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Monday, 1 April 2019

Fall from Grace

From Roué 43
Though she did not know it, the Hon. Felicity Bottomley was riding for a fall. The cool sweet breeze was champagne as it rushed past her glowing face, her slim body rising in rhythm to the beat of Satan’s hooves as they thudded across the springy downland turf. She gave the great black stallion his head and they raced over the last stretch for home, taking a low wall effortlessly in their stride. How ridiculous of Hoskins to suggest that Satan needed more rest! What he needed was exercise, as she did. For such free spirits to be penned within four walls, be they house or stable, was insufferable!
She slowed the horse to a canter and then a trot, effortlessly, easily, as they entered the stable yard. Felicity was a consummate horsewoman, skilful and fearless but with little sympathy for the animals she used, or for the grooms whose love and care was lavished upon them. With a perfunctory pat to her mount’s sweating neck she slid from its back and handed the reins to Hoskins the head groom, who, she remarked had a look fit to sour cream. Well let him! He and Bradley, the vet, were the same — a couple of dithering old women. Horses were not for pampering.
As she mounted the low stone steps that led to Cranberry Hall, the mellow Georgian mansion that had been the ancestral home of the Bottomleys for generations, she took off her riding hat and shook loose the abundance of corn gold hair trapped inside it. At seventeen, Felicity was very conscious of her stunning looks which she accepted as her right, as she did her fortune. Fate had decreed that Felicity Bottomley should be rich, beautiful and a member of the ruling class. God was in his heaven, all was indeed right with the world.
She handed her hat and riding crop to Sally the maid, a pretty dark-haired girl of perhaps her own age, who curtsied respectfully as she opened the door to her young mistress. Felicity gave the girl an appraising glance, noticing a button unfastened on the black silk uniform dress.
‘Tidy yourself up, Sally,’ she snapped, ‘you look like an unmade bed.’ The girl blushed, her fingers flying to the offending button.
‘Sorry, Miss Felicity. Oh, and your mother, Lady Cecily, says will you see her right away. She’s in her room.’
Without answering, Felicity mounted the curved oak staircase to her mother’s bedroom. I wonder what she wants, she thought. She could guess! No doubt old misery Hoskins had been complaining about her taking Satan out. Servants! They thought they owned the place. She had been home from St Bridolph’s for two days. Two days into the summer holiday and this was the first opportunity she had had for a good gallop. There was little enough opportunity at school.
She entered her mother’s room without knocking. Lady Cecily was sitting in her basque, stockings and French knickers. At forty she was still a remarkably attractive woman.
‘Don’t you ever knock?’ she snapped.
‘Sorry,’ said Felicity without regret, ‘besides what’s so special about you putting on your war paint. I’ve seen it all before, mummy dear. Sally says you want to see me?’
Lady Cecily scowled. She certainly was not at her best at this time of the morning. God, it was scarcely ten!
‘Yes, Hoskins tells me that you’ve been riding Satan and riding him hard. You know very well that Mr Bradley the vet said that that bruised fetlock had to be rested for at least another week?’
‘Bradley!’ exploded Felicity. ‘The man’s an incompetent old dodderer. You should hear what the farmers around here have to say about him. There’s nothing wrong with that stallion that exercise won’t put right!’
Lady Cecily took a deep breath trying to keep calm. How was it that she and her daughter always seemed to antagonise one another? Thank heaven that she was away at school for nine months of the year. There was much to be said for boarding schools.
‘Nevertheless,’ she said patiently, ‘I do not see the point of paying for expensive veterinary advice and then ignoring it. You might have done Satan lasting damage. Couldn’t you have taken one of the hacks?’
‘Those old bag of bones,’ exclaimed Felicity contemptuously. ‘They are only fit for the knacker’s yard. I don’t know why you don’t get rid of them?’
‘Those horses,’ said her mother, continuing with the long controlled strokes of the hairbrush in an effort to maintain a reasoned conversation with her insufferable daughter, ‘are old friends. You never seem to realise that being a member of the aristocracy brings responsibilities. We have a position in society. And that goes for the servants as well as the horses. You treat the staff as if they were serfs.’
