When the headmistress is indisposed, she asks another teacher to help out
By Joanna Jones
I heard a brief knock on the door, but before I could say anything it started to open. Only one person in the school would do that, and sure enough the familiar face of Miss Lyons appeared round the door.
“Headmistress.” I welcomed, half standing.
“Do you have a few minutes Mr Wilkins?” She asked. An old fashioned woman, she always referred to her staff, including me as Deputy Head, using surnames. Many of the younger staff were moving to the informality of first name terms, but that was certainly not Miss Lyons’ style!
“Of course,” I replied and waved her to the chair next to my desk.
She got straight to the point. “I have two girls outside my office; Geraldine Wood and Martha Grey.”
I suddenly sat up straighter. I knew the girls well, and not for the right reasons. Miss Wood in particular tended to let her mouth run away with her, and seemed unable to control herself despite being in the upper sixth. Martha Grey, her best friend, was often caught up in supporting her. I could only see one reason why the Head would want to discuss the girls, and that was as a second opinion if she was thinking of expulsion, or at least suspension.
Miss Lyons continued. “Geraldine has been letting her mouth go again, and judging by the note was extremely rude to Mrs Thomson in her biology lesson. Martha Grey clearly found the exchange highly amusing.”
She paused as I considered. “I am sick to the back teeth of these two appearing in my office, and I am sure the reason they behaved so appallingly this time is because they think I can’t do too much to deal with it, what with this wrist of mine.”
I noted the crepe bandage supporting her right wrist as she said it. The plaster had only come off the previous week, all as a result of the Head slipping on some December ice a month or so previously. She had only been able to cease dictating everything and write again since the New Year.
The issue she was referring to was, of course, her ability to administer appropriate retribution for misbehaviour. For a woman like Miss Lyons, ‘appropriate retribution’ invariably meant the pupil departing her office with a well chastised backside, usually in tears. Since her slip she had been using her left hand, but was the first to admit that while she could manage the slipper to reasonable effect, the cane was harder to get right. For first timers, the distress of being caned at all, and the fact that the Head would go easier in such cases, meant that she could achieve an equivalent result, but I had heard the rumours that, amongst the band of mischievous madams whose visits to her office were more frequent, there was a happy relief that at least until Easter any punishments that were more severe would have less than their usual effect. I am sure Miss Lyons, who was surprisingly adept at keeping on top of everything that was going on in her school, had heard the same, if not more.
Clearly Miss Lyons was of the view that the two girls now waiting outside would not have dared be so impertinent if she had full use of her caning arm. At least she did not seem to be talking of suspension and/or expulsion, which I always felt really should be in the last resort category.
That was confirmed when Miss Lyons continued. “I think, Mr Wilkins, that when necessary, it might be better if I delegated caning serious offenders to you until at least Easter. Would you be amenable with that?”
“Of course,” I replied. I already did look after disciplinary matters if she was away, including the week she’d spent in the local hospital as a result of her fall. The only difference for the girls was that I always caned, and always on hands. A single light, stinging stroke was rather similar in severity to a good slippering from the Head, in my view, while four hard whacks was my equivalent of six of the best.
“I want you to cane them as I would,” she continued, and seeing my reaction said: “We will do it in my office with me present so the girls can have no complaint.”
I was not especially happy with the idea of me caning them with their skirts up and, no doubt for these two sixth formers, tights down. However, with her present I could see no real issue and agreed.
Thus a few minutes later I followed Miss Lyons back to her office, noting the two girls sitting dejectedly outside. Neither looked more than mildly worried; they knew what to expect and were no doubt currently consoling themselves with their luck at the Head’s current disability. Given their track record they probably thought a whacking an inconvenient ‘occupational hazard’ in any case, maybe even something to enhance their reputation amongst their friends. I wondered what their reaction would be when they realised what the Head had in store for them.
In her office, the Head briefly outlined her plan. Basically she would do the talking, all I had to do was take the cane she gave me and apply it as firmly as I could to the designated rear end at the appropriate juncture.
