The series continues.
By Joanna Jones
After the drama of being appointed Senior Prefect in early November things soon settled down. While there was no sudden change, during the next few weeks there were a couple of girls who were slippered by teachers, one for chatting in class and the other for missing two submission deadlines for some homework.
Now sleeping separately, Katie and I did not hear all the gossip and reaction but we did briefly see the hints of fading bruises on their rear ends when showering post-hockey. They were not as bad as the marks Mary and Fran had from their canings. Seeing them after hockey for a couple of weeks before they disappeared, and knowing I was responsible for giving them, gave me a rather guilty pang on each occasion.
It was about three weeks after those canings that Laura found me in the sixth form common room. Unlike the majority of the prefects who rarely visited, Katie and I both wished to chat with the other girls, so tried to split our time evenly between the prefects’ and sixth form rooms. We did this rather strictly as we knew if we stopped going then we would quickly find it hard, as the other prefects did, to mix fully with the rest of our sixth form friends.
Laura clearly wanted to speak to me alone so I followed her outside.
“Mr Gillespie asked that you accompany me to his office if possible.” She said quietly.
“Now?” I asked, and as she nodded I set off with her down the corridor towards our housemaster’s rooms. I was a bit nervous about such a summons as one never could totally be sure that some misdemeanour had been identified on my part.
“Do you know what this is about?” I asked her.
She paused and looked along the corridor, then blurted it out: “I haven’t been doing my self-study prep in French. He told me that he’s going to cane me!”
As she said this I noticed the tears forming in her eyes. I remembered also that she had got the slipper last week for exactly this, and been warned before that. Clearly the French teacher’s patience had now run out.
Trying to be helpful I asked her: “Is there any reason why?”
She shrugged miserably. “He gives us long translations and I left them to the last minute before realising I could not finish them in time.”
“Nothing else then?” I persisted.
Laura briefly looked uncertain, but then clearly made up her mind and said: “No, nothing.”
As we walked the short distance in silence, I found it puzzling that Laura was in this position. When we arrived at the school she had been enthusiastic but now, as I thought on it, it seemed to me that she had become more withdrawn and much quieter, particularly since half-term. No dramatic turning points but nevertheless I thought, despite her denials, something else was indeed not right in Laura’s life.
She stopped just before we got to the door, took a hankie out of her pocket, wiped her eyes and said as she flashed it at me: “I came prepared at least!” With that rather weak attempt at humour she took a deep breath, then knocked on our housemaster’s door.
“Come!” Called the deep voice from within.
I let Laura go first, and closed the door behind me.
Mr Gillespie looked rather serious, grim even. “Have you explained to Amelia why I called for her?” He asked Laura.
“I-I told her you intended to c-cane me for not doing submitting my French study exercises, housemaster.” She stammered.
“Good. Amelia, thank you for coming. I need you to act as witness. Laura will be caned on her underpants (I don’t think he could bring himself to say ‘knickers’), and we have already discussed the issue at length, so there is no need to do so further. Unless there is anything you have not told me, Laura?”
I stood as impassively as I could, hoping that there was a good reason, and that Laura would find the courage to utter it.
However, her only response was: “No, nothing, housemaster.”
Mr Gillespie sighed and said: “Very well. I am going to give you three strokes as this is a first time. If there is a repeat, you can expect worse. Is that understood?”
“Yes, housemaster.” Laura replied very quietly.
He pulled a high backed chair into the middle of the room and then ordered: “Give your blazer and skirt to Amelia then bend over the chair, legs straight, head down!”
Laura was breathing deeply as she shrugged off her blazer, then more slowly she unfastened the clip and zip, and let her skirt fall. Stepping out of it she picked it up and handed it to me.
Meanwhile, Mr Gillespie had returned from his cupboard with his cane. I recognised immediately that this was a somewhat different implement from that we prefects had at our disposal.
Ours were about two and three quarter feet long and of what I now think of as junior cane thickness. This was three or four inches longer and looked to be slightly thicker.
Poor Laura. I was sure that three from that was going to be very painful. However, I schooled my face to look somewhere between sympathetic and impassive, hiding the horror I felt for her. She looked fearful enough as she draped her body over the chair and gripped its legs.
