Simmonds carefully manoeuvred the Rolls-Royce motorcar into the garage, switched off the engine and climbed out. He drew a handkerchief from his pocket and rubbed out a smear on the gleaming blue paintwork. He loved driving that car.
“Simmonds.” Lord Bowinem spoke firmly. “I wish to speak to you privately. Please go to your room, change into your pyjamas and then attend the library. Do not take longer than ten minutes.”
The twenty-four-year-old walked toward the servants’ entrance of the mansion. Life wasn’t so bad, he thought. He had a nice warm room and three square meals a day. The wages weren’t much, but there was a way to supplement them.
The mansion was huge and befitting a house that size, mostly cold and dank. Simmonds climbed the stairs and entered the back passage. His room was at the far end. There was no time to dawdle. He worked at six buttons on the jacket of his smart blue chauffer’s uniform and slipped it over the back of an old wooden chair. His trousers fitted snuggly. He unbuttoned them and since there was not much space in his room, he sat down on his bed and rolled them down his legs. It was always a struggle to get them off.
His off-white vest and knickers came off next. For a moment, he stood totally naked. He took in his view in the mirror. Not bad, he thought, and better than many who worked below stairs for his Lordship.
His pyjamas were under his pillow. He stepped into the blue-and-white-striped bottoms and pulled them up before tying the drawstring into a bow. He tested that they would not sink down to his knees as he walked and satisfied, he climbed into the jacket. He wiggled his feet into his carpet slippers and after glancing once more in the mirror, he left the room.
It was some distance from Simmonds’s room to the library and the passageways were devilishly cold. Even so, he knew his Lordship would not want him to wear a dressing gown. The chauffer knew from experience he would be warmed up after he entered the library.
There was a roaring fire in the library. It was another magnificently-sized room. Naturally, it was dominated by shelves of books and these ran from the floor to the high ceiling. A large table stood in the centre of the room overshadowing a shiny leather Chesterfield couch. Three other plush padded leather chairs stood nearby.
Simmonds had no need to take this in. He had attended the library on many previous occasions but never once to read a book.
Lord Bowinem stood and dug his hands firmly into his pockets. He wore a business suit with a waistcoat. He was one of England’s finest Peers of the Realm, but he often dressed as if he were a provincial bank manager. He had an unlit cigar clenched between his teeth. He removed it and vaguely scanned the room for an ashtray. When he couldn’t find one, distractedly, he put the cigar into the inside pocket of his jacket.
Simmonds watched his master intently. At last, the old man spoke. “Well Simmons, it just isn’t good enough. Is it?”
The chauffeur stood, his face impassive. What wasn’t good enough? He had no clear idea what his master was talking about. He stayed silent, hoping His Lordship would explain himself.
He did, “You were late for duty on Wednesday,” he said and then paused. Simmonds knew this to be true, but it had only been a minute or two. He knew better than to argue the case.
“Yes, Sir,” he replied in a strong voice.
“Mmm,” Lord Bowinem nodded his head fervently. “Then, you lost your route to Sir Humphrey’s.”
He said no more. There was no need, Simmonds knew what he meant. He had got lost in the narrow streets of Newcastle when driving His Lordship to meet an important industrialist.
There was silence. His Lordship seemed to have nothing more to say. Simmonds knew his place. It was not for him to say anything.
“It won’t do, Simmonds. It just won’t do.” Lord Bowinem’s face flushed. He looked as if he might have attacked the whisky. But, there had been no time for that.
“Well, you know what must happen.”
Simmonds’s eyes followed the back of his master as he shuffled the considerable length of the library before stopping in front of a tall cupboard. He fumbled in his pocket for some time before withdrawing a small ring containing keys. He found the one he needed and unlocked the door. Simmonds held his breath. His heart raced. Lord Bowinem opened the door and reached in. Even from a long distance, Simmonds could hear a distinctive rattle. He closed his eyes, he didn’t want to see. Not yet.
When he did open them again, he saw Lord Bowinem held a freshly-made birch rod in his hand. His Lordship said nothing, but tested the instrument for its weight. It was thirty or more rods, collected together at one end into a handle. Old Fletcher, His Lordship’s gardener, had tied it with twine. Lord Bowinem swished the rod around, making sure he could get a good grip on the thing. Satisfied, that he could he walked over to the far end of the huge table. Sweat soaked his bald pate, so he pulled a cloth from his pocket and wiped it dry. He returned it to his pocket, but made no attempt to remove his jacket, even though his armpits were sticky with perspiration.
