This is not a BE story, so if that's all you're interested in, don't waste your precious time reading it. A word of warning, the story departs from Axolotl's usual carefree style in places. There are some unpleasant aspects. It is a parody and a fantasy. After all, ships' Captains have traditionally had extreme difficulty determining the gender of their cabin boys.
But although it isn't strictly BE, be assured that this cabin boy's breasts are quite quickly becoming two of her most outstanding features. To the writer's knowledge, there was no frigate called Salamandre in either the French or the British Navy. But you mustn't expect research in even the most superior brand of smut.
"Quick m'lady. Your hair!"
Catherine gasped. "What are you doing?" Mary-Ann seized a fistful of the fair locks. There was a long knife in her hand. "Ow-oww! No! Stop it!"
"It has to be done. Beggin' yer pardon m'lady. It grieves me, but 'tis your only chance." The knife was sawing, hacking at her hair. A handful of it had gone already, tossed over the side of the boat where the waves slapped and sloshed. Another handful, tugging and tearing at her scalp. Mary-Ann's eyes were full of tears. "'Tis so beautiful. Yet I must chop it off. M'lady, forgive me!"
Catherine's hands went to her rough-shorn head. Her hair floated away on the current. She was left with an unevenly cropped mess of stubble. "Why? Mary-Ann, why?"
Mary-Ann said nothing, but thrust aside the blanket she wore round her own shoulders and tore off her coarse flannel shirt. "Now, you must don this shirt, m'lady. 'Tis nearly clean. Take off your gown, it will be but a poor fit on me, but t'will serve. The mat'loes'll not be too fussed about our gowns once they get us below. Please, lady. You must hurry!"
Mary-Ann already had the shirt off. Her fat breasts were startlingly white in the fading daylight. Catherine wanted to turn her eyes away. Her fingers fumbled at the neck of her blue silk gown. It was salt-stained and wringing wet all round the hem and it clung damply to her thighs like a shroud, but Mary-Ann was insisting that she get it off. "Why?" she repeated forlornly.
"You'll wear the shirt, m'lady. And the britches. Sal, get yer britches off, girl! The lady has need of 'em." Up at the other end of the boat, the serving wench was crying bitterly, but she tugged the britches down her skinny legs and handed them to Mary-Ann. The maid's face was ashamed as she handed them to Catherine. "She's pissed in them, m'lady, beggin' your pardon. But you must wear them. 'Tis your only chance."
It was a nightmare. Surely she would wake up soon. The silk rustled and all light was extinguished as Mary-Ann helped her off with the gown. Her nipples instantly hardened into spikes. Quickly, she scrambled into the flannel shirt. It was clammy and disgusting, but the breeches were infinitely worse. "Must I?" she pleaded. Mary-Ann was already pulling the gown over her own head and wrestling it over her bulging bosom, swaying precariously as the boat teetered on another wave.
"You're a fine looking boy, m'lady," said Mary-Ann with a brave smile. "Now, when they take us on board, you're a boy, remember. Keep your shirt well buttoned over your bosoms, speak fair to the Cap'n and the truth'll not come out. It won't be long. Soon we'll all be safe an' sound in Plymouth. Or elsewhere. Le Havre, Lisbon. It matters little."
"But what will become of you and Sal... ?"
"Don't you give no mind to that, m'lady. We shall survive. A few hundred randy sailors won't do us much harm. I c'n think of many a gal as 'ud give her right arm for such a chance. Don't worry for us, m'lady. Right. Here she comes!"
Catherine strained to see over her shoulder. The ship was much closer, now, wheeling round in a tight semicircle, obviously stopping to pick them up. With a sinking feeling in her stomach, she read the name in bold gilded letters across the windowed stern. Salamandre. A Frenchman? After all this time, were they being 'rescued' by the enemy? Catherine couldn't share Mary-Ann's equanimity as to their fate.
The maid was shaking her shoulder.
Good luck to you, young Caspar!"
"Young ... what?"
"Caspar. You'll be needing a boy's name now..."
