A Janus Caning Story. More stories are available here.

Sweet Sabbath

Story from Janus 75.

Sweet Sabbath
by John Undermeyer

IT WAS AN ART they had taken years to perfect. Now they practised it one Sunday in each month, beginning around late afternoon. From then, deep into the night, they relished the joy of it. They called it Sweet Sabbath.

On the day, they locked up their home. It would stay that way until Monday’s dawn. Gate-bolts slid to electronically, house-blinds were dropped, telephones set to tape-record, the bedroom flooded with light.

Early in the afternoon she slipped into a bikini: that was part of the game. Then — at an agreed signal — she unclipped the top and let it fall to the carpet. Pushing the bottom part downwards with both thumbs she stepped daintily free of it and left it lying. She released mother-of-pearl combs from her temples and a mountain of chestnut hair cascaded over her shoulders, the sweet-scented ends lightly brushing the deeply-inclining small of her back.

She was naked woman in glory, the perfect example of how plenty of money, plus a life of fresh-air and exercise, can produce a lovely woman oozing with wholesome energy and sensual allure. Almost 30, she still looked in her early twenties, helped no doubt by the disciplines imposed by her yoga master.

She heard a cane slamming into the bolster of their bed. Soon she would be tucked into that bolster, hugging it, ramming her knees against it, digging it with her chin, working her nails into the ends. God, she would hurt, but then the sweetness would begin to course through her body, flowing in her blood, running to the extremities, igniting even her mind.

Afterwards he would want her, roused by the caning and hungry to have her in his arms. She would give herself to him through her hurting because that was the way she knew, the way he wanted, the way that brought total consummation to them both.

There had been an understanding between them even before they married, expressed not so much in words (although they had talked about it) but in feelings and behaviour. In everything else he humoured her but in this one thing she submitted willingly and completely. Because — she reasoned — everything had a price and this was how she paid for the way she lived, enjoying all that his money could buy.

Today she found no love in herself for him — at least, not yet. It would come, she knew from experience, but now she felt proud, disdainful, haughty. She came to the bedroom tossing her head, streaking open fingers (they were incredibly long and delicate and could express devastatingly inviting gestures) through her hair to sweep it back off her pale face. She had taken the staircase fast, and this, combined with what she knew lay ahead, made her breath deep and tremulous.

She refused to look at him but walked to the end of their bed and stood soldier-like, arms to her sides. Her breasts could have been Renaissance marble, they looked so firm and opalescent. Her tummy was adolescent-flat, her waist yoga-trim, her legs taken from a Degas ballet-girl.

She stood on tip-toe and raised her arms skyward, stretching to show him how her skin glowed, her eyes shone and the lights glinted in her hair. Then she lowered herself slowly and deliberately on to their mattress. He pointed the cane at the bolster. She reached out for it and raised her narrow hips to tuck the roll of kapok beneath them. That left her delicate, downy and unblemished bottom-cheeks higher than the rest of her body, which lay draped like white silk on either side.

There — she seemed to be saying to him — that’s a performance for you. You want to cane me? See if I care. See how unmoved I can be by your stern manner, your broad, bronzed arms, even your honey-coloured stick brandished so like a conductor’s baton.

He growled in his throat: there was a price for this insolence. She dared to flout her courage before him, challenge his role as master? No matter. Out of the strong came forth sweetness. She looked sweeter than honey, he felt stronger than a lion. ‘You are in a state to be loved?’ he asked her, hiding the tiny sense of pique, making sure she could not hear it. ‘You have taken your pill when you should: there is no reason for me not to go ahead?’

‘None whatsoever,’ she replied in taunting tones, distant, chilly, with a hint of contempt just audible in her cultured voice. It was as though someone else, not herself lay prone on the bed, waiting to undergo this trial. Except that it was not to be a trial: to her it was a practice, a ritual, a command performance in which she was the translucent star.

This was theatre, and her movements, her performance, were all. He would not miss a single motion of her body, purse of her lips, spread and gesture of her hands, curl and grimace of her mouth, blink and glare in her eyes. He needed to see proof that she hurt, she must demonstrate how she suffered as his cane fell. The show was vital to him and he would cane for as long as she could sustain the act.

She wanted to arouse him, to show how — gradually, gracefully — he could melt her sugar and raise it to boiling-point in her body She responded vividly to his first stroke which he laid at the very high-point of her buttocks. It was a sharp and unexpected blow and she spread-eagled herself, her limbs expanding like a four-pointed star, toes turning inwards, legs snapping together again, hands electrified for a second then re-grasping the bolster. Look at me — she seemed to be telling him — see how my body adores you, drink in my softly-moulded rear-parts as they spasm and writhe, for they were made to be whipped.

He wanted her to be demonstrative, to try to dodge his blows, for then he had an excuse to cane her harder. Her hips bucked to one side, jibbing at his carefully aimed stroke. He had hit hard; her cheeks squeezed bitterly, her muscles drawing them both together and sucking them in tightly, pulling at her tummy muscles at the same time. This helped kill the ache, but it also helped her absorb the fire, drive it inwards deep inside her body and there convert it to hot, longing sweetness. She could do it; over the years she had learned how to make the syrup run.

Her head turned angrily and she caught his eyes with her own. Fury made them lasers but he stared her down. Again she challenged his ardour, tossing her hair, curling her lip, raising her upper body as he drove down his stick. Movements like these transformed his ire to a heavenly distillation, encouraging him to cane harder.

He flicked his wrist powerfully an instant before the stick struck her beautiful buttocks. When she felt the stronger strokes she cried out, but mingled a taunting, teasing sound into the cries of pain. Hidden in the protest was a signal of assent: you may do this to me; you may hurt; you may exhibit your mastery And she must convert the sting his wand imparted into honey-sweet desire, distil liquid silver from his strokes.

Imagination would aid the transmutation. She saw herself as a giant-sized snake, all coils and curls, trapped in a tree-fork at the mercy of a mongoose, its sworn enemy, as the furry creature barked and bit at the helpless reptile. The bite of the cane elicited the jerk of the body in instant reply.

The two perfectly symmetrical, white and dimpled segments of her bottom rose up from the bolster then fell flat again. They were created for punishment. What other part of her could envelop his springy wood, indent to its blows, judder as he struck, then clench and squeeze to absorb the fire-brand effect?

One of his special pleasures was to see her thighs open. The game at this point was a kind of hide-and-seek; she knew what part of her he wanted to see — what special area his eyes would seek. She rolled sideways as her legs opened to hide herself from him. Denying him her treasure made him all the keener to seek it and his cane reflected the need by falling harder.

She twisted, turned, bared her teeth, flashed her eyes, stretched out ten pencil-slim fingers each with a crimson-painted nail. Move, move, move, his mind silently instructed her: I have not yet seen that part of you which it is my right, as your husband, to see.

She became a small sun-lizard which, knowing itself in peril, whipped its body this way and that, darting from stone to stone, nervous and fearful, seeking succour under a rock. But she could not find succour: where could she hide but under the crisp white sheets, and she knew better than to attempt that.

Neon flashed in her mind. She clenched the bolster in both hands, tears making the cotton damp and clingy. Lancing pains shot from her buttocks down through her thighs and calves to the soles of her pretty feet, making them curl and her toes spread.

She wanted to go on until she could transmute the pain no longer and she could tell that that point was coming. She had given a consummate performance. Her legs had splayed and she had brought them tightly together again. Her thighs had gaped and she had squeezed them shut. Her bottom had seethed and she had felt the energy inside rise and bubble like boiling milk. Her small fists had drummed on the bedclothes, her ankles reflecting the action as shock tingled in her feet, and her head had twisted and turned from side to side, making deep folds in her thick chestnut hair, strands of which were stuck by tears to her alabaster cheeks.

Her azure eyes had flashed hate at him, her mouth curled in a pain which was mingled with contempt. She had sunk her teeth into the bolster to smother her cries and yelps which otherwise would have rent the air. And slowly, inexorably, the pain had, like a Canaan miracle, transformed itself into sugary sweetness and was seething through her fibres in an unquenchable stream of energy.

Suddenly she could act no longer. She flung herself off the bolster, wriggling frantically up the bedclothes towards the top of the bed, kicking her legs, grasping the sheet, facing him, eyes brimming and — at the same time — pleading: ‘Enough dearest, let it be, no more, no more!’ The honeycomb was full of vital syrups and running inside her.

His blood raced like wild waters as she turned over on to her back and lay open before him, offering herself totally. He dropped the cane; punishment was over. But her performance was not over — they both knew that. She must keep moving; it was part of the agreement, and it would have been impossible for her to be still: now was the time to move into her most persuasive role.

What a moment or two before had been helpless spasms must slow and become controlled again, changing without any perceivable interval into sensuous, even voluptuous beckonings. The turbulence inside her must be made evident in her rising and stretching to raise his ardour higher. Where before she tossed and turned to escape his whipping, now she must switch to willing, welcoming motions designed to draw him down into her embraces.

This was the hardest part of all: to wrestle against the hurt, to sense the sugar-sweet feeling and allow desire to take its course. She worked to forget the pain and know only the urgency of passion, and the effort gradually but inevitably suffused her body with champagne.

What in the beginning had been agonised twisting under his discipline became a delightful ferment under his strong, tanned and embracing body. Precious juices, freed by their exercises, cascaded through them both. His body effervesced in response to her caresses and encouragement, her glass was filled and cohesion between them became complete. Their bodies and minds would continue to brim over for hours. He dimmed the lights to complete blackness. They closed their eyes and together dissolved into the dark. Sweet Sabbath had begun.

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A Janus Spanking Story from Janus 90. More stories can be found here.

by Andrew Grantham

Would there be a future with Jeremy? Would he still want her after her lapse?

Titian-haired Rachel threw herself on the bed once Jeremy had gone down the stairs. She was naked apart from her black French knickers which were somewhat ignominiously around her ankles.

The exuberantly curved 25-year-old lay with her pear-shaped breasts squashed into the duvet. Her bottom was in a right state. The lovely mounds were an angry scarlet all over their full and rounded circumference.

The nubile, green-eyed trainee accountant had expected some kind of reaction when stockbroker Jeremy found out that she had been ‘having it off’ with the plumber who had repaired the central heating. His reaction had, however, taken the redhead completely by surprise.

Rachel had, naturally, expressed her sorrow over the incident. Jeremy had stood over her, tall, authoritative and angry as she had cowered in a chair. He had sarcastically suggested that the emotion she felt was merely regret over her tactical error of being caught out, rather than bitter sadness at having violated the trust he had placed in her.

Rachel’s pain-racked body shook as she sobbed her heart out. In her torment, she still wondered if Jeremy’s reaction would have been quite the same had her ‘one-off’ lover been a professional person like themselves and not a tradesman. Very class-conscious was polo-playing Jeremy.

