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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Correction Club

By Johnny Chesham from Janus 34
You’d hardly have noticed it in the foggy winter night — a small brass name-plate reading The Correction Club in elegant italics.
A tall man in a black cape and topper pulled energetically on the ornate Edwardian bell as a shaft of eerie gaslight fell across his features and the departing hansom cab rattled away, soon swallowed in the omnipresent silence.
Slowly the door opened.
‘Good evening, Major,’ a solemn butler in black tails intoned.
‘Evening, Hodges!’ the man rapped and strode briskly into the hall. With a swirl he removed his cape which he thrust at the servant with his black silk hat. Curiously he retained a shiny black cane which had passed unnoticed in the voluminous folds.
‘The members are in the club-room, sir,’ Hodges announced and retired with a deep bow.
The Major tapped his cane solidly into his left palm with a smart crack. Then with sudden vigour he mounted the stairs and found himself standing outside a venerable oaken door. After a second’s hesitation he grasped the doorknob firmly.
As he entered the spacious chamber all eyes swung accusingly to a tall grandfather clock which clearly read three minutes past eight in sharp Roman numerals.
The Major flexed his jaw. Unpunctuality was not appreciated by the members of the Correction Club.
A pause.
‘I must crave your pardon, gentlemen,’ he rapped in the manner of one not accustomed to apologies. ‘Bad night. Hardly a cab on the street,’ he added staccato-fashion.
‘Very well, Major,’ an elderly man in a crisp wing collar finally conceded. ‘Please help yourself to sherry and join us.’
‘Thank you, Sir Gerald, the Major answered and approached a decanter and glasses set out on an ornate sideboard.
‘As I was saying,’ Sir Gerald continued with a final disapproving glance at the late arrival. ‘It is the purpose of this club to vigorously counteract the insidious moral decay which is at this very hour attacking our great nation!’
‘Hear, hear!’ rippled round the panelled clubroom as the Major seated himself in a commodious leather armchair and sipped his sherry. He glanced round the comfortable chamber illuminated by a glittering chandelier and well warmed by a spluttering log fire. Beneath a cloud of cigar and pipe smoke a dozen men in evening dress sat attentively, their faces firm, determined, inspired.
Sir Gerald, a distinguished civil servant with silver hair and drooping moustache, stood legs straddled with his back to the blazing fire, one hand thrust into the pocket of his dinner jacket, the other waving a sizeable brandy. Above the mantelpiece the bearded features of His Highness Edward VII dominated the room with solemn regality.
‘Gentlemen,’ Sir Gerald went on, ‘as Chairman of this club, permit me to read you some disturbing facts.’
He turned and placed his drink on the marble mantelpiece from which he removed a thick journal.
‘Gentlemen,’ he repeated gravely, ‘allow me to quote from The Metropolitan Gazette, November, 1907.’
A hush descended on the chamber as Sir Gerald cleared his throat.
‘Since the turn of this century,’ he read solemnly, ‘the problem of…’ he paused, then hissed the next word, ‘Prostitution has risen to most grievous proportions…’
‘Shame!’ the Major barked, instantly echoed by his fellows.
‘…It is now estimated that there are some seven thousand houses of ill repute in the metropolitan area, whilst the number of harlots operating in the capital has risen to a staggering ninety thousand…’
Cries of protest erupted from the outraged members as Sir Gerald held out his hands in an appeal for silence.
‘I am sure that Inspector Westbrook, our Treasurer, will confirm these lamentable facts,’ he continued.
A man with a close-cropped head of iron grey hair nodded resignedly.
‘Quite so, I’m afraid, Sir Gerald,’ he added, drawing on a cracked briar.
‘Gentlemen,’ Sir Gerald’s voice rose to a note of exaltation like some inspired ancient orator. ‘It is my belief that our club must play its part in ridding our capital of this vile pestilence!’
‘Hear, hear!’ and ‘Good show!’ burst through the indignant club-room as the mortified members drew on expensive cigars.
Sir Gerald gulped a mouthful of brandy. Then:
‘It was duly decided at our last meeting that one of our number was to venture onto the streets of London and select one of these wantons who should be brought to the club premises and made an example of in no uncertain fashion!’
Deafening cheers resounded around the clubroom culminating in an eagerly drunk toast.
‘In view of your late arrival, Major Stanton,’ Sir Gerald went on, ‘perhaps you would be good enough to volunteer!’
