The Holly and the Nettle
The Holly and the Nettle
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   by David Nunes da Silva   . 
Why, look you, I am whipped and scourged with rods,
Nettled, and stung with pismires,
       Henry the Fourth, part one : I,iii
    
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NOT FINISHED ]  
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1935.    The Scottish Borders.
The farm lads have never heard of Nuremberg or Wall Street.
  Trouble in the lands beyond the sea, is nae o their ken.


  I.   A 'spexion under the holly tree.  
Of course  they had to play doctor.

The District Health Officer had been unco scary.    Rory had thought they were done for, when the lads had been led out of school, but they had just waited outside in the cold, while the doctor and the horrible nurse had done something unspeakable to the lassies.   Rory had never been to a doctor - none of the farm lads had - so they had no ken o' what was happening.  When the lads came back in, the lassies looked at the floor, ashamed.

Rory whispered to Katherine Cairns: "Wha' they do?"  

"You'll see," was all she would say.  

And then it had been the lads' turn.   The lasses were led out, and then each lad had to drop his breeches for a "spexion."    And then a jab with a needle in the doup.

And so of course Wee Jock wanted to play at patient and doctor.   And of course he wanted Rory to be the doctor.

"I want a turn too, Jock."

"But ye will be doctor first?"

"Aye, I will.   Patient Jock Campbell  -  up your kilt for a 'spexion!"

Wee Jock's daddie, big Jock Campbell, was the ghillie at the Auld Manse, and so wee Jock had a kilt, for when the gentry were in.  He didna wear it to schuil ever day -  it was for go to Kirk on the special occasion; marryings and burryings and such.  But when Mrs. Campbell had heard about the visit from the Dee Aitch Oh, she had thought it was for sure an important occasion, and so had made Jock ta wear his kilt.

"Pull yer knickers doun, Wee Jock!"   

Jock had bottle-green girls' knickers under his kilt, that he dinna like for folk ta see; he said: "Ochen, ye'r daft, Rory -  ta do it in road!  We mun go ta thon holly where it's private."

Moss, Rory's collie, pricked her ears at the word "holly."   The holly tree, where Jock wanted ta go for his 'spexion, stood where the path to
the croft at Houn Fell, where Rory lived with his mother, took off from the road to the Auld Manse, where Jock's daddie was ghillie.    So it was at the holly that the two friends met every morning, and kissed goodbye at night.   Ivy hanging from the branches made a little secret space.    Rory gave a click with his tongue, and Moss took off at a run, and the two lads followed after.   Along the road, Rory cut a wee hawthorn branch with the knife he kept in his pocket.

When they got to the holly, it was: "Up your kilt and down wi' your knickers, Wee Jock.   Ye mun ha'e a 'jexion!"

"Och, do I ha'e to ha'e it, Doctor?"

"Aye.  It's unco important, is your 'jexion.   You mun tak it like a Scot!"    Jock bent over, and Rory pushed a hawthorn thorn into his doup, all the way in.   When he pulled it out again, Jock looked back over his shoulder, with his teeth clenched but without having made any sound.  Rory nodded to him.   Jock had taken his 'jexion as well as any Scot could.

 Rory hoped he could be as brave:   "You be doctor now, Jock.   Gi'e me a 'jexion."

"But ye havna done the 'spexion!"

For the 'spexion, Rory made Jock ta tak off his shirt, and listened to his chest.   Then he said: "Tak your kilt off, wee Jock.   Tak your knickers doun."    When Jock was i' the scuddy, Rory made him ta bend over, and shoved a stick up his arse, the way the nurse's finger had gone up their arses in schuil.   It had hurt when the nurse had done it with her finger, and Rory had let out a little yelp, because he'd been so surprised.   Now Rory tried to make Jock yelp too, by jamming the stick in quick and hard - be Wee Jock made nae a peep.   Rory found a bigger stick.  When he shoved it in, it mun surely hurt bad, a great caber thing like it was, but Jock made nae a sound fer that stroke neither, and didna show it hurt.   Jock looked over his shoulder again, and Rory nodded again.   Wee Jock had taken another test like a fine man.   So now Rory would have to tak thorn in doup, and as well thon great fat stick up his arse, when it was his turn.   Rory wanted ta get on wi' it, if he mun do it.

But then Jock wanted a 'spexion of his wullie too, like the nurse had done.   Rory said: "Will ye nae get a stonner, Wee Jock, fro' me ta handle your wullie?  Did you nae see thon Patrick Nethery in schuil?   A stonner like a handle he had!  And nurse hadna yet laid a finger on him!    Will ye nae get a muchle stonner when I touch ye, Jock?"

"Nae, Rory, I willna."

Rory he squeezed and snapped, and flicked Jock's sheathie with his fingernail.   And Jock's wee wullie stayed soft.    But when Rory looked at Jock, to nod at him, to say he passed another test, their eyes meet, and then, all at once, Rory has Jock's stonner in his hand.    And Rory has one too, inside his breeks.

Jock said : "So, Doctor, do you think I got some'ut?"

"Aye.   As bad a case o' the woullies and wugglies as e'er I saw."

"Och Doctor!   Is there some'ut ye can do fer it?"

"You mun tak yer medicine."

Rory looked around for some'ut to use as medicine.   "Put your knickers on again, Patient Campbell," he ordered.   Then he plucked some holly leaves and shoved them down the back of Jock's knickers.

"It prickles."

"That's the medicine working.   You mun leave them in till bedtime."

"Aye, Rory.   But don't I need some'ut on my wullie?"

"The medicine for your wullie would be unco strong.   I dinna think you could thole it."

"I can thole it, Rory.  I mun tak the strongest medicine."

Rory's heart rose up in his chest, as his eyes followed Jock's gaze to the swampy spring below the holly, choked with nettle.   It was too exciting to do this to Jock, knowing his own turn was next.  Nettle on yer wullie was pain ta mak a braw man faint, fer sure!    But if Wee Jock was brave enough ta do it, Rory would ha'e to be, too - he hadna a choice.  It would be bad enou', just ta be flogged on yer wullie wi' the prickles o' holly, but it were the stinging nettle, tha' Jock wanted.   Rory fetched a stalk o' nettle - when he cut the nettle, he flogged his own hand with it, to feel the pain and think o' how much more it would hurt on his wullie.   Once he touched Jock with nettle, there could be nae going back!

"Pull your knickers doun again, Wee Jock."

Jock pulled his knickers off, and lay on the ground with his legs spread wide.    He put his hands behind his head, clasped together, to keep them from protecting his wullie of their own accord.   Jock had a fine stonner.   He was gritting his teeth and squinting his eyes in anticipation of the pain, but he had a great grin on his face.

If Rory did this to Jock, he would have to tak same hissel, when his turn came.    And he didna think he could thole it.    "I'll just taste the medicine first," Rory said, and he undid his buttons to let out his own stonner, and touched the tip with the nettle.     It hurt so much it was like one of his Ma's thrashings.   But he felt a fine wild courage - he could dree it if Jock could.    He gave his own wullie a good brushing all over.   The pain was in his wullie - but it hurt so much it felt like it was all over him, doun ta his toes and even in his insides.     It was so unco bad it like ta drive him mad, but he could thole it.   He reached to stroke Jock's stonner, very lightly.   Jock let out his breath.  Jock was nae finding the pain any easier ta thole than Rory had.   Jock began to breathe loudly, like he was about to start to sob - and tha' was just a light touch on the very tip.   And then Rory stroked his friend's wullie up and down, front and back and sides, and across the tip, the same as he had done ta his own wullie.   Jock's sinews stood out with the terrible clenching of his fists. 

But for a' Jock was straining and clenching to dree the pain o' just a light stroke, he wanted more.

"Dinna just stroke it, Rory, flog it!   Flog it on the underside."

Jock and Rory had played a game afore this - whene'er they took a dip i' the burn on a hot day.   When the twa lads were both i' skuddy, they had a game ta pinch each other a their doups, ta see who could thole the more; ta see who would cry Quits.
  Jock could tak a fair hantle o' pinching, but then he would at last cry Quits.  But the pinching o' Rory's doup could ne'er end until Jock's hand cramped -- for Rory McAllister had ne'er cried Quits in all his life.

But it was the way of their game, that if Rory pinched hard enou', he could make Jock cry Quits on his first turn, and then Jock dinna get a turn ta pinch Rory at a'.   So Rory thought to hissel : if I can just make Jock ta cry Quits, by a flogging so hard he canna dree it, why then I willna ha'e ta tak a turn at a'.    But, Rory thought, what if Wee Jock doesna cry Quits, for all the flogging I gi'e him?   Then I mun tak if back again, all the hard flogging I gi'e him; hard flogging wi' the nettle on my wullie!   Rory gasped wi' just the though of the nettle swung hard on the underside o' his wullie - and he found he needed a taste o' it, before he could do it to his friend.   He held his wullie up in his left hand, so the nettle would strike it on the underside, and reached out his right hand wi' the nettle ta bring it back smart on the underside o' his own flesh.

But his right hand wouldna do it.

So Jock had won.   Jock had the courage ta ask fer a flogging o' his wullie, and Rory couldna dree ta flog his own.  


"There is nae need ta thrash yer wullie, Jock.  I shall just brush your courage-bag wi' it, and then thrash your doup.   That's t' way to deal wi' t' woullies an' wugglies."

"Aye."  Rory heard a faint rustle.   Probably a weasel after a mouse in the tall grass.

With Jock's doup on the ground, and his knees spread wide, Rory could see up the gell o' Jock's arse, e'en ta the rosy fud o' his arsehole.   Rory shoved the tip of the nettle up that crack, shoved in hard and twisted, grinding the nettle into the tender skin around Jock's hole, as the fier lad bit his lip and clenched his fingernails into his palms.   Rory's own arsehole seemed to feel the stunnerfu' pain already.    He stopped.   He had to know what this felt like.    He was hurting Jock in ways he didna know if he could dree hissel.

"It's my turn now, Jock.  You mun gi'e me the same medicine.   I want to start wi' the nettle shoved into the fud o' my arse!"

"Aye."    Jock was gasping from the pain.
   But he said "Och Doctor, it is guid ta feel thon medicine working.   De ye think I ha'e enou' medicine?"

Rory needed the pain now.    He had hurt Jock so much, that when it was his turn, it would be more pain than he could thole, he knew that.   But he mun dree it.  He mun.   Knowing the pain was coming, he needed for it to start.   The gell of his arse itched for it.   He couldna last another minute, knowing it was coming, but not having it hurt.  

But just then Moss, who never barked, except at the right time when turning stubborn cattle, made a low rattling sound.   Rory looked around.   There was nothing.    But Moss dinna make mistakes.   Rory signed to the dog, and the lads followed her.  A lass broke from a hiding place behind the ivy, and ran, and Moss, who had no e'er herded a lass before, let out a bark, and looked back, confused and embarrassed, at her master.   Rory dinna mind her, and ran ta catch up wi' the lass, and when he.caught up he struck her on the neck with the nettle in his hand.   That stopped her: felled to the ground and howling in agony.   It was Katherine Cairns.

"You were keeking a' us."

"I could only hear you, Rory.   I couldna see a thing."

But she could see it all, now.  Jock was in the scuddy altogether, and they were out on the road, in the open fields.   There was red nettle rash all over Jock's body, and Rory had his stonner out and the nettle in his hand.   Cottages overlooked them, and if anyone happened to keek out o' a window, they would see what the lads had been doing.  The two bare lads looked at each other, and then they looked at Katherine.   She looked at them.  There was no way they would let her go without punishment for this, and she knew it.

She said: "You can play Doctor with me, too.    You can pull up my dress and touch me through my knickers.  But you can't pull my knickers doun."

"But will ye tak yer medicine?"

"Aye."

Rory said: "Then that will be yer punishment, and all quits.   Aye?"

"Aye.  Done wi' you, Rory McAllister."

They went back to the holly, and Rory looked at the spot where Katherine had hidden.   The grass was beaten down, as if she had used it before.   They went into the hidden space under the holly.

"You mun tak yer kirtle off."

Katherine took off her skirt as well as her kirtle, so s
he was i' the scuddy except for her knickers.     Her breasts were sma', but unco bonnie. She had more meat on her than Rory - the Cairns family's bit land was michle bigger than Rory's land, and they were ne'er short o' oatmeal at Cairns.     But no crofter had any sil'er these days, and Katherine didna wear shoes nae more na Rory.   Her fine strong muscles showed how hard she worked - that and the fine sewing and darning of her clothes, which she had nae doot patched herself.   Rory was a club-hand with a needle, and his wee mither was stone blind.

"I mun examine yer lungs."

Rory bent to listen to her chest, but somehow his lips found a tittie instead.    She put her hand on his stonner, wrapping her fingers around it.   He thrust his body back and forth, moving his stonner in her hand, as his tongue lapped her jug like a dog's.   Then he stopped moving his stonner, for he was close to ha'ing his pleasure be over, sudden like, and he wanted instead ta mak it last.    He thought she was set ta play fer a long while.

But fer a' she was gasping and panting wi' excitement, fer all that her eyes blazed wi' daring, she took her hand away; done wi' it.    "What about my medicine?" she asked.   "I want to tak my medicine for keeking a' you, and go home."

Rory put a handful of holly leaves down the back of her knickers.    She didna seem ta notice any prickles.  She asked: "Is this the strong medicine ye gave ta Wee Jock?"

Jock said: "Och, ye can no ha'e the strong medicine.  Only a lad ca' thole the strong medicine."

Jock lay on his back again, his stonner rising above him.    Rory went ta cut a fresh nettle, almost screaming from the touch.   The pain of the nettle seemed worse on a hand already nettled.   Then he stroked Jock's balls, and Jock yelped and greeted wi'o' any shame.  He was showing Katherine how much it hurt, and how much he could tak - he was showing Kat Cairns it were nae a thing a lass could dree.  Jock crayed out: "More!  Doctor, I can thole it!"     The he asked "Didna ye say I need some medicine on my doup?"

Katherine said: "That's right, Doctor; I heard you say you had to flog his doup for the whoopies and wigglies."

"Can you give this patient this medicine, Nurse Cairns?"

"Aye, I will, gladly.   Patient Jock Campbell, turn over to tak your medicine on your doup."

"Do ye nae taste medicine first, Nurse Cairns?"

"Aye, I will, Doctor."

Katherine turned away from him, and pulled her knickers down, showing him her bonnie braw cheeks.   She whipped a stroke across them with the nettle.   The greet she let out was so loud, and the jerking of her whole body so strong, that Rory thought she would run home in tears, and maybe tell her daddie.     But when she turned around again, her eyes were bright.  She let out great whooping gasps, trying to dree the pain.   She forgot to pull her knickers up.    Rory went over to her, drawn like a ram to a ewe, to hug her or maybe to kiss her, or some'ut elst, but she swung the nettle at him.   He jumped back just in time to save his stonner fro' the swipe. 

When she got over gasping from the pain, she brought the nettle down hard and true across Jock's upraised doup.    Rory was thinking about his turn ta dree the nettle.  Did he dare ask Katherine ta do it?   He thought o' Katherine whipping his doup wi' the nettle; he thought o' Katherine stroking his stonner with the nettle. 
  His stonner was painfully hard.   If only he could hold out, and keep his hand from doing what his hand was wanting ta do. 

Katherine told Jock to get up.    Rory had planned to whip him five strokes.   Or maybe ten.    But Wee Jock was very much a whipped lad from just one stroke.   He knelt on the ground, cradling his doup tenderly with his hands.   Jock had had enough and was crying Quits, although he didna use the word.   Rory was glad.   He would ask Katherine for five strokes, and show her he could tak it better than Jock.

She said. "I can thole it.  I can thole it as well as any lad. I want ye ta thrash me on doup."

"Ye canna thole it!"

"Och aye, but I can.    Will ye nae do it, Doctor?"

Rory said: "Aye,  but you mun have a 'spexion before you ha'e yer medicine."

"Aye, Doctor."

And so Katherine took her knickers off, so she was i' the skuddy altogether, and Rory gave her a thorough 'spexion, touching and looking and making her bend and spread.   She was breathing very hard.   It made Rory's stonner hurt.   He could see that she was already feeling the pain, in anticipation, and it made her wee slit grope and clutch like a live thing, and this was for making him unbearably excited.

Finally he said: "Woullies and wugglies.    A bad case."

"So I need some medicine?    In there, where the woullies are?"

"No, on your doup."

"Aye   Thon's fair punishment fer spying on ye.  I dinna mind tha.  From ye."   She looked him right in the eyes.

They were kneeling, and she turned half away from him, and put an arm on his neck.  Her cheek was almost touching his lips.     He could reach her doup, but not see it - and the nettle was not in his hand - he had to stretch and reach for it.    Bending and stretching to reach it with his left hand, he pulled the weight of her bare body onto his, and she fell on him, and he didna mind his left hand - and then he yipped like a pup, as the nettle found him, and the fire found the tender flesh between his fingers.   He had to pass the nettle from his left hand to his right, and so he had his arms around her, cumbering her bare body more tightly into his.    He got the nettle stalk into his right hand, and brought it up smartly to her doup, aiming, blindly, for her britchen - the spot that hurt the most, when he was thrashed.    The spot his blind mother never failed to find.   

Her body jerked in his arms, and he saw the pain in her eyes, saw her trying not to greet, and then the tears.   They clumberd more tightly together, squeezing each other as if ta be one body.   She was like a braw wee bird i' his arms.    His stonner was pushing against warm soft flesh.  He kissed her, on the side of her nose, where a tear had run down from the corner of her eye.

One stroke would be all she could thole - surely.    Even Jock ... But her eyes blazed.   He couldna believe it.   Brave Wee Jock looking hang-dog and defeated from a single hard stroke, and Katherine looking like  -  thon!

"I can feel the medicine working, Doctor.   I can tak some more."

She wanted more!   A second stroke made her pant and grimace, and a third wiped the look of pleasure from her eyes.   Seeing her hurt, he dinna kiss her any more, for he was shamed that he hurt her.  But even after three strokes she said: "I can tak more, Doctor.  I think I should ha'e more medicine."    And then she kissed him.   And then he kissed her.   And then she kissed him again.

She had done better than Jock, and was still asking for more.   Rory thought she could do better than him - he thought she could dree more than any lad in Ayrshire.   But he wouldna thrash her till she cried Quits - he needed ta tak his own turn.

"That is enough medicine fer ye.   It;s my turn to be patient now.   Ye be doctor."

"I heard you say you tasted medicine, before you gave it to Wee Jock.    Did you taste it ..."

"Aye - on my wullie."

"Is it very sore?"

"I don't mind it."

"Would it help if I kissed it?"

Jock, whose wullie had been far more nettled than Rory's, lifted his head - he had been quietly sobbing.     Katherine planted kisses on both lads, on their wullies, as they knelt side by side, like Papists in a Papist kirk.     Then Rory bent his head down toward her crotch.

"But I haven't had any medicine there yet."

"This is medicine."

"I should ha'e the strong medicine there.   Ye may kiss me after."

Rory got excited in a whole different way after that.   He brushed the nettle very lightly on the lips of her cunt.    She arched her back and clenched her fists with the pain of it.    The skin was so thin there, thinner than anywhere on a lad's body, except ...

Rory dropped the nettle, undid his belt, and took off his breeches.    He brushed the nettle on his ballsack.    Brushing himself, then her, then himself, then her.     The he got down on his haunches so he could grind the nettle stalk into the tender area around his the fud o' his own arse, and then he did the same place on her.   The way he was excited, made it unco easy to dree his own pain, easy to flog the nettle on his own body.   But it was unco hard to flog her.     He had to close his eyes; if he could see the pain in her eyes when he stroked her, he couldna do it.

"Are you giving yourself the medicine, Rory?"

"I have to."

"Aye?"

"I wouldna ... I wouldna be able to hurt you, Katherine, if I didna do messel."

"Call me Kat.   Are you going to  ... Are you?"

Rory blushed when he understood what she meant.   What he thought she meant.   What he hoped she meant..   She was - she was like a prancing calf, prancing to be bulled.  She pinked her nose like a quoy heifert who sniffs her first bull - she surely did want some'ut.   But he couldna possibly say the words to ask her what.    He looked at Wee Jock.   Jock made a thrusting motion with his fist.   Aye.   But how?  She were no in the right position.  What did she want?  Why did she nae turn around, if she hankered ta be tupped?   Were human wee-uns no made the same way as calves and lambs and any other sort o' cattle?

Rory could see it would be possible, wi' she on her back - a lad and a lass could fit together that way, though it were unco unnatural.  And Kat had spread her knees as if to ask for this queer kind of tupping.  But she would be looking into his face,  when he did it inside o' her!  So far, he had done it only in his hand.   Could he - could he do it if a body was looking at him?  If Kat was looking at him?   So it was not done quick, and from behind, into a lass.   It would be into - no, not into, - with ... it would be with Katherine.    With Kat.  She would see in his face what her insides did to his wullie.  He had a notion it would take a while, like dogs, and not be quick, like rams.   It would be like - it would be like just now, when he had tried to touch her with the nettle, and he could not thole to do it because he was looking at her face.  He would be trying ta do it inside o' her, while looking at her face.  They would feel it together, as if they were one body, his wullie in her insides.  So it had to be done right, and he didna know how.   And his stonner had gone soft.

In her eyes, a fine bravery  - a Scottish courage.   De'il may care - do or die - fling your life away.    He couldna be cowardly, hisself.  He flogged his soft stonner wi' the nettle, wanting it to get hard, but it didna.    And then he rammed the nettle stalk up into Katherine's offered body.

As she howled in pain, he pulled out the nettle and bulled in with his stonner.   He found he didna ha'e to worry about it being hard enou'.


         
 
  II.    Doctor's surgery. 
It wasna, Kat found out later, her fault.

In schuil next morn, Kat had told Anne Campion that the game she had played with the lads was unco exciting.   For when Doctor Rory gi'e you a 'spexion, she said, it may be just leaf of ivy ye get fer yer medicine.    But it could be, she whispered, a prickly holly.   Or even, it might be, some'ut stronger!   And that was all Kat would say, all day, as Anne worried her like a terrier to know all about it.   "Kat," she asked, "did he really gi'e you a spexion wi' your knickers doun?    And did he gi'e you - the strong medicine?"    Did Doctor Rory gi'e it to ye there?   But Kat would only smile.   Kat thought that Anne had spread the story.

But it was in fact Wee Jock, and not Anne, who did the damage.   Because Wee Jock told Patrick Nethery that Doctor Rory could cure the woullies and wugglies.

Kat had liked the warm soreness of her britchen on schuil bench, in morn, but Wee Jock was foul wi' it.   And Rory sat silly on bench, and could not see why Wee Jock was so unfriendly.    Kat told him.

"His doup is sore, Rory.    You didna ha'e your turn as patient, and so you no got the nettle flogged on your britchen."

"Yours is sore, too?"

"Aye.   But I dinna mind."

"And I did it.   I flogged you.  We will go back to the holly tonight, for my flogging."

"Aye.   We will.  I will ha'e your breeches off again, Rory McAllister."

But then he had pulled her hair.

"Rory McAllister, come up to the desk!" the dominie had shouted, making them all jump.

Rory walked smartly to the head of the class, dropped his breeches, and bent over the dominie's desk from the front.

"I did no say ye mun pull your trousers doun, man.   I meant your hand.   And do you nae ha'e the sense to come behind the desk, and nae show your doup to the lasses?"

"Ochen, I can dree it, schuilmaster.   Gi'e me yer best!"

Mr. Sewell was a gentle man, but he was nettled by this insolence.   Instead of making Rory pull his breeches back up, and beating the lad a stroke on the palm of his hand, he was provoked to show off his strength and his skill.   He would make Rory regret this.  The cracks of the tawse sounded like rifle shots, echoing off the stone walls, loud enough to send a shiver down your spine.  Five stripes, evenly spaced from the crown of the lad's doup down to five inches above the back of his knees, each one blood red and showing the split tails of the tawse.  Mr. Sewell had a good eye and a strong arm, and as he had never belted a lad's bare britchen in front of the class before, he took special pride in his work, and struck with all his might and main.  After five, the dominie stopped, but Rory didna stand up.

"Do you nae know it's over, Man?"

Rory didna move.   The class waited - Rory was asking for it.  He was baiting the dominie.    Mr. Sewell took his position.

But then he lowered the strap.  "Rory, will you no gi'e over?   I'd tak it as a favor."

Rory stood up, turned, and held out his hand.   The dominie shook it.   Then Rory pulled up his breeches.   All the lasses were staring at his wullie, mouths gaping like fish, and all the lads too - only Jeremy Thomasson looked away, but he was English.

When Rory returned to bench, he whispered: "I knew I deserved it, Kat, but I didna want ta mak ye do it.   I hated ha'ing to flog ye."

That was a lie, and Kat knew it.   Rory had loved flogging her.   But what was worse, Anne Campion overheard them.  And thon story, that Rory McAllister had flogged Helen Cairns fer pleasure, she told to every lass in schuil.

After schuil, Rory headed home, alone.    Kat ran after him.

"Rory McAllister!"

"Aye."

"You mun walk me home."

"Aye."

Kat's croft was two miles in the opposite direction, but that was nothing to Rory.   It was hard for her to keep up with him; she couldna talk and half-run at the same time.   "Stop!"

And even then it took her a while to catch her breath.   "Rory, I mean to ha'e your breeches doun!"

"Was i' no enough then, wha' I took fro' the dominie?   Ye want ta flog me yersel?   Thon's fine."

"Och, I've nae plan to skaith ye!"

"Aye?   Then why do ye need me breeches doun?"

And he really didna know.   Well, no one has e'er accused the McAllisters of being o'er quick.   So she said: "Your breeches are all tatters, Rory.   I mean to sew them up."    Kat took out a spool and a bodkin from her poke.

"What, here?"

"Och, I'll just ranter them.   I can do the flourishing later.  We can go to the holly tree."

That would be six miles off her way.   She would miss her tea.   But her brother Roger would do her chores, and Daddie wouldna find out.   And the holly was the best place.    Not the best place ta ranter Rory's breeches - she'd as soon do thon indoor - the holly just the place she most wanted to get Rory wi' his breeches doun.

"You'd do tha' for me?   Mend me tears and me tatters?   That's unco fine!   I mun - I mun gi'e you one o' Moss's pups!"

And with this heart-wrung outburst the lad fell silent, and there was no talking as they walked - or rather he walked and she ran to keep up with him - three miles up the brae to the holly tree.   But it was nae the fine private place Katherine had expected - Wee Jock was there, with Patrick Nethery and a hantle o' laddies, and Anne Campion.

Patrick Nethery cried out ta Rory: "We ha'e been waitin' for ye, Doctor"

"Are ye daft, Patrick?   I'm nae doctor."

"But will ye no play wi' us?"

Patrick Nethery and Rory we nae friends.   But Pat's Daddie was the flesher o' the parish, and there would  ha'e been nae meat at Houn Fell croft, wi'o' the bones Mr. Nethery let Rory have, a-saying twere fer Moss, ta tak the sting fro' the charity.   So Rory had to play wi' Pat and the lads, and thanks fer asking.

"Who'll play the doctor?"

"You be the doctor, Houn Fell.   Wee Jock says you can cure the woullies and wugglies."

"Ochen, there is nae such thing.   I just pertend it."

"But will ye no play it wi' us?"

"Aye.   Ye mun tak your breeches doun, then."

"Under tree?"

"I ken it's o'er mirkie under tree.   If you mun ha'e a spexion, Patrick Nethery, you mun pull down your breeches here in the road."

It looked like Patrick wouldna do it.   He looked at the other lads, who were at watching him.

He said: "Should we all pull doun our breeches together, then?"

Ian Selkirk said: "Ochen, it's o'er cold fer tha'.   I'll gang first, if ye're so shy, Patrick."

Patrick blushed to match his hair, but he managed to get his breeches doun.   He didna ha'e any knickers, nor yet any shoes, fer a' the fine airs and graces o' the Netherys.

Rory looked for the hawthorn branch, but it was in truth a dark gloaming, and unco mirkie under the holly, and he didna find it.    But he found the fat stick he had rammed up Wee Jock's arse.    He put it in Kat's hand.

"Nurse Cairns, do the 'spexion on thon patient Nethery.   I wi' gae get his 'jexion."    And Rory ran off down the brae.

Kat made Patrick bend over, and shoved the stick up his arse.   She left it in as she did the 'spexion of his wullie, which shot into a fine long stonner right away, as it had done when the nurse had but touched it in schuil.  Kat had heard th' tale o' Patick Nethery's stonner, but she hadna believed it till she saw it wi' her own eyes.  Patrick mun be unco sensitive, Kat thought - she had only brushed it lightly wi' her fingers, but he seemed to be in agony, so muchle was his pleasure.   She took her hand away, not wanting to embarrass him.    He gazed hungrily at her hand - as if he found it an extra pleasure, instead o' terrible shame, to have his wullie teased and handled wi' others watching.   As if he found it a pleasure to have her tease him, and then deny him.

While she waited for Rory to come back, she thought about the game Patrick was playing.   He got his pleasure from her fingers on his stonner, true, but it was shame he should be feeling - so why did Patrick want to play at doctor?   And it was just too good to be true -  the Netherys were counted almost gentry;.why was the flesher's lad being so kind to puir crofter Rory?   No one in Ayrshire counted for less than the McAllisters.  Why would Patrick Nethery name Rory as "Houn Fell"?  The McAllister croft, although too small ta have a name in the normal way o' things, did happen ta have a name - Houn Fell - for it had once been the kennel where the McCall had kept his dogs.    Rory was a wee-un, but fer a' that, you could say he was master o' Houn Fell farm, for that his mither was blind.   And so to call Rory "Houn Fell" was daft, but it wasna exactly wrong.   But it was unco queer to hear a wee-un spoken to in that way, as a master o' a farm.   Certainly no one had ever called Rory McAllister "Houn Fell" before.

Then Rory came back, with a hawthorn branch.    Patrick looked feart when he saw the great thorn, but he dreed the pain, in front of a' the lads, and he looked triumphant.   Then he looked feart again, as Rory fingered the sheathie of his wullie.

"Doctor, is it ...?"

"Aye,  you ha'e the woullies and wugglies.   You mun tak the medicine, if ye can dree it."

"Ochen, I can dree it."

"Then pull up your breeks."

Patrick had to leave the ballop of his breeches unbuttoned, because his stonner was so hard he couldna squeeze it int.   It was an unco long one, Patrick's stonner, with a bend in it - just before the tip, it bent up.  It was only the third stonner Kat had seen in her life, after Rory's and Jock's, and it was so much finer than either o' th' others.  Rory dropped three nettle leaves down the back of Patrick's breeches, into the gell.   The pain was muchle so it made Patrick do a bit dance, but tha made the pain worse, as his buttocks rubbed together with the nettle in the gell between them, so he had to stand as still as he could, in agony.

"Is this the medicine you gave Wee Jock?"

"I gave more o' it to Kat Cairns."

"But she's a lass!  I mun tak more than a lass!"

"Can ye dree so much, 
Patrick?   It was unco bad."

"I can dree it."

"I flogged her here, and here, and here, up the gell o' her doup.   And I flogged her three stripes across her britchen."

"Flogged her wi nettle?   There, between her legs?"

"Aye - unco hard.   And her eyes shon like a lad does a block at chickie mellie."

"Rory, I canna dree that.  I would rather ha'e the strap than the nettle flogged on my ba's!   Who could dree that?"


