Category Archives: Book Worm

Philippa Gregory’s The Taming of the Queen

the-taming-of-the-queen-by-philippa-gregory

You could hardly go wrong with this tale about the last wife of Henry VIII, Katheryn Parr, first published one year ago. As if the title weren’t enough of a clue, the author has previous form too.

There’s more than a touch of ’50 Shades’ about it, but I’m guessing only historical purists will complain about that. Unusually, the scene comes near the end of the book and represents the climax of the relationship between King and Queen. A few pages later Henry dies. This popular author has had a number of her books turned into films and if this one makes it to the screen it seems impossible that they could leave the scene out.

There’s even a walk on part for Lady Jane Grey at the end who was also used to gingerly lowering herself on to seats!

*****

I straighten my beautifully embroidered night robe of dark silk, and take a seat at the fireside until he invites me to approach his enourmous bed. I think, nervously, that it is like my wedding night when I was so dreading his touch. Now I have become accustomed, he can do nothing that would shock me. I will have to accept his damp caresses; I know I wil have to kiss him and not flinch from his fetid saliva. I think that he is in too much pain from his leg and too drugged to expect me to mount him so I will have to do nothing worse than smile and seem ardent. I can do that. I can do that for my own safety and for the safety of all who depend on this tyrant for their freedom. I can rack my pride. I can dislocate my shame.
‘So we are friends,’ he says, putting his head on one side to admire my dark blue silk robe and the glimmer of white linen beneath it. ‘But I think you have been a naughty girl. I think that you have been reading books that were banned and listening to sermons that were not allowed.’
Being addressed as a child for my work as a scholar – this too I can endure. I bow my head. ‘I am sorry if I have done anything wrong.’
‘Do you know what I do with naughty girls?’ he asks, roguishly.
I can feel my thoughts whirling. I have never heard him speak like this before, diminishing me, and being a fool himself. But I must not challenge him.’I don’t think I have been naughty, my lord.’
‘Very naughty indeed! And do you know what I do to naughty girls?’ he asks again.
I shake my head. I thnk he has slipped into his dotage. I have to endure this too.
He beckons me to the side of the bed. “Come a little closer.”
I rise from the chair and go to the bed.I move grtacefully, like a woman. I take the few steps with my head held high, like the queen that I am. I think, surely he cannot maintain this game that I am a child for scolding, but then it seems that he can. He takes my hand and pulls me a little closer to the bed, ‘I think that you have read books that Stephen Gardiner would say are heretical, you bad child.’
I open my eyes wide as if to assure him of my innocence. ‘I would never go against Your Majesty’s wishes. Stephen Gardiner has never accused me, and has no evidence.’
‘Oh, he has accused you,’ he says, chuckling as if this is funny. ‘Be sure of that!’ And he accused your friends, and the girl preacher, and indeed he had all the evidence that he needed to prove to me – or even to a jury, a jury, Kate! – that you are, alas, a very naughty little girl.’
I try to smile. ‘But I have explained…’
I see the gleam of his irritation. ‘Never mind all that. I say you are a naughty girl and I think you have to be punished!’
At once I think of the Tower and the scaffold that they can build on the green. I think of my ladies and the preachers who have spoken before me. I think of Anne, waiting in the Tower for release from her agony. ‘Punished?’
He reaches across his huge barrel of a body and extends his left hand to me. I take it and he tugs me roughly, as if he would pull me across the bed.
I yield. ‘ Your Majesty?’
‘Kneel on the bed,’ he says. ‘This is your punishment.’ He sees my aghast face and he laughs so much that he coughs, and tears come in to his piggy little eyes. ‘Oh! Were you thinking that I would behead you? Oh LOrd! Oh Lord! What fools women are! But kneel to me.’
I gather the skirts of my gown in my free hand and kneel up on the bed beside him. He lets go of my hand now I am positioned where he wants me, kneeling beside him, the stench from his woumded leg wafting up into my face. I put my hands together as if to swear fealty.
‘No, not that,’ he says impatiently. ‘I don’t want you to beg for pardon. Go on your hands and knees. Like a dog.
I shoot one disbelieving look into his face and I see that he is flushed and intent. He means it. As I hesitate I see that his eyes harden. ‘I’ve told you once, he says quietly. ‘There are guards outside and my barge will take you to the Tower tonight if I say just one word.’
‘I know…’ I say quickly. ‘It’s just that I don’t know what you want me to do, my lord husband. I would do anything for you, you know that. I have promised love…’
‘I’ve told you what to do,’ he points out, reasonably enough. ‘Go on your hands and knees like a dog.
My face is burning witht the heat of my shame. I go on my hands and knees on the bed and I drop my head down so that I don’t have to see the bright triumph in his face.
‘Lift your gown.’
This is too much. ‘I can’t,’ I say; but he is smiling.
‘Up over your buttocks,’ he says. ‘Lift your gown right up, your linen too, so your arse is as bare as a Smithfield whore.’
‘Your Majesty…’
He raises his right hand as if to warn me to be completely silent. I look back at him, I wonder if I dare to defy him.
‘My barge…’ he whispers. ‘It is waiting for you.’
Slowly, I pull my gown up to my waist, the silk cool in my fingers. It folds around my waist, leaving me naked from the waist down, on my hands and knees on the king’s bed.
He fumbles in the bedclothes and for a horrible moment I thnk that he is fondling himself, aroused by my nakedness, and that there will be worse for me to do. But he brings out a whip, a short horse’s whip, and shows it to me, bringing it to my burning face.
‘D’you see?’ he asks quietly. ‘it is no thicker than my little finger. The laws of the land, my laws, say that a husband may beat his wife if the stick is no thicker than his finger. D’you see that this is a thin little whip that I may legally use on you? Are we agreed?’
‘Your Majesty would not –‘
‘It is the law, Kateryn. Like the law of heresy, like the law of treason. do you understand that I am the law giver and the law enforcer and that nothing happens in England without my will?’
My legs and buttocks are cold. I bend my head to the stinking covers of the bed. ‘I understand,’ I say, though I can hardly speak.
He brings the whip closer, then thrusts it in my face. ‘Look!’ he says.
I raise my head and look at it.
‘Kiss it,’ he says.
I cant’t stop myself from fliching. ‘What?’
‘Kiss the rod. As a sign that you accept your punishment. Like a good child. Kiss the rod.’
I look at him blankly for a moment as if I wonder if I can disobey him. He returns my gaze, completely calm. Only his scarlet colour and his rapid breathing reveal that he is aroused. He holds the whip a little closer to my lips. ‘Go on,’ he says.
I purse my lips. He puts the leather plaited thong to my mouth. I kiss it. He puts the thicker leather stem to my face. I kiss it. He puts his clenched hand holding the handle before my mouth, and I kiss his fat fingers too. Then without changing his expression he raises the whip behind me, and brings it down hard on my buttocks.
I cry out and flinch away, but he has tight hold of my upper arm and he strikes me again. Three times I hear the whistle and then feel the blow as it comes down and the pain is quite terrible. There are burning tears in my eyes as he brings the whip to my face againn and whispers: ‘Kiss it, Kateryn, and say that you have learned wifely obedience.’
There is blood in my mouth from where I have bitten my lip. It tastes like poison. I can feel the hot tears pouring down my cheeks and I cannot choke down a little sob. He waggles the stick in front of me and I kiss it, as he orders. ‘Say it,’ he reminds me.
‘I have learned wifely obedience,’ I repeat.
‘Say thank you, my lord husband.’
‘Thank you, my lord husband.’
He is quiet. I take a choking breath. I can feel my chest heave with my sobs. I assume my punishment is finished and I pull down my gown. My buttocks are stinging raw and I am afraid they are bleeding, and my white linen shift will be stained.
‘One other thing,’he says silkily, still holding me on my hands and knees. I wait.
He pushes back the covers of his bed and I see, like a monstrous erection, he is wearing the ivory silk codpiece from the portrait strapped on his fat naked belly. It is a grotesque sight, huge on his rolling belly, pointing upwards out of the sheets, embroidered with silver thread and stiched with pearls.
‘Kiss this too,’ he says.
My will is broken indeed. I rub my tears from my eyes with the back of my hand and I feel the snot from my nose spread over my face. This, too, I will do for my own safety.
He puts his hand on it and he caresses it as if it can give him pleasure. He giggles. ‘You have to,’ he says simply.
I nod. I know I have to. I put my head down and I put my lips against the encrusted tip. With a single cruel gesture he takes a handful of my hair and thumps the back of my head, so my face is smacked by it and it bangs against my teeth and the pearls scrape my lips. I don’t pull back from the pain. I hold my face still as he works it in a parody of abuse against my mouth over and over again till my mouth is bruised by the jewels and the embroidery and my lips are bleeding.
He is exhausted, his face flushed and sweating. The ivory cod-piece is smeared with my blood as if he had deflowered a virgin with it. He drops back on his pillows and sighs as if he is deeply satisfied.
‘You can go.’

