"It is supposed that this alludes to the actual situation of being draped over a barrel, either to empty the lungs of someone who has been close to drowning, or to give a flogging." (Internet)
Today meaning the person over the barrel has no choice in the matter. Well, if you are someone like me, you will understand why I panicked and felt I had no choice. When we bought our first little flat to rent out when we retired, we were so excited, had it painted out, fitted tiles behind the kitchen counter, put new carpets in the bedrooms, scrubbed the other floors, put in a new shower etc.etc. When the agent said she had super tenants for us, two girls, both in the Hospitality industry, one a vintner, the other a housekeeper - we couldn't believe our luck. Perfect, I thought to myself, they will look after the apartment nicely. The dealbreaker in our rental contract was "No Pets". My husband was adamant about this: also our apartment is on the second floor. The girls knew this and all seemed fine the first month and then - a week before Christmas, one of them phoned me and pleaded with me (pretty forcefully) to allow her to buy her flatmate a Daschund puppy for Christmas. It would go to Puppy Daycare, she assured me, Monday to Friday. Against my better judgement (and because I panicked) I gave in, but didn't dare tell my husband. What happens? Some months later, my agent tells me the girls are breaking up, there is a 'bitch fight' going on and they want to leave, but not to worry, she has a super new tenant for us, a single girl who is very meticulous. The flat was immaculate when they left she told me - including the carpets. Three months later, large stains have appeared on both bedroom carpets. They look awful but they weren't there when the tenant moved in. I am pretty sure they are puppy wee. I am hoping to get in there myself next month and try to remove them with 50%water/spirit vinegar. I've had success with this in the past. What's worse, my husband has seen them (and so far said nothing). I don't know if my luck will last. He will be very cross if he finds out. Ironically, it's just about the only secret I've ever kept from him. I hope the remedy works. I've certainly mentally flagellated myself a lot over this. I must learn not to make assumptions about people. Or about dogs. Or to be unrealistic about puppies.