The training of Jayne Hardinge began just three days after her eighteenth birthday. She could not have asked for a better tutor. Her aunt, Lady Jessica Fitzroy Hardinge, knew all there was to know, had the financial resources, the skill and the property. Lady J., as she was known to her inner circle of friends, had decided to undertake most of the young lady's training herself, and later to introduce her niece to those same friends.
Lady J. had herself had been trained in the same manner - albeit in an earlier and stricter era - and had never had a moment's cause to regret the way of life to which such training had brought her.
The small Hampshire property in which Lady J. lived and in which the training of her niece was to be undertaken had been Jayne's only home for the past four years, since Jayne had become an orphan with the loss of her parents in an accident.
The bond of affection between niece and aunt was deep, real and utterly reciprocated the one by the other. Such rigours as the young lady's training were to introduce her to were certainly not born of any form of indifference, much less dislike. In this regard, at least, she was different from so many other heroines, if so one may describe them, of so many Victorian tales of domestic regimen: the Jayne Eyres and Helen Burns of this world, whose strict upbringing was usually the result of being orphaned into a world no less cruel, in some respects, than that which the young Jayne Hardinge entered - albeit a little older than those Victorian ladies - but certainly a good deal less loving. And so to our tale.
Jayne Hardinge had, of course, been introduced to the concept of discipline, both self-imposed and borne of outside authority, well before she came of age. Her parents had not been indulgent, far from it, and given what has already been said of her aunt it may rightly be supposed that the growing child ran anything but wild in the rambling house, with its stables and stable-block, its walled garden and walled perimeter beyond the lawns, the small copsed woodland and the gravel drive which comprised the modest estate.
School - boarding school, of course - was likewise no free-range institution of the modern, liberal persuasion, but a small, private and traditional establishment which concentrated on the three Rs, taught its young ladies to play lacrosse and the piano, to scrub behind their ears and to be in bed by lights-out. Young men had played, to date, little part in the young woman's upbringing, and it was indeed her aunt's intention that such a state of affairs should remain, until Jayne was judged by that same aunt to be ready in all respects to make her debut in the world of heterosexual affairs. That is not to say Jayne, though innocent, was ignorant. Like any teenage girl in the 'Eighties of the twentieth century, there was little about the birds and the bees, and even less of the mechanics of human reproductive techniques, she did not know by the time she was fourteen. Her knowledge was, however, more or less entirely theoretical, a fact that pleased her aunt and entirely fitted in with her plans for the niece.
Sexuality nonetheless was an inevitable part of the growing young woman's make up. Her aunt had carefully nurtured, carefully guided such nascent development as there had been in such a way that, like a summer bonfire smouldering under heaped dry grass, it would need but a raising of one corner of the pile, but a cleverly directed draught of air, for the smouldering fire to alight, to spring into flame and to burn with vigour.
From boarding school Jayne had spent a year at a Swiss Finishing School. Carefully chosen by Lady J. this establishment was neither the licentious institute of corporal discipline beloved of erotic fiction nor yet the free-wheeling bohemian college written of occasionally in the tabloid and indeed even in the broadsheet press. It was run by an old friend of Lady J. and was if anything on the prim side, so that its young charges learned the decorous arts of needlepoint and elegant entertaining. Jayne was herself a cook of practically Cordon Bleu standard when she came home. but remained carefully chaperoned throughout their social occasions. No one lost their virginity while a pupil of Madame Monet.
From her finishing school Jayne returned to Hardinge Hall, and with her aunt contemplated her future.
And so it was that, just these few days after the party in the big old house to celebrate the young lady's return from Switzerland, Jayne found herself sipping perfectly chilled champagne in the sun-dappled library, settled deep into a chintz-covered sofa, her eyes sparkling with excitement, and perhaps also with the effect of the champagne, while her aunt laid before her an invitation Jayne already knew she could not afford to let herself refuse.
'So there you have it' Lady J. was concluding. 'I appreciate most of your friends will be going to live in London, find jobs as nannies or whatever. And of course if you wish to do that I shall not raise any objection. But if you take up my offer, put yourself entirely in my hands, I will undertake to teach you all I have learned of life, which is no small amount.' The elegant woman, in fact in her mid-fifties but in appearance virtually unassessable in the matter of age, smiled warmly at the young woman, and continued, kindly but firmly, lest there be any misunderstanding.