With that she called them in. Both now did look worried to see that I was still in her office, standing behind her. It no doubt crossed their minds that perhaps the Head might have been thinking along the suspension or worse lines, though that would be surprising for a bit of cheek.
Geraldine was the calmer of the two as she tossed her long fair hair, tied in a pony tail, at Miss Lyons abrupt order to stand up straight. Martha complied more nervously as she pushed back her shoulders and stood loosely to attention. I noted her wipe her hands on the side of her shortish skirt as she did so. Both girls were wearing skirts that came to about mid thigh, which was just about as high as Miss Lyons would tolerate despite the fashion of the time driving the hem ever upwards.
Miss Lyons could give an excellent dressing down, and indeed many girls were in tears long before she got to the ‘real’ part of a punishment in her office. For these two hardened characters, that of course did not happen, though both looked genuinely penitent as they accepted their behaviour was unacceptable and apologised. Perhaps the worry that Miss Lyons might indeed suspend them and that their parents would then be involved made them a little more genuinely apologetic than I expected from them.
Eventually the Head got to their punishments.
“I am sick of you two appearing in my office for rudeness to staff who are trying to give you what you need to pass your A-levels. Perhaps you think that given my injury I can’t give you the thrashing you deserve. Well, perhaps you are right, so instead Mr Wilkins will be giving you the canings that your backsides so richly deserve!”
I watch the girls stare at each other, then simultaneously turn their faces to me, aghast.
They did not get long to assimilate the news as the Head continued. “Grey, you’re first. Fetch the chair, skirt up, tights down, and bend over. Wood, go face the wall and ponder on your lack of manners and self control!”
As they now very pensively complied, the Head went to her cupboard and produced a brute of a cane. I was sure it was probably the worst in whatever collection she kept in her cupboard.
Martha kept glancing at me as her hands fumbled under her skirt which, given its nature, rode up considerably as she did so, to find the top of her tights, then rather curtsied as she pulled them down to below her knees.
Facing the chair she hitched up her skirt and blouse fully and bent over. I was presented with the sight of a thin pair of the yellow cotton knickers, glimpsed as she had struggled to decorously lower her tights, with a thin band of pale flesh above. The white blouse tails were bunched up with the material of the straight skirt already ruggled on her back.
Martha was already in that position as I took the stick from Miss Lyons. I could not resist giving it a swish. It made a light humming as it scythed though the air. Miss Grey noticeably tensed as I did so.
“Six strokes, Mr Wilkins,” intimated the Head. A quiet moan appeared to come from the depths of the chair.
Martha twitched again as the cane touched the pale yellow fabric of her knickers. I glanced up at the Head, whose impassive face rather glowered at the thinly covered target.
I took a breath, grit my teeth, and having drawn the rod back, swished it down hard on the upper portions of her rear.
It landed with a sharp crack, followed by a stifled gasp from my victim. I gave a good long pause for her to feel the effect then…
A second blow landed parallel to where I estimated I’d placed the first. Martha was a fairly tough cookie and the blow was met in near silence.
Despite not holding back and having a good right arm, the third and fourth were met with near silence too.
I aimed the fifth low and whipped it down harder still along the very base of her knickers.
She gave a short stifled wail in response.
The final cut was placed slightly higher and with the best technique at my disposal.
“Sheesh!” She gasped as she stood and vigorously rubbed her rear, whilst turning to face the Head rather than me.
Slightly flushed, she pulled down her blouse and then slowly levered her tights back up over her no doubt exquisitely sore rear. Finally she smoothed the hem of the skirt back to mid-thigh before slowly crossing the room to stand facing the wall at the Headmistress’s order.
A few moments later, the Head called Geraldine to take her place.