‘Point taken, Sir Gerald,’ the Major smiled. It was precisely with this aim that he had arrived a calculated three minutes late.
‘I understand that these wretched creatures congregate in the vicinity of Whitechapel,’ Sir Gerald continued.
Was there a trace of a smile as the two men faced each other?
‘Er, I believe so, Sir Gerald,’ Stanton coughed.
‘Good show, Stanton!’ Dr Rathbone, the Club Secretary, remarked emphatically. A thin-faced man with black oily hair, he rose from his armchair drawing on a long clay pipe.
‘Now, as an excellent dinner awaits us I suggest we make our way downstairs,’ he added as the members slowly began to rise from the depths of their armchairs.
‘I look forward to seeing you in due course, gentlemen!’ Major Stanton rapped and with a brisk nod took his leave.
Stanton relaxed in a swiftly hired hansom and lit up a cigar. So far so good, he thought. But what a pleasure it was to spend a night at the club in these God-forsaken times, he mused…
There was Asquith, a bloody Liberal, in number ten, and some Welsh lunatic called Lloyd George spouting a lot of impertinent rubbish about social injustice or some such tommy-rot.
Why, only yesterday he’d caught O’Hara, his laundry woman, babbling to the maids about that cursed Emmeline Pankhurst and her damnable Women’s Union. Despite his anger Stanton had to laugh. Votes for women! The sheer absurdity of the idea was overwhelming! Might as well talk about giving back the Empire! But his years in India had taught him there was only one way to deal with insubordination: swift, decisive action!
He’d run O’Hara upstairs to his study and promptly given her the thrashing of her life, leaving the door open so the maids could hear how far women’s rights extended in his household!
With a satisfied smile Stanton relaxed into the springy upholstery, drew thoughtfully on his cigar and savoured the memory…
He’d thrown O’Hara across the desk in a torrent of abuse as she pleaded desperately for mercy, trying vainly to retract the scurrilous nonsense she’d been spouting minutes before. Turning to the mantelpiece he took down a favourite relic of the Raj, a two-foot elephant flail of tightly segmented leather weighted here and there with small lead pellets…
He grasped the folds of her long linen dress and threw them over her waist as she begged pathetically for pardon in her Irish brogue.
‘Silence woman!’ Stanton barked, wrenching down her long white bloomers which hung like sacks from her knees to her ankles.
Stanton’s eyes gleamed — her hindquarters were of most generous proportions, full fleshy and well-rounded.
Inhaling sharply he hoisted his whip and in one clean sweep brought it down full across the centre of the quivering cheeks with an almighty CRACKKK!
Yeowww! No, Major!’ she shrieked to the heavens as sharp, stabbing pain shot through her body from searing buttocks. Her legs kicked up shrouded in folds of her bloomers as her head reared back, her face contorted in an agonised wince.
Stanton lifted his whip, his features set in anger. The battered flesh of her rump instantly welled up into a red ridge with bluish knots where the wicked lead had kissed the ravaged surface.
I’m sorry sir!’ O’Hara wailed as she heard the whip cut through the air with awesome promise —
Yeowww!’ The mean leather buried itself in the soft substance of her buttocks an inch below the existing mark sending pure pain running like liquid fire through every nerve of her body…
Down in the scullery the maids trembled at the piercing screams which filled the whole house with terror. O’Hara’s head thrashed from side to side, her red hair flailing like a tree in an autumn storm. She gripped the edge of the desk trying somehow to withstand the incredible stinging…
No more, sir, please sir!’ she howled as Stanton raised his whip high, taking careful aim and registering with aesthetic delight the vivid redness which suffused the wriggling mounds in response to the venom of his attack. His face tightened with vindictiveness. Suddenly he lashed down the scourge with every ounce of his strength into the folds of flesh at the tops of her solid thighs!