One manicured, sculptured hand slowly made its way to her glowing bottom. Rachel could hardly bear to touch the scorching flesh. She had never realised that the back of a hairbrush could hurt so much.

During her ‘inquisition’, Jeremy had asked her if she had enjoyed ‘shagging the plumber’, as he so crudely termed her indiscretion. Rachel had lied and said ‘No.’ He had asked her again during the punishment and she had repeated the lie. Then the speed and the force of the hairbrush smacks on her bare bottom had increased to a frenzied tattoo. She now reflected that Jeremy couldn’t possibly have been expected to believe her answer. The faster and fiercer the stiff back of the brush had fallen, the more that point had been driven home to her.

‘He wasn’t as good as you – honestly!’ Rachel had screeched, her long, elegant legs kicking about but restrained to a degree by the French knickers which had been roughly dragged down when Jeremy had got her over his knees.

That urgent remark had been a fib, too. The young plumber had been every bit as good in bed as Jeremy was – no better, but certainly just as good. And excitingly different. Not as tenderly sensual, but more vigorous, more urgent…

Jeremy could only match that rhythm with the hairbrush!

Would the dreadful sting ever go away? Her bottom throbbed incessantly. Jeremy had certainly given her something to remember. Whenever she happened to recall the illicit lovemaking with the curly-haired, tattooed plumber who was barely out of his apprenticeship – as she was bound to do in idle moments – then any pleasurable recollections of the intimacy would be completely obliterated by the memory of this burning punishment. She would have to remember exactly what Jeremy had done to her superbly-rounded, eye-catching bottom. Upon which the randy youngster had especially complimented her!

That same bottom was now a hot globe. If she ever did dare to sleep with someone other than Jeremy in the future, she would make sure that he could not possibly find out about it. Rachel could not go through this fiery stinging torture ever again.

Would there be a future with Jeremy, though? Would he still want her after her ‘lapse’? Hell, she hoped so. Apart from thinking that she did actually love him, his high income kept her in the luxury she enjoyed. Actually, there was no need for her to go out to work herself, but she wanted to qualify as an accountant. Jeremy wished her to have letters after her name as well.

Her ‘handsome hunk’ as she affectionately called him had really hurt her, so he must have been terribly upset over what she had done.

Should he have been, though? It wasn’t as if they were actually married. She didn’t have his ring on her finger. Furthermore, Rachel knew that Jeremy had ‘had it off’ the previous year in Barbados with that sun-kissed blonde from California. She hadn’t said anything about that!

She hadn’t said anything because, at that same time, she had been clasped in the arms of a very well-endowed Mexican waiter! Up to then she had only fantasised about ‘a bit of rough’, but now…

The pretty face, distorted with crying, was raised up from the damp patch on the duvet. The agony in her emblazoned rear was starting to ebb slightly, but she knew it would be some time before she would be able to sit down.

Tentatively, Rachel moved her shapely limbs. She winced at the pull of taut muscles upon the well-spanked flesh of her tenderised behind. It was a behind which Jeremy had always admired. All her past boyfriends had liked it too, but only he had ever made her feel that her bottom was her sexiest part of all. And how!

The experience of being punished for her unfaithfulness had been absolutely awful. Gulping for breath, Rachel had struggled with the pain. It had become so acute, however, coursing through every nerve and fibre of her body, that she had begun to cry out. Surely her yelps and squeals had been heard by the people in the flat below, for their lights were on. Still, they hadn’t come up to ring the bell and see if she was all right, thank God.

Rachel made to move some more. The twinges shooting through her made her shake her head from side to side, wincing and gasping, and her curls tumbled over her wet, flushed face in a red silken stream.

That hairbrush was going to have to go. Whenever she saw it on the dressing-table in future, Rachel knew she would flinch away from it as if it were a pair of thumbscrews or something just as horrible. But what if she had to go? Maybe the ordeal with the brush was only a part of her punishment for allowing that bloke the temporary freedom of her body. What if Jeremy actually chucked her out? It didn’t bear thinking about. Rachel loved the lifestyle that her friend Jennifer enviously said she had ‘lucked into’.

She would have to make herself get up and go downstairs and beg forgiveness from her ‘real’ lover. Ooch! Not just yet, though!

How many times had she cried out, ‘I’m sorry! I’m sorry!’ as that hard smooth oval had smacked into her buttocks? Had Jeremy believed her?

Now that he had inflicted agony upon her bottom which he so often called ‘delicious’, had he acquired the taste for it? And between them, would she ever live it down?

Suddenly, Rachel felt a hand running caressively over her still smarting, throbbing derriere. She propped herself up on her elbow and turned her head. Rachel hadn’t heard Jeremy coming up the stairs and re-entering their bedroom.

He sat on the edge of the bed and his stroking hand began to apply soothing cold cream to her twin hummocks. It reduced the pain immediately.

Rachel showed her live-in lover a flushed, tearful and repentant face. He gave her a half-smile and one eye closed in a wink.

She turned her head back again and buried her face in the damp duvet once more, her prone body relaxing on the crumpled cover. Jeremy could not see the sly smile on her face as she parted her thighs in case he wanted his fingers to do anything else.

Rachel, sighing now, knew that all was forgiven.

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Return to Balcombe Manor

A Caning Story from Janus 49. More stories can be found here.

Return To Balcombe Manor

R.T.Mason’s sequel to ‘Behind High Walls’, Janus 44 & 45.

‘HELLO Annabel!’

The voice on the phone was instantly recognisable. Mrs Blackett. Annabel Filton felt an alarmed prickling of her skin. Mrs Blackett… of Balcombe Manor.

‘This is Sylvia Blackett, Annabel. Could I speak to your husband, please?’

Yes, the deep, smoothly modulated tones were unmistakable. How could Annabel ever forget. Stand please, Annabel. Remove your skirt and then lower your knickers. Gillman will give you… Looking back it all seemed like a dream: that timeless life behind the high enclosing walls, at times a dreamlike tranquillity but at short intervals the tranquillity abruptly broken by the attentions of Mr Gillman or any one of those visiting gentlemen – or by Mrs Blackett herself. All wielding the cane. All for the purpose of inculcating submissiveness and femininity.

It was all six months ago now. Six months since Annabel had finished the course and been returned to home and husband. But it all remained crystal-bright in her mind. Annabel had learned to be submissive, the course was valuable, she knew that; Annabel didn’t want to be one of those dreadful modern young women which you very easily became if traditional feminine values had not been taught to you. At the same time part of Annabel couldn’t help remaining simply scared of the thought of Mrs Blackett. The phone call caused her heart to thump. Why did Mrs Blackett want to speak to Roger?

‘Don’t worry that pretty head about it,’ he smiled when somewhat later Annabel took him his pre-dinner drink. Before presenting the glass Annabel gave a little curtsey, something she had got in the habit of doing since returning from Balcombe Manor. She wouldn’t do it if there were guests present, it was simply a little personal thing between them, a private acknowledgement of her submissiveness to her husband’s authority. Needless to say the curtsey came from Mrs Blackett’s training.

‘She merely wants to have a chat so I’ve agreed to see her tomorrow, in town. But nothing at all for you to worry about, Anna darling.’

Roger Filton stroked his wife’s thick, lustrous chestnut hair. She had sat down on the floor at his feet, her beautiful head on his knee. Annabel was all a man could possibly wish for, beautiful and with a stunning long-limbed body, intelligent and educated – at least as far as a young woman needed to be educated. And ever since her eight weeks at Balcombe Manor she had been quite marvellously submissive, anticipating her husband’s every wish, eager to respond to his merest whim.

Since her return Roger had been caning her. Not caning in anger, more a reinforcement of their new and deeper relationship based on Annabel’s fully submissive role. Annabel, at 22, was considerably younger than Roger and so the caning was almost like a parental action, reminding her of that role she had learnt so well at Balcombe Manor. In her stay there Annabel had become fully conditioned to the cane, receiving it regularly and frequently, and Roger’s caning her was simply a continuation of this. Mrs Blackett had stressed that he should continue it – three times a week at least, she had counselled. That was what Roger Filton did, with Annabel accepting it without protest.

Roger continued to stroke the silky head, his thoughts now on her equally silky full-cheeked bottom. He hadn’t caned her yesterday and so therefore…

‘After dinner, Anna,’ he murmured softly. ‘I think we should…’

Annabel knew immediately what Roger meant. She squeezed his knee. Her feelings towards the cane were still slightly ambivalent although she knew they shouldn’t be. She should accept it wholeheartedly – but there was still a little part of her which didn’t, which hated that sharply stinging pain. Of course having her husband do it was infinitely preferable to having to submit to Mr Gillman or one of those other gentlemen – or to Mrs Blackett. The thought of that sent a little shiver through her. Why had Mrs Blackett called?

After dinner, while Mrs Cooper the housekeeper began clearing away, Annabel and Roger went upstairs. Annabel was wearing a tight-skirted green gown and underneath this a waist corset which gripped her waist but left the ripe cheeks of her bottom unconstrained. Under the taut green silk the firm globes oscillated tremulously as Annabel ascended the stairs. Roger, behind her, observed the show with pleasure – but at the same time he was also thinking about Mrs Blackett.

In the bedroom the gown was unzipped and stepped out of; then Annabel’s beige-coloured silk slip was similarly removed. Her stunning body, slim-waisted but generously endowed above and below, seductively displayed in matching beige bra and French knickers. Smiling at her husband Annabel slipped off the knickers to reveal the ripe spheres of her hindquarters framed by the waist corset, its suspender straps, and down below by the silk stocking tops.

Smiling too, but with his excitement rising, Roger Filton drew Annabel to him. One hand gently fondled the ripe globes.

‘Yes, it’s been two days since we’ve attended to it. What would Mrs Blackett say?’

It was not a remark calculated to relax Annabel and he felt her body tense. Roger had a pretty good idea how his young wife felt about the proprietress of Balcombe Manor: she would say the things she had been taught to say about Mrs Blackett being a wonderful woman but at the same time he knew Annabel was scared of her. Not that that was such a bad thing, it didn’t hurt a young woman to have her little fears.

Roger continued to toy with Annabel’s bottom. He knew what her real fear was: that she might be sent to Balcombe Manor for a follow-up course. Young wives were sent back, if at times it was felt they needed a little refresher. Roger patted the ripe cheeks. He hadn’t told Annabel but Sylvia Blackett had also phoned him at the office a week ago, wanting to know how Annabel was getting on. Very well, Roger had told her; but he had also mentioned in conversation that he was shortly going to have to spend two weeks in the U.S. on business.

Yes, although he had denied it to Annabel Roger Filton could make a reasonable guess as to what Sylvia Blackett might suggest tomorrow.

