[I should like to impress very strongly upon my readers the fact that the following narrative is not fiction. Except in a few unimportant details - introduced to cover the identity of the people concerned - it is absolutely authentic, and represents the real emotions and reactions of an actual living young wife, gathered during many friendly conversations with her.
I may add that I have the full permission of both husband and wife to publish the narrative. Perhaps its publication may induce other one-legged lady readers, similarly circumstanced, to contribute their experiences to the pages of "London Life." - w. s.]
I am 25 years of age, and have been married just six happy months. My friends tell me that I am pretty and chic; and I hope you won't think me too vain if I venture to agree with them. I am slim, and blonde, and have a passion for pretty clothes, am of a particularly gay and cheerful disposition - and I have only one leg.
"What a terrible misfortune for a pretty girl!" I hear many readers say. And yet there may be two ways of looking at the matter. It may seem a very startling confession to make, hut the fact is, I rather like being one-legged; certainly I do not nowadays look upon it as a misfortune. On the contrary, I come to look upon my one slim, shapely leg as one of my chief attractions.
But perhaps I had better make some attempt to explain my strange point of view. As a matter of fact, I haven't always felt about things as I do now - I agree that it would be rather unnatural if I had. My present outlook is really of comparatively recent growth, and the reason for my change of opinion will appear during the course of the present narrative.
When I lost my right leg, as the result of a crash on a motor-cycle at the age of 17, I wasn't the least bit pleased! In fact, at the time the thought of going through life on one leg depressed me terribly. But most people have the blessed faculty of adjusting themselves to circumstances; and I, being more cheerful and vivacious than most, very soon settled down to my new conditions quite philosophically. So much so that in a year or two I had not only grown quite accustomed to being one-legged and swinging about on crutches, but I had forgotten even to worry about the fact. Not that I had grown to "like" being one-legged yet - that came later.
My leg had been amputated at the thigh, leaving a short stump just about four inches in length from the hip. It was first of all intended that I should have an artificial leg as soon as I was pronounced quite fit. As a preliminary, I was supplied with a temporary or practice limb, made with a movable knee-joint.
I hated the thing from the very beginning, and the sight of the stiff, footless, peg-leg below my very neat and very short skirt brought tears into my eyes. The fact that I was very soon to have a nice, beautifully made artificial leg of the very latest pattern was no consolation. I think I was really more depressed then than I had been immediately after my amputation.
However, the problem was settled in another way altogether. It very soon became apparent that my flesh was too sensitive to bear the strain of wearing an artificial limb. Everything was done to help me - even a fresh amputation, which would have completely removed my stump, was suggested, much to my consternation - but all without result. At last the idea of fitting me with an artificial leg was given up altogether, and I returned quite happily to my crutches. At any rate, I had got rid of that awful temporary leg!
Well, my life was really very little different from that of any other girl of my age. I was very happy at home, where I was petted and spoiled to a shocking extent. I was taken everywhere, and did everything that was possible for me to do; and my one leg and my crutches became so much part of my life that I really never thought, and certainly never worried, about them.
One thing I am sure my being one-legged made me more careful of, and that was my appearance. I must confess to being a little vain in that way, and with just a single leg showing below my short skirt, and a pair of crutches beneath my arms, it seemed most essential to me that I should be as neat and chic as possible. I always dressed with the utmost care and smartness, being most fussy about the absolutely faultless appearance of my slim, shapely leg and daintily high-heeled slippered foot, and spending small fortunes on the neatest and slenderest of polished black crutches.
Shortly after my amputation, my only attitude towards my stump was, naturally enough, one of slight distaste. It was all that was left of a beautiful and shapely leg; it was scarred and puny and not at all attractive, and was not a thing of which I could feel particularly proud. But as time went on, owing mainly, so I was told, to its not being used, and so not sufficiently exercised, it put on flesh very quickly, until it became quite plump and round.
I remember the first time I noticed the change, while I was in my bath, and experiencing a tiny thrill as I realised that the stump had became an almost perfect oval, shapely and firm fleshed. Then gradually the puckered line of the scar thinned and faded until practically all that was left as a memento of the amputation was a sort of slightly irregular dimple in the white, firm flesh just near the inner tip of the stump.
I confess that from that time I began to take a more lively interest in it. Though it may seem a little odd to ordinary readers, I have no doubt that other one-legged lady readers will quite understand me when I say that gradually I came to regard my stump as something so familiar and natural as any other part of my body, something there was not the slightest need to be troubled or sensitive about, and having its own shapeliness and attractiveness.
I began to be fastidious about it, to take every care of it, keeping the flesh soft and white with skin foods, preserving its shapely contours in every way I could. I was, of course, as fastidious about the rest of my body, hut in some way my little four inches of leg seemed to call for special care.
