A Most Welcome Ambassador
by Nye North
Sir Boothroyd Carter-Phillips was very nervous as he stood outside the door of the Sultan’s throneroom. He was awaiting audience to present his diplomatic papers as his Government’s representative to the state of Bahbi, an island Sultanate in the Red Sea. Considered by many as too young at forty-four to have been sent as the Ambassador, Sir Boothroyd knew that not to be the truth. He had applied for the posting, one shunned by many of his colleagues. With him at the Sultan’s palace were his forty year old wife Caroline and their eighteen year old daughter Gemma. Sir Boothroyd however did have an ulterior motive for wanting the posting.
Standing in an ante-room outside of the room the Sultan used as an office, the Sandgate Military College educated captain of the Sultan’s guard was talking to him, telling him how to act in the Sultan’s presence. The man was obviously unaware that Sir Boothroyd and the Sultan were old Etonian school friends. Caroline and Gemma were intently listening to the captain as he spoke about the etiquette to be used in the Sultan’s presence, both wondering when he was going to explain how they were to act. The captain told Sir Boothroyd, who appeared to be barely listening to a word, how deep to bow, but said nothing of how the two women were to present themselves. Caroline twice tried to interrupt to ask and on both occasions she was shushed by her husband. The door opened. Sir Boothroyd strode forward, wife and daughter at his heels. Suddenly there was a shout from the captain and all three stopped in their tracks.
“I have to inform you most candidly, but the females will not permitted enter the Sultan’s presence dressed as they are Sir” the captain stated.
“I’m sorry. What was that?” Sir Boothroyd exclaimed, making the captain repeat his words, to which he added “Were you not informed of the requirements Sir?”
“I was given no instructions other than to present myself at two o’clock” Boothroyd answered rather testily.
“Yes Sir. You were to present yourself here. No mention was made of your wife and daughter?” the captain said as pointedly as he felt he could without upsetting the guests.
“Well I naturally assumed” Carter-Phillips blustered before stopping, realising he had made a major error in bringing his wife and daughter with him, the invitation had been for himself only, a point he now understood he should have realised from his knowledge of the Sultan and Bahbi’s laws from their conversations at school all those years ago.
Caroline and Gemma were very upset when told that they would not be permitted to participate in, or even see the ceremony. Caroline wondered if the soldier had any idea of how much her designer outfit and shoes had cost. Having seen how the women were dressed in this country she very much doubted it. For years he had probably never seen a woman dressed any other way than in the drab single coloured sacks they all wore. She tried to comfort her daughter who begun to cry, her tears causing mascara to run down her cheeks. Caroline looked at the way her daughter was dressed. Yes, that was it. The Sultan would not entertain Gemma as she was wearing jeans, even though they were very expensive designer jeans. She had to suffer as well. She recalled telling Gemma to change her attire before leaving the house, but she was adamant that she was not going to alter the way she dressed, even for a Sultan.
“Local etiquette has to be observed” Boothroyd had told them.
Boothroyd was escorted into the Sultan’s presence by two soldiers. He noted how austere the large, he estimated its size at about thirty feet round, domed ceiling room appeared, the twelve foot high walls bare except for what looked to be a coat of white paint, the floors covered in a very ordinary looking grey carpet. Most of the lighting was from windows at the lower edge of the ceiling dome, angled in such a manner as to permit light to enter but keep the bright sunlight out towards the edge of the room. When Boothroyd entered the Sultan was seated at a desk on the far side of the room, staring at a computer monitor, ensuring that anyone coming to see him had to walk some distance. After a little pomp and ceremony for the media that showed Sir Carter-Phillips handing his official papers to the Sultan, those who had acted as witnesses, including two of the ruler’s sons, were dismissed, the Sultan and Boothroyd now sitting together on plush cushions on the floor, one in his robes of office, the other looking out of place in a morning suit. Coffee was served. Sir Boothroyd could not take his eyes off the six women who were still standing quietly against the wall, several feet behind the desk where the Sultan had been seated. The Sultan smiled broadly as he noticed where Boothroyd Carter-Phillip’s eyes were focussed.
“Still like the way our women are clothed I see” the sultan said.
“Yes, yes” replied Boothroyd. “Still love the mystery of how they may look beneath all those layers.”
“Where are your wife and daughter?” the sultan asked as he changed the subject.
“Outside in the waiting room” was the reply, “They were not permitted to enter your presence dressed as they are.”
