The Adventuress


! adventuressThe Jennings’s B Patent engine hummed like a maiden at work. Under the thin brass cover Bella Baxendale knew a thousand little stem valves were sliding up and down like seamstresses’ fingers to weave elaborate tapestries in the air; all using the power of steam.

This was the more ladylike little sister of the big engines that most people thought of when they thought about steam. But those great beasts could not hope to leave the ground and power an airship. An airship, just think of it, Bella felt her heart soar. Why even 20 years before it would have been unthinkable that man could fly and now here she was five thousand feet above an ocean in the very latest craft. It truly was a wondrous age.

No less wondrous was Bella herself. Lady Arabella Catherine Baxendale, to give her full name, was somewhat short for her stature which gave her a rather fuller figure than was quite ladylike. Although she was beautiful after a fashion, she had always been teased at school about her fire red hair, which she had long but forlornly hoped would settle down into a more discreet auburn.

From under this barely contained crown of copper weave stared two large bright eyes of polished blue flecked with gold oft giving them a green aspect. These orbs now scanned the horizon for any hint of land and small frown lines marred the space above her delicate nose.

“Benson, Captain Benson,” she said imperiously, “How long will the water last?”

As she spoke the sun broke the clouds and made her squint against the now fiery-bright ocean. So much so that she lowered her dark tinted googles to shade her eyes.

Benson set his mouth and eyed his employer sardonically. He was a large proud man with a ruddy face and Christmas-white sideburns. Working for a woman was bad enough, but one who was so given to masculine attire that she even wore trousers challenged even his new age liberalism.

Setting his captain’s peaked cap before he answered he said, “The water is not the problem my lady, strong headwinds have caused us to use more kerosene in the burners than I would have liked.”

“But you said…” Bella countered impatiently, but concern touched her face and her heart suddenly wasn’t in a confrontation. “I suppose we won’t make Bristol now?” she shot him a glance for a confirming nod. “Do you think we might make Penzance?”

Captain Benson’s mouth became a tight line. “We will be lucky if we can make landfall in County Kerry ma’am, Tralee maybe.”

“Ireland.” It was an ejaculation of surprised disdain.

“If we are lucky, aye,” Benson nodded sagely. He had no time for aristocratic prejudices. His ship needed kerosene and water, without it they were just one big wayward balloon at the mercy of the harsh Atlantic gales.

“Will they have the necessary there?” Bella asked thoughtfully as if the issue was in doubt.

“I dare say they will have a bit of kerosene about the place for a price.” Benson did not even comment on the water and returned his gaze to the horizon least his face betray his disapproval. “Steady her up there, and ease off on that throttle,” he added to the helmsman.


The airship had found the beach at sunset and with startling efficiency a dozen anchors had been dropped to the sand while two or three score of people came from nowhere to variously help or just gawp.

“There is nothing we can do until the morning, ma’am,” Benson said, “But one of the farmers tells me kerosene is to be had at Killarney in the morning.”

“Meanwhile we have to bounce around up here like a cork in a gale,” Bella said ungraciously.

“It is hardly a gale ma’am, we’ll be safe enough until morning,” Benson countered.

“Now maybe, but I know these feckless local types, they will take all day to fetch kerosene and we will be lucky if we get off this godforsaken island before the next day,” Bella said impatiently.

So much for a single crossing of the Atlantic; New York to London would have been a triumph and might have helped sell the idea of a regular service. A chance emergency stopover in Kerry was not at all what she had been planning.

“I’m going to this Killarney,” she announced.

“Now ma’am?” Benson cocked an eyebrow.

“Now, Captain Benson, right now,” Bella replied sharply.


Sean O’Brian was as big as they came. Not only was he the tallest, and some said the broadest, man in Killarney, he was the richest. Most of his wealth came from fishing, but he also had a healthy line in supplying kerosene for lamps. What he didn’t have was a kindly disposition and it was a brave man who got on his bad side. So when he was awoken by hammering on his door shortly after midnight he was not best pleased.