A shadow swung across the sky. The ship had approached in silence while they were preparing their disguise and deception. The boat rose and fell alarmingly alongside the steep wooden wall of the ship. It was tar-black and scarred. Why had Catherine assumed it would be smooth-sided? She stared up at its terrible height. Way above her head, a row of black and white chequers showed where the guns would be. Guns! A French ship of war. Some refuge, this! They were days, weeks, months from England on a hostile ocean. They could yet end their lives in icy swirling oblivion...
A menacing hook thudded into the side of their boat, and a sailor came swarming down a rope ladder to perch on the edge of the plunging craft as calmly as if he was stepping off a log. He squatted there like a gargoyle, peering into the gathering gloom, then his expression changed.
"They're women, zur!" he bellowed. In English?
"Women? All of 'em?" The answering cry was a more cultured voice, although still from the far West Country.
"All three of 'em women, zur. No, belay that. One of em's a boy."
"A boy, huh? Send 'im up first. I can use 'im. Then send the women up and we'll get Mr Campbell to make 'em at home."
The sailor leaned forward. He wore a coarse blue shirt, frayed trousers and a saucy hat coated in tar perched on top of a grizzled but not unfriendly face. "C'mon, you! You, boy! Up you come."
Catherine stumbled to her hands and knees and reached out delicately for the sailor's hand. At the last second, she realised her mistake and clutched at his sleeve. He dragged her towards him and propelled her to the ladder. Her legs were tingling with pins and needles.
"Up there?" The ladder was rising and falling precipitously. One moment the end of it was clattering about in the bottom of the boat, the next it was as high as her head.
"Move yourself, boyo, it's nearly dark. We've got to lift the ladies on board yet." He leered as he drawled the word 'ladies' with heavy emphasis.
Catherine reached for the ladder, squeezed her eyes shut tight and clung on, hoping to plant a bare foot on the bottom rung. At that moment, the boat dropped away from beneath her and the ship rocketed skywards with a great sucking noise. She screamed, convinced her last moments had come, dangling by her hands from a slippery chunk of soaking wood. Then her screams were cut short as the ship rolled away from her on the swell and her body was slammed flat against it. Desperately gasping for breath, she flailed her legs, seeking something solid, anything she could cling to. Somehow, one foot found the blessed ropes of the ladder, and she wrapped legs and thighs round it, stabbing out with one foot until she felt a reassuring rung beneath the sole of her bare foot. Not that she could relax, as the ladder immediately bent in the middle, leaving her now hanging on her back in space, plunging sickeningly downwards. A wave reached out to drag her into the depths, icy water drenching her borrowed breeches. This was the end! She was preparing to let go, abandon hope, die quickly. But her fingers, with a will of their own, refused to abandon their death grip on the rope ladder. Then, to her horror, she felt a rude hand grab a huge fistful of her soft buttock and hoist her upwards.
"Up again, boy. Keep goin', damn' yer fat stinkin' botty!"
Catherine whimpered, unable to let go with either hand. As she hesitated, the hand clutched at her again, this time right between her legs, squeezing hard. She squealed and shot up the next half dozen rungs like a rat up a drainpipe. Without realising how, she found herself almost at the top, her arms burning with the effort, the soles of her feet in pain from the hard wooden rungs.
Half a dozen roughened hands grasped at her shirt and almost flung her inboard. She staggered across the slanting deck, her feet leading her she knew not where, stubbed her toes on something hard and sprawled full length. Behind her, the sailors were all leaning over the rail, bellowing lewd advice to their colleague down below. She shuddered with the horror of it, burying her face in her hands. Alive, but what for?
Strong hands probed her back, her upper arms. "Now, what have we here? Sit up, boy. Now, what's your name?" The voice was somehow warm.
The deck smelled of damp wood, scrubbed clean. She looked round, then sat up carefully. A fancy uniform. Blue coat with lots of fancy braid and stuff. He had kneeled down to her level, his hands feeling her shoulders. "Welcome aboard His Majesty's frigate Salamandre, thirty-eight. No broken bones? Can you walk? You'd better come down to my cabin and tell me everything you know. Garrick! A dish of hot soup for the new cabin boy! What's your name, son?"
