It was now a quarter to two and Felicia had been sitting in the small sitting room that doubled as a private lessons area for almost fifteen minutes. The room was in a smaller building off to itself on the grounds of the school. The rest of the cottage had, at one time, been a teacher’s quarters, but was now used only for storage. The private lessons taught in that room often involved the cane or the switch, and Felicia had been instructed here often in her time at the school. As she sat in the soft chair, she found herself imagining that she was kneeling on it with her dress and petticoats up over her head as she had been the last time she was in this room.
Miss Devonshire hadn’t called her “Lisha” that day. She called her an obstinate strumpet who was better suited for the dockside brothels of southeast London. She had caught her masturbating under the stairway and had taken her directly to the private instruction room. There, she had used a thin cane on her until Felicia was screaming.
As Felicia remembered that day, she smiled. Miss Demonshire, as the girls of the school often called her, thought she was screaming out in pain, but in fact, the caning had done what Felicia had been unable to do for herself under the stairs. It had driven her into an intense orgasm. Even now thinking about it, she found herself growing slightly damp between the legs. She was tempted to slide her hand under her dress and petticoats, but this possible position on an estate somewhere was too important. It could be her last chance to avoid transportation to the colonies.
At exactly 2:00 pm Miss Devonshire stepped into the room, followed closely by a young gentleman in dark trousers and a light gray frock coat. There was a darker gray greatcoat over his arm. His short top hat– the latest fashion– was a slightly darker gray than his coat, but still lighter than his trousers. The band on the hat, however, exactly matched the much lighter gray silk of his vest. His fully-coordinated ensemble was obviously in tune with the latest fashions and proclaimed him a man of significant means.
Felicia stood as soon as they entered the room. “This is the gentleman about whom I spoke earlier,” Miss Devonshire said in her clipped, always careful, diction.
The man removed his hat and set it and his greatcoat on the small table. He then bowed slightly while extending his gloved hand. Between two of his fingers was a small, dark ivory card. On the card in raised, golden letters was the name, “Raymond Ulfr Nordman, Esquire.”
Beneath the name was a second golden line which read, “Lord of Westcombe Manor.” On a third line in black, and in much finer type, it said, “Home of The Mansion Hunting Club.”
As Felicia took the card from his hand, he said quietly, “That will be all, Agnes.”
Felicia knew that Miss Devonshire’s first name was Agnes, but she had never heard anyone– ever– call her that. It was a much too familiar form of address and Miss Devonshire would not tolerate such familiarity from anyone. Felicia expected her to explode as she often did when someone obviously did not know their place. Instead, to Felicia’s great surprise, all she did was nod her head, curtsy slightly, and say “Yes m’Lord.” She then withdrew, leaving Felicia and Lord Nordman alone in the room.
Shortly after the door closed, Felicia heard the click of a key being turned and the solid thunk of the bolt being thrown in the lock. “We will not be disturbed,” he said rather matter-of-factly as he removed his gloves and set them on his hat. “There are only two keys to that door. Agnes has taken one back to her room with her...” he reached into the pocket of his waistcoat pulling something out and holding it up before Felicia’s face, “... and I have the other.”
He then returned the key to his waistcoat pocket and motioned toward the chair, saying politely, “Please, be seated.”
Felicia sat back where she had been waiting for the previous half-hour. She knew enough to remain silent and let her betters guide the conversation, but as she sat, she silently appraised this obviously rich, obviously powerful young man.
From his card and title, she could tell that he was old, landed aristocracy, but that meant much less than it once did. Today money was made– and lost– at sea, or in trading. The aristocracy still had the land, but the merchants had the money... and they held the true power both in society and in government. This man wore the latest fashion, however, so his fortune, at least, had not yet been depleted.
He appeared to be in his mid-thirties. There was no gray in his dark brown hair and he walked with a youthful bounce to his step. More lines than expected, however, appeared on his face. Either he was older than she thought, or maybe he had been out in the intense sun– perhaps at sea– for extended periods of time. His dark eyes seemed piercing as he stared silently at her. For a moment, Felicia felt almost like a mouse being watched by a cat... a very hungry cat.
He pulled one of the chairs over to Felicia so that he was sitting face to face with her. “We live in a changing world,” he said quietly. “... a very rapidly changing world.”
He then smiled and added, “I am uniquely a part both of the past and of the future of that world.” His smile vanished as he looked directly into her eyes and said, “And so are you.”
There was silence for several moments and then his smile returned slightly and he said, “I have set a course that will determine my position in that new world. I am a squire with vast estates, like my father before me and his father before him for a dozen generations. I can claim the title of ‘Sir Raymond’ when I desire to or find it useful in business dealings. Some past monarch bestowed the title on my family for our help is this or that war of some sort.”
