A new teacher attracts attention
By Jane Fairweather
Miss Alexandra Johnson was sitting by herself in a compartment of the local train that was to take her on the next stage of her life’s journey, staring out morosely over the pleasantly warm early September landscape. There were woods in the distance that would no doubt soon be changing colour, but at present were a great block of shimmering green. For some reason the beauty of the scene set her thinking more than a touch lustfully, with extreme guilt about her boyfriend.
Johnny! Johnny! He really had been her undoing. If only she had not spent so much time with Johnny on other things than college work, she would not be in this dire situation. If only she had not been so carried away by being out of school and free and with a bigger allowance than her parents ought to have given her.
Father had been so angry with her when the results of her finals arrived. In many ways, she would have preferred a caning. She had been punished twice after bad term reports at school and though it had hurt a lot she had felt guilty and pulled her socks up. There had been a couple of other times as well, once for cheeking Great Aunt Elizabeth who controlled quite a lot of the family money, and neither seemed that deserved, but still it had not mattered that much. She thought of all the work she had failed to do at college and imagined her skirt skin-tight across her backside and her bottom pushing up and down under the impact of the cane, which would have served her jolly well right. But no, it had not been the caning, which she so thoroughly deserved; instead, she had undergone the lecture of her life.
If she had not spent so much time on hedonistic pleasures, father had thundered, which he appeared to have been all too well briefed on by Miss Marks, her college tutor, then she would not have wasted the considerable amount of money he, and indeed Great Aunt Elizabeth, had laid out on her education in the hope that she would get a job of her own and be an independent woman. He had hoped for a Second Class, in spite of her lack of work. If she had worked she was undoubtedly capable of a First. But a Third, and a poor Third at that! It was unbelievable! And no, he was not going to give her a small allowance and let her mess about at home till she got married; she must live somewhere else and go out and earn her living. And when his daughter had achieved that, he would be glad to see her again, but not till then.
And he had made her ring this horrible agency that supplied small private schools, who could not afford good teaching staff, with people who for one reason or another were not very well qualified, but available.
At the interview with the agency, they had offered two or three choices and she had taken the Lapwing school because the name sounded pretty and the interviewer had assured her, “They have good discipline there and you won’t get ragged, which is more than I could say about a few other schools like it. A good place to start for someone like you, I should say. No classics, for good or ill. You will just have to teach a bit of French at a lower level than you are used to, and they are prepared to pay a bit more if you will sleep in the same flat as some older girls and just keep a general eye out.”
At this point, the door of the compartment abruptly opened and two quite old and boisterous schoolgirls barged in, acting as if Alexandra was quite invisible. They had school satchels over their shoulders, were wearing mackintoshes over their school uniform and each was carrying a hockey stick. Their green berets bore a more or less invisible badge. Alexandra guessed these irritating girls were from The Lapwing school, though it was hard to be absolutely sure. She only hoped they were not in this large flat that she was vaguely supposed to be in charge of for all of ten shillings a week extra.
“Honestly Ange, this is the only compartment that is nearly empty, except for that one that had a man in it; and it is not that far to the school.” a rather deep, almost masculine voice rang out.
Alexandra could not help noticing the size of this creature’s breasts and bottom.
Then the petite creature, who was presumably called Angela, said in a much more high-pitched voice, “I suppose it will have to do, Helena.”
“Of course it will!” Said Helena. “It is only twenty minutes. Anyway, I am going to take my mackintosh off; I am much too hot.”
This she proceeded to do, revealing in the process a blazer with a badge that clearly said ‘The Lapwing School’ on it. Angela followed suit.
Alexandra listened in amusement. These girls were returning to the school after the Five Uppers to do a secretarial course, which apparently the school offered in place of a proper Sixth Form. And there was a good deal of chattering about hockey, which seemed to matter a lot to this duo. Hel, it seemed, was almost certainly going to be captain of the First Eleven, and very proud of it.
“We should not get the cane now we are Secretarial, so that is one good thing,” Helena said suddenly, which Alexandra presumed was a joke. The cane had simply never happened at her own very respectable school, though she had been in constant danger of it at home. No doubt Helena just meant discipline would be more relaxed now the girls were in the equivalent of the Sixth Form.
“Four strokes and then five in just three weeks for smoking was just a bit much, wasn’t it?” said Angela.
‘Pray God they are not in my flat,’ thought Alexandra. ‘These girls are trouble.’
