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Miss Carmine's Ladies' Correctional Service (Michaela Francis)

Miss Carmine

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The beautiful, 36 year old, socialite, Cassandra Carmine, has a most unusual vocation. It is the year of 1871, and, from her house in London's fashionable Belgravia, she runs her Correctional Service as professional dominatrix and disciplinarian catering to an exclusive clientèle of the rich and titled ladies of London society. From débutantes to Duchesses; from wives of bishops to actresses and house maids to royalty; Miss Carmine's services much in demand. With her whips and canes she is a familiar figure in the drawing rooms of fashionable society and her house, where she is ably assisted by her domestic servants, serves as a correctional institution for some of the grandest ladies in the land.

In the summer of 1871, however, Cassandra is called upon to perform the most remarkable service of her career. She is commissioned to journey to a Lady Balding's country seat in Wiltshire ostensibly to discipline a pair of maids caught in most indecorous and indecently intimate embrace with each other. But caning the two young maids is only a charade engineered by her associate in the clandestine service of Her Majesty's Government. In reality her true purpose is to smuggle out of Wiltshire and to provide sanctuary for a young German girl; a refugee from the recent war in France whose shadowy background contains a scandalous secret that threatens two of the greatest royal houses in Europe and whose very existence poses a danger to the political stability of the continent.

Set against the rich tapestry of life in the 1870s, Cassandra's adventures take us deep into the underworld of high society in Victorian Britain. This sumptuously detailed novel provides a delicious ride of drama, romance and sexual adventure, populated with unforgettable characters and bringing to life the extraordinary age of the high Victorian era in which they lived.

Product type: EBook    Published by: Fiction4All    Published: 3 / 2017

No. words: 132800

Style: Historical Erotica , Erotic Domination - F/F, Fem Dom - F/F

Available Formats: Palm  MobiPocket (MOBI)  EPUB  Sony Reader (LRF)  PDF  MS Reader  This book has a format which can be downloaded to Kindle