‘Yeowww! Mercy, sir!’ Her ear-splitting shriek throbbed through the study as the whip scorched into her tormented skin sending waves of agonising sensation sweeping through her. The hateful leather plunged her still deeper into new realms of suffering, her legs kicked wildly in automatic anguish, her lined face aged decades under the burden of pain…
Warming to his task and gazing down at the well-striped buttocks liberally peppered with bluish bruises, Stanton found himself deeply aroused. Now possessed by a heady mixture of power, cruelty and lust, his control suddenly evaporated and a frankly primitive force took over. The result was a dynamic shower of blows delivered with vicious power and in a blur of speed —
O’Hara seemed to buckle on the desk top spasming in surges of pain, pouring out her misery in falsetto screams followed by long, heartrending wails. Desperate, she clasped her right hand to her tear-soaked face as her body writhed in ultimate anguish relieved only by her guttural howls and deep wracking sobs…
His lips contorted in a snarl, the Major took careful aim…
Whitechapel, sir,’ the driver’s clear voice dissolved Stanton’s memories like a stone breaking ice.
‘Drive down to the river,’ came his snappy reply.
‘Very good, sir.’
A smile both bitter and lascivious returned to Stanton’s thoughtful features. It would be a long time before the name Emmeline Pankhurst was mouthed again in his household, he reflected, chuckling. A very long time indeed…
He peered out of the window. They were entering the sleazy dockland area of gin houses, beggars and whores.
‘Stop here,’ the Major ordered.
‘Very good, sir.’
Stanton got out and tossed the man a coin.
‘Wait here till I return,’ he barked.
‘Very good, sir,’ the driver repeated, knowing exactly what to expect as soon as the name Whitechapel had been mentioned. Indeed, if he was not much mistaken he had driven this particular gentleman here several times before on similar missions.
He was not mistaken.
Stanton made his way down the misty streets with an easy familiarity. In truth he was one of that breed of men strangely fascinated by the ladies of the night and the twilight world they inhabited. But he might have gasped to learn how many of his fellow club members had also stalked these furtive byways…
He felt his heart beat faster with a strange excitement as he penetrated the red lamp district. Stanton gripped his cane fiercely — footpads were not uncommon in this murky no-man’s-land peopled by human debris of every description. He passed a gin house bathing the foggy street in soft orange light. A tinkling piano was drowned in raucous laughter, sailors spilled onto the pavement, an oriental with ferocious slanting eyes peered at Stanton as he brushed by…
The Major’s solitary visits to the docks had equipped him with a curious sixth sense which seemed to guide him through the maze of alleys almost magnetically towards…
He turned away from the crowd as their eyes followed him, at once curious and malicious. He passed a man in a bowler who looked studiously at the ground with the air of a downtrodden clerk in search of solace. Suddenly:
‘Are you good-natured, sir?’
Stanton whirled round. The woman’s voice came from the shadows where the cobbled street descended to the wharf. Gripping his cane Stanton approached a dark shape he could just make out. He felt his heart palpitate, not with fear but with pure adrenalin.
His gleaming eyes fell on a hard-faced woman in her thirties wrapped in a thick black shawl. Stanton’s burning stare bore into her, his face like granite.
‘Are you good-natured, sir?’ she repeated without flinching.
Ignoring her invitation he carefully assessed the figure before him exuding a gross odour of cheap perfume. Obligingly she unfolded her arms to reveal the cleavage of massive milky breasts slightly concealed by a plunging lacy neckline. Not exactly corpulent but certainly buxom. Excellent, Stanton decided.
‘How much?’ he demanded, his eyes radiant with lust.
‘Eight shillings, sir,’ she replied. ‘Or a pound for the two of us.’
‘Two?’ Stanton snapped.
A shuffling in the alley answered his question as a slender figure came slowly into view…
‘Emma, me sister, sir,’ the bawd explained hopefully.
‘‘Ello, Rosie,’ the new arrival chirped, then turned to face Stanton.
The Major gasped. Occasionally on his travels in this half of the world amongst the dregs of womanhood would be found a real gem. This was such an occasion…
The girl was in her late teens and of strikingly fine features. Her soft golden hair was tied in a bun from which wisps escaped and fell charmingly about her lovely face.
Stanton pulled his hand from his cloak and firmly proffered a pound…
As Hodges, the butler, was serving Irish coffee to the stalwarts of the Correction Club, Major Stanton unlocked the studded oak door which gave entrance to the rear of the club premises. He ushered the gawping bawds across a yard strewn with wine casks, empty fruit crates and general debris from the club’s extensive kitchens, and began to descend the stone steps which led to the club’s basement.
Stanton pushed open the door and groped for an oil lamp which reposed nearby in a small crevice. Cursing fluently he lit the lamp at the third attempt creating a dim light which crept over rack after rack laden with dust and horizontal green bottles. The women realised they were in a wine cellar.
