Portraits of a marriage

01Jul10

A woman, a dog and a walnut tree, the more you beat them the better they be.

– An old English adage.

Hannah’s mother was most vexed with her. She had turned down her third suitor this year and to cap it all, Aurelia, her younger sister was now engaged. But at almost 21, Hannah just didn’t feel the need to be married.

“Oh mother this is 1819, young girls just don’t need to be married as they were in your day.”

“Oh you impudent girl I ought to whip you for speaking so.”

“Perhaps you ought to, but you won’t, because it just isn’t done. Is this not evidence that you are out of touch.” Hannah said to be as provoking as possible.

She had learnt that she could be as wild as she liked and here in the country there was nothing to hold her. So why would she want to marry a boring old parson’s son without a penny to his name.

“Perhaps I will die a tragic old maid.” She continued, placing the back of her hand on her forehead and striking a pose as she stared off into the middle distance.

“I have no patience with you. Really I don’t.” Her mother blustered and all but snatched up her teacup. “I do hope you will not strike up this position on Sunday when Aurelia’s young man calls for tea.”

“Oh Richard Wesley is of no account mother.” Hannah said impatiently.

Her mother could not argue that one, but she had other news.

“He is bringing his cousin to pay a visit.” Hannah’s mother sighed. “An adventurer of sorts. He sounds a thoroughly bad lot, but he has money and position.”

“Rich and young?” Hannah’s interest was piqued.

“Rich maybe, not young. He has had two wives they say and has killed them both with his recklessness. He is near your father’s age.”

“Oh.” Hannah sighed. “But still he sounds interesting.”

“You would think that.”

*

Come Sunday it rained and Richard and his cousin were late. When they did arrive, Hannah was disappointed to find that Charles Hornby, the famous cousin was a short stocky man with thinning hair. So to relieve the boredom Hannah resolved to be rude.

“Is it true you murdered you wives?” Hannah asked.

Richard spluttered on his tea and Aurelia sat open mouthed. Their mother was more sanguine, as if she had expected some such nonsense from her eldest.

“Oh Hannah.” She sighed.

“Is that what they say?” Charles Hornby smiled. “Perhaps it is true.”

“It most certainly is not.” Richard protested. “Poor Alice Windborne drowned in a shipping accident whilst on her way to India and dear cousin Beatrice caught a fever in Bombay.”

Charles looked out of the window with a look of noble sadness, or so it seemed to Hannah and suddenly Mr Hornby didn’t look half so old and his stoutness took on the semblance of power. Even his thinning hair made him look wise and masterful.

“I apologise Mr Hornby, my remarks were uncalled for.” Hannah said suddenly very ashamed.

Aurelia and their mother sat agog at this turn in Hannah’s attitude, she had never backed down or apologised for anything in all of her 20 years.

There was a long silence and then Hannah recovered her wits and asked: “Can I take it you made your fortune helping to carve out the empire in India?”

“Some might say that.” Charles shrugged. “I like to think of myself as a humble merchant who risked all and lost much to lead the way.”

Then he laughed at his own pomposity. Hannah laughed with him.

“Mr Hornby will you take the air with me?”

“Miss Baxter, I would be delighted.” Charles said taking her arm.

The two of them walked for hours just talking after that and at the end of the day Hannah was minded to invite Charles again.

*

“Your mother does not approve of me.” Charles said as they again went walking after tea on the following Sunday afternoon. “And she is right. I am a hard man who has done much and seen even more. I am not a gentle man.”

“But your are a gentleman.” Hannah countered.

“Any with land and wealth aspire to such claims and society is want to let them as it respects nothing if it is not money. But the truth is I had a humble birth.”

“I care not for such things, besides we are not so grand despite my mother’s airs.”

“I don’t think you understand.” Charles said as if dismissing a child. “I will suffer no childish fancies or whims in a woman.”

“And I am so used to getting my own way, is that what you think?” Hannah said seriously.

“I believe as my father believed. There is an old adage. A woman, a dog and a walnut tree…”

“The more you beat them the better they be.” Hannah completed the old saying with a giggle. “If I were to marry you then I must expect to be whipped? Well after all does not the law permit it?”

“I haven’t asked you to marry me.” Charles said trying to sound stern.

“Oh but you will.” Hannah giggled again.

“I am so much older than you.” He said seriously.

“But I am so much younger than you, so that makes us even.”

“Are you quite sure?”

