Authors: Amanita Virosa
Tags: #chimera, #erotic, #ebook, #historical, #fantasy, #fiction, #domination, #submission, #damsel in distress, #corporal punishment, #spanking, #BDSM, #S&M, #bondage
âIt's been decided,' her aunt said quickly. âI can no longer tolerate your tantrums and your wilfulness. You are to be sent to someone who knows how to deal with wicked girls. Go and pack your things.'
Linnet hurried up the stairs with her heart thumping. The âdisciplinary course' sounded quite ominous and she felt more than a little trepidation at the name of the famous Reverend Dawes. However, Linnet did not care a jot how strict his course was. She would be out of this horrid house. Away from her horrid aunt and all her horrid, spiteful servants. There was anxiety in her breast, but it was not fear that made her heart beat so. It was joy.
âNot more letters?' The Reverend Dawes looked up at Faith with an irritated expression. The slight furrowing of his brow provoked a surge of adrenaline in the young maid's breast. Although she could hardly be held responsible for the volume of post, any sign of displeasure from her employer always made her feel distinctly nervous.
As he had not dismissed her, however, Faith had no opportunity to flee. She stood by his desk, keeping her face impassive and trying not to look at the canes and belts he kept hanging on the study wall.
âMore pleas for me to visit and impose discipline in disharmonious households,' the Reverend muttered as he slit the envelopes with his paper knife, one by one. âWhy on earth these fools cannot flog their own females, I shall never understand.'
He leaned back in his chair and perused another missive.
â“Sir, Felicity is a wilful girl of twenty-two. The best finishing schools have failed to curb her extravagances and intrigues. Your course sounds as if it is exactly what she needs...” Another one for the waiting list, put it in the file.'
Faith took the proffered letter and pulled open the mahogany filing cabinet. The waiting list already consisted of several well-stuffed files. She took out the chronological list and added the girl's name at the bottom, before filing the letter, which was from a Lady Congreave, under âC'.
âAh, Gretchen Mortimer arrives on the five o'clock train,' the Reverend read with approval. âWith Kirsty MacSlat and Linnet Tremaine due on the eight thirty-five, and the other pair coming by Lady Peaslake's coach, that means all six of the trainees should be here tonight, after all.'
Faith relaxed a fraction. The irritation the earlier letters had engendered seemed to have been banished by this news. The prospect of fresh bottoms to attend to seemed greatly to have improved the Reverend's mood. He stood up with a satisfied air and took out his pocket watch. The maid licked her lips and waited hopefully. Perhaps she would escape a skipping, after all.
âIn fact,' he said, âAmelia should be here shortly.'
There was something in his voice that Faith did not much like. It was always the same when he mentioned Miss Colinbrooke. Faith had seen Amelia in church and had been struck by the auburn-haired girl's particular beauty. She was quite tall and looked to be particularly shapely, even allowing for the emphasis her curves undoubtedly received from fierce Hope Hall tight lacing. However, it was the loveliness of Amelia's face that had caused so much gossip in the district, and Faith was not the only one to sense her employer had taken a most particular interest.
âI tell you what,' the Reverend said, interrupting her train of thought. âBefore this place becomes a bedlam, why don't you go and pick yourself out a nice whippy cane? I think there will be just time for me to give you a thrashing for idling.'
Familiar as the church had become, Amelia had never been inside its neighbouring rectory. Indeed, she would have paid good money not to visit the place now. As the carriage turned up a gravel drive she could not forbear to crane her head out of the window. The rectory was a roomy, well-appointed building, which had been much improved and enlarged upon over the years. It had been built for rural parsons with enormous families and a good parcel of servants, and seemed far bigger than a bachelor like the Reverend Dawes could really need.
The bachelor in question stood waiting outside the front door, stock still, his back ramrod straight. Amelia pulled her head back into the carriage quickly, the sight of the man giving her an almost electric jolt. Stupid girl! she berated herself as she tried to stop her hands from trembling. He was but a man; albeit a brutal and rather intimidating one. She must not forget that she was the Honourable Amelia Colinbrooke. Nor was she some swooning schoolgirl; indeed, she would be twenty in November, and she was a match for any jumped-up country parson, however strong his whipping arm might be!
