The Bold Lady by John Benson

In his day John Benson was one of the most prolific writers of spanking fiction ever to grace the internet. Much of it was fantasy fiction featuring elements such as magic, elves, spells and wizards. But John Benson also wrote in conventional genres, and he did it very well. This story is from a now defunct web site called unseemly.org and luckily it made its way to my archive so I can share it with you. The story appears to be set in the Regency era, a very popular period these days for spanking romance novels where manners, custom and decorum meet raw lust. What fun!

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Bold Lady

“I do hope we will get on,” Mrs. Wainwright said.  She
tilted her fan just so, one of those oh so subtle signals
Lady Audry could not quite parse.  “I can be of the most use
to you if we are totally of one mind, and I hope you see that
your very best catch is of course, our host.”

Lady Audry wrinkled her nose, a habit her governess
had always told her she must break.  “Yes,” she drawled.
“Mr. Collins.  Why am I not surprised he arranged his male
guests so he would appear first amongst them?  A fine catch
indeed, Mrs. Wainwright, if one wants gobs of money.  I’d
rather pair him with the Countess.  She seems a bit more needy.”

“One can never have too much money,” Mrs. Wainwright said.
She cocked her head, just so.

“But one can have enough,” Lady Audry said.  There was
something she was supposed to do with her hands right now,
some non verbal semaphore, but she had always been too stubborn
to learn anything she thought so silly.  “My income is larger
than necessary to give me a good living.  Therefor I can look
a bit further afield, consider someone who would be compatible.”

Mrs. Wainwright tisked.  “Something so ephemeral as a
love match, then?”

Lady Audry knew the rules.  She was not supposed to
desire anything so silly.  “Compatibility,” she said, “someone
I could be actually friends with.  A basic agreement on the
things that really matter.”

Mrs. Wainwright cleared her throat.  “I haven’t got me
a girl who believes in equality between the sexes, have I?”
she asked.  Her fan, for once, was silent.

Good Heavens no.  For Lady Audry’s dreams, true equality
would be a cruel joke.  “Equality of importance, I think,”
she said.  “Equality of authority?  No.  That would be absurd.”

Mrs. Wainwright’s posture became less rigid and her face
relaxed into a softer, prettier version of itself.  It was the
first non verbal cue Lady Audry felt that she’d probably read
right.

. . .

“It’s more than just support and protect,” Captain
Hawking said.  He brandished his dinner knife and said it rather
loudly, so as to draw attention to himself.  “If I found the
right person, I’d cherish her, adore her, ever try to please.”
At his left, the Countess sighed.

Oh please.  If only it were possible to talk with the
gentlemen in a venue more private than dinner.  Was this
Captain Hawking’s heart speaking, or large quantities of Port,
or his desire to impress?  Lady Audry felt suddenly bold,
willing to stir this seething pot of repressed desire and
see what might come of it.  “Oh I don’t know,” she said in
a stage trained voice.  “Being doted on is so overrated.
Papa doted on me, and look what’s happened.  It’s made a
girl who’s spoilt and stubborn.  A good smack bottom might
have done wonders.  Still might.”

The Countess giggled nervously.  An uneasy silence
rustled.

“Ever try to please,” Captain Hawking said very pointedly.

That man could punish me, Lady Audry thought, and then
he could do anything he wanted.  She was so aware that manners
and clothes were both mere layers of disguise, and that beneath
them lurked a very naughty girl.   One who deserved to be treated
as if she were common, subdued, thrashed, forced…  To mate.
She must admit it.  She wished to be forced to mate.

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The silence burst into frenetic conversation, all pretty
inconsequential.  Human nature abhors a verbal vacuum.  Captain
Hawking flirted with Lady Audry, and she flirted back, feeling
a sense of danger,  intoxicated by a thing more glorious than
wine.

. . .

Mrs. Wainwright sipped her tea, brow creased in a sort of
frowny way.  “That was rather bold of you at dinner,” she said.