Hannah threw herself into his arms and kissed him.

“Why you wayward hussy…” Charles growled but then kissed her back.

“Am I being bad?” Hannah breathed.

“Be thankful that you are not yet my wife.” Came Charles’ reply.

“But in my heart I am already.” Hannah said with conviction.

“Hannah I have ruined many women in the heat of passion.” Charles pulled back. “I told you I am not a gentle man.”

“Then ruin me.”

“We will see.” Charles said with a decided edge to his voice seizing Hannah by the arm and half dragging her deeper into the copse.

Hannah’s heart raced sensing that her life would never again be the same. Then almost at once they chanced upon a fallen log upon which Charles seated himself. Then with a scowl that quite unnerved poor Hannah he pulled her down across his lap.

“Heavens whatever next?” Hannah said with a pout.

But she did not struggle as he rucked up her long but thin summer dress and petticoats to reveal her legs. Then he tugged up them up further so that the bottom of her shift could be seen upon her thighs. Hannah could scarce draw a breath as she lay supine and blushing, no man had seen her so naked. But there was worse still to come. This was an age when women wore no undergarments and so it was but a trifle to completely denude her bottom to his eyes.

“You have a fine arse my girl. It is in prime whipping condition.” Charles leered. “Will you now scurry home to mother with tales of woe or will you collect your just deserts?”

“I fear the die is cast and I am yours to dispose of as you will.” Hannah said pluckily but her head was light and it was not only he heart that throbbed ever faster.

Lower still, she was moist as she often was alone in bed with her thoughts or at being groped during the dance. But her arousal did not dispel her fear. Whipped he had said.

Charles smacked her smartly across her rump making her cry out. Then seeing that she did not break followed the slap with a volley as he spanked her soundly for some minutes.

“Oh Charles please.” She wailed as she struggled on his lap kicking her legs. Her bottom stung furiously and this was definitely more than she had bargained for.

But Charles was determined to make or break their friendship and had resolved to give the rebellious girl the spanking of her life. Her first ever spanking, if he was a judge.

Hannah’s naked bottom was no match for his hand and after several more minutes of spanking it was well past deep red and her breathing was such that it laboured on into wet sobs.

“Please no more.” She sobbed.

“It stops when I am content and no sooner so make up your mind to it.” He growled.

“Yes Charles.” She wept. “But it does hurt so.”

By now she was holding her legs out straight behind her and jutting her bottom up so as to be angled across his lap. Her teeth were clenched and her arms hugged into herself as if determined to prove she could take all he offered her. For any that might see, but today there were none, she was still quite respectable above the waist. However below she was all but naked, with nothing but stockings in disarray and one buckled shoe kicked away.

“Now do you see who is the captain of your destiny?” Charles said finally easing off with the spanks.

“You are my lord and master.” She wept.

He drew her into his lap and they spooned passionately.

“Will you whip me so very often.” She sobbed into his chest.

“That was no whipping. That was a childish smack-bottom called a spanking and a moderate one at that.” He laughed. “I am still minded to teach you the difference you wanton.”

“Do as you will.” She sniffed not looking up.

“Only if you will marry me.” He said softly.

“Now that is a test of my courage you beast.” She laughed through her tears. “You lovely beast. If we are not wed I will die.”

“Then my love place yourself face down upon this log as you are.” Charles ordered. “For I intend to whip you soundly.”

As she took up position, he cut a thin branch from a tree and turned to regard her soft naked bottom helpless and much reddened before him.

“You should close your legs together as is the custom, for I can see your woman’s parts between.” He said in awe.

She responded by opening her legs still further.

“You will regret that wanton bravado.” He growled. “There is an etiquette to observe in such matters and I will train you to it.”

The thin branch whistle-whipped the air and painted a line of fire across her nether cheeks. She shrieked. She knew it would be bad, the spanking had taught her that, but the reality was worse.

He lay on slowly but hard enough to teach. In the years to come, this would be play to them, but today it was her first real chastisement and she felt it keenly. She employed her lungs to tell him so.

Nevertheless he spared himself no pleasure as his trouser stick was firmer than the punitive wand, which he lay back and forth across her bare bottom.

“Please Charles I love.” She wept as her thrashing continued.

“I love you. I know that now.” He replied. “But you will endure.”

It was hard for her to find to control under fire, but she willed herself to close her legs as he had directed in the hope of respite. But there was none.