Still, her heart was hammering in her breast as she got down from the carriage. Six months incarcerated in the nursery at Hope Hall might have failed to vanquish Amelia's proud spirit, but that purgatory had undoubtedly gone some way towards curbing her hauteur.
âAmelia, my dear.' The Reverend Dawes' voice was rich and sounded odiously self-satisfied. âWelcome. I'm so glad you could join my little course.' There was no warmth in his smile and his grey eyes were as cold, and every bit as penetrating, as Amelia remembered them. âFaith will take you to your quarters and help you change into your new uniform.'
Amelia followed the maid up the narrow servants' stairs, thankful to get away from the Reverend's baleful presence. Her silk skirts rustled busily as she climbed the steps, making her aware of her dress and causing her to wonder, with a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, what her âuniform' might prove to be.
The maid moved gingerly, making Amelia wonder if her bottom had been recently striped. The thought provoked a shiver of cold fear to run down her back. She was trapped in the Reverend's own domain now: the realisation hit her like a whip stroke, and the prospect made her almost dizzy with anxiety.
âThis way, miss.' Faith gave a curtsy as she stood aside for Amelia to enter the room first. She was a lovely girl with an almost melancholy beauty, Amelia thought, regarding the maid for the first time. Faith had fine blonde hair, pulled back behind her neat cap, and pale, flawless skin. For all her fear, Faith's submissive air stirred something in Amelia's loins. If only things were different, she thought regretfully. How she would like to thrash this sweet-faced girl until she heard those cherry lips plead for mercy.
Suppressing a sigh, Amelia entered the room. Her heart, which had scarcely been buoyant, sank altogether as she looked around. It was an attic room with several small windows set into the slope of the roof. The floorboards were bare, the walls whitewashed and stark. Six iron bedsteads had been placed in the dormitory, three spaced out along each of the longer walls. On the end of each bed was, rolled up, the thinnest mattress Amelia had ever seen. On the wall, by each bed, a crook-handled cane dangled dolefully. Amelia looked around and licked her lips, wondering how she could ever face six months in a place like this.
âIf you undress, miss, I'll fetch your uniform. Um...' the girl blushed and looked embarrassed, âyou are to strip altogether naked. The Reverend is very particular about underthings.'
Fuming, Amelia watched the maid bustle out. She stood in the centre of the room with clenched fists. It was almost too much to endure. After a summer forced to wear shaming costumes at Hope Hall, she had at last been given respectable garb only that very morning. Now, a few hours later, she was expected to relinquish it again.
Amelia very nearly balked altogether at that moment. The sight of the canes dangling by every bed, however, left her in no doubt of the consequences of any mutiny. The beast would simply relish an altercation, she told herself glumly. With a sigh, she began unbuttoning her dress.
âI told you not to put that pee in the whisky,' Bella muttered, staring moodily out of the carriage window. âNow look what you have done.'
âOh, don't be such a spoilsport, Bella,' Charlotte said with more gaiety than she felt. âDon't you see? Grandmama must have had this planned for months. It was so boring at Cresham, perhaps it will be more amusing on this “course”!'
Arabella turned and looked at her with an exasperated expression. âAmusing? For heaven's sake, Charlotte, the man's a clergyman. This is a disciplinary course, run by a man of the cloth at a rectory. “Amusing” is about the last thing it is going to be!'
Charlotte shrugged, unwilling to acknowledge there was much in what her friend said.
âOh, pish, Porky,' she said with a toss of her head. âIf we do not like it we can just sneak away. Jeremy is up at town, we can steal away to him.'
Jeremy Sewell was another of Charlotte's suitors; another chinless young man in whom she had not the least romantic interest. The plan was reckless, even scandalous, and they both knew it. Arabella did not even bother to argue, but simply turned and looked out of the window once again.
