Visiting a friend at her old school presents an opportunity
By Jane Fairweather
That Saturday afternoon, just after lunch, Alice strolled into the hallway of the old country house that was now St Mary’s School for Girls and had been since the 1890s. She felt very smart in the light blue check of her mini skirt and her white blouse, though not untypically of Alice she had a slight coffee stain on said blouse and her shoulder-length black hair was more than a touch greasy, for she did not wash it as often as some girls. She felt, with an air of superiority, that she was probably the only female in the place who was wearing the newly fashionable nylon tights and panty-girdle. St Mary’s had always been a little old fashioned about uniform, though it must be said that the headmistress had finally submitted to nylon stockings and suspenders for the Five Uppers and above, two years before Alice had left after ‘O’ Level to go to the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music, where she was already getting noticed as a pianist, though her compositions were decidedly frowned on as either too modern, or not modern enough.
As she strolled with the slight lope that had earned her the nickname Tiger, she wondered how many of the senior girls had spent part of a recent vacation warding off a man who wanted to go further than they did. A panty-girdle was very useful in that game; a man always found it difficult to take off and if on the other hand you really wanted him it was your choice to take it off. And Alice reflected her previous night with Charles had been rather good and she might even take to seeing him regularly; she liked Charles, perhaps more than she was prepared to admit.
She noticed ironically the notice ‘ALL VISITORS MUST REPORT TO THE SECRETARY’S OFFICE’ and wondered if she would get the cane if she disobeyed. She always had mixed feelings about the cane, she reflected. Her two experiences of it at home had hurt a lot and in reality not done a thing for her, but she always found it interesting to imagine its very occasional use at St Mary’s.
She was pretty sure her best friend, Elizabeth Rowan, had experienced it on several occasions. At any rate she had sat more than once on the foot of these same stairs while Elizabeth visited the Headmistress, to emerge very tearful and distressed, usually over some really rather minor infringement. And yet Elizabeth had always denied that she had ever had the cane and would periodically ask Alice about her two canings at home which, it must be said, Alice was always happy to talk about and compare with her rather more frequent spankings.
On each of those occasions Alice had assumed the cane had come out of its cupboard, but Elizabeth had refused to say a word about what had happened, as if whatever happened had been very shameful.
Or was Elizabeth the victim of AMC’s jealousy? Miss Connolly, the headmistress (who was always known as AMC) had always been remarkably kind to Alice, and Alice had always wondered if AMC had a crush on her. If so, AMC had never pushed it beyond being remarkably kind, which she was not sure she had always deserved. In many ways, AMC had killed her with kindness and the cane had never entered into their quite complex dialogue.
Rather ridiculously, Alice took a breath as if it was something to be frightened of and knocked on the door of the School Secretary’s office and then entered
Miss Johnson was a nice, efficient woman in her forties, who always dressed rather well. Today she was wearing a pleated fawn skirt with a brown blouse and rather obviously several underskirts. As Miss Johnson rose from her desk to greet the former pupil, Alice rather strangely wondered what underwear the school secretary had on. Charles, the previous evening, had mentioned it as something that he always found rather improper to think about, but also rather interesting, so why was she having this rather male thought, she wondered.
“How nice to see you, Alice,” Miss Johnson was saying. “You’re here to see Elizabeth Rowan, of course. I think she was meaning to come down and greet you, but either you are early or she’s late. Have a seat, I will phone up to Artemis.”
Alice, not for the first time in her life, grinned at the absurd use of Greek goddesses for House names, which she rather suspected AMC had introduced; to say the headmistress was a keen Grecian was an understatement.
Miss Johnson put the phone down and said, “They can’t find her at the moment; no doubt she is in the loo or something. Anyway, how are you finding London and Music, Alice?”
“They like my piano playing, but it was all I could do to get them to let me do composition. They seem to think I am odd or something!” Alice said with real feeling.
“AMC always liked what you were doing. I used to be quite impressed by those little things of yours that got put on in School concerts.”
“Well, that was the Headmistress, she was always very kind to me; and the Music Department always did it under protest, you know.” Alice said morosely, wishing she had not been born with this ferocious compulsion to compose.
“Elizabeth is doing quite well with her English, apparently. You know, of course, that she only got an E in Greek, so is now doing English in a year and trying for Sussex. Very trendy to go to Sussex, of course. Though AMC does not approve of these new universities.” Miss Johnson observed chattily.
