Ladies of the Dawn


1 arabellaLady Arabella reached the rise above Grainger Manor with relief. The party had gone on for far longer than intended and against all expectations she had been winning all night. That arse Carstairs had lost game after game until she had nigh on £300 in front of her, which was all very well, but the trouble with winning was that it was very bad form to leave the table without giving the other fellow a chance.

None of this would have much mattered if Edward didn’t so disapprove of gambling; oh to be sure he would turn a blind eye if she were discreet. It was all very reasonable she supposed, but sometimes she wish he would stick to his guns rather and use a firmer hand.

Arabella sighed and plucked a stray tight coil of red from her face, she must look a sight, she thought wearily. She regretted now dismissing the coachman and deciding to walk the three miles home from Brantley. Her feet were killing her.

Oh well, she thought, to bed before anyone gets up for tomorrow’s hunt. No one will care at all by breakfast.

All might have been well but on reaching the terrace she was startled by a coach rattling across the gravel in the dawn light.

“Who the hell is…?” Arabella was indignant.

The coach was unfamiliar, but not the girl who stepped from it. Two girls, she amended as Henrietta stepped out behind her elder sister.

“Oh,” Georgina exclaimed when she saw Arabella. “Hello Arabella,” the 20-year-old said sheepishly.

“Oh cripes,” Henrietta gasped from behind her.

Both young women were in more of disarray than Arabella herself, and neither had a right to be, it being even longer past their bed time than their guardian’s wife.

“Um… we…” Henrietta tried to explain, her fingers pointing impotently at the coach. “Lord Uxbridge and…”

“His lordship and his brother were kind enough to lend us their coach after ours…” Georgina cut in somewhat haughtily, but she was careful not to continue.

“And what has Edward said about you and the Uxbridge’s?” Arabella sighed. “As to returning home at…” actually Arabella had no idea what the time was and bringing attention to it did rather offer the question to her own nocturnal tardiness.

“Do you think Sir Edward is going to beat us?” Henrietta asked meekly, her teeth now worrying her lower lip.

Georgina shot her sister a horrified glance as she racked her brains for an answer to that particular question before…

“Naturally, I shall insist upon it,” Arabella scolded them.

Henrietta winced and bowed her head.

“Oh Arabella, please speak up for us,” Georgina wheedled, “We only…”

“Yes?” Arabella said sharply.

“Well…?” Georgina pouted, not sure now how her sentence was going to end.

“What did you think would happen, returning at this hour in the Uxbridge coach?”

Henrietta proffered a single finger into the air like a student in the nursery. “We thought perhaps that no one would know,” she said honestly.

Arabella laughed warmly. “You and me both,” she chuckled.

“Ooh,” Georgina stamped her foot to set her soft brown curls shaking on her head.

Henrietta pulled a face and made a heavy sigh. “I guess there will be two very sorry sore bottoms by this time tomorrow,” she said ruefully.

“At least two,” Arabella muttered.

Georgina drew her face into a tight line and her expression was a heartfelt ‘damn it.’ Then a look of horror flooded her face, “Oh my God, I forgot: the hunt!” she exclaimed.

Henrietta drew three neat circles with her mouth and eyes before supress a gasp with a dainty hand. “Me too,” she squeaked.

“The hunt is the least of your worries, believe me,” Arabella sighed, and rolled her eyes.

She was trying to imagine what was worse, a well welted posterior tackling a hunting saddle or a naked one displayed in shame.

“Arabella, I really think…” Georgina had spread her arms wide in agitation as she began to launch into a plea for mercy.

“Oh do shut up Georgina, go to bed, we will face Edward in the morning,” she sighed heavily.

Somewhere a cock crowed and the sun lit up the horizon.


“Little brats, what?” Edward chuckled as he and Arabella waited for the girls to meet them in the study. “And those damn Uxbridge boys too… if wasn’t for that…”

“Edward,” Arabella began, her lips now pursed, “Don’t get soft on them, we have talked about this. We have a duty to safeguard their reputations and an unmarried girl, let alone two, who are not yet 21 have no business gallivanting about the countryside until dawn.”

Edward considered this and nodded sagely. At a little over 40 he was still getting used to young women, even his young wife was a mystery still. She was right about the girls of course, but he so hated being the villain of the piece. The role of wicked guardian didn’t suit him.

To this end he feigned reluctance and manfully stroked his firm square jaw and scratched at his grey peppered red sideburns for good measure.