Roger gave his wife’s rear a proprietorial slap, then turned her towards the bed. Obediently she got down, lying herself across the bed with her bottom over the edge and her silk-stockinged legs stretched out straight. Face in the cool bedcover, Annabel waited meekly for the sting of the cane. Always when Roger caned her she had vivid memories of Balcombe Manor. Being caned by the dreadful Gillman or by Mrs Blackett or one of the others. Tonight, as the first stroke splatted into Annabel’s quivering globes, the memories were that much stronger, more immediate. Almost as if she were back there.

Afterwards, after Annabel had received her customary six, Annabel and Roger made love, as they usually did after a caning. For both it was an exceptionally passionate and intense coming together. The thoughts which drove them up to that peak of pleasure were largely similar, the only difference being that Annabel’s arousal was based primarily on a sense of sharp apprehension.

* * *

‘A short refresher is always an excellent idea, and after six months it can be especially effective.’

Sylvia Blackett, over coffee in a smart little restaurant in Chelsea, did her best to keep the eagerness out of her voice. She had no wish to appear over-enthusiastic but she did very much want Annabel bad if only for a short visit.

‘And if as you say, Mr Filton, you have to go off on business for two weeks it would seem to be highly convenient. You weren’t planning to take Annabel with you?’

‘No, I’m afraid it’s not possible; no, she will be staying here.’

‘In that case I would think it an excellent arrangement all round.’ Sylvia Blackett smiled brightly. ‘She would otherwise I suppose be at a bit of a loose end and… well, loose ends are never a good thing, are they?’

Sylvia Blackett expanded on the subject of loose ends. They were always a bad idea when time could be put to good use. They were especially bad for a young and very attractive woman. Who knew what she could get up to in her idle days and husbandless nights? (Mrs Blackett did not explicitly refer to the husbandless nights but the implication was clear.) Yes, a young woman, even though she had been trained at Balcombe Manor, was still a weak creature. One such as Annabel Filton was a highly desirable weak creature.

Roger Filton did not need a lot of persuading along these lines. Annabel was highly desirable, with a highly desirable body. She was also now marvellously submissive – but while he, her husband, was not there for Annabel to be submissive to… could she not possibly be persuaded to submit to someone else?

‘Two weeks’ refresher at this point would ideal,’ repeated Mrs Blackett.

Sylvia Blackett had her own reasons for getting Annabel back for another two weeks. The fee of course was a factor – and Roger Filton being a rich man would have no qualms there; and also she was going to have a vacancy. But over and above all this was the fact that Sylvia Blackett had received a number of inquiries from her gentlemen visitors, those gentlemen who came down to Balcombe Manor to assist with the training of the pupils.

These gentlemen paid very well indeed for this privilege. Annabel Filton, it seemed, had marvellously impressed more than one. Naturally Mrs Blackett did not mention any of this to her host.

‘I’m not sure Annabel would exactly welcome another session.’ Roger Filton was studying his coffee cup thoughtfully. ‘I rather think Annabel finds that while it was a very rewarding experience she is very pleased to have it behind her, if you see what I mean.’

Sylvia Blackett gave one of her attractive throaty laughs. ‘I have found, Mr Filton, that what young women of Annabel’s age think is rarely a guide to what is best. Either for themselves or anyone else.’

Roger looked up and smiled. He was not about to argue. Having Annabel under Mrs Blackett’s sharp eye would not be at all a bad thing. Of course Annabel would be on the receiving end of the cane again, of that he had no doubt – from Mrs Blackett and whoever else she had assisting her in such matters. But Roger Filton did not find that at all unacceptable. He in fact rather liked the thought of Annabel getting it from Mrs Blackett – and he could recall feeling considerable excitement on watching her take the cane from that somewhat anonymous manservant.

Roger drank the remainder of his coffee. Yes, he was quite happy with the proposal. ‘Another stiff fee, I suppose,’ he grimaced jocularly. ‘But I mustn’t complain. I know she’ll be in safe hands and won’t be gadding about.’

‘She certainly won’t be doing that,’ agreed Sylvia Blackett.

Roger inquired if his guest would like Annabel for the full two weeks. Eyes bright, that lady said she would. And so it was decided. They rose to leave.

‘All I have to do now,’ said Roger Filton wryly, ‘is inform my dear wife. I fear she will not be best pleased.’

Sylvia Blackett produced her little laugh again. ‘Oh, I’m sure, my dear Mr Filton, you will have no trouble with that. And in any case we are talking of something which is of immense benefit to a young woman. I say that without need of false modesty. Although naturally it is not intended to be a holiday exactly.’

Naturally not.

Back at Balcombe Manor, following this so successful meeting with Roger Filton, Sylvia Blackett had urgent phone calls to make. To several gentlemen who would be quite on tenterhooks. She had told a number of them that while she could not promise anything she would do her best. ‘Yes, I know how you feel, and I will let you know as soon as I can.’ Now, marvellously, Sylvia was going to be able to say yes, because Mr Filton was such a sensible gentleman.

It was so nice when, as it were, you could kill two birds with one stone and in the process make everyone happy. Everyone that was except perhaps one person. And as for that one person, a little unhappiness would no doubt be very good for her. Very salutary.

Sylvia looked in her phone book. Edward Craske, she thought, she would call him first. Edward certainly had been one of the most pressing regarding Annabel and also he was a gentleman well able to pay for his pleasures. Edward, she recalled, had been the first with Annabel, apart from herself and Gillman. He had been so enchanted that he had firmly demanded a second and then a third session. She had agreed to these and he would have had more if Sylvia Blackett had been agreeable but one could not allow people to go overboard. Restraint was always necessary. Now however Edward Craske could enjoy Annabel again – but naturally it would cost him.

Mr Craske was shortly overjoyed to hear of his great good fortune, and did not bat an eyelid when Sylvia Blackett mentioned a very considerable sum. All he wanted to know was ‘When?’ Mrs Blackett said that Annabel would be arriving on Sunday and so… after a pause for effect she told Mr Craske that as he was a very special friend he might visit on Monday afternoon.

After this there was Mr Boulton, another very keen gentleman. And Gerald Stockton. Also one or two more. Annabel Filton was going to have an extremely busy two weeks. For there was also of course James Gillman.

‘A little surprise for you, James,’ Sylvia Blackett smiled when Gillman brought in her pre-dinner sherry. ‘And I would imagine a pleasant one. A young lady who I believe was rather a favourite of yours is to return, for a short refresher period.’

James Gillman naturally could not betray any emotion, that was not the way for a properly trained English manservant. ‘Yes, Madam?’ he queried politely.

‘Mrs Filton, James. Am I correct in thinking you find her quite attractive?’

There was a flicker of the eyelids: even James Gillman’s solid self-control could not prevent that. He had indeed spent some memorable moments dealing with that young lady’s exquisite bottom. The eye flicker was all, though; he kept his voice cool and neutral.

‘Yes, Madam. Mrs Filton is a most attractive young lady as you say.’

Sylvia Blackett gave a mocking laugh. ‘On Sunday, James. I expect you to have everything ready.’

* * *

ROGER Filton kept the news until after dinner, considering that it was not worth spoiling Annabel’s meal – and indeed it could well spoil his own appetite if she was very upset. He had no doubt Annabel would be extremely upset.

Annabel had naturally been desperate to ask about her husband’s meeting with Mrs Blackett ever since he got home but she knew Roger would tell her when he was ready. She tried to put it out of her mind during dinner and when she was unable to do this Annabel told herself that it couldn’t have been anything important, not anything affecting her. Because what could there be?

After the meal they retired to the drawing room, Roger to his favourite armchair and Annabel going to curl up on the floor at his side, her head on his knee, in what Mrs Blackett called the ‘submissive slave position’. Roger began stroking his wife’s lustrous head. He could feel his pulse rate picking up, knowing the effect his words were bound to have. But there was no way of softening the shock.

‘I had a pleasant half hour with Mrs Blackett,’ he began. ‘She looked very well and of course she asked after you.’

Annabel waited, her body taut as a bow string.

‘And… we spoke about my visit to the States.’

All at once Annabel knew. Either it was Roger’s voice or maybe simply pure intuition. But she knew.

‘No,’ she whispered.

Roger slid his fingers over the glossy head. ‘A refresher course after something like six months can be extremely rewarding. Mrs Blackett was quite emphatic about that.’

‘NO!’ The word forced itself out from somewhere deep inside Annabel. ‘No.. No.. NO!’

Now it was said Roger felt a wave of relief. There was naturally no way he could change his decision.

‘Mrs Blackett has kindly offered a place at this extremely short notice, so we should be very grateful, Anna darling. And you know how valuable your other stay proved to be.’

The glossy head and the stunning body began a rhythmic movement. Annabel was silently sobbing. It was nothing less than her worst nightmare come true. Yes, she had been prepared to believe it was valuable, that the two months at Balcombe Manor had taught her to be a traditional, submissive young woman and that was good. Annabel believed that. But to have to go back, to go through it all again…

Through her sobs Annabel heard Roger say that she would be going for the whole of the two-week period; so she would be starting on Sunday. That was only two days away. She began mindlessly shaking her head. No, it couldn’t be true. It couldn’t.

* * *

‘HELLO Annabel.’

Annabel struggled against the feeling that she was going to faint. Her head was spinning, her heart racing, her knees felt like jelly. Somehow she got a grip on herself and managed some sort of answer to Mrs Blackett.

Somehow also Annabel found herself producing a shaky curtsey to the older woman as part of her mind, through all that spinning, remembered what was required.

It was all exactly as before, standing here in Mrs Blackett’s reception room in front of that highly polished rosewood desk, with Mrs Blackett’s deep, dark, almost hypnotic eyes smiling up at her. Annabel had a frantic urge to run – except that she sensed her legs were incapable of carrying her. And in any case she could never dare to disobey Mrs Blackett and clearly, turning and bolting for the door would come in that category. It would be complete loss of self-control and Annabel knew for that her knickers would be off and she would be offering up her bottom for the cane in no time flat.

Yes, it was all the same – except that the year had moved round a little. When Annabel had left it had been September, with roses still blooming but the leaves beginning to turn. Now it was early spring. March, and all along the drive, as Annabel arrived in the back seat of that same glossy black limousine, there were clumps of early daffodils. Outside the seasons had moved on but in here, in Mrs Blackett’s reception room, all was as before. The new pupil, or more correctly the returned old one, was even wearing the same outfit as before, as could be seen once Bridget, the maid, had silently taken Annabel’s fur coat.

