From Blushes 28
Green Gables. She said the words to herself. They had a seductive, lyrical sound. Images of summer — green lawns and lanes; shady, leafy trees. It wasn’t summer now though; it would soon be Christmas. That was why...
She dragged her mind away from the images and read what the note said:
Green Gables is the name of the house. It is just outside the village of Hawklingden. You can take the train from Victoria down to Horsham and I could pick you up from there, or alternatively I could drive you down from London. Let me know which is best. Anyway we will travel on the 20th. I am very much looking forward to the break, as I expect you are. My work will certainly not preclude it being a very pleasant change. Charles Blissford.
Valerie read it again and then put the note back in the envelope. Mr Blissford wasn’t her own boss; in fact he was senior to Mr Winbury whom she worked for. It was Mr Blissford who had suggested it — to Mr Winbury. He had some work he wanted to get done over Christmas and his own secretary was not available for some reason or other. So he had spoken to James Winbury and Mr Winbury had asked her. More than asked her really for he had pointed out that Mr Blissford was the director and if she could find it possible then everyone would be happy.
Valerie didn’t mind, she hadn’t anything much planned for Christmas, just the usual quiet time with her mother. And so yes, she could go. Mr Winbury said, ‘Good. Mr Blissford did specially ask for you. Because of all the good reports of your work of course.’
Yes. Well what else could the reason be? Apart from the fact that Valerie Fernley was an exceptionally attractive girl. A delicate English-rose-type prettiness and also a very attractive figure. Full and firm where a girl’s figure should be but also nicely trim in other places. No doubt Mr Blissford had taken due note of all this.
‘There’s this rather pleasant place,’ he had told James Winbury. ‘Very quiet and restful, just the place for getting some work done and also... well a nice atmosphere for getting to know a girl. And I do like to get to know the junior staff.’
Yes. Especially if they looked like Valerie Fernley. James Winbury had naturally raised no objection. Mr Blissford was after all his boss. And also it would be good for Valerie. No doubt give her a bit of experience. Of life, etc. She was, at 18, pretty much inexperienced, or so he had gathered from talking to her. A virgin, not much doubt about that. Did Charles Blissford like virgins? Yes it would certainly be good for Valerie. And when she came back, with maybe a bit more experience of life, well perhaps he, James Winbury, might take her off for a little break. Maybe even a return visit to this Green Gables. James Winbury had never been there himself. But he had a good idea.
‘Is it a hotel?’ Valerie asked. ‘Green Gables. It’s a lovely name, isn’t it? So summery.’
They were in Mr Blissford’s car, a plush leather-upholstered Jaguar. Driving down, for Valerie had taken that option if it was convenient for Mr Blissford. He was driving down anyway, he said, so it was no trouble at all. In fact he would much prefer to have her company on the drive. And who wouldn’t of course. Such a sweet and toothsome young lady. On the verge of womanhood but as yet so clearly inexperienced, unspoilt. Unsampled.
‘No, it’s not a hotel. I think in fact it was a girls’ school at one time. A private school. Before that a private country house. Nowadays, well, it’s owned by a gentleman who has friends down from time to time.’
It was difficult to be more specific than that. You couldn’t exactly say that gentlemen came there with young ladies whom they wanted to introduce to training. No. Once a girl was there it was somehow a lot easier. As if there were the ghosts of all those young misses of the past, unhappily up before the Head or one of the staff for some indiscretion or shortcoming. Unhappy in the knowledge that they had to accept the consequences. ‘Slip your knickers down please, Elizabeth.’
Echoes reverberating from long dead days. ‘Sir, please sir, it wasn’t my fault, sir.’ ‘I don’t know about that, Elizabeth. I do know that you’re the one I’ve caught. Now are you taking them down or shall I?’
Voices soft and sibilant. ‘Oh sir. I hate this...’
Charles Blissford turned his attention from the road for a moment. Smiling. ‘It is a lovely place though. Even at this time of year. A lovely house and of course the grounds. And a swimming pool. Are you a swimmer, Valerie?’
She laughed. Full pink lips parting. The perfect white teeth. Scrumptious. ‘No. Hardly at all. I’m too scared.’
Mr Blissford’s eyes back on the road. It was warm for late December, but wet and windy, intermittently raining. The forecast was for it to clear up, though. He certainly hoped it would. She wouldn’t be keen on going outside without her clothes on in this weather.