In case her husband needed further encouragement Arabella moved closer and took his arm. “Remember how you were firm and fair in your army days?” she said softly, “That uncompromising manner of yours is what first attracted me to you.”

Edward nodded and drew himself up to attention.

A few moments later there was a tentative rap on the door and Edward took up a manly posture by the mantelpiece and composed himself.

“Come in,” he ordered in a firm but casual voice.

Georgina and Henrietta trudged in with their heads bowed like two women off to a hanging. Arabella noted with disdain that they were both wearing their jet velvet hunting attire, an impertinent presumption under the circumstances. She herself had eschewed it so far this morning; not at all sure that Edward would permit such activity after her own behaviour.

Edward waited imperiously for the girls to line up before him and tried to gauge their mood. Perhaps they were sorry, he thought charitably.

Only Georgina attempted to meet his eyes, but even this brief foray into bravado was aborted. Henrietta being the younger kept her gaze firmly fixed upon the carpet.

“I hear that you were entertained by the young Lord Uxbridge and his brother last night?” Edward said sternly.

“Yes Sir,” Georgina mumbled.

“Despite my forbidding you both to have anything to do with them,” Edward said insistently, his voice gaining a little in volume.

“Yes,” Georgina whispered.

Henrietta shrugged and then nodded in agreement.

“Please Sir, it was all my fault,” Georgina offered with some insistence.

Arabella, who had so far sat back quietly out of the way, now looked up in surprise. Georgina wasn’t given to taking responsibility. Arabella suspected a ruse. Then she saw it.

Edward who had been doing a splendid job as the stern guardian now displayed a change in demeanour.

Of course, it was a sympathy ploy, Arabella thought and decided to intervene, “Nonsense, you are both as bad as each other,” she put in, “Although, you are the elder,” she added to Georgina, “Perhaps you do deserve a more severe punishment. I presumed that is what you meant?”

Georgina’s eyes widened and she became flustered.

Edward frowned. “Well that is very…” he nodded as he tried to compose himself again, “Noble of you.” He would welcome the opportunity to show some mercy to Henrietta after all.

“Please Sir,” the younger girl spoke up, “I am just as much to blame as Georgie. I know we deserve to be punished.”

Georgina shot her a look that countermanded her earlier magnanimity.

“Yes you do,” Edward agreed, now happy to have that confirmed and even more so for having been given a clear direction to take. “So what do you mean by coming here dressed for the hunt?”

“But…” Georgina blustered, “Aren’t we…?”

“I told you,” Henrietta wailed, and then to Edward she said, “Georgie said…”

“Yes, yes,” Edward said dismissively as he reached for the bell.

It took a moment, but Jenny the senior housemaid soon arrived at the door and waited demurely for instructions.

“Take Miss Georgina and Miss Henrietta to their rooms and prepare them for a nursery punishment,” Edward said sharply.

“Yes Sir,” Jenny replied without a flicker, “Am I to conduct them the nursery afterwards or leave them in their rooms Sir?”

“No, no, you are to bring them back here,” Edward ordered impatiently.

Even Arabella was surprised as Georgina gaped at him. Henrietta looked more resigned.

“But Sir,” Georgina whined, “You can’t possibly…”

“Away with you now,” Edward waved her away.

As he turned he saw Arabella gazing at him with something like admiration admixed with awe.


Edward had expected the girls to be returned to him in their underwear, after all most of the servants were female and to his mind all those bodices, drawers and petticoats were quite enough to contend with for a whipping. However, he was surprised to see both girls dressed in juvenile attire of the sort that had been required of them long before their coming out at 16.

Henriette was meek and accepting but Georgina was flushed in anger and shame, looking as if she would bolt at any minute.

“I tell you this is too much,” she blustered to Jenny as she was ushered back into the study.

“Nursey rig as ordered Sir,” the maid said sharply as she gave Georgina a swat to the tail, “And not a moment too soon if you ask me Sir,” she added approvingly.

The maid, who had been carrying an large iron coal bucket, now set it down by the door so that inside could be seen two bundles of governess birches, an old school cane, a punitive strap and even a long-handled hairbrush.

“No one was asking you Jenny,” Edward said wearily as he dismissed her with her wave, although he took the trouble to study the bucket for a moment with a half-approving gaze.

Jenny executed a quick curtsy and then pursing her lips smugly she departed.

“Sir Edward, Arabella, please… you can’t do this…” Georgina wailed.

Arabella was about to scold her for making such a fuss, although she had to admit that Jenny’s interpretation of Edward’s instructions was highly amusing. Then she saw just how literally the maid had taken things.