“Yes, I always used to help her with Greek, even though I am younger.” Alice said dryly, wondering if her own absence at Music College and the subsequent lack of extra tuition had been the cause of Elizabeth’s catastrophe. Elizabeth had leaned quite heavily on her in Greek.
“I don’t know if the Headmistress is more upset because you did not do Classics at Cambridge, or pleased that you got into the Royal College of Music,” Miss Johnson observed.
Alice did not know quite what to say to that, so it was perhaps as well that Elizabeth Rowan knocked and entered at that moment.
Elizabeth had the most lovely red hair. She wore it down to her shoulders, but there any resemblance to Alice’s greasy, barely brushed mess ended. Elizabeth’s was immaculately combed and brushed and her face was radiant at seeing Alice.
“So good to see you, Tiger.”
The two girls embraced.
“Are we going for a walk?” Alice asked, feeling she did not want to spend the whole afternoon sitting in a Sixth Form study room talking about the bitchy world of school, which she felt a long way beyond.
“Why not?” Said Elizabeth. “We can go into Waycombe and get a cup of tea and a teacake at the ‘Cat and Fiddle’. And when we get back I want to play you the new Beatles thing, Sergeant Pepper. It’s better than your rubbish, Alice.”
“I’ve already heard it,” Alice almost snapped. “And it is pretty good, though personally I prefer Schoenberg and Gerhard and things. But I would not mind hearing it again, not at all.”
“In case you have not heard, Alice, the Headmistress has relented and allowed record players in the Sixth Form studies, provided they are not played too loud. Quite liberal!” Miss Johnson cut in rather teasingly. “Things have altered quite a lot since you left, Alice.”
“She hasn’t abolished the cane though; we must be one of the very few girls schools to still have it.” Elizabeth observed.
“Oh come on, Elizabeth, it happens once in a blue moon; she threatens it far more often than she uses it. And when it does happen, there is a good reason, as I suspect even you would have to admit. But really, girls, don’t you think you had better take advantage of this weather and go for your walk?” Miss Johnson said, rather obviously wanting to get the two of them out of her office.
It had been an odd walk, Alice reflected. It was as if they had been measuring one another up for something after this quite long gap in their friendship, but what that something was she was not at all sure. Elizabeth seemed as if she was not quite sure what to say to her best friend. Was she perhaps disgusted by various stories of lusty sessions with men in London that Alice had rather naughtily regaled her with? Perhaps this was the end of their friendship. Perhaps she was being judged to be a whore, and this was her last afternoon with Elizabeth. She found it impossible to judge her friend’s mood.
Anyway, here they were walking through the door of the old servant’s quarters to the main house that was Artemis House of St Mary’s school, and walking up the back stairs to the small group of Sixth Form study rooms, and no doubt soon they would be listening to Sergeant Pepper, not that she disliked the Beatles at all.
Then they were in Elizabeth’s study and Alice was wondering whether she really could bear to listen to the whole of Sergeant Pepper.
“Thank god, Mary’s out. I can’t stand her anyway. I should never have agreed to share with her, but anyway I want some privacy to try on these tights, which I hope you remembered to buy among all your investigations of the male sex.” Elizabeth suddenly came out with and startled Alice by deliberately locking the door and then even more surprisingly drawing the curtains.
Alice reflected that she very nearly had forgotten to buy the tights, despite having been reminded twice in Elizabeth’s more or less weekly letters and a last minute phone call.
“Yes, I have got them.” Alice said rather defensively, fiddling in her shoulder bag and praying she had remembered to put them in, which luckily she had.
She handed over the two packets. Elizabeth took them and then looked at them rather vaguely.
“How much are they?” Elizabeth asked.
“Don’t bother about it. They are a present.” Alice said tactfully, reflecting that she could well afford them on the very reasonable allowance her father gave her in London, even though she was living with her Mother, and Elizabeth had never had that much money from her parents.
“That’s really sweet of you.” Elizabeth said and reached over and gave her best friend a kiss full on her mouth.
Alice reflected that Elizabeth had never kissed her like that before and it was quite interesting. It felt quite different to being kissed by a boy, of which she had become somewhat of a connoisseur in her rather wild time in London, especially with Charles.
“I always wear them with a panty-girdle.” Alice observed. “Between the two, it is quite difficult for a boy to get inside you, unless you really want them to.”