'It will not be easy. I shall be a firm, even harsh, Mistress to you. I shall surprise you, even shock you. You will often wonder, as I set you some small task, put you to some not-so-small trial or subject you to what you will initially at least think an unnecessarily unconventional, perhaps even bizarre, discipline, what it is I might be trying to teach you, to have you become. You will have to trust me. In the end, you will know so much of yourself, and of the way of the world, that nothing will surprise or shock you. Merely intrigue, and excite.
'Through first mine and then very quickly your own self-discipline you will learn self-fulfilment, self-control. And it is not until we control ourselves that we can begin to exercise control over others.'
Jayne listened with growing interest and excitement to her aunt, her mind trying hard, not helped by the champagne, to grasp exactly what her aunt was trying to say. Not merely her mind but her emotions tumbled. She was sure there was something hidden, something mysterious even or forbidden, in at least some of her aunt's oblique references, and her youthful instincts stirred. Although the young woman was barely out of adolescence and did not have the experience to recognise her own reactions, she realised her aunt had touched a taper to that smouldering inner fire.
A familiar but not yet truthfully recognised warmth, like an incipient itch, stirred literally between the young woman's thighs while a lightness, a fluttering, a feeling too exquisite to describe, like the tingle of fear, anticipation, apprehension, stirred within her, somewhere below her navel and between the points of her hips. She knew this feeling well. It came upon her at the oddest times, or in the oddest circumstance, but always when she came across something, usually while reading, but occasionally in a movie or a tale, strangely new, yet familiar, a theme which at once excited and intrigued, but also repelled her, filled her with apprehension. She called the feeling her "tummy flies". She had them now. She felt herself forced to shift in her seat.
'I'm not sure I understand completely what you mean - but yes, I want to do it. I want so much to be like you - so elegant, so in control of everything, so clever, so admired. Whatever you want me to do, I'll do.'
'First' replied her aunt 'and as I say, you must put yourself in my hands completely. We must make you, as it were, a blank sheet - only then can we begin to write. We shall be concentrating as much upon your physical education as upon anything else. Are you prepared for that? All young ladies - you are no exception - have their modesties, their inhibitions. These we shall have to address, indeed to remove. The type of woman I shall teach you to be may be a type of woman you had no idea existed.'
Lady J. stopped, and watched her niece. The reference to modesty had clearly baffled the young woman who, smiling quizzically, had first looked at her aunt with puckered brow then, in girlish confusion, blushed deeply and looked fixedly at her knees, her eyes downcast.
'I shall let you think it over.' Lady J. said, with finality. 'Give me your answer tomorrow, at breakfast.'
'No, please' rushed the young woman. 'Please. I don't need to wait until tomorrow. I'm absolutely certain now. I want to do it, whatever it entails.'
Her aunt was thoughtful for a moment. She wanted to land the catch, but, quite seriously, did not want to lose not just the catch but her niece. Was the young woman really ready?
'Very well,' replied Lady J. after a moment's more thought. 'Here's what we shall do. I shall set you a small test of a - shall we say - physical nature: you shall see if you can do it and more importantly, if you enjoy it. I shall assess your reaction.
'After you have completed what I have in mind, you shall withdraw to your room for the evening, and contemplate. Tomorrow, at breakfast, you will let me know what you want to do: London, or me. Stand up!'
Jayne rose, just a tiny bit unsteady on her feet, and stood before her aunt, head bowed, feet demurely together, hands clasped before her thighs, pushing slightly into the lap of the floral print dress. It was, she thought, like taking a dare, but she had a feeling this might be a dare with a difference.
'Do you see' said her aunt 'the ice bucket, and the champagne?'
'I want you to take the ice bucket, what remains of the champagne, and your glass to your room. There you are to finish the champagne, there's about another glass, maybe a glass and a half. While doing so, you are to undress completely, then go and have a shower. Dry yourself, put on a pair of stockings, your most grown-up stockings, not those dreadful black ones they made you wear at Harton Grange, a suspender belt and bra, and a pair of appropriate high-heel shoes, the higher the better.
'Thus attired, precisely thus attired, stand before the mirror, and brush your hair' the older woman paused, looked her niece full in the eye.
