The Loden Twins
– Part One –
by Mr. George
Dear reader, this is a story based on the idea of the ‘Reformist Saga’ by Nick Lucas. I got his permission to use his scenario to create a sequel that runs in parallel to his saga.
As English is not my mother language and I wanted to fit into the ‘landscape’ I asked for help and Nye North, another author at TOTV has been so kind to edit my story. Many Thanks for that!
Best regards, Mr. George
Mr. and Mrs. Schwarzwald, a rich and well known family, lived with their daughter Maria Lucas in Switzerland in a small village near Zurich. Although the whole area was strictly Catholic, Mr. Schwarzwald had concerns about the bad influence of the so called ‘modern society’ on his wife and his daughter. He considered leaving Switzerland or even Europe altogether and finding a quiet and peaceful place somewhere in the world, because living near a big city would always be a sore temptation for their little girl.
So he bought a big sheep farm in West Australia and moved with his family to their new home. The farm was as quiet as he had expected, more than two hundred kilometers to the next town, or better said a small village with some shops a little hospital, a garage, and some other craft businesses. There was also a church, where the now named Blackwood family spent every Wednesday afternoon and of course the Sunday. After some years, successful ones, as wool was “state of the art” in the seventies in Europe, Peter Blackwood had the idea not to sell only raw wool any more. He believed that hundred of housewives on Australian farms must have spare time and if they could knit after his models, he could sell his own ‘Blackwood’ knitwear fashion. It was a very successful enterprise and a short time later he remembered a material from his home country, LODEN that was very expensive if the quality was good. “Why not produce LODEN material in Australia?” he asked his wife one day. He hired a Swiss expert and soon the first factory was installed. The ‘Blackwood’ label got another underline. “Finest Loden and Knitwear fashion”. He had a partner who lived in Perth acting as a Director of the factory – or soon factories, and employed a rancher who was the head of the sheep farm, and so Peter could spent his time with his family, during he got richer and richer.
Maria got a private education – the first part was easy to be taken at home, as his mother Margret was teacher before her marriage with Peter. Everything seemed to go in the right direction, the way of life Peter had dreamed of but after a time things changed.
Maria became a young lady and although everyone was sure she would see the important things of life with the same eyes as her father, she started to see things differently. She began to hate the strict rules at home, what to eat, when to go to bed, when to pray and specially what to wear. Everything had to be exactly as designed by her father. She wore knitwear and LODEN in any form as this was a “pure and honest material, as her forefathers had used in Switzerland for hundreds of years”. Maria did not feel comfortable as it was definitely too hot for woolen turtlenecks under a Loden costume in an Australian summer! Even her tights were made of wool. Sometimes her mother allowed her to wear lighter ones as they were hidden, but it was still knitwear! Whenever she even dared to comment about her dress rules she got only one answer from her father. “Your grandmother always wore the same knitwear summer and winter, and whenever somebody asked if she felt hot in summer she would answer “A good sheep wears its wool the whole year, and this is a rule of nature, so who am I to question it” “Now I ask you, young lady, who are YOU to question it?” Those ‘discussions’ between father and daughter always ended with Peter’s words to his wife “Margret, I believe you should help your daughter into another layer of wool, from head to toe and maybe change to one of her wool lined Loden dresses?” Some twenty minutes later, Maria – guided by her mother – came back to her father and excused herself for her disrespectful words. Now she was dressed in an additional thick turtleneck including a face free balaclava, additional thick knitted tights, woolen gloves and a floor length dark grey dress made of middle thickness loden that had a high and stiff collar. It was fully lined with pure new wool and had a tight skirt that allowed her to take only small steps. Her father accepted her apology then recommended her to calm down and read the bible for the rest of the day.
During winter or on a cloudy day Maria was accompanied by her mother to her reflection chamber, a small room with a thick curtain in front of the small window. Her mother took a thick and tight fitting woolen cape with a special ‘hood’ from the coat hook and helped Maria in. The cape went down to her knees and the hood had no opening so it covered her whole head, fitting tightly to her face. Maria knelt down in front of the open fireplace so the cape came down to the floor and pushed her hands through tiny slits in the cape. Her mother turned on the gas fire and gave her daughter a quite heavy copy of the holy bible that lay on a small standing desk. Although there was a spotlight directed onto the bible, Maria had to hold it with both hands near to her face to be able to read the marked pages through the knitted stitching of the woolen mask. Her mother left the room and Maria started to read out loud during which time she saw and felt ‘the fire of hell that would burn her if she left the way to God’. It depended on her father if she was released for dinner or stayed there until it was time for bed.
On a hot summers day she was not brought to this chamber but was dressed in a heavy loden coat. Next was a woolen balaclava without any openings, followed by a loden cape with a massive hood. She was then guided onto a small terrace surrounded by dark stone walls and had to stand there reading the bible,
Maria did not know which was worse, kneeling in front of a fireplace or standing with the additional dark grey loden clothes (of course wool lined) in the hot Australian sun.
With the years Maria did not calm down as her father hoped and after her twenty-first birthday she could not bear her punishments any longer. This resulted in rows, each one heavier than the one before and at some stage Margret could not mediate it any more. Instead of accepting her punishment, Maria deserted the ranch leaving all her woolen and loden items behind her. She first went to Perth and later back to Switzerland. Peter Blackwood saw his dream in shreds and during the next year his wife forced him to leave Australia and go back home. But Peter did not want to go back to Switzerland as, from his point of view it looked as if he was following his daughter, so he searched for alternatives. He found what seemed to be an appropriate solution, Meadvale, a little town manly inhabited by Reformists. He was angry with himself because he missed this as the place to live before they went to Australia. After further investigations he was sure that Maria would have grown up in a protected world that would have shown him other teenagers in the same situation without what he called ‘unbearable restrictions’.
He sold his farm, the factories and even the ‘Blackwood’ brand fashion name with just one exception. He kept the right to order any item with the Blackwood label in a reasonable quantity and he could also request made to order items from any Blackwood factory for free. They ordered all their belongings, including all the woolen and loden garments, blankets and even ‘tons’ of raw sheep wool and Loden in different thicknesses packed and shipped back to Europe, went to the United Kingdom and bought a house befitting their social status.
Chapter One – The Twins meet their Grandparents
One day in May a lawyer contacted them and asked Peter Blackwood if he was born in Switzerland and had a daughter called Maria Schwarzwald. Although Peter had sworn himself to forget the fact of having a daughter he admitted, that he had a daughter named Maria who was born on the twentieth of June nineteen-seventy-two in Switzerland and the last I heard was living somewhere in Europe. “I have not seen or heard from her for nearly eighteen years” he told the lawyer.
“In that case Sir, I have some distressing news for you” the lawyer said and lowered his voice. “Maria Klum, maiden name Schwarzwald and her husband Wolfgang died in an accident three weeks ago. A technical defect on their car caused them to swerve and hit a tree. Both died on impact but their twin daughters Angelica and Katharina Klum survived with only minor injuries. You are the nearest – and as it looks like – the only relatives of the girls as Mr. Klum’s parents are dead and he was an only child. It took me some time to find you, but I am glad to have found the grandfather of the two girls. May I ask if the two sixteen year old orphans have a grandmother too, Sir?”
Peter was shocked. He just nodded until he realized that the lawyer on the phone was waiting for an answer. “Yes, my wife, Maria’s mother lives with me.”
“So, could you arrange to come to Switzerland and pick up the girls or shall we put them on a plane . . I mean, I hope you will want to see your granddaughters. Do you Sir?”
“Please give me your phone number and I will call you back after I have spoken with my wife” was all Peter could think to say. The lawyer understood and promised he would be at his desk for the next hours. He added that if he was not in the office he could be reached by e-mail.
“I will call you” was the answer and Peter replaced the phone. Margret had been in the living room when the phone call was finished and when Peter came from his library she saw that something terrible must have happened. However, as she was used to waiting for her husband to start a conversation she did not say a word, but did stop knitting.
“Did you have a clue that Maria had married and was mother of twins?” he began in a breathless voice. His wife nodded “It . . . I will never lie to you, so, yes, I had some loose contact and knew about her family. But, what do you mean with “was” mother of twins. Did something happen to Angelica or Katharina?”
“No, the girls are okay, but . . . I am afraid they have no longer have parents and it look as if we are the only relations of sixteen year old twins as Maria and her husband died in a car accident three weeks ago”
Margret started to silently cry and Peter Blackwood hid his face too. After a while he said with a trembling voice. “We will have to take a plane to Zurich as soon as possible to sign the papers as I believe we will become the official guardians of the girls, and then we can bring them to their new home, to Meadvale” He then raised his head and said religiously “And I swear by God, this time we will NOT withhold on the education of our grandchildren. They will accept the Reformist Society as the one and only place to live protected and in peace, they will learn to obey and they will go along with GOD.” Then he asked his wife “Did you store Maria’s clothes” “Yes, of course, they are still like new, but what about the dress code here in the Reformist Society. All young ladies wear velvet dresses and coats?” Margret worried.
“Do you wear velvet, or do you wear wool and loden as you always have done? Peter asked. “As long as it meets the moralities of Meadvale, the rules of protection and that no bare skin is shown, I believe the loden dresses, coats and capes, together with the woolen undergarments, WILL be accepted. And I am sure there is enough for TWO girls, at least in the beginning”
Two days later the Blackwood’s arrived in Zurich and met their grandchildren. It was a strange situation as the girls were still shocked by the accident and the death of their parents. They had not been rich and the new car bought on credit was a total loss. They had lived in a small flat and although they did not want to leave Switzerland they understood that they could not afford to stay as they had both been students in an international school still two years to go for the Matura. The lawyer had explained to them that they had rich grandparents who could give them a new home in England. Coming from an international school, their English was nearly perfect, so they could easily go to a college and later to the best universities in their new country.
As they were still minors, Mr. and Mrs. Blackwood signed the papers to become guardians of Angelica and Katharina and left it to the lawyer to handle all the rest, like canceling the contract for the flat, terminating the credit contract for the car etc.
Mrs. Blackwood told her grandchildren to pack just personal belonging and mementoes, saying there was no need to pack clothes, but the twins insisted on taking their own clothes with them. Margret let them go, as home in Meadvale there was enough time to show them their new way of dressing in their future lives. Only eight days after the phone call Mr. and Mrs. Blackwood flew back home with their grandchildren or by Swiss law, their new guardians. Angie was wondering about the warm clothes her grandmother had worn all the time. It was early summer, not hot but warm in Zurich. Nevertheless she had worn a woolen turtleneck and a loden woman’s suit with an ankle length skirt every day. Her sister Kathy supposed that she was an old lady of slight build and might have low blood pressure. “Those women often dress warm, also here in Switzerland you know”. The twins did not know that Peter Blackwood had planned to take a woolen and loden wardrobe in all sizes to Zürich to get his grandchildren dressed properly as soon as the guardian contract was signed, but Margret convinced him to wait until they finally arrived at their new home.
Chapter Two – Preparing the welcome
The flight to London was short and the girls where exited at going to live near such a big city. They just found it a pity that the big chauffeur driven car had such dark tinted windows that they could not see out so they had no idea about the exact location of their new home, but it seemed to be not more than two hours drive from the airport.
During the absence of the Blackwood’s their housekeeper had been very busy. Mrs. Miller conducted interviews for the position of Head Governess. The demand was to find the best available in the Reformist Society. After much deliberation she selected Mrs. Kelly, a sixty-five year old lady for the job of head governess. Mrs. Kelly had retired six month ago as the girl she had been governess for got married and there had been other, younger servants from her husband’s family to take care of her in the future. Mrs. Kelly was known for her strict, uncompromising and plausible art and, as an old friend of Mrs. Miller, she wanted to help her find the rest of the staff who were to comprise the twins team.
Also in the house some adjustments had to be done before the twins arrived. The room for the twins had to be furnished. Mrs. Kelly inspected the room of Maria and found it not the best choice. It was a big and friendly room with a king size bed and a nice carpet. The new governess inspected the other available rooms and found one under the roof that seemed to be perfect from her point of view. It had two roof windows to the south and two additional smaller rooms at each side that would be perfect for wardrobes. As the floor was also equipped with a separate bathroom there would be no need for the twins to leave the floor if not requested by someone else. Maria’s huge wardrobe was separated into two identical sets, and the last room at this floor – very small with only a small skylight in the sloped roof was chosen to be their chamber of reflection. As it had no direct access to the chimney two of the biggest available electric fake fires were installed in this room just in front of each other. The room was only 1.8 x 2.5 meters in size, the door being on the opposite side from the slope in the roof and so the heaters had been placed on the longer walls with just ninety centimeters free. Two girls in a standing or kneeling position in this aisle would have to stay side by side facing her own heater in front of her, but feeling the other on in her back. Each heater had a remote control that could turn on the fake fire but also controlled the heat. Even one of them turned on to its lowest temperature would be enough to bring the room to a more than comfortable temperature even on winter’s night.
