"So, Juliette has been with you ever since she left school," I said to Muriel after we had bathed and Juliette had gone to get tea.
"Yes, she came home to me, as I told you, to work with my young sister, and when I got married to Anthony, I had her with me as my companion and sweetheart, though Anthony never suspected that, and if he had, I shouldn't have cared."
"But she's not a virgin, and she never married, did she?"
"Ah! Now that's rather a tragedy, though it has its funny moments. Would you like to hear about it?"
"Well, we have long gaps in our family. I've one brother twelve years older than myself and one sister six years younger, and that's all. George was married when I left school and Elsie was quite a child, younger than Juliette. But I had a cousin Harry, just about Juliette's age, two years older, to be exact. He stayed with us one holiday when he was about seventeen. I was, of course, grown up and had 'come out.' Anthony was beginning to hang round, but he hadn't definitely proposed to me. Juliette and I were sweethearts, then as now, and though we did not share bedrooms, our rooms were next to each other, and you can imagine we spent most of the time in each other's arms. Harry evidently suspected our goings-on, as you will see, and he was as hot as you make 'em himself. But he was very clever. I never had the slightest suspicion, till the discovery. We used to be quite free and easy together. I used to tease him terribly, and delighted in seeing him grow uncomfortable and change his legs and move about on his seat. He told me afterwards that he didn't dare try any games on with me, although he wanted to badly. I was too grown up for him to tackle. But one night he saw Juliette going to my bedroom after we had all gone to bed, and he listened at the door. Our rooms were quite away from Mother's, and, as we never thought about Harry suspecting, we made no attempt to moderate our voices, and our exclamations of pleasure. He stood and listened at the door and heard everything, and I can assure you there was a good deal to hear. Luckily there was no whipping that night, or the sequel might have been different, but you can imagine he heard enough to leave no doubt as to what we were doing. Anyhow, the situation was too much for him, and, as he told me, he played a lone hand by himself on the mat outside and then, growing nervous lest he should be discovered, retreated to bed, where his sleep was not as undisturbed as it might have been.
"Looking back after the denouement, I remember that he looked most intently and meaningly at us the next day, but at the time I paid no attention to it. We played our usual game of hide-and-seek in the twilight in the garden, with the usual kisses for forfeits when caught. He certainly kissed me with more meaning than usual, but nothing more. With Juliette, however, he was much bolder, for she told me that his hand became very venturesome and once even tried, when he caught her, to investigate her most secret charms. Of course, at that time she was wearing shut-up drawers, so he couldn't get much satisfaction. She was very excited when she told me, and by no means as angry with him as I thought she ought to have been. I grew quite angry and jealous and threatened her with a whipping if she let it happen again. She promised she would not, but I determined to watch."
"That night I was prevented from my usual delights with Juliette by the ordinary periodical disability we poor women are cursed with, so Juliette knew it was no good coming to me. I was so angry and jealous, though, about her letting Harry take liberties with her, that I couldn't sleep, and I decided that I would give Juliette a whipping - not severe - but enough to relieve my feelings and to warn her as regards the future. So I got out of bed, took a birch from my trunk, where I always kept one safely locked up, and went to Juliette's room."
"When I got to the door I was thunderstruck at hearing voices. 'Oh, don't, Harry, you're hurting me ... no, don't ... you can't get in, it's too big ... use your fingers ... no ... no ... no, I can't bear it ... you're tearing me in two ... oh ... oh.' I burst into the room and switched on the light. What a sight met my eyes. I could see nothing of Juliette, except her legs, which were wide apart, with the knees in the air, and between them Harry's back and bare legs, with the pyjamas round his ankles, moving vigorously up and down. Before he had time to stop I rushed to the end and brought the birch as heavily as I could down on the heaving buttocks. 'You cad,' I cried, 'get off, how dare you violate that child?' He sprang off and away and I saw at a glance I was too late. Juliette's legs and mount were all red with blood, the damage had evidently been done. But I was just in time to prevent still worse mischief, for as he stood shamefacedly before me, great jets of his manhood spurted from his arrogant weapon. This was, of course, the first time I had seen a man in this condition, and I was naturally very excited. In fact I felt the bandage I was wearing was soaking with a different fluid from that for which I was wearing it. But I was too mad with anger and jealousy to pay much attention to that at the moment. I went to the door and shut and locked it and then turned to Harry, who was stooping to gather up his pyjamas. Juliette was still lying on her back, but she had turned her head away, covering her face with her hands and sobbing."