Both young women were not only attired in childish short skirts and blouses, but the hems of their skirts and half-length petticoats had been pinned up at the waist at the back. This might have been scandalous enough but Arabella saw now that neither of Edward’s young charges had be permitted to retain their drawers and that their bottom were now quite bare and thoroughly exposed.

Lady Arabella stifled a laugh with her hand while the other slapped her thighs in glee.

“Oh I say,” Edward chortled, “I mean… well yes, just the ticket I suppose…”

“You can’t possibly… I mean…” Georgina was still protesting and vainly covering her exposed portion with fluttering hands.

“Well you didn’t think you would be chastised on a clothed posterior did you?” Edward said sternly, he rather liked the efficiency of the situation.

“B-But,” Georgina wailed.

Edward snapped his fingers and glared at her.

“How do you suggest I proceed, Arabella?” Edward asked, but he was already advancing on the hairbrush. “I mean I think we had determined that Henrietta’s carried the lesser fault?”

Before Arabella could answer Edward had taken up the hairbrush and was crossing the room again to an armless leather padded chair by the wall.

“Henrietta,” he growled.

Arabella let her mouth fall open and then frowned. “I do hope you are going at least cane her as well…” she muttered.

Edward looked at her sternly; his wife was beginning to irritate him.

“I mean, they were both out late and they met with Lord Uxbridge,” Arabella pressed him.

Her husband gave her one curt nod and then reached out for a reluctant Henrietta who had moved nearer. In fact she was still dragging her feet as she tottered forward as she was pulled down across Edward’s lap.

“I will consider that,” Edward said absently as he adjusted the girl across his knee.

Henrietta was beyond ashamed as her bare bottom was pushed up to meet both her guardian’s gaze and the flat side of the hairbrush her held in his hand.

Georgina couldn’t take her eyes off the vulnerable target and she swallowed rapidly know that she was next.

“A childish correction for a thoughtless disobedient girl,” Edward said sadly, then looking at Georgina he added, “But I have something else in mind for you. Meanwhile you may face the wall… and put your hands on your head.”

“Arabella please tell him,” Georgina wailed, but she found no sympathy at all in the woman’s face.

“Georgina,” Edward barked out soldierly fashion, “Face the wall, I shan’t tell you again.”

The 20-year-old made a face of frustration, and more than conscious that her exposed bottom would now confront the room, she blushed furiously before complying.

Meanwhile Edward, confident he would be obeyed, ignored the elder girl and addressed himself to Henrietta’s bare bottom with a healthy thwack of the brush.

“Ooh,” Henrietta squealed and kicked her legs childishly.

The brush made rapid advances and within a minute both the girl’s bottom and her eyes were a decided red and her yelling and wails were such that no one in the house could doubt what was occurring.

“You are reckless with your reputation and as for consorting with that cad Lord Uxbridge…” he expressed the rest of the sentence with a long volley of spanking that sent Henrietta well beyond any dignified composure.

Georgina, ever certain she could live her life scot-free, was fast giving up all hope for her poor bottom. She dared not even protest now and kept her nose pressed safely to the wall as she chewed vigorously on her lips.

Henrietta, although usually more accepting of a spanking, was bawling like she ever had under her nanny’s hand and great gouts of tears were sobbed on to the carpet as they would be for many minutes to come. Even her sister found some genuine sympathy as she cringed in her shaming position facing the wall.

“Now go and join your sister,” Edward said at last.

Henrietta could scarcely draw a breath to reply as she hiccoughed an incoherent response, but she obeyed her guardian now without question, so her actual words were of no account.

Arabella would have wished for a longer correction for the girl, but she was pleased enough with the dark welted red that stained both of Henrietta’s nether cheeks. Edward had certainly found some grit, she thought with some satisfaction.

Anticipating a grisly summons, Georgina risked a head turn, but to her horror Edward was reaching for the bell again.

“I will cane both girls presently, just on a matter of principle,” he said sourly, “But the elder girl needs harsher preparation I feel.”

Arabella caught her breath and felt a little dizzy. “Oh yes,” she whispered.

Tears pricked at Georgina’s eyes and she would have thrown herself on her knees to beg if she had thought it would have deflected her punishment.

“You rang Sir?” Jenny said as she entered.

“The horse, you know, that fold away contraption?” Edward said.

“Yes Sir I know it,” Jenny replied.

“Fetch it will you, and get some help to set it up in here,” her master told her.