"The strap will cure the wugglies, Patient Nethery, but it's nae so good wi' the woullies.   Ye had better choose the nettle o'er the strap."

"I canna.   It mun be strap."

Sandy Beattie had the thickest belt, but he said he dinna want ta whip a body, so Ian Selkirk agreed ta do the whipping.   Rory looked at Ian's belt: "Will ye no lend Ian your belt, Sandy?   Ian's belt is nae guid tae whip a dog."    So Ian took Sandy's good thick belt, and took some practice swings.

 But when Patrick saw the size o' the belt, and the force o' Ian's swings, he was no so sure he could thole e'en a belting for his medicine.  He took his time to decide.


"Och, it's just a game."

So Patrick wasna belted, but Sandy said he could dree wha' Patrick couldna, and he took his breeches doun.  He took his jexion as he didna e'en feel it.  And he didna care when Kat shoved the stick up his arse, and his wullie didna rise up when she fingered it.   Sandy was the dunce of the school, feeling the tawse more 'n all th' other lads put together.   He knew a dozen ways to earn a belting from the dominie, and he would do any one o' them if a body just asked him.  

Sandy said: "It was fine, Rory, when ye got belted on yer doup, and all the lasses could see the stripes.  It was unco fine!  The dominie ha ne'er belted ma doup for lasses ta see!  I wisht it had been me the lasses were keeking at!   But you should have ta'en fifteen.  Fifteen's best.  The first five dinna hurt."


Rory asked Patrick ta do Sandy's belting rather than Ian, and Patrick made Sandy ta lie on the ground.   True to his word, Sandy smiled through the first five.   But the pain increased wi' every stroke, and he began to whimper and greet, and beg "Stop!  Stop!" as he did every time he was belted.     But he had asked for fifteen, and Patrick gave them all, striking as hard as he could, swinging the belt from above his head.   For all his greeting, Sandy stayed in place to tak it.   Nobody had ever had to hold Sandy Beatty down for the tawse.

When it was over, Sandy tried to look at his doup over his shoulder.    "Are the stripes as red as Rory's in schuil?"

"No."

"Aye, it didna hurt proper - thon belt's nae guid.  Ye've nae need to stop.  I can dree bit more nor that.  Tha belt has nae got twa tails lik the dominie's tawse, so I mun ha'e another fifteen."

"But you didna dree it, Sandy, you greeted."

"Ochen, it is nae matter what I do in a belting.   I'm always ready to tak another one, for a' that."

It was on getting mirkie ta see, though it lacked an hour o' sunset.   The dark clouds made it darker.   Kat and Anne would get the belt at home, if they came in after dark.   There could be but one more patient, and they mun be quick.  They all talked at once.

Rory said: "It is nae fair that I mun always be doctor.  I want Wee Jock ta be doctor, and gi'e me my medicine."

"It's my turn next."  - that was Ian Selkirk..

"What about Anne Campion?" - that was Kat, asking.

"Aye.   She's the one who said it would be fun to play doctor.   I want to see her get her jexion!"

"WAIT"   - that was Patrick, shouting.   "I want to tak my medicine, after all."

"No!  I want to see Anne tak her medicine."

They all agreed that Anne would be the next patient, and the last patient of the evening.  They all agreed, that is, except Anne.   But all the lads volunteered to help hold her doun.

Rory took Kat home.

Just out of sight of her croft, she stopped him.   She had that look - the look of wanting.   Rory also wanted.   But he had more sense than to pull off his clothes in the lane-in, wi' none a' more than the dusk o' the gloaming to hide them.   The lass were just plum daft ta want it here.

And they had quarrelled.   He hadna liked it when they pulled down Anne's knickers - he had given her a 'jexion, as she fought the lads to get free, but he wouldna agree ta gi'e the belting.  "This lass has nae got the woullies and wugglies," he had said, and he had gi'en her just a bit o' heather for her medicine.   But the lads had said she must ha'e strong medicine, whatever the doctor said, and they had made her choose between the belt and the nettle - she chose belt.  Rory's stonner had been so hard from watching Patrick belt Anne fifteen strokes, that he had gone behind the ivy, and relieved it with his hand.    He wisht Kat had no seen him do that.

But she had.   And there in the lane-in, after he had fondled her bare jugs, and suckled the paps, but before she kissed him good-night, she told him that when they played doctor next time, just the two of them, she too would choose the belt as her medicine.

"You will make me pull my knickers down, Rory, and I will bend over.   And you will let fly with the belt, straight and true, and make a stripe where it hurts the most.   A dark red stripe.   And I'll scream with the pain, and jump, and rub my britchen wi' my hands.   And that will be just the first of twenty stripes.  Not fifteen - I can dree more than that Anne Campion."

"Kat, I could not thole it, to skaith a hair o' yer head!"

"So, you tak yer pleasure from watching Anne get a belting, but will nae gi'e one ta me.   Go kiss her then, if she'll have you.   You'll be nae more kissin' me!"    And she slapped him.

Plum daft she was!

"I didna gi'e Anne that belting, and I didna want the lads ta do it.   She were nae willing."

"But she deserved it, Rory."

"She did nocht ta deserve it."

"She knew it was a game wi' knickers doun, Rory.   She got all the lads to play.  She watched me finger Pat's wullie, and Sandy's, to my shame.   And then when her turn comes she says she will nae tak her knickers doun!"

"Aye.   Maybe it was fair we should pull her knickers doun.   But not ta whip her fifteen strokes."

"Why did you tak yer pleasure of it then, Rory McAllister?    Ye've made me late, with your haivering, and now I'll get the belt from my daddie.   And I hope ye enjoy it.   Wait by the barn -  ye'll be able to hear the smacks.   Do for me what ye did when ye watched Anne."

As Rory climbed the braeside to his croft that night, going home unkissed, great racking sobs convulsed him, and his tears wet the collar of his shirt.   He felt a pain like a fever in his arms and legs, and he missed the path and wandered aimlessly in the pitch-dark, windy night. He would ha'e slept in a ditch that night if it hadna been for Mossie - she had herded him home like a lost sheep to the fold.

          
 
  III.    Lady Loverly's chatter
Next morn, weeding the garden at the keek o' day, Rory's heart still hurt.

His mother's tea had helped him sleep, very hot and searingly bitter.   He had not seen her mix it, but he knew that for love-fever Ma used mandrake and wild mountain thyme, and nettle.    The night had been hard.   Half-dreaming, he heard it over and over - Kat telling her dad that she didna need to be forgiven, this time, for she was unco sorry she had disobeyed and was ready to be punished.   In skuddy so she would feel it more.  Twenty stripes she asked for, so she would remember and ne'er be late again.  And the loud cracks echoed into the night, and Kat thinking abou' him listening; that he was taking pleasure; that he was doing it with his hand.

How could she think he would tak pleasure in it?   Pleasure in hearing leather smack into that bonnie bare britchen?   Making red marks on it - although he hadna been able ta see the marks. Her Daddie belted her in the yard, by the light of the lamp he had lit for her when she hadna come home.   Rory watched, but she was facing the wrong way for him to see the stripes.  He did see that her Daddie didna fondle her doup between the strokes, the way Rory's mither did, fixing the position of his doup in her mind so she could belt it blind.  It was the only time she ran her hands over his skin, and Rory hungered for her touch - her touch that was her way of seeing.   It must be horrid for Kat, getting the belt without the familiar touch of a warm loving hand before each stroke.   If he ever did belt Kat, he'd like to do that way, running his hand over her bare britchen - OUFF!

Rory's stonner had shot up so fast he had to scramble with his buttons, and his hand started stroking before he remembered that he was doing it while thinking about gi'ing Kat the belt.   He stopped.    But he was half-way there already.

He smacked his left hand, back and palm, into the Scots thistle that grew as weeds in the garden.    But the pain in his hand seemed to be felt as pleasure in his stonner.  He had not known that wullies could feel that tight and hard.   His need was too strong for him, so strong that even torturing his hand couldna mak him stop.  He used his hand until it was done, but then he punished himself by packing thistle into his breeches.

Last night, his mother had heard the tears in his voice, as she made her tea for love fever, and she had asked him, "will she nae kiss ye?"    Well, Kat was going to kiss him - he was going to make her do it.    He had a plan.  He would play the patient, next time they played Doctor, and he would tak his medicine until he was punished enough for what he had done.    He would say, flog me till ye're satisfied Kat, but then ye mun gi'e me a kiss.  That would be good - a kiss of forgiveness and a sore doup fer punishment - a better cure for love fever than his mither's bitter tea.  But perhaps Kat wouldna be able to belt him - he knew he couldna belt her.   Better to get some more stripes from the dominie for her to watch.   He would tell her he got the stripes on purpose, as the punishment he owed her.  He could get a guid belting from the Dominie, ten stripes, if he was late for schuil.  So he had an hour to wait, before starting for school, if he wanted to be just late enough.

As Rory set in to weed his patch o' swedes, he remembered that he had promised Kat a pup.   But the thing was, there was a drought of good dogs.  Auld Tom Dunbar's Slip was as good as Mossie - almost as good - and Tom McCall's Dot was unco good, champion if she hadna nip thon sheep's ankles the one time - but Slip and Dot were bitches.    Rory knew there was only one dog in all of Ayrshire worthy of Moss, and that was Cap.   Cap was little, but champion.

Cap belonged, if the dog hissel could tell it, to Big Jock Campbell the ghillie, Wee Jock's dad.   Or rather Big Jock and all his wee-uns belonged to Cap.   But by law, Cap was the property of Mr. and Mrs. Thomasson, the owners of the Auld Manse.    The Thomason's were English, and had only bought the big house, with the dogs that came with it, last year.   Mr. Thomasson had the name of a striect man wi' his rights - he would no allow a stud, not for neighborlyness, not wi'o' he was fee'd in sil'er, Rory had no had a shilling in his hand to spare.   So he could no get Cap as stud - the stud for Moss would have to be Mr. Nethery's Flint.  A guid enou' dog, Flint, but gruesome ugly.    Rory didna want ta gi'e Kat an ugly pup.   Perhaps there was no harm in asking at the Manse about a stud - and it would make him just late enough to schuil, if he went to Manse.   Mr. Thomasson could hardly send him off with a hiding for his insolence, like in the old days.    Rory set off over the fells to the park o' the Auld Manse.

But after all he cryned before the great front door, and turned to go without knocking.

"What are ye doing here, wee bauchle?   Skouking about?   Trespassing?"

It was Big Jock.   And of course Big Jock knew perfectly well who Rory was.   But there was no sign o' that in his face.   If it had been anyone else who picked up Rory like a pig in a poke, and carried him off like a wee babe, Moss woulda had some'ut ta say.   But she liked Big Jock.    Rory was carried into the kitchen; and big Jock grabbed a strap.   So he had been wrong about the hiding.   But then he was forced, on his own feet but with a hand on his collar, up the stairs.   So he was being taken to see the master, Mr. Thomasson.   Rory thought a hiding in the kitchen from Big Jock would have been getting off easy compared with seeing the master.   Perhaps he would be thrown in jail.   Perhaps he would be transported to Australia.

But the room he was taken to, up two flights of stairs, was fer sure no the master's study; it was all frills and flowers and suchlike trumpery.    He hadna seen before the woman on the bed, half in and half out of a nightgown you could see through anyway, but he knew who she was - got up like a hussy, the guidwives described her.   This was the Leddie.   This was Mrs. Thomasson.

"This chiel was louking about, Ma'am.   Keeking about for some'ut to pyke, mor'n likely.  Shall I see him off, proper?"   Big Jock sliced the air with his strap.

"Well, young man?   Were you looking for something to steal?   Shall I have my ghillie give you a thrashing on your bare behind?"   She licked her lips.

"Och no Leddie, I came ta ca'.   Aboot a matter o' cattle.   I ha'e bit land, a wee bit, o'er fell."

The English lady looked mystified.

"I mean, Mrs. Thomasson, that I have a small plot of land on the other side of the hills.   And I have a prop-o-si-tion to our mu-tu-al advan-tage abou' live-stock."   Rory could sound like a southron when he wanted to.

"Jock, leave us."

When the ghillie had gone out and slammed the door behind him, the Leddie spoke to Rory:  "So, young man, you want to proposition me?   To our mutual advantage?"

"Leddie - um  - Madam - um - "    Rory realized that there were some things for which he didna ken the southron words.    He whistled.    Quickly, but not so fast that his claws scratched the floor, Cap trotted up the stairs and came into the room, sat doun at Rory's heel, and looked up.   Rory's own bitch Moss was not so obedient.   She pranced over, and licked the smaller dog's face, and lowered her chest, and whinnied.   Rory clicked to release Cap, and the smaller dog jumped up and nipped the big bitch on the shoulder by surprise, and skitted away, sliding into a space under the bed where she couldna get at him.

"It's them, Ma'am.    Your dog Cap, and this bitch Mossie.   My bitch.   That they should - um - "

"That they should ..."    And then Mrs. Thomasson rolled on her back and did something so obscene that Rory couldna believe his eyes.   With her hand in her crotch, she moved her body back and forth in a way that left no doubt of her meaning, and her eyes showed her passion, and her tongue licked her lips, and she let out a series of gasps, getting louder and louder and quicker and quicker, and then she let out a great sigh, and her whole body slumped.   Her nightgown had fallen loose, so she was in the skud altogether.      Rory noticed her wrinkles.    When she was in the heat of passion, she looked younger, but when it was over, you noticed the wrinkles again.   It was as if she aged a decade in the moment of the sigh.

Rory recognized that sigh.   And those gasps, quicker and quicker, up to a sigh like dying.   It was what if felt like to - do it.   But lasses couldna do  it.    Could they?   They didna ha'e anything ta grab onto.

"Moss is the best collie in Ayrshire," Rory pronounced.    "And Cap is - well maybe it's Cap who's the best collie in Ayrshire.   Tha's wha' folk all say.  It's just me that think Moss is better.   You would get a pup.  Of course you would ha' the pick o' the litter.    But for the stud.   It canna be in cash.   But I could do a trade - a service.    We could agree to payment in kind."

"So your proposition is, that a male who lives on your farm ..."

Mrs. Thomasson stood naked in front of Rory and undid the buttons of his breeches.

" ... should put his stud ..."

She let out his hard stonner and gave a hard pinch to his sheathie.

"... into a female on this farm.   And service her."

Mrs. Thomasson swayed her hips while working Rory's rod with her fingers.   Her slit was inches away.   She said:  "Payment in kind.  That sounds very fair to me.    At what time were you thinking of starting your service, young man?"

Rory's stonner stood proud and tall in front of him, sticking out through the ballop of his breeches.  She was right in front of him, spread wide open.  But he didna move.

She said: "Of course, if this is to be payment in kind for my dog servicing that randy bitch of yours, it should be the other way."

She got on her hands and knees on the bed, or rather her hand and knees, for one of her hands was in her crotch.  Her body shook and writhed, her back arched as if in agony, and the gasps were louder, like little shouts, faster and faster until the sigh.    Her nightgown covered her, but it was thin and flimsy and draped into the shape of her doup.    Then she took it off altogether.   She got off the bed and bent over in front of him, presenting her her doup to him, touching the tip of his stonner with her soft warm flesh.  Rory realized that lads and lasses would fit together this way as well, from behind in the way of all kine.     If she moved backward an inch, she would impale herself.  If he moved forward an inch, he would skewer her.  She said, "well?"

He moved back - he had to, to keep his swelling stonner from going in.   "Leddie Thomasson, I canna."

She stood up and looked him in the eyes, and put her hand on his rod - near the tip this time, and pinched.  She said: "You are not a virgin.    I can always tell a virgin.   Are you in love?   A bonnie lass?   And you've had a roll in the heather?"

"Aye.   An unco bonnie lass."   The sensation of pleasure in his stonner was so strong it was making him gasp and dance.

"And I'm not.   I know that.   But I may have other attractions.   I have a proposition too.   A game.   You must be naked, and I will kiss you all over, except on that.    On your lips especially.   You must kiss me too.   If you can be with me, naked and kissing, and resist me, then you win.   You shall have Cap's stud, and anything you like.   Cap himself, if you want him - he loves your pretty bitch, anyway."

"What if I lose?"

"Then I have my prize already."   She pinched the skin on the top of his stonner, hard enough to really hurt.

"It would belong to you forever?"

"Not forever, you conceited little cad - for today, tomorrow, and Tuesday and Wednesday of next week - I'm in Glasgow over the weekend - I think - no, I'm afraid I just can't get out of it.   And then I must go to England on Thursday, so we have only those four days.    And we can't play the game here, we'll need somewhere private.   I'll go riding, meet you, and we tie our horses to a tree in some place we can be secret.   You must know a place."

"No."

"No you don't know a place or no you won't - Oh.     I see.    Suppose I call the ghillie and have him thrash you after all."

"It wouldna matter."

"You want to be a martyr for your bonnie lass.   Well, fine then, that's sweet, - what's your name?"

"Rory.   Um, that is, McAllister.   Rory McAllister of Houn Fell."

'Well, Master McAllister of Houn Fell, tell me this: when you had your roll in the heather with your lass, did she have pleasure the same way you did?   Not just enjoying it, but mounting higher and higher, to a peak that feels like dying?   You've had it, I'm sure, when your seed comes?   Sometimes the first few times with a girl aren't so grand for a lad, but you must have had some good wanks with your hand."

"I know the kind you are talking about, Miss.  The slow ones.   Hard to reach.  Pleasure with a sigh of sweet regret."

"Rory, girls can have that too.   More pleasure than men, and longer.  But the man has to know what to do, and I swear no man in Scotland has any idea - only Frenchmen know how to love.   But I can teach you.    So if you learned you'd be doing it for her."

"I'd have to ...?"

"Just what do you call it in Scotland?"

"Fucking.   That's the Scots word.   Fucking.   I dinna ken the English."

"Well, wha da ya know?   And here I was worried there was nothing to do in Ayrshire except catch trout.   No, you don't have to fuck me, Rory.   But you do have to play the game.   Naked together, kissing.    If you can be naked with me while I teach you all I know about a woman's pleasure, and you resist the urge to fuck me...   But you won't."

"No.   I will learn how to give Katherine pleasure, some other way."

"Katherine?    Katherine Cairns?"

"Aye."

"I can't compete with Kat Cairns!"

"Is she so remarkable?"

"Don't you think she is?    My son says she's Clara Bow and Lilly Langtry and Helen of Sparta, all wrapped up in a plaid skirt.    He thinks the moon and stars revolve around her.   He says she'll be a top star if she goes into the talkies - he wants me to talk to a cinema producer about her."

"Jeremy is in love with Katherine!   I canna believe it!"

"My son is shy, and he tells lies to his mum.   He told me that they had kissed.   But I will talk to him again.   If you have the prior claim, he will behave like a gentleman, I'm sure.   But Rory, your intentions are - honorable - aren't they?   If the master of Houn Fell just wants a good time with a poor crofter lass ... Jeremy loves her."

"No, Leddie, my intentions are no honorable."

Rory's stonner softened.   He could not ha'e dreed the pain o' it so hard much longer.

"My intentions are no honorable for cause I can ne'er marry her.   I might as well dream of gi'ing her the moon.  You said I should meet you, out riding my horse.   My horse!   I dinna e'en own a calf!  My entire possessions are a two piglets, twenty-one ewes, the best bitch in Ayrshire and a big black cat.   I tend other men's cattle, and I grow a few swedes and cabbages on land I owe ten years rent for.   I forgot the poultry - I also ha'e a dozen rabbits and a hen.   But I will ne'er be able to marry on thon!    It would be honorable to stand aside, and let Kat have a chance of happiness wi' the Laird's son, which she will ne'er ha'e wi' me.    But I ha'e no intention o' doin' so - I willna let Jeremy ha'e her, if I can keep her."

"Jeremy is not a laird's son.   My husband is not a laird."

"Compared to me, he's the Emperor of China.    And now call Jock Campbell and have him thrash me and kick me oot the gate.   No one has ever deserved it more."

"For what?"

"I let you think I was maister o' a farm and such as owned a horse.   Now ye ken what I am, ye'll no be wanting to play games wi' the likes o' me!"

She kissed him, very tenderly, on the lips.   He did't pull away.

"And I would have lost the wager, anyway, Maister o' Houn Fell.   You would have kissed me on every part of my body, and thought only of your bonnie Kat Cairns."

"I think so."

"Sit down, Mr. McAllister.   Button your trousers.    I will teach you, and you don't have to play the game.  This, this bit of flesh here, is called the clitoris.   Katherine has one.   It is the most important place for pleasuring a woman.  It's like this spot here - don't flinch, I won't touch - which as you know is the most important spot for pleasuring a man.   But I do not recommend you start with the clitoris."

"Where should I start?"

"With a kiss, mutton-head."

"I ha'e kissed her.   But we had a quarrel, and now she willna let me kiss her."

"A lover's quarrel.   They can be very sweet, and make the fucking all the better when you make up - or even better if you fuck while you're still angry.  What did you fight about?   Did she sigh for another shepherd i' the glen?   Did ye nae want ta tak yer fists ta her?"

Rory was nettled by this mocking of his accent, and he switched into his southron speech.   Or at least he tried to; he couldna keep it up beyond halfway into the next sentence.

"No.   She wanted me to flog her, but I wouldna - wouldn't.   And then, when I was keeking at another girl as get her britchen striped - a shepherdess 'i the glen, if you mun know - I got a stonner, and I used my hand ta ... - and it was like you said, an unco good one.   Better than the time inside o' Kat.   And now Kat says I should go get Anne ta kiss me instead."

"I've never had a birching.  They say it's the best, and here you - well, I've always wanted to try it, someday.   Are all the crofter lads like you or are you something special?"

"Special?"

"Two lasses sighing to have you birch them.   Make that three lasses."

"It wasna me.   Some other lads were playing too.   It started wi' the stinging nettle."

"Stinging nettle!   I give up!    You should be teaching me.    What about nipples?   Do you lads in Scotland know how to pleasure a woman's nipples using your teeth and tongue?"

"Mrs.  Thomasson --"

"Caroline."

"I canna suckle your titties."

"No, I suppose not.    Let me show you with my fingers.    This is called the areola.  The border of the areola is most sensitive, a good place to scratch with a fingernail ..."

"But Mrs. Thomasson ..."

"Caroline!"

"you may suckle my titties."

      
 
  IV.    A secret spot.  
Mrs. Thomasson did not come down to lunch. 

Her plan had been, to see Rory for no longer than she might be expected to take, to talk to him about a dog.   Then he would leave, and she would just happen to go riding.   The meeting would be secret even from the servants.   But he would not promise to meet her.   Against his own will, she had the power to keep him from leaving her bed, for as long as she pleasured his body, but she did not have the power to make him promise to meet her again, once he was out of her sight.  And at noon, when the lunch bell rang, negotiations between them were at a delicate point - and he was naked at last.   They had spent half an hour on pleasuring nipples, his nipples, and then an full hour on just two different sorts of kissing - French, and kissing the eyes.  Kissing was all he would do.  The kissing made his cock hard, but he refused to take his pants off.   Then she had gotten him naked by a simple trick - she told him he smelled, and insisted he take a bath.   The soap-down had turned into an orgy of kissing on places he wouldn't let her kiss before.    He had given in and suckled her nipples.  And then he had asked, on his own, to suckle her clitoris.   And on every part of his own body, except his cock, he begged for the touch of her lips.  She had never had a boy like him - he shuddered with pleasure at the softest caress, anywhere on his body, but he howled with pleasure when he was scratched, slapped, slippered, or bitten.  He had a hundred different ways of showing his pleasure.   Only his penis remained strictly out of bounds.  But he had accepted and enjoyed the enema without question - she had told him it was the way English people washed.   But he got even more excited from watching her piss.

She pointed to his cock.  "That looks painful, Rory."

"It is.   Nothing makes it as hard, as your tongue in fud o' my arse."

"What would you pay, Rory, to use your hand on it?"

"Tha's the game, Caroline.   I canna use my hand.   I mun endure the pain o' my stonner.   If I fuck ye, ye ha'e won the bet - and then I ha'e ta meet you at  holly tree, and fuck you hard all day for four days - thon's the wager if I lose."

"But I will let you masturbate one time, now, for a price."

"What price?"

"I want a birching."

"So, I should thrash you, when I wouldna do it for Kat?"

"If she asks again, will you deny her the pleasure?   Why won't you do it for love, Rory?"

"She dinna ask it for pleasure.   It isna pleasure.   She asked it for that I got a stonner watching Anne whipped."

"So whip Kat, and take pleasure in whipping her, if she's the girl for you, and she offers."

"I couldna."

"Rory, don't you long to take a whipping for her?"

"If it would gi'e her satisfaction, I would die for her."

"But can't you believe her love you for you, could be as strong as yours for her?"

"Love!"

"What else is it, if she wants a whipping, just to give you a good wank?"

"But thon's absurd."

"It's love.  A women needs to cause arousal in a man.  If I knew that watching me whipped would arouse you, stronger than you've ever been aroused before - then your arousal would make that whipping utterly pleasurable for me.  Utterly satisfying.   Utterly.   I mean - um - that is - uhh - that's the way it would be, if I was in love with you.   Which I'm not.  Of course."

"If she really wants it.   If she really wants it.   Och, De'il tak it, I will do wha'e'er she asks me do.  Whipping or no, I canna say no to her.   But she will ha'e ta whip me, if she wants ta be whipped hersel.   If I disna feel it, I canna do it."

"And I want the same, Rory, just to have fun - just to have a romp.   Here's the birch.   I will use the riding whip.  Ten strokes each, and then we swap.   So you will get twenty strokes altogther, and for that payment you may use your hand on your cock, until you come.   Is that fair?"

"What is this thing?"

"A birch.   They say it is the most exquisite pain in the world."

Rory smacked his bare leg, and half the twigs of the birch  broke off.   "It is all dried out."

"I guess they need to be fresh."

Mrs. Thomasson had the riding crop in her hand, so Rory bent over the bed first.   Ten fast cuts made his britchen burn like fire.

"How do you like it., Rory?"

"It hurts horribly.   I canna dree it.   But I canna wait for the other ten!"

"But it's my turn next, Rory."  She lay down flat across the foot of the bed eagerly, all excited.   The first stroke made her howl, and before the fourth fell she had gotten her doup away from the whip, backed up against the wall.

She was crying.  "Fuck it!   Fuck it!   All my life I've wanted something and I can't take it after all.   Every time I fuck, every time, I think about being birched.   And when I masturbate, of course I think about it then!   And I always said I would, some day.   I imagined I would be satisfied after a hundred strokes!   And now I know it will never happen.  Becasue I'm a coward, I, uh, I, uh ..."

She sank sobbing to her knees.   Rory lifted her up, and kissed her, and hugged, his hard wullie pressing into her skin.   Her tears made him feel a whole new way, that he was almost weeping too.  The pleasure of this fucking wasna just happening to him any more, it was changing him in his heart.   He said nothing to comfort her, although his heart ached, only hugging and kissing, until the sobs subsided.  His heart pounded in his chest that he could not dree it, he was so excited.  He could not get a thought finished, before his mind lept to another one.  She spoke first.

"You've done your part, Rory.  You can masturbate now.   Or do you want the ten more strokes with the whip, first?  You said you couldn't wait for them."

"I want them, but I canna dree them.   Is that nae how it feels?   Wanting them and not wanting them?    I'm nae different nor ye : I long for them, but I am nae strong enough ta ask fer them.   But you can help me, Caroline : tell me I ha'e to tak them."

"I understand, Rory.  I know what to say."

Caroline Thomasson took up her pose as the leddie o the manor, lecturing the crofter lad.  "Houn Fell, the deal was twenty strokes for you, and then you could masturbate.   You agreed.   And you need to masturbate now.   You've had an erection since ten o'clock in the morning, and there is only so much a man can stand.  So take the other ten strokes, and earn your masturbation.   Do it for Kat."

Rory bent over the bed.   Mrs. Thomasson swung the whip with vigor.  When the ten strokes were done she asked him: "How does it feel?"

"Painful.   It's nae any pleasure.  But I did want them.  And now it's o'er I feel satisfied, like when my shoulders ache but I look down at the cabbage patch, all weeded.   When I'm at thinking o' fucking and mastrubation, a whipping still hurts, but I want it.  It hurts but I want it - thon would be very handy in schuil, fer the dominie's beltings, but I canna mastrubate there."

"Masturbate, Rory, not 'strubate.'    And, Rory . . . ?"

"No, Leddie Thomasson.   I willna let ye do it."

Rory went into the cludgie for a little private time, to do what he had paid for the right to do.   Lying on floor with his head against the pottery bowl.    He knew rich people crapped inside their houses, but it wasna something he liked ha'ing to think about.   It wasna one of the good ones, and it took a fair deal o' rubbing, but he got it out eventually, and there was an awful lot.  And then he had a little problem.  He couldna wipe it off wi' his shirt for he was i' the scud, and he didna want ta use the Leddie's fine linen, tha she used ta wipe her hands.   And he couldna leave it on his belly for the Leddie to kiss.   So he scraped it off as best he could with the whip.   When he returned he was feeling very tired.

But Caroline was bouncing with energy and excited to see him :   "I need to be tied up now, mister.    And be given twenty strokes of the whip, even if I beg you to stop.   That is what I want."

"From yer husband, Caroline, or a lover.   But not from me."

"No.  I have no right to ask you."

"But I could gi'e you one skelp wi' my hand.   One isna much, if you thought of a hundred strokes o' the birch.  And when you get that one skelp, it will hurt so much, that you willna want a second.   So I offer only one.   It's the best I can do.   But och, it'll be exciting, to wait for even one.   Aye?"

"Too exciting.  What do I have to do?"

"Bend across my lap."

His lap was where he kept his penis.   Face down across his lap, Caroline thought: this is as good as it gets - this is where I want most to be.    But then she thought of how good it had felt to be in his arms, when he had comforted her, kissing away her tears, after she could not take her whipping.   She felt his hand run caressingly over her bottom.   Waiting for the spank - waiting not for just any spank, but for his spank - waiting for a spank from the boy who held her in his arms and kissed away her tears.  She was primed for it, and her bottom felt like an enormous clitoris; his lightest touch on her ass made her tingle all over - stronger tingles from a touch on her ass from him, than from hard working of her clitoris by any other man.

"I have you held tight, Caroline..   You canna move, if I want to hold you.   I am stronger.  I will let you up, after the skelping.   But for now you are held.   Are you ready?    Ask for the stroke when you are ready."

It was very hard to ask, but she croaked it out.   "YES!"

When the spank fell, she clung tightly to his legs, and didn't get off his lap.    He asked, 'Another?"   She gaped, unable to speak.   And he gave her a second spank, without making her ask.   She managed to say, "thanks".    The third stroke was much harder.   She knew now the first two had been light, this was the first real one.   But she didn't get up after it, either.    She knew now she was going to win.   Too excited to feel much pain, she asked for the fourth, and then the fifth..    She asked for an extra hard one for number six.   Then she wanted seven spanks quickly, spread over her bottom, making it blaze like fire.   He made her wait, after that, as he rubbed her bottom again, tenderly.   Then a hard one for fourteen, a tender caress, a hard one for fifteen, a tender caress, and a very hard one for sixteen.     But when he gave number sixteen, he said "twenty."

"Twenty?   That was sixteen!"

"You had three with thon riding crop before."

"You counted those?"

