Three girls find justice at the hands of their headmistress, with a little twist.

By Traci Elliott

Theresa awoke slowly, her head thumping in perfect time to every beat of her heart and her mouth tasting like something it would be most unladylike to give name to. She felt the scratchy cotton nightdress next to her skin and the starched sheets and coarse grey blankets of the sick-bay. Sweet Jesus, it was all coming back to her now, in a flood of embarrassing memories.

The trip into the local market town, ostensibly to do some shopping on their own, as they were allowed to do, being sixth-form girls of almost 18 years of age, in reality to get all the cigarettes and booze they could afford and to smoke and drink all they could before having to return to St Dymphna’s that evening. They had paid Tommy, the gardener’s boy, well over the going price for the bottle of gin and had gone down to the river-side to drink it and smoke themselves silly – and very silly they had been, too.

Theresa remembered them walking, a little unsteadily and noisily, back to the town and going into the ‘Cosy Kettle’ tea-shop, although it seemed to be slowly and weirdly rotating in a way she’d never noticed before; she remembered the tea, the scones, the tipsy ‘cake-fight’ with the other girls and the table being upset. The next she remembered was Miss Simmons and Mr Thomson coming in the shooting-brake to take them back to school, after which, until now, nothing. Veronica was going to so angry with them and they’d be lucky to get off without their parents being asked to remove them from school and, even if that wasn’t the case, then the reckoning was probably going to be harsh indeed.

Theresa had, from time to time, made acquaintance with the cane before, and Miss Lawrence was quite skilled with it, but thankfully not quite as skilled or as enthusiastic in its use as Miss Mitchell had been. So too had Catherine, still asleep and snoring in the bed next to hers; Clare, a relative new-comer to St Dymphna’s, had always been a well-behaved girl while there and the school was not one of those in which over-use of the tawse and the cane was the norm in fact, for a 1950s school, it was liberal and forward-thinking but not so much that they would get away with this kind of behaviour without its leaving a painful reminder on them.

In fact, Clare was terrified by the thought of corporal punishment, having been told the most outrageous and lurid tales of its use by her elder brother Francis, who had been a boarder at St Bede’s, a boy’s school not far from St Dymphna’s, before going up to Cambridge, and she had never even been slippered in front of her class-mates, let alone caned in the Head’s study.

“Good evening, Theresa,” said Mrs White, the Matron, coming into the sick-bay from her small office. “How are you feeling now? Thirsty, I expect. Here, you had better drink this, and plenty of it,”she continued, handing Theresa a glass and a jug of cold water.

“Good evening, Matron, and thank you. I am very thirsty. May I ask where Clare is, Matron? I can see Catherine but not her. Is she all right?”

“She is in a rather better state of health than you or Catherine, having had much less to drink, and I have allowed her to return to the dormitory. I think it would be best if you and Catherine spent the rest of the night here, and I’m quite sure Miss Lawrence will want to hear what you have to say on Monday.”

“Yes, Matron. I’m sorry for causing you all this trouble.”

“I’m sure you are, dear, and I’m equally sure all three of you will be a good deal more sorry by bedtime on Monday. You know where I am if you need me, Theresa, and I suggest you try to get some more sleep before morning. Good night.”

“Good night, Matron.”

As it turned out, Catherine slept until just after five and was in a slightly better condition than Theresa had been when she woke, although she too had a raging thirst and the nagging remains of a headache. She went off to the bathroom and reported to Matron, who made them both a mug of strong sweet tea before they dressed in their uniforms, which had been brought up to the sick-bay by a third-former the night before, and went on to chapel and breakfast on that cold November morning. When they met Clare, she looked quite as bad as they both felt, and it seemed as if she had had no sleep that night at all.

“W-what’s going to happen to us, Terry?” She asked in a voice almost cracking with fear as she tried to keep back her tears.

“Well, I’m sure it will be nowhere near as bad as you seem to think,” replied Theresa. “We did wrong and now we will have to suffer the consequences. It isn’t the end of the world and I don’t think Veronica will sack us, however angry she may be, but we’re in for a whacking, I know that much!”

