Eleanor Blackstone was quite excited as she disembarked from the train and took her first glimpse of the great city she had heard about all her life. She was here at last, the here being the teaming platform of Paddington Station. The bustle, the noise, the new smells seemed to over power her senses; it was nothing like she imagined. She found her self jostled to the inside edge of the platform and as the passengers cleared she took a moment to catch her breath . The Doctor had written that there would be some one to meet her at the train but she could see no one. She jumped, startled as a voice came from behind her.
"Miss Blackstone, excuse me, would I be addressing a Miss Eleanor Blackstone please?"
She hurriedly turned and had to immediately swallow a grasp of surprise. She was looking at one of the most beautiful women that she had ever seen. The women was about 5' 10'' and dressed in the fashion of the day being bustle, corset, jacket and pillbox hat. Her dress started about an inch from the platform and was colored in a light shade of lilac that rose to encompass a set of full hips that tapered to a thin and delicate corseted waist. A light veil hung from the hat and covered the face, finishing off the dress of a modern woman of the Victorian age. With the long gloves there was not a hint of bare skin which was as it should be in the era of modesty and manners.
" Yes, . . . . yes, I am Miss Blackstone," stammered Eleanor in her soft quite voice with a touch of country in it.
" Please allow me to present my self Miss Blackstone, I am Marie Dubois; housekeeper to Dr. Henry Gladstone. I have been sent to meet you and bring you to the house. Please allow me to welcome you to London Miss Blackstone," said the gentle mademoiselle.
"Thank you, thank you so much Miss Dubois."
" Mademoiselle Dubois. Shall we find a porter and your trunk and make our way to the Doctors residence then Miss Blackstone?"
It was agreed.
* * *
The Hanson cab ride through the afternoon streets of the first modern city Eleanor had ever visited was one the would stay within the memory of the young country girl forever.
There were just so many people with the accompanying noise they made, the stench of refuse and manure in the street and there was just so much to see! The cab clattered, it jolted and swayed; it was nothing like the trap that bought her to the station for the train ride to London. Her village seemed so far away now.
It seemed the journey had only just started and then it was over as the horse and vehicle swung into Harley Street and slipped into an open space in front of a very impressive three story town house. This was the residence and surgery of one Dr. Henry Gladstone a somewhat mysterious man to his fellow medical practitioners in Harley Street. He had spent some years out of the country up the mighty Congo River with a military/exploration party and his friends commented that he never was quite the same man on his return.
There was no footman or butler to greet them on there arrival, the Doctor was one for his privacy so the two women struggled with the trunk up to the top stair where the mademoiselle produced a key and unlocked the front door. They moved inside and the door was locked once again, then it was more steps to the top floor and her new room.
"You'll be sharing with the housemaid Dora Miss Blackstone. I'll be in my office. It's at street level in the corridor behind the stairs you just came up. I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding it, come down for some tea,toast and marmalade when you are ready and we will have a little chat I think."
With a friendly smile the housekeeper left Eleanor to get on with it.
Eleanor looked around her new home, it was rather bare but not uncomfortable. That she would share the bed with only one other was certainly a relief, her friend from the village Daisy shared with two sisters and the maid while Mary shared a bed with three sisters. Sharing the bed was quite normal. There was a pretty oil of an english flower garden between the full windows that opened into the street, a sofa, candlestick and holder and finally a rug on each side of the bed. Eleanor turned and gasped and felt the blood rush to face. The door she had walked in through was in the center of the wall and on each side of it was a large wardrobe. What had caused her blush was the set of etchings that hung across the wall and over the wardrobes. There were eight of them and they showed eight African women in what she assumed was tribal dress. Or undress as the case seemed to be. Skins, grass some times cloth covered them from the waist down but from there up they were bare. She gasped again as she took in the size of the huge glands that hung from their chests. She averted her eyes and turned quickly. She was quite shocked to say the least. What were those drawings, they were very professionally rendered and looked like something one would find in an anthropological text book. She took another quick peek and blushed again. There was a ring or something hanging from one subjects nipple.