‘We’ll have to teach you, Valerie. I’ll have to teach you.’
She squirmed her bottom in the leather seat. ‘Ugh! This weather! Freezing! And won’t the pool be full of leaves?’ A pause. ‘And I haven’t got a swimsuit.’
Was the sky lighter ahead? Charles Blissford pictured visions.
‘Oh I’m sure there won’t be leaves, Valerie. That gardener chap will be dealing with them. And if you haven’t a swimsuit...’ The words rolled around in his head and then came smoothly out. ‘There are always your knickers.’
A little silence, except for the swish-swish of the windscreen wipers. He turned his head slightly. The cheeks were blushing as no doubt she pictured... She turned towards him. Mr Blissford was joking of course. A smile. ‘I’d be frozen. Frozen stiff.’
‘Covered in them!’
‘Well, we could always have a practice indoors. In your bedroom say. Practise the strokes. The breast-stroke, can you do that?’
‘Legs wide apart? Like a frog. Thighs up and wide as you can get them... and then pushing out.’ Charles Blissford picturing.
‘Not very well.’
‘Well we’ll have to practise. On your bed. And then if we do get a warm day we can go outside and try it out. Yes?’
Valerie shook her head. Hands came forward and clasped the delightful nyloned knees. ‘No! I’d be frozen!’
Charles Blissford’s own hand came down and patted the two hands. Then back to rest lightly on the tweed-covered thigh. The warm swell of the flesh beneath. He could see them widespread on the bed. The breast-stroke. And other exercises. His palm detected a tell-tale little bump. A suspender clasp. His hand reflectively rubbed over it, then came back up to the wheel.
He had given her it at the end of last week. It, them. A Christmas offering in shiny festive wrapping. A lacy white suspender belt and three pairs of seamed nylon stockings. Plus a bottle of rather expensive perfume. In his office. ‘Open it,’ he had said. And then enjoyed the delightful blush when she had. ‘Do you wear them? Nylons?’ he had asked and she had said, ‘Sometimes.’ ‘So you can wear it, them, on the drive down.’
And she had. Presumably.
The rain was still splattering against the windscreen but perhaps less persistently now. Valerie thought of Green Gables, trying to picture it. A gardener raking winter leaves from a pool. So that... but Mr Blissford had been joking surely. About swimming. In December at least. Especially as... you couldn’t go in like he said, in knickers and bra. For one thing all the knickers she had brought were either white or pastel. Completely transparent if they got wet. She felt her face flushing at the thought. And squirmed again in the soft leather seat. Anyway she would be there to work, that big draft Mr Blissford wanted typed. It was all a joke, there wouldn’t be time for larking about.
Would there be other people staying, with this gentleman who owned Green Gables?
No, there wasn’t anyone else. Mr Randley, the Green Gables gentleman, who met them when they arrived, said there might be someone coming tomorrow but he wasn’t sure. ‘For the moment,’ he said smiling at Mr Blissford, ‘you have the run of the place. You and your delightful young lady, that is. Otherwise it’s just myself and Priscilla. Plus I think Harold is lurking somewhere.’
Harold was the gardener. Raking leaves perhaps? And Priscilla was Mr Randley’s secretary. A little older than Valerie possibly. So she would have someone to talk to. Not that she couldn’t talk to Mr Blissford. Mr Randley himself was about Mr Blissford’s age. Maybe 50. He seemed nice.
It had stopped raining and did seem a lot brighter as Valerie had stepped from the car in her high heels onto the wet gravel of the driveway. She was here — Green Gables. Chatting with Mr Randley who did seem nice but also was giving her a frankly appraising look. Her full boobs in her smart tweed jacket. Men did look at them of course, they were quite large and also a good, firm shape. Mr Winbury, her boss, looked and also two weeks ago, in the pub at lunchtime where he’d taken her for a drink, he put his hand on them. Or on one of them. And she hadn’t had her jacket on then, just her blouse. But he hadn’t persisted or made anything of it when, startled, she pushed his hand away. Just laughed.
But Mr Randley... well he was only looking and that was nothing to get excited about and normally she didn’t take any notice. But now she felt... well, a funny feeling. It was this place perhaps — Green Gables. And the things Mr Blissford had said. He had said about swimming lessons in her bedroom, though she did think it was a joke. And there was also something else he had said, just in passing. Something about caning — a way to build character, he’d said...