*****

Later there is a short can’t-sit-down scene…

Shaming me has cheered the king back to health. Suddenly he is well enough to dine with the court and this afternoon he is wheeled into the garden with me at his side. Nan, Lady Tyrwhit and little Lady Jane Grey walk with me, the rest of my ladies stroll behind us, and the king holds my hand as I walk beside the chair. There is a spreading beech tree in the centre of the king’s privy garden and he stops the chair in the shade and someone fetches a stool for me to sit beside him. Gingerly I lower myself to the seat. He smiles as he sees I cannot sit without pain.
‘You are amused, my lord husband?’
‘Now we’re going to see a play.’
‘A play? Here?
‘Indeed yes. And when it is over you can tell me the title.’

*****

The title of the play turns out to be “The Taming of the Queen” presumably without any credits to Shakespeare who hasn’t been born yet!

 Another apparent anachronism is the law about being beaten with a stick that is no thicker than a finger. Such a law did exist but I believe it was brought in during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Henry’s daughter.

Flashman at the Charge

Flashman at the Charge by Frank Frazetta

We haven’t had any artwork on the Spank Statement lately so let’s take a look at this striking picture by fantasy artist/illustrator Frank Frazetta which is dated 1974.

There is a 2012 pastiche by Ferdinand Kreozot, and it’s quite fun to play Spot the Difference.

another_frazetta_practice_by_ferdinandkreozot-d4ncvm7

Kreozot has cartoonified most of the details and added Flashman’s other boot. I prefer the original but the modern version looks even more like he is spanking her rather than just holding her in place. Of course, Frazetta’s painting is itself a pastiche of old paintings of The Charge of the Light Brigade – probably this one of Lord Cardigan leading the charge by Henry Payne.

lord-cardigan-charges

Flashman at the Charge was the title of a 1973 novel by George MacDonald Fraser and Frazetta’s painting appeared on the cover of the Signet paperback edition.

Flashman at the Charge -  Signet

The girl is presumably Valla the beautiful Russian daughter of Count Pencherjevsky and Flashman’s lover in the novel. The Flashman stories are based on the adult adventures of the bully from Tom’s Brown Schooldays so we know the character was very familiar with corporal punishment. He doesn’t spank Valla but she has an aunt Sara who teaches Flash how to enjoy a Russian bath. “A sovereign remedy against our long winters”, Sara claims as she entices him into a hot steam tryst. After a passionate bout with the “saucy little flirt”, which includes a traditional birch whipping, Flashy declares her to be “undoubtedly my favourite aunt”.

Frank Frazetta Art Museum

Ferdinand Kreozot

L’assommoir d’ Émile Zola

Assommoir2L’Assommoir (1877) is the seventh novel in Émile Zola’s twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. Considered one of his masterpieces, the study of alcoholism and poverty in the working-class districts of Paris was a huge commercial success and established Zola’s fame and reputation throughout France and the world.

It tells the story of Gervaise  who runs away to Paris with her shiftless lover Lantier to work as a washerwoman in a hot, busy laundry.

Thanks to Maria White and Harry  for their help with this post.

*****

Scene: Paris, 1850: a public washhouse. Enter Virginie Poisson, the local shrew, who hates the club-footed Gervaise.

Suddenly Mme Boche cried out:

“Goodness, if it isn’t that great tall Virginie! She is actually coming here to wash her rags tied up in a handkerchief.”

Gervaise looked up quickly. Virginie was a woman about her own age, larger and taller than herself, a brunette and pretty in spite of the elongated oval of her face. She hesitated a moment in the center aisle and half shut her eyes, as if looking for something or somebody, but when she distinguished Gervaise she passed close by her with her nose in the air, insolently swaying her hips, and finally established herself only a short distance from her.