"Cath ... Caspar, sir!"
"Caspar? A fine manly name. Get along with Garrick yonder, I shall see you presently, as soon as these brave sail-eye-ors have dragged your lady-friends out of that skiff of yours. Right!" he bellowed at the top of his lungs. "We shall get under way presently, Mr Galbraith, if you please. Tops'ls an jib. Steer nor'west and a half west!" He was already striding away.
Garrick was an old man. A surprisingly old man, stooped and wizened. What was someone of this age doing in a man of war? He had an oddly soft, lisping voice. "Cap'n Tredennack shall be down presently, young Caspar. He's a good man. You've fallen on your feet and no mistake, getting' picked up by the old Sally Mundy. This way." He led her down a narrow passageway lit by a swaying lantern. Catherine was having another problem. Her breeches, a reasonable fit for the plump kitchen maid, were loose on her lithe hips. More worrying, they had filled with sea water while she was swinging around on the ladder, and the load of water was dragging them down. She clutched at the top of them to hold them up. Her crop-headed disguise might serve to fool the Navy into thinking she was a boy, but not, she feared, if her lower regions were exposed.
"Hold tight, young 'un!" Garrick called to her as the ship leaned over at a horrifying angle. "We be getting' under way."
Catherine couldn't find anything to grab to steady herself, not without letting her breeches fall down. She lurched to one side and found to her alarm that she was being pitched out of the passageway into space. With a scream, she staggered and fell. To her surprise, she didn't crash to the unyielding deck for the second time in three minutes. She landed on something soft.
"Hey, there, boy! Come off there. That be the Cap'n's bunk. You don't share that without him asking for you! A hand was offered, and Catherine allowed herself to be pulled up. "You'll get your sea-legs, young Caspar. Soon enough, boy. The Salamandre is a good ship, boy. Thirty-eight guns, four carronades and a fine brass bow chaser. Capn' Tredannack captured her from the Frogs a year since." The floor, the cabin, the whole world, had settled at an angle that Catherine found distinctly unnerving. Garrick seemed to find it unremarkable. "Ye're not used to bein' in a frigate?" The old boy was already stripping the soaked blanket off the bunk, and tucking it under his arm.
"N ... no." Catherine took the opportunity to pull up her breeches again. Water spilled out of the leg-holes and puddled on the floor, which was carpeted in cloth painted in black and white squares.
"You'd better get that wet tackle off, son, 'fore you catches rheumonia. I c'n fit ye up with some trousers. And even a dry shirt. Off with it, lad."
She followed him out of the relatively spacious cabin into a low-ceilinged pantry. "I ... I'm all right, Mr Garrick. It will soon dry..."
"Off, I said. This minute. Your mother wouldn't thank me if you dies of a fever soon as we fish you out of the water." He swept past her, slightly stooped, paused beside a locker and dragged out a bundle of clothes. Without even looking at them he tossed them at Catherine and continued on his way.
She would have to be quick before he came back. The shirt was plenty big for her, which was a good thing. She pulled off Mary-Ann's damp flannel item and dragged the shirt over her head. It was thick and harsh and itchy, and freezing cold, but it came down almost to her knees and within seconds it seemed to be warming up. Mercy! She scrambled out of the soggy breeches and was pulling up the trousers as Garrick came back into the cabin. The legs were too long and she had to roll them up. "What should I do with these?" she asked, picking up the wet clothes. Garrick regarded them with distaste.
"I'll toss 'em over the side. Bring them out here, and I'll show you where you'll sling your hammock. Yer in luck, bein' capn's boy. The sailors only get a space fourteen inches wide. You've got near enough 'arf a yard." It turned out to be a space the size of a broom cupboard, with a crude cubbyhole where she could stow her dry clothes, when she had any. "Cap'n will expect his cabin keepin' spotless, but only while he's on deck. He eats in his cabin durin' the day and he'll expect to see you with his cocoa before he turns in for the night."
"I don't know how to make cocoa..."
