Late

Not getting up in time causes a problem

By Jane Fairweather

“Violet, what are you doing? You’ve barely time to catch the bus, let alone have breakfast! Just take a piece of toast with you.”

“You should have got me up, Mother, and not waited for me to come down.”

Violet Evans did not like to admit she had in fact been finishing her essay on the Outbreak of the English Civil War for the formidable Miss Taylor and had only just achieved it.

“Really, Violet, you ought to be capable of getting yourself up now you are a Grammar School Sixth Former, and Upper Sixth at that. Now get off with you. Or you will be late and having to explain yourself to Miss Chapple! And if you get the cane for it you will be spanked; your father and I have always said that if you misbehave at school you will be punished at home for it.”

Violet was sure it was more bark than bite, but she reluctantly grabbed the piece of buttered toast from her Mother’s hand and raced out of the door, satchel swinging from her shoulder. She ran the fifty yards to the bus stop as fast as she could. Then she realized the bus had just gone and she could see the red rear end of it vanishing out of sight round the corner.

‘Damn! Damn! Damn!’ She thought to herself. That was the problem with living so far from school and the buses being so far apart. It was no use thinking of walking and the next bus was twenty minutes away. If only she had a bike, but her Mother had no faith in her ability to cycle and had said so frequently. Actually, up to a point, Mother had a case. Even with a girl’s bike without a crossbar, cycling with a skirt below the knee and stockings that were bound to get oil on them, was not at all inviting. She better just wait.

So Violet waited. As she stood, there she noticed several pages of the Daily Mirror that someone had dropped. She picked them up and glanced through them. She looked with amusement at her horoscope, not that she believed in horoscopes. “Not a day to annoy authority,” it said. Oh well, it was fairly close to the truth, she decided. She would have to sneak into school and loiter in the toilets till Assembly was obviously over and then stroll into her form room as if she had been there all the time. She wondered what would happen if someone spotted her. Presumably it would not be the cane now she was an Upper Sixth former. That had been a real fear to her lower down the school when she missed the bus, and had actually happened once when she was a Third Former.

She remembered that occasion all too well. Miss Chapple had been in a foul mood.

“This is the second time this term girl that you have been caught sneaking into school late. Hold out your hands. We will see if a little severity cures you of your tendency to deceitfulness and lateness.”

The cane had swished twice, once on each hand. Miss Chapple, to be fair, had not done it that hard, and though it stung there had not been that much bruising. Still it had been incredibly humiliating; and ever since Violet had taken every precaution she could to avoid its happening again. Anyway, she was being ridiculous, wasn’t she? She was not going to get the cane now she was an Upper Sixth Former, even an Upper Sixth Former who had not been made a prefect.

Still thinking about the cane left her feeling very shaky all the remaining time she was waiting for the bus, and all the half hour she sat wriggling uncomfortably on the far from deluxe seat, which she had to share part of the way with a very fat countrywoman who squashed her into the bus window.

She got off a stop early as she always did when she was  late and went through a small gate into the wood that led on to the school premises. The path was quite muddy and the autumn leaves were falling thickly. It was impossible not to get her shoes, and to some extent her stockings, extremely dirty and she found herself worrying in case one of the mistresses, the formidable Miss Taylor especially, started asking her questions about where this mud had come from.

Then most annoyingly there was a sudden burst of heavy rain that soaked her in a very short time. She realized that in her haste to get out of the door she had left her raincoat behind. There was a real risk one of the mistresses would realize she must have got wet after Assembly started, and would send her to Miss Chapple. It would be very mean, but Miss Taylor especially was capable of it.

Still, as she usually did when she was late, Violet sneaked from the edge of the wood into the back entrance of the school and gratefully went into the toilets that were just inside and locked herself in a cubicle.

Violet realized she was shivering with cold and had nothing to dry herself with. Should she risk lighting a cigarette? It would certainly warm her up, but it actually went against the rule she had long established for herself that she did not smoke in school. Miss Chapple was hard on smokers and had caned several members of her form for it lower down the school. Still, needs must!

She got out her cigarettes and lighter and lit up and after a while began to feel warmer.

She glanced at her watch and realized Assembly ought to be ending, or nearly so. It was time to extinguish her ciggy and creep out, so she got to her form room as the others were coming in from Assembly. This was harder to do in the Sixth Form where there were fewer girls in her class; somebody nearly always noticed. But nobody as yet had broken the rule that you did not grass on your fellow pupils, and if Mrs Peabody, her form mistress, had noticed, she had so far at least turned a blind eye.

She took one final puff, extinguished the cigarette and put the stub in her satchel for later use.

She picked up her satchel, unlocked the cubicle and rather nervously put her head out of the toilet door.

“You girl, what are you doing there? Why are you not in Assembly?”

