Sherlockian.Net: Lady Whitebread's Apparition


by 'Mr. Spraycan' (mrspraycan@aol.com)

Entering the sitting room one evening, I found Holmes perched awkwardly on the edge of his desk, listening to a short, dark skinned individual, who was haranguing him in a high pitched voice. "No, Mr. Holmes! This will not do! I insist that you visit my mother at your earliest convenience, and hear the story for yourself. It is not 'more superstition,' it is not 'stuff and nonsense,' sir! Now," he turned and pushed past me, "Until then, I shall trouble you no more. Excuse me, sir, I have a train to catch at Paddington Station."

Holmes smiled dryly, as the bumptious visitor bustled out of the door, and down the stairs to Baker Street. Peeking through the curtains, and beginning to stuff his pipe, Holmes asked me: "And what would be your observations, Watson?"

With my analytical skills greatly sharpened by long exposure to Holmes' methods, I felt confident that I could bring much-needed clarity to the situation. "Well, Holmes ... the fellow is of the laboring classes, judging by his accent. From one of the more remote counties, I should surmise. Perhaps Dorset?"

"Perhaps," Holmes agreed with a smile, beginning to light his pipe. "And?"

"But the chap was well-dressed. A tweed suit, and well tailored. Those were expensive boots. Either his Sunday finery, or perhaps he's a member of some more well-to-do strata of society, despite his rough talk. An innkeeper, perhaps? A tradesman of some sort?"

"Pray continue," Holmes replied.

"And his mother, then, would be the senior person of this establishment, perhaps the widow of the founder. How am I doing, Holmes?"

"Plausibly," he conceded. "But in fact, you might be surprised to be informed that his mother is Lady Whitebread, a landowner of considerable stature in Devonshire."

"No!" I replied, thunderstruck.

"Yes, Watson. The woman was a noted entertainer, a singer and actress. Claudette Townsend by name. 'The Camden Cuckoo.' Known even to royalty, one is told. She married Lord Whitebread, a rather eccentric old soul by my recollection, just a few years ago. He was in his seventies, and she, though widowed and having a grown son, was only in her late thirties, one is led to believe."

"Ah," was the best I could do. Seeking to avoid Holmes' characteristic critical dissection of my errors, I asked: "And this fellow was the son? So, what was the purpose of his visit?"

"Why, yes. But you must tell me, Watson!" he smiled broadly.

"Some skullduggery," I speculated, without a clue. "Blackmail? The theft of a prize stallion? A missing emerald of untold worth?"

Holmes smiled. "No, Watson. The poor woman is convinced that her house is haunted."

"Ha! Stuff and nonsense!" I replied, confident of the foolishness of such views.

"My own reply, Watson, in so many words. But, the fellow -- he is know, by the way, as Reginald - insists that his mother has seem this, apparition -- on numerous occasions." He smiled again, and puffed contentedly on his pipe.

"A ghost?" I asked, snorting.

"I recall that most hauntings are, since railway locomotives, dancing cows or bees humming the Marseillaise are less frequent denizens of Devonshire country houses," he replied, searching his desk for some missing item. "We could catch a train tomorrow morning, at 8:30 a.m.," he pronounced. "Go and pack an overnight bag, Watson, in case we need to wait to meet this 'apparition.'"

"Whose ghost is it? Lord Whitebread's?"

"Apparently not, Watson, but it is uncharacteristic of apparitions to leave calling cards, so we really don't know. From what I've heard thus far, I would suggest that it is not."

"Can you tell me more?" I asked, anxiously. I don't mind rescheduling a few patients' visits, but I like to know why my day is being disrupted.

"At this juncture, I think not. Let me do a little research, and I'll meet you in the morning. Have your hansom stop here at 8 a.m., please. Now, I must send some telegrams and make a telephone call in preparation."

It was a drizzly morning, and Holmes was waiting impatiently on the doorstep of 221B Baker Street as we finally arrived, a few minutes late.

"You slept well, Watson?" he inquired, climbing in.

"Yes, Holmes, though I did spend a little time reading up on the history of hauntings and some new theories concerning them..."

"From Madam Blavatsky and her kind?" he asked, a little note of cynicism perceptible in his voice.

"Why, as a matter of fact, yes, but ..."

"I have studied the same sources, and a few more besides. We'll see what we shall see, shall we not?"

