Cade County 1892

26Apr14

cade county 1892Eleanor Whitlow blew a stray strand of hair from her forehead. At least it was not plastered there with perspiration on account of the heat. The heat, it was barely March, as she remembered it Boston would only have just seen off the snow. But Eleanor was a long way from Boston and as strive as she did for it, she could not really mind.

For one thing in Boston she would be regarded as a slovenly woman for not taming every last brown hair piled upon her head. However, here in Cade County she cut quite a dash without such attention to detail. Most of the other women were farmers or helped husbands with various trades and had little time for flippity gibbets who fussed over much about their appearance.

It was an attitude that would have appalled her back in Boston, but by Northern standards she had already failed and would have been now unemployable. Here in Cade County their rough and ready ways had opened the door for a second chance and some forgiveness.

Eleanor dusted the chalk off her hands and turned back to the blackboard. There was still a faint ghost of that day’s geography lesson to be seen but it was the recent memory of long lines of repentance she had written there that were far from faded in her mind.

Her bottom still held mottled traces of brown and yellow from the paddle that hung on the wall and she blushed. For Eleanor, so far Cade County justice had been very rough indeed. But for the first time in her life she felt safe. There was nowhere to fall now and all she had to do was teach and tend her new garden.

Mr Vaughn had been so kind to her since her mortifying correction and even though she could not yet quite look him in the eye, strangely she trusted the man.

“Are you truly saying I can stay?” she had sobbed when finally he had finished with her that fateful evening almost two weeks ago.

“Yes Miss Whitlow, you can stay and this little matter will remain between us,” he had chuckled paternally. “But if you ever disappoint me again you and me will be having more conversations like this do you hear?”

“Yes Sir,” she had gushed in earnest agreement as she blushed.

She was still blushing now at the memory of it, a warm glow that suffused her in a fuzzy magical way that trilled her with longing and excitement.

Eleanor might have wondered further at her emotions but from outside someone was calling her name. Looking up across the single room school she tried to peer through the door at the far end left open by the last of her students dismissed by the bell.

“Hello?” she inquired of the rectangle of afternoon sunlight.

“Miss Whitlow,” said a male voice a moment before a shadow filled the door.

“Mr Vaughn,” Eleanor twittered, now thrown into to turmoil that the man that was so close to her thoughts was suddenly made so real by his presence.

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” Henry Vaughn said gently.

Eleanor clasped at her throat and half turned away, “N-no, not at all Sir.”

“I trust you have no more trouble from the hellions of Cade County today?” His voice smiled as he strove to put her at her ease.

“Nothing I couldn’t handle,” she replied through an uneasy grin. Her gaze flicked to the paddle on the wall and he followed it.

“I am quite sure of that,” he chuckled, “From what I saw that night, I doubt that young Edith Caldwell can sit down yet.”

He might have added or you either, but his face held no trace of any such thought. All the same Eleanor blushed to her ears and ducked her gaze to her shoes.

“Edith is sitting just fine,” Eleanor replied carefully, “For the moment anyway.” And so am I Sir, she thought, although that had not been so some three or four days before. “H-how can I help you today?” she added to change the subject.

“Oh… I… well seeing as you are new to town I wondered if you might join us for supper tomorrow night,” Henry told her.

“Us?” Eleanor asked, cocking one eyebrow.

“My niece and I,” he smiled, “I am her guardian you know, or was, she turned 21 this winter. I thought you might want to meet someone of your own age.”

“I am 22,” Eleanor blurted. It was a detail that only a young person would think important.

“Well close enough,” he smiled. At 53 the distinction was moot to him.

“I… eh…” Eleanor was blushing again. How could she possibly sit down for supper with a man who had…

“I am not a complete monster Miss Whitlow,” he laughed, “And Carrie is quite charming.”

“Are you sure you consider me fit company for your niece? After all…” Eleanor knew her deception had been overlooked, after all the County was probably desperate for a teacher, but Mr Vaughn knew her true colours now.

“Miss Whitlow, that matter is behind us and not a soul knows about our… misunderstanding. Not even Carrie. Please come,” Henry pressed.

Eleanor sucked in a breath and nodded. “Very well Mr Vaughn, what time?”