The maid tugged on Lady Audry’s stays.  She exhaled
reluctantly.  “Except I meant it,” Audry said.  The stays
were all done up now and she let the maid help her into her gown.
Bright morning streamed into the windows, making her wish
she could just go out and meet it.  “I shall be a nice girl
if I’m subject to painful discipline, and if I’m given deference
instead, I’ll be annoying.  So shouldn’t I say?  Aren’t I
better off to see who finds this little problem of mine to be
an asset, and who a liability?”

“You could have said,” Mrs. Wainwright said.

“But I did do.”

“To me,” Mrs. Wainwright said.  “I have more latitude to
hint about, without embarrassing us both.”

Yes.  She had overstepped, hadn’t she?  “I should be birched,”
Lady Audry said.

A bird sang outside the window.  It was the only sound.
The moment stretched on until it must surely break.  “Come
sit with me and take some tea,” Mrs. Wainwright said.

Audry sighed and sat.  The little maid came up behind
her silently, and began doing up her hair.

. . .

It seemed there was safety in numbers.  Four couples
out walking together could proceed without chaperones, since
there was no chance so many could ever keep a secret.  Lady
Audry hiked with a little more diligence than usual, so as to
keep up with Captain Hawking.

“Speaking hypothetically,” the Captain said.  So coy he
was, so slightly smug about the edges.

“Yes?” said Lady Audry, more breathless than accounted
for by traveling uphill.

“If a gentlewoman truly felt the need for a good thrashing,
it might be arranged without permanent damage to her reputation,”
the Captain said sotto voce.  “With the connivance of her chaperone,
of course.”

Such naughtiness, such fate, such thrilling danger.  “Do
tell,” said Lady Audry.

. . .

Mrs. Wainwright sat with her wine glass halfway to her
mouth.  She held it by the stem with two fingers and a thumb
and sat unmoving, as if frozen by the audacity of what she
was hearing.

“I would be brought to a certain spot in the woods,” Lady
Audry said.  She heard the breathless quiver in her voice.
“My clothes would be removed and I’d be gagged and blindfolded
and tied facing a large tree, and there I’d be, helpless if
some gentleman should happen by and choose to thrash me with
a birch he’d find conveniently at hand.”tumblr_m4fmb06ol41r3sv4oo1_400

“I… see,” said Mrs. Wainwright.  “And some gentleman
might just happen by because?”

Lady Audry’s heart thumped.  “Because a note would have
been delivered to his pillow the previous evening,” she said.
“And just to make sure the proceedings did not become more
amorous, my dear chaperone would have secreted herself a
slight distance off, ready to make a row if need be.”  She
must think me shameless, Audry thought.  Yet I am ever so full
of shame.  It’s just that I must expose my shame, or how ever
will it be beaten out of me?

Mrs. Wainwright actually moved.  She turned her head and
wrinkled her brow and pursed her lips and seemed to remember
her wine and brought it to her mouth and sipped.  “I do hope
it’s not Captain Hawking,” she said.

Lady Audry’s blood pounded in her ears.  “No?” she said.

“Because the good Captain enjoys female companionship a
bit too much, and I’m afraid fidelity is not among his virtues.”

Oh dear.  “How would you know?” asked Audry.  This mustn’t
be true.  He’s what I need.  Therefor, how dare he not be
perfect?

“Because,” said Mrs. Wainwright.  She took another sip
of wine.  “He may have propositioned you in a way that you
find suitable, but he has also propositioned me, in a manner,
ah, a bit more conventional.”

“Oh.”  I’m cursed, thought Lady Audry.  I’m not to get
what I want in life.  Why couldn’t I just be common?  They
get it all the time.  But wait.  I still might compromise.
Which do I truly want, a man who’s true to me but puts me on a
pedestal, or one who is a bit of a rogue but gives me what
I need?  “Nevertheless,” she said, “he’s the one who seems
interested in my affliction.  Please.  Will you help?”

“And if I refuse?” Mrs. Wainwright asked.  “You’d do it
without me and risk everything?”

“I….”  Why lie.  “Yes.  I’d still be forced to try.”