Not being able to think of a rejoinder, I settled in my seat, and let the hansom cab take us to the station. On the train, Holmes was his usual imperturbable self. Opening his small leather travel case, he pulled out some papers.

"Some material concerning the former Lord Whitebread, and a little background on 'The Camden Cuckoo,'" he smiled. "My good friend Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard was so kind as to share some recollections and documents of interest."

"Oh?" I asked, curious. "Was there some police interest in either of them, or their business affairs? One would hope not!"

Holmes gave me the benefit of his most curious stare. "And why would you assume that, Watson? In fact, there was great interest not only in Lord Whitebread, who was very well known in Whitechapel circles," he tapped his nose at this reference to the notorious East End district famous for its low dives, houses of prostitution and other criminal haunts. "And much is known about the early exploits of the beautiful warbler Claudette. Young Reginald is not the model of a modern citizen of virtue, either."

"If they are all such rakehells and denizens of places of low repute, I'm wondering about your interest in this case, Holmes," I replied stiffly.

"Hmm? What's that now?" he mocked. "Because it may be more interesting than some of the tiresome games we find ourselves mixed up in, Watson. Exercising the powers of detection is good for the mind, you know. As I get older, I find the peculiarities of the human mind more and more fascinating. Especially insofar as it relates to the affairs of men and women..."

"I thought we were concerning ourselves with a ghost," I replied, thoroughly confused. "Watson, did you have too much salty bacon for breakfast? Take your tea a little strong? There are no such things as ghosts, I assure you."

The Whitebread family being well-placed and prosperous by the standards of these parts, we were to be met at Exeter station by a carriage. At the kerb stood a rather battered one, bearing their coat of arms. It was driven by a rather sinister little monkey of a man. At his side on the box was a large shambling dog, with a cockeyed expression.

"Mr. 'Olmes? Doctor Wilson?" we were greeted.

"Yes?" Holmes regally rejoindered.

"Watson," I corrected him.

"What's on? I don't rightly know, for sure. I'm 'Iggins, sir. 'Ere to be taking you to Whitebread Towers," the gnomelike figure said, doffing his greasy cap. "An' this is me dog, Squinty."

The dog eyed us for a moment, with considerably more dignity that the dwarfish driver, then went back to sleep.

Whitebread Towers was a two-hour ride from the station, and we began to curse not taking a branch line train to a nearer railway halt as we bumped over the rutted roads, climbing higher and high on the moors.

"Reminds you of...?" I said, hoping to sit a nostalgic conversation.

"The Case of the Masturbating Monkey?" Holmes suggested.

"No! The moors ... the dog, I mean," I protested.

"The Case of the Cross-Eyed Camel?" he replied innocently.

"Never mind."

At last, the ivy-covered walls of the Whitebread country seat came into view. We heard the cockeyed dog barking happily, its paws scrabbling on the seats above us.

"Yes, a suitable gloomy residence for a man like Lord Whitebread, but a decidedly odd home for Camden Cuckoo," Holmes mused. "You see, Watson, our friend Lestrade had the dearly departed in his list of suspects for the Ripper affair. . . ."

"Oh, but now we all know that it was ..." I began, anxious to tell him what he already knew.

"Yes, Watson, but we are sworn to secrecy. Those Whitechapel killings have been lain to rest, and no one need concern himself with the case again. Why, they are forgotten already...In a hundred years from now, no one will remember them, mark my words."

"But for Lestrade to suspect Lord W., he would have had to have known of some interest on his Lordship's past in . . . "

"Sordid tomfoolery and lax behavior with women of loose morals, yes, Watson," Holmes agreed. "Lord Whitebread was not an upstanding member of society, and many shunned his company. He rarely attended the House Of Lords, for that very reason. But he loved to visit London on that pretext, oh indeed he did."

The coach having halted, the gnome-like Higgins scrambled down, and opening the door offered: "Ar, His Lordship loiked the ladies, did he!" The cock-eyed dog seemed to be winking in agreement. The scoundrel had been listening to our conversation, it was plain.

"Did he?" I asked, naively.

"Here an' in London too, oh arrr. Many be the milkmaid and kitchen lass here what has played some loively games with him, in his day," the halfwitted driver continued, winking and squinting at us.

