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Beating The Bounds by Hilary Chale

Beating The Bounds 
(Hilary Chale)


Chapter 1


Rumpstock, the only station left in the South Bends, serves the two villages of Bendover and Caneham Soundly.Sarah had invited Philippa to stay for the Leap Year Bound Beating.

Itís about the only thing which happens here, Sarah had written, but it's quite a Saturnalia (as you probably know) and provides food for gossip till the next one and the next one unto the third and fourth generation.It's in June because, I suppose, 29th Feb. would be a bit cold, if you get my meaning.Trains every two hours from Waterloo.There's a connection at Barchester.Don't be surprised if Rump-stock station is swarming with Scarlet Women - pantless ones at that - Oh!And by the way, are you on the Pill?

Philippa had Doubts - Arrangements - Reservations.She procrastinated non-committally.She wasn't sure.There had been no mention of the actual date in June, she waffled.She said it all in a six page letter which took about ten minutes to write.She looked at it; decided that it was not one of her best scribbles and posted it just the same.A week or two passed and then, when she had forgotten all about it, a postcard arrived in an envelope.

Third Saturday in June it said.Do come.I'm officiating very importantly.The picture on the other side was inscribed Me as Bounder.Anyone could see why it was in an envelope.It showed Sarah leaning against a kitchen table wearing a scarlet gown which had fallen apart at the waist, revealing her bottom in all its nakedness.It revealed more than that.Her bottom was covered with bluish and reddish cane bruises.Obviously Sarah credited her with more knowledge than she possessed.Fascinating!

She decided to go.It was a ruminative journey especially when she looked covertly at that photograph.

There did not seem to be much of a swarm at Rumpstock, even if Sarah was one of it.She waved at Philippa and helped her out with her things.She made up in personality, Philippa thought, for the shortage of expected numbers.Her scarlet gown with its three black velvet bands across the behind, was indeed divided at the back from the cleft to the hem.Just ahead at the ticket barrier was another woman also in scarlet but (Philippa tended to notice such things) it seemed to be differently cut and there was only one stripe.

"Most of 'em met the last train, I s'pose?"

"They'll be around."

They drove out of the station yard, along the half mile lane to Caneham and so through the Soundly market.Here the red gowns seemed to dominate the busy scene.

"Caneham Soundly gowns are different from ours.We open at the back.Theirs are thrown up."

"So they're slit at the sides.Er ... Don't you have to be a bit careful?I mean picking things up and so forth?"

"Outside the village, we do indeed. Especially as it's not the done thing to wear pants."

"What, never?"

"Not in scarlet."

"But isn't this the time when you wear it?"

Philippa digested this for a moment and then added:

"Judging by the delightful picture, do I assume that the black stripes mean that you've been done?"

"Yes.If you see anyone without any, it means that they'll be done tomorrow.Anyway, I suppose you've read all about it in the papers."

"I must have missed it, I suppose.I don't usually read the Moon or The Looking Glass.Obviously I should."

"Probably.You'd get other snippets if you did. This isn't the only time.We raise money for charity.Sponsored strokes and such like."

They were out of the village.The road ran in a wide curve into a disorderly spinney. On the right Philippa caught a glint of irrigation channels.A cart crowded with open standing kegs stood among the trees.

"This is where the Bounds end," Sarah said, "on the Soundly side.The others end a bit further along.They go across the river, y' know."

For all Philippa understood, she might have been talking Hebrew.The next pronouncements did not help much.

"Birches.Let's go and look.This place is called Scarlet Bottom.The other one by the river is called the Cane Brake.They're connected.You'll see. Anyway, they're what all this is about."

"Oh", said Philippa.

"Valuable bits of land. They grow a special sort of watercress much in demand among gourmets and potentates."

"Hence the irrigation?"

"Yes. The two villages were once at war over them.Real rough stuff too.Have a look at the epitaphs in the churchyard. The irrigation isn't divisible.They wouldn't trust each otherís accounts and so on."

"Who actually owns the lands?"

"Each village claims them.They do it by beating the bounds on the others' side, to, sort of, include the land in their lot.And then I s'pose the other side must've taken to beating them off, or something.Anyway someone from our village thrashes their girls (that's me this year) and someone from theirs does ours.That's Tamsin Chud, who's coming to dinner this evening and then finally it turned into a competition. You know about beating the bounds, of course?"

"Roughly, don't you bump the mayor or take a child along a boundary and do something to make it remember the marks?"

"That's one way of putting it. Yes, only we have one girl for each mark and she has to be over eighteen.Very strict, that's because of cruelty to children."

