A girl faces her headmistress’s punishment
By Kenny Walters
As the family sat down at the dinner table, Julie, the seventeen-year-old daughter was noticeably quiet. Even her younger sister, Carole, noticed.
“You okay, Julie?” Their mother, Ann Noakes asked as she dished out the vegetables.
“Which means she isn’t at all fine,” Carole piped up. “Probably another boy, if you ask me.”
“No one did!” snapped Julie.
“Girls!” Tom Noakes called. “Can we just eat our dinner in peace, please?”
Halfway through the main course, Julie put her knife and fork down. “I’ve got a problem.”
“Anything we can help you with?” Ann Noakes asked.
“Come on, spill the beans,” added Carole, who loved tormenting her older sister.
Julie glared angrily at her sister, then turned to her mother. “I’ve been accused of doing something I didn’t do, but if I explain what did actually happen I’ll have to drop a friend in trouble.”
“I think we need to know a little more, darling,” her mother responded, glancing sideways at her husband, who seemed more interested in his dinner.
“It was just after gym last Tuesday. We’d all changed and were heading back to the sixth form common room. Jennifer Adams handed me a bag with her gym kit in because she’d forgotten something and had to go back for it. We were walking along the corridor and Miss Crookes was coming the other way. As she passed me, she must have looked down at Jennifer’s bag, which was open, and she spotted a packet of cigarettes.”
“But, Jennifer shouldn’t have brought cigarettes into school. That’s a serious offence. It says so in the school rules they send us every year.” Mrs Noakes began to see where this was heading.
“Exactly. Of course, Miss Crookes stopped me and grabbed the cigarettes, then she asked me if it was my bag. That put me right on the spot, and I mumbled something, the gist of which was that it was my bag.”
“What happened then?”
“Miss Crookes confiscated the cigarettes and put me on report to the headmistress. Then this morning, I was called away from my Economics lesson and told to report to the headmistress, Mrs Smith.”
“And what did she have to say?”
Julie coughed nervously and glanced at her younger sister.
“I’m to report to her office at 3.30 tomorrow.”
“Oh great!” exclaimed Carole. “We all know what that means!”
“What does it mean?” Mrs Noakes asked, not especially conversant with the workings of the school. “Julie?”
Julie took a deep breath, which gave her younger sister the chance to cut in.
“Julie’s getting the cane! Julie’s getting the cane!” Carole sang.
“Oh, surely not,” said Mrs Noakes. “Not at seventeen.”
Julie’s face turned noticeably red.
“She will!” declared Carole.
“You can’t know that, Carole. I’m sure Mrs Smith will take Julie’s age into account and find some other punishment for her. Not that I think Julie should be punished for something her friend did.”
“You see my predicament, mum?” Julie asked, ignoring the huge smile on Carole’s face.
“Yes, of course. But, if Jennifer is such a good friend, surely she’ll own up and take her punishment, won’t she?”
Julie nodded, still picking at her food distractedly. “The thing is, mum, she rather blames me for letting Miss Crookes see inside her bag. She says I should have kept it shut.”
“Fair point!” Carole butted in, and got a frown from her mother.
“That’s a silly argument,” Mrs Noakes said pointedly. “She shouldn’t have cigarettes in her bag. It’s that simple.”
“We all do it, though,” Julie said quietly, without thinking.
“Really?” Her mother sat up. “You too? I didn’t know you smoked. You really shouldn’t. It’s terribly bad for your health.”
“Relax, mum! I don’t really smoke, just the odd one now and again to be sociable.”
“Then perhaps a couple of sharp taps across your hand will convince you not to be sociable, at least not in that way.”
Julie looked up.
“Hand?” Carole perked up. “It’s not her hand she has to worry about!”
“What do you mean, Carole?” Mrs Noakes asked.
“Er, Julie might need a cushion placing on her chair tomorrow evening, mum.”
“What? Surely not!”
Carole nodded vigorously. Inwardly, she was already looking forward to tomorrow evening.
“Tom, are you just going to sit there? Have you even been listening?”
“Yes, dear. And I completely understand Julie’s predicament. All things considered, I think she just has to bite the bullet and take whatever Mrs Smith decides. She can’t tell on Jennifer. That would be unacceptable and would probably cause her more misery from her schoolmates than a few whacks with the cane will cause.”
“Yes, but on her bottom?”
