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Mina Berkeley's Voyage

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Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
Flaywell's Prayer (cont.)

Mina didn’t know what hour of the day it was when she was painfully and rudely awakened. Immediately her pain came roaring back, and for a moment she had no idea where she was or how she had gotten here, only that her pain was so awful she felt she must certainly be in hell. She groaned and cried out. Then she felt hands on her thighs. Desperately she tried to sit up, but was unable, as her legs were jerked and she fell back down on the thin mattress. She cried out with the lancing, burning pain as her buttocks and back were scraped on the mattress. Then she saw by the light of a lamp who it was.

The warden. He was leaning over her, opening her legs. He hiked the shift up past her hips with one hand, and pinned her down with the other. He stood over her, his eyes gleaming as he admired the soft bulge of her womanly mound. He reached his hand into the downy tangle of her pubic hair and began stroking his first and middle fingers up and down the slit of her sex.

Mina cried out again, this time in humiliation and dread at what the warden intended.

“Please, please, no,” Mina begged.

She had reached her limit. She couldn’t bear this any more. The physical agony she had borne and now this. It was too much! She couldn’t bear it!

“No, I beg you, please, no, don’t do this,” she pleaded.

It was hopeless, she knew. Now she was to experience the full dregs of suffering and humiliation. Even so, the spark of resistance still burned within her, and she tried to buck and kick and push him away. His finger on her private place, a place she had touched for her own pleasure even when she knew it was sinful and self indulgent, a place she thought no man would ever touch, was now being stroked by a beast, a demon from hell. It was irritating, insistent, agonizing, dreadful. He was so rough! His hands were like sandpaper!

“There, you see, you little slut,” the Warden said, “I can give you pain, and I can give you pleasure. Having your back whipped, or your cunny stroked; it’s the only things you whores understand. Isn’t it so?”

Mina gasped at the agonizing intensity of the violation.

“Stop!” she cried. She tried again to push him away, to kick him, but her strength was no match for his. Effortlessly he swatted her arms and legs away as though they were nothing more than an irritating fly. He smirked, and pushed her thighs farther apart.

“Stop, oh please, stop, stop, help me, someone, help me!” She tried to shout, her voice scraping and hoarse, and then howled her anger and humiliation.

A low chuckle escaped his throat as he gaped open her sex with his thumbs. At first, he didn’t know what the glistening membrane was that was partially covering the opening of her cunthole. Then it struck him.

“The devil take me,” he breathed. “You still have your maidenhead.” He chuckled again. “But no need to play coy any longer, my little strumpet,” he said. “You know you want this. It’s what you’ve been waiting for; admit it, to be fucked by a real man.”

“No, no!” Mina gasped.

Desperately, she writhed and twisted on the mattress, loosening her bandages and opening her whip cuts.

Easily pinning her, he slid his breeches down. He bent to kiss and lick and sniff her sex. The scent was delightful, and recalled to him the sights and sounds and smells of earlier that day: the aroma of her as he beat her arse over the trestle, the fig nestled deeply into her anus, his own sweat of effort and lust flying off him, her agonized, muffled grunts as he cracked the bull’s pizzle over the soft mounds of her buttocks again and again.

His erection was enormous, painful. He had been thinking of this moment since she had been brought here. She was in his house now, in his bed, wantonly teasing him, opening her thighs to him!

He eased his bulk down on her, pressing the tip of his engorged cock against the petals of her sex.

Mina was crying, pleading, but only in whispers, for she had no voice to cry out any longer.

Please no, please no, no, no, no, filled her mind in a haze of despair and helplessness.



“Warden.” A nasal, flat voice addressed him across the dimly lit cell.

The warden grunted, recognizing the voice: the distinctive, flat quack of the pipsqueak lickspittle. It was a voice he’d already learned to hate. He looked up at Flaywell. “Goddamn your fish eyes, Flaywell. What the devil do you want?”

“I thought we had an understanding.”

“Understanding.” the Warden said.

It was time to teach this fish eyed, skinny little bastard what’s what, the Warden decided. Slowly he rose from the bed, in no rush to pull up his breeches. He wanted to give the scrawny stripling a good look at a man sized cock. After he pulled his breeches up, and tied them at his waist, he sniffed and then wiped his glistening finger on his shirt just for show.

“Ah, pardon me, Mr. Flaywell,” he said, drawing the name out in mockery. “You must forgive my rudeness.” He stepped up to him. The man was skinny as a wire. The Warden was used to backing down others with his size and his willingness to use violence, and that combination usually worked. The milksop took a step back. The warden smiled.

