Saturday, 12 January 2013

Emily in the Asylum

A little fiction for you today, prompted by an interesting search phrase someone used to find my blog. The phrase in question was “I’d love to own an institute for the discipline and spanking of naughty adult women” – a rather revealing wish and not, I would venture, all that uncommon a one!

The phrase immediately brought to mind a postcard I picked up a while ago on a trip to Bath (lovely place; another, like York, that lives and breathes millennia of history): the image below is a scan of it. I have never found the building from which the photo was taken, but that’s all right. I can imagine...

Emily stumbled along the dank, cold corridor towards the laundry as fast as her legs could carry her. Which wasn’t terribly fast, in truth, for she was tired and the bundle of bed linen she carried was enormous and heavy. A quick swish of the crop, scorching her soft behind, put a little extra spring in her next few steps. “Move it, girl!” barked a hard-faced warder, lurking in the shadows, holding his crop aloft in readiness for another blow. “Get them sheets to the laundry, you slattern!”

“Yessir!” Emily gasped, hurrying so as to avoid another taste of the crop.

Poor Emily. Cold, dirty and hungry, her life in the Asylum was one long, miserable day of drudgery, stretching back and forward in time to infinity. Her experience was of course that of every inmate, young women all: worked to the limits of endurance, denied the simplest of comforts, starved of human affection. Yet this bleak existence was perhaps hardest of all for Emily, for she had fallen far further than the majority. From a spacious country house with sweeping grounds to a tiny cell in a forbidding institution; from a life of leisure and refined pursuits to one of menial, unending labour: the change in her circumstances had been dramatic and most unkind.

Each and every moment in that place was a painful one. Even sleep, when it came, offered no relief. The nightmares she had! And her pain was not, sad to say, confined to the emotional sphere: the Asylum’s many warders had instructions to discipline any girl deemed to be disrespectful, to be working too slowly, or to be exhibiting any other sign of dissoluteness, and they carried out their duty with relish. Poor, delicate Emily, unsuited to the rigours of domestic work, was treated to the thoroughly indelicate ministrations of her keepers on a frequent basis.

How impossibly idyllic those lazy afternoons in the garden with Papa seemed now! What she would give to be back in the family home, enjoying a piano recital! But it was all gone, gone forever!

The next instant her senses were assailed by the acrid smell and oppressive heat of the laundry. Wearily, she unburdened herself, adding her linen to the mountain to be washed, and rested for a moment. She should have known better: the poor exhausted girl was immediately taken by the arm, given a brace of smart smacks to her seat, and sent on her way with a shove to collect a new load of dirty linen. “No slackin’, Lady Muck!”

Poor, destitute Emily!


  1. Goooooood Mooooorning Bath ! And York too. Compelling as usual Penny, great pace and fluidity. It's like Les Miserables with spanking. Zut Alors ! More singing , bunny-wailing and crushing gravity...Strict but kind Uncle, a tad more 1970s than 1770s :)

  2. Maybe one day Emily could gain her freedom.
    But not after lots of spankings.

  3. Very well written. If only somehow poor Emily could be rescued.

  4. I love the Bath and York. Two cities filled with history. Excellent story Penny.

    My HS was similar to the asylum you describe.


  5. A lovely little story, Penny. For a look at an institute where female discipline was the norm, try Alan Moore's graphic novel The League of Extraorinary Gentlemen. It's only in there for a page or two, but it is a delightful little thrill that one does not expect find there.

  6. Thanks, everyone! I'm really glad you liked it. And fear not, TFD - I think Emily might have to be rescued.

    Your high school was like this asylum, Joey? Aww!

    I reckon I'll have to check that book out, Aunty :)

  7. I miss your reply again; I think your writing style is like a great blues woman, the feeling comes through, all comments could have been mine, the virtuousity is in the actual playing , as it were. Oh how life is. We serve. Thank you for being honest. The truth is an offence, but not a sin. We love you, and your blog.

  8. I'm curious as to what Emily might have done to warrant a stay in so dreadful a place. Did her beloved father die, and leave her at the mercy of a wicked stepmother or a cruel Uncle?

    Did she refuse the advances of a local Magistrate who serves on the Board of Governor's for the said asylum?

    Or perhaps she was a young lady on holiday, who upon seeing the postcard you mentioned made further inquiries, and requested a tour that led to a dreadful muddle.

    Alas, for once these things are done they are very difficult to undo. One only hopes her stepmother might hire her out to work at her old house as a scullery maid. Her status would be quite a bit lower than the paid servants, who would need to discipline her severely to remind her of her place, but at least she could see (a few rooms) in her beloved home.

  9. a young slattern - my favorite type!

    Emily may hope for "rescue" but a woman who needs a firm hand is likely to find it wherever she ends up...

  10. Thanks, Harry - you're very kind. And I love you too.

    Oh imreadonly2, your mind works in such devious ways! Poor, poor Emily... :D (As it happens I had previously sketched out a story idea where something very much like your scullery maid scenario occurs... I will have to write it out sometime).

    So true, John! It doesn't seem to matter where I go; spankings seem to follow me around :-O