Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Moments in C.P. History. Numbers I-III

Moments in C.P. History
A Series by Paul Melrose

"Back in 1999, when I was writing spanking stories for 'Februs', Paula Meadows and I thought of an idea to add a bit of variety to the diet of photographs and spanking fiction, and that was to do a short series on true life historical spankings and whippings. It was a task I thoroughly enjoyed for I did the historical research and Paula, of course, drew the pictures (well what else? :) We did try to make the history as accurate as we could, though I will confess that where details were not comprehensive, the spanko in me did some 'best scenario' embellishments. But they're not that far off the mark and the aim was to appeal to spankos after all :)"

(Alex's foreword to this series)

Number I. Catherine Cadiere

Catherine Cadiere was born in Toulon in 1709, the daughter of a merchant. Her father died when she was only three years old and left his widow with three sons, a daughter (Catherine) and considerable wealth. The girl was part of a deeply devout and loving Catholic family, her mother believing that a church scholarship was the best option to secure the girls future. She was thus schooled by a number of priests for twelve years with considerable academic success. When she was eighteen years of age and still undergoing tuition, Father John Baptist Gerard, a Jesuit priest, arrived in Toulon as Rector to the Royal Seminary.

Fatefully Catherine was placed under Father Gerard's direction for two and a half years, but after the first year nothing unusual had transpired, though Gerard was noticed by many to be inquisitive about Catherine's family background and her circumstances. He often told her that 'God had great designs for her' and that she should 'offer herself to God through her confessor'.

One day, when Catherine was taken mildly ill, Gerard came to visit her room and gently reproached her for not sending for him, then kissed her very gently on the mouth. Apparently the girl nearly fainted from the pleasure of the experience, as she later wrote to a confidante, and from that moment was under Father Gerard's spell. She began to obey his every command, taking the Sacrament every day in different churches as directed by Gerard who ordered her to give him an account of her emotional state after each of her spiritual visits. Catherine began to have visions and hallucinations, Gerard inciting her to more and more imaginative spiritual sensations until the excited girl passed out. When coming round, Catherine frequently found herself alone but 'in indecent postures with my undergarments disturbed'.

Eventually the cunning Gerard achieved his objective of introducing Catherine to a sound whipping by means of a challenge to her faith which played on the young girl's by now wafer thin emotional stability. He told her that she must prove her faith by an ascent into the air, a simple feat of levitation for one who truly loved God. He left her alone telling her he wanted a full report of the test of her faith. The frightened girl prayed for success and somehow convinced herself she was rising from the ground. Suddenly frightened, she grabbed a chair and held on until the sensation passed off.

Stricken with guilt by her lack of courage, Catherine immediately sought out Gerard in the confessional and told him of her cowardice. He feigned great anger telling her she had committed the enormous sin of doubting the Lord and that she would be punished in her bedroom the very next day. Dutifully Gerard arrived at Catherine's bedroom the next day armed with a leather scourge of the type common in monasteries. He told the tearful girl that 'since you have refused to be clothed in God's gifts, then likewise you must receive his punishment quite naked'.

The young Catherine, brought up so modestly, was shocked and ashamed by the order but too in awe of her confessor to disobey. She took off all her clothes in front of the priest's eager eyes before clambering up on her bed on all fours as Gerard ordered, then the priest put cushions beneath her to raise her bottom. Gerard then dealt the poor girl a series of hard blows with the scourge which caused her to cry out pitifully. When she was well reddened and severely bruised, Gerard first kissed the girl's bruised buttocks then 'the places betwixt and between' before getting onto the bed and 'passionately embracing' her.

His domination of the young woman became so great that he became enraged if she arranged family visits without his prior knowledge. Far from resenting such power, it would appear from both her actions and confidential letters later read out in court, to the vulnerable Catherine his behaviour was a heady aphrodisiac. Indeed, after the first frightening and shameful experience, Catherine began to relish her appointments with Gerard's whip and found them a source of great sexual stimulus.

