Living with a Countess
© Michelle 2006
Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format.
This story follows on seconds after the end of “Interview with a Countess” which needs to be read first to understand what is happening.
Chapter 1 – Entering the Veiled Life
My surprise at seeing Helena wearing normal clothes, albeit a rather old fashioned though I have to say highly attractive burgundy coloured velvet cloak with the hood pulled up over her head, turned to astonishment as she placed a finger over her mouth to indicate for me to remain quiet, quickly scanned the e-mail on the screen before me, then lifted my right forefinger and guided it towards the Enter key. She then let go of my finger and her eyes pleaded with me to press.
And I did.
My life was about to change beyond all recognition. I had quit my well paid job in the editorial office of a glossy magazine following the lives of the rich and famous to become an unpaid servant of one of those very same people, possibly for the rest of my life.
Of course as with anything involving the Countess, little had been left to chance and minutes later my boss Erica came in to congratulate me on getting my new position as personal assistant to the Countess di Medini.
“Guess I shouldn’t have sent you there for that interview after all.” she smiled, “Though it was a great scoop. But anyway we’ll all miss you. I realise it’s too big an opportunity to turn down and the Countess has just phoned to ask us to let you go straight away in return for some favours securing interviews with some of her associates which seems more than fair. So it would appear it’s time for a party.”
And with that she cracked open a bottle of champagne, quite a common occurrence in our office it has to be said, and filled the glasses she had brought along. Everybody gathered round me and wished me luck. I looked over their shoulders but Helena seemed to have disappeared. Surely somebody dressed as she was couldn’t simply vanish.
But she hadn’t. As the impromptu party petered out an hour later, Helena appeared walking behind her mistress. My new mistress ! She walked in with Erica and smiled at me.
“Ready to go then ?” she asked and I simply nodded.
“Lost your tongue ?” she smiled and I blushed.
“No madame. Of course madame. I’m ready to go madame. It was really nice of you to come and collect me madame. Thank you madame.”
Erica looked a little odd at my over-zealous use of the M word but said nothing. Helena pulled another cloak from under her own one and placed it over my shoulders, then pulled the hood up over my head.
“Thank you.” she whispered very quietly so that the Countess couldn’t hear her.
I then realised these were the first words she had said since arriving at my desk yet she had changed everything beyond belief. We then both silently followed the Countess out of the office and up to a limousine waiting for us right outside the main door. Helena opened the door and allowed the Countess to enter first. She then beckoned for me to follow after which she quickly got in, closed the door and motioned for me to kneel on the floor before our mistress almost in a single action. She opened her mouth and received the gift from our mistress of a gag from her handbag. After a few moments hesitation, due to surprise rather than any intention of disobedience, I did likewise and received the same. We were now silenced.
As there were no seats for us, obviously there were no seat belts. However Helena, or Two as I would be required to think of her as soon as we put on our shrouds again, showed me how to fix a special belt on the floor first tightly over our lower legs, then over our upper legs as we knelt back, then finally by throwing the belt over our backs and placing it in the buckle on our knees and pulling rightly, we pulled our torsos down tightly onto our legs. We were clamped tightly and safe to travel without fear of an accident. The Countess pressed the intercom button and told the driver to proceed.
The first stop was at my flat where we collected my passport. The Countess told me the rest of the contents would be packed up and put in storage for me. She said she would deal with ending the lease and so forth, such things were simply no longer any of my concern. Of course I could have taken this as her being patronising, and I doubt if she would have worried how I took it in fact, but losing the responsibility of dealing with such matters filled me with happiness and relief.
At this point I also lost responsibility for going to the toilet, Helena helping fit me with the catheter and bag and the anal tube and safety valve once more.
