Tuesday, March 6, 2012

From the Top Shelf - Frank and I


This is an extract from Frank and I, published by Grove Press in 1902, the unlikely story of the young "boy" who turns out to be a young woman, an anatomical fact discovered only after about three whippings on his/her bare bottom!

On a visit to London, the narrator and a male friend named Ford visit a luxurious bordello run by a madam named Mrs. Leslie, where flagellation tableaux are shown to them.

I had often been in establishments of the same sort in London, and also in Paris, Vienna and other cities on the continent, but I had never seen a better appointed drawing room than the one I was in.

In about five minutes time, Mrs. Leslie came into the room and greeted us as if we had been old friends, smilingly telling us to sit down and make ourselves comfortable. Then she sank down on one of the couches, displaying a pair of neat feet and ankles, cased in black stockings. I took a good look at the woman who had treated my pretty Frances so cruelly. She was by no means bad-looking; being a tall, dark-haired, well-preserved woman of about forty years of age; she had a buxom, but shapely,
figure; she was handsomely dressed, and she was quite lady-like, both in speech and manner.

After a little chat, Mrs. Leslie smiled, saying: "Well, I suppose you two gentlemen did not come here merely to talk to me. Would you like to meet my young ladies? None of them are engaged at the moment so you will be able to see them all."

...They were full of fun, and by no means shy, so we all got very merry, and there was a great deal of laughter, and no end of chaff; a little broad sometimes, but nothing indecent was said or done by any of us, just then. I began to enjoy myself thoroughly, as it was a long time since I had gone in for a spree of that sort. Ford also appeared to be very jolly. After a time, Mrs. Leslie beckoned us aside, and taking us to the end of the room out of earshot of the girls, said:

"Now, gentlemen; what would you like to do? Have either of you a particular fancy? We can give you plenty of variety in this house. You can go to bed with one or more girls if it pleases you to do so. If either of you is fond of the rod, I have a room fitted up with everything necessary, where you can tie up and strip any girl you fancy and give her a little birching; or if you prefer you can watch one girl being birched by another. Or would you prefer to see our Tableaux Vivants? I pride myself especially on them

"I can show you tableaux with scenery, and with the girls dressed in character; and I can show you some tableaux of statuary, with the girls naked; and I can also show you some very naughty tableaux."

Ford and I consulted together for a moment and then I said; "We should like to see a selection of tableaux; some of all sorts."

"So you shall. Are either of you fond of seeing the rod used?"

We both admitted that we had a liking for such a sight.

"Well then," she said, "I will show you two tableaux of whipping; then a couple of tableaux from mythological subjects; and finish up with two naughty tableaux."

Both of us were perfectly satisfied with the programme she offered, and we said so.

She then told us to take our seats on two easy-chairs which were placed a few feet distant from the curtains, and she added that we should have to wait a short time, as the scenery had to be set, and the girls dressed for the first two tableaux.

Then she made a sign to the girls, and went behind the curtain, followed by a whole troop of laughing damsels.

As we sat waiting for the entertainment to commence, we could hear the girls bustling about, chattering to each other in low tones, and occasionally laughing as they dressed themselves.

After about ten minutes, Mrs. Leslie called out, in a clear voice: "The first tableau will represent, 'The Birching of a Woman in Prison.'"

Immediately the curtains separated in the middle, drawn aside by unseen agency, and the tableau appeared, brilliantly lighted from above so that we could see the smallest details.

The scene showed a large, bare, prison cell with whitewashed walls, stone floor and grated window. In it were six figures, five 'men' and one woman, all attired in costume, and personating, respectively: the governor of the prison, the surgeon, a prison warder, two soldiers, and the lady. In the middle of the cell there was a long, curved, wooden structure, upon which the 'lady' was bound in a bent position, her feet resting on the floor. Her arms were stretched out on each side of the 'horse', her wrists were secured to rings; and her ankles were strapped together, and fastened to a bar at the lower part of the structure.

She was dressed in prison costume, consisting of a loose, blue serge frock, the skirt of which, as well as her petticoats and chemise, being rolled up to the middle of her back, and she had been divested of her stays and drawers. The 'lady' was a plump, shapely damsel with a fine big bottom, large thighs, and good legs cased in black stockings, which contrasted well with her white skin. At the left of the 'culprit' stood the 'warder' who was inflicting the punishment; a bearded 'man' wearing a uniform consisting of a dark green tunic, with trousers of the same colour tucked into long boots reaching to the knees, and a round flat cap with a peak.

