It could be the last caning for both girl and headmistress
It was with great satisfaction that Maud Clark could look back on her twenty years as Headmistress. When she had arrived, the school was in disarray both academically and socially. Her weak predecessor had allowed individual teachers to discipline the girls as they saw fit. Some were liberal users of the slipper whilst others had let pupils run riot. Straightaway she had introduced a policy where corporal punishment could be applied only by herself or her deputy, and only one instrument was to be used, which she had brought from her previous school; a two-foot long rattan cane.
Maud knew it was the presence of this cane in her cupboard which ensured good order throughout the school, thereby ensuring that scholastic standards soon improved. Her policy was explained carefully at the first assembly of the year. Caning would be used for all serious offences such as smoking or bullying, but the rod would also be applied without question to any girl sent to her for misbehaving in class. The number of strokes depended on the girl’s year; two for First and Second Formers, up to six for the Seniors, but were always delivered on the girl’s rear.
Maud was quite particular that the ritual would be same whether the pupil was eleven or eighteen; blazer off, kneeling up on a chair, then application over the knickers. Older girls might have to endure the indignity of dropping their trousers or tights, but she was insistent that only one layer of clothing should protect the offender’s behind. And though the number of strokes was graded, the delivery of them was the same for all years. Maud always caned severely, as she knew that light blows were a waste of time. She aimed to ensure the girl on the receiving end would not risk coming back for more.
At the start of each year, of course, there were always some new girls who did not really believe Maud’s words. She had soon realised that a few examples would work wonders, and so she always reminded her staff in September not to hesitate in sending First Form girls to her. One from each class, ordered to return and tell the rest what had been done to her, was usually sufficient to ensure perfect order for years to come. Some exceptions could be the Third Formers imported from the local Secondary Modern Schools. These might be cocky teenagers whose self-esteem had been boosted by their elevation. Three strokes of the cane across their bottoms soon taught them otherwise. Maud could guarantee that any frightened and nervous girl sent to her would soon find that her fears were fully justified; whereas any bold or smug young lady would be leaving her study with a very different attitude.
As a result, the number of canings actually carried out, except at the start of the school year, was very few, and the number of Fifth and Sixth Formers caned was minimal. After all, they knew how many strokes to expect. It was therefore a surprise to Maud when, nearly at the end of the Summer Term, June Williams arrived in her study escorted by her Tutor. June was one of the school’s star pupils. She had been awarded a place at Maud’s old College in Oxford and now just had to complete her A-levels in order to leave the school in glory. But the look on both her visitors’ faces showed Maud that all was not well. Margaret Donaldson, the Tutor, soon explained.
“I am sick and tired of this girl’s attitude, Miss Clark,” she began. “We expect Sixth Form classes to be lively and participative, but June just goes too far. Not only does she insist on her opinions being heard first, but she tries to silence any contrary views. In fact, she has become a thorough bully. I feel that this behaviour needs to be stopped!”
Maud scrutinised the offender. She had come to know June quite well during the last year, coaching her personally through her Oxford application, but she had never got to like her. However vociferous she had been in class, she had now relapsed into surly silence. Her appearance, never the smartest, was particularly scruffy today; untidy school blazer over a grubby-looking blouse and trousers which were too tight for her over-large rear. No doubt she would claim to be too busy with her books to take care of her appearance. What this girl needed was diet and exercise, but meanwhile she was in for a short sharp shock delivered to her ample backside.
“Very well,” Maud replied. “I don’t want to waste time with tales and excuses. June, you must be well aware of what the penalty is for misbehaviour in class, and indeed for any kind of bullying. You will bend over here and now for six strokes of the cane, which Mrs Donaldson can witness. Bring that chair over and take off your blazer.”
June suddenly came to life. “I can’t consent to being caned, Miss Clark,” she asserted in an argumentative tone. “I have never come close to a caning before, and I don’t intend to take one when I shall be leaving school in a few weeks. I don’t believe in corporal punishment for any age, but certainly not for someone who will soon be an Oxford undergraduate!”