He stood and stepped into the center of the room. “But that is the past,” he said. “And those who live in the past find themselves lost in the past.”
He turned to face her. “You are a child of a peerage family. As was your mother and her mother and her mother before her for a dozen generations.” He stepped close and leaned down so that he was once again looking directly into her eyes. “That is also the past. You have refused to live in that past, and that past has rejected you.”
Felicia trembled slightly as he sat down once again facing her. “The question then is the future,” he said, sounding like one of her teachers. “I am also a merchant and the head of a merchant’s guild. We have a fleet of ships which range throughout the world under the British flag. Our power is economic, but where necessary, we call upon the military might of the British Empire.”
He smiled again. “The day will come.” he said, “when the British Empire will not have the power it currently has. Then, even the guilds of merchants will lose some of their power. That is the truth of the future. Power ebbs and flows. Some of the powerless slowly become powerful. Many of the powerful slowly become powerless.”
His voice became louder as he said, “But those who know power and how power works in people and in nations and in the world will continue to remain in power whether that be as governments or guilds or secret societies dedicated to power.”
His voice changed once again. It became softer, yet at the same time it became even more forceful. His smile was gone and his face now matched the determination evident in his voice. “I know how power works in the world. I know how power works in governments. And most importantly, I know how power works in people.”
He grinned at her and said in an almost teasing voice, “That means I know how you work, my little wayward slut.”
He smiled again, but this time the smile was tight against his teeth. His entire face was cold and oddly threatening. “My future is a future of power,” he said slowly. Then he leaned slightly forward and lightly stroked Felicia’s cheek. His voice became almost mocking as he said, “You can be a part of that future. ... but you have no power... You are powerless.”
He took Felicia’s hand. “In fact, you are worse than powerless. You are one who used to have power but never had an understanding of power. ... So you lost it.”
He dropped her hand. “But you do understand that the powerless masses of the world, who are now more powerful than you, will destroy you.” After a long pause during which he stared intently into her eyes, he added, “... if you let them.”
Felicia’s eyes were beginning to fill with tears. She struggled to hold back her sobs, but they were slowly creeping out of her throat.
“Yes,” he continued, “I am referring to the convict ships.”
His voice again rose slightly in volume. “I know and you know that if nothing changes, in all likelihood, within a fortnight you will be transported to the colonies.” He was now practically shouting, “You will be less than powerless among the powerless mob on those ships and they WILL destroy you!”
He had risen to his feet as he completed his dire prediction. Felicia looked up at him and began weeping openly. “I don’t know what to do,” she sobbed. “I don’t know what to do.”
“You can instead choose to be powerless among the powerful,” he responded flatly.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she a replied.
He sat down once again. “The Mansion Hunting Club is a thing of the past,” he began. “The appreciation for the training of the dogs or the horses and the thrill of the chase is fading into history. The hunt and the preparation for the hunt no longer trains our new leaders for the future. It belongs in the past.
“But what can take its place?” he asked, almost excitedly. “What requires more skill? What brings a greater thrill to the mind and body? What would better train a young Lord or Lady for the modern world?”
“I don’t know, m’Lord,” she answered softly.
“What animal is harder to train than a dog?” he asked emphatically. “What animal is more obstinate than a horse or mule? What animal can give greater pleasure in the chase than any fox?”
“I don’t know, m’Lord,” she answered once again.
“You, my vixen bitch,” he said as he once again sat down and took her hand. The cold smile returned to his face.
“I have chosen you to be the first,” he explained, “and not just because you have little choice and very few options.” He dropped her hand and laughed. “Your desperation gives me great power over you– and you know it. But there are others much more desperate than you. I chose you not because you are desperate, but because you are special.”
Lord Nordman stood and began to pace back and forth in front of the bewildered girl.
“This is not just about power,” he said forcefully. “It is also about powerlessness. I– and many others like me– derive pleasure from power. But there are some– you among them– who derive pleasure from being powerless.”
She sniffed back her tears and looked at him blankly, still not comprehending where his thoughts were leading.
“As of today,” he stated firmly, “The Mansion Hunting Club is no more. In its place I am creating The Mansion Club. It will be the training place for those who must know how to use power in the world. I will enlist those who find pleasure in their powerlessness to help train those who must learn the ways of power.”