“Only right and proper” commented the sultan as he laughed aloud.
The pair talked for over an hour, recalling their days at Eton and the things they got up to.
Caroline and Gemma were getting annoyed at being ignored. Nobody had even had the decency to offer them a drink while they waited. They knew from sounds outside the room earlier that the ceremony was over.
“Where is your father?” Caroline asked her daughter testily “The ceremony seemed to finish hours ago.”
It was not hot in the windowless, ten foot square room, the whole palace was air-conditioned, but other than an occasional sound from outside the door, sounding much like the stamp of booted soldier’s feet as they jumped to attention, there was only silence. The room’s walls were painted a horrible colour that reminded them of vomit, furnished with only a few cheap moulded plastic chairs, the Sultan did not like people to get too comfortable before meeting him. In his opinion it kept them nervous and on edge if they felt uncomfortable.
Mainly to break the silence Gemma said “I thought this Sultan was rich.”
“According to what I have read he is worth literally billions” Caroline replied.
“Does not look like it judging by this room. Yuk” the daughter exclaimed, shaking her brunette hair, putting her fingers into her mouth to indicate the sign of vomiting.
“I must say I was expecting something rather more luxurious” Caroline agreed sadly.
“What are you going to do about your women?” the Sultan asked Boothroyd, who tacitly replied with a wry smile. “You know” the Sultan added, “About their dress. Isn’t that why you came here?”
“I do not think they will go for it to be honest Aziz” Sir Boothroyd answered.
“I am sure they will not want to spend their time here virtually imprisoned in the house” the sultan continued with a sly grin. “Explain to them that this is the law of Bahbi, that all female visitors to our shores, including the family of Government representatives, must be correctly attired as befits their station if they wish to be seen in public.”
“You make it sound so easy Aziz” commented an intrigued Boothroyd.
“It is” Aziz began. “They will soon get bored sitting at home while you attend to affairs of state. Tell them that even the servants will not be able to attend them if they are not properly attired. Order them. Tell them it is the law” He explained grandly, waving his arms.
Buoyed by his friends enthusiasm Sir Boothroyd hurried to his wife and daughter. The women were relieved when he entered the room in which they had been alone for so long and they stood listening to what he was telling them.
“There is a problem” he told them gravely.
“You have to be joking” Caroline commented when he had finished. “That’s medieval. It’s barbaric” She replied in utter shock. “I won’t do it.”
“I’m sorry” Boothroyd said trying to sound as if he was. “But that is the way it has to be. There are only two choices available according to the Sultan. Either you wear western dress and remain locked in the one room, or wear the prescribed local dress and have a small amount of freedom.” The three talked for some time, Boothroyd trying to explain to the women using the words that Aziz had coached him to say, that it was the law of Bahbi that women of rank had to dress in a certain manner, adding that once a Bahbian woman of rank reached the age of sixteen she had no alternative, but as guests of the country were given a choice.
“You don’t have to make a decision straight away” he told them “The Sultan says that you can change your mind at any time.”
“It looks as if we have little choice Daddy” Gemma said to her father “Than to dress as the Sultan wishes. I know that I cannot spend all that time in my room. I will go mad from boredom. Have you seen the television programs they show?” she asked her parents. “All religion and propaganda it seems to me.”
“It is not what the Sultan wishes dear” said Boothroyd. “It is the law of this country, laws by which we must abide while here.”
“If Gemma chooses to dress as the natives, I guess I will have to follow suit” Caroline announced “Can’t let the side down can I?” She stated bravely, Boothroyd knowing the word were spoken with more enthusiasm than she really felt.
A happy Sir Boothroyd Carter-Phillips hurried to give his friend Aziz the news.
“I will organise it for early tomorrow morning at your house Boothy old boy” Aziz replied with a laugh and patting Boothroyd on the back “Give them a few hours to think it over and perhaps worry about exactly what they have let themselves in for.”
While her mother moped about the house with a worried frown on her face, Gemma tried to recall the information she had retrieved from the internet about Bahbi, thinking it would be a lot easier if only she had access to a computer at this time, but her father had become quite angry when she packed her laptop and had banned her from bringing it. She recalled that the population was in the region of a quarter million people and that the largest of the main towns was the capital Keni, which is where they were now domiciled, that the island was almost floating on a sea of oil and that most of the water had to be shipped in by tanker, to be stored in a huge dam out in the middle of the island. She remembered reading of a dress code which varied according to rank or status. Well that was obviously true and strictly adhered to as the website had told her, something she and her mother were to find out about tomorrow.
