Monday, December 16, 2013

A Lord’s Husbandly Privilege

© Guyspencer 2013
                                                           A Lord’s Husbandly Privilege

Few people could possible have predicted the long term consequences of King Henry’s 1166 act known as "The Assize of Clarendon", which provided for certain Judges to travel the country adjudicating cases in the name of the King.  This relieved the local Lords of the responsibility, tedium and politics of deciding untold numbers of civil squabbles between their local common populace, and also allowed for a simple process to decide the fate of local criminals.  But at the same time that it relieved the local Lords of administrative responsibility, it also stripped away some of their power.

Being one person who served many localities, it was natural for these traveling “circuit” Judges  to adjudicate their cases in a more-or-less uniform manner, and so they often ignored local laws and customs.  The King’s scribes “fixed’ this problem by going one step further; they codified a single set of laws that would be used throughout the kingdom by every judge.  They even gave the code a name, the Common Law. 

By the very name “Common Law,” it must have seemed obvious that these laws were intended to apply to the common man, certainly not to the nobility!  And that’s probably how it worked at first.  The change likely happened slowly, but ultimately the Common Law came to be applied equally to every subject of the King, regardless of rank.  From these humble roots grew the uniform system of laws that we know today.  

The system wasn’t perfect then, nor is it today.  Naturally, certain Lords and Ladies found various ways to make this new system work for them, usually in ways the King never intended.

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With great care and deference the Sheriff of Bombastshire escorted Lady Anne Bombast before the Circuit Judge.  Being a female, the lady naturally wasn’t allowed to speak in court.  As her lawful husband, Lord Bombast was there to represent her.

The Judge knew well why Lady Bombast was standing before him.  She had assaulted a King’s officer, a tax collector.  Her guilt was beyond doubt.  But frankly, the Judge wished he were somewhere else.  He felt like a man caught between two dangerous powers.  To ignore the Lady’s offense would be an insult to the King.  For such an insult the Judge could, at minimum, lose his position.  That would make him an instant commoner, and an unpopular and impoverished commoner at that! 

On the other hand, Lord Bombast was an important man in this area and could make the Judge’s life hell.  For one thing, even a traveling Judge had to live somewhere, and the Judge happened to make his home in Bombastshire, in a house rented from Lord Bombast himself!

Lord Hiram Bombast IV owned property and treasure that had been accumulated by at least six generations of Bombasts who had come before him.  His first marriage had been a disaster, ending in the death of a sickly wife who had left him no heir to carry the Bombast name.  Recently he had married Lady Anne.  Younger than him, Lady Anne Bombast had been born a minor noble in a neighboring shire, and had been well educated by private tutors.  She was a slim lady with a fiery temper to match her bright red hair.  Unlike Lord Hiram’s first wife, this Lady was very likely to produce a Bombast heir.  Judging by the activity in the Lord’s private chambers, that would more likely happen sooner than later!  To the townsfolk, it was no surprise that she had assaulted the tax collector.  Her husband however, knew that there was more to the story than that.  Lady Anne Bombast was a Lady of many passions, many of which she could only decently express in her husband’s private chambers.    

Days before the Judge arrived, everybody within 100 miles already knew the story about Lady Bombast and the tax collector, and knew beyond doubt that the Lady was guilty.  But there were procedures to be followed.  As required, the Sheriff stood before the court and formally related the Lady’s criminal behavior to the Judge. 

Once the charges had been formally laid against the Lady, Judge Beaverbrook was relieved when Lord Bombast stood to speak, “There is no excuse for what Lady Bombast has done.  She drove that tax collector from our estate with a riding crop, and did so in front of several common townsmen.  As her husband, I have already privately chastised her, and done so vigorously.  Also, to summon a proud noblewoman like Lady Bombast before the King’s court like a common criminal is a severe penalty in itself.  But still, doubtless the King would demand further punishment.”

The Judge agreed that a severe penalty was called for.  But he wasn’t sure how the great man would respond to the penalty he had in mind.  As he spoke, his voice was velvet with fawning respect, “You understand my Lord that the punishment must be both severe and common.  The offense was committed in public, so the punishment must surely be given publicly.  This would be a public humiliation.”

The Lord stood tall, “Nothing can humiliate a true Lady.  She will accept her just punishment with her head held high.”

Suitably emboldened, the Judge finally pronounced sentence, “Lady Bombast, next Sunday you shall attend church as usual and then return to your estate immediately after the service.  The moment you enter your home, you will disrobe entirely to prepare yourself for the birch.  Fully prepared, you will stand in your great room before your family and staff.  Eventually the  church bell will sound.  When you hear that bell, you will exit the grand entrance of your estate alone and march alone to the village square.  There the Sheriff will publically scourge you with a birch rod.” 

The Lord took a step forward towards the judge.  “I protest sir!  As the Ladies’s lawful husband, I demand the privilege of delivering her punishment.”