“I will take your word for it. I never feel that interested in boys.” Elizabeth responded just a touch sardonically. “And your goings on do sound just that little bit disgusting, Tiger.”
It was clear from the tone of the voice that Elizabeth meant to say, ‘very disgusting’, Alice thought, but still she was not going to quarrel about her own behaviour, which she was not all that sure about herself.
“How on earth do you put them on?” Elizabeth enquired after extricating one pair of tights from its packet with some difficulty.
“I always start by sitting on the bed. Getting your feet in is the worst bit, but when you’ve got them so far I stand up and pull them right up.” Alice observed helpfully.
“Oh God, I suppose I will have to take my stockings off.” Elizabeth observed nervously, fiddling under her skirts.
“Oh please, just take your skirt and slip off. It will be much easier and I really don’t mind! It is not exactly a moment for modesty.” Alice said firmly.
Elizabeth started to fiddle with the zip on her olive green pleated skirt. It stuck. Alice tried to help and the two girls dissolved into giggles. However, in the end it came unstuck and Alice mischievously gave the skirt a tug so it fell on the floor. Then, before Elizabeth could start fiddling again, she impishly yanked the white half-slip as well and it too fell on the floor. Elizabeth was wearing a very plain suspender belt, blue cotton pants and nylon stockings. Alice reflected, not for the first time, that she found Elizabeth’s very shapely white thighs rather beautiful.
Elizabeth snapped her four suspenders and took off her shoes and stockings. Then she sat on the bed and, after a joint effort by both girls, interspersed with giggling, the tights were on and pulled up to the waist. Alice found to her surprise that she rather missed the exposed white flesh at the top of the thighs that stockings provided. Still, she liked the curves of Elizabeth’s abdomen and buttocks, which she felt were something quite special.
But then, just as Elizabeth had pulled her half-slip up, there was the sound of somebody knocking at the door and fiddling with the doorknob.
“Elizabeth I don’t know what you are doing in there, but I can hear you, so don’t pretend you are not there. The headmistress wants to see Tiger Smithson and see how she’s getting on, and she says she is in a hurry. I would not waste time if I were you, or your name will be even more mud than it usually is.”
“Thank you, Mary. We’ll be out in a second. Mustn’t keep AMC waiting, must we?” Elizabeth said sardonically, frantically putting her skirt back on with indecent haste.
Alice noticed the normally immaculate Elizabeth had left her tights showing very slightly above the level of her skirts. However, with her blouse on no one would notice, she decided. Were tights still verboten, she wondered, but probably they had been passed as normal, like small record players for Senior girls. Perhaps panty-girdles would become standard uniform, she thought with a giggle, and be loathed by the generation of 2000.
“I hope to God she does not notice my tights. She will kill me if she does,” Elizabeth said very nervily as they descended the stairs.
“You are third year Sixth, she won’t say anything even if she notices.” Alice observed, sounding more confident than she felt, for there was a long history between AMC and Elizabeth.
She suddenly remembered Miss Johnson’s odd comment that Elizabeth ought to know how the cane at St Mary’s worked if anyone did. Was that what the school secretary had said? Surely Elizabeth could not have had it that many times, if at all? Miss Johnson could not have meant that; Elizabeth had always denied ever having had the cane.
“I hope to god you’re right. She has always picked on me. I think it’s because she has always had a crush on you and she does not like you being my friend,” said Elizabeth, uncomfortably echoing Alice’s thoughts.
Alice wondered rather abstractly what it would be like to make love with Elizabeth. She found her as attractive as Charles, and with a little more practice it might be even better than with Charles, or at least as good. But she doubted if this was on Elizabeth’s agenda and she certainly was not going to push her.
But then she wondered if she should have said something about the tights showing, but surely if AMC was in a hurry it was best not to be late; and the chances of the tights being noticed were low. Surely the blouse was covering them adequately.
Nearly half an hour later half of Alice was thoroughly enjoying chattering with her former Headmistress, who was always good to talk to, and remembering how Miss Connolly had taken her in, despite being expelled from her two previous schools, and treated her with extraordinary kindness.
However, the other half of Alice was deeply worried about Elizabeth, who had come into the room reluctantly after being more or less told to, and was now slumped in the third armchair as if the end of the world was nigh. The headmistress, to give her her due, kept trying to include Elizabeth in the conversation and failing. Elizabeth kept giving the briefest of replies in a way that verged on rudeness, though Alice knew her friend well enough to know she was simply scared of AMC and worried to death about having tights on; and there again much of the conversation was way over Elizabeth’s head.