Having had an almost sleepless night, both Caroline and Gemma were not happy at being woken at six o’clock in the morning.
“What the hell time is this” Caroline exclaimed to her husband.
“It is the time I understand you will be required to be woken every morning from now on” Boothroyd told her, adding “It is necessary to get you bathed, have breakfast and get dressed by the required time”
“Required time? What are you babbling about Boothroyd?” she asked.
“I do not have the full facts yet dearest” he began in a condescending manner “But it seems from what I have read so far that both Gemma and yourself are only permitted to spend a certain number of hours each day in the bedroom, ten hours I think it was.”
Two females entered the room after knocking on the door and being told to enter.
“These are your maids” Boothroyd informed his wife “They will see to all your needs.”
Once the maids had gone into the bathroom run a bath for Caroline he then rose from the bed, pulled on a robe and went next door to give the same information to his daughter.
One of the maids came from the bathroom and spoke to Caroline, who was very surprised at being spoken to in English, especially an accent that was obviously from home.
“Is Madam ready for her bath” the cockney accent enquired.
Caroline sat and stared at the shapeless figure. The voice and the clothing did not go together in her mind. She suddenly woke from her thoughts and got shyly from under the sheet, not comfortable at being nearly naked in the presence of a stranger. Within an hour both Caroline and Gemma had been bathed and fed, albeit in separate rooms.
“It is now time to begin getting both Madam and Miss Gemma dressed for the day” Caroline was informed in a professional, matter of fact manner “We do not have a lot of time left” the shapeless figure added.
With that announcement both were led into a room that both women were to discover was their ‘dressing room’. This was the first time that either woman knew that the other also had their own maids to help them.
“First the panties and this top” the pair were told as the silk items were handed to them to put on.
Their arms being drawn above their heads by cuffs attached to the wrists by a cable, both were pulled higher until their toes barely touched the floor, at which time each was fitted with a pair of crotch length black silk stockings. These were followed by an item that Caroline visibly flinched at once she realised what it was.
“You’re not fitting that thing on me” she wailed, trying to move away from the corset carrying maid.
“Be quiet mummy” Gemma implored “They are not that bad. I have often worn one when going out.”
Gemma was to discover however that this corset was very unlike the ones she wore to nightclubs. Once the busk was closed the pair saw that the corset would cover them from hip to armpit, except at the front where it was shaped to below the bust, two small ledges making shelves for the breasts to sit on. The tightening process began, the maids frequently stopping to allow the pair to recover their breath. Both started to squirm with discomfort as the corsets gradually reduced both waists.
“Stop. That’s enough” Caroline panted, trying to raise enough breath to call Boothroyd.
He finally poked his head around the door post. “Boothroyd please make them stop this now. I cannot breathe” Caroline wheezed.
“Best stop talking then” he replied, a smile crossing his face at her shocked expression.
The tightening continued. Caroline felt great pressure building on her ribs.
“They are going to break my ribs” she wheezed to her husband.
“I’m sure they know what they are doing dear” Boothroyd assured her.
“Please Boothroyd, make them stop, it is too tight, I cannot breathe” she again pleaded, drawing a look of distain from her daughter for her continual pleading.
Drawing a small booklet from his pocket he slowly turned the pages as if looking for some detail.
“Ah, here it is” he said at last. “Now let’s see. You are both classed as being grade two females, being non-residents but of Government Ministerial level. According to this booklet of rules and regulations your waists have to be reduced by a measurement of at least, at least” he repeated loudly “fifteen centimetres. Let’s see, that’s about six inches I think” he told them, before turning to one of the maids to ask “By how much are their waists reduced at present.”
“Madam’s reduction is nearly four inches Sir, Miss Gemma is nearer five.”
A very disconsolate pair permitted their corset closure to continue, moaning in pain and discomfort, Caroline audibly swearing at the woman behind her.
The agonising tightening finally stopped. Both women stood gasping as they attempted to draw enough air into their lungs. Neither was prepared for the addition of a crotch strap that was pulled very tightly against their vagina and anus. Before either could formulate the question the cockney accent told them it was to prevent them from being touched in an inappropriate manner. With their arms released shoulder length gloves were fitted onto the pair. These however were no ordinary gloves, they were made of rawhide, pulled up the arms while wet. There were no fingers on the gloves. Instead the wearer was forced to shape their hands into fists, thumbs tucked under the fingers. The gloves were already tight before hot air was used to dry the rawhide which shrank considerably, becoming extremely stiff.