Geraldine did not bother waiting for the inevitable command to take her skirt up and lower her tights to her knees, but did so immediately, hitching the skirt to her waist first, before carefully peeling down the tights to reveal a pair of rather lacy knickers in a predominantly pale green colour. The lace fringing was white, matching the tiny flowers on the cotton fabric. She was clearly less bothered about giving me a frontal look at her underwear than Martha had been.
However, while she may have resignedly exposed her pants to me without being ordered she was still blushing furiously as she did so.
It was clear my mild discomfort at seeing this young woman in such a state was not matched by Miss Lyons, who glowered as she prepared herself.
What happened next will remain etched in my memory, I expect forever.
As Geraldine made to bend over the Head said: “Oh no you don’t, Miss Wood! I warned you what would happen if you ever appeared in my office again!”
My confusion was not shared by Geraldine Wood, who stared utterly appalled at the Head.
“B, but please, Miss, not in front of Mr Wilkins, please don’t make me take them down,” she begged.
It was with a flash of horror that I realised that Miss Lyons, without giving me any warning whatsoever, was proposing that this young lady divest herself of her knickers in front of me.
I was unable to restrain my gasp, more of a choked cough, and turned around slightly to try to school my thoughts together. If Miss Lyons had told me beforehand what she intended I would most certainly have made to refuse. Perhaps I would have compromised under her duress, for she was a persuasive, formidable woman, to her ordering those knickers pulled up to expose the girl’s lower cheeks, but nothing more. However, I was now in her office with the girl present and to contradict her in the presence of a pupil would be, I knew, as unacceptable to her as it would to me if a teacher tried to do it in my office with a girl present.
I was trapped.
I suspect Miss Lyons saw my shock, then angry countenance before I regained control of myself, and managed to come up with a rapid compromise.
“Very well, Wood, bend over the chair, and I will lower what passes for your underwear sufficient only to expose the area to be punished. After your eight, yes eight, strokes,” she repeated to a further squeak of horror from Geraldine. “You will remain in position until I have replaced your pants and told you that you may stand. Is that clear?”
Normally the Head considered a girl released from punishment the moment the last stroke was given, so there was to be an additional humiliating tribulation for Geraldine, even if the impact in preserving some of her modesty was to be beneficial.
However, this compromise was not really what Geraldine wanted to hear. She was still I think in shock that her underwear was coming down at all. “But, but, please Miss,” she started to say.
“You prefer a suspension? Shall I call your parents?” Interrupted Miss Lyons coldly.
A defeated resigned voice replied. “No, miss,” and reluctantly Geraldine bent over the chair back and grabbed its seat on either side.
“Mr Wilkins, if you could take position please?” Asked the Headmistress, and I moved to one side. I could now see that as long as she kept herself together, the modesty surrounding what lay between her legs would be maintained. Even if they parted slightly I was so far round to the side I would still only see the flesh of her buttocks.
While still far from happy at how this had happened I put that all to one side as Miss Lyons went to the girl and tugged her blouse tails up to join the bunched material of her tight skirt in the small of her back, showing her hips fully as they tapered up into her waist. Rather more gently she inverted Geraldine’s knickers so the gusset remained in place in her crotch, but the waist elastic was now somewhere around the middle of her thighs. Geraldine was breathing rather deeply as she tried to hold herself together during this process. She had been caned often enough before I knew, but never like this.
In fact most girls were caned in their skirts. It was only serious and multiple repeat offenders who found their skirts up, and Miss Lyons claimed later to me, it was only the third time she’d ordered a girl to take the punishment bare.
However, the Head had clearly had enough of Geraldine Wood’s persistent low level cheek as she repeated the required punishment. “Mr Wilkins, eight strokes, and make sure she really feels them. If there is a next time she will be suspended as well as caned!”
Geraldine was visibly trembling as I tapped the cane on that bared bottom. Despite her appalling track record, discipline-wise I felt rather sorry for her as she awaited the first of eight hard whacks I was to give her.
Thwack. I had launched the cane hard high on her buttocks. She was known to be stoic when caned and as expected the blow was met with silence.
Three further severe swishes working down her rather nicely shaped bottom were similarly met with complete silence.