There weren’t any leaves in the pool. She hadn’t imagined it correctly, it was away from the trees. Quite near the house and with a clipped yew hedge on the far side. So probably Mr Gummings the gardener didn’t need to rake any out. The water was still and cold looking. The thought of going in it, in a swimsuit or anything else, made Valerie shiver.
Not that it was cold today in the garden. A quiet, still day now the rain had stopped. Wet on the grass but pleasant outside. More like autumn than December, some of the trees still with their leaves on. It was a lovely place, a large lawn running up to the house and with wooded grounds all round. It must have been nice to be at school here, years ago before the war, a boarder with your friends. Except of course for those character-building aspects. The swimming lessons. And even more the cane.
Standing by the pool Mr Blissford was asking her about school. Her school. Just the local one, she told him. The comprehensive. ‘No little touches of the cane? Across the bottom?’ Mr Blissford laughed. Valerie, looking down at the water, gave another little shiver and said No.
Mr Blissford, close to her, slipped an arm round Valerie’s waist. ‘But we’re going to have some lessons here, aren’t we, my dear? See if we can improve your swimming style. And then...’
Valerie shifted her weight as she felt the arm tighten slightly round her waist. Had he meant it then? Swimming lessons. He couldn’t mean here in this freezing water. But in her room...?
Mr Blissford said, ‘And afterwards perhaps some other lessons.’
What. What was he saying?
‘Mr Randley is something of a traditionalist. The past fascinates him. When things were so well-ordered, and people were brought up to respect things. When girls and young women were respectful and demure. Not like today when they’ll open their legs for any Tom, Dick or Harry.’
The hand squeezed her waist. ‘Not that I include you in that, Valerie. I know you’re not that type. In fact I expect you’re a virgin.’ A pause. Valerie staring hard at the water. ‘Aren’t I right?’
‘Yes.’ The little word popped out. Her body was tingling, her face, she imagined, bright red.
‘Yes. Of course. But the general run of girls today. Mr Randley anyway likes to look back on the good old days. When this place was a finishing school. When if there was any trouble a girl would be straightaway taking her knickers down. The cane, or at the least a spanking.’
Valerie was trembling. Partly because the hand had slid down somewhat, more onto her hip. Mr Blissford said, ‘He canes Priscilla, you know.’
What? Priscilla? That other girl, Mr Randley’s secretary? A pretty girl, brunette, Valerie hadn’t had the opportunity to talk to her yet. But she had looked at Valerie with a certain look, inquiring, wondering perhaps about her and Mr Blissford. That was what she had thought. But now, what Mr Blissford had just said. A picture in Valerie’s mind. A breath-taking picture.
‘Not that she’s the sort of girl, running around and getting her knickers off at every opportunity. Oh no. But Mr Randley nonetheless thinks it’s good for her.’ A little pause. ‘Can you understand that, Valerie?’
She didn’t answer but instead gave a squeaky gasp. For at that moment Mr Blissford’s hand had slid right down, over the swell of her bottom, and was now cupping the under-curve of the cheek on that side. Through her tweed skirt and, underneath, her slip, Valerie’s knickers were brief ones, the hem slanting sharply up and across. So that a good part of what he was holding was not covered by knickers.
She made another gaspy sound, her body trembling, her bottom trembling. She wanted to jerk away, but...
‘He canes her bottom, Valerie. He takes her knickers down and canes her bottom.’
Mr Blissford’s hand was still there, as if to demonstrate exactly what part of Priscilla’s anatomy was dealt with. Valerie produced a whispered ‘Please...’ but that didn’t stop Mr Blissford’s hand. It jiggled her bottom-cheek.
‘And also, Valerie, I have to tell you. He thinks that every girl who comes here should have a taste of the cane.’
Mr Blissford had said that outside, by the pool, with his hand shockingly on her bottom. They were now inside, in the house. Upstairs. A bedroom. It was Valerie’s bedroom and next to it, with an interconnecting door, was Mr Blissford’s bedroom. That fact, the interconnecting door, gave food for a lot of thought but Valerie’s mind was still on what Mr Blissford had said about Mr Randley. He thinks all girls who come to Green Gables should get a taste of the cane.
