Tuesday, April 19, 2016

From the Top Shelf - Welcome to Hope Hall

Today I am going to entertain you the first of several excerpts from Hall of Infamy by Amanita Virosa. It is a Victorian tale of the 19-year-old debutante Amelia Colinbrooke and her 18-year-old cousin Clara who are sent to stay with their Aunt at Hope Hall. Amelia and Clare are expecting to be treated like the ladies of society they believe themselves to be, but they have a surprise in store.

"Oh, look, Amelia, the hawthorn is in bloom!"

The hedgerows that sped by the carriage window were dusted with white blossom, but Amelia gave them only a cursory glance. She regarded Clara through heavy-lidded eyes and gave a bored yawn.

"Really, Clara, I do wish you would stop bouncing up and down. One would think you had never been to Hatherby before!"

The fact was that the countryside, the rolling hills, the thickly wooded hollows and neat hedgerows exhilarated her too, with its magical aura and half-forgotten familiarity. But the Honourable Amelia Colinbrooke was a dignified young lady of nineteen, educated and extremely conscious of her position. She most emphatically was not a giddy girl to be over-excited by the prospect of release from finishing school. Therefore she shook her head pityingly at Clara, reminded herself that her cousin was still a child of eighteen, and turned her attention back to her novel, leaving the younger girl to press her face to the glass of the carriage window and exclaim with childlike excitement over the commonplace country sights...

They were not at finishing school now. The time for girlish pleasures was behind them, along with the disciplinary regime of Madame Chavaroff's Academy. Amelia had found it very hard at first, but in the final year she had progressed to the status of prefect, and being given the opportunity to wield the rod herself had reconciled her to the strictness of the institution.

She had ended up as a staunch supporter of corporal punishment, and watching Clara fidget and bounce around the carriage made her regret that the opportunity for its infliction was now past. Amelia had only infrequently had the opportunity to make her pretty cousin strip and bend before her prefectorial cane, but she could still relish the memory of Clara's plump bottom and slender thighs...

The view was changing now, the pastures and hedgerows giving way to thicker woodland, until the train was passing through a deep forest. Suddenly, Amelia felt apprehensive, and even Clara became quiet. It was as if the woods evoked some long-buried memory, as if something sinister and ancient lurked in this remote part of the country. Clara's big blue eyes blinked at her anxiously, the pretty lips forming a questioning 'O'. Then the forest opened up again, giving way to sun-flooded fields, and the feeling passed, leaving Amelia smiling wanly at her own foolishness.

"Do you think Jamie will be at Hope Hall too, this summer?"

Clara's transparent attempt to ask this with an air of indifference provoked a derisive snort from Amelia. "I have no idea. I sincerely hope not!"

The last time the two cousins had visited Hope Hall, Clara had developed a serious crush on Jamie Fanshawe, a distant relative. Amelia, on the other hand, had detested the older boy's lack of respect for her, and she had bridled at the liberties he had attempted. Even though they were related, she had decided that Master Fanshawe was extremely ill-bred. The dreamy expression that settled on Clara's countenance at the mere mention of his name irritated Amelia. The image of Clara's bare bottom came to her mind again, unbidden. My goodness, Amelia thought grimly, I'd put Jamie Fanshawe out of your mind if I had the opportunity!

To Amelia's relief, she did not know the boy who waited for them with the carriage at the tiny station. If Jamie had been at the Hall, Lady Alicia would most likely have sent him to greet the girls. Instead, a burly tongue-tied boy - a stable-lad, Amelia supposed - collected their trunks from the guards van and hefted them into the carriage, before giving his hand to Clara, who blushed foolishly as she allowed him to help her climb into the carriage.

"I can manage very well, thank you, boy!" Amelia said sharply, noting with a certain satisfaction that the lad flushed a deeper shade of red. Content that she had put him in his place, she settled herself comfortably next to Clara for the short drive from the railway station to the great estate of Hope Hall.

She had forgotten. It had been two years. She had forgotten the awesome aspect of the great walls that encircled the grounds, ancient and encrusted with ivy. The hoarse croak of rooks circling the stately elms beyond the gates brought back memories of the mysteries that seemed to cloak the hall; strange cries in the night, strange looks between the servants, odd clothes and even odder objects. Questions answered by infuriating chuckles and "All in good time when you are older," and sly smiles from her Aunt. As the great iron gates were unlocked and opened and the carriage swept on in, Amelia felt goose-pimples rise on her nape and Clara grabbed her hand.

"Amelia..what do you think...will happen?" Clara's voice was timid, fearful.

Amelia forced a sneer. "What on earth do you mean, you silly girl?"

The gate clanged shut behind them as they sped up the gravel drive, the sound coldly ominous in Amelia's ears.

"You know what will happen. We are to stay with Alicia and Alex for the summer. I expect we will be treated to many garden parties, hunt balls and fetes." She took a deep breath, banishing the ridiculous feeling of apprehension with a forced laugh. "Yes there will be lots and lots of fetes."