The second stop was at the Channel Tunnel. Although it would have been a lot quicker to fly to Switzerland, obviously the Countess liked the idea of a long drive with us at her feet. The driver parked the car on the carriage and the Countess released us once more but told us to sit still. The train journey began but at our level we saw nothing of course apart from when the officials came round to check the tickets. The Countess had stood outside and given these to them with our passports so a quick look inside at us and they were gone. This of course was a signal to Helena to buckle up once more and I followed suit. The Countess got in and settled back for the ride by taking up the most comfortable position she could find which just happened to be with her feet up on the two velvet cushions on the floor. She was asleep not long after leaving Calais and despite a stop to refuel, slept until we approached the chateau early the next morning. Though with our faces on our knees and our large hoods covering our heads completely we didn’t really see the light until the car halted and we were told to release ourselves.
Thus my introduction to my new life was one of tiredness and a rather sore back for a couple of days yet I already felt that warm secure feeling of having been of use to my new mistress.
Chapter 2 – Veiled Worries
Of course after travelling across Europe, the Countess was hungry for breakfast and so we were both quickly changed into our uniforms and shrouds by the others. The vision I had got reused to over the last month was all gone again, replaced by faint blurs in the distance and a minimal amount of detail when less than a couple of feet from my face. Similarly my hearing of the outside world totally subsided and all I could hear was my heart racing, the heavy breathing in my chest, the rustle of my shroud and the sound of the sea masking all other sounds in my earpieces.
What I also had to try and avoid hearing was the sound of my footsteps, a month of being able to walk normally bringing out all my bad habits again. These would have to go soon or I would end up tripping on the bottom of my shroud yet again, something the Countess would be quite justified in punishing now.
Thirteen handed me a tray with a plate of food and cutlery on it whilst Two picked up a tray of coffee and so forth and we both headed for the drawing room where our mistress was catching up on her correspondence.
“I’m sure you’re both glad to be back and dressed properly again.” she remarked, then resumed her work whilst eating leaving us both standing there for almost an hour before she declared herself finished with the breakfast things. We bowed and picked them up whereupon she instructed us to hurry back.
It was now over twenty-four hours since I had slept but I had expected that no allowances would be made for any tiredness due to our long journey across Europe and none were made. Having hurried back as instructed, Two and I, now reinstated at One of course, stood there motionless for the whole morning waiting for our mistress to give us our next instruction. This eventually came soon midday when she asked us to prepare her bed for her afternoon nap. We glided off to do this and I stood by the door ready to welcome her in and undress her whilst Two held her silk nightgown in her hands.
Many hours later I was beginning to wonder if we had either misheard her or come to the wrong room but Two noticed my fidgeting, put down the nightgown on the bed, came over to me and held my hands with hers for a few moments before returning to her position. Dusk came and the room darkened so Two put the lights on yet still there was no sign of our mistress. I had totally lost track of the actual time as the Countess had few clocks on display in the chateau, though I remembered what one of the others had told me last time that slaves trying to do something just in time are slaves who are occasionally late. If you don’t have a clock to guide you, you will always make sure the job is performed in plenty of time.
And so we stood there until late when our mistress eventually appeared.
“Sorry about that,” she remarked, “I had to make a few phone calls.”
We helped her get undressed and into bed and I was now worrying I was facing another night awake. I really wasn’t sure I would make this no matter what the punishment for failure awaiting me was. But fortunately once she was settled in bed she dismissed us and allowed us to leave her room and climb the narrow stairs to the maids quarters where the room of maid-closets was. Only once fully in this room was it acceptable to remove our shrouds and gags, a set of two interlocking doors preventing any sound or sight of us reaching the outside world. Most of the other maids were resting or asleep when we arrived but once they realised I was back, they soon all got up again and greeted me with hugs and kisses. Realising Two and myself were both exhausted they helped us wash and change before putting us both to bed. Thirteen, the previous One of course, offered to take my number the following day if I needed some more rest but I assured her I would be alright. Soon I was asleep.
It was late the next morning before I awoke to find Helena looking down on me.
“What time is it ?” I asked.
“Time for you to rest.” she smiled, “The others are covering for us.”
“Can they do that ?”
“Provided Mistress doesn’t ask for us in particular and all tasks are covered then of course.”
Although I had spent a month there in the peak of summer, there was obviously still a lot to learn about life at the chateau.
“Are the tasks all being covered ?”
“At the moment. We have a few more hands now.”
“We do ? How many ?”
“Maid Seventeen joined us a couple of days ago.”