That must have been a joke. And not really a very nice one. Valerie looked at the bed, and then over at the window. The sky had cleared and the low December sun was shining straight in.
‘What d’you think?’ Mr Blissford asked, going to sit on her bed.
What did she think? Valerie shook her head. What about the work, all that typing that she was supposed to do? Mr Blissford hadn’t mentioned that. And presumably he wasn’t talking about it now.
‘The cane I mean, Valerie. What am I going to tell Mr Randley? He is a great one for tradition and also of course it is his house. So I suppose he’s entitled to have his rules. If I say I haven’t done it he’ll expect to do it himself. Give you the cane I mean.’
She looked at Mr Blissford, big-eyed. It was all... it had to be a joke. But at the same time there was something.... Maybe it was the ghosts of those girls. Girls submitting. With resigned, unhappy faces, hands up under skirts to their knickers. Sliding them reluctantly down. The dreaded routine. Here in this room. All these rooms, had been girls’ bedrooms. And girls no doubt had been caned in their rooms. In here. At times with the dazzling late December sun streaming in...
‘No!’ she said.
Mr Blissford looking thoughtful got to his feet. Came close. His hands coming up to the top button of her tweed jacket. He was unfastening it.
‘I tell you what, Valerie. Perhaps we can tell Mr Randley a little white lie. I won’t cane you, not just now. But there’s got to be something, it can only be a little white lie. So what I’ll do is spank you. A good spanking over my lap. Then we won’t really be cheating Mr Randley, will we? And we’ll be able to look him in the eye.
She yelped. ‘No... please...’ Urgently. But Valerie knew it was going to happen. Mr Blissford saying, ‘Now. We’ll do it now. Best to get it over with, before dinner. And it’s nothing much — a spanking. Come on, will you do it or shall I?’ Meaning take her clothes off.
She began. If it had to be done it was at least better to do it herself. So she began. Unbuttoning. The ghosts were there. All around. Watching sharp-eyed. Sympathetic, knowing the feeling. But some perhaps also smiling. Why shouldn’t she have it? Like they had.
Her tweed jacket and then the skirt. Her blouse. And slip. That left just bra and brief knickers and the suspender belt and nylons he had given her. He had said he wanted her to wear them and she had because if you were given a Christmas present even if it was something that made you blush you couldn’t very well refuse to wear it. In any case she hadn’t really thought he had meant anything by it. She hadn’t dreamt... she would be standing here like this.
Mr Blissford keenly looking, as all those ghosts were looking. ‘Everything,’ he said softly. ‘Everything. We must do it properly.’
And that was how they did it. Valerie with everything off. Unbelievable — unless perhaps she was a ghost as well. No. She couldn’t be. It was all clearly living, breathing flesh. Full and firm. Rounded buttocks and thighs. Full, high breasts swaying gently as, hot-faced, she stepped towards Mr Blissford. Firm and ripe with jutting pink nipples. Oh no, those breasts certainly could not belong to a ghost.
But if she clearly wasn’t that, there was perhaps something statuesque. So Charles Blissford thought. For his surprised eyes observed that this exquisite body was quite devoid of hair.
Well, well. That was unexpected. Holding her firmly in place with one of her hands twisted behind her back, his right hand cracking down. Splatting into the fleshy, slightly wobbly cheeks. Yes very unexpected. What could seemingly innocent Valerie have been up to? For surely at 18? And she was a very full-grown girl. In all respects. So...
She was grunting and gasping. Gaspy little yelps and cries. Sounds that this room had heard so often. Over the long years, and more recently too. Mr Randley and his various friends. Oh yes, these walls were well acquainted with a girl’s cries of distress. There were many ghosts.
Afterwards Mr Blissford, standing the trembling girl on her feet, said, ‘A wet flannel. Cold water. That’s always a good thing right afterwards.’
Leading her over to the washbasin. ‘And tell me, Valerie...’
There was work to do. Typing. The next morning. Sitting at a little desk in a room that Mr Blissford said had been a classroom. Back in those long-dead days. She could see them. Girls in rows. And the master, looking around. Did he have his favourites? The pretty ones? All the pretty heads down, over their books. Hoping... ‘Ah... Monica. Will you wait behind at the end.’ The question merely a pleasantness of course. ‘Monica, this work, we must discuss it. After tea shall we say? Ah... up in your room.’
