A large substantial house, The Big House as it was known to the locals, Alwood Hall in fact, sitting imposingly in its grounds above the village of Little Alwood on this fine sunny July morning. A four-square early Victorian edifice dominating the local landscape as indeed its owner-occupier also tended to dominate the local inhabitants. Mr Henry Hollings standing now in his front reception room…
Henry Hollings, lord of the manor, was in his fifties and of an upright, military bearing although he had not in fact served queen and country. He had spent some years in the east, though, on family tea plantations and out there a gentleman planter could conduct himself in the same lordly fashion as lords of the manor had in England in bygone days. So that Henry Hollings did still now act that way back in England and Little Alwood’s inhabitants, generally beholden to him and also mostly of a conservative nature, tended to accept it. One particular way in which Henry Hollings acted in the manner of a bygone lord or an eastern potentate was in his dealings with the female sex. Especially young females. Eighteen to twentyish. Which was why now on this Monday morning in July in his front reception room…
Eighteen to 21 was the age group he found especially enticing, when a young female was ripening into bloom. Such young female persons were in Mr Hollings’s estimation put into the world very largely for a gentleman’s convenience and pleasure and he liked to avail himself freely of them in these directions. Most conveniently in domestic service at the Hall.
All young females in the neighbourhood were likely to be required to do a stint. ‘Builds character,’ according to Mr Hollings. A girl or her parent might not be too keen on having her character built in this manner — might even be decidedly reluctant — but that would simply make Henry all the more keen. Even those young ladies who at the nearby grammar school had achieved noteworthy A Level results and had subsequently gone on to university and thereby no doubt considered themselves beyond the traditional grip of Little Alwood and its Hall and its lord of the manor. Even these felt the call. Which was why…
‘Please Deirdre. He just wants you to help out in the holidays.’
They might well energetically protest (‘Mum I’m not going. You know what he’s like. I’m not!’) but reason would prevail. ‘Don’t be silly, our Deirdre. Try and co-operate. And don’t take any notice of all that silly talk.’ Even though Deirdre’s mother would know that the silly talk was very largely true.
Not that this morning it was Deirdre, it was Sarah. Sarah Bartley. Because they all had to toe the line, even newcomers to the village. Sarah was blonde, as pretty and comely as a peach so it was not surprising that Mr Hollings had taken an interest. He would take an interest in even the less well-favoured ones. And so Sarah… Sarah on this first Monday morning in July and standing uncertainly in front of Mr Hollings in the large and a bit gloomy front reception room of Alwood Hall was being handed a little bundle of something. Soft and silky but also… a funny pair of shoes?
‘Slip these on,’ Mr Hollings told her.
Sarah was at that moment in an ordinary blouse and skirt, with ankle socks and sandals. This was what her mother had told her to wear. The Bartleys had arrived just two weeks ago with daughter Sarah wondering vaguely about a job. At once Henry Hollings had suggested that she could occupy part of her time before a regular job at the Hall. Otherwise young girls with time on their hands could get into all sorts of mischief. ‘And it builds character.’ Well maybe this was true. Their new neighbour, Mrs Wilmot had said that anyway Sarah could not refuse. Mr Hollings was Mr Hollings. Mrs Bartley’s eyes had opened a little. But, well, for one thing they were renting their house from Mr Hollings.
It was Mrs Wilmot who had said she thought just a blouse and skirt would be the thing to wear. Mrs Wilmot had wondered to herself whether Mr Hollings would prefer a skirt, so that he could put his hand up it, or nice tight jeans so that he could admire the shape of Sarah’s shapely bottom; but naturally these wonderings were not shared with Mrs Bartley, who obviously did not yet know the ways of Little Alwood and its lord of the manor.
Mr Hollings had already, on this Monday morning, put his hand up Sarah’s skirt. Almost as soon as she entered the house five minutes ago. That was the way with traditional lords of the manor and also eastern potentates. Sarah had gasped and almost stumbled over. His hand, out of the blue, up the backs of her warm bare highs and onto the taut knickers above. Mrs Wilmot next door had said, confidentially, ‘Don’t you mind Mr Hollings, Sarah. He just has his little ways.’ Was that what she meant?