The maid swallowed as mirk as she dipped in respect and hastily scurried away to obey.


“I’m sorry Sir, I‘m so sorry,” Georgina wept as soon as she reined in a scream, “I’ll never disobey you again, never Sir…”

But for her stockings the young woman had been stripped below the waist and was now firmly secured across the A-framed trestle in the centre of the room. Her bottom was taught and obscenely jutted skyward where it was set just-so to meet the fall of the birch rods.

Already her mottled red tail was beyond sore and was raked hither and thither with purple and maroon grazes that rose in scores like a relief map of the Himalayas.

Georgina was still begging when the birch rattled some way off behind her and then with a hiss-thwack landed across her bottom once again.

Arabella couldn’t breath and sickened by her own cruelty nevertheless silently prayed that this thrashing would never end.

“Please Sir, I am so much in error, I see that now, please…” Georgina sobbed.

“Do you? Do you truly?” Edward asked sharply, the rod descended again and then after a beat thrice more.

The woman panted like a rider at the hunt and nodded vigorously.

“And if I said we can finish this today or you can do penance otherwise what would you say?” Edward, “Perhaps you have been given too much privilege lately?”

“Oh yes Sir, truly, guide me as you see fit,” Georgina panted.

“Then if you truly repent and agree to it I will finish this punishment early excepting a schoolroom caning for you both…” Edward intoned.

“Oh yes Sir,” the well birched girl spluttered with relief.

“…provided that for the rest of the season you are attired and conduct yourself as is suitable for the nursery…” Edward continued.

Georgina gasped.

“We’ll do it,” Henrietta promised frantically from where she still stood facing the wall.

It would be a relief not to become embroiled in anymore of her sister’s reckless schemes, she thought, life was so much simpler before they had come out. They weren’t ready, she was certain of that.

“You will be caned in any event,” Edward told her, “You have no other punishment to face.”

Arabella frowned and waited expectantly.

“I am done birching you,” Edward finally heaved a sigh without striking another blow, “I am gravely disappointed.”

“I know Sir, but the nursery… it is so shameful,” Georgina sobbed.

“I mean it to be. Let’s see how keen Lord Uxbridge is to pursue a girl who is in juvenile rig and who takes her supper in the nursery before a bed time at eight. Who is spanked and sent to the corner for the least slip…” Edward rattled of a whole screed of restrictions as he remembered fondly how much simpler life used to be with the girls.

“Yes Sir,” Georgina sobbed miserably.

It has not escaped Arabella’s notice that both girls could have easily refused and that Edward would have relented within a day of calming down. Not that she intended for that to happen.

“Might we cane them both on Sunday?” she suggested mischievously. “I have a better idea for taking them down a peg in front of the Uxbridge’s…”


Georgina felt a stray tear roll down her left cheek and heaved a sigh. Now that the intense throbbing in her bottom had eased somewhat she had assumed that she had seen the last of those. But this tear was of shame. Shame because she now found herself still facing the wall in disgrace, only this time in the great hall amid the assembled huntsmen and women. To put matters completely beyond the pale she and Henrietta’s were still attired in juvenile rig with their skirts pinned up in back to reveal that both young women were decidedly sans culottes.

Henrietta seemed more sanguine about the whole affair, an attitude that suggested that she should never have left the nursery, but Georgina was among friends and possible suitors, she would never live this down, she thought bitterly. Or at least she wouldn’t for the rest of the season.

“I say, that’s the way to handle the fillies,” some oaf chuckled and he was joined by a chorus of womanish laughter.

“So I take it they won’t be joining us for the hunt then?” said another with barely concealed mirth.

“I would say not, it looks like they have been unseated rather,” chortled a nasal women with a shires accent.

Georgina swivelled her eyes as far as she dared to gauge who was there and saw Lord Uxbridge talking with Amanda Ponsenby. They certainly looked intimate and to make matters almost worse, they were completely ignoring the two girls’ plight. Then she saw Amanda throw her a smirk in her direction and whisper something that had them both laughing, doubtlessly at Georgina’s expense.

“Ooh, I hate him,” Georgina hissed.

Standing next to her a steady-voiced Henrietta murmured, “We deserve this, you know we do.”

Unsure whether her sister was mad or a latter day sage Georgina rolled her lips into a pout and began to cry in earnest.

“Oh poor girl, there, there,” said a matronly woman, “We’ll be off soon and you can go back to the nursery and put something on that bot-bot of yours. I expect in a few days you’ll be able to sit down again, just in time for your lessons.”

