Return to 1873: Part 1
My Diary for December 1873
Monday, 27th December
I am into my first full day living back in 1873, having stepped back in time yesterday when the rest of the world was celebrating Boxing Day, and still recovering from the excesses of Christmas Day. However, although I know what day it is now, as my Master allows me no external light, and there are neither clocks nor watches in my quarters, I am unable to tell what time it may be. But I do know that I was brought up here fully dressed in my Sybilienne attire yesterday, to spend an evening in the school room before being put to bed.. But how long I was allowed to sleep, I do not know. Certainly my Master did not say and, as I am strictly forbidden to ask him any questions at all on any subject, I know that I will be unable to know what time or night or day it is for as long as I remain here.
As usual when sleeping up here, the low truckle bed had been placed in the ‘punishment room’ and I am left strapped to that at night. As its mattress is thin and the bed hard, sleep is not usually easy (as I know from last year when I was locked up here for three months). What was different was that my Master this time locked me into my sleeping irons so that, as he said, I would not be tempted to touch myself. These sleeping irons are something that I do not like being locked into, but even I must admit that they do their job with cold efficiency.
Made of steel, the sleeping irons comprise of a long ‘back bar’ onto which are attached three sets of restraints. At the bottom, a rigid pair of ankle irons: further up, similar cuffs to hold my wrists behind my back and, at the top, a deep steel collar that is locked about my throat. Because the back bar is adjustable, I can be secured either drawn rigidly out, as though lying to attention on my arms, or with my ankles drawn up. Whatever way the bar is fixed, this device is uncomfortable at the very best, and can be agonising too. A night spent locked in my sleeping irons is never an enjoyable one.
Thankfully, the Christmas period had been long and tiring and I slept reasonably well, although not for long enough. I seemed almost as tired when my Master woke me this morning. As he was watching me getting dressed, and between lacing me REALLY tightly into my corset (the long one), my Master announced that I must – as part of my school work – keep a diary of my stay up here. And it must be written with an old fashioned steel pen, using a proper ink-well, all of which makes writing rather slow (as I am now discovering). Also he informed me that I will receive schoolroom punishments if my diary entries are not accurate and neat WITHOUT ink blots. At least I will have plenty of time while locked up here.
But there were other things to do before I would go to the schoolroom. First of all I had the sweep and then scrub the floor in the room where I slept. Getting the bucket and brush and clothes from the bathroom was the start of this labour which took, I suppose, about an hour. Only when I had finished that task to my Master’s satisfaction was I allowed food or drink.
After eating so well for the last few days, my new Victorian diet came as a nasty surprise. While I was still in bed, my Master brought up the supplies which will have to be all I’ll eat while locked up here. Water comes from the bathroom tap, but I am allowed black tea IF there is enough hot water (my Master says that I am not to be trusted with boiling water) which, at the very best tastes horrible. I had a cup for my breakfast, and I found myself wishing it had been water – that would have tasted better. For food, I will have to survive on bread and, sometimes, cheese. But no butter or anything to put on the brown bread. However, my Master says that he may allow me hot food if I stay up here for more than a day or so. Not that his promise is all that enticing as he did the same when I was here before. My ‘cooked meals’ then consisted of things like over-boiled cabbage with equally over-cooked fatty chops which I hate. But I have to eat all given to me or I am punished.
After breakfast, I was brought in here to the schoolroom, where my Master AGAIN tightened my corsets so that I thought I was going to faint. Also, to make sure that I don’t stray from my desk, I have my legs bound together under my skirts.
My first task was to write out the new Constitution for Mutual Punishment, having been told, I would be punished unless I reproduced it with total accuracy. This Constitution is a new part of my life that effects me outside my Sybilienne role. A short while ago, The Bear, my Master, and I signed a mutually binding agreement with another Master and his slave ‘m’. Its basis is simple but frightening; If one of us submissives does anything wrong and needs punishing, the other (innocent) submissive will be punished in an identical manner. In the short time it has been in operation it has proved to be horribly effective, as ‘m’ has no wish to see me punished for her faults, and I am horrified at the thought that she, my friend, should suffer for my mistakes. As soon as the Constitution came into effect both I and ‘m’ had to learn it by heart; a chilling process but one that reinforced in our minds how we must both improve our behaviour. (Fortunately any punishments I earn for myself while up here will not rebound onto poor ‘m’.)