Sarah was still in something of a state of shock as Mr Hollings handed her this silky bundle, and the funny shoes. They were shoes, or slippers, like the ones you might see in the pictures of the east somewhere. The toes curling up and back. Like the Arabian Nights. Or a harem perhaps? And the rest of the bundle…?
Mr Hollings obligingly held the things out to show her. Equally obligingly he spelled it out. ‘A harem outfit. Rather fetching I think you’ll find. I’ve had it run up specially. So let’s see how you look, shall we?’
Sarah blinked. She certainly hadn’t been expecting any harem outfits — but then she certainly hadn’t been expecting important Mr Hollings’s hand up her skirt as soon as she crossed the threshold, groping her bum. It was true of course that when a girl was 18 and pretty as a juicy peach men did sometimes try something of that sort. Squeeze your bum and things. That old Mr Crutcher three doors down from their new house had done it in fact when he showed Sarah his garden. But only outside her skirt. And Sarah had just said ‘Please!’ rather sharply and Mr Crutcher had desisted with a cackly laugh. This Mr Hollings however was clearly something else. He owned everything around for one thing. He owned their new house. Sarah had squealed a plaintive ‘Please’ but Mr Hollings had not immediately stopped, not until he was ready. And now this… outfit.
‘We’re going to play a little game,’ Mr Hollings said. ‘When you’ve got it on. So come on.’
A game? Sarah had been expecting to be doing some jobs, for which she was to get two pounds for her morning’s work. Not games in harem outfits. But there was no time to stop and think about that. Another sharp squeal as Mr Hollings was at her. His hands at the waist of her skirt — clearly ready to undress Sarah himself.
‘No. Please!’ Unhappy yelps. ‘OK, I will.’
Mr Hollings let go, prepared it seemed to watch Sarah get undressed. No she couldn’t go somewhere else and do it, he told her. Right there in front of him. Mr Hollings had slightly bulgy eyes and they seemed to be bulging even more now. Sarah took a deep breath: this was not at all nice. But…
Her knickers, when she slid down the navy pleated skirt, were blushing pink. Sarah was blushing too. They were skin-tight and a bit transparent. Her blouse only reached just below her waist so that Mr Hollings could see the whole of the pink and somewhat transparent knickers. It was not nice. But… What…?
‘Lovely… lovely…’ His voice a bit hoarse. ‘But come on. Get it all off.’
Yes. That was what he wanted. All of Sarah’s clothes off. She yelped out that she couldn’t. But Mr Hollings was Mr Hollings. Lord of this manor and used to having his own way with 18-year-old girls. And if they squealed and yelped ‘No’ he simply took matters in his own rather large hands. Quite unceremoniously and speedily Sarah’s blouse and her lightweight white bra and the pretty pink knickers all came off. For the moment Mr Hollings was content to leave the ankle socks and sandals as he admired the cringing but mouth-watering form before him. Oh yes!
Oh yes! Henry Hollings pulled trembling hands and arms from the slim nude form. ‘Stand up straight, m’dear. Character remember.’ Yes quite delightful. Rosy-peaked firm apples and down below a delicate light brown fleece of curls. He took an arm and turned her, to deliver a sharp slap to a taut bare buttock. Sarah squealed. Who could believe this?
‘Very lovely, my dear. And now the outfit.’
She grabbed it from him, desperate to get something on. It wasn’t easy, though, at first to see what was what. It was just flimsy stuff, and clearly fully transparent too. Oh God. As she pulled the two pieces of material this way and that Mr Hollings was hovering, hands reaching out to grope at those so enticing tits… and at other parts too. Sarah emitting gasping pleading cries.
At last she had it sorted out — and dragged it on. A pair of harem trousers and matching little top. The trousers… each half was separately fastened to the belt, loosely, like a drawstring. So the two legs, tight at her ankles, were quite separate from each other. That meant, as Mr Hollings’s hands quickly demonstrated, that Sarah’s bottom and her front could be bared by sliding the two halves apart at the waist — like drawing curtains apart. And of course there was nothing under, no knickers, nothing. She felt like crying.
