The Lucky Numbers
The Rest of the Story
As stated previously, this tale was received by me as an unfinished manuscript. This final section includes all the parts that Bo_Emp hadn’t divided into named and numbered chapters. At the end there are also a few of his ideas for continuing and concluding the tale. I hope that they may inspire you!
Jude and Isaac have a nice day together in Birmingham. The first thing they do is drop the women at the corsetière just making an appointment for when and where to pick them up in the afternoon. During the ride they have discussed what to do and one of the things Jude has suggested is to visit a top football club to get ideas for the facilities at Holy Trinity so their first stop is St Andrew’s Stadium where Birmingham City plays. It is off-season for the professionals but they find a caretaker, who Jude offers a day’s pay to show them around, and then he shows them both the stadium and the facilities, especially for their lowest ranking team, while telling cock-and-bull stories about legendary and current players.
It is close to noon before they go on. Isaac has suggested they visit some of the art galleries in the city centre for Jude both to get an idea of what to put on the walls of his new house and perhaps also to consider if he wants to invest in art. The city centre is also the place for good restaurants for lunch and they keep an eye out in between visiting galleries. With his traditional values Jude is mostly interested in classic British landscape paintings of the seventeenth century. He quickly learns that this is also one of the most costly genres. Looking around the galleries is free and they see many good works before entering a pub for lunch. Here Jude thanks Isaac for an interesting experience, now he has a reference for looking at the works of local artists of which there no doubt some who paint in the style of the masters of the seventeenth century.
After lunch they decide to visit the National Sea Life Centre so Jude can see what is beneath the surface of The Irish Sea he has admired during the visit to Blackpool. At the entrance they find out they can’t enter because it’s women’s hours but are told it is less than an hour until it’s open to everybody. They decide to spend the time in a neighbouring large shopping centre not coming to such a place very often. They have a Morrells DIY which they both find interesting, but neither buys anything. Instead of walking very slowly to be back at the Sea Life Centre exactly when they are allowed to enter they sit down at a cafe inside the centre with a good view. In just ten minutes Jude sees more velvet cones than are in total in their local Reformist circle. Suddenly a forest green cloak and mantle on the level below reminds him of what Megan is wearing today. This woman is with a guardian, an elegantly dressed middle-class woman and a female servant. He asks Isaac if he thinks it’s their women. He nods but says that as they have agreed to spend the day separately Miss Lescott would not make contact even if they saw us; and besides he is not more than eighty percent certain it is them, forest green is one the most common colours for a velvet outfit.
After half an hour in the Sea Life Centre they are both overwhelmed at what they see to make Jude ask if the Reformist circle arranges trips. Isaac says yes but so far it has either been Sunday trips to famous old cathedrals or trips to political meetings involving ministers of the government. Jude says this place makes him think of leisure trips like a day at the beach where the males could dive or snorkel to see sights like in here and it should go to a place with a women’s beach. Isaac says Jude could suggest a leisure tour committee at the coming Reformist circle meeting if he’s willing to nominate as its chairman. Jude answers he thinks it a good way for him to get into the circle if he can just have an experienced tour arranger in the committee.
They walk to the women’s clothing store where they have agreed to meet the women just watching the bustling street life of the city and chatting. The women are awaiting them. Both Susanna and Miss Lescott are carrying bags but Jude is a little surprised that Paula appears the same as in the morning. Two thirds of the ride home there is suddenly commotion in the back seat. Jude turns his head to get a scare by seeing Paula hangs limp in her seat belt. Seeing his face
Miss Lescott quickly says “She has just fainted Mr. Russell. She insisted on having this her first corset tightened half an inch more than the corsetière recommended. They are experts so it was inevitable. We’ll revive her with this spray can containing smelling-salts then I think she will make it home. I’m very sorry Mr. Jones, but I think it would be better for Mrs. Russell if I went inside for about ten minutes when we drop the Russell’s at their home to assist Miss Clough in tightening Mrs. Russell’s corset correctly. I have to warn you Mr. Russell that even when we follow the recommendations of the corsetière there will be more fainting in the days to come during the process of giving Mrs. Russell the right waist size. It is completely normal and not dangerous.”
The can is held to Paula’s face for Jude to see a wet area appear on her tulle veil over the nose and within half a dozen seconds Paula starts moving again. Finding out she is still in the car as before she takes a comfortable position and leans up against Megan’s velvet form.
At home, after Miss Lescott has left, there is nothing to see on Paula and she doesn’t comment on the incident. As is usual now, she kneels in the corner of the living room to pray and read the Bible. At dinner she hardly eats anything which worries Jude until Susanna explains that it is normal for a woman wearing a corset to eat little meals.
As usual Paula starts preparing for bed before Jude but when he wants to go to the bathroom to his surprise Paula is still in there with Susanna. A few minutes later Susanna guides the shuffling and blind Paula to the bedroom. Jude’s quizzical look at Susanna when she leaves the bedroom makes her say that they took a long time because Paula had put on a new night corset neither of them had any experience with but there is no need to worry because night corsets are not as tight as those used during the day for fainting only to happen if their lovemaking requires great exertion. Paula does has to gasp for breath much more than usual but perhaps she is exerting more energy than usual as well because when Jude senses Paula’s slimmer rigid body through her nightdress and especially her breasts pushed forward by the corset he gets much more excited than usual to work Paula much harder.
On Wednesday evening Jude attends his first circle meeting taking place at Robert’s home. He doesn’t get a tour of the house but it is clearly larger than that of Isaac. Halfway through the meeting they take a walk in the garden which is so large that it takes the men walking at a leisurely pace while chatting ten minutes to reach its far end. He meets all of the local true Reformist men and he is deeply touched by the warm reception he gets. A leisure trip committee they all think is a great idea. Those very interested in politics say a leisurely mood and surroundings may facilitate new political ideas and be the right place to present feelers for the first time. Jude is unanimously, and with applause, elected as chairman of the committee and a man named Ben becomes its other member. Ben offers to drive Jude home and their brainstorm for leisure tours during the drive goes so far for them to remain talking in the car outside Jude’s house for half an hour. The time at Robert’s flew as well for it being well past midnight before Jude leaves Ben’s car. These meetings going late may be why the wives don’t use the opportunity to gather, and it occurs to him that Robert’s wife didn’t show to the men either. At a brief moment during the garden walk where he was talking only with Robert he told him that it was common at these meetings to arrange private dinners involving just one or two guest families, but tonight it would be done discreetly when Jude was otherwise occupied because such close family relations would not be appropriate before Paula was able to show in velvet; he could only have such close relationships with his tutor Isaac. Susanna is already lying on the couch in the living room but says goodnight as Jude peeps through the door. It is no surprise Paula is asleep and Jude just takes hold of her waist and gropes her breasts through her nightdress without waking her. The shaping of her body excites him but tonight he just cuddles up against her and goes over the evening in his mind.