Sylvia Blackett had specified it – told Roger that she would like Annabel to wear the same as before. And so young Mrs Filton was wearing it: she had no choice in the matter. Her restrained, smartly-tailored navy blue suit with matching high-heeled pumps. And underneath Annabel was tight-laced: the cream-coloured Edwardian control corset which Mrs Blackett had chosen in Annabel’s first week at Balcombe Manor. Annabel did not need to be told about that – for not to be tight-laced at Balcombe Manor would surely be asking for the cane. At home she had been wearing a tight-laced corset part of the time, mostly when she changed in the afternoon prior to Roger coming home. But inside the secluding walls of Balcombe Manor knew there would be tight-laced constraint on her full, ripe flesh from morning until bedtime.

Sylvia Blackett rose and led her pupil over to the two wing chairs by the window. Annabel was told she could sit – so that at least there was not now the fear that her legs were going to collapse under her. Mrs Blackett sat in the other chair.

‘How lovely to have you here again, Annabel. I am quite sure you will have another rewarding stay. This time of course you will know our routines so we will be able to go straight to work. I’ll take your wristwatch, my dear; as you know you will not need that. And your handbag as well. Personal items can merely distract a young woman.’ Sylvia Blackett smiled. ‘All she needs is her Record Book.’

As Annabel removed her wrist-watch and obediently handed over it with her handbag Mrs Blackett had produced a familiar item: a maroon leather-covered notebook inscribed in gold. Annabel suppressed a shudder as she took it.

‘Yes, my dear, our so reliable Gillman had it carefully filed away. All your demerits from your first stay still recorded. All your canings. And still plenty of room for the coming two weeks. Tell me, Annabel, are you dressed correctly? I refer of course to being tight-laced.’

Annabel mumbled a ‘Yes, Mrs Blackett.’

‘Excellent; so we can have no quarrel over that, can we? But I think wearing your watch was lax of you, knowing that it would not be allowed. Write four demerits in your book for that, Annabel. Then stand up and remove your suit.’

Annabel tried to moisten a bone-dry mouth. It was to be the same as before: she was going to be caned right away, Mrs Blackett simply using whatever excuse she could. Sylvia Blackett rose to her feet, to go over to press the buzzer on her desk. Annabel was still sitting.

‘Stand up, Annabel. And remove your suit. You seem to be in a dream. Have you forgotten that at Balcombe Manor we respond immediately?’

Annabel’s green-brown eves registered instant submission. Who could pit their will against Sylvia Blackett? Certainly not 22-year-old Annabel Filton. She got quickly to her feet, and simply started unbuttoning, unzipping. She was vaguely aware of the door opening and a man entering. Her eyes didn’t properly focus but Annabel knew it would be the black-suited figure of Mr Gillman. Mrs Blackett speaking. Again, her words failed to properly register but they did not need to: Mrs Blackett was telling Gillman to get the cane.

Under the blue suit were a white blouse and cream-coloured French knickers (Mrs Blackett did not approve of tight knickers). Annabel glanced at Mrs Blackett but without really needing to: she knew these other two garments had to come off. Annabel placed them with her suit on the chair. Now just the tight-laced basque, its broad silk suspender straps tautly fastening Annabel’s nylons.

Mr Gillman was back now. Yes, with the cane. Annabel stood straight, fighting the urge to cover herself. For the brief corset revealed a lot more than it concealed. It contained only the undersides of her large, firm breasts, pushing them up and leaving the big nipples bare; and down below it stopped short on the upper slopes of her hips. Annabel’s thighs, her loins, the rounded abdomen with its thick chestnut bush, all were quite bare. Mr Gillman was looking, of course, a neutral but frank gaze. But then Mr Gillman had seen it all before. Seen and handled. And also caned, many times – those ripe globes that were equally bare behind.

‘Get over the arm of the chair, Annabel. Let’s see if you can remember your control under the cane. Although as I recall you never did display anything approaching perfect control. But Gillman I am sure is most anxious to see; as I am myself.’

Annabel got down over the arm, her face down in the brocaded seat. She had been back at Balcombe Manor for what could be no more than a few minutes – a quarter of an hour at the most – and here she was stripped down, her bare bottom thrust up over the arm of Mrs Blackett’s chair, about to get Gillman’s cane. In fact it was no more or less than what Annabel had expected.

She heard Mrs Blackett’s voice: ‘Give her a good half-dozen, James.’

Annabel tried to settle herself. A caning from James Gillman was nothing like one from Roger. Gillman would make sure she felt each stroke to the very centre of her being; every nerve, Annabel knew, would be crying out, screaming.

Above her the stern-faced manservant took up position. His face as usual betrayed no emotion but inside it was different – for undoubtedly there was something very special about Mrs Annabel Filton. An extra aura of vulnerability perhaps. The young wives who came to Balcombe Manor were of all types and although they were taught to accept the cane, to accept that it was good for them, very few of them could be said to enjoy it. Most of them, though, did learn to accept it and probably became to a certain extent inured to its pain.

But that hadn’t been the case with Annabel Filton. There had always been the feeling, right up to her last day, that she was truly suffering. Some women of course were more sensitive than others, indeed female bottoms varied enormously in sensitivity, as Mrs Blackett well knew. But that did add an extra spice: that and her undoubted beauty. The soft greeny-brown-eyed beauty of her face and the ripe beauty of her full-fleshed figure. In particular those trembling pale globes of her bottom. Which were now once more waiting, quiveringly, for James Gillman’s cane.

‘Nice and sharp,’ Mrs Blackett instructed.

Yes, James Gillman could do that. Under his mistress’ keen gaze he sliced the cane in, using a full, vigorous sweep of his arm plus an extra wristy bite just before impact. CRACKK!.. A sound like a pistol shot. A sound not uncommonly heard within the walls of Balcombe Manor. Annabel’s bottom went into immediate shocked reaction – jerking, clenching, writhing. With great difficulty she managed to prevent her hands shooting back to grasp the horrendously stricken flesh. For Annabel could retain just enough clarity of mind to know that if she did Mrs Blackett would simply add on more strokes.

Sylvia Blackett frowned at the sight of the desperately churning bottom. It was not at all a good display of self-control – but on the other hand it was equally not unpleasant to watch young Annabel Filton quite clearly in extreme pain.

‘A pathetic display, Annabel. Who would think I had had you here for eight weeks. I can see we are going to have a very busy time with you. Continue, Gillman.’

James Gillman needed no encouragement. His second stroke was delivered with the same energetic arm action as before and was quite as devastating. Face-down in the chair seat, Annabel gasped air into her lungs. The pain was of a wholly different order of magnitude from anything Roger had given her – indeed it seemed much worse than what she could remember from before with Gillman. Every nerve in her body was buzzing, jangling; as for her poor bottom, it felt like it was literally on fire, as if instead of a cane Gillman had applied a red hot poker.

Annabel’s hands clutched frantically at the seat. The pain was blazingly bad, worse now than with just the first one, but this time Annabel did struggle to control her bottom. Otherwise, she knew, Mrs Blackett would order more strokes. You must learn to welcome the cane, Annabel. Those words drilled into her in that earlier eight-week stay rolled around in Annabel’s head. But how could you? Her bottom wasn’t still, there was no way she could keep it still. But perhaps it wasn’t now quite as wild in its writhings.

The caning continued, James Gillman’s black-clothed arm rising and vigorously falling. On to the soft, full-fleshed globes, pale flesh now marked with bright red stripes. At last, when the number of stripes had reached nine, Sylvia Blackett told him to stop. A weeping, trembling Annabel was helped by the manservant to her feet. Sylvia Blackett observed her thoughtfully. There was not much doubt that Annabel Filton had suffered, and was suffering still. Gillman had given her a good welcoming back.

‘That was not impressive, Annabel. Clearly your husband has been somewhat lax with you, you certainly were not that uncontrolled when you left here. You seem to have completely forgotten our golden rule. What is it? Let me hear you say it?’

The words which had been drilled into Annabel came stuttering out.

‘I.. I.. w.. w..welcome.. the cane.. Mrs Blackett.’

‘But are you welcoming it, Annabel? I think not. Clearly we have all that work to do again.’

Annabel was standing abjectly before the two of them, still in only the brief basque and her nylon stockings and blue court shoes. Her face was a river of tears and all her intimate parts were on display for Gillman’s eyes, for Mrs Blackett’s. But at Balcombe Manor you quickly became used to that and in any case it was at that moment of very little consequence compared to what Annabel was feeling in her bottom. Those poor, burning red-raw cheeks were all that mattered.

Mrs Blackett was continuing. ‘For the present Gillman will take you to your room, which is the same one as before. I’m sure you’ll like that. Leave your clothes here, there will be something more suitable in your room.’ She smiled. ‘If you like, Annabel, you can slip your coat back on.’

Yes it was the same pleasant little room where for all those weeks Annabel had slept and had her private study periods. Where one of the maids or Gillman had helped her dress, lacing her corset to breath-gasping tightness; where also and unforgettably Gillman had repeatedly caned Annabel, over the bed, over the chair. Now once more she stood before Mrs Blackett’s manservant in the privacy of this little room. Annabel’s wet eyes met his and she looked away. James Gillman knew, they both knew, that under the black fur coat was only Annabel’s brief basque.

Gillman gave a little cough. ‘Will you please remove the coat, Mrs Filton. I think I should check the effects of the caning.’

The green-brown eyes flickered quickly round the room, as if looking for sanctuary; but at Balcombe Manor there was none. The obsequious but insistent voice again.

‘It is my duty, Mrs Filton, as you know.’

Annabel didn’t know what Gillman’s duty was but she did know she couldn’t disobey him. She opened the coat and took it off. Just the all-revealing basque now, in this cosy little room with the manservant. He sat on a chair and indicated that Annabel was to get over his lap.

The cold and clammy hand roaming. Over ripe cheeks still sharply smarting and smouldering from this man’s cane.

* * *

NO, nothing had changed at Balcombe Manor: nothing that counted at least. There were three other young women in residence; they had different names, they were not the Rosalind and Felicity and Susan of before but in a way they seemed almost the same because they had all been here for over a month and had become fully submissive, institutionalised, totally subject to Mrs Blackett’s will.

There was not now the hot high summer sun of before but it was a mild early spring and the garden was bright with early flowers. Outside the young women wore their fur coats but underneath there were the same light and elegant dresses that Annabel and the others had worn in the summer. And under the elegant dresses the same tight-lacing. Sitting in the summer house in the early afternoon of her first full day, it was all the same. Knowing that shortly there would be a call for her. Annabel had been told by Mrs Blackett at breakfast.

‘Mr Craske, Annabel. You recall Mr Craske? Such a pleasant gentleman and he has been very keen to meet you again.’

Yes, Annabel recalled Mr Craske. She had seen him three times: a smooth-voiced, silver-haired gentleman who each time, like all the other visiting gentlemen Annabel had taken tea or coffee with, had vigorously caned her bare bottom. Mr Craske, though, unlike the others, had spanked Annabel’s bottom as well. The other three young women had begun discussing Mr Craske when Bridget entered the summer house.

