Thursday, 26 September 2013

Hitting the Right Notes

Lily straightens her back and lifts her hands, arranging them on the keys once more, stretching her fingers to reach what must be a difficult chord. This time it sounds more like music and I can tell she feels a little more confident. She finds her way into the piece and I listen as she plays. It’s soft and sweet, just like her.
       Mr Blackshaw, however, is unimpressed. He raps Lily smartly across the knuckles with his ruler. I gasp in concert with her and cover my mouth lest my own noise attract his displeasure. Fortunately, it all seems reserved for his pupil, who cowers beside him like a flower withering in a storm. Wisps of hair have come loose from her lacy mob cap and she smoothes them away from her face before making another attempt at the piece. But it’s no use. She’s lost the trick of it.

       ‘Appalling,’ Mr Blackshaw says. The room seems full of the stony silence that follows. Lily looks almost relieved when he tells her sharply to begin again.

       By this time her hands are trembling so much she can barely place her fingers on the right keys. She takes a deep shuddering breath but before she can start to play Mr Blackshaw finds fault with her posture. She lowers her head submissively as he chastises her.

       ‘I’m trying to make something of you, young lady. Or don’t you want to be more than just a chambermaid?’
       ‘I do, sir, it’s just ––’

       ‘I like to instill a sense of culture in my servants, to smooth out the rough edges. But it seems like I’m wasting my time with you.’

       Lily whimpers as though struck. ‘But sir,’ she protests, ‘I have practised, honest!’
       ‘Stand up.’
       ‘You heard me, Lily. Stand up.’
       He taps the cushioned piano bench with his ruler and she gives him one final beseeching look before obeying the unspoken command. I press my legs together as she assumes the familiar position, gently placing first one knee and then the other on the piano bench. She kneels there like a penitent, her hands resting lightly on the keys as Mr Blackshaw raises her black uniform skirt and tucks it into the strings of her pinafore. 

       Her undergarments barely conceal her as it is but Mr Blackshaw wants her fully exposed. He unties the drawstring that fastens her pantalets around her waist. They fall open like the petals of a flower, revealing her soft round bottom and the pink lips of her sex.

       ‘Now,’ he says coolly, ‘we’ll see if you can’t perform a little better now.’

from "Hitting the Right Notes" by Rose de Fer

Available in Lords, Ladies, Butlers and Maids  

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