Lydia

"Time for you to get changed." She called out from the bedroom.

I was puzzled. I wasn't aware that there were any plans afoot to go anywhere.

"Get a move on!" A note of asperity had entered Her voice.

On entering the bedroom I was depressed to note that on the bed lay one of my uniforms: a working maid's dress. It's referred to as my working maid's dress as it's not one of those silly, frilly, fancy French maid things but a plain poly-cotton overall: black with white trimming. In fact, it's a waitress's dress which she bought for me at a commercial outfitters -- another visit I'd prefer to forget.

"Didn't I mention we'd got a visit to make?" She was looking at me with a little smile on her face. "I'm sure you must have known it was coming. You know I don't like to disappoint anyone."

As I changed into the outfit I tried to pretend to myself that we might be going somewhere that I hadn't thought of, but deep down I knew exactly where we were off to.

She shoo'ed me out of the bedroom and down to the front hall where a coat and shoes were already laid out. Such luxury, having *Her* get things out for *me*, but was I prepared to pay the purchase price? There again, did I have a choice?

I pulled on the crummy old faded mac and did up the shoes. Horrid shoes. Ghastly-clumpy-lace-up-traffic-wardens-shoes. I dragged the toes through the gravel all the way to the car.

Surprise, surprise, it's next stop chez Lydia, where no doubt the old trout was drooling in anticipation at the chance to play Lady Muck disciplining the serving girl.

No doubt the old trout would give me a clout, at which I would pout like a menial lout but I would care nowt for that harridan stout, with her fat piggy snout - for I would last out that afternoon's bout; I'd make it a rout, though she'd spout and she'd shout and ..... - I realised that my Dearest was staring at me suspiciously so I stifled my sniggering and contented myself with humming my little hum just audibly enough to be irritating.

As she strode up to the front door I trailed along a few paces behind her and stood silently on the lower step while we waited for the door to be answered.

The door opened and Lydia ushered us inside with a welcoming, and anticipatory, smile. Or rather, there was a welcoming smile for Her, which was replaced by a cold look for me, and the snapped greeting of "Wipe your feet!"

Madam strolled through into the rear reception room, for all the world as if she owned the place. Meanwhile Lydia was still snapping at me, this time to hang up my coat tidily and get a move on. I did as I was told and followed them through into the other room, consoling myself by walking unnecessarily loudly.

"Not very light on her feet, is she?" Lydia observed acidly.

"Yes, she does clump around rather: I really don't know what to do about it."

"Wooden spoon award." I muttered under my breath, but not quietly enough to escape detection by old bat ears.

"We'll attend to curbing that loose tongue shortly," hissed Lydia "but in the meantime let's see if we can do something about those feet of yours. Take your shoes off!"

Whilst I wasn't sorry to get out of the clumpy lace ups I was wearing I doubted that anything on offer from Lydia would be preferable.

"Now get down on the floor -- on your back -- like that!"

'Like that' turned out to be with my knees on my chest and my arms clasped around the back of my legs.

"This is how we teach maids to tread quietly." Lydia produced a small thin cane from somewhere.

Madam leaned forward in her chair with an expression of interest of theatrical intensity. " It's quite all right to cane feet, is it?"

"Oh yes," said Lydia, flexing the cane and smiling coldly at me lying there," you mustn't use a heavy implement, of course, but this cane is quite adequate for the purpose."

My stockings gave no protection at all against the sting of the cane on the soles of my feet and I yelped involuntarily at the first stroke before gritting my teeth through another half dozen or so.

My eyes were beginning to water at the end of it but my teeth gritting continued as my Dearest inquired earnestly whether that was sufficient for the purpose. Naturally Lydia obliged with couple more just to be on the safe side.

I got to my feet somewhat gingerly, but the thick pile of the carpet cushioned the tenderness and I went to retrieve my shoes. Even those monstrosities on my feet were better than leaving them exposed to Lydia's tender ministrations.

"Not those, put these on!" Lydia was snapping at me again.

I looked at the shoes Lydia handed me. "But these are too small for me," I protested, looking at the size marking "these are only a four and I'm a size five."

All I got for my pains was a slap across my face. "If I say put them on, you put them on, girl," she hissed.

"You're quite a small five though, aren't you? I do think you ought to at least give them try before making a fuss." Someone was stirring it for all She was worth.

The shoes were calf high boots with spike heels and laces all the way up from the instep. With the laces slack I could slip my feet into them although they squeezed my toes dreadfully.

"Put your foot up on that chair." Lydia banged my foot down, heel flat, toe up on the chair and began pulling at the laces. "I can't trust you to do these up properly."

I winced as my feet were crushed tightly in the rigid grip of the boot, and the pressure increased even further as I transferred my weight to that foot while the other one was laced in.

"Now walk to the front door and back, girl."

I tottered off slowly, the heels clicking loudly on the marble floor of the hallway. My feet were rapidly going numb.

Lydia had a nasty triumphant smile on her face as I limped back in, "not so keen to stamp your feet now, are you, girl? Now go and get us some tea: you'll find everything you need in the kitchen."

I hobbled off into the kitchen where I found a tray and several other clattering utensils to make tea with, but only after noisily opening and closing a satisfyingly large number of cupboard doors. I toyed with the idea of adding something noxious to Lydia's tea but reluctantly decided that I couldn't guarantee which cup she might insist on taking.