Not until the vicious welts criss-crossed her flesh like a tapestry and gave every sign of being close to bleeding did he stop. Hannah by then was nothing but howling sobs and in a state of total surrender.

“I warned you I was cruel.” Charles said, amazed at her open arousal, not since his first wife had seen such a thing.

“Then honour was served.” She wept.

Then opening his flies, he fell upon her from behind and assaulted her with another rod.

*

Later back at the house it was impossible for Hannah to hide her dishevelled state. Her clothing was not easily repaired without the aid of her maid and in any case, her recent copious tears were inscribed on her face. Further more, her mother knew the look of a woman in post-coital passion.

“Heavens whatever has happened?” Her mother gasped in shock.

“I behaved improperly towards Charles and he justly corrected me for it.” Hannah smiled.

“And was this impropriety before or after this just correction.” Her mother said imperiously.

“I rather think it was both mother.” Hannah blushed. “But Charles assures me we are to be wed.”

“Indeed yes.” Charles said with a curt nod.

“In my day bundling was only permitted after an engagement had been announced. I don’t know what the world is coming to.” Hannah’s mother sighed.

A few months later they were married and Mr and Mrs Charles Hornby moved to Hemingford Hall some 40 miles away.

*

“I need a few things for our new home.” Hannah said to her maid Bridget. “But now that it comes to it I have no idea how certain things can be obtained.”

Her husband had previously retained Bridget and Hannah suspected that she was party to much of his life. She had certainly proved useful so far.

“Of course madam, but I am quite sure that we have enough for now.” Bridget answered as the drove down the new shopping arcade of Regent Street in London. “What was it you required?”

“Well I might as well tell you that Mr Hornby has made it abundantly clear that I am to be whipped if I do not prove to be a good wife. I fear that might be quite often before I learn.” Hannah confided.

“Well I suppose that is natural enough madam, but what of it?”

Hannah blushed and scrutinised the coachman lest he overhear, but he seemed engrossed in the chaos of the streets.

“Well my husband has had occasion to be displeased with me several times now and always he has improvised. I know that there are proper…” Hannah grappled for a word.

“Oh I see.” Bridget. “Yes there are whips and straps for the servants but it is only fitting that you acquire such things for your personal use.”

“Whips for the servants, oh my Bridget, has Mr Hornby ever chastised you?”

“Oh mercy yes madam, as is proper.” Bridget said cheerfully. “I have just a place in mind, it lies close by Charring Cross. It sells parasols and walking sticks, but riding whips and other such items can also be obtained.”

“Capitol, please instruct the driver.”

Within half an hour, the two women were standing in the shop studying the wares.

“How may I help you ma’am.” Said a rather roly-poly man who fetched Hannah a chair.

“My mistress is interested in your selection of whips and other accoutrements.” Bridget said haughtily.

“Of course.” He beamed. “Now what type of horse do you have? A delicate riding pony I’ll be bound.”

“Its not for a pony sir but for a person. A female person.” Hannah supplied.

“I see.” His smile froze. “Are we talking about the correction of a young lady or a child perhaps to be educated in the schoolroom? Or is it more for an erroneous servant?” As he added the last he flicked a glance at Bridget.

“I rather think neither, why is there a difference?” Hannah blushed.

“Mr Hampton, I rather think I should deal with this customer.” Said a woman breezily entering the conversation.

“Of course Mrs Hampton, if you think that best. Good day ma’am.” He replied all to glad to be getting off elsewhere.

“Miss?” Mrs Hampton smiled in polite enquiry.

“Mrs Hornby.” Hannah inclined her head and offered a hand.

“Oh forgive me Madam.” The woman curtsied before taken the proffered hand.

“Mrs Hornby.” Mrs Hampton said enthusiastically. “What exactly are you requirements? I know this can be a delicate matter.”

“Well I am new to the married state and my husband is a firm believer in domestic discipline. Very firm.” Hannah grimaced. “I feel it is my duty to adequately provide for his domestic requirements. Even if it plays merry hell with my…”

“Quite.” Mrs Hampton injected crisply.

“Do you seek something to mitigate the… eh… correction or…?”

“Certainly not.” Hannah protested. “I wish merely to facilitate as a good wife should. Treat me as you would my husband if he were here seeking assistance in just retribution.”

“A most refreshing attitude if I may say.” Mrs Hampton replied.

