It seemed to Burt that his life was always spent with his face pressed against the glass.
He worshipped Lady Ann Neville more than he did God in church. But Burt was only the stable hand at her father's vast estate. Still, he had his dreams. Dreams that one day, she would smile at him and say that—no, it was too stupid for words. The distance between them was greater than from there to the moon. He might as well howl at the moon like a dumb animal. Lady Ann had hardly noticed him while they were growing up. Why would she notice him now?
Burt hurried away from the glass window—he might lose his meager position if he were caught. He went back to the stables, and saw to needs of the horses, which included cleaning the stalls. He took extra care of Lady Ann's fine filly.
That night, Burt's lusty girlfriend Mabel paid a visit, to play fun and games. She really enjoyed his virility, and it helped him to forget for a moment his hopeless love for Lady Ann.
"Oh, love, are you well endowed! Just like the stallions in the stables!"
Burt was pleased with her praise, and enjoyed himself, but he imagined it was Lady Ann underneath him, kissing him, loving him!
* * *
In the castle, Lady Ann was seething.
"Father, you are impossible! You actually expect me to spend two boring weeks with my dull old grandmother in Bath? There would be nothing to do there—no riding—no balls, as we're still in mourning for grandfather. Damn it all, Father, you didn't even like the old fossil! We have a month more before we come off official mourning! You are most unreasonable!"
The earl tried to remain calm. "Rail all you'd like, Ann, but you are going, and that's that! I don't think a two week visit with your grandmother is an unreasonable duty."
Lady Ann stormed out of the room. Life was so impossible! Constraints were all around her. She was so bored with being a proper lady. "God! I would just like to cut lose and be slutty or vulgar!" she said with vehemence. "Being a lady—even being a woman, is as confining as my corsets! Life is bloody unfair!"
She set her maid Betty to packing; there was no way she could get out of the visit.
Maybe a good gallop would set her mind more at rest. Her maid helped her into her riding habit. Ann felt better after she bitched at her maid for her clumsiness. At the stables, she called out for Burt, and he brought out her Rosebud. Burt's hopeless love and worship amused her, and she enjoyed teasing him. It was gratifying to have men, even burly strong men like Burt, so ruled by her.
Even in her gallop, Lady Ann found things to complain about. Riding sidesaddle was such a bore. Why couldn't she ride astride? But no—a lady never did anything comfortable. She galloped like the wind for her favorite quiet spot by the stream.
As she sat there, wondering how to get out of the visit with her grandmother...God, she would be so bored. Suddenly, her idle eyes saw something gleam on the bank. She reached over and picked it up. It couldn't be! But it was! It was the Medallion of Zulo! She had read about it, but had thought it a fable.
This was her way out! Now, who could she become...her father? The thought of bullying him as she had been bullied was gratifying, but Ann didn't want to be old, and he would return the bullying with interest when she changed back! She shuddered with the thought. Her maid? Hardly, the girl was almost as constrained as herself, and not nearly as beautiful. Then her lovely blue eyes gleamed. Of course...Burt!
The clodhopper would do anything she asked, and would keep his mouth shut. If he would do something frightful at her grandmother's—who cared? It would serve the old harpy right. Ann's lovely mouth grinned, full of mischief. Burt had a slutty girl friend—Mabel—who was attractive in a vulgar way, and who kept time with him—and a good time it was, according to Ann's maid, who whispered how virile Burt was. Ann felt a rise of sexual excitement—she could have sex without fear of pregnancy or social status. She could ride astride, be vulgar, drink too much—even spit!
It was too delightful—what a holiday she would have. It would be a most enjoyable two weeks. She thought of her grandmother, and her stuffy friends, dealing with the new 'Lady' Ann, and actually giggled. Then she thought of herself free and deliciously lower class, and having sex with no fear of pregnancy or social exposure, and laughed. Sex as a man would be interesting.
Ann frowned—she was to leave tomorrow morning. It didn't give her much time. She remounted her filly, and rode back first to the house, and then to the stables.
"Burt, I wanted to ask a special favor of you," she cooed.