"No doubt," Holmes condescended. Turning to me he murmured: "What is the point of retaining the services of such low trollops otherwise? Really, Watson. Don't humor him, you don't know where he's been. . . ."

At this point another figure came into sight. The short individual who had visited Holmes the previous day, Reginald.

"Ah, you're here," he declared, redundantly. "Higgins will take your luggage to your rooms, and I'll escort you to meet my mother, Lady Whitebread, if I might?"

"Certainly, Reginald," Holmes agreed. "It would be our pleasure."

The Whitebread family seat had seen better days, in my honest appraisal. There was an air of dereliction about some of the outbuildings, and one entire wing of the mansion was sealed off and dark. Inside the hallway, I noticed signs of laxity in dusting, and drapes that appeared to have not been beaten or aired in years.

We entered a large airy room, where Lady Whitebread was at work, watering her houseplants. She had her back to us, but turned as we entered. I was struck by her resemblance to one of Holmes' most treasured lady friends, Irene Adler. And it was apparent that he drew the same connection, too.

"Gentlemen," she smiled. "How kind of you to visit." There was a slight overtone of a rural accent, or perhaps that of her original London voice, but otherwise she was the epitome of the lady of the manor. Elegantly dressed, poised, and smiling warmly at her guests.

Rather more tongue-tied than he is apt to be, Holmes replied: "The pleasure is ours, Lady Whitebread. We heard of your concern from Reginald, and came as quickly as possible. We are eager to render assistance in clearing up this mystery for you."

She blushed. "I don't know how much dear Reginald has told you. It is a matter of some, ah, delicacy."

"Oh how so?" I asked.

"Watson!" Holmes snapped, raising his hand.

"No, no . . . it is only right that you should hear the whole story, in my own words. Reginald knows only that I am distressed, but not some of the more horrid details. If I may, I'd like to order some tea before we continue?" She tinkled a tiny bell, and a buxom young serving girl rushed in.

"Betsy? Some tea, please. And a few biscuits. My guests may be hungry from their long trip. And tell Cook that they are here. We would like to eat at an early hour, I think."

"Indeed," I replied. My stomach was grumbling at the very thought of food.

Holmes was strolling around the room, identifying the plants one by one by their Latin names. He turned to us and said: "Very well. The first thing I should care to know, is, where does this apparition usually appear, your Ladyship? Is it a roving, headless ghost of the grand old tradition, or something more . . . geographically constrained?"

"Please, call me Claudette. There's no need to be formal," she replied. "The . . . ghost? It's more complicated. I have seen it in the grounds of the house, out by the stables. And it has also appeared in the windows of the old West Wing."

"But no closer?" he probed.

"Mercifully, no," she replied. "I would be most shocked if it did."

"How so?" Holmes asked, looking around again. I believe he was contemplating lighting a pipe, but constrained to not do so by the lady's presence.

"Because, it is a most indelicate kind of ghost, or apparition," she said with a shudder of distaste.

"Can you be more precise, ma'am?" I asked.

She turned away from us, folding her arms. "It is a ghost that appears as unclothed as the day it was born, if ever it were." There was a fresh blush of pink on her neck and shoulders.

"And is this ghost male or female?"

"Male," she murmured. "Though on recent occasions it has been seen with a female companion . . ."

"Similarly garbed, or rather, not?" I asked.

"Yes. Also completely unclothed," she shivered.

"Have other members of the household also observed this ghost, or pair of ghosts?" Holmes queried.

"Yes," she said rather stiffly. "Reginald has seen it, too. It is not a delusion on my part. Not a figment of my imagination. I know what you are thinking. . . ."

"Not at all," I cried.

"No, that's quite wrong," Holmes replied. "We are approaching this topic with an open mind, although it is my inclination that the supernatural is, shall we say, often a matter of misinterpretation. We will investigate this case, most thoroughly..."

She nodded.

"And, at what time of night do these 'hauntings' occur?" I asked.

"Around one or two in the morning," she replied.

"Is there anything else unusual? I mean, do these figures just appear and . . . display themselves? What do they do? Do they speak, make sounds?" Holmes asked gently.

"Oh! There is much more. But it is so indelicate that I fear I can't say . . ." she gasped, fanning herself with a sheaf of papers.

"Ah," Holmes replied. "Perhaps we should drink our tea, and perhaps you will find it easier?"