Gervaise made a show of keeping her back to Virginie. But she could hear sniggering, and was conscious of her sidelong glances. Virginie, in fact, seemed to have come there to provoke her, and when Gervaise turned around the two women stared hard at one another.

Mme Boche whispered in her gruff voice, “Look at her over there, she’s laughing ’cause you’re crying — the heartless little cat!”

A wild tempest of rage shook Gervaise from head to foot. She stooped with her arms extended, as if feeling for something . . . then snatched up a bucket of soapsuds and threw it at Virginie.

“Bitch!” screamed Virginie. She’d jumped back, so only her boots were wet. All the women in the washhouse hurried to the scene of action. They jumped up on the benches, some with a piece of bread in their hands, others with a bit of soap, and a circle of spectators was soon formed.

“Oh! The bitch” repeated Virginie. “What has got into the fool?” Gervaise stood motionless, her face convulsed and lips apart. The other continued:

“Just look at her, she’s sick of fucking the provinces, soldiers had her for a mattress by the time she was twelve, she’s left a leg back home there. Rotted away it did!”

The women laughed. Virginie, emboldened by her success, went on in a louder and more triumphant tone:

“Come a little nearer, and I will soon settle you. You’d have been better off in the country. It is lucky for you that your dirty soapsuds only went on my feet, for I would have taken you over my knees, pulled up your skirts, and given you a good spanking if one drop had gone in my face. What is the matter with her, anyway?” And big Virginie addressed her audience: “Make her tell what I have done to her! Say! Trollop, what harm have I ever done to you?”

“You had best not talk so much,” answered Gervaise almost inaudibly; “you know very well where my husband was seen last night. Shut your trap or I’ll strangle you for sure .”

“Her husband, she says! Her husband! Madame’s husband! As if she could catch a husband with a bandy leg like hers! Is it my fault if he’s dumped you? . . .”

The laughter began again. Gervaise, in a low, concentrated voice, repeated:

“You know very well–you know very well! Your sister–yes, I will strangle your sister!”

“Oh yes, I understand,” answered Virginie. “Strangle her if you choose. What do I care? . . .”

Big Virginie turned away, but after five or six angry blows with her paddle she began again:

“Yes, it is my sister, and the two adore each other. You should see them bill and coo together. He has left you with these dirty-faced bastards . . .”

“Bitch, bitch, bitch!” screamed Gervaise, beside herself, once more trembling uncontrollably.

She turned and groped on the ground again; seeing nothing, finding only the small tub of bluing water, she threw that in Virginie’s face.

“The slut! She’s ruined my dress!” shrieked Virginie, whose shoulder and one hand were dyed a deep blue. “Just you wait, you shit!” she added as she, in her turn, snatched up a pail and emptied it over the young woman. At that point, a battle royal began . . . Soon it was impossible to keep track of the score. Both were shivering and streaming with water from head to foot, their bodices sticking to their backs, their skirts clinging to their buttocks .

The laundresses were immensely amused, and applauded as if at a theater .  Suddenly Virginie discovered a bucket of scalding water standing a little apart; she caught it and threw it upon Gervaise. There was an exclamation of horror from the lookers-on. Gervaise escaped with only one foot slightly burned, but exasperated by the pain, she threw a tub with all her strength at the legs of her opponent. Virginie fell to the ground .

The battle began again, this time silent and wordless and literally tooth and nail .  It was on Gervaise that the first blood was drawn. Three long scratches from her mouth to her throat bled profusely, and she closed her eyes with each attack, lest she have an eye put out.. As yet Virginie was not bleeding. Suddenly Gervaise seized one of her earrings–pear-shaped, of yellow glass–she pulled, the ear split, and blood began to flow .

Both women lay on the ground. Suddenly Virginie struggled up to her knees. She’d just picked up one of the paddles and was brandishing it. Her voice was hoarse and low as she muttered:

“This will be as good for you as for your dirty linen!”

Gervaise, in her turn, snatched another paddle, which she held like a club. Her voice also was hoarse and low.

“I will beat your skin,” she muttered, “as I would my coarse towels.”

They knelt in front of each other in utter silence for at least a minute, with hair streaming, eyes glaring and nostrils distended. They each drew a long breath.

Gervaise struck the first blow, with her paddle glancing off Virginie’s shoulder. And then she flung herself sideways to escape Virginie’s weapon, which brushed her hip.

Thus started, they struck each other as laundresses strike their linen, vigorously, rhythmically. When a blow landed on flesh, it sounded muffled, as if it had landed in a tub of water .

Suddenly Gervaise gave a howl. Virginie had hit her with all her might on her bare arm, above the elbow; a red patch appeared and immediately began to swell. She hurled herself at Virginie; the spectators thought she meant to kill her. “Stop! Stop!” they cried. But her face was so terrifying that no one dared go near.

gervaise4

With almost superhuman strength she seized Virginie round the waist and forced her over so her face was pushed down onto the flagstones and her bottom was in the air; despite her struggles, Gervaise pulled her skirts all the way up. Underneath were drawers. Slipping her hand into the slit, she tore them off, exposing bare thighs and bare buttocks. Then Gervaise raised her paddle and began to beat .  Each smack of the paddle fell on the soft flesh with a wet thud, leaving a scarlet mark .

The women were laughing again by this time, but soon the cry began again of “Enough! Enough!”

Gervaise didn’t hear, didn’t tire. Keeping her eyes on her work, she bent low over it, determined not to miss one single spot. She wanted every inch of this flesh beaten, beaten and scarlet with shame. And she began to sing, full of ferocious gaiety, as she remembered an old washer-woman’s song:

Bang! Bang! Magpie’s wash she’s thwacking,

Bang! Bang! With her paddle smacking,

Bang! Bang! Pain after sinning,

Bang! Bang! Here’s a beginning.

And she went on: “This one’s for you, this one’s for your sister, this one’s for Lantier. Mind you give it ’em when you see ’em. Wait! I’ve not finished. This one’s for Lantier, that for your sister, and this one’s for you!

Pan! Pan! Margot au lavoir!

Pan! Pan! a coups de battoir . . .

