The Wards of Harwell Tusker
Chapter 1: A Country Visit
Caution: This BDSM Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Reluctant, Coercion, Slavery, Fiction, BDSM, DomSub, MaleDom, Humiliation,
Desc: BDSM Sex Story: Chapter 1: A Country Visit - In the second Victorian era, a father despairs of the behaviour of his two wards. How can they ever be made ready for marriage? A BDSM - steam punk romance. A sequel to "The Adjustment of Nicola James"
The weather was warm. The sun was shining. The journey was tolerable. The train was at least on time; an unexpected occurrence. I fear, that in this second Victorian age, the standards of the first have not always been maintained in the matter of rail transport.
It is not often that I venture far from my consulting rooms in Highgate, but on this occasion I had allowed myself to be persuaded by one of my clients. I found myself heading away from Highgate in a carriage of the Chiltern & Buckingham Railway Company.
So far I'd had no reason to regret my decision. The journey out of town had taken me through sunlit suburbs, giving me a view across neat brick dwellings with their slate-covered roofs and their quiet suburban families within. At the end of my travels I was to meet with a client that had been one of the first to avail themselves of my services and one that, now, I almost consider a friend.
The railway carriage compartment had been empty for most of the journey, allowing me to compose my thoughts in advance of my planned meeting. However, my solitary contemplation was interrupted at the station before my final destination when two young ladies joined me, bursting into the compartment, loud with boisterous chatter.
In less time than it took for the engine to draw our carriage as far as the end of the platform they had exhibited all of the characteristics that I have dedicated my professional life to correcting. Their manner was flirtatious; their dress immodest; their discussions irritating beyond all belief; their behaviour, in as much as it is possible for the fairer sex, boorish and without consideration for those around them. They were of an age that often proves most problematical: too old for school, too young to be of any use as a marriage partner. I imagined they were avoiding a day working at some dismal office task or, equally likely, absenting themselves from one of those, sadly misnamed, colleges of further education.
It was all I could do to prevent myself reaching for my bag, taking out one of my floggers and introducing the pair to the benefits of decorum and restraint at that instant.
The two continued to chatter, debating the rights and wrongs of this latest celebrity scandal; the performance of this, as they remarked, talentless musician; the delights of another new beauty product. I found it remarkable that they could hold such passionate views on so many matters that seemed to me of such little consequence.
It was clear to me that the two of them found my appearance strange. The velvet suit, beloved of the blessed Oscar, is hardly the normal garb of a man of these times and the young have yet to develop the skill of observing without revealing the fact that they have observed. A shared, nervous giggle told me that they thought me odd, old fashioned and possibly a little disturbing.
The taller of the two girls rummaged in her shoulder bag and pulled out one of the new portable music players. It was the size of a cigarette box. She swung it around her neck on a strap that carried a store of miniature music cylinders like a bandolier of cartridges, pulled one of the cylinders from its sleeve and pushed it into the machine. She wound the clockwork mechanism that drove it. Each girl plugged the tubes of their miniature earphones into the box and the pair sat back in shared enjoyment of the sound, silently mouthing the lyrics of whatever popular song was being played and staring blankly at a spot on the wall of the compartment somewhere above my head. The staff in Mr Edison's laboratory had something to answer for, I felt.
Relieved by the cessation of their inane conversation, I closed my eyes, relaxed to the quiet pulsing of the locomotive's cylinders, and waited for our arrival at Benfield Abbas.
The station at Benfield Abbas is as so many around the northern edge of the capital. It is hectic in the morning and evening as it conveys those unfortunate enough to have to commute from the suburbs to and from their place of work, but is virtually deserted for the rest of the day. The station's sole denizens were the employees of the Chiltern & Buckingham Railway Company that were required to attend against the unlikely event of some peculiar individual, such as myself, requiring their assistance. I alighted. The signal at the platform's end clattered up, allowing the train to leave, carrying with it, to my great pleasure, my two compartment companions.