In the now upcoming summer the room would be heated by its sloped roof wall and the sticky air could not escape due to the small and permanently closed window. In all the rooms on this floor Mrs. Kelly had ordered that the windows were equipped with sliding bolts that could be locked with a single key. “Girls should not fall prey to the temptation of opening a window themselves” she said to Mrs. Miller when the bolts had been installed on the large bedroom windows. As the sun was pretty strong on these days and the curtain was open from nine in the morning until five in the afternoon the room got very warm through its closed windows. Mrs. Miller ran a hand over one of the extremely thick and fluffy woolen bedcovers that had warmed up due to its dark color. “Now I understand why you insisted on positioning the two beds directly under each of the skylights. The sun is doing a good job and what would be more appropriate than the power of God’s nature for the girls?”
“I totally agree with you, but WE should leave the room now, as ‘this’ comfort should be reserved to for twins if possible. I also want to show you the rules for the girls that I sent to Mr. Blackwood for his approval yesterday” she said, closing the door, which did not have a knob on the inside, behind her, meaning it could only be opened from outside the room. “We have to expect some – let´s say – slip-ups from the girls. As I understand it they are not used to a strict regime as young girls should be. As their mother escaped in Australia I am afraid she did not take the good basic education with her. And if her husband had the same soft background it will be hard work.”
“I am afraid you are right, my dear. I know as much from a phone call from Mrs. Blackwood the girls have never even seen a corset so needless to say they have not worn one” Mrs. Miller replied as they sat down in the big kitchen for a good cup of tea. “But I cannot imagine anyone better than you to get the girls on the right track” she added with a smile.
“Well, I hope that Mr. Blackwood will follow my guidelines, I have already adapted my approved methods with the Blackwood tradition as you will see.” Mrs. Kelly offered the document to her friend.
Mrs. Miller took her reading glasses and opened the folder.
- All my thoughts, words and doings are known by GOD, so I must always remember that although I might try to hide them from authorities I can never hide them from HIM
- If my doings, my words or even my thoughts fail in the eyes of GOD, I deserve a punishment.
- My education, and so my rules, I have to obey have been defined under this premise by my grandparents as my legal guardians, and so they are irrevocable.
- My rules are executed by my head governess and her assistants.
- They can transfer this function to others if required
- In case any punishment has to be pronounced it is done either by the head governess or the first governess. Any punishment can be overruled by my grandparents at any time in any direction
- My second governess is my guardian in the common way of meaning. She will take care of my needs but also report any misbehavior.
- I am responsible for my appearance. This means that I have to take care that the clothes I am to wear are in perfect condition and worn in exactly the required form. Any unauthorized change of my clothing is forbidden and will result in a harsh punishment.
- Whenever I am allowed to communicate I must speak quietly and with respect. What I say has to be as courteous as possible, as submissive as applicable and completely honest.
- I am responsible for fulfilling any rule or direct order, which includes retaining in the ordered position or shape.
- I have to obey any order coming from one of the above named legal guardians immediately, without hesitation, without dissent (in doings, verbal or in even body language) and follow it to the letter.
- If I fail in thought, word or deed, I have to report this to my governess and beg for the deserved punishment to become a better person in the eyes of my LORD
- If I refrain from reporting misdeeds about my own failures and they are reported/recognized by someone else, my deserved punishment will be at least doubled
- In case I see any other alum in my presence failing – especially my twin sister – I have to report this to one of the governesses to help her in becoming a better person in the eyes of our LORD.
- If I refrain to report failures in others and these are reported/recognized by someone else, I will earn the same punishment as the not reported alum and an extra charge for my own omission.
- Dressing (general)
– I will wear appropriate underwear which includes at least two complete layers over my corset
– Turtleneck and opaque tights will assure a complete covering
– A floor length dress or skirt and jacket are mandatory
- Dressing in public requires a complete covering – no skin maybe visible
– This includes a coat, gloves + mittens, and a bonnet with a veil (the layers of the veil might change from time to time, but two layers of gauze covering the whole face and one layer of thicker material (Velvet, Loden, etc.) is the minimum
- During the night.
A night corset is mandatory, the rest of the layers, including body or sleeping bags, blankets and or duvets might change but a minimum of two layers is mandatory
- It is only my grandparents decision (as my legal guardians) to set any standards about the methods of my punishment
- The methods will be agreed to between the legal guardians and my governesses.
- The severity of my punishment will be decided either by the head governess, my first governess or my legal guardians. They can all be overruled by my grandparents who hold the right to a final decision.
- There is no special punishment ‘catalogue’.
Listed below are the most common methods that will be used, although other means may be used.
a. Lacing of my corset
b. Changes in my current clothes – in quality, number of layers, outerwear or
accessories such as balaclava, mittens, scarves, veils, blankets.
c. Restrictions in my mobility by clothing or other means.
d. Restrictions to the room I have to remain in, or a spot I must remain motionless on.
e. Changes in temperature in enclosed rooms or access to direct sunlight if outside.
f. Changes in bedtime (immediately or earlier in the coming evening)
g. Changes regarding my night gown, blankets, sleeping bag or other device.
h. Restrictions such as tight blankets around my body or being tied/strapped to the bed while sleeping.
i. Indignities by e.g. using one of the above named methods in public
j. Corporal punishment (e.g. spanking)
ALL the above named methods can, and will, be pronounced as immediate punishments, starting at a specific time or day and last for the (case-by-case) decided duration.
Exception: ‘J’ needs an explicit consent by at least one of the legal guardians. The details (method of spanking and number of strokes) can only be decided by my legal guardians, if applicable following recommendations of the head governess.
Mrs. Miller finished reading. “I believe this will do for a start” she confirmed with a satisfied nod. “I assume you got the ‘exception’ from Mrs. Blackwood?”
“Yes, indeed, and if you ask me, it’s wrong, as a good spanking never did any harm to a girl, I can say from my experiences as a governess for forty-five years. In earlier days a so called ‘Welcome spanking’ showed arriving girls the right way from the very beginning, and you can believe me, it helped a lot to start with less resistances. But as it is not a Blackwood tradition it remains reserved for real extreme misdeeds” she finished with regret in her voice.
Chapter Three – The arrival of the Girl’s
The Blackwood’s owned a big property that was well protected against intruders, now it became also more or less escape-proof. Of course this did not work for the whole property including the little wood and a small lake but the main building had been checked to become as secure as possible in both directions, in and out.
Also some additional items had to be purchased, for example the Reformist nearly mandatory pyjamas and the body-bag like ‘monsters’ that could be completely closed over the wearer’s head. Of course the girl had a thick down mummy sleeping bag lined with sheep’s wool, but the tradition of the Reformists required those pyjamas. To hold on the Blackwood tradition the girls would wear additional wool layers under her body bag. Two standing desks had been organized as the girls might be required to stand motionless during their study of the bible. Mrs. Blackwood had transmitted the girl’s sizes for shoes and it was a piece of luck that all the boots and ankle boots that have been stored from Maria’s wardrobe were the right size, although the size would depend on the number of stockings or woolen tights the girls would be wearing, so Mrs. Kelly organized some additional models in different sizes, each in two identical pairs.
Mrs. Kelly conducted further interviews with women who were willing to work under her strict rules and supervision. She eventually chose Mrs. Kent as Angelica’s governess, Miss Glass as Angelica’s junior governess, Mrs. Hunter as Katharina’s governess and Miss Bell as Katharina’s junior governess. The four women at first wondered about having a supervisor and working in teams, as one governess was the standard in the Reformist society, but Mrs. Kelly explained that Mr. Blackwood had given strict orders that the twins could need special assistance and protection twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It was also expected that the young Misses would not be used to this strict regime. To the corset, the restrictions in what to wear, the veiling etc. So a monitoring of their behavior as well as some support to obey would be needed.
Angelica and Katharina chatted during the flight as they always did. The conversation with their grandparents was a little bit hesitant but this seemed to be normal when you travel with older people you have never seen in your life. Margret tried to make conversation but she saw that the twins just answered with empty phrases. Peter was quiet as usual, totally engrossed in his memories of Maria, her ‘escape’ from the farm and what might have been different if she would have lived in the Reformist Society where she would have seen that all teenagers live in the same ‘world’ and like it. The differences in the material of her clothes, velvet and a corset instead of Loden and wool could not be the reason. Peter was not sure about the standard underwear of the girls in United Kingdom but he could not believe they did not dress accordingly. He would talk with Mrs. Kelly about the corset because it was obvious the girls had never worn one before in their lives, but if a veil, mittens and a corset were good for all the other girls in Meadvale it would definitely do no harm to his granddaughters.
Once, during teatime with neighbors, he had seen a girl – or better not seen her – as she was covered by a very thick woolen blanket sitting motionless in the conservatory for the whole afternoon. It was a hot day and everybody stayed in the air conditioned living room. The glass door to the conservatory was closed and all venetians including the sunblind for the glass roof had been opened so the room was sun-drenched. He wondered what effect the thick dark blanket over the girls head might have in a closed hot room so he asked if the girl was not boiling in her dress. He was told that she was in disgrace so she was fully dressed, including coat, mittens and four layers of thick veils. She had to remain covered by the thick blanket so that she totally concentrated on the words of the bible coming from her headphones. Peter agreed that this would definitely help her to regret and wondered to himself if this would have been a better way for Maria than the reflection room she had used in the past. Maybe being veiled in this restrictive way would have reflected her back to herself better than staying in a room or on a terrace, even without anything else she had to do than read her bible. A second benefit would have been monitoring the girl all day long, under similar conditions as they had in the room or on the terrace in Australia. But for Maria it was too late.
At this time he had no idea that the fate would give him another chance.
When the car stopped in front of the big House the girls became excited and impatient to see their new home. But their grandmother had, in arrangement with Mrs. Kelly, a ‘surprise’ for the girls. “Angelica, Katharina, you both could do me a big favour” she started with a smile. “I would appreciate if the first thing you would do in your new home is to visit your bedroom. It had been prepared for you and I would like to show you the rest of your new home afterwards, piece by piece” the old lady continued. This was not really a lie, as ‘afterwards’ was a relative word, and their bedroom was indeed prepared for them. “I would also like you to wear these blindfolds and let yourself be guided through the house?” The girls faced each other and although they found it strange, Katharina, who was always the more yielding one agreed. “Okay, if it´s important for you, grandma, why not?” she agreed. Peter jerked as Katharina called her just grandma, but did not say a word. The grandparents had the opinion that the girls needed to read and understand their rules provided by Mrs. Kelly first. Before that, it would be not fair to blame them for making mistakes. And Peter was always a gentleman, and fair play was important to him, as was obedience and perfect behavior, but the girls would learn. Hopefully they would learn the easy way, but if necessary they would learn the hard way.
Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Kelly and the four servants had noticed the car and opened the door to help guide the blindfolded girls in. As was part of the plan they did not say a word. In the presence of their grandparents the two girls would meet Mrs. Kelly. Their grandmother would introduce her and make it clear to the girls that from now on, Mrs. Kelly’s word was law and had to be followed in the same way as their grandparent’s word. After the introduction Mrs. Kelly would hand each a copy of the rules and leave them alone for a while. Then, with enough time to prepare them for dinner, all the governesses would meet the girls and help them to change in a more appropriate outfit than the light blouse, cotton skirt and, for God´s sake, hip-length DENIM-jackets!
The first part went very well and the girls were in their new bedroom before they removed their blindfolds. The room was simply furnished, hot and sticky. Angelica wanted to open a window at first. “Please, Angelica, wait until you have both been introduced to Mrs. Kelly” her grandfather said, stopping her in her tracks. Mrs. Kelly will help you to let’s say ‘acclimatize’ to your new home. I hope, no better said, I EXCPECT that you will follow her instructions as if they come from me or your grandmother. There are no exceptions, no excuses and no alternatives. You will learn that obedience is one of the most important characteristics, only surpassed by the love to God, I would believe.”
“Very well said, Sir” Mrs. Kelly said before turning to the twins. “Girls, I believe everything is new and unfamiliar to you, and as your parents did not educate you in the correct manner, it is not your fault. By the way, please accept my condolences on the loss of your parents. To become orphans so young is tragic, but all the better for you that your parents legal representative found your grandparents, who honestly care about you and your future. Due to this situation it is even more important that you trust in God, in the love of your grandparents and in the fact that everyone in this household just wants what is best for you. It is our deep conviction that you understand that everything we teach you is for your benefit and that you learn everything as quickly as possible. Before I will introduce you to the rest of the staff who will be assisting me, we, that is your grandparents and I, want you to stay here in your room stand and read the folders on your bedside table in complete silence. Angelica, you stand beside your bed on the right side, Katharina, on the left. Take your time as it is very important that you read carefully so you understand what is written there. Believe me, if you understand and follow those guidelines, you will have wonderful and peaceful lives here, but if not . . .”
