Something To Remember Him By

May 31, 1896
Elizabeth Bassett

I was not the only Primrose girl invited to the junior ball. There were several others including my roommate Lucy, but as I descended the steps into the main foyer it felt as though every eye in the house was focused on me. The royal blue gown Jonathon gifted me with was as much the commotion as anything. It was truly beautiful and I felt that way myself for the first time in months.

Jonathon stood at the bottom of the steps waiting to escort me. He somehow managed to look regal and disheveled at the same time. His grey suit was a perfect compliment to my attire and while I am certain with most men it would be an accident, I am certain where Jonathon is concerned it was not.

He extended his arm to me as I reach the final step. I smiled (relieved I had not tumbled down the stairs) and took his arm. Mr. Carrington stood nearby and by the look of pride on his face you might have thought he was my father.

“You look lovely, Elizabeth.” Jonathon whispered in my ear.

“Thank you.” I replied with a slight blush on my cheeks.

As we approached the front door where Mr. Carrington was standing, he cleared his throat. His eyes leveled on Jonathon.

“Midnight.” He said.

Jonathon nodded. “Yes, sir.”

We exited the manor and descended the steps to Jonathon’s carriage. It was scarcely six and the sun was still warm on my back. I looked back up the steps as I settled into the carriage. Penelope looked out longingly from the window and I felt a twinge of irrational guilt. She waved and I waved as well with a supportive smile.

It is strange to think it will be months before I see her again. We have had so little time to talk about all that has transpired in the last few weeks. I fear the closeness we have achieved of late will be absent when next we meet. She leaves on the last train of the night and while we have promised to write over the summer, I know as well as she, we will not.

I will not leave until Tuesday. The rates are lower then for some reason. I do not mind the extra few days though. It will give me ample time to say goodbye. I am not even certain yet if I will return in the fall. I wish to but wishes are not always enough, so I have learned.

“You are distracted.” Jonathon said as the carriage began to move.

“I’m sorry. I was thinking about Penelope.”

“I thought you were not friends?”

“We are not but maybe we could be? I feel sorry for her with what all she has gone through.”
Jonathon nodded.

“Mr. Drake would not be my first choice as a disciplinarian. Penelope has my sympathies as well, but I do hope she has learned to better control her tongue.”

I looked at him with surprise.

“You do not support the changes?” I asked.

“I support the school board. My opinions as to the details are my own and not a pertinent discussion.”

“A simple yes or no would have sufficed.”

“If the question could be answered simply it would have been.”

“I do not infer the subject a simple matter, but one’s position can be simply stated as for or against.”

“My position is not simple nor shall it likely ever be simple. To quantify a position as merely yay or nay fails to recognize the inevitable lack of totality. Were I to take the time to state my position in full you would realize the flaw in your logic, for my position does not yield to the simplicity you desire. As my position is not relevant, a conversation in its regard would be equally trivial and without merit.”

“How small you must feel.” I said.

“I beg your pardon.” He said.

His eyes bore into me, making me feel small.

“As you should.” I replied.

His eyebrow arched in disbelief. I could hardly believe the words had slipped from my mouth as well.

“Perhaps it would be best if we avoided such talk this evening?” Jonathon ventured.

“I think you are right. I am sorry.” I replied.

“No, you are not, but I forgive you regardless.”

I smiled, embarrassed by the truth in his words.

It was soon after we arrived at our destination. Not the ship, but the finest restaurant in all of Providence. Jonathon wore me on his arm like a badge of honor. In most cases, I have found it annoying when a man does so to his companion, but with Jonathon, it felt right.

We were the center of attention when we entered. Heads turned, menus dipped, napkins were raised and all to stare at us. More accurately to stare at me but Jonathon knew that all too well, I think. Not even with my father have I been treated so much like a lady of importance.

Dinner was pleasant enough, certainly superior to the food at the Carrington’s. Jonathon and I fell into silence as we ate. It was likely for the best because it seems no matter what the subject, I always end up insulting him or he me. Maybe we are not the fit I wish us to be or maybe we are and simply have years of interesting conversations yet to come. I wish for the latter but suspect the former to be more true.

It was only a short distance to the harbor from the restaurant and Jonathon chose to walk. The sun had only just set when we stepped out onto the street and the night air was only then beginning to cool. It felt nice to stroll along a real street with him as my escort. I wonder if I too was wearing him like a badge of honor. I definitely felt proud to be at his side.

We turned a corner and there in the distance I could see the lights of the ship for the first time. It was brilliant. Breathtaking. I blinked and held my arm up to shield my eyes.

“It is beautiful.” I said.

“It is only light and it is dim to your beauty.”

I stopped walking and turned toward him. He paused as well and turned to me. His eyes seemed nervous as though they wanted to ask if he had something wrong. I tilted my head up to him and stared into those sincere eyes. The light was to his back and it created a white glowing aura around him like he was an angel sent to me.

I pushed myself up on my toes, wrapped my arms around his neck, and kissed him passionately on the lips. He was stiff and shy at first but he melted to my touch. His arms enfolded me to him crushing my breasts against his chest. Our hearts beat as one and he took my breath away.
Suddenly he pushed me away and turned from me. His head sank low and I could see he was trembling.

“Please forgive me. I had no right.” He whispered.

“No, you had every right.” I replied.

“You are an enigma, Elizabeth Bassett.” He said turning toward me once more.

“I think I like that.”

He offered me his arm and I took it. We walked on to the ship in all its splendor. A band played on the main deck and we danced the night. There were others around us but I only had eyes for Jonathon and he for me.

On the steps of Carrington Manor we said goodnight. I think it might have been goodbye as well but this was a perfect night, a happy night and there are no happy farewells. I will always remember the evening fondly along with the proper gentleman who kissed my hand goodnight.

Hell Hath No Fury

May 30, 1896
Sarah Waters

The morning began like all the others. I awakened on the floor of his bedroom, tied to the foot of his bed. He kicked me in the side until I groaned, then he dumped a bucket of cold water on me. In the beginning I would scream and shudder, now I only raise my weary head. I glared up at him and for the hundredth time I wished he were dead.

“Get up.” Billy ordered.

I obeyed more out of habit than because I cared what he would do if I did not. He grabbed hold of my arms. They were bound tightly together by rope. He pulled a knife out of his belt and cut the rope in a single stroke. His grip did not loosen. He pulled me along with him as he walked out of the bedroom and into the kitchen.

I expected he wanted me to fix breakfast. I gritted my teeth to do it, convincing myself if I was careless enough, he might just choke on it. This morning was different though. He pushed me toward the tub in the middle and as I stumbled against it I realized it was filled with warm water.
“Get in.” Billy ordered.

I stepped nervously into the tub, expecting to discover a hidden cruelty in the seemingly kind gesture. I settled in the warm water and despite my fears the tension slipped away from me. Billy threw a bar of soap into the water causing it to splash up in my face. I sputtered for a moment and glared at him.

“Wash.” Billy ordered.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because if you don’t, I will.”

I picked up the soap and began to lather my skin. It seemed a lifetime since I had last been clean. The act of bathing felt strikingly normal despite the gaze of my captor. I began slowly but scrubbed more enthusiastically as I felt the layers of dirt falling away. I could have stayed there the whole day had he allowed it.

Billy held out a small towel to me.

“Get out and dry off.” He ordered.

The towel was hardly equal to the task but I did what I could with it. I was amazed how much more alive I felt just for having a bath. No doubt it is wrong to be grateful to one’s captor, but I was regardless. I would have kissed him had he asked me to and it would have been willingly rather than grudgingly.

Once I was as dry as the towel would permit, Billy escorted me back to his room. On top of his bed was a box. Was it there before? I cannot recall with any clarity. Billy lifted the lid and inside was a blouse, a skirt, socks, shoes, and a hat. He lifted them out one at a time showing them to me. I dared to hope they would soon be something to wear rather than look at.

“I apologize for the lack of under things.” Billy said.