Chapter One

Cassandra Carmine sat contentedly at her dressing table, brushing out her long dark wavy hair, while Molly wrestled with the laces of her corset. The corset was barely necessary for Cassandra had an admirably slender waist and the corset served mainly to support her breasts and accentuate her full bosom. Other than the corset, Cassandra wore a chemise and knickers that came to just above her knees. These undergarments were in bottle green and fashionably decorated with lace trimmings in black. They would have raised eyebrows in any respectable company.
Despite daring new trends, plain white undergarments remained the most common items to be found in a lady's bottom drawers. Until very recently, they would have been plain, functional and without frivolous decoration. Only of late had underclothes begun to become ornamented with frilly bows and lacy trimmings. Even then, only the most innovative of fashionable ladies had started to wear brightly coloured underwear. Previously, many of the dyes necessary for the colouring of ladies' clothes had been prohibitively expensive and available only to the wealthiest tiers of society and even they would have considered dyed underwear to be an entirely superfluous expense. New innovations in the textile manufacturing industries however, had produced much cheaper dyes; readily available to even relatively modest incomes. The drawing rooms of Europe had bloomed in colour and even middle class ladies now sported hues that had previously been the preserve of the most privileged echelons. A few ladies, still relatively small in number, had taken the trend to its logical conclusion and sported coloured underwear as well; ladies such as Cassandra for example but then, Cassandra had always been at the cutting edge of fashion.
Of course, in Cassandra's case, there were good reasons for her to wear such eminently attractive underwear. For one thing she could afford it. All her underwear, including the long stockings she wore, as well as the emerald green dress that Molly had laid out on her bed, were of fine French silk and very expensive. But then Cassandra was a very well to do lady. She was thirty-six years old, strikingly beautiful, possessed of independent means, unashamedly single and had every intention to remain so. She lived in unmarried splendour in a fine, if somewhat secluded town house, hidden in a discreet street, in the wealthy and fashionable district of London's Belgravia; a toss of a stone from Belgrave Square. It was a neighbourhood of the rich and higher classes and Cassandra found it most convenient for her business. The rich and influential were her clients.
Therein lay the other reason for Cassandra's innovative choice of undergarments. In the normal course of events, most wealthy ladies would expect their underwear to be an entirely private matter, to be shared only with their maids, husbands and most intimate of acquaintances. Cassandra however, in her professional capacity, was frequently called to attend upon her clients in a state of partial or even complete undress. Bearing this in mind, it would never do therefore, to arrive for an appointment in anything less than the most fashionable and attractive of undergarments. Cassandra took great pride in her work and took especial care over her appearance; tailoring it for the requirements of her clientele. It was also, it must be noted, a labour of love, for Cassandra enjoyed her work very much indeed.
Molly giggled and reached out a hand to touch the fabric of Cassandra's knickers. “Blimey Miss! Someone's in fer a treat! Yer best silk drawers! 'Oo's the lucky lady then?”
“I have a number of appointments today Molly.” Cassandra picked up the china coffee cup from her dressing table and refreshed herself with a sip before reaching for her diary. “Let me see now...” she murmured as she opened the slim volume. “I have Lady Avondale at ten o'clock to start with.” She pondered for a moment. “That's a fairly routine matter. I shall require nothing more than a pair of sound canes. Please ask Alice to ensure that the canes have no flaws in them, if you would Molly. One of my canes broke across Countess Danworth's bottom last week. I was most embarrassed. Then I have Mrs Barrington at eleven thirty. I think the martinet should suffice for her. Tell Alice to pack a gag if you please. Mrs Barrington does tend to be a little too resonant when being whipped and I wouldn't wish her neighbours to be disturbed.”
“Will yer be 'eatin' lunch in Miss?”