"They hurt, didn't they?   They left marks."

"You're still one short."

"When ye asked fer seven quick ones, I gave ye eight.   Seven is not divisible by two."

"But I need more!   I haven't been punished enough."

"Punished?   Then this wasna a skelping fer pleasure?"

"It was.   Intense pleasure.   But it hurts, too, and I feel I've been punished.   But not enough."

"But by the rules of our game, I am nae ta fuck ye, but I have ta pleasure ye in ilka way bar tha'.   So if ye want more skelping fer pleasure, I ha'e to gi'e it ye.   Ye've nae need ta beg me, nor ta gi'e me owt in trade."

"I do want more, but I'm ready for the whip.  I should be punished harder than a spanking by hand."

"What have ye done that ye need to be punished?"

"The worst?   The worst is, spanking Jeremy."

"He's your son."

"But I take too much pleasure in it.   Not just giving him a spanking, but spending hours, with him on my lap; spanking and spanking until his bottom is a dark, dark red.   And then we hug and kiss, and forgive each other, and chat.   I just listen, mostly.   He talks about his trouble making friends.   I don't tell him he just needs to try, the way his father does.   He does just need to try, but I don't say so.   He's a very lonely boy, and I never hug and kiss and listen enough, except after a spanking.   I make him buy his mother's love by taking spanks.  He misbehaves on purpose, and takes the spanking, for the listening afterwards, which he doesn't get from anyone else but needs so badly.    And how do I know I didn't cause his stammer?  A hundred strokes with the riding whip won't be enough, but it's a start."

"You need to hug and kiss him then, at other times, when he hasna just had a spanking.   Yer being punished isna enough."

"But I want to be punished for it now."

"Listen.   I will meet you, riding.   Tomorrow.  It's nobut a step - two miles past your gate, toward the village, there's a holly tree with ivy growing on it, with a hiding place under it.    Ye've seen it - it's where the path down the fernie brae meets the road.   Ride up that path to the wood a wee bit, hide your horse in the wood, and walk down.   We can do anything you want except I willna fuck you, and I will whip you fifty strokes wi' yer riding whip.  But first you must apologize to Jeremy, and tell him you will never spank him again.   And that from now on he has to hug and kiss and talk to his mum ilka single day until he sees you in your coffin."

"Yes, Laird."

"Och, I'm the Emperor of China!  That's me!"

She gave him a spank across his bottom.   "That's for you, Emperor!"

He grabbed for her, but only got raked by her fingernails.    "I'll do you fer thon, Leddie Lovely!"

She fled in real terror, not laughing any more.   But she wasn't easy to catch.   Her dressing table got bumped, and her willow pattern toilette set slid off and landed on the carpet.  Then it became a chase around the table.    She began to giggle at his frustration.   She made a dash for the bed, laughing so much she zigged when she should have zagged, and he leaped, his open palm struck her shoulder, and she tripped and toppled onto the bed.   And then it was all over, she was held down on the bed with her face ground into the mattress, with Rory holding her arm twisted behind her, and her legs hanging over the edge.    He took his pleasure on her bottom with his hand.   She screamed at him to let her go.   He didn't.  Neither one counted the spanks.

When he stopped, he went over to the floor by the dressing table, and started picking up the broken china.   The scented powder rose in great clouds when he tried to sweep it up.

'Rory, you shouldn't wear Shalimar - it doesn't suit you.   I'll ask Guerlain to mix you something special - Eau de Rory : heather and wet sheepdog.   And leather.   Definitely leather."    She rubbed her doup.

'I'm sorry I broke your fairlie things."

"They're yours.  You're the Emperor of china.   And where did you learn to spank like that?   I found a book in Paris called The Art of Spanking.  Do you read French?   When I squeezed my crack tight, the way you forced me open with those sideways strokes was brilliant!"

"Och, tha's me mither.   She's blind and strikes wild.   And I try to move my britchen out of the way o' the strap, wi'o' her kenning.   I know which ways a whip can land, that hurt most."

"And you spanked me on all of them.   But Rory, do you really get such a lot of whipping at home?   You don't seem like you would be a naughty boy."

"Nor Jeremy."

"But I think right now a naughty boy needs a whipping for breaking my powder jar."

"Can you gi'e me the same spanking you gi'e Jeremy?   On your lap?  A long one that turns my doup dark, dark red all over?  With a hug and a kiss and a listen after?"

"You'll get your hug and kiss right now."

Something happened to him during that kiss, and Caroline knew it.   With nothing spoken, she lay down on the bed with her knees apart.   Rory took position above her.   It felt to him a bit like applying medicine to a ewe's cunt - not wild passion.   But he didna ha'e the will any more ta keep from doing it.   He began to move his body back and forth, teasingly, stroking the underside of his cock on her stomach, her thigh, her cunt.  Then hard ramming strokes that stopped just short.  One went just inside of her.

And then he rolled over on his back, his stonner impossibly rigid and impossibly red, pointing towards the ceiling.   Blood ran from his lip, and he was crying.

"You're going to win, Rory.   I don't have any hope, now."

"I just lost."

"Only if you cum inside of me."

"Come inside of you?   What are you talking about.   I did go inside you.  My wullie went inside you."

"I don't mean you went inside me, I mean you only loose of you cum inside me.    Don't you understand?   'Cum' is the English word for it.  For when you shoot your seed and feel that little death."

"Come?   Come?   That's the English word for that?   So in England if you yell out, 'Come here, Johnny,' it's like yelling 'Fuck here, Johnny' in Scotland?"

"Not exactly."

"What a language.     So the game is still on.   Don't go easy on me, Leddie Lovely.   I want to win fair, if I win."

"What else can I teach you?"

"I want to know about cunts."

"What about them?"

"What do I do in there?    The best thing you taught me, was pushing your tongue into my arse.   But Kat will ne'er let me tongue her arse.  Ne'er."

"She will, and she will tongue your arse, if you ask her."

"Gi'e away wi ye!"

"Or you could put your cock up her arse."

"You mean just the tip of it?   Against the fud?"

"I mean all of it, and I mean all the way in.  It goes in.   Let me show you.   Did you see the red hairbrush that was on my dresser."

"The big wooden one?   It looks like it's for brushing a horse - your other things are so fairlie and delicate."

"That hairbrush was a Christmas present from Jeremy.   We're going to use the handle though, not the flat.    Bend over, and pull your arse cheeks apart with your hands.   I'm going to start with a finger, just the way I showed you with my tongue.   I'm using some of my beauty cream.  Slowly, very slowly.  That's to relax the anal sphincter, so there will be no pain when the object is inserted."

"Leddie Loverly?"

"Yes.   Rory."

"I rammed Kat's arse hole with a stick the size of a horse pizzle.   Uhh-YahGGH!"

"Rammed her like that?"

"Some'ut like that."

"Good.   We can skip the part about reducing pain to the anal sphincter.   I did this to a man once, using a leather penis, and he showed me a secret spot, inside.   He came - I mean spunk shot out of him - without me touching his penis at all."

"If you can do that to me, ye've won bet."

"Let's call it a draw, if it happens.   Do you want me to try?"

"I have a choice?   Then yes.   I want it..   And I think you may have already found it."

"This?    I'm just pulling the handle in and out - this is just pleasure from the sphincter."

"Uhh Uhh Stop!"

"Does it hurt?"

"Och no, it doesna hurt.   It does anything but hurt.  I just canna talk while ye're doing it.  More pleasure that than e'er playing wi' my pee-nis."

"But not as much pleasure as I could give you by playing with your penis. Rory.   The secret spot really is your penis - just the part that's inside you, like the part of a pole that is buried in the earth.   It can be reached through your asshole and is located right ..."

"YAA-ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh"

"Cum!  Damn you! Cum!"     Caroline let go of the hairbrush and began spanking Rory's bottom, above and below the hairbrush sticking out of his ass.   Then she grabbed the brush again, pushing it further in, pulling it halfway out, twisting it, wiggling it up and down, jerking it roughly from side to side.    Rory kept screaming.    Caroline pulled the hairbrush out of his ass.   Rory sank panting to the ground.

"Leddie Loverly.   Leddie Loverly.   Could you do tha' again?"

"I will, Rory.   But do it for me, now.   Practice for pleasuring your Katherine.   Pleasure my anus with the brush, but when you do it for her, with your penis."

"I could ne'er.   I could push my stonner in hard, one time, but then it would be o'er.   How could I stop from - um - cumming - if I fucked her arse?"

"There is so much more I could teach you, Rory, if we were really fucking.    There are ways for a man to keep hard.  To make a man's pleasure last hours instead of seconds."

"Do women ha'e a secret spot inside their arses?"

"I think they do.   But I don't know where it is."

"You ha'e ne'er hunted for it?"

"I've never had a man who cared for my pleasure."

"What about your husband?"

"I once mentioned the word clitoris to my husband, and he has forbidden me to ever speak again while he is fucking me.  Or to show that I feel pleasure."

"He doesna like to nibble your clitoris, then?"

"He doesn't believe the clitoris exists." 

"It exists all right.   But we'd better find yer inside one too."

Caroline, on her back,  lifted her legs.   "Ouch.   That hurt!"

"Sorry.   But doesna that feel good?"

"Not very, stick your fingers up my cunt.   That feels good."

"But is your pleasure from your ... Hey!   I can feel the brush handle!    There just a bit skin between the brush in yer arse and my fingers in yer cunt!   -  Caroline!   Are you all right?   CAROLINE!"

"I'm all right."

"You looked like you were dying."

"I was.   Over and over again."

But further experiments showed there was no way to hit Caroline's spot, just using the hairbrush, without Rory's fingers in her cunt as well.   The secret spot was not in fact inside her arse at all - the brush handle in the arse just helped position it.  So even if he had been willing to fuck her, Rory could not have pleasured her by fucking her arse.   Even the fud of her arse was nowhere near as sensitive as his.

"But you ha'e a cunt, Caroline, as well as a clitoris, an' I think you are unco sensitive in this spot inside yer cunt.   More than ye ken.  My tongue's no long enough.  And my fingers are nae guid.  It will ha'e ta be my stonner."

Caroline made a strange choking sound.

"I mean, I mean - I dinna mean I will do it.    I just mean, my fingers are nae guid - by theirsel.  But let me try tae fuck you wi' my hand, while the brush handle bides in your arse."

"No.   It's over, Rory.   You've won.   Go away.   Leave me to cry my eyes out."

"If it's o'er, ye ha'e lose thon bet.   So you dinnae ha'e Rory McAllister's stonner to pleasure yer cunt, for three more days, a-fore ye go to Lunnon.   Thon's nae the end o' the world."

"How could you think that!   How could you think that?    How could you think I would only want you for four days?"

"You said so."

"You BASTARD!   You BASTARD!   Get OUT!   I never want to see you again as long as I live!"

It seemed ta Rory McAllister that he couldnae ha'e any luck wi' the women.   He got dressed and turned to go, clicking Moss to follow him.

"Take Cap too.   You won the bet, didn't you.    Rory.   My love."

"Moss'll no be on heat fer a month.   I'll bring her."

"It must be nice.  In heat twice a year?   I could just about handle that.  So when they were playing, earlier, she wasn't being a tease?    It was just play, innocent, like children?   When he nipped her on the shoulder, that wasn't a lead-up to a humping?"

"I dinna know how innocent.   He knows she's a bitch all right.   But she's definitely no on heat."

"Rory, give me one last kiss."

She looked beaten down.   Pressed with misery and tiredness.   Head bowed.   Weeping.  He spread his arms to enfold her in a hug.

She raised her head, bit him on the shoulder, and ran laughing across the room, pretending to be a dog.   Running naked, she did not seem tired or sad any more.   He caught her, threw her on the bed, undid his buttons, and fucked her.    Two thrusts and it was over.

She liked to run her fingers through his curls.

"We ha'e three more days, Caroline.   You won the bet."

"But I want to have your hard cock in my mouth now.   You won't believe the things I know how to do with my tongue."

"Caroline.   Leddie Lovely.   Can we just be together?  Pleasuring each other?   And not make it fucking-schuil any more?"

"And what about when the three days are over?   Will you still want me?"

"I will.  You know I will.   You wouldna believe me if I tried ta deny it."

"And for the three days?   Are you just paying a bet?"

"In the end I couldna leave you.  Couldna today and willna, any day.   Canna do wi'o' you."

"The fish just ain't bitin' today, Caroline - haven't caught a blasted thing all day - Oh, Hallo, you've got company."    Mr. Thomason had just walked into his wife's boudoir.

At that moment Rory was fully dressed, except for two undone buttons of his breeches.    Mrs. Thomasson was in a housecoat - perhaps on the modern side by the standards of rural Scotland, but quite proper for receiving a gentleman caller in Edinburgh or London. They were seated, very properly, on seperate chairs.    But the curly hair that Mrs. Thomasson was twirling between her fingers, was not that growing on Rory's head.

Mr. Thomasson might not have noticed that.   He was looking at and smelling a substance on his fingers.   He had picked up his wife's whip.

         
 
  V.    The butt of Eton.  
  
Rory was not transported to Australia.

And not thrown in jail, and not given a hiding.    He was politely shown the door.    But something happened worse than anything he had imagined: Big Jock Campbell was given the sack.   How any of it was his fault, Rory did not know.  Rory made it two miles to the holly, but he went no further.  Some sort of shock had taken him that far, deaf, half blind, and mindless.   But the full horror of what he had done sank in at last.

He was shaken awake from a dead faint.   The hand on his shoulder belonged to Jeremy Thomasson.    The stammering young Englishman held out his hand.

"M-M-My father told m-m-me once I needed to try to muh-muh-muh-make friends.   I think you m-m-may need one."

"What are you doing here, Jeremy?"   

"I saw m-my m-m-mother.   I talked to her.   My father m-m-made mm-me talk to her.   He m-made m-me look at her bottom.  Before he shipped her off to England.   I know about the game, M-M-McAllister."

"Do ye want ta kill me?   I wouldna mind."

"Muh-Muh-Muh   McAllister!    I know about the game.   It was foolish, but very beautiful., what you did."

"It was horrid.   Ye should hate me fer it."

"M-M-Mother has always had b-boys.   She said you weren't like the others.   That you didn't want to fuck her, wouldn't t-take m-money.   She challenged you to prove your love for Katherine Cairns, by being naked in bed with her, without fucking her.   She said you had an erection for six hours, while she kissed and caressed you, and you only thought of Katherine."

" I FUCKED YOUR MOTHER ! "

"Eveyone has, M-M-McAllister.   Everyone does.  She's had dozens of boys.   She told m-me she won by a trick.     She was bound to win, you know, she even cheats at Patience."

"It wasna her, it was me."

"What are you going to do now, M-M-M-c-Allister?"

"Starve.    Yer Dad will talk to the McCall, and we'll be booted off our croft, and we'll starve."

"We is you, and your m-mother?"

"My blind mother.   My blind mother is going to starve in a ditch, because I couldna keep my wullie in my breeks."

"Perhaps we can m-m-manage about that.   Is there anyone who would take her in?   If I could pay, oh, ten shillings a week?"

"Half a POUND!     A WEEK!    Hamish Cairns would keep her for half a pound a year.    She cooks and cleans and does most things better nor most folk.   And he's widower, and all those wee-uns.   Though he may not think she can raise a wee-un, now."

"Because she's blind?"

"Because she raised me.    But I think Cairns would take her in for nothing, for a' she raised me."

"So it is not so bad, you see.     Even if M-M-McCall would evict a blind old widow woman.   Which I know he can't - unless he wants to lose this seat to Jennie Lee at the next election.    Your m-mother is not going to starve in a ditch because of what you did.   I m-m-mean, what m-my m-m-m- mother did to you."

"I wasna noble like she said, Thomasson.   She dinna trick me.   She gi'e me so much pleasure today, that I wanted more o' it, that's all.   I couldna thole not to ha'e it.    So I ha'e no right to Katherine.   I ga'e her up for three days o' pleasure wi' your mother.   I'm just another o' your mother's pleasure boys.  I'm nae worth the time o' your day."

"Muh-Muh-Muh-MuhcAllister!"

"Och, ca' me Rory, if it such a problem."

"Hah - it's M's today, but it could be R's tomorrow!    I'll be calling you Ra-Ra-Ra-Rory!    But I know you're not just another boy to m-mother.  She said she isn't going to spank m-me again, ever.   She that said she had pleasure spanking m-me, and it wasn't right for a m-mother to feel that way about her son.  And she said you m-made her stop."

"Thon isna true."

"And she said that you had made her promise to kiss m-me!    She was crying her eyes out over you, Rory, but that's happened before.   She's had strong desires for other boys.    You, she respects.    You, she obeys.   M-m-mother doesn't obey anyone - never has.   She's not going to get over you in a week, like the others."

"So tha's why you're here, Thomasson?"

"Thom-m-m-masson's what they called m-me at Eton."

"So thon's what I should call you?"

"I hated it at Eton.   They had to pull me out.   They had to take m-me to an alienist.    Rory, the pleasure my m-m-m ... my m-m-mother gave you - she used her tongue in your bottom, and she spanked you, didn't she?   I know you whipped her.   I saw the m-m-m ...the m-m-m ... I saw the signs."

"She thrashed me wi' a riding whip.   An' I spanked her."

"Ooo.  A riding whip.   Is that even better than a spanking?    The canings at Eton hurt too m-much.  Hurt too much to feel good."

"I thought the whip hurt too much, too.  And for a' it hurts too much, it is o'er too quick.   I ne'er want to do it again.   The only pleasure is after, when you feel warm.   A long skelping that wasna too hard - to mak my britchen warm, and keep it warm.  I'd like to try tha'."

"It is too utterly wonderful, Rory.  And that's just the way my m-m-mother spanks.   Hard but not too hard, and it just goes on and on.  It is m-m-more fun than wanking.  Wanking is only that last split-second.   But if it was wrong for m-m-mother to enjoy spanking m-me, it's even worse for m-me to feel that way about my muh-muh-muther, when she spanks m-me, isn't it?"

"Do ye nae play at spanking wi' your friends in England, then?   At school?"

"They tortured me at Eton, Rory.   Because of my im-m-m-m-pediment.   I couldn't tell them I wanted to be spanked."

"Did ye no enjoy the tortures, then?"

"No.   Well. occasionally.   A little bit.   I like rem-m-membering some of them.    But its no fun being bullied.    They m-made m-me suck their c-cocks, and swallow it, and they pee'd on me.   I thought I was the only boy in the whole world who wanted to be spanked."

"You're not.   When we played at doctor, Sandy Beattie wanted fifteen stripes wi' the belt."

"How do you play doctor?"

"You were in schuil for the 'spexion by thon dee aitch oh, were ye nae, Jeremy?   We play like thon.   First you get a 'jexion in your doup, with a thorn o' the hawthorn.   Then you get a 'spexion o' yer pee-nis.   And then ye ne'er know wha' doctor will say.   He may say ye'r nae so bad, and gi'e ye just a bit o' heather fer yer medicine, but he may say ye'r sick wi' the woullies and wugglies, and then ye need the strong medicine."

"Which is?"

"Stinging nettle.   Or you could choose t' belt.   The game is tae see if ye can tak your medicine.   Sandy greeted like a babe, but he tak thon fifteen stripes, and he would ha' ta'en more.  So we said he had ta'en it, for a' that he greet."

"I think Scotland is a paradise.    At Eton, when they had m-me naked, they m-m-made m-me crawl in a circle and lick their sem-m-men off the floor.   Each boy whacked me and whacked me as I went round and round, and they stuck things in m-m-my butt, Rory.   And they despised m-me for it, because I wouldn't fight back.    When it's a lot of boys - looking at m-me like that, I can't talk at all.   I gape and I can't make a sound.  Not even 'Please stop!'  Not even 'NO!'   So they just kept on and on, whacking me, saying 'Ask us to stop Thom-m-masson! - Ask us and we'll stop.   You m-must want it, Thom-m-masson.  You won't even ask us to stop.'

"And the only place I could wank at Eton was in the bog.   When the other boys had a wanking party I was only there to be whacked - they wouldn't let m-m-me wank.   But after they did - it - to m-me,  I had to think about the whackings in order to cum.   I can't cum any more unless I think about the times I was beaten.   As if I wanted what they did to m-me!   But playing doctor would be wonderful.   Being flogged with everyone watching, adm-m-miring me because I choose to take the pain.  That's like a dream!  Whatever any other boy took, I would take double.  I wouldn't care how m-much it hurt!   Next time I m-m-m---m-m-m-masturbate, I'm going to think about playing doctor.   Do you really think the boys would ever play it with me?"

"Ayrshire's no a paradise.   We flogged Anne Campion when she was nae willing.   And we lads all wanked from pleasure as we watched her tak it.   I did.   I wanked from pleasure as I watched her take it.  We thought she deserved it."

"I'd like to be punished when I deserve it.   My m-m-mmom won't spank me any more.  Do you think Sandy Beattie would strap me?"

"He wouldna do the belting i' the game.   Ian Selkirk is your man.   Or Patrick.    Or me."

"I want a spanking from you more than anything."

"Aye.   But I'd like to try a spanking too, Jeremy."

"M-Me spank you?"

"A long one.   On yer lap.   I might not like it.   But I'd like to thole a long one, and then decide."

"I've hardly dared to dream of spanking a boy.  Giving you a spanking.  On my lap.  Oh-Ahh."

"But you want to?"

"Oh, yes."

Jeremy took off his English jacket, his tie, and his high-collared shirt, and carefully folded them and hung them over branches, smothing them with his hands.  Then his shoes and socks, trousers and knickers, carefully not letting his socks touch the ground.  Rory thought of the times when he had just dropped his own clothes on the dirt.   His clothes were cheap, ragged, dirty, and common - Jeremy's tailoring was exquisite.  And now, as they regarded each other naked, Rory realized how much deeper than clothes it went.    Rory thought : I'm a slovenly swine, and he's a fine gentleman to his bones.   Not every poor crofter is a slovenly swine, but I am.   Not every rich southron is a gentleman.   But he is.

Jeremy looked around as if he expected there to be a chair.   He brushed off his doup, and sat carefully on the smoothest bit of ground, with his legs out in front of him.   Rory stretched across his lap.

"I can't spank you.   Your bottom is a m-m-mass of welts."

"Twenty cuts with a riding whip from your mother, and it's still unco sore.    That should make it hurt more.   Go on, please."

After a few timid spanks, Rory said, in his posh fake-English accent: "I guess I am too coarse to appreciate this refined pleasure."

"It's the bruises.   I can't bear to hit you on them.   Spread your knees apart and I'll slap you on the inside of your thighs."

"Och, that's a bit stings."

"This isn't a good spanking, is it?   I can't bear to hurt you.   It's my shyness.  Trying to spank hard is like trying to talk loud."

"Well it's fine, Jeremy.   I ha'e no need o' a skelping.   I thought you might like to gi'e one.   Do you still want one?"

Jeremy swiveled from a sitting position, to his hands and knees, and then dropped to his elbows.  He thrust his erse up, and back, and apart, presenting the hole.  Rory got into a kneeling position and gave him a few good hard swats, hitting one cheek at a time, and cupping his hand to match the shape of the cheek.  

This wasna fun - it wasna hurting enough ta be satisfying ta either o' them.   It had been so much fun to spank Jeremy's mother, hard, when he'd been teased into laughing rage.   But that had been a serious spanking with a riding crop.  There was only a faint blotch of red on Jeremy's white, goosebumped skin.   Jeremy bowed his head to the ground.  Rory remembered his story of licking semen off the floor at Eton, on his hands and knees.

"This is going to take a while, Jeremy.    I think it would be more comfortable for both of us if you were across my lap.  Are you warm enough?   You could put your jacket back on."

With Jeremy's naked body stretched across his legs, Rory could tell better what Jeremy was feeling.   He switched from a cupped hand to a flat one, and then spread his fingers, trying to find the way that hurt most.   He spanked Jeremy's doup, and the backs of his thighs, and between the thighs.  It took a long time before the whole area was red.   More than a hundred spanks.  Jeremy didn't react at first, but hard spanks on places already red made him whimper. At the end, Jeremy was so sore he flinched under Rory's hand as if each skelp hurt as much as a stroke of the belt.    Rory stopped.   Jeremy swiveled around and hugged him, and kissed him on the lips.   Rory was used to being kissed - Scots lads do kiss.    But Scots kiss shyly; Jeremy was a real smoocher.

"That was super, Rory.   I want more.   But first I want to try spanking you again.   I think I can hit harder now."

Rory resolved to dree the spanking, whatever happened.   But there was no hint of fun or pleasure in being beaten on his bruised doup.  He seemed to have no strength of will to endure it, and to his shame he had to ask Jeremy to spank him only on his thighs, where there were no whip-welts.    The slaps on his thighs stung like blazes.   Rory licked his lips, and thought with dread and excitement that they would hurt more and more as he got red and sore.   He settled in to dree it.

But he didna like it.   It would ha' been so nice to be spanked by Jeremy's mum.    When she kissed, Frenchie style - that would have been oo-la-la if he'd been on fire like this.   Lip warmth and tongue warmth and britchen warmth at the same time.  Or to have her tongue in his fudd, when his fudd and his crack and his cheeks had been skelped red and sore and raw.   He needed pleasure, to mix with the pain - not just pain.   He wanted the hairbrush handle up his arse and touching his secret spot.   Or something even thicker.   Something warmer.   Something that just happened to be sticking into his belly at this moment, in fact.  Rory half rose and turned so he was looking Jeremy in the face.  

"Ye're very hard, Jeremy.    Do ye nae want do some'ut about it?"

"Do you mean wank?   I can feel how hard you are too, Rory.   Do you want me to suck you off?  I don't want to keep you hard for hours, waiting for it, like my mother.   You don't have to do anything for me."

Rory kissed him, just as smoochy as Jeremy kissed, and then the two lads were rolling on the ground in an embrace that pushed their hard cocks against each other.   Rory hadna meant to do it, but he mounted up so quickly to the little death, from his cock rubbing in the groove between Jeremy's leg and belly, that he could not stop it.   Caroline was right - sometimes the pleasure was unco guid.

He had been underneath in their tumblings when it happened, and his juice landed mostly on his own belly.   Jeremy bent down to lick it off.    Rory pushed his head away.   Taking Jeremy's wullie in his hand, he used it to mop up the streaks of semen on his own belly, transfering as much as he could to the English boy's hard shaft.   Then he turned over onto his hands and knees.

"Do you mean you want me to ...."

"They did this ta ye at Eton.  I ken that's what ye meant, when ye said they put 'things' in your butt.    Did you ne'er want ta do it to a lad, Jeremy?   Will ye?   Please?"

"But it hurts when someone does this."

"I want it to."

"I can't"

"Please, Jeremy.   This is what I want most."

"But I can't hurt you."

"It won't hurt if you are gentle.   This is the most pleasure for me.   And  - I WANT YOUR COCK!"

"Sir!"

Rory felt Jeremy's cock, slightly soft, run up along the gell of his doup.   Then Jeremy pulled back and began to spank instead.   Not as hard as Rory wanted, but it seemed to work for Jeremy, to spank - Jeremy's cock was like wood when he finally pushed it firmly into Rory's welcoming hole.   Rory knew it couldna last - he couldna believe any lad could last long, doing this ; an arsehole was too tight.   He tried to feel happy for Jeremy's pleasure.   As Jeremy got near the end, he grabbed Rory's soft cock, and stroked it in time with his motions. Rory felt Jeremy's climb, as if he could feel pleasure from a second stonner.   He shuddered with pleasure as the juice went into him.

But the intoxication of pleasure and the kissing afterwards was brief.    Rory had lost everything - had himself ruined everything he had.   And he'd hurt others more than himself.   He hadna forgotten Big Jock Campbell getting the sack.   He hadna forgotten his own mother, and what this would mean to her.   Or Katherine, if she cared about him enough to be hurt by his betrayal.  He hadna forgotten Mrs. Thomasson, and what had happen to her because of what he had done.  And having found Jeremy, he would lose him too.

"You are going to England, aren't you, Jeremy?   It nae yer fault.  A quick roll in the heather with a crofter lad.  A lad you would ne'er see again.    You wasna the one that wanted it - I was.  It was all my doing.   But this wasna a one time thing, with me, Jeremy."

"Only one time!    But I am not going to England.  Was to have done, that's true.    But Father is punishing Mother, by depriving her of me.   He made her strip naked in front of me to show me the marks on her bottom.    He knows she is a slut, he lives with that, but that she allowed a boy to whip her, for pleasure; that made him angrier than I have ever seen him.       He never beats her, he just canes me, and makes her watch.   Since he can't make her watch when she's in England, he'll make me write letters to her, describing it.    I suppose I'll get two canings a week, for as long as I'm in Scotland.   But that doesn't matter - I don't think reading the letters can really be as bad for her as having to watch.  So I'm glad - really I am - that she's in England and I'm in Scotland.  We'll be here for a month at least.  You and I can be together for a month!  And I'll be back next year.  As long as I don't let him know I'm happy.   As long as he doesn't suspect I'm in love."

"And you will be happy with her.   She'll forget about me.   I betrayed her, and I mean ta confess.   Of course she'll want you.  I think you'll be busy with her, and too happy to think about me.    But if you have any time to spare for me, I would like to ha'e you for a friend."

"Did what just happened, not happen?   Who are you talking about?"

"Katherine Cairns.   You love her."

"Katherine Cairns!   Why would you think I love - Oh.   That was me.    Telling lies.   I'll need a caning for that.   I told my mother I thought Katherine was pretty, that she made me laugh, and that I'd kissed her."

"Kissed her.   Not 'we kissed.'  And not that you loved her?    A body in yer family needs a caning, Jeremy, but no you."

"Katherine is yours, Rory, if she forgives you.   And she will, in time, if you don't betray her again.    You did betray her.   With my mother, and now with me.   You betrayed her and you betrayed me, doing what we did, when all along you loved someone else."

"You are right.   And now I've lost a friend for it too.   I will miss you."

"You may betray the one you love, but I'm not going to."

"What are ye haivering abou'?   Wha' de ye mean?"

"You."

"What?"

"I love you."

"Me?"

"I have for weeks.   I know you won't believe me.  I didn't believe it myself at first, I had to do some reading, about .. well, you know, Greeks."

"Ochen, I believe ye, Jeremy.   I can see it, noo.   Ye said 'ye may betray the one ye love'."

"So?"

"May betray.    Ye've lost yer stammer."

 
 
  VI.    The flesher's son's tale.  
Wee Jock stopped at the holly, the morn.

Jeremy had gone home with his love the night before, to help in any way he could, when Rory had to tell his mother what he had done, and that they might be driven off their croft.   Jeremy had promised himself he would not be shocked.   But it was worse than he could have imagined.    He began to be aware of what it meant to have fallen in love with a young man who lived in a dog kennel (for such it had been built), who slept on stinking straw with his animals, whose dinner that night consisted of nothing, and who had to cook it, if it had existed, nothing.   But the poverty did not excuse the dirt and squalor altogether.  Rory was slovenly.  His clothes, that he went to school in, were dirty and ragged, but his mother's were plain rags.   When she moved they did not cover her nakedness, which she seemed not to know.   But the shocking thing was that Rory was not ashamed of it.  Not ashamed to have a guest see it.  He just didn't care.   And in the midst of the squalor, not seeing it, was Rory's blind mother.   June McAllister was an educated woman - a gracious and cultured woman.  And beautiful, except for the scars on her face.  Jeremy had been told the story - against orders, she had kept driving her ambulance right through a big bombardment on the Somme.  She graciously accepted Jeremy's assurance that he would support her at the Cairns, or anywhere she might prefer, but she asked him not to worry, as she was sure they would find comfortable accomodation, should they be forced to leave their happy home.  She sounded like she was declining the offer of a scone at a tea party.  The place stank.   It crawled.   And it was frighteningly cold.