Maria Schell in Gervaise

They had to drag Virginie out of her grasp. The tall brunette, weeping and sobbing, her face scarlet with mortification, grabbed her washing and fled, defeated.

*****

Three weeks later, about half-past eleven one fine sunny morning, Gervaise and Coupeau, the tinworker, were eating some brandied fruit at Pere Colombe’s Tavern, known as L’Assommoir . . .

“Oh, you are none too amiable. You beat people sometimes, I have heard.”

She laughed gaily.

Yes, it was true she had beaten up that great hulking Virginie. That day she could have strangled someone with a glad heart. She began laughing even more when Coupeau recounted that Virginie was so mortified at having displayed everything she’d got, she’d left the neighborhood.

*****

One Saturday Gervaise had hard work. It had rained for three days, and all the mud of the streets seemed to have been brought into the shop. Virginie stood behind the counter with collar and cuffs trimmed with lace. Near her on a low chair lounged Lantier, and he was, as usual, eating candy.

“Really, Madame Coupeau,” cried Virginie, “can’t you do better than that? You have left all the dirt in the corners. Don’t you see? Oblige me by doing that over again.”

Gervaise obeyed. She went back to the corner and scrubbed it again. She was on her hands and knees, with her sleeves rolled up over her arms. Her old skirt clung close to her stout form, and the sweat poured down her face.

“The more elbow grease you put into it, the more it shines,” said Lantier sententiously with his mouth full.

Virginie, leaning back in her chair with the air of a princess, followed the progress of the work with half-closed eyes.

“A little more to the right. Remember, those spots must all be taken out. Last Saturday, you know, I wasn’t all that pleased.”

And they both put on an even more majestic air, as if they were on thrones, while Gervaise dragged herself about at their feet in the black mud. Virginie must have been enjoying herself, for her cat’s eyes sparkled with malicious joy, and she glanced at Lantier with a little smile. Yes, now she had her revenge for that mortification in the wash-house, that paddling she’d never ever been able to forget!

*****

In the 1956 film, based on L’Assommoir, Gervaise was played by Maria Schell while Virginie was played by Suzy Delair. Just as in the book, Gervaise pulls down Virginie’s drawers and exposes her buttocks before beating her with a paddle.  Delair’s bare bottom actually belongs to a body double who was a dancer at the Crazy Horse Saloon with the typically bizarre stage name of Rita Cadillac… and a wonderfully photogenic backside!

606px-Rita_cadillac

Émile Zola’s son and  great-grandaughter, Brigit, watched the spanking scene being filmed but it was too much for the US censor who cut it out.

As a little girl of about ten I had accompanied my grandfather Jacques on the set of Gervaise and had seen the different rehearsals of the famous “spanking” scene. Maria Schell played Gervaise; my grandfather was pleased to note that she represented the character of Gervaise well, physically and psychologically. He chatted with her, and I was all ears.

It was reinstated for the DVD release which featured a drawing of the scene on the cover.

Gervaise
There have been numerous stage productions of Zola’s novel.  The famous impresario Augustin Daly produced a version in New York just a couple of years after the book was first published, and in Paris a 1900 production caused quite a stir when a large billboard went up featuring the paddling scene .

Skipping  forward the best part of one hundred years to the north of England, a version of L’Assommoir was performed under the title A Working Woman at the West Yorkshire playhouse in  November 1992.

It was adapted by Stephen Wyatt and the script includes the fight in the laundry with a few interesting variations. Virginie is bent over an ironing board and the paddling is sound tracked by can-can music.  In one important respect the scene follows the book though;  Gervaise pulls down Virginie’s drawers!

*****

A Working WomanVirginie enters with a token quantity of washing. She walks slowly down past Gervaise, smiling, and then back up to a place with the other washer women.

Mme B:  Hey, Virginie, what are you doing here?

Virginie pulls a couple of other women into a huddle for a whisper. Her face is full of malicious amusement.

 Mme B: (looking at her) I reckon she’s only come here to gloat. She knows all about it, you can bet your life. She’s going to run straight home and tell them how you’ve taken it.

 A burst of laughter from Virginie and her friends. Gervaise turns to face Virginie. Virginie is aware of her gaze.

 Virginie: (to her friends) I think Lantier prefers women with two legs.

Gervaise picks up the bucket and throws the water at her.

Virginie: You bitch!

 The whole washhouse is silent now. Virginie turns angrily.

 Virginie: So what made you do that then, you lop-sided cow?

Gervaise: (hotly) As if you didn’t know.

Virginie: It’s not me that’s taken your precious husband. Anyone here found Madame’s husband? I’m sure she’ll offer a reward.

Gervaise: He’s gone with your sister, you know bloody well.

Virginie: And who can blame him?

Gervaise: You cow, you bloody cow!

She attacks Virginie. The two women roll across the floor fighting while the other women encourage them and beat their buckets and boards excitedly.

Mme B: (to Charles) Someone ought to stop them.

Charles:  (grinning) Not me love. Best show I’ve seen in years.

Gervaise grabs Viginie’s ear and pulls her earring off. Verginie screams at the pain then grabs Gervaise and wrenches her arm savagely behind her back. Triumphantly she claims victory. But Gervaise comes up behind her and forces her over one of the ironing boards. She grabs a wooden beater from one of the other women, pulls down Virginie’s drawers and starts to beat her.

 Gervaise: I’ll tan your arse for you! You won’t sit down for a week!

The other women roar approval and dance mockingly round the beating to can-can music. Finally Gervaise, exhausted and satisfied, throws down the beater. Virginie crawls away sobbing with humiliation. The others congratulate Gervaise and then start to leave. Gervaise stands there, the excitement of her moment of triumph seeping from her.

In  the 1992 West Yorkshire Playhouse production, Gervaise was played by Kate Gartside ,

Kate Gartside

and Christabelle Dilks went across the ironing board!

Christabelle Dilks

Lorna Hill’s Castle in Northumbria

It’s hard to believe that this has remained neglected and unshared ever since its publication in 1953. I sent a very brief online reference to intrepid researcher Michael Gray who went on a mission to the British Library in London. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much, but the report came back that the novel was “awash with talk of spankings” including, remarkably, an entire chapter titled “Marjorie Gets Spanked”!