Burt stumbled all over himself with eagerness. "Anything for you, Lady Ann!" he stammered in his lower class Yorkshire brogue.
Her lovely blue eyes gleamed with amusement, and she thought, 'I wonder how Burt will like being a female?'
"Burt, I know this will sound impossible, but I want you to be me for two weeks."
He stared. "But, Lady Ann..." His head was in a whirl. It sounded like the fairy tales his old granny—God rest her soul—had told him when he was a lad.
Lady Ann grimaced impatiently. "Listen, and do what you are told! I will also pay you ten pounds when it is over."
"Ten pounds?" That was three months wages!
She nodded, and held up the medallion. "This will do it!"
Ann took the bewildered Burt to a vacation cottage. She went into a room, and came out wearing a dressing gown and nothing else. The medallion hung from her lovely neck. Burt stared—it was like a dream come true, and he almost fainted when she said, "Embrace me!"
Trembling, he did so. He only hoped she wouldn't feel his hard on.
He felt a tingle, and so did she. It was going to work, Ann thought exultingly.
Burt stared. Lady Ann's aristocratic, beautiful face was changing—her creamy complexion roughened, and she grew taller. Was he...? Yes, he was shrinking. It was impossible!
In fifteen minutes, he saw another Burt, with Lady Ann's dressing gown stretched incongruously over his virile body. His own clothes hung on him like a sock on a chicken! He felt tender breasts rubbing against his rough wool shirt—it also made them itch. Involuntarily, his right hand went to his crouch. His manhood, that Mabel and the other girls loved so much, was gone! He felt faint.
"What happened?" he asked, and his voice was that of a woman.
"The Medallion has switched us around, you fool!" said Lady Ann with Burt's bass. "You're making me look ridiculous in your clothes." She shuddered. "Take off your clothes at once!"
"But, my Lady—"
"Don’t be a fool, Burt. You now have my body. I look at it every day."
He started to disrobe, and his new face was flushed.
Ann was vastly amused. After Burt stood naked before her, Ann looked critically and then admiringly at herself, and nodded. Everyone was right. She was certainly the most beautiful woman in the county. She started dressing the dazed Burt in her abandoned garments. He grunted in a most unladylike fashion when she tightened the stays, and Lady Ann used Burt's rough face to frown.
"Don’t do that again. It is most unladylike!"
Burt nodded weakly. He felt like he was losing his wits. Soon, he stood before a mirror, dressed like Lady Ann. He stared at the Lady Ann in the glass. He touched a smooth cheek, and the beautiful woman did the same. The silk and satins felt at home on his smooth new body.
He turned, and saw 'himself' hurriedly dressing. He was so nervous, and felt his new body trembling before the large male. Lady Ann hurriedly explained what he was to do, and he nodded submissively. Then she went into how he should behave.
"Remember, Burt—you are now me, Lady Ann Neville. You must know how I and the 'quality' behave—you been watching me all my life."
"I'll do my best not to disgrace you, milady."
"Good! Now get back to the house—it's almost time for dinner. Your maid will dress you. Tell her you want the red gown, and your late mother's diamonds. In your purse, I have made up a list of what you should wear at my—your—grandmother's. Study it! Keep your mouth shut, just look bored, and you'll get by famously."
Despite himself, Burt grinned. It was so strange to hear himself talking like a swell!
Ann hid the medallion under the seats of the couch. No sense taking any chances!
Burt walked into the castle shaking like a leaf, sure that someone would yell, "What do you think you're doing, impersonating Lady Ann?" But all the staff bowed and deferred to him. It was so strange—yesterday, he had tipped a pint of ale with Albert the footman, and now the man was servile! Calling him My Lady. He almost tripped in the skirt going up the stairs, and he flushed. Slowly, he told himself, small steps and slowly.
In Lady Ann's room, Betty was waiting. She had always been snotty to him, considering him far beneath her in the social scale. Now she was all deference and servile! It was kind of fun. He tried to imitate Lady Ann.
"Hurry up, girl!"
"Yes, My Lady!"
"The red dress and my mother's diamonds!"