“Why not? And anyway, you’ve smacked her backside a few times yourself.”
“Not for several years. She hasn’t needed it.”
“Which suggests it’s something you’d still consider if she did need it. None of us know for sure what action, if any, Mrs Smith will take. That’s for Julie to find out tomorrow.”
Carole began to speak, but was stopped by a firm glare from her father.
At 3.20 the following day, during a break between lessons, Jennifer Adams caught up with Julie and grabbed her arm.
“What are you going to do?” Jennifer asked, aggressively pulling Julie to one side.
“How do you mean?”
“We all know you’re due to see Mrs Smith at 3.30. What are you going to say to her?”
“I’m going to apologise for being in possession of cigarettes in school, which I knew was against the rules, and take whatever punishment she awards me. What else do you expect me to do?”
“You’re not going to tell her they were my cigarettes in my bag that you were carrying for me?”
“Of course not, Jennifer! We don’t do that sort of thing in this school.”
“She’ll probably cane you,” Jennifer replied, now looking far more contrite.
“If she does, then I’ll just have to accept it.”
“That’s very brave of you, Julie.” Jennifer stroked Julie’s arm. “I-I feel a bit guilty about it, really I do.”
“Julie, if you want to come along with me and own up to your part in it, then that’s fine. Mrs Smith would almost certainly punish you, but I doubt she’d let me off entirely. Is that what you want to do?”
Jennifer frowned. “She’d cane me.”
“Yes, probably, although we’re both seventeen, so she might feel something else is more appropriate.”
“She might not.”
“True. Look, I need to be getting over to her office. Do you want to come with me?”
“I can’t. I just can’t,” Jennifer responded, vigorously shaking her head.
“That’s okay.” Julie patted Jennifer’s arm and turned away.
It took her four minutes to arrive outside the headmistress’s office. There were two other girls already waiting, both younger than Julie. They stood facing the corridor wall with their hands on their heads.
Julie smiled weakly as she reached the nearer girl.
“Why are you standing like that?”
“Durr! Because Mrs Smith told us to? You’d better do the same or you’ll be in trouble.”
Julie thought hard. Perhaps Mrs Smith thought it appropriate for these two girls, both from the fifth form, and maybe she wouldn’t require it for someone from the lower sixth. But then, she didn’t want to find herself in even more trouble, so she decided it would be better to do as the girl said.
“Why are you here?” Julie asked quietly, looking surreptitiously up and down the corridor, hoping none of her fellow sixth formers came along and saw her like this.
“Persistent lateness,” the girl explained. “And I only live across the road!”
“You?” Julie looked past the first girl at the second.
“Chewing gum in class, then arguing when she told me to spit it into the bin.”
“Ssh!” Julie’s neighbour hissed. “She’ll hear us.”
Three seconds later, the door was snatched open and Mrs Smith stood in the doorway.
“Just three of you? Okay, let’s have you, Donna. In you come.”
Before closing the door, Mrs Smith looked sternly at Julie and the other remaining girl. A tall, robust woman in her early fifties, Mrs Smith managed to make them both tremble. Julie edged up closer to her neighbour.
“Can you hear what’s going on?” Julie whispered.
“No, just murmurings.”
Within moments, they heard a sharp crack that made them both jump. They waited for a repeat, but then the door slowly opened and Donna emerged rubbing the palm of her left hand. She briefly held her hand out so both could see the red mark that crossed the breadth of her small hand. They could see tears in her eyes as she left them and walked slowly back down the corridor.
Then Mrs Smith reappeared in the doorway.
“You next, Angela.”
And then Julie was on her own. She moved closer to the door as she tried in vain to make out what was being said inside. The murmurings continued longer this time, and then the room fell silent. Several minutes passed, and then two sharp cracks rang out. Julie expected the door to open at any moment, and her heart beat faster as she sensed her turn was now highly imminent. But for long moments nothing happened. Very little noise came from inside the office and Julie could only hear brief moments of speech, and that sounded more like it was the headmistress talking.
Once more, the door opened slowly, and Angela walked straight past Julie, tears in her eyes. Julie watched her going down the corridor.
“In you come, Julie.”
Julie turned her head back, and Mrs Smith stood waiting for her. Inside the office, Mrs Smith took Julie by the arm and steered her to a position in front of her desk. The headmistress then sat on the leading edge of the large desk.
“Cigarettes, Julie? Really?”
