Tuesday, June 2, 2015

From the Top Shelf - Welcome to Carstairs

Today we continue with another selection from Zoe Templeton's A Degree of Discipline. (If you missed the previous installments, here are part 1 and part 2.) After Juliette's strapping, she confessed to her Uncle Don, with whom she was staying in London, that she dreaded having her father find out about her punishment. Uncle Don thoughtfully suggested that she go to visit her great-aunt Elspeth for a few weeks, in order to recover. Juliette agreed, and Uncle Don made the arrangements.

At the same time, Sebastian was telling his pupil Lucy that he had arranged for her to visit a real old-fashioned boarding school, so that she could study the application of corporal punishment first-hand. Lucy was delighted with the opportunity to do some field work.

The two girls ended up on the same train, although in different carriages. When they disembarked, they were surprised to see one another.
When she had fought her way through to the usual scrum leaving the platform, Lucy paused to get her bearings before looking for the taxi rank. To her astonishment, she saw Juliette a few paces ahead of her, obviously doing the same thing. "Juliette!" She shouted. "Whatever are you doing here?"

The blonde teenager looked at her coolly. She was clearly not pleased to see her academic inquisitor. "I could ask you the same question? Are you following me? Haven't you had enough kicks out of my pain and humiliation already?"

Lucy was taken aback, and a little hurt. "No, I'm not following you. I am here on business, to do with my thesis. In any case, I'm not responsible for your pain and humiliation, as you put it. You got yourself into that mess."

"Perhaps I did. I don't want to talk about it. I came here just to get away from all that; I am just staying with a relative who lives near here, for a while." Turning away, she just managed the civility of 'Goodbye', before getting into a taxi which had drawn up at the kerb.

Both girls were equally astonished when, an hour later, their respective taxis came to a halt, one behind the other, in front of an imposing building at the end of a long gravel driveway.

Juliette stood angrily with hands on hips. "You are following me! God, this is too much!"

"Now just hold on. I told you, I am here to carry out some more studies for my thesis. I was told it was this place called 'Carstairs'.

"I know damn well what it's called," snapped Juliette, "my great-aunt Elspeth lives here."

"But I'm confused," exclaimed Lucy. "This is where I have to carry out my study."

Further musings were cut short as the main door of the establishment swung open to reveal a smiling, elderly lady holding out her hand in greeting.

"Juliette! I recognise you from your photo. How lovely to meet you at last. And you must be Lucy - I have heard a lot about you too. Do come in, both of you."

The two bemused girls followed the old lady into a comfortable room, full of old-fashioned furniture, with a cheerful log fire blazing, despite the pleasant spring day outside. She gestured to a plush chaise-longue and indicated that they should sit down, one on each side of her. Producing a pair of half-moon spectacles, she opened the letter which Lucy had given her, and began to read. No one spoke as she quickly scanned the letter, which Lucy was surprised to see ran to two pages of type. When she had digested its contents, the letter was carefully folded and replaced in its envelope.

"Hmmm, I see. Yes I do see how a stay with me might help you."

The owner may have been old, but the voice was clear and Lucy thought she detected even a hint of mischievous laughter. Mystified, she said nothing, but awaited further enlightenment. Instead of elaborating further, the old lady turned to Juliette. "My dear," she said softly, " I can see that you're not very happy, and that makes me sad. I had a long talk with your Uncle Don on the telephone before you arrived, and he has given me an outline of your troubles; but I think it would be better if the full story came from you. Why don't you take a deep breath and tell me all about it?"

Lucy saw Juliette first look across at her, and then at her aged relative. She was clearly embarrassed but after a moment's hesitation, she gulped and began her story. She began slowly, diffidently, but as she went through the events of the past few weeks, the old lady soothed her with calming, encouraging noises, prompting her with, "I understand," "Oh you poor thing," and "Don't hold back, tell me everything."

Juliette's voice became more confident and the words just flooded out. All her woes seemed to be released in a torrent, how she had let herself down, let her parents down, and how she felt when suffering the shame and humiliation of her beating. Strangely, the physical pain of her thrashing did not seem to figure very much in her thoughts. She even hinted, blushing and without being too specific, at some of the disquieting feelings she had experienced as the strap had first warmed her quivering naked bottom, and how those feelings had come back each time she thought about her chastisement.