The porter made no attempt to assist me with my bag, instead taking pleasure in sucking the last remnants of nicotine from a thin hand-rolled cigarette while he leant against a brightly painted, newly polished, trolley that remained unsullied by luggage. The Station Master simply smiled as I progressed along the platform. The ticket clerk at the station's barrier, disappointed that I appeared to have a valid ticket for travel, checked that it had been issued correctly for that day's date and that I appeared to be using it in the manner for which it had been intended before reluctantly allowing me to leave his domain.
Outside the booking hall, a single, steamer taxi sat waiting, puffs of smoke emitting from its chimney, sighs of steam declaring its disappointment with life spilling from beneath its chassis. The driver leaned out as I appeared. "You for the Priory?" he called.
I nodded. He got down from his cab to help me with my bag.
"Said I should look out for a skinny looking party. Stringy beard, too, they said. That's you right enough."
He heaved the bag up onto the rack at the back of the cab and strapped it in place.
"It's not far but it's hardly a good road," he said by way of explanation for the secure strapping of my luggage. He wasn't to know that I am always at my happiest when things are well secured.
My driver's assessment of the route turned out to be an accurate one. The Stanley steam taxi, heavy by virtue of its robust boiler and well-engineered mechanisms, found it difficult to negotiate the rutted tracks of the outskirts of Benfield Abbas with other than ill grace. The final half-mile, along a partly paved lane between ash trees and signposted to Benfield Priory, was a severe test of the vehicle's suspension and of the passenger's determination to reach his destination.
Benfield Priory showed little of its ecclesiastical past. A ruined arch in need of its own Gothic revival stood beside the road. It looked as though it was trying to prove that Benfield had once been a foundation of importance whereas, in reality, it had only ever been a minor house of a minor order. Apart from the arch, the only evidence remaining of its former status was the building that was once the Abbot's lodging and now formed the home of my host and one-time client, Harwell Tusker.
I was aware of Tusker's progress in the world. He had grown from a simple shop keeper in Southwark to his present position as the man who could acquire whatever his customers – and they were many and wealthy – desired. As with all of my clients, his success had directly benefitted myself. The contractual terms under which I supply my services see to that. Our relationship was in the early days of my professional career when I had yet to recognise the full value of my skills. Had I done so, I could have benefitted far more than I have from Tusker's scaling of the heights of London's social and professional scenes. Even so, the growth in his wealth had, through my share, provided me with the means to establish and develop my own enterprise.
His wife had, of course, been instrumental in Harwell's success. My achievement had been in helping his wife to take that role. It was not one that she had felt naturally inclined towards and, indeed, it had required some compulsion on her husband's part for her to undertake that which I required of her. But, considering that I was still developing my theories at that time, all had turned out well.
I should, perhaps, explain the services that I provide. In my youth I was fortunate to study with some of the great explorers of the human psyche. The Fritz Freleng College at Hamelin in Northern Germany brought together the great analysts of human behaviour. As a student there, I had the opportunity to observe treatments used to help with unbalanced minds. During my tenure, the idea occurred to me that, while such methods could certainly help the sick, they might equally be applied to bring about desired changes in behaviour among the well. Furthermore, certain dark aspects of human nature, especially in the fairer sex, could be taken advantage of for the benefit of the individual and those around them. In time, I refined my processes of behavioural adjustment, recognising that a market existed for the development of the skills and attitudes of their life partner amongst those that wished to climb society's rungs. It was on this sphere of work that I had settled. The behavioural adjustment of Harwell Tusker's wife had been one of my earliest projects. I had also hit on the idea of basing my fees on the future earnings of my clients, demonstrating to them that their success was of primary importance to me. The two ideas resulted in a business that had proved both profitable and a fascinating life's work.
I was received into the Priory in a most efficient and welcoming manner. Its elegant, well-appointed and equally well-maintained surroundings all spoke of Mrs Tusker's dedication to providing her husband with a home that reflected and reinforced his status in society. Once brought inside by the butler, attended on with tea by the parlour maid, and delivered of my luggage by others of the household staff, it was Mrs Amelia Tusker herself that arrived to greet me.