Northumbria1

Many thanks to Michael for photocopying the relevant chapter. Teenage boy spanks teenage girl for going AWOL from a camping trip and spending the night in a nice warm bed while the rest were roughing it. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she has booked a night out at the cinema with an unsuitable boy too.

It’s wholly innocent and frightfully English – after the dramatic event they all sit down for tea! However, there’s one reluctant camper who prefers to take her tea standing up…

*****

Castle-Northumbria_Hill“Now for Marjorie!” Guy said, striding across the hall to the door Judith had locked against him. I saw by the expression on his face that although he’d been very gentle and patient with Judith, he wasn’t going to stand any nonsense from Marjorie.
Marjorie was sitting on the edge of the window-seat in her usual nonchalant fashion. As the window was half-open, we knew that she’d seen Toby and Esme in the garden below, and realised that there was no escape that way.
“Coming, Marjorie?” Guy said briefly, stopping just inside the door.
She shook her head.
“Can’t. I’ve got a date for to-night.”
“That date is off.” Guy answered. “I told you you weren’t to go to that picture, and I meant it.”
“By the way,” Marjorie said coolly, changing the subject, “how did you know I was here? I suppose Judith sneaked?”
“No, she didn’t. She stood by you very loyally. though I consider quite wrongly. I don’t know if you realise it, Marjorie, but we’ve worried to death about you. We’ve been scouring the countryside looking for you most of last night and all today.”
“I meant you to!” Marjorie broke passionately. “I wanted you to be worried!” I hope you were all sick with fright! I believe you were too. I heard you go crashing up the road early this morning. I waved to you out of my nice warm bed!” Suddenly she began to giggle. “Don’t say you believed all that rot about the tarn. Gosh! I believe you did!
“No, I didn’t!” Guy exclaimed, flushing with anger. “I went up to the peel house to see if you were hiding there. I’d looked in nearly every other place. Now will you come?”
“I’ve already told you I’m going out with Ralph.”
“I’m in charge of you, Marjorie,” Guy said sternly. “If you don’t come with me at once, I shall take you.”
It was Marjorie’s turn to grow red.
“How dare you! You’re not in charge of me. I shall go where I like, and do what I like!”
“You will not!” Guy told her. “I am in charge of you. Your father asked me in his wire to look after you.”
“He didn’t!”
“Yes, he did. I’ve got it here in my pocket.”
“My father never wrote that wire, you idiot!” flashed Marjorie. Then she turned redder than ever, realising, I suppose, that she’d said something she hadn’t meant to say.
As for us– we stood and stared at her, speechless with astonishment. At length Guy said:
“That’s extremely interesting, Marjorie. We’ll hear all about it when we’re back at the camp.”
“No, you won’t!” screamed Marjorie, and, flinging the window wide, she leapt out of it — jumping right into a perfectly enormous bed of nettles growing underneath.
“Toby!” yelled Guy. “Stop her!”
Esme and Toby had evidently got tired of waiting and were sitting on the edge of the moat. Toby jumped up as though he’d been shot, and flung himself headlong after Marjorie, tackling her in his best Rugby manner. She came crashing to the ground with Toby on top of her.
“Let go, you little—-!” She didn’t finish what she was saying. Guy had arrived on the scene. He picked her up and strode off with her towards the place where the ponies were tethered.I withdrew from the window, where I’d been in imminent danger of falling headlong into the nettles myself, and went back into the hall. I turned the key in the cloak-room door and opened it.
“You can come out, Judith,” I said.
She passed me without a word, her head high. I caught her arm.
“Guy hated shutting you in there, Judith,” I said.
“Honestly, he did. But you see, Marjorie—-”
She shook off my hand and walked away across the hall. I looked after her; in two minds as to whether I ought to follow her. Then I decided against it, because I was quite sure she wouldn’t listen to me if I did.

Guy confronts Marjorie

We rode soberly home to the camp. It was bitterly cold, although the sun was shining brightly, and we were very glad when the battlemented roofs and queer, twisted chmneys of Hordon came into view through the trees. Of course, there was no fire, so Guy collected twigs and paper and started to light one, whilst Toby got the primus going. Esme and I put on extra cardigans and got out the things for tea in double-quick time. Marjorie said nothing at all, but sat with her back turned towards us and sulked. When Esme asked her if she wouldn’t like a cardigan or a blazer out of the tent, she didn’t even deign to answer. Meanwhile, Guy had got the fire going, for which fact we were very grateful. It looked cheerful, anyway, even if there wasn’t much warmth in it. Presently he sat back on his heels and announced with deceptive quietness:
“And now, Marjorie, you’re going to get that spanking I’ve so often threatened you with!”
Esme and I gazed at him in awestruck silence. As for Marjorie, she sprang to her feet and whirled round to face him, turning red and white by turns.
“How dare you!” she yelled, her hair flying and her dark eyes positively flashing.
“You made fools of us all,” Guy said sternly. “You made Esme cry. I vowed, then and there, that I’d give you a hiding, and I’m going to. So you may as well face up to it”
“Face down to it, you mean! Toby said with a grin.
“Go on, Guy! Put her across your knee and let her have it! She deserves it! Why should she always get off scot-free?”
“You forget I’m a girl!” yelled Marjorie, her eyes wide with fright.
“That’s your fault,” Guy said calmly. “When you don’t behave like a girl, how can you expect us to remember the fact? We’ve treated you like a girl too long, if you ask me! Any way, you’ve told us often enough that you wished you were a boy, that you wouldn’t mind being licked.”
“I didn’t mean it!” Marjorie said desperately. “Honestly I didn’t!”
“Well I can’t help that. You shouldn’t say what you don’t mean. Anyway, you’re going to be treated like a boy now, whether you like it or not.”
“You daren’t do it!” she exclaimed, very unwisely, as she’d have been the first to realise if she hadn’t been so het up.”You daren’t! I shall tell my father!”

