Free Women to slaves
These are relevant references from the Books where Free Women to slaves are mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
I missed in the crowd the presence of slave girls, common in other cities, usually lovely girls clad only in the brief, diagonally striped slave livery of Gor, a sleeveless, briefly skirted garment terminating some inches above the knee, a garment that contrasts violently with the heavy, cumbersome Robes of Concealment worn by free women. Indeed, it was known that some free women actually envied their lightly clad sisters in bondage, free, though wearing a collar, to come and go much as they pleased, to feel the wind on the high bridges, the arms of a master who celebrated their beauty and claimed them as his own.
"How shameful!" said the free woman, sternly.
The slave girls groveled at her feet. Slave girls fear free women muchly. It is almost as if there were some unspoken war between them, almost as if they might be mortal enemies. In such a war, or such an enmity, of course, the slave girl is completely at the mercy of the free person; she is only slave. One of the great fears of a slave girl is that she will be sold to a woman. Free women treat their female slaves with incredible hatred and cruelty. Why this is I do not know. Some say it is because they, the free women, envy the girls their collars and wish that they, too, were collared, and at the complete mercy of masters.
Free women view the platform with stern disapproval; on it, female beauty is displayed for the inspection of men; this, for some reason, outrages them; perhaps they are furious because they cannot display their own beauty, or that they are not themselves as beautiful as women found fit, by lusty men with discerning eyes, for slavery; it is difficult to know what the truth is in such matters; these matters are further complicated, particularly in the north, by the conviction among free women that free women are above such things as sex, and that only low and loose girls, and slaves, are interested in such matters; free women of the north regard themselves as superior to sex; many are frigid, at least until carried off and collared; they often insist that, even when they have faces and figures that drive men wild, that it is their mind on which he must concentrate his attentions; some free men, to their misery, and the perhaps surprising irritation of the female, attempt to comply with this imperative; they are fools enough to believe what such women claim is the truth about themselves; they should listen instead to the dreams and fantasies of women, and recall, for their instruction, the responses of a free woman, once collared, squirming in the chains of a bond-maid. These teach us truths which many women dare not speak and which, by others, are denied, interestingly, with a most psychologically revealing hysteria and vehemence. "No woman," it is said, "knows truly what she is until she has worn the collar." Some free women apparently fear sex because they feel it lowers the woman. This is quite correct.
"Shameful!" cried the free woman.
"I do not approve of the platform," said the free woman, coldly.
Forkbeard did not respond to her, but regarded her with great deference.
"You have dared to collar the daughter of Thorgard of Scagnar!" cried Bera to Ivar Forkbeard.
"My master does what he pleases, Lady," said Hilda.
I wondered what Bera would say if she knew that Hilda had been put at the oar, and taught to heel; that she had been whipped, and taught to obey; that she had been caressed, and taught to respond.
"Silence, Bond-maid!" cried Bera.
Hilda put down her head.
"To think," cried Bera, "that I expressed solicitude for a collar-girl!"
Hilda dared not speak. For a bond-maid to speak in such a situation might be to invite a sentence of death. She shuddered.
In fury, Bera, lifting her skirt from about her ankles, took her way from the long table, retiring to her own quarters.
Free women are often cruel to beautiful female slaves. They put us under terrifying discipline. Perhaps they sense in us something of greater interest to men than themselves, something which constitutes to them a threat, something which is subtly competitive, and successfully so, to them. I do not know. Perhaps they fear us, or the slave in themselves. I do not know. Mostly I suspect the women were furious with me because I had been responsive to the touch of the auctioneer's whip. Free women, desiring to yield, pride themselves on their capacity not to yield, to maintain their quality and integrity; slave girls, on the other hand, are not permitted such luxuries; they, whether they desire to yield or not, must yield, and totally; perhaps free women wish they did not have to be free, and could relate in biological naturalness, like the slave girl, to the dominant organism. Perhaps they wish they were slaves. I do not know. One thing is certain, and that is that there is a deep, psychological hostility on the part of the free woman for her sister in bondage, particularly if she be beautiful. Slave girls, accordingly, fear free women; slave girls want to be locked in the collars of men, not women.
She looked at me, not speaking. It seemed strange to me, later, that we, together, had spoken so. It was as though each of us desired to appear more frigid and less passionate than the other, as though the restriction or impairment of our natural sexuality were somehow desirable or meritorious. Women of Earth, I knew, sensitive to a heritage of insane values, of antibiological acculturation, sometimes competed with one another in their attempts to appear frigid, a competition which was often carried into the bedrooms of their husbands. Few wives, I knew, would dare to let themselves appear to their husbands as a hot, panting bitch. Slave girls, on the other hand, are given no choice.
"As a free woman," she said, "I have had little opportunity to see a slave girl used."
She looked at me, curious.
"Tellius," she called. "Barus!"
