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Author’s Note: The author has asserted moral rights under sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between any of the characters depicted herein and any real person, living or dead is wholly a matter of Nature imitating Art. There is not, and never was, a College of Correction and Redemption, or any similar establishment. The city of Dublin portrayed in this novel is not the one in Ireland in the early part of the twentieth century.
Chapter 1 Childhood
There was nothing special about little Anne Tynan, she was a typical daughter of a poor Dublin family who lived in the maze of little streets between Pill Lane and the Quays, in the middle of the nineteenth century. Still a virgin, as any good Catholic girl was almost certain to be, she married at eighteen and moved in to live with her husband Stephen O’Driscoll in his mother’s little terraced house. Sex was a painful surprise on her wedding night, for not even her mother had told her any of the facts of life. All the instruction she had received was that she was to obey her husband in everything. While sex soon stopped being painful, never in her whole marriage to Stephen did she get any pleasure from it; it was just something he did to her every night without fail, under the covers, in the dark, in the one position. It lasted a few uncomfortable minutes and then he rolled off her and was snoring within moments, while she lay there and leaked.
Anne had her plans for her children, which were the usual dreams of any mother then. Her sons would be brilliant, and one would work in a bank, which for her was the height of ambition. Another would become a priest. Others would have equally brilliant careers. Over the first four years she bore five daughters and no sons. This was, of course, God’s will and Anne did not question it. In any case the children were not brilliantly clever; even she could see that.
Their fourth daughter, named Molly, was a quiet child who seemed little different from the others, until one day when she was three, Anne found her staring intently at a Bible, which she was holding upside down.
“What are you doing with that?” she asked the child.
“Nothing, mammy,” replied the child, “I was only looking at the story.”
“See here mammy, it says this man was thrown into the lye-own’s den. What’s a lye-own, mammy?”
Anne took it as a sign from heaven when she confirmed that her daughter could read a good few of the words in the bible, self-taught. She could only read upside down, since she had learned by watching her mother read the bible from the other side of the table. However, she read silently and swiftly, unlike Anne, who had to keep her finger on her place as she read, and say the words aloud, or she got lost.
From that day onwards it was decided that Molly would enter a convent and become a nun.
“If that were not the divine intention,” Anne explained to Stephen, “why would she have been taught to read by a miracle?”
Stephen was run over by a passing carriage when Molly was five, and Anne stayed in the house with her mother-in-law, eking out a bare living by taking in washing from the soldiers in Kilmainham Barracks. Two years later she met a fifteen year old boy soldier called Rory O’Callaghan when he started to act as runner at the barracks, carrying washing too and from the barracks.
She was not yet thirty, but thought of herself as an old widow woman. Rory was lonely, a boy soldier many miles away from home, and she treated him like the son she never had. There was always hot soda bread to be had when he brought the washing, and he liked that. The volume of washing coming in to the little house grew steadily through his influence. Most of the soldiers for whom he was the runner cared little who did their laundry, so he brought all he could to Anne and she prospered. As she was conscientious about her work, and made minor repairs to frayed shirts at no charge, so the word spread and she was soon making a comfortable living.
Rory was posted away, but still the work came to their little house. The new runner was a rude boy, so he got no soda bread, and no sympathy. The main recipient of the benefits brought by more the extra income was little Molly, who was enrolled with the nuns at the little school near the Nelson Pillar, just off Sackville Street. They, in their turn, reduced the fees when it was clearly understood that the child was to become a nun.
Three years away in England had turned Rory into a real soldier, filled out his frame and put a big smile on his face. When he knocked at Anne’s door one evening, she didn’t recognise him until he asked if she had made soda bread that morning.
They talked for hours, but about what Anne could not have said. Somehow it was nice to have a man around and, to tell the truth, she had been short of adult company since Stephen’s mother had died of bronchitis the previous winter. nurdağı escort The five girls were shy and in any case were soon packed off to bed.