He handed me the blouse and I wasted no time getting into it. Next was the skirt and once it was in place I felt normal for the first time since that day on the mountain with Laura. Even without my customary bloomers and dressing gown it was a relief to no longer be totally exposed to every wandering eye.

I sat on the bed to pull on the socks and shoes. Billy placed the hat on my head himself and smiled toothily at me.

“Now you almost look like a lady. In fact if I didn’t know every square inch of your body beneath those things I would think you were.”

Leave it to Billy to be both flattering and insulting all in the same breath. It began to enter my thoughts that there was more to the morning’s bath and clothing than met the eye. From my perch on his bed I glanced out the window to notice the sun was only then rising. I considered asking what the occasion was but decided I would find out soon enough and it might be better if he thought I was oblivious to ulterior motives.

Billy produced a brush from somewhere and began to stroke it on my exposed hair. The tangled knots pulled fiercely from weeks without care. I wondered if he realized the hat should have been placed on after my hair was brushed and not before. If so, he gave not a sign of it. I chose to keep it to myself. He pulled my hair back into a tail and tied it with a yellow ribbon after a few minutes of what he must have considered futile brushing.

“There, you look something pretty.” He said.

“Thank you.” I smiled as best I could manage.

I expected to soon be cooking away again in the kitchen and was therefore surprised when he escorted me to the table instead. He pulled a chair out for me and gestured for me to sit in it. I was shocked for the courtesy as I sat.

From the kitchen I could smell the aroma and hear the sounds of breakfast being prepared. I glanced in the direction, curious who was preparing it. I recognized the young woman as Beatrice Patterson. She was not much older than me and married to one of the newest miners in our small town. Her bare back showed signs of a recent whipping and I fleeting wondered what she had done to deserve it. The answer of course is nothing at all. None of us deserved to be where we were.

Beatrice came out a few minutes later and I could see, like me, she had been stripped completely. She was still crying from the shame of it but she managed to pour coffee into our cups without incident. Our eyes met for a moment and while you would expect some sense of camaraderie between us there was none, only anger and hate directed at me. I felt sorry for her in spite of it.

Breakfast consisted of eggs and bacon and was by far the most I had eaten in the weeks of my captivity. It felt odd to have a full stomach again. My thoughts returned to the ulterior motivations I expected. Billy’s men seemed to have less of an appetite than usual but Billy ate his normal overindulgent quantities. I gathered the men were nervous about something. They all stared at me more than Beatrice which told me something must have to do with me.

Billy’s cockiness told me volumes as well. He no doubt felt he had matters well in hand and that could only mean he believed he would be putting the strike down for good. My presence suggested a meeting with my father to negotiate a return to work for the release of prisoners. I further assumed I would not be among the first released but would likely be used to show we had been well treated. That would indicate I was expected to be seen but not heard.

All suppositions based on limited facts but they seem logical and fitting enough. There is also the prominence of guns, rifles and ammunition. They have been scarce since I was brought to the house and seeing them scattered around and holstered on every hip told me Billy was planning on making a show of force.

The miners are not soldiers by any stretch of the imagination but you would be hard pressed to find a man, not to mention a woman or child over the age of 8, who was not capable of handling a gun in our small town. It may be different in the big cities and all but out on the frontier, knowing how to shoot a gun can be the difference between living and dying.

From the stories I have heard about Billy and his men, they are used to dealing with miners in more civilized parts of the country. I wonder if he understands how different the west really is.
After breakfast I simply sat at the table waiting. The men took turns pacing in and out of the house. Billy sat next to me, leaned back in his chair with his feet resting on the table. Nobody said a word. The sun warmed up the air and I began to perspire, probably because my body was no longer used to the insulation of clothing. Then again, maybe I was just nervous.

It was near midday when my theories proved true enough.

“We’re here, Mr. Howe.” I heard my father’s voice shout from outside.

Billy stood up so fast he sent the chair falling on its back. Frank, grabbed hold of my arm with a bruising grip and we all stepped outside. Frank and I stayed back a bit from the rest of the men but Frank held me in front of him so I was clearly visible to my father and the other miners with him.

They stood just at the edge of the tree line. My father was out in front, he held a rifle casually in his left hand. I recognized most of the other men behind him, including Laura’s father and Beatrice’s husband. They were all armed in some fashion, most with rifles, but some sported pistols as well.

Billy seemed oblivious to the arms, but I could tell his men were more than a little nervous at the sight before them. They were outnumbered by the miners and for the first time I think it was occurring to these men that they might have a real fight on their hands.

Billy stopped about a hundred feet back from my father and his men shored up a line behind him.
“I’m sure we can come to an amicable agreement, Mr. Waters.” Billy said across the distance.

“Release our women and daughters and we just might.” My father replied.

“First things first, Mr. Waters. Get your men back into the mine and I promise every single one of these girls will be home when you finish your first shift.”

“It’s not going to work that way, Mr. Howe. They leave here now.”

“In case you haven’t noticed I hold all the high cards.” Billy replied.

“You’ve been caught sleeping at the reigns. The whole mine is wired with dynamite and one word from me and your employer will spend at least a year trying to get back in it.” My father said.

Billy bristled with a touch of anger. My father had gotten through his cool exterior and it was nice to see.

“You do that and all these women will suffer for it. I think we both know these threats won’t end things and neither of us really wants to follow through with them.”

“I may not want to but don’t doubt my resolve and don’t think for a moment we will walk away from here empty handed.”

“We each have our agenda here, Mr. Waters. You aren’t going to see yours done today. So, for the sake of your daughter, why don’t you just back down now before someone gets hurt?”

“Don’t you threaten my sister!” Sam yelled stepping forward to stand at our father’s side.

I was glad to see him but I must admit surprised also. Billy made a gesture to Frank and I found myself being pushed forward still firmly in the ape’s grasp. He adjusted his grip as we came to stand beside Billy. With one hand he held my arms pinned behind my back and with other I could hear him unsnap his holster and pull out his gun.

“I’m going to give you to the count of five to drop your guns and head back to work.” Billy called out stubbornly.

Sam leveled his rifle off in the general direction of Billy.

“I’m giving you to the count of three to let my sister go.” He shouted back.

My stomach turned in knots. Frank rested the barrel of his gun against my temple. I saw the look in my father’s eyes and the determination in my brother’s stance. This was not going to end well and Billy was a fool to think he could use me to make my father back down.

I could see it all. Sam would kill Billy and Frank would kill me. It would not be the end of the killing, just the beginning. The men were beyond the points where they could back down and I could see my father and brother did not believe Billy would release me or anyone else whether they returned to the mines or not. Billy could not see it, maybe it was because he did not realize he was already dead.

I had prepared myself for this eventuality while waiting in the house. I knew the odds were not in my favor, but I would rather be damned than give up without a fight.

“One.” Billy counted.

“Two.” Sam responded.

“Three!” I shouted and stomped my heal on Frank’s toe.

He yelped. I slammed my head back into his chin and he lost his balance. His gun waved wildly from my head and fired into the dirt. I continued to shove backward until I felt him lose his grip on my arms. The men on both sides began firing their guns and running for cover. I spun around bring my arms together in front of me in a double fist and with all my might I swung into Frank’s face and sent him reeling backward and sideways to the ground.

“Sarah! Get down!” My father yelled from somewhere behind me.

I dove to the ground hearing the whistle of bullets in the air all around me. I rolled to my side toward the house.

“Somebody grab her!” Billy shouted.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Frank the ape, back on his feet and charging after me. Just as he dived at the ground for me I spun on my back and kick up with both feet. The impact of his face on my feet jarred my knees but by the groans he was making on the ground nearby I would say it jarred his face more.

I scrambled up on my feet, keeping as low as I could and ran for the house. As I reached the steps and grabbed hold of the door I felt a searing burn across my back. My thoughts flickered back to Billy’s whip but I did not turn to look. I pulled the door open and nearly fell inside.