Gerard's visits and consequent scourgings increased in number from about December 1729 when Catherine would be whipped naked at least twice a week, sexual activity being presumed to follow. Not surprisingly, before too long Catherine complained of fever and pains and her periods stopped. Rightly recognising the symptoms, Gerard flew into a panic and told the girl 'her blood was afire', persuading the young innocent to drink 'a porringer of water with a refreshing powder in it' every day. The girl obeyed without question and after eight days the powder did its work, the poor terrified girl miscarrying the baby of which she had been unaware.

The cunning priest then persuaded the girl's devoted mother that Catherine had suffered merely an 'infectious fever' but was being well cared for but should not be visited, thus the woman was kept in ignorance of her daughter's condition. Gerard then began to think about his own position, realising he had placed himself in considerable danger were news of this relationship to get out thus he had Catherine moved to a convent at Ollioules as soon as she was fit to travel.

Catherine was still obsessed with her mentor despite his abuse of her, letters passing between them for three months. Gerard continued to find reasons to visit the convent despite his better judgement until the Abbess became suspicious of his motives. She forbade personal visits to the girl's cell but allowed Gerard to talk to her alone only through a grille in the cell wall. Although the grille was only two feet square, Gerard was able to persuade Catherine to first press her face to the mesh to be kissed. Then, incredibly considering the risk, Gerard persuaded her to climb up on a wooden table so that she might press her bare bottom against the grille mesh, Gerard exacting due satisfaction for them both with his trusty scourge.

Gerard was now aware how dangerous was his obsession and resolved to use his influence to send Catherine away to Lyons, well away from wagging tongues. However his plan was thwarted by the Bishop of Toulon who appears to have taken a personal interest in the girl at the request of her mother and who, instead, moved Catherine to his own private country house. On hearing this, and knowing all his damning personal letters were in her trunk, Gerard sent one of his other 'pupils' to see Catherine and persuade her to release them. The 'pupil' instead of obeying, took from the priest's private desk the letters Catherine had sent to Gerard and returned them to her.

Still she was obsessed with Gerard and on three occasions tried to climb out of the window of her new abode to meet him in Toulon but each time was apprehended and sent back to bed. The Bishop, on hearing of this, became angry and confronted Catherine demanding to know the whole truth. Faced with such ecclesiastical power and anger the poor girl broke down and confessed everything in minute detail, handing over all the personal letters and begging that her shame be spared and the matter dropped. Despite her pleas, the Bishop of Toulon indicted Father Gerard on 10th November 1730 and Catherine Cadiere was told she must testify, the girl then claiming 'enchantment' to excuse her own culpability in the scandal.

When the final ecclesiastical examination of Gerard took place in 1731 the options appeared grim indeed. The prosecutor announced that when the ecclesiastical parliament at Aix-en-Provence pronounced sentence one of the parties would be executed. If the charges against Father Gerard were proved he would be burnt alive at the stake but if the charges proved groundless, making the young penitent a liar and seducer, then Catherine would be hanged.

In the event, the outcome could be called a 'happy ending' because the religious court at Aix was evenly divided. Twelve clerics thought Gerard guilty and twelve thought him innocent thus he was discharged as case 'not proven'. Because, however, there was such a weight of opinion behind Catherine's claims, she too was discharged into the custody of her loving mother never to be involved with Gerard again.

Number 2. Comtesse Jeanne de la Motte

Jeanne de la Motte Valois was, reportedly, a beautiful woman born in 1756 of reasonably noble stock, though the family had fallen on hard times. She married young, to a Count Marie Antoine de la Motte, but the marriage drifted and, by 1784 when this story unfolds, she found herself living an impoverished existence on the fringes of Parisian society. She was resourceful and sly, qualities which did not endear her to King Louis XVI who distrusted her instinctively.

