I'm new here. I've run away from my husband. He was so violent. I live here now. Cuthbert is the centre of my life.
Cuthbert is the centre of every girl's life here. There are over twenty of us girls here and only one man, the wonderful Cuthbert.
Twenty girls! It must have been awful, you say. No, everything was fine, not always harmony, but most of the time. There was plenty to do, the house was kept clean, there was cooking and washing to be done, the garden, the gossip, the ironing, the TV watching, shopping, dressing, all good fun, especially with Cuthbert.
All the girls were nice to me, especially Miss Davis and Miss Jones. These were two old ladies with a twinkle in their eyes. They were very helpful to me.
I asked them how safe the house was, what would happen if my husband came and tried to take me away or worse. Miss Davis turned to Miss Jones and said “You explain!”
Miss Jones said “No problem! We have our methods. We have some experience in this area. You have no need to worry.” I was not so certain, I tried always to be with the other girls, especially Miss Davis and Miss Jones, somehow they were very comforting.
I asked them what I should do or wear or what to make Cuthbert even happier with me. “Nothing!” they said. “Just be yourself! Yes, you've got a nice smile on your face. And a nice big behind. Cuthbert likes that. He likes all sorts of things, but you've got enough of them. Don't worry!”
“He likes our underwear. That's why we wear it. Yes, it does look old-fashioned. And it is. It was out of date when we were young.” The two of them, Miss Davis and Miss Jones, were not very tall, but rather big, a bit matron like. And they wore heavy underwear. It looked as if it was bolted together. Very military, it was like armour.
And it needed adjusting, every few minutes Miss Davis and Miss Jones straightened their underwear, Miss Davis adjusted Miss Jones's and Miss Jones fixed Miss Davis's. Only later did I discover what they were really doing. I asked if I should wear it. “No, no. Not for you. You look good enough to eat just as you are.”
I noticed that the girls got what they wanted or what they needed. The younger girls like me got as much of Cuthbert as they wanted. And Cuthbert made certain that the older girls got enough of what they needed. Everyone was happy.
One morning there was a loud knock at the door. Miss Davis turned to Miss Jones and said “Oh dear!” and Miss Jones said “Not again!”
The door was opened very slowly, but the man, it was Angela's husband, pushed his way in and shouted loudly “Where is Angela? I'm going to hit her and take her back where she belongs.” He was drunk. He rushed in, “And I'm going to kill this man Cuthbert. He's a dead man now!”
Fortunately Angela was not there, perhaps she had hidden herself, she was with Cuthbert.
Miss Davis and Miss Jones stood up slowly and spoke to him, “We think that you should leave. Please leave now!” They spoke very softly, but it was a command. He just laughed and told them to do something that I can't repeat here.
He moved forward to reach the next room. Miss Davis and Miss Jones said, “No! Just leave!” He tried to push them out of the way, to hit them. They took his arms and punched the wall with his fists. They trod on his feet. They finished him.
Angela and Cuthbert entered the room and looked at the mess on the carpet. Angela laughed. Miss Davis and Miss Jones carried Cuthbert to another room.
The girls picked up the mess, took it outside and dropped him face down in the flower bed.
My husband was a bit cleverer. He came in the middle of the night to get me, he must have broken into the house. I was asleep, but suddenly he was there with his hand over my mouth.
He pulled me out of bed and was going to drag me out of the house without waking anybody. But he made a mistake, he hit me, he enjoyed it, I bit him, he hit me hard several times, I screamed. The girls woke up.
He picked me up and turned to go. NO WAY! Blocking his way were Miss Davis and Miss Jones in full armour, their underwear glinting like steel in the moonlight, an awesome sight. He dropped me in fear. They picked him up and threw him against the wall. They picked him up again and threw him out the window.
They had not finished. Miss Davis and Miss Jones picked up Cuthbert who was sleeping on top of Wilma and took him to another room. Angela comforted me.
My husband must have landed in the compost heap. We didn't see him again.
The next morning at breakfast, after Cuthbert had done his usual round of kisses for all us girls, he sat down next to Miss Davis and Miss Jones and gave them both a big hug. I didn't feel very good.
I was fascinated. Here was I living with two violent thugs who were the gentlest of old ladies. I told myself that their power came from their underwear, anyone who wore this armour could be that powerful.
I persuaded Miss Davis and Miss Jones that I could try on their underwear. They found this very strange. “Why, My Dear, why do you want to do that?” I told them every reason possible, except for the truth.
After a few weeks I had my chance. They seemed to like the idea now, they did like their funny underwear, this is true. They wanted to see me in it.
I half expected the two of them to open a tool box and use spanners and wrenches to install the armour on me. But no, but it took over an hour to put it on and get it straight. Two minutes to put it on and a very long time making sure that everything was OK.
I looked in the mirror, I felt like an ancient warrior, a soldier of fortune, a keeper of the peace. Miss Davis and Miss Jones were also impressed. “Well, My Dear, you do look very good. You can certainly keep men under control like that.”
I tried walking and found that I couldn't. You marched. Your body was kept upright. There was no choice. You were in military uniform.
I marched round the room. Everybody clapped. Great success.
My first idea was to pick up Cuthbert and do something heavy with him, but he was not there. So I did something terrible – I was wearing the underwear, I could do what I liked.
I sat down between Miss Davis and Miss Jones. No one but no one had done that before, not even Cuthbert. I sat between the two of them. They were so gentle. I was not afraid, though I knew that they could, if they wanted to, break every bone in my body, one by one and slowly, if they wanted to.
They were very gentle with me.