And then Jeremy went home, and was caned.   He cried himself to sleep, sucking his thumb and curled up in his big Rennie Mackintosh bed, trying to work out if there was any way he could run away from home and live with Rory and his mither at their wonderful croft.     It was a long night.

In the morning, Jeremy had hoped to be at the holly first.   But Wee Jock was out the gate a minute or so ahead of him, and was faster.   Jeremy thought he might have to run after the lad all the way to school, but the Scot lad stopped at the holly.

Jeremy was always awkward with servants' sons.   "Will you t-t-t-take some meat pie, Jock."

Jock took some, of course.   It wouldn't be polite to refuse an offer from the master's son.  Wee Jock led the way to the place he always waited for Rory - there was a stone to sit on behind the holly.   Of course Jock expected that this morning it would be the master's son who sat on it.

But the stone already had someone on it : Patrick Nethery.

"Hello, Jeremy.   I've been hoping to talk wi' Rory.   I cam by last night fer a wee chat, but he was a' so busy wi' you, and I dinna like to intrude on yer private business.   But I gather ye ha'e been playing thon doctor game."

Jeremy wondered just how much Patrick had heard.   He said: "I was t-t-t-   I was t-t-t-    I was accepting my medicine."

"And I heard the guid doctor accep' some medicine too, I think, guid medicine - physician, heal thyself.    Well, I ha' just cam ta tell him I'm a minded ta tak my medicine too."

"What medicine?"

"Fifteen strokes o' the belt on bare britchen, Jeremy.  How would ye lak that?   A bit stronger more thon medicine ye took las' night, eh, Jeremy?"

"I will t-t-t-  t-t-t-  t-t-t-take the same medicine as you, Patrick.   Whatever you t-t-t-take."

"Then I'm the man ta gi'e it to ye, English!"

"And I'll do you, t-t-t-oo, Nethery!   Here and now!  Before school!  If ye dare, Scotsman!"

"Anytime ye want!  But I'd like to have the same lads as saw me refuse to tak it before, ta be there watch me when I do."

"I want witnesses t-t-  - also."

"Why d' ye want fer ta be whipped, English?"

"Why do you, Scot?"

"Ochen, it was thon Anne Campion told us t'would be fun ta play.   I think the whole schuil will play, tonight.  My medicine was three leaves o' nettle doun the gell o' my doup -  oo tha' stung, but I showed a' the lads I could dree it, and I liked that fine.   But then like a dunder-heid I asked which lad had ta'en the strongest medicine, and Rory said it nae a lad, it was Katherine Cairns!   And then I thought I had to tak the same as she, or be shamed, and so I said I would tak it.    But then I was a feart ta.  But I think I can, noo.  I can tak it, and I think it will be unco fine to tak it, afore all the lads.    But that's the game, to tak yer medicine and ha'e the lads see ye'e a stout heart and Scottish balls, or gi'e out ye are feart laik a Sassenach."

"But it's not just that.  Not just boys proving their courage.   Rory said you whipped Anne."

"Och but she organized it, Jeremy; she got us ta play game.   So when her turn came, she should ha'e played.    She could ha'e ta'en her medicine, or said she was feart - the same as any other body.  But she said she wasna feart but wouldna do it, for she didna lik ta bare her britchen - she who had organized a game fer a' the other bodies ta play i' the skud!    And so we gi'e her what she had persuaded an other body ta tak; fifteen strokes o' the belt, right guid and hard."

"Rory is upset about it."

"I'm upset about what?"

"Och, Houn Fell, there ye are.   Are we going to play ..."

But Rory turned rudely away from Patrick while he was talking, and went over to Wee Jock.

"Wee Jock, it was my fault, what happened.    What will happen?   Do yer folks ha'e a place to go?"

It was Jeremy who answered.   "Jock Campbell was not given the sack, after all, Rory.   My father couldn't sack him, cause he'd have t-t- uh - tell the world why he was sacked."

Wee Jock said: "But he's nae butler any more, just outdoor ghillie.   Front door will be open by Mrs. Hobson, the housekeeper, noo.  And my Dad's been gi'en a cut i' his wages."

"It's a' my fault, but I would ne'er ha'e dream your Daddie would be punished, Jock.   Mrs. Thomasson made him lea'e us alone together.   There was nocht he could ha'e done."

"There was.   Nae to stop you being wi' her, but to stop Master fro' walking in on it.   The master kens the Leddie has a lad - she has 'nother ane besides ye, I mean.   But the master'd rather no ha'e it thrown i' his face.   So when Master comes in, me Daddie he keeps him down the stairs a wee bit, and I nip round ta get lad out o' boudoir, quick up the stairs ta attic.   And then later I smouk his clothes up ta him. But Daddie had ta'en a wee dram too many, and I wasna yet back from schuil yet, forby I had gone ta Houn Fell croft ta see if ye were sick."

"Do I know this pleasure lad she has?"   Rory's voice was dangerous.

"Aye.   But you willna hear a name from me."

"Nor me."  - that was Jeremy.   But then he said: "I mean, Rory, that of course I will tell you, love, but do you really want to know?"

Rory was clenching his fists, but he shook his head.   His eyes continued to smoulder with dark hatred.

Jeremy said: "Patrick, you wanted t-t-to t-t-talk t-to Rory about the doctor game?"

"Aye.   Patrick.  Ye were saying?"

"Are we going ta play after schuil?"

"I've other things on me mind, Patrick."

Jeremy said: "I think we should do it, Patrick.   We don't need Rory.    Jock, t-t-t-tell all the lads t-t-  come.   I'll be there t-to watch you get your bottom striped, Patrick.   And ye can do me the same strokes.   We don't need Rory."

"We'll all be striped if we dinna get ta schuil."

Jeremy handed out the rest of the meat pie, and Rory and Patrick ate their slices as they ran.

At school, Jeremy stood up and walked to the dominie's desk, and had a whispered word.   Then he faced the class to make an announcement.   But nothing came out of his gaping mouth, his face turned red, and then he hid his face in his hands, gasping for breath and turning blue.   Patrick Nethery stood up and said he knew what Jeremy meant to say, and could talk for him.   Dominie Sewell looked longingly at the bairns' slates he wanted to fill with his lesson, but Patrick pointed at Jeremy, and Jeremy nodded.    Jeremy was, after all, the lad of the Auld Manse.  So the dominie allowed Patrick to speak for Jeremy Thomasson as his representative. 

Patrick went to the front of the class, and cleared his throat: "Um.   Ye all know, or ye'll hear it soon, that the master of Houn Fell was discovered in bed with Mrs. Thomasson, at the Auld Manse."

To judge from the gasps, they did not know.

"I want ye a' to ken what really happened afore ye hear some wild tale.    The Leddie o' the Manse invited Rory inta her bed, but he refused.   He said he had a true love, and wouldna betray her.   I willna say who tha' is."

Every body in class turned around ta look at Katherine Cairns.   She blushed.

"But Mrs. Thomasson said : 'If yer love be true, ye can be naked in bed wi' me, and do nothing.'   And she offer him a wager.   Now we know tha' Rory is a guid son, and has great need o' money fer his mither's med-cine.   And so he took the wager.   And he fixed his pure thoughts on his pure true love.

"But  no sooner had he seen the temptress naked, than had a great stonner, standing before him like a caber.   And so he lost the wager.   But she offered him a second wager, so he could get his money back and more, that she could kiss him on ilka pairt o' his body, and it would cause him to so desire her, that he would kiss her.    And he took this wager too, with this proviso, that she might not kiss nor touch him on his stonner.   And he thought he could win this wager easily.

"And she kissed him and she carressed him, on ilka pairt o' his body, on his lips, on his titties, on his eyes, and on the top of his head, and on the soles of his feet, and on owt tha' is between.  Except one thing, as I ha'e already mentioned.  She kissed him for an hour.   And his stonner remained for a' this time, unco hard, and it ached.   For he had stunnerfu' great desire, but he fixed his pure thoughts on his pure true love, and didna kiss the hussey.   

"And the temptress wondered if there was any tiny spot on his body that she hadna kissed, and she kissed his hands between forefinger and thumb, and she kissed behind his knees, and she kissed a' the places which she hadna kissed afore.   She kissed him for a second hour.   And she made him stick out his tongue, and she kissed that.   And Rory was in agony from his stonner, that couldna dree it, but he tried ta dree it for his pure true love.  

"And then she thought of the one tiny place on his body that she had not yet kissed, and she made him bend over, and she kissed the very fud of his arse.   And that made such pain i' his stonner that he couldna dree it, and he grabbed her, roughly, and from his anger he skelped her hard, and very hard, and long.   And then he kissed her; he kissed on her titties and her eyes and the place between her legs.  On ilka place on her body except her lips, since these had touched the fud of his arse.   And he kissed her and kissed her, and kissed her and kissed her, for an hour.   And his stonner remained for all this time, and it ached.  And so he lost the second wager, because he had kissed her on her cunt."

The dominie's tawse smacked down on his desk.   "How dare you utter such an obscenity!"

Patrick dropped his breeches and bent over the desk.  "Belt me then, but I mun finish the story.  Belt me a stroke for ilka wicked word, but I mun finish."

But the dominie couldna belt him.   The puir man had a great stonner and couldna rise from behind his desk or a body would see it.  And besides, he really had to know how the story came out.   His wet dreams at night were about Mrs. Thomasson's jugs - for she came to Kirk o' Sunday in an unco low-cut dress.  He told Patrick to pull up his breeches and finish.

"Now Rory had lost money he did not have, so when she offered him a third wager, to win it back and more, he mun tak it.   And this wager was, that she should command him, to do anything to her body that she should name, and he must obey.  Except that she could not command him to fuck her."

The dominie slapped his desk again with the tawse.   Patrick shrugged.

"And the wager was, that if he should succumb to his desire, and fuck her, then he would lose his wager, but if he could hold off from it, and keep his semen inside hissel, he would win.    So he would lose also, if he should masturbate hissel.   And then she made him bite her lips, and suckle on her titties, and lick her cunt with his tongue, deeply in.    And because earlier, in his passion, he had beat her o' the britchen wi' his hands, she guessed he had muchle desire to do that, so she commanded him to skelp her for an hour.    And she commanded him to put his fingers in her, and fuck her with them, another hour.   And she had very great pleasure from all that she made him do, and she showed her pleasure by her soft moans and by panting like a dog, and this greatly increased his desire.   But he fixed his pure thoughts on his pure true love, and in spite of all the pleasuring of the temptress that he was compelled to do, he did not fuck her.    And all the skelping and fingering and kissing and biting she made him do, was three hours, and all this time his stonner remained unco hard.   

"And it seemed he had won the wager, for she could not make him so forsake his true love, as to fuck.   And she said he should get dressed and go, and she would send his winnings after.     And since he had, at this time, had a stonner for six hours, he was quite anxious to go, and find some private place.

"But then the temptress happened to spy her snow white mare, grazing on the lawn.  Grazing there because she was on heat, and must be kept from the common stallions.    And the temptress signed to a servant, and whispered, that the servant should loose onto the lawn the storm-grey stallion, a beast that had become so wild, that it could not be ridden.   And the servent whispered back that this must not be, for the foal of such a sire would be wild.   But the temptress said she would sack the servant on the spot if he did not obey, and so the stallion was let to the mare.     And then the temptress leaned far out her chamber window, naked as she was, and she invited Rory to watch the running of the horses.    He had never seen such beautiful animals, and so he lingered to watch them run; and the mare fled from the stallion, but he overtook her, and bit her, and she was forced to submit as he mounted and tupped her.   And then Rory found that he had fucked the woman, bent over the window frame in front of him.   And so he lost the third wager.

"Then Rory had to confess he had wagered money he did not have, and so belonged to her as a slave, to labor to pay his debt.   And she said his labor would be to fuck her three times, coming to her without fail whenever she sent him one of her rings, and each fuck must be harder and longer than the last, two hours, four hours, and six hours, for he had proved he could keep his stonner longer than any man alive, for no man has e'er kept a stonner fer six hours w'o' he died o' it.   And she showed him the three rings on her fingers, and he learned them each well.   And to seal the deal he offered her, as a free gift, three kisses.   And it was during the last kiss, which she made ta linger for an hour, that her lord came home.   And as she was carried to torture chamber, she wispered to Rory that he should expect the three rings."

The dominie thought this fantasy was a bit ornate, and that the cause of Scottish literature would be helped if this particular budding poet got a chance to suffer for his art.   He ordered Patrick to let his breeches doun.   He would just have to hope that his students dinna look too closely at their dominie's crotch.

   
 
  VII.    An Ayrshire welcome.  
And it was indeed, as Patrick had predicted, the whole schuil at the holly for evening surgery.

All the lads, anyway, and a hantle o' lassies.   The lads had worked it out that the Auld Manse had neither a snow-white mare, nor a dangerous gray stallion.   So they understood, or at least the brighter ones did, that therefore Patrick's story was not, strictly speaking, true.   But no one thought the mere truth would be worth knowing.   And so, while there were many questions about what really happened at the Auld Manse, they all asked them of Patrick.    It dinna occur ta a body ta ask Rory.    

Patrick's story had improved the younger lads' vocabularies.   The dominie had belted Patrick 18 stripes, for the letters of the obscene words he had used.   He had spelled the words as he struck, but not loud enough for anyone but Patrick to hear every letter.   The young lads wanted to know which of the words they had learned, were really bad - which were the ones they'd get a belting for, if they said them in schuil?   But Patrick wouldna tell them.    'Masturbate' was their favorite; they were sure it was the most obscene word in all the Scots language, and they liked the sound of it, and they all tried to spell it out and count how many letters it had.  They had all dared each other to say it in schuil, and some of them had said it, so the number of letters was rather important.  John and Duncan Cairns made up a masturbation song:

Ye may say that cunt is great
I just want tae masturbate
    Ye may want tae fuck a quean
     I would rather kiss a stane
When my sis do catch me do'it,
she mun skelp me on my doup.
     Some day I will fuck a lass
     But for now - go kiss my ass!

Ian Selkirk insisted it was his turn to play patient first.   It wasn't until his breeches were down, waiting for his 'spexion, that they realized they had nae a body ta play nurse; Kat Cairns wasna there.   The other lassies were quite shocked when Rory asked for a lass to finger Ian's wullie, to gi'e him a stonner.   The lasses didn't even want to look at a lad wi' his breeches down.   Not if a body noticed them a looking, anyway.

"Since we ha'e nae a nurse, Doctor Thomasson, will you assist?"

Jeremy nodded.   Rory gave Ian his 'jexion, but he handed the fat stick to Jeremy.    Jeremy pushed the tip of the stick at Ian's fud, but it didna go in.

Rory said: "Jeremy canna talk, Ian, when we're all looking at him laik this.   Could you help him?"

"Jeremy, could you push a little harder, please.  I'll try to let it in."

The stick went in, in a rush, as if Ian had sucked it in.  He groaned, and writhed, and Jeremy looked at his hand with horror.    But then Ian turned around.    A red stonner the size of a stallion's stood out in front of him, rising at an angle of forty-five degrees.  His courage-bag was huge and a remarkable shade of red too, with a visible center line, almost black.

Rory said: "There is nocht wrong wi' you, patient Selkirk, as any fool can see.    Ye've nae need o' thon medicine."

"Och, doctor.   Do ye no need to gi'e me a 'spexion?"

"Doctor Thomasson, will ye gi'e patient Selkirk a wee 'spexion so I can earn m' fee?"

Ian laughed as Jeremy ran his little finger between sheathie and head o' his penis.    And Jeremy laughed.   And Jeremy got playful.   Ian stopped laughing.    Semen arched through the air.   Jeremy had to pluck some ivy leaves to wipe it off his trousers.  

The young lads, who were more interested in giggling with each other than watching what the auld folk were doing, fell into shocked silence, except the ones who weren't watching at all, who clammored to know what had happened.  Then they began to sing the masturbation song again.   Then there was some fighting as they realized, all at once, that they had to stand in queue if they hoped to see the doctor before dark.

Tom McCall was at the head of the queue, but Patrick asked him to let Jeremy go next.   Jeremy removed his shoes and trousers under the holly, and blushed as he came out, bare below the waist.   He minced as his tender feet were prickled by the fallen holly leaves.   He smiled shyly and the Scots all smiled back at him.   Then he turned around for his 'jexion.

"Yer  ... arse  ... it's  ... it's  "

The Scots were used to cheerful blood-red bands across the britchen, but they didna care for this English savagery.   At least two dozen jagged, raised welts had been slashed across the English boy's behind, with a cane.   There were scabs - the caning had drawn blood, and the wounds were pussy and swollen and red.  Patrick said they should storm the Auld Manse and give Mr. Thomasson a taste of his own medicine.   Jeremy tried to talk to the staring faces.  A strangled gurgle was all that would come out of his mouth.  Rory led him away, under the holly.

When they came back out, Jeremy was i' the scud altogether.   Rory asked the young lads to sing their masturbation song, loud, and to sing it, if they could, on key.  And to clap to keep time.   Rory started, absurdly, to dance.   A step-dance, with high leaps, and a hand held over the head.   Patrick, giggling, joined in, then Jeremy, heedless now of his bare feet on the prickly ground.  He was the only one naked, and the step dance made his wullie bounce up and down; the lassies turned away, but the lads stared, goggle-eyed, and it made them laugh and they started to dance.  Every lad who wasn't dancing was stamping, clapping, singing, shouting, in time to the music.   Rory joined the song, and then, very softly, mouthing the words, Jeremy.    Rory encouraged him, and soon the naked English boy was belting out the silly Scots words at the top of his voice.   Without stammering.   His stark white naked body shone in the evening light, among the ragged dirty sunburned Scots who danced around him.   He was a head taller than any of them.

Rory and Patrick stopped dancing, and the singing petered out.   Rory spun Jeremy around, and pushed on his head with his hand, signalling the English boy to bend over.  He ran his hand over Jeremy's welts, and then jabbed in two thorns, and left them in. Then he took the fat stick in his hand.

"Are you ready for your 'spexion, patient Thomasson?"

"Aye."

But instead of shoving the stick up Jeremy's arse, Rory beat him with it, smashing each arse cheek a hard blow, on the proud flesh of his swollen welts, and drove the thorns into his doup like a hammer on a nail.    Jeremy visibly struggled to dree the pain, wilting a bit under the blows, and weeping, but then raising his arse high, as if expecting more strokes.   One of the scabs oozed bloody pus.  The watching audience let out an angry gasp, like a hiss.

"Rory!   Wha' the cunt!" - that was Patrick Nethery.

"Well ye know, Patrick, I don't think Jeremy ever got his Ayrshire welcome.   Did ye ever hear if he did?"

"Nae."

"So we should each give him a pair o' smacks on the britchen.   Is that nae how we do it in Ayrshire?   Welcome to the new lad?"

"Are ye daft, Houn Fell?   To hit him when he's been been beaten like this?"

"Och, but ye see he was expecting the welcome.   He was warned o' it by the dominie.    Since he was the new boy, the lads would pull down his bags - that's what they call it in England - and gi'e him his choice, sticks or stanes?    As we did for Ian last year, and Ian is nobut fra' Kirkcudbrightshire; for a lad fra' England it'd be a lot more.   Jeremy was waiting for it -  he'd made his choice already -  he would tak sticks.   But the welcome ne'er came.  He thought we didna consider him one o' the lads - since he was gentry, since he was Sassenach, he wasna one o' us farm lads.     But he was willing to tak the welcome, he wanted it - he didna ask to be treated any special as gentry.    So you mun gi'e him a hard blow wi' the stick, Patrick.   Two blows.   To show he is welcome to Ayrshire, and one o' us lads."

"Houn Fell are ye blind?   Do you no realize how much it will hurt?  And we ne'er beat Ian so hard as ye hit Jeremy!  Would ye be able to dree such a blow on top o' such bruises?"

"Och, no I.   No I.  But he can dree it, Patrick - I've hit him twa already so he kens how much it hurts.  And yet see, there he is, waiting for more.   Wanting more.  Hit him, unless you think he is nae one o' us lads, Patrick.  Tak the stick.   Hit him, Patrick!"

"I canna - I willna.   Houn Fell, ye'r daft!   We can do it when he's had a chance to heal, if we mun do it, at a'.  But nae two hard blows fra' ilka body o' us - on top o' what he's had?  It's nae human."

"Aye.   But he wants to prove hissel.   What did he say to ye at morn?"

"That he wanted the same medicine what I wanted - and that was fifteen stripes wi' the belt."

"He said tha' this morn?   When ilka step must ha'e been agony?  When you or I would ha'e been moaning and groaning on oor beds, lyin on oor bellies?    He said he wanted fifteen strokes wi' the belt?  This morn?  He wanted fifteen strokes of the belt on this?"

Jeremy stood up, stretched, yawned, and then got back into position with his welted bleeding arse raised high in the air for a beating.

"Aye, Rory.   Tha's what he said.   I didna know he'd been caned.   I didna guess."

"Nae ye did no guess!   For Jeremy Thomasson would nae ha shown his pain - he would ha keep thon stiff English lip!  So suppose we let him prove hissel.   Some'ut that willna hurt extra because o' his caning. It's no traditional, but suppose for his welcome we each gi'e him a strap with the belt across his back, or his legs?"

"Or wi' stinging nettle?"

"Aye, that would be fine. - Patrick, tha's brilliant!    Stinging nettle will help him heal.   It is the cure my mither uses for bruises and cuts."

"So Doctor if he gets thrashed wi' the nettles, across his britchen, that will soothe him?"

"Soothe?   Well, no.   I do no recall that any o' my mither's cures and poultices do exactly soothe.   It hurts like torture when she whips me with nettle when I bruise myself - and it makes the bruises itch, too.   But she says that be the power of the nettle doing its work."

"Aye, so we mun whip him wi' the nettle.    You go first, Houn Fell."

"I ha'e hit him already for his welcome."

"Hit him again wi' the nettle.   You mun go first.   But then ilka body o' us mun whip him, e'en the young lads."

"Aye."    Rory picked up a wilted stalk of nettle and  barely touched it to Jeremy's bottom.    He said: "Aye."

Patrick cut a large stalk of fresh nettle, and whipped Jeremy two good strokes with it, on the backs of his thighs - at the bottom edge of the area criss-crossed with cane welts and bruises.  "Welcome to Ayrshire, Jeremy."

Wee Jock Campbell, Ian Selkirk, Sandy Beattie, young Geordie McCall, Wullie Murdoch.   Then Patrick cut a fresh stalk of nettle.  Roger Cairns, Tom McCall, the Muir twins, Ian Smith.    And all the lads in the whole schuil, waiting a turn; to give two good strokes of fresh nettle across the English lad's britchen, and he all willing and waiting.  But when Archibald Boswell took the nettle, Patrick put a hand on his arm, and pointed to Rory.   Rory was curled up on the ground in a tight ball, shaking and shivering, and breathing in choked, rattling gasps.      Patrick told Archie, "Enough."

Arch put his hand on Jeremy's shoulder.   "It is over, Jeremy; Rory canna thole any more.   Welcome to Ayrshire."

The naked Englishman turned to look at the gathering of Scots.   He said: "I am glad t-t-t-t  t-t-t-  t-   I am glad t-t-t-t-t- t-."

Then he cleared his throat, looked at them all, and said: "I am glad to be in Ayrshire."

         
 
  VIII.    A tickling for trout.  
With a little help from Rory, who had a poacher's knowledge of the trout in Cassnock Water, Jeremy became a fisherman.

According to the ghillies, Jeremy's father "couldna land an auld boot, if he cast fer one at the soutor's."     But Jeremy took to casting like a natural, and he understood Rory's whispered instructions about where brown trout like to hide.  And so, after an evening when Jeremy landed four large trout and his father not any, the older Mr. Thomasson was quite happy to agree that they should cast different reaches on the Saturday.   It meant of course that a single ghillie couldn't serve them both, but Jeremy said he could easily find some local lad to carry his gear.

"The ghillie isn't just to carry our gear, Jeremy.  He's a guide - a local expert.   It's his job to know where the fish are."

"But father, I don't really c-c-care if I c-c-catch anything."

"You should try, Jeremy.   You don't really try to be best at anything."

But Jeremy did hire Rory as his "local lad," and so they had Saturday together.   Alone together.   Alone was the important part.  They were together all day in school, and for a few precious minutes every morning, they were, thanks to the tact and understanding of Wee Jock Campbell, alone together under the holly.    More than that Jeremy could not risk.   He told his father that he had no friends, that the local boys made fun of his stammer, and spoke broad Scots that he couldn't understand.   And his father wrote to his mother that Jeremy was miserable but he would have to stay in Scotland, as he could not be in the care of a slut.  If his father knew that Jeremy was kissed by a dozen lads and lasses of a morning, that he'd been given invitations to take tea from half the houses in the parish, that he and Patrick were the captains of every lunchtime game of footba' or chickie mellie, and that he was happier with his friends than he had ever been, to say nothing of being in love, then his father would have sent him home to Chiddingfold at once.   He couldn't let his father know he had friends, so he came straight home after school - and then he spent his evenings fishing, under his father's eye, while Rory played doctor at the holly with the lads.    In a week and a half, Jeremy had not managed to be alone with Rory, even once, in any private place where they could play the game that started with taking off their clothes.

But alone with Rory he had contrived to be, for this whole glorious Saturday, and Rory would even get paid.   They went up the path to the upper half of the reach, above the bridge, where the Auld Manse owned the trout rights.   In spite of the early hour, they did not have the path to themselves -  they met a tinker, a collier, and the Free Kirk minister.  Rory knew them each, and passed a word or two.   They learned that Staunton coal pit was to close down.   Jeremy had hoped it would be private along the water, but along the upper reach, the well-used path ran near the bank, and on either side there were open fields.   There were cottages in the fields.   Someone could look out of a window, or someone could come along the path, at any time.

"But there's no one in sight now, Rory.   We could kiss."

Rory pointed to a cottage : "A body in thon bothie micht see us."

"But they'll only see us if someone happens to look out of a window, at just the wrong moment.   That's not likely.  And anyway they wouldn't care.   It's only a kiss, and this is Scotland."

"Guidwives always know when to keek o' the window.    A body find some'ut to do at a window and sit all day, churning or sewing or carding, just to watch ye, Jeremy, and then call for tea at at another biddie's, and earn their scone and bit jam wi' the fine tale they ha'e to tell, o' how young Jeremy Thomasson spent his day o' fishing.   You spend it at some'ut else, Jeremy, o' the kind you ha'e in mind, and fer tha' muchle tale she'll maybe be wanting a wee dram."

"So we have to spend the day playing young master and his servant?   Not even kiss?"

"A master wouldna kiss a servant.   You could maybe skelp me.   If I dropped yer lunch i' the burn."

"Spank a servant?"

"Aye.   It's no uncommon tae thrash a fee'd servant lad wi' a belt.   Wee Jock ha'e been skelped already by thon Mrs. Hobson, the housekeeper, since she took over the ruling o' the house.   Do ye nae ken what is going on in yer own house?"

"Not below stairs.  Nor above them, for that matter,  I didn't know Wee Jock was hiding Tom - I mean my mother's pleasure boy - naked in the attic."

"Well maybe thon attic be a place, if we can smouk inta it.   I want to ha'e yer wullie in my arse, Jeremy, but we can nae do tha' here."

"You do?   I thought you wanted Katherine Cairns."

"I'd rather ha'e you."

"So you don't love her?  You love me instead?"

"Do I ha'e to say that, Jeremy?   Do ye ha'e ta keep askin'?   I'm unco fond o' Katherine.   Canna a body ha'e a friend, and a lass too, wi'o' jealousy."

"You can have whatever you want, Rory.   I don't have any right to demand anything.    But this month, while I'm here, you want to be with me more than her?"

"As much as we can be together, I want to be."

"This is paradise.   And you want to put your cock up my arse, as much as I want you to put it there?"

"Well I nae ken abou' that.   But I want yer cock up my arse as much as I e'er wanted anything."

"And you want to be flogged with the nettle, as much as I do?"

"Nae.  I canna dree the nettle.   A long skelping is all I care for.    I'd like ta try a touch o' the nettle on my titties, though."

"Perhaps I don't care for the nettle either.   But I haven't felt it since my welcome to Ayrshire, and I was expecting two strokes from everyone.   When the flogging stopped early, I had a hankering for the rest of them."

"I hadna known it was pleasure to ye, Jeremy."

"It wasna - I mean it wasn't.   But I was willing to bear it.   I didn't want a cheap welcome."

"I can see ye're vexed.   Shall we smouk into thon attic wi' some nettle stalks?"

"It seems a risk.   Is there nowhere else?"

"Aye, we can find a few trees right enou' where what we do will nae be o'erlook.   Most place along this burn, if we stand i' the water, we are hidden by the willows o' the bank.   We could kiss.  But we mun mind the path.  Or we could climb thon brae to Scafton wood and be secret as ye please.   But that we go up to the wood will be seen, do ye ken?   And that we are no here, tha' will be seen as weel.   What do ye plan ta say to yer daddie tonight?    If ye say ye spent the day a fishing here on the upper water, but in fact we spent it in Scafton wood, there might perhaps be a body or twa who saw us go up ta wood - but there will a sure be many a body, who dinna see us be here a fishing as ye said.   I no say their tales will come o'er ta yer Daddie, but ye see the risk."

"I will say I couldn't catch anything, thanks to my fool of a ghillie, and I decided to do something else - walk to a famous church or something.   And that is just what I shall do.    And if the route passes through some woods, and if we take a little longer to traverse those woods than we might have done, I don't see that anyone need be the wiser.    So you just need to pick a place to go."

"It's a muckle step, but we could maybe go ta thon cairn, where Dr. McLeod has been a' grave-robbing.   That be some'ut ta see old bones and swords o' the Vikings.   I'd lik fine ta see thon."

"If you mean Beoch Cairn, it's Bronze Age, much older than the Vikings.  But we'd be walking along the road.   Is there somewhere, where to get there from here, we cut through some woods?"

"Terringzean Castle."

"But it's a ruin.  What reason would I tell my father, that I took it into my head to go there?"

"Because your fool of a ghillie promised to show you some'ut at the ruins."

"What?"

"Red Cap."

"That's a kind of fairy?"

"He's no a fairie, he's a powrie.   Fairies are nice."

"It seems fantastic."

"He's no fantastic.   The minister saw him and it's the speak of Ayrshire.   We mun look out for his claws."

"Off we go then.   I'll put some claw marks in you, Rory, and show them to my father as proof of our adventure.   No need to carry all that - we'll come back here."

"It'll mebby be kyked.   From here, we climb thon brae to Scafton Wood.  When we ha'e done oor business there, we go o'er fell ta Darvel Road.  Then it's past a row of miner's cotages, around Staunton pit head, and then cut through park ta castle ruins.   There'll maybe be another guid spot in the castle grounds if ye ha'e nae got enou' kissing oop Scafton Wood."

