Tuesday, July 23, 2019

From the Top Shelf - A Dinner Party with a Difference

Today's selection from the top shelf is an excerpt from Maid's Night In, an anonymously written novel about the erotic awakening of a Victorian girl. I first published it on this blog nine years ago, but many of you may have not seen it.

Beatrice and her sister have gone to live with their aunt and uncle, who have certain proclivities to corporal punishment. The scene is a formal evening reception. The girls are watching, and Beatrice narrates.
There was quiet again. The music ceased....The Lady Arabella was announced.

"Let her enter and be brought here," I heard my uncle say. There was a sound as if of a heavy table moving...I saw the woman enter. Her coiffure was exquisite. A diamond choker, a swan neck. Her curves were elegant beneath a swathing white gown of satin flecked with red. The collar of her gown was raised slightly, as one sees in portraits of the Elizabethans. She wore a look of coldness and distance. Her lips were full, her nose long and straight. Her eyelids were shadowed in initiation of the early Egyptians.

She made to step back as my uncle reached her. Behind her entered a man of military look, impeccable in a black jacket and white trousers, as was the evening fashion then. I judged the years between them. She was the younger.

"Not here. It is unseemly," she said.

"No," the woman said in answer to some muttered remark.

"Not here," the woman said again... The chandeliers danced their crystal diamonds. The Lady Arabella was moving forward. As if through water she moved. An older woman moved beside her, a hand cupping her elbow. The older woman wore a purple dress. Her vulgarity was obvious.

"Arabella, my sweet, you will come to dinner tomorrow night? The Sandhursts are coming," her voice cooed.

"I do not know. Perhaps, yes. I must look at my diary, of course."

Arabella' s look was constrained, her lips set. Behind her, the man who had escorted her in was nudging her bottom. It was of an ample size, though not too large by comparison with her stately curves. Her face turned to her escort as if pleading. He shook his head. I saw the table then. It had indeed been pushed forward. Upon its nearest edge was a large velvet cushion. Her long legs appeared to stiffen as she approached it. Her footsteps dragged. Her shoes were silver as I saw from the occasional peeping of her toes beneath the hem of her gown.

There were murmurings, whispers, protestations, retreats. The doors to the morning room opened an closed, re-opened and closed again.

"It is private," I heard my aunt say to others. The room was stiller. I heard a cry from Arabella.

"Lift her gown fully," a voice said. "Hold her arms."

"Not here..." She seemed unable to say anything else. Not here, not here, not here, not here. A rustling sound. Slight creak of wood. A gasp. Plaintive.

"Remove her drawers."

"She was unseemly. Is she not betrothed to him?" It was my aunt's voice. She spoke to the escort. His voice was dry and thin.

"Improper," he replied. The word fell like the closing of a book. "Take them right off. Do not let her kick," he said.

"No! Not the birch!" A wail from Arabella. The modulation of my aunt's voice and the military gentleman's amused me. They were tonally flat--courteous. Would he have her bound, my aunt asked. It was not necessary, he said, but her wrists should be held.

She was bent over the table, the globes of her bottom gleaming. Her garters were white satin, flecked with red. The deep of her grooves--the inrolling. Her breathing came to me, filtering its small waiting sobs. The dry rustling sound of a birch. I had never yet tasted the twigs. It was said that they should be softened first.

"Not bound," My aunt said. Her voice sounded slmost regretful. "Hilda, you will hold her wrists tight. Stretch her arms out."


The long, sweet aristocratic cry came as the first swishing came. It sounded not as violently as I thought.

"No! Nooooo!" A further cry. Her sobbing rose like violins. A creaking of table. Beneath her raised gown, her underskirt, her chemise, the velvet cushion pressed against her belly. There was comfort. I comforted myself with the comfort.

The sounds went on. The birch swished gently but firmly as it seemed to me. First across one cheek then the other. The bouncy hemispheres reddened and squirmed. Streaks of heat. Was it like the strap?

"Ask her now," the man said. There was whispering, a quavering cry. A negative. Refusal. "Three more," he said. "Her drawers were down when I caught them together."

My aunt tutted. The small dots of her tutting impinged across the sobs, the swishings. They flew like small birds across the room.

"Whaaah! Nooooooo! Wha-aaaaaa!" Arabella sobbed... There was quiet. Her tears shone upon the polished wood of the table.

"Ask her again." The same voice, impassive, quiet. The sobs were unending.

"Have you before?" my aunt asked. It was her garden voice, clear and enquiring. The lilt of a question mark that could not fail to invite.

"Twice, but she resists. What does she say?" he asked.

"I cannot hear. Arabella, you must speak, my dear, or take the birch again." The woman who held her wrists spoke.

"I c...c...cannot. No--yes--oh!"

Silence. "Have her dress," my aunt said at last. "Hilda, see to her hair, bathe her face, she has been good."

The doors to the morning room were re-opened. A flooding of people, a flurry of voices. Enquiries. My aunt would not answer. The deeper voice of my uncle said occasionally, "I do not know."

...As we reached the bottom of the stairs she began to descend. Accompanying her was the older woman in purple. Their eyes passed across us unseeing.

"And there will be a garden party--for the church, you know," the woman in purple said.

Arabella's eyes were clear, her voice soft and beautifully modulated.

"Of course, I should love to come," she replied. They entered the drawing room together.
  The author has quite a sensuous way of describing the scene.
From Hermione's Heart


Roz said...

Thank you for sharing this great story Hermione. It is wonderfully written. I enjoyed reading this.


Hermione said...

Roz - I love the author's style.


ronnie said...

Hermione, I like the author's style as well. Enjoyed the read. Lovely excerpt. Thank you.


Hermione said...

Thanks Ronnie. I thought this would be a good time to revisit some oldies but goodies.


QBuzz said...

Very enjoyable, I wonder if Lady Arabella will re-enact the scene with her man when they are finally married and allowed to do such things...