"I make the cocoa, boy, and don't you forget it! When I say he expects to see you, it's you he expects to see. But not your pretty face, young sir, not your face!" Garrick fell to a cackling laugh that went on for some time, until he started coughing. Catherine wondered whether the old boy was going to survive, and how she was going to explain to the Captain that his personal servant had just died.
It proved unnecessary, as Garrick recovered promptly. Captain Tredennack appeared much later, calling for his cocoa. She heard murmuring voices in the cabin, but the Captain didn't send for her. She didn't know whether to be disappointed or not when Garrick appeared and prodded her bottom through her hammock.
"He says you're to get your sleep tonight. It will be an early awakening for you. He has to be shaved and dressed ready to meet the dawn."
"The dawn?" Was the man mad?
"All the King's ships greet the new day at action stations, decks scrubbed and sanded, sails in fightin' trim - tops'ls, courses brailed up - guns loaded and run out. You'll hear it soon enough, but fear not, I shall make sure you're awake, young sir!"
She lay awake, hearing the strange sounds of the ship all around her. What had happened to Mary-Ann and Sal? What had the maid meant, that a hundred sailors were nothing to worry about? And what had Garrick found so amusing about the Captain asking to see her, but not her face? Not her pretty face. Seconds later, Garrick was prodding her awake with his broom handle.
Captain Tredennack was not at his best in the mornings. He complained about everything. Garrick took it all in his shuffling stride, but Catherine found the man's attitude totally unsatisfactory. Nevertheless she followed Garrick's example, keeping her eyes lowered, doing the master's bidding without question. Her natural instinct was to stand up straight and answer back, but she had another reason for not doing so.
In the dim light filtering through the skylight when she clambered with enormous difficulty out of her hammock, she realised that the dank shirt, while baggy and shapeless, seemed to cling to her in a manner which allowed her breasts to protrude alarmingly. They were not as large as her mother's had been, nor even as large as Mary-Ann's, but they covered the whole of her chest without really sticking out a long way. They were much bigger than they looked, she realised. Now, in her strangely-cut shirt, they looked even bigger than they were. She hunched her shoulders and hung her head, hoping her blossoming curves weren't going to betray her.
Naturally, feeling so guilty and aware of herself, she had moments of panic whenever she noticed the Captain or even old Garrick looking at her. And when the Captain finally disappeared up on deck, she scuttled away out of sight to try and arrange her clothing so it would be less revealing. It was of little use. Whichever way she wore the shirt - hanging loose, bunched up or tucked into her trousers - her breasts swelled out beneath it. It wasn't just her breasts, she was uncomfortably aware of her nipples, too. They seemed to be threatening to burst out of the shirt. She wanted to crawl into her hammock, but at crack of dawn Garrick had insisted on it being unhooked, rolled up and thrust into the netting bags outside on deck, with all the others. Out there, the sailors looked at her curiously, and she was convinced it was her too-large breasts and thrusting nipples attracting their gaze. How could she ever hide them? Mary-Ann would know what to do, but Catherine had no idea how to find her servant, nor even where to begin looking.
The day passed in a bewildering kaleidoscope of noise, of rushing feet and endless shouting. Catherine was required to stand close to the Captain ready to run errands at a moment's notice. Captain Tredennack strangely found no need to shout. The louder and more frantic were the officers and crew, the quieter was the Captain. For long periods, he confined his remarks to a murmured comment to the tall and white-maned figure referred to as Master. Occasionally, he would address the noisiest officer of them all, Mr Galbraith, the first lieutenant, who would storm off, screaming at the top of his voice. And as the Captain stared aloft at the sails, where barefoot sailors swarmed up and down like apes, the Salamandre, or possibly the Sally Mundy, would calmly perform her manoeuvres without drama, settling down on her new course to the Captain's evident approval.
At least, with all the sailors fully occupied, they had no time to stare at Catherine, although she occasionally caught one or two of them sneaking a glance her way. Or were they looking at the Captain? Certainly, the crew all seemed to look at him in a strangely respectful way, considering the way he kept them all working so hard. Which was when she realised she was looking at the Captain exactly the same way herself! The man was fascinating.