The two men who had caught me entered the room.
The Lady Elicia indicated me to them. "Amuse yourselves with her," he said.
"Have mercy on your slave!" I cried.
By the arms, I was thrown back on the tiles.
I wept, the tunic torn away from me, my body red and helpless, writhing on the tiles.
"Can there be more?" asked the Lady Elicia, amazed.
"She has not yet even experienced the first slave orgasm," said Tellius, crouching beside me, looking up.
I turned my head from side to side, in misery. I looked up at him. I tried to lie still. But my body leaped to his touch. I cried out in misery.
"Is it soon?" she asked.
"Yes," said Tellius, "note her breathing, the mottling of her skin, how she moves, her eyes."
"Oh, please, Mistress, have mercy on me!" I wept. "Do not let them touch me further! Please, please, Mistress!"
Then I threw back my head and screamed. I clutched at Tellius. "You are my master!" I whispered, hoarsely. "You are my master!"
"Do not move," he said.
"Oh, please, Master!" I wept
"You may now move," he said.
I screamed and clutched at him, eyes closed, clawing at him, trying to bring our bodies closer. Then I threw back my head eyes wild, lips parted, and screamed, delivering my body to my master.
"It is the first of the slave orgasms," said Tellius.
"I love you, Master!" I wept, clutching him. Gone now was the thought of the Lady Elicia. I, a slave girl, was in the arms of a Gorean male. I covered him with kisses and caresses, weeping. "Please touch your slave more, Master," I begged.
"Little whore!" sneered the Lady Elicia.
"Touch me more, Master!" I begged.
"I knew you would be like this, even at the college," she said. "Lovely Judy! A little whore!"
I licked at the hair on the upper arm of Tellius. "Please, Master," I begged him.
"You are lower than a whore," said the Lady Elicia. She looked down at me, in fury. "You are a slave girl!"
"I love you, Master," I whispered to Tellius.
"Finish with her," said the Lady Elicia, rising, angrily, from the curule chair. "And when you are done with her see that she is cleaned and groomed, and presented to me in a fresh tunic."
"Yes, Lady," said Tellius.
The Lady Elicia left the room.
I penetrated more deeply among the platforms. A girl, kneeling and naked, heavily chained, extended her hands to me. "Buy me, Master!" she begged. Then I had passed her and she was behind me. I saw two girls standing, back to back, the left wrist of each chained to the right wrist of the other. "Handsome master, consider me!" cried a girl as I passed her. Most of the girls knelt or sat on the platforms. All were secured in some fashion.
"Scandalous," said a free woman, to another free woman, who was passing near me.
"Yes," said the other free woman.
"Frigidity is a neurotic luxury," I told her. "It is allowed only to free woman, probably because no one cares that much about them. Indeed, frigidity is one of the titles and permissions implicated in the lofty status of a free woman. For many it is, in effect, their proudest possession. It distinguishes them from the lowly slave girl. It proves to themselves and others that they are free. Should they be enslaved, of course, it is, for better or for worse, taken from them, like their property and their clothing."
"Not all free women are frigid," she said.
"Of course not," I said, "but there is actually a scale, so to speak, in such matters. But just as some free women are insufficiently inert, or cold, to qualify, strictly, as frigid, perhaps to their chagrin, so none of them, I think, are sufficiently ignited to qualify in the ranges of "slave-girl hot," so to speak. A free woman's sexuality may generally be thought of in terms of degrees of inertness, or coolness; a slave girl's sexuality, on the other hand, may generally be thought of in terms of degrees of responsive passion, or heat. Some slave girls are hotter than others, of course, just as some free women are less cold than others, whether this pleases them or not. Whereas the free woman normally maintains a plateau of frigidity, however, the slave girl will usually increase in degrees of heat, this a function of her master, his strength, her training, and such. The slave girl grows in passion; the free woman languishes in her frigidity, congratulating herself on the starvation of her needs."
"Do free women know what they are missing?" she asked.
"I think, on some level, they do," I said. "Else the resentment and hatred they bear the slave girl would be inexplicable."
"I see," she said.
"Beware the free woman," I said.
"Yes, Master," she said.
"Is there no cure for a free woman's frigidity?" she asked.
"Of course," I said.
"Total enslavement?" she asked.
"Yes," I said.
She said nothing.
"Every woman has a need to submit herself to a master," I said. "When she finds herself at the feet of her master her body will no longer permit her to be frigid. There is no longer any reason. She is now where nature places her, at his feet and in his power. She kisses his feet and, weeping, feeling the heat and oils between her lovely legs, cannot wait to be thrown to the furs."
She did not speak.
"But I do not speak here merely of the simplicities and negativities of a cure," I said. "I speak rather of the beginning of a career, a helpless, flowering biography of service, love and passion."
"You speak of a woman being made a slave girl," she said.
