Before I start posting Chapter 3 in 100-word drabble format, I am posting the entire 3,000 word Chapter 2 as a recap for easier reading. As you can readily tell this isn’t even a first draft, more like half a draft. As a further note, thanks to the enthusiastic response to “The Bloody Merry Book Club” I posted on Halloween, I decided to turn it into a novel. Both “The Bumhampton Chronicles” and the renamed “Case of the Scarlet Paddle” are set in Victorian England of 1865. However, unlike Bumhampton which is a send-up of classic Victorian erotica, the Scarlet Paddle is set in an alternate Steampunk universe with Sir Nachton MacRath the vampire, facing off against Joyce the housewife. I’ve already written nearly 20,000 words covering the first 24-hours so it has been interesting. I am very grateful to the internet in having so much information about the Victorian era. The Scarlet Paddle will not be posted online but is available if you would like to lend your expertise as a beta reader. I also want to thank all my readers here and especially the friends I have met since I started writing again three months ago. Your help and love has been priceless. I wouldn’t be writing these novels without your encouragement.
Dressed in my new black and white uniform, Mrs. Cleanknockers led me to the kitchen, introduced Cook, and fed me lunch with the downstairs staff. As the new girl the maids and footmen scrutinized me closely for signs of moral failure. Clearly I was not welcome and the slights were not long in manifesting. I ate my meal in silence while Mrs. Cleanknockers grilled her underlings and assigned the afternoon roster. I was exempt: I had an appointment with Lord Caneshard. The sly grins and elbows did not go unnoticed. “Emily and Louisa. Report to the Gun Room at 2.”
The dark oak walls were lined with stuffed animals heads and stuffier ancestral portraits. I giggled nervously as naughty thoughts of mounted Lords filled my mind. My mirth was doused by the stern glare I received from Mrs. Cleanknockers. “This is the Gun Room Ruby,” said icily, “where you will be trained and chastised.” We passed by the locked door. There was no sign that stated ‘Abandon all hope’ but it was implied in her tone. She knocked on m’lord’s office and we entered. “Ruby sir.” I curtsied and when prodded, approached the desk. “You’ve been willful I understand. Excellent!”
Mrs. Cleanknockers handed over a thin folder. “Ruby’s intake m’lord.” She paused. “If I may be so bold m’lord, I believe that she would suit Mr. Jones-Smyth admirably.” I felt Lord Caneshard’s intense scrutiny on my bowed skull. “You state she’s untutored.” My mind raced in panic: had I been deceived? Had I fallen into the evil and depraved clutches of White Slavers? “Untutored yes m’lord, but very responsive.” I felt Mrs. Cleanknockers gloved hand raise my frightened chin. “Obey His Lordship Ruby and you will prosper.” She pressed her moist lips firmly to mine and swept out the door.
Through thick fringe I covertly watched as m’lord rose and walked to a tall wardrobe. The doors were swung open and he pulled a tray outwards. I saw hundreds if not thousands of vertical folders in varying thicknesses. “Ruby, luscious Ruby,” m’lord muttered softly and placed my fate into a vacant slot. “Please m’lord,” I beseeched, “I’ll do whatever you say, but don’t sell me to a brothel!” M’lord spun around. “What on earth?” His mouth gaped. “I heard Mrs. Cleanknockers sir!” I could not prevent the tears. “Ruby! Cease your caterwauling at once! This is not a Penny Dreadful!”
I gulped back sobs as His Lordship shut the wardrobe. “I was going to strap you later after you’ve dusted, but based on your hysterical overwrought theatrics you’ve now earned twice daily discipline for the next week.” He touched my tear stained cheeks and smiled affectionately. “You are not going to be ‘sold’ you silly chit: all my girls are offered the opportunity of marriage to established men of the mercantile class. We will train you in the social and amorous arts and provide you with ample funds. Now! Bend over my desk Ruby and prepare to be soundly strapped.”
Gentle Reader, I have not yet mentioned the uniforms: even today, worn for my husband’s pleasure allows a blush. The Ladies Journals with engravings of floor length modest dresses: we maids were not allowed such protections and, except during our delicate time of the month, no undergarments. Unaware, until m’lord reached behind me, there was a drawstring, when pulled and hooked to a button at my lace collar, raised the flounced hem in back as a curtain at a bawdy play. My entire nether cheeks were exposed to a male gaze for the first time. M’Lord traced the cane welts.