Beatrice sat crouched in a corner, her arms wrapped around her knees. She did not seem to even notice me as she rocked back and forth, tears streaming down her cheeks. I grabbed one of the spare rifles leaning up against the wall and a box of bullets. I checked the rifle was loaded and then shoved the box into my blouse at the waist. It was less than perfect but it kept my hands free.

I crouched below a window with a view to the main fight and the barn. Carefully I peeked out to assess the situation. Billy’s men were scattered like rats, but the miners were hardly better organized. Only men would come armed to the teeth and unprepared to fight. Toward the barn I could see Billy and Jackson along with another man running.

I realized without a single doubt how Billy intended to end things. None of the miners were in a position to stop him and things were going to get real bad if he was not. Staying low I crawled toward the side door knowing it would give me a fairly safe and direct approach to the barn.
Just as I reached it, I heard the front door slam open and the heavy footsteps of a man clap on the wooden floor. I turned my direction back to the main room.

“Don’t hurt me.” Beatrice cried.

The man’s back was too me but I would recognize ape man from any angle. He was wavering his pistol at Beatrice as though trying to make up his mind if he wanted to shoot her or not.

“Drop it.” I ordered despite my every instinct telling me to shoot.

Frank let out a low guttural laugh. I kept my rifle aimed squarely on him, not trusting him for a second.

Suddenly he spun around toward me and shot. The bullet splintered the wood above my head. I pulled the trigger and heard a roar twice as loud as it should have been. Frank’s side exploded and he stared dumbfounded at me for a moment before collapsing face down on the floor.

A creak of wood at the doorstep and I turned my gaze and aim to the front door. Sam stepped through carefully. I breathed a sigh of relief. A second look at Frank and I realized we had shot him at the same time.

“Sarah! Are you all right?” Sam asked running to me.

I smiled a real smile and said, “Yes, I am fine now.”

For a moment I forgot we were in the middle of a war. I threw my arms around Sam and hugged him to me. It felt like years since he had held me and perhaps in some way it was. Time has a different definition without freedom.

“The barn.” I said suddenly remembering Billy.

“What about the barn?” Sam asked pushing me back to arms length.

“That’s where everyone is and Billy is headed there right now.”

“Billy?” He asked surprised at the informal name.

“Never mind that now, we have to hurry or he’ll start killing them. He’s ruthless, you won’t believe what he did to Laura.”

“You did it! You did it! All of this was your fault!” Beatrice shrieked.

Sam and I had not noticed her move but she had. She held Frank’s discarded gun in her shaking hands and it was aimed mostly at me. Sam eyed her carefully and as she stepped close enough he grabbed her arms and wrestled her to the floor. The gun went off.

Sam had hold of the gun and threw it across the room. He slapped Beatrice hard and she collapsed limp to the floor. The bullet had gone wild in my direction. My hat fell off to the floor and my hair felt warm and sticky as my hand touched the side of my head. Pulling my hand away I stared at it. A cold shiver ran down my spine as I recognized the red on my hand as my own blood.

Sam’s face went pale and he scrambled toward me.

“There’s no time. You have to get to the barn, now.” I said.

He hesitated for a moment and then said, “Don’t move. I’ll be back for you.”

He grabbed his rifle and went out the side door.

Feeling crept back into my head. It pulsed in tune with an imaginary marching band keeping time in my head. I stared at Beatrice, unconscious on the floor and her angry words echoed in my ears. Was I to blame? In the dazed light I could see I was and was not.

The balance seemed unsettled between right and wrong. The confused thought entered my head suggesting that neither of us were wrong but that did not make either of us right. My thoughts returned to the barn and I decided Sam might need help. There were three of them out there after all if not more.

I picked up my rifle from the floor and stood up. I wavered, unsteady on my feet for a moment and reached out for the wall. The world stopped spinning. I ran through the side door following after Sam.

I reached the barn in the nick of time. I crouched to the side of the open door. I could hear women crying.

“Drop your gun boy or this one is dead.” I heard Jackson say.

I peeked inside to see him holding Laura by her hair, his pistol against her scarred cheek. She looked like she wanted him to pull the trigger. I turned the corner into the barn with the rifle barrel leading the way. To my left I saw Sam crouched behind a wooden post for cover. My father’s voice rang in my ears as I took my aim.

“You always pull up and to the right when you shoot, so aim a little low and to the left.” He had said to me.

I took his advice and squeezed the trigger without hesitation.

Jackson blinked once and then fell to the ground a trickle of blood running down his forehead into his eyes. I kept walking forward, cocking the rifle as I went. I swung around the side of the hay expecting to find Billy or the other man laying in wait. Instead it was empty and I realized only then they had used my own escape route to escape.

I rolled through the busted wood in time to watch Billy and two of his men ride away into the forest. I heard a pistol’s hammer draw back behind me and froze in my tracks.

“Drop the rifle, Sarah.” A familiar voice ordered.

Without dropping my rifle I glance slowly over my shoulder. I recognized the sheriff well enough. I considered my options carefully, he had me cold but if really wanted me dead I would be.

“You might want to rethink pointing that gun at my daughter.” My father’s voice came from around the corner of the barn.

I could not see him but the sheriff turned to face him. His gun was no longer aimed at me but at my father. I turned around to face him and pointed the rifle in my hands at him.

“Drop it sheriff.” I ordered.

Instead of dropping his gun he dropped his entire body to the ground and fired two shots toward my father at the same time. I heard a single shot in the distance which must have been my father’s. I struggled to re-aim my rifle at the sheriff but he was too close and he rolled into my legs knocking me to the ground.

He ripped the rifle out of my grip and then turned its butt on my head. I slumped against the barn’s outer wall dazed. The sheriff ran off for his horse and disappeared into the woods.

I crawled shakily around the corner to see my father laying still in the grass. I tried to run to him but each time I got my feet under me I fell again to the ground. I crawled slowly toward him every inch a painstaking journey into eternity.

At last I reached him. His chest was covered in blood his eyes were dim and dark. The air felt suddenly cold and a shadow seemed to loom over us despite the sun being high in the sky. My hand brushed a stray lock of hair out his eyes.

“Father.” I cried.

He blinked at me as though only then realizing I was there. He smiled faintly and his hand grasped mine. Tears stung at my disbelieving eyes.

“My angel.” He said with his last breath.

His hand fell from mine, cold. His eyes stared unflinchingly into mine, but there was no spark left, no recognition, no love, only emptiness. My heart broke and I screamed at the heavens.

My grief was interrupted by footsteps in the grass. I grabbed my father’s rifle and pulled it from his cold hands. I blinked the tears from my eyes and aimed at the sound of the steps. Sam emerged from around the side of the barn. I lowered the rifle.

He ran to me and knelt beside our father. He brushed his hand over father’s eyes and closed them for the last time. Anger and hate consumed my soul and I stood up. I ignored the dizziness threatening to overwhelm me and began walking back toward the house. The sounds of gunfire no longer rang out. Scattered in the dirt and grass were the bodies of men. Some I knew, some I did not and I was no more moved by one than the other.

The women who had been held with me began exiting the barn cautiously. Some ran crying to the men on the ground others ran to the arms of men still standing. I felt nothing for them. I cared not of their fate anymore.

I threw open the side door of the house as I reached it. Inside I walked deliberately for Billy’s room where he had kept my saddle in plain sight to taunt me with. I picked it up and exited the front door. I could feel the stares of everyone upon me.

“Where are you going, Sarah?” Sam asked from behind me.

I ignored him and kept walking toward the corral where Jasper still waited. I pulled open the gate and swung it back nearly hitting Sam. Jasper took a position near the rails and nodded at me. I tossed the saddle on his back as though it weighed nothing. My fingers set about tightening up the buckles.

“Sarah!” Sam shouted at me.

I took the box of bullets from my blouse and reloaded father’s rifle. Sam grabbed hold my arm and started to shake me. I shoved him off and he nearly fell to the ground.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

His eyes and voice were begging me to acknowledge him, to speak to him. I climbed up on the rail and straddled Jasper. I rested the rifle across his back and grabbed the reigns.

“Sarah, the fight is over!” Sam shouted desperately at me.