‘Oh for God’s sake, mother, don’t give me all that noblesse oblige crap.’ Felicity threw herself down into a bedroom chair and crossed shapely legs as she scowled at her highly-polished riding boots. ‘You know damn well that the servants are an idle feckless lot of layabouts. If it wasn’t for us they’d have to work for a living. As for the aristocracy, what do you know about it? Daddy might be the twelfth Earl, with a pedigree going back to the Conquest, but everyone knows that your father was a shady Salford scrap metal dealer, who made his millions through war profiteering! It’s common knowledge that daddy only married you because he needed the money to save the estate?’
It was cruel, it was unkind, but there was a measure of truth in the accusation, and as such it stung the more. All Lady Cecily’s good intentions of being a civilised and humane parent vanished into the red mist of her anger as she sprang to her feet and slapped her daughter smartly across the face, before dragging her upright and shaking her like a rag doll. Her rage gave her power enough. At last she stopped and flung Felicity back into the chair where she cowered before her mother’s wrath.
‘That does it, my girl!’ Lady Cecily panted, gasping for breath after her exertions. ‘I’ve been patient for far too long. I’m not going to be insulted by my own daughter. A spoilt snobbish brat at that, and not even out of school yet. No doubt you think that you are all grown up. Well, we’ll see about that. I’m only glad that I’ve kept your old outgrown school dresses.’
She crossed to the cupboard and produced an assortment of clothes which she threw down onto the bed. Felicity regarded them ashen-faced. Her temper had long since subsided, scattered before her mother’s cavalier treatment, and she was already regretting her sneering remarks. She should have remembered that her mother was not a person to be taken lightly, but one tended to forget that the autocratic powers of a prefect at St Bridolph’s did not extend to a Countess’s boudoir!
‘Oh no,’ she pleaded, ‘please, don’t make me wear my old school dress, I’m too old for it. I’m sorry about what I said. I didn’t mean it?’
‘Oh yes you did, my girl,’ snapped her mother, ‘and as you’ve chosen to be as rude as a fourteen-year-old junior schoolgirl, you can look like one, and be treated like one. So get your clothes off, and when you are suitably attired you are going to get the spanking you deserve. Come along — hurry up, or it will be the worse for you.’
Reluctantly, with many pleas and protestations, which were ignored by her implacable mother as though unuttered, Felicity took off her riding costume, the blouse, the boots, the skin-tight jodhpurs, and stood shivering with apprehension in only her bra and panties.
‘And those,’ said Lady Cecily, ‘the lot.’ Miserably Felicity took off her final garments and began to don the uniform of a junior at St Bridolph’s. As a senior girl — and a prefect — she was now allowed to wear a smart blue skirt and silk stockings at school, as well as a bra and white silk knickers, but junior girls wore navy gym tunics, liberty bodices, brown lisle stockings and navy cotton bloomers. And it was into this humiliating costume that Felicity now struggled. Struggled because she had filled out a great deal since she had last worn the clothes regularly at sixteen.
However, there had been a few occasions since, when to her mortification she had been made to dress in them before being soundly punished. and this was doubtless going to be one of them.
When she had finally crammed herself into the painfully tight garments, buttoning the liberty bodice and blouse with difficulty, and dragging the box-pleated gym tunic over her head, Lady Cecily regarded her daughter with some satisfaction. Gone was the supercilious young lady and instead there stood the parody of a naughty schoolgirl, a delightfully petulant little-girl expression on her face. The tunic strained tautly against Felicity’s burgeoning breasts and buttocks, the hem of the short tunic barely covering her thighs and stocking-tops. As she moved, the suspender tapes of the liberty bodice could be glimpsed before they disappeared into the elasticated legs of the several-sizes-too-small navy cotton bloomers.
Lady Cecily crossed to the dressing-table and picked up the ebony-backed hairbrush with which she had so recently been brushing her auburn locks.
‘Come here,’ she said ominously, tapping the solid wooden back upon the palm of her hand.
‘Oh, mum…’
‘Don’t you ‘mum’ me, you wicked girl. Come here!’
She sat down on the bed, still only partly dressed, and beckoned her errant daughter to position herself over her nylon-covered knees and bare thighs.