As Laura had had no chance to change, she of course was not wearing her sports knickers. Most of us wore white or pastel undergarments, but Laura was unusual in generally preferring black. Not that it was going to make a lot of difference, as the thin shiny nylon fabric was going to provide little if any protection from our housemaster’s senior cane.
He motioned me to stand directly behind Laura and slightly to one side as he took his position.
“Keep a firm grip of those chair legs if you don’t want extra!” He ordered, as he lined up the first stroke.
After a few taps I watched as the cane was raised high. The hum as it whistled through the air was both more audible and menacing than the one ours could produce. The ‘Crack’ as it bit into the middle of Laura’s knickers was significantly louder.
I flinched involuntarily at the impact. Laura, on the receiving end, gave a wail and stamped her feet, but held on.
The housemaster waited till she settled and then a bit before unleashing the second cut landing, I would reckon, an inch or so lower.
Another resounding crack and this time an ear rendering scream. As she wiggled over the chair Laura was already crying.
Mr Gillespie was in no hurry and waited till she was more or less still before unleashing the third stoke, which landed on the bare skin of the lowest part of her buttocks, not covered by her knickers.
Another scream as the flesh briefly whitened before the red tramlines appeared. Punishment over, Laura stood up, hands going straight to the afflicted area.
After a minute or so she finally had sufficient composure to take her skirt from me and put it on, during which Mr Gillespie took the opportunity to return his cane to the cupboard in the corner of his room.
Once dismissed, I was able to accompany Laura out. Unsurprisingly all she wanted was to go back to her dorm room which was empty.
As I made to leave she suddenly begged me not to go, but to wait and “do the cold cream” for her. I could hardly say no, and waited as she stripped and changed into her nightie, taking a good look in a mirror at the three angry tramlines that were darkening on her rear.
Finally, after pulling the jar out of her cupboard, she flopped face down on her bed with her nightie above her waist.
Gently I rubbed the cream into the lower half of her bottom where the three dark weals were disfiguring the flesh. She was clearly still crying quietly as she came to terms with the nature of her punishment.
I took the plunge. “I think something is wrong.” I said. “If there is, you have to tell someone.”
The reply was as enlightening as it was startling. “I can’t,” she cried. Then realising what she had said she begged me not to tell anyone even that.
In that deserted dorm, as I rubbed the cream in, more than was necessary given the circumstance, she eventually, with a reluctant promise from me not to tell anyone in the school, told me the whole story. Her parents were getting separated. Divorce was not the accepted part of life it now is, and back then there was much stigma to it. Thus she felt caught, away from the family problems and unable to talk about it. Half term had been hardly a holiday but a week of torture between two bickering parents, who had yet to come to an amicable agreement on almost everything, and she was another pawn in their battle.
I listened as she cried herself out and begged her to talk about it to someone. Eventually she said she would think about it.
As I left her, I thought what a pointless punishment she had endured. I was sure the Head and housemaster, or Mrs Fleming if she wanted a female teacher, would be supportive in this circumstance. Knowing and being forbidden to help was worse for me also.
The following day I caught her alone and tried again gently. After a week of working on her as gently as I could, she relented, in part, I suspect, as she was getting perilously close to another referral from her French teacher to her housemaster.
I went with her to see Mr McKendrick. It took a bit of cajoling to get her started in the office, but once going the full story flooded out.
It took a about a week, but Mr McKendrick I think did more to force her parents to ensure their differences did not affect the support needed for Laura than anything else. I saw them both pay visits to the school together and separately as they came to a solution that led to Laura returning to more her normal self.
She, our housemaster and the Head all at different times thanked me for my efforts later that term, which made me feel that I was doing some good in my role, rather than merely being a court “judge, jury and executioner”.
I did at the end of November report a boy to the court for the first time. He had been persistently fooling in the second form study class and, after four warnings, I finally gave him an appointment for Wednesday evening.
It was nerve racking acting as prosecutor rather than judge, especially knowing the consequence of an innocent verdict, and I waited with baited breath from Derek, Ian and Tom to deliberate without me. Relief as he was given a guilty outcome and six with the slipper.
