At half-past nine, after she had cleared away the breakfast things, the maid went to his room and walked straight in on him without knocking. She appeared to have surprised him and he quickly made good the ruffled bedcovers over him. He reddened slightly.
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing, Miss Sarah.”
“A funny sort of nothing. I hope that you were not doing mucky things under the bed covers?”
Samuel went bright red. “No, of course not. What do you mean?”
“There are certain things that can be bad for you.”
“Things that encourage inappropriate thoughts. Things that need to be nipped in the bud.” The maid smiled knowingly. “So, I have heard through the grapevine that our brave little soldier cannot attend school today. Is this true?”
“I don’t feel well,” he said.
“You look fine to me. I hope you’re not swinging the lead. What’s the matter with you?”
“I don’t know. I woke up feeling sick and my stomach hurts.”
“Well, according to your mama, you are to be left totally in my charge today. You are to stay in bed. I will fetch you some bicarbonate of soda and take your temperature.”
“Yes, but if I feel a little better later on, I might get up and move around a bit, get some fresh air and exercise.”
“We’ll see; but for now you are confined to bed until I say so.”
“What if I need the toilet?”
“I will bring you a bottle and a bed pan presently. You will ring your bell for me when you need something. You are not to get up without my permission.”
“I was thinking that later on, if I felt a little better, we could take a walk together in the garden. I could show you the new summerhouse.”
“I doubt it very much. If you are not well enough to go to school, you are not well enough to go wandering about outside willy-nilly. What if somebody sees you and reports you to the headmaster of the college?”
“You sound just like Mama.”
“That’s enough of your cheek, young sir. Anyway, I have far more pressing things to attend to than canoodle with the likes of you.”
Samuel wanted to ask what she meant by canoodle, but he didn’t want to appear too young and naive, so he let it go.
The maid began straightening the bedding. Samuel hoped she would not draw back the covers completely for she was bound to discover that he had disgraced himself in the night. The sheets were dry now, but the stain would inevitably give the game away. How would he live it down, explain to her?
“My goodness!” she would say. “You still wet the bed at your age? Why, you should be ashamed of yourself, Master Samuel.”
Thankfully she just tucked the sheets under the mattress without folding them back, but she bound him so tightly to the bed he could barely move without a real struggle. Her pristine uniform, her efficiency and business-like manner seemed to exert a spell on him, draw his strength. And then she did something that took him completely by surprise.
She had just finished plumping his pillows when she leaned down and kissed him lightly on the lips. He caught a whiff of her heady perfume and felt the swell of her bosom against him, and suddenly he felt quite dizzy. It was just as well he was lying down for he would might have fainted and fallen over. His heart raced with desire for her and the twitching and fluttering between his legs was like a baby bird coming to life.
“I’ll be back in just a moment to take your temperature,” she said, laying her cool hand on his forehead for a moment. Then she picked up his wrist and took his pulse. “I hope you’re going to be a good boy for me today. I don’t want to have to tell your mama and papa what a naughty, unruly patient you have been.”
When Sarah had left the room Samuel’s right hand, the one the maid had been holding to check his pulse, wandered down past his belly, inside his pyjama bottoms and between his legs until it rested upon his thickening member. It had come erect very quickly and he had the dreadful impulse to rub himself like some of the other boys did at school during break times. He thought of the previous night’s dreams, the confusing emotions of love and anger, the strangely enjoyable feelings of humiliation and servitude and became quite breathless with excitement. He had no desire to go against the maid today; his belligerence of yesterday had completely evaporated. He would do whatever she so desired of him, for he was determined to endear himself to her at all costs.