“Might I suggest we have an excellent range of light whips and martinets, all in the finest leather. Also corrective sticks in Malacca, and other grades of rattan.” Mrs Hampton enthused.

“Splendid.” Hannah blushed suddenly at a loss.

“We also have leather and wooden spatulas.”

Hannah smiled blankly.

“They are paddle-like implements of varying sizes and are used to substitute the flat of the hand.”

Hannah peered inquisitively, still not quite understanding.

“To administer a sound spanking.” Mrs Hampton supplied.

“Oh yes indeed.” Hannah blushed. “Bridget I am feeling rather… can you acquire a broad selection, I will wait with the carriage.”

“As you say madam.”

After she was gone Bridget and Mrs Hampton laughed and got down to business.

“Is she serious?” Mrs Hampton asked.

“Oh deadly. She has endured a fair few good hidings these last few weeks and what a fuss she makes, but she is right, Mr Hornby is quite the martinet and knows quality.”

“Then he shall have it.”

*

It was a year into their marriage and Charles was away on business. It was inevitable that on his return, he would uncover all of her shortcomings and no doubt, she would be soundly punished. Despite the frequency of such chastisements, she could never quite get used to it, but overall she was happy.

However, the certainty of a spanking at the very least on his return was no reason for her to be slack and not strive to be the perfect wife. It had become almost a game between them. To this end, she had decided to inspect the kitchen, a place she was rarely seen in their large house.

All seemed to be well. Mrs Grimes the cook was sitting at her table reading recipes and most of the other staff were scurrying about trying to look busy. Young Polly was standing in the corner after some mischief no doubt, her skirts were pinned up leaving her denuded below the waist and Hannah could see that Mrs Grimes had put some prolonged effort in turning the girl’s bottom a very decided red.

“Is all well here?” Hannah enquired.

“Quite well madam, unless you count this foolish girl mistaking salt for sugar.” Mrs Grimes scowled. “What with the cost of sugar too.”

“Very good.” Hannah smiled benignly. “I don’t suppose Jenny is skulking down here?”

“I have seen her hear about ma’am. I will send her up presently.” Mrs Grimes stood and bobbed in a curtsy.

Hannah nodded and returned to her drawing room.

It was sometime later that Jenny appeared.

“You wished to see ma’am.”

“Indeed.” Hannah agreed standing up. She then walked to the fireplace and ran her finger down the brass.

On showing the hapless maid her finger, it could be seen to be black.

“Would you say this was clean?” Hannah asked.

“No ma’am.” Penny pouted and shuffled her feet.

“And wasn’t it you who said that you had not made up the fires in the bedrooms because you had to clean this grate yesterday?”

“Yes ma’am.” Penny mumbled her eyes now firmly downcast.

“The master returns today, do you think you will be blamed if the house is a mess.”

“No.” Jenny mumbled again.

“You foolish girl.” Hannah sighed. “Go and fetch the oak wood paddle at once.”

“Oh please ma’am.” Jenny protested.

“Am I to tell Mr Hornby that you have been disobedient as well as slovenly and lazy? Not to mention telling me great big fibs.”

“Oh no.” Jenny wrung her hands. “I’ll fetch it, really I will.”

“Well go on then.”

By the time that Jenny had returned with the paddle, Hannah had wedged the drawing room door open wide. Jenny eyed it in horror.

“Please ma’am, will you not close the door?” Jenny begged.

“No you silly goose I will not. Now prepare at once.” Hannah said taking the paddle.

Jenny, her face a picture of woe, reached behind and began to scrunch up her skirts and roll them into a knot of cloth at the small of her back. She blushed on blushing as her small white behind was revealed like two ivory billiard balls tight in a pocket.

Hannah moved behind her maid as she nervously bent forward over the arm of the stuffed chair, glancing in trepidation at the hall through the open door even as she turned her bare bottom to face it.

“I ought to whip you for deceiving me like that, really I should.” Hannah said impatiently.

There was a movement in the hall outside and Hannah knew that the young maids had gathered to watch Jenny’s chastisement. As they did when it was her turn, she thought grimly. But at least then, the door was usually closed. Usually, she blushed.

Jenny’s bare bottom was helpless and inviting, as it lay uppermost draped over the arm of the chair. Hannah studied it for a while to savour the moment. She had become cruel under Charles’ tutelage.

Then she brought the paddle down sharply with a crack. Jenny yelped as the sting bit home. The white on white patch fascinated her as it pinkened and slowly turned red. Then she spanked again.