“We had been a bit naughty all term,” Angela observed. “It wasn’t just the smoking. But yes, it was a shock when she put it up to four and then five. The most I had up to then was three strokes and several times it was only two.”
“She was always harder on me. It was six the last time, and she really whacked me,” Helena said complainingly. “And you know how my bottom swells. You are so lucky, you barely mark, Ange.”
Alexandra thought sardonically that Angela had a very small bottom and Helena had rather a large one; clearly this headmistress shared her father’s heretical views on the desirability of corporal punishment for girls.
“It stung so much, and my bottom burned for ages after,” Angela said with a good deal of feeling, “I am not sure I got off that lightly.”
Despite the air of martyrdom in Angela’s voice, Alexandra found herself asking if this petite schoolgirl, like herself on occasions, had found the cane had done something for her, though given the sheer agony and the total humiliation involved she never understood why this happened, but otherwise why was the girl chattering on so?
“We are coming into the station in a minute,” said Helena. “We had better get ready if we want to grab the porter and the taxi to the school. There are at least half a dozen seniors on this train and they will get there first if we give them half a chance. Then we will have to walk with our cases.”
The girls threw on their mackintoshes, seized their things and rushed out into the corridor, still totally ignoring Alexandra’s existence. As she watched Helena’s large bottom vanishing onto the platform, Alexandra rather surprised herself by thinking there would be a certain pleasure in soundly caning it. There had been something peculiarly rude and insolent about the girl, though she found it very hard to account for the intensity of her feeling.
Miss Widdicombe, the Headmistress of the Lapwing school, was very definitely Devonshire, with the slightest burr of the dialect under her very ladylike accent. Alexandra, looking at her with the benefit of her own rather painful experience, decided being caned by this large, solidly-built woman in her equally solid tweeds, who definitely smelt slightly, would not be a pleasant experience.
“What a tragedy about your Finals! No doubt you studied too much and could not remember it in the exams. It was what happened to another girl I had a few years back. With a decent degree, you could have had your pick of jobs, or taught at a top school,” Miss Widdicombe was saying. “Anyway, I gather you have enough French to teach our Fiver Uppers and Fifth. No nonsense about Literature though, the girls don’t like it. Just spoken French and enough to read or at a pinch write a letter. You understand?”
“Yes, of course, Miss Widdicombe,” Alexandra replied as she felt her soul decline into her boots. She had been rather looking forward to teaching Maupassant, or just possibly Baudelaire, who she adored.
“Not your main degree, though, was it? All that Latin and Greek, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, Miss Widdicombe.”
“Total waste of time, all that stuff. Don’t know why people bother with it.”
“I have been known to read Homer for fun,” Alexandra said rebelliously.
“So, you’ve got a bit of spunk, have you? I like that in a young woman, Miss Johnson. But I think you had better keep a bit quiet about such odd likings here; the girls just don’t understand things like that. Understand?”
“Yes, Miss Widdicombe,” Alexandra said wearily.
“Now we have our Senior girls, I suppose you call them a Sixth Form, except they are really here to learn short-hand and typing, in two houses apart from the rest of the school. If you are agreeable, you will be responsible for Maitland. It has five double bedrooms plus a small flat for the supervising mistress, which will be yours if you want it, plus a common room, plus a kitchen where they cook their own meals with minimum supervision, though it is necessary to arrange a rota. Oh, and there is a small dining room. That is all upstairs. Downstairs there is a room with all the girls’ trunks for the whole school and the other rooms are full with all the junk that schools tend to accumulate, and the girls’ bikes for trips into town on Saturday afternoon, etc.”
“And if I don’t want it?” Alexandra asked cautiously, thinking of Helena and, to a less extent, Angela.
“In that case you will be ten bob a week worse off and you will have a rather cold room in an attic.”
“What are the duties?” Alexandra asked, thinking the cold room in an attic sounded decidedly uninviting compared with a flat of one’s own, but on the other hand dealing with girls like the ones she had seen on the train was not that inviting either.
“Basically to keep order. Firstly, to stop the girls cutting one another’s throats when they fall out, as they often do. Secondly, to see the place is kept clean, not least the kitchen, and that the cooking rotas are adhered to. Thirdly, generally to maintain discipline. I will not tolerate smoking, bullying or theft, and I look to you to see that they don’t happen. As to sanctions, well, the most useful in my experience is your own personality when dealing with older girls. If you are in control you should not need sanctions beyond a severe lecture. However, if you do have real problems, you can send them or bring them to me and I will lecture them, or in a serious situation cane them, though I much prefer not to do that with older girls.”