So life went on quite smoothly. I was happy and contended, making the very best of things, proud in my own way of my slim, chic little one-legged figure swinging neatly along on its neat pair of crutches, secretly, keenly gratified by the great amount of attention I attracted.
There was just one little cloud on the horizon. I had many devoted girl friends, and their "boys" were always extremely nice to me. Quite often a boy friend would make a party of four with a girl friend and her "boy" and myself for an evening out, and he would be charming to me throughout the evening. Sometimes, even, a boy friend would take me out alone and give me a very pleasant time, but I hadn't a real "boy" of my very own - one who was really fond of me and who paid attentions only to myself.
That certainly did hurt a little though I forced myself not to think too much about it, and I didn't let it spoil my life.
And then, quite suddenly, something unexpected and to me, very extraordinary, happened, something that changed the whole course of my life and brought everything that was worth having into it.
One evening about eighteen months ago I was waiting for a homeward bus, and I couldn't help feeling that a bay waiting at the same corner wanted to speak to me. He was a perfect stranger to me, a good-looking boy of about my own age, very well groomed, as they say, obviously of good family and position. He would walk away a little distance and then come back and look at me as if he were going to speak, and then look away again as if embarrassed.
I thought he was perhaps mistaking me for somebody he knew; I felt he couldn't be trying to "get off" with me, as - well, my single leg and my crutches were very much in evidence, and experience told me that boys met casually in their way don't usually trouble one-legged girls, no matter how pretty and smartly dressed they may be.
However, the 'bus came along. I boarded it and so did the boy. His seat was a little in advance of mine, and I couldn't help noticing that every now and then he would half turn his head and send a quick sideways glance apparently towards myself. Eventually I got off just by the road in which I then lived, and I hurried along it as swiftly as my crutches would allow me.
But a quick glance round told me that the boy was following at a little distance. To my surprise, however, when I arrived at my home, he passed on the opposite side, and when I got inside I really didn't know what to think of the whole curious affair. I was half relieved, half disappointed, and wholly puzzled.
It must have been about twenty minutes later that I heard a little click of the letter box, and something made me go myself into the hall and take out the letter that had been pushed into the box. The envelope was unstamped and it was with a real thrill that I read the inscription.
"To the little lady of the crutches."
The note was obviously from the boy who had followed me. He had, as I afterwards learned, gone to a nearby stationer's, bought the paper and envelope and then written the note. He apologised for his "colossal impertinence," confessed that he would like very much to know me, but had not been able to summon up the courage to speak to me; hoped I was not offended at his daring to write; suggested a meeting in the West End and, as an earnest of good faith, enclosed his card.
Well, I had come misgivings, but, of course, in the end curiosity and a feeling of thrilled excitement got the better of me, and I turned up at the appointed rendezvous. I must confess that I had taken the greatest possible pains to look my most chic and attractive.
It was a delightful evening, just near the end of July, and I had chosen a very light, filmy summer two-piece suit, both frock and coat of the most delicate beige chiffon, and both barely reaching my knee. With this I wore dainty beige Milanese camiknicks, the frilled knickers of which were very short and very close-fitting, a long, "opera-length", perfectly fitting stocking of the sheerest and most gossamer beige silk - one of a pair that cost me 25 s. - a skin-fitting "stump sock" also of the sheerest silk specially made for me, as were all my "socks," and matching perfectly my stocking in colour, and a little beige satin Court slipper with a slender 3 in. heel, also especially made for me.
A tight little pull-on hat, from which peeped my blonde, shingled curls, completed my toilette, and for crutches I had chosen my latest pair - slender, and neatly made of black, polished "ebony", which are very comfortable in use once one gets used to them, and which I had learned to manipulate with expert deftness.
I think I looked very neat and dainty, and I know I attracted a good deal of attention as I swung easily along an my way to the rendezvous.
The boy was waiting there, and it was quite obvious that he had only half expected me to turn up, for he positively stiffened when he caught sight of me, and all the colour left his face. He was actually trembling when he spoke, and had the greatest difficulty in keeping up even a semblance of control. I must admit I was trembling a little myself, for though meeting a boy in this way may be quite an ordinary experience for many girls, for me it was a very unusual and exciting adventure.
However, eventually we were able to talk to each other more or less normally, and we moved off quite friendlily together towards the restaurant where we were to have dinner. Roy - to call him, for convenience sake, by a name which isn't his own - proved a most charming, nice mannered, very considerate, altogether attractive boy, and I still look back to that wonderful, delightful evening as something almost too good to be true, something plucked, as it were, out of a fairy story, in which I was the little Cinderella and Roy the handsome Prince Charming.