She noticed another opening to the right of the room. She hurried away from the drawings and entered what was obviously the washing and bath chamber. Once again very simple. A cast iron bath, mirror, a small table with a wash basin and jug on it, some towel racks but no towels and a commode. Basic but functional. She opened her trunk and gave her hair a tidy up and hurried down for the "chat" with the french woman.
* * *
The mademoiselle was seated and sipping a cup of tea when Eleanor knocked and entered the downstairs office. She had removed her veil and for the first time her face and eyes were plainly visible. The eyes were a deep blue that bought light to the face. As was the custom here her dark hair was tied and tightly wound into a bun. She was seated with a relaxed composure and offered tea and toast to Eleanor.
"Please sit cheri and make your self comfortable. The Doctor is on his afternoon rounds and won't be back before dinner time I'm afraid. I thought that we would go through some of your details before he returns. He has asked that you join him for dinner at nine if that meets with your approval?"
Eleanor nodded, any thing the doctor wanted was fine by her.
" Now I have the letter here from the Reverend Buncombe writing on behalf of your mother asking the doctors assistance on your behalf for a position in the Doctors household. The Doctor tells me that your mother assisted from the island of Fernando Po on the expedition up the Congo in 1861. He remembers her with great fondness and the totally invaluable assistance she rendered him and the expedition."
"Oh yes Mademoiselle, she all ways talked of the Doctor and the expedition," replied the girl with some spirit. She had grown up with the stories of distant lands, strange new people and the absolute total difference between England and Africa.
" Now let's slow down a bit and make sure the you do understand what your position will be here in the household; it will be the same as that held by your mother all those years ago and all that it entails. I wonder cheri if you understand just what it entails?"
The housekeeper sat back and let the girl process what had been said. She ran her eyes over Eleanor again and liked what she saw. The girl was about her own size and hair color but the clothing was somewhat rural to say the least. She had a fresh and happy face with full lips.
"Of course mademoiselle, I will assist the doctor as my mother did," exclaimed the girl with fervor.
" Of course cheri, you will help the doctor," mused the the french woman " now the rules of the house. The doctor is very strict and runs a proper house and the . . . . ."
* * *
The rules of the house were strict to the say the least. The Doctor had been scandalized some months ago when it had been found that Dora's predecessor had some how gained a key to the tradesman entrance. At about midnight she would sneak out into the yard and then across to the back gate where she would meet her beau. Although there was never a thought that there could have been intimate relations between the two; she had no key to the back gate, the doctor had dismissed her on the spot.
The Doctor was a very mild mannered man but had given Mademoiselle Dubois a most severe dressing down. The household would be a bastion of modesty and Victorian decorum or he would be looking for a new housekeeper. There must never be another potential scandal like the one he'd just escaped. Female servants were not to be even given the chance of a repeat performance.
Mademoiselle Dubois had been very upset that she had let the Doctor down and had made sure that it would never happen again. She had gone through tears and pleading with Dora but had maintained her resolve and now wondered how the new girl would react. She had explained the rules and made sure the girl understood that she was free to leave or stay but these were the house rules.
It was eleven o'clock and Dora and Eleanor should be ready for bed. She unlocked the girls door and entered the the room, closing the door behind her. Dora was in bed with the covers up to her chin. The face and night cap were all that could be seen of Dora.
"Good evening Dora," she said to the hidden girl.
" Good evening Mademoiselle," said the young maid under the covers. She had a soft Scottish accent with a gentle voice.
" Good evening Eleanor," she said turning to the girl who had risen from the sofa " now I have explained what I need from you to night and what the doctor needs from you for a well run house. If there are no problems, shall I start?"
She looked into the face that had been crying and saw a sadness that distressed her. She didn't want to create distress but by the same token she wanted to make sure that even if a key went missing again there would be no sneaking off to the back gate for nocturnal meetings with a gentlemen. Soon like Dora the girl she would no longer wish to leave the house.