“I didn’t see any of them last night.”
“The five new maids offered to take night duties so that those who knew you could all greet you first. You’ll meet them tonight provided Mistress doesn’t have other plans for you.”
We grinned at each other and Helena carried on sitting by me until I spoke again.
“So when did she decide to come and get me like that ?”
“Actually that was my idea.”
“It was ?”
“Yes. I even removed my gag and took the twenty strikes so that I could tell her it.”
I only then realised that we had no method of conveying information to the Countess. We listened to her and did whatever she told us to do without question. Normally there was simply no need for us to say anything to her and hence the gags had become a permanent part of working lives for all of us there.
“Wouldn’t it have been easier to wait for me to come myself ?”
“I was worried you might decide not to come.”
“Well … I was having difficulty deciding.”
“I thought you might. But you’re here now.”
“Yeah.” I grinned.
“So how do you feel now ?”
“Like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.”
“And another one placed on it.” she laughed, “Remember you’ve got to organise all of us as well as serve Mistress yourself.”
“Hmm. You will help me, won’t you ? As my deputy ?”
“Well that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last month. I can’t say I’m sorry to be handing over the reins to you though. But of course I’ll help.”
“Can I ask another question ?”
“Please do.” she smiled at me.
“Have any of you been to bed with Mistress since I left ?”
“Uh … I’m not sure. Why do you ask ?”
“Well I’ve been thinking about that a lot and I’m not sure it’s appropriate for us to do that.”
“But if Mistress requests it there is nothing we can do to refuse. All the girls know that they could be called even if they have never slept with another woman before. Even the intended nuns realise that.”
“Yes … I know … you’re right of course. But she wouldn’t call them, would she ?”
“I don’t think so. She’s a good mistress and as far as I know only you, myself, Marie, Anne-Marie and Anna have ever been to her bed. She’d call for one of us if she wanted anything.”
“Yes, I’m sure she would. I’m just not sure I would want to go now.”
“You seemed to enjoy it last time.”
“I know. But I wasn’t actually committed to being here then. I was a sort of guest.”
“You’re worried she’s going to call for you regularly, is that it ?”
“Well she might I suppose. It’s more if I’m to be telling you all what to do it should be because you think I’m the right person to be doing so, not because I’m the one who sleeps with out mistress the most.”
“We wouldn’t think that.”
“Well I know most of you wouldn’t at first. But it could happen.”
“I don’t think so. And in any case you’re the one in charge because it’s what Mistress thinks is right. What we think about it is neither here nor there as I think you say.”
“Sorry. Yes. I’m still getting used to that.”
“You will do.” she giggled.
“Anyway why not wait for the first time she calls you and then during the night explain that you have so many other duties ensuring her comfort that you are worried you won’t be able to manage it properly if you are busy in her bed. She’ll understand.”
“Do you think so ?”
“Yes. Though I expect she’ll want to give you a spanking for insolence first.” Helena giggled.
Chapter 3 – Church Veils
I need not have worried about the Countess as it soon became obvious she was currently seeing a man called Charles who owns a Parisian company selling many of the products she supplies. According to Marie, by far the longest serving maid here, they have been seeing each other on and off for years. That set my mind at rest until she then pointed out that the Countess often kept a female and a male lover on the go at the same time. She had assumed I was wondering when I would get to bed with the Countess again but I groaned but she laughed and said the currently favoured female lover was an older woman called Charlie who lived near Boston. Even though I used to write about them all the time, the convoluted love lives of the rich and famous often leave me reeling.
With the Countess rejoined by Sophie and Laura in the chateau as well, it was a busy time for us maids, a very busy time indeed.
I only saw Sophie for a couple of days last time I was here but now I have got to understand her a lot better. She had trained to be a nun but decided literally at the last moment to live with Laura instead. But she is still highly religious and encourages us all to attend church if we can. I wasn’t a churchgoer when I came here but have to admit that thirteen hours a week on your knees praying does have an effect on you as I recently received my First Communion.