'He' held high in the air a thick, bristly birch rod, which seemed just about to fall on the 'culprit's' bare bottom. At the other side stood the 'surgeon', a whiskered, moustachioed 'man', in a plain dark uniform, and beside him was the 'governor', with a fierce moustache, dressed in an imposing uniform, with medals on 'his' breast. A little to the rear of the horse stood the two 'soldiers', with cross-belts and side arms. The 'culprit's' bottom had been most skilfully made up, so that the whole surface of the skin, from the loins to the upper part of the thighs, appeared crimson and striped all over with long livid weals, spotted with blood which also appeared to be trickling down the 'culprit's' white thighs. She had her head turned to one side, and she was glaring with eyes full of intense horror at the uplifted rod; her face was scarlet and distorted with pain; her mouth was wide open, with the lips drawn back from the teeth, as if she were screaming loudly; and the tears appeared to be streaming down her cheeks.

The whole scene appeared so intensely real that I actually waited, holding my breath, for the rod to fall once more upon the bleeding bottom and to hear the victim shriek. Since that time I have seen many 'Living Pictures' but I have never seen one better done.

In another moment the curtains were drawn, shutting out the scene. Ford and I applauded vigorously, clapping our hands and crying out: "Brava! Brava! Well done! Very well done!" Then, turning to me, my companion whispered: "It was splendid! The illusion was perfect. I have never seen anything to equal it, in Paris or Vienna."

After a rather long interval, Mrs. Leslie announced:

"The next tableau will represent punishment inflicted in a boarding-school for young ladies." The curtains were parted and we saw that the recess was now fitted up as a school-room with desks, benches, a blackboard, globes, and maps on the walls. In this tableau there were ten figures; seven of them dressed as schoolgirls, in short frocks and with their long hair flowing loose over their shoulders, were sitting on high forms, so that we could see their pretty legs, cased in silk stockings of various colours; and in two or three cases where the petticoats happened to be very short, we caught glimpses of the lace frills on the girls' drawers.

In the middle of the 'school-room', stood a stalwart young woman, who was evidently one of the servants of the establishment, in her ordinary attire, consisting of a black frock, with white apron, collar and cuffs.

She was bending forward, 'horsing' in the orthodox position one of the younger of the girls, named Ethel. The skirt of her short frock, and her dainty little petticoats were pinned up to her shoulders and her pretty lace-trimmed drawers were hanging down around her knees. She had a most lovely little bottom with round, firm-looking, plump cheeks and her delicate skin was as white as snow, except where it had been cleverly made up with pink streaks, and small red dots, representing the ravages made by the rod.

Her thighs were fairly well developed and her small but shapely legs were clad in long, brown silk stockings, gartered with bows of black satin; and she was wearing neat, buttoned boots on her little feet.

The 'schoolmistress' in a grey wig, and with spectacles, was personated by Mrs. Leslie, who held over the girl's delicious bottom, a long slender birch rod, prettily ornamented with blue ribbons.

Young Ethel played her part well. She was looking over her shoulder, her face was red, she appeared to be crying loudly in pain, and her eyes were fixed with an appealing glance on the stern 'schoolmistress'.

The other 'schoolgirls' were looking on at the punishment with various expressions on their faces, some appearing to be rather amused at the sight; others appeared indifferent; and others were looking very much frightened. The girls had been well drilled in their parts. This tableau, like the preceding one, looked wonderfully real, and it was also most fetching to Ford and myself ; as we were both lovers of the rod we did not stint our applause when the curtains closed over the picture.

Then Ford said to me, with a chuckle: "What a beautiful white, chubby bottom that little girl has! I wish we could see her being birched in reality!"

"So do I. But if I had my choice, I would rather spank her smartly across my knees. I think that way of whipping a young girl gives a man the greatest pleasure," I observed.

The book was made into a movie that Zille Defeu describes it in great detail here.

From Hermione's Heart

10 comments:

Simon said...

Frank and I is a very typical piece of Victorian erotica as many of the stories of the same period feature spanking and birching. It was made into a film in the late 70s and although it's no masterpiece it is one of the better soft core films of that period. The costumes appear authentic and the acting isn't as terrible as that in most of this type of film. The young lady playing Frank has a most delightful bottom which we see being spanked and caned. If you get the chance to watch it I think you might enjoy it.

Hermione said...

I had no idea it had been made into a movie, Simon. Thanks for that.

OldFashionedGirl said...

Frank & I is a bit of favourite of mine, a real slice of Victorian life. Or a flvour of Victorian fantasy life at least. Mind you, the male characters are mostly complete pigs - but then that's seeing them with 21st Century hindsight.

ronnie said...

Thanks Hermione. I'll have to see if I can find the film.

Love,
Ronnie
xx

Hermione said...

At the time, they behaved as was expected of them by Society.

Hermione said...

I wonder if Chross has it.

Kaelah said...

That's one of the films which I definitely have to watch some day. Especially since I'm very much into M/M scenes and the idea of dressing up as boy/man for a scene. :-)

Kitty said...

Interesting fiction. Never knew such books were out there, lol!

Love,
Kitty

Hermione said...

I'd like to see it too.

Hermione said...

I was fortunate to find the erotica section in a few good book stores.