First Girl or First Slave
These are quotes from the Books I have found to be of interest on the topic of First Girl or First Slave.
Also quotes on the topic of Second Girl and Third Slave.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
"Hah!" laughed Kamchak. "The Little Barbarian does not wish to become second girl in the wagon!" He gave Elizabeth's head a rough, affectionate shake. "You will fight for your place! Excellent!"
"She can be first girl if she wishes," sniffed Aphris.
She did not wear the brief work tunic of the other girls. I gathered she was high girl in the camp and that I, and the other girls, would have to obey her. It is not uncommon, where several girls are concerned, to put a woman over them.
A switch was put in the hands of Eta. She stood over me. I put down my head. She did not strike me. I looked up at her. I realized then that she was first girl in the camp, and that I must obey her, that she had been empowered to set me tasks and duties. Suddenly I feared her.
Now I realized I must, without question, take slave instructions from her and discharge swiftly and well whatever menial duties she might place upon me. . . . I had little doubt she would use the switch, and richly, upon me, did I not work well. . . . She could command me. She held the switch. I would obey. She was first girl.
Slave girls compete for the attentions of masters. Each strives to be more pleasing to them than the other. The quality of a slave girl's life is commonly a direct function of her pleasingness to her master.
"Yes, Master," she said.
"Constance is first girl," I told she who had been the Lady Tina of Lydius.
"Yes, Master," said she who had been the Lady Tina of Lydius.
"Address her as Mistress," I told the former free girl.
"Mistress," said she who had been the former Lady Tina of Lydius, frightened, to Constance.
"Slave," responded Constance to her, confirming the former free woman as second girl.
"Now, on to Lydius!" I said.
"Yes, Master," said the two girls, the blond and the brunet, first girl and second girl, yet both really new slaves, neither of whom had as yet even been branded.
When more than one slave girl stands in a relationship of slave girls, as when they serve in the same shop or house, or adorn the same rich man's pleasure gardens, it is common for the master, or masters, to appoint a "first girl." Her authority is then to the other girls as is that of the master. This tends to reduce squabbling. The first girl is usually, though not always, the favorite of the master. There is usually much competition to be first girl. First girls can be cruel and petty but commonly, they attempt to govern with intelligence and justice. They know that another girl, at the master's whim, may become first girl, and that they themselves may then be under her almost absolute power.
"I am first girl," said Ginger, walking back and forth before the line of girls, kneeling before her, a switch in her small hand, "and Evelyn is second girl."
The suspension of brush-and-comb privileges is also used, upon occasion, by the first girls as a disciplinary measure, within the coffle. Other disciplinary measures practiced among girls themselves involve such things as bonds, the control of rations and switchings. Girls, thus, under the control of first girls, reporting to the masters, commonly keep a good order among themselves. All, of course, including the first girls, are in all things subject, ultimately, to the total authority of the master.
"Ginger!" I called.
Ginger, in a moment, came running to the stream.
"Bring the comb and brush," I told her.
"Yes, Master," she said. Her authority, as that of any slave, could be overruled by any free person.
"Speak well for Sita, with the masters," she said. "If I am first girl, you will be second."
"It is thought that Tupita is losing her control of the girls," I said. There were twenty-seven of us.
"She is," said Sita. "I have seen to it. Who do you think has undermined her?"
"To, how many of us have you offered the post of second girl?" I asked.
"Only to you," she said.
"If I am kept on as first girl," she said, "I will make you third girl, second only to myself and Sita."
"We are thinking of appointing a new first girl," he said.
"I have heard rumors to that effect," I admitted.
"What do you think of Tupita?" he asked.
"I speak for her," I said.
He smiled. I supposed he knew how cruel Tupita had, been to me, how we were enemies. On the other hand, I had told Tupita I would speak for her. Too, she had not belly chained and braceleted me as tightly as she might have, the night before last.
"Did she offer you the position of second girl for your support?" he asked.
"Third girl," I said.
"Who would be second girl?" he asked.
"Sita," I said.
"Doubtless Tupita believes Sita to be her ally," he said.
"Yes, Master," I said.
"What do you think of Sita, for first girl?" he asked.
"She would not decline the post," I said.
"Would you speak for her?" he asked.
"Yes," I said. "I speak also for Sita." I kept my head down. I did not really want to be involved in these intrigues.
"What did she promise you?" he asked.
"The position of second girl," I said.
"Clearly, then," he said, "you would wish to support Sita over Tupita."
"No, Master," I said.
"You favor Tupita then," he said.
"I speak in support of both," I said.
"There can be only one first girl," he said.
Too, it was you who undermined me with the girls and the masters, and it is because of you that Aynur, stupid Aynur, was made first girl this afternoon! I hate you all, except Sita, who alone remained loyal to me! But I will not stay in the house of Hendow without Mirus or as second girl! I have escaped, and, in one stroke, too, taken my vengeance on you."