She spanked on from left to right and then right to left, careless of the time or number applications that the correction had imparted. The sun-shy flesh had long since surrendered its creamy hue for one that would rival a summer strawberry, but Jenny had long since ceased to worry what spectacle she made, committed as she was to her sobs and wails.

Outside the other maids stifled their laughter with their knuckles and hugged each other in glee.

Although the spanking was a moderate one compared to any she would have received, she finally stopped and bid Jenny to stand.

“Oh ma’am, please I’m sorry.” She wept.

“Do not repair your dress quite yet my girl.” Hannah chided. “First you will stand vigil in the hall as you are with your face to the wall. It will serve as an example.”

“But ma’am my duties.” Jenny sniffed, horrified at her impending humiliation.

“Oh such diligence.” Hannah mocked. “See how one spanking renders you so conscientious. You can forfeit your half day off to make up for it.”

Jenny burst into tears at this news and silent swore that she would never sleep late again and lie to cover herself. Then hauling up her skirts behind she took wooden steps into the hall to stand at the wall while her friends finally failed in their attempts to hold their peace and broke into open laughter.

*

When Charles arrived home that afternoon, he had with him a woman who Hannah knew to be his cousin, a rather bohemian outgoing sort of woman who had often been in trouble with the family.

“You remember Horatia?” Charles said as he poured himself a brandy.

“Indeed yes.” Hannah said pleasantly wondering why such a black sheep of a cousin was in her home. “How are things with you?”

“I’ll tell you how things are with her. She had had an open affair with Lord Percy and is the talk of London.”

“Is that so bad?” Hannah asked.

“Lord Percy is a rake and a married rake to boot.” Charles growled.

“Well if you give me some money darling I could slip away to the Continent.” Horatia simpered.

“I do not think I trust you as far as Bath to take the waters. As for giving you money…” Charles returned. “However my young cousin I will give you damned good thrashing.”

“Oh you do surprise me.” Horatia said with a pout. “You are such a beast.”

“Charles?” Hannah gaped at this news.

“Oh do not take on so.” Horatia smiled. “Charles has taken it upon himself to whip me since I was 14, haven’t you Charles?”

Charles did not answer, but less than an hour later Horatia was bent over the same chair arm that Jenny had been draped across hours before. Her almost Rubenesque bottom had been scored with crimson rills as Charles dashed a martinet furiously across her naked flesh.

For a long while Horatia suffered in silence apart from the odd gasp and hiss. But after a while she began to groan and finally she said:

“Please Charles.”

That was Charles’ signal to whip in harder and faster. A few minutes later Horatia began to cry. Silently at first, her shoulders heaving up and down. But then she sucked in a great hooting breath and issued a ragged sob. Her poise and forbearance now gone, she rocked with barking sobs as tears splashed about her face as readily as they had when she had been 14.

Hannah knew better than to interfere and in any case, she was thoroughly enjoying the spectacle. But she was almost relieved when the whipping ended.

“Horatia will live us for a time and until this scandal blows over.” Charles said simply, ignoring his weeping cousin still prostrate across the chair. “But she will earn her keep.”

“How so?” Hannah asked curious.

“Horatia is an artist. A good one. She paints under the name Samuel Brown. I have commissioned her to paint a series of paintings depicting our marriage.”

“I see.” Said Hannah.

“I doubt it my love.” Charles smiled as he tapped the handle of the martinet against his face.

*

The first portrait was slightly racy for Hannah’s taste, but she couldn’t deny that it was apt. On the face of it, the painting depicted a smart married couple in their drawing room with the husband to the centre and his wife dutifully at his side but set a little back. The couple were clearly Charles and Hannah.

What Hannah was less comfortable with, given that the portrait was destined to grace the main staircase for posterity, were the small suggestive details. For instance upon the table in the foreground, Horatia had chosen to place some leather and wooden spatulas along side a riding whip. To the left of the picture she had painted Bridget carrying a silver tray as if she were fetching a letter from the hall. However, upon the tray was not a missive, but clearly seen was a martinet. The final discomfort came in the form of the expression she had been given. In the portrait Hannah was biting her thumb and appeared to be shrinking from the arrival of Bridget with a look of distinct apprehension.

“I am to be known for all time as a whipped wife?” She had protested.

“I think Horatia has captured you wonderfully.” Charles chuckled.

If that wasn’t bad enough a year later, Horatia presented them with her second portrait in the series.