Lucy was at first startled and then fascinated to hear this side of the story, which related so closely to her own feelings. She didn't feel it would be polite to take notes, but there was certainly some material here for her thesis.

When Juliette had run out of words, the emotional drain on her was obvious. She was clearly on the brink of tears. She turned her face to her great-aunt and asked, plaintively. "Oh, Aunt Elspeth, what is the matter with me? Am I really so wicked?"

"My poor dear girl! Of course you're not! Why ever would you think that?" Her great-aunt laughed and caught Juliette's hands affectionately in her own. "I am sure that you are only experiencing the ambiguous feelings that many other young girls have felt in similar circumstances down the years, myself included."

"You, Aunt Elspeth? But surely you have never been - I mean,no one has ever -" Juliette could not finish the sentence , she was so startled.

"Never been spanked for a misdemeanour? Of course I have! And a lot more often than once. There were times when I was younger when I could not sit down for a week after I had taken my punishment."

The girls could hardly believe their ears. Lucy just could not imagine this elegant old lady, for all the twinkle in her eyes, as being the kind of girl who would be on the receiving end of a good spanking.

Aunt Elspeth paused for effect.

"Do you know what a tawse is, Lucy?"

"I think so. Didn't they use them a lot in Scotland?"

"Indeed, they did, but not just in Scotland, as I learned only too well. Have you ever seen one, close to?"

"No, I haven't." Lucy was curious, but not too sure which way this story was now turning.

"Then I will show you. As it happens, I still have the very one which was used on me all those years ago. I won't bore you with the story of how I came by it - suffice to say it is a souvenir which I will always cherish." Aunt Elspeth reached down towards the foot stool from which she had produced the photograph album and rummaged about for a few minutes before drawing out a long, thin package wrapped in what appeared to be an old silk scarf. Lucy could not interpret the strange look which crossed the old lady's face as she carefully unwrapped the material.

"You see, my dear, a tawse is very far from being just a strap. I have taken care to keep this one in prime condition over the years. You see how its handle is quite supple?" She held out the implement for Lucy to examine.

"That is so that the business end can flex and gain added force as it whips down, but the striking area is not all that soft; in fact you can feel it has been fire-hardened and made quite stiff, as you can see and feel." Her voice took on an almost dreamy quality.

Lucy held the wicked strap in her hands and shivered as she thought of its purpose. The tawse was about eighteen inches long and about two inches wide at the hand-grip, widening out to perhaps three inches or a little more at the other end. The end which the old lady had called 'the business end' was divided into three equal strips for the last four inches of the weapon's length, separated by narrow V-shaped slits.

The leather from which the tawse was made might have been brown originally, but the passage of time had turned it almost black. Lucy held it flat across both palms. Sure enough, she could feel that the handle was quite flexible, and the separate tips were much stiffer. With a feeling of horror, Lucy also realised that the business end was polished very smooth across the full width of the fingers for fully six inches down its length, and the sheen of the smooth leather was not at all like the dull, lifeless appearance she would have expected of a long-stored souvenir. With a shiver, she passed the tawse across to Juliette, who appeared not to share Lucy's morbid fascination with it. She accepted the proffered implement and examined it briefly, then handed it back to Lucy.

"I have no doubt that the traditional cane is also very effective," smiled Aunt Elspeth, as if she was discussing the merits of a favourite pony, "but it has the great disadvantage that it is usually over far too quickly and needs to be applied very expertly for best effect. If one uses a heavy cane, say the thickness of my index finger -" she held up a bony digit in front of Lucy's eyes, "- one can really apply only the traditional six, or at the very most, nine strokes, to a girl's bare bottom. The bottom becomes too numb to appreciate much more, so the punishment loses its purpose. Also the bruising is quite severe, and one doesn't wish to be inhumane in such matters, does one?" She smiled at Lucy again and clearly expected an answer.

"No..erm...Aunt...erm" Lucy almost choked on the words, and also felt a little silly in searching for the correct address for a woman she only knew as 'Aunt Elspeth' and to whom she was not related.

"Ah yes," the old lady said with a smile. "a mode of address. Well, it seems rather silly to call me 'Aunt Elspeth' when I'm not your aunt, as I'm sure you agree. Then again, as I want you two girls to be on an equal footing during your stay here, with no perceived favouritism, it is unfair that Juliette appears to have the advantage of intimacy. I suggest that you both address me as 'Ma'am'. Juliette looked astonished. "Yes, yes, I know it's old-fashioned but so am I, and I like respect. It will all make sense eventually, I assure you."