“Miss Berkeley and I were in the midst of something I believe you toffs call a tete a tete. Now, I would ask you to tea, but why the fuck don’t you just piss off before you make me do something impolite to you and you have to go tattle to your Commodore?”

The Warden thought to grab Flaywell by the throat and throw him out of the cell. Simultaneous with the thought, his hand reached out.



The last few seconds of the warden’s life were an indistinct blur to him. He reached, but suddenly Flaywell wasn’t there. He didn’t see clearly the hand that deflected his, didn’t see at all the hand that gripped his hair, he only felt the sudden, violent pull as his neck was wrenched backwards. A solid blow to his lower legs as they were tripped from under him. A momentary sensation of falling, not even enough time to brace himself before slamming to the flagstone floor of the cell. The sudden impact, driving his breath from him. His head twisted to the side, his left arm trapped beneath him. In that split second, his body began responded with an adrenaline dump, and no doubt if he’d had another few seconds to get himself untangled and bring his heavier, and far more heavily muscled body into action, he would have won this fight as well as he had many others. But he didn’t have those few seconds. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a flash of silver. Something in his ear--

And that was the last thing he ever felt.



Flaywell kneeled on the warden’s body, swirling and twisting the handle of the ice pick he’d driven into the Warden’s ear. He watched the light go out of the Warden’s eyes. Then he withdrew the pick.

It was retractable. Set in a spring loaded, silver handle, it shot forward with surprising force. Flaywell took a handkerchief from his waistcoat pocket, wiped the pick, swabbed out the ear. It looked like it had gone cleanly into the ear canal, penetrating the tympanic membrane and the cochlea, and into the brainstem. There was a spot of blood, and a careful dissection would reveal the wound channel, but who in Cape Coast was willing or competent enough to do such an autopsy? He would testify behind closed doors that he had found the Warden on the floor, in Miss Berkeley’s cell, with his breeches pulled down, dead. The unspoken conclusion would be that the had attempted to force himself upon the prisoner, which was after all true enough, and had suffered a brain aneurysm. Or perhaps had been struck down by God.

Flaywell carefully folded the handkerchief and replaced it in his pocket. He would be careful to dispose of it later.

He retracted the blade by pressing the point into the floor. It was not his preferred method, for this would likely dull the tip, but he would remember to resharpen it later.

Flaywell stood, and then started as he saw a dark figure lurking in the cell doorway.

The two men regarded each other for a long moment.

Flaywell was the first to speak.

“It seems your warden has had some sort of fatal paroxysm of the brain. I have seen this before. Several times. Most unfortunate.”

The man said nothing for a long moment. Then he shrugged his shoulders. “White men killing white men. I keep my nose out.”

Flaywell offered him a rare smile.

“What is it you want, Ebo, is it?”

Ebo thought about it, shrugged. After a moment he said “Her.”

Flaywell nodded. “And you shall have her. But not tonight.”

Ebo nodded. Now it was his turn to smile. “Maybe Warden Jenkins get his job back. You tell what happened. I stay out.”

As Ebo walked away, Flaywell approached Mina. She was staring at him, in shock from the Warden’s assault, and from what she had just witnessed, though in the dim light and in her confused state of mind she wasn’t sure what she had seen. All she knew was that she was no longer being attacked. And now the incessant pain returned, demanding all her attention, threatening to drive her to her wit’s end.

“Miss Berkeley,” Flaywell said, “I have brought you another dose of Laudanum. It will ease your pain. Help you rest.”

This time, Mina did not try to resist as Flaywell pulled her up to a sitting position, and tilted two spoonfuls of Laudanum into her mouth. Once again, Mina gagged at the bitterness of the concoction, but she almost eagerly awaited the relief and the release it would bring.

“I don’t know what you did, Mr. Flaywell, to drive that man away,” Mina said, “But thank you.”

Flaywell eased her back down. Mina closed her eyes and soon drifted into a profound opium slumber. Flaywell pulled her shift up to her neck, and stripped off her all her bandages. He would rebandage her.

Flaywell assumed that Ebo would be as good as his word and leave it to him to notify someone of the Warden’s death. Nevertheless, Flaywell was aware he didn’t have much time. The guard he had passed, sleeping soundly, could wake up any moment and check on the cells. Then Flaywell realized that surely the Warden would have warned the man not to check on this cell. He took a deep, cleansing breath and gazed in open admiration at Mina.

When Smythie and he had first plotted to entrap Mina, he, Flaywell, had hoped for her to come into his possession relatively unmarred. When he had seen the damage that she had sustained through her punishment he thought he would no longer be interested in her, just as the Commodore was no longer interested.