That was how I came to meet the boy who is now my very dear husband, and who is really responsible for my changed outlook on life, enabling me to find great happiness in, and actually to be quite proud of, a condition which most people would regard as a great and irreparable misfortune.
It was some little time before I actually discovered anything odd or out of the ordinary about my new and delightful friend. As we became more intimate I did, of course, wonder ly enough, one of slight distaste. It was all that was left of a beautiful and shapely leg; it was scarred and puny and nsometimes why such a boy had fallen so desperately in love with a girl whom ordinary folk could only look upon as a pretty cripple. But I told myself that that was the way things often happen in life, and that he was so much in love with me that he was able to ignore my loss of a leg.
However, it was, curiously enough, myself who was eventually responsible for the discovery of his actual and amazing point of view. I had been thinking a good deal about Roy and his relations with me, and for the first time I began to feel sensitive and a little troubled about my having only one leg. I began to feel embarrassed in his presence, and to wish that I was as other girls were with two pretty and attractive legs instead of my poor little single one. I was sure that Roy, though he was always so perfectly lovely to me, could not help feeling self-conscious about my leg, especially when out walking with him, I swung along on my crutches by his side.
I got quite miserable about it, though I said nothing to Roy, and the only thing I could think of doing was to be fitted once again with an artificial leg. I simply hated the idea, and I did got know whether, after the lapse of years, my stump would stand the strain any better than-it had done. But I thought if I could get used to a leg I should at least have the appearance of a normal girl, and Roy would have no need to feel sensitive when walking out with me.
Well, one evening, after some hesitation, I spoke to Roy and put my suggestion before him. I don't think I shall ever forget the extraordinary way in which my poor little suggestion was received. It isn't too much to say that Roy seemed actually horrorstricken. An artificial leg was the very last thing he wanted me to wear. I had been completely mistaken in my reading of his feelings; and now, as he began to stammer out his explanations, I began to understand dimly what were his real thoughts about me.
It would take too long and too much space to record the whole of our amazing discussion on the memorable evening. But what definitely emerged was the undaunted fact that Ray, so far from falling in love with me in spite of my having only one leg had done so - among other reasons, of course - actually because I was one-legged!
"I know, darling," he said, still stammering in his embarrassment, "it all sounds mad, and you won't understand me a little bit. I can't explain it myself. It's some queer kind of a kink with which I suppose I was born. But there it is. As long as I can remember, I have always been strongly attracted to pretty girls with only one leg, and you are the first I have been able to pluck up sufficient courage to get to know. Ordinary twolegged girls, no matter how pretty or chic they are, leave me absolutely cold; they have not the slightest interest for me, and I could never marry one. But there is, for me, a tremendous and thrilling fascination about a pretty one-legged girl, especially if she is dainty and chic, bright and cheerful, and is out to make the best of things -"
"And she mustn't wear an artificial leg," I put in, smiling a little mischievously in spite of my general bewilderment.
"Good heavens, no!" he said fervently. "That would spoil everything - at any rate for me. It may seem a queer idea, darling, but really it is quite logical under the circumstances. An artificial leg is meant to hide, as completely as possible, the loss of a natural leg, and to give the person wearing it a normal two-legged appearance. Well, don't you see, it is the charm and fascination of the one-legged appearance that thrills me. I don't want it camouflaged in any way!"
I saw the point of that particular argument easily enough when Roy put it that way; and besides, I was extremely relieved and pleased that I had not to face the ordeal of trying once again to wear an artificial leg. But all that did not prevent me, that night and for many days and nights afterwards, from feeling just a little troubled about Roy and his extraordinary way of looking at things.
I couldn't really think him mad. He was not only extremely sane in general, but very well read and with an amazing knowledge of deep and difficult subjects that I could never even attempt to understand. But he certainly had, as he had confessed, a "kink" and though that kink had drawn him to me, I was really disturbed about it - sufficiently so, in fact, as to contemplate the terrible possibility of having to give him up.
But I didn't give him up - I just couldn't! And in an incredible short time I was able to look back an that period of worry and doubt in sheer amazement. It is really extraordinary how one can adapt oneself, especially if one loves passionately and is loved. I, who had been so troubled about Roy's inexplicable views, now gradually came to realise that I was thrilled with delight at the knowledge that he found myself and my misfortune charming and fascinating. I realised, too, with, as it were, a little intake of breath, that had I not been as I was, he would never have looked my way, no matter how pretty and chic I was. In fact, I was now gloriously, deliriously happy in my love for Roy, and the queer, amazing truth wad that I owed it all to the fact that I had lost a limb!
It was from that time that I began to take a curious pleasure in indulging, in every way I could, Roy's little idiosyncrasy. I had always worn short skirts, but know all my frocks were all quite daringly brief, those for outdoors touching my knee, while my indoor frocks were all very much shorter, one or two being mere wisps of chiffon.