"Carry the gear if you like, or leave it.   I'll be caned if pater's rod gets pinched, but I don't care anymore, I get caned anyway.   I feel like singing, Rory.   Can't I even kiss you, until we get into the trees?   What shall we do first, when we get there, and can strip off?   After kissing, I mean.  And kissing and kissing and kissing.  But after that I think I want to start by giving you the pleasure of a spanking."

"Aye.  First you warm the cup, but then ye mun put some'ut in it."

"Rory, this is wonderful.   A month.   And then next year."

"I may no be here, next year.   I think I mun go to Glesgie before winter."

"Glasgow!"

"I canna stay here."

"And do what in Glasgow?"

"Shipyards."

"The shipyards are closed.   Unemployment is fifty percent."

"The Army, then."

"There aren't going to be any more armies.   Disputes will be settled by the League of Nations.   Wars were all caused by Jewish capitalists anyway, and we know about the Jews now thanks to Oswald Mosely."

"If unemployment is fifty percent, then fifty percent ha'e jobs.   Money-paying jobs.  And that's forty-nine percent better than here."

"But you've managed until now."

"Nae.    Some folk gi'e us a bit food, for auld syne, as they knew my father.   And they do me the kindness not ta call it charity.   The McCall, who has the name of a striecht man, has no asked me for his rent.  But it's one thing to gi'e charity to a blind widow woman and her wee-un - another for a grown man ta tak it.    It is coming on my schuil-leaving, in any case."

"It is not school-leaving for you yet.   Why go before next year?"

"It's a matter o' fuel.   I canna get my hands on enou' coal."

"But Ayrshire is a coal-mining shire!"

"With thon Taunton pit closed down, it'ill be a cold winter hereabout.    And a fat churchyard too, fer there's many a body will feel the pinch in Ayrshire aside the McAlisters.  Fuel doesna move in Ayreshire, but for silver; I canna get a cartload o' coal to my croft fer love, nor fer a pair o' cabbages.   And I ha'e got nae so much as a penny piece."

"And your mother, if you go to Glasgow?"

"I mun tak my mither to Hamish Cairns, and set her to bide at his door.   He canna leave her starve.   But he is nae so much better than me, and there be a hantle o' wee-uns at Cairns.  I ha'e nocht ta gi'e him.  When I go, I mun gi'e my livestock ta the McCall.  It'd be tae sherrif's court fer me if I took stock off his land, owing rent as I do."

"I can pay some money to support your mother.   I told you I would do it, when you thought you'd get booted off by McCall."

"I canna be a hoor, Jeremy, I canna."

"If it was money from  my mother, it would be for that.    Will you allow it if the money is from me?   My own pocket money?   Given for friendship?"

"I may be able to send her some fro' Glesgie, if I get a job."

"So you see, it is only a loan..   Can we get you some coal with it?   A cartload?  So you can stay here through the winter, and stay in school?"

"If we can get the fuel, I will carry it to Houn Fell on my back."

"This month, that you've promised to spend lollygagging with me - that's time you need, isn't it Rory, to get ready for winter.   To work your croft, and to do jobs for people.  People who have done favors for you, or who might do.  You are sacrificing a day for me, today."

The brae they were climbing was steep, and Jeremy had to rest.   Rory sat beside him, and put an arm around him.

"It is no a sacrifice.    I can spend a day o' leasure.   And you know I want to spend it wi' you."

"But I don't want you to sacrifice for me, I want to help you.  I want to work."

"I ha'e no great amount o' work ta do on my croft noo.   I wisht there was - but I canna spread muck when I ha'e nae muck ta spread.   And no one has work fer me.  There's nae work in Ayrshire, and many a man ta do it.   And if any had work they wouldna gi'e it ta me."

"You seem very popular."

"Aye, this past week I ha'e been a' the go.   That is for yer sake, Jeremy."

"I love you so much, I almost believe I can make other people love you.   But it isn't me.   I think it was Patrick's story.  And Patrick - well, Patrick calling you Houn Fell.   Patrick has been wonderful - I didn't think he liked you, but he's changed.  He talks about you to the other boys - pointing out how good you are at games, and good at getting things done.   You're more famous in Ayrshire than William Wallace."

"The Rob Roy of the boudoir - that's Rory McAllister.   With his famous spear that will never flag.  Him wi' the six-hour stonner.   But is no unco guid name to have.   There were some in Kirk said I should be shamed to show my face."

"Not some, just Mrs. Campion."

"Aye, but it's the gentry that matter.  And she's on the parish council, for a' she was a mill girl before she married.  Ochen, there is some'ut we can do.   Mr. Nethery may ha'e a few wee bottles fer us ta carry."

"Bottles?   But he's a butcher."

"This is whiskey that has nae paid its taxes.   Let's do it.   Go to Nethery's in the the clachan and not to see Terringzean Castle.   But we mun kiss first.  And  the best place is here - over thon fence and into the wood.   No one will come upon us.  If I was alone in Scafton wood, the gamekeeper would think I was poaching, and he'd be right.  But with you there isna a problem.   He's nae going look in yer creel fer a coney."

"Kiss me, then."

It was a perfectly good kiss, and when they got behind a tree, Rory dropped his breeches and Jeremy unzipped the fly of his fishing pants.   Rory bent over and offered his arse.   There was privacy enough, but it was not a woodland bower -  this was no bank of wild thyme and of eglantine.   Nor even the stony ground to lie upon - the edge of Scafton wood tumbles down a steep brae, and the ground where they stood was so steep they risked skidding down the hill.   Rory had to hold onto a stump, and Jeremy had to hold onto Rory.  Jeremy pushed the tip of his hard cock at Rory's tight hole, without getting it in.   He knew what to do about that.  He found a foothold against a root, and shifted his position so he could pleasure his lover's penis with his hands.

"What happened to your unflagging spear?"

"Mastrubate it.   It will come up.   It always does."

"You are not really in the mood for it."

"I am willing.   More than willing - I want to do it."

"Is it because it makes you a whore?    My bit of pocket change, given to your mother?   Who I'd want to help anyway?   Have you changed your mind, Rory?   Would your cock rise for Katherine Cairns?   Fucking Katherine Cairns."

"Skelp me, Jeremy.   Tak off yer belt and belt me.   That will get it up."

"Do you think I can't tell?   Do you think I can't tell what you want?   Do you think I don't know why your cock is down for me when it was up for six bloody hours with MY MOTHER ! "

"I want ye, Jeremy.   Only ye.   No ta Kat Cairns and bloody the hell no ta yer mother.   She frightens me.   But it may be, what ye said, a little."

"It doesn't make you a whore, Rory, if I give a little money to help a poor widow."

"I'm a puir crofter, Jeremy.   The widow's wee-un.  No a body ever paid me mind.  There's no a body i' the whole o' Ayrshire less important than Rory McAllister.  And now I'm famous in the whole county for fucking a married woman.  I'm famous fer being good at it.   I'm famous fer my hard cock, fer my six-hour stonner.  But I ha'e nae wish to deprive ye o' yer pleasure."

"Rory, would spanking me make you a whore, or is it only having my cock in you?"

"None o' it mak me a hoor, Jeremy.   I will do anything.   I will do anything ye ask, and enjoy it."

"I can see you don't.   And your cock proves it.   Which way is the butcher's from here?"

"Jeremy, don't do this!   Don't run away from me.   I wan't your cock, Jeremy."     But Jeremy was walking away.   Rory could do nothing but pull up his breeches and follow him down the brae again and all the way to the clachan.

In the clachan street, in front of Nethery's, they agreed that Rory would go in to negotiate about the whiskey, while Jeremy waited outside.   Jeremy handed his lover some money.  When Rory walked in the door of his shop, the pudgy flesher saw made a vulgar thrusting jesture with his fist.  

"I wouldna ha'e lasted six minutes wi' thon quean if I saw her bare-scud on the sheets," he said, laughing as if it he'd said something funny. 

And he reached under his bloody apron, and made motions as if undoing his buttons, and then poked out a rod that made his apron bump out like a tent.   It would ha'e been a stonner ta match Ian Selkirk's if it had been real, but it was obviously just his thumb.   Rory showed a sixpence in his hand and asked if Mr. Nethery would be willing to part with a bit coal.

"Where'd ye get the sil'er, Houn Fell?"

"I'm fee'd as ghillie for young Jeremy up the Auld Manse."

"Och, Aye.   Well there's mebbe a bit more sil'er if ye will carry a few wee bottles fer me, and we need say nowt abou' a bit fuel you shall ha'e and welcome."

Mr. Nethery recited his list of customers, and Rory agreed to come for half the bottles that night.   The butcher offered Rory a wee dram, and he couldna refuse.   And then the time passed, and the flesher blaitherd on.   Rory couldna manage a polite way ta leave.   Then at last Mr. Nethery mentioned, quite casually, that he'd heard of some man in Aberdeen becoming impotent from an untreated case o' the woullies and wugglies.

Jeremy was left to wait in the clachan high street - which was indeed the clachan's only street.   He knew many eyes were on him - he could see the twitching lace curtains.   Then his father came out of the post office/grocery with a bottle of Glenlivet.

"Jeremy!    I thought you were fishing.   What are you doing here?"

"Hello, Father.  That fool Scot lad I hired, dropped my lunch in the river   I c-c-c-came here to get something to eat.  The lad's in the butcher's shop - he c-c-c-can't even buy c-c-c-cold roast beef without taking all day."

"I hope you are planning to dock his pay?"

"He said he was q-q-q-quite willing I skelp him, but he begged me not to k-k-keep back the money he needed for his poor old mother.   What does skelp mean, do you know, father?"

"Spank.   But a spanking with your hand is not enough.   You must cane him.  Tell him he can choose - take the caning or take fair pay for his bad service, and no more work from you."

"C-c-c-corporal punishment for a servant, Father?   That sounds feudal."

"You are not in England, Rory.   These are primitive people.  You have to treat them like their Clan Cheiftains do, if you want any respect.  They are of good racial stock, Mosley says, but I think they are not altogether civilized."

"But a c-c-c-caning, Father?   For dropping the lunch basket by accident?   A spanking is enough punishment."

"Spankings don't hurt."

"I think they hurt a lot.   Mum spanks me."

"You mustn't compare yourself to a rough savage crofter lad, Jeremy.   You are a gentleman."

Jeremy's father went into the butcher's shop, with Jeremy close behind him.    Rory was kneeling behind the counter, sucking on Mr. Nethery's penis.   The counter was a high one, so the butcher's nakedness was not exposed, but there was little doubt of what they were doing, and even less doubt when the butcher bent down to pull his trousers up when the bell rang at the door.

"Rory, have you bought the c-c-c-cold roast beef I sent you for?    Good morning, Nethery.    Will you sell me the strap you use to punish Patrick?"

"Morning, sir.   Well, the strap.  I wouldna mind the strap.   It is just the nettle I'm afeart o'.   Ye've no call to buy it, ye may use it and welcome."

The strap hang on a hook in the shop, handy for frequent use on Patrick's doup.  Jeremy dropped a shilling on the counter and took the cracked worn-out leather,    He ordered Rory to come from behind the counter, and strip.   Rory stepped out of his breeches and bent over a lard barrel in the front of the shop, but Jeremy found his swing was impeded by some shelves, so he ordered Rory to move the barrel to the middle of the floor, and also to take off his shirt.    The naked young Scot had to strain and huff to shift the heavy barrel    His emaciated frame made his thick erect penis and heavy balls seem even more potent, like a primitive fertility charm, and they were dark red against the pale skin of his belly and thighs.   Jeremy could have shifted the barrel easily, but years of work and hunger had left Rory strong and wiry, but very thin and very short, and the barrel of lard weighed more than he did.   At last he got it into position, and bent over the barrel head.  He had to push his rigid penis down with his hand.   He bent his knees as the barrel was short, and his knees gripped the sides of the barrel like a a rider on a horse, so the underside of his huge penis, rather than the backs of his legs, would be take the blow if the strap went wild and slipped off his protruding doup.    Jeremy took some warm-up swings, smacking the strap down on the counter.  Nethery pulled down the blinds.   Young Patrick came quietly in through the back door, and sat on the stool behind the counter, with a good view of Rory from the back.

"This is for dropping the lunch hamper, Lad.   I have to teach you to be more c-c-c-careful."
  
"Aye, Sir.   Thank you, Sir."

Jeremy thrashed with all his might.   It seemed so easy when the Dominie did it, but the ten stripes Jeremy laid down were not a work of art.   Sometimes the tip slipped between Rory's legs, and hit his penis.   Jeremy's father studied the marks carefully, looking at the way the leather did what a cane could not : strike the skin between the legs and deep into the crack of the bottom.

"Jeremy, is this strap like the one used at the village school?"

"I've only gotten the tawse on my hands at school, Father.   A tawse is a split strap, so I'd say a blow with the tawse is like getting two c-c-c-cane blows at once."

"We will use it then, if you need any more punishment while we are in Scotland.   It is the traditional precision instrument of the country."

"Whatever you choose, father.   And thank you.   I don't think I've ever thanked you for taking the trouble to punish me."

"I've always known how you felt, Jeremy.   I remember the birchings I used to get from my father, and how much I learned from them.   He took the trouble to birch me because he knew I had talent.  Do you want to take a bit more interest in the management of the estate?   You seem a bit at a loose end in Scotland and it would be something to do.   There are the tenants and the outdoor servants, and it would be a load off my mind - Mosely wants my report on the Red Menace in the shipyards as soon as possible."
 .  
"I'll try, Father.   If you will help me.    I'll try not to dissapoint you.  And you will punish me, if I try and do it wrong?   You will take the time for me?"

"As long as you try, Jeremy.    But one thing.   You will need to punish the servant lads, and I'm glad you've shown you can be firm - I wasn't sure you had it in you.   But I should be there to witness any punishments.   Especially the lasses, I like to watch - um - I mean, it is important that I be there to see that nothing improper happens."

"Of c-c-course, father.   I'd like to go back to the trout, but c-c-could I see you after tea?   And you c-c-- could show me the accounts or whatever it is?   And show me how to handle the servants; what you do?"

"I'll be back at six, Jeremy.   Come to my study and we'll have a glass of sherry.   You're getting old for nursery tea.  Make sure you bring the strap."

"Thank you  Father."

Rory and Jeremy took the long way round back to the trout stream, rather than going up and over the fell.   When they passed the holly, they ducked into the hiding place for a kiss.

"Why are you so good, Rory?"

"Good?   Good at what?"

"I beat you unmercifully and you act as if nothing has happened.   I humiliated you too.   I deserve you to hate me for it."

"Why did ye belt me so hard?"

"You stood up from Nethery and I could see you had a bloody pot handle!   Why don't you get one for me?"

Rory turned around and undid his ballop.   His flesh rose on command like a man raising his hand.   He pointed to Jeremy's mouth.

"Let me tell ye about Mr. Nethery, love.    Ahh Ah h   Ahh STOP.    Ye need to be gentler.    Wait.    Jeremy, I'm no angry - I dinna mean ye're too rough, it feels wonderful.   It's just I'll last about two seconds, o' ye gang a' me laik thon.  Gi'e a suck just now and then, make me wait, make me beg for it.   Do ye nae know when you're mastrubating how to mak pleasure last?"

"No.   No one has ever taught me how to masturbate, and I've never done it with another boy.  They wouldn't with me at Eton.  Except for that last half-second, I don't enjoy it.   I'd much rather have a long spanking."

"Well, go slow.   And while ye're abou' it, I'll tell ye on Mr. Nethery.   His cock willna rise fer nowt, and he's got it in his fancy that he has thon woullies and wugglies."

"But that's not a disease - you just made it up."

"And I told him so.   He thinks I'm so brilliant I ha'e discovered a new disease, but tha' I'm too modest to call it McAllister's disease.   Ahh yah hah hah hah.  Yahh.  Jeremy, this is way more fun than mast ... Yah HA, yaw, aw, aw, uh .... more fun than mastru - ahhah, ooo - mastrub - oh yah.   Oh no!     Dinna stop.   Oh please dinna stop.    No, stop, stop!  Ahh, what are ye doing?  Let go my hand.    Ooo. Ah. Yah.  Yaaaha.   Please, Jeremy.   Ahh.   Oh this is good.   Ah Ah.    Ahhhh.

Jeremy swallowed the first cum he had ever wanted to swallow, and Rory kissed him, and probed about in his mouth with his tongue for any taste that might be left.   Moss licked Jeremy's hand.    Since the thrashing at the store with the wonderful smells, she had been wary of that hand - whatever master might think, Moss was quite sure she didna want a thrashing.   But this game had made master happy, as well as smelling very interesting, so perhaps Jeremy was a good person after all.   Perhaps he would play it with her.    She had a hankering for a cock inside of her, these days - she could feel that time coming on, and Jeremy had such a nice-smelling crotch.

Rory let out a sigh of satisfaction.  "And you say no one taught you to mastrubate?   You're brilliant."

"It doesn't make you feel like a whore?   You'll let me keep doing it?   We don't have to do anything else, I just want to pleasure you.  That's all I want, to suck on your cock.   You're not a whore if I just pleasure you.   You can't be a whore if I never get any pleasure from it, if you're the only one who gets any pleasure when we're together."

"Let me tell ye the rest o' the tale abou' Mr. Nethery.    He insisted on medicine, so I said that the medicine for thon woullies and wugglies was to be flogged wi' nettle, or the belt.    But he said he was feared o' thon nettle, and chose the belt.   What he has in mind, is that I will fuck Nell Scuton, his shop girl, while he watches, and mastrubates.   That's who he's impotent with - he didn't mention his wife.    He said the sight of me fucking, wi' my famous stonner, would help his ta rise.   And I am ta flog her, too, as well as him.  He dinna say she wants it; fer owt I ken she dinna wants any o' it, but he'll sack her if she willna do it.  In the shop just now, he laid his limp wullie across the stool, and made me ta flog it wi' the strap, while he held my stonner in his hand, and mastrubated me.   He dinna say he'd pay me for fucking Nell, but afore he asked me ta fuck her, he said he'd pay me in good coin fer carrying the whiskey, fer which he ne'er paid in sil'er afore.    And he said he'd give me bit coal fer nowt.    So tell me, Jeremy, if I'm no the stud hoor of Ayrshire, what was he paying me fer?   In coal and coin!"

That evening, when he went to see his father, his father wanted to try the tawse, and Jeremy offered his own bottom.    Mr. Thomasson sent instead for a servant lad, because he could watch his son swing the strap and offer suggestions on technique - and puir wee Jock Cambell was the soul who answered the bell.   But after that was over, Jeremy got the account books, and as his first official act he told Big Jock he wanted a cartload of coal delivered to Houn Fell.    As an afterthought, he added what was undoubtedly the bonniest gift Rory ever saw.   A whole cartload of well-rotted cow shit.
 
Or perhaps the bonniest gift was Jeremy himself, in the skud, spreading a bit muck on the swedes and the cabbages, laughing as they flung handfulls in each other's faces, while his mother smiled at the sound of their games.    They played their other skuddy game together too, in the cabbage patch.   They thought that because Mither could not see, that she was blind.

    
 
  IX.    Daddie.  
Half the shire knew before Rory.

Four glorious weeks had sped away, and Rory was sitting wi' his mither on bench, in kirk o' a Sunday.   Mrs. Campion, in a whisper that rattled the kirk windows, hissed:   "That Rory McAllister's not ashamed to show his face, when he has got his lass with child!  He mun go on the cutty stool!"

After an interminable sermon, on the generations in the book of Numbers, Rory ran - on sabbath - to Cairns croft.    There was no one there yet - the Free Kirk minister could talk for even longer than the Kirk o' Scotland one.   So Rory sat down to wait, wondering if Hamish Cairns would kill him, or just kick his balls until he was as dry as Mr. Nethery.    He saw a lad running - running on sabbath - up the road to Cairns croft.   It was Kat's brother Roger.

"Rory - I thought ye might be here.   Ye mun go, Daddie will kill ye."

"And welcome.   But - has he hurt Kat?   I canna thole it if he's hurt Kat."

"I'd say it's ye tha' has hurt Kat.    The parish council said Daddie was not fit to raise wee-uns, since mither is deid, and they took Kat and put her with a godly family in Glesgie."

"Why didna the council come to my croft and punish me?   It was my doing, not Kat's."

"Maybe they will."

Rory thought of his mother, left at the Kirk.   He imagined Mrs. Campion and the minister's wife, screaming insults at her.   It was his fault, and it was only the start o' what she mun thole for his sin.   But what he'd done to Kat was worse.

"What do you think it means, being sent to a godly family in Glesgie?"

"Mrs. Campion said they would love the sinner by purging her sin.    I dinna ken what that means exactly, but Mrs. Campion told Daddie that if the belt canna turn us from our heathen ways, we'll be placed with godly families too.    She asked us questions from Bible, and made Daddie belt us for the ones we dinna know.   We be suppose ta study Bible ilka day.     For what Kat did, I think they will belt her ilka day, until the wee-un is borned."

"Aye, Roger, they will."   - It was Mr. Cairns.   He had come, with his wee-uns trailing behind him, at as fast a walk as he could without a sabbath-breaking run.

"He is ta whip her ilka day.  He - Mr. McFarren, a Kirk warden - is ta whip her; it is agreed wi' the parish council.  But I know these godly men.  Whited sepulchers of corruption : cant and fine airs fer show, stinking rot and corruption inside.  I think he will whip her i' the skud, and he will tak it in mind to whip her on the site o' her sin.   And if he does not then commit the sin he whips her for, I will be unco surprised.   You mun save her, Houn Fell."

"What can I do?"

It was Roger who answered.  "Go tae Glesgie, Rory.   See her.   Find out what her life is.   It may be that they are truly godly folk, and it is nae so bad.   If it be only the belt e'ery day, she can thole it.   We ken well how ta thole the belt, we Cairns.  But if it is - if it is - um, bad; then we mun....   If it is bad--bad laik thon--then tell her that we will save her - and then we mun think o' how ta do it.   But ye mun save her, Rory.  Will you marry her?"

"I canna, Roger.   I ha'e nowt.   And the parish council will put me with a godly family too, to be whipped ilka day, as I should be."

Mr. Cairns answered him - "They will not.    Kat and Roger both, they came inta this vale o' sin afore I stood up in Kirk wi' their mother, and she was whipped well fer each o' them, but I wasna whip at a'."

"I deserve ta be."

"Aye.   But ye willna be, an ye can marry her if ye will.   I have no fear for ye, Rory.   You ha'e the gift, the gift o' sil'er drawn te ye o' its own accord.   I wisht I had it.  You are the lad ilka body in Ayrshire wants noo, Rory.  Ye are Houn Fell - a master, a respected master o' a farm, and ye a wee lad. You can marry and raise the wee-un, and ha'e more wee-uns, and ha'e nae fear that they'll go hungry."

"I canna hope it will come out so well, Daddie, but I would want tha' more'n anything.   I will go to Glesgie.  Ye mun nae whip me today so I canna walk.   When I coom back from ha'ing a word wi' her in toon, ye may whip me proper then."

"If I raise my hand to ye, Houn Fell, I think I wouldna stop until I killed ye.   And then what should I do for a son-in-law half so guid?   Ye did nae more nor I, as a lad, and ye're better placed to marry the lass than I was.    But ye remind me - Roger mun tak fifteen stripes, for run on sabbath.   And then we mun read i' the Guid Book."

There was a great moan among the wee-uns.   Roger said: "But ye canna whip on sabbath, Daddie.   Do ye mean I will ha'e thon fifteen, on Monday morn?"

"I canna whip on the sabbath, son, but here Rory is nae so guid a Christian.   I ha'e nae heard the Kirk o' Scotland forbids it.   Houn Fell, tak a belt ta laddie.  Ye may do, in barn."

"Roger ran to warn me, Cairns, to save my life.  He thought you would kill me.   It was his Christian duty, and Christian charity, to run."

"Ye waste yer breath, Rory.   Daddie says, if it be so important ta be worth breaking sabbath, it be worth the belting.  I knew I would be belted for it.   Would ye no ha'e done the same?   Ta'en a belting to save my life?"

"Aye."

"Well, in truth I had hope it would be just five.   But as it be fifteen, I like better to ha'e them now of ye, than wait for morn and my Daddie's belting."

"I canna do it ta ye, Roger."

"Ye ha'e laid many stokes on Kat's britchen, Rory, just as sure as if ye belted her yersel.   Think o' her when ye belt me."

But then Mr. Cairns said: "If it was ta save his father fro' the sin of mourder, it was nae a sin for Roger ta run on sabbath."

Roger was surprised, but he dinna look too pleased, for all he had escape of a belting.   He said, angrily: "You got out of belting me, Rory.   But you are guilty o' all the beltings Kat will get, all the same.   I hope for yer sake ye know yer Bible.    Mary, who were the four evangelists?"

That should ha'e been an easy one, e'en for wee Mary, but she mun ha'e been nervous.   She said "Matthew, Paul, Luke, Mark, and John."

Rory started to say: "Think, Mary!  Say your answer again." but Roger shushed him with a hand.

"You said five names, Mary, so yer answer is wrong.   Ye will have five stripes fer such a glaikit answer.    Rory will beat you."  And Roger glared at Rory, satisfied to make him do this thing.

Mary lifted her wee skirt, but she bent over Roger's lap, as if she hadna understood she was to be whipped by Rory.   Such a wee britchen seemed more fit to skelp wi' the hand.       It was a strange, dangerous, way to whip, with the lass on her brother's lap; a wild blow could hit Roger in the face as it came down, and Roger did nothing to make it easier, and he glared in hatred at Rory for what he was doing, even as he was making Rory do it.   As Rory raised the belt to bring it down on the bonnie wee doup, Roger's hand jumped forward to get in the way.  He pulled his hand back just in time as if he had to fight his own hand to do it.  Rory gave what he thought was a too-hard blow.   It made an ugly mark on the baby-soft skin.

"Tha's no hard enou', Rory.   It doesna count.  Do it harder."

Rory swung the strap harder.   Roger said "harder" after that stroke too, but he didna say it didna count.    Rory whipped as Roger made him whip, hard, and at the same time Roger glared at him with hatred for beating his wee sister.   Roger moved his face so far into the path of the belt that Rory was forced down on one knee, as the only way he could bring the strap to play on the lass's wee behind without taking out her brother's eye.   Mary did not flinch or jerk or moan, as if the belting was light compared to what she was used to.   When five strokes were over, she stood up and asked him: "Are you going to marry oor Kat, Mr. McAllister?"

"Aye."

"I miss her.   Can I come bide with youse when ye be married?"

"If yer father allows it, ye may come visit us."

"And sleep wi' Kat in her bed?"

"Aye."

She raised her arms, wanting to be picked up, and when he picked her up she kissed him.   He kissed her back.   When he went to put her down, she fussed, so he swung her to his hip.   Hamish frowned at such carrying-on on the sabbath, but said nothing.  Roger went into the house for the Bible, and when he came back he opened it at random and held it out for Mary to read, still on Rory's hip.  The book fell open to the story of Joseph's coat, which Rory knew by heart, and he helped her with the hard words.   Mary, who had not made a sound when she was whipped, sobbed for Joseph thrown into a well by his brothers, as if she had never understood what the words were saying before - the murder of the younger by the older.   Rory asked her to read the passage over again when they got to the end, and she did it with no mistakes and with real feeling, to make anyone who heard it weep for Joseph; and when she was done she looked at her own brothers and sisters, who were beaming with admiration.   And she looked up with adoration into Rory's face as he helped her pronounce "Midianites" and told her who the Midianites were, and mentioned that Moses had married a woman of Midian, the daughter of Jethro.

"Do you ha'e a question for our Beth, Rory, since ye ken yer Bible so well?"

Rory did not want to skelp a body more, so he asked a very easy question.   He asked Beth: "Who betrayed our Lord?"

Beth got her easy question right, and so did Eleanor, Duncan, and John.    Rory had to sit on the ground, as he now had a wee-un on each knee, and two more clambering over his shoulders, as he helped each one to read a passage.  Each one gave Rory a kiss, and wanted a kiss in return, for getting it right.  Duncan boasted to John that his kiss had been the better, since Rory had hugged him as well as kissed him, and so John had to be hugged too, and kissed again, though he was all of eleven, and torn between wanting the hug and the kiss and thinking he was too old for it.   The younger ones knew that Rory was the man who was to marry their Kat.   Nae doubt they'd heard too - it was the speak of Ayrshire - the story of Rory in the Leddie's bed, but they were too young to know what this meant -  that it  was a betrayal of Kat.     And so their loving welcome into the family made Rory feel quite ill.

And he began to see that the family, which he had so much envied, had its troubles.  He could see now, what he had never suspected before, that Hamish could not read.   The Bible reading and the questioning was run by Roger - and by himself.    The children were not well cared for, and they had the haunted look of children too much beaten - children afraid of their father.   They clung to Rory.   Rory's own mother was no believer in sparing the rod, but she was always fair. Their reading was not what it should have been.   Rory did not do well in schuil, but he had read to his mother every day since he was a tot; he read from the Bible every day and also from borrowed books, and he talked to her too.  His mother had been to university, and had met most of the Scottish authors they read - Grey and Gunn and Doyle.   Rory realized that he actually he knew quite a lot, compared to the Cairns.  The Cairns wee-uns could read, but they did not understand, nor even see that the Bible could be understood.   Rory's explanations seemed to them like things of wonder.

There was another Cairns lass, Margail, but she was in service.   So that left Roger.   Rory asked the lad about what was, for Rory, the most-read story in all the books of Moses.

"How were Hagar and Ishmael saved in the wilderness?"

"I do not answer."

"Ye mean ye dinna ken the answer?    Do ye take yer five stripes, then?"

"Twenty, Rory.   I ur a little older than oor Mary.   We'll do it in barn."

The strap - the same as he had used on Mary's wee britchen, was not heavy or stiff, so twenty strokes was not so very many for a lad of Roger's age.   In the barn, Roger dropped his breeches, but he did not bend over - he knelt in front of Rory, and took his hands, and begged.

"Rory, ye mun bring oor Katherine back.    We are falling apart."

"What do ye mean?"

"Daddie's not much use, since mother died.   Perhaps not much use, before.   Kat has been our mother.    She's been master o' Cairns.  I canna do it - I canna be master.   I dinna e'en get food for the wee-uns - not enou' - most day.    I dinna prepare today fer Sabbath dinner - I dinna ken what ta do.  Duncan and John willna do what I say.  I canna deal wi' wee-uns and do my milking an a' tha' needs ta be done - I canna do it; I havna slept, Rory; not since they took Kat; not slept proper in my bed.  I fall asleep i' the cowshed.  And it isna just - not just that we need her to cook and run the croft - the wee-ans are lost wi'ou' her.   I ur lost wi'ou' her."

"But Roger, if I marry Kat - and I dinna see how tha' can be - if I marry her and tak her to Houn Fell, I should then ha'e taken her from ye, just the same."

"When ye are married, I think the parish council can no object if ye live here.  And until ye get her back - could ye come live here?   Ta help me?  Ye saw how the younger ones are.   They'll obey you.   They need you.   Ye owe it to us.   For what ye did to Kat."

"May be.   When I go ta Glesgie - ahh ..."

"What?"

"I think I know how it mun be.   When I go ta Glesgie, ta see Kat, I mun set my mother to bide wi' ye."

"Another mouth ta feed ... a blind woman?"

"A mother.    If she has eyes - if wee Mary will be her eyes and see for her - she can run this croft better than any body in Ayrshire.    And she will be wonderful wi' the wee-uns.   I may be able to get my hands on a bit food, and a bit fuel - fer her keep, and more - fer ye ta feed the wee-uns."