But as soon as the Commodore had granted her to him, he had opened his mind. Her wounds then had struck him not so much as regrettable but as interesting. He supposed that some of the deeper whip cuts, and certainly the brands, would leave permanent scars. But there was art in the brands, and in the seemingly random cuts and lesions. He surprised himself. Now that he could look closely, with full attention, he realized that the designs etched onto her skin truly were most interesting.

Beautiful, really.

He stroked her face, starting at her forehead, and gliding his fingers slowly down her relatively undamaged brow, nose, cheeks, and chin. Then over her clavicles, very lightly over the brands, over the gentle, soft mounds of her breasts, feeling the ridges where the tip of the whip had dug into the sides of her breasts. He felt every rib, then the flat, softly muscled expanse of her belly, and into the delicate thatch of her pubic hair. He stopped there. He lifted his hands, and clasped them together palm to palm, in a conscious emulation of prayer. He rubbed them against each other, as though spreading among them the tactile delights that each digit had experienced individually. He closed his eyes, and held his fingers to his face.

He was intensely aroused.

“What marvelous skin,” he whispered. “Most excellent skin!”
a place she thought no man would ever touch,
Why would she have thought that?

Another gripping episode. Flaywell is revealed as a deep and complex character. Though I can't help but think he should have followed the family business and become a master flogger!:very_hot:
 

whippedgirl1

Condemned
After well over a year, my interest in Mina has reawakened, or I should say, has been reawakened. Thanks to all who have commented in the past. And in particular, to an especially enthusiastic reader. Here goes:

Flaywell's Prayer


At the first signs of unrest, Smythie had called for his marines to surround the platform. When Mina was released from the post, she was placed on a stretcher. She was to be loaded onto the cart that she had been tied behind for her whipping, but the mob had surrounded it, and would not permit its movement. The bailiffs called out to the crowd to disperse, and threatened violence if they did not. The threats only made the crowd more angry and vociferous. The bailiffs were shouted down.

Smythie had put down mutinies before, and knew how to handle an angry crowd. This one was still disorganized. There was no sense of cohesion among them, or common purpose beyond expressing their outrage on Mina’s behalf.

He pushed his way through the mob, and stepped up onto the bed of the cart. He held his hands up for silence and began speaking in forceful but reasonable tones. He appealed to their loyalty to the crown, and assured the crowd that Mina was to receive proper medical care and be allowed to recover, and that their continued protest was only obstructing and delaying this. He turned in the cart repeating this message several times, and incredibly, those not bent on trouble for the sheer hell of it began to listen, and calling for others to calm themselves.

He told them that she would be taken to the jail until a more suitable place could be found for her continued recovery. He personally guaranteed them, as a man of honor and a King’s officer, that she would be well looked after. He would see to it personally.

The crowd, though still clearly disgruntled, quieted somewhat. Smythie waved to Ebo and the Warden to have Mina taken from the platform and loaded into the cart. The doctor got in the cart as well. The marines formed up around it and the warden and Ebo followed the marines.

As he walked along, the warden looked forward to having Mina under his control. He anticipated making her recovery as eventful as he could. He would teach the young minx a thing or two more. She would find he was not finished with her yet.

The crowd followed as well, airing their dissatisfaction in shouting and jeering. Many of them were not just idlers and troublemakers, who for the most part had enjoyed the show, but were genuinely upset and angered by the severe and unjust punishment the young woman had been subjected to, and had grievances of their own. But they knew that if they committed overt acts of violence they would be shot down, or have their heads cracked.



The procession arrived safely at Government House. Mina was carried through the courtroom, down a staircase and deposited, unresponsive and unresisting, on a bed frame topped with a thin, badly stained straw mattress in one of the cells in the cellar below the court.

The Judge met them there. He had wisely left the square immediately after the branding, at the first outcry from the crowd.

“I should have them all shot or whipped, the miserable rabble rousers,” the Judge complained, indicating the angry voices barely audible from outside.

The doctor attended Mina while the Judge, Smythie, Flaywell, and the Warden conferred in the hall just outside the cramped confines of the cell.

“Commodore,” the Judge said, “I have something for you.” He withdrew a rolled sheet of parchment from his coat pocket.

“Here is the bill of indenture for the convict, Mina Berkeley. Since you were so concerned as to her disposition, I have already prepared it for you. Henceforward she is your servant, Commodore, to put to whatever legal labor you see fit.”

The judge could not help but smirk. “Keeping always in mind the rules and regulations pertaining to what you may and may not do. For instance, sexual congress with an indentured servant is strictly against the law.”

The judge looked into the cell at Mina, then bestowed on Smythie a superior smile. “But I hardly need remind a man of your sterling qualities of that.”