"I see.And then?"

They had reached the cart.Sarah helped Philippa up.

"These birches'll be used tomorrow," she said, pulling one out of a keg.It was about four feet long and made of seven trimmed twigs tied up to nearly half way so as to form a handle for the user.

"We keep 'em in salt water for three days otherwise they break up. They break up anyhow.That's why we make up so many. Every household does four. Ever been birched?"

"No" said Philippa.The thought of being caned by their mutual headmistress rose up in her mind.The big armchair in that airy room, lowering her regulation knickers, throwing up the back of her skirt when she bent over, then she remembered the flashing pain rolling up inside her and the look of the violet cane-stripes on her fair and ample bottom in the mirror.

"You were saying about one child at each mark?"She said.

"Girl! Oh yes.They all go along the boundaries but only one gets caned or birched at each mark.They get at least six, but hold out for more to win the land."

"Win the land?"

"Yes, for four years, to the team with the most strokes."

"Do they get paid?"

"Not much.A pound a stroke from the Bounders Fund and a bit extra for winning, a bit more still for taking more than anybody else and there's the honour and glory, which is quite something, and paying next to no rates for four years."

They had come through to the edge of Scarlet Bottom and could see the Cane Brake in the distance.It was easy to tell, apart from the sparkling irrigation channels, where the disputed lands were, for tents and, mostly modest, marquees were going up.They stood back and a few yards from the imaginary line of the Bounds.

"Birches here: canes there.It used to be ground ashes but they drew blood too easily.Saw it happen when I was ten. Not that we don't sometimes draw blood now, but not so spectacularly. It fairly cascaded."

They walked in a long silence which continued as they drove to Sarah's house in Bendover village.

"There's more to it than that," she said suddenly, "for one thing, there's The Feast."

"You said something about a Saturnalia," Philippa interjected, "is that The Feast?"

The telephone was ringing as they opened the front door.Sarah scuttled into the house and took the call.After a while she came back looking discontented.

"You know where to go," she said, "'fraid I've got to fight a telephone battle before I cook."

Philippa carried her bags upstairs and unpacked while Sarah spoke and dialled and re-dialled in the hall.She was still at it when Philippa came down.Sarah followed her into the sitting room after a few more minutes with a loud "Damn".

"Can I help?"

"Doubt it, thanks. We're a girl short.Emma's caught the plague and I just can't find a replacement.They're all too young or too old or gone to Manchester, or disinclined or insufficiently broke or hoping for a quiet orgy in one of the tents or simply not there or don't think that scarlet suits them.If we go with only five against six, we're bound to lose".


"Certain to."

Again the thought of those bare exposures in that bright study at school, and the echoing thump of that cane. She had lost some puppy fat since then, so that her large haunches were, she knew, shapely and presentable.Roddie liked them that way ... She said.

"How old do they have to be?"

"Eighteenth birthday any time in the previous four years."

"Do they have to live here, or what?"

"I'm not sure, I don't think there's a hard and fast rule."

"I was thinking that if they are really meant to be witnesses to the boundaries, it wouldn't matter if they didn't come from the village, as long as they're accessible."

"Somewhere else in the South Bends, like Much Birching, for example."

Excitement was rising in Philippa and spreading downwards into her genitals.

"Or among your friends?" she said, imagining all those people seeing her handsome buttocks exposed. "Like me, for example!"

She had said it!

And then before Sarah could make any reply:

"After all, technically I am living here, if only for three days.I'm a parishioner in the eyes of the Lord, and betides I rather fancy scarlet. Will that satisfy you?"

Sarah blinked for a moment and Philippa swept on:

"Oh and by the way, don't forget that I got the swish four times at the Old Coll."

"Y-yes.That's right, you got it pretty hot that last time.I was waiting by turn in the passage.It was on the bare wasn't it?"

"Yes.I always had it on the bare, didn't you?"

"Once on my knickers, but not that day.Preferred it on the bare, oddly enough."

Suddenly the whole principle of the event was swallowed up in the mutual experiences.

"I got ..."

"Twelve that day.I counted."

There was a pause.

"You took a day off, or something, it was all over the school.Everyone thought you'd absconded."

Philippa laughed.

"M-mm; best thing I ever did. Didn't you hear the details?"

"I don't think so."

"I did keep it a bit close to my chest.Aged parents wouldn't have liked it, if they'd known."

"Darling, you weren't fucking, surely?"

"They wouldn't've liked that either, as a matter of fact, but that wasn't it."

