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An Account of the Whippings, Rapes, and Violences that Preceded the Civil War in America

Voluptuous effects of flagellation

The Memoirs Of Dolly Morton (Chapter X)


All the versions of this article:

Jean de Villiot, The Memoirs Of Dolly Morton : The Story of A Woman’s Part in The Struggle to Free The Slaves, An Account of the Whippings, Rapes, and Violences that Preceded the Civil War in America, With Curious Anthropological Observations on the Radical Diversities In the Conformation of the Female Bottom and the Way Different Women endure Chastisement, Ed. Charles Carrington, London, Paris, 1899.

The slaves get to know me; voluptuous effects of flagellation; my maid, Rosa, is whipped for impertinence; description of her bottom and legs; Randolph’s opinions on the right to rape colored women; Randolph puts me on the sofa and does the «usual thing.»

The weeks slipped away. My health remained good, my spirits revived and I was not unhappy. I had plenty of books to read, I rode nearly every day— sometimes alone, sometimes with Randolph—and I often took a long buggy ride.

We occasionally spent a few days in Richmond, staying at the best hotel and going every night to the theatre or to some other place of amusement. Before that time, I never had been in a theatre, so I enjoyed the performances immensely and wished very much that I could go on the stage. I told Randolph one day, but he only laughed, telling me that I was «a little goose» and that I had not enough «go» in me to make an actress.

At Woodlands I often amused myself by roaming about the plantation, which was very extensive. There were upwards of two-hundred field hands, male and female, all of whom were engaged in cultivating the cotton. Randolph fed his slaves well and did not overwork them, but otherwise he was a hard master. His four overseers had orders never to pass over a fault or to allow the least shirking of work; consequently, the strap, switch and paddle constantly were being used on both men and women.

The slaves’ quarters were divided into three blocks of «cabins,» as they were called; one block was for the married couples, another for the single men and the third for the unmarried women and girls. But as soon as work was over for the day, all the slaves of both sexes met together round a fire, where they spent most of the night dancing, singing and playing the banjo.

As a matter of course there was a great deal of poking. However, no notice was taken of what slaves did among themselves at night, so long as they were present the next morning when roll was called by the overseers.

The slaves soon got to know me well, and, since I took an interest in them and often was able to do them little kindnesses, they all became fond of me. I liked these poor, good-natured creatures who were always lighthearted except when they happened to be smarting from a whipping.

Although I often had seen the marks of the lash on the bodies of the runaways who had passed through our station, I hitherto had never seen a slave whipped Dinah, in her capacity of housekeeper, maintained strict discipline, so she often brought one of the women or one of the girls before Randolph for neglecting her work or some other offense, and sometimes he himself gave the offender a whipping on her bottom with the switch. I occasionally had heard the squeaks of a culprit, but I always had avoided being present at the punishment.

Whipping a girl seemed to have an exciting effect on Randolph, for, after switching one, he invariably used to come to me, wherever I happened to be, and poke me with great vigor. I thought it strange at the time, but I since have found out that men’s passions are inflamed by whipping the bottom of a female until she cries and writhes with pain, and, if they can’t do it themselves, they like seeing it done. This is a curious, but undoubted fact, and it shows what cruel creatures men are.

I have already mentioned that an octoroon girl named Rosa had been appointed to act as my maid. This girl formerly had been Randolph’s favorite, but, since my arrival at Woodlands, he had had nothing to do with her. When Rosa found that she was entirely neglected and that she was obliged to serve as my maid, she had been filled with bitter resentment. In fact, the girl was bitterly jealous.

She had shown her vexation from the first, by constant sullenness, and at times she was very impertinent to me. But I had borne with her ill temper and had always been kind to her, trying to make her like me, for I pitied her and all the other slave girls. However, nothing which I could do had any effect in softening the girl; she continued to be sulky and disrespectful, though I had managed to make all the other women and girls fond of me.

I knew that if I reported Rosa to Randolph he would have punished her, but, since I did not wish to get her into trouble, I did not say a word. Rosa was twenty years of age, tall, handsome and not darker than an ordinary brunette, her complexion being a clear olive with a tinge of pink showing on her cheeks. She had a well-rounded figure, with full bust and broad hips. Her feet were small and her hands were smooth, for she never had done any hard work. She had a profusion of long, wavy, dark brown hair. Her eyes also were brown, large, and soft. She had white, regular teeth and full, red, moist lips. Her voice was low and musical, but she was perfectly uneducated, not being able either to read or to write, and she spoke in the usual «nigger» way.

