My Dear Girl,
I know I have long promised you an account of the reason of my penchant for the rod, which, in my estimation, is one of the most voluptuous and delicious institutions of private life, especially to a supposed highly respectable old maid like your esteemed friend. Treaties must be carried out, and promises kept, or how can I ever hope for the pleasure of making you taste my little green tickler again. Writing, and especially a sort of confession of my voluptuous weakness, is a most unpleasant task, as I feel as shamefaced in putting these things on paper as when my grandfather's housekeeper first bared my poor blushing little bottom to his ruthless attack. My only consolation at commencing is the hope that I shall warm to the subject as it progresses, in my endeavour to depict, for your gratification, some of the luscious episodes of my early days.
My grandfather, as you well know, was the celebrated Indian General, Sir Eyre Coote, almost as well known for his eight-penny fiasco with the Bluecoat boys as for his services to the Hon. E. I. Company. He was a confirmed martinet, and nothing delighted him so much as a good opportunity for the use of the cat, but I cannot tell you anything about that, as that was before my time. My first recollection of him is after the aforesaid City scandal, when he had to retire from public life in comparative disgrace. My parents both died when I was just upon twelve years of age, and the old General, who had no other relatives to care for, took entire charge of me, and, at his death, I was left his sole heiress, and mistress of nearly Ј3,000 per annum.
He resided in a quiet country house some twenty miles from London, where I spent the first few months of my orphaned life, with only his housekeeper, Mrs. Mansell, and the two servants, Jane and Jemima. The old General being away in Holland searching, so I afterwards heard, for original editions respecting the practices of Cornelius Hadrien, a curious work on the flagellation of religious penitents by a father confessor.
It was the middle of summer when he returned, and I soon found the liberty I had been enjoying considerably restricted. Orders not to pluck the flowers, or the fruit in the garden; and a regular lesson set me every day by the old autocrat himself. At first they were tolerably simple, but gradually increased in difficulty, and now, in after years, I can plainly understand his wolf and lamb tactics, by which I must eventually fall under his assumed just displeasure.
What gave me considerable pleasure at this time was his decided objection to mourning, or anything at all sombre in my dress. He said my parents had been shown every possible respect by wearing black for months, and I must now be dressed as became a young lady of my good expectations.
Although we scarcely ever received company, and then only some old fogy of his military acquaintance, I was provided with a profusion of new and elegant dresses, as well as beautiful shoes, slippers, drawers, and underlinen, all trimmed with finest lace c., not even forgetting some very beautiful garters, a pair of which with gold buckles, he would insist upon putting on for me, taking no notice of my blushing confusion, as he pretended to arrange my drawers and skirts afterwards, but merely to remark: What a fine figure I should make, if they ever had to strip me for punishment.
Soon my lessons began to be harder than I could fairly manage. One day he expostulated, "Oh! Rosa; Rosa!! why don't you try to be a better girl. I don't want to punish you."
"But grandfather," I replied, "how can I learn so much of that horrid French every day. I'm sure no one else could do it."
"Hold your tongue, Miss Pert, I must be a better judge than a little girl like you."
"But, grandfather dear, you know I do love you, and I do try my best."
"Well, prove your love and diligence in future, or your posterior must feel a nice little birch, I shall get ready for you," said he sternly.
Another week passed, during which I could not help observing an unusual fire and sparkle in his eyes, whenever I appeared in evening dress at the dinner table (we always dined in quiet state), and he also suggested that I ought to wear a choice little bouquet of fresh flowers in my bosom, to set off my complexion.
But the climax was approaching, I was not to escape long; he again found fault, and gave me what he gravely called one last chance: my eyes were filled with tears, and I trembled to look at his stern old face, and knew any remonstrance on my part would be useless.
The prospect of punishment made me so nervous, it was with the greatest difficulty I could attend to my lessons, and the second day after, I broke down entirely.
"Oh! Ho! it's come to this has it, Rosie?" said the old gentleman, "nothing will do, you must be punished."
Ringing the bell for Mrs. Mansell, he told her to have the punishment room and the servants all ready, when he should want them, as he was sorry to say "Miss Rosa was so idle, and getting worse and worse with her lessons every day, she must now be taken severely in hand or she would be spoiled for life."
"Now, you bad girl," said he, as the housekeeper retired, "go to your room and reflect upon what your idleness has brought to you."
