Friday, April 28, 2017

Story: Lady Penrose. Chapter 1.

by Jackie J

Lady Penrose thought nothing odd that her husband was away travelling abroad and that her young maid Silvia was away visiting her sick aunt.

Reginald was often away from Ringwood with work and in recent times Silvia had been allowed compassionate leave to look after her aunt, never for such an extended period but Silvia had explained her aunt may not survive much longer and wanted to be with her at the end. It was rare for domestics to be given leave in the nineteen twenties, whatever the circumstances, but Lord Penrose insisted it was the right thing to do.

Ringwood was a palatial and secluded manor situated three miles from the village of Tyne. The seclusion suited the somewhat reclusive lifestyle of the Penroses. The postman, village traders bringing deliveries, and a rare guest of Lord Penrose were the only visitors to Ringwood.

When she had last returned from her family visit, Silvia’s attitude toward her mistress, Lady Penrose, has been bordering on insolence as she criticised the state of the manor. Lord Penrose, more often than not, was siding with Silvia suggesting that just because the maid was away it was no reason for the house to become unkempt.


On this particular absence, before she left, the surly young maid had the audacity to prepare a list of duties that should be carried out whilst she was away much to the annoyance of Lady Penrose but to the amusement of her husband.

The list of duties, which Lady Penrose purposely ignored, stayed pinned to the wall of the scullery for the first few days. It was during the weekend and following the receipt of a letter from Silvia, explaining that she would be away longer that was at first intended, which tempted Lady Penrose to read the list and the attached note left by her maid.

Her blood boiled reading the note, how dare she, the little Madame. Slovenly! I will give her slovenly when she returns!

Lady Penrose sat in the parlour and looking around the room chuckled.  That little minx was right: the place was untidy, there was dust on the surfaces and a mountain of dirty dishes sat in the scullery.
Lady Penrose read through the list again and considered the attached note. She knew it would please her husband but was she really going to follow instructions given to her by her maid?  Well, it would teach that trollop of a maid a lesson if the place was sparkling when she returned and her notice waiting for her.

That evening Lady Penrose entered Silvia’s quarters at the rear of the house, opened the closet and scowled at what she saw, swearing under her breath. How dare she, how dare she the presumptuous little tart! Hung on the rail maid’s dresses, the ones Silvia wore, four in total, black calf length dresses with white laced trim to the collar and half sleeves with a name embroidered on each. Not Silvia’s name but Lady Penrose’s name, Isabella!

Lady Penrose slammed the closet shut and stormed out of the room. Back in the main house she poured herself a glass of whiskey and sat back onto the sofa.  No way, there was no bloody way. Lady Penrose slurped down her drink then poured another. She was fuming.  The note from Silvia had suggested that, given that she would be cleaning, she should wear a maid’s tunic that could be found in her closet. Seeing her name on the dresses was just too much. The presumptuous bitch had first thought her mistress would even consider wearing a maid’s uniforms and then had the audacity to embroider her name on them. Argh.

After another whiskey, Lady Penrose’s anger started to subside and she even giggled thinking of how her maid had gone to the trouble of putting her name on the dresses. Perhaps she was just having a bit of fun? Or too much time on her hands?

On Sunday Lady Penrose returned to Silvia’s quarters and this time smiled at the dresses, removing one from the rail. Holding it against her, Lady Penrose swished the dress about her in front of the mirror and giggled. What would it matter, who would see her anyway and she wasn’t going to carry out household duties in her own clothes anyway, was she?

On Monday morning, wearing a maid’s dress and an apron, Isabella set about cleaning the parlour, then the hallway, and by lunch time was getting to grips with the washing up and the laundry.
Isabella flopped down at the kitchen table and sighed hugging a mug of tea. Her underwear was uncomfortable: the silky lingerie was not designed for a girl at work for sure and her fine denier stockings had snagged in a number of places. And what about heels? Not for this job.

The following day Isabella, resigned to forego quality for comfort, rooted through Silvia’s drawers and found something a lot more suitable: cotton underwear knickers, a bra, and a lace-trimmed petticoat that she hoped would soften the harshness of the heavy woollen dress, which it did to a certain extent. Coarser hosiery and low-heeled shoes also borrowed from her maid completed Isabella’s ensemble.

