My Aunt Chapter 4
Victoria witnesses something she will never forget.
I stood in the doorway and my jaw dropped. The big table in the centre had been cleared. All the crockery and utensils had been put away and Bethany, the maid who had spilled the gravy on Marjory Wallace was seated on a wooden chair. Her long blonde hair was tied back in a bun and she was wearing a thin cotton robe tied at the waist.
As we entered she looked up and I saw she had the appearance of a frightened, trapped rabbit.
Her pretty blue eyes were darting from one to the other of us.
They settled on Aunt Helen.
“Please, Mistress,” she implored, “It weren't moy fault, it were the vicar. 'e grabbed moy bum as oi went t' pour the gravy fer 'is woife. Made oi jump 'e did, Mistress.”
The words poured forth in her broad Suffolk accent, then, when Lady Helen did not immediately reply, she turned to me.
“Please, Miss, you saw what 'e did.”
I turned to my aunt.
“I did see her jump, Aunt Helen,” I agreed.
Aunt Helen looked at me steadily, a stern look as she said.
“And did you see Reverend Wallace touch her inappropriately?”
I looked at Bethany, her eyes wide, pleading with me to help her but I could not lie for her.
“No Aunt, I am afraid I did not.”
Bethany slumped forward, a deep groan escaped her.
“Did any of you see the Reverend Wallace behave in an inappropriate manner?”
Aunt Helen looked around the other maids each of them looking at the floor, not answering.
“No, I thought not,” she said, turning back to the wretched girl in front of her. “It is bad enough that you embarrassed me in front of my guests, but now you try to defame the very husband of the guest you soiled!”
She turned to the housemaid.
“Prepare her for her punishment, Melissa.”
“Yes, Madam,” she replied simply.
I opened my mouth, ready to defend the poor maid but when I saw the serious look on my aunt's face I decided better of it lest I was to receive a punishment myself.
I had no idea what to expect but the thing I really didn't understand was why Bethany had been made to remove her uniform. Surely if she was to have pay deducted or to be reprimanded in front of the other staff...
Then I realised. She must have spilled gravy on herself also and had not been allowed to leave the kitchens until the mistress had reprimanded her. The offending liquid would have to be removed before it left a permanent stain and thus, she was given a robe. Simple.
"Now, Young lady," my aunt began, "You have been employed here since you were fourteen, some seven years I believe. That is correct is it not?"
"Yes Mistress," Bethany replied quietly.
"In that time I have had to chastise you occasionally for small errors that you have made, yes?"
A small sound escaped from the young woman's lips.
"Speak up girl!" Lady Helen barked.
The frightened maid gave a little sob before answering a little louder.
"That is better." Aunt Helen reply more gently. "I am sad that you have not learned from these punishments and have tried to accuse one of my guests of causing you to spill gravy upon his wife by way of extremely ungentlemanly behaviour. I am afraid, Bethany, that your punishment this time must be more severe than usual then perhaps you will not be tempted into such ways in the future."
"But Mistress. Oi dint.." she stopped abruptly as she saw the look on Aunt Helen's face, then continued with a more resigned, "Yes, Mistress, thank you."
Lady Helen turned her head to the housekeeper and nodded slowly.
Melissa stepped forward and held out her hand to the young maid who slowly stood, head bowed and tears beginning to roll down her cheeks.
The other servants stood silently, faces sullen as Melissa reached out and untied the cord around Bethany's waist, then slipped the loose fabric from her shoulders.
Once again, my mouth opened wide for there before me, the young maid was totally naked. I turned to my aunt to protest at such outrageous behaviour but she was looking steadily at the maid.
Melissa then lead Bethany to the long empty table and helped her to lay face down on it.
Her arms hung over the sides and the housekeeper took two satin cords and tied each of her wrists to the nearest table leg then, moving to the other end and using two more cords, tied one end of each around her ankles and the other ends around the table legs.
The effect of this was to completely immobilise the poor young thing with her legs splayed wide and her most intimate parts being clearly visible to me.
I turned away in shock and embarrassment. I had never seen anyone naked before and certainly not in such a way.
"Victoria!" I heard my name spoken sharply.
