longing to be punished tingled through my veins. Already I felt Helen's quick little daintily-gloved fingers binding my wrists behind me with satin ribbons and adjusting my feet in exquisite finery.
There was to be a dance for the people of the village after dinner in the village hall. We were all to go in to it. Helen rose. "Mr. Repton," she said, "will you take the gentlemen down to the hall when they are ready. There are two cars. They can come back for us. If you will start the people dancing we will come in for a little while later. Then we can all come back here, have a little dance ourselves and some supper."
"Certainly, Miss Deverel," said Guy Repton respectfully.
The other two ladies rose and Helen joined them. As they crossed the hall, I heard Lady Hartley say to Helen:
"I thought that Denise told me that you had planned a different punishment for her."
"Yes," replied Helen, "standing in the corner I look upon as a preliminary. The real punishment will be inflicted later on after supper."
"It sounds a curious one--'The humilation of the pedestal'."
"I think it is interesting and ingenious. You shall see it."
I was curious myself as to what the punishment was going to be--curious and frightened.
We all went into the small dressing-room, a lovely little room decorated in white and gold with a polished parquet floor scattered with thick white rugs of Persian silk. It was brightly illuminated with shaded lamps and a cheerful fire burned upon the hearth. The ladies took their seats in comfortable chairs about the fire with an air of eager
expectation. Helen placed me in the middle and spoke to her young cousin in the smart short black dress.
"Doris, put Denise's hands back into her gloves and button them carefully," she said.
I gave my hands to Doris, who smoothed the tight white satin gloves on over my fingers and fixed the buttons while Helen went over to a bureau. She opened a drawer and came back carrying a large leather case and a number of strong white satin gleaming straps with big oval diamond buckles sparkling upon them. She placed the leather case on the mantel-shelf and the straps on a chair. Her face was radiant, her eyes danced with pleasure.
"Now Denise, we will truss you up tightly and prettily," she said with a thrill of delight in her voice. Round each arm just where the bracelet had been she buckled a broad white satin strap very tightly. Neither the diamond buckles nor the eye-holes were at the ends of the straps so that after the ribbon had been fastened two broad ends hung from each arm. These ends she tied in big bows and passed them back through the oval buckles which thus flashed daintily in the middle of the bows. The bows and buckles were on the outside of my arms, and on the inside of each strap a little steel ring was stoutly sewn. Helen then took a tiny bar of polished steel with a spring-hook at each end of it. She snapped the hooks on to the steel rings forcing my arms together with a strength of which I should never have believed her capable.
"There," she said, "I can now tie the wrists comfortably." She sat down.
"Stand with your back to me Denise." My elbows almost touched in the small of my back. My shoulders were drawn most painfully back. An extraordinary sense of helplessness, delightful and at the same time alarming overwhelmed me. Slowly and with hesitation I obeyed my cruel little tyrant. I stood in front of her chair with my back towards her,
and I crossed my daintily gloved wrists for her to bind. There were mirrors let into the wall panels and I could see myself in my glistening white frock, which delightfully reflected the lights, from the buckles gleaming on my satin slippers to the curls of my exquisitely coiffured head as I stood in this humiliating position of subjection. Yet how the spectacle aroused my passions! I felt dreadfully excited.
"Keep quite still now, Denise," said Helen, with a laugh. "Have you ever had your hands tied together for bad behaviour before?"
"It seems a pity that you should have to have them tied up on an evening when you look so pretty and are so delightfully dressed."
And my girlish vanity made me answer with a smile of confusion. "If I have got to have my hands tied behind me I would rather be prettily dressed than not for the ceremony." The ladies laughed, I blushed, and Lady Hartley cried out:
"That is charming of you Denise."
I felt Helen's fingers and suddenly--was it in a panic or was it to prolong the delight I felt?--I began to struggle. But my arms were already bound, and the struggle was soon over. In the mirror I saw four white gloved-hands suddenly interlaced and fluttering like four doves. Two quick, little nervous strong hands, Helen's and two slender helpless
things, my own. The four hands fell apart. Helen's were holding the ends of white satin strap which encircled my wrists and drawing it tighter and ever tighter. Mine were glued together with helpless twitching fingers. "Oh, oh, you are hurting me Helen," I protested.
"You shouldn't make it necessary for me to hurt you, darling," she answered, and she tied the bow and passed it through the oval diamond buckle as she had done with the other straps.
"That will do," she said, rising briskly. My arms hung down behind me in their delicate long satin gloves, inert, useless. She took me by the elbow.
"Take care how you walk on your high-heels now that your hands are tied behind you Denise. Point your toes, arch your pretty insteps!"
She led me to a corner by the fire and placed me in it with my face to the wall. "Hold your head well up darling! That's right! Put the high-heels together, and turn out the pointed toes. Let me see!"
She stooped down and picking up the hem of my dress wound it tightly round my legs tying them in its folds and exposing to view my ankles and feet.
"Now stand without moving," she said. "Take care! If I see a flutter of the butterfly bows or a flash of the diamond buckles on your daintily slippered feet I will lock a bright, tight pair of fetters over your gossamer silk stockings, round your slender ankles, which will bind them so fast that you won't be able to twitch one of your toes."