“Whether you believe in it or not is hardly the point, Miss Williams,” replied Maud, slightly sarcastically. “The point is that, if you refuse it, I shall be writing to the Principal of my College, who happens to be a friend of mine, explaining why you are no longer to be considered a fit candidate. And that will not be simply because of your attitude, but also because you will not have sat the A-levels which are the entry requirement. Your refusal to take a proper punishment will result in immediate suspension from this school. Of course you will be free to sit A-levels elsewhere next year, but I can assure you would not then be going to Oxford. Now do as I say.”
A deep stillness fell over the room, broken only when June finally moved the chair. Slowly she took off her blazer and dropped it onto the seat. Maud knew that this was the key moment. However contrary a girl might have been, once her blazer was off she would submit to the beating. Maud stood up, opened her cupboard and brought out the cane, something that neither June nor her Tutor had ever seen before.
“Kneel up on the seat of the chair,” ordered the Head, and June silently got into position. “Now, before you bend over, pull your trousers down to your knees.”
At this command June again recovered her voice. “Oh no, Miss Clark!” She almost shouted. “I’ve almost nothing on underneath!”
“You should remember, Miss Williams,” continued Maud. “That my rule is the same for all girls, that they are caned across their underwear. At your age, what you choose to wear is up to you, but you will have to suffer the consequences. Trousers down at once, please!”
June now realised that any argument was useless. Unfastening her trousers, she wiggled them down her thighs to reveal a skimpy thong.
“Bend over the back of the chair,” ordered Maud. “Arch your back, and stick your bottom out!”
The girl did as she was told. Maud was presented with the sight of two broad pink buttocks, separated by the thin material of the thong. She would effectively be giving June a bare-bottom caning. Carefully she laid the cane across the middle of her wide target, raised it high, and swished it down. The resulting crack startled Margaret Donaldson but the reaction from June Williams was much more powerful. She gasped and yelled, straightening up on the chair and gripping her rear with both hands.
“That really stung, Miss!” She cried out.
“It’s meant to sting, girl!” Maud replied. “And you still have five to go. Now get back in position. This time I shall hold you down, and if you wriggle about too much I shall ask Mrs Donaldson to help.”
With a moan, June resumed her humiliating posture.
In Maud’s long experience, no girl could submit to a proper caning without bursting into tears. With the First Years, one stroke was usually sufficient and two certainly so. Older girls might hold out for longer. Presented with such a large bottom as June’s, she could have concentrated all six strokes on the same spot but felt that this was unnecessarily cruel. Instead she gradually moved her aim down the girl’s cheeks, reaching increasingly sensitive areas as she got closer to the thighs.
June continued to yell after each cut, but stayed in position. It was after the third stroke that tears finally erupted and Maud knew that the girl’s obstinate attitude was broken. At the end of all six, June was in total disarray, sobbing loudly and squirming on the chair but held down by Maud’s firm hand. Six parallel red marks now crossed her rear, broken only by the cleft still covered with her thong.
“Your punishment is over,” announced the Head. “Pull up your trousers and put your blazer on once more.”
For a moment June could barely move, then slowly and with difficulty she heaved up the tight garment. It was obvious to the two onlookers what a painful process this was for her. Then finally she got down, her teary face almost invisible behind her matted hair. Eventually she climbed back into her blazer and was ushered from the room by Mrs Donaldson, who paused only to thank Maud for her work and to assure her that the rest of the class would soon be aware of June’s experience.
With a satisfied sigh, Maud replaced the cane back in its home. She reflected wistfully that, being about to retire, this might well have been her final exercise of corporal punishment. Whether or not her successor would use this or other methods she had no idea. Meanwhile she could expect that June Williams would soon be attempting to sit down with all the eyes of her classmates, whether sympathetic or otherwise, fixed upon her. Her dose of both pain and humiliation would ensure her good behaviour until the end of her school career.
© David 2016