Edith's New Governess

By HandPrince

Chapter 16. Edith Receives Her Just Desserts

    Flora, Mrs. Fogarty, and the countess, chatted amiably in French while the earl remained aloof, his attention elsewhere.  The women scarcely noticed when he departed without excusing himself.

    A minute or two later, a loud clatter followed by gasps and exclamations of dismay from the assemblage drew their attention to the head of the hall.  There, revealed by the fallen curtain, blinking in the sudden illumination, sat Lord Reddend on the floor - his back against the wall, his trousers unbuttoned and partially lowered.  Lily knelt by his side, her hair gripped with both of his hands which had drawn her face close to his privy member, which stood prominently at attention.

    With an expansive swirl of skirts, Lady Reddend turned her back and stalked quickly towards the main entrance to the great hall.  Releasing his hold upon Lily, the earl staggered to his feet, pulled up his trousers, and gave chase.  "Pet!  Poppet!  Wait my darling!  It is not as it appears!" he cried as he hurried after the fleeing countess, striving with mixed success to button up his trousers all the while.

    As Flora looked on in shock, a small body collided with her.  Looking down, there stood Lily in tears, her arms wrapped around Flora's waist.

    Edith, upon emerging from beneath the folds of the fallen curtain, anticipated a roomful of disapproving adult eyes all riveted upon herself.  Instead, every eye fixed upon the head of the hall where sat Lord Reddend and Lily.  Edith knew from certain art books, and from accidental glimpses of her brothers, that boys and men had extra bits between their legs.  But never had Edith suspected that such bits could stand out straight as Lord Reddend's now did.

    Edith looked on in wonder as Lily fled to Miss Field, and Lord Reddend rose to his feet hurriedly refastening his trousers.  At least two of the ladies in the hall had swooned.  Thankful that adult attentions presently lay elsewhere, Edith took the opportunity to rise and make her way to the side door connecting the great hall with the entrance hall.  As she slipped through the doorway, she spied Lady Reddend striding at speed across the hall and out the front entrance, not pausing for her cloak.  Moments afterwards, Lord Reddend followed, entreating her to wait, while fumbling with a button of his trousers, and disappeared out the main entrance after her without his coat.

    Edith ran the length of the hall, her bootfalls echoing from its marble floor, and clambered onto the broad sill of one of its enormous windows facing out upon the entrance to the manor.  She shifted its heavy curtains aside in time to see the Reddend carriage receding rapidly down the entry lane through the falling snow, its coachman whipping its six horses to their utmost effort, doubtlessly at the countess' instruction.  Lord Reddend ran after on foot, shouting words Edith could not discern, only to lose his balance and stumble into foot-deep snow.  Upon rising, as the carriage disappeared from view around the far curve of the lane, the earl brushed himself off and trudged back in the direction of the main entrance, his face a mask of fury.

    With alarm, Edith withdrew her face from the window glass, hoping the earl hadn't noticed her there.  Had Lord Reddend earlier identified Edith as the one responsible for his present discomfiture?  As Edith crawled back from the window to a corner of the windowsill, concealed from the room's interior by its curtain, she heard the earl reenter.  "Yes I want my confounded coat, damn you!" bellowed the earl in response to a murmured inquiry from the footman, "and be quick about it!"

    Flora knelt and comforted the sobbing Lily.  A minute passed and two chairs appeared, with Mrs. Fogarty seating herself in one, bidding Flora to take the other, then motioning for Lily to approach.  Lily did, and Mrs. Fogarty hoisted the little girl, no longer crying, up onto her knee and placed her left arm around Lily in a tender, motherly manner.  Flora, her thoughts in whirl, noted that Mrs. Fogarty's plainly-maternal commiseration towards Lily could only work in the child's favour.

    When Edith deemed it safe to return her face to the window once more, there walked the departing figure of the earl retreating up the lane amidst descending snow which had begun to fall more heavily.  Why had Lord Reddend undone his trousers?  And why had his manly bit stood out straight that way?  And what had either of those mysteries to do with Lily? 
Edith then pictured the framed map of Behrendshire which hung in Papa's study, and tried to estimate the earl's distance by road to his home at Tawsingtale Abbey: eight miles surely, perhaps ten? 

    With a renewed upwelling of dread, Edith's thoughts returned from Lord Reddend's troubles to her own.  She stood guilty of having quitted her post at Mama's bring-and-buy table.  And worse yet, she had pulled down the curtain, and done so while straying where she oughtn't to have strayed.

    Edith slid down from the windowsill to the floor and slowly began walking back to the great hall.  Miss Field, and perhaps Mama as well, likely sought her now.  Her disgrace, and its resultant chastisement, could only worsen should either woman deem Edith guilty of concealing herself from them at this juncture.  What should be her fate?  Surely a perfectly dreadful smackbottom from Miss Field awaited her.  With a stab of dismay, Edith then thought, "what if I shall be caned?!"

    Upon approaching the main entryway to the great hall, Edith timidly peered past its corner.  To her surprise, there sat Mama and Miss Field upon chairs, with Lily, wonder of wonders, upon Mama's lap.  As Edith stepped into view, Miss Field noticed her and beckoned her to approach.  With trepidation Edith advanced as slowly as she dared.

    "There she is!" exclaimed Mama, drawing Edith in close with right hand, her left remaining around Lily still perched on Mama's knee.  “How brave and resourceful you were, my dear!”  Edith's and Lily's eyes met for a moment.  Lily had plainly been crying but now appeared calm.

    "Thank heavens you had the presence of mind to pull down that curtain, Edith, and saved poor dear Lily from that dreadful man," exclaimed Flora to Edith, smiling warmly.  Addressing Mama, she added, "Were it not for your daughter's timely action, I shudder to think what might have soon transpired!"

    "Actually" Edith began to stammer, "It was an accid-"

    "You shall have your dinner in the nursery with nanny, of course," interrupted Mama, showing no sign having noticed Edith’s words, "as we have guests."  She briefly turned her gaze to the well-populated hall then returned it to Edith.  "I shall instruct Cook to prepare a special chocolate cake for your dessert, darling, and have it sent up to the nursery - just desserts for my special little heroine!"


<--- Chapter 15             Chapter 17 --->

(c) Copyright 2024 by HandPrince
This is fiction. Please don't discipline
your children this way.

 For permission to reprint:
handprince at hush dot com


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