'Now, what have you to say for yourself?' He remained mute. 'I shall tell Mother of this the first thing in the morning, but that won't do much good. Juliette's ruined, you've taken her virginity, if you haven't seriously injured her. What reparation can you make? It's absurd to talk about marriage, you are both far too young. You beast, you cad,' I raved at him, 'how dare you corrupt an innocent girl?' 'Not so much of the innocent,' he broke in. 'I'm sorry I took her maidenhead. I never thought she would have one.' 'What do you mean?' 'Well, I listened at your door last night, and heard what was going on there between you and Juliette, so you see it's no good coming the innocent over me. And what's more, Miss Muriel, if you tell Auntie about me, I'll split on you two.'"
"'I don't know what you mean,' I said, 'but anyhow, she wouldn't believe you. We should both deny it, and that wouldn't do you any good. You would be sent home and if I know anything of Uncle Harry, you'll have the finest thrashing you've ever had in your life. Now I'll tell you what I'll do. I don't want any scandal. If you'll submit to be punished by me and promise faithfully not to do that to Juliette again - why, you might have given her a baby if I hadn't come in - and to marry her, if she will have you later, when you are in a position to marry - well, I'll say nothing to Mother. If you refuse, I go to Mother at once.' 'You punish me? How?' 'With this, and a cane I've got. I mayn't be as strong as Uncle Harry, but I'll do my best.' 'I'm not afraid of you,' he laughed, 'you can do what you like to me, and as for Juliette, I'll promise both those things.' 'Very good,' I answered, 'come here.'
"I led him over to some hooks which were on the wall and made him catch hold of two of them. I found Juliette's stockings and tied each wrist as tightly as I could to a hook. His pyjama trousers were still round his ankles, and the short jacket, strained up by the position of his arms, left his bottom well exposed. 'Now,' I said, 'we'll see whether I can do any good,' and I rained a volley of blows with the birch all over both cheeks. He stood the punishment stoically, and I grew vicious. I became more deliberate, choosing my spot for the cuts carefully, and at last, one or two proved more efficacious, for he wriggled a bit and said, 'Here, that'll do, Muriel.'
"I laughed, 'Do? I've not begun yet.' I noticed that the birch was getting worn-out and, looking about me, saw Juliette's riding whip lying on the chest of drawers. It was a dainty little thing, quite light, but made of whalebone, bound with silk. I put down the birch and picked up the whip. The first cut right across both cheeks was evidently a surprise. He gave an involuntary cry of pain. 'Here, what's that you're using?'"
"He turned round to look as another cut fell just where the first had fallen. 'Here, I say, that's enough.' 'Enough? Not half; I'll teach you to rape virgins. If I can't repair the injury, I'll make you suffer; your blood shall help to wipe out Juliette's. There, there, there, and there. Don't you wish you had chosen Uncle Harry?' He made no attempt now to conceal his pain. 'You'll cut me to pieces, you cat. Oh, oh, oh God,' as a very vicious cut curled by chance between his plunging, kicking legs and flicked the hanging bag. His cries of pain spurred my energy. I redoubled my blows and his cries of pain and rage changed to sobs and appeals. 'Muriel, please no more; you'll cut me to bits; let me off now; I swear I'll marry Juliette. I'll never touch her again, Muriel, darling, for God's sake; oh, my God, have pity. Mercy, mercy, mercy.' "Juliette had somewhat recovered, and was sitting up watching the scene, frightened but excited. She had never seen such a whipping before. She joined her entreaties to his. 'Oh, Muriel, don't hurt him too much. Look, his bottom's bleeding.' She came to me and tried to stop me. I cut her across the bottom. 'Don't you interfere, your turn will come next. I'll teach you to have a lover.' She ran back to the bed, and I turned again to Harry. Certainly I had been severe. I must have given him over fifty cuts and his poor bottom and thighs were a mass of weals. Here and there the skin was cut, and there were little trickles of blood oozing down the skin. I felt just a little frightened, so I put aside the whip and took up the birch again. It had quite a different effect to what I expected. It must have hurt, but after the first few blows, Harry's cries changed in tone. Deep ahs and ohs followed each cut, but he no longer kicked and squirmed, he moved his loins backwards and forwards, just as I had seen him on the bed. I was interested and looked to see what he was doing. To my surprise, his weapon was rampant again and by his plunging he seemed to be trying to swing it up and down; his eyes were half-closed. In my curiosity I reached out my left hand to touch it. I just put my hand round it. 'Oh, you darling,' he murmured and plunged vigorously. Again the thick jets of life burst from him and he collapsed against the wall, hanging by his wrists."