"Yes Aunt?" I said quietly.
"Victoria," she repeated, a little calmer now, "If you are to remain in this household you must learn discipline. You must not show weakness!"
"But Aunt Helen, this is wrong. This is..." I stopped as she held up her hand.
"If you do not wish to take her place, I suggest you learn a little civility. This is my house and you will abide by my rules!"
I looked her directly in the eye and replied firmly:
"Yes, Aunt Helen!"
I turned back. Melissa was now beside my aunt and in her hand was a thin cane, such as the one my headmistress kept in her office. I had never experienced the touch of it on my flesh, but some of my friends had been whipped on their hands with it. They told me it had been the most painful thing they had ever endured.
It slowly dawned on me what punishment Bethany was about to receive and it made my stomach churn.
Aunt Helen stepped forward, took the cane and stood beside the table, flexing it.
"Your Punishment will be ten strokes for the incident after which you will be cleansed which, I hope, will wash away any further thoughts of insolence regarding my guests."
I heard Bethany let out a little sob before my aunt continued.
"You will count each stroke and call out the count so that I make no error. Is that understood?"
"Yes Mistress," Bethany sobbed.
The rest of the staff looked on in total silence almost breathless.
Aunt Helen raised the thin cane and brought it down three or four times without contacting the prone body before her.
Bethany was visible trembling. Her knuckles white as they made a tight fist in anticipation of the first stroke. I could not see her pretty eyes any more as they were closed tightly and her mouth was a thin line.
A swish and a loud crack and Bethany screamed out as the thin stick contacted her soft white flesh.
I physically jumped in sympathy and shock as the cane met flesh and Bethany cried out:
“One, Mistress.” Her voice cracking as she spoke.
A white line across her buttock was slowly becoming red and slightly raised as my cruel aunt lifted the cane for a second stroke.
Another swish and crack and another scream from the victim. I wanted to stop this cruelty, protect her, but I could not. I looked around the staff and saw that some were even smiling.
Melissa stood beside Aunt Helen, a grim but somewhat pleased look, so I thought. Surely I was wrong. No-one could enjoy this kind of punishment... could they?
“Two, Mistress!” the shaky voice cried out again.
The second strike crossed the first, a sort of ironic kiss.
Another whack and a scream.
I wanted to turn and run but that would not help, may even make things worse for me.
“Four Mistress!” Bethany screamed out. The fourth stoke had been aimed across the top of her derrière, just below the two sweet dimples at the small of her back.
“Five, Mistress!” she sobbed openly now, the stripes beginning to turn purple on stark contrast to the pale pink of her soft, unblemished flesh.
I looked at my aunt. Her face was expressionless. I saw no joy there and no remorse either, just the face of a woman with a purpose.
She waited a moment, allowing the pain to subside and giving the young maid a short respite.
But not much for the sixth stroke landed firmly at the top of her legs, at the base of her buttocks, exactly on the little crease that appears when standing.
I realised these were no random strokes but designed to be a reminder, after the punishment was over. She would not be able to sit in any position for some time without feeling the pain all over again.
“Six Mistress.” She sobbed as her fingers stretched and gripped alternatively and her body shook violently.
My eyes were beginning to moisten. How much more of this could she endure?
“Seven, Mistress!” as the next stroke whacked loudly across her fleshy globes, already criss-crossed with vivid purple lines.
“Eight, Mistress!” Bethany screamed out between sobs. Here tears were flowing freely and the pain was etched in her face.
Whack! The cane fell across the tops of her thighs leaving a narrow stripe across the back of each leg.
“Nine, Mistress.” I felt as though I had been watching for hours but in truth it had been no more than five minutes, to Bethany it must have felt an eternity.
The tenth seemed harder and louder than the previous nine and Bethany screamed and sobbed harder as she called out: “Ten, Mistress,” and her body went limp as she relaxed with the knowledge that the last stroke had been administered.
I wanted to run to her, to soothe her pain but as I took a step towards the table, Aunt Helen stopped me, holding my arm gently.
“That is not for you, Victoria,” she said softly as though all the anger had dissipated.