Georgina had no idea if the woman was mocking her or had entirely missed the point. The day before both of them had been the belles of the county and now…. Neither choice brought her much comfort. She had never felt so miserable, especially as she suspected that Henrietta was right. A year from now she would again be the toast of society with her reputation intact, which she suspected was more than could be said of Amanda Ponsenby.

Still, an entire season restricted to the nursery under the care of Jenny was going to be grim, especially since Edward had empowered her to spank them whenever she deemed it necessary. Georgina had a feeling that both the corner and the hairbrush were going to be very familiar to them both by Christmas.

“Do you really think Jenny will make us write out lines this afternoon?” Henrietta asked ruefully.

Georgina’s heart sank, she had forgotten that threat.

“Well if she does, I bet mine will be neater than yours and you’ll be the one getting another spanking,” Henrietta lisped.

“Oh I bet they will,” Georgina groaned as she felt herself sag. It was going to be a long season.


“I had better greet the hunt,” Edward said as he stood up. “Rum do eh?”

“You mean the girls?” Arabella said.

“What else?” Edward shrugged as he crossed the study. “Hadn’t you better get ready?”

He had to walk around the punishment horse, which Jenny had yet to clear away. He was undecided whether to employ it for Sunday’s canings or just make his wards bend over in the traditional manner.

“About that,” Arabella said carefully, her eyes were cast wistfully to one side. “The girls weren’t the only ones out past dawn…”

“Yes well… you do set rather a bad example,” Edward said wearily.

“I agree, and it has to stop,” Arabella said hesitantly, not meeting his eyes.

“Agreed,” Edward said in a puzzled voice.

“Well I won’t you know, not on my own, you will have to put your foot down,” Arabella told him lightly, steeling herself against either his understanding or his lack of it.

“And I suppose I should spank you too and then send you to bed without supper. Or perhaps, should I pack you off to the nursery with the girls,” he chuckled.

“Well that would be a start, whatever you think best,” Arabella replied tentatively.

Edward stopped and looked at his wife for the first time.

“I deserve it Edward, really I do.” Arabella bit her lip pensively.

“And what if I really did send you to join the girls and put you under Jenny’s care in the nursery?” he asked seriously.

“That, my love, is entirely a decision for you,” Arabella said breathily, “But I would rather you handled my discipline yourself, most of it anyway…”

She let the statement hang and time with it.

Edward regarded his wife for the longest moment and then he strode across the room for the bell.

“Had you been cavorting with young lordlings then I would send you to join the girls,” he growled, “Maybe one day I will. For now…” he rang the bell and then rounded on her, “You will go to the corner until Jenny comes to prepare you. When I return from hunting I will find you in that corner still and ready for a sound birching and a taste of that cane that you were so eager for me to employ in the girls.”

“Yes Sir,” Arabella gasped.

“I will make your excuses to the hunt,” Edward said as the door opened to admit Jenny.

By then Arabella was already in the corner and it was possible that a few of those gathered in the hall spied her there. The thought made her blush and her tummy tingled. “Yes Sir,” she said.

For some reason she wondered what it would be like to join the girls writing out lines and being spanked by Jenny for months on end. Surely it wouldn’t come to that, not for her…

8 Responses to “Ladies of the Dawn”

  1. oh reading this sure goes down memory lane for the young ladies of that period. With their bottom well covered with bodices drawers and petticoats preparing them for the birch/cane etc took time: I am sure adding to their thoughts of sore bottoms once they were ready> Jenny sure knew her duty in preparing the naughty young ladies. She may have had many a warning to do it right or else she too would have a sore bottom. A spanked bottom or beaten bottoms cheeks is the same no matter the period or the generation. All bottoms are tender when bare and beautiful DJB your stories are real even if I have to imagine and make real the people you tell about: I try to be present in the story to make it more than just a fantasy or imagination.

  2. 2 richard

    My dad was born in the early twentith century when disobediant wives were often treated like naughty girls the razor strap often being at hand Reading this i was thinking what if it was teddy roosevelts america not england Thanks for the inspireation In my mind i can see grand ma bent at the waist for some great miss deed

  3. 3 markomat

    Great story, I surely hope you continue this one and let us enjoy all the “girls”‘ Arabella included, spend time in the nursery with Jenny and His Lordship keeping a tight rein on them.

  4. I truly enjoyed this little masterpiece. I’m eager to read the eventual sequel to it.

  5. Nice Victorian story! Of course we would have liked to read of the wife getting her comeuppance …

  1. 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: