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This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living, dead or otherwise is purely coincidental. The ideas and thoughts that follow are pure fantasies. In real life, at the very least they would be unpleasant and probably illegal. Fantasies are like that; daydreams where we can contemplate and imagine the sensations without suffering or inflicting the pain, despair or humiliation.
© obohobo 2012
Hearing the noise from an oncoming cart, Lord Cameron McCauley waited before emerging from the woods on to the lane. Recognising the young driver and angry at the reckless way he whipped and urged the pony to even greater speed without any thought for the wellbeing of the cart and its contents, his first instinct was to give chase but he realised even with his thoroughbred mare's superior speed, they would be at the Manor before he caught up. "It will be easier to tan the little bugger's arse when I get back than to have an altercation in the open," he decided.
A few yards further on, the boy whooped and yelled and waved his horsewhip and brought it down across the back of a peasant woman who'd stepped to on to the verge to allow the cart to pass. The whip's impact, aided by the speed of the cart, sent her into the muddy ditch that ran alongside the lane. The cart sped on. His anger rising, Lord McCauley alighted from his mare and assisted the woman, or as he now saw, a young girl, from the ditch and on to her feet. Wet, bedraggled and crying, she tried to thank him but he stopped her and asked, "Where would a young lady be going on this lonely road? Are you lost?"
"I intended to go to go to Kidlintonhope Manor, Sir, and I pray I am on the right way but in this state, I must find somewhere to dry out and get clean. They'll never accept me in this state."
Noting her strong Newcastle accent and unfamiliar pronunciation, he remarked, "You are certainly a very long way from home, why are you going to the Manor?"
"My grandfather, Gregory Kinrade, said if I mentioned his name, Lord Alistair McCauley would give me a position there, Sir."
"Lord Alistair, my father, died a couple of years ago and I'm the owner now, Lord Cameron McCauley. I'm sure there's a story behind this because I vaguely remember his mentioning a Kinrade and you must have had good reason to come the hundreds of miles to Shropshire from almost as far north in England as you can get. But you're shivering in wet clothes and the April wind is none too warm and the story can wait until later, I'll send someone to pick you up and it won't be the boy who drove the cart."
"What state is the pony in, Jack?" Cameron asked the elderly groom.
"I was just trying to rub the sweat off her when you arrived Sir, she'd been run overly hard and her rear is mighty tender. I'll need to keep her off work for a bit and then she may be shy of getting between the shafts again."
"And the cart?"
"I don't know about that, Sir, when I saw the state of the pony, I unhitched her and they'll have to push the cart back. The lad wouldn't even walk the pony around for a bit to cool her slowly so I had to do that and then I saw you a coming."
"He'll find it difficult to walk when I've done with him," his Lordship muttered after examining the pony's rear, "Tell them to let me know of any damage to the cart so I have all the evidence when I confront him. Not that I need much evidence except the evidence of my own eyes."
"What have we here then?" Mrs. Faulks, the housekeeper grinned at the wet, scarecrow figure when one of the gardeners who'd collected her from the roadside, assisted her into the kitchen, "What's your name dearie?"
"Mabilia, Mabilia Kinrade, Ma'am, but most calls me Mabel." From her pronunciation, the woman, and those listening, heard it as 'Marble' and it wasn't long before they shortened it to 'Marb'.
The housekeeper, the cook and maids in the kitchen laughed at her speech. "You sure talk funny dearie, are you a from foreign parts?"
"Well his lordship seems to have taken a liking to you and gave orders for you to be bathed and fed and given a maid's dress and then you're to see him in a hour."