My stockings were all of the finest quality, gossamer things of sheer cobwebby silk, and my specially made single slippers were more fragile than ever, and perched on delicately slender heels of from 3 1/2 in. to 4 in. in height - the limit in height, by the way, to which, in my humble opinion, heels should go. Above that they make the slipper clumsy and give the foot an appearance that I can only describe as crippled. However, that it just my opinion.
I couldn't be too daring or too smart for Roy, who encouraged me in all my extravagances. In fact, if I had elected to wear my indoor frocks out of doors I am sure he would have applauded the idea with enthusiasm. He liked, too, to see my foot exposed in the most open and flimsiest of slippers, his favourite being a 4 in. heeled sandal. It was actually merely a heel-piece, a very thin and narrow sole, and a tiny toe-piece - a thin, jewelled strap over the instep keeping the fragile affair in position. And when, as I swung smoothly along on my slender crutches at his side, people turned and stared at my slim, one-legged figure, he was as pleased and proud of the sensation I caused as if I were the most fascinating beauty in the land.
He had all kinds of odd little fancies that I was quick to notice and to gratify. For instance, when we were together indoors he would frequently sit opposite me instead of with me, and the reason soon became obvious to me. It was simply that the sight of my one-legged figure always had power to thrill him, and by sitting opposite me he was actually conscious all the time of my shapely single-limbed figure so frankly displayed below a diaphanous frock.
As if unaware of his ardent scrutiny, I would, with apparent carelessness, kick off my little open slipper and softly caress his ankle with my silk-stockinged foot. He took an extraordinary pleasure in this kind of "foot-kiss", as he called it, and it became a habit of mine at home, in restaurants, theatres, picture theatres, and the like.
He liked, too, to fondle and kiss my unslippered foot. He always kissed my foot, too, whenever he put on or removed my slipper - a thing he delighted to do whenever the opportunity offered.
Naturally I could not be insensitive to all this homage, andit had its obvious effect on me. I grew to look for these caresses, to desire them, to feel the delicious thrill of them; and so, unconsciously almost, my one leg began to assume an importance in my eyes it had never possessed before. I had reached the first stage in my journey towards a completely changed point of view regarding it.
But my biggest surprise, and one that really did seem to me at first quite beyond my powers to explain, came when I made the strange discovery that Roy found not only my one leg fascinating, but also my poor little stump! It had never entered my head that anyone could have the slightest interest in such a thing. In fact in all my dealings with Roy - even when he was fondling or kissing my foot - I was extremely careful to keep my very short second limb discreetly veiled by my frock, and well out of sight.
Not that I was ashamed of as sensitive about it, as I have already explained; it had become very shapely and plump. I always kept it meticulously well cared for, and it was always clad in a specially made, perfectly fitting "sock" of the finest silk. And, despite all my precautions, I could not, of course, prevent the appearance of a very full outline of its rounded contours beneath the clinging silk of my frocks. But I felt that, even if Roy subconsciously realised its existence, it could have no possible interest for him.
I was completely mistaken, however. Roy had all the time been only too acutely aware of it, and keenly interested in it, and he revealed his little secret in a charming and yet quite characteristic manner.
One evening, as we sat together on our favourite couch, he produced, as he had a pleasant habit of doing, a little present for me. This time it was a very dainty silk garter, beautifully set with brilliants in an intricate design. Of course he claimed the privilege of putting it on my leg himself, and smilingly I drew up my frock to within a few inches of the hip, and held out my leg for his attentions.
I always wear "opera-length" stockings, and so the sheer, perfectly fitting silk of the stocking reached practically to my hip, where it was held taut by tiny suspenders attached to the narrow, skin tight silk belt which is all I wear in the way of corsets.
Roy, of course, made quite a ceremony of the putting on of the garter, kneeling before me and kissing first my unslippered foot, then my knee, about which he solemnly placed the dainty glittering garter. But after I had kissed him in reward he still retained his kneeling position before me, and smilingly produced from his pocket another garter, the twin of the one he had just slipped on to my knee.
"Wouldn't they let you have just the one, darling?" I asked laughingly. "There really ought to be places where one could get single garters for one-legged sweethearts, oughtn't there? But I can wear them alternately, as I do my stockings, and they'll last longer."
But, sitting back on his heels, Roy looked up at me with an odd little smile in his eyes.
"The garters are not to be worn alternately," he said slowly.
"Oh, I see," I said still laughing. "another of your funny little ideas. You'd better let me wear them both on my leg at the same time."
"No," he said, "not that exactly, I'd like you to wear them at the same time, certainly, but one on your leg and the other - well, on this - "
And, for the first time since I had known him, I felt the caress his fingers on my remnant of a limb, which was but thinly veiled by its silk "sock" and the gossamer chiffon of my frock.