Hill=Marjorie Permed188

“There are a good few things you’ll have to be telling your father, I’m thinking,” Guy said dryly, giving the fire a poke and standing up.” But that can wait until afterwards.”
Marjorie changed her tactics. She put on her meekest and most pleading expression.
Please, Guy she begged, her eyes full of tears, “please let me off. I’m sorry—-honestly I am. I’ll apologise.”
“You will,” agreed Guy pleasantly “after the spanking.”
“She is sorry. I’m sure she is,” Esme broke in, seizing his arm. “Please let her off, Guy. Please, I want you to. If it’s because of me—-”
“It isn’t only because of you,” Guy said, quietly disengaging his arm.” There are lots of reasons–things you’ll hear about later. Anyway, remember the fright she gave us all–the way we trekked round for hours on end looking for her–the police. No. Sorry, kid, but Marjorie’s got to be taught a lesson. You’d better scoot into the tent and stay there–if you don’t want to witness the horrid spectacle!”
Esme gave one scared glance at his resolute face and scooted like a rabbit into a rabbit-hole. She couldn’t bare to see even Marjorie beaten.
Please, Guy,” Marjorie said again, unable to realise that, for the first time, her pleading was to be in vain. He shook his head.
“No. It isn’t as if you’d never done it before. You’re always doing it. Well, this time you’ve gone just a bit too far, and you aren’t going to get away with it.” He bent down took off one of his rubber-soled sand-shoes, and stood gently flicking it against his knee. “The game’s up Marjorie! You may as well give in and get it over without a fuss.”
But it wasn’t Marjorie’s way to give in without a struggle. The fact that the odds were all against her, and defeat certain in the long run, made no difference. Her meek demeanour dropped from her like a cloak. She faced Guy, her hands clenched into fists, her eyes blazing.
“You shan’t!” she yelled at him, stamping her foot. “You shan’t! You shan’t! I’ll kill you! I’ll die first!” Then she whirled round, took to her heels and dashed for the shelter of the castle–incidentally, knocking Toby and me flat in her headlong flight. Guy followed, hot-foot, and hauled her back. He sat down upon one of our sawn-up logs, put her across his knee and proceeded to whack her with the sand-shoe, whilst I tried not to laugh, and Toby went on making the tea as if nothing unusual were happening. You couldn’t have said that Marjorie took her punishment like a man. She struggled, fought, kicked, and screamed like a regular wild-cat. Sometimes I have an idea that she bit as well! Really, you’d have thought she was being killed, at least!”
“Let me go, you beast!” she yelled. “Stop it, Guy! Ouch! You’re hurting me…”
Presently Guy released her.
“You’ve had that coming to you for a long time, Marjorie,” he declared, giving her a last whack with the shoe as she sprang to her feet.” “I hope you benefit from it! As for hurting you–of course I hurt. I meant to. You didn’t think I was doing it for fun, did you? You made Esme cry. I promised I’d make you cry, too. Here’s a hankie.” He pulled one out of his pocket and tossed it over to her.” Well, now that it’s over we’ll cry quits about the running away, shall we? He held out his hand.
Marjorie dashed the tears away from her eyes.
“I’m not crying!” she shouted at him, flinging the hankie back in his face. “I’m not! I’m not! How dare you say I am! And I shan’t shake hands with you, or cry quits. And I shan’t forgive you. either. I shall never forgive you! Never! Or you, either, Toby Martin. I shall never speak to either of you again!”
“That’s the worst of girls!” declared Toby in disgust.”They can’t let bygones be bygones. They must harbour all their little grievances.”

Marjorie-Hair Loose

“Little grievances!” yelled Marjorie.
“Good Lord” he exclaimed. “What a blessed fuss to make over a licking!” You’d never make a boy, Marjorie.”
“Oh, shut up!” she said furiously, turning her back.
“Let’s have tea,” Guy said, calmly putting on his shoe again.” Toby’s had it made for ages, and I’m famished. We didn’t have much lunch. You can come out, Esme,” he added. “The coast’s clear! Sit down, Marjorie!”
“I won’t!”
“Perhaps she feels more comfortable standing up!” Toby put in wickedly.
Marjorie turned upon him in a fury.
“Take that, you little beast! and that!” Before he realised what was happening, she had soundly boxed his ears. Of course, we all laughed, which didn’t please Toby much. He advanced upon Marjorie in so threatening a manner that there would have been a free fight on the spot if Guy hadn’t stepped between them.
“Stow it, Toby, old man!” he said definitely. “You asked for that, you know!” Although his voice was lazy, there was something in it that made it quite clear to all of us that he didn’t intend to allow Marjorie to be baited. “Sit down, Marjorie, when I tell you!”
Marjorie looked back at him angrily, but there was a good deal of wholesome respect in her glance besides the anger, and after a few moments she obeyed.

*****

“Funny,” Toby said thoughtfully when we’d finished our tea and settled down.” You gave her sixteen whacks, Guy,–one for each year of her life. Fact! Counted ’em.”
Marjorie grew scarlet, and looked as though she were going to cry again. Guy turned upon Toby.
“Look here, old chap–if you don’t shut up you’ll be for it yourself in another brace of shakes!” he threatened.
“O.K.,” grinned Toby. “If the worst comes to the worst, please remember that I’m only twelve!”

Philippa Gregory’s The Boleyn Inheritance

250px-The Boleyn Inheritance

Divorced, beheaded, died, birched!

Published in 2006 this best selling historical novel tells the story of two of the wives of Henry VIII from the women’s own point of view. In an early chapter the 24 year old Anne, Henry’s fourth wife-to-be, is beaten bare bottom with a rod  for displeasing her brother William, the all powerful Duke of Cleves, who spies on the scene from an adjacent room.

*****

I go through quickly to our privy chamber and fling my clothes into the chest at the foot of the bed and jump into bed in my shift, drawing the curtains around the bed, pulling the covers up. I shiver in the coldness of the linen, and wait for the order that I know will come.

In only a few moments, Amelia opens the door. “You’re to go to Mother’s rooms,” she says triumphantly.

“Tell her I’m ill. You should have said I’ve gone to bed.”

“I told her. She said you have to get up and put on a cloak and go. What have you done now?”

I scowl at her bright face. “Nothing.” I rise unwillingly from the bed. “Nothing. As always, I have done nothing.” I pull my cloak from the hook behind the door and tie the ribbons from chin to knee.

“Did you answer him back?” Amanda demands gleefully. “Why do you always argue with him?”

I go out without replying, through the silence chamber and down the steps to my mother’s rooms in the same tower on the floor below us.

At first it looks as if she is alone, but then I see the half-closed door to her privy chamber and I don’t need to hear him, and I don’t need to see him. I just know that he is there, watching.