"At once, My Lady!"
Soon he was out of riding habit, and putting on silk stockings followed by three petticoats. Burt felt ridiculous, but said nothing. When Betty tightened his stays, he barely kept from grunting. Soon, the beautiful red silk gown was on, and his now lovely blond hair atop his new head in a very aristocratic style.
Somehow, his new, slender fingers knew how to put on the diamond necklace, and the heavy earrings. He thought they would pull his ears off at first, but soon forgot them. Again, he was able, with Betty's help, to paint his face. He stared in the mirror—his goddess—his impossible love, stared back at him. Now *he* was the beautiful Lady Ann! It was impossible. He felt lightheaded as he absently thanked Betty, and headed downstairs.
Betty stood there with her mouth agape, as her Mistress departed. For the first time that she could remember, the bitch had thanked her!
His high heels almost started him down the stairs headfirst. The Earl stared upward.
"Have you been drinking, Ann?" he asked.
"No—father—" 'she' stammered.
He grunted doubtfully. Carefully, Burt descended, and trembled as the Earl took his 'daughter' by the arm, and they went into the dining hall.
The earl and his guests stared with astonishment at Lady Ann. The guests were amused at her impersonation of a Yorkshire yokel, but the Earl was not—often before, he'd had to reprove her for imitating the dreadful local accent. Now, the Earl guessed Ann was doing it to punish him for sending her to her grandmother's. She ate with the wrong fork; she talked with her mouth full.
"How's about some ale, instead of this watery wine?" Lady Ann asked.
"Daughter, enough! Stop your silly and rude imitation of the clodhoppers."
Fearfully, Burt grew quiet. 'That's right,' he thought, 'I got—need, to act like Lady Ann. What would she think if I disgraced her?' Burt felt tears in her blue eyes. Her silence during the rest of the meal was taken for Ann's typical sulkiness.
Burt was terribly embarrassed after going to the bathroom three times in Lady Ann's body. He felt like a peeping tom! An emotionally exhausted Burt went to bed that night, but slept for the first time on soft satin sheets.
* * *
After Burt had left, in what until lately had been her body, Lady Ann grinned in triumph. That would show her father and her grandmother! She picked up the sack of coins and bills from its hiding place—fifty pounds should be more than enough pin money for 2 weeks. Ann then went to the pub, and listened to locals rail against the quality—it was great hearing her father being cut up. But she frowned when she heard Lady Ann described as supercilious bitch.
"Oh, sit down, Burt! We know you're in love with her. You'd let her cut your throat, with a smile on your ugly puss! "
Before Ann knew it, she was fighting Jeb! She found something very satisfying, smashing her now large fists into his face. Later, she went to her new home near the stables, and found an impatient Mabel awaiting her, stark naked.
"Fighting again, Burt! Honestly, men are such boys. A real man would rather be with the females!" She kissed him.
A surprised Ann found herself more of a male than she thought, and kissed the woman back.
God, was a male erection strange. Mabel giggled, and said, "At least you have the decency to be glad to see me!" She stroked Bill's large member, and Ann lost it; she crushed the curvy female in her now strong male arms.
Three times, to her amazement, Ann thrust deep into an eager pussy! God, it was so great to be a strong, well-hung man! To Mabel's annoyance, Ann then rolled over and fell asleep, well satisfied. One thing both puzzled and amused Ann—she was imagining the woman underneath was—HERSELF! How wonderful, delightfully erotic!
The next morning, Ann was startled to wake up at the crack of dawn. "Best be up and about, Burt," said the smug woman from the bed. "Old Harry will be wantin' you in the stables right after breakfast."
'Damn! I should have written a note, giving Burt the week off! I'll do it later,' thought Ann.
Mabel made Ann breakfast, and to Ann's amazement 'he' ate it all—three eggs and three huge slices of ham. Mabel laughed when Ann asked for bread.
"What do you think we are, quality?"