“No Molly. I shall be dining out. I'm meeting with friends. I saw Theresa briefly yesterday evening and she tells me that she and Prudence want to discuss something with me. This afternoon I have Bishop Waldrich to attend upon. I understand he requires his wife to be disciplined. I presume that will be a straightforward caning but I shall carry a few extra accessories just in case. At three thirty I have the most taxing appointment. It is time for the delectable Lady Caldwin's quarterly whipping. I shall need full restraints and my long cow-hide whip Molly so please ensure that Alice doesn't forget.”
“No Miss. I'll see to it meself.”
“Thank you. I think that will be all today unless I have any house calls scheduled for this evening.”
“Please Miss.... you 'ave Miss Wentworth comin' this 'evenin' for 'er monthly canin'.”
Cassandra clicked her tongue. “Oh of course! Damn it. I nearly forgot.” She stroked her chin thoughtfully. “Hmm. I think I'd better make it a good sound one Molly. Penny's been very naughty recently. She wore a frightful gown to Lord Earlshaw's ball last week, drank too much champagne, embarrassed herself in front of Colonel York and was quite rude to Lady Huntington... not to mention flirting with that awful Roger Kenwood in spite of my most express instructions to avoid him. I shall have to be most severe with her. Would you tell Alice to have the caning horse prepared in the punishment room and a good selection of long stout canes ready for her arrival?”
“Yes Miss. Wot about Missus Allbright?”
“Ah yes. Has she had her morning whipping?”
“Yes Miss. I gave 'er an 'idin' afore I brought you yer breakfast.”
“Excellent. I'm afraid I won't have time to attend to her personally today Molly. I might find half an hour to attend to her needs this evening but I'll have to delegate the rest to you for the rest of the day. Could you pop down to the cellar just after lunch and see she gets another whipping? After you've whipped her, leave her tied to the cross for the rest of the afternoon and I'll try to squeeze in a little time before dinner to see to her. Make my apologies in any case. She's with us for another two days so tell her that I'll find the time to personally give her the good hard whipping I've promised, her as soon as I have an hour or two to see to the job properly.”
Molly giggled gaily. “That'll be summat fer 'er ter look forward ter Miss! I'll leave yer long bull whip out where she can see it... just so she knows wot she's got comin' to 'er!”
“Yes. I think a little anticipatory anxiety would not go amiss.”
“She'll be peein' in 'er drawers... begging yer pardon Miss.... that's if'n she were wearin' any o' course.”
Cassandra reached up to pinch Molly's cheek affectionately. “You're a very bad girl Molly! Perhaps I should find the time in my busy schedule to give you a long overdue thrashing tonight.”
“Blimey Miss! I'm right privileged me! All these fancy folks payin' good money fer wot I'm gerrin' fer free!”
Cassandra chuckled in fond exasperation. “You're incorrigible Molly. Did you get the railway tickets by the way?”
“Yes Miss... two first class tickets from Paddington ter Market Balding. We 'ave ter change at Chippenham. Train leaves at ten ter ten on Saturday mornin'. Are we still stoppin' overnight?”
“Yes Molly. We'll be staying at Castle Balding for two nights so pack a pair of bags if you please.”
“Blimey! Lady Balding must 'ave right misbe'aved 'erself if'n it's goin' ter take two days ter put 'er right!”
“It is not Lady Balding we are called upon to attend to Molly. In her telegram, Her Ladyship asked me to discipline one of her maids for her.” Cassandra shrugged, “It seems that there is a growing call for my services in correcting domestic staff. I have a number of outstanding commissions of that nature. I shall have to formulate professional procedures appropriate to punishing servants.”
“Blimey Miss. Wot for? I mean it's not like yer don't get enough practice at it at 'ome!”
“It's a little more complicated Molly. In most cases I administer punishment with the consent or at least submission of the person being chastised. In the case of domestic servants however I would need protocols to assure myself that the miscreants in question submitted willingly to their correction or, at the very least, deserved it and are not being punished merely for their employees' gratification.”
Molly shook her head. “I wouldn't worry yer self about it Miss. I worked in a few grand 'ouses afore I came to work fer you and young maids are always gettin' their backsides tanned for one thing or another. Won't make much difference jus' cause they're callin' in a professional ter do the job.”
“Well possibly. Anyway less idle chatter. I must dress or I shall be late for my first appointment.”