In that room. In Valerie’s room. Where Mr Blissford... Get on, she told herself, stop thinking about it. If you don’t get his work done...
There had been nothing else yesterday. Not after that business. Nothing else awful. Mr Blissford went out, to his own room, and she had to get ready for dinner. She hadn’t wanted to eat but she had to. Just her and Mr Blissford and Mr Randley at dinner. Priscilla it seemed went home. Mr Randley said to Mr Blissford, ‘Have we, ah, observed the niceties?’ And Mr Blissford, smiling, said, ‘Oh yes.’
Valerie had known what was meant. Had Mr Blissford caned her. Feeling herself go red as a beetroot. Mr Randley eyeing her, his eyes smiling. She hadn’t been caned but Mr Blissford had made her take all her clothes off, then got her over his lap and really splatted her bare bottom.
Afterwards of course he wanted to know. About that. She hadn’t wanted to tell him but he kept on. It wasn’t really such an awful thing but she hated telling about it. Her mother had said, ‘Well if he wants it I’m sure it’s all right. He is the vicar after all, not some Dirty Old Man.’
So Valerie had done it. Posed for Mr Markham’s photographic shots in the nude with her pubic hair taken off. Images of feminine purity, the vicar said he was shooting. And naturally he wouldn’t show his pictures to anyone else.
She had reluctantly told Mr Blissford but made him promise not to tell a soul. Not Mr Winbury or anyone. Not Mr Randley. Mr Blissford had promised, though he seemed somewhat incredulous that it was the vicar. ‘Well, I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else,’ Valerie said. And she wouldn’t have. She didn’t tell Mr Blissford about some of the shots, the ones she hadn’t wanted to pose for, the ones it was difficult to believe portrayed feminine purity. The ones with her legs up in the air, or spread wide apart.
Mr Blissford said, ‘Well, you are a surprise, Valerie. Who would have thought it?’
Stop thinking and get on. Or he would be complaining — and then? Swimming lessons in the pool? Shivering, her fingers went to the typewriter keys. Concentrate. Forget that awful business. Hopefully it was all over.
The typewriter clattering in the little room. Echoing through the largely empty house. Where was Mr Blissford? And Mr Randley. Where was Priscilla? Was Priscilla perhaps getting the cane? For something — or nothing. Valerie at least hadn’t had the cane. Not yet...
Fingers expert on the keys, but stumbling now and then. They didn’t normally do that but it wasn’t the same here, in this room. It wasn’t her familiar office. It was Green Gables. Beautiful Green Gables which had seen so much, and was communicating it to her. A nervousness. And anyway she had reason to be nervous, after yesterday. Mr Randley. He wasn’t going to do anything, was he? He looked at her. Smiling. But clearly very interested in her breasts. In her dress last night, tight-bodiced. And this morning at breakfast. A blouse. But Mr Randley had Priscilla. It was Mr Blissford.
She had a sudden picture of Mr Blissford and Mr Randley. Somewhere else in the house. The drawing room? Talking quietly. Saying things. About her, Valerie. Mr Blissford saying, ‘Yes. Of course. Why not?’
The fingers on the keys stumbled.
Mr Blissford came in. Later. Carrying a cup of coffee. His hand familiarly on her shoulder. Squeezing. How was she doing, getting on all right? It was a lovely day outside. Remarkable for late December. Mild, and sunny. His little laugh.
‘Warm enough for a swim I should say.’
‘No!’ she squeaked sharply. Seeing the still, silent water. It might be mild but the water would be icy. Mr Blissford was joking, he must be. His hand coming round and down, sliding sensuously over her back through the thin blouse. Rubbing over the taut bra strap. Her mind seeing yesterday. It was so awful it was hard to believe it. Stripping off in front of him. Even her bra and knickers. Showing him that awful embarrassing business — Mr Markham. And then over Mr Blissford’s lap.
‘Do what you can this morning,’ he said. ‘Then we’ll have a break after lunch. It is Christmas after all.’
After lunch. After lunch. Mr Randley was off, gone shopping with Priscilla. So Green Gables was left to Mr Blissford and Valerie. And of course its ghosts. Ghosts of girls standing by the pool in just their knickers. Shivering, then getting in...