‘Blimey, we’ll be alright for a drink ‘ere, Rosie!’ the younger girl giggled until silenced by Stanton’s stony stare.
He led them carefully to the end of the dank, barrel-vaulted chamber where a spiral staircase of wrought iron ascended to the ground floor. Beyond this was a short corridor which terminated in an arch-shaped door with a small barred window.
‘Reminds me of bloody ‘Olloway!’ Rosie murmured morosely and spat on the ground as if in protest at the memory.
Stanton unlocked the final door and the three figures entered the appointed chamber. He lit a hissing gas lamp and blew out his lantern. The women looked round curiously. The room was spartan in the extreme, almost the only furniture being a large four-poster bed with a high brass frame. Three of the bare plaster walls had been thinly white-washed while the fourth was curtained off behind a tattered black fabric suspended from a brass rail.
‘Well, ‘ere we are at last!’ Emma exclaimed as she sat on the bed, assuming rightly that the room was reserved for a special purpose, though not in fact the one she imagined. She unclasped the bun of her hair releasing a torrent of golden curls which cascaded down her back. She shook her head, her hair rippling around her shoulders in shimmering waves.
Her fingers strayed to her high-buttoned bodice.
‘Shall I…?’ she began, then stopped as Stanton raised his cane and tapped three times on the low ceiling.
The women looked at each other and shrugged. You got some funny ones.
‘Shall I…?’ she started again then broke off as a thunderous pounding of feet sounded on the iron staircase.
Suddenly the door flew open revealing the furious figure of Sir Gerald at the head of the jostling members of the Correction Club!
‘Thou harlot!’ Sir Gerald half screamed, half spat the word, thrusting a furious finger at Emma whose face was a study in bewilderment.
‘Thou Jezebel!’ Dr Rathbone hissed, his thin countenance purple with rage.
‘No, sir, begging your pardon, sir, me name’s Emma…’ the girl managed as cries of ‘He’s got two!’ and ‘Two of them, by Gad!’ rippled through the thronging members who eagerly filled the doorway.
‘Thou most wanton and abominable sinner!’ Sir Gerald slurred, pointing dramatically at Rosie and feeling the effects of a bottle of claret consumed with dinner.
‘Prostrate yourself over the bed and prepare to be punished for your most heinous crimes!’ he shrilled, voice trembling with passion.
‘Now ‘old on a minute…’ Rosie began, her hard, experienced features unmoved by the commotion.
Inspector Westbrook pushed his way to the forefront and presented his warrant card with a much-practised flourish.
‘Westbrook, Scotland Yard,’ he snapped. ‘Now, I suggest you pipe down and do as you’re told,’ he demanded. ‘Unless, of course, you fancy a spell in Holloway…’
‘Oh, Gawd!’ Emma muttered. Not only a load of toffs off their heads, but a bloody bobby too!
Rosie suddenly looked shaken. The mention of Holloway brought back extremely unpleasant memories.
She had no choice. Dropping her head she slowly turned and leant over the high brass frame at the foot of the bed…
The members cheered wildly. Sir Gerald gasped with pleasure, moved to the corner of the room, then pulled a tasselled cord with sudden vigour. The black curtain rippled back along the covered wall…
Emma’s hands flew to her mouth in a gasp of dismay. The entire wall was covered with a series of racks and hooks from which hung instruments of punishment of every description!
Mean coiled whips, canes of every length and thickness, leather belts and straps, some wickedly studded, a cat-o’-nine-tails, several birches, tawses, rulers, bats and thongs…
Emma turned her eyes away as the colour drained dramatically from her face…
Sir Gerald confronted her now with total command.
‘Fall to your knees, thou most wicked and shameless malefactor!’ he roared. ‘And ponder at length thy eternal damnation!’