Melissa stepped forwards and untied each of the cords from Bethany's wrists and ankles but the sobbing young woman did not, could not, move.
“Maggie.” The housekeeper spoke gently. I frowned. The maid who I had dreamed of earlier stepped forward holding a pot of something.
'That is strange,' I thought but decided I must have seen her when I arrived and not really thought any more of it.
Maggie stood beside the prone woman on the table and dipped her fingers onto the pot she was holding and began to gently smooth the white cream onto Bethany's glowing flesh, carefully massaging it around the wheals and into the cleft, cooling and easing the pain.
“Ensure she is well lubricated for her cleansing Maggie, she doesn't need to suffer unnecessarily.”
I stood rooted to the spot, unable to take in all that I was seeing as Maggie's finger slipped easily into Bethany's back passage and moved around gently for a moment.
I thought I imagined it but I could have sworn that I heard a small whimper escape from her lips as the finger dipped and disappeared momentarily before reappearing.
Melissa went to the large cupboard beside the door to the dining room and returned with a metal stand which was about five feet high and ended with a hook at the top.
Onto this hook, she hung a rubber bag with appeared to be full of liquid and, from the bottom, a long rubber tube was attached which had a tap about six inches from the end.
When all was ready, Melissa stepped back with the words: “M'lady.”
Now I really was confused. What on earth this contraption was for I could not imagine but I was about to find out!
Aunt Helen took the end of the tube, which Melissa had coated liberally with the same cold cream Maggie had applied earlier then, very carefully, inserted the end into Bethany's back passage! I looked on, aghast, my jaw must have hit the floor!
Of course! The cleansing!
My aunt slowly opened the tap and I expected she would let a little of the warm liquid enter the young woman and then let her release it but, she waited... and waited!
I could see the bag emptying and I could see that there was a moisture between Bethany's legs. Some leakage I supposed but it seemed thicker than just water and was not coming from her rear. It looked strangely like the fluid I had discovered on myself that evening before dinner.
Bethany moved her hand underneath her, holding her tummy. She began to groan, as if in pain.
“Please, Mistress...” she began to plead but my aunt did not move. I wasn't sure if she had even heard.
I was mesmerised. I had never in all my eighteen short years ever imagined anything the like of what I was witnessing now and the odd thing was, that familiar feeling was showing itself again.
What was it? I was a little afraid of it. Was something wrong with me?
I had been here just a few hours and this was the third time this feeling had arisen.
“Mistress please... Oi cahnt take any more... Please...”
I snapped back to the reality of the situation and realised that the bag was almost empty.
Aunt Helen was squeezing the last of the liquid from it.
Finally, she turned the tap to the off position and removed the tube from the tight orifice.
“Hold it, young lady. Do not release it until I permit you!”
As my aunt stepped back from the table, Melissa beckoned Maggie and another maid to assist Bethany off the table and onto her feet.
Her eyes were red and her cheeks tear stained. She was holding her stomach which, I noticed, was bulging considerably.
After several minutes, Aunt Helen indicated to the three women that they could now proceed to the water closet where Bethany could release the fluid she had been forced to hold.
“Before you go,” she said, gently but authoritatively. “Do you have anything to say?”
Bethany straightened up as much as the cramping muscles of her stomach would allow.
“Yes, Mistress, Oim sorry for embarrassing you and your guests,” she said, “Thank you, Mistress.” There was no hint of malice in her voice.
I remembered my friends being punished at school. They hated the headmistress afterwards and always spoke as if the words were knives aimed at her heart and yet, this young woman seemed almost grateful.
I had never been so confused in my life!
One by one the other staff left the kitchen.
Aunt Helen began to walk back into the dining room.
I had so many questions but had no idea where to begin. My head was pounding, my stomach churning and that confounded feeling of wetness had returned between my legs.
Was this some kind of nervous reaction? I hadn't experienced it before setting foot in this house.
I wasn't normally of a nervous disposition. When I first went to boarding school I was just eight years old. Some of the other girls had wet their beds on the first few night but I never had. I had always been able to adapt to new surroundings and people quite readily so what on earth was so different here?
Aunt Helen stopped before the doorway and turned.