Although Jeanne de la Motte is the focal point of this story and judicial victim, the real victim in the long term has to be the tragic Marie Antoinette. When she had married the then Dauphin Louis, Marie Antoinette was derided by French society for her "Austrian manners" for she had no appetite for the boring table chat which dominated royal occasions. She was fun loving and generous natured, journeying in disguise from Versailles to Paris on many an occasion both as Princess and Queen to follow up requests for money and assistance. She tried desperately to live up to her royal status but only succeeded in drawing the sneers of the French establishment for her spendthrift ways, many stories being concocted about her so-called lovers and her profligacy, most of which were totally untrue. By the time she became Queen to Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette was lonely and sad not knowing who to trust and it was in this context that Jeanne de la Motte came into her life.

The Comtesse had petitioned the royal court for money and Marie Antoinette visited her in secret, promising that something would be done to relieve her situation. As a result, and to the King's displeasure, Jeanne de la Motte became a favourite at court with the ear of the Queen and privy to much court tittle tattle. Gossip abounded that Marie Antoinette had been offered first opportunity to buy a diamond necklace from the Paris jewellers of Bohmer and Bassenge valued at over one and a half million livres. Tempted by its beauty, but aware of her reputation for profligacy, the Queen turned it down publicly stating that it was better that the exchequer had the money to buy ships for the navy.

Into the picture then stepped one Cardinal Rohan-Guemene, a cleric of lofty political ambition, who had attempted many times through flattery to become a confidante of the Queen. She, however, treated the Cardinal with ill disguised contempt for offensive remarks he had made years before about her mother, Marie Therese, in an attempt to persuade Louis to marry a French noblewoman. Desperate to gain Marie Antoinette's favour he approached Jeanne de la Motte for advice on how to rectify his situation and suddenly the sly Comtesse saw an answer to all her financial problems.

She told Rohan-Guemene that the Queen would forgive all past slights if he showed his devotion by purchasing the diamond necklace on the Queen's behalf and presenting it to her as a gift. She reassured the flustered Cardinal, who could not afford that sort of price, that the Queen would pay for the necklace in instalments, but it could not be seen that she had purchased it herself for obvious political reasons. Rohan-Guemene, though besotted with the idea of finding favour, was still unsure and Jeanne de la Motte realised she needed some impetus to push him the rest of the way.

Her good fortune came on a visit into Paris one day in 1784 when, at a public exhibition, Jeanne saw a woman step down from a carriage and could not believe her eyes. What was the Queen doing travelling in such low estate and wearing such shabby clothes? She put the thought aside until cheering announced the arrival of a much more stately carriage from which the real Queen emerged. Suddenly, realising that Marie Antoinette had an incredible double, Jeanne followed the trail until she found the girl whose likeness to the Queen was so uncanny. The girl's name turned out to be Marie Lejay, rechristened by Jeanne for the purposes of confidential letters Baronne Gay d'Olivas, (an anagram of Valois which was a cheeky touch) and she was soon persuaded that in order to play a joke on a friend, she would accompany Jeanne to a late night tryst and impersonate the Queen.

Accordingly, Jeanne de la Motte went back to Cardinal Rohan and told him an assignation had been arranged where he would meet the Queen in secret at night in woodland just outside Versailles. The Cardinal was completely duped and accordingly, in the company of Jeanne de la Motte, he met, in poor light, the heavily veiled Queen, who promised him both prompt repayment and sexual favours if he were to purchase the necklace for her. Cardinal Rohan, a man of normally sound judgement, was swept off his feet by this unexpected promise of pleasure and agreed to every request, including one that Jeanne de la Motte was to be the link to both parties.

Jeanne then proceeded to acquire the necklace from the jewellers with one genuine document from the Cardinal, a forged note from the Queen and other forged documents which led the jewellers to believe that payment would be made over a certain period and that the Queen's own signature guaranteed it. For some weeks, Jeanne de la Motte managed to prevent all parties meeting, secreting the necklace in a hiding place from where she could flee the country with it when the time was right. Unfortunately for Jeanne, the jewellers grew suspicious and demanded an audience with Marie Antoinette who, of course, knew nothing of the affair. Cardinal Rohan thought the necklace to be in the Queen's possession and at first suspected Marie Antoinette to be lying.