The picture was destined as a companion set beside the first so that it could not be seen by casual visitors, but was in plain sight to anyone climbing the stairs as the turned to the second flight.

“Oh Charles please.” Hannah had gasped when she first saw it.

This picture showed Hannah half naked on her knees with her bare bottom clearly displayed. She lay leaning across the bed looking back plaintively at Charles while he was stood nearby stripped to his shirtsleeves. In his hands, he held a long thin rattan cane, the purpose of which was not in doubt.

Behind him stood an amused Bridget and rather stern looking woman whom Hannah recognised as the preacher’s wife.

“She was never there.” Hannah wailed as she noticed the witness.

“Oh so you recognise the scene.” Horatia teased. “I thought I would swap myself for this paragon of justice. It makes it all so much more romantic.”

“I say.” Charles exclaimed as he spotted some other details. “Oh Horatia you are a genius.”

“Can you see Hannah?” She beamed.

“The dog?” Hannah asked suddenly intrigued, but not understanding.

Then through the window she spied the tree in the grounds.

“There is no tree there.” She said puzzled.

“It’s a walnut tree.” Charles chuckled.

“The woman, the dog and the walnut tree.” Hannah said with a pout. “How droll.”

“That is what we shall call this portrait.”

The third portrait, which Horatia completed only weeks later followed on exactly from the previous.

This time Charles and Hannah were embraced in bed. The tree could still be seen, but the dog was asleep and coiled next to it was a whip in an echo of its pose. In the picture, although they looked happy, it was obvious that Hannah had been weeping.

“This my favourite, but I am glad it is to be hung in our bedroom.” Hannah sighed.

It could have been the night after she saw the second painting when she had absolutely put her foot down about displaying the whipping scene.

Charles had re-enacted the whipping depicted until she had begged to be allow to withdraw her objection. Ever after that she fancied she could still feel the traces of the cane on her bottom whenever she looked on the portrait.

“Three excellent portraits. You have done well.” Charles said proudly. “I will release you and pay for a trip to Paris and Rome.”

“There is one more I should like to paint.”

Charles turned and smiled quizzically.

“A family portrait with your children.”

Charles frowned but both women exchanged secret smiles.

“You are not?” Charles said in astonishment.

Hannah nodded.

*

“Mama Aunt Aurelia is here, Aunt Aurelia is here.” Little Mary Hornby exclaimed as she came running down the stairs.

“Ooh, careful child.” Bridget groaned as she narrowly missed being knocked off her feet and dropping the po as she was coming downstairs.

“Sorry.” Mary called without looking back, then squealing at the other maid who had moved to answer the bell. “Quickly Minnie open the door.”

“I see someone has no patience.” Minnie scolded.

Aurelia and Richard were shown into the drawing room where Hannah rose to greet them.

“Charles will be here presently.” She smiled. “It had been so long.”

“And how little Mary has grown, where is Thomas?”

“I doubt that we will see him until supper, he has become quite the little man.” Hannah said kissing her sister.

“He is at the pond.” Mary said sullenly.

“Don’t tell tales.” Hannah scolded.

“But he is.” Mary persisted.

“I expect he is the little rogue.” Hannah told her sister ignoring her daughter. “Boys will be boys. And Richard how are you?”

“I am passing fair.” Richard said. “Business could be better.”

“Ah yes, the matter in hand.” Hannah sighed.

“Oh yes if Charles could lend Richard that trifling sum all our cares would be over.” Aurelia simpered.

“One thousand pounds is scarce a trifling sum sister.” Hannah said pointedly. “And what good is throwing good money after bad?”

“Whatever do you mean?” Aurelia gasped.

“She means my dear sister-in-law that your husband has a sound business that makes almost £900 a year, but that you insist on spending £1000 of it on fripperies.” Charles barked as he entered the room.

Their cousin Horatia, who looked like the cat with the cream, followed him into the room.

“What are you doing here cousin?” Richard scowled. “I did not know you were to be a witness to my humiliation.

“Oh not yours Richard dear, we have quite something else in mind.”

Hannah swallowed a smirk and sat down.

“What is going on?” Aurelia asked indignantly.

“Your debts, madam are solely the fault of your husband’s inability to curb you.” Charles observed dryly.

“Whatever do you mean?” Aurelia protested.

“Minnie.” Charles called ignoring her. “Take Mary to the kitchen and make some scones with her or some such.”