"I knew this is how it would be, Rory.   When we found out Kat had a wee-un, and you were the Daddie, she dinna think ye'd marry her, but I knew ye would.  I know ye'll be Daddie to her new wee-un, and be Daddie to the wee-uns she's been mither to.   Including me."

"May be.   But I ha'e nocht yet."

Hamish opened the barn door.   "Ha'e ye nae done the belting, Houn Fell?"

"Just about to, Cairns."

Hamish dinna shut the door again.    Rory whispered to Roger - "Did ye truly nae ken the answer?  Do ye nae know the story o' Ishmael?"

"Aye, I know it, Rory - in the Wilderness o' Beersheba the angel o' Elohim opened Hagar's eyes.   She saw the spring, and so Ishmael was saved."

"Ye took twenty stripes just so ye could talk to me?"

"Ye are Kat's man, married or no.  John and Duncan won't obey me, but they will you.   See, there they be, a keeking a' the door, ta watch how well ye gi'e a belting - and I want them ta see it.   Strike hard, hard ta put fear in John and Duncan, but then you mun come back ta tak care o' us.   Wi' Kat or no, ye mun help us.   That's why I tak these twenty stripes."

"Roger, do ye want a hug and a kiss, like John and Duncan, for knowing the right answer?"

Roger looked at Rory's face for many long seconds.    John whispered to Duncan : "Rory'a a' ta kiss oor Roger!"  Duncan whispered "Gi'e away wi'ye, they'll no kiss!"    And indeed at last Roger said: "Nay."

Roger stayed on his knees, and he lifted his shirt up to under his arms, and bent over.   John and Duncan smouked in and knelt by their brother in a row, looking for a' the world as if they were waiting a turn.   Their clothes were all patches, and they had no shoes, but they had eaten better all their lives than Rory; and so their bodies had full calves and thighs and buttocks.   Rory thought they were three unco bonnie fair-hair lads.  He stroked Roger's britchen with his hand.

"What are ye doing, Rory?" John asked.    He stared at Rory's hand caressing his brother's arse.

"This is the way a blind woman belts.   My mither'll be raising ye, John, no me.   And she is unco strict; ye mun get used ta long hard skelpings."

John gulped and rubbed his doup, as if he was already easing the pain of an imaginary belting.  Roger took his stripes patiently, but he was tetchie about the stroking with the hand Rory gave him before each blow.     Rory thought he knew why.    He looked at the boy's crotch, and he was right - Roger had got a stonner.    Roger grinned sheepishly when he saw Rory looking, and John whispered "Oor Roger's got a stonner!"   All three boys pyked a keek at Rory crotch - which was quite under control, thank ye, for all that Rory was belting in the skud the bonniest britchen he had ever seen.    Rory had too much to think about, to think about that.  But if his stonner did not rise, he was certainly aware of belting a lad who was stunnerfu' bonnie, from face to foot.   Jeremy, his love Jeremy, was really quite ugly in comparison.

While he was beating, he thought only of Kat, and what he would have to do.  This coming week was to have been the last he would have with Jeremy this year.   They wouldna noo be able to spend it a week o' pleasure, as Rory had hoped, but that was a small thing.    The important thing was that he still had Jeremy for a week, and Jeremy could help him.    Jeremy was willing to steal from the household accounts at the Manse, to help Rory; Rory had refused - but now he would have to accept.    Everything had to give way to way to the main thing - saving Kat.    And - Rory gulped - the baby.   His baby.     His wee-un.

John and Duncan kept count of the strokes, not wanting their brother to miss a single one, and when they said it was twenty, Rory said: "So now ye ask me a hard question, Roger.   Pick one I can't answer, and gi'e me a belting.  As long and as hard as ye can, I willna mind.   More than twenty; a hundred.  I ken you want ta punish me for what I did ta Kat."

"I canna whip on Sabbath, ye remember?    And a belting that killed ye wouldna be enough.   Come tak care of us, Rory.   Thon's yer punishment.   Fer yer question : who was Jesus's mother?"

Rory answered, said farewell, and took off - there was so much he had to do. 

He went to Nethery's first.   He knew that the flesher's supplies of untaxed whiskey came from a Glasgow gang, and he hoped for a job carrying whiskey to and from Glasgow, in exchange for some meat for his mother and all the Cairns wee-uns.  But he was going to accept any job Nethery had for him to do - any job at all, including the one Nethery wanted him to do most.    When he came into the shop, there was a Glasgow man there - from the gang, Rory suspected, but he pretended not to recognize him.    And there was someone else in the shop, an auld Ayrshire farm hand named Tammy Rourke.  Tammy was good with cattle, but he was no longer quick on his heels nor clear in his eyes.   And anyway there was nae work in Ayrshire, not even for fit and sober young men.

The old man was begging - "You wouldna tak my dog, Mr. Nethery.  You couldna.  A shepherd canna make a living if he no ha'e a dog."

"What can ye pay?"

"No money.   This is all I have."

Paddy pointed to a dead rabbit on the counter, with some vegetables from his garden.   Rory doubted he could spare them.   Part of the old man's debt was Rory's fault.   On his first night carrying whiskey, four months ago, Rory had handed Tammy the bottle before Tammy handed him the money - and he had to report back to Nethery that Tammy Rourk had tricked him.   Old Nethery had given Rory a thrashing for it.    Rory had objected - "Can ye nae just put the bottle on his tick?"   But Nethery said he would put the bottle on tick all right, but he dinna expect that Tammy would e'er pay up his tick, and so he munnae be gi'en any more credit, and he had told Rory that before he went.   And it seemed Nethery had been right; Tammy had never paid up his tick.

Mr. Nethery looked at the vegetables and said: "It is not enou', Tammy.   I mun tak the dog.  Ye mun see I ha'e ta tak her."

"Do what ye like ta me, sir, but dinna tak me dog!"

"Ye say that 'cause ye think I willna, Tammy.  But here's Houn Fell ta do it."

"Ochen.   The nettle - I canna dree the nettle.   Please Mr. Nethery!   I ha'e no a piece o' sil'er i' the world tae gi'e ye.  I canna pay.  I can maybe spare ye some more cabbages."

"See that you bring more, next week.   It's the nettle next week - this is just ta help ye remember."   The flesher took a strap from its hook and handed it to Rory.

"Bless ye sir, Bless ye."

The old man looked coldly at Rory.   If he was grateful to Nethery for letting him off with a licking when he could have taken away the dog, he did not have any blessing for the lad who would be swinging the leather.    Rory glared back, and the old man nodded.

"Rory McAllister.  Ye'll do it?"

"Aye, Tammy, I will belt ye."

Tammy dropped his breeches and steped out of them, and bent over the lard barrel, which was still out in the middle of the floor, where Rory had put it, a month ago, for his own strapping.   Rory took the strap - he had ta do this, if he hoped ta ask Nethery ta spare a bit meat for Cairns.   And anyway, he dinna like Tammy Rourke.   He dinna care for Papists much at all, really.     But no body should ha'e ta gi'e up his dog.

As Rory got ready ta gi'e Tammy the belt, he asked him: "Why did ye think I would use the nettle, Tammy?"

"Och, havena I been a' hearing  o' the game youse lads play? - ta see who can dree the most pain?   They say ye invented it, Rory.    Are ye going torture me wi' nettle, next week?   I havna got enou' cabbages ta give ta Mr. Nethery, e'en if I dinna eat a one!"

"Do you remember the time ye pyked thon bottle from me, Tammy?"

"Aye, Rory, I do.   And I'm unco sorry."

"Mr. Nethery belted me for that, when I came back with bottle gone and no money ta pay fer it.   Ten stripes.  I will gi'e ye the same, and then we're quits.  Tha' fair, Tammy, is it no?   I'll gi'e ye nae more than is fair.  And next week ..."

"I'll bring twice as much next week.  I'll bring some money.   Whate'er ye say.   I canna dree the thought o' the nettle.  I heard Tom McCall boast he had ta'en the torture o' the nettle on his ba's.  He said it was ek-ek-skwizitt, but I couldna.  I couldna.  When I put my hand in the nettle, i canna dree ...  - and I could no ever dree ta think o' the nettle on my ba's!  Gi'e me a tha' belt, hard, hard, hard, but nae the nettle on my ba's, I couldna dree it."

For all his reputation as the Torquemada of Ayrshire, this was only the third belting Rory had given in his life - and the first two had been wee Mary's and Roger's, an hour ago.  Roger's belting had been so light it was almost tickling.  This would not be.  Ten stripes hard - the same as the belting Rory had gotten for Tammy's trick.    Rory would do it, but it made him feel sick.   He gave the first -

 - and was stunned by how good it felt to do it.   All his stored anger at the old man came flooding back.    Tammy whimpered like a hurt animal.    But Rory dinna feel any sympathy, just disgust.   Even wee lads, playing doctor at the holly, were braver than Tammy.    The second stroke landed crooked.    This was a new strap of home-cured hide--Jeremy had bought the old strap--and it was wide and thick and harder than any patent leather.   Lining up ten stripes the length of Tammy's britchen would take pinpoint precision.    Rory eyed his target, and let fly - and Tammy howled in pain.   This was fun.    To fit in ten stripes, without landing one on top of another, the lowest one would have to be only a bit above the backs of the knees.   Rory did that one next.   Tammy dinna cry out for that one - perhaps it didna hurt as much there.     The next one Rory landed just where the doup joins the tops of the legs - the most painful spot of all, as no one knew better than Rory.    But Tammy managed to stifle his scream.   He was getting braver as the whipping went on.

But Tammy's bravery, although he admired it, didna make Rory want to hurt him any less; indeed it made him enjoy hurting the Irishman even more.   It was fun to cause the pain that Tammy struggled so hard to dree.     For the next stripe Rory aimed high, but it went crooked again, and landed mostly on top of an earlier stripe.    Tammy dreed the pain by clenching his fists, like Wee Jock, and Rory exulted in the pleasure of hurting him.  There were four more stripes to go, and Rory wanted each one to hurt more than the last.   He aimed the next stripe right on the line where two stripes had already hit.    Tammy's courage was equal to it.   Rory felt sympathy enough to want Tammy to win through - to bear the stripes without the shame of weeping or begging.   But his sympathy didn't want to make him go easy; instead he wanted to hit hard, to give the old man something ta be brave about.

Rory had been thrashed on this same barrel.    But Tammy was lying across the top of the barrel with his legs together.   Rory, about the same height, had squatted and bent and squeezed the barrel between his knees like a pony.   So when Rory was whipped the belt tip had thrashed his sensitive inside thighs.    Even worse, his wullie had been flat against the barrel side, and with his knees spread so far apart, the tip of the belt had snouk in yonce or twa and skelped it.     That was the most agonizing pain of the whipping, and the most frightening.      Rory wanted to see if Tammy's courage was equal to that too, so he made Tammy spread his legs for his last three stripes.    Tammy's wullie was an unco thin one, and it was limp.     Rory's had been as hard as wood for his thrashing.    So being whipped was very different for Tammy than it had been for Rory.

But as soon as Rory took position to strike the belt across Tammy's spread thighs, he could tell there was a change in the old man.   He walked behind him to confirm what he already knew - that the old man's wullie wasna limp any more.   Something had excited the old man, perhaps that his wullie was now exposed to the belt.   Rory manhood had survived the belting, but he was young - Tammy was old, and Rory was afeared it was dangerous to whip an old man's engorged rod.  Rory gave Tammy an unco hard stroke, but aimed high up so there was no chance of the tip slipping between the old man's thighs.  The blow landed on top of a stripe, and the pain must have been terrific - but the old man didn't show any pain.  Rory had been whipped often enough ta know quite well it doesna hurt as much when you have a stonner, especially not when that stonner is on the edge of spilling.

Only two more.   Rory changed his mind again.   It would be safe enough to strike between the legs, if he was careful and dinna strike the old man's wullie too hard.  The blow hit just as Rory planned it, the tip skelped across the underside of the old man's hard thin stonner.   Tammy's breathing changed  and Rory knew he was very close - it was almost as if Rory felt it himself.   Tammy gripped the rough barrel and his feet lifted off the floor - responding to the agonizing pain, or to some emotion.   At the right instant, Rory struck his last stripe - with the tip slapping Tammy's stonner again.     White milk streamed down the side of the barrel.   Rory felt an exaltation that was not much short of shooting his own milk.  Tammy reached back and grabbed his arse cheeks in his hands, spreading them apart,  presenting the fud of his arse for penetration.

Rory wasna going ta do thon, even if the old man truly wanted it, which he dinna think he truly did.   And anyway Rory wasna hard.  Without asking Mr. Nethery if the punishment was enough, he told Tammy to put his breeches on, and go home.

"He seems a puir soul," Rory said when the old man had gone.

"Why did ye belt him then?"

Rory pointed at the rabbit and the vegetables on the counter.   "I wouldna mind ta gi'e him the belt ilka week, like ye said, Mr. Nethery.   But no ta mak him go hungry.  No ta tak fra' him the food he needs ta live."

"He's no so puir. He gets sil'er fra' parish council, and he buys whiskey - from Mrs. Muir.   I ken he does.   I ken she resells it ta him fer more than I sell it ta her.  And besides he always has enou' for that mangy dog o' his.   Did ye mean what ye say, Houn Fell?   Ye'd be willing to gi'e him the belt yonce a week?   I ha'e told him again and again if he canna pay the bit, each week, I would tak the dog.   But he knows I wouldna, and I canna belt him.  If he faced the belt, faced it ilka Sunday like he sees his Papist priest, he wouldna be paying my bit sil'er ta Alison Muir fer ta buy thon whiskey ...   And then there's some others that are slow ta pay ye could mebbe help me with."

"Aye.    But I'm going to Glesgie. Mr. Nethery.   I mun set my mither to bide wi' Hamish Cairns, and I'd like it fine if ye could spare a bit meat from time to time, for her and the weans at Cairns.   For that matter we spoke of, concerning the curing of a certain disease, I'd be willing ta do what ye asked o' me, afore I go tae Glesgie.   And perhaps ye ha'e a package ye need carry to Glesgie, or some'ut tae fetch when I come back?"

The man, the gangster, who had watched the belting with obvious interest, perked up his ears at this, and spoke at last.   "Ye are coming to Glesgie, laddie?"

"Aye, as I said.    And ye are?"

"Ca' me Hinton."

"Och, well then, Hinton, I am Rory McAllister o' Houn Fell, and I am and a' going ta Glesgie, if my business wi' Nethery be any o' yourn."

"And nae doot the master o' Houn Fell always stays at the Ritz - or maybe he prefers the maids at the Caledonian.   But if the Laird be willing to humble hissel to hobnob wi the common folk, I could maybe offer him a bed."

"And why would ye offer a place to stay ta the likes o' me?"

"I ha'e some work for ye."

"A job?   Ye can get me a job?   I dinna mean ta be so rude, Mr. Hinton.   But - what kind of a job?"

"The same work as here.   Helping those that owe money ta see it is guid ta pay it."

"Aye.   Well, Mr. Hinton, I am coming ta Glesgie ta find a woman.   Perhaps ye can help me."

"I'm the man fer ye, laddie.  I ha'e quite a few lasses.   And when they owe me, it'll be part o' yer job to mak them pay.   How ye do that is for ye ta say - I can see ye ha'e the tools fer it - so I think ye'll ha'e nae shortage o' lasses.   And if ye want, ye may ha'e a lass or twa ta manage.   I ha'e a new girl who is unco bonnie - bee-yoo-ti-full she is - she'll be guid earner, yonce she's tame, she'll be a right world-beater ... and I mind ye're the man ta tame her.   She needs ta rid hersel o' a pudding in the oven, and I wan ye ta help her see the wisdom o' that.  There is a patch o' nettle I could show ye, growing right i' my own close, and I ken the lass needs ta feel it on her britchen."

"I mean I'm looking for a particular lass, Mr. Hinton.   She's been put wi' a family called McFerrin.   I dinna ken where he bides in Glesgie;  but he is a church-warden; I heard tha'.   Wee Frees, I ken it would be, fer thon's wha' her family is.   The lass ha'e been placed there as a slavey, by the parish council here.   She's fifteen.  Tall for her age, dark haired, and unco bonnie.   Brown eyes.   Unco bonnie eyes.   She's wi' child, but it shouldna show."

"A church-warden called McFerrin.   There canna be monie o' those in Glesgie.  Ye want ta get this lass free fra' McFerrin?"

"I want to find her, and talk.   I may need ta get her free."

"If ye do, ye'll need ta hide her.    Ye canna bring her back here, tis first place they'll look.   Ye'll ha'e ta hide her in Glesgie, wi' the rozzers looking.   A runaway, they'll call her.   I'm the man ye need ta hide a body in Glesgie."

"That's why I'm going ta work for ye.   And I'll do owt the job requires."

"Weell I can mak inquiries abou' this McFerrin, fer ye then, master o' Houn Fell."

"I mean ta start fer Glesgie in morn."

"Start?   Ochen, ye mean ye plan ta walk it?    I'll gi'e ye the train fare, McAllister.  And here Nethery'll run ye ta station in flesher's van.   But I ha' no need o' ye so soon."

"I'd like ta start looking."

"I'm no ready fer ye.   I'll send ye telegram."

"Whate'er ye say, Mr. Hinton."

"Guid then.  Ye'll be the man ta come ta East Ayrshire, ta arrange for deliveries wi' Nethery and a few others.  I've nae time fer it any more, and I need a man o' parts as knows the lay o' things in Ayrshire.  Nethery, meet yer new boss."

Rory said: "Aye.    I laik tha' fine.  And Mr. Nethery, I ken ye've been a kind man ta me and me mither, and I've a mind we'll get on fine.   Fer thon service ye asked fer, I've a mind ta do as ye ask, fer the curing o' thon disease, and ye ha' no need ta gi'e me owt fer it."    

At that, young Patrick Nethery, sitting behind the counter and not noticed by anyone, let out a gasp.

    
 
  X.    The Mastrubation of Jeremy.  
The  crofter lad and the pimp shook hands.

Rory wanted to talk more with Nethery, but Hinton did too, to talk about Rory.   And Rory thought they'd do that better without him there, so he left the shop with his ears burning and headed for the Auld Manse.    He met Jeremy and his father on the road, with fishing rods in their hands.

"Just the m-m-man we wanted, father.    Rory, come tak this bit gear."

"On sabbath?"

Jeremy blushed.    But Mr. Thomasson answered: "I know the village will talk, Jeremy.   But it's the only day I'm free, and we're off to England in a week.   I dare say they'll have forgotten by then.   And, Jeremy, I don't want you aping their foul low dialect; don't let me remind you again - you are an Englishman!"

Rory said: "They'll nae forget I carried yer gear o' sabbath."

"If you don't need the money, young laddie, then I guess we won't be needing your services again."

Rory didn't answer, but took the creel, hamper, and rod from Jeremy.

"You see, Jeremy, you just have to be firm with them.   It's the only thing they respect."

When they reached the little burn that flows below the Manse, Jeremy pulled out two good-sized browns with his first three casts, and then nothing for four casts.    Mr. Thomasson got nothing at all.    Jeremy said: "I think I'll walk over to the river.  I don't think there are any m-m-more fish here."

"You shouldn't be so impatient, Jeremy.  It is steady effort that wins in the end."

"I want to try the river."

"Go along, then, if you're ready to - give up.   I'll keep trying here."

Rory didn't go with Jeremy, but lay back on the grass, looking content to rest all day.    Mr. Thomasson noticed him.   "You can run along with Jeremy, laddie.   No lolly-gagging about on the time I'm paying you for."

Looking crushed, Rory picked up the creel and ran after Jeremy.   "I dinna think yer Daddie likes me, Jeremy."

"He thinks you're bad luck.   Somehow he's noticed that when we go out together, I never, ever catch any fish."

"I wonder why?"

"Perhaps I've been casting with the wrong kind of rod.   What do you think Rory?   Is this a good rod for brownies?   Do you think I'll catch anything with this, Rory?   Do you want to go fishing?  O Rory, you got us another day, Rory, another day!   Ye smouked us another day, and you made pater pay you for it!   You're a genius!"

"Put that thing away.   A body will see it."

"And you don't think they'll see the cudgel in your pocket?"

"Stop it, Jeremy, I've some'ut to tell ye.   It's unco serious.   It's unco bad.   It's  - Och, Jeremy how can I be serious when you look like that?"

"I can look how I like.   But if you do that, Rory, someone really will see us."

"We'll go to the holly.   We'll go to the holly NOW.   Or I may ha'e ta do some'ut on the road."

"Remember what happened last time, Love, when you and I fu ... - when you and I did what you call doin' some'ut, under the holly?   I was pumpin' away and Patrick was there listen' behind the ivy."

"That was the last time I had yer cock in me, Jeremy, I havna forgotten it - what ye think?.   And we're going to do that again.   Noo!"

"No we're not, Love.    It's - it's -   God, Rory, don't you think I wish I didn't have to give you money.   I'm glad you are too proud to take charity.   But if you don't eat and don't have any coal, you'll get sick and so will your mother.   And as long as I'm giving you money, I can't have sex for it."

"I'm nae proud any more."

"You've said that before.    But it's obviously not true.   You are as proud as a - ... as proud as a Scotsman.   And you have more right to be proud than any man in Scotland.   I can't make you into a whore, and if I take any pleasure in your asshole it's pleasure I'm paying you for, and that's just a fact.    And you can't make me believe you don't care."  

"It's different noo."

"No, Love, it isn't different."

"Jeremy, it is different - things have changed.   I ha'e agreed ta fuck Nell Scuton.    Ta flog her and then fuck her while Mr. Nethery watches. He's asked me again and again, and today I said I would.  I'm doing this for a bit meat, for my mother and the wee-uns at Cairns, and a bit sil'er too, if he'll pay it.   So don't tell me I'm too proud to be a hoor.    I do it fer tha' money - I feel nowt fer Nell Scuton.   I hope my famous spear doesna disappoint her.  I dinna e'en ken an' she's agreed ta it - ta the fucking nor the flogging."

"You d-d-don't have to do this,  Rory.     Love.   Let m-me get you the m-m-money you need.  Love, don't do this.  I CAN'T STAND IT!."

"Ye are in love wi' a hoor, Jeremy.   You should lea'e me alone and find someone who's worthy o' ye."

"This ought to make me angry, but it doesn't.   I want . . .   Take me roughly, Rory.   I mean, Sir.   No, I don't mean Sir, I mean Houn Fell.   I want to call you Houn Fell.  You are the Master.  Master of Houn Fell.  My Master forever.  Take me roughly.   Nothing for my pleasure, only yours.   Punish me, Houn Fell.   Treat me as you would Nell Scuton.    Fuck me as if you didn't care about me, and flog me. And I'll pay.  Be a whore for me - but not for someone else."

"But I still mun do the thing wi' Nell Scuton and Nethery."

"Love why - I mean, why now, Houn Fell?   After a month?"

"I'm doing it noo, Jeremy, fer by I mun go ta Glesgie."

"But why?   You have enough coal for the winter, don't you?   If you don't, I can get more.  What could you need in Glasgow?"

"Kat's in Glesgie."

Jeremy, whose English upper lip did not quaver when he got a caning that drew blood, staggered.    He was crushed.   He sagged to the ground.  

"You never said you loved me.   I knew you didn't.   You don't love me.  You would have said, if you did.  But you never said.   Ror-ree!  Aghh!  I thought ...   Well, you did seem to ... to care for me.   I thought ... I thought ...  Oh fuck.   Fuck! .   But you did say you'd rather be with me.   Once you did say that.   But you ...  I ... uh .. uh ... "

"Jeremy, please.   Please don't cry, Jeremy.  Please stop crying.   Let me kiss you.  Please, Jeremy.   Oh why did I have to do this in the road?  If we were at the holly I could ...  Please Jeremy, it's nocht to do wi' whether I'd rather be wi' her than ye.   Please stop.    Jeremy, she is carrying my wean.   I mun tak care ..."

"SHE'S WHAT?"

"I have a child, Jeremy!   I mun tak care o' it."

"I want to go home now, Houn Fell.   Please.   I don't feel ... I think I'm going to be sick.   You can go be with her.  You can go to Glasgow - go to Hell if you want to, I don't care.   Of course you want her more, if she is giving you a child.   I can't give you a child."

"STOP.    Jeremy, I need ye."

"Of course you need my money - you've got a woman and a child.  A wife and child - you'll marry her you noble bastard.   Fuck!   Fuck you McAllister!   You'll still get my money.  It wasn't payment for your time with me.   I know you think it was, but it wasn't.   You'll still get the money."

"Jeremy, no!    I need ye Jeremy.    Canna ye tell how much?"

"I thought you wanted me.   All month I've thought you wanted me.  I thought I knew things, even though you didn't say them ...  And all the time you were ... I guess I was wrong.   I shouldn't have assumed things you didn't say."

"Jeremy, I should ha'e told ye how much I wanted ye.   But ye were going in a month; I knew that from the start.   I wanted this month to be happy - it has  been happy.   Do you wish we had spent it weeping - writing poems about how we would never see each other again."

"Never see each other again?  Is that what you thought?   But I'll be back next summer!.    And there are trains - Scotland isn't the moon.   I can get you train fare to come down to Surrey for a week-end - you could camp somewhere and I could sneak out to be with you.  And I'll write.  I had it all planned.  We were never going to be apart - not really.   A month or two, writing every day, and then I'd somehow get to Scotland on the overnight train, or get you to England.   Letters every day - every day - I would have written every day. I  know that's not what you wanted - you don't love me.    But if you are happy with Kat Cairns, that's all I want."

"Happy?   Wi'out ye?  Ye think I can be happy?   I can't dree ta think o' it."

"You'll miss me?"

"It will hurt so much.  It hurts just ta think about how much it will hurt."

"Do you ... ?   No, you don't.   You can't."

"I'm no a good person, Jeremy.   I dinna care more for yer happiness than my own.  That's what love is.   My own happiness is what I care about.   It's just that my happiness is - you."

"Not a good person, but you are going to Glasgow to care for your woman and child.   Everything you do makes me more miserable."

"I dinna ha'e to go ta Glesgie before ye lea'e fer England.   It's ye tha's lea'ing me."

"But you care more for Kat Cairns than me.   You care more for the baby than for me.   The Rory I love would.  Of course you do.  Of course you do."

Jeremy was crying, and Rory stopped trying to comfort him, and let it run itself out - deep wracking sobs and streaming tears.  Only a little he pulled the Englishman's hands away from his eyes - Rory was no stranger to tears, and knew that red puffy eyes were bad enough without rubbing to make them worse.   And all this while they were walking along the road, saying nothing.   Five minutes brought them to where the path from Houn Fell wound down the ferny brae, and joined the road.   There was an ancient milestone at the crossroad, near the tiny spring where the lads harvested nettle; a spring swampy and choked with dog-roses, ringed by five ancient round barrows, worn down and only just visible.    The road went to the clachan in one direction, there to join the main road to Glasgow - a road older than the Romans.   In the other direction, the road narrowed, and ran for two miles further, past the Auld Manse, and then went on, narrowing to a track, climbing the fells to the scattered ruins of a Celtic monastic school, founded, the locals claimed, by St. Mungo.    And the third track was oldest of them all; from before the time of Stonehenge it had run, from the high pastures of Houn Fell, down to the holy pool.

And there, where the three roads met, was the holly.   The last survivor of what was once a small grove; there was the stump of an oak, and a hollow where the roots of an elm had once been, fallen in a storm which the oldest carlins in the parish could still remember.   Once the spring had fed a pool, shaded by a sacred grove.   But the pool had filled in and was now just a patch of swampy, nettle-choked ground, and only the holly was left of the trees - perhaps a sapling of the original sacred holly that had once shaded the sacred pool.    Jeremy faced Rory at the milestone, and placed a hand on it, and raised his other hand as if to say a solemn and final farewell.

But Rory had other ideas.   He dragged Jeremy up the path to the holly by sheer force, though Jeremy was head and shoulders taller than he was.    His attack was so violent that Moss growled, and danced about, wanting to bite this enemy of her master, but not quite able to bring herself to do it.    But the snarling angry dog was enough to make Jeremy submit.   Once in the secret space inside the ring of drooping ivy, Rory pulled Jeremy to the ground, got on top of him, and kissed him.

It was a long kiss, and Jeremy did not respond.  But when Rory pulled away at last, Jeremy pulled him back.   Now he had his arms around the Scots lad, he hugged him tight, and rolled over.   He ripped off Rory's shirt.   The patched torn fabric ripped to bits, and Jeremy sank his teeth into Rory's nipple.   Moss bit him on the neck.   Rory tried to reach his belt buckle, to get his breeches off before Jeremy ripped them off, while at the same time yelling  SIT at Moss, to stop her from biting off his lover's ear.    Jeremy gave up his attack on Rory's chest, and pulled away from the dog, using Rory as a shield from the flashing teeth, at the same time Moss obeyed and sat.       The collie and the Englishman glared at each other, challenging for possession of the very erect Scotsman, his breeches down to his knees, who was between them.  Rory had a hand on his dog's collar, a hand in his lover's hair, the two of them snarling and both with bloody teeth.    Neither one seemed likely to listen to reason.   So Rory let them both go at the same time, and dropped flat on his face, pushing his massive stonner into the damp, prickly loam of fallen holly leaves by shear force, as Jeremy spanked him, braving Moss's growls.   The loam was soft enough, and his stonner was hard enough, that he soon poked a hole, but he had to stop almost at once.   Rory could keep his erection, and get intense pleasure from shoving it into things, for hours without a climax.   He was famous for it, after all; he was the Rob Roy o' the boudoir, Rory McAllister wi' the six-hour stonner.   But not today.   He was at the point of too-late-to-stop before he knew it, and he rose to his knees, and waved his fingers at his stonner.   Jeremy finished him, enjoying the taste and feel of dark gritty humus mixed with Rory's sweat and semen.   He savoured it a while without swallowing.

Rory turned around on his knees and bent over, spreading his arse cheeks with his hands.

Jeremy said: "No, Rory, I won't do it."

" MOSS,  BITE  HIM ! "

Moss had not been trained to do any such thing, but Jeremy did not know that.    The poor bitch was hurt and confused to be yelled at.    The look on her face, with her brow wrinkled and her ears back, was enough like viciousness to scare Jeremy.   Now he was no longer so wrapped up in Rory's climax that he couldn't feel his own body, the dogbite on his neck was starting to hurt.

"I'll do it."

Jeremy spat out the semen from his mouth onto his fingers, and worked Rory's hole - which was far from clean - for quite a while, slipping in first his index finger, then his thumb.   They did this quite often - it was one of Rory's favorites.   But they had never done it as preparation for the thing Rory wanted most of all.    And that thing, Jeremy was ready to give now - he was as hard as a rock.   He pushed in deep.