"Yes," I said.
"I wonder if I will be pleasing to a master," she said.
"Any slave girl," I said, "with the proper management, and master, can become a wonder of sexuality and love."
"I think I will love being a slave girl," she said.
I shrugged. What did it matter, what her feelings were? She was a slave.
"No wonder the free women hate us so," she said.
"Of course," I said. "You are everything that they desire to be and are not."
She bit her lip. She looked at me. "Are free women permitted to watch us being sold?"
"Of course," I said. "Why not? They are free."
She looked at me, miserably.
"Ah, yes," I said. "I see. It would be quite humiliating, one woman, a slave, being sold, while another woman, a free woman, observes."
"Yes," she said.
"Do you find me of interest, Master?" she asked.
"Yes," I said.
"How can a girl who is only a slave be of interest?" she asked.
"Your question is foolish," I said. "All men desire a slave, or slaves. It is their nature. Thus, that a woman is a slave, even in itself, makes her extraordinarily interesting. Her slavery in itself, apart from her intelligence or beauty, is found extremely provocative and exciting to the male, because of his nature."
"But aren't free women more interesting?" she asked.
"All women are interesting," I said. "But consider the matter objectively. Anything that was interesting about you when you were free remains interesting about you now. But now you are additionally interesting because you are in helpless bondage. Too, slavery, because of its relation to a female's genetic predispositions, tends to free her to be herself, rather than an imitator of male-type values. It frees her individuality by liberating her from the necessities of pretense. Too, slavery, by removing certain inhibitions and demands alien to a female's deepest nature generally results in an increase in her beauty and energy; she is no longer as constricted and miserable, and needs no longer spend energy fighting to suppress herself and her natural desires, surely a grotesque and pathological misapplication of effort, a tragic waste of time and energy. That the girl, thus, becomes more beautiful and energetic does not, of course, diminish her interest. Indeed, similarity, routine, identity, boredom, those things which tend to make a woman less interesting, tend often to be functions of widespread conformances to externally imposed demands and images. It is thus that the free woman, though interesting, being female, is usually, sadly, a bound prisoner of her own prejudices, a rigid, constricted, ideologically restrained organism, an imitator of images and stereotypes alien to her own nature, a puppet obedient to principles foreign to herself. How can a woman be free until she obeys the laws of her own nature?"
"I do not know," said Arlene.
"Interest, of course, is somewhat subjective," I admitted. "Some men may prefer neurotic, frustrated, rigid, imitative, conforming free women, mouthing the correct slogans and adopting the correct views on all matters, and eager to slander all who disagree with her, but other men, perhaps naive types, would just as soon own an intelligent, beautiful, reflective, loving slave, a girl who thinks for herself, but must nonetheless obey him, regardless of her will, in all things. The matter seems a simple one. Let men choose between such women. Let men choose between them, between the stereotype and the truth, between the pain and the pleasure, between the unhappy and the happy, between the tasteless and the delicious, between sickness and health, between suffering and joy."
She looked up at me.
"But regardless of the truth in these matters," I said, "you are objectively my slave. Thus, whether you are or are not of interest is not really much to the point. Whether you are of more or less interest than your duller sisters in their intellectual cages congratulating themselves on how free they are is not important. What is important is that I own you. From my point of view I find you, and girls like you, far more interesting than your smug sisters. They seem generally much alike, even in their mode of dress, and tend in their thinking and conversation, because of their conditioning, to be repetitiously similar. Free women, though they need not be, are often boring. Who does not know, for example, what a female 'intellectual' will think on a given topic, provided it is a topic on which agreement is expected?"
"I am, then, of interest?" she asked.
"Yes," I said.
"A girl is pleased," she said.
"I found you of interest when you were free," I said, "and I find you of much greater interest now."
"Yes, Master," she said.
"Part of this," I said, "is doubtless that I now can, and will, do with you exactly as I please."
"Oh, Master?" she asked.
"There is a sense, of course," I said, "in which you are supposedly of less interest than a free woman."
"What is that," she asked, "Master."
"Suppose," I said, "that I was, in my compartments, entertaining a free woman. In such a situation you would be expected to efface yourself, and humbly serve. You would not speak unless you were spoken to, and then presumably only to respond deferentially to commands. You would remain in the background, a mere instrument to serve us. In no way would you in the slightest be permitted to detract from the impression or effect the free woman desires to create or compete with her in any way. You would be nothing in the room but an almost invisible convenience."
"I see," she said.
"And yet this is all on the surface," I said, "and largely a matter of theory."
"Oh, Master?" she asked.