The following days Jude is especially busy assisting the two owners of the house near Holy Trinity in buying new houses. He ensures they can buy right away and that they buy something ready for occupation. They both get a new home and on Friday afternoon they meet at the house to sign the contracts for Jude to buy both halves of the house. He offers to pay any extra expenses and a bonus for them to be out by a week Sunday and they both happily accept. The two boys of the second family are overjoyed to this soon going to have a football field of their own as they say after having seen the new garden which is mainly a lawn about half the size of a real football field.
Jude and Paula’s Sunday walks have changed since the trip to Birmingham where Paula started wearing corsets. She can now only just manage to stroll along the main street at a much slower pace than previously and with longer breaks to look at window displays. As soon as they enter the park they have to sit down on a bench, and at least Paula stays seated for about the same time they previously used to walk around the lake. They still enjoy watching the other people and Paula of course especially the upper class women in velvet. Now the upper class Reformist families stop at their bench, their women curtsy and Jude gets up to shake hands with the men and chat a little while the velvet cones seat themselves close up to Paula for her to exchange a few phrases with them in tapping language.
Isaac has invited Jude for dinner on Sunday evening. Paula will also be present but she has been visiting Isaac’s home something like every second day to be educated in being a true Reformist wife. Among the subjects are to learn to feel when a corset is tightened just right and at the right places, and studying in detail the websites of the women’s clothing stores selling true Reformist clothing in the nearest cities Jude has learned by encouraging Paula to speak during the long periods at the dinner table where he is eating alone because she, due to the tightness of her corset, feels full after eating only a small amount.
Isaac meets them at the gate and at the front door an unveiled Miss Lescott receives Paula. It is the first time that Paula isn’t accompanied by Susanna on her visits here Jude thinks while Isaac takes him to his study for a few minutes of chat before dinner is served. Jude tells about his real estate transactions and they are just about to move on to the main subject they have agreed for this evening: how to rebuild the house Jude has bought when Rose knocks the door.
A little surprising to Jude, Paula and Megan are awaiting them in the dining room each standing behind a chair. Even more surprising is that he can’t see how Megan looks. Above a goldenrod coloured velvet dress is just white fabric. Her entire head and neck except the face is covered by a white coif. The upper half of the face is covered by a white domino mask from which hangs a piece of opaque white fabric to cover the rest of the face. Finally the eye openings of the domino mask are on the inside covered by white gauze. Megan shows nothing but clothes just like in public. While Rose pours the wine Miss Lescott gestures Jude for the key to Paula’s muzzle and then she takes her hand up under her black tulle veil, which she now wears hanging loose from the top of her head down over her shoulders, to unlock her muzzle. Megan then has her muzzle removed as well.
Seeing Jude’s expression Isaac explains how Miss Lescott finds that although Paula wife is not a true Reformist woman yet they are now so close that their wives can be with them like this. He goes on to say that Miss Lescott has news regarding a guardian for Paula which she will tell him about when they have finished the meal. He ends by telling Jude to drink the soup before it gets cold.
After just a few spoonfuls Jude tells his host “It’s the first time I’ve seen a true Reformist woman in private. I didn’t know they are fully covered in the home.”
Isaac replies “Thinking back I didn’t know either when I took up the Reformist lifestyle. It depends both on the occasion, who is present and the family I guess. Some Reformist families are more conservative than others. Some women show in private, some won’t even be in a room with non-family males and some will show but are always veiled. I think the latter goes for the wife of Ben whom I don’t recall having ever seen.”
They start discussing how to rebuild the new house for Jude soon not to take notice of the women’s presence. The men are seated across from each other at the middle of the table while the women are seated at each end for the men not to have any of them within their field of vision without turning their heads considerably, and besides despite not being muzzled none of them make any sound at all. First when the meal is over with both men declining more of the dessert, and the discussion has reached a point where they have to look at photographs and a floor plan of the house to continue Jude becomes aware of the women again. This is just as much due to Isaac changing the subject by asking him if it’s time to listen to Miss Lescott now. He nods to turn his head towards Megan because Miss Lescott was standing right behind her but Jude’s nod makes her move over between Megan and Isaac to more directly front Jude.
Miss Lescott informs Jude “Three suitable candidates for the position of guardian to Mrs. Russell have been found and they are all to be interviewed on Thursday. With my own young age and little experience I have not been much involved in the process except for the guardian of Robert McIntyre, a Miss McPhee, who on a number of occasions has queried me about my views on Mrs. Russell from a guardian’s point of view. The interviews are not for men to take part in unless Mr. Russell has doubts about the decision the senior guardians are going to make. On the other hand they would like both Mrs. Russell, me and Susanna to be present but without being part of the interviews. Is this possible Mr. Russell?”
Jude answers “Yes. No problem. Please tell the committee I trust their judgment. Although I think you are an excellent advisor for my wife Miss Lescott I would like for us to have a guardian of our own as soon as possible, also for Isaac to get the full commitment of you to his family he pays you for, so I would like you to convey to the committee that if they are able to make a decision right after the last interview I would like to meet the candidate chosen as soon as possible on the same day to sign the contract. Also inform them I would like the new guardian to start as soon as a servant’s room is ready for occupation; and I’ll try to arrange the rebuilding for this.”
Miss Lescott curtseys, saying as she does so “You are most kind Mr. Russell. I’ll get in contact with Miss McPhee no later than tomorrow.”
Miss Lescott turns to leave but Isaac stops her saying “Wait Miss Lescott please. Jude you know my orders for Miss Lescott to assist your household are part of my obligation to get more people to live the true Reformist lifestyle, and besides Megan almost always is with Miss Lescott when she assists your wife. Regarding the new guardian to start as soon as possible I would like to offer you to have her staying in our vacant room for the time it takes to get your new house ready; at most two weeks from Thursday I would say. The room can be ready by Thursday Miss Lescott?”
Miss Lescott tells her employer “It is always ready for a servant Mr. Jones. A guest would require a presage of an hour or two for the guest not having to clean personally.”
Isaac says “Very good Mrs. Lescott, then inform Miss McPhee that when a candidate is found Mr. Russell would like her to start immediately the same day.”
Miss Lescott curtseys to both Isaac and Jude, who nods to confirm Isaac’s words are his, and then leaves.
Jude says to Isaac “Once more I have to thank you. All I can say is if at any time in the future you get more guests than you can accommodate then instead of sending them to a hotel my hopefully cosy new home will welcome as many as possible.”
Isaac gets up and with a small nod for thank you and a gesture towards the study. Jude takes a last glance at the women who, except for the few minutes at the beginning of each course where they were fed food and drink, they seem have sat motionless, mittens in lap facing each other all through the meal, and they don’t move as Isaac and himself leave them.
Isaac and Jude, without it getting especially late, succeed in making a description of how the house is to be changed to present to the tradesmen Jude has already hired for them to start a week on Monday morning.
On arriving home Jude asks Paula, while producing her muzzle key “From my conversation with Isaac and Mrs Lescott at the end of dinner I think you got the information that we will very likely be able to move into the new house within three weeks. When will your waist be down to the size of Megan’s and you can start wearing true Reformist dresses?”