*

Henry Vaughn lived in a large white clapboard house on a hill overlooking town. It had a white picket fence shading some flower varieties that Eleanor didn’t known and a winding cinder path to a thick pillared porch.

She had opted for a simple yellow dress with a yellow sash and bonnet, but despite the unseasonably warm weather the cool of the evening had reminded her it was not quite summer and she had donned a floral pattern shawl for the walk up the lane.

Before Eleanor had taken three steps up the path the front door opened and a beaming girl in a blue country dress bounded out girlishly to extend her arms.

“Oh Miss Whitlow, I have heard so much about you,” the girl gushed, “And Boston, you simply must tell me. I have never been further than Charlotte Virginia and… oh where are my manners?”

The young woman suddenly looked horrified as if she been cursed and seized her face in mortification. The sudden movement rustled her tight corn golden curls making her seem much younger in an instant.

“You must be Carrie… Vaughn is it?” Eleanor was totally disarmed.

“Carrie yes,” the girl frowned before another grin burst from her face. “But my father was called Thompson, not that I knew him. The late Mrs Vaughn and my mother were sisters. Oh but you don’t care about that.”

Carrie’s eyes danced as she stepped off the porch to take Eleanor’s arm to guide her into the house.

“We are having chicken for supper, isn’t that fine?” she continued, “I simply love chicken…”

Eleanor might have agreed but Carrie didn’t pause and by the time they reached the drawing room the young teacher learned that Carrie had lived with Henry Vaughn since shortly before she turned 18 and that she had been to a finishing school in Charlotte, but that her mother’s demise had ended that prematurely.

Carrie might have said much more but Henry gave her a withering look and the girl finally fell silent.

“So if you are not totally bored and wish to flee,” he chuckled, “May I offer you some lemonade?”

“Oh mercy,” Carrie squealed and hurried off to fetch some.

“She is quite…” Eleanor began.

“Oh yes,” Henry winked.

*

Supper went well and for the longest time Carrie kept wide-eyed and quiet as Eleanor told them all about Boston. But pretty soon they got onto teaching and how schools in Cade County compared.

“You have a paddle on your wall?” Carrie gushed, “Do you ever get to use it? I bet you do.”

Eleanor shifted uncomfortably wondering how to answer when Carrie warmed to her new theme.

“In Charlotte Miss Harrison had a nasty cane and paddle in her room, but she only got it out in private. Getting a spanking in front of everyone must be awful,” Carrie gasped, but her eyes had more wonder in them than horror. “I only felt it the paddle twice and the cane once, but I was younger then. I was pretty much still only a child when I came here.”

Carrie was blushing fully strawberry now but her face was lit up with a smile.

“I was such a brat,” she giggled, “But Uncle Henry soon taught me.”

“Indeed,” Eleanor replied in a strained voice. She risked a glance at Mr Vaughn but he was still smiling at Carrie indulgently.

“Oh yes, at 18 I thought I was too grown-up for a spanking.” Despite the embarrassing admission Carrie did not stint in her fulsome revelations and added in a loud whisper, “I wasn’t here a month before I went right over Uncle’s knee. Right there actually,” she added, pointing at an ottoman in the corner of the dining room. “On the bare,” she mouthed.

“Oh yes, I… I can well believe it,” Eleanor muttered. Then somewhat louder she asked, “Did this happen very often?”

“No, not so very much,” Carrie said in a slow considered voice, “Mostly I get taken to the woodshed out back where uncle keeps a strop. It is also handy for collecting hickory switches, which the beastly man made me fetch myself as often as not,” she added ruefully.

Eleanor might have been aghast at Carrie’s use of the present tense had it not been for her own experience, but now she was intrigued.

“You make me sound quite the wicked uncle,” Henry chuckled, “But when was the last time that was required?”

Carrie made a pout and blushed a little more before answering in a mock sullen voice, “About a week before my last birthday as you well know, but don’t pretend my poor bottom is safe from justice should I still deserve it uncle. For I know now that a girl is never too old. Don’t you agree Miss Whitlow?”

“Well I…” Eleanor shifted awkwardly in her chair and turned her gaze to the remains of the pie on her plate.

The room was silent now and two pairs of eyes were suddenly studying her with interest until the young teacher shot an accusatory look at Henry. Imperceptibly he shook his head, but allowed a small smile to play about his lips. Carrie was oblivious to the exchange and continued to stare so earnestly at Eleanor that the teacher finally cracked a smile and gave a small laugh.