'Then take the hair brush and use it in between your legs and across your lower belly, from the junction of your thighs upwards, so that it fluffs and bushes your pubic hair, and reveals the folds of your sex.'
Lady J saw Jayne flush pink at the suggestion, keeping her eyes lowered. For her part, the young woman found the frankness of her aunt's language as surprising as the nature of the instruction itself, and was more than a little taken aback, but she remained attentive. She even nodded her head. She heard her aunt continue.
'Then come back down here, attired exactly as I describe.' Lady J paused again, then addressed a final question to her niece 'Are you shocked?'
Jayne's eyebrows slowly returned from under her hairline, whence they had risen as her aunt had been speaking. 'Well - no. Not shocked. Surprised a little, perhaps, that's all. But if that's the sort of occasional test you have in mind, I don't think I'll object to your regime at all. It sounds rather fun.'
'Indeed' replied the aunt, her own eyebrows arching. 'We'll see.' She paused, then continued: 'What I have just described, my dear, are merely preparations. The test awaits you when you come back here.' She paused, letting the firmness of her words sink home. 'Shall we say fifteen minutes? Yes. Be here at precisely' Lady J glanced swiftly, sternly, at an ormolu carriage clock on a small mahogany table 'precisely at two-twenty-five.' And rising, swept swiftly from the room.
At precisely 2.25pm, Jayne entered her aunt's drawing room. Lady J, meanwhile, had been swiftly busy. A sofa had been moved to one side and in its place stood two short pillars of the sort one sees in museums, or art galleries, used to rope-off special exhibits or areas of no entry. They stood on sturdy metal base plates, the plates exaggeratedly wide to prevent the pillars being toppled, about six feet apart with slung between them, instead of the usual thick blue rope, a line of coarse-woven and rough-haired sisal cord, thicker than binder twine but thinner than anything that might be called a rope. The line was not taut, but rather draped in a curve between the two pillars.
Jayne was dressed exactly as her aunt had specified. She blushed, charmingly, as she entered: since puberty she had enjoyed the privacy which developing womanly modesty had bade her seek, and although while at school, in dormitory or showers, she was often naked or partly dressed in company with her peers to appear semi-nude in front of her guardian, in the drawing room. Suppose someone, Mrs Pelham the housekeeper, for instance, were to come in? was beyond the bounds of both propriety and imagination.
Lady J. concealed her pleasure at both her niece's appearance and her compliant obedience to the detail of the strange instructions given to her. Jayne's shoulder length bright red hair fell free and heavy about her bare neck, brushed to a flame-golden shine. Her skin, strikingly white, had the pale translucence which often goes with red hair and green eyes. Here and there, where it was stretched over a bone or a tautly rounded shoulder, it took on the quality of polished marble. Her breasts, already well developed and obviously firm, swelled palely white above the black lace bra, a faint blue vein tracing a delicate line across the rounded globe of one swelling mound. (How many of those bras did she have, her aunt wondered, and why? It hardly seemed regulation wear for a small but select girls' boarding school, or Madame Monet's celebratedly austere academy.) The bra itself was of that design which has straps well to either side, leaving the décolletage free of visual obstruction. Its three-quarter cups held Jayne's breasts high and together, just covering the nipples but leaving the rounded upper slopes of the full bosom bare, invitingly womanly, the cleavage deep.
The trim waist was emphasised by the matching black suspender belt, the long legs emphasised both by the specified high heel shoes and the black stockings. As instructed, Jayne wore no other clothes and stood, head up and hands by her sides, awaiting her aunt's next move.
Lady J. was surprised at how much pubic hair her niece possessed, framed as it was by the taut straps of the suspender belt. Many redheads, she knew, had sparse, almost wispy pubic fleece - but Jayne was positively hirsute, her luxuriant pubic thatch a wide, tumbling mat of thick carrot-red hair, surprisingly long and straight as well as being unusually profuse, its vivid colour an eye-drawing contrast to the whiteness of the girl's bare body. Far from being sparse Jayne's pubic growth was unusually heavy, her mat spreading prolifically in a broad but perfect inverted triangle at the base of the white belly, its down-pointing apex between the close-pressed thighs, its base a solid horizontal bar across the top of the young woman's pubic mound almost from hip to hip, leaving the pale flat tummy itself quite bare but thickly covering the swelling hump of the prominent mons veneris, its length and density obscuring completely the lips and division of the sex despite the fact that, to judge both by its appearance and by a slight pinkness to the underlying skin where it could be seen, Jayne had clearly and even enthusiastically obeyed her aunt's instructions regarding brushing.