However that hasn’t stopped her looking for further ways for us to, as she puts it, show our devotion to something even more important than the Countess. Her latest innovation has been the fitting of prayer gloves to all of us before we leave the chateau, thereby ensuring our prayers begin there and then rather than waiting for us to get to the church. She had the pacing click replaced with recordings of prayers, we being expected to make a step at the end of each line of the prayer. As you can imagine this gives a rather erratic pace to our motion but it ensures we are concentrating all the time rather than previously where it was possible to doze whilst leaving your ear to subconsciously control your feet. However the first time we did it we found it relied on us all hearing the same passage at exactly the same time, something that is quite difficult to achieve when starting the recordings with fingers buried deep within a prayer glove. This resulted in us all ending up tripping over each other on several occasions and missing the first of the morning church services. Sophie was not amused at this and had Laura punish us all, something as Marie pointed out before, the American girl appears to take great delight in doing.
But Laura is also quite inventive and by the next week we had all been fitted with iPods controlled with a single remote control held by Sophie so this problem never resurfaced. But as often happens, this though created another problem, that of Laura wanting to be in bed with Sophie long before midnight but us unable to descend the stairs from their bedroom in our tight skirts.
However I do have to admit Laura’s solution was quite simple if not what we were expecting. She had our hobble skirts all modified for an even more restrictive seventy-five millimetre step and had us set off at nine on Saturday night rather than at midnight. Of course this also slowed our return and ever since it has been touch and go whether we are back in time before the Countess awakes and requires our services on Monday morning. An overly long sermon or somebody remaining in the church in private prayer, we being expected to be the last to leave to avoid blocking other’s exit, often leads to a very sore bottom for each of us. And despite having the catheter preventing us wetting ourselves and the tube in our anuses preventing us dirtying ourselves, the intense pulsing in each caused by our panic provides an unpleasant though strangely thrilling background to the whole journey back.
Chapter 4 – The Veil of Contentment
Thus my life settled down at last into one of fulfilment and contentment. My job at the office had been interesting and I did feel some achievement after writing some articles, but mostly it was going and listening to some drab individual with an overblown opinion of his or her self, hastily jot down what they said and then try to turn it into something resembling the standard of English language expected by our readers. Occasionally the magazine might get an award but there was never any feedback for personal work, good or bad.
But serving the Countess it is quite different. You immediately feel you are contributing to the happiness and well-being of somebody who never needs to state her importance as that simply exudes from her. She rarely actually thanks us for our work, after all if she did she would be saying it all day, but we certainly know about it when we haven’t done even the smallest task to the highest standards and so this instant feedback allows us also to know when we have done a job well.
This sounds like the ethos of a Victorian girls school and of course it is. But it seems reasonable to expect many if not most there enjoyed their education despite the occasional chastisement. My own bottom has felt the sting of her cane on several occasions but each time it happens she quite clearly explains what I have done wrong first and what she expects in future and I am quite certain the expectation of this punishment for any failures on my part does improve my performance continually.
But the main force driving us all on is that feeling of total achievement at the end of the day of a really worthwhile job performed really well. There’s nothing quite like that.
Chapter 5 – A Veil of Silence
It soon became obvious why Two had willingly taken a spanking to tell our mistress her idea for getting me to come her. Within a few days of arriving we were sharing a maid-closet quite often nights if both of us were off-duty, both so as to arrange the next day’s tasks but also for company and to have some conversation after anything up to twenty hours of physically enforced silence. This began purely with us talking with each other late into the night but one night after I had been here a few months it took on a far more serious nature when we suddenly went silent, stared into each others eyes for what seemed like an eternity before our lips hesitatingly edged forward to meet. I have to say I was totally surprised at this happening but unlike my first kiss with the Countess where I was looking to show my total submission to her wishes, here it was very different with us more like equals.
She closed her eyes and pushed her tongue into my mouth where it examined it’s new surroundings, I holding her tightly as she did. My heart, chest and breasts were throbbing with excitement as our hands instinctively sought out each other’s erogenous zones. Before long we were fully undressed and with our breasts pressed tightly together we both reached orgasm almost simultaneously. I headed down her body and almost everything I did appeared to maintain her levels of pleasure yet despite our cramped surrounding and me sliding down her body, she somehow kept my nipples between the tips of her fingers, something no previous lover of mine would bother to do despite them knowing it was all I really needed to keep me coming. We were obviously meant for each other.