"Yes," I said, "for in the depth of the situation your presence is felt profoundly by the free woman. Indeed, she will hate you with a ferocity which is difficult for you to understand. For you are a reproach, in the depths of your womanhood, to her superficiality. There is more excitement she knows in your slightest movement, the turning of your head, the tiny movement of a wrist or finger, that of a girl in bondage, than in her entire, tight, proud, righteous body. She can never touch you in the profundity of your existence and reality unless sometime she, too, should learn what it is to be only a collared slave. She knows that you have found your womanhood and she has not. Thus she hates you. She knows the free man is anxious for her to leave, that he may hurry you, his slave, to the furs. Thus she hates you. It is you whom he has put in his collar, not her. It is you he rapes in his arms, not her. It is thus that she despises and hates you. She must rise and leave. You will remain, and serve. She hates you, and, with a depth and intensity which is difficult for you to understand, envies you."
"But why?" she asked.
"Because you are a slave," I said.
"I see," she said.
"Thus," I said, "that is a situation in which a free woman is theoretically of more interest than a slave, but, upon closer analysis, the center of interest, even in such a situation, because of her latency, her womanhood, her helplessness, what can be done with her, is the slave."
"I see," she said.
"Beware of free woman," I smiled.
"Yes," she said, "I think I would be very afraid of them."
"And you should be," I said. "They can often be terribly cruel to slave girls."
"I do fear them," she said.
"You will be punished for femininity on this world," I told her, "only by free women."
I could already begin to feel the wine. I was still half on my elbows. "What are you going to do to me?" I asked.
"Treat you as what you are," she said, "a man of Earth, a weakling, at the mercy of a Gorean free woman."
I regarded her, frightened.
"Lie back, pretty Jason," she said. I lay back. The furs were deep about me. I felt the inflexible clasp of the steel on my ankles and wrists.
Then suddenly, lightly, like a cat, she slipped onto the couch beside me.
"I do not understand," I said. "What are you going to do with me?"
"Own you," she whispered. "Use you for my pleasure."
I looked at her with horror.
She smiled and then thrust the whip, crosswise, in my mouth, between my teeth.
She then aroused, and raped me.
I knew, of course, what she looked like naked, for I was her silk slave. Free women think as little of concealing their bodies before their silk slaves as the women of Earth would before their pet dogs.
For example, although one may see a girl in the streets, naked save for, say, her brand and collar, or a bit of chain, this is not common. This sort of thing is done, usually, only as a discipline. Free women tend to object, for the eyes of their companions tend almost inadvertently to stray to the exposed flesh of such girls. Perhaps, too, they are angry that they themselves are not permitted to present themselves so brazenly and lusciously before men. Needless to say it is difficult for men to keep their minds on business when such girls are among them. Perhaps this is the reason that magistrates tend to frown upon the practice. After all, Goreans are only human.
"I was thinking of when I was a free woman," she said. "How contemptuous I was of the slave girls in the cities, how I scorned them, and despised them, so helpless in their lowly, silken slaveries, and yet, now, how I envy them their slaveries!"
"What lucky, soft little things they are," she said, "being sold naked off sales blocks to the whips and chains of strong masters, with little more to worry about than the heat of the kitchens, the steaming water of the laundering tubs, the dangers, from young, prowling ruffians, of shopping in the evening! How warm and safe they are locked in their kennels at night or cuddling, in furs, chained at the foot of their masters' couches! What need have they to fear sleen and tarns! They need fear only their masters!"
"It had not even occurred to me that it might have been your idea, Mistress," smiled Susan. "You did not even want me punished. Mistress has always shown me incredible lenience. Mistress has always shown me incredible kindness. It is almost as if -"
"Yes?" I said.
"- almost as if Mistress has some idea of the helplessness and vulnerability of the slave."
"And how," I asked angrily, "would I, a free woman, have any idea of that?"
"Forgive me, Mistress," said Susan. "Of course you, as a free woman, could not!" I was angry. I considered whipping the little, collared slut. She put her head down, quickly, and continued her work, menial work, work suitable for such as she, a slave.
The frustrations and chilling hatred of free women for their imbonded sisters, and their power to inflict pain on them, tended naturally to preclude, or inhibit, the performances of slaves. Their presence, too, of course, tended to have an adverse effect on the satisfactions obtainable by the free men present. If a free woman is present, for example, one is scarcely likely to tear the silk from a laughing, squealing slave and rape her on the table. Female slaves commonly wear relatively modest garments and serve unobtrusively and decorously when free women are present.
I reached down and drew the slave to her feet and then, holding her by the arm, turned away from the free woman.
The free woman gasped, rejected, scorned, of less interest than a slave.
The slave now held my arm, I permitting it, closely, that she not be pulled away from me in the crowds.
"This is not the way to the pleasure racks," she said.
"You must be patient," I said.
"Yes, Master," she moaned, pressing more closely against me. She would be patient. She had no choice in the matter. She was a slave.
I looked back and saw the free woman, turned away, forlorn, her arms clutched about herself, half crouched over. Her body shook with sobs. She trembled with need. I saw that she had strong drives. I smiled. Such drives would bring her, sooner or later, to a man's feet, the only place they can be satisfied.