It was the dreaded Miss Taylor. Goodness knows what she was doing here.

“And you have been smoking girl, I can smell it on your breath. I think we had better discuss this with the Headmistress, don’t you?”

Violet found herself being marched through the corridors to the Headmistress’s office. She found it easiest not to say anything. Miss Taylor would twist anything she did say. She hated the woman and she was quite sure the feeling was mutual.

They waited in silence outside the Head’s office for what seemed much longer than it was. There was the noise of Assembly breaking up and footsteps diverging to the various classrooms. Violet pondered if she was going to get a lecture or the cane, and decided it would probably be a lecture and a comment on her end of term report, which could well mean a spanking at home. Her parents were kind, but quite strict.

“What can I do for you, Miss Taylor?” Miss Chapple was asking.

“I caught this girl sneaking out of a toilet after Assembly had begun. She had obviously arrived late and could not be bothered to report herself to the school office. Moreover, she had undoubtedly been smoking.”

“Well you had better come into my office and be dealt with, Miss Evans. Thank you Miss Taylor, I don’t think there is any need for you to come in as well. I will deal with it.”

The door shut and Violet found herself facing her headmistress over the top of her desk.

Rather to her surprise, the first thing the Headmistress said was: “Miss Taylor must have been late as well. Her car has failed  to start on a quite surprising number of occasions recently, and personally I think in those circumstances it was just a trifle mean of her to bring you before me. However, she has brought you before me for punishment. Why were you late? Did you miss the bus?”

“Yes Miss.” Said Violet miserably.

“Why did you miss the bus?”

“I was finishing my essay for Miss Taylor, Miss.”

“Well, that is almost a good reason. If that were all there was I would let you off, but unfortunately you were smoking as well, which I cannot entirely blame you for since you had clearly got soaked, but nevertheless if a Sixth Former is allowed to get away with smoking, every girl in the school will start trying it. I am going to give you four strokes of the cane on the seat of your knickers.”

“Can’t I have it on my hands, Miss? Please! I don’t want to show you my knickers.” Said Violet desperately, feeling incredibly embarrassed.

“I much prefer not to cane Sixth Formers at all. When I do have to cane a Sixth Former, then I much prefer to cane bottoms. Bottoms absorb a severe punishment more easily and more safely than hands, and I am of necessity never less than severe when I have to cane a Sixth Former. Now, shall we get it over with? I feel no pleasure in your punishment. It is ‘pour encourager les autres,’ as I believe the French say in even more unpleasant circumstances than these. Now, Miss Evans, you are going to bend your tall elegant young body over my desk and put your hands on it, and I will do the rest. All you have to do is to take your punishment and this rather ridiculous matter will be closed.”

Violet’s immediate reaction was to blush wildly and think: ‘Not again!’ However, then she remembered not many girls had had the cane twice and it was widely regarded as something close to a distinction. There again, being caned on the bottom was rare and also regarded as something it was permissible to brag about, so all in all she decided, rather perversely, this could be worse.

She leaned as far as she could over the desk and put her hands onto the polished wood. She noticed her hands were clammy and she felt both very exposed and oddly excited.

Miss Chapple wasted very little time. She produced a cane from somewhere. Violet instinctively shut her eyes as she heard it being swished a couple of times. Then she felt her skirt and slip being pulled over her waist and it struck her that her school knickers felt horribly tight. She clenched her teeth. The cane swished into her lower buttocks hard enough to sting quite a lot, and she felt a tear in her eye. It was about as bad as a bee sting, but not quite unbearable, she decided. However, two bee stings are much worse than one, and there was more than one tear in her eye after the second stroke. After the third stroke she was blubbering quite a lot and she could feel herself wriggling about.

“This is the last stroke, providing you stop moving about.” Violet heard a distant voice and somehow managed to stop herself shifting her legs about and keep herself still.

The cane swished one last time, but much harder than on the three previous occasions. It seemed to cut across the first three strokes and bite very deep. Violet gave a tremendous yell and clutched her behind with both hands.

“You can go, when you are ready.” A voice said, that Violet knew to be Miss Chapple’s, but it took several minutes before she felt able to leave the headmistress’s office.

As Violet walked to the door, still trembling slightly and still crying, she heard Miss Chapple say: “I suppose I should not say it, but I am rather proud of you for taking such a severe punishment so well, Violet Evans. It got us both out of a rather awkward situation. I would have hated to have to expel you.”

So she had come as close as that to being chucked out! Still the rest of the day was odd, with numerous girls wanting to know what it was like. She felt almost as if she had achieved a major distinction, which even a hard spanking from her father that evening did not remove the kudos of.

And two days later, the strangest thing happened. Miss Taylor gave her an A minus, her first A in History in the Sixth Form, and it was the first of a number.

The End

© Jane Fairweather 2018

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