The Dining Room MaidbyEffie100©
Simon arrived after dinner, on the first Wednesday in June, in the middle of his 20th year, as instructed. He had had a long journey by train from Edinburgh, in a hot overcrowded carriage, and was relieved to find the local train from Bristol to north Somerset much cooler and with plenty of seats. He chose to walk the last three miles from the local branch line station to Lakeside, the manor house in which he had taken a position as assistant house servant.
His entrance was uneventful. Down the plain stone steps to the servants entrance, he rang the door bell and was let in by a small, rotund undermaid. She looked at him suspiciously and when he gave his name she nodded and let him in.
His employer, the House Butler, stood in the massive basement kitchen and beckoned him in. Mr Bateman was a tall, humourless man with a deep furrowed brow and a pompous disposition.
'Simon. Welcome to Lakeside. Come sit down.'
Extending a boney hand he shook Simon's delicate hand firmly and gestured to one of the chairs around the scrubbed servants table. Simon sat down, putting his battered suitcase next to the chair and smiled back nervously. Bateman eyed the young man up and down. Simon was delicate looking and and had quite feminine features. Porcelain skin, a full mouth and a small, thin neck. His eyes were dark and large and he looked quite unsure of himself.
'You will be on probation for three months Simon. If you work hard and are liked by the household and staff you will be offered full-time employment. Your duties are upstairs. That is to say that you will be serving the Master and Mistress of the house, and their visitors at breakfast, luncheon and dinner. This requires absolutely impeccable manners at all times, a neat and tidy appearance and complete discretion.'
Simon nodded vigourously.
' I will work hard and try to be a credit to you and the household, Sir.'
Bateman looked up and examined this boy. He was impressed. Simon seemed to have the right attitude, and he thought that the Mistress of the house might find him to be quite charming.
'Very well, Simon. Maud, the drawing room underservant will show you to your room in the attic and you will commence with your duties tonight I think, serving dinner to the family. You will present yourself back down here at 5pm and I will introduce you to Master and Mistress then. In the meantime you may stay in your room or wander through the kitchen gardens to the side of the house, but nowhere else, just yet. Is that understood Simon?'
'Yes, Sir. I will be back here at 5pm. Thank you Sir.'
Simon's room was very small indeed. It had a plain wooden bed, a bedside table and a rail crudely nailed between the walls to hang his uniform. There wasn't room for a wardrobe, so everything had to be stored in his suitcase under the bed. In the corridor outside were other servant rooms and a communal bathroom with a cold shower. But this didn't matter to Simon. He was so happy being away from his parents and to be starting out on a new life for himself, with a job, some money and a roof over his head. He vowed to do everything he could to make this work.
At 4.30 he had already changed into his uniform. A neat pair of charcoal striped trousers, a white shirt, black tie and maroon silk waistcoat. He felt very smart as he trundled down the narrow staircase in his new black boots to meet Bateman.
'Very good, Simon. Now I will introduce you to the family.. Come with me'.
In the parlour Lady Bevois sat serenely looking out through the French windows. Beautiful, tall, elegant and impeccably dressed in an very pale yellow Indian silk cocktail dress. Her husband, Lord Bevois, stood by the fireplace in a smoking jacket, and it was clear they had been deep in conversation, which had stopped abruptly when the servants appeared.
'Sir, Ma'am, may I introduce you to Simon, our new under-servant. ', Bateman pronounced in his most most effected voice.
'Simon, welcome to Lakeside I hope that you will be very happy with us here'.
Lady Bevois' voice was gorgeous. Soft and clear, with a tone of absolute authority and intelligence. Simon melted.
"Bateman. We shall dine at 8pm, and mother will join us. Simon, I expect to hear good things about you."
Lady Bevois' tone was kindly, but she meant every word. Simon could see that in her eyes. He tried to reply, but could see that words were irrelevant. He had been told to serve well, and he could only prove that through his actions. Bateman and Simon left the room.
"Quite an timid fellow. Hope he can keep up," Lord Bevois quipped, helping himself to another brandy from the decanter on the piano.
"O, he will keep up dear, that I am quite sure of. " Lady Bevois allowed herself a faint smile, and began to scheme a little plan in her head. "Yes, I am quite sure of that dear."
