A chance find leads two girls into trouble.
By Richard Campbell
My name is Jenny Campbell and I wanted to share my memory of the cane, partly to show how Amanda Carey and I became such good friends, and partly to share a very memorable chapter in my life.
We met in the sixth form of St Jude’s. Both of us joined the school after doing well at our GCSE’s, both on a scholarship. The majority of the sixth year had been in the school from age 11, so, although we were made to feel welcome, it was going to take time to assimilate.
The first year went really well. We enjoyed the teaching style and made new friends. It was during the mocks for A levels that we got into serious trouble. Both of us had turned 18 in the winter term, so Christmas was fun and we probably spent too much time partying and not enough time revising for the mock exams in January.
I suppose I was responsible for what happened next. I was in our math tutor’s study for a meeting. When she popped out to get us both a coffee I stood to stretch my legs and I noticed a draft exam on the corner of the desk. I was amazed. In some ways, I don’t know what I was thinking. I’d never cheated and rarely been in trouble at school. I suppose I thought it was a chance to save some study time. I grabbed my mobile phone, took a photo of the first page and then returned it to the desk.
Mrs Watts returned and the tutorial continued.
Amanda and I shared a room and I immediately talked to her about what I’d seen. There wasn’t a great deal of information; 10 marks maximum, but it gave us an idea of what was on the test.
We got caught because we were stupid and lazy. When we saw the questions we put the answers down without fully reading the exam paper. Unfortunately for us, Mrs Watts had changed some of the details.
It wasn’t unusual for pupils to be asked to see the Headmistress, Ms Davis. She liked to catch up with pupils on a regular basis, but when I opened the door and found Amanda already sat in the office, I knew there was trouble.
“Sit down, Campbell. I am afraid that a very serious matter has come to my attention. That you had sight of part of the maths mock prior to the actual exam date. Do you deny this?”
“What makes you think that, miss?”
“You both had identical wrong answers to two of the questions. Both times, what you put down was the correct answer to a previous version of the exam. Do you have anything to say?”
I inhaled, paused and then admitted our guilt.
“Well I am pleased to see that you have some semblance of honour left. I spoke with both of your parents earlier. As you can imagine, they are horrified at your actions. Even more so when I told them that you were being expelled!”
“Oh no miss, please! It was a stupid mistake. There must be another way. Detentions, extra work, anything. It will destroy our chance of getting to university!”
“Well, you should have thought of that before cheating! I have looked back at your academic records and I do see that you have both been excellent students here and at your previous school. Your parents did have an alternative suggestion. It is unusual, but the governor’s and I have agreed that it is possible, but it will be your choice. The alternative is corporal punishment.”
Both Amanda and I gasped in unison.
“That is the choice. The cane, or pack your bags!”
Amanda and I both sat stunned.
Neither choice sounded acceptable.
“Do we both have to make the same decision?”
“May we discuss it in private, please miss.”
“Very well, you can have five minutes outside my office.”
That wasn’t exactly private as Ms Taylor’s secretary was there, but…
“Thank you,” Amanda said, and then we both left the room.
We whispered urgently to each other, neither choice sounding pleasant. We both knew that expulsion was a disaster for our prospects at university, but we concluded that we would try once more for an alternative but that short term pain was better than long term harm to our future. Appealing to our parents wouldn’t work either. It was their idea!
I knocked on the door and we re-entered the room, closing the door behind us.
Amanda asked: “Are those the only alternatives? I thought corporal punishment had been abolished.”
“It is because you are over 18 and an adult that this option is open. Otherwise you would already be packing!”
I plucked up courage and heard myself say: “I will be staying.”
Amanda followed on: “So will I.”
“Very well. Do you both have your games kit with you?”
“Right. Meet me in the gymnasium at 16:30 this afternoon. Wear your gym kit. Nothing under the shorts! I will deal with you both there! You may go.”
We turned and beat a hasty retreat, closing the door behind us.
We didn’t really know what we’d let ourselves in for but we suspected it was going to be very painful. We didn’t talk much. I knew I’d been incredibly stupid.
The school day ended at 15:45. By 16:15 the school was empty apart from a couple of teachers. If we’d have been seen on our way to the changing room and the gym, then our presence might have been queried but we were lucky.
We removed our normal clothes and changed into full gym kit; a white polo shirt with the school logo, white shorts and plimsolls. I’d normally have worn knickers but clearly the Headmistress had other plans on that front. We made sure we were both in the gym at 16:28. For a normal gym class, we lined up by the wall bars so we assumed we should do that now.
At exactly 16:30, Ms Taylor walked through the gym doors. She was dressed in her gown and looked very serious.
“Campbell, Carey, follow me.” She walked the length of the gym to where the vaulting horse lived. “Stand up straight,” she snapped.
We both stood to attention.
“It is fifteen years since this institution last used corporal punishment, but you both thoroughly deserve it. Each of you will receive six strokes of the cane on your bottom.”
From under her gown she revealed a cane. 4 foot of dark coloured rattan.
“Campbell, go and face that wall while I deal with Carey. Do not turn round. Carey, I want you to approach the vaulting horse. Right, now lean over. I want you so your toes just touch the floor. Use the hand holds on the far side.”
I sneaked a peak. Amanda was in a most undignified position. Bottom up, bent in two over the gym horse. I turned back to the wall, not wanting to annoy Ms Davis. I heard footsteps behind me.
“Interesting, Campbell? Don’t worry, you will be in the same position shortly.”
Then I heard and felt two smacks on the backs of my upper thighs. It stung badly. I cried out in a mix of shock and pain.
“I said face the wall. Disobey me again and you will get two extra strokes of the cane!”
I heard the footsteps recede as the head turned her attention back to my friend.
“Right, Carey. You will be getting six strokes of the cane. It will be very painful. You will not move from the horse.”
There was a pause, then a whistling sound and a loud thwack as rattan impacted tight cotton shorts. It sounded so loud. The Head was clearly using as much force as she could. Amanda cried out. Oh God, I thought, that will be me in a few minutes.
As the Head caned my friend, her cries became more vocal and urgent. She was also sobbing after number 3 and crying at 4. My legs felt shaky. Although I had agreed to this, I so wanted to run and run. The fact that Amanda had taken her punishment made me stay. I had got her into this, so I deserved what was coming.
I heard the sixth, knowing my turn was approaching rapidly.
“Carey. You can get down and go face the wall. Campbell, come here.”
Mandy was still crying and clearly in a lot of pain as we passed. She was cradling her bottom in her hands.
I walked straight to the horse and lent over it, using the hand holds on the far side to pull me up a little. There seemed little point in delaying the inevitable. I was on tiptoes, legs dangling, my shorts tight over my bottom cheeks. A perfect target.
“Ready?” asked Ms Davis.
Why was I being asked? No, was the honest answer but “yes” came out of my mouth.
I felt a tapping on my bottom. As my head was over the far side of the horse I couldn’t see the Head, but when the tapping stopped I braced myself, knowing what was to come.
Oh my god! My brain struggled to process the impact, and the rapidly escalating pain. I grunted and my body went rigid. I breathed deeply to try and cope. After about thirty seconds, the second arrived. This one was worse! How could it be? I could feel my bottom in spasm as my muscles tightened and released. A louder grunt of pain.
The third. Pain, worse. Tears. A cry.
Four was lower. My feet drummed against the side of the horse as my bottom danced to the tune of the whistling rattan.
Five swooped in, meeting its target at speed. Teeth gritted. Hands gripping. Tears flowing.
Six! The hardest! Body rigid. Pain; excruciating. Bottom very, very sore.
“You may stand, Campbell. Go and stand by Carey.”
I carefully dismounted and walked gingerly. Each step made my shorts rub my bottom.
Amanda and I stood next to each other.
“If either of you break any rules in the rest of your time here you can expect a repeat, and then you will be expelled!”
“Now get out of my sight!”.And with that, Ms Davis left the hall.
We made our way back to the changing room. We hugged. We slowly got undressed. I’d never really looked at Mandy’s bottom closely, but this time we compared. 6 dark, angry stripes each. Hot to the touch. Mine more evenly spaced than hers.
We had a cool shower. Helping each other wash. Tender touches. The shared experience and subsequent closeness meant we found a new excitement at being together. We knew our relationship had changed. We waited until the last day of our school careers to make it intimate, not daring to break any more school rules.
The marks lasted a week and, even though we both now have husbands, our friendship endures.
© Richard Campbell 2019