“A whacking? My brother Francis said…”

“We all know what your brother Francis said – you’ve told us often enough. It isn’t as bad as he would have you believe. You’re not going to be flogged round the fleet or thrashed to within an inch of your life. You’ll get a whacking, just as most of us have at some time or another, and you’ll get over it. You’ll have a sore arse for a day or two and that will be that. You would do yourself a lot more harm by trying to get out of it, I promise you.”

“I can’t, Terry. I’m so afraid. I’ve never been whacked before, not even at home. Mum doesn’t go for that sort of thing. I’ll run away sooner, I really will.”

“If you do, then Veronica will have little choice but to expel you. Don’t be a baby, Clare. It will be over before you know it. If you try to wriggle out of it by telling on Tommy, then your days here will be a living hell. Can you imagine what it would be like to be left out?”

“Left out? What does that mean?”

“Don’t you know anything, Clare? It means, in short, that you would have no friends here. No-one would sit with you. You would be ostracised. You might well find all sorts of little things begin to go wrong, and accidents will happen, even in a well-run school like this one. Do you think you, of all the girls here, could manage to get through to your A-levels with the rest of the school against you? Like it or not, we are all in this together. You can take your medicine and be accepted, win your stripes as it were, or you can make yourself friendless and an outcast. All for the sake of escaping a quick whacking from Veronica. It’s your choice, Clare. I hope you will see sense and make the right one.

“Catherine and I won’t be able to protect you from the bad feeling of the rest of the girls if you choose badly, and don’t think for a minute that you will be able to keep it quiet. You know there are no secrets in this place.

“But I’m so frightened of pain. I dread my monthlies coming round and I can’t take the knocks on the sports field like you and the others. I’m…”

“Shall I tell you what you are, Clare? You are a big girl who has been treated too softly and who expects preferential treatment for no good reason. No-one enjoys pain. Well, most of us don’t anyway, but it happens. Pull yourself together and Cathy and I will see if there is anything we can think of to make things a bit lighter on you. But if you know what is good for you, you will take what is coming. You know that what I’m telling you is right. Don’t be stupid and ruin things for yourself for the sake of escaping a few stripes on your bum.”

* * *

We live in an age of instant communication and entertainment, seldom out of touch with family and friends and able to carry around huge libraries of music on tiny devices. Our cameras are now an integral part of our mobile telephones and it is as easy to take a photograph and send it almost anywhere at the touch of a button.

Our personal computers, some of which are now so small as to fit comfortably into a lady’s handbag, are able to connect us with sources of information and entertainment undreamed of 50 years ago – or 15, for that matter.

In the 1950s, in the early years of the reign of the young Queen Elizabeth the Second, things were very different, especially for those young people in boarding schools, many of which were situated in remote country areas far away from large towns and cities, and far removed from dance-halls, youth clubs and cinemas, not to mention a few discreet back-street public houses where quiet under-age drinking was occasionally tolerated by the landlord.

When the year really begins to enter old age, things can seem low and depressing even nowadays. In early November, the summer holidays are fading in our memories as quickly as the tan fades on our skin, and although the commercial trappings of Christmas’s approach appear earlier every year, in the time in which this story is set, the festive season was still a distant event.

* * *

To the boarders of St Dymphna’s School for Girls, a small but highly-respected school in the east of England, not far from Walsingham in Norfolk, November brought little in the way of fun, apart from one particular evening – Bonfire Night!

The school caretaker and gardener, Mr Alfred Thomson and his assistant, Tommy Gibson, had built a huge bonfire from leaves, garden refuse and branch clippings and Mrs Thomson, the school cook and Wendy, the kitchen-maid, had arranged for heaps of potatoes to be baked in the embers for the girls. The fire was lit, after checking that small creatures such as hedgehogs hadn’t found it a perfect winter hideaway, to the delight of all present. Later there would be fireworks, potatoes and cocoa before bed-time and lights out.