The arms now finished for the present, the footwear each would be required to wear was fitted. Made of the finest patent leather the boots were knee length.
“I will not be able to walk in these heels” Caroline told the maid “I want, no demand, you get me a pair with lower heels.”
Gemma sighed on hearing the comment. She liked high heels, her mother did not. Having heard his wife speak Boothroyd again peered around the door post, trying to not let his eyes fall on his half-naked daughter.
“Please Boothroyd” she pleaded “Make them give me lower heels. You know that high ones make my legs ache.”
He again made as if consulting the booklet. “It says in here that grade two women must wear heels of at least thirteen centimetres in height. That’s around five inches.”
“Boothroyd please. I beg you please make them stop. I am in agony.”
“I am sure I can bring this all to a halt it you want dearest” Boothroyd told his wife in a smarmy tone of voice “Just remember that if I do, you will have to spend your time in the bedroom with virtually no contact with the outside world”
“Just tell them to hurry up” Caroline said, resigned to her fate.
With the boots now laced tightly up the back from heel to knee Caroline fought to balance on the thin spiked heels as the maid closed and locked the metal clamp round the top of each boot over the knot in the laces.
A pair of breeches was the next item to be put on the two women by the maids. Made of soft leather, these covered them from a high waist to just below the knee so that they covered the top of the boots and were cut to a very snug fit. They were held in place by a number of poppers at both waist and leg. With the women now tastefully covered except for their breasts Boothroyd decided to enter the room. He did this so that he could enjoy watching his wife’s lack of control over her destiny from close up.
Although she tried Caroline found resistance useless. If she made any type of protest her husband would only quote from the book, while, in her view at least, the disrespectful maids totally ignored anything she said. Without warning both women found their arms being drawn behind their backs and before they could resist their wrists locked together. They were then ordered to walk to opposite sides of the room and turn so that they stood back to back. This done the maids carried over metal poles that had three sets of leather lined metal cuffs at various distances along its length, standing one behind each woman. The maids then lifted the poles and, after removing the cuffs already on the wrists, attached the lower cuffs on the pole in their place. The centre cuffs went around the arms slightly above the elbows, the top set clamping near the armpit. The next part of the operation was to slowly adjust each set of cuffs so as to bring the elbows closer together, using the top set to pull the shoulders painfully back. Caroline again whined and pleaded to her husband, who this time ignored her except for a shrug of his shoulders. Gemma on the other hand seemed to have accepted her fate with silence.
“Boothroyd this is ridiculous” Caroline shouted “How are we supposed to do anything with our arms like this?”
“I think you miss the whole point dear” he replied condescendingly “You are not intended to be able to do anything. That is why you have the maids.”
“I don’t understand” she answered.
“The rank bestowed on you by my position, grade two’s I believe you both are, means that you are held above needing to do things for yourself, hence having your arms tied in a manner that makes them useless to you” Boothroyd explained, having consulted the booklet yet again.
The maids ignored the conversation between husband and wife as they continued their work. They picked up some curved metal strips which they attached to small rings on the outer sides of the lower two sets of cuffs. These were fitted around the women at hip and below the breast, one end sliding into the other. The maids then used a key which ratcheted the two ends tighter until Caroline and Gemma’s arms were forced hard against their spines. The two were then told to sit on backless stools that had been provided.
“Please try and relax” the cockney voice said to the pair, adding “Many find this next step the most traumatic in the dressing procedure the first time they undergo it”
“It has not been traumatic so far? Caroline asked sarcastically.
“No madam. Far from it” the maid replied.
The maids picked up soft leather hoods which they turned inside out. Lifted to the women’s faces the maids began, as gently as they could, plastic tubes up the pairs noses Boothroyd informed wife and daughter that, according to his booklet, they were so that their breathing was not affected if sinuses or nasal passages became blocked, as the nose would be their only means of her getting air into the lungs. He left out the fact that the narrowness of the tubes would limit the supply of air they could manage to draw through them, starving them of air should they over exert themselves too much.
Moments before the next step took place Boothroyd spoke to his wife again. He did not bother addressing the speech directly to his daughter, realising she had already accepted the manner in which she was to be dressed and knew she could hear what was said as she was seated mere feet away.