"Disgusting! Disgusting!" cried the free woman, one veiled and wearing the robes of the scribes, standing in the audience. "Pull down your skirt, you slave, you brazen hussy!"
"Pray, do withdraw, noble sir, for you surprise me unawares, and of necessity I must improvise some veiling, lest my features be disclosed," cried the girl upon the stage, Boots Tarsk-Bit's current Brigella. I had seen her a few days earlier in Port Kar.
"Pull down your skirt, slut!" cried the free woman in the audience.
"Be quiet," said a free man to the woman. "It is only a play."
"Be silent yourself!" she cried back at him.
"Would that you were a slave," he growled. "You would pay richly for your impertinence."
"I am not a slave," she said.
"Obviously," he said.
"And I shall never he a slave," she said.
"Do not be too sure of that," he said.
"Beast," she said.
"I wonder if you would be any good chained in a tent," he said.
"Monster!" she said.
"Let us observe the drama," suggested another fellow.
"Do not be too hard on her," I said. "She is only a slave."
"Slaves are to be shown no mercy," said the free woman coldly.
"Do you know the slave in camp, she called Lady Telitsia?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
"She has not yet eaten," I said.
"So?" asked the lady Yanina.
"She is probably quite hungry by now," I said.
"So?" she asked.
"I do not think her master would permit her to beg food until a certain free woman, a prisoner in the camp, was fed."
"Probably not," said the Lady Yanina. "Why are you bringing the matter up?"
"I thought it might be of interest to you," I said.
"It is not," she said.
"You were common captives of the brigands," I said. "I thought you might have some concern for her."
"No," she said.
"I see," I said.
The Lady Yanina looked at me, and smiled. She put the piece of crust in her mouth and nibbled on it, slowly. "Let her wait," she said. "She is a slave. Slaves are nothing."
I did not gainsay the Lady Yanina, of course. What she had said was true. I had only brought up the matter as a form of test for her, to satisfy my own curiosity. I wished to more exactly ascertain her self-image. It was, as I had expected, that of the lofty free woman, separating herself, at least publicly, by dimensions and worlds from mere slaves. This was particularly interesting to me in view of the fact that she was herself, obviously, a highly appropriate candidate for the collar. Did she think, truly, she was that different from the slave who, but Ehn ago, had been tied and lashed?
She looked at it. I took her by the arm and conducted her to where Tula knelt, her head to the dirt. "This is a free woman," I told Tula. "She will be traveling with us." Tula, scarcely lifting her head, pressed her lips to the sandals of Boabissia, kissing them. "Mistress," she said. I then conducted Boabissia to the vicinity of Feiqa. Feiqa had once been the Lady Charlotte, of Samnium, a high lady in that city, one of aristocratic birth and upbringing, from one of her finest families, one prominent on her Street of Coins. Feiqa pressed her lips to the sandals of Boabissia, kissing them. "Mistress," she whispered. "What?" inquired Boabissia, imperiously. Feiqa again pressed her lips to Boabissia's sandals, kissing them. "Mistress," she said, trembling.
"Even then," I said, "it will be expected that you would first obtain the permission of their master."
"You may count, of course," I said, "on his understanding and sympathy, and his respect for your wishes, as those of a free woman."
"Of course," said Boabissia.
"In lesser matters, of course," I said, "where lesser exactitudes and punishments might be in order, you may, as any free person, at your whim, and without consulting the master, subject them to typical disciplines, things useful in helping them to keep in mind what they are."
The slaves trembled. She was a free woman. The slave has some defense against a vital powerful male, female submission behaviors, indeed, the piteous and desperate prostration of her beauty and service at the feet of his authority and lust. This defense, however, minimal and uncertain as it may be, seldom avails her against the displeasure of the hostile free female.
"Put that slut back, behind the wagon," said Boabissia, "where she, like the animal she is, led, may follow with the other."
"Please?" I asked.
"Very well," I said. I decided I would do this, at least this time, in deference to the wishes of Boabissia. She was after all, a free woman.
"I know females," said Boabissia. "I am one of them. If you are weak with them, they will take away your manhood and destroy you. If you are strong with them, they will lick your feet with gratitude." She touched the body of the female slave with the whip. "Is it not so?" she asked the girl.
"If you are not strict with slaves," said Boabissia, "they will grow lax, and then arrogant, and then begin to assume the airs of free persons."
"I suppose that is true," I said.
"They must be kept under perfect discipline," said Boabissia, "absolutely uncompromising and perfect discipline."
Boabissia drew back the whip. How she hated the female slave. It is sometimes hard to understand the hatred of the free female for her imbonded sister. It has to do, I suppose, with the venomous jealousy of a woman who has taken an unhappy path, a road commended to her by many but one which she has discovered leads only to her ultimate frustration, misery and lack of fulfillment. No woman is truly happy until she occupies her place in the order of nature.