* * *

Amelia was shaking with fury.

"Really, Mrs Pritchard, I'm sure there has to be some mistake. We are grown women. Please let me speak to my aunt!"

The housekeeper, a black garbed woman in her forties, of ramrod carriage and flinty eye, was unmoved.

"Lord and Lady Faversham are visiting the Hatherby Reformatory. Their instructions were quite explicit. I'm to put you two girls in the nursery."

Mrs Pritchard was unsmiling, but something about her demeanour made Amelia suspect she was enjoying this bitter humiliation of her betters.

"Please follow me. Betsy is drawing baths for you both. I expect you will want to change."

The housekeeper turned and Clara looked at the still simmering Amelia.

"Come on, Amelia, there's no point in making a fuss. It's probably just a mistake. We can sort it out when Aunt Alicia gets back."

Mrs Pritchard stopped and looked back with what Amelia could have sworn was a smirk. Clara pleaded with her eyes. The stable-lad who held the trunk suddenly looked away and Amelia just knew he was grinning.

Amelia picked up her purse from the carriage seat . "Oh, very well," she said angrily, "I shall come with you now as I do need to change, but let me be clear. I shall NOT stay in the nursery and I will NOT be treated like a child!"

The bath had gone some way to soothing Amelia's ruffled composure. She might be too mature to be relegated to the nursery but she had to concede that the half-dozen airy rooms in Hope Hall's finest east wing were comfortably appointed. She even had the bigger bathroom to herself...

At least she was able to luxuriate in the scented water, and she let the fatigue of the long journey dissolve away. As she did so, Amelia soaped her legs, and allowed her fingers to caress the insides of her thighs... So lost was she that even when she heard the maid enter with her clean clothes, she continued to caress herself, intimately and lazily, eyes closed...

"Frigging yourself again, Amelia? I see you haven't changed!" The voice was amused and, to Amelia's utter horror, very male. Startled from her reverie, she let out a startled shriek and sat up in the bath, clasping her arms in front of her to cover her full breasts.

"Jamie, get out of my bathroom this instant! This is outrageous! Get out or I'll tell Aunt Alicia!"

The young man leaned against the doorway and grinned insolently. "Tell Aunt Alicia? Tell your cousin? Tell her what exactly?" he sneered. "That I caught you busily playing with yourself?"

Amelia felt her cheeks flame even more brightly as Jamie sauntered over to the bath.

"Anyway, it doesn't matter a damn what you tell them. Lady Alicia and Lord Alex have put me in charge of the nursery. They feel that you and Clara need some discipline - and you especially. I'm to take you down a peg or two, Amelia!" He bent and caressed her slender neck. "For the whole of this summer, I have been given complete authority here. It is my most welcome task to teach you a little humility." He kissed the nape of her neck.

Amelia quivered in shame and outrage but could not prevent this liberty without exposing her breasts, so she simply hissed, "Don't you dare touch me!"

Jamie just laughed, and Amelia felt his fingers grasp a fistful of her luxuriant auburn curls. "Owww!" she shrieked as he hauled her up by the hair. The young man heaved her out of the bath and propelled her across the room and through the door, straight into the adjoining parlour, before releasing his grip. Amelia stood naked and dripping, trying to cover both breasts and sex, blinking back tears of pain and furious outrage.

Clara was standing staring at her, with her eyes wide and her cheeks bright red, dressed in a quite extraordinary costume; a little smock of cream silk so thin that Amelia could clearly see her cousin's nipples pressed against the fabric. The frock had only puffy little quarter-sleeves and was so short that its hem barely reached to Clara's crotch, and failed to cover her frilly little-girl's knickers. In their turn these were all but legless, and exposed a great deal of slender thigh above the tops of white silk stockings which were gartered just above the knee.

Despite the shamefully revealing nature of the costume, Clara did not emulate Amelia's attempts to cover herself. Instead the younger girl kept her hands clasped behind her neck as she stood there.

"Where are my clothes?" Amelia shouted, looking from her cousin to the sneering young man who was unashamedly staring at her nudity. "I DEMAND to be given my clothes!"

He spread his hands. Amelia had to concede that he was handsome, with his aquiline nose and long, fair swept back hair. Jamie was lithely built and turned out in what she supposed was the latest fashion among public-school bloods, with an immaculate cravat of blue and silver and a fine black velvet waistcoat. The worst thing was his infuriating self-assurance. He seemed perfectly relaxed.

Finally, he deigned to answer her. "Amelia, Amelia," Jamie sighed theatrically. "Your wish is my command!" He bowed ironically and tugged the bell-pull. Seconds later, a buxom maid bustled in carrying a few flimsy scraps of fabric. Amelia recognised a set of garments identical to Clara's humiliating outfit.