“Mrs. Cleanknockers is an artist with the stick,” m’lord said with approval. He squeezed firmly. I was determined to take my punishment in silence. I learned something that day: the male fingers are nothing like the female touch. The leather strap lay cool and slick on my bare hindquarters. The first blow is always a shock. The sharp snap rings in your ears. The bite on your flesh stings, there is a delayed reaction as the mind tries to reconcile sound and burning sensation. The second blow compounds the confusion. The third and the fourth: you hiss. “Lift up Ruby.”
I obeyed. SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! I lifted my buttocks higher to meet the swung leather. SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! M’Lord was also an artisan of the corporal trade. On the soft and yielding canvas of my nubile body he painted a solid red overlay; the cane tramlines submerged as if a fevered dream forgotten. I broke my promise: I cried out and stamped, begged for forgiveness. Well presented for correction, naïve as I was, I knew there existed more. Mrs. Cleanknockers had gently primed my pump: m’lord drew down the liquid treat with masculine authority. Short, stubby, his digits penetrated.
Where trimmed feminine fingers had coaxed, now, tribute was demanded. Hastened by shallow strokes as thumb rubbed dry tissues, I felt dampness seep from my wicked core. After only one such cataclysmic event I had fallen into depravity worthy of the most wanton Covent Garden light skirt. I didn’t care. “Your report states you had never before experienced le petit mort Ruby.” I gasped as m’lord grazed my erect nub. Lightning flashed to my mouth. “I don’t speak French sir, I’m a nobody turned shameless whore.” SMACK! SMACK! The loud retorts of hand on buttocks resounded. “That word is forbidden.”
M’lord spanked me hard and fast over skin already scalded and sensitized. To my consternation, my secretions flowed ever faster at his masterful treatment. As he punished he lectured, “Vulgarity has a time and a place Ruby, my study, under my hand, is neither.” He plunged one finger deep inside my womanly passage. I lay down my head: heated cheek on the cool wood surface while my hips danced his saucy tune. “The little death, an orgasm, a spend, a cum; do you wish a repeat of Mrs. Cleanknocker’s gift?” His thick thumb probed rear portal still tender and slack.
As I recall, I moaned, dipped my knees and widened my stance at his firm touch. Licentious hussy, I was now a slave to passion. M’lord chuckled, not unkindly, but with knowing anticipation of my journey about to commence. He rubbed harder between my folds. “At Peacock House, everything is earned. Knowledge, income, pain and…” he pinched my ‘spot’ tightly “pleasure.” I squealed. “Stand up and turn round.” My legs shook: my upper thighs were wet. “Your assignment for the coming week is to clean this room daily. If…by half past four you have performed well, I will reward you.”
I curtseyed: my rear remained exposed. “After chastisement all members of my staff are left bare as a reminder.” I must have looked stricken. He patted my cheek my secretions still glistened then ran his damp forefinger slowly over my pouted lips. “Ruby you will see many a nude female and male posterior during your sojourn under my care. All will be red and marked. Later in the Gun Room, all those thusly disciplined will be brought to culmination under the tutelage of Miss Frothinglips and Mr. Steedstiff. Pleasure is only for those who atone.” My tongue tasted my cunny.
My fingers traced the gold gilt on the leather bindings. Never before had I seen more than a dozen books in one place. M’lord had thousands, many in languages unknown. Per instructions, I removed each one, dusted and cleaned the shelf, then moved to the next. I was on the penultimate step of a rolling ladder. A pail swung from a hook. My hips swung, my buttocks visible, my front thatch peeped: I continued to weep arousal. Voices from below, tenors and bass, alto and sopranos, I stared forward and worked without cessation. I wanted a hand… betwixt my thighs.
The slanted beams of thick rich light struck the brass railing as I cleaned the last of the uppermost books. All afternoon steady commerce flowed through m’lord’s hands: I’d listened with uncomprehending ear to the litany of complaints, compliments and conclusions. On occasion, male hands had grasped the ladder sides and carefully maneuvered me further along the shelves. I’d murmured my thanks. They’d taken recompense by avid examinations of my revealed charms safely out of reach. A mechanical cough heralded the deep bong of half past from the mantel clock. “Ah, Miss Frothinglips, assist Ruby as she dismounts the ladder.”
