Monday, October 25, 2010

From the Top Shelf - Tai-Pan II

James Clavell understood that good spanking scenes enhance a novel tremendously. This selection from Tai-Pan is a winner!

To set the scene, the Tai-Pan, Struan, was going out for the evening to a gathering that included a beautiful woman May-may considered her rival. Chinese May-may dressed herself from head to toe in opulent Western garments, with elaborate makeup and coiffure. The result was ludicrous, as she realized as she saw the horrified look on Struan's face. She retreated in hysterics and Struan went to the party alone. Upon his return, he must deal with her humiliation. (A note about the dialogue. May-may's way of speaking is an interesting mixture of broken Scottish and English.)

"This slave begs you to forgive her. This slave--"

"You're na a slave and never have been. Now, there's nothing to forgive, lass, so off to bed."

...She fell onto her knees and kowtowed. "This slave has nae face before her lord and owner. She cannot live here. Please to sell!"

"Get up!" Struan's face tightened.

She rose. Her face was shadowed and ethereal.

"You're na for sale because no one owns you. You will stay here. You have na offended me. You surprised me, that's all European clothes do na suit you. The clothes you wear I like. And I like you as you are. But if you dinna want to stay here, you're free to leave."

"Please to sell. This is your slave. Until an owner sells, a slave cannot go."

...Struan realized that it was useless to argue or reason with May-may. You canna treat her as a European, he told himself. Deal with her as though you're Chinese. But how's that? I dinna ken. Treat her as a woman, he ordered himself, deciding on a tactic.

He exploded with pretended rage. "You are a miserable slave, by God! And I've a mind to sell you into the Street of the Blue Lanterns," he shouted, naming the worst of the seamen's streets in Macao, "though who'd want to buy a dirty baggage slave like you I dinna ken. You're nothing but trouble and I've a mind to give you to the lepers... You're worthless! How I've put up with you all these years I dinna ken." He shook his fist in her face and she recoiled. "Am I na good to you? Eh? Generous? Eh? Eh?" he roared, and was pleased to detect fear in her eyes. "Well?"

"Yes, lord," she whispered, biting her lips.

"You dare to get clothes made behind my back and dare to wear then wi'out my approval, by God? Well, do you?"

"Yes, lord."

"I'll sell you tomorrow. I've a mind to throw you out now, you miserable motherless whore! Kowtow! Go on, kowtow, by God!"

She blanched at his fury and kowtowed quickly.

"Now keep kowtowing until I come back."

He stormed out of the room, and went into the garden. He jerked out his knife and selected a thin bamboo from a newly planted grove. He cut it and slashed the air and rushed back into the living room.

"Take your clothes off, you miserable slave! I'm going to flog you till my arm hurts."

Trembling, she stripped. He seized the dress from her hand and threw it aside.

"Lie down there." He pointed to the ottoman.

She did as he ordered. "Please no to whip me too hard--I'm two months with child." She buried her head in the ottoman.

Struan wanted to take her in his arms, but he knew that this would make him lose face in front of her. And a whipping was the only way to give her back her dignity.

So he slashed her buttocks with the bamboo. Hard enough to hurt, but not to damage. Soon she was crying out and weeping and squirming, but he kept on. Twice he deliberately missed her and slashed the leather violently, so that the noise was terrifying, for the benefit of Lim Din and Ah Sam who he knew would be listening.

After ten blows he paused and told her to stay where she was, and went over to the brandy bottle. He drank deeply, hurled the bottle against the wall, and resumed the whipping. But always with great care.

Finally he stopped and dragged her up by the hair. "Put on your clothes, you miserable slave!" When she was dressed, he bellowed, "Lim Din! Ah Sam!"

They were trembling at the door in an instant.

"Get food!" He hurled the bamboo at the side of the door and turned back to May-may.

"Clean yoursel' and come back here. Thirty seconds or I'll start all over again."

The food came with incredible speed and Struan allowed himself to be served by May-may. She whimpered with pain and he shouted, "shut up or I'll whip you forever!"

Then he fell silent, ominously, and ate, letting the quiet torture them.

"Pick the bamboo up!" he screamed as he finished.

May-may fetched the bamboo and handed it to him. "Bed!" he ordered harshly, and Lim Din and Ah Sam fled, secure in the knowledge that the Tai-Pan had forgiven his Tai-tai, who had gained limitless face by enduring his righteous fury.

From Hermione's Heart


Sara said...

Apparently I will need to reread this book as I have forgotten it all. Thanks for the reminder. That was a terrific scene!

Daisychain said...

WOW! xxx

ronnie said...

I must get a copy of the book. Thanks Hermione.


Unknown said...

Oh my...I'm heading to the library later today just to find this book.

Thanks, Hermione!


He seemed a very unwilling Top. It was an excerpt that has made me think a little.


Hermione said...

Sara - Yeah, it was even pretty good in the movie.

Daisy - Exactly!

Ronnie - I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Pink - Good luck and happy reading.

Prefectdt - Yes, he is a little slow, but he gets into it.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely going to have to get this book. Being married to a Chinese man and speaking Mandarin myself, it holds even more interest for me than just the spanking scenes, lol.

FYI: May-may (technically spelled "Mei mei") means younger sister. Tai Tai is Chinese for wife. :) I wonder what other Chinese words are in this book, and why I've never heard of it before? Interesting. Thanks for sharing!