Wasting no time, Lady Cecily raised the brush shoulder-high and aimed at the peak of Felicity’s right cheek and brought it down. It made a loud crisp ‘splatting’ sound as it made contact with its target and stung just as Lady Cecily intended it, Felicity’s sudden gasp could be counted as accurate testimony. She lifted the brush again, and the second smack on the same place on the other cheek brought a similar reaction from Felicity — plus a little wriggle of protest from her hips.
Several more smacks lower down on each cheek brought little yelps of dismay.
‘Ooooh! Aaaagh!’ Felicity panted. ‘I’d forgotten how much your damn hairbrush stings! Do get it over with quickly!’
That’s enough of that sort of talk, my girl. You are going to get the spanking I dictate, and I shall go on until I think its sufficient. And I think these knickers should come down.’ And, suiting action to words, Lady Cecily inserted her thumbs in her daughter’s blue bloomers and lowered them. Not easily, but by dint of determination. They afforded much too much protection as was obvious by her daughter’s latest verbal cheekiness, she thought, and viewing the brightly glowing ovals of the soft smooth skin under her gaze, she clamped her left hand over her daughters waist, pressing it down, raised her leg, forcing her bottom up into an even more rounded, spread-cheeked position, and, aiming for unsmacked areas, let fly with several rapid and sizzling strokes that produced a series of vociferous wails of protest in a swiftly rising crescendo.
‘Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh-oooh, mummy!’ and that final shrill cry indicated to Lady Cecily that the bottom before her was a blazing ball of fire.
‘There,’ she said to her sobbing delinquent. ‘Perhaps that will teach you manners. Now, you can stand in the corner with your hands on your head for half-an-hour and reflect on your behaviour.’ From the dressing table she took two safety pins and pinned up Felicity’s tunic clear of her hot and smarting bottom that still glowed an angry scarlet from the energetic application of the hairbrush. Felicity, her knickers still around her ankles, shuffled over to the corner indicated and stood facing inwards, her hands on her head. There she stood grizzling dismally while her mother finished her toilet and donned petticoat and dress.
‘Right,’ Lady Cecily said to Felicity, as she prepared to leave the bedroom. ‘Just stay there, and if you twitch an eyelid, let alone move out of that corner until I return, I’ll really give you a hiding. Is that understood?’
‘Y-yes mother,’ sobbed poor Felicity, for the time being completely cowed.
For perhaps ten minutes she stood there, not daring to move. Her arms began to ache and her spanked bottom still throbbed and burnt intolerably. Then there was a light tap on the door and it opened. From the corner of her eye the mortified Felicity saw the maid Sally, who was hastily stifling a giggle.
‘Oh sorry, Miss Felicity. I was looking for her Ladyship. Isn’t she here then?’
Felicity did not deign to answer, the words would have choked her. Sally crossed over to her young mistress and examined her critically, from the blue knickers festooned around her ankles, to the hot punished bottom and the tear-stained sullen face, pretending not to notice the hands clasped on top of the golden head.
‘Oh you poor thing,’ she said. Although the words themselves were sympathetic, there was a hint of contemptuous laughter underlying them, and Felicity was woman enough to recognise and resent the bitchiness.
‘Go away!’ she hissed behind clenched teeth.
‘Oh you poor thing,’ said Sally again, ignoring her and placing a cool hand lightly on the burning cheeks. ‘I bet they hurt. Would you like me to get some nice cold cream to rub on your bottom, miss?’
Felicity did not answer. She would have liked to have turned, screamed, hit out at the gloating girl — for gloating she surely was, but she did not dare. If her mother returned…
‘Oh, and that uniform, miss,’ said the wicked Sally, pretending to notice it for the first time. ‘It’s a bit small isn’t it? I suppose it was her Ladyship’s idea putting you into that. I bet Mr Clive your boyfriend would have a good laugh if he could see you now. Though I’m sure he’d understand — and sympathise Miss,’ she added hastily. It would not do to go too far. Jobs were hard to come by. All the same Sally had suffered too many hurts and snubs from the tart tongue of the Honourable, the snooty, Felicity Bottomley not to savour to the full her comeuppance. What a story to tell the other maids!
Felicity squirmed. ‘Get out!’ she yelped in angry frustration.