I listened behind the screen somewhat guiltily to his grunts as he bent over in his underpants the following evening and saw his flushed, but dry-eyed, face as he shook my hand at the end.
Derek and I also were pretty much an item by the end of November. We both got on really well and spent much of our time in the prefects’ common room chatting apart from the others. We also had a couple of visits to the local town together to get Christmas presents for our family members et cetera. I had my first real ‘snog’ with him on one of those too, in the back of the cinema watching some long since forgotten movie. He was both kind and fun to be with, and we seemed smitten with each other.
In early December, Sarah became the third girl to end up before the court. She had been caught by Paul near the kitchens, out of hours, trying to purloin a snack.
She nervously appeared, and admitted having a ‘midnight’ bowl of cereal from what was laid out for the morning. While not that serious, the fact it was an hour and a half after lights out made it difficult to give her anything other than a caning, and she got three strokes.
The following day she was the only sixth former to make the ‘walk of shame’ to the room at the end, and she had to endure the wait while each of the younger boys, including a sixteen year old six foot fifth former, were dealt with first. These of course had the usual range of reactions from little more than a gasp to the rare one with screams throughout.
Finally it was Sarah’s turn. The screen was adjusted and I picked up the cane. She came in nervously and gave her formal apology in a quiet, clear voice before preceding me to the chair behind the screen.
Before I had a chance to say anything she had flipped up her skirt and plunged over the chair, with her maroon sports knickers stretched high in the air.
I looked at her rather full bottom tapering to her waist above. The white tails of her blouse irregularly lay on the lowest part of her back, below the waist of her skirt. Once again I stiffened my resolve and tapped the cane gently on her proffered rear. “Three strokes,” I reminded her. “Are you ready?”
“Yes, Amelia,” she replied.
Katie was watching intently as I took a deep breath, raised the cane slowly and brought it down with a swish on the target where a crack announced its arrival roughly in the middle of her rear.
“O-o-oh!” Moaned Sarah as she wiggled her bottom.
As I lined up the second cut I reflected that I may not like this caning game, but I was, I felt, at least getting better at it.
The second was very hard, an inch or so above the base of her knickers. The scream left me in no doubt that she was not enjoying her visit here. Katie looked mildly impressed with the result if that impact.
It took much longer for Sarah to stop wriggling over the chair. But eventually she did so.
She was muttering to herself as I landed the last stroke right on the base of her buttocks, as hard as I’d ever given one.
As soon as the crack was over she screamed loudly and jumped up, hiding the bottom-most rapidly reddening mark with her hands as she tried to will the pain away. I was impressed that while breathing loudly she was at least dry-eyed. However, it took a couple of minutes before she could sort herself out and shake hands with the boys before escaping.
For me there was the relief it was over again, and that I’d managed to dole out the punishment with a minimum of fuss.
Katie commented that I’d seemed to have improved my technique from somewhere also. Maybe watching Mr Gillespie give Laura her beating had given me some sub-conscious tips. It did not make me feel any better about whacking Sarah though.
However the most dramatic punishment I witnessed was near the very end of term.
It all started with the upper school Christmas party on the second last Friday before term’s end. Traditionally there was a dinner and dance for the fifth and sixth form in the evening with boys and, mainly, girls from the dancing club at the local grammar school invited to balance the numbers. On the Sunday afternoons throughout for four weeks joint practices had been held which added to the anticipation. Apparently the event was a real highlight for the club members there.
I could understand why during the dance. Putting on our glad rags and getting made up built up to a delicious dinner, far better than our usual fare. The subsequent dance was great fun. I found that Derek was a good dancer and had a whale of a time with him. While there was a Christmas punch, the alcohol was very strictly controlled: we had enough to relax but no one was in any way drunk.
The dance finished at 1 a.m. After happily farewelling the visitors, we started to make our way to the dorms, being told that ‘lights out’ would be at 2 a.m.
Derek asked Katie and I, along with Tom and Ian, back to the prefects’ room, as we were, at the Head’s request, to police the lights out. Since being appointed, a few warnings in the girls’ dorms had meant no court issues as the other girls realised we had limits beyond which we could not be flexible.
