A Birching for Miss Holder

by James Fox

Julie Sapsford sat at her dressing stool, sobbing quietly. She was in her long cream-coloured night-gown, trimmed with brown silk. At sixteen she was already a lovely young woman, with the classic features of her dead mother, not the least her gloriously curled, long auburn hair. Her face was a mass of red blotches, from prolonged crying. Behind her, gently brushing the soft hair, stood Kathy, her maid, two years older, but smaller and dark, with a sweet face, and a gentle, loving nature to go with it. The two girls had been close friends, ever since Kathy had arrived as trainee Ladies' maid four years previously. Kathy made low, comforting noises as she brushed, sharing in her mistress' distress.

Julie still could not understand what was happening. Why did her beloved young governess, Miss Armstrong, have to get married and leave? Above all, why had Papa appointed the brutal Miss Holder to replace her? His last words to her before he left for Parliament, seven long weeks ago, had been to commend her new governess to her, and to enjoin her to be a good, obedient charge - a daughter of whom he could feel proud. Miss Holder had one way, and one way only, of getting Julie to learn - frequent use of the rod. Julie had suffered nothing more than a nursery spanking before and the new regime bewildered her. She could do nothing to please her mentor. Try as she might at her French and musical studies, she just could not master them fast enough. Even her skill at drawing brought only scorn from the older woman's lips. Her response to Julie's errors was severe. Julie had already suffered five beatings, and yet when she begged Miss Holder to relent, all the woman said was that she had been put 'in loco parentis' in the master's absence, and she intended to instil some self-discipline in her pupil.

Above all Julie adored her father, and would not have displeased him for the world, but she longed for his return.

For the second time in three days, Julie was awaiting the arrival of her governess in her bedroom. Try as she might Kathy could not console her, for they both knew all too well the fate that awaited the younger girl. Footsteps in the corridor briefly announced her imminent presence, and then without a knock the door swung sharply open, and Miss Holder strode into the room. She wore a long dark green gown, fetchingly set off with white lace. At nearly forty, she was still an eye-catching woman, but those that encountered her found her cold and unsmiling. Her shoulder-length blonde hair was neatly tied back with black ribbon. She was tall, and with the full figure of someone of mature years. In her hand she brandished a birch rod with which Julie was painfully familiar. Kathy edged away from her mistress into a corner. Holder ordered Julie to prepare herself, and the shaking girl stood up and walked to her bed. Kathy had already carefully placed some pillows on top of each other in the middle of the bed, in obedience to the wishes of the governess. Julie draped herself across them; her bottom raised high in the air. Holder nodded to Kathy, and the girl hurried to the bed, and quickly pulled up the back of the night-gown, to completely expose her mistress' bare bottom. She then knelt on the bed facing Julie, and clasped her hands tightly, to prevent her covering her cheeks with her hands.

Julie's bottom still betrayed the telltale signs of an earlier birching - originally a mass of swollen blotches from the birch twigs, now turning into yellowy bruising. The woman was not deflected from her purpose. The birch rod lashed across the defenceless buttocks, and Julie cried out in agony. A second stroke descended almost immediately, and Kathy could stand it no more.

'Stop it! Can you not see she has taken enough?' The governess paused, and rounded on the servant.

'Impertinent brat. How dare you question my authority? You will suffer for this. Raise your skirts and join your mistress this instant, if you value your position in this household.' Kathy bit back the retort she dearly would have wished to make - she knew immediately she had overstepped the mark, and it was futile to resist. Hoisting her skirts high, she lay across the pillows, her bottom almost touching Julie's. Holder leant over and snatched her drawers down to her knees. Her neat little rump was a virgin target for the vengeful governess. She rapidly swished the birch three times across the girl's buttocks, leaving her crying out in agony, before changing to give Julie her third cut. The girls clung to each other for solace, while the woman thrashed three more strokes alternately across each bare bottom, and then stopped. Perhaps Kathy's protest had had sonic impact, because usually Julie received a minimum of twelve. Holder spun on her heels, and left with as little ceremony as she came.

The two friends lay there for a moment, hardly daring to move, until Kathy raised herself up and gently felt her mistress' bottom. The girl was whimpering from the pain. Kathy stood up and gingerly made her way to the dressing table for the ointment she always applied on these occasions. Returning to the bed, without any bidding, she started to cover the smarting bottom with its cool fragrance. Gradually Julie calmed down, and then agonisingly pushed herself up into a kneeling position. She silently took the jar from Kathy, and the loyal little maid snuggled herself down to have her own bottom administered to. When she had finished, Julie gently turned Kathy onto her side, and lay down in her arms, rocking her tenderly backwards and forwards with the rhythm of her own breathing. In a few minutes, a merciful sleep overtook both of them.