Some minutes passed in light conversation, concerning the weather, concerning agriculture and crops, and not touching upon the sensitive subject. Holmes is a past master at putting people at ease, and asking questions in a subtle way. In this process, he was aided by the appearance of a decanter of amontillado, which made Lady Whitebread somewhat less anxious and awkward in conversation. Her London accent also reasserted itself, quite noticeably. Whether she was truly a child of the rookeries as some say, or some artisan's offspring, one could plainly hear that she was not to the manor born.

"Do your ghosts seem familiar in any way?" Holmes asked. "Often, ancestors are involved in apparitions in places with a distinguished history, such as this?"

"Heavens, no. They don't resemble anyone I know, any way. You see, their faces are rather featureless, but one finds oneself not studying their faces, if you follow my logic."

"Indeed," Holmes smiled. "And could you place an age on these ghosts?"

"Young," she replied. "Yes, young because, well, I mean to say ..."

"Because of their stature and fitness, perhaps? A certain tone to their flesh, as it were?"

"Yes, that is what I meant."

"And," Holmes poured another glass of sherry. "What do the ghosts actually do? Fly around the room? Appear and then vanish?"

"They do none of those things," she sighed. "They behave most disgracefully, however." Since Holmes was poised with another question, she quickly added: "Things I don't propose to describe, sir. I would say behavior best confined to the boudoir. But including all manner of farmyard activities, and spanking each other playfully on their bare bottoms."

I managed not to laugh aloud at this incongruous disclosure. "Spanking ghosts? Oh my word!" I said. Holmes was suppressing a smile, too, but Claudette was too lost in her own embarrassment to notice.

"And, you are certain that the male ghost is not your ex-husband?" he asked.

"Quite sure," she replied, shaking her head. "He was a man of greater . . . stature, even at his advanced age."

After a few more inconclusive questions, designed to soothe her ruffled nerves, we repaired to the hallway.

"Supper will be at 7 p.m.," she told us. "Your rooms are at the head of the stairs. I shall see you when you return."

I was busily unpacking, and selecting a suitable waistcoat for this evening's meal, when Holmes entered, unannounced.

"Well, Watson?" he smiled enigmatically.

"This sounds like a jolly unusual caper, Holmes. What on earth is this woman seeing? Makes you wonder, it truly does."

"I'll be damned if I know," I replied, trying not to laugh, "but it does sound like a very unusual ghost, or rather pair of spectres."

"Indeed," he grinned. "Well, perhaps these creatures are less of the spirit world than of this one, if you get my drift. And with stout hearts, a little luck, and some gumption, we may actually lay our hands on one or both of them . . ."

"If that be the case, Holmes, I have a decided preference for nabbing the female, if it's all the same to you?"

"Certainly, Watson," he smiled, kissing me on the lips reassuringly. "I am well aware of your rather conventional preferences. But please don't be jealous if I try to apprehend the other nocturnal visitor."

"Am I ever, sweetheart?" I replied.

"And nor will I be, should you lay more than hands on this will o' the wisp tart," he agreed.

Considering the rather shabby surroundings, the Whitebread dinner platters were of heartening proportions. I can always be counted on to eat my share of a large repast. Some pheasant, some pork, some beef.

"Don't overstuff yourself, Watson," Holmes murmured as I tucked into a treacle pudding dessert. "We need to stay awake tonight. We're going ghost-hunting."

"Fear not, old chap," I assured him. "We'll be in the finest fettle."

Lady Whitebread was looking a little tiddly, I thought, but I didn't wish to remark upon this to Holmes. Perhaps her cooperation in the night's adventures was not to be enlisted.

At the far end of the table, Reginald alternatively glowered or joined in with friendly banter as his mother talked indiscreetly about her adventures and amours.

Under our feet, Squinty the cockeyed dog was to be found scampering back and forth, being fed scraps by each of us.

An hour later, I was less convinced of the wisdom of dining so well. Perhaps the oysters or the brandy could have been foregone.

"If you're going to keep groaning, Watson, please, go somewhere else. And no more farting, for heaven's sake," Holmes advised.

I could understand his asperity. We were crammed into a tiny attic room that overlooked both the somewhat overgrown ornamental gardens at the rear of the mansion, and also gave a view of the old West wing. Aided by Lady Whitebread, we had unpadlocked a doorway into the top floor of the wing, should we need to make a speedy entry. And Holmes had rigged a rope that we could drop to the ground below, should we need to mount an assault on the gardens.