Following the duties written on the list, given to her by her maid, Isabella made good progress with her cleaning throughout the manor, even taking some pride in her efforts and, having felt the benefit of the unfashionable but practical underwear and matronly hosiery and shoes, accepted this compromise.

Isabella had been cleaning in the kitchen when the door bell rang and, wiping her hands on her apron and removing the maid’s cap she had taken to wearing, went to answer the door without thought or concern of how she was attired or looked bereft of makeup and her hair tied back in a very simple style.

The door swung open and the surprised face of her friend Claudia greeted her with a titter. Isabella at that moment froze realising how she must look.

Claudia was a vivacious widow and a renowned gossip from the village, an acquaintance who Isabella tolerated rather than admired. Of all the people to call this was the last person she would want to see her dressed in her maid’s regalia. 

“Oh my, Isabella you look, you look, well invite me in, won’t you?”

Claudia stepped over the threshold and giggled.

“Well, do I not get a curtsy, young lady?”

Isabella grinned and dropped a mock curtsy.

“Miss.”

Both giggled, Isabella from nervous tension, Claudia from amusement and a sense of disbelief as they walked down the hallway to the scullery.

“Well, this is a surprise, Isabella. What are you doing dressed like this? Silvia is your maid, isn’t she?
Isabella set about preparing a pot of tea.

“Oh, it’s a long story, Claudia. When Silvia is away, you know her aunt’s not well: she is dying as far as I understand. It seems I let things go around the house. Reginald has mentioned it and, well, Silvia made some suggestions.”

Isabella pulled the yolk of her bibbed apron to one side and pointed to her name embroidered on the bust of the maid’s dress.

“Silvia’s little joke.”

Claudia stood from her chair and ran her fingers down the rough fabric of the heavy woollen dress and glanced at the lace trim of the petticoat below its hem.

“Are you wearing all Silvia’s clothes? Her underwear as well?”

Isabella blushed slightly.

“Well... yes, it is more comfortable.”

Claudia smiled.

“And does Reginald know you are playing at being a maid?”

Isabella, a little hurt by the remark, placed the tea pot down on the table.

“I’m not playing Claudia, I have been cleaning and everything around you in this kitchen is spotless. All the pots are clean, nothing is out of place. I’m doing a really good job.”

Claudia started to pour.

“Well, it’s nothing like you, Isabella. Anyway, the postman gave me this on the drive. It has a foreign stamp on it, I presume Reginald is away again?”

Isabella took the letter, opened it and started to read, then sunk slowly into her chair.

“Oh, no! Bloody work! Reginald is going to visit some plantations in Africa. He won’t be back until the end of the month. That will be four more weeks!”

Claudia pushed Isabella’s cup of tea towards her.

“Perhaps something stronger?”

Isabella sighed

“Yes, I think so, you know where it is.”

Claudia returned with a bottle of wine and two glasses. The bottle was opened and soon drained. Claudia and Isabella laughed about Silvia having the Mistress of the manor working as her own maid.
Claudia watched Isabella in her maid’s uniform tidy away the teapot, cups and glasses, wipe the table and place the empty wine bottle into the trash, a wicked smile on her face. Isabella was always immaculately dressed and manicured, her hair perfect. However, today she looked plain and ordinary, just like a common maid, just like a real maid should.  Claudia had always harboured a modest degree of jealousy about Isabella, her looks, her wealth, being a Lady and the wife of a Lord.

“Isabella, I was just thinking… With Reginald being away until the end of the month…If you want I can come and stay and I must say you seem very much at home being the maid, but a maid without a mistress? “

Isabella turned from the sink and looked at Claudia. Was she being serious? Was she suggesting that she would be her mistress?

Claudia watched a soft blush grow across Isabella’s face. Isabella did not say a word.

“Oh, dear you would like that, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you just? Well, well, my pretty maid. Perhaps that is just what we should do.”

Isabella squirmed uncomfortably, her fingers fidgeting about her apron, her blush now in full bloom.
“Don’t be silly, Claudia. I am not a maid.”

Claudia sensed Isabella’s obvious unease but also noted that her suggestion was not dismissed out of hand and pushed forward with a thinly disguised threat of exposing Isabella’s dalliance at being a maid.