Thankfully, I learnt The Constitution by heart reasonably well last week, but I am not too sure I have got it right. I checked it through carefully – I know I’ll get punished if I cross things out, but that will be a minor problem in comparison with what will happen to me if I cite it incorrectly. So I did do one crossing out, hoping that my Master would go easy on me for such a small mistake.
After I had finished that work, I obeyed my Master’s new orders about what I must do when I am ‘unemployed’. Essentially, when I have finished my set work and he has not returned to the schoolroom, I am to kneel on the floor next to my desk, straight backed and straight upright from the knees as always. NO lounging back on my heels for me! It was a bit of a struggle getting down on my knees because of my legs being tightly trapped togther. My skirts and petticoats also don’t help but at least they pad my knees so they don’t get too sore when kneeling on the bare boards of the schoolroom floor.
Even so I was feeling tired, my back aching by the time he came to see me. He took my exercise book aware to check what I had written, leaving me on my knees while he did so. Fortunately he passed my effort at remembering the Constitution, although he told me that I would have to do an additional twenty minutes exercise this afternoon for the crossing-out.
After that he came over to where I knelt, and pleasured himself. (I have been instructed that I may only say ‘pleasured himself’ when describing personal matters in this diary. It is the only aspect of my life here that I may not report on fully.) Afterwards, he checked my attire and then told me that I might start writing my diary. Which is what I am doing now.
My Master also instructed me to briefly describe my quarters here. They are on the second floor of the house, and comprise of a small bathroom, various built in cupboard in the passage way at the top of the stairs, a smaller room (about 11′ a 9′) which is known as the Punishment Room. That is mainly because my punishment seat is always kept in this room, bolted to the floor near the wall opposite the door. In addition, my low bed has been placed in here just as it was when I spent three months here last year. Also new is the trestle over which I am tied down before being caned. This normally is kept in the cellars but had been brought up here in case my Master thinks I need severe punishment. Seeing it in that room does not make me feel at all happy, as I know what pain I will experience if I am bent over if for a whipping.
Otherwise the room is unfurnished apart from a small table with a wash bowl, soap, tooth brush and towel on it. (I am not allowed to use the bathroom, even relieving myself must be done at set times in the pot kept under my bed. In fact I only go into the bathroom to empty it, and to fetch cold water when needed. To clean my teeth I have the choice of salt, baking powder or the normal coarse soap I use for washing.)
My Master has permanently boarded up the window in that room, so light comes from a solitary candle. The room is white walled, the floor is of bare boards which I must scrub once a day.
The schoolroom is much the same, except it is slightly larger – in fact it is two small ‘servants’ bedrooms knocked into one room. It measures approximately 14′ x 10′ and, although the window is not permanently boarded up, as with my last stay up here, the windows are double curtained and the drapes nailed in place so not light can get into the room from outside. Also, as the windows are double glazed, it is just as silent as in my bedroom/punishment room. The furniture here is a genuine old cast-iron seat and desk in one which we found in a scrap yard. There is a table and chair for my Master when he is correcting my work or hearing me recite lines I have learnt by heart. To one side of the table is an easel and blackboard. Fitted onto the right hand wall is the posture back-board while, projecting from the wall at the back of the room, is what looks like a solid wooden bench-type seat (and can be used as one) but is also a chest in which various items are kept. Finally there is the schoolroom cupboard which is kept locked normally, my work books being kept in my iron desk’s drawer. Like the other room, the school has bare walls and a wooden board floor which I have to scrub daily, normally before I am given my last meal of the day. If I take too long scrubbing it, or do not do it to my Master’s satisfaction, I will have to scrub it all over again, which means I miss my evening meal and am put to bed with an empty stomach.
Those are my quarters and I will spend most of my time in one of other of those rooms. The only times when I am not in one or the other is when I am very briefly allowed to go to the bathroom for water or to empty my chamber-pot, or when it is exercise time. That last occupation I will explain after this afternoon session.
Monday 27th December. Evening.