From time to time, he took off his big captain's hat and scratched his thinning hair, then crammed it back on his head again. Was he embarrassed by his lack of hair? Catherine found it amusing that someone in a position of such absolute power could be shy about showing his balding head. He glanced at her and frowned, and she looked away, reddening, not daring to look at him again. How dare he frown at her? Did he not know who she was? No, she realised with a pang of sadness. He didn't.
That night, as Garrick shuffled past with the Captain's cocoa, he winked at her. "I shouldn't turn in just yet awhile," he advised. And minutes later, when he reappeared, he jerked his head in the direction of the cabin. "He'll see you now," he said.
"See me?" Catherine shook her head. What had she done? "What for?"
"The usual, o' course. What ye hangin' around for? Don't keep the gentleman waiting, lad!"
She knocked and went in. Captain Tredennack was in his shirt. Nothing else; no trousers, no big captain's hat. "Come in, boy." He seemed distracted, somehow. Ill at ease. He looked up at the skylight above his head, where bare feet scampered to and fro, men readying the ship for a routine trim of the sails. "How are you settling in?" he asked, somewhat gruffly.
"It's only been a day, sir."
"Of course. And a night." He suddenly stared hard at her and she hunched her shoulders hastily. Had he noticed? "You've got your trousers on," he pointed out.
"Take 'em off!" She hesitated, feeling helpless, lost. "Off!"
"My t ... trousers, sir?" Stupid question. The captain gave the orders, everyone else hurried to obey. She fumbled with her belt, trying to remember to keep her shoulders well hunched. The captain was hurrying across the cabin to the oil lamp. Glancing round once at her, he turned down the wick, opened the lamp and snuffed it out.
There was almost no light in the cabin, only the glow from the stern windows, and a faint glimmer from the skylight over their heads.
"Don't move, boy. I can remember where you are." And silently, he was by her side. "Turn round!" he said sharply. "Do I have to give you instructions?"
"Bend over, damn it!"
Oh, no! Not that! Catherine felt sick. She knew of such things. Not that her friends had ever discussed them in company, but there had been those half-remembered hints and giggles behind fluttering fans. But not here, not now, not the Captain? With her? Confused, she sweated in her shirt. The Captain thought she was a boy. He wasn't going to make love to her. All he could do would be to ... She wanted to vomit.
His hands rested on her bowed back, feeling their way down her sides to her hips, still clothed in the shirt. He hoisted it up, and she felt the sudden chill on the cheeks of her backside. His hands grasped her roughly, forcing her buttocks apart, bending her lower. He grunted like an animal, feeling for her, but no longer with his hands, which had crept round to clasp her hip bones.
"No! No, sir! Please!"
"What is it?" he hissed. He pulled back from her, still holding her hips, his hands clammy.
"I ... I don't know what to do, sir. I haven't done this..."
"Just ... you don't need to do anything! Just let me do it, boy." He tried again, blunderingly prodding at her, getting nowhere.
Aghast, she felt his fingers probing at her rear. What if he found... ?
"God, boy, you're tight! I don't think I can get into you. Relax, damn your eyes! I can't do you if you clench your arse like a prize-fighter's fist."
Catherine bit her tongue, clenching her teeth as he entered her, despite his conviction that she was too tight for him. The pain was horrifying, yet she couldn't cry out.
"Damn it!" he swore, pulling out and leaving her feeling as if he had torn out her insides. "Garrick! Garrick, get in here, and bring the jar with you!"
Garrick appeared in an instant, as if he had been listening at the door. "Mutton fat, sir," he announced cryptically. The door closed silently behind him.
"Let's try some of this," said the Captain in an exasperated tone. Something cold and greasy hit her between her buttocks, and fingers smeared it urgently around her.
This time, it was less painful, but still a deplorable intrusion. Mercifully, it was over in seconds, and the Captain withdrew at once. She heard him move away and when he spoke, his voice came from right across the cabin.
"You may go to bed, Caspar," he said quietly and huskily. She turned to see him silhouetted against the stern lights. Swiftly pulling up her trousers, she fled, not daring to look back.