‘Yes, sir,’ she whispered and obediently knelt down by the side of the bed joining her hands in contrition. She dropped her head in fear and mumbled dimly-remembered prayers…
Sir Gerald moved to the wall and spread his arms before the racks like the high priest of some ancient cult, his eyes blazing with an unspeakable radiance. A hush fell upon the members as Sir Gerald froze in deep contemplation. Then, as if suddenly inspired, his hands fell on a thick leather strap which he carefully folded double…
Still facing the wall he said quietly, ‘Dr Rathbone, Inspector Westbrook, be good enough to prepare the sinner…’
Rathbone and Westbrook leapt forward and grasped Rosie’s long skirts which they threw over her waist in a pile of blue taffeta. Westbrook gathered her white petticoats which he added to the mountain of fabric on her back. Dr Rathbone’s prurient fingers ran round her waist and under the elastic of her knee-length white bloomers. Slowly, tantalisingly, he rolled the long, voluminous garment down…
Stanton smiled with satisfaction. Just as he had supposed, her buttocks were generous in the extreme, veritable mountains of soft, fleshy substance.
As if by telepathy Sir Gerald whirled round just as his two cohorts were withdrawing, their part in the ritual completed.
Sir Gerald strode to the high bedstead over which Rosie lay draped ignominiously, her huge naked rump thrust up in total submission to his will.
His lordly face bearing a deeply absorbed expression, he gazed down endlessly at the sacrificial offering presented to his authority…
The members grew still in respectful silence broken only by Emma’s reverent mumblings…
With a sudden poetic movement Sir Gerald swung his strap high above his head and lashed it spitefully down across the centre of Rosie’s quivering mounds with an almighty CRACKKK!
‘Yeowww!’ Her instant scream welled up from the depths of her being in response to the flaming agony that suddenly erupted in her buttocks as the furious leather bit deep. Grunting and gasping for breath, she gripped the bars of the bedstead as the astonishing shockwave of pain rose to an excruciating peak, then subsided into urgent, continuous smarting…
The strap lay limp on her undulating orbs as if exhausted by its first prodigious effort, then slithered off the roasted flesh as Sir Gerald raised his clenched fist again. Rosie gritted her teeth in torment and tried desperately to steel herself against the next punishing lash…
CRACKKK! His face transfixed, Sir Gerald whipped the strap angrily down with the strength of a man half his age.
Yeowww! Mercy, sir!’ Rosie shrieked as her legs kicked up in a shroud of white cotton and a convulsive shudder ran through her entire body. ‘Mercy, sir!’ she wailed, her face wincing grotesquely in the blistering pain of the blow. ‘Me arse is stinging something ‘orrible, sir!’ she whined as though this fact had somehow escaped the assembled company.
‘Silence, thou harlot!’ Sir Gerald thundered as Emma looked up ashen-faced at the anguish of her howling sister.
At the front of the wide-eyed spectators Dr Rathbone fairly drooled as the massive moons of her rump began to glow with a radiant redness…
Sir Gerald inhaled deeply, hoisted his tense right arm, then hurled down the snapping strap diagonally across her left buttock-cheek with a deafening CRACKKK!
Yeowww! No more, sir, I beg you!’ Rosie shrilled as her head shot up, her features etched in gross suffering. Her whole rump throbbed with indescribable stinging — sharp, invincible pain that tore through her like a destructive inferno. Suddenly the shock and agony were too much and she subsided into long, bitter sobs.
‘Good show, Sir Gerald!’ Rathbone mouthed encouragingly.
Rosie buried her head in the bedclothes in a pathetic stratagem not unlike the proverbial ostrich. Her muffled sobs and groans mingled with Emma’s compulsive mutterings in a bizarre symphony of woe as her tears soaked the rough coverings. Wracked with pain she locked her body in a vice of tension in a hopeless attempt to repel the next wave of anguish…
To her surprise it did not come. She heard shuffling feet and a rustling from the side of the room.
Sir Gerald had made an esoteric gesture to Dr Rathbone indicating that it was he who should continue the bombardment!
Rathbone moved to the wall and paused, his eyes shining like black jewels. In truth each member of the Correction Club had his own preferred instrument hanging somewhere on those duty racks. Sir Gerald favoured the strap, Westbrook the custodial birch, while Dr Rathbone’s trembling hand closed on the bulbous handle of a pliant riding crop…
He held the whip before him in both hands, running his enraptured eyes along every inch of its length, then positioned himself legs straddled beside the heaving offender. Rathbone gazed dreamily down at her enormous red buttocks crisscrossed with swollen bands edged in bluish ridges where the hungry strap had bitten deep…
Suddenly Sir Gerald made a curious gesture somewhat akin to describing a triangle in the air. Dr Rathbone nodded. It was to be three strokes.