"Am I ready to go out on the floor now?" I asked. The "first girl" in a tavern often inspects her inferiors, before she permits them on the floor.
Tutina's blond hair was bound back with a woolen ribbon, or fillet, which went completely about the head, across the brow, and was knotted behind the back of the head, two ends then dangling downward, each about six inches in length. It was a talmit, indicating some authority among slaves, rather as "first girl." In her right hand she carried a long switch.
Too, Tutina now held authority over her. Tutina wore the talmit, and was to her and, indeed, to several others, it seemed, "first girl." And that authority was exercised over her charges, and particularly over her, it seemed, with a malicious pleasure. She, as the others, had learned to fear her switch.
"Who is first girl?" asked the man.
"We have lost two slaves, to tarnsmen, Master," said blond-haired, blue-eyed Ina. "We could not return to the interior of the cylinder. The hatch had been secured from within. Nelsa and Laura, slaves of the house. Of those upon the roof, Laura was first girl."
The guard turned to his left. "What is your name?" he asked.
"Ina," said Ina.
"You are first girl on the roof," he said. "The work-master can arrange matters differently later, as he might please."
"Yes, Master," she said.
It is common to set a first girl over others, to see that work is done, to see that discipline is kept, and such. Whereas this is not always done, it is sometimes done even when two slaves leave the house, as on an errand, one then being designated as "first girl." In this way authority is clearly defined. Goreans like this. And woe to the other girl if she should gainsay the first, prove troublesome or be in any way displeasing. Goreans, you see, tend to be great believers in rank, distance and hierarchy. These things stabilize society.
"Insolent slave!" said the woman. "I shall order you beaten!"
"Not unless you have the talmit, or the switch, or unless you are first girl," said Ellen, angrily.
"Is she First Girl, Master?" asked Cecily, angrily.
"No," I said. "If she were I would have you at her feet."
"Hear that?" asked Cecily, angrily, of the other girl.
"Stir the soup," snapped the other girl.
"Do not quarrel," said Pertinax, affably.
Masters seldom interfere in the squabbles of slaves.
Suddenly the door had been unbolted from the outside, and Tela, first girl, entered. All of us in the small room immediately, went to our knees, and put our heads to the floor, the palms of our hands on the floor beside our heads.
"I am frightened," said Tela. "something is wrong."
We dared not change position, as we had not received permission to do so.
"Be as you would," said Tela.
We looked up.
Usually Tela's switch dangled from her wrist.
It was not there now.
"Who is first girl?" asked the man.
"I am," said Tela "if it pleases Master." She was trembling.
Had there been a "first girl," I might have assisted her in her tasks, done much of her work, flattered her, cultivated her, petitioned her, and so on, but there was no first girl. The nearest thing to a first girl was Marcella, who did not care for me, and was the favorite of the kitchen master.
She had tied a narrow folded strip of cloth about her head, to hold back her hair and keep sweat from her eyes. This could be interpreted as a talmit, which is a common sign of a first girl, the girl in charge of other female slaves, who usually reports directly to a master. First girls are common when there are many slaves in a group or household. They keep the other girls in order, assign tasks, settle disputes, and such. Many masters, if several girls are involved, do not care to involve themselves in such matters. It is enough for him to issue instructions to the first girl, usually in the morning, as she kneels before him, and she, according to her lights and biases, her choices and favorites, sees to their implementation. In a house containing a hundred or more slaves, there may be more than one first girl, there being various groups of slaves, and these first girls, in turn, will report to the first girl of first girls, so to speak. She in turn, of course, reports to the master, or the master's representative. In such a household the lower first girls will wear a talmit of one color, and the high girl, or first girl of first girls, she who reports to the master or his representative, the kajira sana, will wear one of a different color. The colors depend on the customs of cities, the whims of particular masters, and such. In any event, Jane, who was not first girl, as we had no first girl, had seemingly, without permission, arrogated to herself a talmit, commonly understood as a badge of authority. I had no doubt this was done in all innocence, and I am sure Astrinax himself thought it to have been done in all innocence, as well, but, still, it had been done, and the prestige of the talmit was deemed to have been compromised. Certainly Jane and Eve and myself, who, to our misery, were forced to be present at the lashing, had had well impressed upon us the significance of the talmit. One lives in terror of it. She who wears the talmit is as Mistress to the other slaves, who will address her as Mistress. Slaves often live in terror of the first girl, speak deferently to her, kneel to her, and such. As is often the case, as with free women, we hope that men, given our beauty and sex, will protect us. Jane, like Eve, it seemed to me, should have known better. It is easy enough to knot a cloth about one's neck and use it to wipe away sweat, and men , for some reason, seem to find sweat-wet hair, loose about a kajira's features, attractive. Are they not lovely, even when hot and working?