Eventually the truth came out, all fingers pointing to the attractive Comtesse as the central villain in all this and she was arrested and locked in the Bastille along with Marie Lejay, the Cardinal and other minor figures implicated in the scam. At Louis XVTs demand, in order to completely absolve his Queen, a public trial of all the parties involved was held with great publicity. This trial was the worst thing that could have happened to the Queen for Marie Antoinette could not, in her position, testify and the consequent press coverage tended toward the scurrilous, suggesting that she had indeed conspired to acquire the necklace and was placing the blame on others. Most historians feel this to be complete nonsense but the mud stuck.

On the day of judgement, 31st May 1786, the accused were not brought into court, but the news was brought to their cells. Jeanne de la Motte was told in her cell that all her co-defendants had been acquitted, raising her hopes that she too would be freed or at worst she would suffer banishment to England. These hopes were dashed when two officers of the court came into her cell and ordered her to kneel before them, a humiliating instruction given only before a humiliating sentence. Jeanne protested this outrage, citing her noble birth, but she was forcibly dragged to her knees and the sentence read out. When she heard the decision, she screamed in shock and fear, for she was told that she would be taken from the Court immediately to a scaffold erected in the Cours de Justice, then tied there to a whipping post before being stripped naked and whipped before a huge crowd.

Struggling and crying the beautiful, dark haired young Comtesse found herself dragged forcibly from the prison and onto the huge concourse on which the scaffold was erected. She made desperate pleas for mercy before being dragged up the steps, tied to the whipping post and completely stripped before being soundly whipped on her back and buttocks. When the whipping was finished and she was slumped sobbing with pain and shame in her bonds, the whipper heated a hot iron in coals and she was branded with a small V, for Voleur, on her shoulder. She fainted from the pain and was carried back to the Bastille before transportation to Saltpetriere Gaol, the whores' prison, which was a further indignity.

Jeanne de la Motte became a milestone in CP history as the last woman ever to be publicly flogged in France. The punishment of the Comtesse was grossly humiliating, yet she survived, escaped from prison to England and became quite rich by writing her memoirs, which included very virulent attacks on Marie Antoinette. The unfortunate Queen, in contrast, had to suffer slanderous attacks until the end of her reign. Three years after the diamond necklace court case, the French Revolution consumed the nation and, four years after that, on October 16th 1793, four months after her husband King Louis XVI met a similar fate, the tragic and misjudged Marie Antoinette mounted the scaffold of the guillotine on her final journey.

Number 3. Jane Digby

All through her life, and particularly as a child, Jane needed to feel loved. For all her basic goodness, she was a typical only daughter, spoilt, sometimes rebellious and headstrong yet always immediately deeply sorry for any hurt she caused her family by her acts of wilful misbehaviour. Although a deeply loving family, the Coke Digby's were very clear about the results of misbehaviour by their children and Jane had frequently felt the sting of a good maternal spanking whenever her behaviour had gone beyond tolerable limits. It would appear that she coped well with the spankings just as long as that meant she was forgiven.

How could her loving mother do other than forgive the little girl who would write letters to her at the age of eight after being punished saying 'Dear Mama. I will never leave my food again. Please forgive me and send your reply via the bearer!' Such poignant resourcefulness would melt any mother's fury!

The educational path taken by Jane Digby was unusual for a young woman of her time, for her parents decided she would receive the same education as her brothers and thus, by the age of sixteen, she emerged from her schooling with a grounding in French, German and Italian plus a thorough education in classical languages, the arts and ancient and modern history. Thus this was no dumb little rich girl who emerged into the society world of 1824, but a highly intelligent and gifted young woman who was extremely beautiful and, as would be revealed, with a voracious sexual appetite.

Much of the credit for Jane's upbringing must go to a very strict and forbidding governess named Margaret Steele, appointed when Jane was ten to hone the behavioural skills of a young lady of breeding and who taught the young girl music, needlework, religion and social deportment. Margaret Steele was aptly named for she would stand no nonsense from the mischievous and wilful young student. Right from the beginning, Miss Steele had insisted on the right to discipline the girl when necessary and such assent had been readily given for Lady Andover knew only too well the nature of her capricious child.