Mrs. Kelly did not finish the sentence but only the Blackwood’s had any idea what this meant. “But, can´t we first open the window or better still take the folder outside? It´s such a lovely day and I would love to see the garden. But through this sloped window we can´t see out, and also there is no curtain to block the sun if required. That’s why it is so hot and sticky in here, so can we go downstairs or sit in the garden, please?” Angelica, as the always more active twin said.
Nobody could say that the girl was impolite or her arguments had been unreasonable, nevertheless Mrs. Kelly just gave her a stoic look. “Angelica, I presume? I know you have not read the rules yet, but I believe I made myself more than clear that you will stay HERE, or better said STAND beside your bed and read the folder in complete silence! You will be given the chance to asks questions when I come back, and I will answer them in the cases they are relevant to you”
Without waiting for an answer the three adults left the room and as they closed the door for the first time, Angelica realized that there was no door knob on their side of the room. “What the hell does that mean?” she asked her twin sister. Katharina had picked up the folder and started reading. “I don´t know, but I think you should read THIS” she answered shocked.
Chapter Four – The ‘preconditions’ are assigned
Mr. and Mrs. Blackwood sat down with Mrs. Kelly in the large and elegant living room. “I think it was a very good idea of our Mrs. Miller to persuade you to come out of retirement” Mr. Blackwood said, pointing to a copy of the rules, Mrs. Kelly had provided “It sounds as if your experience is exactly what the girls need” “Thank you Sir, you are too kind. But I am afraid there are still some details to be decided. I am not sure if I should ask you or Mrs. Blackwood those questions, but I do believe they need an answer before I go back upstairs along with the other members of my staff.”
Mr. Blackwood was aware of the fact that his wife was not one hundred percent convinced that the rules she had read during the flight would be the best for the girls. She was afraid of the possibility that they would lose them in three years from now as they lost Maria. Not that she refused the lifestyle of the Reformist or did not believe in a strict education for young ladies, but she just found the daughters of HER little girl and she worried, if at all those punishments and savage sentences, a relationship between grandmother and granddaughters could arise. But Peter had been totally sure that this was the only possible way to go. He had promised his wife that this time it would not fail as the society the girls would live in was completely on their side. No girl the twins would meet was treated differently. None of them had more freedom or less strict educational methods to bear. So Angelica and Katharina would comprehend sooner or later that this was the today world and their future destiny.
“Please go ahead Mrs. Kelly” Peter answered before his wife could say anything. “You do not need to consult us at all, isn’t that right Margret?” “Of course. I was just wondering if there was anything else that might need defining but the rules seem to cover everything the twins might do or even think”
“That might seem to be but let me give you some examples so you will see that some details, the girls do not need to read in advance, have to be clarified. Otherwise we, as the Governesses might make decisions you are not happy with and, although you always have the right to overrule our judgment, it should not happen from the beginning. Girls their age have a sense for divergences between their guardians, and it would not be the first time that a girl could estimate that she could use this to her advantage. I have a little list I would like to go through if you will permit”
“Please, continue” Peter said, looking at his wife. Margret understood his look and just nodded. “First of all, we need to make sure that the girls find God. This will give them the strength and persistence that is required to go through the rest of their education. So a daily Bible study is absolutely mandatory. I would hope you leave it up to me to set the required hours in their schedules as well as the place the girls have to remain for those studies?”
“Why not? I believe we are clear about your area of authority?” Mr. Blackwood told her. “Well, I hope we are, but specially at the beginning the girls might feel the rules they have to obey from now on are too strict or even cruel. They might see their daily routines, the dress code or maybe even the Bible study as a form of punishment. A punishment they do not deserve from their point of view. And to make that clear, I do NOT believe they deserve a punishment for their former lives, the way they have been growing up and their obvious libertine education. But things have changed. And these changes might not be easy to follow for them. It will be a challenge, and with all understanding, the one or other punishment might be necessary. So I want to be sure that these orders do not get overruled, at least not too often and without knowledge of the reason.”
“I believe Mrs. Kelly, neither my wife nor I will overrule your decisions as we trust in your experience with young ladies” Peter said with a look to his wife. It was clear for all in the room that this was not only an answer to the head governess but also a warning to Mrs. Blackwood not to tamper into the girl’s education.
“Thank you Sir. I am honored by your confidence in my experience. So may I move on to the next point? I could not find any corsets in Miss Maria’s wardrobe, but as you know, we believe that this is a, or better said, one of the most important items. A girl that is laced by day and night does not only form her figure to the most feminine result, it also sustains her, it protects her and is a constant reminder of the regime under which the girl is living. Therefore I would strongly recommend taking the twins to the corset maker as soon as possible.”
Mrs. Kelly could see that Mrs. Blackwood was hesitant. She was such a slim person that she obviously did not require a rigorously laced corset to fit into her form-fitting costumes. So her recommendation was directed to Mr. Blackwood, who replied “I know it is the common fashion here and, from what I have observed, it obviously does no harm to the girls I have seen so far. I do not see any reason not to follow this advice. Do you Margret?” “No, I don´t, my dear” Mrs. Blackwood answered softly. “So, it’s agreed, next point?”
“Next is the verbal communication with the twins or maybe I should say THEIR conversation, Sir. You might not have heard any young lady speaking in public since your arrival in Meadvale, and that is for a good reason. The girls are muzzled. In former times the young ladies were just gagged, but this gave problems with their feeding and also, as the strap left marks on the girls faces it and was an eyesore spoilt their beauty. A couple of years ago, one of our dentists, Mr. Blackstone invented a kind of clamp with a hinge. It prevents the wearer from talking, but as the teeth are held slightly apart, it allows the feeding tube to reach into the throat. At the same time the tongue is depressed and as long as the girl gets a regular intake of fluids, it can be worn for long periods of time. The fitting takes not more than two hours, and I have made an appointment for tomorrow. Of course I can cancel it if you disagree?”
This time Margret was faster “Does this hurt, I mean the fitting or wearing this ah . . clamp?” she asked anxiously. “No, not at all Madam, at least not after the girl gets used to it. For beginners it might ache a little or swallowing becomes a little challenge at the beginning but after a time it gives the girl no problems even when worn for the whole day, I can assure you.” “Then we should give it a try Margret. We can always change our minds at a later time IF we feel it does any harm to the girls” Peter decided.
“Very well, now some minor accessories. You might have seen that girls wear mittens in public and I know families who see no reason to take them of at home. I propose that, as your granddaughters will be wearing loden coats in public and loden suits or dresses at home, that you order a set of loden mittens for each made by our dressmaker. She assures me this can be done overnight and delivered by tomorrow morning latest before we leave for the appointment with the dentist. I also know that you want them to continue with the Blackwood tradition of knitting at home. I do believe this is a very good hobby for the girls, but of course it requires more mobility for their fingers. So for home I would propose woolen mittens that have a removable flap to free the fingers. You might have seen this before. The only difference I could imagine is that those mittens have no thumb, and therefore knitted gloves as an inner layer. So the flaps have to be removed by one of us, but even then there will be no skin visible, as they still wear normal woolen gloves. It might be a challenge to hold the knitting needles at the beginning, but this is just a question of training”
“Very good idea, agreed without any doubts”, Mr. Blackwood said and waited for the next point.
“A fashion that is obviously not your favorite style is veiling. I have seen Mrs. Blackwood wearing a little hat with one gauze veil down to her chin but but I believe you will agree with me, that a complete and more strict veiling should be mandatory for the girls, and not only in public. A decision will need to be made if they are of the common material, which is two or three layers of gauze protecting complete face and an outer layer made of velvet or maybe loden in their case. This last layer leaves the eyes free of course and we can still decide if a wool layer in the form of a balaclava is required. For total mantling we can use the hood of their coats and capes as well as separate balaclavas in various styles and materials. For girls in disgrace we often use thick blankets to hide them, not on the street of course, but at home or during visits”
“It is out of the question that we will follow the ‘local fashion’ on this point.” Mr. Blackwood answered without hesitating. “IF the girls are to wear extra layers, like totally closed woolen balaclavas underneath, it will depend on their behavior or the reason for going out.”
“Very well indeed, now there is a last point, I would like to put as a reserve, just in case the girls rebel more than we all hope at the beginning. In my former employment in a residential school we had some ‘muffs’, these were simply tubes made of very strong linen with straps attached to fasten it. They were lined with Velvet, or fake fur, on both inside and outside and all the girl had to be told to do was push her hands in from both ends until she could hold her own wrists or forearms. All I, or the guardian, needed to do was pull on the hidden straps to pin the wrists together. Without the straps being loosened the girl could not remove her hands from the muff. This was a very effective, but completely invisible way of immobilization. In our case I could imagine an outer layer of loden – in the same color as the coat or dress Angelica or Katharina is wearing, then the linen and inside thick wool. The straps would then fix the linen tube with the wool inside, but the outer loden would look totally normal. Nevertheless neither girl would be able to remove her arms from the muff. Another way of immobilization would be to install heavy but well hidden zippers on each sleeve from shoulder to wrist on their coats. As long as they are open, the girl can move her arms, if they get closed, let´s say, to the elbows, the girl can only move her forearms. With the zipper totally closed the arms are kept tight to the body. To make sure that it remains secret that she has no use of her arms, a simple cape down to her hips would be enough. And I have found some in Miss Maria’s wardrobe.” Mrs. Kelly finished
“But does this not mean to put the girls in chains?” Mrs. Blackwood asked with discomfort in her voice, thinking that maybe her husband would decide on something similar for herself. “Not really in ‘chains’ my dear” Peter silenced his wife. “It is more an option to restrain the girls IF necessary, and under these preconditions I do not see, why we should reject this opportunity”
“Last but not least we need to agree about the social contacts for the girls. I believe for the first weeks they should remain at home, or better said in the house with just one strictly regulated walk through the garden every afternoon. Of course the girls will go to our church as well, but this is an appointment with God and not for socializing. Later we could start to invite other girls in their age to our House. I was thinking of girls such as the Harrington sisters, Henrietta and Georgina. They are very nice young ladies with perfect manners and fully agree with the ideas of the Reformist Society. At the beginning I would recommend that the twins just listen, conversation should follow as soon as we can trust their behavior.
“I think, this is a good approach, Mrs. Kelly. I am sure that contact with other girls will have a good influence on the twin’s manners and having good examples of how to behave will help them to improve.”
“Sir, Madam, I am pleased to see that we totally agree with the required preconditions to make young ladies out of these, excuse my words, little tomboys. It’s not the girls fault of course, it is a result of an insufficient education, but as I always say, it is never too late to face God in his glory, and to start any possible effort to become a better person. And I can assure you, I will do my best to support the girls on this way” she ended in a pathetic voice.
Chapter Five – The First Crash
Mrs. Kelly had just checked her notice, as she is a well-structured person and never forgets an issue when Miss Glass hurried into the living room without knocking.
“Excuse me Sir, Madam, but I´m afraid, Mrs. Kelly is required upstairs” “If anything wrong with the girls, then we should . . .” a worried sounding Mrs. Blackwood began, but Mrs. Kelly interrupted her softly but with but with firm voice. “Excuse me, Madam, I believe, everything is all right, and as we are finished with the details I believe you will excuse me? Sir, Madam? In case you have further questions or want a report of what happens through the rest of the day, I will be glad to see you this evening at a time that suits you”
“Very well Mrs. Kelly. Please go ahead and attend to your duties. The twins might have finished reading or maybe they are just hungry, as it is lunchtime I believe. We can talk again after dinner again” Mr. Blackwood finished their conversation and dismissed Mrs. Kelly. His wife was not so sure about the reason, as Miss Glass looked nervous, and Mrs. Kelly knew that there must be another reason because the girls had no permission to speak, so if it was the case that they had asked for lunch through the closed and locked door, this would not have required her presence. So she left the room followed by Miss Glass and as they entered the staircase she questioned the other woman.
“What is so important Miss Glass? I believe the girls are still in their room?” “Yes, Mrs. Kelly they are, but one of the girls, I believe it´s Angelica, is knocking the door with her shoes! But this is not the problem, she is screaming that she needs the bathroom and gives us two options in case we do not allow it immediately. She will either smash the window and climb out onto the roof, or pee in the corner of the room, as this will never become her bedroom anyway. Sorry, Mrs. Kelly, but these are her exact words” Miss Glass was uncomfortable to give this report as she never met a girl with such a temperamental character in her life.