“That’s right my darling, Bahbian law does not permit their women of rank to talk, so you will, except for a short time each morning while you eat, be gagged for as long as we are here.” After a pause he added, “This society, that you probably consider male chauvinist pigs, also feels that womenfolk should not listen to their conversations, or for that matter see too much either.”
With great delight Boothroyd, who had known exactly what was to occur, using the booklet as a prop, gave Caroline the rest of the news.
“These kind ladies are about to gag you, then remove your hearing, for like speech, this will be denied you for the majority of the time we are here. I’ll tell you both now, I shall have the control unit that will allow you hearing if, and when, I think it suitable for you to do so.” He continued his little speech by saying “It is for your own protection that this is done. If you cannot hear or speak, then you are unable to overhear things you are not supposed to” then, adding as if an afterthought, “When your dressing is completed your vision, again for the duration of our stay, will be reduced to the right and proper level for women of your status. This is the law after all.
When she refused to open her mouth when ordered by one of the maids, another simply squeezed her nostrils together so that eventually she had to open her mouth to gasp for air. As soon as this happened the limp rubber sack attached to the hood was pushed in. Caroline glared at her husband as he accepted the inflation bulb which was attached to the rubber lying on her tongue. As he squeezed the bulb, smiling at her as he did so, she could feel the plug expanding and filling every crevice of her mouth. Boothroyd then moved to his daughter and inflated the gag in her mouth. As the hoods continued to be fitted over their heads everything suddenly went quiet for the two of them. They could see Boothroyd’s mouth moving as he spoke with the maids but they heard no sound, the wax plugs on the hoods had been pushed deep into their ears, blocking all sound. The maids finished by positioning the wide, stiff collar section over their necks and shoulders then lacing the hoods tightly at the back of their heads. The result of having the neck and shoulders covered by the stiff leather was that movement of the head was now almost impossible, forcing them hold their heads erect, unable to do anything but stare straight ahead, eyes for the present uncovered.
Caroline and Gemma soon found that they were to be further hampered for movement as the maids connected straps between their legs, attaching them to the boots at ankle, calf and knee, adding further straps to the breeches above the knee and at the top of the thigh. With Boothroyd leading Caroline, a maid leading Gemma, they quickly discovered how the straps between their legs hampered their ability to walk, limiting each step to six inches. After two or three circuits of the room the maids continued the dressing ritual. This consisted of both having a narrow, ankle length leather sheath lowered over the head that hugged their bodies. The sheath acted to hide the bound arms from sight after the buttock to neck zipper had been closed. This garment had a close fitting head covering attached which left both women now staring through a criss-cross pattern of thin strips of leather. As if the difficulty caused by the tied together legs was not a big enough problem to cope with, the hem of this new garment limited the length of step even more. The tightness of these second hoods forced the blown up gags deeper into their mouths and they felt the earplugs pressed against their eardrums by its tightness.
Boothroyd escorted his wife on another walk around the room, walking backwards so that he faced her, smiling at her the whole time. He wondered if she, and indeed Gemma, realised that there were still two layers of clothing to go before their dressing reached what Sultan Aziz called traditional dress, something the Sultan himself introduced only five years previously when he took over as the reigning Monarch from his late father. Boothroyd assumed that both wife and daughter would be horrified when a further garment was fitted in a few moments time. The new garment was styled on the traditional burqua, made of thicker leather than the garment it covered and its weight was considerable as it measured some four feet at the hem. At eye level, instead of the criss-cross leather straps, this garment had a network of fine veiling, designed to further limit vision. Over the top of this Caroline was fitted into a gold coloured cotton garment of the same style that signified that she was not a native Bahbian and married. Gemma was in matching white that symbolised that she was unmarried and supposedly chaste and pure. Boothroyd could see that vision was further hampered by fine veiling.
Now deemed appropriately dressed Caroline and Gemma were led from the dressing room, through the bedroom and into the house. The mute and deaf women were made to shuffle along behind Boothroyd, the maids bringing up the rear. The pair found walking with tiny paces on the high heels difficult without the use of their arms to assist in balance, quickly discovering how breathless they became having to hurry to keep up with Boothroyd’s much freer steps, with the weight of the outfits not helping their cause.