She was the epitome of aristocratic womanhood sprung whole from oil paintings of old. Of medium height, with walnut tresses coiled atop softly rounded serene hazel-green eyes, her pale complexion gazed with utmost confidence of her station. Miss Frothinglips was Lord Caneshard’s ward, social hostess and, with supercilious hauteur, regularly drained the footman of inferior seed. All this, and perfect diction. I hated her. I tucked the pail in my crook and with careful steps made my way near the floor. Chilled silken palms lightly slid over my ankles, up my calves and near my dampened thighs. “You are aroused.”
“May I m’lord?” Miss Frothinglips’ gentle dulcet vowels contrasted sharply with her strong thumbs as they dug into my rear crease. Her nails bit. My knuckles slowly whitened. The pail rattled against the stile. “Jut your buttocks outward Ruby,” His Lordship commanded. He clasped my hands where they clenched the rungs: the vertical lean barely accommodated his bulk. I dipped my knees and squatted, by sore bottom mooned rudely. Eight dainty digits peeled my peach, I felt warm puffs of air; her thumbs prodded my soaked purse, a forefinger pressed my rosebud. “Mr. Steedstiff will appreciate this naughty one m’lord.”
I was released of a sudden and directed to set my shod feet upon the oak floor. I was so combustible I feared the act of walking to the storage closet would cause an explosion. “Before Miss Frothinglips escorts you to dinner, there is the slight matter of discipline and reward.” I was not so subtly nudged towards a red leather wingback chair. She bade me straddle backwards, knees balanced on padded arms, pushed my upper torso down until bodice and arms dangled over the top. My skirt was yanked even further wide and tucked beneath waist. “Twenty more Ruby.”
Streaks of flame lanced my bulge. Miss Frothinglips stood close before me. She allowed my arms around her corseted waist, wrists locked at small of her back. Her hands combed my hair: lawn handkerchief caught my tears. The pain from the leather strap radiated, one stroke only absorbed before the next burned ever hotter. M’lord did not hold back, twas not his style, but beat me hard all the while I writhed and cried for Miss Frothinglips’ pleasure. Still, shameful treatment as it was, my sex throbbed and oozed with each searing blow. At the last excruciating swipe I screamed.
“Poor show Ruby, I expected better from you,” His Lordship remonstrated. “I do not wish to hear such pathetic bleating again. Perhaps a long session with Mrs. Cleanknockers will teach you proper forbearance.” I could not stem my copious tears. “M’lord,” Miss Frothinglips wiped my cheeks dry, “have pity, it is after all her first day at Peacock House. She did a splendid work upon your tomes: the gilt fairly gleams.” Head bowed I did not see my tormentors pass wicked thoughts. “Very well,” m’lord grumped. I flinched when he once more touched my hot dry flesh above: wet below.
All coherent poise fled on downy wings as his hard finger pads grabbed my quim. Palm and thumb rubbed: I fell into the abyss of sin once more. If not anchored firmly on both ends, the chair and I would have splattered. His Lordship forced two crises. I panted, sloe-eyes lidded, in my mouth his wet hand replaced hers, as a mongrel bitch in heat, I lapped and suckled digits, my carnal appetite apparently insatiable. Two hard feminine slaps. I unsteadily clambered off the chair. My uniform restored, hem to mid-shin, eyes downcast, cheeks marked. Miss Frothinglips led me away.
“Thank you miss,” I murmured. “Do not thank me Ruby,” Miss Frothinglips said stiffly, “I will collect my due.” I shivered…not completely in fear. There were tea and pastries laid out in the kitchen: a steady rotation of maids came and went. Two of the footmen strode in: I blushed and hastily averted my gaze. Their trousers were buttoned down in the back, the open flap exposed red striped flesh. Emily and Louisa shuffled by, eyes downcast and skirts rucked up: their bottoms were bruised and scarlet. I gasped involuntarily. The narrowed sideways glances promised retribution at my clothed appearance.