“Good God” Mrs. Kelly said, “This might be a bigger job than we expected. But be confident. We have all the required abilities to overcome anything the twins might throw at us, and by the time we have finished with them they will be respectful, perfectly behaved young ladies. It will not happen today, or tomorrow, but we have nearly three years, more than a thousand days to do the job.
Mrs. Kelly opened the door to the girl’s bedroom just when Angelica yelled out “This is your last chance to prevent an accident. Either it’s in this room or on the roof.” When the door to the room was pushed open it nearly smashed into the girl “Thanks God. Where is the bathroom?” Angelica yelled and tried to move past Mrs. Kelly. “ONE MINUTE young LADY. HOW dare you to make such a noise instead of standing beside your bed quiet and reading as ordered?” “Didn´t I make it clear enough? I NEED the bathroom, NOW” “Well, in this case, as you get a shower and then dressed you may go, but as you will have read the folder on your bed, you should be aware that you earned a punishment at the first possible occasion, for several offenses simultaneously. Miss Glass, show her the bathroom, please” Miss Glass curtsied and followed Angelica, who ran out of the room without a word.
Katharina had observed the whole scene without making a sound. She had been sitting on her bedcover when the head governess had entered the room but was standing beside her bed now. She had read the rules more carefully than her sister. Angelica was so upset about the locked door that prevented her to going to the bathroom that she had just skimmed though the list of rules and punishments while shaking her head in disbelief. Katharina had always been the more settled of the twins. She had an analytic brain and was thinking about consequences before action. “Well, Miss Katharina, your sister does not prove the word ‘Angel’ in her name on our day of welcome. I honestly hope this first impression deludes me. On the other hand I am pleased to see you standing beside your bed, quiet as ordered. Although not reading – anymore? Also when I entered you were sitting on your bed cover. That is something that is NOT allowed at any time. Young ladies do NOT sit on a bed. Do I make myself clear?”
“But there is no chair in the room” was the answer, as she had found it more than useless to stand in the room without even knowing when they would be released. “Very well noticed on the one hand but the wrong answer on the other. The correct answer when I ask ‘did I make myself clear’ is ‘Yes, Mrs. Kelly’ when able to speak or bow your head when unable to do so, and in both cases the answer should be accompanied by a curtsey. Do I make myself clear?” Mrs. Kelly looked into Katharina´s eyes and the girl was taken under that look. She felt that although she had not thought about following even one of the rules in her folder, this was not the moment for rebellion. “Yes, Mrs. Kelly” she said, and although her curtsey was clumsy, it showed her willingness.
“For now, as anything is new to you, I will give you an answer to your remark” Mrs. Kelly said, obviously pleased with the reaction of the girl. “My stare still works” she thought satisfied about the power she could still radiate without saying a word. “There is no chair in here, as this is a bedroom, and nothing else. To read in here was an exception for the first day, as your standing desk is in the reflection chamber and your study room next to the staircases. Both will be shown to you at the time. So, now we come to the one and only question I have for now: Did you read and understand the content of the folder here beside you? And before you answer, please think about what you have learned just a minute ago. I did not ask you for your comments, or if you have any questions, I just asked ‘Did you read and understand the content of the folder?’”
Although Katharina did not see any need for one of the rules or was willing to accept any of the punishments, the answer to that question was undoubtedly yes. And under the same stare as before it came on its own out of the girls mouth. “Yes, Mrs. Kelly”. The governess did not avert her eyes from the girl, she did not even blink until Katharina added at least a tentative curtsey. “Very well, my dear. I am now going to introduce you your personal governess, Mrs. Hunter, and your junior governess Miss Bell.” She opened the door and turned around to ask the two women to enter the room. “Mrs. Hunter, Miss Bell, this is Katharina Egli. Miss Katharina, your governess Mrs. Hunter and your junior governess Miss Bell, whose role you will probably better known as that of a nanny” “Nice to meet you” replied Katharina and wanted to give her a hand. None of the women rejoined the gesture and Mrs. Kelly corrected the girl again. “A deep curtsey is the correct way a girl answers an introduction to an adult, my dear. Did your mother teach you no behavior at all?”
Katharina´s face stiffened. “My mother was the best person in the world and she taught me to act politely and respectfully to everyone but NOT to feel worse than anyone else! Not because of origin, age, money or achievement. She believed that we are all equal in the eyes of God and should respect each other as HIS children, and so do I.” the girl ended with tears in her eyes.
Mrs. Kelly changed the subject when she saw that the memories about her mother were a sensitive topic “Well said, my dear, but now it´s time to have a shower and get dressed”. May I strongly recommend that you follow your governess without any hesitation, especially in regard of your new dress code. Be aware that you have no choice and any form of resistance will result in a punishment”. Again Mrs. Kelly made sure to have direct eye contact during her ‘recommendations’ to give them the required power. With silent satisfaction she noticed a nearly inaudible “Yes, Mrs. Kelly” followed by a more or less hinted curtsey before the girl followed her governess from the room.
It did not take long for Angelica to return and her first reaction was to remain standing in the doorway. “Please come in, my dear” Mrs. Kelly said in a friendly tone. “I would prefer to stay where I am, because I have an aversion for locked doors” the girl said warily. “I am not used to repeating an order, so please” Mrs. Kelly changed the tone and looked directly into the girls eyes. “Okay, but the door remains open, please” replied Angelica in a similar tone and placed herself in front of the head Governess. “Please stand beside your bed” was the next command. “Is this necessary? Its so hot near the closed window as the sun . . .” “MISS ANGELICA” interrupted Mrs. Kelly the complaints “Your life will become much more unpleasant if you retain this attitude” “You mean the ‘punishments’ listed in this folder?” the girl said with a disparaging look. “You do not believe I can take this seriously? I am nearly an adult and you want to treat me like a six year old you can send to bed or lock in a room or wrap scarves around”
“I see you have read the folder” Mrs. Kelly said without taking any notice of the girl’s questions. “This saves time, as we can come directly to the advice I have just given to your twin sister. It is not a question what I ‘believe’ or not. For our own good You HAVE no alternative than to obey. And ‘for our own good’ has various meanings. You might be too young to oversee the consequences for your future personal development, as well as for your salvation, but in case you mean disobedience or ignoring your rules is an option for you, you will see, or better, you will feel the consequences very soon. And yes, we are talking about the consequences listed in your folder. I hope you do not expect we have not the preconditions for that. It is all agreed with your legal guardians and as you are a youth, or better said an orphan, that has been placed in the custody of your grandparents by the Swiss authorities you have no choice. Or better said you have just the choice to follow your governess and obey without any hesitation, especially regarding your new dress code that you are to begin wearing after you have had a shower. OR you can do the same but accompanied by an instant punishment. Now let me introduce you both to your governess and your junior governess, who, as I have explained to your sister, you might want to think of as your nanny. Mrs. Kent, Miss Glass, come in please” Angelica did not know how to react, those three women looked so confident and even threatening that she worried if she had a chance to fight back. Maybe it was better to do as requested and wait for a chance to talk to her grandparents. She could not believe that all this written in the folder, was known and agreed to by her grandmother. So she decided, at least for the moment, to obey.
The introduction and following order was accompanied by the same rebukes regarding the correct answer and the required curtseys and Angelica was near to another rebellion but in the end she obeyed and followed Mrs. Kent and Miss Glass, who in the meantime had checked if the extra shower room was free. Mrs. Kelly inspected the wardrobes of both girls to check if the required clothes had been prepared. She looked at the bar where the girls would stand during corset lacing in the future and found it a pity that this had to wait at least until tomorrow after their first visit to the corsetière. She was sure a tight laced corset would have been a good lesson to stop rebellion in Angelica because she had seen that the girl’s obedience was not a giving up of rebellion but a strategic action to wait for a better chance to escape. A chance, Mrs. Kelly was confident, would never come as long as she was responsible for them.
Chapter six – the first Outfit
While the girls showered Mrs. Kelly had a quick word with Mrs. Kent and Mrs. Hunter. She informed them about the positive feedback from Mr. Blackwood and the obvious hesitation of Mrs. Blackwood at some questions. “We need to make sure that all decisions that require a consultation or feedback are asked of Mr. Blackwood rather than his wife” she explained. “Mrs. Blackwood, although settled down in the Reformist Society seems to have some compassion for the twins. I mean it’s a pity that they lost their parents but if this would end in mercy during her education, they could have left them in a Swiss college or just hire Miss Glass and let the girls do what they want. But not under my regime! I can indulge Katharina, as her minor mistakes, such as sitting down on her bed or asking questions without permission, are the usual failures of all girls, although normally from those in a much younger age, but that is not her fault. So I think it will do it to add a thick woolen balaclava to her outfit, double layer with an eye slit only, pushed well down under her outer turtleneck and held by the collar of her loden dress” “So you want both girls to wear dresses instead of costumes?” Mrs. Hunter asked. “Yes, why not?” replied the Head Governess. “Did you check the available dresses? Are they all lined with wool?” “Yes. Some are thicker, some thinner, but it would be at least an extra layer on their upper bodies” Mrs. Hunter replied. “I believe we have some that are not lined with wool. I would like to keep these as an addition, at least for Katharina. ” Mrs. Kelly told her. “It´s a pity we have no corsets for the first day so the corselets will have to suffice” she added. Next will be the long armed turtleneck bodysuit plus knitted tights and gloves, all made from Angora-wool. Next she will be fitted with a thick face free balaclava that leaves eyes and nose free but covers her mouth to remind her about her failure. Then will come one of the white, sheep wool jumpers with the extra long and high turtleneck that has to be folded twice. First time it’s folded before closing the collar of the dress, second time is folded over the dress IF applicable. The turtleneck jumper is accompanied by knitted white tights of same quality. For Miss Katharina it is then followed by the Loden dress with stiff collar and cuffs and boots with a thin but warm wool lining.
“And for Miss Angelica? The same outfit for her?” Mrs. Kent asked Mrs. Kelly. “Well, you have been witness to her behavior and I do not believe she changed her mind just because of my warning. There was also a big difference in her answers, the way she asked questions and the nonverbal reaction. So I believe for her own good we have to be stricter with her. So she will wear a second pair of thick sheep wool tights and a complete wool lined dress. She will also wear long woolen scarves wrapped over her mouth and nose. Once dressed both girls will be guided to the study room, but place them in front of the standing desks please. I expect written reports about any misbehavior, either vocal or body language, they have both confirmed that they understood the rules. I believe you will agree that a strict beginning without mercy followed by some relief that the girls can earn with perfect behavior is better than a weak start where the girls have the feeling written rules are just ‘recommendations’. When they argue against punishments or feel that nothing is as bad as it looks, it will not work. Any questions?” The governesses shook their heads. It was clear to them that it would not be easy to get the girls dressed that way, but they agreed with the head governess that only a good start ends with the expected goal.
Katharina was the first to be led into her dressing room on the right side of their bedroom. She saw some closets and drawers but also open shelves. The shelves were full of woolen items in various thicknesses and the air in the room was sticky and everything smelled of wool.
There was a small sofa beside a table and a vertical bar with loops that could be pulled up and down. On the table she saw a huge amount of clothes, obviously provided for her. On a hanger was a thick dark grey loden dress with an extremely long skirt, long arms and a stiff collar. “Is that . . .” she began but had to clear her throat and start again “Excuse me, is this all for me?” “My dear, in the future you should learn to remain silent until given permission to speak, but as this is your first day I will excuse this, and yes, your twin sister has her own dressing room on the other side. So all you will find from now on prepared on this table or hanger is yours” Katharina inspected the various items and stopped at the balaclava with a question mark in her eyes. Impressed by the good progress Mrs. Hunter wanted to help the girl and so she answered the unasked question. “This balaclava is for talking without allowance in the bedroom, the rest is your standard outfit for the day” “But it’s not winter” the girl said before she remembered she was supposed to remain silent, but she never wore two woolen tights and two turtlenecks except on a cold winter day in Switzerland. “As I said, this IS your standard outfit my dear. Now no more comments otherwise the balaclava will not be the only additional item” Mrs. Kent answered in a warning tone. Hesitantly the girl started to dress, still not believing what was going on here. “I need to talk to grandma as soon as possible. She has to stop this nightmare” she thought while dressing. The collar of her dress was uncomfortably tight due to the two turtlenecks and the thick border of the balaclava. She wanted to drag on it but Mrs. Hunter immediately stopped her. “NEVER touch your clothes with the intention to change anything without permission or just to relieve yourself from any tightness or inconvenience” she said in a very strict voice. Katharina obeyed and was guided to the study room. The room was well heated and empty and she was ordered to wait in front of her standing table.