In the parlour at 7pm the Master read quietly in the corner whilst Lady Bevois and her mother chatted on the terrace in the early evening sunshine. Mother sat in the dappled shade and fanned herself slowly. " So dear, the new under-servant. Will this one last, I wonder? "
"Oh, mother, you are too pessimistic. The last one found the...well.... circumstances too challenging. This one seems much more malleable. Besides, he is quite pretty, and will provide an amusing distraction to us all in time. "
Lady Bevois looked up at her mother and saw the faintest smile dance across her lips. Then both ladies looked away into the distance, and at that moment you could almost hear their scheming minds at work. Lady Bevois' mother's fanned herself with added fervour.
Lord and Lady Bevois sat opposite each other at dinner. Her mother, as usual sat at the head of the table, between them, holding Court. The Butler stood silently by the main door and Simon, delicate of figure in his new waistcoat stood nervously by the serving table, hands behind his back. He gazed, as instructed, up at the elaborate cornice as his employers busied themselves with cook's first course, a terrine of mackerel pate and salad, beautifully presented in tiny portions on white plates with a subtle rose pattern around the edge.
Ten minutes passed. Lady Bevois sat back, and laid her hands on her lap. This was Simon's queue. Silently, with awkward limbs, he started to clear the table, a white linen cloth over his arm, carefully placing each plate on his forearm and taking them back to the serving table. The Butler circled the table pouring thimble sized measures of sweet white wine in each glass. Lady Bevois' mothers hand, with a huge diamond ring glistening on her wedding finger, hovered momentarily over her glass, and the Butler moved on silently, gracefully, perfectly in tune with his long served employers wishes..
The Dowager looked up over her glasses. "Send Simon to my chamber with milk when I retire."
"Yes Ma'am," Bateman replied quietly.
The meal continued uneventfully and at 9.30 Bateman, facing the table with his hands behind his back, grasped the handles of the double doors and opened them into the room. Stepping to one side he bowed his head respectfully as Simon pulled the chairs from behind the Dowager and her daughter and the saw procession withdraw for coffee. His tasks now required clearing and cleaning the dining-room and assisting the cook's under-servant cleaning and stacking crockery, cutlery and pans.
"You did well Simon. You were invisible and efficient, as you were expected to be." Bateman sounded genuinely pleased, tapping his pipe on the servants table and peering over his glasses whilst Simon and the undermaid Maud busied themselves at the butler's sink.
When Bateman disappeared on his rounds, Maud dug her elbow playfully into Simon's skinny ribs. "He is proper pleased with you, Simon. You'll be his favourite sooner than you can blinks if you carries on in this manner."
"Maud, I intend to be the most efficient and best under-servant ever. My duty is to serve, and I will apply myself to my tasks with enthusiasm and dedication."
"I am sure you will Simon. I am quite sure you will."
At exactly 11pm a bell rang in the kitchen, and looking up at the bell board Simon could see that it was the Dowager's bedroom. He quickly put a pan a of fresh milk on the stove and busily prepared a tray of night biscuits, some plain water, a small vase with a single rose from the garden and a cup and saucer. Hurrying up the back stairs he reached the Dowager's chamber and tapped gently.
"Come in." The Dowager's voice was clipped and abrupt.
Simon placed the tray on the floor, opened the door and then bent down to take the tray inside. He bowed politely and placed the tray on the table at the end of the bed. He then stood politely and waited to be dismissed. The Dowager sat at her dressing table. She lowered her long grey hair from it's usual bun on top of her head, shook it free and started to comb it through slowly. For a woman in her mid sixties she had a beautiful figure. A long slim neck, and a straight back. Her skin was as white as porcelain and had the complexion of a woman who had taken great care of herself, aided by great wealth. She wore a silk dressing gown in Ivory white, with lace trim around the collar, pale pink piping around the edges and a matching pink belt. Her feet wore expensive slippers with a small heel. The turn of her ankle was exquisite.
Simon stood, motionless, awaiting her orders. Nothing was said. He knew that he must not speak or leave the room unless he received a direct order. So he stood there, awkwardly, hoping the Dowager had not forgotten that he loitered there behind her. A few minutes later and the Dowager finally spoke. Her voice was crisp and clipped, with that slightly hoarse tone that energetic aristocratic women seem to cultivate so well.
"You are quite feminine looking Simon. I like that. You have delicate features and a slim countenance. So I wish you to assist me as my dresser each morning and evening. Is that understood? "
Simon did not know how to respond . He had been appointed after a long and challenging round of agency interviews in Edinburgh as a dining-room under-servant. He had never heard of a lady employing a male dresser, and thought that would be very odd and quite wrong. But this was the Dowager. How could he possibly refuse the head of the household's wishes on the very first day of his probation period.