“Are you all right, Victoria?” she asked.
“I don't know,” I replied in all honesty.
“You don't know? I hope the punishment of young Bethany hasn't upset you.” She smiled. “You must understand that without discipline it would be impossible to run a house such as this and under the circumstances in which the world finds itself.”
“Yes, I do understand that, Aunt Helen but...” I trailed off. The thoughts in my head were falling over themselves. “I am very tired. It has been a long day, Do you mind if I go up to my room now?”
Lady Helen smiled benignly, in complete contrast to how I had just witnessed her, and placed her lace gloved hand on my shoulder.
“No, of course not. Rest now and tomorrow we shall talk about your future.”
Once in my room, I undressed and put on a white cotton nightdress then climbed into the covers and closed my eyes. I tried to sleep but all I could see were images flashing through my mind of the maid on the table, her white round buttocks crossed with deep red welts. Her screams rang loudly in my ears. I saw the cleansing and the discomfort she suffered but, most of all, my mind kept returning to the moisture that glistened on the petals of her private place. I realised, all of a sudden, that she had no hairs there. I thought of myself and the soft brown curls that covered me but she had none.
She was most certainly not a child and she did not appear to have any kind of sickness that would cause her hairs to fall out. After all, I reasoned, she had a full head of thick blonde hair which had been tied back while her punishment was administered.
For several hours I lay there, Drifting off to sleep then waking again, over and over. Finally I became so thirsty I needed a glass of water.
At school we had always been told that the water in the ablutions was not for drinking so, in case the same applied here, I went down to the kitchen.
Passing the big pendulum clock in the hall I saw the time was just after five. The morning sun was already showing it's face and the warm glow filtered through the gaps in the curtains.
I heard a sound in the kitchen as I approached and walking through the door I stopped. “Bethany!” I exclaimed. “What are you doing up?”
“Oh, Miss Victoria!” she replied turning quickly to face me. “Oi dint 'ear you cummin'!”
I smiled warmly at her.
“That is all right,” I answered, “I suppose you could not sleep. How are you?”
“A bit sore, Miss, if oi be honest.”
“I have never seen anything like that before, Bethany. Is it still painful?”
“Would you loike to see Miss?” she asked and before I had a chance to answer she turned her back on me and lifted her skirt above her waist.
She was not wearing any form of underwear and the welts had faded to a dark purple colour and were no longer raised.
I put my hand out to touch her and as my fingers contacted her warm flesh she gasped and gave a little moan.
I quickly drew back my hand,
“I, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you!” I stammered.
Slowly she lowered her skirts and turned back to me.
“You dint 'urt me, Miss,” she smiled. “It only 'urts when oi sits down,” she laughed a little then paused, as if thinking.
“Miss Victoria. There is a lot that you obviously don't unnerstan'”
“Such as?” I queried.
“Well, the punishment. We can refuse to be caned but Lady 'elen is very good to us. She pays us more than most 'ouses would. We want fer nuffin' and it is only fair that we accept 'er form of punishment.”
I listened incredulously. Was she telling me that she actually did not object to being beaten so cruelly?
“Besoids, Miss, it ain't so bad. When it is over, it feels koind a noice.”
“Nice! How can such a beating be nice!?”
"'ard to explain really,” she continued, “Koind a warm and tingly if you knows what oi mean...”
I was struggling to follow what she was telling me.
“And the cleansing? That did not appear pleasant at all.”
“Oh, it is, Miss. Makes you feel so full and when you lets it go, it's a wunnerful feelin' So clean. And the relief is loike nuffin' oi can descroibe. If you please. Miss, oi must get on with moi chores but if oi may be so bold, Miss, thank you for troyin' to 'elp me.”
“You are welcome,” I said, then, almost as an afterthought, “Bethany...”
“When you have some time would you help me to understand some things? Things about myself that I do not understand?”
“Well, yes, certainly, Miss Victoria. If oi can, oi would be glad to.”
I bade her good morning and returned to my room with a glass of water.
I slipped back beneath the covers and drifted off to sleep at last, my final thoughts being to wonder what on earth my life was going to be like from now on.
To be continued...