Susanna has put her hand up to prevent Jude from using the key to say “On our last visit at the corsetière she made an appointment for getting a corset of the final size on Wednesday morning in two weeks. In between Miss Lescott will ensure one of the right clothing stores of Birmingham has something for your wife to wear. It is good the house is ready soon after because Miss Lescott has made clear it’s neither appropriate nor practical to wear true Reformist clothing while living in a house like this, so your wife is going to be much sadder each day she is ready to become a true Reformist woman without being able to.”
Jude says “So it isn’t just my wishful thinking that your waist has become smaller and smaller Paula. You are sooner than I thought going have the same neat hourglass figure as Megan. I’ll do all I can to speed up the rebuilding. I was going to meet with tradesmen tomorrow anyway to present what Isaac and I just found out, but now I’ll ask them to start buying materials right away, persuade them to work overtime and seven days a week, and then I think it is possible for the family just moving to the outskirts here to be out in a few days. You being sad will make me sad as well my love.”
Paula embraces Jude for him to squeeze her loose dress and feel the narrow corseted waist for a dozen seconds before she pulls away to enter the bathroom with Susanna following her.
Half an hour later Jude climbs on the bed where he unclips Paula’s wrists to have her help him hold him tight against her slim waist and protruding breasts. She faints for a minute just after they both climax.
Due to the guardian interviews Robert has invited Jude for afternoon tea on Thursday. They only chat for a little more than twenty minutes because a candidate has already been selected when he arrives. Robert goes to the door for an older unveiled guardian, who has to be Miss McPhee, to enter accompanied by Paula. Miss McPhee says all three candidates had good qualifications and did well at the interview but the candidate selected, Miss Frost, both has long experience with women the age of Paula and she cares for lower class people rather than feel superior to housewives having to work as many guardians. Finally she is fifty-two, job seeking because her mistress for more than fifteen years had heart failure. She adds that Miss Frost grew up in Staffordshire but her parents moved to Kent for her to attend guardian classes there. Miss McPhee walks through a standard contract used for the guardians here and especially makes Jude aware of which conditions he can change to his liking.
Jude doesn’t like a relationship where every detail has to be specified in writing, so he just fills in the necessary details and says “Thank you to you Miss McPhee and the rest of the committee. You have done a fine job and I agree with your choice as you have presented the candidates. Would you please fetch Miss Frost?”
Miss Frost enters to curtsey first to Jude and then Robert with an accommodating face and self-assured movements. For a job interview it’s not surprising that she is dressed more modestly than any of the local guardians Jude has seen. She wears a black dress with no ornamentation at all, its long sleeves are almost hiding her white leather gloves and she wears a plain black bonnet as well almost hiding her white scarf. Thus she is dressed as for public but of course her face has to be uncovered now.
Jude nods to her and says “Jude Russell. I like what Miss McPhee has told me about you Miss Frost. Please tell me are your parents still alive? And why did they move to Kent when you were a teenager?”
Her voice is warm and calm as she answers “Yes Mr. Russell, thank God they both have an unaffected mind and good health for someone in their mid seventies. I have stayed with them since I had to stop my previous employment about five weeks ago, and it’s hard to make my mother sit down, relax and chat with her friends when I can keep their house alone. My family along my father’s line have always worked with aircraft maintenance and when the cargo airship lift across The Channel opened he applied for a job there.”
Jude asks “Have you thought of using part of your salary for domestic help for your parents when your mother starts having problems?”
She replies “I have already done so for about five years Mr. Russell. I pay for a cleaning woman twice a week, and of course I’ll continue this when I’m employed again.”
Jude says “You may be able to start paying for the cleaning woman next week. I’m ready to sign this standard contract which all the guardians here have. If you want to work for me I would like you to start your employment from this moment and I’ll call your father for him to sign. You’ll be paid for the full day today.”
Miss Frost says without any hesitation “Please contact my father Mr. Russell. I have been informed of your wish for me to start immediately and have brought sufficient clothing to manage until all of my belongings can be delivered here.”
Jude nods to Miss Frost with a smile, produces his phone, signs and then says “I consider you know my employee and guardian of my wife Miss Frost. If you have not greeted her please do so now and have Miss Lescott inform you about how the temporary accommodation you need to have here. (Sorry Bo – The part highlighted in blue makes absolutely no sense to me. I cannot figure out what you are trying to say) Lastly we’ll leave here in about ten minutes.”
Miss Frost curtseys very deeply to Jude and then normal to Robert before leaving.
After she has left Robert says “Miss McPhee is a good judge of people. I also think you did well in employing her. Her only flaw to you is that she is just from Staffordshire and not from the municipality here. You have to learn that people from other places can be both friendly and bright as well. I know one in this room for instance.”
Jude says “Is there someone invisible to me? No more joking. We’ll see each other in the park on Sunday afternoon I assume?”
Robert answers “That is almost certain. Joshua has invited us for dinner on Sunday and as you may have noticed the boy is a great eater to make him serve at least five courses. Without a little exercise before to get appetite I’ll appear as our women just tasting each course.”
At dinner Miss Frost feeds Paula, but she leaves the room when after about five minutes Paula has had enough of the course.
When Miss Frost has left during the main course Jude tries to get Paula’s opinion about her, but despite showing him a happy face all through the meal she only says “As a guardian is a prerequisite for a true Reformist woman I’m now a step closer. A true Reformist wife does not question the decisions of her husband. I have always had faith in you.”
The meal then passes in silence. Before leaving the table Jude summons Miss Frost to say
“Now you have had some hours to assess the conditions here and the people you are going to associate with. I expect that you to always be completely open and honest towards me. Please tell me your unreserved opinion about what you think will be the main tasks of your job and anything else on your mind.”
After a few seconds consideration Miss Frost tells him “I have been the guardian of a woman not growing up with a true Reformist lifestyle once before so I know what to watch out for Mr. Russell. In general women having been married for more than a year or two follow the advice of their guardian without much need for reproval and even less need for physical punishment. Your wife appears to have such a character as well. For the time being she seems even eager to take on the hardships required for women to follow a true Reformist lifestyle righteously. Her main shortcomings are that she has almost no knowledge of what is expected of her, how to associate with her equals and how to make appointments and plan her days. I’ll ensure she will behave as expected of the Reformists here in consultation with my guardian colleagues. No matter she eventually becomes an example in piety and modesty for other true Reformist women to follow the physical restrictions imposed on a true Reformist woman will always imply her guardian being indispensable for most tasks in her daily life and her having a great say in how she spends her time and with whom. I think I’ll get well on with your wife and Susanna as well. From this dinner she seems to be an excellent cook and she appears to have the brains to handle all the details of cooking and housekeeping without much supervision from your wife or me. She admits she has no experience with larger dinners though, so there I have advised her to involve me just as I intend to keep a closer eye on her the first times.”
Jude says “Very good Miss Frost. I take it as you have not regretted taking this job. You see I haven’t called your father yet so you could have changed your mind after these first hours. I’ll call him now if you don’t object? Please stay and listen to what I tell him.”
Jude has a nice chat with a happy old man and learns something about the latest advancements of air transport as well. When Mr. Frost has signed his daughter’s contract he hands the phone to Miss Frost, says “five minutes is okay” and gestures her to find a private place to talk to her father. On her return she curtseys deeply while handing over the phone in a way to ask for permission to speak for Jude to say “Yes?”