The judge handed Smythie the document, and said, “Warden, please note. Commodore Smythie is now to be responsible for the cost of her jailing, and her future maintenance while she is in your custody.”

“Your Honor,” Smythie said, “I intend to give over the indenture to my man Flaywell here. Would you be so good as to indicate that on the document you have so thoughtfully prepared? I will of course still cover whatever costs he may incur in her ongoing care.”

The judge looked resentfully at Smythie, but shrugged his shoulders. “I suppose I should put the indenture up for auction, as you will not possess it. However, as a favor to you, bring it to me in my chambers, and I will change the name. Now, Commodore, if you would be so good, have your marines break up that annoying mob. Give them orders to shoot, if need be.”

With that, the judge left them to return to his chambers, where he would sip whiskey and wait out the crowd.

Smythie stared after the miserable old man. Then he indicated to Flaywell to enter the cell with him. He asked the doctor to step outside with the warden for a moment.



“As I told the judge, Mr. Flaywell,” Smythie said. “She is yours. I give over her indenture to you. Consider this a small reward for staying on here. I shall be relying on you to look after my interests in Cape Coast. I shall leave you with enough monies to cover the cost of her recovery, as well as your own maintenance and salary here while I am away. I will be meeting with the Governor and the judge before I sail. You will join me. I want them to understand that you are to have full discretion to act on my behalf. They have already demonstrated a willingness to subvert me. They are scoundrels, sir, and will take advantage if you do not watch them closely. You know all my business with them. If you see an opportunity to turn the tables, or take advantage on my behalf, by all means, do it.”

Flaywell turned his eyes away from Mina, and nodded his head to Smythie, “I understand, Commodore,” he said. “You are most generous, sir. I shall endeavor to justify your trust.”

To men of ordinary tastes there would have been little to be grateful for in the wreck of a human being before them. Mina seemed to be slowly returning to consciousness, occasionally moaning and tossing in her obvious pain and discomfort. A coarse jail shift had been laid over her to cover her, but her restless movements had dislodged it, revealing the bruises, welts, cuts and abrasions of her recent ordeal.

To those who had found her a troublesome young woman and wished her ill, as Smythie had, the picture before him should have been fully satisfying.

But it was not. For Smythie had also found the woman intensely desirable. Until now. Now he was was angry and resentful that Judge Higgens had superseded what by all rights should have been his, Smythie’s, privilege to impose discipline and punishment on the meddlesome young woman, and to do with her according to his will. He had been cheated, and this shell of a beautiful young woman was now nothing more than a reminder of that. Fulfilling Madame Louisa’s prediction that he would lose his interest when Mina had been scuffed up a bit, she was in fact no longer of any carnal interest to him.

As he looked down on her, she reminded him of a wreck of a previously sleek and lovely sloop that had foundered upon a reef, battered by the winds and tides, her hull marred and torn, dismasted, lines trailing helplessly in the water.

It was most disappointing.

He thought she might be of some minimal use chopping sugar cane on his plantation in the West Indies, but, he supposed, if Flaywell could salvage her, she might be of greater worth to him. And judging by the intensity of the man’s gaze, the gleam in his eye, his supposition was accurate.

For in the man’s ordinarily flat and lifeless eyes, Smythie thought he saw the stirrings of a bit of hidden passion. Smythie could hardly credit it, for Flaywell was the most coldly efficient man he’d ever met, and yet for all of that, he reminded himself, Flaywell was still a man.

Smythie called for the warden and the doctor to enter.

“I want you to know, Doctor,” he said, “that Mr. Flaywell will determine Miss Berkeley’s treatment while here. I will expect both of you gentlemen to respect his wishes.”

The Warden nodded respectfully enough and thought, the little slut spit in my face, you hoity toity toff. She is my property while she’s here.



As consciousness returned to her, Mina heard the voice as an indistinct buzz, but it quickly resolved into a voice she recognized. She tried to listen as it spoke, despite her dizziness, confusion, and distraction. Her pain was unrelenting. She felt her body was burning, as though her skin was formed of live coals. She gasped as she tried to turn herself, to rearrange herself into some position that would give some ease from the awful, incessant torment.

Looking about her, she knew she was in a small cell, with the beastly men who had done these terrible things to her. As she became aware of her nakedness, despite her pain, she pulled the shift over her, and huddled in a fetal ball.

“A just God will requite you with what you have done to me,” she croaked. Her throat was painfully dry and her mouth and jaw ached.

Smythie kneeled at her cot.

“Ah! Welcome back, Miss Berkeley,” the Commodore said. “A just God, is it? Well, my lady, a just God would not have given you into my hands in the first place. A just God would not have cheated me of you. There’s a just God for you!”

