Miss Strang Chapter 22
Copyright 2008 by Governess, all rights reserved
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This story is intended for ADULTS ONLY. It contains explicit depictions of sexual activity involving minors. If you are not of a legal age in your locality to view such material or if such material does not appeal to you, do not read further, and do not save this story.
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When Mary had gone, Miss Strang turned to me.
"Livia, I hope you were not disappointed that I asked Mary to assist with John. It is good for him to realise there are girls in the world other than his sister."
She smiled, with such a caring look that I was instantly softened.
"No, of course not Miss Strang."
"Good. Now John I want you to take yourself off to your bedroom and dress. See that you put on an extra pair of underpants to protect your trousers. After that I have a treat for us. We shall all go into town and do some shopping. It will be educational as well as pleasant. I have asked Mr Mountfield to have the governess trap outside the house at two o'clock. John and Simon can put on Norfolk jackets and Livia a long coat. Assemble here, please, in ten minutes time."
In ten minutes we all returned to the schoolroom. Miss Strang was clothed in a long dark brown coat with a fur collar, and was wearing a small hat that was set on the side of her head at a jaunty angle. In her hand she had what looked like a leather covered cane about two and a half feet in length. She looked beautiful and rather severe.
It was then very much the fashion for small boys to wear Norfolk jackets, but these were normally worn with long breeches. However, Miss Strang insisted on very short trousers for my brothers, which was far more the fashion for boys in America and Germany, than it was in England. The welts raised by the cane low down on John's left thigh were clearly visible.
We made our way to the entrance hall and then out into a sunlit May afternoon. Miss Strang handed me the leather covered cane, sat in the driving seat, and picked up the driving whip. I sat beside her, with the two boys on the bench seat behind. With a crack of the whip we set off. At first we went through lanes hedged with hawthorn in bloom which soon opened out to a spectacular vista across meadows, where cows were gently grazing and chewing the cud. After a quarter of an hour we passed a cottage that, when I had been very small, I believed to be the gingerbread house in which Hansel and Gretel had been imprisoned. There was a old lady living in it and I had imagined that she was the witch who had put Hansel in a cage and fattened up both children to eat.
As we went along I fingered the leather covered cane with its silver top.
"Is this a cane, Miss Strang."
"Well it may certainly be used as one, Livia. When I take children out it goes with me as a reminder to them that they need to behave. And if they do not, then it can be smacked across bare legs. But no, it is not made of cane. In fact, the cane you are punished with is not a cane either. It is from a plant called rattan that grows in the jungle and is a kind of creeping palm."
She reached across.
"But this is made of whalebone with leather plaited around it. It is a lady's riding whip. As you know ladies do not ride a horse like a man, but have a saddle set on the side. And this whip is the whip a lady uses when she rides out."
"And does it really come from a whale's bones?"
"Well it comes from a whale but not its bones, Livia. Whales feed on very small little fish and at the back of their huge mouths they have large combs, like the comb that you comb your hair with. These let the water through but catch the fish. You know how large whales are. Well the teeth of these combs are sometimes twelve feet long. But they are not made of bone. They are made of the same stuff that your nails are made of, or the claws of animals."
"But you can see how flexible it is. Bend it, Livia."
I did so.
"And the silver top, Miss Strang?""Yes, that is unusual. Whips like this usually have a decorative top. This is a skull. If there is a story behind it, I do not know what it is." .
Eventually we entered the little town and rattling over the cobbles set down in the main square.
Miss Strang, the whalebone whip in her right hand, led the way to Pickersgill's, the haberdashers. Mrs Pickersgill was behind the counter.
"Good afternoon, Ma'am. How can I help you?"
"Good afternoon. I am Miss Strang and am governess to these children. I assume you are Mrs Pickersgill?""Indeed, I am. And very pleased to meet you, Miss Strang. Mr Pickersgill and I were wondering what was happening at the house, after Mrs Arbuthnot's death. A terrible business. I am sure the children are pleased to have a new governess."
She looked over the counter at us with a smile.
"And is Miss Strang strict enough with you?"
Miss Strang smiled and put her arm around John.
"Well, John, am I strict enough?"
John flushed and looked down, not knowing how to reply.
Mrs Pickersgill nodded.
"Yes, I can see you are Miss Strang. The face tells me as much. When a boy looks like that, there's no need to inspect his bottom to know he's been well flogged."
"Yes, Mrs Pickersgill. You are right. I do not believe in sparing the rod. But what I came in for this morning was to purchase some buttons."
"And what sort of buttons, Miss Strang?"
"Small buttons the size that goes on the cuff of a gentleman's jacket. But I want them in three colours."
She looked at us.
"And the children will choose a colour each."
This was all most mysterious. But children love choosing things, and we all became quite animated. In the end I chose blue, John red, and Simon green. They were all bright colours and five buttons were purchased of each colour. We watched as, at Miss Strang's insistence, Mrs Pickersgill put them in three little separate paper bags.