Now, all we needed to do was wait, try to stay awake, and in my case, try to quell the heaving of my stomach, or the dull ache in my intestines. Both proved difficult.

"Watson, you're as bloated as a Maltese water buffalo," he hissed. "Go out into the corridor, if you must blast off all the time."

"Sorry, Holmes," I murmured, taking this opportunity.

When I returned, he nudged me.

"Look."

There was a pale glow behind a first floor window of the old West wing. It plainly wasn't a reflection from the sleeping quarters opposite, which included Lady Whitebread's rooms.

"Wise move. You'd freeze your very bollocks off in the garden tonight. There's a frost," he confided.

"Shall we go?" I asked anxiously, eager to be on the move.

"Wait. We haven't determined what it is, yet."

"Righty ho, Holmes," I agreed, shifting uncomfortably. "Whatever you say."

A few minutes passed, and the light grew brighter. Figures were moving, indistinct behind the dirty, whitewashed windows.

"Full moon tonight," Holmes observed.

"So?"

"It brings out craziness in people, that's all," I was told.

And indeed it did. At an adjoining, quite transparent window, we saw a female shape, naked. I felt my stomach leap, and my britches suddenly seem overly tight. Deathly pale, surely a ghost? I shivered. No, it was just the bright moonlight giving that impression. Whoever this was had no restraint or shame at all. She displayed herself lustfully, stroking her breasts and private parts with disgraceful hunger. Her hips moving rhythmically, like exotic dancers I had seen in India. Young and slim, with large breasts quivering. Dark-haired, judged by the triangular shadow at the base of her belly. Her face was indistinct, as though masked or veiled. But it was not her face that held my attention.

Holmes drew a sharp breath. Beside her in the window, a priapic male figure. Also quite naked, gamboling and gyrating at her side, reaching out to touch her intimately. Its phallus huge and inflated. A glance showed me that Lady Whitebread was peering from her window, in her nightdress, having kept the same vigil as us.

The two figures joined and kissed, bodies moving. Now, the male placed the female across its lap, and began to spank it with vigor. We could hear the faint slapping sounds from fifty yards away.

"Right, Watson, look lively," Holmes ordered. "We'll nab 'em, there's nowhere they can run to. You get the woman, I'll grab the fellow."

We sprinted from the attic, down a flight of stairs, and along a short corridor. Bursting into the cobwebbed gloom of the abandoned wing, we raced towards the area where the two indecent figures had been seen. For a moment, I could have sworn we'd missed them. But as we stopped to catch our breath, I heard bare feet running.

For several minutes we blundered in the dark. I grabbed Holmes once, to his annoyance. But it became apparent that our quarry had not eluded us. Trapped, they split up. I chased the woman, and she gave me a merry chase. All the way to the bottom of the stairs in the wing, then into a basement that -- ah ha! -- connected to the main part of the house. She was scrambling to climb a narrow staircase when I felled her with a Rugby tackle.

Surprisingly strong, she yielded after a brief struggle. And it became plain to me that the woman was indeed masked. I reached for the white veil over her face.

"No!"

"False modesty?" I panted. "I'll see the rest of you, and be damned!"

And found myself looking on the flushed, tearful face of Betsy, the serving girl.

"Oh, and what's all this about? And who's your filthy companion?" I roared.

"Find out for yourself," she snapped, brattishly.

"Indeed, I shall," I replied, forcing her hands behind her, and snapping on a pair of handcuffs.

"No, let me go!" she squealed.

I sat upon the lower steps, and draw her across my knee, positioning her so that her buttocks were nicely raised, and at my mercy. Pulling my thick leather belt from my trousers, I doubled it, and began to spank her already reddened cheeks.

She wriggled delightfully, pleading: "No, please! Stop!"

"Not until I get to the, ah, bottom of this mystery, young Betsy," I informed her. "You'll be standing for the next month if you don't tell me. My hand is not going to get tired, I warn you."

Nor did it. Her wriggling became rather different in character. And a brief exploration between her thighs with my fingers showed me why.