In Angelica’s dressing room the atmosphere was far worse. The girl had no intention of getting dressed in “a winter outfit during early summer”. It took the full power of persuasion from Mrs. Kent to convince her that she had no other option. Even the warning that her misbehavior would be recorded and end in additional punishments did not stop Angelica’s temperament at once. But finally she got dressed and joined her twin sister in the study room. Although Mrs. Kelly was ready for the inspection and the first lecture for the girls, she waited another twenty-five minutes. She wanted to see if the girls followed the order to stand motionless and in front of their own standing desk. As expected she found only Katharina where ordered. Angelica had sat down on one of the wooden chairs and they were talking.
The girls had started to talk as soon as their governesses had left the study room. Angelica was first to complain with loud voice. “It is unbelievable! I am wearing Angora tights and TWO thick woolen tights in addition! And then the corselet and an Angora turtleneck bodysuit followed by this incredibly thick woolen turtleneck. My dress is lined with wool and they expect me to keep this balaclava AND the scarves on as long as THEY want. But I don´t think so” she said and started to unwrap the scarves. Katharina was not so sure how to react. She had decided to wait for a chance to talk to her grandmother and did not want to upset the governesses too much prior to this. Of course, her balaclava was hot and itchy as well, and breathing through the thick wool was very annoying, but she also had recognized that her outfit was lighter than what her sister was wearing. Still hot, but one knitted tights, the lining of the dress and the scarves was a clear message what happened for disobeying. Angelica was so indignant at the unbearable outfit that she did not realize that her sister had no scarves. The third woolen tights and the wool lined dress were not visible and so she expected that her sister had already removed her scarves.
“Let´s take off this balaclava too, it is unbearable in this sticky heat and nobody can tell me that there is a need to hide in this room. Nobody can see us, and we can´t open the door or even the window.” Angelica found out, inspecting the room. She removed the balaclava and rubbed her sweat matted hair. “Maybe we should not change our clothes, Angie” Katharina whispered, remembering the harsh command when she just touched her collar. “Come on Kathy, if we stick together they can´t ignore it. It is definitely too hot in here and no reason for wearing such warm winter clothes. IF the belt of my dress was not so tight I would remove my woolen tights, at least the two thick knitted ones” “Your choice, Angie, but I will wait until we can speak to grandmother. I am sure she will bring an end to this nightmare, but we should not make our governesses angry before we can talk to grandma.” “You are always so polite and clever, my dear, but I believe we can show them that they may not do what they want, even before we got the help of grandma” Angelica said as she tried to lift her turtlenecks to get some air to her neck. She had just sat down when Mrs. Kelly, followed by Mrs. Hunter and Mrs. Kent, entered the room.
Miss Glass and Miss Bell stayed in the girl’s wardrobes because the first deliveries from Mrs. Foster, the dressmaker Mrs. Kelly had asked to make some express items were expected. The content of the cartons was separated into two identical sets, as Mrs. Foster was informed about twins as her customers. She had produced loden mittens without thumbs and lined with wool to match the coats, costumes and even dresses. She had also prepared the first examples of the muffs. Made from the same loden and lined they had extra straps made of linen to fix the muff on the wearers wrist and forearms as soon as the arms where placed parallel. Mrs. Kelly had not mentioned that the muff could be used in two ways, either the fashioned one, pushing each arm in from either side, or in a more restrictive way by pulling the muff over both forearms folded in a praying position. The fashionable and the praying versions are normally worn in front of the body but both can be worn with the arms held behind as well, and in this case the prayer version is painful. The girl needs to have flexible arms to reach a backward prayer and if wrist are then held in this position over an hour or longer, the shoulders hurt to the extreme.
The muffs had been delivered in closed versions (with just a hole at each end) but also in a version with Velcro and a zipper for the whole length of the item. This allows it to wrap over the forearms if they are already bound together by the small karabiner that had been sewn into each of the loden mittens. This allows the governesses to connect the wrists with one fast click on the karabiner. As the mittens would be tightly laced and lined, the wearer has no chance to get to the small bolt that opens the karabiner. It would then be easy to wrap the opened muff around both arms and pull on the three hidden straps that could then fix the muff from wrist to elbows and press the forearms tightly together.
Mrs. Glass and Mrs. Bell talked about the strict behavior of their head governess. “Do you think all of this was the original intention of Mr. and specially Mrs. Blackwood?” Miss Glass asked her colleague. “Not easy to say. Mrs. Blackwood did not look so stern, but maybe this was always Mr. Blackwood’s intention.” “However it’s the way Mrs. Kelly wants to go. I wonder why she is so merciless with the girls. I mean, they seem to be nice girls, just not used to our world. I feel we should give them some time to accommodate themselves but Mrs. Kelly gives them the full load from the first minute.” Miss Bell agreed “Yes, that’s true, but the Bible says they have to obey their parents, or grandparents in this case. There is no accommodation period mentioned in the words of God.”
“But were you dressed like that under your velvet dress by your mother?” Miss Glass asked. “Because I can remember I had to wear an extra layer when in disgrace. But this was, although it made it even hotter, not for punishment. It was necessary because we were not rich and I just had two good velvet dresses. Sitting in disgrace often meant having a thick blanket over my head, either at home, or fully dressed with coat, mittens and fully veiled at my aunt Mary´s home. So this extra layer was to protect the Velvet dress from my sweat.
My mother had to work after my father´s death and so she could not look after me all the time. So when I had to be punished and my mother had to leave the house she took me to my Aunt Mary. Of course it was deserved to give me time to regret my faults and find God, but to be honest, I hated having to spend the day at my Aunts house. First she let me sit down in the living room but when my mother left for work she ordered me into a small and windowless broom cupboard. She had added Velcro on both sides of an extra large and thick blanket and after throwing it over my head she could wrap me in the blanket and fix it tight to my body down to my knees. As I could not see anything in the dark and sticky room I did not dare to move as she warned me that I might knock something from one of the shelves onto my head. I moved just twice in all those years, and in this case I deserved and received an extra punishment from my aunt. There was no place to sit down so I had to stand motionless for hours. I was not even sure if my aunt was at home the whole time, or if she would have heard me in case I would have dared to cry for help or for release.”
“But I believe it was a good education for you to be more careful next time” Miss Bell replied and decided to ask Mrs. Kelly if Velcro would not be good for use on the blankets used during disgrace periods of the twins. Giving useful feedback for the twin’s education could only be good for her own status in the hierarchy as she had intentions of becoming a governess some day, in another rich family.
Chapter seven – the Rebellion Continues
The three governesses entered the room and Mrs. Hunter was pleased to see her girl standing at the ordered place. She knew that both girls had violated the order of silence but she had also heard, via the hidden microphone in the room, that Katharina tried to convince her sister to obey the orders, and that she still wore all of the clothing that Mrs. Hunter had dressed her in, something that was not the case with Angelica.
Mrs. Kent was angry and could not hide this as well as Mrs. Kelly. “Stand up!!” Mrs. Kent shouted, and Angelica rose slowly while Katharina curtseyed, maybe not as deeply as required and without bowing her head, but at least she attempted to do the right thing.
“Miss Angelica” Mrs. Kelly started with calm voice “I believe you have confirmed you read the rules from your folder, didn´t you?” “Maybe, but …” “NO, young lady, there is NOTHING like ‘but’ required in your answer” Mrs. Kelly interrupted the girl angrily. Although she did not shout or have angry body language, her tone made the girl stop. “Next question, and this time only a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, anything else will be counted as additional misbehavior. And I warn you, your account is already well filled. So, have you been told that it is absolutely forbidden to touch your clothes or make any changes that have not been ordered, especially for the purpose to give you any relief?” Angelica considered for a moment. She tried to get eye contact with her sister, but Mrs. Kelly corrected her sharply. “Look at me when I talk to you and answer my question. Have you been informed or better warned to refrain from this?” “Yes . . . Mrs. Kelly” she finally said, playing with the scarves in her hand.
“So you are aware of the fact that removing the scarves, the balaclava and your gloves are three misdemeanors? Sitting down and chatting are numbers three and four, incorrect salutation and wrong behavior during my inquiry takes the total to more than half a dozen. Good performance for such a short period” she ended with biting sarcasm. “I believe we need to adjust your outfit before we can start with the lesson.” She turned around and whispered something to Mrs. Kent. The governess left the room and returned a few minutes later with Miss Bell, who carried several items from Angelica’s wardrobe.
“Here we go, Miss Angelica” Mrs. Kelly commented on the next actions. The girl was surrounded by the three women who showed that they would bend the girls will with physical strength if required. “Before we start to complete your outfit you need a stronger reminder to keep silent” With this Mrs. Kelly raised a gag for the girl´s mouth. Angelica did not recognize it as she had never seen an inflatable gag with a soft leather stripe and a strap before. “Open your mouth” was the sharp order and just as the girl opened her mouth to ask ‘why’ the gag was pushed between her lips. Mrs. Kent took the strap and buckled it closed behind the girls head. “Don’t dare to touch it” Mrs. Kelly said as she squeezed the bulb attached to the front of the gag, the action quickly expanding the rubber bladder in the girls mouth until she could not make any sound. “Now we will open the backward zipper of your dress as we need to push the balaclava you wore before back under your turtleneck. Mrs. Glass, please leave the turtleneck folded just one time before you pull on the second balaclava” Mrs. Kelly ordered while watching Angelica for any sign of protest. The girl realized that any protest, any kind of misbehavior at all would end in disaster so she stood still and just let them go, although it meant, that the double layer of the thick turtleneck covered her upper part of the face including her nose. A balaclava matching the one she was wearing except the fact that this model had only a small eye slit was the next item that Angelica was made to wear. “Now, Miss Bell, please wrap the scarf as firmly as possible around her face, cover the nose, mouth and neck as tightly as you can” Angelica wanted to step back but Mrs. Kent was standing behind her and made sure the girl did not raise her arms. “Pull the end of the scarf at her back into the dress before closing the zipper” was the next order issued. It was hard work because of the edges of the additional balaclava and parts of the scarf that had to fit into the collar now. But as wool can be firmly pressed together it worked. Angelica wanted to raise her arm because she felt strangled by the collar now but Mrs. Kent stopped her and the girl gave up. “Now pull on your gloves and then this second pair. This time they were not thin Angora wool but a little bit thicker quality. Now get off your boots” Angelica did as she was told although it was a challenge to open the zipper with two pairs of woolen gloves. “Take this one instead” Mrs. Kelly ordered, and Miss Glass handed her a pair of winter boots lined with sheep fur and closed with strings instead of a zipper.
It took Angelica some time to close the boots to Mrs. Kelly’s satisfaction and she was able to straighten herself. “Now just two more items then we can start with the lesson” Mrs. Kelly said as Mrs. Kent held a thick woolen coat open and helped her in. Miss Glass closed every button from knee to neck and Mrs. Kelly pulled the tight hood over the girls already well covered head. A second scarf, longer and thicker than the one that was already wrapped around her neck and face was fitted, pressing the hood firmly against her checks. Now the girl could not keep still any longer. Adding to the tightness of the collar was the feeling that she was suffocating due to the many tight layers of thick wool covering her nose and her inability to breathe through her mouth because of the gag.
But the governess showed no mercy. “Stand still or everything will get worse, and trust me there is room for improvement in this direction!” Angelica did as requested although she felt terrible. Except for her eyes every inch of her body was covered in several layers of the hottest wool and the loden dress was so stiff and heavy she could hardly move. And then there was the gag! She had never in her life imagined the possibility she would ever be forced to wear a gag, but obviously none of the governesses seemed to be astonished when Mrs. Kelly forced the seemingly small thing in her mouth. And now, with two balaclavas, a turtleneck and two scarves over her face she saw no chance of removing it. “How shall I talk to grandma?” she thought watching her twin sister receiving a long grey scarf. “You Miss Katharina are behaving reasonably well. Not perfect but we can see you are trying. Nobody expected you to be perfect on the first day. But you talked with your twin sister during the order of silence, and therefore you will wrap this scarf around your face as tightly as you can.” Mrs. Kelly ordered and, with a little curtsey, took the scarf and obeyed the order while making as little noise as she could, saying only “Yes, Mrs. Kelly”.