"Do not strike her," I said.
"I am a free woman," said Boabissia, "and I shall do as I please."
"Do not strike her," said Hurtha. "Come along."
"Men are weak," said Boabissia. "I will teach you what women deserve, and need."
I fetched the key. I returned to where she knelt, shackled. I looked down upon her. I wondered if there would be point in having her, here, suddenly, on the floor of the insula's vestibule, before I unshackled her. She was very beautiful.
"Master?" she asked.
I thrust her back to the floor, in a rattle of chain. "Oh!" she cried. It did not matter. She was only a slave. "Oh!" she gasped, and then was clutching me. "Disgusting," said a free woman, entering the insula, and then proceeding upstairs.
"We must place our trust in the Priest-Kings," said a man. Across from us, about seven feet away, on the other side of the narrow street, was the free woman who had secured her robes, that they might not touch an Initiate. She rose to her feet, looking after the procession. We could still hear the bells. The smell of incense hung in the air. Near the free woman was a female slave, in a short gray tunic. She, too, had been caught, like Phoebe, in the path of the procession. She had knelt with her head down to the street, the palms of her hands on the stones, making herself small, in a common position of obeisance. The free woman looked down at her. As the girl saw she was under the scrutiny of a free person she remained on her knees. "You sluts have nothing to fear," said the free woman to her, bitterly. "It is such as I who must fear." The girl did not answer. There was something in what the free woman had said, though in the frenzy of a sacking, the blood of the victors racing, flames about, and such, few occupants of a fallen city, I supposed, either free or slave, were altogether safe. "It will only be a different collar for you," said the free woman. The girl looked up at her. She was a lovely slave I thought, a red-haired one. She kept her knees tightly together before the free woman. Had she knelt before a man she would probably have had to keep them open, even if they were brutally kicked apart, a lesson to her, to be more sensitive as to before whom she knelt. "Only a different collar for you!" cried the free woman, angrily. The girl winced, but dared not respond. To be sure, I suspected, all things considered, that the free woman was right. Slave girls, as they are domestic animals, are, like other domestic animals, of obvious value to victors. It is unlikely that they would be killed, any more than tharlarion or kaiila. They would be simply chained together, for later distribution or sale. Then the free woman, in fury, with her small, gloved hand, lashed the face of the slave girl, back and forth, some three or four times. She, the free woman, a free person, might be trampled by tharlarion, or be run through, or have her throat cut, by victors. Such things were certainly possible. On the other hand, the free women of a conquered city, or at least the fairest among them, are often reckoned by besiegers as counting within the yield of prospective loot. Many is the free female in such a city who has torn away her robes before enemies, confessed her natural slavery, disavowed her previous masquerade as a free woman, and begged for the rightfulness of the brand and collar. This is a scene which many free women have enacted in their imagination. Such things figure, too, in the dreams of women, those doors to the secret truths of their being. The free woman stood there, the breeze in the street, as evening approached, ruffling the hems of her robes. The free woman put her fingers to her throat, over the robes and veil.
"What is it like to be a slave?" she asked.
"What is it like, to be a slave?" asked the free woman, again.
"Much depends on the master, beautiful Mistress," said the girl. The slave could not see the face of the free woman, of course, but such locutions, "beautiful Mistress," and such, on the part of slave girls addressing free women, are common. They are rather analogous to such things as "noble Master," and so on. They have little meaning beyond being familiar epithets of respect.
"Yes, Mistress," said the girl.
"Thank you, Mistress!" said the girl, and leaped to her feet, scurrying away.
The free woman looked after the slave. Then she looked across at us, and at Phoebe, who lowered her eyes, quickly. Then, shuddering, she turned about and went down the street, to our left, in the direction from whence the Initiates had come.
For some reason free women hate female slaves. They are often quite cruel even to those whom they themselves own. I am not certain of the explanation of this seemingly unreasoning, inexplicable hatred. Perhaps they hate the slave for her beauty, for her joy, her truth, her perfections, her desirability, her happiness. At the root of their hatred, perhaps, lies their own unhappiness and lack of fulfillment, their envy of the slave, joyful in her rightful place in nature. In any event, this attack on the part of the free woman, which happily had been only verbal, as they often are not, and the abused slave in any event dare not protest or object, as they are at the mercy of free persons, was in its way a profound compliment.
The serving slave of a free woman is often lashed mercilessly if she so much as looks at a man. Some claim that the keeping of pretty serving slaves by a free woman is to guard against their own abduction. Should a tarnsman, say, with slave noose in hand, invade their quarters he may choose the slave over the mistress.