He rocked slightly on his heels, then in a startling blur of speed jerked up the crop in one continuous movement and whipped it down with awesome power across the cleft of Rosie’s wriggling rotundities!
Yeowww! No, sir! Have mercy, sir!’ Rosie screamed out in shock and agony as after this brief respite a still sharper, cutting pain swamped her anew. Helplessly she threw her right hand to her flaming rump as the crop rose. She wailed the more as her fingers found the purplish ridge of flesh that welled up instantly in tribute to the venom of the blow.
Dr Rathbone swallowed hard and steadied his grip.
His profession had caused him to examine many an inflammation of the flesh, yet the sight of a newly risen, glowing weal skilfully applied so as to agonise yet not damage…
With sudden fury he lashed down the whip diagonally across the fibrous welt with a mighty CRACKKK!
Yeowww!’ Rosie’s appalling shriek filled the entire basement as her torso shot up in excruciating convulsions, her face a mask of anguish soaked in tears and perspiration. ‘I beg you, mercy, sir!’ she wailed, wriggling helplessly along the bar of brass, her body wildly animated by the ferocious smarting in her soundly thrashed rump…
Undeterred, Rathbone raised his whip like some relentless machine. On her crimson left buttock a new violet welt crossed its predecessor in an incisive X.
‘Good show, Rathbone,’ Major Stanton mouthed gruffly.
The doctor hesitated as if to prolong the pleasure to which he was as addicted as any user to morphine. He stroked his whip languidly as Rosie wailed on, then swept it above his head suddenly and down into the ravaged flesh with a final, devastating CRACKKK!
Yeowww! No more, no more!’ Rosie slurred swooning with pain that engulfed her like a cloak of fire, her whole body stinging like one huge hive, her head swimming as the bed seemed to sway in the agony…
‘Rise, thou harlot!’ Sir Gerald suddenly boomed. The weeping whore slowly found her feet. In a daze of shock and suffering she struggled to pull up her crumpled bloomers as Emma dared a glance upwards, her face alive with fear…
‘Now kneel down and ponder thy eternal doom!’ Sir Gerald demanded as Rosie knelt obediently opposite her much younger sister and joined her hands in willing repentance. A strange air of piety played about Emma’s face as she knelt like some beautiful angel of adoration…
‘And now you will pay the price of your unspeakable sin!’ Sir Gerald hissed at the exquisite blonde figure.
Mouthing a final silent prayer Emma rose like some martyr going resignedly to her fate… She crumpled over the bedstead, her tattered crinoline a blaze of red in the dingy room…
Si Gerald scanned the assembled members who waited with bated breath to see who would be chosen for the correction of this veritable Princess of the night. Westbrook gazed longingly from the young, up-thrust rump to the selection of birches suspended at the far end of the wall…
Suddenly Sir Gerald made a curious looping gesture which culminated in a finger pointing directly at Major Stanton!
Stanton sighed inwardly with deep joy. Just as he had hoped!
However, instead of approaching the racks he stood his ground.
‘May I request the privilege of using an unauthorised instrument, Sir Gerald?’ he asked tapping his black cane into the stone floor.
A surprised hubbub spread through the members.
‘Rules are rules, Major Stanton!’ Sir Gerald observed sternly. Then softening his tone he added, ‘However, you have served your club well tonight and, on this occasion only, your request is granted!’
‘Thank you, Sir Gerald,’ Stanton nodded and stepping forward laid his shiny cane at the foot of the bed.
He bent down and grasped the hem of Emma’s flounced skirt which he threw disdainfully over her head revealing copious pink petticoats of soft, frilly lace. These he duly added to the heap of crumpled fabric.
A long pair of lavender lace knickerbockers now required his attention. He undid the waist cord and roughly stripped them down to her knees, unveiling in the process a delightful pair of pink, protruding buttocks which stood up proudly like exotic fruits at bursting point.
Stanton thrust her silky knickerbockers down below her knees. Soft frilly garters held her black stockings about her gorgeous thighs, the lacy edges of her charming undergarment fell ignominiously about her scuffed leather ankle boots…
The sacrifice was prepared.
In addition to their choice of instruments, each member of the Correction Club could be said to have his own style of administering punishment. True to his background, the Major was brisk in the extreme. He stood legs straddled, his left hand firm on the brass knob at the top of the near bedpost, thus braced to put every ounce of strength into his formidable right hand which now held his trusty cane.