“Not yet.” I said and prodded Jasper into a gallop.

We swerved in and out of the trees making our way back to home. I cannot say why but somehow I just knew they were there. As we approached I could see four horses near the house. At the road I dismounted Jasper and walked the remaining distance.

I kept the rifle ready in my hands. On the door step I saw what I expected, what I dreaded. The sheriff stood there with my mother. She was in tears as no doubt he had told her about my father. She saw me approaching.

“Sarah!” She shouted and it sounded like anger in her voice.

“Get away from him mother!” I shouted back.

The sheriff turned to me an evil grin on his face.

“What have you done Sarah?” My mother shouted through tears.

“Draw your gun, sheriff!” I shouted ignoring my hysterical mother.

“Everything is over Sarah. Lay your gun down now and I won’t even arrest you for murdering your father.” He shouted back at me.

Only then did I realize the devilish game afoot. The truth would come out but not soon enough to stop them from all getting away. The lies would mix with the truth and there would always be whispers in dark corners.

I decided it would not matter what I did now, the damage was all ready done.

“Draw!” I shouted in anger.

The sheriff laughed.

“Draw!” I shrieked.

He turned his back to me. I closed my eyes in frustration. I heard a creak and my eyes snapped back open to see the sheriff spinning toward me pistol in his hand. I squeezed the trigger.
The air echoed with three shots at once. The sheriff fell to the ground and Billy stepped out from inside my home. He holstered his pistol and tipped his hat at me.

“It’s over,. Miss Waters.”

“Not until you are all dead!” I shouted.

Billy chuckled and turned his back on me. He walked confidently to his horse as did the two remaining men with him. They mounted up, ignoring me and my bewildered mother.

“Until we meet again, Miss Sarah Waters.” Billy said and rode off down the road.

I aimed father’s rifle at him for a moment before surrendering to reality. I could not kill him and in part it was because as much as I hated him, I also loved him. I dropped to my knees and sobbed for the painful truth.

Frolicking By The Sea

May 29, 1896
Margaret Spooner

“Edgar! Stop it.” I tried to sound serious.

It was impossible. His fingers were tickling my sides, relentlessly. The smile on my face, laughter in my throat, and most importantly, the fact I did not try to get away from him, must have given away my truthful enjoyment of his attention. Naturally, he did not stop and I did not really want him to stop.

Looking out over the ocean, I collapsed, laughing, to the sand. Edgar followed me down and wrapped his arms around my waist. His lips found their way behind my ears and kissed my neck. I closed my eyes and leaned back into him. It felt surprisingly safe.

We were both fortunate to have taken our last examinations of the term in the morning. The taste of freedom he offered me was far too tempting to refuse. An afternoon on the beach sounded a perfect way to end the school year. I accepted his invitation without hesitation. Mrs. Carrington seemed less than approving of our plans but fortunately kept her objections mostly to herself for a change. I was expecting a battle when I donned my swimsuit and arrived downstairs.

Edgar whistled appreciatively at me when I reached the bottom of the stairs. I blushed even though I suspected he was only half serious at most. Mrs. Carrington seemed to be oblivious to the two of use by that time and we slipped out the front door without a further word.

I have known Edgar since I started at Primrose. He is the same year as me at Brown and fate seemed to have us constantly running into each other from the beginning. It started off all very cordial and proper and it stayed that way.

We became friends over discussions of our favorite subjects. He is the first person I have met who is as interested in as many varied topics as I. Over our two year friendship I think we have covered every subject from the beginnings of life to the possibility of man in flight (Edgar still believes it impossible!).

Naturally, I have always been attracted to him, but I was quite certain he had never seen me in the same light. Maybe it was the swimsuit that made him look again or maybe it was the freedom we felt with the school term at an end and summer looming on the horizon. Either way I was surprised when he made his intentions obvious.

His hands began exploring higher than my waist as his tongue caressed the back of my neck. I turned myself around to face him never leaving his encircling arms. I pressed my hungry lips against his. I scratched my fingernails lightly down the front of his chest. He moaned softly and his arms pulled back to lightly rest on my shoulders.

I shoved him away into the sand and giggled with joy. I jumped to my feet and kicked a little sand at him. He sputtered in mock anger. I turned and ran down the beach toward the water. When I was knee deep in the salty froth I turned back to look at him. He stood where I had left him, looking only at me with a dopey smile on his face. I laughed some more.

“Come on, Edgar! You’re not afraid of a little water are you?” I called out to him.

He laughed and ran toward me in response. I waded out deeper in the water until I was forced to start swimming. It was cool at first but a welcome respite from the heat of the day. Edgar joined me and managed to lock his lips with mine just as a wave crashed down on us.

We let it push us back to the sand. Side by side we laid on the silky wet sand of the shoreline. I found it impossible to look at him without a fit of laughter consuming me. His roaming hands and lips had nothing to do with it, I swear.

The waves continued to crash over us every few moments bringing a fresh wave of salty coolness. We mingled inappropriately for hours, emboldened by our seeming privacy and the recklessness of water. His hands explored my every curve while his lips provided sensuous comfort. If a moment could last forever, I would choose this one.

In time we settled back on the dryer sand and rocks. We watched the waves come and go, getting larger and larger. The sun began to set behind us, beyond the cliffs.

“Do you fancy me?” I asked.

Edgar laughed. I smiled.

“Should I interpret your laugh as a no?” I teased.

“From the first moment I laid eyes upon you, I dreamed about this day.” He replied suddenly serious.

“I thought you did not even notice me.” I replied.

“Silly girl.” He chuckled.

Silly boy. You could have said.”

“And give you the chance to reject me? I think not.”

“I would never!” I replied, slapping playfully at his arm.

“You jest, but you are quite intimidating, Maggie.”

I could see he meant it and for a moment I felt a twinge of pity for him. It must be so difficult for a man to open himself to the scrutiny of a woman.

“How so?” I asked, fishing for compliments.

“You are smarter than most of the men I know for starters.”

“I doubt that.”

“Then you are a fool or blind.”

I giggled.

“What is so funny?” He asked.

I think his confidence was in danger of being crushed.

“You. I must not be so intimidating if you feel comfortable calling me a fool.”

He blushed a little.

“I did not mean it that way.” He stammered.

I kissed him boldly on the lips and hoped it would restore the confident young man I was falling for.

I must have succeeded because it was dark by the time our lips parted again. I smiled at him even though I doubted he could see it in the darkness. In the back of my head a voice told me it was late and we should be going.

“Why today?” I asked suddenly.

“What do you mean?”

“What made you bold today?”

“The way you looked at me when you descended the stairs in your swimsuit.”

I nodded thinking back on how much I wanted him to notice me on the stairs.

“Will you call on me during the summer?” I asked.

I was suddenly afraid that I had allowed him too much freedom and he might no longer desire me at all.

He grasped my hand in the darkness and pulled me to my feet. He leaned forward into me until our noses were touching. He held both my hands, one in each of his.

“I will call on you every moment of every day if that would make you happy.”

“Shall I interpret that as a yes, then?” I asked.

He laughed and so did I.


May 28, 1896
Charles Birchwood

“Again.” I commanded.

Wilma sighed and began the piece over. It was a simple three note combination she was struggling with. I decided to ignore the sigh in favor of hopefully achieving perfection. Wilma has improved considerably in our few weeks together. I have concluded her lack of excellence in the past was due more to a lack of commitment to practice than any deficiency in skill.

Her fingers run aground depressing the wrong key again. In this way I was comforted to know she had indeed practiced the entire week as she was supposed to. Unfortunately she had practiced it wrong and was now finding it nearly impossible to correct her error. It was my turn to sigh.

“Again.” I ordered once more.

The slump in her shoulders told me she was more disappointed in herself than I was in her. In fact her attitude has such improved in our brief time together that I am quite pleased. Mr. Van Cox has twice expressed his appreciation for my efforts and his satisfaction at Wilma’s improved attitude as well as musical skill.