"Never!" she hissed, although her mouth had gone dry, and she could not resist another appalled glance at Clara. "I am NOT a child!" She blinked back tears of bitter indignation. "I will NOT wear a little girl's clothes. I won't! I won't! I won't!"

She had given in, of course, she had no choice. She had rushed around in a fit of fury but there were no other clothes in the nursery. She could hardly have searched the rest of the house, stark naked as she was - she might have run into servants, even guests, and the thought had been too appalling. It had been bad enough, naked in front of Jamie, here in the nursery.

Betsy, the nursery-maid, a big buxom girl in a neat grey uniform, had stood waiting impassively. Her pretty, plump face had been close to expressionless but Amelia had understood the twinkle in those brown eyes only too well.

Amelia had cursed and sworn revenge but in the end she had allowed Betsy to help her into the flimsy garments. However, when Jamie ordered her to stand in line with Clara, her hands clasped behind her neck, she had angrily refused. Instead she had stood, scowling sullenly in the corner, covering her breasts as best she could.

"Amelia, Amelia," Jamie sighed but with more amusement than exasperation. "Why can't you be more obedient like your little cousin?"

He opened a tall fitted cupboard to reveal a heart-stoppingly comprehensive selection of whips, straps and canes. Amelia felt her knees go weak as he thoughtfully selected a length of yellow cane.

"Kooboo." Jamie smiled and flexed it experimentally, then slashed the implement through the air. The familiar whooshing sound brought goose-pimples to Amelia's arms. "I expect you used to employ it at Madame Chavaroff's Academy. I believe she has the reputation of using only the best materials. No doubt it's been some time since one was used on you. "

He turned to the maid. "The trestle please, Betsy."

The girl hastened to obey, hefting a heavy wooden trestle out of an anteroom and hauling it into the centre of the parlour. The device was topped with a well-worn leather pommel. Amelia regarded the apparatus with shocked horror, knowing all too well its purpose.

"Now, Amelia, I want you to drop your knickers and bend right over the trestle for me, if you please."

Amelia glared at him, her eyes locked onto his in a furious, fearful defiant stare. "Never!" she spat.

Jamie chuckled. "Never is a long time, my pet. Betsy, go to the stables and ask Mr. Blackstock to come and bring a couple of sturdy stable-lads. We may need a bit of muscle and they'll certainly enjoy the show."

The blood drained from Amelia's cheeks. She maintained her glare a little longer. Surely he was bluffing? He would not, could not dare! But she saw no hesitation in his hazel eyes and suddenly realised that he was perfectly capable of carrying out his threat. Her shoulders drooped and she hung her head, defeated. "No, please don't," she mumbled as a tear rolled down her cheek. "I'll do what you say," and her trembling fingers went to her waist to perform the humiliating demand.

"What a pretty arse your cousin has, Clara, " Jamie grinned as Amelia exposed herself once more before him. "Now kneel down there - closer, girl, I want you to watch this. You will take her place, Clara, if you once look away. Betsy, hold Amelia's hands tightly, she seems a little skittish. Now, Amelia, I'm going to give you six strokes for cheek and another six for disobedience."

Amelia gave a little gasp as the cane was laid across her prominent bottom cheeks.

"You don't know how long I've waited for this moment, Amelia, or jerked myself off imagining this little scene," Jamie chuckled, and the cane was lifted. Amelia gave a little whimper of pure terror as the tension mounted in the room. Everyone held their breath but the mantel clock ticked inexorably on.


Amelia tried to fight the shriek but the pain was just too great. It seared across her bottom, forcing a cry from between her gritted teeth. Oh God - it was worse - much worse - than she had imagined. She could not stand another eleven strokes like that!


Again the blaze of pain.

"Stop writhing, girl, and keep your legs straight!"

"Ooh! Ooh! Aah!" Amelia sobbed as the pain coursed through her in waves. Blinking away tears, she looked back through her own parted legs to see Clara kneeling down facing her bottom, so close that the cane must have only just missed her face. Clara had a glazed expression, part terror and perhaps part something else, and her eyes were brimming with tears.

Jamie grabbed Amelia's hair, and wrenched her head back until she had to look in his eyes.

"Welcome back, my dear Amelia. Welcome to Hope Hall!"
It`s always best to start as you mean to go on.
From Hermione's Heart


Baxter said...

As I watched Downton Abbey over the past couple of years, I wondered what might have gone on in that great house, such as caning and other types of fun. This was good and looking forward to more.


Cat said...

Whoa! Was definitely not expecting this! Am very curious to see how this goes. Thanks for sharing, Hermione.

Hugs and blessings...Cat

Roz said...

Wow, I'm with Cat. Looking forward to reading more. Poor girls, I think Jamie is enjoying this too much. Thanks for bringing us another great story Hermoine.


Hermione said...

Baxter - I wondered the same thing. Surely Thomas spanked some naughty stable boys and gardeners from time to time.

Cat - I think you will enjoy the ongoing story.

Roz - Far too much indeed!