The corset was pretty much what Amelia had expected. A short affair in white coutil, it left the breasts and buttocks altogether, and most vulnerably, free. In fact, she recognised the beastly device as a punishment corset â or, rather, a refinement of a design she had already learned to dread.
âWhat are these for?' She could not quite contain her curiosity. All around the bottom of the corset, beneath the fine lace trim, were little holes, reinforced with eyelets, whose purpose she could not guess.
âOh, they are for the whipping drawers, miss. But it takes too long, so you are not to go into them tonight.'
Mention of âwhipping drawers' sent a frisson of fear through Amelia. She remembered seeing the things in Mademoiselle Isobel's emporium in Hatherby, garments that could be tightened to an almost absurd degree by means of lacing on either side. There had been nothing to correspond to the eyelets in the corset, however. A tight feeling in her stomach told Amelia the Reverend must have refined what had seemed an already diabolical design.
Part of her was relieved that she was not to be laced into the things just yet. That relief was muted by the question stealing into her mind. Why she should be so spared? She realised it might not be altogether good news if the Reverend Dawes required her to keep her bottom bare.
The uniform did nothing to reassure her: black silk stockings and high-heeled shoes; a navy pleated skirt which altogether failed to reach her garters; a white blouse with a stiff Eton collar and a tie, and a straw boater for outdoors wear.
There was no doubt that the skirt was scandalously short, and the blouse a good deal tighter than she would have liked. Her breasts were left bare by the corset and she had been given no chemise; thus Amelia could not but be aware of the way her nipples jutted out against the thin material. Although only Faith was there to see her, she could not prevent a blush suffusing her face as she looked down glumly.
âIf you are ready, miss, I am to take you down to supper.'
Faith's soft voice made Amelia jump. She took a deep breath and followed the girl down the stairway, terribly aware of her lack of drawers beneath the neat little skirt. Worse, her nipples seemed to be swelling as they rubbed against the tight cotton of her blouse, protruding ever more infuriatingly with every step she took towards the Reverend.
âAmelia. There you are. Yes, very neat, the uniform suits you.'
The Reverend Dawes let his cold gaze drop to her breasts and Amelia felt her cheeks burn red. She clasped her hands impotently at her sides, finding that her palms had become moist with perspiration. There was a long, awful moment of stillness as the Reverend perused her unhurriedly and Amelia fought the absurd desire to cry.
Eventually, it seemed, the Reverend tired of staring at her breasts. He turned to a woman who had been waiting on one side, blinking anxiously at the little tableau, looking distinctly ill at ease.
âThis is Gretchen,' he said crisply. âShe will be one of your fellows on the course.'
Amelia stared at the newcomer. The woman must be in her thirties, she thought with some astonishment. Gretchen was blonde, with a matronly figure. She had already changed into clothing like Amelia's and there was something particularly absurd about the big, rather ungainly woman in the abbreviated school uniform. Certainly Gretchen seemed no happier than Amelia felt, forced to wear this humiliating costume. Her pale cheeks were blushing scarlet and she was wringing her plump hands together miserably.
The shortness of the skirt revealed tremendous thighs. Nipples as thick and rigid as thimbles pressed against the straining cotton of the woman's blouse. The full, suffocating shame of her own appearance struck Amelia like a blow to the stomach as she stood and stared at her companion in humiliation.
âGretchen seemed to feel it improper to disrobe in front of me, although I did explain that, as I am a man of the cloth, there can be no question of impropriety.'
âIt's just...' Gretchen began miserably.
âIt is just the little matter of your drawers, girl,' the Reverend Dawes snapped. âFaith, fetch me a number seven cane. We shall see if we cannot persuade Gretchen of the errors of false modesty.'
Amelia watched the maid scurry out, then turned her attention back to the other woman.
âTake out one of the dining chairs and place it for me, Amelia. Yes, that's the ticket. Now, madam, if you would be so good as to assume the position. No, do not make cow eyes at me! Bend over the chair.'