The next two days were odd to say the least for Amelia, Emma never spoke again about the spanking by the steward, or about what happened after it. Amelia was in a turmoil of feelings, some for Emma, but most of all the shame at what they had done, to her such things were just unheard of. Georgina too had picked up on the subtle change in the girl's behaviour, but couldn't quite put her finger upon it. Even after they had left the boat and headed to the hotel, she could tell there was something not quite right between the girls. The mood had somehow altered, it showed more in Amelia than in Emma. No doubt it will all come out in the wash, Georgina thought to herself, and anyway in three days time the girls will no longer be her problem. As they booked into their hotel, just off the tree lined Plaza de la Constitucion, Georgina asked Emma.
"Will you girls be room sharing again, or do you require separate rooms?"
Before Amelia could speak Emma replied. "We will room share please, aunt, we need to keep our costs down after all."
One look at Amelia's blushing face, and the fact that her niece had never giving "costs" a thought in all her life, told Georgina all she needed to know. "All right then, I'll be requiring my own suite." Georgina announced, trying her hardest not to break out in laughter at the girls. Who would have thought it, my niece and the vicars daughter! Harmless enough as she remembered being told once, 'two men is either yes or no, two women is usually maybe', but what would her sister make of it all?
As the girls settled into their room Georgina joined them, and announced, "great news ladies, we have been invited to a special dinner tonight. The both of you will be escorted by two dashing young officers of Her Majesty's Royal Navy. Whilst I will have to endure the company of a certain Mr Giles Belmont, from the Consulate, so I want you in your finest dresses."
This news set Emma off into a flurry of activity, she loved a ball, whereas Amelia was a bit all at sea by the idea. Though by the time the carriage came all three were ready, and Amelia had been caught up by Emma's enthusiasm. This enthusiasm was not to last for long, the dashing sailors had to set sail, leaving the two girls stood up and alone on a table for four.
"This is not what I had in mind," muttered Emma. "stuck here like two wallflowers. A dinner to honour a dammed Matador as well!"
"Shush!" Warned Amelia, knowing only too well how sensitive the Spanish were about bullfighting.
"I wont shush," Replied Emma, much louder than she intended. "this Paquiro is no more than a butcher that chooses to do his slaughtering in public!"
A couple of heads turned from the table in front of them, and both girls quickly averted their eyes from the enquiring looks. Amelia found herself crossing her fingers as she hoped that none of them spoke English. As the evening progressed, she realised that this was probably a vain hope. As one lady on the table kept giving them both the most unfriendly of looks. Georgina on the other hand was blissfully unaware of what was taking place across the room. Well not blissfully, as it would be hard for her to describe the laboured flirting of Mr Belmont as blissful. To her mind he was the typical faceless, and for that matter chinless bureaucrat found so often in these posts. Not at all like the rough and ready steward from the steamship. When the blond lady approached and introduced herself as Mercedes Justina Peralta, Georgina was happy for the extra company. Happy but not for long, as the blond lady asked Mr Belmont to excuse them for a few minutes, the speed at which he left the table gave Georgina slight cause to be wary of this lady.
"Madame I believe those two young ladies are with you?" she said, nodding towards the girls table, already Georgina felt the urge to strangle her niece before being told anything further.
"Yes they are," she replied, forcing a smile as she realised just who this lady was. "that is my niece and her travelling companion."
"Ah! Your niece and a servant?"
"Not so much a servant... er... but yes, an employee of sorts." Georgina struggled to find the correct way to describe Amelia's role.
"This is a rather delicate matter," the blond lady continued, "one of your charges made very insulting remarks about Francisco Montes Reina, our guest of honour. As you should know we would find it very hard to deal with a family who mock our customs."
Georgina had to think fast, if it turned out that it was Emma that had made the remarks, she could well not get her import licence, if on the other hand it was only a servant, a grovelling apology might just do it. "I am quite confident that my niece would not make any disparaging remarks, so I can only assume it was her companion. Have no fear though, I will find out, and you shall receive a full and frank apology."
"An apology from a servant girl?" The blond said with a bemused look on her face. "I was always led to understand that the British aristocracy dealt with their servants in a, should we say, harsher manner."
Georgina now decided to wing it even further. "Rest assured Senora, she will be punished."
The blond nodded slowly, then smiled and said. "Good, we shall see you both at the Casa del Almirante tomorrow at say three o'clock, she can deliver her apology and you can deliver her punishment." Without waiting for a reply she turned and left, to seek out Giles Belmont.
The return journey to the hotel was uncomfortable to say the least. No sooner had they got in the carriage than Georgina almost screamed. "Are you so stupid that you didn't have the sense to think that some Spanish people can speak English?" Emma paled but stayed quiet, knowing better than to interrupt her aunt. "You truly are the family idiot, the table next to yours was the Peralta family, the very family that I have come here to trade with. For your information Mercedes Montes Peralta was educated in England, she speaks better English than you!" Emma was now reduced to staring at the carriage floor her bottom lip quivering. "When we get back to the hotel go straight to your room, and if you have any sense keep well away from me. Amelia I need to have a little chat with you to see if I can save this situation."
Amelia nodded and said, "yes, miss Georgina, anything I can do to help I will of course do."
"You may regret saying that, Amelia." Georgina almost whispered, still glaring at her niece.
In the lounge of the hotel, Georgina ordered tea for her and Amelia, then as the waiter left them she broke the hanging cloud of silence.
"I don't need to know what remark was made. I certainly don't need to know who made it, what possessed my sister to think that Emma going on a trip across Europe would be a good idea I can't say. You do realise you are going to career from one disaster to another don't you?"