Full of indignation, confusion, and shame, I rushed to my chamber, and bolted the door, determined they should break the door down first before I would submit to such a public exposure, before the two servants; throwing myself on the bed, I gave vent to my tears for at least a couple of hours, expecting every moment the dreadful summons to attend the old man's punishment drill, as he called it, but, no one disturbing me, I at last came to the conclusion it was only a plan of his to frighten me, and so I fell into a soothing sleep. A voice at the door awakened me, and I recognized the voice of Jane, as she said, "Miss Rosa, Miss Rosa, you'll be late for dinner."
"No dinner for me, Jane, if I'm going to be punished; go away, leave me alone," whispered I through the keyhole.
"Oh! Miss Rosie, the General's been in the garden all the afternoon, quite good-tempered, perhaps he's forgotten it all; don't make him angry by not being ready for dinner, let me in quick."
So I cautiously drew the bolt, and let her assist me to dress.
"Cheer up, Miss Rosie, don't look dull, go down as if nothing had happened, and most likely all will be forgotten; his memory is so short, especially if you put in your bosom this sweet little nosegay to please him, as you have never done it since he said it would set off your complexion."
Thus encouraged, I met my grandfather with a good appetite, and, as if the "bitterness was past," like Agag before Samuel, little suspecting I should be almost hewed in pieces afterwards.
The dinner passed most pleasantly, for such a formal affair as my grandfather made it, he took several glasses of wine, and in the middle of the dessert seemed to contemplate me with unusual interest; at last suddenly seeming to notice the little bouquet of damask and white roses, he said, "That's right, Rosa, I see you have carried out my suggestion of a nosegay at last; it quite improves your appearance, but nothing to what my birch will effect on your naughty bottom, which will soon look like one of those fine peaches, and now's the time to do it," said he, ringing the bell.
Almost distracted, and ready to faint, I rushed for the door, but only in time to fall into the arms of strong Jemima.
"Now for punishment drill; march on, Jemima, with the culprit, you've got her safe; Mrs. Mansell and Jane, come on," said he to them, as they appeared in the background.
Resistance was useless. I was soon carried into a spare room I had never entered; it contained very little furniture, except the carpet, and one comfortable easy chair; but on the walls hung several bunches of twigs, and in one corner stood a thing like a stepladder, but covered with red baize, and fitted with six rings, two halfway up, two at bottom, and two at the top.
"Tie her to the horse, and get ready for business," said the
General, as he seated himself in the chair, to look on at his ease.
"Come, Rosa, dear, don't be troublesome, and make your grandfather more angry," said Mrs. Mansell, unfastening my waistband. "Slip off your dress, whilst the girls put the horse in the middle of the room."
"Oh! No! No! I won't be whipped," I screamed. "Oh! Sir! Oh! Grandfather, do have mercy," said I, throwing myself on my knees before the old man.
"Come, come, it's no use showing the white feather, Rosa, it's for your own good. No more nonsense. Mrs. Mansell, do your duty, and let us get the painful business over; she isn't one of my stock if she doesn't show her pluck when it comes to the pinch."
The three women all tried to lift me, but I kicked, scratched, and bit all round, and, for a moment or two, almost beat them off in my fury, but my strength was soon exhausted, and Jemima, smarting from a severe bite, carried me in vengeful triumph to the dreaded machine. Quick as thought, my hands and feet were secured to the upper and lower rings; the horse widening towards the ground caused my legs to be well apart when drawn up closely to the rings at my ankles.
I could hear Sir Eyre chuckle with delight, as he exclaimed, "By God! she's a vixen, and it must be taken out of her, she's a Coote all over. Bravo, Rosie! Now get her ready quickly."
I submitted in sullen despair, whilst my torn dress and underskirts were turned up and pinned round my shoulders, but when they began to unloose my drawers, my rage burst out afresh, and turning my head, I saw the old man, his stern face beaming with pleased animation, whisking in his right hand a small bunch of fresh birchen twigs. My blood was in a boil, and my bottom tingled with anticipated strokes, especially when Jemima, pulling the drawers nearly down to my knees, gave me a smart little slap on the sly, to let me know what I might soon expect, and I fairly shouted, "You must be a cruel old beast to let them treat me so."
"Old beast, indeed!" said he, jumping up in a passion. "We'll see about that, Miss; perhaps you'll be glad to apologize before long."
