He lifted the edge of my chemise. Cold, bare fingers pried apart the lips and probed deep inside.
Relying on the digits, rather than his eyes, he proceeded to examine every nook and cranny of my nether regions.
“Bear down,” he said tersely.
I looked up at the ceiling overhead rather than make eye contact with him. The whole process was terribly humiliating. A strange man’s hand doing things that brought back memories of prior lovers, long gone. These hands, however, were not loving or gentle.
Easier said than done. I felt like I needed to break wind, but there was a doctor’s face down there…
His fingers dug deep and high again, painfully this time, pressing toward my back.
The fingers were slowly withdrawn. In their place a cold, rigid metallic device was inserted and I felt myself pried open, wide. The instrument was shifted around. Finally, the prying sensation relaxed only to be traded for a sharp pinch that made me jump involuntarily.
A fullness then as something else was inserted. Hard. Metal. But this was smooth, almost pleasant, and weighty. It was shoved higher inside with fingers and held there with constant pressure for a minute or two.
“That is fine.” He stood up. His shirtsleeves were rolled above his elbows, leaving his hairy forearms exposed. “You may dress now.” He indicated the screen behind me.
I rose up, gingerly, gauging the fullness still left in place as it shifted inside. Shame hung in the air between us.
Wouldn’t it slide out?
I kept my thighs closed tightly as I walked to the corner. My dress hung across the back of the chair, with the crinoline and petty coats piled in the floor. How many other women had stood in this room, violated and yet hopeful of a cure?
I could hear him bustling about, instruments tossed into a pail, washing his hands in the basin, papers rustling, an uneasy cough.
Mrs. Finuiel had patted me on the hand as she exited the carriage at the house for the christening luncheon. “You should go see Dr. Peevy, my dear. He helped me with my…. issues.” She had given me a knowing wink.
And here I was.
Reasonably confident by now that the pessary would not escape its new home, I stepped out.
He was shrugging back into his waistcoat, his sleeves now rolled down and secured about his wrists.
“This should help to move your uterus back into place. The exam I just performed and the pessary itself can cause an… er… an hysteria of sorts. If you find yourself craving some uh…. shall we say excessive stimulation, please return post haste. Otherwise I will plan to see you back in two weeks and we will make sure this is fitted to the right size.”
He pushed the wire framed lenses that framed his gray eyes further back up his nose then ran his hand through his longish gray hair as he showed me the door.
The walk down the dusty steps to the street and the carriage waiting below was brief but I could feel the object inside of me shift with every movement, acutely aware of it even as I sat down on the leather seat.
Does one get used to this presence with time, then?
I was not so sure.