“Please lower your trousers and bend across the table.” It was said with such reasonableness an onlooker might believe that Simmonds was being given a choice and that he might fairly reply, “Well thank you, Your Lordship, but I’d rather not on this occasion.”
Of course, it was not a request, it was an instruction.
The twenty-four-year-old looked down at the carpet beneath his feet and shuffled into position. His hands hardly shook as he untied the bow on the drawstring of his pyjamas. The bottoms slowly slipped down his legs and sagged at the knees. Simmonds parted them slightly and they continued their journey to his feet.
Without awaiting instruction, he lifted his jacket so that his flat stomach was uncovered and he eased himself forward. The table was far too long and far too wide for him to grip any of its edges, so he folded his arms in front of him and rested his head on them.
Lord Bowinem took a pace or two backward, the better to admire the view. The boy looked delightful, naked from the small of his back to his ankles. His Lordship had seen Simmond’s tight, naked rump many times before. It was very pale and round like a rubber ball. In His Lordship’s estimation, it was by far the best bottom that he could call upon among his servants.
He waited. His Lordship always liked to take his time. He supposed Simmonds, also, was in no hurry to get proceedings underway. He looked along the length of the birch rod in his hand. A smile flitted across his features. Then, he patted it across Simmonds’s firm bottom.
“Well, you can’t say you don’t deserve this.” He tapped the birch on the trembling rump. His eyes shone with delight. “Let it be six-of-the-best.”
Simmons screwed up his eyes and bit down into the sleeve of his pyjamas. He had long since been hardened to the ordeal of corporal punishment, but the application of a well-made birch rod wielded by an enthusiast such as Lord Bowinem would be a torment of great proportions.
With the refinement of a golfer, His Lordship swivelled his body, groaned, and then flogged the birch across Simmonds’s bottom with startling speed. Simmonds’s head rose from its place in his own arms and his mouth gaped and his face tightened, but he uttered no sound.
The birch struck again and the twenty-four-year-old swayed violently. His neck was as scarlet as his bottom now was. He shook his head from side to side, rather like a braying donkey. A third cut slashed open his once-pale buttocks. Simmonds sighed long and loudly. He wriggled and writhed, but he knew better than to try to stand. His heartrate doubled and the agony multiplied. He could not yet see that his buttocks were raw and that small scratches covered large parts of his pert backside.
His Lordship slashed two more into the pulsating cheeks. Whip-whip. An almighty shriek bounced around the nearly-empty library. A flock of birds resting on the lawn outside the room flew off in fright. Lord Bowinem pressed his nose to the savaged buttocks, intent on studying close-up the damage he had inflicted.
“I think you are learning your lesson, young man,” Lord Bowinem beamed.
“Yes, Sir,” Simmonds managed to croak with considerable effort.
The birch flew through the air with some vim for the last time connecting with the battered and bruised bottom. Simmonds quivered and convulsed. His legs marched up and down, his hips swayed from left to right. His bottom rose and fell so that he was humping the edge of the table. He wheezed heavily. Blood raced through is body at such speed he expected it to explode out of his ears. The pain was intense, but it was over. He had survived another six-of-the-best from His Lordship.
But it was not quite over. Lord Bowinem threw the birch to the floor and lurched forward. He cupped his right hand and caressed the bloodied buttocks. Simmonds winced, the weight of the hand against his open flesh, however gently applied, sent more shockwaves of pain through his body.
Then, a chortling Lord Bowinem wildly gripped one buttock and friskily squeezed it. Simmonds shot up from his position prostrate across the table. He took a step back from His Lordship and pulled his pyjama bottoms up.
They were almost done. Simmons straightened himself, looked his master straight in the eye and said, “Thank you sir, I deserved that. I hope I can improve my service to you in future.”
His Lordship drank down great gasps of air, before he replied, “You had better Simmonds or we shall repeat this.”
The twenty-four-year-old chauffeur hobbled through the cold passageway to his room, content that there would be an extra pound in his wage packet the following Friday.
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second