Kathy was woken very early by the sound of a carriage, and, leaving Julie to slumber on, she hurried down, still in her day clothes, to see who it was, and whether assistance was required. Her heart leapt when she saw it was the master, and overcome with relief, she rushed up to him in obvious distress. Sir Charles was taken aback, and drew her into the study, and inquired anxiously what was amiss. The whole story came tumbling out, and Kathy was not so shy in front of him that she felt unable to show him the proof of their treatment at the hands of Miss Holder. Sir Charles rushed up to his daughter's bedroom, and his knock woke her up from a deep sleep.

'Forgive the intrusion, my darling girl... ' he started, but Julie let out a squeal of delight.

'Papa!' and flung herself into his arms, crying spontaneously with happiness. Her father hugged her, and patiently waited for her to regain control. Eventually, he explained to Julie that Kathy had told him what Holder had been up to. Without hesitation his daughter pulled up her night-gown to reveal her poor, swollen buttocks. Her father needed but a glance to know that Kathy had indeed not been exaggerating. His face lit up with fury.

'She will suffer for this barbarity,' he promised, and took his leave of the girls.

It was a grim-faced Sir Charles who confronted Miss Holder with an icy calm in the confines of his study, a few minutes later.

'Madam, you should know that I have personally seen the results of your so-called punishment of my daughter, and of her maidservant, and I am angry beyond belief I blame myself for ever entrusting two vulnerable young girls to the care of a monster such as you. Don't bother to excuse your behaviour - nothing could ever justify such viciousness. I am a justice of the peace, and I am sorely tempted to commit you to gaol for assault. However, you have humiliated two innocent children, and I propose to do the same to you. You are dismissed from my service immediately, without a reference. You will now go to your room and fetch the very birch rod that you used on Julie and Kathy, and bring it here to me. Don't even think of trying to bolt - my manservant is outside the door, and he has his instructions. Now go, and do as I say.'

The woman was ashen-faced. She thought of saying something, but realised it was useless. Not two minutes later she had returned as instructed, and handed him the rod.

'You will lift up your gown and petticoats, and bend over the back of that armchair,' and he pointed to a leather easy chair he had placed in the centre of the room.

'Sir Charles, I am a grown woman, you cannot mean ... ?' She had blushed a deep pink at the thought of what he was proposing.

'You paid no heed to the humiliation you were heaping week after week on my daughter. I suggest you do as I say at once, or I will get my manservant to do it for you.'

She took one look at Sir Charles, and realised he was in deadly earnest. She shuffled across to the chair and paused. She was a striking figure in the green gown of the night before. Reaching down, she slowly hauled up her skirts and bent right over the chair as requested. Her bottom was raised invitingly, still covered in a pair of silk drawers that were pale green in colour. Her skirts tumbled over her back in disarray, white petticoats flying. The master stepped up behind her, untied the bow at the back, and tugged her undergarments sharply down her thighs, revealing a flawless white expanse of mature bottom. Age had spread the cheeks a little, but otherwise they were a temptingly large, well-rounded target. She began to let out little soft moans, and gasped with dread when he touched her cheeks with the birch to find his range. There was a knock at the door, and to the woman's evident consternation Sir Charles bade enter. The two girls came in, whilst Miss Holder desperately tried to cover her nakedness and shame. Sir Charles instructed them to stand just behind him, and to his right, so that they had a clear view of the punishment at close quarters. The former governess cried out in despair:

'For pity's sake, not in front of a child and a servant, I beseech you!

'Can I remind you that you beat this loyal servant, as you call her, for the crime of defending her mistress. If it were up to me, as a former army officer, I should give you at least fifty strokes of the birch. However, in the circumstances, I think it would be appropriate to allow Kathy to decide when I should stop, since you too are - or were - a servant. Kathy, you will please command me when you think the punishment is complete.' Kathy nodded her agreement, and Miss Holder shot a glance of pure terror in her direction. She had little doubt that Kathy would extract a full revenge.

Sir Charles took his time. He wanted her to have plenty of opportunity for regret before each stroke. He had never beaten a woman's bottom before, but this was one thrashing that he intended should be memorable.

'I shall birch you severely. There is no hurry, and I quite understand that you may wish to prepare yourself afresh for each stroke. When you are ready to receive one, please present your bottom as now, and remain perfectly still until it has landed. I have no need to remind you of the consequences of missing the target.' Miss Holder gasped, and squirmed in anticipation, but remained in position. Her buttocks were clenching and unclenching in anticipation of the first swipe. He pulled back his arm and let fly. The birch sprang back, leaving her bottom heaving with pain, already covered in little pinpricks of red. Slowly and methodically, he laid into her backside, covering it all from tops of thighs to just below her back. All thought of modesty was gone, and the cleft of her bottom opened and closed, and her legs parted to reveal their secrets. Long before the end of the thrashing, she was howling in agony, and in floods of real tears. Sir Charles almost felt sorry for her, until he remembered poor Julie and Kathy being terrorised by this pitiless wretch. The girls were transfixed by the sight of this creature, who had made their lives a misery, being beaten within an inch of her life. With each passing stroke, her once pale bottom became increasingly swollen, and she begged Kathy to call a halt. Finally, after a mere twelve or thirteen strokes, the good-hearted girl weakened at the piteous cries, and relented. It was finished.