‘No!’ Valerie said. ‘No!’
Mr Blissford grinned. ‘Why not, it’s a lovely afternoon. Super. A little dip. Think how refreshing.’ She squealed. ‘No! again.
Mr Blissford looked owlish. ‘A girl wouldn’t have refused in the old days. Oh dear me no. You know what would have happened.’
Valerie did know. She could picture it. It was all around. How many girls had been caned here? In all those years. You couldn’t count them, no one could. ‘It builds character, Deirdre. Mind over matter. And for saying you don’t want to go in I’ve got something else that builds character. Come on, we shall go up to your room.’
Would she go in if he really threatened her with the cane? Valerie didn’t know, she didn’t want to have to make that awful choice. ‘Please...’ she whispered again.
Maybe Mr Blissford was teasing. A cat playing with a mouse. ‘OK,’ he said. ‘We won’t do the swimming then. Not right now at least. Something else. Sunbathing. You haven’t seen the sun-house, have you?’
It was out in a secluded part of the grounds. A little white one-roomed wooden structure. On some kind of swivel so that you could move the whole thing round to face the sun. ‘You can sunbathe,’ Mr Blissford said. ‘Take your shorts down. Get some sun. Take them off.’
They were what he had told her to put on. Up in her room. The shorts and the little vest. The shorts weren’t hers, Mr Blissford had produced them from somewhere. Very tight pink shorts. ‘No knickers,’ he had said. ‘Just the shorts. And a tight little vest. Have you got one?’
Now he wanted the shorts off. In this little sun room which with the sun shining in and the glass door closed was quite hot. So there wasn’t that excuse. Mr Blissford sitting in one of the armchairs as she stood in front of him. Had this sun room been here in the old days? She had seen paint peeling off the outside. It could be old, it could have seen... what? Spankings. Canings. And what else?
Valerie didn’t want to take her shorts off. It was simply for Mr Blissford’s pleasure, she knew that. He wanted to see her again, and also maybe embarrass her. It did embarrass her, even though she had done the same for Mr Markham. ‘Come on,’ Mr Blissford said. ‘Get them down. Or I shall fetch the cane.’
Taking them off. Was she going to have to lie down, in the sun, on the carpet? Not right away it seemed.
‘Come here. Come on. Closer.’
He was looking. Naturally. ‘Do you use a razor, Valerie?’ Yes he did want to embarrass her. She had to tell him although she hated to talk about it.
‘It’s... a cream.’
‘A cream!’ Well, well. You are a sophisticated young lady, Valerie. Let me see. Open your legs.’
‘No!’ She seemed to be saying no all the time. But Mr Blissford said he would get the cane. So she did it. Mr Blissford...
After he got tired of that he made her pull her top up. Up over her boobs. ‘Let the sun get at them,’ he said. ‘Then you can lie down, on the carpet. My, they are lovely, aren’t they? Arch your back, shoulders back. Mmm... yes... Yes. I really think...’
What Mr Blissford really thought was that he should give her a little spanking. Mr Randley would probably ask if she’d had anything today and he would then be able to say honestly Yes. Mr Randley was extremely keen on the training of girls. Green Gables had always been a marvellous place for training girls. Always.
Over his lap again. The ghosts rustling, whispering. ‘Look... look... She’s learning. What a girl has to learn at Green Gables.’
‘But it’s a spanking again. A spanking. When’s he going to... At Green Gables a girl always gets the cane. Always. Deirdre and Elizabeth. Monica and Susan. All of them. All of those girls. On and on. They all did. Don’t you know that, Mr Blissford?’
The days are so short in December. The sun coming up late but never getting really high in the sky and then by tea time down again. It was three o’clock and the shadows were already long across the lawn. The sunbathing session was over and they were walking in the grounds, Valerie with her vest and shorts now respectably back in place.
She hadn’t enjoyed the sunbathing, lying there on the carpet with just her vest pulled up above her big boobs. Lying there for Mr Blissford’s pleasure. Mr Blissford’s eyes hard on her and then... He had knelt down, with some oil. Suntan oil. ‘Let me...’
His hand rubbing it all over her. A hot, sensuous, scary feeling. Lying on the carpet in the hot sun and Mr Blissford’s hand with the oil... going everywhere. Including... ‘Open your legs, Valerie...’
