This free script provided by
Aunt Maude awaited us. She wore a black velvet choker. It suited her, I thought. Her dress swept back in a long train that was very modish. Her hair was piled high. Diamond earrings glittered. My aunt was of a stature an inch taller than myself and full of form.
Her breasts and bottom jutted aggressively. I took her for forty - younger than my uncle. Her eyes were kind but imperious. Though both were close to my father, neither Caroline nor I had spoken much with them through the years. Those of under age were always considered best unheard.
I spoke of Jenny. I was eager to see her. For a year we had shared a boarding school together.
'Later,' my aunt said. The dining-room table was candlelit. My aunt preferred it to the smell of oil. Electricity had not then reached out from London and it was said that we were too far from the county town for gaspipes to be laid. Three years later magic would be wrought and they could come. My initiations - though I knew it not that evening - were to be by oil lamp in the old tradition. Frisky young ladies of Society were weaned on a bed with their drawers down, it was crudely said. Of cottage life and that in other dowdy dwellings, we knew nothing except, as we understood, that the males rutted freely.
Although married, and now separated, I still retained innocence in many degrees, as shall be seen. At dinner my aunt and uncle spoke to us as if the past were still upon us. My aunt tutted severely when Caroline spilled a drop of wine. The servant was called of a purpose to mop it up.
'You will stay the night,' my aunt said after coffee had been taken.
We sipped liqueurs and said nothing. Jenny had still not appeared. I wondered anxiously if she ate in her room. Had she been whipped? She had come to them in childhood - or rather, to my uncle first. An orphan, it was said. One did not know. I sought for strength to object, to rise, to leave, but their eyes were heavy upon me.
At ten-thirty my aunt looked at the clock. 'Tom, you will take her up', she said. My palms moistened. I knew of whom she spoke, though she had not the delicacy to use my name. Caroline said nothing. Would she not save me?
The house was as ours except that the interior pattern was reversed.
Perhaps that was symbolic. The stairs were on the left as one entered the hail, instead of on the right. Entering as I had first done I had placed the whip somewhat furtively behind the large mahogany stand in the hail which carried occasional cloaks and walking sticks.
'Go to your room and I will follow,' my uncle said. I had been shown it briefly already. It lay, as my own lay, on the first floor. Left to right it was a mirror image. The curtains were brown, the drapes edged with ivory tassels. The air tremored. The furniture looked at me. I wanted the room to go away, the walls to dissolve, the air to take me high, free, upfloating in the blue dark of night. The carpet rolled beneath me like the sea. I moved, and moved towards the bed. Two pillows were piled high upon a bolster. Was my whip there?
I would not seek it. I refused. This was not my room. As by habit I opened a small wall cabinet and found to my surprise that which I kept in my own, a bottle of liqueur and two small glasses. Pleasure traced itself across my lips and then was gone. I turned, closing the cabinet.
My uncle had entered. In his hand he held the whip. Moving he moved, towards me moved. He took my hand, the palm of mine, sheened with moisture. 'Beatrice, bend over - hands flat on the quilt.'
'Uncle - please!'
My mouth quivered. I did not want it to be my mouth. His hand reached out caressing my neck and I gave a start. His fingers moved, soothing. 'You will obey, Beatrice.'
The world was not mine. Whose was the world? Would Caroline and my aunt discuss me?
'No one will come,' my uncle said. The door stood solid. We were on an island. In the attic Father and I had stood on the top of the world.
The whip moved. He passed the handle around and beneath the globe of my bottom, shaping, carving. His lips nuzzled my neck. I could not run. 'Uncle - please, no!'
I broke from him and stood trembling. The thongs swayed down to his knee like a fall of rain in slow motion. His eyes were kind. His arm reached out. He took my chin and raised it. 'There are things you need, Beatrice. There are locked rooms above. There are keys.'
I did not want to blink in the meeting of our eyes. Go into the world clear eyed and so return from it. 'Yes?' I asked. There was imperiousness in my voice. Dare I rebel?