The former governess levered herself up; cupping her battered cheeks in both hands, then reached down for her drawers, and covered her shame. She turned round, looked straight at Kathy, thanked her, and then thanked her former master. She knew she had received much less than she had anticipated, and was desperately grateful. Sir Charles, his anger assuaged, spoke to her not unkindly.

'You must leave my house at once, but I would wish to allow you a decent interval to compose yourself. Would you like Kathy, or one of the other female members of the household to soothe your bottom with ointment?' Miss Holder replied between sobs that the offer of Kathy's help was very acceptable, if the girl did not object. Kathy moved across, and quietly took the woman by the arm, and helped her out of the room and the length of the corridors to her little suite of rooms. Inside she silently helped her off with her gown and petticoats, and then laid her tenderly on her tummy, face down on the bed. There was a knock on the door, and Julie entered bearing the ointment which both had forgotten. Miss Holder gave her a weak smile of acknowledgement, and buried her head in a pillow. Julie came and stood beside the bed, while Kathy eased the drawers down over the swollen buttocks, and then handed Kathy the jar. Just for a moment the woman tensed her cheeks as the cool ointment made contact with her blazing skin, and then relaxed whilst Kathy's expert fingers carefully worked the sweet-smelling balm into the flesh. After a few minutes, Julie took a turn, and by the time they had finished, the woman almost seemed asleep. Very gingerly, she sat up, slipping her drawers' back up as she did so. When she started to speak, the girls could not believe their ears.

'I was ashamed that your father beat my bare bottom just now, but it is as nothing compared with the shame I now feel at the generosity of spirit you have shown towards me. I have given you nothing but pain, and you have repaid me with kindness. Many girls in Kathy's position would have just let my punishment run on - it would have been richly deserved. When your father called me a monster it cut me to the quick, and yet that is how I have behaved towards you. My own foolishness has ruined me, and I am destitute. I hope you will find it in you to forgive me, even if you cannot forget,' and the older woman began to shed hot tears of remorse. Julie glanced at Kathy, and knew immediately that she too had been deeply touched by the speech. Julie said slowly:

'Was I such a bad girl?'

'Oh, no! It was just that in my last post, it seemed to be what was required,' she sobbed. Julie thought for a moment.

'Perhaps we could make a fresh start. I could beg Papa to give you another chance, if you felt able to live with the embarrassment of what has passed between us. He usually grants my requests.' A look of relief flooded over Miss Holder' face.

'I would be eternally grateful, even if you were not successful, which would be no more than I deserve. If we are to continue together, we must try to be friends, like you and Kathy. Please call me Anne. '

The two girls helped her back into her gown, and they made their way back down to the study. Sir Charles was working at some papers. Quickly Julie explained the surprising request. Her father did not seem too taken aback.

'If you wish this my child, then so be it.'

Miss Holder burst out:

'Sir Charles, I shall never forget this day, neither for your attentions to my backside, nor for the sweetness of these two girls. If I ever so much as raise a tear on their cheeks again, please thrash my bottom till it is black and blue.'

'Something tells me that that will not be necessary,' countered the master of the house. 'Perhaps you would be good enough to leave Miss Holder and I alone for a few moments, my dear?' Julie and Kathy took their leave, and a slightly apprehensive governess was left alone with the master of the house. There was an awkward pause for a few seconds, and then the M.P. inquired with evidently genuine solicitation,

'I hope that Kathy has been able to comfort your soreness somewhat.'

'Oh, yes sir, she and your daughter have done much to remove the worst effects of the birching,' the woman reassured him, and then quite on impulse she added shyly, 'would you care to observe the effects for yourself - since the normal bounds of propriety between us seem to have been relaxed in no small measure,' and she gave Sir Charles a wry smile. The master nodded wordlessly, taken aback by her lack of inhibition.

Anne Holder turned her back on Julie's father for the second time that day, and whisked up her skirts with a strange sense of liberation. Down came her drawers for the third time, and Sir Charles was given a close view of her ample curves - a blotchy patch-work of alabaster white skin, red weals and purple bruising.

'I think we shall both remember today for some little time,' he said firmly.

A Birching for Miss Holder

by James Fox

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