He patted her on the cheek, then stood, and turned back to the other men. “Mr. Flaywell, please instruct these gentlemen concerning your wishes about Miss Berkeley’s care and treatment. Then wait for me in the Judge's chambers I'm going to deal with those do-gooders outside.”

As Smythie stepped outside Government House, the angry shouts and jeers of the crowd increased. They were now facing off with the detachment of marines and a squad of hastily assembled deputies.

“Release the girl,” one cried. “She’s a brave lass, and didn’t deserve what she got.”

“I had no say in the young lady’s sentence or punishment," Smythie responded. I too believe it to be unjust and unjustly severe. I am well acquainted with the young woman, having sailed with her, and I know her to be a brave and upstanding young lady. I give you my word that I will take the steps necessary to release her from her indenture, no matter the financial cost to me. My duty now calls me to New South Wales, but when I return here, I will give her free passage to England. I am leaving my best man with her to supervise her care and recovery. Allow me to act in her best interests. For now, she must stay in the jail. We will do all that is possible for her. If you have further concerns, address them to my man Justinian Flaywell. He is a good man who will know well what is best. Now, will you act as loyal subjects and disperse, or will you resort to violence, and force these marines to respond in kind?”

There was some confused grumbling, mixed with a few tentative cheers of appreciation.

“All well and good for the young lady, Commodore,” a man shouted from the rapidly dissolving crowd. “We’ve lodged protests. My good wife was pilloried, whipped and jouged for no good reason. We’ve all suffered under this administration. Those of us who are honest and loyal subjects, at least. We will have answers, sir!”

“I am sorry for the sufferings of your wife, and I’m sure you will have satisfaction, sir. But you must have patience.” Smythie responded. And as the last of the crowd dispersed, he grumbled under his breath, “And in the meantime, be so good as to go fuck yourselves.”



While Smythie was dealing with the crowd, Flaywell had the physician finish dressing and bandaging the deeper whip cuts across Mina’s back. The doctor also applied a liniment to the brands on Mina’s chest and the welling pits in her buttocks where the bull’s pizzle had struck her repeatedly.

“We must observe her carefully over the next few days.” The doctor told Flaywell. “As I tried to tell the Warden, the wounds could easily mortify. It is imperative that she be bled as soon as possible.”

The Warden scoffed, having noticed the loose and slipshod way the doctor had applied his dressings with his trembling hands, and the foul and dingy liniment the old reprobate had so painstakingly smeared over her buttocks and breasts. He could only imagine the mess this old quack would make of a bleeding. The Warden felt he had given the prisoner the full measure of her authorized punishment, but after all, he still had plans for her. She was still quite the little bit, despite being the worse for wear.

“This old fool is far more like to kill her than anything I’ve done.” the Warden said.

“I am obliged to you, Doctor,” Flaywell said, in a tone that gave no hint that he actually was. He too had noticed the man’s trembling hands and clumsy, lecherous manner. “But I believe you have done enough for now. I’m sure we have all seen many suffer worse punishments than this, as I am told her sister did, and I do not think she is in any immediate danger.

The doctor nodded. “Aye, Sir,”

“And you, Warden, while Miss Berkeley is here, you will not mishandle her, or, how shall we put it, cause damage to my property. I will require the keys to her cell and free passage into and out of the jail.”

“Aye, sir,” the Warden replied.

“I’m property now, am I?” Mina said in a hoarse and halting voice.

“Yes, Miss Berkeley,” Flaywell responded, “You are my property. You will do as I say. And for now, I say you will rest and recover. Or do you wish to lodge yet another protest?”

Mina closed her eyes. Her pain was nearly unbearable. “How can I rest?” she gasped. “I am in such pain.”

“Do you have Laudanum, Doctor?” Flaywell asked.

“I do, sir, but typically we don’t administer it to prisoners.”

“Give her a dose. Then give me the bottle. I will administer it to her in future. Then we shall allow her to rest,” Flaywell said.

Mina tried to resist the laudanum, for she had seen her own sister’s addiction to it, but weak as she was, the doctor easily instilled a dose in her mouth. She gagged at the bitterness of it, and then eased back down on the bed, trying to rest on her left side, for that was the only part of her relatively undamaged by whips or branding irons.

Amazingly, blessedly, blissfully, she felt herself drifting into sleep.
I am so excited for this story! This chapter might be your best! Your genius writing and strong characters are so amazing and I am fully immersed in your world!
 

Jon Smithie

Governor
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN



Justinian Flaywell was concerned. He had just killed a man in a place where he easily could have been found out. He was not worried, for Flaywell did not experience worry, nor, for the matter of that, wasteful emotions like regret or guilt. Rather, his mind turned towards what he needed to do now to cover up his crime: clean up any evidence, remove any witnesses?

