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This is a 1901 English translation of a 1665 French work called La Vie des Dames Galantes, meaning “The Lives Of The Gallant Ladies”.
” I have heard speak of a noble lady of the great world, one of the very noblest of the land. In truth she was a desperate harlot, not content with her natural lubricity, who had been married, and was now widowed, and was a very handsome woman to boot. The better to excite and provoke her passions, she would have her ladies, wives and maids alike, stripped naked, especially the fairest of them, and she did take much naughty pleasure in gazing at them.
Then would she strike them with the flat of her hand on their backsides with loud smacks and spankings, giving them good sound knocks. Girls who had committed some delinquency would be struck with good birch-rods. Then was her contentment great to see them wriggle, and to see all the motions and twistings and turnings of their bodies and bottoms, the which they did exhibit according to the blows they got, and which were right curious and diverting.
At other times, without stripping them, she would have their petticoats tucked up as they were (for in those days they wore no drawers), and would slap and whip them on the buttocks, according to the offence they had done her, or just merely to make them laugh, or cry. And by dint of looking at these parts and studying them, she was used so to sharpen her appetites that afterward she would of times away and satisfy them in good earnest with some good, strong, robust gallant.
I have heard say that, beside the women and girls that were regularly of her suite, such stranger ladies as did come to visit her were in two or three days, or sometimes every time they did come thither, quickly broken in to this same game, making her own women first show the way and tread the road first, then the others after. Whereat some were sore astonished to see this kind of sport, others not. Truly a merry pastime this, and an agreeable one!
I have heard speak likewise of a great nobleman who did find pleasure in gazing at his wife so exposed, whether stripped naked or dressed, and cuffing and slapping her, and watching her move her body to and fro under the blows.
…La Vie des Dames Galantes was illustrated by Paul Emile Bécat, and he seems to have chosen the spanking scene described above for one of his illustrations:c
Paul-Émile Bécat (1885-1960)
was a French painter and illustrator. He is mostly known today for his illustrations of erotic novels.
Bécat was a student of Gabriel Ferrier and François Flameng at the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1913 he exhibitioned at the Salon de Paris, and in 1920 he was awarded first prize in the Prix de Rome.
Returning from his travels to the Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Senegal and the Sudan, he specialised from 1933 in the technique of drypoint in his erotic works.