Ann found paper and ink—rough, but it would have to do, and sat down to write. To Ann's amazement and displeasure—it wasn't her own handwriting, but rough and untutored. Burt's letters. Ann had not thought of that. So, grumbling, the new Burt went off to groom horses. Ann was thinking—as she shoveled horse shit—that maybe visiting her grandmother wouldn't have been so bad.
* * *
Burt woke up to breakfast in bed. That was wonderful, and she dressed for her journey. As she was walking out to her coach, Burt was startled to see 'Burt' approach and whisper, "Go back into the house, and write a note giving me a fortnight off!"
Burt was startled, and whispered back, "But I hardly know my letters!"
"Just do it," Ann hissed.
Obediently, 'Lady Ann' asked for pen and paper, and found to her surprise how elegant and refined her writing was.
Ann was so relieved when she got the note! It was certainly weird helping her former body into the coach, and watching it drive away.
Triumphantly, he showed the note to old Harry, who ran the stables. He grumbled, but had no choice.
"The whims of the quality passes all understanding!" he misquoted, and Ann grinned with Burt's lips.
He went back to the house before Mabel left, and spent a very enjoyable morning in bed with the talented girl. At first, Ann thought Mabel rather smelled, but soon, no longer noticed. God, sex was great; he couldn't get enough!
* * *
Burt stared out with her new eyes at the disappearing countryside. An elegant shawl was wrapped around her legs. Soon, they were at the station, and she was helped down and escorted to a first class carriage. Betty, her maid, made sure she was comfortable and then discreetly withdrew to third class. Later, she was served tea and cucumber sandwiches. Burt felt like he was dreaming.
At Ann's grandmother's, she was whisked up to her beautiful room, and following the directions Lady Ann had left, dressed for high tea.
Ann's grandmother frowned at the young woman across from her. "Honestly, Ann—don't slurp your tea! You have been too long in the country, and around your father. I see I am going to have to reeducate you!"
This was no idle threat. The forcible old woman did just so! Burt felt so strange, but she soon found herself falling into quality ways—it was almost as if she was relearning them—the same with her speech. Her grandmother winced after each Yorkshire word, and not so gently corrected 'her granddaughter!'
They had a quiet dinner alone. The next day, she was taken to meet some very dull old ladies, but she watched and learned. Then she went to some concerts—Burt had never been to one in his life! It was so strange to be treated so well, and she enjoyed lording it over Betty and how the maid slavishly obeyed her. Later, the bored Burt idly picked up a Jane Austin novel—"Pride and Prejudice"—and found much to her surprise that she could read very well. It was a wonderful book, and Burt stayed up late reading it. It also taught her more about how ladies and gentlemen behaved.
At the next morning's breakfast, Burt eat sparingly, as she wasn't very hungry, but it was so wonderful to be waited on! It made her feel in truth that she actually was Lady Ann. At midmorning, she found her grandmother laughing.
"What is it, Grandmother?" Burt asked.
"A most diverting book, child. You must read it—leave it to the Yanks to be to be so silly and bold."
She passed over a book called "Perkins the Fakir"—the first story title leaped out at Burt.
"When Reginald Was Caroline!"
"It's about a married couple—the wife switches bodies with her boorish husband, to teach him a lesson! It is most diverting."
Burt shot the old woman a glance. Did she suspect...but no—she still thought Burt was Ann. Fascinated, Burt began to read, and giggled at the mistakes the man made. This would help her with masquerading as Ann! That night, they dined with some more old women, and Burt found it dull, but the food was elegant and wonderful. Also, Burt found more and more pleasure in her personal appearance, and the lovely gowns she wore. Everyone said she was beautiful, and she flushed with gratification.
* * *
Back at the castle, Ann was enjoying himself—it was great being rough and rowdy. All the other men were afraid of him. He was so big and strong. One thing puzzled Ann, though—more and more, he found himself talking like a Yorkshire clod! It was funny, but annoying. Blimey, though, he really enjoyed his nights and mornings with Mabel!
* * *
Six days into Burt's visit, he was introduced to Lord Richard Hurley. Much to Burt's surprise, she found him attractive. He was so handsome! She noticed with quick intuition that he was very smitten, and couldn't take his eyes off her. She smiled a secret smile.