The days were the same. She stood close to him as the ship sailed on, seemingly for ever. There were days with patches of sunshine, when the crew spread their few clothes to dry, and Garrick found Catherine a clean shirt while hers was washed out. But mostly it seemed, the skies were grey with driving cloud and scuds of rain. He sent her with messages, to fetch Garrick, or the first lieutenant; 'the Captain's compliments, Mr Galbraith, and could you do this, or that, or the other, please sir... '
At nights, he was a different being, conducting his affairs with fumbling ineptitude in the darkness of the cabin. Catherine found it no less appalling an experience, but the pain was replaced now by a numbness, and not just in her posterior. It affected her all over, even her fingers - especially her fingers. What did she want? It was one night after she had been on board for two or three weeks, she could bear it no longer. The experience was so degrading, yet the Captain was so patently unhappy while doing it. She wondered why he persisted. And when he picked up the jar of mutton fat, doused the light and advanced on her, she edged closer to the writing desk.
"Where are you, boy?" he snapped.
"Just here, sir, a little to your right." He found her and began to apply the greasy muck to her behind as usual, then when he started his fumble and thrust, she stopped him. "Wait sir, please." She raised one leg on to the footrest of the writing desk, still bending forward. And summoning up her courage, screwing up her eyes and swallowing, she reached between her legs and grasped him. For a moment, she almost jerked her hand away in fright and disgust. It felt so huge in her palm. And it was alive! It twitched. Had that thing been inside her? But once having touched it, she had to go on. She guided it gently but insistently, down and into herself. It felt strange and unnatural, the angle was all wrong, then suddenly it slid inside. There was a moment of seething pain, but nothing compared to the usual tearing sensation of his thrusts into her body. He slid into her endlessly, and she welcomed him, feeling his movements change to a smooth and insistent rhythm, until she felt her own juices flooding, could hear his thrusts slopping wetly within her.
"That's better, boy! See how good it is when you finally learn to relax?"
He finished speedily, and withdrew, leaving her spasming and longing for relief. He made for the stern windows as he usually did, but sounded in an uncommonly good mood as she stood on wobbly legs, adjusting her shirt. "That's a rare good drop o' mutton fat Garrick found for us tonight! I must get some more of that. G'night, Caspar!"
She was awake early next morning, before Garrick's regular appearance. Without realising it, her hands had wandered in her sleep, one to her breast, one to her sticky and still wet sex. She awoke, not knowing what had roused her, then her fingers began to play, tentatively at first, then more insistently, searching and probing where the Captain had so recently pumped his sperm. She raised her fingers to her mouth, tasting it, then returning for more, and more. Her other hand rubbed fiercely on her rigid nipple, squeezing her full breast, tugging the taut flesh this way and that. One hand was not enough, she had to use both, and discovering the sensation of rubbing her flowing juices into her breasts, she rubbed each hand in turn against her sopping wet sex before massaging her aching breasts. It felt so good, as she arched her back in ecstasy, her bottom tossing and bouncing in the hammock, her fingers squishing and squelching into her drenching clenching womanhood, until...
"Out of it, young Caspar!"
"She screamed, partly from the shock of her awakening, partly from the orgasm which had been building like a tropical storm in her loins and now burst upon her before she could help herself. One leg had slung itself over the side of the hammock. As she squirmed, she half rolled over to one side, just as the old man jabbed at her bottom with his broom. She felt herself rolling right over, but couldn't stop.
To Garrick's obvious amazement, she sprawled on the deck at his feet, her trousers down around her knees, her shirt pulled up to her armpits. In this undignified position, she did the worst thing she could possibly have done. She rolled on to her back.
"Well, now, what 'ave we 'ere, young Mister Caspar?" The question was rhetorical. What we had here, he saw, was female. It was so undeniably female that he almost wished he were forty years younger. He offered silent thanks to his Lord. But then the old man had the presence of mind to pull the door to behind him in case of intruders. "Cover yourself, Caspar, quickly! He unslung her hammock from its hooks and draped it across her shoulders. "In case of pryin' eyes," he said. "That marine sentry'll be by this way presently. Whatever they say about the marines, I daresay he ain't immune to a bit of tit."