Both girls nodded their assent and Elspeth continued:

"And if one uses a lighter rod, say the thickness of my little finger -" again the appropriate digit was extended , "there is a much sharper sting and a real danger of cutting the skin, and that would never do."

Lucy wondered if she was imagining this conversation.

"I have heard of cases where the recipient has been made to wear a very light, close-fitting slip, or even very fine whipping drawers, while undergoing punishment, simply to prevent the skin being cut, but I don't favour that myself - " she stared at Lucy with a smile playing on her lips " - I far prefer to see the bare cheeks reddening as the chastisement continues, don't you?"

The question, plainly directed at Lucy, took her by surprise. Instantly a vision of an imagined Juliette, bent over with her taut buttocks flaming scarlet from the strap, flashed across her mind. Juliette shifted uncomfortably in her seat, clearly visualising the same scene from a very different viewpoint. Their discomfiture was not lost on the old lady, because she quickly contined, "How silly of me! Neither of you have any experience of a well drawn-out punishment such as I have described, do you?"

Juliette looked very nervous and Lucy guessed that the punishment she had experienced must have felt real enough.

"No really," the old lady continued, "there is much more to administering a satisfactory punishment than simply a strong arm. The whole idea is to make an impression on the recipient's mind, as well as their bottom. That's why the preliminaries are so important, as is the positioning. For example, a mere hand-spanking is nothing in itself; but, if it is given after the girl's knickers have been slowly and carefully lowered, preferably in public, with the young lady held down in an attitude of total submission, then that punishment has a good chance of being imprinted on her memory.

"A real expert will always modify the delivery of the punishment to suit the circumstances. For example, when giving a caning, you should ensure that the recipient is bent well over and the muscles of the buttocks should be nice and tight so that each stroke is individually felt. With the broader implements, like the tawse or even the birch, the area to be covered is much wider so the flesh does not need to be so tight. In fact, I always like to see a little bit of movement in the bottom, to ensure that the sting is really getting home!"

"The birch?" Despite her amazement at the way this bizarre conversation was going, Lucy could not suppress her curiosity.

"Ah, yes, the birch. The traditional implement for really severe chastisement in this country. Rarely used these days, but a suitable bundle of nice pliant birch twigs is really effective. A classic example of what I mean; you don't need to use a great deal of force, but you can make the punishment last a very long time. Used clumsily and to excess, the birch can mark someone for life, physically and mentally, but in expert hands the bottom can be made very, very raw without lasting harm." She looked from side to side to ensure that both her listeners were paying attention.

The old lady smiled mischievously [and] she squeezed Juliette's shoulder. "So, did anyone apply cream to your burning bot, my dear, after such an ordeal?"

Juliette blushed to the roots of her hair but admitted that her cousin Charlie had obliged. Lucy was spellbound. This was a new aspect of her studies, and of corporal punishment, which she had not considered.

"Now be honest, my dear. Did you find her attentions soothing - or stimulating?"

"I-I suppose a bit of both," Juliette shifted uncomfortably in her seat, surprised at her own frankness.

"Don't be shy, my dear, I shan't birch you for honesty." Something in the old lady's tone gave both girls the impression that she would love to do just that. "After all, the soothing, the blissful relief of cold hands smoothing sensually healing cream onto the affected areas, is all part of making a punishment memorable. Can something which gives sexual pleasure as well as pain be so terrible?" The old lady looked knowingly at Lucy.

Lucy was stunned by the directness and was lost for words. She simply looked down at the wicked implement she held. Its smooth surface was warm to the touch and she wondered how many times it had impacted on to taut, smooth bottom flesh, to give it such a sheen. The thought of creamy cheeks quivering and reddening under the relentless impact suddenly seemed the most delectable prospect on earth.

"Now then, my dears." The old lady's voice was suddenly sharp and decisive. "I'm sure you have both been wondering what these tales have all been about. You probably thought I had gone senile and was rambling. Well, far from it."

She looked from Juliette to Lucy as if daring them to challenge her on the statement. "I simply wanted to put you at ease and assess for myself that you were both suitable candidates to join our little community here at Carstairs.

Both girls looked astonished at this statement.