To be sure, free women stiffened, and turned angrily, and looked upon the slaves disapprovingly. But what does it matter, Ellen asked herself. And suddenly it came to her again that free women hated the slaves, and envied them. Perhaps they, thought Ellen, wish they, too, were so garbed, so delightfully and sensuously, and were so free, so vital, so delicious, so desirable, so beautiful!
The woman, clad in the Robes of Concealment, sat on a stool near one of the fires. The light glinted off a necklace, and sparkled, reflected in jewels sewn onto her robes and veils.
The body of the sitting woman seemed stiff, and severe. Something in its mien suggested disapproval, anger, hostility and envy. Free women hate slave girls. They try to make them ashamed of their femininity, condition, beauty and passion.
It is said that once one has tasted a slave, one finds it difficult to think again in terms of free women. Perhaps it is little wonder that free women so hate slaves.
Certainly one does not go about punishing the slaves of others, though free women tend to be rather free in this regard, and most Goreans are not above reprimanding errant slaves, whether their own or those of others. An errant slave girl is not above being, say, knelt and cuffed by a free person.
Free women, of course, may own female slaves, whom they often treat with great cruelty. For example, if a female slave, owned by a free woman, dares to look at a male, she may be whipped. And it is not unusual, in these small fordings, and such, of which we spoke, for the free woman to put her slave into the mire, and use her body as a bridge, in this way protecting her garments and the daintiness of her feet and ankles.
To the free woman the slave girl is, at best, a despicable convenience. She is loathed, probably because of her interest to men. The cruelty of the free woman to the slave is legendary. It is quite different from the usual relationship between a male master and his slave. Gorean slave girls dread free women. It is their fervent hope that they may be purchased by an attractive male, and, ideally, be his only slave.
Sometimes, of course, as an act of cruelty, a free woman, for her amusement, before company, consisting of other free women, will order a terrified slave to offer her drink as she might a male, and then, when she does so, she will be denounced. "What are you doing, you wanton slut? How dare you! Do you think I am a gross, lustful beast! I am a noble free woman, you miserable, disgusting, salacious hussy, you abject, collared she-tarsk! I am insulted! You will pay for that! Bring me the whip!" "Yes, Mistress," weeps the slave, and hurries to fetch the whip which, to the amusement of the free woman and her guests, will be used on her.
Whereas free women commonly despise female slaves and treat them with great contempt and harshness, men commonly prize them.
"It is my impression," I said, "that free women not only despise slaves, but, being women, often envy them.
Free women feel that a slave, as she is an animal, should not be shod, no more than a verr or kaiila, but such things are, of course, up to the master. Some slaves, high slaves, may have sandals, even slippers, set with precious stones, but a free woman is likely to order them to remove such presumptuous footwear in their presence, and sometimes to bring them to them, dangling from their mouths, humbly, head down, on all fours, rather as a pet sleen or slave might bring footwear to her master. Little love is lost between the free woman and the slave.
The hatred and contempt of the free woman for the meaningless, despicable slave, so far beneath her, is well known.
Men decide how they will have us before them.
I do not mind.
Rather, it pleases me.
It pleases me to be so, before them, as they will have me be, unmistakably displayed as what I am, honestly, forthrightly, without subterfuge or hypocrisy, so markedly and visibly different from themselves, an animal, which may be of interest to them.
I do not object.
Rather, I am pleased.
How the free women hate us for that!
Here I am well displayed or exhibited. Here I may not conceal my nature, and needs. The tunic, the collar, the mark, make that clear.
Here we are helpless. We are denied our finest weapons, pretense, prevarication, and deceit.
How free we are, then, animals, so different from their free women.
How the free women despise us, and how we fear them!
"Now," she said, "kneel before me."
"It is acceptable," she said. "I am a free woman."
The collar may be viewed as a simple contrivance, a device prescribed by Merchant Law, identifying a slave and, if the collar is engraved, often her master. Free women may view it as a badge of inferiority and degradation, and perhaps appropriately, from the social point of view. But the collar, too, as I have suggested, may be seen as a badge of quality, a token that the woman has been found desirable enough, and beautiful enough, of sufficient interest to men, to be put in a collar. It is no wonder the free women, encumbered in their robes, uneasy within them, perhaps, for all I know, seething with need, suspecting the joys of the collar, hate us so.
Do we not, sedately tunicked, as serving slaves, assist free women with their complex ornaments, their perfumes, robes, and veils?
The free woman of a high caste and the free woman of a lower caste commonly have one thing in common which unites them, securely, as free women. That is their contempt of, and hatred for, the female slave.
I had been informed by the instructresses that free women were to be feared. If accosted by one, particularly if accosted unpleasantly, it is wise not only to kneel, as before a man, to ascertain his interests, intentions, or wishes, perhaps he wishes directions, or such, but to put one's head to her feet to, in effect, assume first obeisance position. In no way, either by word, tone of voice, act, expression, or attitude is one to show the least disrespect. The slightest suggestion of such a thing may result in severe and prolonged punishment. The woman is free, while one is a slave.