“Have I no real punishments I can hand out myself then? I am sure you would not want to be bothered with everything that happens, especially if there is anyone that is particularly unruly.” Alexandra said, thinking of the dreadful duo she had encountered on the train and wondering if dealing with that lot was really worth ten bob a week. Perhaps with luck they would be in the other house.
There was an awkward pause while Miss Widdicombe frowned and looked down at her desk before saying, “Miss Johnson, I hope you are not entering into this responsible post with preconceived ideas; that would not make for a happy start. If anyone is unusually and constantly difficult they will of course be asked to go elsewhere, or if they are lucky they will suffer a caning on the seat of their knickers that they will remember for the rest of their lives, so think before you send any girls to me.
“As a matter of interest, have you any experience of the cane, Miss Johnson? I don’t think it does any great harm to have some idea of what a punishment involves before you ask to have it inflicted on somebody else, and I happen to know your school is one of rather too many female institutions that never use it.”
“I had it four times from my father for various things,” Alexandra said, blushing, not liking to lie, but nevertheless thoroughly embarrassed.
“On the seat of your knickers I expect, was it?”
“No, he used to tuck my dress between my legs in the summer, and the time it happened just before Christmas I had quite a tight skirt on and it stretched just like trousers must do,” Alexandra muttered, blushing even more and feeling incredibly embarrassed because she suddenly realized this horrible old cow must be picturing what it would be like to cane her in a tight skirt.
That time before Christmas, she reflected, had been when she had cheeked Great Aunt Elizabeth and nearly lost the money for her college fees and got a very sound six of the best. She had never forgotten the tightness of her skirt, or her bottom rising and falling over the back of that wretched chair, which was just the right height to dig into her stomach in a most uncomfortable way. However, she did not say any of that; she did not see why Miss Widdicombe should gloat over her.
“I don’t suppose your father was that pleased when you failed your Finals.”
“I didn’t get it for that, though maybe I should have done, but I had it twice for bad work at school, and the other two times were for other things that I certainly deserved to be punished for,” Alexandra said, blushing even more and somehow not liking to say that she had got a poor Third, and had not completely failed.
“You do sound as if you rather regret not having been caned for your failure, Miss Johnson. But of course, such things are not done to girls of your age, which I would bear in mind if you are driven to extremities; some parents strongly object to older girls like those in your house getting the cane. Incidentally though, if you do send Helena Ashberry and almost inevitably her best friend, that chump Angela Hardy, up to me I am quite likely to ask them to leave. I had quite enough of them last term. I caned them three, or was it four times and I very nearly asked thelr parents not to send them back.
“Anyway, assuming you wish to take this on, get off and inspect your domain. Some of the girls should be there by now. I would not get too close to them too soon; authority takes time to build up. I will send you a copy of your timetable for French before Monday, when lessons start. Oh, and you will find the daily help there. Susan Miles is from the village. No education, but a splendid organizer; and if the girls burn the evening meal, which they do from time to time, not a bad cook at short notice. Make her your friend, you will find she is worth her weight in gold. Don’t worry about tonight, you will find she has a meal already under way, so you won’t have to organize that. And knowing her, she will have probably worked out some sort of rota.”
And so Alexandra departed, wondering seriously if she was going to stick this for long and giving herself a week before she retired to the attic, if these girls were as bad as she was afraid they were going to be.
Three weeks later and things seemed a great deal better than they had on her first day. In many ways, her French classes were the surprise. She had noticed at her own school that a couple of new mistresses just seemed to be accepted and had no trouble at all, whereas most teachers who were fresh to it had constant trouble with girls being naughty for the sake of it and generally playing up. Rather to her surprise, she found herself in the first category. Possibly the fact that she prepared her lessons carefully with constant changes of direction to avoid boredom helped, but the fact remained that she seemed to be accepted and liked, which rather touched her.