We carried on all night and it was only one of the other maids gingerly reminding us to get up that protected our derrieres that morning. We couldn’t get enough of each other and for once serving the Countess wasn’t the only thought on my mind. In fact it took her raised voice to remind me of her presence at all and the sting of her cane to remind me to keep it there.
But there could be no doubt about it, I had found true love at last in the most unlikely of places. Of course we were breaking the house rules on relationships between servants but that only seemed to add to the excitement.
In the confinement of the maids’ quarters, our sexual romps most evening could hardly not be noticed by the others who were soon chatting about us regularly. It was probably only the compulsory fitting of gags during working hours that meant our mistress never overheard any of this gossip and our bottoms remained safe.
However eventually we both decided it was time to come clean and suggest to the Countess that we leave the chateau. As was now the established practice, one had to remove one’s gag and then take the twenty strikes of the cane as punishment before actually speaking. I did it this time leaving Two gagged although after me telling our mistress this she wanted to hear it from Two as well so she had to ungag and take her spanking as well.
The Countess was very disappointed to hear we both wanted to leave but agreed that she could hardly expect us to ignore our obvious feelings for each other when working so closely together. We were about to gag ourselves and retire for the night to our closet when she told us to use the bedroom down the end of the hall. We gasped at this and thanked her profusely. Making love to each other is more than a little difficult inside a box barely large enough to turn round in. Compared with that, even a small bed would appear like the open prairie. And the chateau didn’t do small beds. In fact in the bedroom she had told us to use there was a huge four poster bed. We frolicked away all night, enjoying true freedom in our exploration of each other’s body for the first time. It was almost dawn before we finally relaxed and held each other tightly, me on my back and Helena pulled tightly into my side.
“It’s a pity we can’t stay in here.” she remarked.
“I was thinking that as well.” I replied, “But once I’ve got a job we’ll be able to afford something small. We’ll just never be able to afford anything like this though.”
“That’s a pity.” she smiled, “But as long as we’ve got each other that’s all that matters.”
With that we both fell asleep, waking up mid-morning. At first we panicked about the fact we would be late on duty before remembering we had quit.
“Perhaps we could go and see the Countess again.” I suggested.
“What about ?” Helena asked.
“I’ve an idea that might get us this bedroom.”
“Lead the way.”
“Don’t you want to hear the idea first ?”
“There’s no need. I trust you to look after me.” she smiled.
At that point I realised that even if we left, Helena would be a subservient partner in our relationship as she simply had no idea how to look after herself in the outside world let alone other.
We got dressed in the maids uniforms once more but kept the shrouds and gags in our hands. It took some searching but the surprised postures adopted by the other maids on seeing us unveiled meant they quickly pointed us in the right direction. Eventually we found her in the garden.
“Ah, Julie and Helena. Ready to leave then ? I’ve had the flat in Nice readied for you and started to ask around for anybody with a job for either of you. In the meantime here is a credit card which you can use to buy whatever you need within reason.”
“Uh … no thanks madame.” I replied as she handed me the card.
“But you’ll need it. It’s alright, I don’t expect the money back.”
“We … uh … don’t want … to leave.” I stuttered.
“But I thought …” “I know madame.” I then realised I had missed off the M word for the first time since that fateful night. “I have an alternate suggestion madame.”
“I see. Does Helena think whatever this suggestion is a good idea ?”
“I don’t know madame. She hasn’t heard it madame.”
“I see. Obviously this won’t a partnership of equals either.”
“Perhaps not madame.”
“So what is your suggestion then ?”
“Well madame. We would like to stay here but in that bedroom … madame.”
“I see. If it was just you two I would probably agree but I can hardly provide you with better facilities and leave the rest where they are. That’s hardly fair now, is it ?”
“No madame. We would pay you for the room madame.”
“Pay me ? An interesting concept. How would this work ?”