"Who is first girl?" she asked.
"You, Mistress," we said.
Nora then held the switch to our lips, those of Jane, Eve, and Allison. We all kissed it, with deference.
Nora wore the talmit. She was first girl.
One expects a first girl to have her favorites, and those she least favors, but, I think, it was clear to all that for some reason I was very much in our first girl's disfavor, and indeed, unusually so.
I went to my knees before her, as was appropriate, for she was first girl.
I knew that Chloe was not happy that our first girl should be a barbarian. Indeed, I had gathered, from remarks by our Gorean chain sisters in the quarters, that such an appointment was rare.
"You may not carry such things from here, Master," she said.
"Who has said so?" he asked.
"Pausanias, master of the Wagons," she said.
"I herewith countermand his order," said he.
"I fear to report Master," she said.
"You are first girl?" he asked. Surely he knew that, from the talmit, from the switch on her right wrist.
"Yes, Master," she said.
He put down the sheets, and strode to her. She cowered back.
"Talmit!" he said.
She reached behind her head and undid the talmit, and handed it to him. He cast it to the floor.
"Camisk off!" he said.
"Master?" she said.
"Now," he said. Then he said, "Switch."
He then looked down upon her, as she now was, the switch in his hand.
"Please, no, Master!" she said.
I then saw the proud Nora under the switch. In a moment she was only a cringing, beaten slave, no different from others.
It pleased me, somehow, that Nora, so proud, severe, and magisterial with us, so imperious and exacting a first girl, was no more than a cringing slave before Desmond of Harfax.
"Of course," said Tajima, "but it will probably be a First Girl."
"I see," I said.
"Do not fear," he said. "She will have a switch."
Pertinax had made it clear to Saru that Jane was "first girl," and so, naturally, Saru addressed her as "Mistress." "I am second, Master," Saru had said to Pertinax. "So, as I am the lesser slave, the inferior slave, I must try harder, so much harder, to please my master!" "And your mistress," said Pertinax. "Yes, Master, said Saru. "And keep your head down," said Pertinax.
"Yes, Master," she said. "Forgive me, Master."
Pertinax put his hand to the side of her face, and she twisted her head, pressing her lips, quickly, almost furtively, on his wrist. "I am yours," she whispered. "I love you, my Master!"
"Avert your eyes," said Pertinax.
"Yes, Master," she said.
"Beware, slave," said Jane "for I have whip rights over you."
"Yes, Mistress," said Saru. "Forgive me, Mistress."
I gathered from her position on the tandem leash that she was first girl.
Shortly thereafter the switch slave, a large, strong woman, similarly camisked, arrived, her switch in hand. About her forehead was bound a broad, yellow fillet, from the wool of the bounding hurt. This held back her hair, of course, but its significance, in her case, was considerable. It was a talmit, indicative of rank. She was first girl in the mill yard.
"Ai!" I cried, struck by the switch of the first girl, on the back of the thighs, four times, below the narrow, tiny camisk. "Do not malinger, barbarian," she said. "Feel my switch, you laggard! Others are not to do your work."
I thrust then, again, with a rattle of chains, harder, against the pole.
My pole sisters laughed.
I did not dare think of pulling out the hair of the first girl. She was large, and strong. I was afraid of her.
"Keep thrusting, barbarian," snapped the first girl.
"Yes, Mistress!" I exclaimed.
I slumped at the pole, suddenly, suspended by my chained wrists.
"Mistress!" cried the girl to my left, alarmed. "The barbarian is ill, she is stricken, she has fainted!" Instantly my chain sisters stopped turning the mill.
I lay, seemingly unconscious in my chains.
I opened my eyes, and, to my uneasiness, found myself looking up, into the eyes of the first girl.
"Release her," she snapped to the girl to my left, who was holding me, which command was instantly obeyed. I then gasped, as though in pain, and, momentarily, hung again in the manacles, my body partly on the ground, my wrists up, a foot or so from the pole. Then, as though with great effort, my head down, I struggled to a kneeling position, and knelt behind and below the pole, my wrists raised, on either side of my head, held in the manacles.
"How brave she is," marveled one of my chain sisters.
"Yes," said another, "and she only a barbarian, as well."
"Fraud! Slackard! Inferior actress!" said the first girl.
I fear my eyes opened widely then, in alarm.
"Have mercy on her, noble Mistress," said the flute girl. "Can you not see she is spent? Pity her, lest she perish at the pole!"
"If she perishes at the pole," said the first girl, "it will be my doing!"
The switch then rained down upon my back, and legs, and neck, and I scrambled to my feet, sobbing, seizing the pole.
"Please stop, Mistress!" I begged.
But the switch continued to strike, and I clutched the pole in misery.
"Faker, faker!" said the first girl, and then she desisted in her work.
Her arm, I supposed, was sore or weary.