I saw him stepping forward. "Oh! Mercy! Mercy! Sir! I didn't mean it; they've hurt me so; I couldn't help what I said."
"This is a really serious case," said he, apparently addressing the others. "She's idle, violently vicious, and even insulting to me, her only natural guardian, instead of treating me with proper respect. There can be no alternative, the only remedy, however painful the scene may be to us who have to inflict the punishment, is to carry it out, as a matter of duty, or the girl will be ruined. She has never been under proper control all her life."
"Oh! Grandfather, punish me any way but this. I know I can't bear it; it's so dreadfully cruel," I sobbed out through my tears.
"My child, such crocodile tears have no effect on me; you must be made to feel the smart. If we let you off now, you would be laughing at it all, and go on worse than before. Stand aside, Jane, we can't waste any more time." So saying, he made a flourish with the rod, so as to make quite an audible "whisk" in the air. I suppose it was only to clear the way, as it did not touch me; in fact up to this time, he had treated me like a cat which knows the poor mousey cannot escape, but may be pounced upon at any time.
I could see the tears in Jane's eyes, but Jemima had a malicious smile on her face, and Mrs. Mansell looked very grave, but no time was allowed for reflections; the next instant I felt a smart but not heavy stroke right across my loins, then another, and another, in rather quick succession, but not too fast for me to think that perhaps after all it would not be so dreadful as I feared; so setting my teeth firmly without uttering a word, I determined to give as little indication as possible of my feelings. All this and a great deal more flashed through my brain before six strokes had been administered, my bottom tingled all over, and the blood seemed to rush like lightning through my veins at every blow, and my face felt as my poor posteriors.
"Now, you idle puss," said the General, "you begin to feel the fruits of your conduct. Will you? Will you call me an old beast again?" giving a harder stroke at each ejaculation.
My courage still sustained my resolution not to cry out, but only seemed to make him more angry.
"Sulky tempered and obstinate, by Jove!" he continued; "we must draw it out of you. Don't think, Miss, I'm to be beaten by a little wench like you; take that, and that, and that," whisking me with still greater energy, concluding with a tremendous whack which drew up the skin to bursting tension, and I felt another like it would make the blood spurt forth, but he suddenly paused in his fury, as if for want of breath, but as I now know too well, only to prolong his own exquisite pleasure.
Thinking all was over, I entreated them to let me go, but to my sorrow soon found my mistake.
"Not yet, not yet, you bad girl, you're not half punished for all your biting, scratching, and impudence," exclaimed Sir Eyre.
Again the hateful birch hissed through the air, and cut into my bruised flesh, both buttocks and thighs, suffering and smarting in agony, but he seemed careful at first not to draw the blood; however, I was not to escape, it was only his deliberate plan of attack, so as not to exhaust the poor victim too soon.
"Bite, and scratch, and fight against my orders again, will you? Miss Rosie, you'll know next time what to expect. You deserve no mercy, the idleness was bad enough, but such murderous conduct is awful; I believe you would have killed anyone in your passion if you could. Bite, scratch, and fight, eh! Bite, will you?" Thus lectured the old man, getting warmer and warmer in his attack, till the blood fairly trickled down my poor thighs.
I was in dreadful agony at every cut, and must have fainted, but his lecturing seemed to sustain me like a cordial; besides, with the pain I experienced a most pleasurable warmth and excitability impossible to be described, but which, doubtless, you, my dear, have felt for yourself when under my discipline.
But all my fortitude could not much longer suppress my sighs and moans, and at last I felt as if I must die under the torture, in spite of the exquisite sensation which mingled with it; notwithstanding my ohs and ahs, and stifled cries, I would not ask for mercy again; my sole thoughts ran upon the desire for vengeance, and how I should like to whip and cut them all in pieces, especially the General and Jemima, and even poor tearful Jane.
Sir Eyre seemed to forget his age, and worked away in frightful excitement.
"Damme, won't you cry for mercy? Won't you apologize, you young hussy," he hissed between his teeth. "She's tougher and more obstinate than any of the family, a real chip of the old block. But to be beaten by the young spitfire, Mrs. Mansell, is more than I can bear. There! there! there!" cried he; and at last the worn-out stump of the rod fell from his hand, as he sank back quite exhausted in his chair.