‘Mind you, Miss, I do sympathise,’ said Sally, candour shining from her honest brown eyes. ‘It’s a bit much giving a grown-up young lady a whacking and putting her in the corner like a baby, and with her knickers pulled down too. And those knicks are a bit of a laugh, miss. Not like your usual silk ones, are they? It’s not right, Miss Felicity?’
‘Get out!’ repeated Felicity, even more desperately.
Despite herself Sally giggled. ‘Yes, miss. But are you sure you wouldn’t like something on your poor stinging bottom?’ And she giggled again.
There was a sound of retreating footsteps and the door closed quietly behind her.
‘Just you wait you sneering bitch!’ said Felicity fervently to herself. ‘I’ll get my own back. Just you see if I don’t?’
----//----
It was seven o’clock the next morning and already there were signs of activity at Cranberry Hall. Although there were as yet no overt signs of movement from the family, the servants were already hard at work cleaning, polishing and preparing breakfast, according to their various specialities.
Sally had just finished dusting and hoovering the morning room. She was pleased with her efforts. She was a hard-working and industrious girl and the room was spotless, the fine old furniture gleamed with beeswax and elbow-grease, and not a speck of dust sullied the deep piled carpets. Singing happily to herself, she coiled the flex of the cleaner and went in search of breakfast in the Servants Hall.
No sooner had she departed than Felicity entered the room, not, be it noted, in her usual open manner, but furtively, first looking up and down the corridor to see that she was alone. She wore a negligee over her nightdress and carried a small cardboard box. Carefully closing the door behind her, she proceeded to scatter cigarette and cigar ends and ash over the carpet and sofa, even grinding ash into the carpet with the heel of her slipper. Then, again making certain that she was unobserved, she tiptoed out and upstairs to dress and wait for the breakfast gong.
‘Hudson!’ The call was angry, imperious and brooked no delay. Hudson the butler came at the dignified walk which for him passes as at the double.
‘Yes, Miss Felicity? You called?’
‘Yes, Hudson. I did call. I thought this room was supposed to have been cleaned this morning. Just look at it. It’s like a pigsty. Cigarette ash everywhere. It hasn’t been touched?’
Hudson was genuinely perplexed. ‘It’s certainly bad, Miss Felicity. But I can’t understand it. I saw Sally come in here first thing this morning and heard the vacuum cleaner?’
Felicity gave him a withering glance that implied that where credulity was concerned a babe in arms would win on points.
‘You are for too trusting, Hudson. The idle little slut probably turns it on and then sits and reads some trashy love magazine. The room’s not touched?’
‘I’ll send for her at once, Miss,’ said Hudson in consternation. He crossed to the bell and rang it insistently. It was Sally herself who answered the summons. She gave a little curtsey, looking very fetching in her neat black dress, the short skirt fluffed out with a stiff white frilly petticoat.
‘You rang, Miss Felicity? Mr Hudson?’
It was the butler who answered. ‘This room is a disgrace, Sally. How do you explain it?’
Sally was completely taken aback, as well she might be. ‘But I’ve just cleaned it, Mr Hudson. I don’t understand.’
In his righteous anger the butler seemed to swell like a turkey-cock, awesome in the affront to his household management.
‘There is no excuse for sluttish behaviour in this house as well you know.’
‘But I did clean it, really?’ The puzzled girl answered.
‘Don’t add lying to your laziness, girl,’ growled the outraged butler. ‘If you cleaned it as you say, where did this mess come from?’
Sally frantically clutched at straws. ‘Someone must have done it to get me into trouble, Mr Hudson, sir.’
The butler drew himself up to his full height of five feet two inches, making him look more like a pregnant game chick than ever.
‘Don’t be ridiculous, girl. Who and why?’
Sally panicked. ‘Miss Felicity, sir. She must have done it.’
There was a scornful laugh from Felicity, dutifully echoed by Hudson.
‘Stupid girl!’ he exclaimed angrily. ‘Miss Felicity drew my attention to the state of the room. Besides, are you seriously suggesting that she would deliberately soil the morning room herself?’