“Good Ladies. Now we are ready for the real reason for being here. You will find paper and a pen on your standing desk. To begin with, Katharina you will read your rules in a clear and audible voice. What you say will be recorded and then replayed from this loudspeaker. You will then both write them down, yes, I know this will be extremely difficult while wearing woolen gloves or, in Angelica’s case, two pairs, but this is your challenge. The writing has to be legible and without errors. In the case that one of you fail, in either form or content of the text, you will both repeat the whole task, as only perfect sheets will be stored in your folder. To write this text will become a daily routine for you, every morning and evening. And of course if ordered as a punishment you will write it maybe ten or a hundred times. So for each year without punishments you will have a folder with more than two thousand sheets. By the end of your education, and assuming that we can add fifty percent as expected punishment exercises, you will write your rules more than ten thousand times. By that time you will hopefully known them by heart then and you will remember them even at three in the morning without any difficulty if asked to recite them. Now Miss Katharina, please begin reading clearly and audibly.”
Katharina took the folder and started reading. At first she got muddled, excused herself and started again. It was uncomfortable to talk with the thick balaclava over her mouth and the long scarf in similar quality wrapped over her whole face, just leaving a small slit between the scarf and the hem of the balaclava. But she finally managed it and after she had put the folder away she took the fountain pen and looked at her twin sister, or at least at the massive wool covered person next to her. She could see that Angelica had opened her fountain pen and was trying to look at the sheet of paper in front of her, a task not made any easier by the scarves wrapped around her head. She looked desperately to her sister and then to Mrs. Kelly but she just nodded and Katharina´s voice came from the loudspeaker.
- All my thoughts, words and doings are known by GOD, so I must always remember that I might try to hide them from authorities but I can never hide them from HIM
- If my doings, my words or even my thoughts fail in the eyes of GOD, I deserve a punishment.
” The girls did their best, but they were not used to writing with a fountain pen. In addition Angelica found it a big problem to keep the pen in the correct position as the second pair of gloves was made of thick pure new wool. Katharina had spoken as slowly as possible but her voice had been recorded on a PC with Audacity, a freeware tool that allows change to the speed of an audio file during playback. After some lines Mrs. Kelly had a short look at both sheets without stopping the playback and it was obvious that the form was far away from ‘perfect’ but she did not say a word but waited until the text had ended. Then she took Angelica’s sheet, said succinctly “this form is unacceptable. Please begin again.” Then she took Katharina’s sheet which was better, but also not perfect and threw both in the trash basket. After two more trials the girls, especially Angelica became unsettled. Her new boots had much higher heels than she was used to and standing motionless for such a long period was an additional challenge to the heat and the restrictions.
Mrs. Kelly seemed to accept this as she said “Well, still far away from perfect, but maybe you need a little rest?” Angelica nodded enthusiastically and wanted to sit down on the nearest chair but Katarina just waited. “Oh no, not here my dear, I believe you can relax better in your chamber of reflection. Please Mrs. Kent and Mrs. Hunter, would you guide the girls to this room, let them kneel in front of the crucifixes on each side. They can pray and reflect on their behavior and the results of their efforts both under the role of total silence” The girls were happy to leave the sticky room not aware what was waiting for them. The twins had to kneel down shoulder by shoulder, but each of them looking in opposite directions. Both heaters where still turned off and so the twins just starred at the crucifix on the wall above the heater. This ceiling was not as high as normal and after the twins had knelt down shoulder by shoulder the heaters had been moved forward on rollers until the boots of each girl nearly touched the heater. The girls heard a click but could not see that their heels had been locked to a bar on the front of each the heater. But it was evident that they could not stand up or change their position. Pleased with the situation Mrs. Kelly took the remote control and decided that level three of ten would do it for the beginning. “As I said, girls, you are under the ‘rule of silence’. That means not a word or the smallest noise from the one who can speak until we decide your reflection phase has finished. Did I make myself clear?” “Yes Mrs. Kelly” Katharina said overawed. Mrs. Kelly waited some seconds. “And you, Miss Angelica? And don´t worry about your gag, in this situation a simple nod will suffice.” Angelica hesitated for some seconds as she realized that she was kneeling in front of an electric heater that had now been turned on. Hypnotized by the red fake fire and the beginning heat she nodded without looking up. “Very well, then I do not expect you to ‘enjoy you stay her’ but use it wise” the governess said and left the room. The click told them, that this was also a locked door also without any means of opening it from their side, but this was not their major problem. Angelica was the first to try and get her feet out from the bar at the heater that warmed her back and her sister was looking on. Soon she realized that her boots where somehow locked in place and due to the tight lacing she had no chance to move her feet. Sitting back on her heels, what she normally did when kneeling did not work without nearly touching the heater at her back. Moving forward was impossible because of the heater in front of her, and moving sideways was prevented by the locked boots. All she could do was move her head and look into her sisters eyes. What she saw there was a mirror of her own horror she was feeling. Even with three woolen tights and a loden dress it would soon hurt to kneel in this upright position.
Suddenly the door opened again and Miss Bell entered the room unfolding two thick black fake fur blankets. “Mrs. Kelly had forgotten that girls in disgrace, and that applies to both of you at this time, get hidden, as nobody wants to see them. Therefore she sent me with these blankets, one for each of you. But as you are twins, I will put them together and then place them over both of you. I believe sisters are used to sharing, so you can share the blankets as well.” With this she lowered the two blankets over both bodies and due to their kneeling pose it reached the ground on both sides. “One last thing, ladies: I have placed the blankets exactly in the center and marked the position. If the position is different when we return, you …. Well it is better you do not know, I don’t want to frighten you. And don’t moan, because you are under the rule of silence and the blanket is protecting you from the heat. See you” On the one side Miss Kent was right, for a short time the heater did not feel so unbearable. But as soon as the blankets had heated up it became even worse. Angelica was sure she would faint soon because of lack of fresh air, and also Katharina was on her limit. Then she heard her own voice again
- All my thoughts, words and doings are known by GOD, so I must always remember, that I might try to hide them from authorities, but I can never hide them from HIM
- If my doings, my words or even my thoughts fail in the eyes of GOD, I deserve a punishment.
At first both girls counted how many times they listened to the text, but at some point they lost the number and any feeling for time. “All my thoughts, words and doings are known by GOD ….” At every new start the words got deeper and deeper embedded in their minds.
Chapter eight – 5 o’clock Tea with the Grandparents
The girls would be made to endure no more than forty minutes under the blankets because Mrs. Kelly knew that they would need some time before the scheduled teatime at four-thirty, but the twins did not know that and for them it felt a lot longer. It was pitch black under the black blankets and so they lost all notion of time. After short time they would have loved to have been able to see the heater again and feel the heat from the backwards standing one on their wool covered body if they could escape the darkness and sticky atmosphere under the blankets. However there was no way to escape, the bar that held the ankles and heels of their boots firmly on the ground made it impossible. So they waited and all they could do was to listen to the continual repeating of the rules.
When Mrs. Kelly and her team entered the room Miss Bell checked the placement of the blankets. “I believe they moved a little bit” Miss Bell said although there was no real evidence. “That’s not true, we did not move an inch” a totally exhausted Katharina exclaimed from beneath the blankets. “Katharina, you disappoint me. You are still under the rule of silence” Mrs. Kelly said in a stern voice. “I am afraid you need a wool lined dress and another pair of thick knitted tights like your sisters. Then she pointed to the girls and both junior governesses removed the heavy blankets, folded them and placed them on a nearby shelf. “All right ladies, I hope you have reflected on the day so far, and regret your failures. And I hope you have learned the lesson as well. You can prove that right now, as you will get changed and meet your grandparents for a cup of tea.
But I’ll warn you now that all of the conversation will be coming from your grandparents. You will answer honestly and in the most polite way you can. If you are asked if you feel hot or uncomfortable in your new clothes you may answer honestly. They are warm and you will need time to acclimatize but you are to show willing to do so as you see the need to perfect young ladies that behave well in the eyes of our Lord and the eyes of your guardians. You will confirm that we do understand each other very well and that you trust in the experience of your governesses that they will guide you to your destiny. Is that clear for you Katharina?” “Yes, Mrs. Kelly” came the answer from the girl, weak but loud and clear. “And you, Angelica?” The girl hesitated again, but then she nodded, her first sign of resignation.
“Very well, then let´s get you changed. As you will not be wearing balaclavas your hair will need styling, or would it be better if we washed it?” she asked her team. “What if they both wear one of these light angora caps? They look nice and they would hide their sweat soaked hair” Miss Bell said. “That’s a very good idea my dear, same as the Velcro you mentioned before. It is a pleasure to have creative people in the team” Mrs. Kelly said with a smile. “So ladies get dressed in a more formal manner. Angelica your gag will be removed together with your balaclavas and the scarves. You will also wear just one pair of gloves but you will still wear the additional knitted tights and the wool lined dress. And for you Katharina, as you did not remember the rule of silence, you will change into an outfit similar to that of your sister.
Thirty minutes later the girls were ready to meet their grandparents in the living room. Both girls wore now light pink turtlenecks under their grey dresses and, as both dresses were lined with thick wool, Katharina now felt how it must have been for her sister during the preceding hours.
“A last warning ladies. I expect absolutely perfect manners including a curtsey to your guardians and devout behavior. Everything less than that and I will excuse you for today. The long journey and all the news must have made you tired. It would take less than thirty minutes to have you in bed, and believe me, you could not be tired enough to sleep well in your punishment night gowns”
Katharina was scared. She did not want to imagine what they would have to endure during the night if her plan to get help from her grandmother failed. What if she did not understand or thought the girls were exaggerating? What if Mrs. Kelly should stop them before they could explain the major points, and even scarier was thinking about what might happen if her grandparents agreed with the way they were being treated or worse yet were the originators? The options of a successful outcome seemed less and less as more possible scenarios passed through her head, all of which would end in a continuing nightmare rather than in ‘freedom’ and light clothing. From a quick glance Katharina could read that her sister felt more confident. Throughout their dressing the twins had been kept separated and on the way to see their grandparents had not been permitted to speak with each other.
When they entered the room, tea was already served. “Ah, perfect timing my dears. Tea has just arrived, please have a seat and join us for tea and biscuits. The governesses drew back to leave the family alone but Mr. Blackwood, who felt that the girls needed their head governess nearby invited Mrs. Kelly to stay with them. “That’s very kind of you Sir. I hope the girls do not feel restrained by my presence. I have just mentioned to them that they should be as honest as ever, because there is nothing to hide. Didn’t I say that, Katharina?” “Yes, Mrs. Kelly, you did tell us to be honest” the girl confirmed. “But first” Mrs. Kelly said as she led the girls nearer to the chairs “Show your respect to your grandparents ladies”
Although the girls felt ridiculous in their winter dresses with all the wool beneath they both curtseyed and Katharina said “Grandfather, Grandmother, it is nice to see you” “It´s a pleasure to see you my dear. Please take a seat, all of you” Mr. Blackwood answered in a friendly tone. Mrs. Blackwood had risen from her seat and remained motionless. Then she stepped forward until she stood just two feet in front of the twins. The girls realized that the old lady was crying silently. “Is something wrong, grandma? Did we do something wrong?” Katharina asked with empathy while Mrs. Kelly wondered if she had made some mistake with the outfits of the girls. “No, no. Not at all my dear. I . . . it is just …you must excuse me, I am overwhelmed by memories. Seeing you in your mother’s outfits and even acting like her, it is like twenty years ago. You are the perfect copies of your mother, MY Maria. And this all in a double pack. I mean just one of you would be like getting my girl back, and now we have two of you. It is . . . I can just thank God for this gift. It is a gift to get a second chance in life. Since I knew I would live with you in our home my greatest wish is to stay wealthy long enough to see you growing up and spend time with you” With this words she hugged both girls and whispered “Welcome home my love”. Then she stepped back and found her countenance.”But let´s sit down, please”
Katharina curtseyed again and took a chair, Angelica wanted to sit near to her grandmother to have the chance to whisper to her if possible, but Mrs. Kelly stepped forward and took the nearest chair to Mrs. Blackwood for herself. First they made the usual small talk, like how do you like your room, and do you think you will like your governesses? The girls answered as ordered by Mrs. Kelly. They found it awkward that she had been invited to stay for a cup of tea as they had hoped to talk to their grandparents in private. When the conversation came to their new clothes Mrs. Kelly looked at the girls faces. “Well, to be honest grandmother it is very hot under all these layers and . . .” Angelica started, before she made the mistake of raising her head and met Mrs. Kelly’s steel grey eyes. This look of Mrs. Kelly made her change the words she had in mind “. . . and we will definitely need time to get used to them, along with all the rules and so on. It is hard and we were wondering if this is necessary. I mean all the heat, the chamber of reflection, the blankets and so?”