As regards the house, it was great deal easier than she had expected. The admirable and very pretty, yet solidly made, Susan from the village, whose father was a farmer, ran the cooking and the cleaning with great aplomb and tactfully asked her approval of the rotas that organized the girls to do this and that, and suggested menus, and put shopping lists in front of her. For the principle of the thing Alexandra always made slight alterations to whatever was put in front of her, but she knew perfectly well Susan would have run it perfectly if she had not been there. But Susan was also very soon rather a good friend, despite their very different backgrounds, and they chattered together a great deal. In an odd way, it helped that they had both had the cane quite a lot as girls, and both, in an odd way, did not mind it too much. Neither admitted to the other that it had done something for them, but Alexandra was sure it was true in her own case, even though she had hated it and still dreaded it, and she was pretty sure that Susan felt the same.
Disciplining the girls in her house was a little trickier. Anne Smith and Rose Carr, who had apparently been bosom pals all the way up the school, fell out badly, indulged in a series of screaming matches and ceased to want to share a study bedroom together, which meant four girls had to be swapped round, but Alexandra managed it without too much trouble and without bothering Susan.
However, to her surprise, the girls from the train seemed mercifully to be working hard in the day at their short-hand and typing, presumably because they were keen to get a job at the end of it; and they were always off to Hockey Practice, which they seemed to take extremely seriously, being Vice Captain and Captain of the First Eleven. Between the two, they did not seem to have any energy to be naughty, or if they did it was confined to whatever they did in town on Saturday afternoon, where the secretarial girls were allowed to go by themselves, provided they stayed in groups of two or three at least and were back by 6.00 pm, which they invariably were.
The only slightly discordant note was the noises that Alexandra noticed coming from Angela and Helena’s room after Lights Out. She suspected that things had developed somewhat since that seemingly innocent conversation she had overheard on the train. Still, two of her friends had been like that at college, and she felt such things were too private to be interfered with. After all, she had done some interesting and naughty things with Johnny. Was it that different with two girls, she wondered, but anyway she left them to it.
Increasingly she put the two girls out of her mind. Partly her French teaching took quite a lot of her energy, partly she found she had more time to read than at any time in her life, and she embarked on D.H. Lawrence’s ‘The Rainbow’, though it inhabited a world almost comically different to her own, and she daringly decided to read the whole of the Odyssey in Greek without a dictionary. And finally, she was fretting about whether she was in love with her boyfriend.
This was not helped by the fact that, while Johnny wrote to her about every ten days, it was also quite clear that he was increasingly lukewarm about having a girlfriend who was at the other end of the country and, to put it bluntly, not physically available. If he was fulfilling his physical needs by other means he was not telling her at least for the time, but she suspected and feared it would not be long before he got round to saying their informal engagement was over and he wanted his freedom.
And then, which really put her nerves on edge, five weeks into the term there was a note from the headmistress saying would she come for a cup of tea the following afternoon at three o’clock. ‘What was she being fired for?’ she thought tremulously.
“There are just a couple of things I think I ought to say to you at this point,” Miss Widdicombe observed over the top of her glasses as they finished their second cup of tea.
Alexandra found her hand shaking and nearly dropped the cup. Would she be given a week’s or a month’s notice? Perhaps the rest of the term, if she was lucky. Her father would be furious and might well cane her this time; she was, after all, still under twenty-one and she dreaded the thought of being caned again.
“Miss Johnson, you look as if the end of the world is nigh, but really there is no need to worry. I am pleased to say it is almost all good news. You quite possibly think that I am an old bag and a strict one, but I do really talk to my girls and the comments on your French teaching are remarkably good. I gather you have even got them to read the odd short story and enjoy it. Strictly, that is outside your brief but I am pleased to hear it. If you can develop it further without sacrificing the things that I asked you to teach you will have my full support. Well done!
“And I hope you won’t mind, but I always talk to Susan Miles, who is intelligent way beyond her education and background and is a great source of information about the whole school, not least your house. A very pretty girl, Miss Miles! She likes you a lot on a personal level because you never condescend to her like some of the mistresses she has had to work with and she thinks you handle the girls very well indeed. Again, very well done!”
Alexandra muttered her embarrassed thanks for this praise. She had always found it hard to be praised and wondered if she could now go and read the Odyssey.
“There is, however, one very difficult matter which is not your fault in any way that I can see, but will have to be dealt with,” Miss Widdicombe said very deliberately.
‘Oh God, I am going to be fired!’ Alexandra thought. ‘She was just being kind building up to it, though I suppose I will get a good reference by the sound of it.’