For a moment I was held by the thrill of this unexpected touch. Then I realised what it was Roy had suggested.
"On my - my stump?" I exclaimed with a little breathless laugh.
"Yes, darling," he said, smiling. "Why not? Is that so very extraordinary? Of course, I know I'm not supposed to have noticed that you ever had such a thing; but you haven't been as successful in hiding it as you may have imagined; And I have been able to gather that it possesses distinct charms of its own - that it is attractively plump and shapely, as fascinating in its way as your slim, single leg; in fact, in the eyes of a queer beggar like myself beautiful! So there isn't the slightest reason to be so shy about it - and I assure you this garter would suit admirably."
Of course, he was absurd, but delightfully absurd, and I cannot describe the delicious thrill that throbbed through me at the knowledge that though he spoke lightly, he was very much in earnest. I felt too, in a way I can't explain, that my loss took on an added allure in my eyes because of its fascination for Roy. I hugged him suddenly to me, my eyes suspiciously misty, and pressed my lips to his in a long clinging kiss.
The sweet, delightful thing that Roy said and did are perhaps more the concern of just our two selves than of anyone else - even you, dear reader - so I shall not record them here. But at last he proceeded with the ceremony.
So it was that the little bit of my lost leg added to the other charms that Roy found so delightful, and must confess that I took a frank pleasure in his admiration of it, I even helped to foster that admiration. I was not now so concerned to hide its existence as I had been.
I had all my frocks made very tight fitting, and in many other ways did I, who not so very long ago would have thought the thing incredible, frankly drew attention to, and covet admiration for, that shapely stump of mine, which I no longer looked upon as a sign of my maiming, but as in itself a beautiful part of myself, with its own peculiar attraction and charm.
So I reached a further stage in my strange journey along he road whither Roy and his love were leading me.
In the previous chapter I told you of several odd little fads that Roy revealed as our friendship deepened. Another rather curious little whimsy of his, which in a curious way developed into an almost invariable rule of our lives, was the outcome of a purely chance occurrence.
Most one-legged people will be aware that a young and active person so handicapped gets into a habit, now and then, of hopping about the house on one leg, instead of using a crutch, which may not always he at hand at the required moment. It is a fact that such a person does often develop a most uncanny sense of balance on the single leg, and hopping, after a while seems to become natural.
However, I had myself developed this habit to a certain extent long before I knew Roy. Usually in the house I used a single crutch; but a crutch like anything else, can be mislaid and often I didn't bother to locate it, but just hopped easily and gaily about without it. Of course one can't hop safely in a high-heeled slipper - the danger of tripping and perhaps injuring one's sensitive stump is too great. Accordingly, knowing my little propensity, I usually wore when alone, a little, close fitting, and entirely heelless slipper, in which I could hop to my heart's content without any danger of falling.
Now, the curious thing is that when I became intimate with Ray I never let him see me hopping in this way; I had no very definite reason for this, but I suppose that I felt that in his preference hopping might appear slightly undignified; and, besides, he always liked to see me in a high-heeled slipper.
But one evening when I happened to be alone in the house and not expecting Roy, the door-bell rang. I hopped blithely to the door, opened it - and there stood Roy in the porch. I had to laugh at my little predicament in spite of myself. There I stood, poised on my single leg, very frankly revealed in one of my briefest frocks, while Roy regarded me open-eyed, no crutch anywhere within either reach or sight.
Well, I simply had to tell him of my little habit, and suggested that he had better carry me to the drawing-room. But no! To my amazement, he absolutely refused to carry me. He wanted to see me hop! I felt oddly embarrassed - I can't quite explain why; but at last, with a little laugh, I turned and, followed by Roy, hopped nimbly through the hall and along to the drawing room.
So was initiated yet another little "stunt" which I performed, and still perform quite readily and happily for Roy's sake. He would not let me touch a crutch all that evening. Whenever I had occasion to move I had to hop, and all the time he followed my movements with fascinated eyes. He thought it amazingly clever of me, and wanted to know why on earth I had kept such a delightful little accomplishment so secret.
Of course, I was thrilled, as usual by his pleasure, and I must confess I was quite vain of my skill, and invented all kinds of opportunities for displaying it. I daresay, in the days that followed, I was quite as much responsible as Roy for my growing habit of hopping about the house when he was there. I "forgot my crutch with increasing frequency, until at last it became practically the rule that my crutch was put away out sight on the evenings Roy visited me, and my normal method of getting about was hopping.
Naturally I developed quite extraordinary skill, and I really think I can say, without exaggeration, that I was, and am today, as sure-footed on my single foot as any active two-legged person - in some ways even more so!