The poor judge nearly had a heart attack, but then mentally reviewed what the Lord had just said.  Only then did he realize that it wasn’t really a protest!  Carefully he spoke, “My Lord, of course you may have the privilege of delivering your wife’s punishment.  But you understand that the Lady may not receive the slightest advantage from your involvement?”

“Yes,” the Lord agreed.  “I will assure that she will walk alone to the square with nothing to shield her nakedness from public view.  You have my word that I shall wield the birch with enthusiasm.  I will continue my duty to the King until both you and the Sheriff agree that she has been well and sufficiently punished.  Then, still naked, the lady shall march back to our estate.  Only once inside will I feel free to provide husbandly comfort to my wife.  Would that be sufficient?”

At those words, the Lady Bombast’s knees grew weak.  She nearly fell and had to catch herself.  Her cheeks turned red, she breathed hard.

So the terms of Lady Bombast’s punishment were agreed to.  In mere moments, word had spread all over the village!      

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Sunday dawned bright and clear.  The church service was unusually well attended.  Not only did every person in the entire village show, but people emerged from the countryside who rarely trekked to town to attend church.  There was standing room only!  Of course, the Lord and Lady Bombast sat in their usual private pew.  The Lady could feel hundreds of eyes on her as she sat.  But like the noble person she was, she kept her chin up and her eyes straight ahead.

The Judge had obviously talked to the Parson, so he  preached a somewhat convoluted sermon intended to please the King.  It was about “give to Caesar”, and duty to the King.  He even managed to work in something about “not sparing the rod’!  As if nothing were wrong, The Lord and Lady nodded in all the correct places as the Parson droned on.  Finally the ordeal was over.  As if it were a normal Sunday, they shook the Parson’s hand on the way out and complimented him on his sermon.  Arm-in-arm, the Lord escorted his regal Lady back to the estate. 

In the great room, everybody quickly assembled as per the Lord’s previous instructions.  Maids, butlers, stable hands, kitchen help; they all lined the walls still wearing their best Sunday outfits.  In the middle of the great room, the Lady’s chambermaid waited.  Also present for this start of the Lady’s punishment ritual were the Judge, Sheriff, and even the aggrieved tax collector!  The Lord even purposely left the grand entrance doors wide open so that a few brave commoners could peek in at the spectacle.

Slowly, formally, put respectfully, the chambermaid assisted the lady in removing all of her clothing.  Since the lady wore many layers, this process took several minutes.  A junior maid made three trips carrying piles of the lady’s discarded  clothing off to her chambers.  Finally it was done, the lady stood nude, aloof and alone in the middle of the room, her arms to her sides.  Her breasts were firm and high, her pale body slim but bulging in all the correct places with reproductive promise.  Between her legs, a thatch of red curls hid the Lord’s favorite part of her.

Unsure of the protocol and unwilling to miss anything, nobody moved and nobody spoke.  It became very hot in the room.  Everybody was uncomfortable and sweating except for the Lady, who seemed to slightly shiver.  Most people surely thought that the nude lady was in a draft, or possibly fearful, but the Lord knew differently.  If anybody expected to see tears or fear or humiliation in the Lady’s eyes, they were sadly mistaken.  Lady Bombast was far too noble to stoop to such a display!  Although that tax collector was in the room, the lady never acknowledged his presence, and certainly offered no apology!

After an interminable wait, the church bell finally chimed.  “Lady Bombast” the Sheriff intoned formally, “you will follow me and the Judge at 20 paces”.  Regally, the lady nodded.  Then the men turned and left via the grand entrance.  The Lady waited the requisite 20 paces, and then obediently followed, her two firm breasts pointing the way.

The correct twenty paces behind his Lady, the Lord followed.  Like the rest of the village, the Lord drank in the sight of his undraped wife.  Her buttocks were firm and proud, her red hair spilled below her shoulders, her waist was narrow, her hips flared as if to advertise her fertility to the world.  A close inspection of her buttocks revealed the fading evidence of the earlier punishment she had received at the hands of her husband.

You might have thought that the Lord would have been humiliated at this public display of his wife’s body, but that wasn’t the case.  He enjoyed seeing his lessors admire his many fine possessions.  His wife’s body was perfect, so why shouldn’t people admire it and know what a wonderful trophy the Lord possessed?  Under his codpiece the Lord was rampant, and would remain so until he got her alone and was free to express his passions in the way that men do.

Behind the Lord, the rest of the staff followed in a double line, arranged by rank.

Chin held high, the Lady followed the elegant foot path to the roadway, and then turned right towards the center of the village. Even if the Lady hadn’t known the way to the village square, and even without the Sheriff and Judge to lead the way, she would have known where to turn,  because there were people lining the entire route!  As the procession passed, the commoners followed behind, not wanting to miss a bit of the entertainment.