“You have of course the doubtful privilege of having in your house that very unruly pair, the Captain and Vice-Captain of the First Hockey Eleven. They were within an inch of being formally expelled last term and if it had not been for their skills at hockey I would have refused to have them back. Quite apart from a lot of smoking in the last couple of years and persistent insolence to mistresses, there was bullying, bad bullying of younger girls when they were in the Fifth Form. As it was, I very foolishly told them that the first misdemeanor they committed this term then they would go home.
“And now we are looking extremely good in the Hockey league, and it is largely down to those two. I dread, quite frankly Miss Johnson, having to expel them for some minor misdemeanor just as we are about to win the cup. Have you seen any signs of trouble? Cigarette smoke on their breath, alcohol even? Susan assures me Miss Ashberry and Miss Hardy have been remarkably well behaved by their usual standards. Have you seen anything to the contrary?”
Alexandra bit her lip and ignored the strange noises in the night, and said she had seen no obvious signs of alcohol or cigarettes, and while the manners of the two girls did leave something to be desired on the whole she had no real complaints.
“I am going to give you a very odd instruction, Miss Johnson, which I would not normally dream of. I hope this good conduct does continue. It will be marvelous. However, long experience of these girls tells me that sooner or later something will happen. If and when it does, you will not report the matter to me but deal with it yourself, using the cane I will provide you with. Not less than six strokes each mind, well laid on. If you need it, dear Susan will, I am sure, be very glad to assist. She is, I know, rather less than an enthusiast for those two. Indeed, if you are nervous about doing it yourself, then ask Susan. I think she will be very happy to do it.
“And quite apart from these very odd circumstances, you can take this as a sign that I have formed a very good opinion of you. Clearly, you did not behave sensibly at college, your tutor told me on the telephone there was a man and rather a lot of debauchery and you were rather disgracefully occupied with things other than study for most of your final year. And yet you have done remarkably well in a very short time here.”
Alexandra stuttered her thanks, thinking that she really did not deserve this praise and dubiously accepted receipt of a frighteningly flexible rattan cane of slightly over three feet, which she hid under her coat in some embarrassment.
Then, just as Alexandra was going out of the door, Miss Widdicombe suddenly said, “Just a minute, Miss Johnson, there is something I think I need to add. Having given you a cane I don’t think I can just restrict its use to the two horrors we have been discussing. As I think I said when you first came here, it should not be necessary to cane older girls like those in your house, but there may well be the odd occasion it would be much simpler for you to punish the culprit and not report it immediately to me.
“It will have to go in the punishment book sooner or later, of course, but just write it down in an exercise book and hand it to me at the end of each term. That was the arrangement I had with Miss Clare ten years ago now, and that worked very well. Not that I expect to hear of it happening every other day, or even every other month. But I will trust to your common sense.”
Alexandra muttered her very embarrassed thanks and departed, feeling extremely grateful for the very real trust that was being placed in her. It was a fact that at school she had always been treated as a rebel and that had resulted among other things in her not being Head Girl, which still stung. And she was well aware she had gone completely off the rails during the last year at college, which she felt increasingly guilty about. That someone was willing, in spite of all that, to give her such real responsibility seemed quite wonderful, almost miraculous, and something in her glowed as she walked across the school.
Alexandra had just experimentally swished the cane a couple of times as she wondered where to keep it, and there was a knock at her flat door. She put the cane between the table and the window in her tiny sitting room and opened the door. It was Susan coming on duty just before four o’clock and, as usual, hoping for a cup of tea and a chat, which as usual Alexandra was equally glad of. And soon they were sat at the table sipping tea and gossiping.
“That is a cane, isn’t it, poking up behind the table,” Susan suddenly said. “You had better not let Miss Widdicombe know you have got that. She will fire you on the spot. She hates anyone other than herself using the cane. For goodness sake, take it back to wherever you got it from.”
“Actually, it is Miss Widdicombe’s cane, and she gave it to me. She wants me to be able to deal with our revered captains of hockey, if the need arises, without her having to know. It seems she swore that if those two misbehaved again she would expel them, and now she has got kittens in case she has to do it and the school does not win the big hockey trophy, whatever that is. I am never much interested in games.”
“Is it just those two you can cane?” Susan asked.
“No. She said, almost as an after-thought, that since I have got the cane I can punish any of the girls with it, if the need arises, which of course she rather hopes it doesn’t, as indeed do I. I have just got to keep a record.” Alexandra said rather awkwardly.