"Yes Madam, he replied, "but will this not interfere with my dining room duties?"
The Dowager did not reply. Instead, after a few minutes moisturising her arms she rose and approached him slowly. She looked at him closely and undid the belt of her dressing-gown, slowly letting the front fall open. Her slim fingers brushed back each shoulder and she let it fall to the ground around her ankles. Simon froze. She was entirely naked.
" She whispered: "I ask the questions Simon. A servant answers them. Is that clearly understood?" Simon blushed and nodded slowly. The sight of the Dowager's naked body had aroused him, but when she approached him with such complete confidence and quietly admonished him for his insolence he felt a rush of mixed emotions that drove him quite mad with desire.
"If you are insolent boy, you will be punished." She touched his cheek softly. "Do you understand Simon?" Simon nodded, his legs trembling, whispering "I understand Madam, thank you Madam."
"You will start tomorrow morning. I expect you in my chambers at 8am sharp. Dismissed."
As he backed towards the door Lady Bevois quickly tiptoed from her vantage point behind the bedroom door and quietly slipped into an empty bedroom further along the corridor. As she closed the door she thought to herself.
"O Mummy. I do hope that you don't ruin this one before we have properly prepared him for the household."
Back down in the servant's kitchen Bateman had just returned from dimming the lights and checking all the doors and windows were locked for the night.
"Sir. The Dowager wishes me to be her dresser Sir. Is that acceptable? Sir. I mean, with my duties in the dining room."
Bateman looked at him for a moment, as if considering his choice of words carefully.
"You will obey any and every command the family give you Simon, without question. If this that interferes with your duties then any consequential resourcing issues will be dealt with by me."
"Yes Sir, thank you Sir. I understand"
Bateman could clearly see that Simon did not understand, but hoped and prayed that he would, and soon. Because obedience was going to be a very very important part of his life, and much sooner than he expected.
At 8 am he knocked on the Dowager's door once again, and after a few moments the Dowager called on Simon to enter. She had risen from her bed and stood by her balcony taking in the morning air. The room smelt sweet and fragrant, and her figure framed by the open french windows made a powerful and dramatic picture, silhouetted against the morning sun.
Simon closed the door and stood patiently by the door.
When the Dowager finally turned round she held in her hand a long thin riding crop, which she tapped against her thigh slowly. She wore a tiny black satin night drerss, that just covered the top of her legs, with a plunging neckline almost down to her stomach. Her legs and arms had retained perfect definition over the years, and her face had taken on an expression of cruel arrogance which was both frightening and beguiling. Her eyebrows were heavily arched and emphasised an attitude of condescending superiority. She also wore a pair of black ankle boots with large ,vulgar silver zips running from the toe to the lower shin.
"Ah, Simon, yes, Simon," she said slowly, raising the crop and tapping it against the palm of her hand, tap, tap, tap, tap. As she approached Simon bowed his head. The atmosphere in the room was electric. He realised how much tension this woman was able to create just by being present. He began to realize why the rest of her family and the staff were so deferential and respectful to her. Why the house felt like an unexploded bomb under it's calm ordered appearance.
"Draw my bath boy, and then kneel next to the bath. You shall leave your clothes by the door. It would be disappointing if you returned to your duties with a soiled uniform."
Simon froze. The Dowager pushed the tip of her crop under a thin black shoulder strap and delicately pushed it off her shoulder. It slipped slowly down her arm, and Simon felt a rush of adrenalin and a feeling of arousal that both thrilled and petrified him.
"It would be a pity if you disobeyed me. Such delicate skin. It would be a pity if we damaged you so early in your probation. The Dowager intonated the word probation slowly, breaking it down into three distinct syllables. It sounded like a threat.
Simon, mesmerized, broke away from her spell for a brief moment and started to undress. His head spun. He awkwardly stepped out of his trousers, hopping around on one foot, pulling off shoes and socks and eventually standing naked, kicking his clothes back towards the door.
Another shoulder strap fell, the Dowager breathed slowly and the soft silk nightie started to slip down, held up momentarily by her breasts and the pert, hard protusion of her nipples. Then the surface tension failed, suddenly, silently the soft exquisite material crumpled to the floor around her ankles. The Dowager stepped forward, approaching Simon. Her boots clipped across the wooden parquet flooring.