A blushing Miss Frost says “My father insisted on me telling you that you seem to be the most courteous employer I have ever worked for.”
Jude says “He sounded like a good man as well. Perhaps we can meet. If your parents would like to spend a week around here I can find a place where they can afford to stay and then you can meet with them for something like an hour most days and have a whole day off to be with them. But no sooner than October, our new life has to settle first. Please do your job and let Paula know what is appropriate for her at this time”
But Miss Frost stays for Jude to again say “Yes?”
“For times like this where the two of you are home alone and you want to do something on your own Mrs. Russell should be listening to the words of the Church. I would say she can start using the headphones now although she is not a true Reformist woman yet. Is that acceptable?”
Jude tells her “You are her guardian and the expert so I assume you mean financially. Susanna has been permitted to spend what is needed for cooking and household needs without asking me but has to deliver a fully detailed account each month. The same goes for you regarding clothing for Paula, yourself and Susanna and any other items required in a true Reformist home. You may buy any necessary clothing item no matter the cost without asking me. For non-clothing items the limit is a hundred pounds. I guess these smart headphones are below the limit as they are subsidised by the government.”
Miss Frost curtseys and then leads Paula to take the Bible and kneel in the far corner. In a minute she is back with a lamp from one of the bedside tables and a large woollen blanket. The lamp is placed on the floor so as to light the Bible and then both it and Paula are covered with the blanket.
Half an hour after evening tea is served Miss Frost comes to the coffee table to, without speaking indicate to Paula she would like her to start preparing for bed. Seeing Jude is watching them Paula gets up showing him a big smile to next bend down, kiss his cheek and whisper “goodnight” in his ear. As they pass the doorway Jude quickly gets up so he can confirm that Miss Frost makes Susanna enter the bathroom along with Paula and herself.
Twenty minutes later Jude hears the front door. Miss Frost has left to spend the night in Isaac’s house. When he later enters the bedroom Paula is lying outstretched on her back in her half of the bed fully enclosed in her nightdress as usual. On entering the bed he immediately senses a difference. The shaking of the bed has another source in addition to his movements. Paula doesn’t lie relaxed at rest. When her response to his kiss is also more fervent than usual he lifts the integrated sleep mask, which he only does on and off, to be met by craving eyes. Has Miss Frost worked her up for his enjoyment? It makes him more aroused than usual and he quickly opens the crotch zipper of the nightdress. Here is the physical explanation! Jude finds a love stick in Paula’s love tunnel. They both climax hard quickly.
The next morning after breakfast Jude asks Miss Frost who answers “Next to praying and hearing the message of the Church the well-being of her husband and family is the most important thing to any wife. True Reformist women are not directly responsible for housekeeping and many other tasks so they can afford to let their mind be distracted for their body to be more pleasing to their husband. On Sundays and holidays the mind should be focused on religion for the entire day but on other days it is customary for true Reformist wives to start thinking of the husband’s pleasure right after dinner. You may of course at any time request your wife is stimulated for you.”
On the day of the first final corset fitting Isaac again drives Jude, Paula and this time Miss Frost to Birmingham along with Megan and Miss Lescott. With Paula just to visit one clothing store after the corsetière they intend to go back in the early afternoon for Jude and Isaac simply to enjoy the fine sunny day taking a canal cruise just chatting in between listening to what the guide is saying. When they pick up the women Paula has her head hanging and her back bent.
Jude looks quizzically at Miss Frost for an explanation. Once inside the car she says “Mrs. Russell is devastated. She has just been fitted in a complete true Reformist outfit and then she had to take it off and put her usual clothes on again. However we have the outfit with us which means she can start wearing it from the moment you move into the new house. I have consulted various sources on the matter and they all agree that you occupy a house when you are able to spend the night there and use the bathroom and the kitchen. So the morning after your first night in the new house it is permissible for Mrs. Russell to be dressed in true Reformist clothing.”
Directing his speech straight towards Paula, Jude says “I’ll have the tradesmen focus on these rooms and then Miss Frost and Susanna can spend the night like they do now for some days more or perhaps Miss Frost use the bedroom of our current house.”
Although not being asked Miss Frost goes on to say “No. Susanna and I will move when you do and sleep on mattresses in the large kitchen if no other rooms are usable. The four of us have managed with just a small bathroom all day until now so if you allow it we go on sharing with you to be at your service all your waking hours.”
Jude says “We appreciate that Miss Frost.”
Paula’s mood can’t change their intentions of having lunch in an old charming country inn. They get a small room to themselves with two tables end to end and a curtain to separate them for only Jude and Isaac to enjoy the wonderful country scenery.
At home Paula looks her usual self with a happy expression.
During afternoon tea Jude asks her “Have you overcome the fact that you couldn’t stay in velvet clothing?”
Paula replies “Yes. During lunch Megan reminded me I should rather be happy at having taken another step towards being a true Reformist wife permanently for the first time wearing a velvet dress for a while and even with its matching cloak and mantle for some minutes. It was childish Miss Frost said, and if I had lost my composure like that after starting the true Reformist lifestyle I would have felt the paddle. Now she lets me off with headphones and a blanket all day except during mealtimes. I have a lot to catch up on from the Church anyway.”
Meanwhile Miss Frost has entered to face Jude while pointing at the far corner. He nods and Paula gets muzzled and demurely goes to kneel there.
Eight days later Jude comes home for lunch late to quickly eat the sandwiches served. Paula is praying.
When Susanna comes to ask if he wants more he says “No thank you, wonderful as usual Susanna. Please fetch Miss Frost and return with her.”
He gets up himself to gently get Paula’s attention and make her stop praying.
With them all standing in the middle of the living room he tells them that in his view the kitchen, master bedroom and the adjoining bathroom of the new home are usable and that they will all go to the new house as soon as the women are ready for Miss Frost to approve of my judgment and Susanna to test if she can use the kitchen. To Paula he says that if his judgment is right she may never set foot in this house again. He goes on to say that if the new house is liveable they’ll open it by having afternoon tea there, and then Miss Frost and Susanna will come back here with him to pack what is needed for the next twelve hours and guide a removal crew to bring it to the new house.
“Any questions? No. Then Susanna, please begin packing a basket with what we will require for tea.”
Paula throws her arms around Jude’s neck and kisses both his cheeks twice for Jude to engage in a long kiss. When they part Miss Frost approaches them dressed for public and carrying Paula’s veil. Jude goes to the kitchen and asks if he can order the taxi.
Jude gestures them all to follow him around in the new house. They hear people working with tools. The bedroom is a large, freshly painted empty room with new floor boards and walls of empty cupboards.
Jude answers the sceptical look of Miss Frost by saying “The removal company will bring the bed and the other furniture in here while we have tea if you approve that it’s ready for especially Paula’s clothing and that we can stay here for the night.”
Miss Frost opens the bathroom door and Susanna gasps. Next Miss Frost enters to open the taps for some seconds and look into the vanity before walking out pulling Susanna with her. The kitchen is a little larger than in Isaac’s house with ample floor space despite it is furnished by a table with eight chairs.