Dressing was a complex business. Fortunately the huge wide skirts of the previous decade had fallen out of fashion and with them had gone the whale bone or steel, hooped crinolines that had made a person feel as if they were walking about enclosed in a cage from the waist down and made such basic actions as sitting or attending to necessary ablutions a nightmare. Now the trend was for a much more slender figure and petticoats, while still voluminous, were not quite the acres of linen they had once been. The skirt of the dress therefore tended to fall reasonably straight from the hips at the front.
At the back it was a different matter. Fashion dictated that a woman show the perfect S shape to her figure. Thus the corset lifted and accentuated her bosom while her rear was exaggerated by a large bustle. It was what passed for sexual allure in these more liberal days in that a lady might cover herself from neck to toe yet still advertise the curves of her figure for the benefit of her admirers. The bulging bustle at the rear was achieved with a small crinolette supported by heavy folded pads of material and over which were worn the petticoats and dress.
Cassandra's dress, designed to be worn as a bustle dress, was a bewilderingly complex cascade of drapes, layered skirts and folds, in emerald green silk, decorated with black lace and bows. It had the hint of a train to it, as was currently fashionable, and, being a day dress, it was long sleeved and buttoned right up to the neck. Evening gowns were rather more low cut affording a lady the chance to show a hint of bosom.
Then there were the accessories. Cassandra's black leather ankle boots were among the most functional items of her attire. With dresses that fell to the floor, there was little chance of ever seeing a lady's feet and precious little call for pretty footwear. Boots and shoes were thus solid, supportive and practical. In stark contrast to later eras, gentlemen were far more vain and fussy about their footwear than were ladies. Then there were her gloves, in black lace. Had the weather been cold she may have donned a pair of her best calfskin gloves but the sun shone benignly on this English summer day.
Last of all there was her hat. No respectable lady would have dreamed of setting foot outside the house without a hat on. Hats had been getting sillier and sillier over the last years until they were now elaborate, decorated contrivances that had become so ornate as to be mildly ludicrous and had long since ceased to have any function as a barrier to the elements. They were startling creations; ornamented with streams of artificial flowers and birds' feathers. Indeed the millinery industry was something of an ornithological disaster. Such was the demand for decorative hat feathers that the slaughter of wild fowl and other birds had reached scandalous proportions. Some species of birds with particularly prized plumage were teetering on the brink of extinction as a result.
Before Cassandra's hat could be placed triumphantly atop her head, her hair had to be fixed in place. With Molly's help, she raised her luxuriant locks into a bun fastened firmly in place with combs and pins, and facilitating the attachment of the hat with hatpins. Cassandra's hairstyle may have shocked earlier generations for her hair was lifted sufficiently to expose her neck and ears. This was a daring new style and provocatively inviting since a lady's neck and ears were considered highly erotic.
Finally the hat was set in place and ruthlessly secured with pins since there was not the slightest chance of it remaining in place in even the mildest of breezes otherwise. Cassandra pinned an emerald brooch to her bosom, to complete her ensemble and admired herself in her boudoir cheval mirror. She was every inch the fashionable and respectable lady of London society. She was also beautiful and desirable; a wealthy widow living on the proceeds of her late husband's estates as the official line would have it. Gentlemen would bow and doff their hats as she passed in the park with all the grace and dignity of a ship under sail. They would gallantly offer their arm to aid her into her carriage; swarm around like bees about a honey pot at balls and social functions; declare her the most handsome woman in London; drink toasts to her beauty in White's Club on St James' Street, shower her residence with flowers and chocolates and fight duels for her favour in Hyde Park. She was one of the most eligible ladies in all of London and the despair of her multitude of suitors. Only dark rumour hinted that there was more to Miss Cassandra Carmine than met the eye.