“Who the devil is that?” he raged as he threw open his upstairs window.

“Are you O’Brian?” The voice had an English accent like cut-glass and he looked down to see a diminutive redhead glaring up at him with her hands on her hips.

“It’s Mr O’Brian to you,” he growled, “Now who are you?”

“I am Bella Baxendale,” Bella said proudly, “And I need kerosene.”

“Do you now?” O’Brian chuckled, “And what makes you think I have such a thing at this hour of the morning?”

“Don’t bandy words with me my man, you have kerosene and I have money,” Bella said haughtily. “It has taken me all night to get to this excuse for a town, but by sun up I want…”

“You will be the airship lady,” O’Brian cut in.

He had already heard about the events down at Skellig and on his orders half the town’s supply of Kerosene had been set aside for haulage at dawn. Now he was of a mind not to sell it at all.

“I am,” Bella snapped, her hands taking a firmer hold of her hips as if to steady herself in the face of a storm.

“Kerosene is mighty scarce around here,” O’Brian called down.

“I refuse to discuss this with you shouting, come here,” Bella said sharply in a tone that easily cut the distance between them.

His face vanished from the window and a moment later heavy bolts were heard from the inside of the door. When O’Brian emerged he was decked out in hastily pulled on seaman’s breeches and wrapped in a heavy coat against the night’s chill.

It was not lost on Bella that the man was a giant and her head barely reached his chest. There was something forbidding too about the way he folded his arms and she was put in mind of an immovable mountain.

“I want…” Bella began.

“You want? I want not to be dragged from my bed at an ungodly hour,” O’Brian growled. “Who do you think you are I might ask?”

“I am Lady Arabella Baxendale.” Bella thought it worth a shot. These yokels were often impressed with such things. “Get whatever passes for labour around here and load up some carts or something with… “

“In the morning,” O’Brian cut her off. His voice was a hard weary sigh. “I got the order from one of your men. He was somewhat politer than you, I might add. Two shillings a gallon and it’s yours.”

“Two…” Bella spluttered, “Kerosene is never more than sixpence… why you cheap little…”

O’Brian’s eyed narrowed and even Bella saw the absurdity of calling him ‘little’ anything.

“Three then,” O’Brian replied darkly, “In the morning.”

“Now look here, if you don’t…” Bella fumed.

“If I don’t, what..?” his words fell like an axe. “You have awoken me. You have insulted me. Now you make threats.”

Bella opened her mouth and closed it again.

“Tell me little ‘my lady,’ when was the last time you had your draws taken down for a good leathering on that pretty arse of yours?” O’Brian’s face was set in iron now.

Bella gaped, her mouth a circle of horror, but as she closed it her eyes were sharp and defiant. “I won’t dignify that with a response you odious brute. I demand kerosene and I will have it at a fair price. If not I will have the authorities on you.”

“Around here I am the authorities, but if you like I can send to Cork for Justice,” O’Brian snarled. “Aye, disturbing the peace, reckless endangerment with that craft of yours… but I prefer the old ways.”

“The old ways indeed,” she snorted, now refusing to be intimidated, “That’s about the size of you and your filthy little town.”

In truth Bella hadn’t even seen the town and what she had seen of the country on the way there had been perfectly charming. But when her blood was up she was in a mood and what little charm she had tended to be cast aside

“Filthy little town,” O’Brian said slowly.

“Look I just want…” Bella began sensing a new tack was needed.

“There you go with the ‘I want,’” he sighed, “I don’t give tuppence for what you want. But I know what you need.”

O’Brian took hold of Bella by the waist and hefted her easily under one arm facing backwards. Then strolling back inside, he carried her like a day sack into the outer scullery.

“Put me down,” Bella shrieked and pounded impotently on his side with her fists.

But O’Brian was in no mood and on reaching the flagstone floor he kicked a three-legged stool from under the kitchen table and sat down with his bundle. She, he lay across his lap and inspected the seat of her breeches.

“Now this is hardly suitable attire for a lady,” he growled as he patted her into a good face down position over his knee. “Will you take them down or will I?”