For three of the girls in the upper sixth, however, this evening was most definitely not going to be one of enjoyment and laughter. They were waiting in that strange mixture of nervousness and quiet so well known to pupils who knew they were shortly to be ‘on the carpet’. They were all trying very hard not to be intimidated by being made to stand outside the Head Teacher’s study and to ignore the sounds of fun and laughter coming from the direction of the playing fields.

At seven o’clock precisely, the door opened and Miss Simmons, the deputy Head Teacher, ushered the girls into Miss Lawrence’s study. The school Matron was also there and Miss Lawrence was writing in a large, leather-bound book – the Punishment Book – as they entered and stood in line in front of her desk.

“Good evening, girls,” said Miss Lawrence. “Matron tells me you are now quite recovered from your adventures on Saturday. Is that correct, Catherine?”

“Yes, Miss Lawrence. Good evening Miss.”

“Is that correct, Clare?”

“Yes, Miss Lawrence. Good evening Miss.”

“Theresa?”

“Yes, Miss Lawrence. Good evening Miss Lawrence.”

“As you should know, without my having to remind you, St Dymphna’s has always enjoyed good relations with the local town and we appreciate the many little services they offer us as friends and we expect our girls to behave properly when they visit town. You three have done nothing to foster or improve their opinion of school and that saddens us all. Your behaviour on Saturday was appalling and would have shamed many a girl who has had none of your privileges. Drinking strong drink, being a general nuisance to the good townsfolk and an escalation of tipsy silliness leading to that dreadful display in ‘The Cosy Kettle’, when you threw scones and cakes at one another and at Mrs Jenkins’ other customers and overturned a table too. You do realise that Mrs Jenkins could have telephoned for the police instead of calling the school and asking that we come to collect you? The matter would then have been beyond my authority to deal with and you might even have been looking at expulsion – when you will be sitting your A-levels in the summer and hoping to go to university next year.”

The three girls looked at the floor as if hoping it might swallow them up and put an end to this embarrassing lecture, but Miss Lawrence seemed to be in her stride, saying: Mrs Jenkins telephoned me earlier to ask me if you were recovered now and that, if you apologised to her in person, she would allow you back in her tea-shop, which is a good deal more than you deserve, and that no report of your loutish behaviour had been or would be made to the police. As it is, you have brought disgrace on yourselves and have damaged the good name of St Dymphna’s. I have had to apologise on behalf of the entire school and reimburse Mrs Jenkins for her loss of Saturday afternoon custom and the damage you caused.

There was a murmuring of apology and regret from the girls before Miss Lawrence continued: “It is almost a year since it was last found necessary to use the senior cane on any of our girls, and we have always tried to be a modern and tolerant school. This evening, however, in view of the serious nature of your offence, you will all receive six strokes from the senior cane on the bare. If, however, you tell me who it was that supplied you with the drink, I think that might be reduced to three. What have you to say? Who was it? Catherine?”

“I won’t say, Miss.”

“Clare?”

“I won’t say either, Miss.”

“Theresa?”

“Nothing to say, Miss.”

“I see. The famous schoolgirl code of honour, a solid and united front to protect someone who would, almost without doubt, have given up any or all of your names to help save them a punishment. Will you girls never learn? I take it that is your final word?

“Yes, Miss.” Said the girls in unison.

“Very well. Would you hand me the cane, Miss Simmons?”

“Yes, Miss Lawrence.” Replied Miss Simmons, taking a long rattan cane from the cabinet next to the wall and handing it to Miss Lawrence.

“I had hoped we would never have to use this again, but your behaviour and refusal to name your conspirator or conspirators leaves me with no other option. Catherine, take off your skirt and knickers and bend over the chair.”

“Miss Lawrence.”