Chapter Two

Alice was waiting in the hallway with her bag and parasol when Cassandra finally emerged from her boudoir. “Alice” might sound the most quintessential of English names but, even a superficial glance, would tell the observer that there was nothing English about Alice. She was tall, statuesque, fine boned and with skin the colour of polished ebony. She glared at Cassandra. “Where you all goin'?” she demanded imperiously in the rich accent that had changed little since her days on the plantation in South Carolina.
“I'm going out for the day Alice. I have a lot of house calls to make.”
“No you 'ain't! Not like dat you ain't! Yo hat on all wrong and dey's a smudge on yo sleeve! Ah swear dat girl o' your'n be wuss than useless! You jes' wait dere while ah git me a brush an' make y'all fit ter be seen in public.”
Cassandra sighed. She knew of course that there was not the faintest hope of setting foot outside the house without first passing Alice's muster. She waited patiently while Alice fussed over her appearance. Protest was futile. Alice would simply tell her to “hesh up” and carry on regardless. Finally Alice declared her to be suitably dressed to step out into public view. “Dere now Missy. You look jes' fine.” She stood back to admire Cassandra, her pride in her beautiful Mistress radiantly evident in her dark African features.
Cassandra smiled. It was impossible to remain annoyed with her irrepressible housekeeper. She and Alice went back a long way; twenty years in fact. Cassandra had been just sixteen when her family had shipped her out in disgrace to the Americas to marry a wealthy cotton planter, twice her age, that she had never met. She had not been called Cassandra then. Few people knew she had been born Elizabeth Rosemont or that her married name was Elizabeth Beaufontaine. Beaufontaine had been a brute; violent, incessantly drunk on corn liquor, adulterous and cruel to the slaves on his plantation. He had treated his young wife abominably and fathered half the slave children on the plantation.
Alice had been assigned as Cassandra's Negro maid in the big house on the plantation and Cassandra's kindness had earned Alice's unwavering devotion. Then had come the awful day when Beaufontaine in his cups had taken a whip and beaten Alice half to death. Cassandra had tended to her and planned a terrible revenge. Beaufontaine had been of the opinion that women were merely decorative objects for the gratification of men; unintelligent, quite without competence in the world of men and unable to think or fend for themselves. That behind the beautiful features of his young wife there lay an intellect far superior to his own, liquor addled, wits was beyond his imagination. He had been negligent of his plantation's finances believing money to be somehow sordid and beneath the dignity of a Southern gentleman. It had been simplicity itself for the brilliant young woman to gain control of his accounts and to bring his wretched little empire crashing down after first squirrelling away a sizeable proportion of his money for herself in an English bank.
Beaufontaine had come home from a month of drinking and whoring in Savannah to find his estate bankrupt and his wife and her maid gone. It was then that Cassandra had taken on her name as she and Alice had fled across South Carolina posing as a young widow and her Negro maid. They'd bought passage on one of the new steamships for England in Charleston. It had been an uncomfortable and dreary crossing but there been a prize at the end. Great Britain had abolished slavery nearly twenty years earlier and, on setting foot back in England, Cassandra had had the satisfaction of telling Alice she was now a free woman; free to go and do as she pleased.
What she'd chosen to do, of course, was to stick to Cassandra with a devoted tenacity that had never wavered since. They'd moved to London and, with Cassandra's ill-gotten gains from the debacle of Beaufontaine's demise, bought a fine house under Cassandra's guise of a wealthy widow. Cassandra truly was a widow now though. Beaufontaine was dead. A Yankee musket ball had ended his ill-fated existence at Antietam, near Sharpsburg, some nine years earlier.
Alice was a phenomena. She worshipped Cassandra with fierce protectiveness. Even Cassandra's unusual profession failed to shake Alice's all-consuming faith in her in spite of the fact that it flew against her puritanical Christian beliefs. Cassandra was an angel to her, albeit a flawed one, and if she spent her days in the flagellation of wealthy clients then, as Alice would put it, “You go whup as many white folks as you wants. Ain't no skin off mah nose!”
“You go be back fer lunch Missy?” demanded Alice.
“No. I shall be dining out so you can tell cook that she has the day off until dinner. Is my cab here?”
“Sure is. I get Mei ter take yo bag out.” She turned around and yelled in her booming voice, “MEI!” There was no immediate response, “MEI!” Alice shouted again and scowled, “Where dat girl at?”
“It's perfectly all right Alice. I'm quite capable of carrying my own bag to the cab.”
“MEI!” roared Alice again, oblivious of Cassandra's protestations of capability. This time there came a patter of feet and Meiling rushed into the hallway from the scullery. Alice glared at the young Chinese girl. “Where you been?” she growled at her, “Ain't you seen Missy goin' out? You tink Missy gwine carry her own bag to her buggy? What folks roun' here gwine tink of us dey see Missy have to carry her own bag cos' her good fer nuthin' housemaids too bone idle ter see ter their chores?”
Meiling was hopping from one foot to the other in anxious contrition. “Ah solly. I not hear. I in skull.... in skully.... I downstairs.” explained Meiling, the pronunciation of “scullery” quite beyond her.