"Oh Helen," I sighed. But it was not a sigh of alarm. It was a sigh of voluptuous, languorous desire. Strange as it may seem it was delicious to be standing daintily in the corner with my arms and hands cruelly bound behind me in my exquisite satin gown, my long girls' gloves of gleaming white satin and my jewels, a pretty punished thing of ribbons and diamonds. But to have my ankles in their girls' lustrous transparent open-worked white nylon stockings
fettered tightly together too! To stand in a corner with my girlish feet unable to move in their exquisitely cut high-heeled slippers of white satin with the delicate bows, the diamond buckles, to see my round pink insteps gleaming daintily through, the lace insertions of stockings which only the richest of heiresses would wear at a ball in the London season! The mere thought of it made me almost swoon with delight. This is what I had dreamed of! I could make my dream-world real by a single movement. An irresistible impulse to do so was upon me.
"Nonsense, Miss Denise," replied that common and practical woman Mrs. Dawson, "it is delightful to us to see an elegant young lady with pretty feet smartly shod standing obediently in the comer." She evoked a picture of myself in my mind which carried me away.
"Mayn't I even do this?" I asked impertinently and I stretched out a foot pointing the toe, and drew it back again. An exclamation of indignation at my wilfulness broke from all those tyrannical ladies.
"Lock and chain together those satin slippered feet at once, Helen," cried Lady Hartley.
"I will indeed," answered Helen. "Come Violet, Miss Hartley, help me please." With the assistance of the two young ladies she absolutely carried me from the corner, lifted me on to a chair, and held me standing on it.
"Support her please," said Helen. I was quite helpless, with my satin train swathed round my legs and my hands and arms tied behind me. Helen opened the leather case and took out a pair of bright fetters of thin polished steel.
"Oh they are too small," I cried. "They will never go round my ankles."
"Hold your tongue," said Helen and she stooped over my little buckled feet. Oh, wonderful blissful moment! I felt the cold cruel bands close about my ankles. Click, click, sounded sharply through the room. It was done now, past recall. I was chained. Thrills of voluptuous exquisite delight tingled warmly through me from my high-heels to my curls. I
looked down--oh bizarre and entrancing spectacle! I saw the bright bands of steel glistening on my filmy stockings, fettering my ankles. I saw the small feet in gleaming white satin slippers, made doubly dainty with quivering butterfly bows and blazing diamond buckles--slippers for a beautiful girl to dance in at a Court Ball, chained together unable to move. Oh what waves of sensuous pleasure swept over me! Helen raised her hands and smoothed down my skirt from the waist to the knees. Oh the look, the touch of those little active masterful satin-gloved hands, which having bound my arms and wrists behind me, and fettered my ankles, were now engaged on the feminine work of making my frock set prettily. The blood rushed into my face. A pang of undreamt-of bliss shook me.
"Oh, oh," I murmured. I stood quite still with every nerve tense. It seemed to me that Helen's hands half-opened a door into an unimagined Paradise. She looked up at my rapt face shrewdly. Then in a triumphant whisper she said.
"You wanted me to chain your feet, Denise."
Her words brought me to my senses. It was part of her plan I was sure, to produce in me a craving for these dainty punishments. It was part of her plot to keep me in subjection.
"Lift the pretty creature down," said Helen contemptuously. They lifted me up and carried me into the corner and placed me once more standing with my face to the wall.
"Your head well up! Turn your shoe-buckles out!" She stooped and adjusted my chained feet.
"Now cry away baby, as much as you like, while we go down to the village. Aunt Priscilla will sit here while we are away and see that you don't move," she whispered in my ear. "Think of your pretty feet! Think that in those dainty buckled high-heeled satin slippers I have locked you Denise," she whispered caressingly, tempting me with seductive images.
The ladies put on their cloaks and went away. I was left in the little sitting-room, standing in the corner, sobbing bitterly while Miss Priscilla, seated at the bureau where she could see every movement that I made, callously wrote letters.
She had no pity for me in my bondage and misery. She was perpetually chiding me. One moment it would be, "Don't work your shoulders in that violent way. Keep them still and sob silently!"
"I see your fingers twitching, Denise. Open your hands and let them lie quiet against your satin dress." And a third time it would be, "Your feet are trembling Denise. Keep them still. Your slipper-buckles are flashing so that they continually attract my eyes. I shall have to cut them off your shoes."
She came over to the corner with a pair of scissors in her hand. All my vanity, all my love for my dainty slippers rose in alarm.
"Oh please don't cut the buckles off. Please Miss Priscilla!"
"Be careful, then," she said and rapped my insteps exposed in their open-worked thin stockings with the handle of the scissors until my tears broke out afresh.
At last the realization of my humiliation began to diminish. I sniffed rather than sobbed. Finally I said in a humble voice, "Miss Priscilla!"
"Well, what is it?" she answered testily.
"My hands are tied. Would you be kind enough to wipe my nose for me."
She consented. I was eighteen years old, a youth, the owner of this house, a person of great wealth and position. And yet standing in a corner in a girl's evening gown of white satin, girl's gloves, girl's stockings and high-heeled shoes, girl's tight satin corsets and frilled panties, girl's earrings, and necklaces, and my long hair done up
beautifully like a girl's, bound with my hands behind me, and my ankles chained, I had to have my nose wiped by an old maid whom a year or two ago I despised. With what strange contrasts does life provide us!
TO BE CONTINUED
[Don't forget to choose the man you'd love to see feminized (details here)!]