Ebo could decide to talk after all, for certainly suspicion could fall on him as well as the guard, and how else would he easily clear himself?

And even if Ebo did not inform on him, did he really want to be in the man’s debt?

Or Mina could tell them that he had been there. Even though riven by pain and discomfort as she was, and only marginally coherent, she could identify him as the man who had killed the warden.

Flaywell dismissed consideration of further removals. He was not about to remove Mina, and removing Ebo would be a far more difficult proposition than had been the Warden. And it would only compound his concerns.

But the deeper problem, and to him, the more interesting one, was that he had reacted without thinking, responding in an unaccustomed way; that is spontaneously and immediately, to a surge of anger.

The Warden’s hand reaching for his throat, the man’s stench of body odor and ale offending his nose, his assault of Mina even after being ordered by both the Commodore and himself that Miss Berkeley was not his prerogative; all had affected him in a way he could not fully fathom.

He filed this aspect of his concern to the back of his mind. It was a conundrum indeed. Ultimately who could explain it? He had an artist’s soul, with an artist’s temperament.



Ebo was at the end of the row of cells, keeping an eye on the guard. Flaywell asked him, “Ebo, what will you say? They will question you.”

Ebo nodded. “No worry, boss. You get clear. Few watchmen about, most called away for trouble on other side of town. I take care of this.” Ebo took him by the arm. “But remember what you promise me.”

Both men gave each other a searching look, and both were satisfied with what they saw. Flaywell nodded. “As I told you,” he said, “You shall have what you want.”



Quietly, he walked past the sleeping guard. At the top of the stairs he opened the door and slipped out, locking it behind him. He looked carefully about before he got in his buggy, and not seeing any watchmen, drove away.

Early the next morning, Flaywell stopped at the house of Madame Louisa. At the doorman’s hail, Madame Louisa descended the stairs. “Ah, Mr. Flaywell, how good to see you!” she said gave him a closed, brittle smile. It was not at all good to see him. She knew Flaywell as Smythie’s man, and had heretofore come only to collect Smythie’s cut of her operation.

But when he had explained his purpose in coming, Madame Louisa discovered that she was in fact delighted to see him. Flaywell continued,

“Given the unrest in the town brought about by Miss Berkeley’s punishment, you will be discreet,” Flaywell said. “I do not want her presence here to become common knowledge. You will confine her to an out of the way room, where a physician and I may look in on her from time to time. I would ask your recommendation of a medical man with the discretion not to gossip about her condition and her presence here. I anticipate that in that time interest in her will dissipate. It is a risk bringing her here, but I trust that if you wish to ultimately profit by her, you will be discreet for the present. I have plans for her, Madame, that will necessitate her being in vigorous good health. You will do all in your power to hasten her recovery.”

She did not know what sort of “plans” Flaywell had, nor did she care. He did seem a rather odd duck; no doubt his “plans” were correspondingly odd. It was all the same to her. She knew men, knew their desires, wants and lusts, and it was her job to pander to them, however unusual or depraved they may be. It was her opinion that concerning Flaywell’s desires, at least where they touched upon Mina Berkeley, the more depraved they were, the better.

She was quite happy to have both Berkeley girls, the Princess and the Duchess, as she had styled them, under her roof and in her control. She had some plans of her own for the young woman.

“Never fear, Mr. Flaywell,” Madame Louisa said with a what she thought was a charming giggle. “I have the perfect place for her--the cellar. I do not believe you have visited it before, but perhaps Commodore Smythie has told you of it. We have our private parties there, for the gentlemen who wish to remain anonymous.” She said it with a wink. “And I keep a room down there for any girls who are recovering after one of these parties, or are being punished for some infraction within the house. Sometimes, Mr. Flaywell, the girls can be so naughty.” She followed this too with a wink as well as a smirk, betraying her high good spirits. “The cellar has a private entrance for the gentlemen, and I can assure you, that none of the girls will go there willingly or out of idle curiosity. As far as a nurse and a physician, I have just the two in mind. You have come at a fortunate time, Mr. Flaywell. Come along sir, if you like; you shall meet the doctor.” She crooked a finger at him, and smiled. Or half smiled, rather, for she was aware that her teeth, the ones she still had, were half rotted.

Louisa preceded Flaywell to the sitting room.

Madame Louisa’s girls were lined up in the sitting room, dressed only in their chemises. One had her chemise pulled up to her waist. A man crouched in front of her. He gently slapped her the insides of her thighs.

“You know the drill, Loretta, spread ‘em, there’s a good girl,” he said.
 

Jon Smithie

Governor
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN (cont.)