“I can never get myself to like Schoenberg after he turned to twelve-note series, but Five Pieces for Orchestra or Pierrot Lunaire, now those are really something Alice; I can agree with you about those.” Miss Connolly said.
Alice reflected it was nice to meet someone who really understood the modern music that she loved. She had forgotten how keen her very ‘with-it’ headmistress was on the music and art of the Twentieth Century.
“Miss Rowan much prefers the Beatles, don’t you Miss Rowan?” The headmistress was saying with a distinct glower at Elizabeth, who was getting more and more scrunched up in the third armchair.
“They make sense, Miss, and these things you and Alice like are just meaningless to me and most of the other girls. Sorry Miss.” Elizabeth said in something approaching a mutter, which reminded Alice of the time that she had persuaded her father to take her best friend with them to a modern Classical concert.
“Well, at least you are honest, Elizabeth, and it takes all sorts to make a world. But I wish you would apply yourself more. I do hope we are not going to have a repeat of your disastrous Greek with your English.”
“I am doing my best, Miss.” Elizabeth muttered again with obvious and acute embarrassment.
“Do you still look at the early Greek lyrics for fun, Alice?” The Headmistress enquired musingly.
“Oh yes, Miss. Sappho and odd bits in Theognis and other things. Minmermus, I quite like. In my father’s Loebs of course, Miss.”
“No doubt a crib is useful from time to time, most of us find that. But I suspect, Alice, that you do not use the English in those dreadful Loeb editions that often. I suppose you cannot really do both Music and Classics, but it is a great pity. If you ever get fed up with Music, do come back to me and I will see what I can do to help get you in to Cambridge for Classics. You would almost certainly have to do A Level Latin and Greek, of course.”
“Thank you, Miss Connolly, I will bear it in mind.’’ Alice replied, doubting if it would ever happen, but very slightly tempted.
“Well, of course, it is very nice indeed to see you, Alice. Do come and visit me again. I am afraid I have an important Governors meeting shortly, so I will have to say good bye for now.”
And there the visit to AMC’s study should have ended, but Elizabeth’s skirt had ridden down further sitting in the armchair and shuffling for half an hour while Alice and her former headmistress chatted, some might say flirted. Alice, who was vaguely watching both her friend and her former headmistress, noticed the tell-tale patch of brown nylon above the top of the skirt, but she was not prepared for the look of thunder that exploded onto the headmistress’s face when she also glimpsed it.
“Miss Rowan, you are wearing tights! Did I not say in Assembly the other day that tights are the dress of prostitutes and I will not have my girls wearing them?”
“Yes, Miss.” A thoroughly miserable Elizabeth was muttering and looking anxiously at her toes.
It occurred to the watching Alice that she had never been here when Elizabeth had one of her run-ins with AMC, though she easily could have been. And she was finding it more interesting than she ought to. She reflected she had often wondered what it would be like to watch Elizabeth having the cane. But still, she decided reluctantly, it was not going to happen, was it? Not with a Third Year Sixth Former, even one who had never been made a prefect. And it was very doubtful in reality if Elizabeth had ever had the cane; she had denied it so often and Elizabeth was not usually a liar.
Then to Alice’s amazement, she heard Miss Connolly say in a voice of thunder, “I have a governor’s meeting in fifteen minutes and I have no time to lecture you, Miss Rowan, so you can pull your skirts above your waist and bend over the side of the armchair you have been fidgeting in for the last half hour, just as you used to do when you were a Fourth and Fifth former. We will see if the traditional method still works with you, even in the Third Year Sixth.”
“Please Miss, I really did not mean to,” Elizabeth said desperately, and beginning to weep, which Alice, who had never wept on principle when she was punished, felt was a just a little bit low. And she had twice had six of the best, she thought, which is not easy to take in silence.
“Now, Miss Rowan! Or your punishment will rapidly expand from four strokes to six!”
Alice, who somehow had never expected the punishment to be carried out, watched the proceedings with an odd fascination. Elizabeth, with extreme and visible reluctance, hauled her pleated olive skirt and white half-slip above her waist and then leant over the side of the brown leather armchair she had been sitting in.
Alice noticed the curve of Elizabeth’s blue pants through her tights, which excited her and made her think how desirable her friend was. The headmistress now had a very flexible cane of maybe three feet in her hand and was swishing it very purposefully.
