An au-pair suffers, by a new writer to us
by Gill Barton
Whilst I would hesitate to claim this is a true story, it is at least inspired by something that happened when I worked as an au pair.
“Please, Mistress, I am sorry I broke your vase, and I know I will have to make amends, but there is no need to use the cane,” I said as I saw her hand reach towards where it lay. “I can pay you for the vase I broke; you can deduct it from my wages.”
I had been working as a live-in maid for my mistress for about six months at this stage. She was something in the City. I never knew exactly what, but she made plenty of money, had a lovely house, designer clothes, and all the rest. My working conditions were not bad. I had to shop, except for what was bought online and delivered, cook meals, clean the house, and do the laundry, but once I had done my tasks I was free to have some time for myself. The pay was not brilliant, but I had virtually no living expenses. I had a comfortable bedroom and sole use of the family bathroom (my mistress had her own en-suite) unless someone else was staying, which was rare, and this was supplied with the best toiletries.
As we were more or less the same size, my mistress even gave me some of her clothes when she didn’t want them anymore, though they were in perfectly good condition, and were the envy of my friends when I went out. I worked 6 days a week, with Monday as a day off to do as I liked. I also had Friday evening off as my Mistress went out for dinner that night herself. She rarely went out through the week, but if she did I would be given another night off.
Once a month I had a whole weekend off, from Friday afternoon until Monday evening, and I was able to take holidays whenever my Mistress was away on hers, as long as I was back before her to get the house up and running once again. I hardly needed any clothes, as while at work I was expected to wear a uniform comprising a short black satin French Maid dress with apron and cap, under which I could wear a strapless bra and a tiny thong with fishnet stockings held up by suspenders. I wore this uniform all day and evening, except when I was on my day or evening off. The exception was Sunday when I could wear my own clothes and, although I still had to prepare meals, I was invited to join my mistress to eat them with her in the dining room rather than on my own in the kitchen.
When I took on the job, I was given a contract to sign that agreed my working hours and conditions, but my mistress added that she reserved the right to use physical punishment if I misbehaved in a way that she found unacceptable. I didn’t give this much thought, as I couldn’t imagine what I might do to warrant such punishment, or what it might entail if I did. In the event, I found that my mistress would occasionally slap me on the legs, or even my bottom, if I didn’t come up to her standards in some way, but this didn’t happen often and wasn’t particularly painful anyway.
That was until the night I got drunk. I came home late and somewhat the worse for wear one Friday night after being out with friends, and my Mistress, who had got home before me, was not pleased with the state I was in. She told me quite firmly that she would discuss this with me the following afternoon, and it was then that I discovered physical punishment might include her using the cane on me.
This was now three months ago, but I could still vividly remember the shock when the cane first hit my bare backside. I could not believe the searing pain, followed by three more stinging hits. This was my first experience of receiving the cane, and I was determined it would be the last.
But I had broken a vase a couple of days earlier, probably quite an expensive one as most of her things were. She had shown little annoyance at the time, she simply said she would deal with it on Saturday afternoon.
That was now, and it was when I saw mistress reach for the cane that I said, “Please, mistress, I am sorry I broke your vase, and I know I will have to make amends, but there is no need to use the cane. I can pay you for the vase I broke. You can deduct it from my wages.”
“You will indeed pay for it from your wages,” she replied, “but you must also be punished for your carelessness, and your punishment is divided into four parts. Deterrence and the three Rs: Restitution, Rehabilitation, and Retribution. Restitution is that you will repay me for the value of the vase by having it deducted from your wages, and that may take longer than you think as it was an expensive item. Rehabilitation, we will come to shortly, but the deterrence and retribution are the parts of your punishment for which I will be using the cane.
“We will begin with deterrence, and that will involve a caning on your hands. This is so that, for the next week or two, every time you touch something you will have a vivid reminder, in the pain you will have from your bruises, of your carelessness. And when the bruises have healed, even though the immediate pain will be gone, the memory of it will hopefully continue to act as a deterrent. So now, hold out your right hand in front of you, palm upwards. I will give you three strokes of the cane, and then repeat it on the other hand.”