The female slave is far more likely to be beaten by a free woman than a free man. To the free man she is a joy and treasure; to the free woman she is a hated reproach and rival.
This sort of behavior, the kissing and licking of feet, is sometimes commanded by the free woman, in her hatred of the slave, who thereby recalls to the slave that she is a slave, and no more than a property, a negligible chattel.
The animus borne to the slave by the typical free woman is doubtless motivated primarily by the fact that men commonly prefer the lovely, lightly clad slave, submitted and needful, docile, obedient, and passionate, hoping to please, to the proud, exalted free woman jealous of her thousand prerogatives and determined to exploit each of them in her favor. The free woman is not concerned to please, but to be pleased. She is not to be bought and commanded, but to be solicited, wooed, and cajoled. She may be sought for prestige position, family, influence, fortune, and such. The slave is purchased for herself. She does not even own her collar. One courts the moody, unpredictable free woman who may confuse, vacillate, misdirect, tease, and tantalize to her heart's content. One puts the slave to one's slave ring. The free woman may dangle the prospect of her couch, angling for gain, selling herself for her own profit. The slave is sold for the profit of another. The free woman is the equal of her free companion; the purchased female is the slave of her master. The free companion wonders if his free companion will be in the mood this night, he will hope so; the master orders his slave to the furs. So the animosity of the typical free woman for the slave is largely dependent on the fact that the slave, however unworthy, is a rival, a rival men are likely to much prefer.
Contact with a slave may be regarded as sullying by a free woman. She is, after all, free. In the case of the bath of a free woman, as I understand it, the slave commonly does little more than prepare the bath, test the temperature, for this may vary from mistress to mistress, place the oils, and such, scent the water, ready the towelings, lay out the after-bath gowns, and such. To be sure, she may assist her in and out of the bath, as well. Whereas I suppose a woman might have a personal serving slave of whom she is fond, being a woman's serving slave is commonly regarded as the most dreaded of bondages. Most free women despise, and hate, female slaves, and own, and treat them, accordingly. Often they will not allow them to so much as cast a glance on a male.
I have often been puzzled as to why free women commonly hate and despise slaves. Do they see the slave as a rival? Do they resent the preference of men for the slave? Do they envy the slave? Do they fear the slave in themselves? Do they object to the slave's openness and freedom, to the liberation of her femininity, to her desire to selflessly love and serve, to her happiness, to her passion, to her sexual fulfillments, to her categorical ownership by a master whom she must serve, who will have, and without qualification, whatever he wishes from her? In any event, the relationship between the free woman and the slave is scarcely symmetrical. The free woman is free, and the slave is a slave.
Whereas the free woman may hate and despise the slave, and treat her with all the cruelty, harshness, and contempt she pleases, the slave may not reciprocate in the least. It could be her death to do so. The slaves, in their vulnerability and weakness, so unguarded and defenseless, subject to sale, to the chain and whip live in terror of free women.
The feeling of free women toward tunics and such seems to be ambivalent. They seem to favor them in order to humiliate and degrade the slave, and emphasize the difference between themselves, the free, and the slaves, while, at the same time, they seem to resent the attention and pleasure with which men regard slaves so clad.
Some free women enjoy using harnessed female slaves to draw their carriages, or, chained to their poles, to carry their palanquins.
Free women, I had learned, are not pleased to note slaves in converse. Perhaps they fear that slaves might be dallying, thus possibly neglecting their duties.
"Even free women are unlikely to strike a girl in the black tunic."
A slave, I lived in terror of free women. It would be difficult to make clear to those unfamiliar with the culture the animosity with which the slave is viewed by the free woman. Occasionally they will gratuitously, and fiercely, beat an unattended slave fastened at a public ring. They are pleased to take out their hatred and rage on a helpless, vulnerable slave. She is made to stand proxy for a thousand collar sisters hitherto resented and loathed.
Imagine the contrast between us, in the streets, clad as we might be, in our brief tunics and collars, and the scorning free women, resplendent in their robes and veils. How we, slaves, dread and fear them! How they hate us, how cruel they are to us! Who is to protect us from them, save our masters?
"Oh!" I cried in misery, stung by the lash of a switch. Many free women carry such an implement with them. It comports with their authority, their dignity, and status. Slave girls look upon that device with well-justified apprehension. They well know its meaning. Have they not felt it, often enough? Free women, who resent and hate, even loathe, female slaves, scantily clad and collared, often use it on them with little or no provocation. Presumably this has much to do with the pleasure males derive from female slaves. Could the free women be actually jealous of slaves, such meaningless, worthless beasts? Do they envy them their brands and collars? Do they themselves wish to feel the kiss of the searing iron and the clasp of the degrading metal collar?