Caught in the ‘act’, a girl pays the price.
by Sally Cavendish
It was half-past eleven and most of the residents of the small Sussex market town were already asleep. Only in the darkened gymnasium of St Anne’s Girls’ School, a small fee-paying establishment on the fringes of the town, was there any sign of physical activity. But it was certainly activity worthy of note.
On a gym-mat on the floor of the gymnasium, a young couple were making love. They were completely naked. Both their faces were in shadow, but a shaft of moonlight fell teasingly on the pale white buttocks of the woman as they bobbed rhythmically up and down in the act of love. She was riding her man with quiet purpose, not galloping headlong towards a climax, but taking her time. A Peeping Tom would have been spellbound by the whole spectacle, his eyes not moving from those smooth, voluptuous, slowly writhing buttocks.
Sadly for the young woman concerned, it was not a Peeping Tom watching, but a middle-aged woman with horn-rimmed spectacles. Mrs Millicent Jones, the long-serving headmistress of St Anne’s, had been returning from her study to her official residence in the grounds of the school when she had caught a faint moaning sound from the direction of the gymnasium. As she identified the source of the noise, then stared in horror at those bobbing buttocks through the window of the gymnasium, she found herself shuddering with rage.
How dare? How DARE? She had no idea who the young couple cavorting on the gym-mat were, or if they even had any connection to the school, but they were breaking so many school rules that it was hard to keep count. Being in the gymnasium out of school hours, which was strictly forbidden. Breaking and entering; or how else could they have got into the gym, as she was the only one with the key? Having SEX! Naked! Disturbing the peace at half-past eleven with their animal grunts. It was simply, simply, OUTRAGEOUS!
Her first instinct was to march straight into the gymnasium and switch on the light. That would teach the randy little sods. The prospect of them scrabbling for their clothes, red-faced, was not unattractive. It would be a particularly humiliating coitus interruptus which they would not forget in a hurry. But as her initial outrage turned to a quiet, concentrated fury, Mrs Jones had a better idea.
Shortly after midnight, their passions sated, the happy couple emerged from the gymnasium, quietly locked the door behind them, and headed out towards the main road, skirting the all-weather hockey pitch. They were fully five hundred yards from the gymnasium when Mrs Jones, timing her intervention with a kind of sadistic glee, ambushed them.
Her one-word question shattered the silence of the night and the couple, caught head-on in the beam of Mrs Jones’s torch, reacted so guiltily that, even if Mrs Jones had not witnessed their shenanigans on the gym-mat, she would have known they were up to no good. The boy, quite handsome in his way, she did not recognise. He could have been anyone. But the girl, Tina Lock, was another matter. The freckle-faced sixth-former had not been the first name of Mrs Jones’s list of suspects when she had been weighing up the possibilities, but she had not been the last one either. Tina’s disciplinary record had been good and she was predicted to get three A levels. But there was also something ever so slightly wanton about the girl, a way she had of swaying her hips as she sashayed along the school corridors, that got one thinking. So!
“I believe you have some explaining to do, young lady,” said Mrs Jones, with a glacial smile. “But, given the lateness of the hour, the explanations had better wait till the morning.”
Ten minutes later, Tina was tossing and turning in her dormitory bed, fearing the worst. Her boyfriend, Ben, had scarpered as fast as his legs could carry him. And Mrs Jones was sitting in an armchair in her study, nursing a whisky, planning her next move.
It was a maxim of hers that the punishment should, wherever possible, fit the crime. A girl caught littering would be told to clear up a week’s worth of litter in the school grounds. A girl caught swearing would have her mouth washed out with soap and water. And so on. So what would be the appropriate punishment for a girl caught humping her boyfriend in the school gymnasium?
At ten-thirty the next morning, in the middle of a gym lesson for class 5C, Mrs Jones paid an unannounced visit. This in itself was not remarkable. The headmistress believed in looking in on classes to see that the day-to-day life of school was proceeding smoothly, and that lessons were conducted to a high standard. What was remarkable was the headmistress was followed into the gymnasium by a sixth-former, the aforementioned Tina Lock, who had visited the gym in very different circumstances the night before. Her face was pale and drawn, while the headmistress’s bristled with purpose.
“All right, girls,” she said, clapping her hands. “That will be enough physical exercise for today. Thank you, Miss McCall.” This said to the young gym mistress, who looked as baffled as anyone else as to what was happening. “I would like you to all to sit in a line on the floor and witness a little theatrical performance. What you might call a morality play, done for your benefit. Some of you probably recognise Tina, who is in the year above you.”
The girls nodded in unison as they took their seats on the bare wooden floor. A shiver of apprehension went through the class. Yes, they knew Tina all right. She was a popular girl. But why was Tina looking so scared? She looked as if she was in trouble of some kind. But what had she actually done?