Susanna looks like a little girl on her birthday while saying “Wow! There’s two of everything . . .”
Miss Frost cuts her off by saying “Check that everything lights up, gets warm, there is water and so on.”
Jude says “A complete set of new kitchenware is coming with the bedroom furniture. Miss Frost?”
Miss Frost answers “May I see the living rooms?”
Jude nods and they all follow him.
There are no heaters or lighting and painters work in all three rooms to make Jude point into the largest room and say “I have been promised the combined living room and dining room here, to be mainly for the women, is ready the day after tomorrow.”
Miss Frost nods and walks back to the kitchen with the three others following her where she says “Just the bedroom and the kitchen is larger than the full area of the current house for us to be able to stay here, but as I’ve discussed this with the other guardians here one said the purpose of occupying the house is for Mrs. Russell to start the true Reformist lifestyle and this requires there has to be a space where she can receive female visitors. The only possibility for the first two days is the bedroom. Therefore I have to ask that three easy chairs for women in corsets and a matching coffee table are temporarily placed in there along with a curtain to hide the bed. Further, until the combined room is ready, you can’t invite male visitors as it’s not appropriate to entertain men either in the bedroom or the kitchen. Mr. Jones is so close though that he is an exception. I suggest he is entertained on the terrace if weather permits to have a table and chairs there as well.”
All of this makes Paula kneel in front of Jude with her mitten covered hands lifted begging him to make Jude say “I appreciate that you think of our reputation Miss Frost and of course Paula can’t start her true Reformist lifestyle before this house lives up to the minimum standards for this. I take it as it can when fulfilling your requirements and perhaps you taking into account it gets better in a few days. As I have already bought all the furniture it’s just telling the removal company to bring the necessary chairs and tables from storage and then I’ll call the curtain fitting service right after. That is while you make tea Susanna, which we’ll have here at the kitchen table.”
Miss Frost turns to face Paula and gestures her to sit while saying “Please sit down Mrs. Russell. You now live here. I suggest you stay in the bedroom outside of meal times.”
Paula very inappropriately makes a ‘thank you’ curtsy to Miss Frost before getting seated. Jude goes out in front of the house to have peace to telephone. When he gets back to the kitchen Miss Frost watches Susanna work and Paula sits staring out the window with a dreamy look.
When tea is served Jude gestures Miss Frost and Susanna to sit at the table saying “I feel this is more like a picnic where we can all eat together, and besides I’m a guest your territory.”
No one speaks but Jude, seeing Susanna has tears in her eyes, asks “What is wrong Susanna?”
Susanna says without moving her head “I’m thinking of my wonderful home economics teacher, the late Mrs. Oliver. At the end of the final exam she predicted that one day I would be in charge of a large kitchen in a noble man’s mansion. It’s so sad I can’t contact her now to tell her she was right. Well, this is not a mansion but the kitchen is large enough to make dinners for a mansion, and you certainly are noble Mr. Russell in the meaning of having fine personal qualities.”
Miss Frost is so touched by this that she produces a handkerchief and starts drying Susanna’s eyes while Jude says “Mrs. Oliver certainly was right about your cooking talents Susanna. But your mother is also a credit to your skills I’m sure. I think she, well both your parents, should come and see what their good upbringing has brought you. If they come tomorrow or the day after you can show them around the entire house to also see your room although this and other rooms are unfinished.”
Susanna now faces Jude again her usual face to say “Thank you Mr. Russell. They certainly will appreciate that.”
Miss Frost says “In this familiar atmosphere I’ll permit myself to speak. Of course your parents can visit Susanna, Mr. Russell has invited mine as well, but it can’t be tomorrow morning as I want you to be present to see how Mrs. Russell is dressed in case she needs assistance at a time I’m not with her. And it has to wait till after lunch as well as Mr. Russell is going to have lunch in here if he is home.”
Jude says “I might very well be home for lunch Miss Frost but I have entertained Susanna’s parents before and they are welcome at any time we don’t have high class visitors. If we have rain though it means Paula can’t have lunch at the same time.”
Paula’s face lights up and she speaks without being asked and says “I don’t mind, but perhaps I can be present in the kitchen if wearing cloak, bonnet, mantle and veil Miss Frost?”
Miss Frost says in an affected serious tone “Yes, If Mr. Russell’s words about showing Susanna’s parents, in this case especially her father, the entire house is to be taken literally then you can’t avoid showing to him Mrs. Russell and thus you have to wear public clothing.”
Jude says answering in the same tone but starting to smile towards Paula as he speaks “Yes, my words are to be taken literally Miss Frost. Please invite your parents for tomorrow between noon and two o’clock Susanna.”
Miss Frost nods acceptingly but Jude and Paula just face each other with love in their eyes.
A couple of minutes later the doorbell sounds for Jude to get up saying “If there are leftovers Susanna there is time for you to make some more tea to offer to the tradesmen before we go back to the old house.”
While he leaves the kitchen Miss Frost says “Come with me to the bedroom Mrs. Russell. I have brought the headphones and a blanket so you can study the Bible while we return to the old house.”
They are first back at the new house half an hour before dinner to just have a simple casserole, where how the pot is heated is not important. Except for Paula they are all tired despite having the removal men do the real hard work.
Having eaten his fill Jude says “It is not my field but it occurs to me that even the most skilled cook for some procedures has to learn how the appliances in a specific kitchen work? Is that correct Susanna?
Susanna nods her head in reply.
“In that case we will not be having guests for dinner in the first days so you have time to experiment. Buy plenty of everything and cook for many more than the four of us here need, both to get tuned in on this kitchen and get into preparing meals for larger social gatherings. I expect very little fails totally so offer the surplus to the tradesmen to take home to share with their families. To find out how large their families are to learn to cook for a known large number just talk to the foreman Jim, he’s the guy with the large red beard, and he will gather the information for you.”
Susanna nods that she understands and Miss Frost says “Well said for a man Mr. Russell but I’m sure Susanna knows all of it from the classes of Mrs. Oliver. But she is very sensible with money so it’s good that by saying this you allow her to be a little more extravagant in the coming days.”
Jude adds “It has been a long hard day and tomorrow is going to be out of the ordinary as well so we’ll just have tea without anything to eat in an hour Susanna and then it’s time for Paula to start using the new bedroom for its purpose. Where are your mattresses by the way?”
Miss Frost answers “We had the removal men take them upstairs. Much needs to be done on the first floor but Susanna and I both prefer to sleep upstairs even if the bathroom up there can’t be used. We’ll use the two guest rooms until the rooms intended for us are ready.”
Jude says “You get it as you find best. I’ll tell Jim to completely finish your rooms before doing anything in the guest rooms for you both to have a private space right from the beginning.”
Both Miss Frost and Susanna nod as thank you.
Half an hour after the evening tea is over Miss Frost, having stayed in the kitchen, and after receiving permission speaks to Jude. “Mrs. Russell has requested that you put the love stick back into her after you have enjoyed each other. She hopes the distraction can lead her thoughts away as she fears to spend the night without much sleep anticipating what it will be like wearing velvet all day tomorrow.”