Put like that it was a ludicrous suggestion. In the face of such logic Sally was silent. Pompously the Butler continued. ‘I am sorry to see you acting in this way and then trying to cast the blame on a member of the family. I would remind you my girl that Miss Felicity is an Honourable and the daughter of the Earl of Cranberry. She would not stoop to such a thing! I will have to punish you most severely. A sound spanking for your laziness followed by an even sounder spanking for your unwarranted accusation against Miss Felicity?’
Sally was aghast. ‘Oh no! Please Mr Hudson. You know that I don’t mind being spanked if I deserve it — you’ve done it before — but this time I’m innocent, really l am.’
‘That is more than enough.’ Hudson was furious at such persistence. ‘Lord and Lady Cranberry take you in, they give you a comfortable home, good food, er wages. (He was about to say ‘good wages’ but being a truthful man stopped himself in time). And how do you repay them? Now be silent before I dismiss you without a ‘character’ as you deserve. Come here!’
The Butler led the unfortunate Sally over to the sofa, after first fastidiously dusting the worst of the cigar ash with his handkerchief, and sat down. Then he pulled the maid down across his pin-striped knees.
‘With your permission, Miss Felicity?’
‘Please,’ said Felicity. ‘Feel pleased to go ahead. I shall enjoy this.’
Lifting her dress and petticoat, Hudson could not help but savour the moment in spite of the seriousness of the occasion. Taut black stocking-tops gave way to inches of white smooth flesh, emphasized by black suspenders, and the plump bottom of Sally was beautifully outlined by contrasting white frilly panties.
Hudson so far forgot himself. He brought his hand down quite gently on the waiting bottom, and followed it up with two more open-handed pats. It was Felicity, all agog, waiting for the spanking to begin in earnest that brought him back to earth with her loud snort of impatience.
Collecting his wits he said. ‘You are going to be smacked hard, Sally. And it’s going to hurt I promise you.’
And the words, putting him back in the right mood, had within seconds the air filled with the sound of his palm meeting Sally’s shapely bottom, which recoiled momentarily with the humiliation of it all, her cheeks squeezing together as if to comfort each other from the unjustified assault. Not entirely satisfied with Sally’s gasps and squeals of pain, the butler paused in his task to lower her panties. He was a man who liked to see what he was doing, and the bottom under his hand wriggled in protest at this further indignity, but Hudson had his duty to do and do it he would!
He landed a goodly number of stinging spanks on the bottom before him with magnificent asperity, going on to cover every inch until it was a blaze of colour. The angry redness and the constant twitchings and quiverings which kept Sally’s bottom in fascinated motion, even though he had stopped, testified to the thoroughness of the hiding he had meted out.
Before the turbulence inside Sally had subsided, the Butler, feeling that justice had been justly done, ejected the squirming girl from his knees and, panting from his exertions, regarded her sternly.
‘That I hope will teach you more respect for your betters, you wicked girl!’ He turned to Felicity who throughout the sound and protracted chastisement had been sitting comfortably in an armchair savouring every stinging impact.
‘May I say, Miss Felicity, how sorry I am to subject you to such a painful domestic scene.’
‘Not at all,’ said Felicity truthfully, ‘It’s good to know that someone is keeping up the Victorian values.’
‘Thank you, Miss,’ said Hudson respectfully. Then turning to the tearful Sally, ‘And as for you, pull up your knickers and then start to clear up this mess. I shall have more to say to you later.’
‘Yes, Mr Hudson,’ said Sally, sniffing and tentatively fingering her scalded bottom. She stooped to drag her silken nether garment up over her ankles and then stopped, bent double as if turned to stone, her glowing chubby buttocks protruding cheekily from her short skirt in a way that might have been comical in other circumstances.
‘Wait!’ she squeaked. ‘Mr Hudson, That’s it. I’ve got it.’
The Butler turned to her in irritation. ‘Really, Sally, this is too much! Have you taken leave of your senses?’
Sally took no notice. She was holding up a small brown object, a cigar butt.
‘But don’t you see, Mr Hudson? This proves that I’m telling the truth?’
‘What does?’
‘This cigar end. It’s one of Lord Cranberry’s — he’s the only one who smokes cigars — and he’s been away from home for three nights, sitting in the House of Lords or somewhere. So it couldn’t have been left here last night. You know that you inspect all the rooms most particular, Mr Hudson, in case of fire.’