The girl grudgingly obeyed. She was slender, and seemed, unlike the others, quite downcast. She looked up at Flaywell with a quick, shamed glance. Her face seemed oddly familiar to Flaywell.

The man opened her labia with his fingers and peered intently at her genitalia.

“Doctor Prentiss, I hate to interrupt you, but there’s a gentleman here I’d like you to meet.”

“One moment,” the man said. He continued peering at the woman’s exposed vulva. He inspected her labia majora and minora most carefully, then thumbed open the hood of her clitoris. The woman gasped and jerked.

“Hold still, girl!” the doctor said. He leaned forward and sniffed her sex.

Apparently satisfied, the doctor stood and turned to face Madame Louisa and Flaywell. He was dressed in a good quality pressed shirt and well fitting waistcoat and trousers, and had carefully groomed mustachios and chin beard. His eyes took stock of Flaywell behind the spectacles that magnified them.

Madame Louisa made the introductions.

Doctor Prentiss wiped his hands on a handkerchief, and began to extend it, but thought better of it. “No offense, Mr. Flaywell, perhaps you’d rather I’d not shake your hand,” he said with a smile.

“Doctor Prentiss is kind enough to inspect the girls once a week,” Madame Louisa said. “We have a reputation for the cleanest and most handsome girls in Cape Coast. And I am mindful I have the Commodore to thank for that.”

“Ah, you are acquainted with the Commodore, then, Mr. Flaywell?” Doctor Prentiss asked.

“I am his personal secretary, sir,” Flaywell said.

“Good man, good man!” the Doctor said, and dismissed him from further consideration. “Madame Louisa, I regret to say I did find a chancre on one girl, Sally. I have seen no other chancres, sores or rashes either upon the other girls’ privities or upon their gums or lips. No rashes on their feet or palms. No loose teeth.”

“Well then Doctor Prentiss,” Madame Louisa said. “Will it be the usual course for Sally?”

The doctor nodded.

“Indeed, yes. Mercurous chloride, first with pills, and then, if that is ineffective, with inunctations. I may include a regimen of sweating as well. And we shall hope for the best. But need I remind you that a good deal of the efficacy seems to depend upon the constitution of the sufferer. We may expect to see further deterioration of her general condition in the near term, but hopefully Sally will recover and show no further symptoms, otherwise. . .”

“Otherwise, I shall be forced to turn her out,” Madame Louisa said. “I keep a clean house, Mr. Flaywell,”

“I shall accept my usual payment for my services, Madame, if I may.” He nodded to Flaywell. “Mr. Flaywell, a pleasure, sir. My compliments to the Commodore.” Turning back to the line of girls he said to the slender, downcast one, “Come, Loretta.”

“Excuse me, Doctor,” Flaywell said. “Is that Laura Berkeley?”

The doctor looked to Madame Louisa and then to Flaywell. “Indeed it is, sir. We call her Loretta here, but yes, Laura Berkeley is her given name. You have heard the story, no doubt? Did you witness her punishment?”

“I was aboard ship with the Commodore, sailing here, as a matter of fact. I did not hear of it until after we arrived.”

“Ah!” the doctor exclaimed. “Perhaps you know her sister, Wilhelmina, who, I believe must have sailed with you, and who has also fallen afoul of the law!”

“That is correct, sir,” Flaywell said. “I do know her. In fact . . .”

“I saw her punishment as well! Wouldn’t have missed it! But . . .”

Doctor Prentiss told Laura to turn her back to Flaywell. He lifted her chemise off her shoulders and let it drop the length of her body, exposing her from head to heels.

“. . . I’ll wager her sister has no marks like this!”

Flaywell saw that Laura’s back was nothing but scar tissue, an undifferentiated mass of ridges and wrinkles, like a thick cloth that had been cut to shreds and sewn carelessly, all rumpled up, back together.

If Flaywell had not known better, he might have thought she had been burned in a terrible fire, but then he noticed the parallel lines of faint scars along her ribs as well. They were the distinctive marks of the cat o’nine tails. He’d seen many whippings in his time, and their results, but he’d never seen such a mess as this.

Flaywell was fascinated. He could see no art in it, no beauty at all, it was just a waste; a savage, wanton destruction of what must have been a lovely expanse of epidermis.

But what an addition it would make to his collection! Even if only as a curiosity. Part of a matched set!

Madame Louisa cast a professional eye toward the region of Flaywell’s groin, for she had noticed the twitching and slight tenting of his breeches in that area. She smiled to herself. She had suspected he was an odd duck, but perhaps not so odd after all.

“I have a proposition for you, sir,” Flaywell said to the doctor.