I could see that Mrs Pickersgill was curious. But she did not ask what I am sure we were all wondering. What were they for?
The next stop was the stationers. The sign above the entrance said "Harker Bros." When I was small I had wondered who the Bros was, until it was explained to me that the Bros was short for "Brothers." My mother told me that the other brother had died many years ago but the sign had never been changed.
We entered and the bell on the door clanged. Mr Harker appeared from the back. A tall man, slightly stooping, whom I knew to be very precise and not very patient with children.
"Good afternoon. And you are Mr Harker?"
"Yes Madam. And how can I help?"
"My name is Miss Strang. I am governess to these children and I need a number of schoolroom items. Exercise books, pen nibs, ink, pencils, and several rubbers for erasing. Can you supply those?"
"We certainly can, Miss Strang. Let me show you the exercise books."
She turned to us.
"Livia come with me. You are the schoolroom monitor and need to see what we are buying. John and Simon stand still and do not touch anything."
It was as we were examining pen nibs that there was a loud crash. We turned to see Simon on the floor, an upturned stool by his side and a number of items that had been on display scattered around him. Miss Strang strode across.
"My goodness! Have you hurt yourself, Simon?"
"No . . no, Miss Strang. I'm all right. Really I am."
He scrambled to his feet.
"Well, that's a blessing. But what were you doing?"
"I was trying to stand on the stool."
"To look on the shelf, Miss Strang."
"But did I not tell you to stand still and not to touch anything?"
He hung his head, and replied in a barely audible voice.
"Yes, Miss Strang."
"Well pick up the stool and clear up the things you have scattered on the floor."
She watched him, smacking the riding whip against the side of her long coat.
"And now Simon come here."
He was facing her. She drew him towards her, placing her left arm across his back, and wrapping her hand around his waist. She held him against her left leg, and raised the whip. The whalebone whipped back and then forward across his right thigh. He gave a scream and struggled but she had him firmly in her grasp. Another stroke and then another. And then three more to the other thigh. She released him howling. He stamped, bending at the knees and rubbing his hands up his thighs as if trying to erase the pain.
Mr Harker had said nothing, content to let the children's governess deal with the situation. He walked back behind the counter.
"Well, I must say it's good to see a boy receiving the punishment he deserves. I am sure he won't play up in that way again."
"I intend to make sure that he does not, Mr Harker. But I have to correct you. That was not Simon's punishment. Later he may wish that it was. But no, that was just a foretaste of what awaits him when we return home. Simon, stand over there while Livia and I complete our purchases. And you can stop rubbing the backs of your legs. Put your hands behind your back, stand upright and do not say another word unless I give you permission."
When Miss Strang had completed her purchases for the schoolroom, she turned to Simon.
"Give me your hand, Simon."
He extended it, expecting her to hold it, but instead she grasped him firmly by the wrist and led him out into the street.
"Good. We now need to visit the saddlers across the road."
I had often looked into this rather forbidding place with its saddles and leather goods displayed in a large window. None of us had ever entered it before. As we did so, I saw that there was a large workshop behind the store, and from this emerged a large man wearing a brown leather apron.
"Good afternoon Madam. And what can I do for you this lovely sunny day?"
"Good afternoon. I am Miss Strang and governess to these children."
"And I am Horace Claythorpe, Miss Strang, the proud owner of this saddlery."
She still had a grip on Simon's wrist and raised it.
"Well, Mr Claythorpe, this boy has been running off, and interfering with things he should not touch. He needs to be put on a leash. I am thinking of a strap around his wrist to which a lead may be attached. Is that possible?"
"Certainly Miss Strang. What I suggest is a ferret collar for the wrist and a simple leash to attach to it."
He opened a draw and produced a thin collar with a buckle and from another drawer a length of equally thin leather lead. Miss Strang examined them.
"Stretch out your left arm, Simon."
Simon was by this time red with shame, and shuffling his feet. He was aware that the marks of his recent chastisement were still hot and visible on his thighs. Even if these had passed unnoticed, there could be no doubt from Miss Strang's request and the short riding whip she was holding that here was a boy under the strictest of discipline. He slowly and reluctantly extended his arm.
The ferret collar fitted easily around his wrist and on its last hole tightened satisfactorily. To this Miss Strang clipped the lead.
"I think it would be preferable to have two leads. One shorter and one longer. He can be walked on the shorter and if necessary secured appropriately with the longer. Is that possible?"
"Of course Madam."
"And I would like both leads to have a looped end to make control easier."
"Of course, Miss Strang. That will take only a moment."
When the two leads were brought out, the shorter one was attached to Simon's wrist. I felt a strange constriction in my throat as the sight of my seven year old brother, leashed and controlled in this way.
(To be continued)