Smiling shyly, her eyes downcast, Jayne continued to stand before her aunt, her arms at her sides, awaiting instruction.
'Excellent, my dear. You have dressed exactly as required. If you decide to enter my little regime, you will quickly grow used to being undressed, partly or completely, for many if not most of your exercises.
'The programme I shall devise for you will consist partly of exercises, and partly of tests: some exercises of course will in themselves be tests - but we need not rush ahead of ourselves. We have yet to gauge your aptitude for what I propose. So this is to be a small test: not demanding, physically. A little uncomfortable, perhaps - but its primary purpose is psychological. It requires a demonstration of your complete acquiescence to - well, let's just say to a rather unusual form of discipline. You will find it, I have no doubt, acutely embarrassing, even a little shaming. It is intended to be.
'Will you bear this little humiliation for me, to demonstrate your trust?'
Jayne could not, dare not speak. Appearing thus in front of her aunt was already embarrassing enough - what could add to such embarrassment as she already felt? She had no idea what her aunt intended to require her to do (her mind had raced over many possibilities, most of them still as unthinkable as they were imaginable). She nodded her head, dumbly, her mouth dry. The problem was, she was already acutely aware, she was not exactly dry elsewhere. The anticipation of what was to come, the frisson of apprehension and daring which had filled her as she had made ready, as she had walked semi-naked from her bedroom along the landing, down the wide staircase, across the empty hall and into the drawing room, had left her with a very specific tingle "down below" which she already knew well meant that her knickers, had she been wearing any, would be more than a little damp. Although inexperienced in the practical sense, Jayne was fully briefed in sexual theory and knew precisely why and whence came the silvery dew that gathered, tingling, in the folds of her vulva, matting the hair between her legs until sometimes it was as stiff as wire wool. It was precisely why she was keeping her legs tight closed as she stood before her aunt.
'Good. In that case, I want you to stand between the two brass-topped pillars, your feet either side the cord.'
Jayne moved to obey, blushing again as she gave her aunt a sudden view between her thighs as she swung her foot up in front of her to straddle the cord. Positioned by her aunt half way between the pillars, at the cord's lowest point, the cord itself was at knee height.
'Now my dear - put your feet fairly wide apart.'
Jayne obeyed, still wondering what this 'test' would finally entail. She was wide-legged now, the horizontal cord between her knees. It was, true enough, a rather embarrassing, unladylike pose - quite out-of-keeping with her image of her aunt. Jayne held her wide-stepped stance, her legs beginning already to tire (perhaps this would be the test - seeing how long she could stand thus before having to ease her somewhat strained position) while Lady J. made a small adjustment, moving one of the pillars, the one in front of Jayne, back a little, causing the sisal cord to lift slightly, though not bring it quite bar taut.
Placing a chair beside the pillar she had just moved, Lady J. seated herself so that her eye-level was precisely at the centre of Jayne's opened thighs, her gaze falling naturally between the parted alabaster pillars. Even opened thus, Jayne's sex was still partly obscured by the thick growth of bright red hair which spread even to the inside of the pale thighs themselves, as well as sprouting heavily along each full sex-lip. Nonetheless, Lady J. saw enough to know that her niece was already fully developed, the cunt-lips thick and pinkly shadowed, the sex itself heavy-set and deeply cleft. Between the thickly swelling outer labia peeped the succulent petal edges of the folded inner lips, soft and slightly wrinkled but obviously thickly fleshed. And there was something else. Unspeaking, Lady J. was pleased to see tiny drops of silvery dew beading the already moist-darkened hairs deep within the parted thighs. A thin tendril of silver, string-like and itself no thicker than a hair, stretched from the skin of one inner thigh, about an inch below the crease between thigh and torso, across to the centre of the mass of thick hair. So she had judged her niece with accuracy. Good.
'Now my dear. I want you, from this position, to kneel down, putting yourself lengthways along the cord. But here is the little shaming thing I spoke of. As you lower yourself, I want you to take your hands and part yourself underneath - your hair, then the lips of your opening, I mean - so that the cord fits in between. Will you do this? You can still decline, you know - and no more will be said.'