"Come on!Come clean."

"Violent attack of mid-term fedupness.Looking miserably round the horizon.You know. Well, then I realised that it was the Grand National tomorrow.Popped down to the station to look up the trains and found that they matched."


"So I wrote a note to the House Mum saying I'd be back.Didn't say where, of course and bustled off before breakfast.Had a marvellous day. The favourite fell at Beechers Brook and mine came in at twenty-five to one.I only had a fiver, but I'd put it on him!"


"Yes, £10-80p a stroke and a bit over, not that I thought in mathematical terms at the time."

"No, I don't suppose you did, though I imagine you expected something!"

"Oh yes! 'member Lila Firth?She went off one day and got the swish too. Took three weeks for the marks to go."

"Why did you happen to choose that horse?"

"I must've been thinking in some terms.He was called 'Over-You-Go'."

Sarah giggled.

"So over I went."

There was another pause.

"Well?What about it?"

"I don't see why not," Sarah said slowly, "and what's more I've got a spare gown upstairs too.You could wear it for dinner.Tamsin and I will be wearing ours.I can explain to her."

"Might she object?"

"I don't think she can.She's got to accept it if I name you.All she has to do is to thrash the living daylights out of you."

"It's your business to offer the bottoms."

"That's about it.I couldn't object to the ones she offers to me either, but there's one other thing before I cook.Traditionally, once you put your scarlet on, you can't take it off during the three days."

"What, not even in bed?"

"Remember the pill?You probably won't need a bed ... for sleeping anyway.I must go and cook now.You'll find the scarlet hanging in my wardrobe."

Three gentlemen and Tamsin Chid duly came to dinner.Kenneth, Leo and Patrick were impressed by their scarlet women and it became a cheerful and salacious evening.

"You'll be a sensation," Tamsin said to Philippa, "are you looking forward to it?"

"Butterflies in the tum of course, but yes, I think I am."

"Otherwise you wouldn't have volunteered?"

They had adjourned to the Six of the Best down the road.The pub, in the Bendover tradition, showed six birches on one side of its sign and six canes on the other.

"Is it really true that ..." Patrick began -

"You never wear pants under scarlet," Sarah finished for him.

"Ask Phil," said Tamsin.

"I'm new to all this and you should be able to tell, but d'you want me to show you?"

" A bum in hand is worth six of the best, I s'pose."He patted her behind.

"No," said Sarah, the proverb should be 'a hand in the bush is worth two on the bum.'

"Or," said a scarlet girl in the next-door party, "one up is better that two to go."

"Philippa, this is Alice.Alice, this is Philippa.You'll be seeing more of each other tomorrow."

"So I was hoping; which number are you?" said Alice.

"Three or six I'm told.Not quite sure what it means yet."

"I'm one or four.You might be jolly important, depending on the draw."

"So I feared."

They smiled at each other.Alice was one of those brown skinned dark women who always manage to be conspicuous.

"Conversation's always like this the night before ... No holds barred."

"If I end up as six," Philippa said, "who is number one?"

"Dawn," said Alice promptly."She's the flaming redhead over there by the mantelpiece."

Dawn overheard and came across.

"Not only head," she said cheerfully.

"These skirts ought to be split up the front really," Kenneth said.

"Faugh or Fie!Is nothing sacred?"Sarah intervened, slapping his hand out of her cleavage.

"Mine isn't very," said Dawn.

Everyone laughed at the double-entendres.But when Kenneth said a very hard frontal good-bye, it was Philippa's bottom which he felt.Tamsin politely said that she looked forward to a more intense relationship on the morrow.

"Yell for tea any time after seven.A late, long, large breakfast.Grand assembly outside St Ursula's Church at twelve.I suppose the Eleven Thousand Virgins are a pious hope."

"In Bendover?"Philippa said.

"M-m.Proceedings begin with a Blessing on Endurance, with scriptural variation.The Bottom shall be Top and all that sort of thing, then we set off.There are bands too."

Philippa began an excited night with a finger in her wet slit, imagining the stripes on Dawn's freckled haunches turning violet in the sun and then they seemed to be across her own for all to see.The hand rhythm quickened as the passion rose inside her belly.Should she let herself go?†† Might she spoil the morning?She had always been as randy as she liked the morning after an orgasm, man or self.What might Tamsin think?Tamsin, she thought, would enjoy herself ... On my bum more than Alice or Dawn's and what of the others, so far mentioned but not encountered?Barbara, Catherine, Frances.She allowed herself into a long reciprocation as the skirts of her imagination parted for the explosive.