Bella who had been wailing and shouting fit to wake the town went still. “Take them…? You wouldn’t dare.”

Her leather belt was a simple twist to get at the buckle and he quickly discarded it. The breeches had easily popped buttons at the side so that they opened.

“N-no, no, no, what are you doing?” Bella gasped.

“I am doing what should have been done a long time ago,” O’Brian told her sharply. “You don’t think I am going to spank you through heavy tweed did you?”

“Look you don’t understand,” Bella said frantically as she squirmed.

Her breeches slid to her ankles like velvet drapes so that her firm white tapered legs were completely exposed. O’Brian hadn’t really meant to take her draws down, but one look at her full round naked bottom revealed that she wasn’t wearing any.

“That further indecency is going to cost you,” he snarled as he swatted her bottom hard.

Bella gasped at the hand sized sting and wiggled her behind. The movement was unconsciously enticing and he spanked her again to extract a squeal.

“This is an outrage, how dare you?” she wailed and strained in his vice-like grip.

The crisp splats came at a hammering pace so within in a minute Bella’s bottom was a polished crimson and she was hissing like a bellows. She had no breath for coherent protests and merely grunted and groaned under the onslaught as she held fast to her remaining dignity.

After some five minutes her resistance began to leak form her eyes and she blurted an occasional angry wail that got ever more sob-like.

“Mr O’Brian,” she gasped through a much tightened jaw. “O’Brian, please,” she finally sobbed.

“Your first real spanking I’ll be bound,” the breathlessly enraged giant growled. “Wait until you feel the belt.” His eye fell upon her discarded one and he snatched it up.

“I’m sorry, please…” Bella wailed as he doubled his efforts with the leather.

Every cleft and curve of her bottom was assailed by vicious fire ants and although she held form bawling like a child she was crying copiously and hoarse from her laboured breathing.

O’Brian sensed that to take her further would cost her more than she deserved, besides her bottom was now a heavy red and mottled purple all over, so he stopped.

While both of them regained their breath, Bella sobbed gentle still held across his lap.

“I can see that you are a determined man and I was a bit hasty. Maybe we could…?” she eventually ventured tentatively.

O’Brian nodded and set her on her feet.

“That’s better, now let’s talk business,” he chuckled.

Bella sniffed and stooped to pull up her trousers, hoping to God that her shirt covered anything unseemly in front. Then still at a crouch she looked up at him for permission to continue.

Puzzled he nodded and coughed in embarrassment as he half turned away.

“You are wrong you know,” she said wiping her eyes and smiling.


“Not my first spanking, not by a damn sight,” she admitted shyly as she hauled her clothing back into place. “The leather is an old friend too. My father was quite… strict with me.”

“Your draws stayed down until he said so?” O’Brian said, now realising her curious reluctance to pull them up.

“Nose to the corner, cherry tail displayed for my shaming,” she agreed ruefully. “’No rubbing mind,’” she quoted. “Oh…?” She blushed realising she was doing just that and wondering if she should ask first.

“I would love to have seen that,” O’Brian laughed, “But I think you have learned your lesson,”

“I imagine I have,” Bella winced and clawed her bottom in an unseemly manner.

“You’ll still have to wait for morning, but what do you say to 500 gallons at one shilling a gallon? I make that £25.” O’Brian could scarce keep the amusement out of his tone.

“Fifteen pounds,” Bella said, trying hard to regain her dignity despite the fact that she was still rubbing at her rump. And you still make a tidy profit.”

“Twenty and I’ll cover the labour,” he countered.

“I suppose I am hardly in a position to argue,” Bella sighed and nodded.

They awkwardly shook hands.

“A pleasure doing business with you,” O’Brian winked.

“The pleasure is all yours,” Bella said ruefully.

3 Responses to “The Adventuress”

  1. 1 George

    Imho… very well done.

  2. 2 mick9lan

    I love the setting!..There’s something inherently exciting the Edwardian world that Steampunk extends and expands.

  3. 3 DJ

    Thanks guys 🙂

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