I had to stop writing my first entry in this diary rather abruptly as my Master came back. To my surprise it was already lunchtime (the morning seemed very short whereas I remember time dragging past so slowly when I lived up here for three months previously.) Lunch was just bread and cheese washed down with water. Not that I minded it being probably inadequate as, laced up this tightly, I have very little appetite for food. I feel hungry but, as soon as I have eaten a few mouthfuls, I have had more than enough, which sometimes makes finishing off a meal rather hard. However I am thirsty most of the time as the clothing I wear is very hot and heavy. Fortunately water is not rationed and I can drink as much as I need at mealtimes.
After lunch I was permitted to go to the bedroom (I will call it that, if I may, rather than punishment room as it’s called more normally), so as to use my chamber pot. This I can only do at certain times or when told to do so by my Master. In fact I may not alter my position without his permission, never mind go into another room. Anyway, as to using the chamber pot, I could not do that on my own even if allowed to do so; for the crutch strap of my corsets is always locked tightly in place, and this has to be unlocked and unfastened by my Master before I can relieve myself.
After this, I was made to go back to the schoolroom and there to black lead my desk. As it is made of cast iron, it has to be kept very clean. In 1873 black lead would have been used for this purpose; now we have to use a substitute but it is a long and tiresome business, and one I particularly dislike as the desk and seat have lots of little curlicues and decorative bits on it that are difficult to clean. At least for this (and for scrubbing) I am allowed to remove my gloves; with them on the task of polishing into the little crack and crannies would be almost impossible. My Master always closely inspects the desk and seat after I have cleaned it, and I am in trouble if he finds any dirty bits or places where the polish has not been buffed off properly. Today I was lucky as he was more interested in getting me ready for my exercise period, rather than in looking for faults with a magnifying glass. Yes, he has been know to use a glass to make sure every millimetre of the desk was properly cleaned.
Exercise is the time of day that I probably dread most of all. I do see its necessity but that does not stop me from disliking it intensely. The format is always the same because I cannot go outdoors while dressed like this. Anyway I am confined to this floor for as long as it suits my Master, and I have to get some form of exercise other than scrubbing the floors, which is backbreaking exercise anyway!
For exercise, I have to be masked and cloaked on top of my normal attire. Obviously with my uniform Sybilienne cape buttoned closed from chin to floor, I cannot put on my cloak , so I am dressed by my Master. This afternoon, to my horror, he also gagged me under my mask, which is something he may do outdoors now and then but normally does not do it for indoors exercise. My circuit starts at the end of the passageway on this floor along which I walk until I reach the top of the stairs. Then I go down them to the first floor landing which I must walk round and then climb back up the stairs to my floor. Then I walk down the passageway to its end, before turning there and starting a new circuit. It does not sound too bad except for several things.
Firstly: I am really weighed down by my burden of clothing; full Sybilienne uniform with its cape and then with a massively heavy hooded cloak worn over everything else.
Secondly: although my Master eases my hobbles (without doing so it would be impossible for me to walk up and down the stairs), my legs are still partially bound and they are fettered by the dragging weight of my petticoats and skirts. This makes walking difficult and tiring on its own.
Thirdly: as my skirts are all floor length, I have to normally pick them up slightly when walking around. But this is impossible with the skirts of my cloak during exercise as my hands are trapped under my sealed-up cape. In consequence I have to go up and down stairs with a great deal of care so as to ensure I don’t step on my skirts or trip up on them. Luckily the stairs are typical Victorian ‘servants wing’ stairs – in other words they are narrow, and they wind down via two small landing so that they take up the smallest space possible inside the house. So, even if I was to fall, I would probably not hurt myself. But my Master always waits watching at the bottom of the stairs, both to make sure I am alright, and also to check that I do not slack.
Taking exercise is exhausting and, my Master watching me, I cannot slack or slow down. If I do, he will just tell me that I have to do extra time. Normally my exercise period will last three-quarters of an hour (it seems twice as long), but today I had an added twenty minutes for the crossing-out in my exercise book. It seemed endless and, had I not been silenced, I would have begged to be allowed to rest. But that is not normally allowed and, as I would be punished if I stopped without being told to, I would certainly be punished. So I carried on, even though my legs seemed on fire and I was gasping for breath – although I am not sure if ‘gasping for breath’ is the right description as I could not breath through my mouth, as it was stopped up by my gag.
End of Entry 1Entry 2