He looked at Sir Gerald for final direction. Sir Gerald made the strange triangular shape in the expectant air.
Stanton nodded. Three strokes. So be it.
His face strained like a weightlifter’s, Stanton suddenly jerked his right arm high, then pounded it down with herculean power across the precise centre of Emma’s wobbling buttocks!
Yeowww — Aaah!’ She screamed instantly as the rigid stick thumped into her exquisite flesh, then bounced off with a life of its own leaving a broad scarlet stripe which blossomed without delay into a fiery welt.
‘Oh, good show, Stanton!’ emerged from the spellbound members.
With a smooth, continuous flow Stanton’s black cane flew upwards, then hissed down to bite into the throbbing substance of her rump an inch below its predecessor with a fearful THWACKKK!
Yeowww! No, sir!’ Emma screamed piercingly, her head thrashing from side to side propelled by relentless pain, her legs kicking up smothered in frilly lavender, her angelic face now tormented in a wince of agony. The scorching impact of the mighty cane was followed by a stinging so intense that, lacking the endurance of her sister, Emma burst helplessly into floods of tears…
Encouraged by this early capitulation, Stanton raised his cane for a final stroke that would befit the conclusion of so dramatic a ritual as this foggy winter evening had become. He paused on full tip-toe scanning the scarlet target and summoning every reserve of his strength…
Suddenly with an audible snarl he whipped down the wicked cane with prodigious power an inch above the spiny red ridge that marked his first mighty stroke!
Yeowww! Have mercy, sir! Forgive me, sir!’ Emma screeched as wave after wave of scalding sensation blazed through her from madly wriggling buttocks, her body jack-knifed in the pulsing pain, her lovely face suddenly haggard and wracked in suffering as a long, ear-splitting shriek poured from her contorted lips…
Bitter tears cascaded down her cheeks in a salty stream as her beautiful bottom fairly shone with a scarlet radiance crowned with three neat welts of ridged purple…
‘Good show, old man!’ resounded round the room as Stanton slowly raised his cane to his lips…
Sir Gerald turned to the satisfied assembly.
‘I think now that some refreshments are called for!’ he beamed enthusiastically to cries of ‘Hear, hear!’
‘Let us adjourn to the clubroom!’ he concluded as Emma wept her heart out suspended over the comfortless brass.
‘Stanton, perhaps you would be good enough to remove these wretches from the club premises,’ Sir Gerald added.
‘With pleasure, Sir Gerald,’ came the snappy reply.
Stanton sighed. Perfect!
He hauled up the sobbing figure of Emma who distractedly restored her knickerbockers, grimacing with pain. Rosie staggered to her feet and the Major slowly propelled the distraught pair through the dark route by which they had come. At length the three figures stood outside the studded outer door as loud toasts floated down from the clubroom.
Stanton disdainfully tossed half a crown at Rosie.
‘Be off with you!’ he snapped.
‘But me sister…’ she began, then scampered away as Stanton raised his right hand menacingly.
He leered at Emma who wiped her soft blue eyes with a tattered lace handkerchief.
Suddenly he pressed a coin into her shaking hand. Emma looked down, her face altering into a bizarre mixture of agony and bliss…
Nestling in her palm was a gold sovereign!
She looked up incredulously.
‘You will be required to present yourself at my private address where I will supervise your further correction!’ Stanton rapped, thrusting an embossed visiting card into her other hand.
Emma beamed through her tears. Taken up by a gentleman of means! What every girl in Whitechapel dreamed about! And rewarded with a small fortune!
‘T’will be an honour, sir,’ she whispered, even managing a painful curtsy.
The image of an elephant flail drifted into Stanton’s thoughts, and her delicious bottom still blazed in his mind’s eye…
‘Very well,’ he snapped. ‘You will present yourself discreetly attired at my chambers at eight pm on Saturday!’
‘Very good, sir, as you say, sir,’ Emma answered in a daze as Stanton turned away with a thin smile.
The fog was lifting and he decided to stroll round to the front entrance of the club. It had been a truly excellent evening and at last his heart was at peace. Gentle moonlight played on the small brass nameplate as he tugged on the bell. Stanton smiled. There might be a bloody Liberal in number ten, but as long as men like Sir Gerald, Rathbone and Westbrook held sway in the Correction Club, there was still much to look forward to!

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