Thus, very early on in life, Jane learned not only the basics of social behaviour but the consequences of breaching it as she knelt sobbing over a chair with skirts raised and her drawers down for several meaty strokes of Miss Steele's righteous strap. Jane never resented her punishments and despite, or perhaps because of, Margaret Steele's firmness the two developed an intense affection which would last many years until Margaret Steele died, at news of which Jane was inconsolable. At the age of fifteen, it was felt that Jane's education could be best finished off at a seminary in Tunbridge Wells where she spent one year. By the time she was sixteen and had returned home to Holkham, Jane was not only a beautiful young woman but a hive of repressed and frustrated sexual desire which would soon find its emergence in dramatic form making her one of the most notorious women of the age.

For nearly twelve months before being presented at court, the young Jane, now just seventeen, completed her education at home under the tutelage of a former public school tutor named Mardon (whose first name mysteriously never appears anywhere) and it is at his hands that a hitherto unexplored sexual awakening took place. She was already in love with her cousin George Anson who never took any notice of her and there were rumours that her first sexual initiation had already occurred at the hands of one of the Holkham grooms. It is clear that Jane's thoughts were on anything but school work and her angry tutor sought an audience with her mother suggesting that the girl had become unmanageable. Lady Andover, already disturbed by the stories of her daughter's impropriety, reluctantly decided strong action was required and told the young tutor that he was to take whatever disciplinary steps he considered necessary to get the headstrong young girl back on track. Thus, after several warnings, the seventeen year old Jane Digby found herself summoned to the study where her tutor waited along with, to Jane's surprise, one of the maidservants. On the study table lay a birch rod and Jane was informed to her shame and horror that she was to be birched for her behaviour, a punishment which, in view of its intimate nature, required a female witness. Jane was more horrified by the presence of the maid than the prospect of such humiliating punishment and begged for the girl to be removed but to no avail. She was ordered to remove her dress, petticoats and drawers and to bend down holding her calves. Jane later confessed in letters that 'Though my cheeks were burning bright with shame, I shuddered with excitement at the thought of taking off my drawers in front of a man.'

With her chemise raised to the shoulders, Jane was quite naked as she obeyed the shameful order, the maid holding the girl's raised garment in place as the birch began to do its work on Jane's bare bottom. As the birching continued, Jane became sexually excited by the punishment which ended prematurely when her visible arousal became apparent. Perhaps her love of corporal punishment had been present since her childhood spankings but from that day on Jane admitted to a love of the rod which would last until her dying day.

Within a few months of that incident, Jane Digby was presented at Court in 1824 where she met Lord Ellenborough, a well known womaniser and rake, to whom she was married within six months. The marriage was a disaster, though she bore him a child, and Jane then began a series of affairs and relationships which made her the talk of the land, culminating in a whole series of exotic foreign relationships abandoned for the life of an Albanian bandit chiefs mistress living in a squalid cave. Finally, in her middle age, Jane married an Arab sheikh young enough to be her son and lived out the remainder of her days as a princess, one of a bevy of his wives subject to the well known strictures of Arab discipline which Jane took to with relish. She died in 1881 at the age of 74 and was buried in Damascus, shunned by her family and friends after a life of adulterous notoriety, but the ever headstrong hedonist died happy having done it all 'her way'.


  1. I want to reply to the proposal of Ordalie and Hermione.

    I have all of the stories that have been posted in the Alex Birch's blog. If you want me to post in my blog any of these stories, list the specific headings, please.

  2. If someone does not know, I will explain: "Paul Melrose" is a pseudonym, which the writer Alex Birch used when publishing stories in Februs and Janus.

  3. Yes, you already said so in your post called "My plans" back on 4 August 2010 and that's absolutely wonderful!

    Have you got "Privatised punishment" by Tim Starfield (Februs 1995)?

  4. Having read the true accounts of Catherine Cadiere, Contesse Jeanne de La Motte, and Jane Digby, these naughty woman defied their respective country laws. Their countries, found them guilty. And had every right to corporal punish them for their wrong doings. So they justly deserved to be painfully flogged. And some in full view of the public.