A month ago, Rory had given Jeremy some urgent instructions about how to pleasure his secret spot, but Jeremy had not had his cock inside of Rory since then, and when he thought of his cock in Rory - which he thought about all the time - it wasn't Rory's pleasure that he thought about.   In Jeremy's imaginings - his nightly, daily, hourly, imaginings - of this consummation, Jeremy always came at once, on the first thrust, but now he was actually doing it, his cock slid in and out, and it felt good, but nothing like the way he had expected.     Now that he was supposedly the one getting the pleasure, instead of the one giving it, he missed the sounds of Rory mounting to a climax - Rory was enjoying this, perhaps, but Jeremy knew Rory wouldn't come from having his asshole fucked.  And anyway Rory had come just a bit ago, and Jeremy knew to an instant how long it took for Rory to come again.  And Jeremy wanted  Rory's climax - he wanted it urgently, he longed for it.  Nothing was a satisfying as working on Rory until he came; the bond between them so close he could feel everything Rory felt; he could feel that glorious unbearable unendurable wonderful -- and utterly undescribable climbing and cresting that was Rory McAllister shooting his wad.  There was nothing that felt so good in all the world.  Jeremy wished they were doing what they always did; that Rory was fucking him.    He wanted Rory to come.

It occurred to Jeremy that since he liked to hear Rory's pleasure so much, he should let Rory hear his own, and stop being so silent, like a fool of an Englishman.   It wasn't natural to him to sigh and moan with pleasure, but as he slid in and out he said "ooo, ooo," and "ah, ah, ah,"  trying to copy Rory's groans and sighs.   It sounded stupid.

Then he switched to words; he said: "This feels really good, Rory.   Really, really good.   I like ...  I like to watch it go in and out.   It's - it's fun.   It's more fun than catching fish.   It's fun, and it feels good."   Rory was so natural about his body, about his pleasure.  How did he do it?  Jeremy felt absurd.  What he was saying now seemed inane, stupider even than his forced moans of pleasure.  But how else were you supposed to say it felt good to fuck?   He felt stupid saying it, but he could tell Rory liked hearing.it.

"I'm going to go slow for a bit, Rory, to make it last.   Do you think that's a good idea?   Don't you try to make it last when you fuck me?"   

"Ye're the one ta tak his pleasure fro' me arse, Jeremy.   Ye're the one knows what ta do. .  But tell me, do I need to squeeze?   Am I doing it right?"

Jeremy didn't like talking about his pleasure because he couldn't think of anything to say that didn't sound stupid.   But Rory talking about giving him pleasure -  that was better than pleasure itself.     Jeremy had to pull out, or he would have come at that moment, just from the sound of the voice.    Rory's lilt was a fuck-drug.

Rory turned around and tried to get his mouth down to Jeremy's shit-covered penis, but Jeremy easily held him off.   But while Jeremy was holding off Rory's shoulders, Rory just used his hands.

Jeremy screamed "NOW!" and Rory spun around and bent over, just in time for Jeremy to drive into him like a hammer, and explode.   Jeremy was a head taller, and had the muscles when he chose to use them.   He picked up his wiry, squirming, dwarfish, unburned, skin-and-bones lover like a naughty spaniel puppy, and turned him over to look at his face.    They glared into each other's eyes.

"I've just taken my pleasure, Rory.    I give you money every week, so your mother doesn't freeze, and I've just taken my pleasure in your asshole.   I bought that pleasure.   You're a whore, Rory.   I love you desperately."

"I've wanted yer cock in me fer a month."

If you think you've wanted it, think how much I wanted to put it there.    You're the best thing that's ever happened to me.   You are so much more to me than any pleasure I could ever get from your asshole, but - I have a lust for it.   Not for you, I love you.  Lust to do that to you, to fuck your asshole.  Lust to make you a whore.  It's all I ever think about, doing that to you.   But I will give it up.   It's not worth it if it makes you feel like a whore.  And don't say you're a whore anyway, for Nethery, so you might as well be one for me.   Don't be a whore at all."

"I ha'e to do this thing for Nethery.   And I am a whore, but not for anything ta do wi' you.   Let me ha'e inside o' me, the one cock I want inside o' me, and nae talk abou' hooring.   I dinna want ta hear it."

"Rory, if all you get from Nethery is a little meat, worth a few shillings, I can find a way to get you that much.   I can borrow a few pounds from the Vicar at Chiddingfold, and send it to you as a postal order.   I'll have to tell him you're a girl, that you're the one who's pregnant.   He would draw the line at sodomy - but a little rural fornication is something he'll understand.    He told me to do it, actually, when I went to him and told him I wanted to be spanked as penance.   He told me it was the natural way for men to spank woman, and I should became a man with a girl, and spank her, and then I would grow out of wanting to be spanked.   He even suggested a few girls I could ask, village girls who had come to him to confess about their urges - for a vicar he has some very modern ideas.   So when I ask him for money, I'll say I have a lover in Scotland, and that my lover is going to have a child.   I don't have to mention that my lover has one of these things."

"Jeremy, ye are so much better ta me than I deserve.   Ta tell yer vicar that ye're the one got a girl wi' child, when it's me tha's done it!   And then gi'ing the sill'er ta me.   But I will tak it - tak it wi'o shame.    But I ha'e more ta tell ye.   Kat's in Glesgie, but I dinna ken where.in Glesgie."

"Then how do you know she is in Glasgow?   Didn't she tell you where she was going?"

"The parish council ha'e ta'en her from her Daddie, calling him unfit guardian for ta let her get wi' child, and they ha'e put her with a godly family in Glesgie.   Cairns says she will be whipped ilka day fer her sin."

"My God!    But how can we find her?   We could walk by the house and not know it.   We'll go, of course.   I'll just run away from home.  We'll look everywhere in Glasgow.  We'll find her."

"Jeremy, thon man we saw other day, we were right abou' him.  Hinton his name is, and he is the man supplies Nethery wi' whiskey.   All I know about Kat is: that she's wi' a family named McFerrin, and he's a churchwarden o' the Free Kirk - the Wee Frees.   But thon Hinton - he says he can find her.   And he can hide her."

"But why would he help you?"

"Because I said I would work for him."

"Work for a criminal?"

"Aye.   I'll be the body manages whiskey delivery to Ayrshire.   I can do it, I think.   I know all the carters and higglers.  I know who can be trusted.   I'll be the body collects the sil'er fra' Nethery and a' the other local distributors - pounds and pounds.   And so I owe Nethery ..."

"Is that why you're fucking Nell Scuton, Rory?"

"It was Nethery who told Hinton I could - um ..."

"Be trusted?"

"Ochen, Hinton doesna trust me.   I ken I'll be another corpse i' the Clyde I steal fro' the gang.   Nae, what Nethery told him is tha' I could do it.  Told him I could organize - run the operation.   Told him I could choose guid men.   I think I can.   But no one else has e'er believed it o' me."

"I have.  I knew it the first day.   You keep your head down, and pretend to be stupid.  You even fooled Kat, and she loves you.   And maybe you are stupid, about school stuff.   But you're...  Oh, I don't know what, but you're something.  You're ...   Rory, Love, tell me this.  Who doesn't love you?    Who at school?   Who in the village?"

"Anne Campion."

"Ha!   She's jealous of Kat, because Kat has you and she doesn't.   That's how much Anne doesn't love you."

"I can ne'er be wi' Anne Campion, wha' e'er she wants.   I used to think Patrick Nethery was no o'er fond o' me."

"He admires you; he pointed at you my first day at school, and told me ye were a young lad o' pairts, whatever that means.  There is no one who hates you.   Do you have any idea how rare that is?   At Eton every boy hates every other boy.   One or two friends, at most.  Everyone else is an enemy; scheming, trying to get into the popular crowds, trying to stay in.   There are 'popular' boys at Eton, the leaders of gangs.  But no one loves them.  When those boys tortured me, no one was kind to me, not even my 'friends' - they were afraid.  Things here are so different!  If there is a leader here, it's Patrick, and Patrick knows you are his only rival, but he doesn't hate you.   I think he's trying to be as admired as you.  You are good and brave beyond my understanding."

"Tha's no me, Jeremy - I nae guid.   I ha'e gotten Kat Cairn wi' a wee-un.  And thon Mrs. Campion says..."

"Mrs. Campion is a bitch - and she does hate you.   She's like the bullies at Eton.   But no one is afraid of her.   What about Roger Cairns?    Do they hate you, at Cairns, for getting Katherine with child."

Rory said simply, "No."

"You are good, Rory.   And loved.    How can you want to be a criminal?"

"Is it so diff. nor running whiskey fer Nethery?   We done thon fer month, an ye wanted me ta do it!"

"This is much more dangerous, Rory.  Can't you see that?  It's not like a lad carrying a bottle of untaxed whiskey.   This can get you killed.    There must be another way."

"Wha'?"

"If it's money, I will do whatever it takes to get you some.    I will steal it from the household accounts."

"Steal, so I dinna ha'e ta be a criminal?"

"You won't take it?   You took the coal I gave you."

"I earned thon coal.   Hasna the running o' the Auld Manse gone well since I've been at helping you?"

"You know it has.   The tenants hate my father, and they love you, so of course things go well; they know you are competent - and fair and honest and trustworthy.   And they respect you -  Rory, you are respected in Ayrshire.   Not just loved, respected.  And you want to throw that away and become a criminal in a gang."

"Jeremy, think!  When can ye get me thon money from yer English vicar, several pounds?   After ye go ta England, isna?   An if ye gang wi' me ta Glesgie, ta help me look fer Kat, instead of going ta England, ye cannae get thon money at a'!   Do ye know Glesgie, ta help me find Kat?   Could ye help me ta hide her in the back alleys o' the Gorbals?   I canna e'en get ta Glesgie, until I ha'e money, for I havna hosen nor shoen.   I havna got a shirt, ye just ripped off my last one.   Ye'll be gone to England, and I'll be alone in Glesgie.  If I'm nae wi' Hinton, I am done fer in Glesgie - I'm a shepherd, Jeremy.   What would I do?  Find Kat, alone?   Hide wi' her, alone?  What do ye expect o' me?"

"Well, be careful.   Don't get dragged deeper in than you need to be.   Do some work for Hinton if you have to, but tell him you draw the line at smash and grab robbery from widows and orphans.   I don't know anything about criminals, but you can make deals better than anyone.   Make a deal with Hinton.  Remember how many people love you.  Remember I love you."

The two lovers glared at each other.

They were rarely together without getting into an argument.   All month long they had argued about one thing - Rory wanted Jeremy's wullie up his arse, and Jeremy wouldna put it there.    Now it had happened at last, but they were still arguing.  But in a month of arguing, they had made up a game for making peace.

Rory made the first move.   He reached for Jeremy's balls and gave a hard twisting yank, and started to pinch and torture Jeremy's shaft, at the same time  he offered up his own.   Jeremy snapped Rory's wullie with his finger, again and again, as it quickly swelled and stiffened.  Rory was hurting Jeremy's hard cock too, but not so much - he wasna truly angry.   But Jeremy truly was angry - and now he had Rory's meat in his hand, he hit it as hard as he could - his anger, more anger than he had known he felt, drove his beating hand.   The pain was intense and Rory simply couldna dree it fer long.   He sank to his knees to apologize.

But when Rory knelt and Jeremy stopped hurting him and began to caress him instead, Rory made a move from a different one of their games.   Rory held his hands out, left wrist in his right hand.   This was a sign they had invented - it meant that Rory promised not to mastrubate - he continued to say "mastrubate" instead of "masturbate" to tease Jeremy - or to do anything else to take his own pleasure.      His body would be limp in Jeremy's hands to work his magic, and he would not climax until Jeremy brought him to it.   By the rules of the game, Rory was not allowed to ask for things, but had to just hope that Jeremy knew what he wanted.    Jeremy usually did, but all the same Rory held his breath, hoping Jeremy would guess right.

"Do you want a spanking, Rory."

Rory breathed again, but he gave no sign.   It wasn't allowed.

Jeremy undressed for it.   His fishing clothes were already dirty, but all the same Jeremy wasn't going to roll on the ground unless he was naked.    When he was in the skud he found a place to sit with his back against the holly trunk.   Rory noticed that he didn't pick the smoothest place to sit, but planted his bare britchen on jagged  roots; Jeremy was getting tougher.    Rory stretched across his lap, and waited.   Jeremy didna start spanking right away.   Waiting, Rory found he felt like talking.

"Jeremy, ye won't let me bring ye to a climax.   But ye do think about us, together, when ye mastrubate afterwards?   A' times ye ha'e seen me i' the skuddy an ye dinna e'en get hard.   How d' ye think that makes me feel?"

"I love you, Master of Houn Fell."

"Tha's no wha' I'm askin'    Do ye get pleasure fra' my naked body?   When ye tak yer pleasure, de ye think abou' me i' the skuddy?   My wee wullie?   My arse ye'r running yer hand o'er, noo? "

Jeremy didn't answer.

"I mind that ye say ta me, a time, that wanking was nobbut tha' last ha'-second o' pleasure.   Is thon how it is fer ye, Jeremy?"

Silence.

"And thon's true, it is nobbut a ha'-second o' pleasure - but thon's nae true, neither.   I had in my mind fer a month, to ha'e yer cock in me.   I did ha'e such a muchle desire fer it ye canna imagine!  And it ha'e been the basis fer a' o' my mastrubation.  It's only a ha'-second a pleasure, but I didna mind.   Thon was what I wanted.  It is nae thon ha'-second o' getting, I ken it's the hours o' desiring, that makes it guid fer me.     Is it no laik that fer ye, Jeremy?"

Jeremy continied to say nothing.

"How is it for ye, when ye do it, thinkin o' me?   Only thon last ha'-second?"

Jeremy said nothing.

"We-ell, did ye mastrubate last night?   Jeremy?"

"No."

"Did ye mastr ... Jeremy, have ye no mastrubated at a'?    Fer the whole month?"

Jeremy squeeked: "Once."

"Yonce?    What did ye think abou'?"

"Eton."

"About being tortured at Eton?"

"I was raped at Eton, Rory."

"So fer the time we've been together, Jeremy, you ha'e done all fer ta gi'e me pleasure, but had none?   None at any time?"

"Being with you has been everything to me."

"And ye gave up taking pleasure wi' me, taking pleasure inside o' me, to spare my feelings o' being a hoor?"

"I didn't mind, Rory."

"But I mind, Jeremy.  I mind a heap. A michle heap. I was greedy enou' ta tak my pleasure, when ye had nocht.  Before ye met me, ye were skelped by yer mither.   Ye said it was best, better than a ha'second o' mastrubation.    And I ruined it.   And will ye not at least let me skelp ye, ta mak up fer it?"

"You didn't ruin anything for me."

"I have noo.    I canna do it noo, Jeremy.    I thought ye had pleasure from my stonner in yer arse - I knew ye dinna come, a' the time, but I thought ye did after - I thought it was - I thought it was guid fer ye, that way.    I thought it was the best.  I thought ye mastrubated after."

"I ..."

"It's no enou', anyway, if ye canna come."

"I only want to pleasure you."

"Do ye no understand what I'm saying?    I thought ye were the lucky one - ye had me, inside, and thon's what I wanted."

"I am the lucky one."

"Can ye no understand?    It canna work noo - it willna!.   I thought ye mastrubated after - I thought it was unco guid - as it would ha'e been, fer me.    Ha'ing yer cock in me - mastrubating after - thon's what I wanted.   And it ..."

"What do you mean, 'it canna work noo'?   What can't work now?"

"I canna come inside ye any more, Jeremy.   Can ye no feel my wee wullie?"

"But why?   Why do you think you won't get an erection?"

"Jeremy, the one time ye've had pleasure this month.     Tell me exactly."

"I'd rather not ..."

"Jeremy, when I mastrubate I think abou' thon flogging I got fra' yer mither, although I dinna laik it at a'.  I dinna laik it at the time, and I ha'e no desire ta be flogged again.   So ye can tell me what ye think abou'.    I willna think it mun be what ye want."

"Uh ..."

"And if ye willna tell me what ye think abou', Jeremy, ye can tell me exactly what they did ta ye at Eton."

"I told you.   They made me crawl in a circle, sucking cocks, while they whacked my ass with a cricket bat."

"So I didna hit ye hard enough?"

"I hated what they did to me, Rory.   I don't think you could do that to anyone.   I imagine you wading in, swinging your fists, saving the poor jerk on the floor."

"But it's no being saved, that ye think abou' - that wrings the milk out?"

"No; not being saved."

"They fucked yer arse.   I know they did.   And ye've let me be like them, ta tak me pleasure in your arse while ye have nowt."

"They did NOT fuck my asshole.   They had to like a boy, to do that."

"Like him?"

"Some of the other boys, boys they picked on - but boys older than me, boys with .. boys with hair, down here - they liked it.    Liked being a sixth-former's special friend.   It got you out of the circle, out of the whackings.   I hated the sixth-formers, I hated every one of them.   But I wanted to be picked."

"And that's what I am to ye?    The six-former who fucks yer arse?"

"You are Nelson and Drake and W. G. Grace to me, Rory - what am I saying, I mean Rob Roy and William Wallace."

"Aye.    But I'd rather be yer pleasure-boy, like yer mother."

"You are not a pleasure boy to my mother, Rory.    To my mother you are - - Rory, my mother!   My mother!  She'll help you!"

"Jeremy, it's nae guid.   I ha'e shaken Hinton's hand.    His gang may ha'e found Kat already - and I ha'e promised him.   I will run Hinton's whiskey operation, and I will run it fra' Glesgie. There's nocht ta keep me any more in Ayrshire.

    
 
  XI.    to be left until called for.  
Master Jeremy Thomasson
c/o Pilkin's Tobacco and Sundries
Chiddingfold,  Surrey,   ENGLAND
To be left until called for.

Dear Mr. Thomasson, I hope you will forgive me for writing.   It must be dissapointing to open letter, and find it is no from Rory.    But I need to beg you to write my husband more often; write as often as you used to.

Rory does not show me your letters, and I do not know exactly why you no longer write him every day.    But I ken from what he said, that you think your letters are poor, and can do no good.   If I could only make you see how Rory starts, guilty and trembling, and any sound that might be the postman's knock - how he makes some excuse to run to see if the post is come - and I ken that is all for ye, Jeremy, for no one else writes us.    But I cannot make your eyes see our rotten tenement, from your fine house and parks and lands in England - and so I have stolen from Rory his greatest treasure, one of your letters from last month.  I do not know what is in it - I would not read your letters.  But this letter out of all the others he has read over and over, read it to bits, as you can see.   Send this letter back : I took it without asking, and he will miss it, but send another like it!    Whatever you said in this letter, say it again.   My husband's life - his hope and life and reason - are in your hands.  The next letter you write could save his life.

But I fear that Rory has not been writing to you every day neither - can you forgive him?   He never wished me to ken, that he wrote so often, but I did.   And now as he is not writing you so often as he used to, I ken that too.    Please Mr. Thomason, there is nothing, except you, except your letters, to keep him from despair.   I'm sure he has told you we have plenty of money - well no, I am no sure o anything.   I've no ken what he has told you. We do have plenty of money, but perhaps he would no tell you of that, for all tha money comes fro whores.   It comes from me, and from the other girls, from whoring.    Perhaps he could not write to you about that.

Perhaps he could not thole to tell you any of it.  I do no see how he could.  Perhaps he has spun you a fine tale, if so forgive him, because the shame has been too much for him.  But I will tell you all.   Rory has gone to Ayrshire today, for to see about the whiskey.   He has re-organized the entire Ayrshire operation, so that whiskey in Ayrshire now moves, not by lory, but in famer's carts, or higgler's packs, or fishing boats.   It was safer, so he told Hinton - no risk of having a lory searched by the police.   A higgler with a few bottles in his pack, if caught, would not reveal the scale of the operation, and the loss of whiskey would not be so great.   And so Rory found a way to give a job to a hundred poor bodies in Ayrshire, instead of to one lory driver fro Glasgow.     But it means that any o those bodies could send him to prison, if caught and questioned by the police.    The men he has hired know nothing of Hinton - the risk is all Rory's.

But Hinton has so much work for him in Glasgow now, that he can't give time to Ayrshire operation as what he would like.    My husband is in charge directly of only five whores, (he owns them, as Mr. Hinton puts it).   I am one of those five.    And I can't begin to imagine that Rory would have been able to tell you abou that.     But I am muchle afraid he has no told you anything at all; it is all more than he can thole.    But now I will tell you all; I think you need to know.   Let me say it again: I am one of the whores my husband owns.   If I did what my husband wants, and stayed at home like a fine lady, he would have to squeeze from the other girls, the other four, the money that Hinton expects from five, and I can no allow that.     If I did, if I let him do that, if I let him whip and squeeze the other girls so I did no have to work, that would hurt him worse than this, in the long run.   I am sure of that.     As it is, the four lassies like him - I should say, we lassies, we five lassies, we five whores, we all adore him.    In truth he has made life better for all the whores in Glasgow.

You may find this hard to credit, but the whoring business  (and before Rory it wasnaet a business), was so badly run, that no one was providing top-class service, for a luxury price, to the rich men on George Street.   And no one had worked out how to do a cheap service, done very quickly against a wall, at a price the poorest man can afford.    Not before Rory.  There was no but poor girls and pimps what steal fra them, before - no organization, no training.   And the stunnerfull thing is, that he didn't think it should be the youngest, prettiest lasses for the richest men.    He sat us all down, and told us that every one of us was pretty enough for the Prince of Wales, and we believed him.   And if the good King would just forget about that horrible Simpson woman, and look for a whore from Glasgow instead, it would be one of us, one of Rory's lassies, because we are the best, as any a body in Glasgow will tell him.    Rory has taught us how to do for a man what a man wants.  And Jeremy, I have to tell you this; although my husband did not wish me to know this, I do know it.    My husband has taught his lassies by having sexual intercourse with every single ane o them.  

And so now Rory, who has changed the whiskey business, and the whoring business, is not allowed to spend the time he needs to in Ayrshire with his higglers, nor the time he wants to in Glesgow with his lassies.    He used to have time for us, every night; making sure we were safe, drying our tears (for there are many tears, in spite of all that Rory can do.   Lots of tears for us poor country lassies, on the streets of Glasgow.)   We country lassies know nothing of men, and Rory helps us see what a man needs; he says that above all, a customer must feel safe.    He even taught us when to refuse, to tantalize, and when to give, and when to ask fer a skelping.     I buy the clothes for all the lassies; he says I have a talent, and that the others would spend too much.   And we buy things for the lassie's flats, too, to make the customers feel more comfortable.   But all that takes money, and there's only one place it can come from; he has taught us how to get customers, but the work of serving the customers is still ours, and we must work long and hard.  But at least we had Rory.    He told me himself you can tip a copper the rozzie to look other way, but a bribed copper won't save a lass from a bad customer for a bribe; he only does it for friendship.  He makes us talk to the coppers and look them in the eye and smile, and be friends, and give away a kiss - or more.   A body who kens Rory kens it be safe, to go wi one of Rory's lassies.     Rory himself talks to everyone as he walks the streets, and makes sure that everyone kens which are his lassies, and kens that his lassies are looked after.   Without him on the streets we are much less safe.   But Hinton these days has work for him elsewhere, and he can no be spending his nights wi' us.

He has done so well that Hinton just wants more.    Last week Rory had to chase down a shipment of rubber johnnies.  Even crime lords can't always get them in Scotland, so Hinton buys them wholesale from the factory in Portsmouth.    And that should not have been  Rory's job, to drive a lorry the length of England with a load of rubber johnnies.    But Hinton has no a man working for him but turnip heads, he says, except Rory.

So now you know the worst.

I can no believe I wrote that, and if it were no in ink, I would rub it out.   I would eat it, if it would no leave a hole in the paper.   Whoring is the worst, but only for me.   It is not the worst for Rory.   The worst is, that it is his job to squeeze the girls; all of Hinton's girls, not just his five bonnie lassies, when they don't bring in the silver.    For his own girls, he is tireless; he makes sure we make enough to pay Hinton.   But for the others, if they don't make enough, Rory has to flog them, that's his job.   And so he tries to help them, too, to earn more, in his spare time, but he has no spare time.   He helps the girls by showing them how to please a man.  This is no something a body would tell me, but what else am I to think, when my husband comes home late and smelling of women, and wi the spunk drained out of him?    Should I think he does it for pleasure?    I ken what my husband's pleasure is, Jeremy.    I have kenned that fro the start.    And it has nothing to do with women.

And now you know it all.   And I have told you to write, but knowing all this must make it impossible for you to write.  Will you help him, Jeremy?   Will you help a pimp, by writing that you love him?    I will have to tell Rory that I sent you his precious letter, and he will guess I told you the truth.   I don't know what I have done, to tell you; perhaps I have driven you away.   It will be terrible for Rory, knowing that you know.   But I could no let things go.    I would rather we took wee Helen back to Ayrshire and starved, than keep on as we are.    Write what you can.

- Katherine Cairns McAllister
    
Glasgow, Scotland
29 Sept 1936   

    
 
  XII.    Clydeside.  
"Partick!   What are ye doing here?"

"Here in Glesgie, Rory?   What am I doing in Glesgie?   What does any Ayrshire lad be doing wi' coming to Glesgie?"

"Do you have a place to stay?"

"I'm sleeping rough, as ye might o' kenned wi'o' asking  fra the stink."

"I can find a bed fer ye, Patrick, ye might a' come ta me afore.    Nae doot ye be i' need o' some provender?   And some warm water?"

"Warm water?   Ye ha'e the brass ta heat yer bath-water?   And would tha' be in yer solid gold bath-tub, Laird McAllister?   Or do ye keep gold one fer sabbath and use nobbut sil'er fer working days?  Warm water?  Och, wha' has a Ayrshire sheep-lad ta do w' warm bath-water?    I ken ye ne'er had a hot bath in yer life, Rory McAllister - and as fer me, I'll tak a bucket i' the close, and like it."

"I'm nae doing so bad noo, Patrick."

"Aye, I got a letter fro' Jeremy."

"Jeremy!    How is Jeremy?   And where's Nell?  In she in Glesgie wi' ye?   Is Jeremy, is he ...?   He's no sick?   That is, if ye dinna mind me asking."

"Jeremy's fine.   And no, why should I mind ye asking o' the health o' yer own son?"

"My son?   What do ye mean, Patrick?"

"Nell told me, so ye can stop pertending.   Not tha' I had need ta be told the lad wasna mine : he was born a fine wean, Rory, and no a seven-months babe as any idiot could see, as braw and fine and strong as ye want it.   I kenned he wasna mine, but I had a notion he was me Daddie's ; but noo Nell tells me the wee-un is yers fer sure, as yer cure fer the woullies and wugglies dinna work.   She says she got the babe fra the time ye fucked her fer my Daddie ta watch.    But yer daft, Rory ... I said I had a letter.   He's as fine a babe as ye'll see in a day, but did ye think he's been a writing of the letters?"

"A letter from ... ye said from Jeremy?    Jeremy?   Do ye mean, ye got a letter from Jeremy Thommason?    But tha's no possible.   How could he be a writing ye?"

"Then tak a keek a' this : this is no his writing?   Addressed ta me,  ta Mister Patrick Nethery, if ye please.  No, Rory, no fingers!   I'll no allow ye ta read it.   But I'll tell ye it is this letter tha' has brought me ta Glesgie."

"I'm right glad ta see ye, Patrick."

"Ye disna look it.   But nae matter, ye'll be less glad soon."

"Dinna come the cunt wi' me, Patrick!   I'm no a puir crofter any more.   Tell me what Jeremy said!    Let me see the letter!   What is it?   Is Jeremy sick - and why the fuck would he be at write ye abou it an no me?   Let me see!"

"I ken he's sick enou', Rory.   Ye mak a body sick.   I would nae be i' love wi' ye, Rory, fer a bank o' money.     It's what ye'r doing tha' has made him sick, Rory, sick o' ye."

"What is wrong wi him?"

"Katherine wrote him a letter."

"Aye.   I ken she did."

"Jeremy sent it ta me.   He hasna told me he's sick, but ye can see it in the writing.   It's a sick man's writing.    I'd say yer killing him."

"Jeremy has always written like that.    Scraggly handwriting?    Ink blots?    Sentences that dinna finish?"

"Aye.   Is as hard ta read as ta listen ta him stammer."

"But wha' do he say?     And why dinna he write me?   Why write ye, Patrick, and no me?     Does he say he hates me?"

"No in so monie words.    De ye ken he's a muchle what-ha'e-ye in London, he's a ..."  Patrick consulted the letter " ... Private Secretary..."

"An wha' body would ha' Jeremy as pray-vaht seck-tarry?"

"Private Secretary to the Deputy to a hoo-fa who is called thon Minister o' Supply."

"Private Secretary to the Deputy Minister of Supply?    Jeremy?   But he's no older than me!"

"It's on account o' his daddie being a Member of Parliament or some such, and thon Mr. Baldwin needing the support.    And Jeremy says he's ta stand in the next election."

"Jeremy a Member of Parliament?"

"Well he's no elected yet.   But's on thon account he canna ha'e anything ta do wi' the likes o' ye."

"That's what he says?    That he wants nocht more ta do wi' me?"

"No Rory tha's no what he says.    He says he'll gi'e the world and stars fer ye and he's going ta save ye if he has ta embezzle the whole budget o' the Ministry o' Supply ta do it.   That's wha' he says.    And he's promised me a hundred quid ta do his dirty work, while he keeps his hand clean in Lunnon and gets ready ta stand fer parliament."

"A hundert pound!    How can Jeremy ha'e a hundert pound?"

"He's stealing it, Rory.    You are no so very healthy fer yer friends.   That hundred quid I'm ta ha'e - and mind ye I ha'nae seen it yet - is pinched fra' his office."

"I'm nae short o' the sil'er, Patrick.    I dinna need Jeremy's hundert pound."

"Och, but I do."

"I willna tak any money."

"Aye.   I ken ye wouldna tak it.    But thon's nae what Jeremy has in mind; it's me he's buying wi' his money.   Do ye nae ha'e a wee dram fer an old friend?"

When they got to Rory's tenement, Rory showed Patrick the pump in the close, but it was being used - a lad of about fourteen was being made to wash by his mother.    There were a couple of other lads waiting to use the cludgie, and some younger lads and lasses playing with their peeries, and they were laughing at the boy under the pump, not so much for being in the skuddy, since they all washed under the pump when they washed at all, but his mother was washing him, rather than letting him do it himself, and she called his parts by little baby names--when she told him she was gang ta soap his dingle, his friends howled with laughter.   And he was being ogled too by a lass - she was waiting with two huge buckets to fill at the pump.      Everyone called out hello when they saw Rory, except the lass with the buckets, who curtsied.

"Good e'ening, sir."

"Aye, it's a braw e'ening, Ellen, and this is Mr. Patrick Nethery, who has a fancy ta wash in the close, fer all I offered him the tub and the water ye heated o' th' stove.    But I dinna think he kenned he'd ha'e such an audience."

Patrick scowled, but he took off his tie and his shirt and his shoes, and then, blushing, his trowsers.    Ellen took each item as he handed it over.    It is no uncommon thing in a close for a man to duck quickly under the pump, when no one is about ta see, rather than lug a pail to his room.   And if a body happens ta see such a thing, it's eyes doun and pertend nae ta notice; for folk in a tenement close ha'e ta get along.   But this was a friend o' Rory's, stripping ta skuddy in the crowded close, and bodies had a mind ta watch thon, wi' a few more keeking fra' the windows.   The naked boy, although he wasna finished, stood aside and offered Patrick his pail and his brush.   A wee lad ran to work the pump-handle.

One of the lads shouted to the naked boy: "Here Malcolm and ye'll see how a man soaps his dingle!    I ken ye'll like fine ta see thon."