"One might not remark upon this with a lady, in fact, one would hesitate to put one's fingers in a lady's cunt without her permission," I chuckled. "But you are a mere servant, so it really doesn't matter whether you like it, or not. Now, if I'm not mistaken, you're becoming rather excited at being spanked aren't you, my little trollop?"

"No!" she lied.

"Oh, then I must punish you some more . . ."

And I did, until her bum was a delightful crimson, and welted cruelly. Her hips were pumping away, and there was no doubt in my mind what to do next.

"I'm going to fuck your arse," I threatened her.

"Nooo!"

"Which means 'yes,' when a little whore says it, am I right?"

"You're as bad as his Lordship was," she protested.

I shrugged, and turned her over, then maneuvered her so she was seated her astride my lap, with her legs open wide. She gasped her embarrassment, but could do nothing to stop me feasting my eyes on her chubby breasts, and her female secrets. A hairy little lassy, no doubt about that, and as excited as she could be from the spanking. I began to unbutton my trousers, for reasons of comfort and practicality.

Soon I had her comfortably impaled on my member, and groaning with delight. "Oh, Doctor!" she protested. "This isn't right!" There was a twinkle in her eye. "You said you'd fuck my arse!"

"And so I shall, when I've had my way with your wicked cunt," I assured her, leaning forward to chew on her nipples.

As is the way with young strumpets of this sort, her protests were quite insincere. One could tell from her frantic wriggling and sighs, and the moisture dripping down her thighs, and mine. Not long passed before I could not restrain myself, and spent, puffing mightily.

Betsy separated herself from me, with some difficulty, and stood spreadlegged in front of me.

At that very moment, as I was contemplating finding some fresh implement to cane her saucy arse, there was a dreadful, unearthly shrieking from along the corridor.

"What in heaven's name?" I cried.

"Someone is being murdered!" Betsy howled.

Without giving thought to our state of undress, we rushed towards the sound. Me, clad in just a shirt, her as naked as the day she was born. As we round the corner into another suite of rooms, I gave a cry. On the floor, two naked figures were struggling. One, the spectre we'd seen earlier, and astride him, my dear friend Holmes, in all his rampant glory.

"Glory be!" Betsy cried. "He's buggering Mr Higgins!"

And indeed, this proved to be the truth. The cries came from the coachman. Just then, a creature streaked past us. A veritable hound from hell, which leaped at Holmes and sank its fangs into his raised buttocks.

"Get it off me!" Holmes shouted. "I can't reach my Webley! Shoot the damned thing! It's killing me!"

Before I could make a move, Betsy, with great presence of mind called out: "Squinty! No! Bad dog!"

And with that, the cockeyed dog ceased its gnawing, and padded to her side, sniffing at her in a very indecent way, its tail wagging eagerly. She scolded it: "Bad Squinty! We're not to play the rude game with visitors here." Turning to me, she explained, blushing: "Mr Higgins and I let the dog join us sometimes. We both like to be penetrated anally." She smiled hopefully. "But you already knew that, didn't you?"

"Betsy, behave yourself," I replied. I was shocked, but also intrigued at her words. "Holmes? Are you all right? Do you need any help?"

"To bugger a dwarf, Watson? What kind of Englishman do you think I am?" he growled.

This required no answer, and Betsy grinned lewdly. It was at that moment that I saw another figure gliding into the room. Lady Whitebread, clad in a flowing nightgown.

"Oh, and what on earth is the meaning of this!" she cried, shrilly.

"Merely a little public school style wrestling, ma'am," I replied. "Holmes has apprehended your 'ghosts.' Or rather he has found one, and is dishing out a little rough justice. Whilst I," I bowed modestly, "Managed to nab the other."

"Betsy!?" Lady Whitebread gasped. "My word, young lady, you are positively indecent! I've never see such a thing!"

"Oh, that's not what his Lordship used to say. A right one in your day, you were, he told me," the serving girl replied saucily.

"Silence! Now, explain to me what is going on here! It's like a Turkish brothel in here!"

And how would she know, I wondered. But instead, I informed her: "Your 'ghosts', ma'am, were these two, engaged in illicit bliss, for some reason..."

"To shock or frighten you, Lady Whitebread," Holmes grunted, still pumping away at the luckless coachman.

"But why?"

"Because," Holmes revealed, "Mr 'Higgins' here is the illegitimate son of your late husband, and hoped to drive both you and Reginald away..."