‘Your visitor has arrived, Mrs Filton.’

Yes, nothing had changed. When Annabel removed the black fur coat for Mr Craske there was underneath that same rose-pink gown she had worn when first taking tea with him. Edward Craske’s face showed excitement, keen pleasure, as he kissed Annabel’s hand and then her cheek. He stood back to admire her.

‘That same lovely dress, Mrs Filton! And you yourself look more beautiful than ever. Quite enchanting.’

It was not long, though, before Mr Craske wanted the lovely dress taken off. And Annabel knew she must agree. It might not seem right and proper outside – indeed it clearly wouldn’t – but here within the high walls of Balcombe Manor outside observances could be held in abeyance. What a young woman was required to do was all in the interests of teaching control, discipline, submission. Annabel, after a moment’s hesitation, meekly reached behind her to the gown’s long zip.

Underneath she had on black underwear. A black slip which also came off; black silk French knickers which likewise had to be removed. This left a satin basque, black with pink silk ribbon inserts, as brief as her beige one. The basque naturally did not come off: at Balcombe Manor a body-controlling foundation garment was removed only for bathing and bed. But as it was so brief its presence was not likely to bother Mr Craske; indeed it added an extra spice and flavour to the opulent pale flesh of this young woman standing meekly before him.

‘Quite exquisite!’ he breathed.

Very shortly Annabel was over his lap, the ripe bare bottom which yesterday had been caned so traumatically by Gillman now nicely in position across Edward Craske’s thighs. His hand, after a preliminary stroking, began splatting sharply down.

Tea was afterwards brought in by Bridget who was too experienced in the ways of Balcombe Manor to show surprise at the fact that Mrs Filton was in only an all-revealing basque plus stockings. And after tea it was the cane. Exactly as before with Mr Edward Craske. Annabel kneeling on the floor in front of Mrs Blackett’s settee with her arms and face in its seat.

‘Does your husband cane you, my dear?’ inquired Edward Craske between sharply delivered cuts.

Through her distress Annabel produced a gasped answer in the affirmative.

‘He is very sensible. But nonetheless a young wife does need a little outside training. This place of Mrs Blackett’s is so marvellous in that respect.’

Saying that he slashed the cane in once more.

* * *

YES, everything was very much as before, through Annabel was perhaps to shortly notice one change. Before, the visitors had only come every other day at most; now it had to be different, because Sylvia Blackett did not want to disappoint any of her friends. Annabel was bound to be rather more busy than before. Now it was going to be necessary at times for there to be two visitors in one day, one for tea and a second gentleman after dinner.

It was to be a busy and exhausting schedule. But as Mrs Blackett would say, and indeed as she did say to Annabel, it was all very much for her own good.

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Behind High Wall 2

Behind High Walls. Part 2 Janus 45. More stories can be found here and the sequel to this story can be found here.

R.T. Mason’s account of the feminisation of
Annabel Filton, concluded from Janus 44.

DEEP in the leafy country-side, behind its high protective walls, Balcombe Manor basks in the languor of a drowsy English summer afternoon. The sun is shining out of a clear blue sky and it would be too hot if it weren’t for the gentle breeze which is keeping the air pleasantly fresh. The four young women, Mrs Blackett’s pupils, are in the garden for their Tranquillity Period, in the rose garden beneath a magnificent Albertine rose from which pink petals now and then fall gently down.

‘You’ve some petals on your hat,’ Felicity tells Annabel. ‘But leave them; leave them for your husband. His rose adorned with rose petals; isn’t that poetic.’

Annabel smiles. All four young women, as usual, are wearing wide-brimmed hats against the sun and are in calf-length dresses of an elegant bygone age – the middle 1930s perhaps. Under those dresses each girl’s form is tightly held in that ultimate of feminine discipline, a tight-laced corset, a garment which is worn at all times at Balcombe Manor. Annabel’s smile hides a certain nervousness. Today, this afternoon, her husband is visiting her for the first time.

Annabel is excited yet apprehensive. She has been here a week and a week can be a long time, especially a young woman’s first week at Balcombe Manor. As is usually the case it has not been as easy adjustment. Modern girls are simply not taught to accept submission and discipline. In particular they have had no experience of being regularly caned on the bare bottom. So when a young woman in her early twenties is sent to Balcombe Manor there is an ingrained behavioural pattern to be broken.

It is always a shock for the new pupil but Mrs Blackett’s methods are tried and tested and she is also a strong, dominant personality. Mrs Blackett and Balcombe Manor are invariably successful in remoulding a modern young wife into traditional feminine ways, but the remoulding, especially at first, is painful.

‘Lucky you,’ smiles Felicity. ‘You are allowed a whole hour alone with him in your room, you know.’ She giggles, as do the other two, Susan and Rosalind. Annabel flushes slightly.

It will be marvellous to see Roger again, to be with him, but at the same time… Annabel wonders if she dare ask him to take her away – as she has told herself all the past week she will. She suspects that even if she dares it will be quite useless – and could even make matters worse. Mrs Blackett could very well ask Roger if Annabel had made such a plea, and it would be very difficult to lie to Mrs Blackett. And then… it would simply be more of that cane, from Mrs Blackett herself or from Gillman, the head servant.

That dreadful cane. Annabel has had it every day, scything mercilessly into her tender bare nates. Yesterday an eight-stroke session and a six-stroke one. She has tried what the other girls tell her – and indeed what Mrs Blackett tells them – to look at it in a positive way. Every stroke of the cane will make her a better young wife for Roger, so she should welcome each caning. Somehow that doesn’t seem to make it any easier.

The sun continues to shine benignly and the pink rose petals now and then drift silently down. Annabel wonders where Roger is. Is he on the road now, nearing the Manor, or has he perhaps already arrived? There are no clocks or watches for the young women at Balcombe Manor so there is no way of knowing the time. When it is time for Annabel’s visit she will be told; Mr Gillman or one of the maids will come out.

Rosalind takes Annabel’s arm, squeezing gently. ‘I expect you’ll be taken in for a caning by Gillman just before your husband’s visit, Annabel. That is what usually happens on the first visit. It is very good for your discipline to have it right before meeting your husband.’

Annabel looks at Rosalind with alarmed eyes. No one has mentioned this before.

Felicity says, ‘Yes, it’s what happened to me.’

* * *

‘SHE is coming on quite nicely. A little reluctance but that is normal.’ Sylvia Blacken smiles at her guest. ‘Would you like to see her caned?’

Roger Filton, seated with Mrs Blackett in her elegant reception room, feels a rush of blood to his face. Sylvia Blackett’s words are, to say the least, a shock although he has known that his wife would be getting the cane here at Balcombe Manor. He coughs, to cover his disturbance.

‘It is something I recommend. It is very good for a husband to see his wife caned early on in her stay. On a later visit of course he is allowed to cane her himself but on this first occasion that is not a good idea. But I do like him to see her take it from my man Gillman, who is her regular caner.’

Mrs Blackett’s words cause a further increase in Roger Filton’s pulse rate. While he has known in general terms about the caning at this rather confidential but highly recommended country retreat he hasn’t really thought about the details. To learn that Annabel has been receiving the cane from another male is a real shock – but as the thought sinks in he realises it is also exciting. Arousing. His own young Annabel being made to submit to another man in that archetypal manner.

‘Gillman is a very experienced, mature man. He knows how to take her to the very brink of what she can accept, while not going beyond that point.’

Roger Filton takes a sip of the excellent white wine which Sylvia Blackett has poured. It is fortunate they are seated because that feeling of arousal has translated itself into a distinct tightness at the front of his well-cut trousers.

‘Annabel will naturally be unaware that you are watching, my dear Mr Filton.’ Mrs Blackett smiles her charming smile. ‘The wonders of two-way mirrors! It is really only fair to the pupil – if she knows her husband is observing her she might well become embarrassed or upset and find it difficult to submit in the way she has been taught. You do understand.’

Yes, he can understand that all right.

‘After the caning you will be free to visit her privately; just the two of you. An hour is permitted. I must warn you, though, that sometimes at this stage a pupil can get upset. She may plead that she is desperately unhappy and beg to be taken away. That is not uncommon, especially on her first visit, and we simply have to ignore it.’

‘Yes.’ Roger Filton tries to picture the meeting. ‘Yes, of course.’

Sylvia Blackett smooths her hands over her elegant dark green dress. ‘One more thing. Like all my pupils Annabel is tight-laced and is required to remain tight-laced at all times. It is a marvellous disciplinary training for a young woman – equalling the cane in that respect.’ Mrs Blackett coughs delicately. ‘So if you want to undress her I would ask that her basque and stockings be not removed.’

Sylvia Blackett gets to her feet. Roger Filton, red in the face, has to follow suit though in the state he is now in he is not too happy about this. Fortunately his hostess has turned, to take the glasses to a sideboard. Urgently Roger Filton wills his aroused member to subside.

Almost immediately a maid appears, in response to Mrs Blackett’s summons on a bell. The girl is told to tell Gillman that they are ready and to take Mrs Filton into the Blue Room. The maid exits with a curtsey. Mrs Blackett turns, smiling, to Roger Filton who now is breathing a little more easily. They go out, across the hallway and along a corridor. Into a small room which has no furniture apart from a row of four chairs facing a blank wall.

‘Please sit,’ Sylvia Blackett tells her guest. ‘Then I will turn off the light. It makes viewing so much better.’

With the light off Roger can see that the blank wall is in fact transparent and affords a clear view of the adjoining room. It is not a large room; it has pale blue furniture and in the centre is what looks like a vaulting horse. Suddenly the Blue Room is brightly lit as its lights are turned on. The door has opened – and there is Annabel… with a man.

She is looking very lovely in a light green calf-length dress and a matching wide-brimmed hat. The man with Annabel in contrast is in a plain black suit. He is older, in his fifties, with the sober appearance of an English manservant. He speaks to Annabel but his words cannot be heard by the watchers. Annabel turns her big brown eyes on the man – an unhappy apprehensive look.

Pursing her lips she raises her hands to her head, removing her hat and revealing the full glory of her thick and lustrous chestnut hair. The hat is placed on a chair. And then Annabel’s hands, trembling a little it seems, go to the small buttons of her dress. The buttons are unfastened one by one, down to the last which is several inches below Annabel’s waist. The opened pale green dress reveals a contrasting dark blue undergarment. As Annabel slips the dress off her shoulders and then down the blue is seen to be a satin basque, tight-laced at the back. She steps out of the dress. There are French knickers of a slightly lighter blue than the basque, and below the knickers wide dark blue suspender straps fastening flesh-coloured stockings.