If I may anticipate a little while on this subject, it may be of interest to note that at the present time, now that I am married to Roy, no crutch is ever in evidence in the house. All my crutches are kept in a specially made case in the hall, and a pair is taken out when I leave the house and put back as soon as I re-enter the hall. My "hopping" heelless slippers are also kept in this case, and I change my high-heeled slipper for one as soon as I enter the house.
While in the house, doing my household duties, attending to Roy, etc., I invariably hop about on one leg and, apart altogether from Roy's pleasure, I actually prefer this method of getting about. It keeps me young, active and healthy, and I shall give it up only when I am forced to do so by illness or advancing years. I don't make the slightest difference when friends are being entertained - in fact, all our friends think my effortless hopping quite fascinating - and I have some very dainty heelless slippers in all kinds of delicate fabrics for wear with my evening gowns - when entertaining at home.
Very often, however, Roy likes me to wear a high heeled slipper on these occasions, but even then a crutch never puts in an appearance. I move about as little as possible - though standing, by the way, presents no difficulty, as I can stand perfectly balanced for any length of time an even a 4 in. heel; and when it is necessary for me to move from one room to another - well, Roy simply picks me up in his arms and carries me.
But to return to the point from which I digressed - in such a way as I have described did the intimacy between Roy and myself develop and deepen; we grew to understand each other more thoroughly as the months went by, and the more I knew of him and his delightfully odd little caprices, the stronger became my love for him. And at last the inevitable happened - we became engaged, and within a few months of that blissful event, married.
I could not, of course, even attempt to describe that wonderful ecstatic time. But I shall just lift the veil on one little honeymoon secret. I hope that what I have already revealed in these confessions will enable you to understand how exactly the strange little declaration on my part came about.
As I lay in Roy's arms on our bridal night, I turned to him and, thrilling with emotion and meaning every word I said, I whispered, "Roy, darling, now that I am your wife, I want you to know that I really and honestly feel that the accident through which I lost my leg was one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me. But for that accident, you would never have come into my life; and life would be unthinkable without you and your love. I want you to hear from my own lips that I am glad to be one-legged - honestly glad! I don't want ever to be otherwise. And I get a new thrill every time I realise that you want me to be one-legged and love me because I am one-legged. There, darling, I have wanted to say that for a long time now - and at last I have said it!"
I don't suppose I was quite as eloquent as all that - but in some such words I said what I really meant at the time and, in fact, still do mean. And as Roy kissed me passionately and murmured soft endearments against my lips I knew how thrilled he was by my frank little confession.
Well, for six wonderful, happy months I have been married to Roy, and I am still finding my greatest delight in indulging all his little fads and doing all I possibly can to keep him proud of his little one-legged wife. I think I am, if possible, more fastidious than ever about my appearance, always striving to be as dainty and chic as I can, both indoors and out.
Fortunately, Roy is quite comfortably placed, and is able to encourage all my extravagances, and takes as keen an interest in the fascinating intimacies of my attire as I do myself. He isn't very keen on the latest craze for long skirts, and so I have to compromise on that matter. All my day indoor frocks remain very short, none of them reaching as far as my knee; but several of my evening frocks have slightly dipping hems to the side, while a couple of frocks that reach my ankle are completely transparent in front to well above the knee.
Roy is just as interested in my slippers, of which I have an outrageously large number - my present stock currently comprising 25 all told, though I have possessed as many as 37! As, of course, I require only a single one in each case, my ordinary practice is to have my slippers made for me. I go to two makers - one English, just off Bond street, the other French, in the Regent street neighbourhood.
From the English maker I get my more severe, yet beautifully made, walking shoes, and from the French maker my dainty, fragile, high heeled slippers and sandals, and my "hopping" slippers. The English maker, by the way, charges me three and three and a half guineas, and the French maker from three to five guineas for a single slipper - so you see that being one-legged -and fastidious - is a somewhat expensive business!
Roy has to be consulted on every choice I make, and usually accompanies me when I go to be fitted; but as he has very original and artistic ideas about my footwear, he is usually of the greatest help. It will be interesting to readers to learn that the English maker I have just referred to has on his books the names of close on 3O0 one-legged lady clients, all of them more or less well-to-do!
As for my stockings, though I wear only one at the time I can, thank goodness, buy these in pairs; but even in this case I have to go to one special place, as in the first place I like opera-length stockings that reach practically to the hip, and secondly I have, of course, to have "stump socks" specially made and these I like to be of the same fine, sheer silk and of the same colour as the stocking I am wearing. So once again I have to pay much more for my stockings - and "socks" - than the ordinary girl.
I have, by the way, myself designed a "stump sock" that I think is rather a novelty. A "stump sock," as you will have gathered, is a sort of pocket specially made to fit the stump, and is usually made of soft wool, if worn alone, or of rather stout material if worn with an artificial leg. It can be held in position by suspenders, as in the case of a stocking, or by a thin, elastic runner let into the edge of the open mouth.