“I’m afraid so, miss,” Julie muttered. She looked around and her eyes settled on a sideboard to the left of the room, and in particular a slender cane lying on the polished top.
“I have a sneaky feeling, Julie, that those cigarettes did not actually belong to you. Am I correct?”
“They were in my possession, miss.”
Mrs Smith smiled. Her suspicions were correct.
“A very diplomatic answer, Julie. And I’m sure you won’t name the real owner, will you?”
Julie said nothing. Neither did Mrs Smith as she looked Julie up and down, noting the neatness of her black blazer, her white blouse, striped tie and navy-blue pleated skirt. Even Julie’s black shoes were well polished.
“And you’re prepared to suffer the consequences, are you?”
Julie nodded her acceptance with a single, nervous, jerk of her head, and Mrs Smith immediately swung herself off her desk and went over to the sideboard. Julie watched her all the way, only looking straight ahead again when the headmistress returned carrying the cane. As Mrs Smith stood by her side, Julie rubbed the palm of her hand against her skirt.
After staring at Julie’s face until the girl began to feel uncomfortable, Mrs Smith said, “Better take your blazer off, Julie. You can put it at the end of my desk.”
Even the simple act of slipping off her school blazer seemed affected by Julie’s nervousness, but she managed the task, folded the blazer and placed it on the end of the desk. Then she turned to face her headmistress. Mrs Smith stood looking into Julie’s eyes.
“Sh-should I hold my hand out, miss?” Julie stuttered, wondering whether girls were supposed to do this of their own volition. She had expected to be told, expected a stern command from this most senior lady. The headmistress’s silence was baffling, and there was a glint in her eye. Was Mrs Smith smiling?
“Please remove your skirt, Julie.”
Julie paused, trying to convince herself she’d heard correctly.
“I’m sorry, miss?”
“I asked you to remove your skirt, Julie, and your tights if you’re wearing them.”
“I-I don’t understand, miss.” Even as she uttered the words, her mind suddenly went back to her younger sister’s comments at the dinner table yesterday evening. Suddenly, she realised, and her face felt hot and flushed.
“Is the penny dropping, Julie?” The smile became more pronounced on the headmistress’s face.
“Um, yes, I think so, miss,” Julie answered, wondering what she could say that might persuade the headmistress to allow her to receive her punishment across the palm of her hand, or maybe she could take two strokes on each palm. That would be far more dignified, in her opinion.
“For being in possession of cigarettes in school, I’m giving you four strokes,” the headmistress continued. “It would have been six had I been sure they were your property. Being caned across the palm of your hand is extremely painful. I only cane on the non-writing hand, and I only apply a maximum of two strokes. Any more, and it’s a smacked bottom. Do you understand now?”
“Yes, miss,” Julie’s voice fell. Mrs Smith had it all worked out. There would be no changing her mind.
The fastenings of Julie’s navy-blue pleated skirt were at the back, and she struggled to get the button securing the waistband undone. Eventually though, it did come undone and she moved onto the zip which slid down very easily. The skirt fell to her ankles, and she bent down to untangle it from her ankles and step out of it. After folding it, she placed it carefully on top of her blazer on the headmistress’s desk.
“It is actually very painful to have the cane across the palm of your hand, Julie,” Mrs Smith reiterated in an attempt to convince Julie being caned across her backside was actually in her own best interests.
“Yes?” Julie’s response came out as almost a squeak.
Julie inserted her thumbs into the waistband of the black-coloured tights and quickly pushed them down, stepped out of them, and placed them untidily on top of her skirt. It felt odd being in this office wearing just brief navy-blue panties below her waist.
“Are you sure you don’t want to tell me who those cigarettes belonged to, Julie?”
“I can’t, miss. Sorry.”
“I know you can’t, Julie.”
The headmistress took a step nearer and put a comforting arm around Julie’s shoulders, an arm which also steered the girl round so that she was facing the desk.
“That means I have to ask you to bend across my desk. Get right down and stick your bottom out.”
Julie glanced sideways. Mrs Smith was holding the cane in her left hand, gripping the middle of the slender implement. Her right hand lingered on Julie’s shoulder, then slipped down her back, just below her bra strap. A faint smile still suggested some sympathy on the part of the headmistress, but the shine in the lady’s eyes was more difficult to comprehend.