“As a matter of fact I think you are right,” she said at last, “But I shouldn’t have said so before coming here.”

“Oh really,” Carrie said eagerly, “Whatever has happened to change your mind?”

Eleanor and Henry traded a knowing look and the older girl blushed.

“Good country air and the likes of Edith Caldwell, I shouldn’t be surprised,” Henry cut in to rescue his guest. “Now if you will get on with the dishes Carrie, I will escort Miss Whitlow to the drawing room.”

“Call me Eleanor please, both of you,” Eleanor said warmly.

“And you must call me Henry,” Henry said expansively.

“Oh no Mr Vaughn, I couldn’t possible do that,” Eleanor said as soon as Carrie had left them.

“Why, because I am your employer, surely…?” Henry protested.

“Because,” Eleanor said in a hushed voice, “Apparently young women in Cade County aren’t too old for a spanking and under the circumstances I could not possible accept such a thing from a social equal Sir.”

Henry smiled politely in acknowledgment and made a small exaggerated bow.

“Even if such a thing was never going to happen again,” Eleanor added tartly.

Henry bowed again and waved her into his front parlour, but behind her back he couldn’t help a stifled chuckle.

*

Three days later Edith Caldwell was bending over her desk in an empty classroom with her draws at her ankles and her skirts tucked into the small of her back. The carrot-haired 18-year-old was somewhat less defiant than she had been the last time she had been in that position. In fact as soon as Eleanor took up the paddle from the wall she at once became earnestly sorry.

“I didn’t mean to… I mean, please Ma’am…” Edith wailed.

“I know,” Eleanor sighed, “But somehow you did.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Edith agreed miserably.

“But you know better to cross me this time, don’t you?” Eleanor said as she patted the hard surface of the paddle against Edith’s proffered bare bottom.

“Oh yes Ma’am, I’m sorry Ma’am,” Edith said quickly, risking a backward glance as she nervously licked her lips.

“It has been barely two weeks,” Eleanor observed drily, “Do I have to paddle you twice a month between now and your graduation?”

Edith rolled down her bottom lip and shrugged.

“Probably Miss, I can’t seem to help myself,” she groaned.

“Well, let us see if I can dissuade you,” Eleanor sighed again and drew back her arm. “We will do this in two parts I think. I sound application of the paddle to get your attention and then you can write lines on the blackboard while your bottom cools.”

The paddle stung in hard and Edith gasped through clenched teeth.

“Yes Ma’am,” she squeaked.

“Then I will spank you in earnest until you are very, very sorry,” Eleanor said sharply and spanked the paddle down with almost full-force as she emitted a grunt usually reserved for competitive shuttlecocks.

“Ahh, uhg, yes Ma’am,” Edith groaned.

The paddle struck six times more before a moist-eyed Edith was allowed to stand up stiffly and take up the chalk. The red domes of her bottom emphasised her dishevelled state which she was not permitted to repair as she limped to the board to start her imposition.

“What must I… what do I write Ma’am?” Edith sniffed.

Eleanor looked wistfully to the side and for some reason thought of Henry Vaughn.

“Young ladies are never too old to be soundly spanked on their bare bottoms,” she said wistfully. “Write in your neatest handwriting won’t you? I might leave your efforts on the board for your friends to admire tomorrow.”

Edith’s expression of horror was not missed by the amused school ma’am.



4 Responses to “Cade County 1892”

  1. 1 paul1510

    Damian,
    very nice, always good to read something from your pen. 🙂
    Paul.

  2. 2 cindy2

    I love this story. Polonius said, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” Eleanor has experience on both sides of a very interesting transaction. Edith, as far as I know, has experience on only one. Both seem to understand the need for chastisement on the bare bottom of a young woman and may have experienced some very delightful sensations. Eleanor does not appear to find the process of chastising the bare bottom of Edith all that unpleasant, or perhaps I’m reading too much into this.

  3. I know the Cade County stories jump around, but I hope you find the time to revisit these particular characters at some point down the line.

  4. 4 DJ

    This is the second story with these characters and there will be more yes.

    As for Eleanor and her attitude – only time will tell 😉


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