She sat on the edge of the couch, eased her skirt and petticoats and spread her legs. She had the girl kneel then come forward on her knees so that she was between her knees.
"Now put your arms around my waist and grab your wrists and you are not let go till I tell you cheri," the quite Frenchwoman said.
With that she gently took the girls head in her hands and tilted her face up toward her own. The eyes were puffed and red from tears and she saw the girls nose needed wiping. Dora had bought a tray up that contained all sorts of things and what she needed now was a handkerchief with which she dried the girls eyes and then gave her nose a wipe. It seemed a forlorn hope but she had thought of that too and now picked up a decanter of brandy and pored the girl a small glass. It is french so it is very good she thought with a secret smile. She slowly trickled some brandy into the girls mouth, there was much coughing but without forcing it she slowly got a small amount into the girls stomach. She doubted that the girl had ever tasted strong liquor before so was careful not to give her to much. In about ten minutes the girl had settled and the tears had lessened. It was time for the next stage.
The girl had long thick hair that went half way down her back and this was held in place by three ribbons. These the house keeper removed and placed on the table at the same time picking up the girls brush and comb set from the table. She slowly started to comb the girls hair out.
"There my cheri, we have made the start, no?" she cooed and with long strokes started a long combing session on the girls beautiful hair. It started to shine with a rich luster that the candle light picked up. When it was done she had the girl take another small sip of the brandy then started to gather the hair to the top of the head where she started to bring it all together in a single braid. Slowly the braid rose up from the crown of the girls head until it was done. She reached to the table and got a small ribbon and tied off the end of the braid then lay it over the girls shoulders. Using a fresh handkerchief she cleaned the girls face again, then looking deep into her eyes she spoke to her again.
"Cheri, it is time, you must be very brave now. May I proceed?" she asked.
Looking into the girls eyes she could see that she was making a brave effort and was thinking of her reply. It took a moment but she rallied her self and looked up into the eyes of the housekeeper. In a small voice she answered.
" This is for the best and is the wish of the Doctor?" said Eleanor.
" The Doctor is a very respectable man and his household must be of the highest standard little one."
She waited a moment then went on in a soft gentle voice.
" It is for you to decide if you will join him here and assist him and his work. It is always sad how the one makes it so bad for the many. It is your choice, you must decide."
She could see the girl thinking again and then a determination come in to the posture of the girl. She felt the girls arms squeeze her and she tilted back her face and this time it was her looking into the depths of the housekeepers eyes.
" Then you may start mademoiselle!" she said.
The mademoiselle reached across the girls face with her left hand and picked up the shaving brush and with her right the cut throat razor. Slowly, with the greatest care she started to remove the girls hair from the top of her forehead. She used slow short strokes, never hurrying and slowly the girls hair was shaved up towards the crown. As the hair started to fall away she was very careful to keep the weight of the braid from pulling on the remaining hair. There was no need for any pain. The tears still came but they were no longer hysterical. She mopped the shaving cream from the girls fore head, tilted the head and started around the the left ear.
"Do you know why we are keeping your hair cheri?"
" No mademoiselle."
" It is kept for you cheri. There is a lovely teak box on the table and we place it in there and you can look at it any time you wish."
They chatted over things of no consequence, things that no one would remember in the morning. Eleanor was given another small sip of the brandy that seemed to steady her and slowly the hair came away from the scalp. When it had been removed from around both ears she had the girl raise her self, turn fully around and tuck her self back between her knees. She tucked the nearly severed braid in to her lap, then had Eleanor bow her head so she could get at the last of the hair at the back of her neck. Slowly it to parted from the scalp and at last it was severed and free.