“Oh Papa must I?” Mary pouted.

“If you are good you may see your Aunt Aurelia tomorrow.” Charles smiled at his daughter. Then he turned to address his cousin and brother-in-law Richard. “I will advance £1000 on one condition.”

“And what condition is that pray tell?” Richard sniffed.

“Come we will walk in the garden and talk man to man.” Charles said pleasantly. “Ladies perhaps you should view the portraits.”

*

The fourth portrait, which Aurelia was shown first having already seen the first many times, was a picture of English respectability. It showed the family as a group seated in the drawing room. The only hint of the theme from the earlier pictures was a perhaps nervous glance from Hannah at the whip that Charles held in his hand.

Having admired the third portrait, which she had also never seen, she very much admired it, but missed many of its nuances.

“You have quite a talent for a lady.” Aurelia observed.

But that had been before. Now Aurelia stood gaping at the second and gasped.

“Its…” Aurelia gasped. “However did you suffer this to be painted?”

“It is but an accurate portrait of a marriage.” Hannah said smoothly as she exchanged a glance with Horatia.

“Accurate in what regard?” Aurelia protested.

“You will soon see.” Horatia smiled broadly.

Just then, Charles and Richard mounted the staircase below and began to ascend.

“Richard.” Aurelia called.

“I am coming my dear.” Richard said suddenly at her shoulder. “I have just had a most illuminating discussion with Charles.”

“Have you seen this?” Aurelia said ignoring her husband as she usually did.

“No.” Richard replied. “But I have heard about it and I intend to have a damn good look.”

Charles stood back with his wife and cousin on each arm. Unnoticed Bridget had appeared carrying a silver tray bearing a martinet and a medium sized leather paddle.

“Whatever does this mean?” Aurelia said still lost in her confusion.

“It means my dear that I must take control of our debts and our lives all at once before we are ruined. It means my dear that I must take you in hand.” Richard said calmly.

Aurelia turned about to give her husband a piece of her mind but she stopped when she saw he look in his eyes.

“Richard?”

Richard did not reply, but took his wife by the arm and lead her to one of the rooms close too. There he hurled her face down upon the bed and then beckoned to Bridget.

While he chose her poison, Hannah and Horatia began stripping Aurelia to her shift and stockings.

“Help.” Aurelia wailed.

“But we are helping.” Hannah replied smugly. “Now will you raise your shift yourself and submit to what must be or are we to hold you down.”

Aurelia turned in horror as he husband stood over her holding the martinet.

“Richard stop this at once.” She said uncertain. “I am not a child to be whipped.”

“But you are a child to behave so irresponsibly. At 28 you should know better. And I intend to see that you learn.”

Hannah and Horatia holding an arm each began to raise Aurelia’s shift like a curtain to slowly revel her ample behind to her husband’s gaze.

Charles nodded in approval and neatly turned his back.

“Richard what are you doing?” Aurelia bellowed.

“What I should have done a long time ago.” Richard replied.

He brought the multi-tailed whip down hard across his wife’s bottom and she squealed in indignation.

“Richard.” She wailed.

But he ignored her and began long slow strokes back and forth, as she wailed and pleaded in vain.

It did not take long for her bottom to be scored with many vivid welts. Then as if she had become resigned she broke down and sobbed hanging limp as she was still held down. Then as they all watched, except Charles who still faced away, Aurelia began to thrust her bottom up to meet the strokes.

Richard thrashed on a little longer and then stopped.

“Please send them away I will submit.” Aurelia wept.

“Will you?” Richard barked.

“Yes truly I will.”

As they filed out Hannah and Horatia looked back at the scene. Aurelia was sobbing in her husband’s arms still naked below the waist. Her bottom, which was framed by a panel of light from the window, was vivid with the recent correction. Then Aurelia looked up with submission in her eyes and whispered: “Must I suffer that spatula next?”

Richard who previously had no such intention said: “It’s for the best I think.”

“Now that is a perfect portrait of a marriage.” Horatia said with her artist’s eye. “Perhaps I will paint that next.”

Ends



3 Responses to “Portraits of a marriage”

  1. Excellent spanking story. I’ll give it a ‘six of the best’ rating.

  2. 2 opsimath

    A very nice story, in keeping with the style of its setting – well done for bringing us this most entertaining tale of domestic harmony!


  1. 1 chross.blogt.ch - Chross Guide To The Spanking Internet

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