The top was just about as bad: quite transparent like the trousers and loose so that as Mr Hollings’s hands again made clear you could either feel Sarah’s tits virtually bare through the gauzy stuff or slide up under to where they were fully bare. It was scarcely possible that anyone could think up such a dreadful outfit. Sarah sniffing and blinking, fighting back the tears, as she tried to squirm away from Mr Hollings’s hands. Mr Hollings laughing his lordly laugh. Girls when they were as peachy as Sarah Bartley were such marvellous fun.
At last he let her go: this was anyway only the preliminaries.
She stood before him again, hands once more wanting to hide those intimate parts. Mr Hollings told her to stand up straight and stop squirming and writhing about. ‘Stand up straight, my girl, and push that chest out.’ Sarah stood as still and straight as she could. Her feet were still but everything else seemed to be trembling. Mr Hollings was now talking about his game.
Did Sarah know the Arabian Nights stories? The one about the girl who had to tell her master a story each night and if he liked the story, found it amusing, entertaining, then she was OK until the next day? But if one night he didn’t like the story… Mr Hollings grinned. Sarah made a face. She did know that story. Something really dreadful had happened to the girl.
Mr Hollings with his bulging eyes was still grinning. ‘In our game. Sarah, your fate will not be the same as that poor girl. Oh no: this is after all the civilised Twentieth Century. But, mmm, I’ve got something else for you if the story’s not up to scratch.’
Sarah had the feeling she might be going to be sick. She didn’t know any stories and anyway couldn’t tell them. And what awful thing could grinning Mr Hollings mean: ‘I’ve got something else for you.’ For the moment she forgot the fact that she was standing there in front of him virtually nude in those transparent trousers that could be pulled open at the touch of Mr Hollings’s hand. She was blinking but now it didn’t stop the fat tears welling out. Sarah shook her head. ‘I c…can’t…’
Mr Hollings coming closer and putting his hand round and squeezing her bum said don’t be silly of course she could. He was going to give her a job to do, dusting the room, and while she was doing that she could think up her story. Half an hour. Mr Hollings’s fingers as he spoke were doing a bit of absent-minded probing.
She couldn’t think. Nothing. Sarah’s mind remained a complete panicky blank as far as stories were concerned as she flapped her duster at chairs and table legs. She tried desperately, all too aware of the seconds, minutes, ticking by. But nothing. Mr Hollings had gone out of the room so for the moment there weren’t his awful hands grabbing and probing but… in half an hour… And the minutes, racing by.
That was what she had to tell him when he came back. ‘I haven’t thought of anything. I can’t.’ It was stuttered out and she was weeping again. Mr Hollings said nonsense of course she could think of a story. Or did she want that awful fate like in the Arabian Nights?
She made miserable boo-hoo-hoo noises.
Mr Hollings shook his head and said, well, could she for instance tell him what she did on holiday last year. Surely she could do that.
Sarah, haltingly, complied. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that he made her sit cross-legged on a little stool in front of him with her hands down at her sides, and in those trousers. But don’t think about that, tell what you did and then maybe it would be OK instead of a story and there wouldn’t be the dreadful thing whatever it was that Mr Hollings had thought up as a penalty.
Sarah told what she had done, nothing very exciting but she told it, while Mr Hollings sat in his chair opposite and stared mostly between her opened legs. Finally there was nothing more to tell. Mr Hollings said, ‘Hmmm, well that was something, eh?’ So did that mean…?
Then he said, ‘But it wasn’t a story. And so I’m afraid, Sarah, you have to have the penalty. The first penalty.’
She almost screamed out.
The penalty was a smacked bottom. Over Mr Hollings’s lap with him pulling those loose trousers apart like curtains to bare Sarah’s slim bottom and then his hard hand splatting stingingly down while his other arm held her firmly round her waist. Splat…! Splat…! Splat…! Really hard and also really dreadful because it was Mr Hollings’s bare hand on her bare bum and also he had her so that her legs were spread, not together, so that you knew he could see…
At the end of it when he had finished and let her get up Mr Hollings said, ‘That’s the first penalty. When you come tomorrow if you haven’t got a story or it’s not good enough you get the second penalty.’