One morning when she was helping me dress, she appeared to be in worse temper than usual, and, while brushing my hair, pulled it so roughly that I several times had to tell her to be more careful. I spoke gently, but my remonstrances seemed only to irritate her.

Tossing her head and giving my hair a nasty pull, she said in a most saucy way: «I oughtened to be brushin yo’ hair at all. Becos you is white, you tinks you is a very fine lady but you is not a bit better dan me. You isn’t married to de Massa, yet you sleeps wid him every night.»

I flushed with anger. Rising from my seat, I ordered the girl to leave the room. She did so, laughing.

The tears came into my eyes. My heart swelled and I felt a deep sense of degradation. It was humiliating that, owing to a series of misfortunes, I should have come to be spoken to in such a coarse way by a slave girl. But, alas! What she had said was the truth. I really was no better than she. After a moment or two, I put up my hair, finished dressing and went down to breakfast. I had not intended to say anything to Randolph, but he noticed that I was depressed and asked me what was the matter. «Oh, nothing much,» I replied. «Rosa has been a little impertinent to me.» Not being satisfied with my answer, he insisted on knowing what the girl had said to me. Unable to contain my hurt any longer, I told him exactly what had occurred, adding that Rosa had always been more or less impertinent to me, and I suggested that, if he spoke to her, she probably would be more respectful to me in the future.

«I will speak to her presently,» he said. Then he went on quietly with his breakfast. I thought no more of the affair, and, when the meal was over, we left the room and went into an adjoining apartment, where I amused myself reading the newspaper while Randolph smoked his cigar. When he had finished, he rang the bell, which was answered by one of the parlormaids, Jane.

«Go tell Dinah and Rosa that I want them here, then come back yourself,» he said to the girl.

She went away, returning in about five minutes accompanied by the other two women. Randolph rose from his seat with a stern expression on his face and, turning to Rosa, who was looking rather frightened, said angrily:

«You young hussy! I have been hearing about your conduct. How dare you speak to your mistress like that? Did you think I would let you insult a white lady? You are getting too saucy, but I will take the sauce out of you. I am going to whip you.»

Rosa turned as pale as her olive complexion would allow. A frightened expression came into her eyes and she burst into tears.

«Oh! Massa!» she exclaimed. «Don’t whip me! Oh! Please don’t whip me! I’se very sorry I was sassy to de Missis. Oh! Do let me off an’ I will be a good gal and never be sassy again.» Then turning to me she said imploringly: «Oh! Missus. Forgive me, an’ ask de Massa not to whip me dis time.»

I did not want the girl to be whipped, so I asked Randolph to let her go away, saying that I was sure that she was sorry for what she had said and that I did not think she would offend again. But her master was very angry with her and would not consent to let her off. Turning to Dinah, he said curtly: «Take her up.»

I had no idea what was meant by the words, but Dinah knew what to do. She often had «taken up» naughty slave girls on her broad, strong back. Going up to Rosa, she seized her by the wrists, and, turning round, drew the girl’s arms over her shoulders Then, bending well forward, she raised the culprit’s feet off the floor so that her body was brought into a curved position.

Not wishing to see the punishment inflicted, I walked towards the door. But Randolph peremptorily ordered me to remain in the room. «Turn up her clothes, Jane, and, mind you, hold them well out of the way,» he said.

Jane went to the right side of the delinquent, and, rolling up her skirt, petticoats and chemise, held them high above her waist. The girl’s underlinen was perfectly clean, but she wore no drawers—none of the slave women possessed drawers. She had a fine, big, well-shaped bottom and, owing to the curved position in which she was being held, the large, plump round cheeks swelled out in high relief at a most convenient angle for receiving the switch. Her olive-tinted skin was perfectly smooth, her thighs were large and well-rounded, her legs were shapely and her ankles were trim. She was wearing white stockings, gartered with bows of blue ribbon, and she had on neat shoes.

Randolph went to a cabinet from which he took a hickory switch—he kept a switch in nearly every room —then, placing himself at the left side of the culprit, said: «Now, I’ll teach you to respect your mistress. I have not whipped you for some time, but I’m going to make your bottom smart now.»

Rosa had not struggled or uttered a word while she was being «taken up» and prepared for the switch. But now she turned her head, looking at Randolph with a dog-like expression of appeal in her great, brown eyes, and said beseechingly, while the tears ran down her cheeks: «Oh, Massa, don’t whip poor Rosa hard.»