Roger Filton’s hands grip the arms of his seat. Annabel has placed her dress on the chair with her hat, and is now slipping down the French knickers. She steps out of them. The basque contains the lower halves of Annabel’s full breasts but not her nipples which protrude pinkly above the dark blue satin. Below, it reaches as far as the upper slopes of her hips, so that the ripe flanks are quite bare. Annabel’s thick russet bush is quite bare too and she makes no attempt to hide it from the servant, standing submissively before him with her hands at her sides.

Roger can hear a pounding in his ears. At a word from the servant Annabel turns to face away from the unseen watchers. They now can see the herring-boned criss-crossed silk lacing extending down Annabel’s back, holding the satin basque in a grip of iron about her. In addition Roger can now also clearly see, for the first time, his wife’s swelling bared buttocks. Those full, pale globes are likewise criss-crossed – with fading dark red stripes, of a cane.

As Roger Filton looks, experiencing an almost overwhelming mixture of shock and desire, the servant moves close and speaks some evidently soft words of reassurance – while his hand reaches out and gently, sensuously, strokes Annabel’s silky soft nates.

This now is almost too much and Sylvia Blackett, sensing that, places a soothing hand on her guest’s arm. ‘He is merely settling her down,’ she tells him quietly. ‘Getting her ready to take the cane.’

And very shortly Annabel has indeed been moved gently forward by that still caressing hand, to the waiting caning horse. To obediently stretch herself over its leather top. Without argument, for after a week Annabel is now well used to the caning horse in the Blue Room, her hands reach down to clasp the rung near the carpet.

Without needing to be told, her long legs in the nylon stockings spread wide, one high-heeled light green court shoe at either leg of the horse. Annabel’s head is hidden in a mass of dependant chestnut locks while her pale buttocks are on high, thrust out, a ripely feminine focal point. The wide-spread stance is also a frankly revealing one but there is no time to dwell on that for the cane is now in Gillman’s hand. Upraised, then, to the watchers, silently speeding down.

Annabel gasps as the cane bites in. The gasp is not heard in the next room but it can be imagined as her buttocks vigorously jerk and clench. And as the cane comes back there is now a bright fresh stripe on top of all the faded ones.

The slim bamboo rises and thwacks down a second time, juddering again into the springy flesh of Annabel’s bottom. A third and a fourth follow. Roger watches with heart-thudding fascination. It is shocking but he is also turned-on to a truly incomparable extent. The fifth cut is enough to jerk Annabel from her wide-spread stance, her feet kicking up and her thighs coming back together as she struggles with the pain. But the discipline she has learnt in her first week is already sufficient to guarantee that almost immediately she has her feet wide apart again.

Gillman’s cane continues to rise and fall. Ten strokes in all. Each one in fact is harder than any Annabel has yet experienced because Gillman is aware that the young woman’s husband is watching and wishes to make her suffer that little bit more – and to make the husband suffer too. For Gillman is aware of what will inevitably shortly take place in Annabel’s room and he hates the thought of it. He has a powerful desire for this young woman’s lusciously perfect body himself and to imagine Annabel and her husband on her bed in the act of love is a bitter pill. Tears are coursing down Annabel’s cheeks by the time Gillman has finished.

In Annabel’s room ten minutes later the couple stand in tongue-tied embarrassment. Annabel does not know Roger has watched her but for the moment it is still difficult to think of anything except her madly throbbing bottom. Roger for his part has had that overwhelming experience – of watching the caning and also when it was over, of seeing the servant run his hands over Annabel’s nude and glowing bottom in a most intimate manner. And after that drawing on her French knickers and helping her on with her dress. The servant, it seems, is very intimate with Annabel.

They look at each other for some long seconds, neither knowing what to say. And then Annabel abruptly rushes forward – to burst into tears in her husband’s arms. Through a secret peephole in the wall Sylvia Blackett watches. Observing a pupil with her husband is of course an extremely valuable guide to the girl’s progress. Sylvia Blackett is very experienced with young women and will know pretty well how Annabel is coming on, but even so a girl can sometimes keep part of herself hidden. She is not likely to keep it hidden with her husband in the privacy of her own room.

There is also the other matter. Sylvia Blackett is not prurient, she does not wish to watch Annabel and her husband in the act of love for her own pleasure, but it is important to know that Annabel performs willingly and without undue restraint. If there are problems – any mental hang-ups – then Mrs Blackett will have to explore them with Annabel, and also bring her medical adviser in.

But no, as Sylvia Blackett watches it is clear there are no problems on that score. Annabel performs her wifely function with freedom, indeed with that somewhat desperate abandon which is frequently seen in a young woman who has been deprived of her husband for this first, whole week while at the same time being subject to the constant attention of Gillman’s cane. Approvingly the older woman notes that, as instructed, there is no attempt to remove Annabel’s basque or her stockings.

An hour later in Mrs Blackett’s reception room a glass of excellent white wine is again being poured for Roger Filton. He is perhaps slightly-pink in the face; certainly his eyes have a healthy glow to them. Sylvia Blackett tells him she would like him to visit again in a week’s time.

‘A second visit sooner than that would cause Annabel too much excitement, and we don’t want to spoil things when she is doing so nicely.’ Sylvia Blackett smiles. ‘At the next visit I shall probably ask you to cane her yourself.’

Those images of Annabel in the Blue Room have been replaced in Roger Filton’s mind by the more recent heady events of Annabel’s own room. His feverish hand removing her dress and knickers, and then on her bed Annabel’s opulent body in that tight-laced blue basque. His fingers tracing the taut silk lacing… and then tracing the hot, so-sensitive weals on her burgeoning buttocks. Annabel sobbing – with pent-up emotion, with relief, with pleasure – as he makes love to her.

Afterwards, still lying on the bed, Annabel did plead to be taken away from Balcombe Manor. Kissing her gently, Roger told her it wasn’t possible. It was part of Mrs Blackett’s conditions that a young woman must stay the full two months. And besides, Roger thought he could already detect a change in Annabel. She was more subdued and docile. It was evident that after seven more weeks she would be an extremely submissive female. And when you are 45 and your wife is 22 it is highly desirable that she be properly trained, otherwise – well, who knew what she could get up to.

Now, sipping his wine, Roger Filton feels a further surge of excitement at Mrs Blackett’s words. At the thought that he himself will cane his beautiful Annabel.

‘She is showing some improvement already, don’t you think?’

Doing his best to keep calm Roger nods assent.

‘But I really must know, did she ask to be taken away? I’m afraid they quite often do at this early stage.’

Roger could deny it but he doesn’t. It is probably best for Annabel that Mrs Blackett knows the truth.

The handsome owner of Balcombe Manor smiles, her eyes deep dark pools. ‘That was naughty of her, wasn’t it? I think she’ll need an extra session with Gillman for that.’

Roger Filton bites his lip as he pictures again the Blue Room. And Annabel spread over that vaulting horse, her legs wide-splayed for the black-suited, cane-wielding servant.

* * *

IT is not the Blue Room though.

Gillman is called in to Mrs Blackett as soon as Roger Filton leaves.

‘Annabel requires another session, I’m afraid, Gillman. Silly pleading with her husband to be taken home.’

James Gillman’s eyes light up. ‘Yes madam. How many strokes?’

‘You can use your own discretion. Whatever you think fit. And you can take her to your own room.’

As she says this Sylvia Blackett’s skin is tingling. There is no peephole into Gillman’s room. So when he has Annabel in there with the door locked he can do virtually as he wants with her. This thought sends a dizzy thrill through Mrs Blackett.

Her words send a thrill through Gillman too. Having a pupil in his own room for correction is a rare and heady pleasure. He licks his lips. ‘Yes madam. Thank you very much, madam.’

Sylvia Blackett moves close to her servant and squeezes his arm. ‘A special treat, eh James? I know how you enjoy having a little freedom with a pretty pupil. She’s fresh from being with her husband so she’ll be extra sensitive. Just have her back and properly dressed in the dining room for dinner.’

When Gillman opens Annabel’s door she is dressed again and sitting moodily at her dressing table, thinking of Roger speeding away from Balcombe Manor in fine fettle. She looks up, assuming Gillman has come to take her to the garden. But that is not what he tells her. Annabel’s eyes open wide; she has never been to Gillman’s room before. They walk along the corridor and up the stairs. It is a normal enough little room. Gillman locks the door – and tells Annabel to undress again. Heart fluttering, she removes her dress, and then the French knickers.

‘An extra session,’ Gillman says primly. ‘A special session because of complaints. Mrs Blackett is not at all happy with that.’

And because it is a special session in his own room James Gillman is free to go beyond the normal rules. He unfastens the basque’s laces and loosens them. The wide suspenders are unclipped from Annabel’s stockings, and the blue satin garment is removed. Annabel in just her stockings and shoes. Her ripe, unhindered breasts jut firmly out; her waist and sides, after a week of tight-lacing, bear the basque’s red marks – marks which are echoed in the red stripes across the splendid buttocks. Annabel stands straight but trembling, wondering what is to come.

There is the cane, naturally. James Gillman loves the cane. But there are also exercises to be performed. Whole series of exercises – running on the spot, deep bending, high kicking, upside-down cycling – each set repeated until Annabel is gasping for breath. The caning comes between the sets of exercises. And the cane also slices out, onto buttocks or thighs or calves, while the exercises are being performed, to ensure there is no slacking. Annabel has so much to endure, as her obedience is tested to the brink.

This continues until shortly before dinner, when Gillman takes Annabel back to her room – for her bath and the tight-laced basque again. And knickers and another pretty dress, and make-up.

‘Did you have a lovely visit?’ the others ask when she goes down to dinner.

Annabel’s body is aching all over and smarting in many places from her session in Gillman’s room; and there was also that fearfully hard caning which immediately preceded Roger’s visit. She forces a smile, aware that Mrs Blackett’s eyes are on her.

‘Yes,’ she manages. ‘It was lovely to see Roger. And he said… I was doing very well.’

Across the table, with its glittering silver, the dazzling white napery, Sylvia Blackett smiles. Her pupil is progressing.

* * *

THE days at Balcombe Manor roll on in their timeless, almost hypnotic way. The outside world might as well not exist for Mrs Blackett’s pupils in their little world within the high enclosing walls. The gardens and those same rooms of the house which they visit every day: their own rooms, the Blue Room with its caning horse; the dining room; the morning room where each day after breakfast they dance, in pairs or in individual free movement. The music is quietly rhythmic, nothing at all rowdy, to improve a girl’s grace; when they dance together it is something from the past, a waltz, a sedate foxtrot.

There is a tidal rhythm in these timeless days, for the calm and tranquillity of those morning periods of dancing, the afternoons in the garden, the reading sessions in their rooms, are all set in sharp contrast to the sessions – in a pupil’s own room, in the Blue Room, also now and then in Gillman’s room. The mannered charm of an old waltz or the beauty of the roses in the garden – and the cane, in the hand of Mrs Blackett or Gillman, searing breathtakingly into obediently proffered bared buttocks.