“Well madame. You would charge us the same as a hotel would, say two hundred Swiss Francs a night for the room with all facilities.”
“Probably nearer four for a room like that but carry on.”
“Okay, four hundred then madame.”
“But do you have access to this kind of money ?”
“No madame. We would be in debt to you for it madame.”
“I see. But how would you pay off this debt ?”
“We couldn’t madame. At the rate you suggest madame, the room we would owe you almost one hundred and fifty thousand Swiss Francs after a year. As each year passes and with compound interest added, we would soon owe you millions of Swiss Francs which you could demand was repaid before we leave. We could never repay this much so we could never leave madame.”
“I see. Most ingenious. But how about your work here ?”
“We would still have to do that as before madame. That would pay for our food and so on madame.”
“So what about your closets ?”
“Well perhaps you could fill them with new maids madame. Then you could perhaps let us have some time off now and then … uh … madame.”
“How now and then would this be ?”
“Uh … once a week madame?” I suggested hesitatingly.
“Once every month.” she countered.
“Once … a fortnight … madame ?” I whispered.
“Done.” she grinned, “On one condition.”
“Uh … ?” I stammered, “One condition madame ?”
“Yes. You two aren’t to sleep with each other again until you’ve had your civil union registered.”
“I don’t understand Madame ?”
“You’re both getting married.”
“We are … madame ?” we both gasped.
“That’s right. I’m not having unmarried girls frolicking around in my chateau. Sophie and Laura had a grand wedding and so shall you.”
“Oh madame, you don’t need to do that.”
“Of course I do. Julie, you will wear the dress you wore before and I’m sure we can have one made for you Helena.”
“But we can’t afford that madame.”
“Of course you can. I’ll add it to your bill.”
“Why would you do this madame ?” I asked.
“Oh that’s easy. Julie, I believe your mother wouldn’t come within a hundred miles of you marrying another girl.”
“And Helena lost her mother some years ago which is why she ended up here. So provided you two have no objections, I’ll be pulling the veils over your faces beforehand and giving you to each other. I really enjoyed doing that for Sophie and Laura.”
“Oh … of course madame.” we replied, surprised but quite pleased to hear a way our relationship would bring her pleasure as well.
Helena and I looked at each other and grinned from ear to ear. It appeared that we were about to have our cake and eat it.
“Now until then you two.” the Countess clapped her hands, “Get your gags back in, your shrouds back on, and your hands and feet back to work.”
“Yes madame !”
A month later the strangest wedding ceremony the chateau had seen took place as every maid, promoted to bridesmaid for the day and all fully veiled and gagged of course, escorted two brides in pure white down the main stairs and up the central hallway of the chateau into the ballroom.
The only thing noticeable was there was not a single male in sight the whole time, the Countess even having found a lady qualified to perform the ceremony and had the chateau registered for that purpose so that we didn’t all have to travel into Geneva. But would you expect any less from somebody with friends truly in high places.
At the appropriate time, Helena and I knelt, removed our gags, said our vows and returned them to their proper position again. Of course that earned us both the automatic twenty strikes on our derrieres which the Countess enthusiastically administered but we equally enthusiastically bent over and received, the combination of a bridal slipper and the petticoats of our skirts resulting in us feeling not a thing. Everybody then gathered round us and wished us well, giggling and laughing then offering their bottoms to the Countess thereby keeping her busy with her slipper for most of the evening before we departed for our room.
There we found our wedding presents from the Countess, some food and champagne plus a selection of the various sex toys her company supplied to shops all over Europe and of course the reason I originally visited the chateau. Helena took one look at these, grinned widely and submitted willingly. She was to be the bondage bride that night and I set to work on her with a wide selection of blindfolds, gags, cuffs and chains before tying her to the foot of the bed and having her, still dressed in her gown, pleasure me with whichever bit of her I decided to release; tongue, fingers, even her toes were used to bring me to levels of pleasure I had never experienced before. We may all be here to serve the Countess but now there was one her to serve my desires too.