“Then I am forced to assist,” Mrs. Wainwright said.  She
rose and poured herself more wine.  A lot more wine.

I’ve won, thought Lady Audry.  So why don’t I feel
triumphant?  Why do I just feel nervous and ashamed.  “May I
have some too, please?” she asked meekly.

Mrs. Wainwright nodded wordlessly and fetched another glass.

. . .

“I have half a mind just to thrash you myself, and then
shoo your young man away,” Mrs. Wainwright said.

A stiff breeze rustled through the trees and teased
Lady Audry’s rump.  She was gagged and blindfolded and her
clothes were off her and her arms embraced a stout tree trunk and
were tied to it with a thick rope.  Another pinned her ankles
to the tree.  Maybe you just should, thought Audry.  Thrash
me yourself and tell me this is folly and scold me and dress
me and take me home and don’t let a man come anywhere near
my naughty needy body.  Punish me and force me to be chaste.
Don’t let him understand my helplessness and witness my desire.
The rough bark chafed her bosom, her arms, her crotch.  Bad
girl.  Bad girl.   Bad girl’s going to feel the birch.  Bad
girls going to get….

“Someone’s coming,” Mrs. Wainwright said.  “You wait here,
I’ll be back.”

Oh sure, wait here, all tied and gagged and all.  Lady
Audry heard the stirrings in the grass and leaf litter as
her chaperone moved off.  So bare, she thought.  So bare.  Wait.
The sound of someone wearing boots.  A man.  The Captain,
here to hurt me.  Too late.  Too late.  I’m going to get….

“Well, look what I’ve found,” someone said.!7thd500

Oh God!  That wasn’t the Captain, it was Mr. Collins.
“Mmmm,” whined poor gagged Audry.

“If you’d asked me I would have said any girl who puts
herself in such a position should be birched quite soundly,”
Mr. Collins said, “and here’s the right proper tool so easily
to hand.  It’s Providence, I’d say.  Pure Providence.  So
what do you say, my dear, do you think you should be punished?”

“Mmmm,” whined poor gagged Audry.  She thrashed against
her bonds as if to get away, but her head was nodding ‘yes,’
not ‘no.’

“I’ll take that for a ‘yes,” said Mr. Collins.

Silence.  Scary, sexy, rough bark, helpless.  What is
he doing?  Is he just going to leave?  Torment me by promising
and merely walk away?  Cruelty too hurtful even for a
girl as bad as I?  No, please, anything but indifference.
Please, God, don’t let him just leave me like this, all needy
and naughty and all.  Please.

!ay5YM1r7thdeo00

Swish, whack!

“Mmmm!”  A line of fire ignited.  Yes!  Real punishment.
Real pain.  Real helpless squirmy tied up naughty whipped girl
and Mrs. Wainwright back there someplace so it didn’t go too
far into sin.  Probably.  She was probably back there, right?

Swish, whack.  Swish, whack.  Swish, whack!  Swish, whack!!
sexod096
“Mmmm.  Mmmm.  Mmmm.  Mmmm.  Mmmm!!!”

. . .

Audry felt odd back inside her clothes, a bad little girl
playing dress-up, pretending to be a Lady.  Her bottom throbbed,
and she could still feel the roughness of the tree against
her front side.  The most exciting thing that’s ever happened,
she realized.  Even if it wasn’t the man I wanted.  I wish
he would have taken more liberties, though, not just touch my
poor bruised bottom for a moment and then leave me with a sigh.

“How come it came to be Mr. Collins, do you think, Mrs.
Wainwright?  You think perhaps the Captain valued his friendship
more than he did mine and conspired with him to trade places?”

They had to move a bit off the path, to avoid a fallen
tree.  “Because I moved your note,” Mrs. Wainwright said.  “You
forced me to become involved in this, and so I decided to do
what would truly be in your interest.  Hawking is not right
for you.  He’d leave you with the wrong sort of tears.  So
I felt out Mr. Collins on this matter and he seemed, shall we
say, amenable?”