He began to whip her, laying on the strokes smartly and as calmly as if he were merely beating a dog. The girl winced, drawing the cheeks of her bottom with a jerk each time the switch fell. Long, red weals rose on her skin. Her plump flesh quivered and she kicked up her feet, squealing shrilly and exclaiming in gasps:

«Oh, Massa! — Oh, Massa! — Don’t whip — me — so — hard—! Oh! Massa! Oh!—Good Massa, please—don’t whip — me — so — hard! Oh! Oh! Stop Massa! Oh! Please—please—stop. My bottom—is—so—sore—I Oh! Oh!»

The switch continued to stripe her writhing bottom, extracting loud cries from her, making her struggle and plunge violently. But Dinah, slightly separating her legs and bending well forward, easily held the shrieking girl in position while Randolph whipped away steadily. Jane held up the girl’s petticoats and Dinah gripped her wrists tightly while Rosa, squealing and twisting herself about, drew up her legs one after the other, then kicked them out in all directions, and, in her contortions opened her thighs so that I could see the curly dark brown hair shading the «spot»—and every now and then I caught a glimpse of the bright pink orifice.

Rosa’s skin was rather fine, and she appeared to feel the pain acutely, begging piteously for mercy. But Randolph, utterly regardless of her cries and entreaties, went on whipping till the surface of her bottom, from the loins to the thighs, was covered with red weals. Then, throwing down the switch, he said: «Let her go.»

Jane let the sufferer’s petticoats fall and Dinah released her wrists. Then Rosa stood on her feet, twisting her lips and wailing with pain while she wiped the fast-flowing tears from her eyes with her apron.

«There, Rosa,» said Randolph, «I have let you off rather easily this time, but if I ever again hear that you have been saucy to your mistress, I will whip you till the blood runs down your thighs. Now you can all go back to your work.»

Rosa, still wailing, slunk out of the room with her hand pressed to her smarting bottom; the other two women followed, and Randolph and I were left alone. He put away the switch, then, turning to me, said: I don’t think she’ll give you any more trouble, but if she does let me know.»

«Oh, George!» I said. «How could you bring yourself to whip the girl so severely. She is a pretty creature and I know you often have had her.»

He laughed. «Yes. I have often «had» her and will «have» her again if ever I feel inclined to. But I will also whip her again whenever she requires punishment. She is only a nigger, though she is so light in color. You are a Northern girl, so you don’t understand how we Southerners look upon our slave women. When they take our fancy we amuse ourselves with them, but we feel no compunction in whipping them whenever they misbehave. Their bodies belong to us, so we can use them in any way we please. Personally, I have no more regard for my slaves than for my dogs and horses.»

Though I had got to know Randolph pretty well by that time, I felt rather shocked by his unfeeling sentiments. However, I made no remark. He was standing in front of me, and I noticed that there was a protuberance in a certain part of his trousers. I guessed what was coming.

He went on: «You know, Dolly, whipping a girl always excites me, so I am going to have you.» Then, laying me on the couch, he pulled up my petticoats, took down my drawers and entered me with more than usual vigor. Whipping Rosa’s bottom certainly had acted on him as a powerful aphrodisiac!

When all was over and I had fastened my drawers, we went to our respective rooms and made ourselves tidy. Then he ordered the buggy and we went for a long drive in the country, lunching at a farm house and not returning home until it was time to dress for dinner.

When I got to my room I found Rosa there, as usual, waiting to assist me in making my toilet. She was looking very subdued and her manner was humble and submissive. She had received a severe whipping, and her bottom must have been very sore. I felt for her, knowing as I did how dreadfully the switch could sting. «I am sorry for you Rosa,» I said. «Did the whipping hurt you very much?»

«Oh! Yes Missis,» she answered, giving a little shudder at the remembrance, «it did hurt me most drefful. De Massa never give me such a hard whippin before. Dinah has rubbed my bottom with possum fat, an’ dat has taken de sting out of de weals som, but I’se very sore an’ I can’t sit down easy.»

She helped me to dress, seeming very anxious to please me in every way, and always speaking most respectfully. From that day she was a changed girl so far as regarded her behavior to me. I never had occasion to find fault with her again during the rest of my stay at Woodlands.

View online : Hot viands and bottom-spanking escapades (Chapter XI)

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