Catherine tugged down her green skirt and then her green regulation knickers, laid them carefully on the stool provided and bent over the chair as instructed. She was a slightly-built girl for the Upper Sixth and her bottom was almost as firm and compact as a boy’s would have been. Miss Lawrence flexed the cane and then delivered six strokes in quick succession on Catherine’s bottom. She had finished the final stroke almost before the first one started to turn from a pale white to an angry red against the soft skin of her behind.

Catherine flinched as she heard the first swish of the cane, her small neat bottom tightening against the sting and the searing heat of the stroke. It made her gasp and brought hot tears to her eyes; how she hated this, and being caned on the bare in the presence of her friends only made things worse. The second stroke caught her just as she was starting to escape into her thoughts, a thing she always did at such times. It would be a long time until she would come across the term ‘sub-space’, but the concept had occurred to her long ago, when she was for a while the unfortunate charge of her old-fashioned tutor/governess, who had often reinforced her lessons with the cane and the tawse.

Hardly had she entered this secret place of quiet and displaced pain, however, than Miss Lawrence’s voice interrupted her, telling her to get up and face the wall with her hands on her head. She bore no ill-will towards her class-mate and friend, but was very pleased that it would be Theresa who would get the extra dose of the senior cane instead of herself, and on that lovely soft bum too.

“Stand up, Catherine, and go and face the wall with your hands on your head. Leave your clothes where they are until I tell you otherwise, and do not touch your bottom until you have left my study or you will return to the chair for another six strokes. Do you understand?”

“Y-yes, Miss Lawrence. Thank you, Miss.”

“You’re next, Theresa. Take your skirt and knickers off and assume the punishment position as Catherine just did.”

“Yes, Miss.” Theresa reached behind her to unzip her skirt and stepped out of it to reveal a very skimpy pair of white nylon panties and, beneath her grey uniform socks, a pair of fully-fashioned tan nylon stockings, held taut by the six straps of a white satin suspender belt.

“What is the meaning of this, Theresa? You should have expected to receive a punishment this evening and yet you turn up at my study dressed like some common typist or factory girl out for a night at the local dance-hall with her friends and their Teddy-boy followers. Explain yourself at once or you will incur even more strokes of the cane than your fellows! Speak, girl!”

“I’m sorry, Miss. I have nothing more to add, Miss.”

“Very well then, Theresa. In addition to the six strokes you have already earned, you will receive an additional four; two for breaching the school dress code and two more for insolence. I had expected better from an intelligent girl like you. It seems I was mistaken. Put your clothes with Catherine’s and bend over the chair.”

“Shall I take off my stockings too, Miss Lawrence?”

“No, Theresa. This isn’t a burlesque show, nor do we want to be here all night. You had better leave them on.”

“Miss.”

Theresa was much plumper, in a bosomy, attractive way – we don’t seem to have a word for it in English; in German it might be ‘zaftig’ – than her friend and her soft white bottom dimpled delightfully as she bent over the punishment chair and the straps of her suspenders stretched her stocking tops to framed her pretty rear in a way that would, in just a year or so, be more than enough to turn grown men to jelly.

Now it was time for Theresa’s caning and she placed her hands on the arms of the well-upholstered arms of the chair – almost as well-upholstered as her gorgeous bottom, which was soon to be marked with no less than ten stripes from the senior cane. She had hardly had time to prepare for the first stroke when it landed, sending its fiery message across the smooth contours of her bum. She felt, not for the first time, her nipples stiffen in her bra and a familiar dampness between her legs at the sensation and for a delicious moment or two she was back on holiday last summer in Rimini, where Angelo, the beautiful young man she had met there, the man who had taken her virginity, was doing wickedly lovely things to her as she too sought out that elusive space where pain and pleasure entwine and become indistinguishable.

She counted up to six as the cane rose and fell and there was a brief pause before Miss Lawrence delivered the last four with considerably more vigour than those before, the last of which caught Theresa low, well into the crease of her thighs, and she let out the gasp of pain she had been so trying so hard to contain as her nails dug into the palms of her hands.