In truth, she is a pleasure to instruct. Nothing like the young boys of the St. Francis. Wilma had come to me discouraged. Her faith in her talent shaken by a year of falling placement in her class. I can see now it was through no real fault of her own. She was lacking in discipline, yes, but it is the place of parents and teachers to provide it for her. To allow a young woman of such immense musical talent to fall from grace for the lack of it is the true shame.

I suppose it is beauty to blame. It is the curse of men to find it irresistible to place such lovely creatures upon pedestals beyond reproach. I know it better than most. I once and for many years had placed Caroline up where only angels dare to tread. The fault was mine of course and not hers. What angel would dare cast themselves out?

Wilma’s fingers stumbled again. She reacted in frustration at herself. Her hands slamming down on the keys in thunderous roar of un-melody. Her normally straight back arched forward and it was just possible to hear a sob escape her lips.

I reached forward and patted her back tenderly.

“Come now, you will get it right.” I said in confidence.

Her head turned back and I could see the fresh tears on her cheeks.

“I know it is wrong and still my fingers will not listen. I cannot do it.” She cried.

“Take a break, my wife has some cookies in the kitchen. You must think positive so when you return you will get it right.”

“A break will not change anything!” She shouted through tears.

“I am hopeless.” She whispered.

I should have punished her for shouting but in the forefront of my thoughts was the firm belief she would come around without such strict measure and be the better for it. I am a fool for it, but my heart swells with kindness.

I slipped my hands underneath her arms and gently lifted her upward until she stood on her own. She turned around to look at me, embarrassed as her rosy cheeks made clear. With a handkerchief she dabbed at the tears falling still from her eyes. I offered her my arm and her quivering lips formed a smile. She took my arm.

Caroline was still busy scrubbing the kitchen clean from her dinner preparations as we entered. She glared at Wilma for a moment before choosing to be kind. I wonder if it was my own eyes which convinced her of the right path?

“Might we have a plate with two cookies and a glass of wine for our guest?” I asked of Caroline.

“Yes, dear. It will be just a moment.” She said still on her knees with scrub brush in hand.

I admired her there for a moment. I have seen Caroline in all manners of pose during our marriage and yet seeing he kneeling on the floor, scrub brush in hand, bare breasts swaying slightly and red buttocks glowing, was as captivating as if I had never laid eyes on her beauty before. I enjoyed the view far longer than I should have in the presence of a guest.

Wilma shifted uneasily beside me, no doubt embarrassed to see another woman naked. I cannot adequately explain my reasoning but I chose to explain the situation to Wilma rather than let her imagination fill in the blanks.

“As you know, we will be relocating to Rhode Island in a few days.” I began.

“Caroline and I have not stayed in any one place more than a year in the last five and she has grown weary of the constant relocations. She thinks I am not as weary. I do not know why she thinks I would be any less bothered by it than she but of course she does. She also thinks I seek out new appointments for no other reason than to torture her. Is it so with you as well, do you believe the sun and the earth revolve only around you?” I paused to allow Wilma a moment to respond.

She shifted uncomfortably before replying, “No, sir.”

I suspect she lied, but only she can know for certain.

“Let me assure you, it does not. Nor does it revolve around my wife. There are many reasons I seek out new opportunities the most relevant of which is the happiness of my family. As a woman you will never know the burden of responsibility which lays on every man’s shoulders. It is through our actions and choices that your life is made to be what it is, be that good or bad. Caroline must think I have delivered not but bad.

I do disagree, but I am not such a miser I will not hear out a respectful viewpoint even if it is in opposition of my own. Caroline often has difficulty with the respectful part in her manners. As you can see, she is learning though.” I paused again for the benefit of both ladies.

“Yes, I would think she must be.” Wilma voiced clearly feeling the need to speak favorably.

I cannot say I was bothered by her need or words. Caroline blushed and I recognized the struggle to remain silent in her face, neck and shoulders. In the end silence won out but I suspect it was only barely. Caroline is a very proud creature.

“This very evening during dinner, Caroline once again felt the urge to voice her opinions on our imminent move. Her choice of words might have been better thought out. Would you not agree in retrospect my wife?”

Caroline nodded stiffly.

“Speak up dear. Our guest cannot hear you nod.”

“Yes, sir. I was wrong.” She said and managed to sound believably contrite even to my discerning ears.

“What did she say?” Wilma asked me as though Caroline were not present at all.

“My dear child it is impolite to inquire into the private conversations of a husband and wife. Your parents have surely instructed you better by your age?” I replied.

“My apologies, sir. I only inquired out of curiosity because of what you have already said. I meant no disrespect.” Wilma looked hesitantly between Caroline and myself as she spoke.

“Your apology is accepted, no harm has been done. Let us leave my wife to her duties and we may further discuss your troubles at the piano.”

Wilma bowed her head respectfully at Caroline before accompanying me out of the kitchen. I guided her to sit on the sofa and I took the armchair to its side. Her tears were now dried and her cheeks and nose less rosy yet still pink. Is it wrong of me to think her face more beautiful in this way than any other?

“Your troubles are caused by a week’s worth of repetition of the wrong sequence.” I said.

Wilma nodded.

“There is a lesson to be learned from this. Do you know it yet?” I asked.

She appeared uncertain yet afraid to give voice to her uncertainty. I smiled at her trepidation.
“The lesson is a simple one but important. Given enough practice you can learn anything but you should always be alert to insure you learn the correct lesson.”

Wilma smiled and were it not for her shyness I believe she might even have giggled. I smiled supportively. It was at this juncture, Caroline arrived with a plate and glass of wine for Wilma.
How Caroline managed the task without blushing I do not know but she politely offered the items to Wilma with a slight curtsey.

“Your cookies and wine, miss.” She said with the appropriate respect due a guest.

“Thank you, Mrs. Birchwood.” Wilma replied taking the items from her.

Caroline turned to me and said, “Would you like something, my dear?”

“Whiskey.” I replied.

A moment later I enjoyed the warm swell of liquor in my throat and the gorgeous view of my wife’s swaying posterior as she retreated back to her kitchen. The pinkish glow caused another type of swelling and I adjusted my position in the arm chair to disguise it.

Wilma nibbled delightfully at the sugar cookies and sipped at her wine. With each morsel consumed she visibly relaxed. This was my goal of course. It is my long time experience that tension is the nemesis of perfection.

When her plate was empty and my whiskey was gone I rose from my comfortable seat.

“Shall we try again?” I asked gesturing toward the piano.

Wilma nodded her head with only a touch of reluctance before rising to stand before me. We walked to the piano and she took her place on the bench. Her hands hovered nervously over the keys.

“Before you begin I want you to practice pressing the proper keys slowly.” I said.

She looked over her shoulder at me for a moment and then did as I asked. Once, twice, three times, each time correct. She smiled and I nodded approvingly at her.

“You see, you can do it.” I said.

“Yes, I can.” She replied with happiness in her voice.

“From the beginning then.” I commanded.

She played it perfectly. The music coursing through the air between us, our bodies swaying in perfect harmony. A tender hand graced my shoulder from behind. I turned my head to see Caroline smiling behind me.

“That was beautiful, Wilma.” She said softly.

Wilma blushed.

“Thank you, Mrs. Birchwood.”

“Will you play it again?” Caroline asked.

Wilma looked to me and I nodded approval. Her hands confidently began the piece again. I turned myself to face Caroline completely. She smiled at me and held her arms out to me as though to ask me to dance with her. I took her in my arms and we moved gracefully around the living room. Such is the power of music to move us all.

A Strapping Fine Essay

May 27, 1896
Edith Bowen

“Mr. Carrington, sir?” I asked hesitantly for his attention.

“Yes, Miss Bowen?” He replied with a bit too much formality in his tone.

It is strange to think we were once casual friends. I had felt more at ease with Mister and Misses Carrington than anyone else in my entire life during the last year. Then I had to open my big mouth. I do not regret my opinions and thoughts but perhaps it would have been better for everyone to keep them to myself?

“Might I have a word with you in private, sir?” I asked.