She has her back to me at first, and when she turns I see she has the birch stick in her hand and her face is stern.

“I have done nothing.” I say at once.

She sighs irritably. “Child, is that any way to come into a room?”

I lower my head. “My lady mother,” I say quietly.

“I am displeased with you” she says

I look up. “I am sorry for that. How have I offended?”

“You have been called to a holy duty; you must lead your husband to the reformed church.”

I nod.

“You have been called to a position of great honour and great dignity, and you must forge your behaviour to deserve it”

Inarguable. I lower my head again.

“You have an unruly spirit,” she goes on.

True indeed.

“You lack the proper traits of a woman: submission, obedience, love of duty.”

True again.

“And I fear that you have a wanton streak in you,” she says, very low.

“Mother, that I have not.” I say as quietly as her. “That is not true.”

“You do. The King of England will not tolerate a wanton wife. The Queen of England must be a woman without a stain on her character. She must be above reproach.”

“My lady mother, I…”

“Anne, think of this!” she says, and for once I hear a real ring of earnestness in her voice. “Think of this! He had the Lady Anne Boleyn executed for infidelity, accusing her of sin with half the court, her own brother among her lovers. He made her queen and then he unmade her again with no cause or evidence but his own will. He accused her of incest, witchcraft, crimes most foul. He is a man most anxious for his reputation, madly anxious. The next Queen of England must never be doubted. We cannot guarantee your safety if there is one word said against you!”

“My lady…”

“Kiss the rod,” she says before I can argue.

I touch my lips to the stick as she holds it out to me. Behind her privy chamber door I can hear him slightly, very slightly, sigh.

“Hold the seat of the chair,” she orders.

I bend over and grip both sides of the chair. Delicately, like a lady lifting a handkerchief, she takes the hem of my cloak and raises it over my hips and then my night shift. My buttocks are naked, if my brother chooses to look through the half-open door he can see me, displayed like a girl in a bawdy house. There is a whistle of the rod through the air and the sudden whiplash of pain across my thigh. I cry out, and then bite my lip. I am desperate to know how many cuts I will have to take. I grit my teeth together and wait for the next. The hiss through the air and then the slice of pain, like a sword-cut in a dishonourable duel. The sound of the next comes too fast for me to make ready, and I cry out again, my tears suddenly coming hot and fast like blood.

“Stand up, Anne,” she says coolly, and pulls down my shift and cloak.

The tears are pouring down my face, I can hear myself sobbing like a child.

“Go to your room and read the Bible,” she says. “Think especially of your royal calling. Caesar’s wife, Anne. Caesar’s wife.”

I have to curtsey to her. The awkward movement causes a wave of new pain and I whimper like a whipped puppy. I go to the door and open it. The wind blows the door from my hand and, in the gust, the inner door to her privy chamber flies open without warning.

In the shadow stands my brother, his face strained as if it were him beneath the whip of the birch, his lips pressed tightly together as if to stop himself from calling out. For one awful moment our eyes meet and he looks at me, his face filled with a desperate need. I drop my eyes, I turn from him as if I have not seen him, as if I am blind to him. Whatever he wants of me, I know that I don’t want to hear it. I stumble from the room, my shift sticking to the blood on the backs of my thighs. I am desperate to get away from them both.

Harold Pinter’s Girls

Harold Pinter is one of Britain’s most accomplished dramatists. In addition to his twenty-nine plays, he has written many successful screenplays, essays and poems. In 2005, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This amusing and intriguing piece appeared in Granta magazine.

Girls

I read this short story in a magazine where a girl student goes into her professor’s office and sits at his desk and passes him a note which he opens and which reads: ‘Girls like to be spanked.’ But I’ve lost it. I’ve lost the magazine. I can’t find it. And I can’t remember what happened next. I don’t even know whether the story was fiction or fact. It may have been an autobiographical fragment. But from whose point of view was the story told? The professor’s or the girl’s? I don’t know. I can’t remember.

The blinding ignorance I am now experiencing is the clearest and cleanest road to madness. What I want to know is quite simple. Was she spanked? If, that is, she was including herself in her all-embracing proposition. If she was including herself in her all-embracing proposition, did she, personally, benefit from it? Was she, not to put too fine a point on it, one of those girls? Was she, or is she, one of those girls who, according to her account, like to be spanked? If that was the case, did it happen? Did it happen in the professor’s office, on the professor’s desk? Or not? And what about the professor? What did he make of it all?

What kind of professor was he, anyway? What was his discipline? Did he subject the assertion (girls like to be spanked) to serious critical scrutiny? Did he find it a dubious generalization or, at any rate, did he set out to verify it? Did he, in other words, put it to the test? Did he, for example, in other words, say: ‘OK. Lie on my desk, bottom up, face averted, and let us both determine whether there is substance to this assertion or not’? Or did he simply warn the student, in the interests of science, to tread warily for evermore, in the perilous field of assertion?

The trouble is, I can’t find the magazine. I’ve lost it. And I’ve no idea how the story—or the autobiographical fragment—developed. Did they fall in love? Did they marry? Did they give birth to lots of little animals?

A man or woman or both must have written this piece about a girl who walks into her professor’s office and sits at his desk and passes him a note which he opens and which reads: ‘Girls like to be spanked.’ But I don’t know his or her name; I don’t know the author’s identity. And I simply don’t know whether the girl was in fact spanked, there and then, without further ado, in the professor’s office, on his desk, or at any other time, on someone else’s desk, here, there, everywhere, all the time, on the hour, religiously, tenderly, fervently, ceaselessly, forever and forever and forever. But it’s also possible that she wasn’t talking about herself. She might not necessarily have meant that she liked to be spanked. She may just have been talking about other girls, girls she didn’t even know, millions of girls she hadn’t even met, would never meet, millions of girls she hadn’t in fact ever actually heard of, millions and billions of girls on the other side of the world who, in her view, liked, simply, without beating about the bush, to be spanked. Or on the other hand she may have been talking about other girls, girls born at Cockfosters or studying American Literature at the University of East Anglia, who had actually told her personally, in breathtaking spasms of spectacular candour, that they, when all was said but nothing yet done, liked, when the chips were down, nothing better than to be spanked. In other words, her assertion (girls like to be spanked) might have been the climax of a long, deep, thoroughly researched course of study she had undertaken honourably and had honourably concluded.