Alice snorted in exasperation. “Hmmph! You getting' too lazy girl! Time you had you a good ass whuppin'!”
Meiling bit her lip abjectly, “Missy go whip me?”
“Missy?” barked Alice, “Why who you think you are girl? Missy got better things ter do dan whup the likes o' you! Missy... she go whup high-class folks! She ain't no time fer whuppin' her own housemaids. She got me fer dat job!”
Cassandra was trying desperately not to laugh. “Perhaps if I may be allowed to be about my business now.” she suggested gently.
“Why sure thing Missy.” Alice turned on Meiling. “Git dat bag girl!” She turned back to Cassandra. “Don't you worry none Missy. While you out, I go take dis little madam down the scullery an' have her drawers down fer a hidin'!”
“Thank you Alice.” Cassandra was not unduly concerned. For all her bluster and thunder, Alice was a gentle soul. The most Meiling would be facing would be a few swats with the strap. Doubtless Meiling would save Alice's face by squealing loudly and prettily. The little Chinese girl had a penchant for histrionic melodrama while having her bottom spanked.
With Meiling carrying her bag before her, Cassandra stepped out of her front door and descended the marble steps in regal grace. A gentleman of her acquaintance, passing on the pavement, stopped to lift his hat courteously. “Good day Miss Carmine.”
Cassandra bobbed a tiny curtsy and rewarded his gallantry with a radiant smile. “Good day to you Mr Winterpenny.” The gentleman walked on looking as if he had just grown an extra six inches. Her cab was waiting at the curb; the driver holding the door open for her. She smiled at him. “Good morning Albert.”
“Mornin' Miss. Where we 'orf terday?”
“Park View House on Wellington Court if you please Albert.”
“Lady Avondale's residence Miss?” asked Albert as he assisted Cassandra up the steps into the cab.
“That's correct Albert.” Cassandra settle down in the cab as Meiling pushed her bag in after her. Cassandra reached out to touch the Chinese girls hair with a smile. “Thank you Mei. I've been thinking. It's time you had some new clothes. Perhaps if I have time tomorrow I'll stop by the haberdashery and see if we can find something pretty for you.”
Meiling's face lit up in glee. “Ah thank you Missy. You too kind! You best Missy in whole world!”
Cassandra smiled. “Well get along with you or Alice will be after taking her strap to you.” Meiling scuttled away joyfully. She adored pretty clothes. Cassandra watched her run off in amusement. Alice's strap would not hurt half so much now. Meiling was another of what Cassandra's friends would call “Cassie's stray kittens”. In contrast to the stern demeanour of her professional persona, Cassandra was a deeply compassionate woman and tended to pick up stray waifs along the way. Her home had been a sanctuary for many a lost young woman over the years. Meiling was just one in a long line but Cassandra was very fond of her.
Albert took his seat and with a slap of the reins set the cab in motion; clattering over the cobbles. The cab was an open fronted, two wheeled carriage with the driver sat atop and pulled by a single horse. They'd been an innovative design in the thirties; invented by a Joseph Hansom from York. By now they were ubiquitous on the streets of London. Over seven thousand of them transported their charges about the city's crowded streets. Cassandra wondered how people had ever managed to cope before them. Cassandra had more than a customer's interest in their convenience. A couple of years earlier she had visited the United States on business for a few weeks. The traffic in New York City had been horrendous and was crying out for the nimble Hansom cabs with their ability to weave in and out through the tightest places. She'd invested a modest sum with the newly formed New York City Hansom Cab Company. The cabs had proved wildly popular as a cheap and convenient public transport system in New York, and Manhattan was full of them now. Cassandra had done very well out of her investment but then she was a shrewd business woman and rarely invested poorly.
It was not far to travel to Wellington Court and, in truth, given the clement June weather, Cassandra could have walked the distance comfortably. Belgravia was a clean and respectable district where a lady might safely walk the streets without molestation or fear of befouling her skirts on filthy pavements. It was not as if she were being called upon to negotiate the rat infested back streets of Whitechapel after all. This was a refined and elegant neighbourhood of grand terraced houses and urban mansions lining splendid tree lined streets and boulevards surrounding the open plaza of Belgrave Square. The wealth of the neighbourhood ensured it was kept clean and attractive, while the police constables quickly chased away the beggars and pickpockets that might otherwise trouble the rich and influential residents. It was probably one of the safest places in London for a lady to take a stroll.
To Cassandra however, to arrive by cab at her appointments leant a certain professional formality to her visit. She had appearances to maintain. There was a strict protocol to her house visits and her business like formality afforded gravitas and dignity to her purpose. She was, when all was said and done, there to discipline her clients. It would never do to seem as if she was popping around informally to visit a nearby friend for tea and gossip. She had to maintain at least the façade of stern formality and censure akin to that of a particularly strict governess.