And as they are part of the pattern of life those canings come to be expected. They are for the present more real than a girl’s home or husband, the sensations more impressive than any other experience could be, and almost without realising it Annabel finds her mind is beginning to accept it all. The cane has become a major part of her life. A day without the cane would now be almost unthinkable; and in a way it would be incomplete…

Not that there are any days without the cane at Balcombe Manor. A pupil’s caning programme in fact increases as her training progresses. In those first few days it was just the one daily period before dinner when she presented her Record Book to Mrs Blackett; but halfway through that first week Annabel was given a caning before lunch as well. It was repeated on subsequent days and has continued, so that there are now always at least two sessions each day. Sometimes there is a third in the evening.

So that is the daily ritual. The morning dancing and movement period followed perhaps by a lecture, and then the cane; the afternoon in the garden, the Tranquillity Period, followed by her bath and then the cane again. This pattern may be repeated in the evening. That is life at Balcombe Manor and a girl’s mind, and her body, come to accept it.

‘I think you’re settling in now,’ Felicity says to Annabel.

They are in the summer house and it is early afternoon. The days, without the benefit of clocks, have succeeded each other in a sort of mindless way. Annabel has now been here at Balcombe Manor for a little more than two weeks. She has had her second visit from Roger, two days ago, a visit in which Roger caned her in her room. It was really strange having the cane from Roger. Strange and not all that painful because Roger didn’t cane half as hard as Gillman, he wasn’t used to caning anyone, of course. But he clearly was very excited to be doing it.

Outside the summer house it is one of the rare rainy days but it is warm and not unpleasant, the rain softly dripping off the trees. It’s true, Annabel thinks, she has settled down. She has tried ever since the beginning to do what they said and have a positive attitude to the caning, but for some time it was simply impossible. Gradually, though, as the cane has become so much a part of her life, she has found that she can; like the other girls have said they do. Rather than mentally fighting it you have to welcome it.

It still hurts, Gillman and Mrs Blackett make sure of that, but now when she bends over, bottom bared, Annabel grits her teeth and tells herself: I welcome it. And in a way she does now welcome it And when the caning session is over she manages to produce a smile, that submissive smile which says: I accept it. The pain in her bottom may be excruciating but it is a pain that tells you you are becoming a disciplined young woman, not one of these slobby modern girls with their half-baked ideas about liberated women.

Yes, Annabel is now settling in. She is now accepting the cane and she is beginning to welcome it. That is the key, as Mrs Blackett tells them. It must be welcomed. This is something which at the start of her stay Annabel would have thought utterly impossible.

As they sit there in the summer house watching the softly falling rain one of the maids, Bridget, suddenly appears carrying a large white umbrella. She smiles at Susan. ‘Your visit, Mrs Mitford.’

Susan casts a slightly nervous glance at the other three and then with Bridget holding the umbrella over her goes out across the wet lawn. Annabel realises she is holding her breath, and releases it. The reason is Susan’s visit, her visitor. Annabel knows it is not Susan’s husband, but another gentleman.

It is the next stage of training, a further test. It is a test Annabel has not yet had but she is now due for it, having been at Balcombe Manor for over two weeks. The thought is frightening, like many things new and not yet experienced. Submitting to another man, a stranger; that will be very different to having it from Gillman or Mrs Blackett.

The other girls have told Annabel about these extra visitors. They are friends of Mrs Blackett and there seems to be a number of them. They are all proper gentlemen but nonetheless… the pupil takes tea with the visitor and chats in the normal way. But the main point of the visit is that she is required to submit to the guest. He will cane her, just like Gillman or Mrs Blackett.

‘It is only an extra stage of the training,’ Felicity has told Annabel when the subject was first raised.

Naturally when a young wife goes back to her normal life with her husband she will not be submitting to other men, or at least not unless her husband wishes it, because she is her husband’s possession, perhaps indeed his most prized possession. But during her training, that is another matter. Submitting to another man, a stranger, baring your bottom for him to cane, that is clearly a stern test of discipline. Not surprisingly Mrs Blackett has quite a few male acquaintances who are only too pleased to be of assistance and administer such a test.

‘Do your husbands know?’ Annabel asked. The others didn’t seem too sure of that.

Annabel shivers slightly as Susan walks out of the summer house under Bridget’s umbrella. It could be her, Annabel. She will simply be told at breakfast, as Susan was told this morning. That is the only warning. Rosalind puts her arm round Annabel’s waist and giggles.

‘One or two of them cane really hard. I wonder if Susan will get a hard caner?’

Annabel pictures Mrs Blackett’s reception room. These visits are always the same, it seems; just the pupil and her visitor. Hesitantly she asks how many Rosalind has had.

The arm around Annabel’s waist squeezes. ‘Four. Two were hard caners. But then one should wish for a hard caner, shouldn’t one? It is a better test of one’s discipline. Are you wishing for a hard caner for your first, Annabel?’

Felicity says, ‘Mr Boulton was the worst I’ve had – or I suppose I should say the best. The hardest caner anyway. He was very nice and pleasant but he really caned my bottom. Harder than Gillman does.’

Rosalind says she hasn’t had Mr Boulton. Annabel nervously bites her lip.

Annabel’s first experience of this further training comes just two days later. She is told by Mrs Blacken at breakfast, as is usual, which means that there is all the day until tea time to think about it.

It is not Mr Boulton, his name is Craske, Mr Edward Craske. Annabel is conducted to Mrs Blackett’s room and there he is. He takes her hand in greeting and she performs a little curtsey, as she has been instructed. Mrs Blackett smiles and says she will leave them together, tea will be brought in shortly. Annabel is trembling, knowing what is to come. The cane, from this previously unseen man.

He is perhaps 60, tall with silver hair, in country tweeds. He leads her over to the window. His voice is smoothly upper class as he makes small talk, asking Annabel about herself. His hand is at her waist… and then it slides down her rose-coloured silk dress onto the richness of Annabel’s buttocks. Annabel stands still but her body is shaking. She looks out at the garden as the hand explores the ripe curves of her rear. It is pan of the test of course; discipline. She must docilely submit to this man’s hand.

Annabel remains motionless as the hand goes down and then comes up again, this time up the backs of her thighs under the pink dress. Up the silkiness of her nylons and onto the satin-smooth bare flesh beyond.

‘You’re used to the cane now, my dear?’ he murmurs.

Annabel hears herself say Yes. He asks, ‘What about spanking? Have you ever been spanked, Annabel?’

Annabel shakes her head. The hand which has slid right up inside the wide leg of her French knickers is withdrawn. She finds herself being led over to the sofa. Mr Craske sits down… and pulls Annabel over his lap. As she goes down there is his voice, jocular:

‘A properly submissive young woman should take a spanking as well as the cane, don’t you think, my dear?’

Annabel feels her full skirt being pulled up, to fall down about her face; and then her pink knickers are being drawn down, to her knees. Annabel’s ripe buttocks are bare, framed by the stocking tops and the wide suspender straps and her cream-coloured basque above. Mr Craske’s hand roams freely over the opulent flesh. And then starts crisply spanking.

In a way it is worse than a caning. Not as painful but a more gross invasion of her person; this man’s hand sharply smacking into Annabel’s intimate flesh. That is the test presumably – to accept this invasion. Fiercely Annabel tells herself: I accept it; it is good for me. She tells herself this but her mind is unwilling to accept it.

The spanking continues. It is still going on when Annabel hears the door open. It is a maid with the tea. Mr Craske stops spanking but he does not cover Annabel’s bared haunches or let her up. She can only bite her lip and lie there humiliatingly exposed as the maid arranges the tea things on the coffee table. At last she exits… and the spanking resumes.

A short while later Annabel, red-faced and with shaking hand, is having to act her hostess role and pour the tea. The skirt of her pretty pink dress is back in place but Annabel’s knickers are off, a crumpled handful of pink silk on the sofa at her side. They are off so that when they have had tea Annabel can be caned.

He makes her kneel on the carpet in front of the sofa, her head and arms on its seat, and then Annabel’s skirt is once more raised, turned back over her shoulders. I accept it, Annabel once more desperately tells herself as the cane zips into her spank-reddened rump. She gasps into the softness of the sofa. The stroke, and the ones that succeed it, are mind-blitzingly painful. Harder even than Gillman at his most intense.

Afterwards, when Mr Craske has left, Mrs Blackett, eyes searching Annabel’s face, asks, ‘Were you a good girl, then? Did you submit willingly; welcoming it?’

Annabel shakes her head, not in a negative but trying to collect her thoughts. Her head is still going round and round but she forces herself to concentrate. She must think positive thoughts.

‘Yes,’ she manages, her eyes bright with threatening tears. ‘I accept it. I… I wanted it.’

Sylvia Blackett strokes her arm, smiling. Annabel is going to be another success. She is well on the way to becoming one of those nice traditional submissive females; and she still has more than five weeks of her training left. Five more weeks in which these ideas and attitudes can be firmly rooted in her mind and her body.

Smiling still, Mrs Blackett asks softly, ‘Would you welcome another caning from me now, Annabel?’

Annabel blinks her eyes to stop the tears which are still threatening. ‘Y… yes, Mrs Blackett,’ she mutters. ‘I… I know it would be good for me.’

Sylvia Blackett’s dark eyes glitter. ‘Excellent, Annabel. You are doing very well. Would you please slip your dress off, then.’

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love's rough justice

A Whipping Story from Janus 102. More stories are available here.Janus 102

Love’s Rough Justice
by John Undermeyer

Time was, when a man could hang for stealing bread. But what if a beautiful woman could bear anything but his death?

THE Welcome Home Tavern was a favourite mooring for sailors. At almost every tide some newcomer humped a studded sea-chest up the inn’s crooked stairs. Sailors made the place exciting. We never became used to their weird tattoos, missing eyes and legs, scarred hands and matted pigtails, and when they told of their adventures they mesmerised us.

For a few yards of ale, spiced with cloves and warmed with a glowing iron, they would entertain the table. But tonight we dined without Jack Tar. This was Saturday 24th April 1743 – our friend Doctor Timothy’s birthday.

We finished the eggs, trout, jugged hare and mature Stilton. The port circled the table several times. We were all in our early twenties; all the marrying kind. The talk was lewd but mere bravado: only the Doctor had enjoyed a woman and none of us had a wife.

We laughed with, and thought what we would do to, the serving maids. But our dreams were of a mistress more highly-born. As high as the raven-haired, slender-figured Lady Katherine Tovey who lived in Plimpton Manor with her irascible father, Lord Joshua.

An only daughter, her mother ran off with Lord Joshua’s younger brother when Katherine was ten years old. So shocking an event could never be kept secret in Longfield. But it had happened a decade past; Lady Katherine was now 20.