‘Bastard,’ she thought, with a capital ‘B’, biting her lip against the agony of the last, burning kiss of the cane, knowing that that last stroke would hurt for days whether she was standing or sitting, and she was feeling badly in need of a particular kind of relief, the opportunity for which would not be quick in coming.

Then it was, for her as for Catherine, all over, and she stood up and faced the wall with her friend as Clare slipped out of her skirt and her green regulation knickers.

“You may stand up when you are ready, Theresa, and face the wall with your hands on your head – and remember that what I told Catherine applies equally to you – and no whispering, either.”

“Yes, Miss. Thank you, Miss.”

Theresa stood up carefully and painfully took up her position beside Catherine with her hands on her head and her bottom on fire. Laughter, bangs and whooshes were the only sounds in the Head Teacher’s study as the final girl, Clare, folded her clothes before taking her place over the chair just as Catherine and Theresa had done.

Clare, a tall and shapely blonde with a slim figure and an almost perfect 1950s bottom, was quickly dealt with, Miss Lawrence’s cane swishing six times into the girl’s backside and eliciting a few cries of pain and some tears. Clare had made her first acquaintance with corporal punishment – not merely a slippering in front of her classmates, with the largest part of the punishment being the embarrassment of it, but a formal caning in the head’s study – and with the senior cane.

Her brother had filled her head with stories of boys being carried out of a caning with their bottoms bleeding and turned into a single livid bruise that was agony for weeks and she was almost about to plead for mercy and tell on Tommy when the cane struck her pert bottom and a streak of pain accompanied it. Pain, not some fearsome and inhuman torture, but pain, something she could cope with if she put her mind to it. Where Catherine had found her own little private subspace and Theresa her sexy memories, Clare was beginning to think how she might be able to make this work to her advantage. As a late-comer to St Dymphna’s, she had always been a bit of an outsider and this might be just the chance, painful as it was, to win greater acceptance among the girls, to earn her stripes as it were, and to wear them, if not with pride, at least with a sense of belonging.

Her caning finished, she felt sore, tearful and quite wretched as she took her place beside her friends, but tonight at least one of her many demons had been laid to rest and she would let Francis know in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t frighten her any more with his tales.

The three girls looked like the central scene of a teenage boy’s, and without doubt many a grown man’s, masturbatory fantasy, their striped bottoms on show and their hands on their heads, trying to remain motionless and ignore, as best they could, the stinging in their bottoms. Five minutes seemed like forever, and the only sounds breaking the silence were the ticking of the study clock, the lowered voices of the Head, the Deputy and the Matron and the joyous sounds from the bonfire gathering.

“In Miss Mitchell’s day, you would all have been facing that wall for at least thirty minutes and you would have been sent to bed without supper. I am feeling lenient this evening, however, so you, Catherine and Clare, may pick up your clothes, get dressed and go to your dormitory. I am sure you have something to be doing. Theresa, you will leave that item of underclothing where it is. Put on your skirt. Will you please dispose of these, Matron,” she added, handing Mrs White Theresa’s brief white panties.

“I will not have girls wearing things like this in school, however grown-up they may feel they are. I am also quite aware, Theresa, how costly nylon stockings are, and on this occasion, I shall not ask Matron to dispose of them as well as these scandalous apologies for knickers, but should I ever find you have been wearing such unsuitable clothes in my school again, I shall have not the least hesitation in doing so. Do I make myself quite clear, young lady?”

“Yes, Miss Lawrence, thank you, Miss.”

The three girls took their clothes from the stool and carefully eased them over their sore bottoms before turning to face Miss Lawrence, saying, again almost in unison: “Good night, Miss Lawrence, Miss Simmons, Matron.”

“Good night, girls,” replied Miss Lawrence. “I sincerely hope this is the last time we shall need to use the cane on any of our girls. Wait behind a moment, Theresa. You two can go. I shan’t keep Theresa more than a minute or two. You too may go, Miss Simmons, and you, Matron. Thank you both and a very good night to you. Why don’t you take a walk over to the bonfire while there’s still some cocoa left?”