“Silly, it won’t be silly, Isabella. It will be our little secret, we wouldn’t want anyone else to know what you have been doing, would we, dear? I am sure I will make a good mistress for you and you… Well, you will make a perfect maid, won’t you?”

Isabella was feeling awkward and unsure. The prospect of what Claudia was suggesting had never crossed her mind. She couldn’t allow Claudia to become her Mistress in her own home?  A tinge of excitement started to build within Isabella, her mind was in turmoil. Then the thought of Claudia exposing her, telling the entire village what she had seen, telling Reginald, telling Silvia that she had not only been wearing the maid’s dress she had prepared but her underwear as well?

Isabella stuttered, her palms clammy.

“But, but… But I am not a maid, Claudia.”

Claudia stood and walked close to Isabella, her heady expensive perfume flooding Isabella’s senses.   Isabella meekly lowered her eyes whilst Claudia adjusted the lacy collar of Isabella’s maid’s dress.

“Oh, yes you are, Isabella, and you are going to be my maid. It’s what you want, isn’t it? I knew it as soon as I mentioned it and so did you.”

Isabella started to quiver, feeling Claudia’s soft fingers gently raising her chin and looked into Claudia’s smiling eyes. It was true she did want it, now more than anything else. The Rubicon had been crossed and they both knew it.

 Claudia stood back and smiled breaking her gaze.

 “So, I will return at eight for dinner. We will discuss your terms of service then. Is that understood, GIRL?”

Isabella looked at Claudia, her knees weak. She was hardly able to speak and whispered her response: “Yes.”

Claudia smirked and picked up her purse, leaving Isabella panting as she leaned against the sink.
Hearing the door close behind Claudia, Isabella wobbled to the kitchen table and sat to contemplate what she had done, what she had agreed to!

When Claudia arrived back at her house in the village she picked up the telephone.

“Hi, it’s Claudia, Reginald. Is Silvia there with you? Good, put her on, will you?”

“Silvia, yes everything went well, yes, she was even wearing your underwear, you were right about her, your notes must have done the trick,’’ she declared excitedly. “No, I didn’t but give it time I will have her in my bed, don’t worry. No, not yet, going back tonight, she is making dinner I will sort everything then. Don’t worry, she is hooked; enjoy the rest of your holiday with Reginald, she will be ready when you return. Bye.






11 comments:

  1. seems like a good story looking forward to the next part

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  2. A beautiful start. Awaiting the next installment , you have my interest.
    Thank you
    Isabella

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  3. It is appropriate, nay unconscionable that one who fashions herself a lady be permitted to waltz about a vast estate at her leisure when there is a young debutante lying in wait. Common decency would suggest she have stepped down by now from her elevated position. Putting the old cow out to pasture at this juncture is sure to be a most tormentous affair. However, if she were to be led by the carrot of her own imagining, she may yet also begin chewing the sod of her own volition. This is a most devious scheme, Jackie J. and hopefully, perchance, the dalliance will commence forthwith.

    My best regards.

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  4. An Appreciative ReaderApril 28, 2017 at 5:51 PM

    Once again Jackie J you lead us in nicely with another of your tales... :)

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  5. 'Great beginning, as usual, Jackie J!
    In her question to Isabella, "Is that understood, GIRL?", Claudia could have added with a smirk the following mistress-like instruction to assert the subjugation in process, by saying, "And furthermore when I return, maid, I shall expect from you a formal curtsy in acknowledging my presence, and you shall address me as 'Mistress'. Is that clear, Girl?" Of course, how could poor Isabella have answered otherwise, if not in the affirmative?

    With the "good" Lord of the manor having an affair with the real maid Silvia, and supporting her pretense of concern for her supposedly ailing aunt, it would indeed be prescient for Isabella to have perceived the intended outcome, and to have prepared for her longer term job security, as mere maid and cuckold to her former husband in cahoots with 'Bella's' new mistress, Sylvia. ;) Best wishes.

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  6. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
    Thank you all for your kind comments
    I cannot wait myself to see how this story unfolds

    Hugs and Kisses
    Jackie J
    XX

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  7. A wonderful start, can´t wait to see the continuation.

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  8. This is a great story can't wait till the next part

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  9. If I may be so bold, I’d like to make a few comments on your story.

    There are aspects of the story I like, and aspects I don’t like. Let me first consider the specific aspect I don’t like.