"Oh, my word!"

"An' we all knows the truth about you and that Reginald, too," the coachman grunted, seizing his opportunity.

"And what would that be, you miserable blackguard?" I challenged.

"That Reginald baint be her son, he be her lover, that be what he be," he growled.

"Well, I'll be buggered," I exclaimed.

"Await yer turn," the coachman and Betsy replied, as one.

"A dastardly lie!" Lady Whitebread gasped, drawing back.

"Not according to my friend Lestrade of Scotland Yard, ma'am," Holmes said, a triumphant gleam in his eye, finishing his business with a grunt. "He found out quite a few interesting details of your former life, I can assure you."

"Lies!" she repeated. "Mere supposition."

Fifteen minutes later, all the parties to this disgraceful scene were gathered in the living room. Betsy and Higgins both still naked, their wrists cuffed behind them, befitting their disgraced and criminal status. Lady Whitebread sat in a tall chair, next to her glowering son. Her hair disarranged, and a strange expression on her face.

"What is to be done," Holmes began quietly. "How shall we avert a scandal?"

Everybody started talking at once, fingers pointing, faces reddening, the air filled with invective.

"No!" he snapped. "That was a rhetorical question." Holmes sat back in the chair, and began his pipelighting ritual. There were several gasps at this, and the man smirked happily.

"However, that behavior should be taken into consideration. It would be my recommendation that Lady Whitebread amend her will to give him favorable consideration. And, offer him the sum of five thousand guineas to leave and not return for the foreseeable future. I would suggest a voyage to Australia would be in order."

More shocked gasps.

"I'm sure this could be arranged," he told them firmly. "Now, we then have this irregular situation of Claudette and her lover, masquerading as her son. A scenario fraught with hideous possibilities for scandal. My recommendation would be that the two of them take far greater care in future, and that Lady Whitebread should spend at least six months of the year at a London address without him, or taking the waters at various salubrious places."

Reginald scowled angrily, but Lady Whitebread nodded.

"This young tart," he gestured at Betsy, "is another disruptive influence. I should suggest that she be placed in the care of a responsible individual able to discipline her properly. Watson, are you of a mind to provide some assistance?"

"Why uh, yes, Holmes, if you think so . . ." I replied, my head spinning with the possibilities of having this young strumpet at my command. Oh, she'd see the cane and the whip applied to her bare body, and regularly. And not to mention, she'd keep my bed lively.

"Yes, I think so Watson. It would stop you from masturbating quite so much."

Betsy grinned saucily. I blushed, but did not protest.

"So, we are agreed?" Holmes concluded, with a wink. Nods all around. "Good, now, Lady Whitebread, a word with you, if I might...?"

The two repaired to a neighboring room, and the door was pushed to. I took this opportunity to give Betsy a reassuring hug and whisper in her ear: "There'll be a lot more spanking, my girl. You need a firm hand."

Her sigh of delight pleased me, considerably, and reminded me of my pledge to bugger her, at the next available opportunity. I squeezed her arse, and told her: "Soon, you hear me?"

I confess I was not surprised to hear a ripping of clothing from the next room, nor to hear a vigorous slapping begin. Holmes has a penchant, like me, for punishing women who step out of line, be they society ladies, or otherwise. When the two returned, a few minutes later, Lady Whitebread's chemise was tattered, and she was rubbing her backside ruefully. One breast was almost bare, and showed several bright red handprints on its pale flesh.

"I'll bid you all goodnight, then," Holmes said jovially. "Claudette and I have a few more things to discuss, privately." Clearly his tryst with 'Mister Higgins' had not blunted his appetite, and he was in the mood for some female solace. From the expression on her face, this was not something she was inclined to find disagreeable, either.

"Come along, Claudette, let's see if we can give you a proper fright tonight," I heard him murmur as they left the room.

Whether Holmes, a solitary bird if ever there was one, could surprise or startle a woman of Claudette's experience was a matter for conjecture, I thought. But I was too interested in spiriting Betsy away for some frolics of my own.

And what a delightful night we had, her just as much as me. Putting her over my knee again to begin with, then later giving her a good strapping on the back and thighs, not to mention a good titty spanking, setting those luscious orbs bouncing, and starting the tears flowing. It was when I had her over my knee for the second time, to rewarm her bottom, that I asked the question: "So, who's your daddy now, Betsy?"