“An excellent idea, Miss Lawrence. Good night. Good night, girls.” Said Miss Simmons.

“Good night, Miss Lawrence. Girls.” Echoed Matron and they both left the Head’s study.

Catherine and Clare shamefacedly left the Head’s study and made their way towards their dormitory.

“I wonder what that vicious cow is keeping Theresa behind for. I hope it’s not another whacking.” Said Clare.

“It won’t be,” replied her friend. “She’ll probably be in for a lecture about how disappointed the school is with one of its top girls. That can be nearly as bad as the senior cane – at least that’s over quickly! And we could have a much worse head than Veronica, so don’t you go calling her names she doesn’t deserve. She only gives us love-taps compared to old Miss Mitchell. Now she really did enjoy seeing a girl in pain and used to enjoy it often, too.”

In the study, Miss Lawrence invited the sixth-former to sit down, but Theresa said she would, in the circumstances, prefer to stand.

“Very well, Theresa, as you wish. Now, I would like you to tell me why you made that show of open defiance this evening and earned yourself extra punishment. You are not a stupid girl and there must have been some reason behind your actions, if only that silly school-girl code of silence and solidarity we came across earlier. You will not be punished again for this particular offence, so you can tell me, in confidence, why you did such a blatantly foolish and provocative thing as to wear non-regulation knickers and nylon stockings to what you must have realised would be a whacking.”

“It was because of Clare, Miss Lawrence, but please don’t to mention it to her.”

“I have given you my word, and I do not give my word lightly, nor do I renege on what I have said. Continue, please. I am intrigued.”

“Clare is a good girl, Miss. She’s never been given the slipper, let alone the cane, and she was terrified at the prospect of six from the senior cane, which is what Catherine and I thought we would receive. She was almost prepared to run away, Miss, and we had to think of some way in which she could keep both her sense of honour and avoid too much of a whacking. We thought about it and came to the conclusion that if one of us could make you cross, you might whack her a little harder and, that might make you feel a little bad about it and cane Clare a little less hard because you had caned me harder.”

“Ah, I begin to see the reasoning behind your devious little plot. As I have said before, Theresa, you are a very bright girl, one of St Dymphna’s brightest ever, and I know you have the talent and character to excel in whatever you choose to do. Tell me, how did you decide just who would cause this – stratagem. You or Catherine?”

“We thought about that too, Miss, and decided that you would most likely cane us in the alphabetical order of our surnames. Catherine Latimer first, them me, Moncrieff, and finally Clare Villiers. Just as you did, in fact, Miss.”

“And what brought you to this conclusion? There are six ways in which the three of you could have been caned and I could have picked any one of them. What made you think I would choose to follow alphabetical order rather than any of the other five options?”

“Your choice was that of an orderly and tidy mind, Miss Lawrence. We girls have come to know you over these past three years and the precision and care with which you do things, even lining your pens and papers so carefully. We sometimes make fun of your fussy little ways, Miss, and I know we can play you up a bit, but there isn’t a girl here who doesn’t want to be like you. We are very lucky here at St Dymphna’s and we wouldn’t swap you for the world. We really do respect you, Miss.”

“I see. So my decisions seem to have been anticipated and manipulated by the very girls I was to punish this evening. You are an astute young lady, Theresa. You would do well to be careful. Astuteness is not always appreciated in the world, particularly in a woman. I wonder, though, what would you have done if your surnames hadn’t fitted your scheme so well?”

“I don’t know, Miss Lawrence. I suppose we would have had to think of something else, Miss. May I go and join the others now?”

“Yes, you may. But first, take this with you and share it with Catherine and Clare.” Said Miss Lawrence, handing Theresa a pot of cold cream. I’m sure you will find a good use for it.”

I’m sure we will, Miss. Good night, Miss, and thank you, Miss Lawrence.”

“Good night, Theresa. You get along now, and see if you can all stay out of trouble in the future, or the fireworks out there tonight will be nothing compared to what you will get!”

The End