The first thing that the house keeper did was wipe and clean the severed braid from the shaving cream before placing it neatly into the teak box. Then she slowly ran her fingers over the bald skull checking that is was free of stubble. It was, which was no surprise as she had shaved Dora's head thrice a week. Now there would be two heads to shave. She put her fingers and hands over the girls cheeks and tilted Eleanor's head back into her lap. She looked down into the girls face and was happy to see that the girl was a lot more relaxed which was a better outcome then when Dora had her hair removed.
She looked up and saw Dora was awake and watching the proceedings. She gave Dora a smile and received one in return and then returned to looking down into the girls face. She found her looking up into her eyes and gave her bald skull a couple of pats.
"You are a very brave girl cheri and I am very proud of you. Now there is another thing I must reluctantly do. Do you remember little one?"
She saw the alarm and continued stroking the bald head.
"Relax. Take a deep breath and relax. There is no hurry. Tell me when you are ready."
Eleanor started to breath again and taking another small sip allowed her self to relax. She looked up again and gave a nod that she was ready.
" Good, soon be over. Now walk your knees forward and arch your back into my lap."
This was a bit harder then it looked as the shift that Eleanor wore was under her knees and caught. She slowly worked her knees and freed some slack on the trapped shift. As this was happening she was arching her back as she moved back further into the housekeepers lap. She raised her left arm to allow the girl more room the lowered it when the girls head was under and behind her armpit.
"Now, same pleases cheri; arms behind you back and grip the wrists and hang on till I tell you to let go," she took a moment to admire the arch of the girls body. The knees were some what spread causing the pubic thatch and mound to be very visible. The other two objects that were even more visible were of course the girls breasts and there protruding jutting nipples. The thin material hide them somewhat but the size of the two orbs was quite evident. They were full and it would need two hands to enfold them. Marie glanced up and saw that Dora was wide awake, her eyes roving over the arched body, anticipating what was to come.
"Now I must touch your breasts Eleanor, is it okay if I do so?"
The girl didn't answer at once but did seem to relax a bit more before she finally replied with a muffled yes from under her arm. Using her left hand she got some slack from the shift below the breast and bought it up tight to contain the very full breast. Using her other hand to assist she tucked and formed the material over the left breast and when the material was formed and tight, she held it in place with her left hand. This freed up her right hand and she picked up a piece of sewing chalk with it and started to carefully mark the outline of the left breast on the material of the shift.
She glanced up and found Dora watching and not missing anything as she slowly marked the material over the breast. One down, one to go. Holding the material in position with her left hand she started the same procedure with her right then using both she stared to mark the material over the right breast. It was not a big job and was soon done, she released the girl from her position and asked when she was ready to get up off the floor and seat her self next to her.
Marie thought it had not gone bad at all. Dora had been much worse. It had taken three nights of patient work to get her where Eleanor was now. There was no force and it really wasn't about Dora making a decision, it was more staying with the decision she had made two minutes ago. At one stage she had thought it was not to be and maybe Dora had felt that too for she settled on the last night for Marie to finish her off.
Finished off was what was needed now and she beckoned Dora from her bed.
"Dora would you be so kind as to help me with Eleanor, I am tired and would like to finish," she said.
It was nearly one in the morning and Eleanor seemed to have lost focus or more likely the girl being totally unused to to strong liquor was some what . . . . pissed!
Dora flicked the covers down and in her shift and night cap rose from the bed. She came across and gave a hand to Marie to get Dora up and onto the sofa. Marie had her tuck her self into the corner of the sofa with her night dress rucked up so the she could spread her legs and support Eleanor between her them with the girl laying over her body. She got Dora to push Eleanor forward for a moment and tucked the girls hands behind her back. She took up the scissors but put them down again straight away, she needed a moments rest herself.
Marie took a moment to look at Dora who was holding up Eleanor with her arms around the girls waist. There were tears coming from her eyes and she was quietly singing a sad Gaelic folk song to the girl she held in her arms. Dora had taken quite a while to come to terms with her bald head and the removal of the material of her shift that covered her breasts. Her bare breasts were being used now as a pillow to support the bald head of Eleanor.