    It seems to me that in a traditional L2M story, there are two key turning points: When the lady agrees to be a maid, and when the lady realizes that she’s trapped in servitude. In your story, Lady Penrose essentially agrees to become a maid in the first chapter. This is way too soon in my opinion. This turning point should be later in the story.

    Now, let me turn to the aspect of your story that I really like—I mean REALLY like. You have made an simple observation that I never noticed before. In particular, a maid, among other things, is someone is is under the supervision of a mistress, or a master, or a housekeeper, or the such.

    In your story, Isabella is acting as an unsupervised maid. This of course will never do in an L2M story. You resolve this issue in chapter 1. However, I think this could be stretched out for at least another chapter or more and would make for a much more interesting story.

    Let me give some examples of how this aspect of the story could be stretched out. When Claudia shows up, she tells Isabella that she is unsupervised and needs a mistress. Isabella demurs, claiming that she sees no need for supervision. Claudia then suggests that they do a walk thru of Isabella’s efforts at cleaning. As they walk along, Claudia casually produces a white glove and runs it over various surfaces such as a mantelpiece and shows the soiled glove to Isabella. Claudia comments that she would never tolerate sloppiness like this from her maid. Defensively, Isabella finally agrees that she might benefit from periodic inspections by Claudia of her efforts but still sees no need for supervision. At this point, Claudia leaves for home, but first removes the white glove, hands it to Isabella, tells Isabella that it soiled because of Isabella’s sloppy housekeeping and that she expects Isabella to have it cleaned and pristine by the time Claudia arrives the next day for an inspection.

    Another example. When Claudia arrives the next morning, she comments that the staircase leading to the from door is looking a little filthy and that it would benefit from the application of a donkey stone [see the Wikipedia for a discussion of donkey stones]. Thus, Claudia is subtly beginning to add chores to Silvia’s list.

    Still another example. When Isabella inspects Silvia’s room and finds the uniforms, they don’t have Isabella’s name embroidered on them, rather Isabella’s name is on small pieces of paper pinned to the uniforms.
    when Isabella casually mentions this to Claudia, the latter assigns Isabella the task of embroidering her name to the uniforms. This strikes me as deliciously ironic.

    Claudia never seems altogether happy with Isabella’s efforts, much to Isabella’s dismay. Claudia finally declares that Isabella’s efforts at self-supervision are not working and that Isabella should either abandon her attempts at being a maid or should accept supervision. Presumably, Isabella is sufficiently browbeat by this time to accept supervision.

    I’m sure you can think of other examples.

    Do what you will with these suggestions. I will not be offended if you totally ignore them.

    T. H. Enerdly

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  10. Hi Th.
    I have much respect for you and your writing and your comments above are welcomed and appreciated thank you.
    One of the aspects of releasing a story in single chapter form is that whilst the first chapter introduces the main characters, but often not all, it is difficult to any other than the author to see what lies beyond. This often already written or in the mind and imaginings of the author.
    This is good in many ways in that it offers the reader to place their own scenario’s going forward that will either be confirmed or not when subsequent chapters are published and the story is brought to a conclusion.
    With Lady Penrose not all the ingredients to this story are yet in the mixing bowl let alone taken to the oven to cook. I ask with good grace that you let the story unfold and hopefully your reservations will be answered.
    I agree that it is that tantalizing tipping point, when the waters close above the Lady’s head and she his lost in her sea of subjugation that is the cornerstone of L2M stories. But getting to this point, the manipulation, the cunning, the naivety these are the aspects that I like to read and explore.
    Thank you again for your comments and suggestions.
    I have read again through chapters 2 and 3, written some time ago and already with Camille. Chapter four and beyond is being written. I do hope when the story is finished it reads well.
    On one specific point Silvia did embroider “Isabella” on the maid’s dresses left for Lady Penrose and I know that Claudia will have Lady Penrose unpick the first three letters quite soon.
    Hugs and Kisses
    Jackie J
    XXX

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  11. Jackie J i have to say your ability to paint a picture for the readers minds eye is exquisite.
    Your presenting of the foundations of the scenario for the next part of the story, just created in me a feeling of being drawn further and further into it, and a nice feeling it was too i might add.
    The simple yet very potent phrase of "Is that understood, GIRL?” just sets the power exchange dynamic beautifully.

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