All my socks are dainty affairs of diaphanous silk, fitting my stump with skin-tight perfection, and the novelty effect I have introduced into some of my special socks consists of a dainty, frilled silk Garter made as part of the sock and taking the place, at the open top, of the ordinary elastic runner. These gartered socks are especial favourites of Roy.
There was one frequently expressed request of Roy with which for some time I felt oddly shy of complying. He was very keen of my wearing silk tights, and it wasn't that I objected - the idea,on the contrary, rather thrilled me. But I knew, of course, that I should have to have them specially made, and the thought of a one-legged girl like myself approaching some firm to be supplied with silk tights rather daunted me.
However, l yielded at last to Roy's pleadings, and went to a well known firm of theatrical costumiers. I need not have worried to the slightest. My order for three one-piece suits of silk tights - two in flesh colour and one in diaphanous black - was taken as a pure matter of course, and not a soul troubled about the fact that I was one-legged. In fact, the girl who attended to me told me, as she calmly took the measurements of my stump, that the firm supplied tights regularly to three other one-legged lady clients, and had made swimming suits with what she called "stump pockets," for a lady without legs.
And so I added silk tights to my other dainty lingerie, and they have become very favourite wear of mine . Quite often I have appeared in the evening clad only in my tights for Roy's especial benefit, and once I let myself be persuaded, during a rather wild party we gave, to contribute a "speciality" dance in tights - the "dance" consisting simply of my hopping gaily about in time to a fox-trot on the gramophone. Though the "audience" applauded uproariously, I don't know quite how the dance really affected the members, as it was the first time that most of our friends had seen my little silk-clad stump fully revealed.
But usually, of course, I wear my tights simply as undies beneath my frocks, and I find them most comfortable with those of my evening frocks that are form-fitting and almost skin-tight. A frock of that sort can only really be worn perfectly over silk tights and, of course, no corsets. In fact, with these particular frocks I always wear tights. I can most strongly recommend them, to any other readers, whether one-legged or not, who like their frocks to fit glove-tight.
I have very often been to theatres and restaurants, where my slim, frankly revealed one-legged figure, swinging daintily on slender crutches, has attracted general notice, and have wondered how many of the interested onlookers have guessed that my sole garments, other than my fragile, open, high heeled, sandal, consisted of a clinging gossamer, chiffon frock and silk tights .
Roy has not lost - I suppose he never will lose - the somewhat abnormal fascination that my little foot has for him - what I suppose that learned people would call "foot fetishism." It still remains one of his greatest delights to kiss and fondle it, and he still prefers, strangely enough, to hold it, rather than my hand, when we sit together.
It has become almost a matter of routine for me to kick off my slipper when he settles himself by me, and curling up my leg,slip my silken foot into his hand. And he still, as it were, purrs beneath the caress of my unslippered foot on his ankle when we are at the pictures or a theatre, or the like.
But this strange fetish of his goes much further than that. He insists on being, as it were, completely in charge of my foot, keeping the toes beautifully manicured and the foot itself expertly massaged. My toes are kept as fastidiously, and are just as perfect and slender as my fingers, the toe-nails fashionably pointed, rouged, and highly polished.
As a permanent adornment I wear round my ankle a thin, flat anklet of flexible gold, a present from Roy; and another of his out-of-the-ordinary gifts, and also a permanent adornment, is a tiny flat replica of my wedding ring, which I wear on the fourth toe of my foot.
As may be guessed from this, Roy likes to fondle my bare foot just as much as when it is clad in a silk stocking, and accordingly I very often appear in the evening, when we are by ourselves, only in filmy, boudoir pyjamas, and let him caress my bare foot to his heart's content.
Readers of Mr. Wallace Stort's stories of limbless beauties in "London Life" may recall the dainty pyjamas worn by Felice, the beautiful one-legged heroine of his latest story, "The Strange Quest of Anthony Drew." Those pyjamas, it will be remembered were specially made with only a brief "trouserette," of a few inches in length, on the right side, from which peeped Felice's pretty and shapely little bare stump.
Well, Mr. Stort will not mind me mentioning here the fact that he got the idea of Felice's pyjamas from myself, as my own pyjamas are all made in that way. As a matter of fact, what I do is simply to purchase my pyjamas in the ordinary way, and then, after cutting off the right leg, fashion a dainty little "trouserette" of only a few inches in length, which gives the glimpses that Roy finds so fascinating.
Roy is never happier than .when caring for me in some way, acting as my maid, dressing and undressing me, doing everything he can for me. And, of courser I share the full of all his emotions in all this thrilled by all his attentions, loving every bit of his tender care immensely proud of the incomplete beauty of my body about which he is so fastidious.