It was the middle of the next day before we even considered sleeping. I suggested she undress now but got a firm rebuff. She was going to sleep in her dress and I was to bind her up tightly. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, I looked out of our door and coughed to see if anybody was around. Anne-Marie appeared and despite her gag, managed to giggle when I explained she was to bind me up to match Helena beside me as it was the only way either of us were going to get any sleep. She eventually agreed and I reminded her to come and untie me early the next morning.
Chapter 6 – You Can’t Have Too Many Veils
I was expected to be back in the same routine as head maid the following morning but for Helena this represented the end of her life as Two. No wife can have two masters, or indeed mistresses, and from now on she would attend to my needs and would have to remain in our room most of the time.
But for myself the workload carries on increasing. The Countess has been most liberal in passing word of her needs for more slaves in appropriate places and more seem to arrive weekly from the unlikeliest of places. As well as existing slaves looking for new mistresses, she also seems to borrow ones from other masters and mistresses then delay sending them back.
However it is her efforts at attracting new recruits which I find amazing. Each year she runs the top debutante ball in Switzerland based on similar events in Austria a hundred years ago under the eye of the Empress Elisabeth, or Sissi as she was affectionately know. Entrance to this ball has always been on merit, not ability to pay, and is how Laura met Sophie after their dance partners turned out to also have an eye for each other. Massively oversubscribed, from now on the ball will be open to the two hundred girls who come to the ‘finishing school’ at the chateau from the end of their final school year all the way through their gap year until the event in early February. Of course this far exceeds the sleeping capacity of the maids’ quarters and I have to carefully schedule things so that similar numbers of maids are arriving and leaving those quarters all day, making a system of ‘hot-bedding’ work.
Chapter 7 – Veiling the Doors
With over two hundred and fifty willing pairs of hands, or sometimes hand, or perhaps just a head and body depending on their corseting arrangements, the options for serving the Countess multiplied hugely. Laura rose to the occasion magnificently as she created a long list of unusual ways for we maids to perform simple tasks the hard way.
Her ‘patent automatic door opener’ was the first. In this a pair of maids for a single door or two pairs for a French door stand on each side of the door connected by string. On seeing somebody approaching, the maid begins to bow. This pulls one string indicating for the other to bow as well and their combined strength is enough to pull another string and pulley system which slowly opens the big oak doors of the chateau such that it is fully open once both maids’ heads are just below the level of their posteriors, a position they of course have to remain in until it is permissible to shut the door again.
On first hearing the idea Sophie was less than impressed and remarked to Laura that she was being cruel but on seeing it in action for the first time she exclaimed ‘Oooo-la-la’ and insisted their bedroom door was the first with such a fitment.
Equipping the several hundred doors in the chateau is unlikely to happen but doing the ten double doors and fourteen single doors in most common use was deemed to be definitely a good use of otherwise idle bodies. Of course it would have been better for the maids if all of them cycled through this job but the sheer logistics or organising this each day were beyond me so I took the easy option of dedicating eight-two unfortunates to a gruelling ongoing schedule of forty hours on, eight hours off which had the added bonus that only fourteen beds were required to be reserved for all their use.
Soon curtains, table lamps and all sorts of other items gave new meaning to the words ‘fixtures and fittings’.
Matching shrouds were created for some of these but the majority still wear the traditional colour, and in what must be a magnificent sight were any there to view it, the mass of pure white veiled femininity leaves the maids quarters at five each morning to take up their sole duty of ensuring the lives of the Countess, her adopted daughter Sophie and her daughter’s lover Laura are even more pleasant, pampered and luxurious than the previous day. They do this in the knowledge that many of them will not return until one or possibly two in the morning yet will be expected to strive to do even better the following day than they did this.
Chapter 8 – Slow Motion Veils
One unexpected outcome of Helena leaving the service of the Countess to live with me was that she could occasionally leave our room without wearing the full shroud, although the Countess insisted she at least cover her head with something like the hood of a cloak. Thus when Laura and Sophie were next away, I had the unexpected pleasure of serving breakfast to the Countess and her guest Helena, a complete role reversal from my first visit here.