I love her. I love her so much. I think she’s a wonderful woman. I saw her once. She turned and smiled. She looked at me and smiled. Then she wiggled to a cab in the cab rank. She gave instructions to the cab driver, opened the door, got in, closed the door, glanced at me for the last time through the window and the cab drove off and I never saw her again.

Berkeley Gray’s Daredevil Conquest

normanconquest poster

Norman Conquest was one of the ‘Saint’ clones spun off in the wake of Leslie Charteris’ popular character. Like Charteris, Gray’s books had many suitable plots and spankable women, but he only managed one scene.

In Daredevil Conquest, our hero is summoned to room 605 of the Park Plaza Hotel to meet a mysterious foreign blonde woman, and soon finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation. This story formed the basis for the film Norman Conquest (aka Park Plaza 605) starring Eva Bartok, but the spanking, alas, was off-camera. The film poster provided some consolation with Ms Bartok shown across the knee of Tom Conway.

*****

From the library of Murray Roberts:

In his first encounter with the Russian girl, Nadina, Conquest comes off second best:

He laughed again – a soft, lilting sound which affected her far more than any yelp of surprise. His serene coolness, his contemptuous glance at the gun, made her fiercer than ever.

“Trick you, Green Eyes?” he said softly. “Now why the dickens should I try to trick you? Don’t imagine that I’m frightened of that silly little toy in your hand. You’re not going to use it….”

He was quite wrong. She used it then and there. A quiver ran down his spine as he saw her finger squeezing the trigger, distinctively he ducked. But there was no report – no bullet. Instead, an unexpected squirt of liquid hissed from the muzzle of the little gun. Some of it missed him, but as she quickly turned the weapon the remainder took him fairly and squarely between the eyes.

“My God! You little devil!”

He staggered back, clapping his hands to his eyes, for the liquid blinded him instantly, and the agony was intense. He hated being taken by surprise – and he hated even more the prospect of losing his eyesight. As he reeled about the room, cursing, he realised with a sense of stunning shock that his wits were leaving him. His legs began to fell like jelly. A thunderous roar was crashing inside his head – and his last conscious thought was that the squirted liquid was a volatile knock-out drug.

And there was nothing he could do about it…

He promises his wife, Joy, that he will get his revenge next time they meet:

“You can’t beat me, Norman,” she said coldly. “You’re only carrying on with this business because you want to meet that girl again.”

“Correct sweetheart.”

“What!”

“You bet I want to meet her again!”

“You have the nerve to tell me –”

“And when I do meet her again, the first thing I’ll do is to take her across my knee, lift up her skirts and smack her bottom,” said Norman severely. “I’ll teach her to make a monkey out of me! Take that black look of your face, young Pixie, and switch off the green light. You’re with me in this binge from now on. and I shall want you to hold the glamorous Nadina while I do the smacking. I can’t say fairer than that, can I?”

Joy disapproves:

“Oh yeah?” Joy felt, perhaps with reason, that the married state would make no difference in her cavalier’s eyesight. And the very fact that he had met this present blonde menace in such extraordinary circumstances only added to Joy’s unease. He talked glibly of taking the girl across his knee and smacking her, but Joy felt that that sort of treatment was quite likely to have the wrong result. Look at it any way you like, smacking a girl’s bottom is no way to encourage aloofness. Far too intimate, in fact; and yet Norman, like an ass, had thought that he was putting the whole matter on a safe and business-like basis by this suggestion.

Finally, the denouement:

You had me nicely fooled. That’s one up to you. Two, counting your slick performance at the Park Plaza. Which reminds me,” he added, with a sudden frown. “I promised myself that I’d smack you —”

“Don’t come near me!” she whispered, watching him intently. ” I fooled you, yes. Now you will do as I say.” She produced her little gun and pointed it straight at him.

“First, you will put your hands up”

“The term, Gorgeous, is “‘reach for the ceiling,’ said Norman, as he raised his hands obediently. “I might have known you’d be as tricky as a dozen cats. I apologise for not giving you credit…Hey! Mind what you’re doing with that toy! You pulled the trigger once, but you’re not catching me again.”

“This is not the same gun,” said Nadina tensely. “This gun has bullets. If you move a step towards me I will kill you.”

He laughed, deliberately lowered his hands and took out his cigarette case. he flicked a lighter and applied the flame. As he inhaled deeply a sudden twist of his wrist sent the lighter straight past he left ear, and for a fraction of a second her attention was distracted. He moved lithely forward, seized her arm, and twisted the gun out of her hand.

“Silly to try things like that with me.” he said, as he clicked open the gun and examined it. “Well, well! So you weren’t fooling? This is the real thing, and fully loaded. Dangerous little devil, aren’t you?”

He pocketed the gun, seized hold of the startled Nadina, and sat down on the lounge, Her struggles were futile in his steely grip.

Laying her face downwards across his knees he pulled up her skirt and delivered half a dozen resounding slaps on her nylon panties. She was so surprised, and so outraged, that she even forgot to struggle and kick.

“I promised to give myself this pleasure at our next meeting,” said Norman, as he calmly readjusted her skirt and stood her on her feet, “Not that you don’t deserve something far more severe than a slapping.”

Nadina’s face was twisted,

“You hurt me!” she said, rubbing a small hand over her rear.

“How dare you take such liberties? No gentleman does such things to a lady!”

“Agreed, Mademoiselle Borordin,” chuckled Norman, as he smiled into her reddened face,” But I am not a gentleman, and I don’t think you are a lady. However, Let’s forget it. I want to ask you a straight question now that the pleasantries are over. What, in a word, is your game?”

She was looking at him with a new expression on her face. A moment earlier she had been indignant and angry – as any girl might who has just had her bottom smacked by a stranger – and a male stranger at that – a male who was high, wide and handsome. The enormity of the outrage had been intensified by the fact that he had lifted her clothes… But she was looking at him with wide-eyed admiration. he was so strong – so virile – so masterful.

it was not the first time that Norman Conquest had had this effect on a gril at close quarters. There was something in his personality – some magnetic quality which ran with the speed of quicksilver to the feminine bloodstream. She could feel her pulse quickening as she feasted her eyes on his fine masculine features.

“Kiss me!” she said softly.