From Madame Louisa’s, Flaywell drove his buggy to Government House. Doctor Prentiss was with him. He intended to retrieve Mina from the holding cell. He was concerned that they would not allow him entry, for certainly the body of the warden would’ve been discovered by now. But he was prepared to go to Judge Higgens if forestalled, and he thought having the doctor along would add weight to his claim.

To his surprise however, he discovered that activity seemed to be concentrated around the back steps of the building.

Judge Higgens was among the men, giving instructions and offering opinions with his usual asperity. But when the judge saw Doctor Prentiss, he broke off.

“Doctor Prentiss, good to see a man of sense about.” The judge said, barely acknowledging Flaywell with a nod. “Have you come to inspect his prisoner?”

“Yes, Your Honor,” the Doctor said, “And Mr. Flaywell would like to remove her from her cell.”

“Well, sir, you have her indenture, do you not?” the judge replied, turning to Flaywell. “Then take her to Timbuktu, if you like, she is out of my hands! And good day to you!” He turned again to Doctor Prentiss. “Doctor, I hope we shall enjoy your company again at one of our gatherings. I would stay longer to talk but we’ve had a most inconvenient incident occur. Our warden was found at the bottom of these stairs, dead. These idiots seem to want to make something of it, but personally I think the drunken fool must simply have stumbled and fell. Now I shall have to hire another.”



Flaywell was dismayed when he saw Mina’s condition. It had worsened through the night. She looked feverish and was only semi-conscious, and was groaning and tossing in the bed. The Doctor had Mina bundled up and together Flaywell and he placed her in the back of the covered buggy. Flaywell drove a roundabout way to Madame Louisa’s. He signaled to the doorman, who had been told to expect him, and then drove around to the cellar entrance, where the Madame and the slender figure of Laura Berkeley, huddling behind her, waited at the door.

Laura had broken out in a sweat after the two men had left, when Madame Louisa pointed a finger at her and said, “Come with me, now, Princess. You’re going to the cellar.”
 

Jon Smithie

Governor
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN (cont.)

Laura had been to the cellar once before after complaints had been lodged by some of the more discerning clients about her lack of enthusiasm and proficiency in the art of oral stimulation. It had been an awful experience, the cellar, not because of the strapping Madame Louisa gave her, but because she had been confined to a small, isolated, airless chamber down there for a day and a night. Her confinement recalled to her her time in the jail cell, months before, in dread anticipation of the unimaginable sentence the court had imposed—One hundred and forty four lashes—a flogging ‘round the fleet; a dozen dozen, one dozen beside each ship, and then another round of a dozen again.

The flogging had not just stripped her to the bone physically, and not just mentally either; she had also been rendered destitute by the “legal” confiscation of her property and finances. When she had healed enough to leave the care of Warden Jenkins and his wife, he’d reluctantly had her placed with Madame Louisa, who was the only one who would take her, and who had assured him she would only be employed as a maid of all work. What she had not told the warden, was that in her mind, “all work” included the main employment of the house.

Laura had retreated inside herself, maintaining her sanity only with the aid of Laudanum and by simply not caring about anything anymore. But that night in the cellar room had brought it all back. Madame Louisa had withheld the Laudanum as well, so that she could not sleep, but when, out of nervous exhaustion, she finally did, her nightmares were unmercifully vivid. The lieutenant, Hudson, who had been assigned to her punishment detail, and gloried in her pain and humiliation, transformed into a demon, amidst a crew of ghouls aboard a hell ship who laughed and mocked her as she writhed on a grate, her back shredded by fiery lash after lash.

She had awakened that morning hoarse from screaming. And when Madame Louisa had opened the door, even she was shocked by the wild eyes of the terrified young woman.

So when Madame Louisa told her to mop the room, and prepare bedding, and that she would be expected to tend her sister, Laura was torn between relief and complete and utter despair.



Half supporting Mina, half carrying her, the two men took her through the cellar entrance.

“My God, Mr. Flaywell, Doctor, she doesn’t look like she’ll last out the day,” Madame Louisa said. She clucked her tongue. “These high bred types, they’ve little stamina to endure a rigorous chastisement. Isn’t that so, Princess? I have the Princess to nurse her. Who better to look after our little Duchess, eh? I’ll show you to her room.”
 

Fossy

Tribune
It is so good to have this excellent tale back. The Berkeley Sisters are certainly Mistresses of Celebrity on CF, and to read a little about Laura after her terrible lashing is a great complement to the ongoing saga of Mina and her current spiralling demise.

The Doctors hereabouts are so kind and selfless to carry regular home visits that involve the horrible procedure of dabbling about inside a whore's open labia ... :) Great work as always Mr Smithie!
 
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