The pair was led to Boothroyd’s office. Once there he dismissed the maids, who needed to get themselves correctly attired for the day. The women were surprised to hear him speak and he explained that the plug in the right ear contained a small radio receiver that was linked to his remote control. They were told that he had some things he needed to say to them. Referring again to the booklet he let wife and daughter know how their lives had now changed, telling them of how they needed to act and behave whilst part of their Government’s representatives in Bahbi, of how the maid’s would now see to all of their needs. Both wriggled on the backless stools on which they were seated as they tried to find comfort in their unused to clothing, having been told that the high-seated stools were the most comfortable form of seating for them with their corseted waists and arms held as they were. The final message given to the pair before their world returned to silence was that they would officially be introduced to the Sultan in two hours time.
Back in the room where they waited yesterday the trio waited for their audience with the Sultan. It had been a strange ride to the palace for the two women, being in the limousine unable to hear the sounds of the world around them, only able to stare at the rear window, through which they could see nothing due to the tinting. Finally the guard admitted them to the Sultan’s presence. They followed Boothroyd across the room at what they hoped was the required distance. Once in front of the desk they saw the purple shrouded figures standing near the wall, guessing from what Boothroyd had told them in his earlier speech that they were the Sultan’s wives, as they were the only females permitted to wear that colour coverings. Aziz acknowledged their presence by little more than a nod and a kiss on the forehead. Caroline and Gemma remained where they were. Through the layers of clothing that severely limited their vision they could see Aziz and Boothroyd laughing and joking while sitting at the desk. Little did they realise that the pair were laughing at their predicament, and at how easy it had been to get them to conform to the local mode of dress, especially Caroline, who the Sultan considered a perfect example of British upper class pomposity.
When the Sultan had learned that his old school friend was interested in the Ambassadorial position he had contacted him with a proposition, knowing that Boothroyd had a great interest in the way the women of Bahbi were attired. The upshot was that Sultan Aziz offered Boothroyd’s Government a considerable discount on oil prices if Carter-Phillips was given the job. Most ambassadorial postings were for between twelve and eighteen months, Carter-Phillips had been told that he could remain as Ambassador to Bahbi for as long as he wished providing that the oil discounts continued.
With the official greeting over Boothroyd, Caroline and Gemma prepared to depart the palace for the enclave of the city in which their home and the embassy, along with those of many other countries, was situated. It came as some surprise to the two women on discovering that their mode of transport had changed from motor vehicle to horse-drawn carriage. They also began to find out how harsh life could be for females in Bahbi, as while Boothroyd sat facing forward beneath a canopy attached above the carriage seat, they were expected to sit on the seat opposite, which was in the full glare of the hot desert sun. This also meant that they were facing the rear of the carriage and could only stare straight back and see that which they had already passed, not that the little that they could see through the layers of veiling was very exciting, just people, many caped and veiled escorted females, going about their daily business. Caroline, who could just see her husband, became somewhat annoyed as he continually looked around and occasionally waved to those they passed, or seemingly pointed to things of interest, whilst seemingly totally ignoring both herself and Gemma.
Just before bedtime that same evening Boothroyd had Gemma summoned from her room next door. Both women were dressed for bed. Caroline sat on the edge of the bed wearing nothing but the corset and a diaphanous garment which covered her from neck to ankle, her head hidden beneath a thick cotton hood. Gemma, who turned scarlet beneath the hood at the sight of her mother’s attire, was clothed in an outfit of the same material as her mother’s hood, the iniquitous corset still worn beneath it. Both women still had their arms firmly cuffed behind their backs and beneath the hoods both were still gagged, although as he wanted to speak to them he turned their hearing on. Boothroyd reiterated to the pair that from this point forward they had two options. The first option was to refuse to be dressed in the desired manner and spend the whole time of his appointment to Bahbi locked in the windowless bedrooms, having absolutely no outside contact, meals delivered through slots in the doors, and that would mean no contact with him also. The other was to be dressed in the accepted style, which was as they had been earlier. The only exception was when they were in their respective bedroom. The hood with the gags and earplugs, as they had been informed earlier, not being removed unless by direct order of himself.
Both were appalled to be told that they were not permitted to spend more than ten hours of each day in their bedroom, this time to include being prepared for bed, bathing, eating and dressing for the day. The pair were also informed that the only times they would be permitted to use the toilet was just before going to bed and just prior to being dressed for the day. In a dire emergency, if they could attract the attention of one of the maids, they would be permitted to use the toilet, although this action would result in them being confined to the bedroom until the following morning. A further point made by Sir Boothroyd was that during the daytime, unless permitted otherwise, and permission would rarely be granted, the pair were to be in the same room of the house as he was any time he was at home.