I was shuddering at the pole.
"What occurs?" said the miller's man, returning to the mill, a bota in hand, presumably filled with water.
"Little, Master," said the first girl. "This slacking slave does not even know how to faint."
"She is on her feet," observed the miller's man.
"And eager to work, Master!" said the first girl.
"I was tricked?" said the miller's man.
"It may be so," said the first girl.
"I was tricked!" he said.
"It may be so, Master," said the first girl.
"I do not care to be tricked," he said.
"Many were tricked, Master," she said.
"But not you," he said.
"I know such slaves," she said.
"She has been punished?" he asked.
"I conjecture well enough," said the first girl.
I, clinging to the pole, sobbed, my protesting body raging with pain.
"You will work to dusk," said the miller's man, "and then an extra Ahn." Then he turned to the flute girl. "To your station," he said.
She hurried to her platform, and, a moment later, we heard the flute emit its first notes.
"Pick up the tempo," said the miller's man.
We thrust our weights against the poles.
"Just wait until we get you tonight," said the girl to my left.
"Yes," said a girl behind me.
"Stinking barbarian," said another.
"Be silent," said the first girl.
I lay, chained, in the slave kennel, on my belly.
The first girl was at my side, rubbing ointment into my back, slowly, with firm, circular motions. A small tharlarion-oil lamp was beside her.
"You are a very stupid slave," she said.
"Yes, Mistress," I said.
"Doubtless you thought you were clever," she said.
"It seems I was not," I said.
"It seems," she said, "that the attentions I accorded you were not the only attentions to which you were subjected."
"No, Mistress," I said.
Before we were chained in the kennel I had been well belabored by several of my pole mates.
Slaves often participate in keeping their own order, punishing malefactors.
"That is enough," said the first girl, putting aside the ointment, and wiping her hands.
"Thank you, Mistress," I said. "Mistress is kind."
We slaves who served were decorously gowned, though our arms were bare. We wore white, woolen gowns, which descended to our ankles. our necklines were shallow, and nothing that might distress a free woman. We had washed thoroughly, our bodies and hair, and our hair was bound back, tightly, with filets of white wool. Our feet were bare.
The first girl amongst us was Selena,
In the meantime I was kept busy in the court, cleaning, scrubbing, laundering, assisting in the kitchen, and serving at the common meals. The first girl was stern, but fair. She played no favorites. That I was a barbarian did not adversely affect my treatment, as it might easily have done in many situations. I was grateful to her.
"You two," said the first girl, "go to the salt market, at the east gate, to the vendor, Porus, and return with a stone of salt."
"As we are, in the black collar?" asked the other girl.
"I will have it so," said the first girl. "Here is the sack. When it is filled, have its contents weighed carefully."
"Stop staring at the handsome master," hissed the first girl. "He is not for you! See what he has chained behind his couch! That is the sort of slave he can command! Why would such a man want one such as you? Now, serve, serve, lazy slut!"
"Yes, Mistress!" I said, and hurried again, amongst the tables.
"Oh!" I cried, suddenly, stung sharply across the calves by the first girl's switch.
"Oh!" cried Paula, startled, in sympathy. We had not noted the arrival of the first girl.
"Lazy girl!" said the first girl. "To the kitchen, the kitchen!"
"Yes, Mistress," I cried, and leapt up, and hurried toward the kitchen, running, trying to escape the repeated, stinging blows of the angry, pursuing first girl.
"Up, kajirae," called the first girl, from somewhere behind me.
The masters had not imposed a ranking between us. I was pleased, and I did not think that Paula had even thought about the matter. I would not have cared to address her, my friend, as "Mistress," and I was sure she would not have cared to be so addressed. Usually, of course, when slaves are together, one is designated as first girl, whom one must then address as "Mistress," and obey, as though she might be free. The first girl supervises work, inflicts discipline, resolves differences amongst her charges, and so on. I supposed that Paula would be first girl, were one to be designated. Certainly she had sold for a much better price than it was conjectured I might bring. On the other hand, we had diligent masters, in which situation the designation of a first girl might have seemed inappropriate, or, at least, problematic.
"Why should I call you 'Mistress'," I asked, "as you are a slave, as I am, and you are not "First Girl" to me?"
Too, I had work to do, within the Ahn, in the laundry. I would not care to be late and face the First Girl's switch.
The first time I attended upon her I was cuffed afterward by Florian, for I had knelt in her presence.
"She is not First Girl to you," had said Florian. "Why did you kneel?"
"She seems so much like a free woman," I had said, looking up at him from my knees, my hand to my stinging cheek.
"She is a slave," said Florian.
"I understand, from Lais, your first girl," I said, "that on the very first day of our return from Daphna, you, perhaps not yet fully understanding your collars, doubtless conspiring, thought to shirk your tasks and were hesitant to obey commands instantly."