To my surprise, instead of politely saying: "You, sir," she protested: "I don't know, sir."

Her mother was the eponymous Cook, it seems, while the identity of her father was not certain, or at least revealed to her by her mother. But Betsy's supposition was that it might well have been Lord Whitebread, who it appeared had squired every unattached maid, and most married women, of the parish and local villages.

"But not you, Betsy? Is that why you believe this?" I asked.

"Oh, of course he had his way with me, sir, and why ever not?" she replied.

"But, but . . . that's incest! And, heavens above! If it's true he was your father, that would make Higgins your brother!" I cried in surprise.

"Maybe, sir, but this is the country," she protested. "It's too complicated if you start taking all that Bible stuff seriously. You'd never fuck anyone at all!"

"And that's too much fun for our Betsy to forego," I teased her.

"Oh, yes, sir! That's how we keep warm in the winter, and fit and healthy in the summer," she giggled.

"You saucy wench," I scolded, wriggling my finger into her bumhole. "It's time now, Betsy."

"Can we go outside and do it in the pigsty?" she asked cheekily. "Oi likes that."

"No! It's too damned cold!" I told her.

"The pigs'll keep us warm..."

"No, Betsy! Now hold these cheeks apart, just so...."

At breakfast the next morning, the atmosphere was a little strained. Holmes and Claudette exchanged meaningful glances, and it was my distinct impression that she had gained the upper hand in their relationship already.

For lack of other help, Betsy served the food, her maid's uniform carefully disarranged by me to expose her ruddy breasts, and her long black skirt tucked into its own waistband at the rear to display her welted, crimson backside. She had blushed a little at my insisting upon this indignity, but agreed that it was best that her obedience training begin forthwith.

"Betsy, what a charming little outfit," Claudette had greeted her, with a smile. "Do you intend to display her charms like this often, Dr. Watson?"

"Oh, indeed," I assured her. "My budget does not extend to elaborate wardrobes for her. I have one or two party dresses of my own she can fit into, but otherwise, I see no need to clothe her as well as feed her."

"Quite right, Watson," Holmes murmured, his mouth filled with buttered toast. "And spank her soundly, six times a day."

"Pleasure me six times a day, too, sir," Betsy sighed, looking at me lustfully.

"Oh, he's not up to that level of exertion at his age, my dear! Take my word for it! I think we'll offer Watson the services of your dog, Squinty," Holmes chuckled. "It seems to have that inclination."

"Indeed it does," Claudette replied. "I believe my late husband trained it that way. Yes, take the beast when you leave."

I smiled. "Indeed I shall. It seems a most admirable creature, so long as it can be persuaded not to bite my backside, uninvited."

"Trust it," she emphasized.

At this point, Reginald, who had been sulking, remarked: "This is a pretty outcome, isn't it? Watson gets the serving girl and the dog, Holmes is stealing my mistress, Higgins is walking off with a small fortune, and what do I get? Nothing!"

Lady Whitebread placed a hand over his, and smiled gently: "Nothing? You were quite happy last night when I suggested you join us, and we had our little threesome, weren't you? You liked it when Mr. Holmes sucked you and I let you lick me. Don't be shy now, admit it."

"Yes," he murmured, blushing.

"And when he came in your mouth while I was buggering you with the dildo?"

"Indeed."

"You know I don't like it when you behave like a sissy boy outside of our bedroom, darling. Please be discreet. Just because you won't be getting your smacks regularly from me anymore, doesn't mean I don't care deeply for you."

"Claudette," he sobbed, in a sentimental way.

"Don't fret, dear. I'm making arrangements for Cook to look after you. Her friend Mrs Bacon, from the village school will take care of your other needs, darling. She's terrorized several generations of children with her cane and tawse, I'm sure she can take care of you quite well. I'll write her some instructions. You'll get your spanks, just like you are accustomed to, silly boy."

Reginald pouted. "Well, I suppose that will have to suffice," he conceded.

"Indeed it will," Holmes pronounced, quite satisfied with himself. "So, all's well that ends well, eh, Watson?"

My hand stroking Betsy's warm buttocks as she poured me a fresh cup of tea, I could not help but nod my full agreement. "Another brilliant solution of a tricky case, my friend," I replied. "You are truly the doyen of English detectives!"


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