Angelica had not dared to describe what they had to endure in the chamber of reflection as she had intended but she hoped that talking about the chamber and the blanket would produce interest. As soon as her grandparents would ask for details she would ‘have’ to be honest as ordered by the head governess. Then she could tell about the unbearable heat and the sticky atmosphere they had to endure under the blankets without violating any rules. To her great disappointment it was her grandfather who answered the question. “We can believe that it might be strange to you and even the fact that your mother was very familiar with a ‘chamber of reflection’ in her youth must not mean that she educated you in the same tradition. Your question tells us that she did not. But that does not mean it is wrong. Your governesses will help you to understand that young girls of your age need those restrictions for their salvation”
“But . . .” Angelica began but the firm grasp from Mrs. Kelly on her shoulder made her stop. “Miss Angelica, it is very disrespectful to interrupt an adult” and to her boss she said “Please Sir, excuse her, she might be tired from the exhausting day and forgot her manners. Would you kindly continue?” “Well, as I was saying, we believe it is the best for you and you can trust in the word of Mrs. Kelly as it would come from your grandmother or me.” “But what if it is cruel and . . .” Katharina dared to ask now as she saw that her grandfather did not see the point. “IF something is cruel, I will be the first to protect you my dear” Mrs. Kelly again interrupted the other twin. “Some methods might be, let´s say, no amusement or even uncomfortable at least at the beginning until you get used to it. But I can assure all of you, that nobody will be cruel to you. Strict? Yes! Rigid? Definitely as you need rules you can trust in! Uncomfortable? May be sometimes, but cruel? Never!” “Well said, Mrs. Kelly” Mr. Blackwood agreed and looked at his wife who was obviously not totally convinced.
“Thank you Sir, but now I hope you will not be too disappointed if we leave. I would also like you to excuse us at dinner. For the young ladies it has been a really an exciting day and they need some rest. A good night’s sleep in a cozy bed and they will be ready to face a new day. Angelica desperately looked for a reason to stay but her grandfather obviously agreed with their leaving. The girl looked at her sister and both realized that they had, at least for today, lost. They had not been able to convince their grandparents of the unbearable restrictions they had to deal with, and even worth, the ‘cozy bed’ comment from Mrs. Kelly was a clear message that the governess had warned the girls and they had disobeyed. The twins slowly rose, curtseyed and said good night to their grandparents then the left the room and went upstairs, followed by an angry governess that thought about the consequences for their disobedience.
Chapter nine – Early bed time
Mrs. Kelly quickly informed the other governesses by during which time the twins had to stand in the study room. They were under the rule of silence again but this did not prevent Angelica from talking. “We should have both insisted on a discussion about this pure madness. I cannot believe what’s going on here. I mean, okay we are not adults yet but does that mean they can do with us whatever they want?” “Scht. Be quiet. You know they can hear us?” warned Katharina. “But I don’t care, they will punish us anyway. Just for telling the truth and asking to be treated like teenagers and not five year old kids” “But these are our rules and for now we cannot do anything else than obey I am afraid” “So YOU are already convinced that this is the best for us to find to God and so on?” Angelica said in sarcastic tone, imitating Mrs. Kelly. “I BELIEVE in God as our Mom had taught us, and it is my free will to pray and to follow HIS word or the Bible. But our rulebook IS NOT the Bible.” With these words Angelica took her folder and threw it with all her strength against the closed door. “And you think that helps?” her twin sister asked her. “Not on the issue, but it is a relief for me” was the honest answer.
“What do you think, shall we just put them in a standard sleeping gown, fully closed over their heads of course, or shall we use one of the nice sleeping bags the girls have inherited from their mother?” the head governess asked after it was agreed to put them to bed as soon as possible instead of taking them to the chamber of reflection for another session. It was again Miss Bell who had a comment on that. “Well, we all know about the effect of the standard sleeping gown and if they are made to wear a fully closed balaclava beneath this would be a good lesson for the girls. But I have also seen that the girls own a mass of wonderful blankets and we have had delivered some very large German quality electric blankets that are big enough to totally enclose them. A problem would be that they will not fit inside the sleeping gowns and they would isolate the body heat inside, but also everything else we could wrap around their bodies outside.
The electric blankets would do a very god job if worn in conjunction with one of the wool lined mummy down sleeping bags. If we dress them appropriate in wooly underwear and wrap them in some of their normal blankets they would still feel the heat from the electric blanket on top of this. “That is a really good argument, Miss Bell” the head governess agreed. For tonight they will think that they are nearer to hell than expected. For this, the electric blankets can do a good job. As you proposed they will be dressed nice and warm, maybe a little bit itchy too, depends on their behavior now, then wrapped in some sheep wool blankets and fixed with leather straps, maybe with some scarves at their necks to make sure the blankets are well closed. We will then place them on one electric blanket and wrap them in before we close the sleeping bag firmly.” Mrs. Kelly decided.
“But what is about the electric cable? Won’t it be dangerous if this runs beside the girl´s neck where it comes out of the bag?” It was Miss Glass who worried about the girl´s health and although she agreed that the girls deserved a punishment, she sympathized with them as she could imagine how hot it would become inside of the sheep wool down mummy bag along with an electric blanket.
While Mrs. Kelly was wondering if this was a valid concern, Miss Bell had the solution. “We could place them in the sleeping bag upside down! The girls are not too tall to fit in the bag without using the hood, so the closed thermal collar would be the ‘hem’ of their sleeping gown and then the cable could come out from this ‘hem’ at the girl´s feet. A side effect would be that the bag would become tighter on the upper body as mummy bags have a smaller size for the feet, but I believe WE could live with this.” she smiled sardonically.
“A perfect idea my dear. This is the most effective and most secure solution”. We just need to define the rest of their outfits then each team can take care of their ward.
“As they will have to spend the first night without a night corset they could stay without one of the corselets tonight as well. This will allow them to feel some itchy underwear over their whole bodies. I have seen some from the existing wardrobe. Turtlenecks and knitted leggings made from Shetland wool I think. At least it felt like that, and it felt scratchy on my hand when I touched it. Please check if both girls have the same set, including balaclavas then a pair of normal thick tights made of sheep wool and a balaclava plus turtleneck dress of the same quality down to the ankles”
“Mrs. Kelly, may I ask a question?” Miss Bell said at this point. “Of course, what is it?” “I have checked the night gowns Miss Katharina had inherited from her mother, and although most are made from cotton or wool I found some with an attached hood made from fleece. Polar fleece if I am not wrong. This would be a good middle layer for all this wool and as an extra benefit they have zippers from shoulder to each wrist to fix their arms in the correct position at each side of her body. But of course if this is too hot or you have other plans . . .” Miss Bell looked at the head governess as humbly as possible, knowing that ‘too hot’ would not exclude the proposal. “Miss Bell, I see you have the right requirements to become a head governess one day” Mrs. Kelly smiled and said. “Well ladies, that´s it. The Polar fleece nightgown with closed zippers before one of their thick blankets, then into their sleeping bag and wrapped in the electric blankets before closing them. I’ll leave it up to you how many scarves are required to remind them of the rule of silence.” Mrs. Kelly said to end her little speech.
Mrs. Kent, Mrs. Hunter and Mrs. Kelly went to the study room to tell the girls the good news that they have no more ‘reflections’ to do before bedtime and sent them to the bathroom. In the meantime Miss Glass and Miss Bell prepared the sleeping bags with the blankets and the outfits for the night. “Why do you make such proposals?” Miss Glass asked as they prepared the sleeping bags. “What do you mean by ‘such’?” “You know what I mean. You seem to take pleasure in suggesting even harder sanctions for the girls than Mrs. Kelly, or at least you try to top it. And I wonder why, as your girl is definitely the one with the better behavior. Miss Katharina has not given you any reason to punish her even harder than Mrs. Kelly.” In a disgusted tone Miss Kent answered. “You know that we are not in the position to punish the girls. And as Mrs. Kelly wants to treat them equal for bedtime I cannot see what the behavior of one of the girls has to do with that” “That’s not the answer to my question. WHY do you want to let them suffer even more than they already have due to the hard and nearly unbearable rules and punishments from our head governess?”
“So you mean that our head governess is incompetent and the girls do not deserve what she has decided for them? Very interesting. Maybe we should discuss that with Mrs. Kelly?” “You know that I did not mean that, the girls deserved punishment and they need to be treated strictly to find to God and accommodate them into our society, but from my point of view she goes near to the limit in terms of what the girls can handle. And YOU try to top it and cross the red line.” “What is the ‘red line’ from your point of view?” Mrs. Kent asked in a sarcastic tone. “To propose an electric blanket and a sheep wool lined down sleeping bag, or put TWO thick blankets over the girls as sign of disgrace instead of one. Such things could be more the girls can endure, and then they will not learn from their punishment but only think when does it end or how can I escape”.
After a pause of several seconds Mrs. Kent answered. “And didn´t you see what happened after the girls had spent a lousy forty minutes under TWO blankets? Miss Katharina broke the rule of silence at the first possible moment.” “And did you really see any change in the position of the blankets” Miss Glass asked skeptically. “That´s NOT the point in this situation. They have to wait until they get released and even in case they got punished for something she did not do it is still her duty to obey. And that is what Mrs. Kelly wants to teach our Misses. Not more but also for their salvation NOTHING LESS. And if you cannot support this you should tell Mrs. Kelly and quit the job. Now, please excuse me, I have to prepare the night gown for Miss Katharina, and you would be well advised to do the same for Miss Angelica, and do not try to get thinner wool items than decided, I would see the difference”
Miss Glass finished preparing the two blankets in the mummy bag and left the room to search for the appropriate turtlenecks, knitted leggings and tights, balaclavas and the polar fleece night gown to put it on the girls ‘dressing table’. Miss Kent did the same in the room for Miss Katharina and during the search for the Shetland wool items Mrs. Kelly had ordered as first layer she thought about the question of Miss Glass. Her colleague was right with her guess. There was more than the wish to become a head governess some days and more than just fulfilling the orders of Mrs. Kelly.
Miss Bell found and picked up the required items and as she laid them properly on the dressing table she went back in her own childhood. Memories came up that let her drag on her own collar, although there was no turtleneck and no layers of the thickest of underwear below her velvet dress. But this was not always the way she got dressed in the past. It all started at the age of sixteen. Her mother had died one year before from inflammation on the lungs. She was always weak and very often sick. During a stay in hospital her shape got worse and the lung inflammation in addition was too much for her. Since that time her father had given the strictest direction to her guardian to make sure she is ‘properly’ dressed to prevent any type of slight cold. One cold day in January she had to dress herself for school and go home on her own because her nanny was sick. It was one of the rare times they had snow. Her father was always afraid the girl could dress too lightly and her guardian had to always dress her in warmer clothing than her friends. But this day her father was at work, her guardian had to stay in bed to prevent a contamination and Miss Kent saw her chance to spend ONE day in clothes that would not make her sweat in the classroom the whole time. By the end of school she even played with her friends in the snow without wearing her extra balaclava and the scarves, instead of going home immediately as required. Then she had to hurry to catch up the delay which would have bought a punishment. Her dress was wet from snow that found its way through the collar of her coat and her underwear was soaked in sweat from rushing home. Normally, being sweaty resulted in a change into fresh even thicker clothes or an extra thick wool coat and a comforter to prevent a cold. But this time she could not confess her wet clothes without telling the reason, so she stayed in her clothes for the whole evening.
As her body was not hardened as she was always overprotected and it was flu season it was bound to happen. She got sick, and by the end of the week she had a slight inflammation in her lungs. Her body was young and she was not really in danger of losing her life but her father and her guardian where so concerned that they brought her to hospital. There they had to follow the doctor´s advice NOT to bury her under tons of thick blankets. Before she left hospital – almost recovered – she was allowed to be visited by her best friend Isabelle. As she swore her to secrecy Miss Bell told her the real reason for her sickness. Her friend was shocked that she did not confess it to her father but swore again to keep the secret.
Later at home Isabelle obviously changed her mind, broke her oath and told her mother whod informed Miss Bell´s family the next day. On this day Miss Bell was coming home from hospital and required no more strict bed rest. She hated the thought of having to go home as this meant she would be dressed in her standard outfit again or even a little bit warmer as she must be weak and would need extra protection.
She will never in her life forget the unbelievable amount of warm clothes she found on her bed when she entered her room. She desperately asked for a reduction as this was too much, even after a sickness. But she was told that she must not see this as only a protection to keep her body secure from coldness, but as the bill for the reason she got sick.
Apart from going to school she spent the following three months in disgrace sitting on a fireside bench with her headphones on listening to the Bible while hidden under a thick blanket. From that day she never wore less than three thick layers of underwear and up to six layers in total. She wondered that if after marriage she would end up under the same regime with her father instructing her governess to go with her and take care of her dressing for her whole life, she decided to become a governess and swore to herself never to trust anyone or have mercy on any teenager she would be responsible for and that she would ‘pay back’ what she had on her bill for just twenty minutes in the snow. She went to a boarding school for two years to become a certified governess and although this was not what her father had in mind for her future, she finished the school with honors. Her excellent grades brought her the job as junior governess at the Blackwood’s, although she had no references to present.