“There you are Ruby,” Mrs. Cleanknockers swept in with the force of a November gale. “His Lordship informs me he is finished using you today.” She drank a cup of tea and nibbled a scone while studying me thoughtfully. “The evening meal will be at eight. Until then…” She tapped her foot. “Come with me Ruby.” I followed dutifully in her formidable wake. Lifting a key on her chatelaine she unlocked the stout door I vaguely remembered from earlier. “I traditionally assign the Gun Room cleaning duties to the newest maid. I expect with your temperament you’ll be here often.”
Gentle Reader: do not be alarmed. The description I am about to reveal was not gleaned in one visit but rather a compilation over my year at Peacock House. Contrary to the bestowed title, there were no guns stored inside: only instruments of discipline and for arousal. Interspersed with oils of hunting hounds and stately homes were canes, strops, paddles, chains and clamps hung from tarnished brass hooks. Other items as well, leather wrapped tubes, ivory horns, plugs of India rubber and other esoteric artifacts in chestnut cedar-lined drawers. Padded tables and chairs sat against walls papered with ancient Rome.
I peered closer at the walls and gasped in outrage. “Something wrong Ruby?” Mrs. Cleanknockers sounded amused. “Permission to speak freely ma’am.” At her curt nod I launched into a diatribe. “This is offensive! How can this be possible? All this filth!” She laughed and patted my head as if a lapdog. “It’s only a few orgy scenes although I will allow the positions are artistic license. You could drive a wagon up her snatch and no trouser serpent I’ve ever handled has had that girth. Or is it the whips you fear?” I shot her a look of scorn.
“I am not afraid ma’am. You’ve stripped me, cleansed me, punished and rewarded me. I care not what you and His Lordship do to me, nor do I care about some moldy pagan sex rituals plastered on these walls. You cannot break me no matter the volume of tears wrung from my eyes or orgasms grabbed from my pussy. I accept my lowly position under your whip: if that is prideful, so be it, I will submit to chastisement. I am however offended by this room. Look ma’am at the tarnish! The dust on the wainscoting, the dull scuffed floors!”
Mrs. Cleanknockers stood over me with mouth agape. I continued my verbal assault. “His Lordship’s study was a mess! All those books covered with dust and I noticed – when bent over for the strap – his desk had no smell of beeswax. Does no one clean Peacock House? Is there no pride in work? Force me to prance naked ma’am and I will, but I refuse to be held responsible for such slovenly rooms.” I folded my arms and waited to be slapped. Instead, her hands clasped my cheeks and her lips hovered close. “Do you truly submit to me Ruby?”
“Yes,” I whispered held in her gaze. What followed was my first kiss. Fragrant moist lips pressed against mine, her tongue traced my mouth’s seam. “Open,” she breathed as light as thistledown. I obeyed and was consumed by her passion. I fumbled but swiftly matched her thrusting tangled rhythm. Her arms around my back, one palm pressed firmly at my nape. I was an apt pupil. My nipples stood tall. My quim quivered once more. What if…? My knees buckled. She wrenched her mouth away. I could not match the heat in her stare and knelt at her booted feet.
A benediction. Her hand rested on my scalp. Seven hours ago I had first met His Lordship and now was ensnared by erotic longings I knew not I had. “Dear Ruby. I promise to cherish your willing submission and train you to run your own household.” She bade me rise and select a cane from the wall. “For the next week whilst bringing your assigned rooms up to your exacting standards, you will be naked so that your uniform remains pristine.” She tapped the cane on her palm and quirked a brow. I neatly removed my smock and bent over.
My bottom was still red and marked from his strap, but Mrs. Cleanknockers sliced my nates eight times in quick succession. I gritted my teeth and endured. I felt sure she’d drawn blood this time but when I ran a shaky palm over the welts, they were raised but dry. “Disappointed?” I winced. “No ma’am. Thank you ma’am.” She chuckled at my martyred expression. “One of these days I will give you a real caning; enjoy your howls for mercy and then put your brash clever mouth to work elsewhere.” She hung the cane back up. “See you for dinner.”
I scoured and scrubbed, rubbed and polished. Very shortly I was grateful for the freedom of movement and ceased to be self-conscious over my nudity. I had ample proof that Mrs. Cleanknockers was attracted to my rounded charms. I was in love with her dominance and longed for the opportunity to prove my worthiness. I was on all fours, back to the door when it swung open. The tap of boots: Miss Frothinglips spoke, “I am here to collect my due. Do not move.” She lashed me hard. A crop I found out later. I wet the floor with desire.