Gossip held that she inherited her mother’s rebel nature but it was hard to believe when you saw her smile. When men stood agape, devouring her face and figure, she stayed all the time silent, unwilling to look them in the eye. Her father never knew her mind and watched her constantly.

Doctor Timothy wiped his spoon and tapped loudly on the table. He had a story for us and by the way he laughed we knew he had saved it for tonight. We settled down and, satisfied all were listening, he took a red, wet mouthful of Taylor’s Reserve and began.

I was fortunate last week (he said) to be at Plimpton Manor. I am not often called there but Mrs Babbington, the cook, had an ague and Lord Joshua sent for me to examine her. I did so, and was riding off, when a mighty shout pierced the night.

In less than a minute I was back in the main hall. I saw Osric, the butler, with two other servants wrestling to hold an intruder. I was struck, at once, by the colour of the stranger’s hair: it was straw-gold. The rest of him was formidable: well over six feet tall, his body in proportion, and he looked – until I threw myself into the fray – that he might win.

love's rough justiceWe struggled for several minutes and I received some unpleasant cuffs. Then Osric produced a pistol. Feeling this at his temple, the stranger knew better than to fight on. It was not until we had him bound to a chair that we breathed easily again. We stood close to him, gradually regaining some composure, until Lord Tovey hurried down the stairs.

A pace behind him came Lady Katherine, dressed as if she were going out. She wore all black: riding boots, high-necked dress tight at the waist and hanging to the floor, boots, cape and gloves. With one hand she was taking off her hat; the other still held her horsewhip. She looked tense and milk-pale.

Reaching the tied man Lord Tovey began an interrogation. The story that emerged astonished us all. The prisoner had come for one purpose only: to collect Lady Katherine. A pair of horses were tethered nearby. They planned to elope.

Her father whirled upon her, furious and frightened. It was as if history would repeat itself. I understood how terrible that would be for him. The girl glared back, defiant and unflinching. Yes, she meant to leave. Her father’s regime, her own wilfulness and clandestine meetings with Christian (whom I guessed was the stranger) had made up her mind. She could not wait to be far from Longfield; wanted never to see Joshua again.

But his Lordship had other suspicions. He flung back her cape. Tied to her waist was her jewel box. He cut it loose and opened it. A pile of precious stones sparkled in the firelight. This was the truth of the matter: not elopement, but robbery. Could she not see, he raged at her, that she was the victim of a plausible rogue? The thief’s interest was not in her, but in her fortune. He meant to ride to the edge of Longfield, steal the gems and make off.

Vehemently Katherine declared this was a lie. She loved this blond fellow and her love was returned. Her affection for him was easy to believe seeing his handsome face, square jaw, and full head of curls. But for the man: his ardour was doubtful and neither her father nor myself believed in it.

Lord Joshua signalled to me. Since my horse was saddled, would I ride to the troopers in Fairmile and bring an officer and cohort to take the burglar into custody? Let him rot in gaol, declared his Lordship. In a month he can be at the County assizes, before the circuit judge.

I was halfway to the door when Lady Katherine screamed. She ran to her father, hair flailing, and fell on her knees. ‘Please do not call the troopers,’ she implored him. Lord Joshua swore he would. The girl seized his hands, her lips pushing into his palms in supplication. Despite his fury the old man was embarrassed. But he forced back his pity and gave vent to his bile. Craven crimes had been committed: house-breaking, assault, abduction and theft. Possibly murder would have been next – who was to say Katherine would have escaped with her life? Someone must suffer: someone must pay.

Katherine was distraught and we were moved by her desperation. ‘Can you not understand?’ she cried. ‘Robbery is a capital offence. With all of you to speak against him he must be found guilty. The judge will name the highest penalty. Christian will hang.’

We knew it was true. And, we began to muse, this blond Christian might well have meant to carry Katherine to his own home, there to make her his wife. If this were so, death was too severe a penalty. We had no doubt that even in this modern age, men went to the gallows too often.

Lady Katherine raised herself and begged her father to be lenient. If someone must suffer let it be her. Let her father bring her to heel. She would submit, be penitent and dutiful. She wrung her hands, beseeching forgiveness.

The old man blazed at her with his eyes. He turned to the prisoner and back to the girl. I could tell he felt some reluctance to be responsible for the fellow’s death. Finally, after wrestling with his demons, he growled assent. Then, as if already regretting his lenience he roared, spun Katherine round and propelled her towards the stairs, a clenched fist and angry finger pointing her towards her bedroom.

When she had gone he turned back to the men. Osric and the others were to stand guard. The fellow must not be released. Perhaps, if Katherine was properly repentant, there could be a reprieve. But for now he must wait. Turning then to me, his Lordship bid me follow him upstairs. In the mood he was in it were well to have a doctor present.

I climbed the wide, creaking staircase a pace behind him, thinking as I went that if our destination were Katherine’s bedroom, what should I do? True, I was a medical man, but I was of Katherine’s generation and (unless she were ill) would never be allowed near where she slept. Yet I said nothing, but followed her father’s clattering boots until he stopped at a door, paused fractionally then charged in, motioning me to follow.

The room was gloomy, with narrow windows that needed wash. Across one wall stood a giant four-poster surrounded by heavy curtains, open and tied back. The counterpane was embroidered damask, the sheets linen. Two goose-feather pillows were piled by the headboard. It looked old but comfortable. I wondered when the mattress had last been aired.

Six candles struggled to give us light. But there was light enough to see what I wanted to. Lady Katherine lay stretched on the bed. The outdoor clothes she had been wearing were strewn across the floor, her boots and stays slung on to a chair. She was naked and had not dared to slip beneath the covers. She knew that to appease Lord Joshua, she must not hide.

Her face was buried deep into a pillow and she had the cover clenched between her teeth. Her hands either side of her head also grasped pillows, kneading slowly, indicating her helplessness. When she felt us gazing she crushed her pelvis into the mattress, anxious to hide that part of her which I was most eager to see.

Her long black hair spread like silk across her back. Candlelight caught the upthrust of her buttocks which, I am sure, she squeezed tight in an attempt to feel more modest. From her bottom she flowed into trim thighs and slender legs. She was lovely, and she was weeping.

Lord Joshua motioned me to the far side of the room. I was to stand and observe but say nothing unless spoken to. I made myself inconspicuous, happy just to look. Katherine lifted her head, whimpered and began to tremble. I saw that her father had found her riding crop, which she had left on her dressing table.

He wasted no time. Katherine was prepared and the sooner it were done the better. He walked to the edge of the bed and satisfied himself that the girl was properly submissive. Then, deliberately measuring the distance between himself and that beautiful pale bottom, he clenched the whip handle tightly. The candles flickered, I caught myself licking my lips, Joshua took a deep breath. Katherine had only one thought in her mind – the prisoner downstairs.

Joshua’s arm drew back. Nothing could stop what was about to happen. Lips tight, he drove the whip down. It travelled those few feet in a fraction of an instant, before burying itself into her delicate flesh with a sound like a wet cloth on stone.

From that moment, in the silence before the cry, it seemed that everything which had taken place, every move made, every word spoken, every thought in every head was pure dream.

The thief’s arrival, the fight, Katherine’s pleading and submission: it had been seen through stage gauze. It was vague, hazy, indistinct, not defined, not real. Certainly not real. It was too comfortable and unimportant to be real. It was mummery; actors in a play; nothing like life.

Only Katherine knew about life – life was intolerable. All her fine thoughts, imagined love, willing self-sacrifice, her unquestioned offering of her bottom to the whip – all this was folly. More: it was madness. Nobody who knew would do this. A stroke from a riding crop across naked flesh – only that was real. And that was so real, it was unbearable. Only one thing mattered after that. Only one thought burst into the mind. Only one desire, one desperate aim, one purpose.

She must escape; rise up and fly; soar like a bird into the sky, to freedom, to blessed release from pain. Her pain could not be imagined. It was comets colliding. Sunbursts in the night. An age before birth and after death. Arrows in the heart. Worse than childbirth. She could not bear the hurt that took her, never mind the hurt to come.

Katherine knew that if Lord Joshua faltered for a second she would leap from the bed. She could not bear another stroke. No matter that her Christian would dance on a rope. She would let him – nay, want him to, rather than allow the agonising horsewhip to lash her bottom again.

But before she could rise, before she could slip out from beneath her punishment, the second stroke came down. The whole room was awake now. The candles blazed like permanent lightning. The walls shrieked in silent suffering. Lord Joshua and I moved into a new dimension. We were dead creatures, with no notion of truth. Only Katherine knew truth: fierce, vibrant, searing, forever indelible on her mind.

I know why. Katherine did not rebel. Because as the third and fourth strokes came down she stopped wondering why she offered her bottom and remembered she was saving a man’s life. So instead of twisting to escape the fierce lashes, she rose into them. She grasped the bedclothes and seemingly pushed her bottom up to actively greet the descending whip. She must overcome pain, and the fear of pain. Her punishment was simply justice, suffered to prevent a fatal injustice.

However deep the fire burned it would eventually be over. She would rise from the bed, walk to the window and, in time, be comfortable again. But if, instead, Christian was punished: the thought was worse than even this…

No matter that her face twisted like flames as she fought to be brave. She could bear to writhe under the biting crop. Tears were nothing. Cries and howls were a passing affair. The air sang, the breath left her body, the twin mounds of her bottom shivered as they absorbed the strokes. It was nothing compared to the rope that broke a man’s neck.

Before the punishment ended all Katherine knew was that her body was a great light, incandescent in the gloomy bedroom, a torch that burned to save Christian’s life. When her father and I left her she continued to shine, face deep in her pillow, tears soaking the feathers, struggling to still her body, grateful that she wept for an incomparable cause. When she looked from her window at dawn she wondered if the sun had come out watery in sympathy for her tears.

Lord Joshua’s fury spent, he ordered the prisoner released and escorted to his horse. Christian must never return to Longfield. If he did, Katherine would pay and the second thrashing would be worse than the first. The flaxen-haired adventurer disappeared and whether he will return remains to be seen – I rather think he might. Because I know you will agree, gentlemen (the Doctor’s eye went round the table fixing us all) greater love hath no woman.

The story was at an end. Doctor Timothy stretched, drew his fingers through his hair and scratched vigorously. He banged his spoon again on the table: who the devil had the port? – pass it at once. Then bid the Landlord refill the decanter.

Our dinner at the Welcome Home Tavern ended late but we left sober enough to find our homes and climb the stairs to bed. Under the sheets, each thought of Katherine. Each saw in his imagination the woman whipped to save her love.

It would not have surprised the Doctor to know that lying awake that night, each of his companions pictured a perfect young lady’s incandescent bottom and held it in his mind. Then each took his own incandescent candle in his hands. And gently, unhurriedly, with long, firm strokes, each put out the light.

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