At her interview with Mrs. Kelly she did not mention her own experiences with extra warm clothes as something negative although she had hated it and never accommodated to it. She stopped dressing so ridiculously warm at the boarding school although it was obvious that her father had given some advice to the teacher there but she mainly wore the standard outfit plus some extra cardigans or woolen tights. This was still uncomfortable but nothing in comparison with her outfit for nearly three years until she left her home to live in the governess training college. Instead of telling the truth about her fate, she mentioned at her interview with Mrs. Kelly how important it is to keep young girls not only warm and protected, but overheated most of the time, as this will reduce their intention to clamor or behave in a way that is not ladylike. “Better one layer too many than one too less my own governess used to say and I can prove from my own childhood that she is right. You think twice before behaving imperfectly if you already feel the heat, you might endure twice if you fail.” This convinced Mrs. Kelly that Miss Bell was the right person to join her team.
“Ladies, please listen carefully” Mrs. Kelly said entering the study room. “I have warned you not to bring shame on yourselves, and so onto us as well. Of course we have just started with your education but you both confirmed you had read your rules, and I warned you to show your best behavior. Do you think you did that?” “Mrs. Kelly, you ordered us to tell the truth, and we did nothing else” Katharina replied as advocate for both girls. “So neither of you interrupted Mr. Blackwood during his speech to you, and neither of you dared to predict you are treated cruelly?” “But . . .” “NO, there is no ‘but’ at this stage. Did YOU, Angelica interrupt your grandfather as he explained to you the need of a strict education for young girls, and did you, Katharina dare to predict your treatment is cruel? Is the answer YES or NO Miss Katharina?” The girl gave up “Yes Mrs. Kelly”. “And you, Angelica?” “It was a . . .” “Shut your mouth!” Mrs. Kelly shouted. “It was a rhetorical question as I was a witness to your fault. Till this stage I thought it was your sister who deserved the harder punishment as her question about being treated cruelly was outrageous. But with your contradiction now you are equal again. You will be sent to bed after a short stay in the bathroom. This means your bedtime will start at exactly six o’clock. As you have your first appointment tomorrow at eleven in the morning we can allow you to rest until nine o’clock. This will give you fifteen hours in total to rest, think about your failures today and hopefully make plans for better behavior tomorrow.
You will follow your governess to the bathroom and when finished there go to your wardrobe where your outfits for the night have been prepared. You are under the rule of silence from now on and every word or any kind of sound, will result in additional punishment. Did I make myself clear?” This time both girls answered with “Yes Mrs. Kelly” without hesitating. “Good. You will say your night prayers fully dressed kneeling in front of your bed. I hope it is clear that you will not show any hesitation during being dressed or laid to bed. I will come at six to say goodnight to you. Mrs. Kent, Mrs. Hunter, the girls are yours”
The twins went to the bathroom and when both were ready each governess guided her own charge to the separate dressing rooms. As they cleaned their teeth they had a short chat. “What do you think will happen now?” Angelica whispered. “What do you expect they will dress us in? Hot wool and wrap us in wool blankets and let us boil in our own sweat for fifteen hours? What else?” “And what if we refuse to get dressed in wool for the night?” “Do you really think that works? I am afraid we have to pay the bill for failure when we tried to get help from our grandparents. Maybe we need to talk to grandma alone next time” “Good idea. Hope ‘next time’ is soon, because I cannot guarantee I can stand this treatment very long” Angelica agreed that they had to hope that the night would not be too hot and wait for another chance.
So the girls obeyed and went to their dressing rooms. Getting undressed was no problem and the girls appreciated removing the corselets as well. But then they got to the Shetland turtleneck, the Shetland knitted leggings and the balaclava and both girls forgot their ‘rule of silence’ at this moment. “That’s no nightgown” “Nobody wears this on bare skin, it itches like hell” but the governesses showed no mercy. Now the twins could see the next layer only through the stitches of the fully closed balaclava. They could however feel that the next layer was made from thick wool although they were given woolen gloves first to put on first. The last layer made them totally blind as the polar fleece nightgown had an attached hood that was closed at the back of their heads. They where guided into the bedroom and the zipper of the nightgown was closed. They had to kneel in front of their beds and do their night prayers. Then they had to lie on their backs and felt a thick blanket wrapped tightly around their bodies. Next were some linen belts at ankles, waist and elbows followed by a woolen scarf wrapped around the neck. Both girls moaned softly but the only effect was that the last loop of the scarf got bound around the mouth and nose. “For disobeying the rule of silence you got the scarf, for your general disobedience you will now be wrapped into electric blankets. They will stay turned on for the whole night and we hope this will teach you to obey your rules tomorrow.” Mrs. Hunter said when Mrs. Kelly just entered the bedroom. “Well said, Mrs. Hunter, I can see, you are in good time, its twelve minutes before six.” “Shall we wait before closing the sleeping bags and turning on the blankets” Miss Glass asked as she felt mercy for the girls in their extreme punishment. “Not at all, an additional twelve minutes may not be the world but learning to do the right thing can never begin early enough.” Within a minute the bags were closed and due to the tight fit the girls realized that they had been plugged into a sleeping bag top down. “The blankets have six levels of heating. I would say let’s start with level five and lower it in four hours to level three. That leaves room in both directions and if you earn it with perfect behavior in the future the blankets might stay turned off for the whole night. Goodnight Ladies, sleep well, or if not well then at least have an instructive night.”
With those last remarks the shutters at the windows were closed and the light was turned off. The room was in complete darkness and as the windows had not been opened the sticky and hot air from the day was still in the room. Mrs. Kelly and Miss Kent were extremely satisfied with the conditions and smiled as they firmly closed the door.
Chapter ten – First Morning
The governesses had a relaxed evening as they just needed to check the bedroom from time to time. For ‘safety reasons’ there was a microphone in all of the rooms the girls used so Mrs. Kelly could also listen to the noises coming from the bedroom. At the beginning it was quiet upstairs, but later she could hear low noises followed by a muffled talk. “Kathy, can you hear me? Are you awake?” The voice was extremely muffled, but this was explicable as the girls voice had to go through a scarf, the electric blanket that was wrapped around her from head to toe and through down mummy sleeping bag that had been extra lined with sheep fur. Angelica had to ask twice until her sister could hear her, as she was nearly numb under all the layers. “Yes I AM awake, or can YOU sleep in this heat with your own breath in your face and no fresh air in this awful sleeping bag?” “That’s exactly my problem, I am afraid I have consumed all the fresh air and will suffocate in here. Or die from overheating, your choice” Angelica said in a desperate tone.
“Don’t promise yourself you can get out of just pushing up daisies. I do not believe it is so easy. They must have checked if we have enough oxygen to survive in here, but not much more. And the heat, we find it unbearable, but all we can just hope that it becomes better after they reduce the heating blanked at eleven” “But how will it get better than? This monster of a sleeping bag is retaining the heat. Beside that I am going crazy from my itchy underwear, or what they call ‘underwear’. Did you get the Shetland wool placed directly against your skin?” “Yes, it looks like they think we both deserve the same punishment for what happened at teatime” Katharina said. “BUT WE DID NOTHING WRONG OR FORBIDDEN!” Angelica cried “It was just the THRUTH” “But she warned us . . .”
Mrs. Kelly decided that the girls need another ‘warning’ and went up at around eight o’clock. “Ladies I know, you are not asleep, so please listen. You have broken the rule of silence several times since you were put to bed, therefore I will NOT reduce the power of the electric blankets in two hours. They stay at the current level for the whole night and if you continue to talk I will have them set to the maximum heat. And now goodnight!”
Next morning the girls were exhausted although they had fifteen hours to ‘rest’. They weakly went to their dressing room and removed their clothes. Katharina was released first and so went to the bathroom first. After she came back her hair was still wet from the shower but she felt a little bit better. Her hair was dried and in the meantime her outfit was laid out. With relief she saw an Angora wool set as first layer, followed by thick knitted tights and a turtleneck that went down as far as her knees. She was confused by herself as she felt relief for wearing Angora underwear on a summer’s day, but after a night in itchy Shetland wool she did feel it. What they hated most were the thick, but at least face open balaclavas, which had been pushed inside the turtleneck before closing the stiff collar of the dress.
Both girls wore unlined loden dresses again but this time, in addition over their woolen gloves, both wore a pair of mittens. Not only that the mittens had straps to fasten them at the wrists, they had no thumbs and were made from heavy loden and of course lined with wool. So the girls could eat only almost liquid porridge and hot tea with a thick straw. The tea made them sweat again but they had to drink a lot to compensate the loss of fluid during the night.
“Ladies, it is time to prepare you for our first appointment of the day” Mrs. Kelly said after both girls had finished their strange breakfast. Before you go back to your dressing room let me tell you some rules. As you cannot be muzzled you will both wear normal inflatable gags on the way to Dr. Blackstone’s. You will wear a woolen cap with attached gauze veils and a face veil made of thin loden – same color as your coat that will cover the lower half of your face. Your coat has a hood that will cover your eyes as soon as you look upwards. So you need to look down, let´s say at an invisible point three feet in front of you on the ground. This is the appropriate position for you during a walk in public IF not told anything else. For example when we stop and introduce you to someone else, WE, means one of your governesses, will pull on your hood a little until you can raise your head. This will be done only AFTER you have greeted the person with a perfect curtsey. As you will not see who is in front of you, the command for you is ‘girls, show your respect to Mrs. or Mrs., which will be followed by the name of the person’ If we have no time to introduce you, you will then just wait until a governess asks you to follow them. Otherwise somebody will pull back your hood for some inches to allow you to raise your head.
You will wear muffs made of loden, they arrived yesterday and to help you to remember that a young lady never pulls her hands out of a muff without permission they will be secured with straps at your wrist and elbows. IF you behave well now, the muff will be placed in front of you, if not you will wear it with your arms across your back. If this is the case you will find yourselves wearing an additional loden cape down to your hips to hide the muff. Did I make myself clear? Miss Katharina?” “Yes, Mrs. Kelly” the girl said obviously shocked by the statement of her governess. “Miss Angelica?” “Does that mean you will gag us, nearly blindfold us, AND handcuff us with this ‘muff’? You can´t be serious, we are not dangerous criminals on the trip from jail to court! I want to speak with my grandmother right now. I cannot believe she is aware of what you want to do to us” “MISS Angelica” The governess repeated in a stern voice. “All I need to hear from you is IF you understood my instructions! Everything else, including this outburst results in an additional punishment” “So, what do you want to do with me? Shoot me like an escaping criminal? I do not think my grandparents would appreciate that. And what could you do worse than the fifteen hours you let us boil in this sleeping bag?”
The governess suddenly ignored the girl and turned to her colleagues. Mrs. Kent, Mrs. Glass, we have another twenty minutes before we need to leave. Do you think this will be enough time to add an additional pair of thick leggings, another woolen turtleneck dress under a wool lined loden dress, a second extremely thick balaclava with only an eye slit. Add to those a woolen coat with a tight hood on top of the loden dress fixed by a scarf under her veil. Fix her muff behind her and she is to wear an ankle length cape on top of the coat to hide the muff. Did I forget anything? Yes, of course, she will wear knee high winter boots lined with thick fur. Do you think that is possible in twenty minutes?” “I believe it is, otherwise the young girl is really in big trouble Mrs. Kelly” Mrs. Kent replied. “IF she disobeys any of our orders from this point on last night will have been nothing compared what she will endure if we miss the appointment.”
“Good to hear that, I trust in your word. And for the love of God, Miss Angelica don’t provoke Mrs. Kent or myself. You can trust me, you would regret it more than you can imagine. By the way, Mrs. Hunter, I believe the girls should look like twins in public. So Miss Katharina will wear her muff also at her back and wear a long cape over her coat” The calm and business-like voice of Mrs. Kelly had more effect than shouting at them. Angelica looked in the eyes of her twin sister and Katharina’s shake of the head was nearly invisible. Just Mrs. Kelly noticed it and knew that the key to breaking Angelica’s revolt was her sister and that’s why she had decided that the girl would at least get the same long cape on top of her heavy coat.
Exactly twenty minutes later both girls were ready to leave the house and they really looked like twins. Both heavily veiled, both with bowed heads, shuffling due to the tight skirts of their dresses and both completely dressed in thick dark grey loden. Soon their nickname ‘The loden twins’ was born in the little town.
End of part one
The story is continued in Part Two.