He paced back and forth in front of the fireplace as though greatly excited. “As I pass my knowledge of power and the use of power on to others,” he said, “the club itself will grow more and more powerful. People of true power will be drawn to it, and with greater power they and their sons and daughters will emerge from within The Mansion Club membership to lead the world. The day will come– long after I am gone– when The Mansion Club will be a power of its own in the affairs of the world, independent of any government or nation.”
He once again sat down, took both of her hands, and looked deeply into her eyes. “And it all begins with me training you so that I can demonstrate the proper use of power to those whom I wish to bring into The Mansion Club.”
“But I have no skills,” she wept. “And Miss Devonshire says I am a horrible and obstinate student.”
“That is because,” he answered with a huff of amusement, “she was trying to train you to be a lady.” His short laugh was much more like a scoff as he looked at her with amusement. “That is like trying to train a dog to dance the ballet.”
Felicia’s face burned with embarrassment and shame. He was telling her the truth of who she was– and was not.
He again laughed slightly, then stood and turned to face her. “But training a dog for the hunt is a totally different thing. Training a dog for the hunt is merely a matter of bringing out those traits that are already there within the hound.”
He lifted her chin so that he could look directly into her eyes. “Training certain women– such as you– to be powerless pleasure objects is no different. It is merely a matter of bringing out those traits that are already there within you. Deep in your heart, you want to be powerless. Deep in your soul, you want to feel overwhelming sexual pleasure... or even overwhelming pain. You want to be dominated and used. You want to feel your body... your mind... your total being in someone else’s control.”
He paused and said softly, “I will bring that out in you as you become my personal slave.”
Felicia’s eyes widened. “I know that the slave trade,” he continued, “has been outlawed in the British Empire. Soon slavery itself will be outlawed. Anyone who can read history can see that the chains and whips of the slaveholder will soon fade into the past.”
The softness of his face now matched his words. “You need not fear chains and whips, unless you desire them, my dear. It will not be chains that keep you in my service. It will be your desire to serve and to submit. As surely as a hound desires to run in a pack and bay for its master, you desire to be owned and used as an object of pleasure.”
Felicia was trembling visibly as he stood before her. He looked down directly into her eyes before he once again pulled the key from his waistcoat, turned to face the door, and continued in a strong and confident voice, “If I am wrong, you are free to leave. I will not stop you. I will even arrange to set you up in your own little business as a public secretary after you graduate. There will also be a yearly stipend to help ends meet.”
He voice lowered as he turned back to face her. “If I am wrong,” he said, “I promise that I will never bother you again.”
He laid the key on the table and stared forcefully down at her as she stared back up at him and trembled. “But if I am right,” he exclaimed, his eyes growing wider. “If I am right...” His voice was growing louder. “... then the needs and desires within your body will compel you not only to stay, but to stand before me now at my disposal as the totally powerless, naked slave that you actually are.”
The quiet following his tirade was almost overwhelming for Felicia. Lord Nordman stood staring down at her as still as a statue. Even his eyes did not move as they burned through her, awaiting her decision.
Felicia rose slowly from the chair. It was her intent to snatch the key from the table and leave this horrible man, even if that meant taking her chances on the convict ships. But as she rose, her hands did not reach for the key. They reached instead for the buttons on the front of her dress. And when the dress had slid to the floor, they reached for the ties on her chemise... then for the ties on her pantaloons... then the ties of her brassier. Soon she was standing before him in nothing but her stockings. Her hands slid down one leg and then the other so that those, too, joined the pile of clothing on the floor. She took a deep breath and stood before him naked.
She was visibly shaking. Her body was quivering as she stood naked before Sir Raymond Ulfr Nordman, but she was not afraid. For the first time in many years, Felicia Marie Austenberry was not afraid.
Lord Nordman carefully put on his gloves and then picked up his hat and greatcoat. “It is time for you to leave your past behind you and walk bravely into your future,” he said as he set his hat upon his head and tapped the top of it as if it were a drum. It sounded that clear and crisp “thunk” that only a high quality beaver hat could make.
“Come, my little wayward slut,” he continued. “Follow me to my carriage.” His voice took on the tone of authority as he ordered firmly, “Head up! Eyes forward! Three steps behind me on the path!”
He then picked up the key from the table and started toward the door. Felicia bent to pick up her clothing but stopped as he gently said, “No, no, my wayward slut, that is your past. Leave your past behind. Hide nothing. Let the others see that you are making this choice of your own free will. Follow me to my carriage as you are.”
He paused as she straighten back up, and then he once again ordered firmly, “Head up! Eyes forward! Three steps behind me on the path!”
She smiled and then answered, “Yes, Master.” The lock on the door clicked open and Sir Raymond strode out into the afternoon sun with Felicia following three steps behind him.
END OF EXCERPT