With my hearing turned off I couldn’t tell what they spoke about but a few days later I received a request from the Countess to prepare Helena and some maids to go to church on Saturday morning rather than the evening as was usual for us all. As we prepared her, Helena explained that the Countess had asked about whether she still went to church with us all and she said yes but thought it unfair that she could go straight to bed and rest afterwards whereas I had to go straight to work and thus was tired that night whereas she was raring to go. The Countess of course had a novel solution to this, Helena’s hobble skirt had been reduced to a step of roughly thirty-three millimetres which apparently makes the walk to and from the church as near to twenty four hours as one can manage. By the time she arrived home late on Monday evening she too would be exhausted but she would wait up for me to finish and then we would both get a good nights sleep. I remarked that only my mistress could come up with a scheme like this but once I saw Helena moving I had to admit it was a thing of beauty. Looser hobble skirts still show the body moving about but with such a small gait, Helena literally flowed across the room, albeit at the glacial pace of a couple of feet per minute.
I arranged for the Countess to observe her on her return from church and it was sealed, with so many maids available now we would spread them out around the chateau at all times and hobble them this strictly as well. Travelling to and from their beds was impossible so instead various cupboards were requisitioned as makeshift resting places, a supply of food and drink being kept in all.
This arrangement worked well until Sophie and Laura returned. Sophie loves to keep an entourage of maids in tow just as I had done when I first visited the chateau. But now of course there was simply no way they could keep up and if they were supporting a dress train it quickly fed through their fingers before falling to the ground. Sophie giggled at this and then to Laura’s obvious horror announced that they would wear tight hobble skirts as well.
The Countess was of course delighted with this proposal and so a happy Sophie and somewhat less than happy Laura now make a grand but agonisingly slow entrance to breakfast each day having departed their bedroom many hours before, then after their return and some rest to make up for lost sleep, repeat the process for dinner.
Laura is not amused by this and blames me. With she having rights of free access to my bottom, I have been kept more than a little sore in that place ever since. But the look of delight on the Countess’ face as everybody around her goes about their business in slow motion shows no sign of diminishing so I can expect my soreness to carry on for some time.
Chapter 9 – Holiday Veils
Despite her hard negotiation on time off for us, one perk the Countess has let Helena and I have is an occasional holiday as she feels I need an occasional rest from my punishing schedule of organising everybody else’s punishing schedules. She always organises it as a surprise for us and the only thing we can guarantee is that neither of us will be spending any time half-naked on a beach soaking up the sun as she is most insistent they we are veiled at all times even when away from the chateau.
Two years ago it was just a short break to Venice in the middle of Carnival. This was great fun as we could both wear posh dresses and the cloaks we last wore in London. But our faces were covered with masks and as it is usual to remove these at midnight, we were under strict instructions to be in bed by five to. Strangely enough, neither of us found that a problem as we still love each other immensely. And I expect unlike many other ladies there, we found the Moretta mask which is held in place by a gag in the mouth very easy to wear of course. We spent the whole day saying nothing but had a great time.
Last year our holiday was a three week trip to Egypt to see the pyramids and other sights which was really exciting. But the pre-packed suitcases she provided consisted entirely of heavy black veiled clothing of the time Muslim women wear with a narrow slit for our eyes. And even this wasn’t enough for her as there were two layers of thin black material which we were under strict instructions to pull over our heads and down across our faces if we were in the close company of others. The Countess never sees any of our faces and she expects the same to apply to everybody.
But we did see the sights and as wearing this attire made socialising with others next to impossible, we took meals in our room. We had worried about what people would think of two girls like us travelling together sleeping in the same room but it appears that with our attire they think we spend the evening reading holy books. Oh boy are they wrong !
Unfortunately for us, this year this is exactly what we have found ourselves doing for our three weeks off as although positions in the convent have been created for Isabella, Heidi and the second Frances, the Countess decided that Helena and I should take these positions temporarily so as to experience the joys of convent life for ourselves. Hmm. Although it is quite peaceful, it’s almost as tiring as life at the chateau.
One thing I do hope though is that they let us take the nun’s attire away with us as Helena is really giving me the hots in hers ! If she wears it back at the chateau I can’t see us getting out of bed again for quite some time.