“I am certain my wife can accommodate your needs, Miss Bowen.” He replied coldly.

“I was told to approach you regarding Mr. Birchwood.”

Mr. Carrington’s demeanor immediately changed. He glanced around as though concerned someone might have overheard the name. I know the arrival of our new music teacher is not public knowledge but Mr. Green’s imminent departure certainly is. Unless the student population is particularly unimaginative there should be no doubt a new teacher is expected. In this light I fail to comprehend the secrecy around his name and arrival.

“Come with me.” Mr. Carrington ordered.

I followed him into his study at a brisk pace. He seemed perturbed. The door nearly slammed shut behind me and as I turned around in the middle of room I found him nearly nose to nose with me.

“What do you know of Mr. Birchwood?” He asked.

“Only that he is replacing Mr. Green as music instructor and should be arriving in June.”

“Who told you that?”

“The Dean and Ms. Maple.”

“Why would they tell you this?”

“Because I have been appointed as an intern and directed to assist in his acclimation to Primrose College upon his arrival.”

“I have not been informed of this development. I will have to verify your story.”

“I am not a liar, Mr. Carrington.”

“We shall see. Regardless, you will refrain from mentioning his name in public until his formal induction into the faculty. Understood?”

“I really do not understand the need for secrecy but I understand your directive and will follow it.” I replied.

“We shall make certain of it. Remove your skirt and bend over my desk.” He ordered.
My eyes grew wide for a moment in shock. It took only that instant for me to realize any arguing about it would be useless. My hands fumbled at the waist of my skirt, obeying the order despite the rising indignation in my thoughts.

As my skirt dropped to the floor I comforted myself in the knowledge he was only acting out against me with any random excuse he could find. If I had looked cross-eyed at him he would likely have done the same. It seems to be a law of authority that when one is unable to win an argument by intelligent debate they resort to abusing their power.

The desktop was cold against my face as I lay bent over it. Mr. Carrington took his time in getting to the business of spanking. He pushed and prodded me into adjusting my position. A little to the left and then a little forward, a little to the right, a little back and so on. Were I not certain it would make matters worse I would have laughed.

Mr. Carrington removed a small strap from his desk and took up position behind me. He swung it down fast and hard. The soft sound of its impact was incongruent with its sharp bite. I moaned at the first stroke. The second was lower and the tip of the strap wrapped to my inner leg causing me to lift it from the ground and shake it for moment. Tears sprung from my eyes but I think they might have been more from anger than pain.

The third stroke nearly lifted me off the desk as it solidly stung my thighs. The fourth returned to my fuller buttocks and elicited further moans of discomfort. The biting sting was becoming a burning pain. I wiggled my bottom in a desperation. It was of no help.

Mr. Carrington then laid in to my bottom with a flurry of strokes numbering five through ten. By the latter half of them I was crying out verbally begging for mercy. I wish I was strong enough to hold my tongue despite the pain. I wish I was capable of the feat of taking the punishment in silence and without tears. Only in that way could I truly show the resistance in my heart and thoughts.

He finished with a final two strokes on my thighs. The last sent me jumping in the air and grabbing my buttocks. Mr. Carrington snorted a laugh at me and I blushed red in embarrassment at it.

“Now, I think you understand.” He said.

I bit my quivering lower lip and wiped hot tears from my eyes whilst staring at the rug.

“Yes, sir.” I replied between sniffles.

“Get dressed and get out.” He ordered.

He did not have need to tell me a second time. I grabbed my skirt from the floor and exited the room while still fastening it in place.

It was difficult to sit through my essay examination in Ms. Maple’s class afterward but I managed well enough. I think I even wrote one of my best essays. Perhaps a little squirming is good from time to time. Well, maybe not but there has to be a bright side to being spanked.
Ms. Maple noticed my inability to sit still and held me after.

“Did you have a bit of trouble this morning?” She asked.

“Yes, miss.” I replied.

“Is there anything I can help with?”

“Mr. Carrington seemed to feel I was out of line asking him about Mr. Birchwood.”

“I can have a word with him if you think it would help?”

“Thank you, miss. I think it might.”

“Well, I think I am a little too old for him to pull out his strap on me.”

I said nothing but I really doubt she has that one correct.

Examinations And Observations

May 26, 1896
Penelope Sumter

I never have much cared for examinations. The very utterance of the word brings cold shivers down my spine and clamminess to my palms. Unfortunately, they are an unavoidable reality of attending college.

Another unavoidable reality is discipline. It never really lets up at school but times have been pretty bad since my father interceded. I had no idea he would be such a stick in the mud over the whole boys and girls at college thing. I can deal with his disapproval well enough but why did he have to involve Remington?

All right, all right, yes, I involved him first if you can call inventing him, involving him. How was I to know there would be a bastard at school with the name? I realize inventing lies to keep up appearances probably was not my smartest moment but what is a girl to do when beauty comes before brains?

Days like this I really envy Elizabeth and do not tell Edith but her as well. They have it so easy with no one really expecting them to be anything more than intellectuals. They can focus on their studies and ignore all the frivolous socializing that is expect of a woman like myself.

In order for me to study I have to sneak out of my room in the dead of night when my roommates are sound asleep. I have a few candles hidden in the bath room down the hall, where I lock the door and study well into the night and usually right through until dawn. Everyone always wonders how I manage to be the first one in the bath each day. If they only knew!

With Remington riding me (not literally, thank the heavens!) I have hardly had the time to spare even at night. His disciplinary routine has left me exhausted daily. I will get him back but I fear it will have to wait until next term. Now, I am expected to perform reasonably well on final examinations this week and have hardly had an hour to spend studying. No wonder I am more nervous than I normally am.

The notion of suggesting I should do well in school seems at the very least contradictory to my father’s attitude about me being here. No doubt he would not agree with my assessment, and fortunately I am smart enough to avoid making it known to him. I wonder however if my teachers will be sympathetic if I should fail to attain better than average results?

Dr. Phallic seems inclined to be sympathetic to me but I have no illusions about his motivation. He clearly has improper desires for me (not that I am complaining). Mr. Bard on the other hand expects nothing but top tier results from me and I doubt he even knows what color my eyes and hair are, it is entirely possible if not probably he does not even realize I am a woman. Ms. Maple seems to think perfection is attainable and I in particular have a duty to achieve it. Mr. Green, well what can I say about a dirty old man? (Yes, I could say lots really but most of it would likely make the pages of my journal blush!)

Remington (sick bastard) seems to take pleasure in causing me the greatest amount of humiliation possible and simultaneously ensuring my ability to meet academic expectations is compromised. I wonder if he planned it that way or just stumbled on it without a thought?

I will go with the latter until proven otherwise. Remington (demented pervert) seems incapable of detailed planning or forethought. This should make it rather easy to cause him a great deal of distress in the future. I am patient enough to wait for the timing to be optimal. I wonder if I can manage to have him expelled like Jenny was? I have the whole summer to consider it.

My father has instructed I be sent home on the evening train, Friday. I am overjoyed to be leaving so soon. I feared he might make me wait as much as week before leaving as he must be extremely angry with me. I wonder if my brothers will be home when I arrive. It has been too long since I have seen them and I will need their assistance to keep father at bay.

“It is time, Penelope.” Remington said.

I jumped a little on the stool in the hall of Carrington Manor. I had been so lost in thought I had not even heard him come in.

“Yes, I believe it is.” I replied.

I climbed down from the stool and set the dunce cap atop it. Remington (walking excrement) held his arm out to me like a gentleman. I will not be fooled to think him one again. I took his arm though and smiled my politest smile. I wonder if he knows just how fake the smile is? Probably not or he would no doubt slap it away.

The walk to school was pleasant enough. I have become accustomed to the whispers and gawking stares. It is not like I have exited the house in this manor of my accord. If anyone should be ashamed it is Remington (rotted anal fungi) but he is too much a fool to realize it.