"Ah, I see you are surprised, but let me explain. First of all, you, Juliette. Your Uncle Don knows all about our work here at Carstairs, and we had a long chat on the phone, as I said. We both felt that you needed a bit of a holiday, but you also needed to complete your education, learn a little more about what goes on in the world. After all, the reason you got yourself into a little spot of bother was because you behaved a little childishly, didn't you?"

Juliette hung her head and nodded, shame-facedly.

"Precisely so," her great-aunt continued, barely acknowledging her young charge's discomfiture.

"Now, you, Lucy, are a slightly different case, yet in many ways strangely similar. You have chosen to study a subject of great importance, but you are handicapped in this by the very environment of your sheltered upbringing. It's not your fault, but you are so delightfully naive - and I don't mean that unkindly - that you have no chance of success unless you see much more than your home town can offer. Fortunately for you, your mentor, Sebastian, is also a keen disciple of our work here, and his letter explains exactly what he thinks we can do to help you. I may say I agree with him entirely."

It was Lucy's turn to look embarrassed. Whatever had Sebastian put in that letter?

"Consequently, girls, I am going to give you both a special privilege. I am going to admit you to Carstairs for a month, without you being subject to the tedious rigmarole of a court order and so on that our other young guests here have undergone. You will both be able to see for yourselves all that goes on here. You, Juliette, will learn from the experience and, I hope, gain a new attitude to your life for the future; while you, Lucy, can put your observations to good use in your academic work." She looked at both girls and raised an eyebrow. "Of course, you may both gain in other ways, if you find the life here to your liking."

The eyebrow rose even higher. "What do you say, my dears? Will you accept this opportunity, this challenge?"

Lucy was the first to speak. "I don't think I quite understand, Ma'am. You said that we would be admitted to Carstairs, but you also mentioned privileges. What exactly do we have to do once we are admitted?"

The old lady chuckled with delight. "My dear, the admission is the privilege. Once you are inside, none of the girls or the staff will know anything about our little arrangement. As to what you will do - why, nothing special. You will attend the classes and work at the tasks which are the daily life of Carstairs."

Juliette began to understand and she gasped. "You mean that if we don't behave, if we break the rules, we are going to be subject to exactly the same discipline that the other - er - guests receive? Is that the 'education' you meant?"

"Precisely so, my dear. It will be the making of you both. Of course, you may both just spend your month in good productive work, which will do you no harm at all. However, having met and talked to you both at some length, I will be most surprised if two such lively and curious young ladies didn't kick over the traces at least once or twice during your stay here. Then you will learn at first hand exactly the discipline I think you both need. I assure you it will do you no lasting physical harm and it will do nothing but good for your characters.

"Now what do you say? Are you prepared to face the challenge, or go back home with your tails between your legs and whimper your excuses?"

Juliette looked at Lucy and then at her great-aunt. "It's blackmail, Ma'am," she said grimly, " but I suppose I have no choice."

Aunt Elspeth nodded and turned to Lucy. "And you, my dear?"

Her answer was immediate, her breathing excited. "Oh, I'm in all right!"
I suspect that the two girls won't have to wait long for their initiation into life at Carstairs.
From Hermione's Heart


Roz said...

Thank you for sharing more of this wonderful story Hermoine. Very interesting turn of events. I suspect it won't be too long before they both experience life at Carstairs first hand also.


ronnie said...


Really enjoying the story, intresting. Thank you for sharing.

I can see Lucy is already looking forward to her stay.


Baxter said...

I am enjoying this. It is well paced, not too drawn out on boringness, but you can tell where it is headed. The buildup is good and it appears that both young ladies bottoms will be dealt with on several occasions, but how we get there is the eroticness of the story.


Unknown said...

Hermione: Perhaps a betting pool is in order? How many hours (or days) after their admission before each girl gets 'corrected'?
Lucy: 5; Juliette 17. Hours that is.

Cat said...

Thanks for sharing more of this fun story Hermione...I do have a feeling that both of them will end up feeling hot bottoms sooner than later. ;)

Hugs and blessings...Cat

Hermione said...

Roz - It was kind of unexpected that they should both end up in the same place. I like the way the author thinks.

Ronnie - She seems to be settling in well.

Baxter - I've skipped over the boring bits :)

Jon - Now there's an idea!

Cat - The sooner the better, in my opinion.


Linda said...

Great story. Thanks for sharing.

Enzo said...

Just catching up on this story. Thanks for sharing Hermione.
I am really looking forward to Lucy getting a good spanking.