The new bed is a refreshing new experience and combined with Paula’s fear of getting little sleep he decides to work her to exhaustion, especially after discovering his own fatigue is more in his mind than his body. He takes her three times within an hour because she doesn’t pass out the two first times. At least while he is awake Paula then lies very still even after the love stick has been inserted again.
In the morning Jude goes to the bathroom before Paula is taken out of the bed because she is going to take much longer than normal to get dressed. He walks around the house and talks with the tradesmen because he is not going anywhere before having been with Paula in velvet. It is after all because of this he has spent a lot of time and money to get the house rebuilt as fast as possible. He will wait for breakfast as well to have it with her. When having chatted and found out what the tradesmen are going to do today he goes to the kitchen and sits down, but waves Susanna off when she tries to serve him. Forty minutes after he left the bedroom a royal blue velvet dress appears in the doorway, a velvet dress with a well-known extremely proud and happy looking head on top. The bottom of the dress gets squeezed by the doorway as Paula passes. She tries to sit down on a chair but she can’t really get to sit in the bulging gown and a corset beneath. Jude rushes over and tells her to remain standing then rushes from the kitchen. He calls the nearest tradesman to take him to the bedroom for the two of them to carry one of the easy chairs placed in there to the kitchen. Miss Frost has anticipated this and found a table cloth to cover Paula for the tradesman not to see her.
After Paula has been seated Miss Frost removes her muzzle for Paula to say “Your true Reformist wife greets you good morning Sir.”
Jude replies “Thank you my dear, and good morning to you. There is something different about you today that makes your beauty shine even brighter than usual.”
Paula says “Yes Sir, it’s the first time I show to you in a velvet dress with a bell shape and brushing the floor.”
Jude says “Ah yes, it’s the dress. Very beautiful indeed. Then I suppose you have a matching cloak and mantle as well. I’d like to show your new beauty to the entire town. Would you care for a walk down the main street right after breakfast my dear?”
Paula’s face lights up almost like when she was told a true Reformist life could become a reality to make Jude get up and kiss her cheeks feeling the thick make-up that explains why her face literally shines.
Seated again he asks Miss Frost “Can Paula manage to walk from here through the main street down to the park and back?”
Miss Frost answers “For a woman used to wearing a true Reformist public outfit it shouldn’t be a problem if the pace isn’t forced. With Mrs. Russell it’s a little hard to say because it’s new and highly exciting to her and she has only been confined in a true velvet outfit for a few minutes although she is by now fully accustomed to her final current corset size I would say. If you don’t walk around the lake I think it’s safe if you let her decide when to rest and when to walk. Besides I’ll accompany you of course and if she can’t make it I’m sure you’ll call a taxi Mr. Russell. I’d like you to come for the public dressing Susanna as you have to know how to do it correctly.”
Ten minutes later Miss Frost comes to the kitchen to fetch Susanna. Jude follows them into the bedroom.
Seeing this causes Miss Frost to fix her gaze on Jude for a few seconds to make him say “This morning means a lot to me as well Miss Frost. With the dress-code for men being the same no matter if they are true Reformists or not Paula starting to wearing velvet is what defines my life as a true Reformist man as well I assume. Besides I love her so to see her dream come true means a lot to me as well. I would have liked to see her being dressed, all the way from her being naked but reckoned this would disturb her experience and your work too much. I hope I will be permitted for me to see this at another time? Maybe after we have had a morning bath together perhaps?”
Miss Frost answers “The customs and guidelines of the Reformist movement are mainly to regulate social interaction. When in private, that is in our case with only the four of us here now present, there is, especially for men more freedom. Of course you can bathe together. Actually I’ve heard of a well-known now deceased Reformist politician who each Saturday morning guided his wife to the bathroom, removed her nightdress and night corset, bathed with her often having sex in the tub, and then he had learned to lace her corset as well for the guardian starting her involvement with checking the lacing. Some say she stayed muzzled until the husband had left the bathroom, and in some versions she was chained while in the tub. Another famous true Reformist couple, now in their fifties, are said to dress in latex when home alone from dinner onwards on Friday and Saturday. Your interest in your wife’s appearance is good Mr. Russell and you might even prevent an embarrassing and immodest situation where someone not supposed to see Mrs. Russell suddenly appears while no guardians or other servants are present by learning to apply her mantle. Let us start this lesson.”
Everything is laid out on the bed from where Miss Frost first takes a pair of six inch long black leather mittens and pushes each over the satin mitten Paula already wears and well into the dress sleeve before securing each with a strap around the wrist. Next fitted is a coal scuttle type bonnet in a blue hue that matches the dress. It reaches more than one inch out from the face to put the face in shadow and function like blinders to the wearer to both give a more modest appearance and limit the wearer from gazing around immodestly in private social situations where she can appear unveiled among men. By tying a wide silk ribbon under the chin the bonnet is securely fastened.
Miss Frost gestures Susanna to take the cloak, unfolds it and fits it on Paula. It is very simple just putting it around her shoulders and then closing its three front hooks starting at the neck right under the ribbon of the bonnet to end just below the waist. The hooks are placed for the edges of the front opening to overlap such that it takes much movement from within for it to part. It doesn’t happen because the skirts and the bottom of the dress, which it hides completely by sweeping the ground, prevent the knees or the feet from pushing the cloak. As Miss Frost now takes the mantle from the bed Paula’s expression reflects the excitement she is anticipating by going to be completely covered in velvet for a longer period for the first time. The mantle is tied at the back of the bonnet with two half inch wide laces attached to its top corners. Of course it has to be placed so its eye openings are aligned with the eyes resulting in its top edge just above the bonnets front opening thus hiding the opening completely.
The eye openings are just large enough to see all of Paula’s eyes but Jude realises her vision has to be very limited as the mantle wraps around the bonnet and thus its eye openings are at a distance from the eyes. The mantle is made of the same velvet as the cloak and hangs down over the shoulders to the elbows for its bottom to fit tightly around the cloak. This means the wearer is completely confined in this thick fabric except for the eye openings and a strip at the back of the head, which is only covered by the material of the bonnet. Jude thinks it has to be hot walking around inside this ‘tea cosy’ not really understanding why women strive to make it hard for themselves like this, by being tightly corseted or by stumbling around on high heels. Jude doesn’t get any more time right now to imagine how it is being Paula because Miss Frost unties her mantle again and hands it to him. Paula’s eyes have now got a distant look he notices before taking the mantle to her face trying to place it exactly like Miss Frost did. After tying the laces in a bow he takes a step back to judge his work. The mantle has slipped down a fraction of an inch for the eye openings to be misaligned.
He starts reaching for the bow but Miss Frost stops him saying “You can see that it’s wrong Mr. Russell. That is enough. It’s now your turn Susanna.”
In Jude’s opinion Susanna does just as Miss Frost, and apparently Miss Frost agrees because she simply takes the piece of black tulle left on the bed, unfolds it and places it on top of the mantle and the bonnet to be fastened with a clothes pin. Over the face it reaches just below nose level to fulfil its purpose of veiling the eyes.