As we entered the room we found a note on the table from Mr McKendrick thanking us for our help that term, with a half-bottle of sherry and some glasses. Thus, while our colleagues presumably happily got ready for bed, we sat around for an hour and sipped sherry. The others did not seem to mind my snuggling up to Derek on the most comfy sofa. Looking out the window we saw the various rooms go dark and by 2.30 all was quiet.
We gave a final walk of the corridors and went to bed. Katie and I chatted happily as we wiped off our make-up and changed into our pyjamas, for me, and nightdress, her.
By three a.m. we were both asleep.
I woke with a start with someone knocking on the door.
“Who is it?” I asked blearily as Katie and I both came to. Switching on my side light I noticed it was well after half past four in the morning.
“Derek.” Was the answer. “I know I should not be here, but there is a light on in one of the girls’ dorms. It’s been on for quite a while.”
I opened the door once Katie was up next to me. “You want us to get them to stop?” I asked.
“Yes, but it is way too late. This needs to go to the court.”
“It is Christmas.” Said Katie.
“Yes,” said Derek. “But it’s nearly five in the morning! I’ll do the reporting or we can do it together if you prefer not to do it yourself.”
Leaving Derek back at the entrance to the girls’ area, we walked down the corridor and found the offending room. I knocked and said: “Girls, I need to speak to you.”
There were some noises followed by a desperate call of: “Just a minute”. I gave them a few moments before knocking again and opening the door. There were six girls sitting on the four beds. I was shocked to see they were all still dressed.
“Do you know the time?” I asked.
“Yes, but it is Christmas,” replied Fran.
“Maybe,” I said. “However, the light has been seen across the school, and you are not even in your nightclothes! You will all need to explain yourself to the court on Wednesday.”
There were gasps and begging at that but I ignored them and told them they had ten minutes to get themselves sorted.
It was as I made to leave I noticed a foot under the bed. Katie later told me the girls’ faces were a picture of horror as I dropped to the floor and found three boys hiding underneath them. There was also a bottle of gin.
I was so angry. Ordering the boys out, I told the lot of them that I would be speaking to Mr McKendrick the following morning. Some begging for the court ensued as they knew our Head was not going to be impressed. Being in dorms of the wrong sex, or inviting them in, even as a group, could only have seriously unpleasant outcomes.
I pointed out that that would be a waste of time as the court would undoubtedly refer it immediately to the Head in any case. One of the girls was crying as I left Katie to get them to bed quickly, while I escorted the boys out. An evening that had been nothing short of wonderful was now ending on a very sour note.
Derek looked shocked as the three boys appeared in front of him. He told them he would be along in ten minutes to check they were all in their respective beds.
Once they had gone I told him the whole sorry story. We agreed to meet in the morning after the late breakfast, at 10 a.m. to find Mr McKendrick.
It was just after five by the time I was back in bed. It took a while to get back to sleep, although I was sure there were others who barely slept at all.
I bumped into our rather happy looking headmaster at breakfast. He was delighted last night had passed off so well, and commented that he noted what a good time I seemed to be having.
His smile faltered when I asked for a private meeting with Derek, Katie and him later that morning, ideally just after 10 o’clock.
“Some trouble later on?” He asked.
“Yes, headmaster.” I replied seriously, and watched him walk off with a thoughtful look and rather less bounce in his step.
We knocked on his door at just after 10 and found ourselves sitting round the fireplace with coffee; he guessed we had a long night! Derek, then Katie and I told him the story.
He looked grave when we finished.
“Technically this is suspension or expulsion territory.” He said. “However, at least all of them were fully dressed, and there was a group of them.”
He thought for a long time before saying: “I will need to make an example of them, I am afraid.”
I felt a chill as I realised that they were going to be caned, almost certainly very hard.
Mr McKendrick continued however. “Can you assemble the offenders outside my office directly after lunch?”
We agreed and made to leave. However the Head called me back. He waited until the others had gone before starting.
“You should know that unless there are very good reasons I will be caning the boys with their pants down. It is a prerogative I keep for serious cases. I also intend to keep things equal.” He said, and forestalled me as he continued. “Tell the girls to wear underwear that can be pulled up to expose their buttocks. If any are foolish enough to wear gym shorts then they will come down, girl or not! I want both you and Katie to witness, and assist if necessary.”