Politeness required that no mention would be made of the time that she had spent in my care. Neither the force with which she had needed to be brought to Highgate nor the lusty arousal generated by her treatment there could be the subject of conversation between us. Instead, she enquired how things were with my business; how my journey had been; whether – she remembered my fondness for the aesthetic artists – I had seen the latest works by Leighton and Whistler. Our discussions were the model of civilized conversation and a complete demonstration of her skills as a hostess. I was quite unaware of the passing of time and entirely failed to register the absence of my host until he appeared, a good half hour after my arrival.
"My dear chap!" He gripped me warmly by the hand as I rose from the chair. "I must apologise. Amelia has taken care of you, I am sure. I do apologise."
Before I could respond Amelia got to her feet "Please excuse me, gentlemen," she said. "I am sure you will want to talk and I am equally sure there is little I can contribute to your discussions. Unless you need me, Harwell, I should really attend to the arrangements for the dinner tomorrow."
"Of course, Amelia." He watched as his wife left us. I could tell by his glance that there had been no diminishing of the ardour that had led him into his relationship with her. The skills that she had acquired were still, evidently, satisfying him.
"Exceptional!" Harwell exclaimed, though whether it was his wife's contribution to his success or the perfect form of her buttocks beneath her long skirt that he was admiring was far from clear.
I felt that it was time to turn to the matter of my trip. "I was wondering what the issue was that you wished me to help with. I assume that it is not your wife."
"No indeed. She, as you can tell, continues to demonstrate the success of your methods. No, it is another problem." Harwell Tusker took his place in the armchair almost opposite where I was sitting. A frown crossed his face as he seemed to consider how best to begin our discussions. Eventually he spoke. "Were you aware that I had a brother?"
"I don't believe so."
"Regrettably he died just over a year ago. An unfortunate accident. Killed in an accident with his wife while driving through Hyde Park. Their vehicle skidded – the coroner blamed the results of a troop of Horse Guards passing that way a little earlier and the excessive speed of my brother's motor on what by then was a rather slippery surface."
"You have my condolences."
"Thank you. We were not close but such a loss inevitably casts its shadow. In this case it casts two shadows. He had two daughters: twins; my nieces. Now I find I am their guardian. This is not a role I have taken with enthusiasm, I will confess." Tusker leant forward in a confiding manner. "It is late in life to suddenly need to cope with the vagaries of two young women. And, I must confess, they display none of the characteristics I would hope to find in daughters of my own, were I to have had any."
I recalled the two girls on the train. I found it easy to understand his point of view.
"They are nineteen," he said. "Their twentieth birthday is in only a few weeks' time. To me, they seem unprepared for the future, lacking any sense of how they will make their way in the world. Their father's estate involved only debts, I fear, and they lack the means to support themselves independently. I suspect, too, that they are lacking any of the skills that they will need." Tusker looked worried. I could see that, in the circumstances described, the daughters represented a considerable responsibility for him. He went on, "My question is, whether you believe that your methods could be applied in the preparation of girls for marriage rather than for a woman already married. It seemed to me that with the attributes you can develop, a girl might be made a more attractive prospect, and thus able to be placed more easily in an advantageous marriage."
I thought for a few moments. It was a matter that I had considered before but had never been asked about. Most of my clients were too concerned with the progression of their careers to concern themselves with progeny and so the issue had never arisen. "There is little doubt," I replied, "that my methods could be applied and could have the desired result. There are, however, a number of difficulties that I perceive. First, there is the question of consent. For a married woman, I insist that she gives her complete, wholehearted and informed consent to the course of actions she will undertake with me. Where the woman is already married and can see the direct benefits of my programme, she is highly motivated to achieve success. Your own wife, for example, was well prepared to endure the restraints and humiliations because she had her eyes on the goal of your success and the benefits that would confer upon her in turn. For a girl as yet unmarried, such objectives might seem somewhat remote, somewhat abstract. There has to be consent and there has to be motivation for my methods to succeed. However, I assume that you were not planning to have these girls delivered to me by carrier, enclosed in a crate, so let us imagine that informed consent can be given. The issue, then, is one of motivation. And of course there is also the question of how we would manage the fees."