Sarah didn’t say anything about the harem outfit or penalties to her mother — and of course not to anyone else either. She told her mother she had had to do some dusting and cleaning and Mr Hollings had given her two pounds as agreed, so Mrs Bartley couldn’t understand why Sarah didn’t want to go again tomorrow.
That afternoon Mrs Bartley happened to see old Mrs Crutcher from three houses away. She might be 78 but she didn’t miss much. ‘I ‘ear your Sarah’s going to t’Big ‘Ouse mornins,’ she cackled. ‘Ah, ‘e does love ‘em that age, does Mr Hollings.’ Sarah’s mother said, ‘Yes, doing a few jobs. It’s nice for them to be busy I always think.’
Mrs Crutcher gave her hooting laugh. ‘Oh ah, ‘e’ll keep ‘er busy right enough.’
Sarah hated the thought of going back the next morning but she had to. ‘Don’t be silly, dear,’ her mother told her. ‘It’s only for the mornings anyway.’
Inside Alwood Hall things were very much the same as yesterday. Mr Hollings greeting her with his greedy grin and then a greedy hand up the back of her skirt; having to take her clothes off in front of him and put on that awful outfit. Yesterday afternoon at her wits end she had gone over to the library in the nearby town and feverishly hunted through books of short stories. Sitting cross-legged in front of Mr Hollings again now she did her best to tell the one she had decided on. About a man who found a dog at the seaside. It wasn’t coming out very well, though, she just wasn’t good at telling stories, even at the best of times.
Mr Hollings grunted at the end of it. He said it was all right but he was not really entertained and probably the caliph wouldn’t have been either and would have dealt with Sarah in that horrible way. ‘I rather think, young lady, we’re going to need a taste of the second penalty.’
The second penalty was the cane. A dreadful vicious-looking cane that Mr Hollings produced with a flourish from a cupboard. A cane! No, he couldn’t cane her. But he could, and did. Making Sarah bend over a low coffee table with those awful trousers pulled wide apart to expose her bottom and with her legs spread wide apart too to expose various other things. The pain from that cane on her tender bared buttocks was unbelievable, a hundred times worse than being spanked. Like a knife — or a red-hot poker.
When Mr Hollings had finished this diabolical business (he gave her six) Sarah could hardly stand up. Mr Hollings, though, with his hands eager to go everywhere, was quite content to support her. Now she knew about the second penalty, he told her. On the third day if the story wasn’t good enough, there was a third penalty. After that, after she’d had all three penalties she got two penalties each day, one after the other. Two of the three. He, Mr Hollings, would decide which two.
Sarah was still almost dying from the pain of that caning. She could scarcely take in what he was saying, the fact that there was a third penalty of some sort to come. Later on though, doing some cleaning for Mr Hollings and with her bottom not quite so fiery, Sarah’s mind did get hold of it. A third penalty. And whatever it was she knew she would get it. Even if she did manage to tell a story well Mr Hollings would say it wasn’t entertaining. And then…
‘E tup ‘em, y’know.’
Old Mrs Crutcher, eyes agleam and hitting at a stone with her stick. Sarah’s mother not catching what she had said. ‘What? Sorry?’
It was the next morning and Sarah was up at Alwood Hall for her third day. Mrs Bartley, walking by Mrs Crutcher’s front gate, had been hailed by the old crone. Who now gleefully repeated what she had said. ‘E tups they girls.’
Mrs Bartley smiled understandingly although she didn’t understand. Old Mrs Crutcher’s speech was difficult to catch at times. ‘Tups’ it had sounded like. What could that mean? Some dialect word? She smiled again and said ‘Yes I know’ and walked on.
Up at the Big House true to form Mr Hollings hadn’t liked Sarah’s latest effort. And in that rather gloomy, high-ceilinged room where doubtless various Hollings ancestors had had their way with hapless servant maids — ‘tupped’ them if you like — Henry Hollings was in the process of giving Sarah her third penalty.
Sarah bent over the arm of an over-stuffed armchair, her face in its seat. Not able to believe what was happening…