No she hadn’t enjoyed it. Not at all. And now...?
Mr Blissford’s arm came round her waist as they walked back towards the house. Towards the house and towards the pool. Valerie knew he hadn’t stopped thinking about it. She just knew.
‘I wonder,’ he said. ‘It’s still very warm, isn’t it? And by now the sun will have warmed the water...’
She had been right. ‘No! I’m not.’
The arm squeezed her waist. ‘Well we’ll see. We’ll at least have a look. All right? And I want you in your knickers. Just your knickers.’
‘I’m not going in that water.’ She felt like crying. Mr Blissford’s hand came down and slid over her bottom, over the tight-stretched pink material. ‘I didn’t say you were going in. Did I? But I want you in your knickers.’
He was going to make her, she knew he was. Up in her room with the vest and shorts off, taking a pair of brief white knickers from the drawer. She wouldn’t have come here if she had known there were freezing pools that you were expected to get into. Just to amuse Mr Blissford. She also wouldn’t have come if she had guessed about that spanking business.
But somehow the spanking... She hated it but there was that feeling here that you couldn’t avoid it. It was part of the place. Mr Blissford had said that last night. ‘All those girls, Valerie. In a way they’re still here. Can’t you feel that? All telling you you have to accept it. You have to be trained.’
Was it true? There was something. But at the moment it was only the pool that was filling Valerie’s mind. Mr Blissford had given her a red sports jacket to put on. To wear out to the pool. But out there he made her take the jacket off.
‘Come on, let me see. You know you’ve got a lovely figure, Valerie. Stick them out.’
Standing by the pool in just her tight knickers. Like those girls...
‘Now go down the steps. Just try the water.’
‘No! You’ll push me!’
‘I will not, Valerie.’ And then she saw. Mr Blissford had a cane. Mr Randley’s cane presumably. A long, thin, yellow cane. She gave a yelp of fright. The thought of that across her tightly-knickered backside.
The cane swished out. Not really hard but it stung. It really stung. Right across the taut seat of her knickers. She shrieked.
‘Go down then.’
She went down, and put one foot in the water. It was freezing. And Mr Blissford was going to make her go right in, she knew he was. Or hit her again with that cane. Really hard.
But he didn’t. ‘OK. It’s getting dark anyway. We’ll go up to your room. We’ll have some swimming lessons in the dry.’ His arm round her bare waist. ‘And we may also have some other lessons as well, Valerie dear.’
He meant the cane. She knew he did. Those ghosts — they were stirring now. Oh yes. Mr Blissford finally...
In her room, with all the lights blazing. ‘Take the jacket off, Valerie. And the knickers. I want you nude. So that I can properly see the action of the muscles.’
Standing nude. The cane was there, Mr Blissford had put it on the chair. That cane... on her bare bottom. Had those other girls, the ones who had had this room, had they... in the nude...?
‘Deborah, you’ve been particularly awful. So we will not just have your knickers down, we will have everything off.’
Mr Blissford telling Valerie to get on the bed. On her front and legs out over the bottom of the bed. ‘The breast stroke. I want to see you do it. The leg action. Now remember, the legs must come right up. As wide as you can get them.’
It was like those awful shots with Mr Markham. Worse in fact. She could just imagine... Then she gave a sudden convulsive jerk. And a desperate yell, half muffled by the bed cover. The cane...
He had really hit her with it. Her bottom throbbing, writhing.
‘Come on, Valerie, don’t make such a fuss. A girl’s got to be trained at Green Gables.’
Were there ghostly whisperings now? Excited girlish chatter? ‘See. Mr Blissford knew all along. He knew he had to use the cane...’
Two more visitors had arrived at dinner time. Another middle-aged man and a girl, pale-skinned and pretty. Priscilla was there for dinner too. She was sitting next to Mr Blissford, talking to him. And Valerie... her companion was Mr Randley.
Talking softly. Had she had a pleasant day?
She could still feel that cane. Underneath her bottom, against the seat of her chair. Mr Randley’s cane.
Mr Randley’s hand under the table was suddenly lightly on her thigh. After dinner, he said, he wanted her to come to his room. He hadn’t yet had a chance for a nice chat with her and he did like to get properly acquainted with his young lady visitors.
Under the table Mr Randley’s fingers squeezed gently through Valerie’s pretty pink dress...