Alice wondered how long this silly comedy was going to go on. She was pretty sure that, having scared Elizabeth out of her mind, AMC would be gracious and let her off. But there had been that odd comment about the cane having worked with Elizabeth on some previous occasion, or occasions. But perhaps she had misheard it; Elizabeth had denied having the cane so often.
She watched with real excitement as the headmistress approached the chair and tapped the seat of the offending tights no less than four times, and Elizabeth grovelled incredibly, whimpering and begging.
“I really won’t do it again, Miss Connolly. I am so sorry. Please, it always hurts so much. Please don’t do it. Please not four strokes, please can’t I have less? Please! Please! I am so sorry. I really am.”
Surely now, Alice decided, a pardon would be issued with grave warnings about the future; it would be something to tease Elizabeth about in future, or would that be too cruel? But it did sound undoubtedly as if Elizabeth had had the cane before, despite the numerous denials, which was rather curious.
Then it struck her that perhaps it was not that nice to be watching her best friend going through this, and she should politely leave the room and wait outside.
But before Alice could act on this not ignoble thought, suddenly AMC had drawn that wicked looking, crook-handled cane back and sent it scything very hard into poor Elizabeth’s bottom, which jerked visibly, while from somewhere down the side of the armchair there came the most tremendous shriek.
The second stroke caught the top of Elizabeth’s soft thighs and Alice, from her own experience of bending over the end of the sofa in her father’s study, both times when she was expelled, imagined the welt that must be rising as Elizabeth howled if anything even louder. Then one higher up on the bottom that produced rather less of a shriek. Finally a tremendous swish that seemed to the watching Alice to almost bisect that beautiful behind; and Elizabeth was really howling and unable to stop.
“I have got to go to my meeting. It would not do to be late for the Governors. Get her to her room when she has recovered a bit, would you Alice? It stings more than it marks, but I expect you know that. I seem to remember your Father telling me he had taken you in hand on a couple of occasions. Nice to see you, do come again. Sorry you had to watch that, but at least you can help her recover. Do come again.” Miss Connolly was saying with ridiculous briskness before striding out of the room, to Alice’s bewilderment as if nothing much had happened.
It took about five minutes for Elizabeth to recover to a point where she felt able to stand up and pull her skirts down and dry her eyes. Then she staggered along back to her study, resolutely keeping her hands by her sides, as if she was determined nobody would know what had happened.
Alice walked with her, feeling ridiculous and embarrassed. What had happened had been horrible, but it had left her feeling extremely excited. Had Miss Connolly meant to have this effect on her, she wondered? But it was probably an accident. The headmistress had just been very short of time before an important meeting after all. But could it have been deliberate? There was something in Alice that would have liked to have thought that her former headmistress had done this in the last resort for her favourite’s gratification. But that, Alice firmly decided, was just ridiculous.
They reached the study and together they eased Elizabeth out of her skirt, slip, tights and pants and then very gently examined the marks, which, much as Miss Connolly had said, were not that bad, at least with the exception of the welt on the thighs, which had swollen. Alice enjoyed rubbing cold cream into it.
By some mutual impulse, they then locked the door, took their clothes off and lay on the bed and cuddled and stroked one another quietly.
Was this the nearest she was ever going to get to sex with Elizabeth, Alice found herself rather moodily thinking.
“Oh God, it is time for your train. We’d better get dressed and you’d better run,” said Elizabeth.
‘Perhaps another time,’ Alice thought to herself.
They dressed with a certain franticness. Alice noticed with faint amusement that Elizabeth succumbed to stockings and suspenders without thinking about it, which actually suited her quite well.
Then it was off to the railway station and back to London and Music College and boys.
“We must see one another soon again,” said Alice as she went through the door, feeling improbably sure that one day there would be more to come; this mad afternoon had only been a beginning.
“Oh we will, Tiger,” Elizabeth said with an assumed nonchalance. “But I think I had better send good wishes to Charles, or whatever he is called. Something tells me you are not going to give up on boys, Alice, and I am never going to acquire the habit. But never mind, in my own way, I love you.”
“Cow!” said Alice laughing, and after aiming a sharp slap to her Best Friend’s behind ran for the train, which she just about caught.
© Jane Fairweather 2020 To view Jane’s Amazon Author Page and to see her published ebooks, click here