However, on the fifth I launched a full blooded effort right at the base of her bottom, and got a gasp as a result.
The sixth landed a little higher and led to another stifled gasp. I could see why Miss Lyons had decided on eight. Very few girls ever took six as silently as that.
Thwack. The seventh landed as hard as I could whack it slightly below the middle of her bottom. A faint sound, like a small grunt escaped her lips.
Taking my time I launched the final stroke right on the middle of the target, getting a mild “A-aah” as she stood looking relieved it was over, and started to rub her bottom, treating me to a view of the ‘down’ at the apex of her thighs, with the white fabric of the inside gusset of her knickers contrasting with the dark hair. The uniform skirt was unfortunately of far too tight a design to drop of its own accord.
It was only as she recognised the shocked look on my face that she remembered I was there, and no doubt also remembered the Head’s unique instruction to remain in position after, for her to restore her modesty. After the brief confused pause she went to pull her pants up quickly.
However, it was too late.
Miss Lyons immediately declared angrily: “How dare you stand before I said, and expose yourself so shamefully. Back over that chair right now! Two more strokes if you please Mr Wilkins.”
Poor Geraldine, knickers at least temporarily back in place, began to splutter an apology and beg to be let off.
That only served as an excuse for Miss Lyons to add another extra and threaten to increase it further if she did not immediately comply. Clearly now more upset, she slowly returned her body over the chair with her skirt and blouse still up on her waist.
This time the Head rather more vigorously removed her knickers, again to mid thigh, and to a rather distressed grunt from Miss Wood. It was then I got the feeling that, while she may have managed the original punishment well, the surprise in suddenly getting extra meant these last three were going to be more of a struggle for her.
I looked at the lines on her bottom. One advantage of being bare was it helped to choose areas which were less punished for the extra blows. I mentally picked two small gaps, and decided there was sufficient space at the bottom of the target for a final blow.
Thwack! For the first time she gave a vociferous yell in response, followed by a couple of moans before she quietened.
The second blow landed tight between two others and led to a scream as she lifted her left leg at the knee to cope with the impact. This time the moans did not stop as I lined up the last stroke.
Could it be possible? Was that hard girl, veteran of numerous whackings in this office actually, finally shedding a tear or two?
Thwack! The last was vicious and low along the crease of thigh and bottom. There was a loud screech and stamping of feet as she clearly desperately held on to the chair.
After a long pause, during which I waited patiently to the side I was standing at and watched Geraldine writhe over the desk, Miss Lyons came forward and rather roughly replaced the thin green knickers, and then additionally hoisted up her tights to gasps from the still bent over Geraldine. After roughly pulling down her skirt, she gave the bottom a firm slap with her left hand as Geraldine was allowed to stand with a further screech.
She was indeed red eyed and there were the unmistakable signs of a few tears tracking down her face.
In contrast, there was a smile of satisfaction on the Head’s face as she called Martha across and rapidly completed the punishment book.
She then asked her secretary to return them directly to Mrs Thomson’s class and that they were to apologise to the teacher immediately. The secretary was told to bring them straight back if there was any perceived lack of sincerity.
Once gone, I too was dismissed with a thanks, particularly for managing to finally push Geraldine Wood to show more than pained defiance after a caning. Perhaps she thought Miss Wood might finally be more circumspect in future.
So it proved to be. Geraldine managed not to provoke the ire of another teacher in her remaining months at the school and indeed her story, coupled with the fact that she had clearly not managed to stop the tears before returning to her biology class, seemed to cause a number of mischievous girls to curtail their activities, to the point a month or so later that Miss Lyons said that she might have a ‘flare up’ of her wrist problem occasionally if a girl seemed particularly intractable.
Thus Geraldine’s was not the last female bottom I caned, though Miss Lyons did agree that, in future, my suggestion that pulling pants up rather than down would be a more appropriate method to bare a target if she felt it was needed with me present to carry out the honours.