"It is not a trivial matter," I continued. "In the case of a husband and wife, I am dealing with a known proposition. In your own case, for example, my research confirmed that in the very worst case I would cover my costs. If things turned out in your career as I expected, then a tidy profit would accrue to me as your own fortunes prospered. Under your proposal, I would be buying, if not a girl in a crate, then certainly a pig in a poke as far as her future marriage partner was concerned. There would also be the question of whether her no doubt much improved attributes would compensate for the fact that she would be presented with a debt entrained. The bride might be golden but for the groom the benefits might not be apparent while the costs most certainly would be."
"Yes, I can see your points, but I think that all of these can be resolved in one way or another."
"There is one other issue that I have just thought of. Some of my techniques require the use of penetrative stimulation as part of the sexual acclimatisation. I suppose that in this case this would be unacceptable. Disruption of the hymen beyond that which has already occurred could hardly be seen as desirable in a woman intended for the path to the altar."
"You are right, of course. But, again, surely alternative methods can be employed?"
"Oh yes. It will require some experimentation but I suspect it is the least of the challenges that face us."
"So you can assist me in this?"
I had to admire Harwell's assumption and also his confidence in my ability to overcome what I saw as significant hurdles, but I did not feel able to confirm my acceptance just yet. "Possibly. I shall review my approach in the light of your proposals and identify whether and how we could proceed. It would help if you could let me have some information on the young ladies in question, something to provide a jumping off point for my thoughts."
"Of course," Harwell smiled and reached for a small box file standing on the desk in one corner of the room. "I think this will assist. I have tried to provide the basic details, some copies of their last school reports, for example, which I think will provide insight even though they have, of course, left school now."
"May I ask how they spend their time?"
"In idleness and self-amusement, is my view," Harwell responded grumpily. "In the words of an old colleague of mine, they seem to have developed all the usual vices and a few unique ones of their own."
I opened the box file. Two daguerreotypes in heavy gilt frames stared up at me. It was a scandal that Mr Fox-Talbot's methods had never caught on. How tragic that the French should dominate the art of the automatic image as they had once done the image created with brush and paint. The silvered surface of the picture seemed to me to call out for the traditional dress of the first Victorian era, but these pictures showed, to my regret, two girls dressed in the modern style. However, one thing did surprise me about the pair of images. Without doubt, they were the girls that I had encountered on the train.
"They are up to London for the day today," Tusker ventured as I peered at the pictures. "Some art exhibition or other. Saw them down to the train myself."
I placed the daguerreotypes back in the box. They may indeed have got on the London train, I thought, but from my encounter with them it was clear that they had alighted after one stop and were now heading in completely the other direction. I was pleased. It was evidence of duplicity and where there is duplicity we often find the need for atonement and thereby we find at least one of the levers on the human psyche.
"I cannot tell you how obliged I am to you," Harwell beamed. "This will be a weight from my mind. You have no idea of the problems that two..."
"Of course," I had no wish for Harwell to prolong his exhortations. I took my pocket watch from my waistcoat. "Perhaps if you could call me a Stanley, I can get to the station in time for the next train. This portfolio demands a careful examination."
"My driver, Didsbury, will take you." Harwell reached for the bell pull. His butler appeared and after a few words from Harwell, disappeared again.
I thanked my host, wished him well, and promised to call him within the week. In exchange, I asked that he should give consideration to how he might engineer his wards' informed consent if the arrangements were to go ahead. That was likely to be, I felt, by far the bigger problem.
My journey back to London and the sanctuary of my consulting rooms in Highgate was peaceful. I had plenty of time to contemplate the challenges that Tusker's proposal might present but I was little closer to the answers I needed by the time the train slid under the welcoming comfort of the canopy of Marylebone Station.