The whip slipped from his grasp and fell upon the patterned carpet. He would not whip me. He could not. I knew it. I felt happy. He waited further upon my speech, my quest, my questions. 'What is in the rooms?' I asked.
He took my hand. We walked. The stairs received us. Caroline had wandered perhaps into the dark garden - into the long grass which the gardener chased by day. The grass would receive her. Her eyes would be loam, her nipples small blossoms. Her pubic hair would be moss.
There was silence below in the house. Along the passageway of the second floor as we went my uncle rattled keys. A door opened.
The attic! They had made a replica of it! Except for the dormer window - but it did not matter. The door closed - a heavy click - we were alone. My uncle's arm encircled my shoulder. I could not speak. Let me speak. 'The horse is the same. Only the horse, Beatrice.'
It was true. Trunks, boxes, broken pieces of furniture, old vases - all lay as they might have lain in our house. His hand stroked my back, warm through my gown. 'Go to the horse, Beatrice.' I moved, walked, threading my way among the tumbled things - the love things, the loved things. The horse was large, bright, new. The stirrups gleamed, the saddle and the reins shone. The mottled, dappled grey was the same. I stroked the mane. On my own horse the mane was worn and thin where I had too often grasped it, but here it was new and thick. The leather smelled of new leather. Heady. For a last moment I turned and looked towards the closed door. Caroline into the long grass gone. At breakfast she would return. Out of the caves of my dreams she would return, pure in her purity, the loam fallen from her eyes, her nipples budding, the moss of her pubis gold and curled.
I waited, humbled in my waiting. The sea moved beneath Father. The timbers of the sailing ship would creak. The dark waters. Kid gloves soiled with sperm upon the waves. Salt to sperm. The licking lap of water.
Hands at my back. I did not stir. My uncle unbuttoned. The sides of my gown fell from my shoulders. The material dragged to my waist and heaped. I stood still. His hands savoured the outswell of my bottom, raising the skin. My drawers were bared. A lusciousness of thighs. I fancy myself upon the silkiness of my skin.
'Mount,' my uncle said. I raised my leg. The skirt slip-slithered down again, enfolding my legs. As if tired my leg fell again. 'Remove your dress,' he breathed. I wanted blindness but found none. The oil lamps, ranged around the room, flickered. Small messages of lambent light. My hair ruffled as I stripped off my gown. There was no one to brush it. My underskirt fell to my ankles. I stepped out of it as out of foam. Sperm-foam. The dark sea lapping. Silent in a cabin, my thighs apart.
Cupping my bottom as I toed the stirrup, my uncle assisted me in my rising.
He knew not of Jericho. There were secrets still. The horse jolted, moving as if on springs rocking. The movement was smooth as velvet, soundless. I clung to the neck. My brazen bottom reared, my pumpkin warm. 'Ah!' I gasped at the first smack, and the next. There was a sweetness in the stinging I had known before. Because of my excitement perhaps.
Was I excited? My hips squirmed to his palming smacks, my back dipped. I clung, I squeezed the cheeks, I squealed. Would Caroline hear? Under the deep lush grass would Caroline hear?
At the tenth smack - lifted down - I foundered, falling, grasped in his strong grasp. Words tumbled, spun like pellets in a drum. Words polished in their spinnings. Hands clasped my bulging cheeks. I blushed, I hid my face. His fingers drew the cheeks apart beneath my drawers. I strove to be still as Father so oft had taught me. My heels teetered. Then I managed it.
Hands fumbled at the ribbons of my drawers, the pretty ribbons. Loosing they surrendered. Closing my eyes I felt my drawers being removed. The whorl of my navel showed. The impress of a baby's finger dipped in cream. Curls glinted at my pubis.
Then there was a sound. The door had opened and a young woman stood there in a severe black costume. The toes of her black boots shone. It was Jenny.