Violet, who comments here, made an observation in passing in an email recently about the sort of dresses worn by the ladies in imperial Vienna.

“Too frustrating,” I replied. “It would be too hard for a gentleman to get in.”

Only, of course, our gentleman wouldn’t have to undress her, when a girl needed punishing. He’d merely call for her maids.

Picture him, standing there, riding crop in hand. Lecturing her about her behaviour, whilst the servants stripped her. Telling her how severely he intended to punish her. Brushing off her pleas, her humiliation all the more complete for knowing that the two young lasses were listening to every word.

Naked, trembling, in front of him.

“Bend over the bed.” And, to the maids: “You may leave now.”