Then it was time for Rory to go; he had to be back at the barracks by midnight. As he went to the door, he turned and suddenly kissed Anne.
“You don’t know how long I’ve waited to do that,” he said.
“Go on with you,” she chided him, “It’s not respectable.”
“I want to marry you,” he said, “I’ve always dreamed of marrying you.”
“Away with you. You were only a child when last you were here.”
Rory was not taught to give up at the first set back when he was trained in soldiering. Soon he was spending all his free time with Anne and her girls. Soon it was normal for them to kiss as he left to go back to barracks. Soon Anne found she missed him on the days when he could not visit.
His persistence was phenomenal; every single visit, his parting words were, “Anne, will you marry me?”
Then one day he seemed much more serious than usual.
“What’s the matter?” asked Anne.
“I’ve all of a week as leave due,” he said, “And I’m thinking that it would make a fine honeymoon, but I can’t work out who could look after the girls.”
Their wedding night was a revelation for Anne. Rory was gentle and tender and used his hands and tongue in ways that Stephen would never have thought of in a million nights. She had her first orgasm, and her second, and her third, and those were before he slipped gently inside her now sopping wet vagina.
A side effect of this marriage was that Molly was sent to live in the convent at the tender age of ten. There were a few other girls there, orphans mostly, and they were quieter than her sisters. The best thing from Molly’s point of view was that she had her own tiny room. For the first time in her life she could sleep with nobody else snivelling, snoring or disturbing her. She could sit quietly reading, her favourite occupation, without being disturbed.
At sixteen she became a Postulant, at seventeen a Novice, and when she was eighteen Anne and Rory sat proudly in the Public section of the divided chapel and heard her profess her vows before the Bishop and take the veil as Sister Lucia in the first year of the new century.
Anne’s conversation for weeks afterwards with her friends was larded with frequent references to “Sister Lucia, my daughter you know”, or “My daughter, the Bride of Christ”.
Chapter 2 Sister
As a fully professed Sister in the Convent, Sister Lucia was totally under the control of the Mother Superior, who could invoke the rules of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience to justify almost any orders she might see fit to give. It was soon clear to Sister Lucia that Obedience was regarded, by the Mother Superior if not by the Church, as the greatest of these three.
Her entire life was ruled by the prayers of the Breviary, each at their ordained hour. The day started, often before sunrise, with Matins; this was followed by Prime; then Terce; then Sext; then None. As the names implied, these were at pre-ordained intervals of three hours through the day. Finally, Vespers ended the day. As a Novice, attendance at all of these services had been expected; as a Sister of the order the only possible excuse for non-attendance was if the Sister Infirmarian decreed that a Sister’s attendance was a grave danger to her own, or the other Sisters’ health. Even then, Mother Superior regarded it as a grave omission, to be expiated only by extra prayer after the invalid recovered.
Thus the Sisters’ day was some eighteen hours long, and sleep was permitted only in the remaining six hours. Between the services in the gaps of two hours or so, all the work of the Convent was to be done. Sister Lucia spent most of that time on her knees, scrubbing the flag stones of the Convent floor, in the other Sisters’ cells as well as in the common areas. It took three of the Sisters working full time to scrub the entire Convent every day, which was essential, according to Mother Superior.
Promotion would come as each new Sister professed her vows. Sister Lucia could look forward to rising through the duties from floor scrubbing to the laundry, and thence to the kitchen as an assistant to the lay woman who was the paid cook. Beyond that, there was little for which she was fitted, since she had no training in medicine, theology, or teaching.
Envy, she knew, was a sin, but she harboured a secret wish to be allowed to teach the little girls in the Convent School. Surely, she wondered, she could at least teach the littlest ones to read and write?
Poverty and Chastity had never been a problem for Sister Lucia. In her entire life she had never owned anything of value, so Poverty was simply a fact of life, and not a deprivation. As a live-in student at the Convent School from the age of ten, she had had no contact with men for many years, and certainly not since the onset of puberty. The gory details of monthly flow and its control were explained to her by the Sister Infirmarian when she complained of bleeding the first time. The explanation she was given would have been wildly inadequate for any girl in the outside world, ignoring all aspects but the physical, and explaining the phenomenon as a curse placed on women by God at the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The reproductive aspects were simply ignored.