“You can take as long as you like, Julie,” the headmistress told her. “But you do need to submit yourself at some stage.”
Julie knew what Mrs Smith meant, although the choice of words seemed odd.
And then Julie felt the headmistress’s hand sliding further down her back until it rested on her right buttock. Two gentle pats followed, and then the hand went up to her shoulder again. Julie found herself feeling more relaxed. She knew having the cane lashed across her bottom was going to hurt, probably hurt dreadfully, but somehow that had become accepted. A link had been forged between the teenager and the older woman that Julie couldn’t explain. She had to be punished, and she had complete trust in Mrs Smith.
Julie smiled ruefully. “Now?”
“Yes,” replied Mrs Smith.
Leaning forward over the desk, Julie rested on her forearms and then allowed her body to descend onto the hard wooden surface. She tucked her knees in and arched her back slightly so that her bottom seemed well positioned as a target for Mrs Smith’s cane. The position felt oddly comfortable.
“Is that okay?” Julie asked, nonetheless.
“That will be fine.”
Julie tried to mentally prepare herself for the pain she was soon to experience, but Mrs Smith was too quick. The cane whipped across the width of Julie’s backside and the sting caused her to cry out. Within moments, another stroke scorched her bottom, just a little lower down.
Julie’s instinct was to ask Mrs Smith to slow down, to give her a chance to recover between strokes, but the headmistress continued relentlessly. The third stroke hit slightly lower again, and the fourth still lower. The punishment was over, and so many emotions raced through Julie’s mind. Her bottom hurt like it had been seared by a hot poker. Her fellow collaborator was no longer by her side, and she felt uncomfortably alone.
“You can get up, Julie,” Mrs Smith said, as she returned from placing the cane back on the sideboard.
“Eh? Oh, sorry.”
Julie eased herself up off the desk, and instinctively reached behind and rubbed her bottom through her navy-blue underwear.
“So, how does it feel to be caned? That was your first time, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, miss.” Julie continued massaging her backside, not worrying now about standing in this office in her panties. “It certainly stings!”
“Would you like a glass of water? We might even manage a cup of tea.”
“No thank you, miss,” Julie replied instinctively. Then she added, “Actually, yes, a cup of tea would be nice.” She smiled awkwardly. Tea with the headmistress wasn’t something she’d ever contemplated.
“I’ll get my secretary onto it,” said Mrs Smith as she picked up the telephone. “Meanwhile, you might want to get dressed.”
When the secretary delivered tea for two, with two digestive biscuits for each participant, Julie and Mrs Smith were both seated in comfortable armchairs around a coffee table, places normally reserved for guests. Julie felt herself being closely examined as the tea was poured.
“I had to cane you, Julie,” Mrs Smith spoke between sips of tea. “There really was no alternative. And you had to accept the caning. Your life would have been made awful if you had given me the name of the girl whose cigarettes those were.”
“Yes, miss. I do fully understand that, really I do.”
Mrs Smith nodded thoughtfully.
“You know, we shall need a new head girl, come next September. I think you would be eminently suitable. How would you feel about that?”
“Um, I don’t know. It would be quite an honour, miss.”
“We’d have to work together quite closely, Julie. Would that be something you could manage?”
“Oh, yes miss. I’d look forward to it.”
“Of course, get yourself caught in possession of cigarettes again, and I’d still have to smack your bottom.”
“What happened with Mrs Smith, Julie?” Mrs Noakes asked as Julie got home from school. Somehow, Julie’s sister, Carole, had managed to beat her home.
“I got the cane, mum, just as we expected.”
“Oh dear! Does it hurt? I mean, do you need an extra cushion or something?”
“It’s okay, mum. I’ll manage.”
“Is your bum well bruised?” Carole asked.
Julie ignored her.
“Mrs Smith was really nice about it, actually mum. And she realised those weren’t my cigarettes.”
“But she still caned you?”
“She had to. I wouldn’t tell her whose cigarettes they belonged to, so she quite rightly punished me.”
“You’re taking it very well, I must say. I still think I should write to her and complain.”
“Please don’t, mum. Everything is fine between me and Mrs Smith, really it is. And guess what?”
Julie took a long, hard look at her younger sister.
“Come September, at the start of the next school year, I’m going to be head girl. I’ll be taking girls to Mrs Smith for them to be caned.”
Carole suddenly became very quiet.
© Kenny Walters 2021