‘You are right, girl,’ said the Butler slowly, ‘then who…?’
They both turned and looked at Felicity who raised an eyebrow, then shrugged her shoulders in gesture of surrender. It was a fair cop!
----//----
It was in Lady Cecily’s room later that morning that an interesting ceremony took place, witnessed by both Hudson and Sally. It involved Felicity, her mother and a pliable swishy cane which Lady Cecily was about to measure against her daughter’s bare bottom — and she meant to do it with the utmost severity. In fact she had in mind to thrash her until she begged her to stop.
‘You have disgraced the family, Felicity,’ she said, ‘in the most lamentable fashion. Abused your position, forgotten your responsibility as a young lady of quality, and destroyed the trust that existed for generations between your father’s family and the servants. And I am going to wreak upon your bottom the retribution you deserve. Now place yourself over the arm of the chair Felicity and we will get on with it.’
Felicity, though fearful of her mother when she was in this mood, was loath to subject herself to the cane in front of the ‘servants’. That abhorrence predominated. ‘What if I don’t?’ she asked.
‘Then Hudson will assist me,’ answered her mother quietly and impeccably. ‘Is that what you would prefer?’
It wasn’t. Feeling every inch the young girl her junior uniform made of her, Felicity reluctantly approached the armchair. ‘Lower your own knickers, Felicity,’ her mother instructed as the girl made to bend forward and over.
Thoroughly humiliated, Felicity lifted her short skirt and eased down her navy-blue knicks to her thighs, glad at least that no-one could see her flushed face. Everyone’s attention she knew was on her bottom, and she also knew that laying over the armchair would afford them a sight of the well-divided cleft and the curly hair of her quim. She pressed her thighs tightly together.
Lady Cecily took the cane up and brought it down on her behind and all of Felicity’s thoughts fled with the impact of it. The strokes were only moderate ones at first, but all too soon her mother was increasing their force and by the twelfth stroke she was swishing it down with abandon and Felicity, completely uncaring, writhed against the hot suffusing warmth, and pain that was spreading throughout her bottom, emitting cries which she tried to stifle into the cushion.
Both Sally and Hudson almost held their breath at the ravishing sight of Miss Felicity being so summarily dealt with, and hoped her Ladyship would carry on a little longer, if only for the pleasure it gave them to watch the luscious soft flesh give way under the impact of each stroke of the cane. Rippling and rebounding.
Lady Cecily had no intention of giving up. She struck lower down on her daughter’s buttocks, close to the crease of her thighs, knowing full well the increased pain it would cause her. And she wasn’t surprised when Felicity winced and wriggled. Encouraged, she repeated briskly more strokes as close to the earlier ones as possible, raining them down without respite. Felicity squirmed, kicked her legs in the air and finally cried out in prolonged protest.
‘Aaaaaah! Ooooooaaah! No! Please, you’re hurting me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry…’ And Felicity broke into a storm of weeping.
Lady Cecily laid the cane down and regarded the Hon. Felicity’s well striped bottom with a sense of job satisfaction.
‘And what’s more you’ll wear your junior school dress for a week.’ She looked at Sally. ‘I’ve had my eye on you for some time, and I like what I see, my girl. I’m looking for a lady’s maid. Will you take the promotion? It will be an extra five shillings a week?’
Sally was overcome. ‘Cor thanks, your Ladyship?’
Lady Cecily crossed to her handbag and produced a nice crisp one pound note. ‘And that other little matter,’ she smiled, ‘best forgotten, eh?’
‘What little matter was that my lady?’ asked Sally tactfully.
Lady Cecily smiled, the girl would do. She turned to the Butler. ‘Is that alright with you, Hudson?’
‘Of course, madam? He coughed. ‘And if I may say so your Ladyship, I think this might solve the problem of Miss Felicity riding Satan for the next few days?’
Her ladyship followed his glance to Felicity, who still lay sobbing across the arm of the chair, her scarlet-welted bottom still exposed and twitching.
‘Right as usual, Hudson. Right as usual?’
Sally could never be certain, but she believes to this day that the Butler and the Countess actually winked at each other.

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