Her stepfather uses the cane on his pupils and his staff alike, and has threatened to cane Ellen if she does not improve her behaviour. Rose, one of the maids, has been singled out for special attention in this way, and Ellen witnesses one of their sessions.
I knew he was 'attending to her' regularly every Saturday afternoon - regardless of whether she had misbehaved or not. I could not help wondering how Rose was managing to conceal from her lover the physical manifestations of such frequent whippings - if indeed she was. I also wondered how she could possibly allow herself to be so abused by one man, yet love another.Poor Rose!
One Saturday after luncheon I was lying on my bed, remembering all those wonderful times spent with darling sweet Roderick, when I heard Rose leave her room and walk away down the passage. Guessing from the slowness of her step that she was reluctantly obeying her weekly summons to my stepfather's study, I hastily put on my shoes and followed her at a discreet distance, determined once more to bear witness to her sufferings. Sickened and appalled by them though I was, I nevertheless felt I owed it to Rose to be there - if only to give her silent moral support, as well as to furnish myself with yet more evidence of my stepfather's beastly depravity, in the hope that someday I might thereby engineer his downfall, without in the process causing undue harm to my mother.
I left the building by a side exit and within minutes had secreted myself below the study window as I had before... With pounding heart I raised my head an inch or two higher and peered through the glass. The scene within the study made my flesh creep. Rose's bare bottom trembled fearfully as, completely naked except for her shoes and gartered black stockings, she stood with her back towards my stepfather, her hands vainly guarding her sex.
He inserted the cane between her legs and, using it as a a lever, slowly forced them apart so that the cleft at the apex of her thighs widened involuntarily. I could not see Rose's face - only guess at the grimace of disgust and shame written upon it....Then he commenced putting it to more conventional use by applying a brisk, percussive tattoo of raps to the smooth swell of Rose's bottom-crowns, clearly intended to warn her that the time had arrived when she must bend her wretchedly apprehensive naked body over the sofa in readiness for punishment.
Her blonde hair screened her face as she lowered herself slowly into position, her bottom raised and, because of her slightly bent knees, exaggeratedly out-thrust to receive its painful medicine. My stepfather stood directly behind her for a long minute, gloating pruriently over her submissively revealing posture. Then, moving a couple of feet to her left, he suddenly raised the cane aloft before bringing it down with cruel alacrity.
I saw her body jolt and her knuckles clench as the cane collided with the summit of her buttocks. Her hands immediately shot behind her, and began rubbing furiously at the crimson weal already appearing on her ivory flesh.
Then her hands returned to their former position in doll-like obedience as he again raised the cane, this time attacking the broad but sensitive base of Rose's behind. She flinched, drew in her squirming bottom, and, half turning, let out a shrill cry of outrage.
He next applied four cuts to the plump area of flesh thus vividly demarcated by the two previous ones. Rose was by now sobbing and bawling in hiccuping spasms, deeply distressing to behold. She twisted her tear-stained face towards him and silently pleaded for clemency, at the same time wriggling her bottom frantically across the top of the sofa - partly because of the atrocious smarting...but partly also, I suspected, in the forlorn hope that her desperate movements would distract him from his cruel, disciplinary zeal and channel his energies into a more lustful, but far less painful, direction.
I felt bitterly sorry for Rose, although I certainly would never have forced myself to do what she was doing. I would preferred twice as many strokes of his dreadful cane to satisfying him in that other, appalling fashion. I could only presume that he had pushed her beyond the limits of her endurance. I suppose I could not really blame the poor girl for stooping to such depths.
But I doubted whether he needed any suggestive encouragement, since it was evident from the wolfish glint in his eye that he was already aroused to fever-pitch. I simply could not bear to watch as he began frantically unbuttoning his trousers - so I lowered myself gingerly to the ground, offering a silent, totally selfish, prayer of gratitude to whichever deity rules and ordains our lives, that the girl being abused and shamed up there in my stepfather's dark, claustrophobic study was Rose Potter - and not me!