Mr. Bard seemed to be oblivious to my less than formal attire or are birthday suits formal? They are suits after all. It felt odd to be seated in a normal desk and not sitting on a stool for a change. Remington (diseased maggot breath) took his now customary place, standing at the back of the room.

Mr. Bard was surprisingly quiet as he passed out the examination booklets. The girls were relatively quiet as well for a change. Lucy managed to get her hands slapped for whispering but it was relatively mild considering. I suppose Mr. Bard felt a more severe punishment would have a negative effect on her exam results. Too bad Remington (bird pellet brain) is not as perceptive.

I focused on the questions before me. Despite a total lack of studying, I found myself knowing several of the answers. Perhaps I will do better than I expect of myself. It rarely happens but it would be a nice surprise in a few weeks when the grades arrive home.

I finished the test with time to spare and even had sufficient time left to check back over and verify I knew what I thought I knew and did not know what I thought I did not know. I rose from seat and delivered the booklet to his desk. He gave me a curt nod, still clearly oblivious to my state of dress. I would have felt offended if I had not been so embarrassed.

Remington (urinary infection) escorted me back to Carrington Manor with hardly a word between us. Not that I have anything of importance to say to him. Well, okay maybe I do but if I say that it will not end well for me!

At the Carrington’s I returned to my stool and cap. I suppose matters could be worse. I am not certain how but I will stipulate they can be so as to hopefully avoid the unforeseeable extra humiliation and pain. Mr. Carrington is at least kind enough to sneak me some food after dinner or I would surely have starved to death under Remington‘s (toe jam) regime.

I am counting the hours until the train leaves at midnight on Friday.

May 19th - 24th, 1896

May 19, 1896 - Maid To Be Naked

  • Sarah considers the futility of her escape attempt and its ramifications
  • Billy Buster takes her away from the other women. Is it for her safety of his pleasure?

May 20, 1896 - Pins And A Paddle

  • Margaret gets a present from Dr. Phallic and Mrs. Carrington
  • Will a humiliating day at school curb her attitude?

May 21, 1896 - Naughty For Nice

  • Penelope receives a letter from her father. He is none to happy about her words before the school board
  • Remington Drake gets the "privelege" of punishing her

May 22, 1896 - In The Right Direction

  • Edith is summoned to a private meeting with Ms. Maple
  • Surprisingly, she is offered a position as a summer intern at Primrose College

May 23, 1896 - What A Woman Wants

  • Charles analyzes his wife's improving submissiveness
  • Does he understand her finally or is he still as clueless as ever?

May 24, 1896 - Fuzzy Memories And Bad Assumptions

  • Elizabeth comes to terms with being kidnapped
  • A little romance finds its way to her in the form of Jonathon.

Fuzzy Memories And Bad Assumptions

May 24, 1896
Elizabeth Bassett

Contrary to popular belief, scars do not heal. They fade over time, like childhood memories. I could wallow in sadness and despair, but what life is that to lead? We cannot change our past only our future and that is what remains for me.

I do not even fully recall the events. The night in question is a blur. I was drugged I believe, the dry taste of bitterness in my mouth a certain indicator of such. My fuzzy memory of voices and distorted faces further support the conclusion. Somewhere between dreams and memory lies the truth of that night, but it is a truth I will never know and mostly because I do not wish to know it.

Edith and Penelope have asserted Lucy Meyer was somehow involved. I could question her, but to what end? It is over now and what was done is done. I was proud of Penelope when she stood and asked the school board for leniency in its handling of Lucy. It would bring me no pleasure to see another girl expelled from our ranks in disgrace.

The end of term is nearing now. One final week of examinations and then I will travel home for the first time this year. I look forward to being there again. No matter that I will undoubtedly work through my summer vacation. The comfort of home and the love of family is what I crave most right now.

I awoke early today. With no classes to attend and no chores to burden me, I chose to leave for a stroll along the shore. The grittiness of silky sand between my toes has a calming effect. The roaring of the ocean waves as they crash heavily along the rocks left a salty mist in the air.

I sat on a large rock and looked out on the horizon. Blue skies until the end of the world and maybe a bit beyond. In the distance I could see sailboats and larger, cargo ships as well. For a moment I imagine the freedom such a ship could bring. Would it not be nice to sail around the world without a care beyond the wind and the sea?

A romantic vision of life at sea for certain. I know its roots are born in glamorous tales of a not so glamorous life. The adventure sailors might have are somehow made irresistible in story despite the truth of the harshness of the sea. How many have lost their way and their lives at sea? Too many to count, but still we dare to ride the waves toward the horizon.

“Elizabeth!” Jonathon called out.

I turned toward his voice to see him stepping from rock to sand in the awkwardness only a gentleman can achieve without falling flat. In spite of my dreary thoughts I smiled at him and waved.

“What are you doing out here?” He asked when he was closer.

“Pondering the horizon and the sea.” I answered.

He looked surprised by my answer. I would imagine it is a rare day he receives such an honest answer to such a trivial question of formality.

“What I meant is we had an appointment this morning and you were not at the Carrington’s as planned.”

The fact had completely slipped my mind. I had assumed he would cut relations with me after recent events. He had not spoken to me since asking me to the ball, despite our paths crossing on more than one occasion.

“I thought you would no longer desire my company.” I said.

“Whatever made you think this?”

“You witnessed my disgrace.” I said blushing.

He appeared uncomfortable for a moment of silence.

“I did. I had thought it polite to avoid mentioning.”

“Our paths have crossed since and you have said nothing to me.”

“The moments were not convenient for me. I am sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.”

“Perhaps I judge you wrongly, but you remain a mystery to me. Your actions and words are often in apparent conflict and it is for this reason you confound me.”

“I do not agree with your assessment of me. If you have questions of my actions or motivations it would behoove us both for you to ask me directly rather than make assumptions.” He said.

“Can you explain your silence?”

“I thought I did. I was uncertain what to say and I felt it best to not embarrass you.”

“Does it not occur to you I might be more embarrassed being ignored?”

“No, it did not. I am sorry if I have offended you. I never intended to do so.”

“I do not want your apology only your promise to not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

“You have my word and my apologies. I can do no better.”

“I accept.” I said with a smile.

“Then shall we go? I have scheduled several appointments for us today in town.”

“Sadly, I cannot.”

I wished it were otherwise but having given up hope, I never arranged to earn money for the purchase of a gown. Other matters had taken precedence in any matter and I do believe it might be for the best.

There is sincerity in his words but there is also reservation. His stiffness around me surely signifies a level of discomfort and while I may not understand precisely from where it stems, I cannot pretend it does not exist. I suspect my feelings for him are greater than his feelings for me.

“I do not understand?” He replied after a long moment of silence between us.

Quickly I composed a lie to explain.

“I have run short on my allowance and my father refused to send extra for a frivolous purchase.” I said.

“That is of no matter. I will buy you anything you desire.” He had a twinkle in his eye as he spoke.

“I could not accept such charity. It would not be appropriate.”

“It is no charity. Please, Elizabeth you are the only reason I would even attend the ball.”

“I believe you mean that.”

“I do.”

I took his hand into my own and pulled myself up off my rock.

“Thank you.” I said.

He smiled mischievously at me. Suddenly, he swept me off my feet and carried me in his arms. I gasped in surprise, but soon settled in the comfort of his hold. I kissed his cheek and for just a moment all my doubts slipped away.

A few feet from the sands of the beach, his carriage waited for us. He carried me all the way to it and sat me gently on the interior bench. He climbed in beside me and knocked on the roof to signal the driver we were ready.

“I meant what I said before. Anything your heart desires, it is yours.”

“I have it all ready.” I said.

Our eyes met and we both began to laugh as it became clear my meaning was understood by both of us. God, it is good to laugh again.
Jonathon assumed a serious look for a moment.
"I will of course have to discipline you for making us late to the stores." He said.
"You wouldn't dare!" I replied with a look of mock indignation.
"Indeed, I would." He replied with a twinkle in his eye.

What A Woman Wants

May 23, 1896
Charles Birchwood

Caroline picked up her hairbrush. She held it in her hands and stared at it as though an old friend betrayed her. I wonder why she does not look in the mirror with those eyes. The hairbrush, of course, has done nothing to her and never will.