There was a pause, and Susan said, “I was thinking only the other day I would quite like a chance to see if it was as bad as I remember. It’s over ten years since I had it.”
“What? You want me to practice on you?” Alexandra giggled.
“If you don’t mind, I would be quite grateful. Besides, if you do have to cane anyone a bit of practice would do no harm.”
“Alright!” Alexandra said, giggling, but trying to sound stern at the same time. “You have behaved disgracefully, young lady, and I am going to cane you for it. Get up from your chair and go and bend over the side of the armchair. Put your hands on the far side.” She was, she realized, quoting her father more or less word for word.
Susan’s chair shuffled and she moved over to the armchair and put her hands on the further arm.
This was followed by a pathetic, “Please don’t cane me, Miss. It hurts so much.”
Alexandra hoped this was just play-acting, but anyway Susan had asked for it, so within reason she was going to get it. She positioned herself quite carefully and tapped the seat of Susan’s dress with the cane. She wondered whether to push the dress between the legs, like her father had always done.
“Aren’t you going to take my dress up? It’s what my dad always did,” Susan suddenly said.
“Yes, if you like,” Alexandra replied amiably.
A moment later, and with some slight help from the victim, Susan’s rather plain dress with its green check pattern, together with the elegant pink petticoat under it, were above her waist and she had resumed her previous position. Alexandra found herself admiring the way the bottom stretched out from the waist and the large gap between the buttocks. A very different shape to men’s bottoms, which Alexandra had always found intriguing as she suddenly realized you so rarely got a chance to admire the female behind because so few girls wore trousers, and she definitely rather liked it. And the knickers were interesting and obviously rather expensive.
“Could we please get on with it, Miss? I don’t like waiting,” the voice of the victim said rather plaintively.
“I was just admiring your knickers,” Alexandra observed.
“I like them. I had to save up for them. Anyway, could we get on with it, please Miss?”
Without saying another word, Alexandra tapped the seat of the knickers one more time and brought the cane down, not very hard, but hard enough to hurt, into the middle of that luscious behind. There was a gasp from the victim and the bottom visibly rose and fell.
Alexandra rather shocked herself by thoroughly enjoying this non-punishment as she slowly and deliberately placed six strokes of the cane descending down Susan’s bottom from the middle to the top of her thighs. She did not do it that hard, at least she thought she did not do it that hard, but this did not stop a good deal of wriggling and a surprising quantity of tears.
Susan lay across the chair holding her bottom and blubbering for several minutes, then rather uncertainly staggered to her feet.
She then surprised Alexandra by saying, “Aren’t you going to make me show you my marks?”
Presumably, Susan’s dad had made her show her marks, her own father never had, Alexandra reflected. Still, why not?
“Go and stand in the corner facing the wall, then take down your knickers and put your hands on your head,” Alexandra decreed, thoroughly enjoying herself, though not quite sure why she was enjoying this so much.
Susan obeyed and her friend looked at the angry red lines all the way down the bottom and drank it in for a moment.
However, it seemed cruel to leave Susan in that position for too long, so Alexandra waited a minute and then said, suddenly overwhelmed by impulse, “Feel free to say no, but unless you say no, I am going to kiss you.”
Susan just turned round and advanced to meet her with outstretched arms, after which they retired to the bedroom.
Almost an hour later, Alexandra said thoughtfully as she ran her finger down her lover’s back, “I wonder who seduced who?”
“Oh, god knows!” Susan replied. “We both wanted it. It was your first time with another woman, wasn’t it?”
“So, it wasn’t your first time?” Alexandra said with just a touch of jealousy.
“No, but the first one didn’t last that long, and I have a feeling this is going to. Anyway, next time do you want to be the victim?” Susan inquired archly.
“Yes, I would like that,” Alexandra replied very definitely. “But look, we have got a house to run and the girls will be back from classes before long.”
Alexandra and, indeed, Susan’s life perambulated very pleasantly till the middle of the Spring term. Helena and Angela behaved surprisingly well and Alexandra was beginning to think that she would not need to punish anyone with the cane in the foreseeable future. Johnny had ended their engagement with the announcement that he was now more or less engaged to Alice Edwards Jones, a Welsh girl who she had known slightly at college, which at least got rid of what had become an encumbrance.