I have told you how, nowadays, I never use crutches in the house, but just move about on my single leg with as much ease as an ordinary person using two legs. But, of course, I use crutches when out of doors, and as much care has gone to their selection as to the other details of my toilette. Before I met Roy I was fastidious in this regard, and always had at least two pairs in use, as costly as I could afford, with neat, slender frames usually in black polished wood. These were of the armpit type, and to this I added, just before meeting Roy, a pair of very neat "elbow" crutches, also in black. To-day I have five pairs, presents from Roy. These last include a pair of the armpit type one of the Roy's first presents to me shortly after our first meeting - a really "posh" pair, very lightly and slender made, and terribly expensive, though in appearance not very different from my other pairs - and a beautifully made "elbow" pair, which Roy bought me to use at our wedding.
Personally, I prefer nowadays the "elbow" type, which not only entails ever so much less strain, but also, in my opinion, give one a greater and, if I may say so, a more distinguished appearance. Roy likes them for these reasons also, but I know that secretly he really likes me to use just a single crutch of the armpit type. He has confessed to the strange fascination there is for him in the slow, clinging swing the use of a single crutch gives to the body.
As a matter of fact a single crutch entails a really heavy strain on the armpit, and doctors and surgeons always very strongly deprecate its use.
A little while ago in this narrative you will remember I happened to make a brief reference to Mr. Wallace Stort and the stories of limbless beauties that he has been contributing to "London Life." Roy and I have often discussed these stories - which, of course, from their very subject matter, apart altogether from their merits and demerits as stories, possess tremendous interest for us. I remember particularly one evening as l lay in Roy's arms discussing with him the strange case of Lady Moira Pomeroy in the story "Dr. Nicholas."
Lady Moira, you will recall, underwent voluntary amputation of all her limbs, until by the end of the story she was just a lovely trunk of a woman, completely without arms or legs.
Woman-like, I laughingly asked Roy if he would have been so strongly attracted to myself supposing I had been, like Lady Moira, just a beautiful trunk, with completely armless shoulders and with only twin, rounded stumps at my hips.
I confess I was astonished at the emotion with shook Roy as he gathered me more closely into his arms; and it was a fantastic strange reply he made to me. My lovely one-legged body, he told me, was utterly adorable and fascinating as it was. Taking into consideration all the circumstances, my condition was ideal, and he would always find it desirable and entrancing; and he fully realised that any further loss of limbs would result in a condition of helplessness that would make life only much more difficult for me.
But all the same - and here came the amazing part of his reply - he had to confess that my condition was only one phase of the strange attraction limblessness in a beautiful girl had for him. Even the total absence of both arms and legs had its extraordinary and inexplicable charm.
He remembered once seeing on exhibition a beautiful German girl of about 19 entirely without limbs, just a shapely, perfectly formed trunk and nothing more. Her beautifully modelled shoulders revealed no trace of arms, and her body was smoothly rounded off at the hips without even the most rudimentary stumps being apparent. And so strong was the fascination she exercised for him that he fell in love with her at first sight, and it was a very long time before he was able to forget the memory of her from his mind.
He was quite certain that if, when he first became acquainted with me I had just been a beautiful armless and legless trunk instead of being merely one-legged, he would have found me just as alluringly attractive and fallen as madly in love with me!
So my foolish little question was answered, and I must confess that the reply, amazing and unexpected though it was, had its strange thrill for me. It was wonderful to know that Roy would still have found me fascinating even had I been quite limbless.
As for my own opinion on the matter - well, candidly, though naturally, my earnest desire is to remain as I am, the idea of losing other limbs does not now strike me with such repugnance as it would have done before I met Roy. I think I never could cheerfully submit to the loss of my arms - one must be terribly helpless if one is quite armless; and besides, how could I caress and fondle my darling Roy without arms with which to enfold him? But I fancy I might still manage to be my cheerful and gay self were I quite without legs.
I should, of course, be helpless to a very great extent, but there would he Roy to depend on for all the help I needed. He would be ecstatically happy attending to my slightest wants, carrying me about in his arms, dressing and undressing me fascinated all the time. And all that would be heaven to me and would compensate me in some measure at least for - my helplessness .
But, of course, all this is just sheer imaginative fantasy, which I fervently hope may never become reality. I record it merely to show how very far I have travelled since those early days just after losing a limb.
In this narrative, in addition to giving my experiences, I have tried to show how logical and credible, in the circumstances, has been my gradual arrival at my present position of quite honestly and candidly liking to be as l am. I hope I have succeeded if only in the smallest way. My dear husband has been my teacher in this respect, and I can never be too deeply thankful for the strange cause that really brought him, his love and his appreciation, into my life.