Patrick had hoped for a quick in and out, but with everyone watching, he scrubbed well.    The water was ice cold, and the brush was stiff as wire, and Malcolm's mother didna offer him the soap.   Glasgow's soot and grime does not come off easily.   Patrick was red and raw, and shivering, by the time he finished.    He asked Ellen for his clothes--she looked downcast.

Rory asked: "Ellen, what have ye done wi' Mr. Nethery's clothes?"

"But sir!"

Ellen lifted Patrick's shirt out of her bucket, where she had put it in to soak.   When she wrung the water from it, it ran black.   "And there was, begging yer pardon sir, there was lice.    We canna ha'e such a thing i' the house."

Rory said: "Patrick, I am sorry.   I shouldna ha'e teased ye about washing in the close.   And I ha'ena such a thing as spare clothes ta fit ye, yer twice my size.   I'll ha'e Ellen fetch a sheet."

"Och, ne'er ye mind, Rory.   We lads like fine ta show the lasses wha' they're missing, isna tha' so, Malcolm?"    Patrick tousled Malcolm's wet hair, and the lad blushed and ducked his head, but he also got a little grin, when he looked down at his wullie, and snouked a keek at Patrick's for comparison.    Patrick said: "Malcolm, come to Rory's flat when yer mither lets ye go, I ha'e maybe a wee job fer ye.   Ellen what did ye do wi' my purse?"

Ellen handed over the purse by one corner, as if she thought it was filled with lice, rather than silver.    Patrick gave Malcolm a sixpence; the boy looked about for somewhere to put it, since he was naked, but his mother held out her hand for it, and he had to fork it over.

Kat was putting on her lipstick using her bonnie looking glass when Ellen came in without knocking.   The maid put down a bucket of dirty laundry, took the sheet off the bed, and went out the door with it.    Then Kat's husband came in, followed by a big man wrapped in a sheet.

"Kat, love, ye remember Patrick?"

"Och aya, but I dinna use ta see him in toga.   Wha' ye be doing home, husband?  I'm just noo abou' ta go ta work, and there's nocht a crumb o' dinner fer ye.    Ellen, can ye run ta Caledonian?   A meat pie or a pudding, and a pail o' beer; put it on tick.    It's grand ta see ye, Patrick, but I mun run.  Ellen, the babe has had the breast, so she's no call ta be awake fer an hour, smack her doup if she greets."

"Wait, wait - I've summut ta gi'e ye."   Patrick took a folded paper from his purse, and handed it over.   It was damp and dirty, and it fell apart when Kat unfolded it, but she knew what it was - the letter she had enclosed to Jeremy Thomasson.   She hung back up her coat.

Patrick said : "Och, Mrs. McAllister : I've a bit ta do wi yer man, ye've no call ta stay ta entertain me."

"I'll stay, Mr. Nethery.  Just how on eart' could ye ha'e the letter I sent Jeremy?"

"I'm here ta thrash yer husband, Mrs. McAllister."

"Och!    Well ye'll ha'e ta get through me first, Mr. Nethery.    And I ken ye can surely whip him in a fight - ye've a half-dozen stone on him - but ye ken we ha'e powerfu' friends."

"Aye.   The laird o' crime i' Glesgie can ha'e no fear o' me.    But Katherine: ye ken I ha'e little ta loose, and a muchle ta gain.    It's Jeremy Thomasson who is paying me.    If yon Hinton wants ta punish him, he won't need his muscle boys; a letter ta noospapers will do fer Jeremy Thomasson.     Fer me ye can ha'e me beaten and thrown i' the Clyde.     But that's what we're ta see.    Is Rory the criminal, as will turn on his friends, or is he still the Ayrshire farm-lad?"

"We ha'e all changed, Patrick.    We've grown up.  This isnae under the holly tree, ta play a wee-uns' game wi' nettle or smacking doups, ta see who greets the first."

"And the lasses, Kat, who smile at me as I walk abou' Glesgie, and tell me it's half-price and free the first time?   Lassies who need my sixpence if they are to 'scape a whipping?  Are those lasses just playing a wee-uns' game under a tree?"

"Thon's my husband's job."

"This is mine."

Rory spoke up: "I don't need Hinton's muscle boys to stop ye, Patrick; all the lads in this tenement are my friends,.and I've only ta shout.    They'll stop ye before ye lay a finger on me."

"Shout, then.    But I paid thon lad Malcolm to come here and save ye the trouble   Thon's nae doubt him now."    Patrick opened the door and there, scraping his bare feet on the wooden landing and raising his hand to knock, was Malcolm, squeezed into his Sunday best, which he had outgrown, and with his hair combed.   All the other lads of the tenement had crowded onto the stairs, pushing and shoving to be first in line, in case any more sixpences were on offer.

"Hello, Malcolm.   No, don't shut the door.    So Rory, what's it to be?    Take a thrashing with all these lads to watch, or set them on me?"

"Jeremy sent you?"

"Aye.    Judged and condemned ye, and sent me ta carry oot execution.    But he did tell me ta say, that he's right sorry he couldna do it wi' his own hands."

"Then I submit.    Of course."

Patrick picked up his belt from where Ellen had dropped his things, and Rory, without taking off any clothes, crouched down, and bowed his head.    It was not a position to be beaten in, but a posture of utter submission.   The sheet slipped and hung from Patrick's left shoulder, as he swished the belt with his right hand.  Malcolm looked back and forth between the two men, and then stood between them, facing Patrick, who was a head taller than he was.    "Ye will ha'e to get through me first, Mister" he said.

Patrick said, "Tell him, Rory."

But Rory did not say anything.    He was making a crooning noise, and shivering.    Patrick had seen like this once before, when Jeremy had been beaten with nettles by all the lads in schuil.   But that time, Rory had been weeping for Jeremy, this was for himself.    Patrick could not understand it - he had told many a body that Rory McAllister was the bravest lad in Ayrshire.

Malcolm said : "Mrs. McAllister, what should I do?   Does this man have some sort of hold on oor Rory?    Donnie?   Alfie?   Come in here!   Rory needs our help."

Not just Donald and Alfred, but all the lads on the stairs squeezed into the flat, with their hands formed into fists.   Patrick said : "You needna bother, I will na hit him when he's  like this.    Who could hit that?   I thought he was a Scot.   If he greets and whimpers he'll get no whipping fra me.   I'll ha'e ta give Mr. Thomasson back his hundert poun."

"And I should gi'e ye back yer sixpence, but my mother has it and I ken she'll no gi'e it back."

"Keep it, Malcolm."

"I canna; I have done nowt.    We wouldna ha'e let ye hurt oor Rory fer a few pieces sil'er.   But I dinna think he'd greet so, before a whipping.   There were lads like him in schuil; lubbarts who greeted e'en afore they got the strap."

"Malcolm, I was in schuil wi' Rory, and he was the bravest lad facing the belt o' all o' us.    Folk change.    Are ye a brave lad for the belt in schuil, Malcolm?"

"There's no in schuil in Glesgie ta tak us in.   When we left Kilmarnock, I called it escape fro' hell, ta leave schuil, but I'd go back ta schuil noo if it was twice the belting.   I'd rather the dominie's tawse than me mither's tongue, cooped up all day i' the flat.   But we cannae gang back ta Kilmarnock."    

"Wait till ye've a lass and a wee-un, and no work.   At times I want ta take my belt ta them both, when they are hungry and ragged and cold and I've tried and tried and tried and canna feed them.   Ye are lucky yer mither gi'es ye only her tongue."

"When I'm just a wee bit older, I micht bring in summut."

"Och, ye can earn yer sixpence today.    Talk to Rory."

"And say what?"

"I dinna ken.  But I willna gi'e up on him!    Talk as one brave lad ta another."

But Rory did not answer, or at most he grunted a mono-syllable, to Malcolm's chatter.     Patrick, watching, noticed the tension in the room, and figured out the source.

"Mrs. McAllister, perhaps Rory would like to talk to me alone."

"And perhaps you woould like ta leave oor flat, Patrick Nethery!   Ye've caused enough grief."

"I'm naked, Mrs. McAllister.   I'm stuck here until Ellen washes my clothes."

"I'll get you some clothes.   Malcolm, ye mind the baby." - Kat went out the door, but she took the bucket with Patrick's clothes with her.    And little Helen, sensing her mama leave and close the door, began to cry.

Patrick said: "Her mother told us to smack her if she did that, Malcolm, and ye're the body she bid ta mind the baby."

"All right.   Here, her bottom is too tiny.   You do it."

"I dinna ken how to skelp a wee-un.   Dinna ye ha'e a wee brother?   Ye take her."

Malcolm had pulled the rags away, to get to the baby's bottom to smack it, and wee Helen did what wee-uns often do when they feel cool air on their bottoms--she stopped crying.    She thought it great fun to be passed back and forth between the two men, and she laughed.   Patricks sheet slipped to the ground, as he held the wee babe against his chest and tried ta get her ta smile.  Just then, her daddie bellowed "check if her rags are wet, you great galoots, ye canna skelp her if she's greeting fer she's wet."    And then, as she was passed naked from Patrick to Malcolm, Helen started to pee, a great yellow shower of pee fer such a wee babe.   She peed all over Malcolm's Sunday best, like the spray from a hose.

"I think we can rule out her rags being wet," Malcolm said.

But Patrick just left Malcolm holding the baby, in his pissed-drenched Sunday suit.   "Rory - ye've stopped yer whimpering."

"Och aye.    I think it should be Malcolm that belts me."

Malcolm said : "Mr. McAllister, sir!" and Patrick said "Why should it be Malcolm?" at the same time, and Helen started to cry again.   Her Daddie took her, and tossed her in the air.    Rory said to Malcolm : "Hadna ye better get oot o' those clothes?"

"Why should it be Malcolm?"

"Some of my clothes will fit ye, Malcolm, at least as well as the ones ye're taking off.   Och ye wee babe ye stop yer greeting noo.  Peek a boo, I see you.   And it's oop i' the air, oop i' the air."

"Why should it be Malcolm, Rory?"

"It should be me, Mr. Nethery, because my mother is a hoor, and Rory McAllister is her boss.   Her pimp - her slave-owner!    But I ken Rory McAllister does what he can fer her.    Are ye fro' the gang, here to punish McAllister fer nae squeezing my mither hard enou'?"

"Ochen, ye micht say so.    Or ye micht say I represent another gang - another criminal organization.   We want Rory ta work fer us."

"He's talking havers, Malcolm.     He's a friend o' mine.    He, and another friend, dinna like that I'm livin' a life o' crime.     I dinna ken what good they see a belting is ta do, but I canna deny I earned it."     Rory handed his babe ta Patrick, and then removed his belt from his breeches, and showed it to Malcolm.    It was fantastically wide and heavy, with a double row of holes, and the holes had brass grommets.  "Look at thon belt, Malcolm      I had it made special fer the whipping o' hoors.    I ha'e belted yer mither wi' it.  But there's ane hoor hasna been whipped yet."     Rory inhaled, and his beltless breeches dropped to the ground - there was nae flesh enough in his doup ta keep them up.    Rory removed his tie and undid his collar button, and gave a shrug, and the shirt fell too; his body was so skeletal that his chest and arms slipped through the neckhole of his shirt with only one button undone.     He wasna wearing knickers, but his penis was so huge that his shirt hung up on it on the way down - but when he pulled it out of the way his penis wasna erect, just monstrously thick and long hanging on his tiny body.

With his shirt and breeches around his ankles like prison irons, he had to hop to get a chair, and he came back with it, so he could bend over and rest his hands on the seat, in the only place to give Malcolm room enough to swing in the tiny flat.    Malcolm began to strut nervously in the narrow room, too filled with nervous energy to keep still.    He slung the heavy belt up and down, gently hitting the table top - but even with a gentle blow the mass and size of the thing, and the dark deep clunkitt-tt-tt-tt-tt-tty of the brass grommits hitting the table, made him flinch.   Finally he asked "Why did ye nae whip me with this, Mr. McAlister?"

"Did ye think yer ma would ask it o' me?   It's nae a belt fer wee-uns."

"But ye use this on my MOTHER?"

"Aye, if shes more than a bit behind in what she pays, like any body o' the hoors, she gets three guid slypes ta put her i' mind o' what she owes."

"I canna thole it that ye used this on my mother, but fer me, ye think I'm a wee-un and couldna dree it."

"Och well ...  But it's me that's ta be strick taday, Malcolm.    How many's fer ye ta say; and if yer wickit at me, ye can slype me all the harder."

"Tha's no wha' I mean, Mr. McAllister.   If mother asks ye ta belt me again, I am nae such a wee-un as not ta tak what ye gi'e ta her."

"Can we get on wi' slyping my arse, Malcolm?   And leave aside whether yer a wee-un?"

"I'll show ye who's a wee-un."

Malcolm got into position, and pulled back his arm, but then he decided he needed to get out of his piss-drenched suit.   Rory and Kat's flat was larger than most in the tenement, but it was only one room, so he changed facing the wall.   He put on one of Rory's shirts, although he could not button it, and there wasna a pair of breeks i' closet.    And even when he was done with that, he did not start the beating, but strutted nervously up and down, taking warm-up swings on various peices of furniture, while Rory waited patiently wi' his hands on the chair.   Malcolm still had not struck the first blow--he took some more warm-ups--when his mother walked in.    Her son was in skuddy, her boss was in skuddy, and Patrick Nethery, the man she'd just seen wash i' the skuddy under the pump, was wrapped in a sheet like a toga.   Her two younger sons were watching her eldest lad gi'e her boss a belting.    She gazed at it all befuddled, trying to decide what to do.  But before she could do anything, Ellen came back from the dram-house with a meat pie and a muchle bucket o' beer.

Even Donnie and Alfie took deep drinks when the bucket was passed around; fer their mother was too sturtit ta notice.   And the auld folk and Malcolm dinna pay enou' mind, so the twa boys contrivit ta eat most o' thon pie, as weell.

Malcolm gave the first blow.

"Malcolm!"

Patrick had to stop Malcolm's mother from nearly tearing off her son's ear.

 Patrick said : "Ma'am, it is no a matter fer ye ta fret, Mr. McAllister has agreet, and askit special fer Malcolm ta skelp him."

"But what is Mr. McAllister done ta be skelpit fer?"

"That's nae fer me ta say."

Rory stood up, and turned to the watching audience, his eyes downcast in deep shame.    Looking down, his eyes fell on his penis, and he crouched down and covered it with his arms, but then slowly slumped even further down, and used his hands to cover his face.

"What are ye ta be skelpit, Mr. McAllister?"

That question hung unanswered for several seconds.    At last it was wee Donnie who spoke up: "Och, dinna make him ta say wha' it's fer, ma!   When Rory skelps us, he dinna make us ta come over wi' what we did, he's just ta  gi'e us a guid belting and say were quits, and shake hands and friends again."

"Donald, wha' ha'e ye done wi' thon pie?   Ye pyked the whole o' it!"    SMACK!    

Alfie, whose face was also chicken gravy from ear to ear, tried to run for it, which earned him, when she caught him, three smacks where his brother had only got one.    The smacks on the lads' faces were even louder than the belt slyp had been on Rory's britchen.

But Donnie, with tears running down his face, which washed off the gravy and revealed the print of a red hand, placed himself squarely before his mother, and spoke looking squarely into her eyes.  "But I'm right, mither.   Ye ha'e no call ta mak Rory tell o'er his sin."

Patrick said: "Weell, I mun say --  if ye mak him ta say it, ta say it a' in front o' the lads, ye ken, it would be o'er the tenement, and folk will talk."

Alfie put himself in front of Patrick, and lifted up his slapped face, and turned his cheek.    "We wouldna gi'e it out, Mr. Nethery.   Not again' oor Rory."

Malcolm was trying to get Rory up from where he was slumped on the ground.    "Are we quits, Rory?    Are we shake hands and friends again?"

"No, Malcolm, we're no quits.    I'll tell ye when we're quits.    But yer arm will be sore afore I do."

"Aye."

Rory picked himself up of the ground as if his body was already a mass of pain, and got into position with his hands on the seat of the chair.   "And I'll tell ye what it's fer, Malcolm, ye've a right ta know.   It's fer squeezing the last bit o' sil'er fra' yer mither."

"But Mr. McAllister!  We're nae wickit at ye!   Yer the one tha' keeps us safe.   When mither brings a man ta flat, Donnie hides i' the cupboard, and keeks through  hole.   And if the man hurts her, he's ta whisper ta me through tha' wall, and I'm ta run ta fetch ye."

"A wee-un lik Donnie shouldna be a seeing thon."

"He's the only one still fits i' cupboard."

"I canna help tha' yer mither's a hoor, Malcolm, but if she's a hoor, I'm the hoor o' all hoors.   And my friends ha'e decided I mun be belt fer it."

"A man canna be a hoor."

"Och I can.    I mak my sil'er wi' this, Malcolm, so I am sure a hoor.   I use this ta teach my lassies wha' an English leddie taught me, wha' she herself learnt out  o' books o' the Frenchies."

"I'd laik fine ta learn it all, sir.   Ye see my ba's are oop, as big as a man's.   Can ye nae get me a job, sir, ta mak a bit sil'er fer my mither?"    Malcolm's mither was staring straight ahead, a fixed smile on her face.

"I'll nat ha'e ye grow up ta be a hoor, Malcolm.   This belting is wha' my friends think I deserve fer being a hoor, and they're right.   Ye mun ha'e work ye can hold oop yer head.   I mun find a schuil fer ye lads, I've been of a mind to.   It's just I'm so busy."

"I want ta be lik ye, Mr. McAllister, I dinna want ta go ta schuil.   And I dinna want ta gi'e ye a belting."

"Then ye'll watch as Mr. Nethery gi'es it.   And ye should ha'e the strap fer saying ye want ta be a hoor, Malcolm, but I'm no fit daddie ta gi'e it ye."

"Och, ye're nae so bad.    The man mither was wi' in Kilmarnock, he hurt Donnie, so we had ta flit ta Glesgie.   But we wouldna be safe fra' him, e'en in Glesgie, wi'ou' ye.    The name o' Rory McAllister keeps us safe."

Patrick said : "Malcolm, Jeremy wants him ta gi'e up this life o' crime, and bide in a palace in England, and eat strawberries and cream.   I'd lik tha' fine, myself."

Malcolm asked : "Who is Jeremy?"

"He's a friend o' ourn."

"No, Patrick, I bude ta tell him the truth.   Malcolm, Jeremy Thomasson is my lover."

"Ye like fancy-boys?   Do ye want me?   I dinna think I'd lik it, but I'd do it fer monie."

"Ye'll be getting a belting, Malcolm, I'll no ha'e ye be a hoor.   And Jeremy isna my fancy-boy, I'm his."

"Och I canna believe thon!    They say ye've had more lasses than Glesgie Rangers, a' put together."



( 16 Aug 1936 )







 


 And I ken my Daddie has the woulies and wugglies and cou' no be the father.  And fer a' the quaen dubbed the wean 'Jeremy,' I ken thon English lad were no exactly man enou' ta do it, if ye ken what I mean.      Ochen I ken it was ye, all along; I ken th' name was one the Daddie picked.



 







 
 

 

      January 2005

David Nunes da Silva


  
.
This is a work of fiction.  



After the bed-time story, a song to go to sleep on. 

I do like a little flitchin'
just to set my tail a twitchin',
but I really think it's bitchin'
when I gotta bare my britchen.

But some kissin' in the kitchen
and a tattle-tale went snitchin',
and I start to feel that itchin'
that fortells I'll get a switchin'.

By some wizardry or witchin'
(or by malacho that's michin')
I submit to ropes and hitchin'
and I volunteer my britchen!

Soon I'm minus any stitchin'
and a novel that's by Michen-
er uplifts and helps enrichen
the sensation in my britchen.

A ringing at high pitch in
my ears is really glitchen
a feeling I am rich in
anticipation of a switchin
.

But you can't suppose I'm ditchin'
all my kissin' in the kitchen,
for I'm fond of all that smitchin'
- of the birch upon my britchen.

- David Nunes da Silva


     
 
  A1.    e-mail me  
 

From e-mail:
From name:
To: David Nunes da Silva   image - must be typed in@sneakemail.com
Subject:
Message:
 
Thanks for the mail.


  Mirrors:  
  1. ASSTR 
  2. DNDS 


     
 
  A2.    Genealogy.  
 
         ‘Luif is ane aigre douce delyt’
               -- John Stewart of Baldynneis.


As the unskilful prentes imperfyt
Quho fyns the gould frie from the laton quyt,
No wonder thocht my wittis waver will,
In flowing field of sic profound indyt.

       -- John Stewart of Baldynneis.

28 Aug 1935      First game of Doctor  : Rory, Jock, Katherine
29 Aug               Second game : Rory & most of the lads, Katherine, Anne Campion
Thur 30 Aug             Rory spends the day in Caroline Thomasson's bed.
31 Aug               Patrick Nethery tells the tale of the bed-wager
10 Sept  Sat          Jeremy and Rory start a day of fishing  
10 Oct 1935                 Rory shakes hands with Hinton
Nov 1935 - Sept 1936    Rory re-organizes the Hinton smuggling and prostitution empire
19 Jan 1936          Rory marries Kat, Caledonia Road Kirk (Kirk of Scotland)
   Apr 1936       girl born to Rory and Kat, named Helen
   28 May 1938       boy born to Nell Scuton, named Jeremy
    June 1938             Patrick Nethery marries Nell Scuton without a kirk service, and informally adopts the baby
29 Sept 1936        Katherine's letter to Jeremy   
14 Nov 1936        Patrick Nethery runs into Rory in a Glasgow street.        

  1. http://www.mudcat.org/scots/index.cfm?start_letter=A
  2. http://www.ullans.com/ScotsDictionary.html  (A-H)  | (I) | (J) 
  3. http://www.britannia.org/scotland/scotsdictionary/a.shtml
  4. http://www.insultmonger.com/swearing/lowland_scots.htm   
  5. http://www.wakefieldfhs.org.uk/morayweb/Doric.htm
  6. http://www.botriphnie.org.uk/Glossary.htm
  7. http://www.ccel.org/m/macdonald/sirgibbie/sirgibbie/GLOSSARY.htm
The Sonsie Mither    There was yince a wee bit Scots lass who dreamed o’ being an English teacher

    The monastic school of St. Kentigern    

     Young Adam by Alexander Trocchi

     Google Search for Kirriereoch Hill 

1930s Education and Learning in Scotland

Radical Glasgow  | Wikipedia : Red Cydeside :  The usual method of preventing eviction was to block the entrance to the tenement. Photographs of the time show hundreds of people participating. If the sheriff officers managed to get as far as the entrance, another tactic was to humiliate them--pulling down their trousers was a commonly used method. |  

From [  A War Nurse's Diary   ]
[The soldier nicknamed] "Ragtime" was operated on; they cut out several feet of pierced intestine, joined it together and closed up the two wounds in his abdomen. The wound in the back was untouched, as he could stand no more that day. He came back to us and we nursed him with special care, along with the other sixty-nine patients. When we dressed him he never moaned nor groaned, and always gave us his wonderful smile. Then an order came for all patients to go to the station. "Ragtime" went on a stretcher with the rest. After spending twelve hours without food or attention in that draughty place, some of them came back to us, but not "Ragtime." The lady doctor and I, who attended him, searched every hospital and made every inquiry with no result.

After three days a pitiful little note came from "Ragtime," saying he was in a huge military hospital, and begging me to visit him. Catholic Sisters were in charge, and the rules were strict; finally we saw him and others who had been dumped there. He cried and implored me not to leave him. He said his wounds had not been dressed for three days! Think of it! When we dressed him it was two-hourly, and it was most necessary. The reason for the neglect was that nuns were not allowed, so I was told, to attend to men-patients below the waist! The lady-doctor went round and pleaded with them to let us have him back, but no, they would not. So I was determined. Mademoiselle and I went round and asked for the General. He was in charge of this great hospital. I told him the history of the case, cried and protested with real Belgian emotion, and finally the dear old General began to think that here was real romance! He let me have "Ragtime." The lady-doctor sent her car and we got him back.


The Laird of Co'  : Hundreds of years ago the Laird of Co' who owned Culzean castle in Aryshire was visited by a small boy with a tiny wooden cup.  He came to beg for some ale saying that it was for his sick mother; the Laird then asked his butler to fill the boy's cup.

To the butler's astonishment the half the barrel failed to fill the boys cup and he was loathed to open another barrel but the laird ordered him to fill the cup no matter how much ale was spent so the butler opened another barrel and just as the first drop landed the cup was full; the boy thanked the laird and went on his way.

Some years later during wars in Flanders the laird was caught and taken prisoner and sentenced to death.  The night before he was to be executed the door of his dungeon swung open and the boy appeared saying, "Laird o' Co', rise an go".  Once outside the little boy (who was a fairy) took the laird apon his shoulders and whisked him back to his castle in a flash, a he set the laird down on the ground he said "Ae guid turn deserves another.  Tak ye that for being sae kind to my auld mither".


Scotland had, in 1935, the second or third highest infant mortality in Europe (Portugal was the worst).    Hunger was widespread.    Unemployment in southern Scotland was fifty percent.     Portugal was poorer still, but Portugal had never been much richer than it was in 1935.    Scotland had been, within living memory, the industrial center of the world.    It was perhaps the greatest relative economic decline anywhere, ever.

Some historians think it odd that Scotland was not radicalized by this.   But in fact, the Great Depression was marked by a strong turn to the right, and to very strict standards of religious morality.   The "Red Clydeside" movement faded, rather than strengthened, in the '30s.

WWII brought war prosperity to Scotland; there was employment in war factories, and infant mortality fell sharply.    And when the war was over Scotland voted Labour overwhelmingly.    For many decades after that, obsolete Scottish factories and coal pits were kept open by Labour governments, by subsidies and other policies, while Scottish voters loyally kept those governments in power.   Sometimes the government was called Tory, but the policies weren't much different.   It wasn't until Maggie Thatcher that economic policy changed.   In her time, the Tory party became wildly unpopular in Scotland.   Now a government called Labour is in power again, but they have not changed the Thatcher policies much.  There has been prosperity under the new policies, for some.  Unemployment is not bad, and now for those who have work, it is real work - not in some obsolete factory making stuff that no one wants.    But if the Scots prefer the outcome of Tory policy, they have not said so at the polls. - dnds

EAST AYRSHIRE
Stretching northwards from Loch Doon in the Southern Uplands to Cunninghame in the the Central Lowlands, East Ayrshire became a separate Local Government Area in 1996. Between 1975 and 1996 it formed the districts of Kilmarnock and Loudon and Cumnock and Doon Valley in Strathclyde Region. Watered by the Irvine, Annick, Cessnock, Afton and Doon, it is bounded by Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire and its principal towns are Kilmarnock (administrative centre), Cumnock, New Cumnock, Mauchline, Stewarton, Galston, Newmilns, Darvel, Auchinleck and Dalmellington. East Ayrshire has a total area of 125,199 ha, nearly 70 per cent being devoted to agriculture and largely given over to dairy farming and the production of beef and sheep. Many of the settlements developed during the 19th century in association with coal mining and the manufacture of textiles.

KENNEDY
BOYLE
BOYD
KER
BLAIR
SEMPILL
CUNNINGHAM
DUNLOP
MONTGOMERIE
CRAUFURD
Wallace
muir
hamilton
campbell
boswell
dunbar
stewart
cathcart
macadam
gordon
ferguson
macdowall
m'kie
fullarton
agnew


Cummock, Sanquahar & Thornhill, Ayrshire - clan McCall
http://www.cumnock.net/terringzean.php
http://cumnock.net/phpbb2/viewforum.php?f=1&sid=59fe3ee9d170a51dcbda06084fa63f6c
http://members.tripod.com/bob_newcumnock/nchome/welcomex.html
http://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/
Lanark, Stonehouse (Avon Water) : Lanarkshire
http://www.ntsayrshire.org.uk/AyrshireStats/ContentsPage.php
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/scotland/chap12.htm
http://www.buittle.org.uk/johnabow.htm
http://www.ayrshirehistory.org.uk/
Maps :  1860    

"Noo, in thae days there was a queer wee hoose at the end o' the schuil loanin' whaur there bided an auld wife whae got the name o' bein' a witch. She had a cat, a muckle black glowerin' beastie, she ca'd Sampson, an' yin day when John was in the village he cam' on a hantle o' laddies peltin' Sampson wi' stanes. John was vexed for the beast, for a' it was an unchancy animal, an', feart as he was, he clouted the laddies' heids an' brung the cat hame tae the auld wife. The carlin was fell pleased to get her cat hame, an' says she to John, "Mony a lang weary year ha'e I waited for a buddy to dae me a guid turn frae kind-ness an' guid-wull, an' noo ye ha'e dune it. Ye bude to ha'e the wish o' your hairt. Tell me, what is't ?""

Now in those days there was a queer wee house at the end of the school lane-in, where there bided an old wife who got the name of being a witch.   She had a cat, a mickle black glowering beastie, she called Sampson, and one day when John was in the village he came upon a hantle of laddies pelting Sampson with stones.   John was vexed for the beast, for all it was an unchancy animal, and, feared as he was, he clouted the laddies heads and brung the cat home to the old wife.   The carlin was pleased to get her cat home, and says she to John, "Many a long weary year have I waited for a body to do me a good turn from kindness and good will, and now you have done it.  You bude to have the wish of your heart.   Tell me, what is it?-- The tale of John Boe

The Red Cap: This is a solitary faery and we should be thankful for this since he is dangerous and hateful in nature. He appears as an emaciated man with a leathery body with little or no hair. He carries a sharp wooden scythe with which he strikes down all who invades the area he has chosen to guard. He is active all year and his element is fire. He moves amongst the ruined castles and cairns of lowland Scotland along the English border. He guards these places with his life. The Red Cap he wears has been dipped in the blood of his victims. There have been documented sightings of him.

http://www.ayrshirehistory.org.uk/Shorts/finlayson.htm  (  a village inn in the 1870s: )
He had to make a solemn vow to his mother "never tae tell ma' schuil chums or my playmates that I ever saw or heard their faithers in oor hoose, and never tae come ower ootside wi' onything that I ever saw or heard inside".    Sundays were, to the young Leggat, the dullest days: the blinds in the front windows - opposite the church - were lowered and remained so until church service was over, "at one o'clock or half past one, according to the dreichness o' the meenister".  Favoured farmers' wives and daughters would have the use of the pub kitchen to make final adjustments to their dress, while the farmers attended to putting the horses into the stables at the back, and betook themselves of a glass of beer before or - behind the lowered blinds - during the service. Saturday nights were busy with the miners, and Tuesdays were notable for the passage of carriers and farmers to and from the Ayr market. The carriers, from Cumnock, Auchinleck, Ochiltree, Drongan, &c., would "ca' at the inn on their road to the market, in the early oors o' the mornin' an' they wud help themsels tae oatcake and cheese fae a basket that was aye hingin fae yin o' the juists in the kitchen", while the farmers, returning from market, would call in on their way home: young Bob Leggat had lots of friends on a Tuesday, for he and his school friends were in demand to hold the reins of the farmers' horses while they were inside.
Ae Fond Kiss

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae farewell, and then forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.   - Robert Burns

The stage business involved a soiled sanitary towel, a team of surgeons wielding a baseball bat, a sword-swallower, a set of Russian dolls and the simulated extraction of semen from a live white horse, a genuine Lippizaner on loan from the Spanish Riding School.

[ subject line: {ASSM} The Holly and the Nettle  {David Nunes da Silva} {mm mf sm cbt 1st hist} ]

 
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