“Last night, just after midnight, I apprehended Tina leaving the gym,” the headmistress continued, in a deadpan voice. “She had been in the gym out of hours, without permission. And with a boy.” She paused, to let this sink in. “What they were doing in the gym together, I will leave to your imagination. But I take an extremely very dim view of it. And Tina must now pay, in front of her witnesses, for her misdemeanour. Miss McCall, could you please place the vaulting horse in the middle of the room.”
Miss McCall, a little puzzled, did as she was told. Then the headmistress turned to Tina.
“Tina, I would like you to mount the horse, please.”
“I’m sorry, miss, I don’t quite understand.”
“Oh, I think you do, Tina. I think you do. In fact,” The headmistress slid in the words like a stiletto. “I saw you mounted on top of something else, or rather someone else, with my very own eyes last night. So kindly mount the horse. With your back to the class. That’s right.”
Ten seconds later, an extremely nervous Tina Lock had done as she was told, mounting the horse until she was bent right across it, with her legs off the ground and her bottom presented to the class, who could just catch a glimpse of her white school panties under her tartan skirt. It was a particularly humiliating position, as Mrs Jones had intended. Mounted for pleasure and now mounted for pain. There was a pleasing symmetry to the staging of the scene. And it only needed one final touch to make the symmetry complete.
“I think, in all the circumstances,” the headmistress continued. “It is only right that your bottom should be bared at this point.” With which she moved forward and, with a theatrical suddenness which sent a frisson through the watching fifth-formers, flipped up Tina’s skirt and pulled down her panties to mid-thigh. The stage was well and truly set.
“Miss McCall,” said the headmistress, after yet another theatrical pause. “Could you kindly go to my office and ask my secretary for the senior cane. Then bring that cane to me. I intend to put it to appropriate use.”
Miss McCall scuttled out of the room. The fifth-formers sat in total silence, mesmerised by the unfolding drama. And on the gym horse, her bared bottom upended in the most humiliating fashion, Tina Lock was in a state of shock and physical terror, exactly as Mrs Jones had intended.
“If you have to cane a girl, you should always try to keep her in suspense first,” her predecessor, Miss Sweetman, had once advised her. “It will help the lesson sink in.”
And Mrs Jones fully intended this lesson to sink in. A serious breach of school rules had been committed. The miscreant had been apprehended. The appropriate implement of correction had been sent for. The victim’s bottom had been bared to receive the condign thrashing she so richly deserved. Only one final piece of the jigsaw remained; a number.
A standard six of the best? Or a more severe ten of the best? Mrs Jones had only administered a ‘tenner’ once, in her whole time as headmistress, after a serious case of bullying. Was Tina’s offence of similar gravity? It was questionable. Then she remembered the girl’s bottom bobbing up and down the previous night, the whole lewd carnality of the scene. If ever misbehaviour needed stamping out, and stamping out properly, this was the occasion.
“I am now going to chastise Tina for her antics last night,” she announced, when Miss McCall had returned with the senior cane, three foot of yellowing rattan. “She will receive… FIFTEEN strokes.”
There was a gasp of shock from the seated fifth-formers. Fifteen? It was a sentence of unheard-of severity. On the gym horse, Tina’s pale bottom started to tremble in nervous anticipation. And she was right to be nervous.
For the next three minutes, as the rattan descended with metronomic force, delivering its punitive message, Mrs Jones did what she did best; exerted her authority. As a caner, she was severe rather than brutal. She liked to administer the allotted number of strokes to the target area firmly and accurately, making sure that each stroke left its mark. She did not make great flailing gestures with her arms, but brought her caning arm down smoothly, cocking her wrist at the moment of impact for maximum effect. By the time she had completed the punishment, Tina’s bottom was covered with angry red stripes, which stretched from the top of her buttocks to the point where her buttocks met her thighs.
To the watching fifth-formers, it was an unforgettable lesson in crime and punishment; a foretaste of what would happen to their bottoms if they incurred the wrath of the headmistress.
As for Tina, she took the first three strokes stoically, but after that lost all semblance of self-control. She kicked her legs in the air, let out louder and louder moans and, as the cane landed on her shapely backside, wriggled in an effort to escape its attention.
And as her bottom bobbed and writhed, just it had done on the gym-mat in such very different circumstances the night before, Mrs Jones reflected that the wheel had come full circle, and that the punishment had, indeed, fitted the crime.
Which may explain her quiet smile of satisfaction as she curtly informed Tina Lock that her punishment was over and marched imperiously out of the gymnasium, with the cane still hot in her hand.
© Sally Cavendish 2016