Miss Frost says “I know the tulle prevents you from orientating indoors without artificial light Mrs. Russell, and this isn’t functioning in the corridor or the hall yet, also normally the veil would be flipped back indoors even with light, but there are tradesmen who might see you, so you just have to walk and then I’ll guide you closely”.
When Paula is close to the open front door she moves slightly faster to show she can orientate. She even manages the two steps down fine, but these have also been replaced to be made wider just for velvet women. Out on the straight flat path to the street Miss Frost gestures Jude to watch Paula closely and goes back inside to dress for public.
Alone with Paula Jude asks “Can you manage in the long dress and cloak with hardly no vision?”
She makes a dozen small nods. Jude walks next to Paula, Miss Frost and Susanna next to each other three steps behind them. Jude would like to walk arm-in-arm with Paula or just hold her hand but next to him is just a uniform velvet surface. At the supermarket Susanna leaves them, for Paula to get half a minute just standing still while Susanna discusses some items with Miss Frost. They next stop again more than half way through the main street at the women’s clothing store. Paula has over the last minutes slowed down to walk at only two thirds of the pace she started out with but it’s not her deciding to stop. She walks only looking straight forward at the pavement in front of her. Jude has noticed the sales assistant inside the display window putting a new dress on a mannequin and waved his hand towards her to make her look out of the window and wave back, but then seeing him accompanying a velvet woman makes her jump away from the window and a few seconds later she appears in the shop doorway. Seeing this makes Jude stop and with him Paula and Miss Frost. With a deep bow the sales assistant gestures Jude to follow her into the front room of the store where she can speak.
They all walk in, Miss frost now guiding Paula, for the sales assistant to say “Good morning Mr. Russell. I assume it is Paula with you?”
Paula faces the sales assistant and nods. Meanwhile more, probably all, of the store’s staff, are coming into the front room.
Jude says “You are right Miss. I would like to use this opportunity to introduce all of you to our new guardian Miss Frost. She is probably going to be the one to deal with from now on regarding both Paula and our female staff.”
While Jude has been speaking Paula has nodded to each of the staff to be reciprocated by a curtsy from each.
One of the members of staff steps in front of Miss Frost bows and says “I am Mrs. Shaw, my husband owns the store and I am the floor manager. We do not stock everything a true Reformist woman needs as you can see from our website or by asking any of the other guardians in town as they are all customers here. We can though fulfil all of the needs for guardians and other female staff of a full Reformist household. Please accept our business card. You can contact the shop during opening hours or me personally from eight in the morning to eight night or use our website at any time.”
Jude then says “Thank you Mrs. Shaw. Remember Paula also has a good knowledge of what you stock. Paula was a sales assistant here before our great luck Miss Frost. Please give my regards to your husband Mrs. Frost.”
Mrs. Shaw curtseys to Jude and following the rest of the staff bows to Miss Frost, after which Jude, and with him Paula and Miss Frost, return to the street.
While they walk on Jude turns his head to say to Miss Frost “Just a little while ago Paula and I were an ordinary lower middle-class couple and I hope I’ll never get too posh to speak to people of any class. Not that I doubt you will but I expect you to always treat any person, no matter social status, respectfully.”
Miss Frost nods three times. Not long after they reach their turning point: the park. Miss Frost leads Paula to sit on the bench closest to the entrance. Jude seats himself next to her and Miss Frost remains standing. Jude observes Paula for more than a minute. She has raised her head to horizontal and looks straight out over the lake without turning her head to see if people will be passing them. Jude considers asking her if she is alright but instead gestures to Miss Frost behind Paula’s back for her to nod and gesture they have to stay here for at least ten minutes. It’s a fine day and Jude reflects that this walk just slowly strolling along and now just taking in the sights and sounds of the park is just what he needed after many days doing all he could to get the house ready much faster than normal. Twenty minutes anti-clockwise a full Reformist couple have entered the path around the lake. They are without a guardian and Jude wouldn’t have taken them for Reformists if just seeing the man whom he doesn’t recognise at this distance; it’s the goldenrod velvet outfit which defines their status.
Jude says “Paula look to the left, a full Reformist couple is coming towards us. I can’t see who the man is yet. Do you connect the colour of the cloak with someone?”
Paula’s head turns left but immediately turns straight again without directly facing the couple and there is neither a nod nor a shake of her head to answer Jude’s question. Two minutes later the man waves his hand towards them and now Jude can see its Ben.
Five minutes later Ben says “Hi Jude, you have moved into your new house I can see,” nodding towards Paula.
At the sound of the voice Paula lifts her head and gets up from the bench at the same time as Jude. While he shakes hands with Ben, Paula greets his wife by them pressing against each other front to front for a few seconds and then each take a step backwards for their mitten covered hands to meet separated only by their cloaks.
The women then sit down and lean against each other while Ben goes on “I know you have been very busy Jude so I haven’t asked for any leisure trip committee meetings but I was appointed for my experience with arranging tours and some arrangements have to be made far in advance so we will soon have to make some decisions.”
Jude answers “I’m sure you are right Ben and as chairman of the committee I ought to hold the meeting but only the master bedroom, its bathroom and the kitchen of the house are ready for use. I have pressed the tradesmen to their limit for the past days so the rest of the house has to be finished at almost normal pace. I can’t invite men home for some days.”
Ben says “I would love to see your new house but I understand it has to wait. But the committee, being at this time just the two of us, its meetings are to be very informal I think we agree so then why don’t you and your wife come to dinner at our home as soon as possible. Let’s start at afternoon tea, then we have time for the committee work before dinner, and if not finished then we can continue after dinner instead of just having a nice evening together. I assume my wife Anne is also eager to meet with your wife now that she has become a proper full Reformist woman.”
Jude says “Paula is very eager to meet all of the full Reformist women. For the women associating with each other is an important part of their lifestyle and she longs to be a part of it as soon as possible. We gladly accept your invitation but we, especially Paula, has to get used to our new house and to wearing velvet so it will have to wait a few days. It will have to be the day after tomorrow at the earliest.”
Ben says “It seems like Paula would like it to be as soon as possible, and Anne as well, so let’s say Saturday at half past three.”
Jude says “I’m looking forward to it.”
Ben says “Me too. We’d better move on. Anne has an appointment at the hairdresser in about twenty minutes. See you.”
Ben turns to Anne and gestures her to walk on. The two women have sat almost unmoving during their conversation and apparently without listening, but of course the velvet of their mantles has to reduce their hearing a good deal. Jude faces Miss Frost gesturing if she thinks Paula is ready to walk home.
She nods for Jude to ask Paula “Are you ready to walk home?”
She answers by getting up. As on the way out the pace of Paula slowly goes down. At the end of the main street Miss Frost, walking behind as before, comes up on the other side of Paula and guides her to sit down on the last bench. She holds five fingers up to Jude. After the five minute rest they walk on at a fine pace but again it drops and a quarter of a mile from the house, when it is within sight, they walk very slowly but the cloak and the mantle prevents Jude from both seeing how hot Paula is and to hear if she is out of breath.