Many of her clients were, after all, her social superiors in the ranking of society. It was important to retain the illusion of her dominance over them. She had a very definable role to play. They paid very good money for the privilege of submitting to her; expected to feel dominated and subservient. A lot of her clients were powerful matriarchs or dominant ladies in society who reigned over their own little empires with hauteur and arrogance. Few among the acquaintances that had suffered the acerbic cut of their tongue or their over-bearing aloofness would have guessed, or even believed it possible, that there was secret inner side to them that yearned to submit to a dominant woman, be told off like a naughty girl and severely punished.
It was those yearnings that Cassandra had recognised and catered to when she had created her “Ladies' Correctional Service” and it was very nearly unique in England. Of course, gentlemen had had recourse to such services for a long time and many professional ladies made a good living out of flogging submissive gentlemen. Cassandra's genius had been to realise that many women harboured such submissive fantasies too and that a very discreet and trustworthy professional catering to their needs would find a niche. Uniquely, Cassandra catered only to ladies.
Of course, Cassandra was more than aware that her services were erotic in nature and that her services were closely tied to her clients', often repressed, homosexuality. It was a fact that, in spite of the apparent moral prudishness of expressed public opinion, homosexuality was rife in England. It was most visible among the male population and oddly, although public acts of indecency were heavily punished, private acts would not be specifically legislated against until 1885. Homosexuality amongst men flourished, in the barrack rooms, gentlemen's clubs, boarding schools, on board the ships of the Royal Navy, in rugby clubs, coffee houses, theatres and even the new Turkish Baths which had proliferated in London over the past decade. It was the skeleton in the cupboard of the male dominated society of Victorian England; a secret, shamefully hidden, yet all too well known in whispered corners.
Even more deeply buried was female homosexuality. In the prevalent atmosphere of the day, it was hard enough to give women credence for any sort of sexuality let alone romantic yearnings for their own gender. Men were supposed to be the ones subject to carnal lust and serial infidelity. Their extra marital affairs warranted a mild disapproval at best and were as likely to be dismissed with a knowing wink because that was the nature of a man. Sex was something women were supposed to endure for the privilege of having babies and when a woman was caught in infidelity she was subject to the most horrendous abhorrence and social ostracism. Being caught with another woman was simply unthinkable.
Yet sweep it out of sight as you may, female homosexuality was a fact and just as prevalent as that among males. There was no real term for it yet. Cassandra had heard the word “lesbian” used in reference to love between women but it had been a term used specifically about the female love described by the ancient Greek poetess Sappho on the Island of Lesbos and it had not yet come into general vogue. But it was a fact and a person such as Cassandra was all too aware of it. She rather suspected that it was far more prevalent than many would have given credit for. She wondered just how many husbands ever suspected that their neglected and lonely wives found solace in each other's arms. She knew only too well how many of her clients had had their earliest sexual awakenings with their own sex; with their peers at boarding school, being spanked over their nanny's knee, with their girlhood playmates or lowering their drawers to be caned or strapped by their governesses or headmistresses. It might even be that her clients' deep rooted shame over their sexual proclivities demanded their abasement and punishment.
Whatever it was, Cassandra not only acknowledged its existence but also made a profession out of it. It was a profession that afforded her great personal satisfaction as well. Cassandra was a very rare creature in the context of her day. She was a woman completely and happily at ease with her own sexuality. She had stopped feeling guilty shame over her own sexual proclivity the day her family had shipped her out in disgrace to less than marital bliss in South Carolina. Beaufontaine's brutish attentions had more than dissuaded her of any need to feel ashamed of herself. She had come to accept that which she was and, from there, to embrace it and to revel in it. She carried her sexuality with pride and without fear. To her fearful clients, hiding behind their own shame, it made her irresistible.
The cab drew up outside a grandiose town house, five stories high. “Lady Avondale's 'ouse Miss.” Albert informed her unnecessarily, “D' yer want an 'and wi yer bag?”
“Yes please, thank you Albert.” Albert took her bag. It was a long leather carrying case. It had to be long. Cassandra's general purpose canes were nearly four feet long. She stepped down from the carriage and drew herself up in poise and dignity. Another working day had begun.

Author Information

Michaela is a UK author based in Yorkshire. Born in the city of York, Michaela spent many years travelling throughout Europe during a career as an entertainer before returning to the UK to study for a Masters degree in history. The author of several novels and many short stories, as well as several works of non-fiction, Michaela's style mixes romance, fantasy and eroticism in a rich blend of well researched authenticity and descriptive imagination. Widely travelled, multi-lingual and multi-cultural, Michaela draws upon her own experiences and adventures to enhance the diversity of her writing while adhering to Tolkein's mantra "the inner consistency of reality" to bring realism and credibility to the imaginary worlds she creates.


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