I on the other hand certainly enjoy the weight of it in my hand and the energetic slapping of it against her full cheeks. In truth its very appearance in my wife’s hands sends a tingling of excitement down my spine. An inanimate object perhaps but capable of unique tactile stimulation. No doubt, Caroline would fail to share my fascination.

Her own fascination seems more morbid and dark. I wonder how many times her father has raised the same brush against or perhaps even her mother did so. Would they send her unwillingly to her room to fetch it for their use or would she merely wait until it was brought forth and waved menacingly at her? I must ask at the next convenience.

She brought it to me, her head down and yet for a moment I would have sworn I detected a hint of a smile on her lips. My imagination? I do not believe I have one. Her outstretched arm trembles ever so slightly as she waits for me to grasp the proffered brush from her hand. Her feet shift almost imperceptibly on the rug. I sat comfortably on the side edge of our bed and smiled.

She has made tremendous progress. No more does she attempt to avoid her chastisements. If less than willingly, she brings herself to me without argument. I took the brush from her hand and she seemed more relieved than fearful. She knows what will follow and she does not flee. Is it a sign of wanting? I like to believe it is. A little girl stands in place of my wife, but she is no little girl in form.

Every sensual curve screams of womanhood and despite her looks to the contrary there is no innocence amongst them. She pouts though, like a teenager caught in mischief. I pull her down over my lap and she sighs. Is it relief? Perhaps.

She takes a pillow to bury her cries in and I do not forbid it. I am too kind, I know. I wish I could be more forceful and cruel but such is not in my nature. I am truly a kind man and it weighs heavily on me to cause another to suffer. I can only raise the brush against her with the knowledge she desires it be so. She may not say it open words but what woman will say such things? Her smiles and touches say it loudly, the tenderness in her arms and the loving in our bed scream it to the stars. I would have to be deaf not to hear it.

I run the bristles over her buttocks and she wiggles adorably. I cannot help but do it again just to watch her squirm. I turn the brush over and gently polish her white buttocks. She nearly pushes against its light touch as I move it circularly along the curve. I raise it in the air and hold it for a moment. Anticipation tingle between her body and my lap.

I bring it down with a forceful slap and raise it high again in pause. She kicks her feet only slightly but enough to give me pleasure in the viewing. A small spot of pink in the white develops before my eyes. It invigorates me and I bring the brush down again.

I like to begin with the slow, hard, slaps. The pink coloration can be enjoyed in this way as well as the synchronized kicking and squirming. Her cries are brief and it seems in those early moments we connect in a loving way which prepares us both for the seriousness of the onslaught to come.

I hover the brush above her now pinked globes. I can feel her stress and tension pulse between us. I know the anticipation is unbearable for her but I always want to wait just a moment more. Is it sadistic? How can it be when it is love or is that very definition of love? Either way I will not be asking Father McGregory.

At last it is time. I flick my wrist and pepper her backside with fast and light slaps. She moans at first. Is it lustful?

Then she begins to kick her legs. At first it is slow and controlled but as the peppering continues it becomes more and more frantic, eventually desperate. But for what?

The skin begins to glow beneath the brush. Her reddening cheeks bring with them an emanation of heat. I bask in the warmth of them, amazed this can come from my once frigid wife. Her moans become tears and at the pique of the spanking she begins to plead. Does she really want me to stop? I think not.

I listen to her heart not her words. I can feel it through our connection and it beats faster and faster as the warmth and glow builds behind her. Only when it begins to slow and her body no longer writhes under my unforgiving onslaught do I know she has had enough. Is it always so with women? No doubt it is.

When her body claims it is enough, I stop. I massage her buttocks with the smooth side of her brush and she no longer pushes against it. I allow her a moment to rest on my lap, a moment to calm her tears and she does.

I lift her gently and help her to stand. She takes the brush from me like it is an old friend. She sets it back in its special place and returns to me. I wonder if I am her special place? She is certainly mine.

I take her in my arms and kiss her softly. The tasted of tears on her lips is an aphrodisiac to us both. I throw her none to gently down on our bed. She gasps but there is a smile on her face. I lay atop her and love her. I am not gentle in lust but I think she does not mind.

In The Right Direction

May 22, 1896
Edith Bowen

“You wished to see me?” I asked.

Ms. Maple turned to look at me.

“Yes. Thank you for coming, Edith.” She replied.

Only then did I realize we were not alone. Standing behind her was the Dean. He had a serious look on his face which gave me pause. Ms. Maple seemed relaxed and given my inability to read her intentions in the past I could not determine if it was a good or bad sign.

“Miss Bowen, it is a pleasure to see you again so soon.” The Dean said. “Please have a seat.”

He gestured toward a vacant chair in front of Ms. Maples desk. It was strange to see her standing in front of her desk instead of seated behind it. The Dean stood waiting politely for us both to be seated.

“Thank you.” I said, minding my etiquette lessons for a change as I carefully sat down.

“I was impressed with you in every way at the board meeting last week.” The Dean began. “You spoke not only from your heart but with your brain. You represented the finest example of Primrose College and you should be proud.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“The board has voted in favor of proceeding, largely in result of the speeches given by yourself and two of the young men from Brown.”

I nodded.

“I understand you had something to do with the content of their final speeches.”

My mouth opened in surprise but no words came out. The Dean smiled.

“There is not much which occurs on either campus of which I am not aware.”

“Foolish of me to have thought otherwise.” I said with a mild blush gracing my cheeks.

“Not at all. I go to great lengths to ensure the students here think as you did. I am impressed with your dedication and devotion. The fact you went out of your way to influence the decision of the board speaks volumes about you. Mr. Carrington has often spoke of you in high regard and I find myself now in agreement with his opinion.”

I smiled still blushing, but feeling a touch more at ease.

“Most kind of you, sir. If I may, I assume there is a purpose beyond flattery to this meeting?” I asked.

“You assume correctly. I understand you are studying to become an educator?”

“Yes, sir. It has been my goal for the last two years. I expect to complete the requirements for degree and certification by next summer.”

“Excellent. As you might expect, there is a great deal of preparatory work to be done over the summer. In light of your goals and your apparent dedication to involving yourself in the inner workings of this school, I would like to invite you to intern with the newest member of our teaching staff.”

“I would be honored, sir.”

My heart surged with excitement.

“It will be a significant amount of work on your shoulders. While the gentleman is an experienced teacher he has never before taught at university and he has only limited experience in disciplinary matters. It will be among your duties to assist him in adapting to the policies of Primrose College. Do you feel you are capable of the task?”

“Yes, sir. I assure you I am equal to it.”

“Excellent. In the event you need assistance in your duties you may rely on Ms. Maple. She has assured me she will make herself available to you as needed.”

Ms. Maple nodded.

“Thank you.” I said.

“The gentleman’s name is Mr. Charles Birchwood. We are expecting him to arrive in June but have yet to confirm an exact date. Mr. Carrington is coordinating with him and will inform you of the precise date once it is known.”

“Very good, sir.”

“I am confident you will continue to bring pride to yourself and the college. In anticipation of your excellent assistance and work, I will pen a letter of recommendation to the state certification board. I trust that will be satisfactory compensation?”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.” I replied.

The Dean then stood. Ms. Maple and I stood as well.

“Good afternoon, ladies.”

“Good afternoon, sir.” We replied.

To think Mr. Carrington thought I was in dangerous territory! Clearly matters have worked out for the best, at least for me. I do feel sorry for Penelope, suffering at the hands of Remington Drake. And of course, I cannot forget the incident with Elizabeth, but I am not convinced it had anything to do with me or my agenda. Clearly Lucy was involved in some way and I suspect it was due in part to the anonymity of the informant to the Carrington’s. We all know it was Margaret Spooner now but at the time Lucy must have thought Elizabeth behind it and sought revenge in advance.

I could be wrong, but for now the pieces of the puzzle fit nicely together.