Then one March evening while Alexandra and Susan were chatting pleasantly to the two girls who were doing the washing up, there was the sound of screaming and shouting down the corridor. Alexandra thought at first that it was some girls getting over excited about something unimportant and ignored it. However, the noise grew louder and more hysterical so, reluctantly, she went to investigate, followed by Susan.
Alexandra realized to her horror that Anne Smith and Rose Carr, who she had vaguely thought were beginning to be friends again after their falling out in the previous term, were involved in a ferocious fight. Faces had been scratched and Rose’s red hair and Anne’s black curls had been visibly pulled out and both were screaming like wild cats. A little circle of girls had gathered round and were watching.
Alexandra, who had never seen anything like it, imagined the arrival of authority would bring the thing to an abrupt end, but the girls went on fighting as if nothing had changed. She told them at the top of her voice to stop fighting and behave, but with no result whatsoever.
“I know what will do it,” Susan said quietly, and vanished into the kitchen.
Alexandra wondered whether she dared intervene physically, or would that just lead to her being scratched by both girls?
Then Susan was there carrying a washing-up bowl which she proceeded to throw the dirty water from of over the two combatants. The girls stopped in mid-fight and stood there looking dazed and damp.
“I am sorry, Miss Johnson,” Rose said, sounding justifiably nervous now she had come out of her frenzy. “We didn’t really mean it to happen, it just happened.”
“We will discuss it in my flat,” Alexandra said brusquely. “Come along, the pair of you. And Miss Miles, if you could come too I would be grateful.”
The four of them walked to the flat in silence. Alexandra was acutely conscious of the sound of the four lots of footsteps on the polished wood of the corridor floor. Ridiculously like the march to the scaffold, she thought. The four of them walked into the small front room of the flat, which at least had a carpet, so the march of doom ceased.
“I am quite sure you both know how unbelievably badly you have just behaved,” Alexandra declared. “The only question is whether you wish to explain it to the headmistress, or you prefer to be punished by me as your house mistress. Well girls, which do you prefer?”
There was an awkward silence till Rose said, “Please don’t send us to the headmistress, Miss. She will murder us. I’d much rather be punished by you, and I expect Anne is the same.”
Anne rather tearfully muttered her agreement.
“Right! You will both apologize to one another and then you will have four strokes of the cane each, which you will take without any fuss whatsoever, or get extra.”
As she said it, Alexandra thought to herself that six strokes given as hard as she intended to give them was probably too much and four would be much more sensible.
The girls rather tearfully apologized to one another.
Then Rose said through her tears, “Please Miss, what do we have to do? I have never had the cane before.”
“Walk over to the armchair, pull your skirts above your waist, bend over and put your hands on the far arm of the armchair and keep them there. Then I will cane you on the seat of your knickers. Alright?”
The girl blushed scarlet, matching her red hair, Alexandra thought unkindly.
Then Rose said, “I really am sorry, Miss, but I only have thin panties on and the cane with only those on will really hurt. I know it will.”
“Oh, very well,” Alexandra replied, trying hard not to laugh. “Just take your skirt off. We will leave you your petticoat.”
The tall, leggy girl obediently unbuttoned her blue pleated skirt, removed it and positioned herself over the armchair. Her very ‘with it’ and grown-up white slip was rather luxuriant and had lace on the bottom. It was also a touch see-through, and the girl’s pants, suspenders and tight little bottom were all quite visible. It would be interesting to try out a slip and skimpy briefs with her love, Alexandra decided, but for a punishment it was a touch embarrassing.
She raised the cane and brought it down very hard. The bottom visibly moved down quite a long way and then moved back up and there was a tremendous squeal.
The second stroke descended slightly lower down on the bottom with a similar result except the girl’s legs started to move up and down and she shrieked even louder.
The third and fourth were aimed at the top of the thighs and the base of the bottom and Rose really howled. She got up very quickly, clutching her bottom through her slip and danced wildly for at least a minute.
“Now you can go and stand face to the wall with your hands on your head while your friend has her punishment,” Alexandra said briskly, thinking she would have liked to examine the damage, but it did not seem quite nice.
Rose walked very uncomfortably over to the wall and stood there with her hands on her very lovely red hair, which went over her shoulders, with the tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Have you got panties on as well, Anne?” Alexandra inquired briskly.
“Afraid so, Miss. Shall I take my skirt off too, Miss?”
“Yes, that would be sensible, Anne.”