Amelia only raised her eyebrows but didn't speak.
"Well that's for you two to worry about not me. The problem I have, Amelia is this, Senora Peralta heard the remark but does not know which one of you made it. If it turns out to be my niece I will be tarred with the same brush, and any hope of making a deal will fly out of the window. On the other hand, if it turns out to be a servant that said it." Georgina saw the change in Amelia's face at the word servant. "Those were her words not mine. A frank apology... and... well a token punishment would be acceptable."
"Punishment?" Replied the now astounded Amelia.
"Yes, I can understand if you refuse, but think of it as a favour for my idiot niece, if not for her family. I would imagine a light spanking should suffice."
"Spanking?" Said Amelia thinking to herself what is it with this family.
"Yes but I assure you this was not my idea." Said Georgina, blushing slightly at this half truth.
Amelia seemed to take an age, but finally nodded. "If that is what it takes, Miss Georgina."
The next day the minutes seem to drag for Amelia, Emma was doing her best to stay in their room and well away from Georgina. Soon enough though it was time to leave for her appointment at the Casa del Almirante. Upon getting there they were shown into a large room, where sat Mercedes and to Georgina's shock Giles Belmont. Amelia looked ready to make a bolt for the door upon seeing Mr Belmont.
"Ah, Giles," Said Georgina, "I wasn't expecting to see you here today."
"I know, such a tricky thing, international relations and all that." said the odious Belmont as if he didn't want to be there.
"I take it by the fact that you are here," interrupted Mercedes addressing Amelia directly. "we can take your apology as given. Now there is only the matter of the punishment. Madame Georgina you will find this of use." Mercedes then produced a velvet drawstring bag. Georgina opened it, and pulled out a small multi strand whip with a wooden handle.
"A whip?" She said in disbelief.
"A martinet," Replied Mercedes. "commonly used in France, and sometimes here in Spain for the castigation and guidance of youths. I am sure it will be just as effective upon a servants naked behind."
Amelia shook her head, this was not at all what she was expecting.
"I was thinking more of a good spanking over her drawers." Said Georgina, as if she was in a market place and trying to barter.
"No, no, this is not a nursery punishment, this is to teach her to hold her tongue and respect our traditions." Mercedes reminded them.
"So if you could be so kind, Madame Georgina to help her strip."
"Strip?" Asked the now annoyed Georgina.
"Yes, she can show us her true humility by baring herself."
Georgina looked at Amelia who seemed to be in a state of shock. "Mr Belmont," Georgina said trying to take control of the situation. "could you be so kind to leave us for the sake of decency."
Belmont just sat there, a half smile on his face.
"I have asked Mr Belmont to join us here today, so that he can see that we only give the girl an apt and suitable punishment. He is here for the girls well being," said the now grinning Mercedes, Georgina knew she had been had by the two of them.
Georgina was on the verge of telling them both exactly where to go, and also her views on bullfighting, damn them and their Sherry licences, when Amelia spoke in an almost inaudible whisper.
"Miss Georgina, could you help me with my buttons?"
Taken aback by the request, Georgina turned to Amelia, who merely nodded her ascent. With fingers shaking in rage Georgina first unbuttoned the dress so it fell to the floor, then unlaced Amelia's stays from the back, they too joined the dress on the floor. Upon seeing Georgina start to hesitate, Mercedes again interjected.
"Please, Madame we don't have all day, shift and drawers next, or if you like Mr Belmont can assist."
Seeing Amelia shiver at that thought spurred Georgina on anew, and soon enough Amelia was naked apart from her stockings.
"How old are you girl?" Asked Mercedes.
"Nineteen, miss." Replied the dazed Amelia.
"Well, Mr Belmont I propose nineteen strokes of the martinet."
"Yes, Senora that would seem fair to me as well." said Belmont, drinking in Amelia's now bared charms.
"So be it, Madame, nineteen strokes," said Mercedes now addressing Georgina. " and please don't hold back, or I will be forced to take over. Bending across the back of that chair I think."
In silence Amelia took up her place, bending across the back of the low leather arm chair. Georgina brought the little whip across Amelia's pale buttocks, eliciting a little cry of pain or shock.
"A little harder I think, Madame." Said Mercedes.
"Yes I think so too," chirped in the increasingly annoying Belmont. "after all the girl isn't here for a tickling."
All the days frustrations came out in Georgina, without realising it she was now laying into Amelia with all the force she could muster. She was deaf to her cries of pain. She could not even see the increasing redness of the girls behind. She lost count of where she was at. She was in a rage, and poor Amelia was the floodgate for her stress. Then she heard a male voice shouting to her, drawing her back into the room, seeing the welts on Amelia's bottom for the first time she dropped the Martinet to the floor.
"Georgina, Georgina that was twenty one, you have finished her punishment!" cried out Belmont.
Georgina helped Amelia down from the chair, and looked at her tear streaked face, and whispered. "I'm so sorry."
"Mr Belmont," said Mercedes, "I think we can leave the two ladies to get ready for their journey back, the carriage will be outside in half an hour." The two of them left the room leaving the naked Amelia sobbing on Georgina's breast.
After a few minutes for her to collect herself, Georgina started to help Amelia back into her shift and dress, leaving her stay and drawers off for the sake of comfort. After doing up the buttons on the back of Amelia's dress, she turned her around to face her, looking deep into her blue eyes she said. "I hope she is really worth it."
Amelia nodded and said, "she is, miss."