The other girls in the School, those who lived outside with their families, had given her a highly inaccurate version of the facts of life, but that was the limit of her knowledge when Marie joined the Convent as a Novice.
Chapter 3 Admired
Marie Donovan was an unusual Novice, in that she had never been to the Convent School. She came from a rich family, and had been educated by a tutor who visited her family home three times a week to teach her, and her siblings, such things as it was deemed appropriate for a well-to-do young woman to learn in preparation for a ‘good’ marriage.
Marie had, of course, fallen in love with this young man, and they had progressed as far as stolen kisses when her father discovered the relationship. The tutor was sacked and Marie was told in no uncertain terms that she was to marry a widower forty years older than herself, who was an important customer of her father’s tannery. The prospect of marriage to an old man was not to her liking, but the idea of becoming step-mother to a man and woman, both ten or more years older than herself and both still living at home, was intolerable.
She rebelled and for a week the row raged between her and her father.
He finally solved his problem of a wayward and uncooperative daughter by threatening her with a Convent. She responded by saying that would be preferable to the proposed marriage. He called her bluff and she was sent to join the Convent as a Novice.
Sister Lucia had been a full Sister for some two years when Marie joined them, and was regarded as one of the steadiest and most reliable of the younger Sisters, so the Mother Superior assigned her the duty of schooling the new Novice in all the aspects of the Convent which were new to her, a task which Sister Lucia embraced with joy, as her current duties in the kitchen seemed to consist of peeling endless piles of potatoes, and then washing up endless piles of dirty dishes.
Chapter 4 Coming Together
Within a week, Sister Lucia began to realise the enormity of the task. Marie had no knowledge whatever of the religious life, and little enough of the rudiments of her religion. The endless patience and good nature of the older girl meant that Marie was hopelessly besotted with her in a school-girl crush within a month.
One evening they were discussing life as a nun and Sister Lucia pointed out that once having taken her final vows, a nun was committed for life to the convent. At this Marie burst into tears and Sister Lucia naturally drew the unhappy postulant to her to offer comfort; Marie’s hand somehow came to rest on Sister Lucia’s habit just over her right breast, but the good sister ignored that, assuming it was accidental.
The positioning of that hand was no accident; Marie had rather more knowledge of sexual matters than most of the Convent’s inhabitants, and had experimented with her older sister for some time prior to her sibling’s marriage. Sister Lucia was inevitably unable to resist the advances of the young Novice, which quickly passed from accidental touches to overt stroking of breasts and from innocent pecks to full-blooded kissing. By the time three months had passed they were in a firm lesbian relationship, based on Marie’s crush and Sister Lucia’s ignorant fascination with the pleasures Marie could give her during their ‘study’ sessions in the Sister’s cell. Tongues were used on each other’s clitoris and vaginal entrances. Fingers were insinuated into orifices. Wide open mouths met and provided a playground for duelling.
As a novice, Marie slept in a dormitory, but the Sister with the responsibilities of Novice Mistress was old, and slept very soundly, so it was not difficult for Marie to slip out of the dormitory and visit Sister Lucia at night, hoping they could have an hour or two of mutual fingering and kissing before she crept back to the dormitory.
Chapter 5 Sins Of The Spirit
Heather O’Hagan was a quiet girl, a studious girl, but above all an obedient girl. She was rarely admonished, and never chastised as she always tried to do what she was told by her parents, by her teachers, and above all by the Priest. Her childish confessions rarely moved to anything more serious than envy, though on occasion she admitted telling the odd white lie, and occasionally to being nasty to one of her six younger siblings.