Gemma was excused, told to return to her own room, where her maid would prepare her for bed. Boothroyd quickly prepared himself for a sexual encounter with his wife. He lifted the light covering from her body. To his great surprise his wife reacted as she had rarely done before, seemingly enjoying the encounter with enthusiasm, moans of delight softly passing from her gagged mouth. When Caroline finally lay down to sleep Boothroyd showed her how the mattress was made with indentations to accept her cuffed arms.
Early the following morning found mother and daughter discovering just how difficult life could be for a woman dressed in the Bahbian style. Being mute, deaf, almost blind and without the use of hands or arms, the pair could do little except sit in a chair or wander the house and grounds, not the most comfortable of pastimes when limited to small, mincing steps while wearing several layers of heavy leather clothing in the hot desert sun. A small amount of reading could be done providing a maid was available to turn the page as required. Caroline realised that dressed as she was, that even in a room with a thousand other people she would remain in virtual isolation. Things did not improve a great deal when Boothroyd returned from whatever it was he did at the legation each day. Both became very distraught at the fact that they could not join their husband and father in the cool water of the swimming pool, only sit on the hot tile surround and watch him enjoy the water.
On the evening of their third day in Bahbi, the family was required to attend a party in their honour at the Sultan’s palace. This was to be attended by the diplomats of many countries. In place of her normal outer covering Caroline was fitted with a heavy brocade outer garment which left her with less vision than usual. She struggled to walk in this outfit, its weight being greatly increased by the large number of beads embroidered onto it. Gemma was clothed in a similar outfit, hers in white. It turned out to be another evening of learning for the hapless pair of newcomers. Hardly had the two reached the point where Boothroyd stood waiting for them after their, unheard by them, introduction, that the pair, along with all of the women present, were escorted to the sides of the room.
As they were moving across the room the pair noticed that there were only four different colours amongst the females outer coverings, their own gold and white, the others being pale blue and purple. Purple they knew indentified the Sultan’s wives. Who the pale blue signified they did not know, and doubted that in their present condition, would not find out unless allowed to read about them. Once they reached the outer wall a shock awaited them as they were placed back first into a small alcove, their trailing outer clothing being wound tightly around their legs. Once in position, to the pair’s utter shock, a clear plastic panel was released from the wall to cover the opening. It was from this alcove, in which they barely had room to move, that they were forced to watch the rest of the evenings celebrations as best they could, which seemed to mainly consist of what they assumed to be local dances, along with acrobats, jugglers of various kinds and even a fire-eater.
After a period of several weeks Caroline desperately tried to communicate her misery to her husband. With her inability to speak, and not given the chance to write a message, her misery remained as her personal thoughts. One of her major concerns was as to how her daughter was going to communicate with any males she might be permitted to meet. How would she ever meet her future husband? Boothroyd however was already working on this, his plan being to get his daughter married into the Sultan’s family, something the Sultan was keen to encourage one of his sons to do without it seeming to the son as if it was an arranged marriage, as they considered themselves ‘westernised’ it was felt the son would not agree to this type of arrangement. As Boothroyd’s duties took up more of his time it became harder for Caroline and Gemma to get outside the four walls of the grounds, as they needed to be escorted by a male to do so, with Boothroyd being the only person available to do the job. At the Sultan’s request one of his sons began acting as escort to Gemma, taking her and her mother on trips to visit various parts of the country, completely unaware of the plan being hatched by his father and Sir Boothroyd. The only other time the pair really got away from the house was to attend the various functions at which Boothroyd’s attendance necessitated them accompanying him.
For Caroline and Gemma the boredom of Bahbi life and dress style would continue far beyond the eighteen months they expected. At first Caroline tried to keep track of the days, but the sameness of each day frequently caused her to lose track until she finally gave up the attempt. Boothroyd knew they had no way of asking the question, and he had no intention of informing them of the facts. If his plan for his daughter came to fruition, along with him becoming a business advisor to the Sultan when his term as ambassador finally ended, the two females in his life would remain in their present condition until the day they died, a thought that tented his trousers each time it came to him. The thought of returning to Britain in the guise of the Sultan’s business advisor with a docile Caroline at his side gave him goosebumps.