"Bend over the bed, boy. You will learn not to keep me waiting for my bath.".
Simon leant over the bed, pressing his hands down on the soft mattress.
"Spread your arms as wide as they will go, boy, and move your legs apart". The Dowager gave a kick to his ankles and Simon fell forward, his chest and head on the bed, turned awkwardly to the right. He couldn't believe what was happening to him. He had no control, no dignity, and yet he felt a strange inner peace, as if he had been born to serve such a powerful woman.
The first stroke came as a huge shock. Simon felt the crop fly through the air, and then felt it snap across his buttocks. For a moment that was all, then a second later a terrible agonizing burning sensation , the worst he had ever felt, seered across his backside and he could hear a young man's voice, high pitched and desperate screaming in pain. He started to push himself up, bracing his hands on the bed.
"Don't you dare move, boy. Back down ,now." A hand roughly pressed against the back of his neck and pushed him down hard, and he felt a knee pressing down between his buttocks. "Move again, and I will double your punishment."
Simon's tears began to soak the sheet, and he could feel his heart beating through his ear, pressed hard down on the bed.
Another violent crack, this time right at the top of his legs, even more painful, then another, and another. Simon sobbed helplessly, as the strokes came down, steadily, heavily, one after the other, until the pain blended together into a constant agony that he knew he would not be able to endure. Then a brief pause.
"You have my blood up now boy. The belt for you I think. Yes, most definitely the belt. "
Simon lay there, his legs trembling uncontrollably, whilst the Dowager clipped across the room and returned holding a long, fat belt, made of a thick hard leather that had been polished to a rich dark brown finish and finished with a heavy bronze buckle. The dowager wrapped it around her wrist, looping the end through the buckle, making a tight bracelet around her wrist. She grasped the end firmly and with an experience flick of her wrists made the belt snap and spit like a snake by her side. It sounded cruel and heavy.
The first blow struck the back of Simon's thighs with a loud crack. The Dowager had swung the tail up high and flicked it down suddenly. The leather momentarily hovered in the air, then accelerated violently, curling downwards and releasing all the energy through the tip at the very last second.
It bit deep into Simon's thigh, wrapping around the side, momentarily numbing his skin. Then a distilled purple haze of agony shot through his body , causing him to scream out for mercy.
The Dowager stood back . A long wide mark, slightly endented started to redden across Simon's thigh. Another flick of the wrist and crack, this time harder still. Again, and again. Simon dribbled onto the sheets, unable to think, just wishing this terrible pain would end. Eleven strokes, and it was over. He lay their, gripping the sheets with with white knuckles, his legs shaking.
The Dowager lay the belt across his back, running her fingers across the welts, watching the red stripes turn purple and black as the bruising spread angrily through his flesh.
'My bath Simon, if you please."
Simon stood up, slowly, and with great difficulty, steadying himself against the bed, feeling a tearing sensation across his thighs as he moved slowly across the room. The Dowager, hands on hips, watched this pathetic broken figure limping awkwardly across her bedroom, admiring his long slender limbs, his slim neck and neat feminine shoulders.
"How precious she will be. How delightful the transformation,'"she thought to herself, pulling the clip from her hair and slowly shaking her long, thick wave of grey hair down over her shoulders.
The Dowager came into her bathroom just as Simon had turned off the taps and knelt neatly beside the bath. The Dowager ignored him, and peered on tip-toe into the bathroom mirror, wiping the steam away to inspect her morning face. She could see the laughter lines, but her eyes, dark and mysterious, still shone brightly, and her lips were full and red. She was ageing very well.
Simon, naked and sore, bathed his Mistress with his bare hands, following her instructions, and gently caressing every limb, her beautiful shoulders, her back, her neck. Then, his Mistress lay back and allowed the boy to gently lather each breast. Slow, delicate movements, round and round, gently brushing against her pert, hard nipples, causing her momentarily to gasp. Simon looked up, and saw how lovely she was. Her eyes closed, her hair just touching the water, mouth slightly open. She was relaxed, at peace,, enjoying every moment. An almost inaudible whisper, a command, and Simon, leaning further over the edge of the bath, let his fingers move slowly down into the water. The Dowager's legs opened, just enough for Simon's fingers to feel his way to this most intimate place. His finger ran slowly up and down between her lips and her legs opened further.