After dawdling over the preparations I click clacked my way back to the Ugly One who by this time was simmering away like a kettle, but not as merrily. I curtsied and solemnly handed her a cup of tea with the saucer half full of slops.

I was treated to a lecture delivered in tones of restrained fury, which was rather disappointing as I'd hoped for a wildly uncontrolled outburst, which would have eliminated her from featuring in my life at any time in the future. I contented myself with adopting an expression of open mouthed idiocy and trying to work up enough flow to dribble in her tea.

The wretched woman was certainly more agile than she appeared to be as she deftly deposited the slop filled saucer on a table, stood up and grabbed me by the ear, all in one fluid movement.

"Give your Mistress her tea," she said icily, hauling me across to Her and then taking the tray from me. "It looks like you need a lesson in how to carry a tray without spilling everything. Stand up straight."

A moment later that nasty little cane reappeared in her hand.

Lydia handed me the empty tray. "Hold that on the tips of your fingers. Up! Up!"

With each ‘up' she prodded me with the tip of the cane until I was balancing the tray at head height on my left hand.

"Take this in your other hand." She handed me a cup and saucer - plastic, I noted. This she arranged me holding at arms length.

"Now we'll learn about balance, won't we, girl." She slapped the inside of my thigh with the cane. "Spread your legs more!"

My vulnerability in that pose increased markedly when Lydia tucked the hem of my dress into the waistband of my knickers. White cotton, sensibly large and comfortable, since you ask.

"The art of training a maid....." I could feel the cane stroking and tapping as she walked around me "...is to ensure that when she does *anything*...." The first stroke landed hard on the inside of my thigh, leaving a vivid red line ".....incorrectly you must punish her *hard*..." The teacup rattled in its saucer "....but *appropriately*"

Lydia circled around in front of me and smiled her nasty little smile. "They're *stupid*, you see, think they can *get away* with things, so they have to be *taught*, so they *remember*"

Her words were for Madam, but her looks were all for me, the self contented smile renewing with each emphatic swipe of the cane. "Not so *funny* is it *now*, girl."

As she passed behind me again my Dearest looked at me and raised an eyebrow. "Well?" it said, "how do you feel about this then?" My replying glare crumpled into a wince of pain as Lydia landed a vicious slice under my buttock, right into the crease.

Now the cane was stroking the front of my thighs and Lydia was smiling at me again, daring me to say, or do, something. "*This* .." ..the cane whipped across the front of my right leg.. "is how we *teach*" ..a matching cut on the other leg.. "you to *balance* a tray, girl, not *spill* everything."

My arms were beginning to shake under the tension of holding the fixed position and as Lydia returned to lightly smacking the sore parts inside my thighs with the cane my knees drifted together imperceptibly. The cane lashed in like a snake striking.

"Keep them APART, you *stupid* girl." Lydia was baring her teeth in her excitement.

"Shouldn't she practice walking with the tray?"

The cool interjection was delivered as the essence of sweet reason. With Lydia and I dancing on the edge of a very deep abyss, She was going to calmly lead us on a little stroll. So professional, my Precious. Can the old baggins guess its secret while we walk on the edge of darkness?

The click of my heels echoed through the hall as I walked slowly to the far end, the tray held high. Rigid. Unwavering. Each step was measured, timed to my breathing, slowing. At the end of my mental catwalk I swivelled on my heel and Lydia and I regarded each other down the length of the hall. I didn't need to switch my gaze to the Ringmistress to know she was sitting there regally, watching Her warrior enter into the arena, naked save for mental armour.

I coolly sashayed down the hall, steeling myself to deny Lydia the slightest flicker of weakness. She met me half way and another stripe on my leg bore witness to our passing. She moved around me as I walked up and down with that wretched tray, tapping and slapping, goading me, but still I walked, possibly wavering slightly, but going doggedly on, until she finally, grudgingly, told me to stop.

"It's been so good of you to have us, Lydia," Madam was stirring "but we really have to be going. That was most instructive."

The look Lydia gave me indicated that going was the last thing on her mind, but she exchanged the usual formalities before turning to me with her twisted little smile and saying "Thank me for your instruction, girl."

Having come that far I wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of having it dragged out of me, so I curtsied more or less adequately and thanked her, flatly, for her kind instruction in deportment and service.

"I hope to teach you a lot more than that, girl, but there are plenty of other times to explore those avenues." Her smile exuded cold triumph as she slowly turned her back on me to talk with Madam while I attempted to extricate my feet from those boots.

We were on the point of departure before my Dearest decided to have the last word. "Thank Miss Lydia properly. On your knees." Just words. Just a passing phrase thrown out.

Two sets of eyes on me. Two expectations. My move.

I sank fluidly to my knees and bowed low to the floor at Lydia's feet. I looked up, straight at her and thanked her. Fully. Straight. Not a hint of malice, condescension or sarcasm. Abased myself again before getting up to open the door without another glance at her. Madam strolled out with an affable nod to Lydia and I pulled the door shut behind her. And as it closed I saw Lydia's face: struck with the sudden awful doubt of who should be learning from whom.

"Magnifique, Darling," She said as we walked to the car.

"Can I take my skirt out of my knickers now," I replied....

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RRW

 

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