Instead he says “Paula, perhaps it is better to stop for a minute. We have all the time in the world so if moving makes you too hot and out of breath just stop to regain your breath and cool a little.”
Paula stops for Jude to go on “You can hear me, can’t you?”
Paula nods and Jude continues “But in the park it seemed to me that neither you nor Anne could hear what Ben and I said to each other. Could you hear us?”
Paula shakes her head. “Fine, now I know that a woman wearing a velvet mantle can’t hear what’s being said at normal speaking levels more than three or four feet away. We have been invited for both afternoon tea and dinner at Anne and Ben’s on Saturday. The time in between Ben and I are going to discuss leisure trips. Are you ready for the last short lap? Have you noticed the house is within sight? Can you see it?”
Paula faces up the street and then shakes her head, before looking down at the pavement and starting to walk. A little before they reach the steps to the front door Miss Frost comes forward to help Paula. She takes her directly to the bathroom with Jude following to learn her condition. Miss Frost quickly removes both the veil, the mantle and the cloak and just let them drop on the floor as she immediately guides Paula to sit down on the toilet lid. What can be seen of her, the neck and head is both red from heat and wet from sweat and Paula just sits looking down while regaining her breath. Miss Frost wets a towel under the tap and washes all the skin visible then she takes a dry towel to rub the hair and dry where she has washed. Meanwhile Paula has regained her breath and while Miss Frost combs her hair she looks at Jude and speaks without him encouraging her
“Wow, I never thought that it would be so physically hard to be a full Reformist woman. We have for a long time watched them walk peacefully around the lake and I have never considered their pace as exercise, at most their pace could make you a little sweatier on a sunny summer’s day. Two thick layers of velvet and being totally confined changes everything. But I guess it will probably get easier when I have got used to being in velvet. Megan has never said anything about it being hard. And while I sat on the bench in the park next to, what was her name? I felt as if my dream had started coming true. There I sat fronting the lake as a full Reformist woman and although my impression of the passersby was rather vague I’m sure everyone saw the beautiful royal blue velvet instead of the not especially beautiful average woman sales assistant. Perhaps I can take a small walk around the block or just in the garden in the afternoon for rehearsal to like Megan soon forget about running out of breath and the other inconveniences.”
Miss Frost is about to say something but Jude cuts her short “Miss Frost knew how it would be and chose a distance you could just cope with. It came to my mind many times during our walk that I was now walking next to my wonderful beautiful wife appearing as she has long dreamt for, and to me you are certainly not average with or without velvet. It had not come to my mind before either that the person inside the awesome looking velvet dresses are half blind, half deaf, mute, sweaty and cannot breathing freely, but it makes sense as a true Reformist woman should be retired from society to approach the life of a nun living secluded in a convent. I cut you of Miss Frost, you may speak now.”
Miss Frost says “You did well for a first trip in velvet just as I had expected Mrs. Russell. Most, when starting to wear velvet, are in their late teens and are so excited about appearing as adult women that they ignore their body signals and overrate their own strength to faint at least once for their first handful of trips in velvet. The sooner you get to feel it just as natural as the other full Reformist women to wear the public outfit the better, so some time outdoors in the afternoon will be good. As I expect Mr. Russell isn’t going to walk with you then I’ll ask Susanna to accompany you, in addition to myself of course, for her to be able to replace me if necessary. In between you need to fully recover so we’ll now go to the bedroom for you to relax with headphones under a blanket until the afternoon walk except while having lunch.”
Jude doesn’t see Paula before dinner. As usual her corset quickly makes her full.
A little later, when he has satisfied his worst hunger, he asks Paula “Did your afternoon walk go well?”
Paula’s eyes turn dreamy and it takes a dozen seconds before she says “I think so. We only walked around in the garden and as nothing much was happening around me I moved along more or less subconsciously repeating what I was listening to through my headphones for the previous half hour. The first third was about how a good wife should be and now being able to in many more ways live up to it I felt cosy in my cocoon of velvet. Then it was about that you can’t rest on your laurels to make me feel helpless and restricted instead of cosy. Finally it was about the consequences of deviating from the right path and risk going to hell to breathe sulphur and burn forever to make me feel hot and breathless. When the walk was over and the public items removed I became fully aware that I was almost as sweaty and breathless as after the walk with you. I don’t know if it was the listening with headphones or your words about the nun as our ideal or both that took my mind away from the world around me to only think of the sermon I had heard.”
Jude says “It might well be the confinement in velvet in itself that takes your mind away from your surroundings and makes you only have devout thoughts. It is a well considered and designed outfit which might very well do more than just replace tempting female beauty with the pure beauty of high quality fabric.”
Paula says “I’ll ask Megan about it. Now I have spoken for three dinners.”
Jude says “Yes, I can see Miss Frost likes you to go and pray. You’ll also meet Anne to perhaps ask her, remember.”
Saturday afternoon at Ben’s, Paula is taken away to meet the women of the household while still in cloak and mantle. It is first some twenty minutes later before Jude sees his wife and Anne again. They are already seated at the coffee table when Ben takes him there. ‘See’ shows not to be the right word because there is nothing to see of either of them. Jude sees a plum and a dark orange velvet gown respectively, both holding black silk mittens in their lap, and then everything about both gowns is white. White satin coifs covering the heads and necks except the faces which are covered by white satin domino masks with attached opaque white satin veils covering the lower face, and even the eyes are hidden behind white tulle. He can only tell who is who because he arrived with Paula wearing a plum cloak and mantle. During the tea both have their muzzle removed but they both stay silent. Their mittens are not removed and so the two guardians have give them tea and feed them which they do without ever lifting the veil so much any skin can be seen. When they are not fed the two women sit unmoving directly facing each other. After a few minutes Jude stops taking even a short glance at them when there is a pause in his conversation with Ben.
Ideas for continuing the tale
These are the notes that Bo_Emp (and some comments from Nye who helped him to edit the tale) included at the end of the manuscript indicating the directions that he thought the story might head in:
Megan and Isaac married by parents entering Church match base. Fit low class boy because third daughter
Paula pregnant because stopped taking pills from the day after win
Jude company do?
Ch 1 clothing for church? means Sunday clothing different from everyday clothing
house warming with friends from wedding anniversary to see house. in future not come but Jude meet at pub and Paula visit women as charity. rachel visit as well with more days out for true Reformists
If, as I think you said in your original e-mail (which I can’t find) that Paula grows to dislike the reformist lifestyle, to keep her in it perhaps she could respond to Jude telling her she has never looked more beautiful to him as she does wearing velvet, thus making her want to continue in the lifestyle to please her husband. Maybe things could be taken a little further by Miss Frost revealing to Jude, who passes on the thoughts to Paula that some of the most devout women go further by being muzzled at all times they are not eating, wear their veils at all times including in the home and corset to the extreme. The veils worn could be almost blinding for ‘public’. With Jude’s praise of her wearing velvet in her mind she adopts this even further restricting lifestyle with gusto. Not sure about the pregnant idea as it would mean a departure from wearing a corset.