Anne at least was making some sort of effort at a nonchalant grin, Alexandra noticed as the girl divested herself of her blue skirt and bent over the armchair. Anne was slightly shorter than her partner in crime and had a rather larger bottom. Her slip was a decidedly lurid pink, but less see-through than Rose’s, though the shadow of her panties was very clear and alarmingly skimpy in proportion to the size of her bottom. Alexandra was left wondering whether to keep the cane on the line of the panties or spread the four strokes over the whole bottom, even though the pink slip did not offer much protection. In the end she decided on two whacks to the panties and two higher up on the bottom.
Anne took the first two strokes, which were on the line of her panties, without making too much fuss, though she sobbed.
But then she suddenly said, “Please Miss, no more, it hurts so much, I just cannot take anymore. Please stop.”
And then she was standing up and holding her hands over her bottom. Susan, to Alexandra’s relief, took the girl’s hands and hauled her back over the armchair, kicking and struggling. Alexandra, with some difficulty, got in three very hard strokes despite the kicking, rather unkindly aiming them all above the line of the panties. She vaguely wondered if she could make out the weals through the pink slip, but realized it was probably an illusion.
Then for a brief while both girls were standing against the wall, hands on heads, still weeping. However, Alexandra soon called a halt to it and they struggled back into their skirts and departed looking extremely sorry for themselves.
They accidentally left the door ajar and Anne could be heard saying, “I never knew anything could hurt so much. It was worse than my mother’s hairbrush, and I did not think anything could be worse than that.”
Alexandra shut the door and she and Susan looked at one another.
“Not nice, was it?” Said Alexandra wryly.
“Still, it had to be done,” Susan replied. “And I bet they will be grateful to you, come tomorrow morning. And the simple fact of being the only girls in Maitland house to get the cane will no doubt add a certain glory.”
“I wonder if they will end up being lovers after that,” said Alexandra reflectively. “You know it made me feel how much my father must have hated punishing me. He is not a cruel man at all.”
“So, you had to carry out a caning.” Miss Widdicombe said pensively looking at the exercise book into which Alexandra had scribbled the bare facts for later insertion into the Punishment Book as she had been told. “And not the two girls I would have expected either. Still fighting is fighting, and we really cannot have that. Did you feel happy about it?”
“It was not the nicest thing I have ever had to do, but it was necessary.” Alexandra replied.
“Quite so. I never enjoy a caning, but it is necessary sometimes,” Miss Widdicombe observed. “While you are here, there is something else I have been wanting to talk to you about. My friend, Miss Wilkinson, runs a much more academic school than mine. They get the odd girl to University and more than the odd one to teacher training. She has been dying to have someone who really knows their classics and is a good teacher. The two don’t always go together. When I mentioned you actually read Homer for fun and have been doing remarkably well with your French classes, she pricked up her ears and said you sounded like her sort of teacher. When I raised the matter, she said she did not care a damn about whether you had a good degree or a bad one, provided you knew your subject and could teach. She is prepared to pay decent money, better than I ever could and, while I shall be genuinely very sad to lose you, I hope you will take her offer. No corporal punishment, I fear. It is a much more ladylike school. Oh, and I mentioned your, how shall we say, friendship with Miss Miles. She said she should be able to find you a cottage for the pair of you. That is how it is, I presume? I hope I did not speak out of turn?”
“I did not know you knew about that,” Alexandra said, genuinely startled, though she had been sleeping with Susan for some weeks.
“There are a lot of things I know, Miss Johnson. Anyway, it is hard not to notice when two people are so obviously in love. I think you will be together for a long time, perhaps a very long time.”
Alexandra startled herself by leaping over to her headmistress in the opposite chair and giving her a hug and a kiss.
For a second, she wondered if she had just blown her unexpected good fortune out of the window, but as she detached herself from her headmistress she heard Miss Widdicombe say, “I suppose I should be the first to congratulate both of you on what I suppose is in its way a marriage. I have always been fond of Susan you know and I have become increasingly fond of you the more that I have known you. I think you will do very well together.”
And so, rather surprisingly, it happened. And rather to her amazement, everyone who knew her seemed to think Susan was the best thing that had ever happened to her. Her father indeed went so far as to say he had never really believed she was interested in men. And all this had happened, Alexandra came to reflect, because her headmistress thought two naughty girls would sooner or later need to be caned.
© Jane Fairweather 2021 To view Jane’s Amazon Author Page and to see her published ebooks, click here