Reluctantly, I held out my right hand. I saw my mistress pick up the cane and closed my eyes. She immediately told me to open them and so I stood there in horror as I saw her raise the cane and bring it crashing down in the middle of the palm of my hand. A searing pain shot across my hand, almost feeling like it had been cut in two. A red weal began to rise up, but I barely had time to register this when I saw her raise the cane again and bring it crashing down, this time across my fingers, bringing forth a cry of pain from me as this sliced in. A third time, she brought the cane down, just as the palm meets the fingers. I screamed out this time and put my hands together to try to soothe some of the pain, only for my mistress sternly to order me to stop that, and to hold out my left hand.
The process was then repeated with three strokes of the cane slicing in across my other hand, re-doubling the pain as the cane hit, first towards the front of my palm, the second near to my wrist, and the last stroke again across my fingers. My hands now both burned with fiery pain and I could see the weals rising up and reddening.
I tried to rub them together only for my mistress to say, “That’s enough of that. If you don’t stop wringing your hands I will stop you.”
“But, mistress, they hurt so much.”
“That is the general idea of a deterrent punishment.” My mistress continued, “We will leave the retribution part of your punishment for now, and you can have your first period of rehabilitation. This will continue beyond today, in that you will be grounded for the next two weeks and unable to go out on your days or evening off. You might not want to anyway with your hands looking like that, but in any case you will not. But for now, I want you to sit over there,” she said indicating a straight backed chair in front of a small fairly low table on which were the pieces of the broken vase, “and consider what you have done. Think about your carelessness and how you might improve your work in future. You can sit there for an hour or so, and then we will turn to the remaining part of your punishment.”
So I sat in silence with nothing to do but think about the seething pain in my hands, and look at the pieces of the broken vase in front of me. After a while, the unbearable stinging began to fade a little, but only as it dulled into a more throbbing pain as the weals began to develop into bruises. I cried as I looked at the state of my hands, and the pieces of the vase in front of me. But then I started to think about the retribution that my mistress said was still to come. That it involved the cane once again, she had made clear, but exactly how, I could only speculate. The hour, if that is all it was, seemed to last an age, but finally I heard my Mistress returning.
“Stand up,” she said brusquely. “We will now turn to the remaining part of your punishment; the retribution. This is simply that you have done something wrong and the balance must be put right by your being punished, and this will be done by a caning on your bottom. Bend forward and put your hands on the table.”
The table was quite low, and my uniform dress was so short that bent over like this it hardly covered my bottom at all, but my mistress lifted it away and tucked it under the apron tie behind my back. As I had only a tiny thong, and suspenders holding up my stockings, my bottom was now completely bare.
“I am going to give you six strokes,” said my mistress, whereupon out of the corner of my eye I saw her raise the cane and heard it swish down and land with a thwack in the middle of my effectively bare bottom. For a moment, nothing; then a feeling of heat and then the intense, stinging pain. A second time she lifted the cane and brought it crashing down, a little higher up than the first, again bringing with it intense pain. The third stroke landed higher still and the pain seemed worse with this one, perhaps because the skin was stretched tighter and there was less flesh beneath it on this part of my bottom. The fourth went much lower, just where my bottom gave way to my thighs. This was the most painful stroke so far and I squealed out loud. I couldn’t help but stand up and fling my hands to my bottom, upon which my Mistress shouted firmly, “Get back down into position, or I will add extra strokes.”
I didn’t want that of course so I quickly bent over again and put my hands on the table. The fifth stroke whipped in, a little higher, still extremely painful but not quite as bad, but the sixth, though back near the middle of my bottom, seemed to be given with added force and brought a cry of anguish from me. But at last it was all over. My mistress freed my dress hem from the apron string and told me to stand. My hands again flew to my bottom to soothe the pain, but my mistress barked at me to stop it and stand with my hands by my side. I turned toward her with tears in my eyes.
She said, “That completes the retribution and deterrence aspects of your punishment. As I said earlier, the rehabilitation will continue with your being grounded for two weeks, and the restitution that you will pay for the damaged vase out of your wages over the next four weeks. If you want to keep your job, then in future I suggest you be more careful with things in this house. This is the second time I have had to use the cane on you. If I have to do it a third time it will also be the last, and you will be out of your job. Now go and prepare my evening meal.”
© Gill Barton 2021