"So, Burrows," Lord McCauley addressed the boy standing very nervously in front of his desk, " I have to deal with you on a number of counts, all of which are serious and any one of them would have earned you a thrashing. By all accounts you went into Drycombe and collected the goods we ordered but then retired to the Three Feathers and filled your gut with beer and we have yet to check whether you spent your own money or purloined some from the housekeeping intended to pay for the goods, then, finding you had stayed overly long, made haste to get back regardless of who or what was on the road. Do you realise that had I come out of the woods a few seconds earlier, I and my horse would be dead and you could expect to swing from the gallows if you survived the crash? Then there's the way you mistreated my property, my pony and my cart. Both are going to need care and attention and be out of service for a while, the cart for some time because one wheel has to go to the wheelwright and he'll charge an arm and a leg for the repair. If that wasn't enough, you sort to strike a young woman with a horsewhip cutting her clothing and leaving a deep welt across her back, around her right arm and into her breasts. She will suffer painfully for many days because of it. Presumably you thought it a fun thing to do, but you won't find our treatment quite so funny. For these crimes you must be severely punished and I see no alternative but to have your back and buttocks soundly birched as some recompense for the whipping of the pony and the girl. Afterwards I had a mind to send you off the premises to seek work elsewhere, if you could find it without references, but I decided that you are young and the birching may be sufficient to mend your ways. This is only the second time I've ordered a birching since father died and the previous crime was far less serious and I feel I am being lenient when I'm ordering Mr. Kerrison to apply thirty-six strokes and your wages will be stopped until you are able to work properly again. That should ensure you keep out of the inn for a while."
Burrows begged, pleaded and made wild promises as to his future behaviour but his Lordship rang a bell and forewarned, two men appeared, "Take him to the cellar and fasten him naked to the bench and tell Mr. Kerrison when you are done, he already has my instructions and should have the birches prepared. You are to witness the punishment and release him when the lacerations have been treated."
Kerrison enjoyed this part of his work and loved the sense of power his status as the Manor disciplinarian gave him when he had a boy or, preferably, a girl stretched out naked and helpless on the bench. For him, it didn't happen often enough and if it did, it was rare for the recipient to be awarded more than a dozen strokes of the strap. Even that made them holler but today he could give a boy a real thrashing, one that he'd remember for the rest of his life and unlike when he'd a maid to chastise, with the boy there'd be no reduction for being invited to his bed at night. He'd make sure all the strokes landed soundly.
Struggling to hold Burrows, the two footmen managed, with Kerrison's help, to get him on the punishment bench and stripped naked. "Stand well out of the way, his Lordship wants his backside flailed to make up for the injuries this boy caused to the pony and you know how he feels about mistreatment to his horses. He also seems to think the same way about that foreign lass that arrived, as well as the damage to his cart," he explained to the footmen, "Don't think of interfering because I can make your lives less easy here too."
Flicking the residual brine from the supple, bound, birch twigs, Kerrison brought the formidable instrument crashing across the back of the boy's thighs. Burrows screamed and yelled and began to cry loudly as Kerrison unmercifully worked the wicked birch further along the boy's body until by the eighteenth stroke he'd reached his shoulders. Changing to a fresh birch and standing on the other side of the bench, Kerrison continued flogging the now raw flesh, back down the boy's back until once more, by the thirty-sixth stroke he reached his thighs. Small trickles of blood ran down either side where the tip of the birch twigs cut and nipped the flesh and by then Burrows lay barely conscious of his surroundings and hardly registered that the whipping had stopped.
"We has to inform the master when you've finished, Mr. Kerrison, so he can send someone to clean him up," Travers, the older of the two footmen stated and left the room.
"Come in," his Lordship responded to Clara's knock, "Sit down Mabilia, you may stay Clara otherwise there is no telling what sort of garbled story the kitchen staff will make up."
"Thank you, Sir, ' the two girls curtseyed and responded.
"First, Mabilia Kinrade, let me introduce my wife, Lady Rosalind McCauley, like me, she is keen to hear your story and your reasons for travelling so far to get to this manor. Why did you not find employment in Newcastle?
"Sir, it was my grandfather's wish that I should get away from the smoke and grime and coal dust of Newcastle and live in the cleaner air of the open countryside and present myself to your father."
"And your grandfather is?"
.... There is more of this story ...