He asked for a dance, and Burt, without thinking, murmured acceptance. Then she was horrified to realize that she didn't know how to dance. But before she could decide how to act, she was swept up into his strong arms, and was waltzing. Surprised, Burt found that she did know how to dance, and damn well, too! His strong hands felt so good on her waist, and Burt found herself smiling up into his adoring eyes.
* * *
Two weeks had passed, and Ann was waiting impatiently for Burt's return. He was tired of being Burt, though it had been great fun bedding Mabel and carousing with his—Burt's—friends at the pub. Then he heard that Lady Ann was staying another week. 'Shit!' Ann thought—but it least it wasn't him being bored to death.
The next morning, with great relish, old Harry grabbed Ann. "Holiday is over, Burt me bucko!" he said, and handled him a shovel. "The last few days I left all the shit for you."
Lady Ann was angry, but took the shovel. Resisting the impulse to brain Harry with it, Ann started to work. His strength made the work easy, but revolting.
* * *
'Lady Ann' was weeping as she kissed Richard. She loved him so much, and she wasn't really Lady Ann. He would be so revolted if he knew the truth. Burt felt so guilty. Then Burt's borrowed heart stood still.
"Ann, will you marry me?"
"Yes, oh, yes!" Burt said. "I love you so much—I can't live without you!"
They kissed again. The new Lady Ann smirked. "I am not giving up my man—my husband to be. I will do anything to keep him!' she thought with feminine ruthlessness. Feeling a little guilty, she went to the phone and called home, and asked for the butler of HER family estate.
"Charles, there is a cheap looking medallion that I hid—I want you to find it, and mail it to me at once!" she commanded, very much as manor born to the faithful old retainer. She told him which cottage to look in, then hung up the phone.
When she got it in the post, the new Lady Ann looked at the Medallion and smiled. She dropped it off the bridge into the stream. Unknown to her, it landed on a barge.
"Now I am Lady Ann forever, and Richard is MY husband to be!"
Her family was delighted that she finally made a good match.
* * *
Ann was happy to see the coach pull up to the door. He watched 'Lady Ann' gracefully descend, and kiss her father on the cheek.
'Burt' hurried up, and said, "Welcome home, Milady," and automatically touched his dirty cap.
'Lady Ann' turned to him, thinking, 'What a dreadful accent, and did I used to be such a dirty country bumpkin?'
"Yes, Burt?" she said condescendingly. Ann agreed to go off and see her filly.
"I can't wait to get back!" said the former Ann.
The new Lady Ann smiled secretly. The fool was going to have a nasty shock.
The new Burt did. "Where did it go?" he screamed, tearing the couch apart fruitlessly.
She gave an elegant shrug of disdain. "How should I know—I wasn't here—maybe it magically disappeared?"
"But we got to get back somehow!"
'What language,' she thought. "Do we? I don't see how. It looks like you are me, and I am you, for the duration."
"You can't be me!"
"But I am. I will not be ungenerous. I will pay you secretly another fifty pounds a year, if you make no trouble and don't embarrass me."
"Fifty pounds! I spend ten times that on a dress."
The new Burt was horrified. He was trapped forever. No one would believe that he was once Lady Ann! He couldn’t even talk gentile now!
"Bring my horse around in an hour, Burt. I am looking forward to a gallop." Her hard blue eyes meet his fearful brown ones. He crumpled.
"Yes, Milady," he said hopelessly.
Burt had to marry a pregnant Mabel later that month. Her father and brothers threatened to kill him if he didn't. Lady Ann generously gave them twenty pounds as a wedding present.
Lady Ann and Lord Hurley were married three months later in St. James on Hanover Square. It was the wedding of the season. Burt read about it with bitterness, and joined the socialist party.
Epilogue — Six years later.
Lady Ann and her husband, and their two children, came to visit her father. Asking after Burt, she found out he and Mabel quarreled constantly, he drank too much, and they had 6 kids in six years. Lady Ann smiled, and heard her father say, "Well, what else can one expect from the lower orders?"
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