Father Creggan was a very old man, and even older in spirit than in years; however it was not a fashionable parish and there was little sign of a replacement until Father Reilly came along as curate, specifically asking for this parish as he had been born and brought up in the area. He was also ambitious and thought that he could make his mark in an environment where the parish affairs were very run down, because the elderly priest simply could not cope. Indeed, Father Creggan welcomed the young man and told him within a week of his arrival that he had a completely free hand; after that evening the old man rarely left the manse except to go into the church for his daily office.
Father Reilly quickly became a great favourite among the younger women, and they vied for his attention, him being what was known as ‘well set-up’. He was tall and well-built, having played rugby for his University in his younger days, which were not so long ago. The confessional was supposed to be anonymous, but with only two priests it was obvious which one was hearing confessions on any particular day, and the women seemed to have rather more sins when it was Father Reilly. Some of their sins were explained to him in more detail than to the older priest; it is doubtful if the old man’s heart would have stood the strain of hearing some of the more lurid sins, though they were always by way of impure thoughts, rather than deeds.
The children’s confessions were, of course, simpler and less imaginative than those of the young married women. Heather was no exception, and Father Reilly might not have noticed her had she not had a beautiful singing voice. When it came to selecting a St. Lucia for the annual procession, there was little doubt in the young priest’s mind where his choice would lie. That was how it started.
The child was beautiful and yet, and yet, she was not quite still a child; at sixteen she was in the first flush of being a beautiful young woman as her jet black hair, worn usually in two long plaits, emphasised the fair complexion and sky blue eyes. Father Reilly saw her at her home one evening when he visited to sort some trivial details of the procession; her hair was flowing freely and her everyday clothes did nothing to hide her fast developing figure. As she brought him some tea, then turned away and showed a tight but plump behind to him, he felt a twinge between his legs that he had kept firmly repressed for some years.
That night in bed he had a dream in which he disrobed the girl-woman and beneath the childish clothes he discovered the body of a fully adult woman who welcomed him into her bed and into her body. Then he woke up lying in a sticky mess. As he lay feeling very foolish, he realised that he was totally besotted with the emerging woman he had perceived in the girl who still thought of herself as a child. He was horrified to find himself seeking ways and means which would allow him to spend time with her … alone.
There were many opportunities for a priest, automatically wholly trusted, to be alone with the child of a parishioner, or to be with her when only other children were present. Heather’s parents were pleased when she was asked to help with the bible teaching for the little ones, and when she was invited to sing in the choir. These activities afforded Father Reilly many opportunities to watch the girl without it looking odd, and very beautiful he found the experience as he watched her grow and flower into young womanhood. For two long years the priest managed to keep himself in check; he made no move to touch the girl, much less to indulge his ever more vivid fantasies.
Chapter 6 Sins Of The Flesh
Then it was Heather herself who suggested that some tuition in singing techniques would not come amiss. She had realised that she actually had a good voice, and that money could be made as a singer; furthermore, a trained voice would be more saleable than an untrained one.
It was some weeks into the singing lessons when Father Reilly’s self restraint finally snapped.
“There’s something wrong here,” he commented, “You are not breathing at the right times in the song.”
“I can’t just keep on singing without breathing,” she pointed out.
“Don’t be pert with me, miss,” Father Reilly admonished, “You will have to take off your top so that I can check your breathing,” continued the priest, keeping his voice as matter-of-fact as he could.
Heather looked very uncertain, but he simply reached out and started to unbutton her blouse.
He was not disappointed; as he opened her upper garment it revealed small firm breasts, pert and cheeky nipples which were quickly hardening in the cold air, and huge pale pink areolae. Heather was obviously worried by this, but she reasoned that as a priest he would not do anything wrong. In fact the sight of her bare breasts was both a pleasure and a torment to the young man. He did not touch her, but contented himself with the vision of perfect breasts which her singing half naked gave him.
After this first time Father Reilly kept his desires in check for many weeks, only demanding that she strip a very few times. As these occasions multiplied Heather became accustomed to being partly naked before him and would instantly strip off her blouse whenever he asked.
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