"I was startled and not a little frightened, so I untied his wrists. He fell on me with his arms round my neck, sobbing and calling me his queen. He slid down on his knees and, bending down, kissed my feet, uttering all the time words of love and homage."
"This attitude completely conquered my anger. I raised him up. 'That will do,' I said, 'we won't think any more about it. You can go to bed. Now, Juliette, for you.' "'You're not going to whip Juliette?' 'Certainly I am.' 'No, you mustn't. It was all my fault. If you think she deserves punishment, punish me again for her. I'll bear hers as well as my own, if I can.' He knelt down again and, flinging his arms round my legs, kissed my feet passionately.
"For the first time in my life I realised the ineffable joy of the woman dominant. I delighted in the subjection of Juliette, but she was only a girl and my mignon. But here was a man, or at any rate a boy, absolutely subservient to me. I looked down on him as he grovelled before me, gloating over him, and exulting in my power. 'Very well, then, Juliette shall escape for the present. You shall bear her punishment, and her humiliation. Take those pyjamas off.' He did so. 'Now kneel down before me there, and beg my pardon and ask me to whip you.' He knelt down humbly. 'Forgive me, Muriel,' he sobbed. 'Go on ... ask for your punishment ... ask for it.' 'Please whip me,' he stammered. 'Where?' I insisted. He looked up at me. 'Wherever you like.' 'Oh, shall I flog your manhood?' His hand instinctively clasped his sex, protecting the tender parts. 'Oh, no, not there.' 'Where then? On your bottom?' 'Yes, on my bottom. See, there it is ready for you.' And he bent forward pushing his bottom out, waiting for the strokes. 'Kiss my feet, then, and keep still.'
"I brought the remnants of the birch straight up and down between his cheeks six times, and at each blow he clasped my legs and kissed my feet ardently. His hands clutched convulsively round my calves, and when I stopped and raised him slightly, he did not let go but slid higher, pulling my night-dress up, until when he stood on his feet he had pulled it right up and held my naked body close to him. Our lips met in a long and passionate kiss. He was still sobbing from the pain; inarticulate words of adoration came from him and his touch was reverent though caressing."
"'Don't touch me there,' I said suddenly, as his hand fell from my waist to where the bandage was fixed between my legs. 'Why not, my queen of women? I worship every bit of you.' 'No, you mustn't, you ought not to have seen me like this.' But it was no good, I could not stop him. His eager hand dived beneath the bandage and penetrated right into my most secret parts. He had not long to wait. The excitement of flogging him and his adoration had set my whole body on fire, and within a minute I drenched him with my life and love. I leant forward and kissed him frankly and lovingly."
"'You are forgiven, Harry, only remember your promises.' 'I will remember,' he said, as he kissed me again. He then turned to Juliette. 'Good night, Juliette darling, forgive me for my unkindness to you, but you shall be my wife as soon as I can marry you.' They kissed lovingly and he turned to go. "'Don't forget those,' I said, pointing to his pyjamas. 'If they are found here in the morning, people will ask questions.' He smiled, picked them up, and put them on."
"He winced a little as the flannel touched his wounded skin, smiled a little ruefully, kissed us both again, and went away to bed."
"That is how Juliette lost her virginity, Cecil."
"But what about Harry? What became of him? He has not married Juliette."
"No, he was drowned while bathing, poor boy, about a year after. How we've missed him. He was a natural Masochist. I have never met anyone like him. My husband liked to be ruled, but that was because he was an old man and other pleasures had palled on him, but Harry loved my power over him. I hoped when I met you that you might have taken his place." She gave a little sigh.
"But the boot is on the other leg," I laughed.
"Yes," she sighed, "I never thought I could submit to the domination of any man, but you have conquered me, Cecil. I am yours utterly, my darling, my king."
"That's as it should be."
"I don't know. It's all right for the present, but the future I'm not a Masochist, all my nature tends the other way, and I feel I shall want someone to subdue. Of course, there's Juliette, she's mine utterly, in spite of her revenge the other day. But I want a man - a man."
"We must see if we can't find you one," I laughed, "provided always, of course, he doesn't interfere with my prerogative and privileges."
"I shall always be yours, darling, no matter who there is."