In the middle of the town square, a solid and weatherbeaten wooden horse awaited.  It had been there for generations.  The Lady had seen others beaten over that horse, so she knew exactly what to do.  She walked up to it until her flat belly almost touched the old wood, and then she spread her legs wide.  Finally she bent over the top bar, pushing her bottom cheeks out towards the waiting crowd.                                        

The Sheriff stepped forward to tie the Lady’s ankles and wrists.  The Lord protested, “That won’t be necessary Sir.  She is a Lady, she will remain in position for her punishment without need for restraints.” 

The Sheriff replied.  “The ankle restraints are necessary to keep her wide so that she presents a proper surface for the birch.  The hand restraints are optional.  However, if we must halt her punishment to restrain her, the punishment starts again from the beginning.”

“Agreed!” Said the Lord, as he selected the thickest birch from the water barrel and shook it out.  Of course, the Lord understood that restraining her ankles had more to do with displaying the Lady’s innermost secrets to the crowd than “presenting a proper surface”.  But he had no problem with the display of those secrets.

So the Sheriff tied the Lady’s ankles to the legs of the horse, pulling them wide apart.  As intended, this displayed Lady Anne’s all to the ardent crowd.

The Sheriff stepped back, the Judge nodded solemnly to the Lord.  Lord Bombast lifted the birch high and then let fly with his full strength.  There was the distinct sound of birch rod meeting feminine flesh.  A white streak appeared across the center of the Lady’s bottom, which immediately turned red.  She grunted in surprise, but made no other sound. 

Usually the crowd was boisterous at these events, cheering each blow and yelling abuse at the victim.   But today a respectful silence reigned.  The silence was not only out of respect for their great Lord and Lady, but also because tax collectors were unloved even by commoners.  But as the birch fell that first time, one lout cheered.  The Lord turned to give a perpetrator a furious look.  Chastened, the man melted to the rear of the crowd and then quickly disappeared.

Then the Lord turned back to energetically continue his task.  As her bottom reddened, it also moved in a fetching way that held the crowd’s ardent attention.  The motion came partly from the force of the impacts, and partly from the Lady’s agony.  But after that first grunt, the Lady made not a sound.  From her earliest days, Lady Anne had endured chastisement at the hands of those placed in charge of her, so she knew well how to take it.  The commoners would not see this regal Lady make a scene!

As the birch did its work, her bottom quickly progressed beyond mere redness.  The beating damaged not only the Lady’s bottom, but the birch rod itself.  A few twigs flew at each blow.  When he judged he was halfway through with his task, the Lord stopped to select a new rod.  He threw the old one to the crowd, who fought for the prized souvenir.  Moving to her other side and using his other arm, the Lord recommenced his task. 

Finally the Sheriff tapped the Judge on the shoulder.  The Judge nodded his agreement with the unspoken question and then informed the Lord that the Lady had been sufficiently punished.

The Lord spoke loud so all could hear, “Those strokes were from the King.  These strokes are from your husband!  At that, he gave her four more energetic wacks.  By now tiny droplets of blood had appeared on her red and mottled bottom.  From his close vantage point, the Lord noticed droplets of another sort glistening in an even more personal place, but hoped the crowd was too focused on her bottom to notice.  Tiny twigs littered the ground around the punishment horse.

The punishment obviously over, the Sheriff came forward to release the Lady’s ankles.  Still, the grand Lady obediently waited for permission from her husband before she proudly stood.  Finally standing erect, she breathed hard, but her eyes were dry.

Her punishment ritual wasn’t quite over.  Lord Bombast signaled for the crowd to part and form a path.  The lady stiffly walked from the square, still nude, but poised and proud  as if she were wearing a regal robe.  The Lord fell the requisite 20 paces behind her, and then the staff followed.  The procession retraced its steps back to the mansion.

As she walked, Lady Bombast’s livid buttocks and thighs contrasted beautifully with her pale skin, and complimented her upper and lower crops of red hair, which both shined like gold in the afternoon sun.               

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Finally the door of the Lord’s chamber clicked shut behind the couple.  Quickly the Lord divested himself of his clothing.  Nude, they fell into each other’s arms.

The Lord spoke, “Well my Lady, how was it?”

Her answer came thick with emotion and desire, “It was everything I dreamed of.  Can we do it again?”

The Lord chuckled, “Perhaps someday.  But you must attack no more tax collectors or other King’s officers.  Should you do that again, even I may not be able to keep you from gaol.”

That was the end of their conversation.  The couple fell into bed, but certainly not to sleep!

© Guyspencer 2013

  

3 Comments:

Anonymous Ordalie said...

Excellent atmosphere of settings and things long past!

1:55 PM, January 05, 2014  
Anonymous Spanko123 said...

Are you still posting here?

7:43 PM, January 27, 2014  
Anonymous GriffinOfTheFuture said...

Nice twist at the end! I look forward to reading another story soon!

10:13 PM, February 11, 2016  

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