Amenable.  But did he like it?  It felt somehow important
that he like it.  She didn’t want someone who merely whipped
her because she wanted it.  “Well, he did do a sound job, I’ll
admit,” Audry said.  “But could you see his face, his general
demeanor?  Was he avid, or was he merely performing a courtesy?”

“I’m not quite sure,” Mrs. Wainwright said.  “I was a little
way off, you know, and a bit occupied, I’m afraid.”

What?  “Occupied?”  Oh God, not….

“With Captain Hawking.”

224

Lady Audry felt a slow burn.  “I see.  All for my own
good, then.  Or did you fail to give the Captain my note because
you wished to keep him for yourself?”  Her voice had risen.
She must control herself more.

“Gently, dear,” said Mrs. Wainwright.  “A passing fancy
would be bad for you, but just the right thing for me.  We
are both better off this way, believe me.”

He could have taken me, Audry realized.  My spy was not
watching.  Mr. Collins could have had me and no one the wiser.
Did he know that?  “But did he like it?  Will he want me, now
that he knows my secret?”

“I wouldn’t worry,” Mrs. Wainwright said.

“But,” Audry fretted.  “Men want innocence, and piety,
not animal spirits and dark desire.  He will not want me, and
then he’ll gossip and I’ll be doomed, and….”

anton024

“Ask him,” Mrs. Wainwright said.  “You’re a very brave
girl, for all you’re willing to take on a lot of risk.  So
ask the poor man if he likes you.  I think he owes you an
answer, seeing how he just flayed your arse and all.”

“Mrs. Wainwright!”

“Well, he did, didn’t he?  So ask him.  Maybe he’s all
tongue tied from pure joy and embarrassed and might pretend
he doesn’t know it’s you, unless you up and ask directly.”

Oh bother.  Why was she suddenly so shy?  Because it
suddenly mattered too too much?  “Can’t you ask, Mrs. Wainwright?
Like you said you have more latitude and all.”

“Which one of us is the naughty girl, dear?”

That struck her funny.  Lady Audry giggled.

“Oh.  Never mind.  Which one of is just got thrashed
to the point she should probably want to obey her elders.”

Too right.  Audry’s bottom throbbed.  “Oh dear.  You’re
right.  I’ll ask.”

. . .

Mrs. Wainwright was there, of course.  She’d never be in
Mr. Collins’ study alone.  Lady Audry felt young, as if she
were still at school and was now called on the carpet.  Most
of my face was covered, she thought.  I can just pretend he
doesn’t know it was I, and he will pretend likewise, and this
need not amount to anything.  That way led to safety, but also
the loss of all her dreams.  Why was she like this?  Why couldn’t
she just be what everyone else expected?

Mr. Collins looked uneasy.  Oh dear.  He cleared his
throat.  “I am not usually an impulsive man,” he said.

Her heart sank.  “I have offended you,” Lady Audry said.
“I am deeply sorry.”  Please want me, please love me just a
little, please think that I’m okay.

“On the contrary,” he said.  “You have astonished me,
but you have not offended me.  All my life I have been certain
that I must treat with lower class women if I wish to use
them in certain ways, and now….”

She trembled.  “I am only high class on the outside, sir,”
she said.  “And now you know.”

“Yes,” he said.  “Now I know.  Hold out your hand.”

She held it out, trembling just a little.  Would he strike
it with a ruler, as they had done in school?  Instead he dropped
something heavy in her palm.  A gold ring with a large square
transparent stone.

“It was my mother’s,” Mr. Collins said.

She almost didn’t hear him, but then the meaning of the
words sunk in and she realized what she held, what it was,
what it meant.

“I was looking at this all wrong,” Mr. Collins said,
“treating it as a business venture.  It isn’t.  It’s whom
I want to live with.  Whether I must ever compromise, or
have everything I ever wanted all wrapped up in one very
pretty little package.”

“Put it on,” Mrs. Wainwright said.

I know what this is, Audry thought.  What it means.  My
future.  Her hand trembled and she almost dropped it.  A
diamond.

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