Part 6 - Eric Stanton
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Among my favorite Stanton drawing are the covers to Escape into Bondage. Published in about 1963 by H-H Associates of New Jersey, these two volumes are a slightly new take on the classic story Miss High Heels in which Dennis is transformed into Miss Denise.
For more information about the French and English versions of Miss High Heels and its sequels go to cjart 35.
In Book one we meet Phoebe the maid as she is threading a pink satin ribbon amongst Miss Denises shining curls. Then she buttons his long evening gloves, dusts his shoulders with a powder puff, tucks a tiny lace handkerchief in his corsage and says, "There, now you are ready, Miss Denise. Stand up."
"Miss Denise indeed!" and "Stand up!" The insolence of it! I remained seated.
Denis is an eighteen your old boy, who for the past two years, as punishment for his impertinence, has been stripped of his trousers and been forced to mince about in petticoats in a girls school. His hair reaches to below his waist and he has the soft body of a girl including the beginnings of breasts caused in part by tight lacing and in part by genetic predisposition. As the story begins, he wears a transparent white chiffon frock glittering with silver embroideries over a dress of soft white satin.
Believing his punishment to be nearing an end Denis is shocked when Helen, his stepmothers daughter who is four years older than him, says, "You will be much happier as a girl."
"No, no I have your word," I cried. "I must be a man. I am to marry and begin a great family."
"Oh Denise," Helen laughed, "I would love to see your wifes face when she first discovers your girls bosom. No, no my dear, you shall love your pretty frocks, your smart corsets and your lovely little high heels."
"No, no," I insisted.
She silences his objections by inserting a perfumed lace handkerchief in his mouth and a larger one over his lips and tied behind his head. Thus gagged and dressed as a girl he is led to meet the guests who agree that he ought to be kept a girl all his life.
He is to be punished after supper with the glass boxes. His gag is removed and his continuing disobedience causes Helen to cane him. Stanton, as usual, draws his women in fetish garb.
After his caning, Denis must stand in the corner and then be spanked by hand before he is allowed to join the other guests in the ballroom for the dance.
Later, when the guests have gone, Helen introduces him to the punishment room. She straps him to a chair and imprisons his hands and feet in glass boxes. She then released a brown dust into the boxes.
Denise begins to feel sharp pricks at his ankles and on his palms where there is a small opening in his gloves.
"Oh, Oh!" I cried. "Helen, the specks of brown dust are fleas" I twisted and clenched my fingers. It was of course all in vain.
I like his dress in the second drawing more than the one he was wearing while he was being caned, but I cant find anyplace in the text where he changed clothes. This is likely another example of Stanton not reading the story carefully. His art doesnt match the story precisely, but it does follow its spirit. He is such a talented artist, however, that I forgive him these mistakes.
In Book two of Escape into Bondage, Evelyns every minor fault leads to major punishment. He finally can take no more.
"How long is this going to last?" I asked. "How long are you going to keep me in girl's clothes, and rob me of my position?"
"Not a moment longer than you wish, dear," Helen said. "You shall come out of your girl's clothes now. There is a dinner party tonight. You shall appear as Evelyn Beryl, and I hope you will like it."
Phoebe dressed me in a girl's chemise and drawers with heavy lace frills and laced me into a corset tighter than I usually wore by an inch. She gloved me to the shoulders in white kid and put on me a very décolleté corsage of white satin and lace. Then came a little tight pair of black velvet knickers that only reached to the middle of my thighs and were fastened there with diamond buckles and big jeweled buttons, leaving the frills of my drawers exposed. Girls' transparent black stockings strained tightly up to the corsets and big ruffled bow-garters of blue satin were just above my knees. Patent-leather shining slippers with diamond buckles and scarlet Louis Quinze heels five and a half inches high, set off my legs and feet. A short sleeved black velvet coat cut tightly in to my corseted waist and made in the style of Fragonard's pictures, lined with white satin and smart with jeweled buttons was slipped on over my bodice. It was open in front and showed my décolletage, swelling bosom and girl's throat. My hair was taken down and arranged in long shining curls and tied back from my face with a white satin ribbon tied in an enormous bow. A white satin sash with a great bow and a diamond buckle on my left hip, a girl's big hat of blue satin, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets completed this costume. What made it still more humiliating was a horrible arrangement in front of the tight knickers. A big bow of black satin was passed through a great oval ruby buckle, which blazed like fire against the softly gleaming black velvet.
Phoebe and Netta dragged me with jeers along the passages of my own house to Helen's bedroom.
I was in tears. Helen chained my hands behind me and fixed little black fetters of polished steel on my ankles.
"Turn round Miss High-heels," she said sternly. "That is your name for the future -- Miss Evelyn High-heels the only name you will be known by. Turn round and let me see that the seams of your delicate stockings are straight."
"Oh Helen," I moaned, "you can't show me off dressed like this. You promised that I should be dressed as a girl."
"You certainly aren't dressed as a young lady, Evelyn," she said with a laugh. "Young ladies don't show the frills of their pantaloons nor so much pretty stocking. Nor do they wear flaunting scarlet heels as high as yours. Only improper women and young effeminate gentlemen undergoing discipline wear five and a half-inch heels on their dainty shoes. "
"But the ruby buckle in front -- Oh that's horrible."
"You will wear that dear as the symbol of your subjection to my sex, the sign that over your sex, the sex of woman is imposed."
Handcuffed and fettered, Phoebe carried me downstairs into the drawing room, and presented me to my neighbors assembled for dinner. I could have died of shame. Congratulations were showered upon Helen.
"What an improvement!" cried Mrs. Dawson, the vicar's wife. "He is very like Denise."
"Yes I wish Denise could have stayed," said Helen, "for us to compare them. She has gone home to her aunt this afternoon, where I am afraid she is not very happy."
The ladies crowded round me. The men guffawed contemptuously.
"I think the fetters and handcuffs complete the dress so prettily," said Lady Hartley.
The old détraqué General stooped and felt my feet.
"The shoes are very smart," he said. "High-heeled girls' shoes are such a good thing for willful and disobedient young gentlemen."
"He has certainly never looked so pretty," said Guy Repton with a snigger. "I am sure he ought to be very grateful to his young step-sister for the dainty care with which she has dressed and molded his figure."
Thus they talked of me. I stood red with shame.
It is difficult for me to empathize with Evelyns antiquated clothing. However, this passage is an outstanding example of traditional Petticoat Punishment. Boys undergoing such punishment are often taught that appearing to be a real girl is preferable to being recognized as a sissy or a boy in a dress. This causes them to strive to pass as a girl. However, they shouldnt be allowed to succeed for long. If they did, the storys tension would be gone.
After the guests leave, Evelyn decides that the humiliation of appearing as a sissy is too much to bear.
"Helen please don't keep me dressed like this!"
"But I love you like this," she said leading me to a long mirror. "Stand with your satin slippers together. You look exquisite dear with your curls swinging down to your waist and your tall slender figure tightly encased in lavender satin."
"But I can't go on dressed like this." I fell on my knees before her, "Helen, let Evelyn Beryl disappear altogether. Let him die! You will become mistress of the estate. Let Denise return to you. I am never to marry. I am never to wear trousers. I am never to have control. Let me have the liberty, the life of a girl."
(This is the central problem of the boy-girl in petticoat punishment. If he must wear dresses, it is better to be taken for a real girl that to be teased as a sissy. However, that means he must strive to look and act like a girl even though he wants more than anything to become a boy again.)
So it was arranged. A student dying of consumption with a very poor family was bribed (as were his parents) to assume my name. He died and was cremated as Dennis Evelyn Beryl.
Helen went to Germany for the funeral. No one raised any difficulties or suspected any fraud when I came back as a girl.
What of me? Let one final scene be the answer.
It is two years later.
A magnificent ball at a great house in the height of the London season. A conservatory screened with palms and lit with a dim light. Through the door comes the languorous music of a waltz. Inside the conservatory, two armchairs are close together. In one a girl dressed in a lovely rich frock of white velvet, pink roses in her corsage and in her hair, jewels on her white neck and her gloved wrists. Her red lips are smiling, her bright eyes sparkling, her fair face radiant with pleasure. At her side bending towards her a young handsome man with a look of force upon his face. The young man speaks.
"Denise, I must call you Denise. You are adorable from your curls to the tips of your little buckled satin slippers."
Denise laughs, blushes and coquettishly places together in view the little white shining high-heeled shoes.
"My heart is beneath them," says the young man. "How shall I prove it?"
Denise turns her sparkling eyes to her companion.
"Kiss them on your knees," she says.
The young man drops on his knees and reverently kisses the small feet. Denise springs up with a laugh.
"I must go. I have a partner for this dance."
"You will give me your hand?" the young man implores.
"You ask too much," says Denise with a smile, "I have already given you my feet."