My throat felt dry as I asked: “Assist?”
“This caning will be a lot harder than those the court can give, or for that matter your housemaster. There is a chance that you will need to help some to stay in position. Further I may ask you to adjust their attire appropriately.”
As I left his office, Katie was waiting. The two of us found the six girls and told them, to utterly aghast looks in each case, what the Head had said, emphasising that it was still only a possibility that he would go that far. However, I could not personally think of a good reason by which they were going to avoid a true “headmaster’s caning”. I could not bring myself to tell them that ‘possibly’ meant ‘near certainty’.
It was with nine very nervous colleagues we waited for the Head after lunch.
He invited us all in and had us stand behind him as he interviewed the nine of them in front of his desk. As expected, other than tears from the girls and many apologies for having been so foolish there were no good reasons for their behaviour.
The next ten minutes or so was taken up with a lecture on why the rule was important and what could happen and then why he felt that despite it being Christmas he had no alternative but to make an example of them. He also pointed out that normally he would be looking at suspension at the very least, but was being ‘lenient’ in not considering that. He barely mentioned the illicit alcohol aspect, except as an aggravating factor.
He eventually told them he was going to cane them severely. He could award up to twelve, but had decided on eight each.
I was pleasantly surprised as I had feared more, until I saw the thick dark brown cane he intended to use. While just over a yard long, it looked a fearsome instrument, slightly thicker again than the one I had seen Mr Gillespie use. I was surprised how flexible it was as he bent it gently in his hands to the nine pasty faces in front of him.
He decided to deal with the boys first. Katie and I escorted the girls outside to wait facing the wall, while Derek stayed to witness the three boys’ canings.
I can’t imagine what the six were thinking as they listened to the muffled cracks of the cane and the screams as the boys were dealt with. While each of boys started silently, all three were wailing long before the last stroke. While two got the eight, another had had ten in total including two additional cuts for jumping up.
Katie and I reminded the girls that whatever happened they must stay down if they wanted to get it over with quickly and with the least pain in the long term. All we got were ashen looks in return.
I made sure the girls had their noses firmly to the wall as Derek left with three boys, who were all clearly struggling to deal with their agonised bottoms as they shuffled along the corridor and away to recover.
At his call Katie and I escorted the girls in. Two of the six were now clearly crying as they were lined up facing the back wall of his office. They all had seen that his desk was now clear for them to take their turn across.
Before starting he warned them again that this was a severe sanction. He would be caning them hard, but he expected all of them to stay in position, as the penalty for getting up before he gave them permission would be that stroke would be given again. He told them that each of them should simply bend over the desk when called, as I would adjust their attire before and after their punishment.
They all said: “Yes sir,” in various tones of nerves as he asked them to confirm they had understood. I meanwhile reflected reluctantly on my own role in what was to happen. I was certainly not there just as a witness.
Katie was ordered to ensure they remained facing the wall before and after their turn before he called the first girl across.
Looking at a list on his desk he commanded: “Barton! You’re first.” The use of surnames was unusual in him, and added to the sense of gravity of the situation.
Harriet looked petrified as she slowly made her way to the desk and bent over it. I saw her grip the far side tightly and clench her teeth as she waited.
The Head moved to one side, to his caning position, before indicating I should adjust her attire. He clearly was trying to maintain some propriety while having equality in the punishment.
I stepped forward and flipped up her skirt, revealing some rather skimpy pink briefs. I looked at the Head for confirmation before, as gently as I could, tugging them upwards and tucking them slightly till the fabric was between her buttocks. Poor Harriet flinched slightly as I carried out the necessary adjustments before standing back. Her legs were together and she was at least sort of decent as Mr McKendrick lined the cane up.
Suddenly there was a clear whoosh and a crack as the first stroke hit the target. The noise was awful; it made the cane stroke we could give seem like a trivial punishment, which I knew it was not, in comparison.
Harriet’s face was part reflected in the glass doors of the Head’s bookcase behind his desk. I saw the shock of pain hit a microsecond before she let out a wail of agony.
I won’t describe each awful stroke that Harriet endured. Suffice to say she was bawling uncontrollably by the fourth stroke and screaming with every impact. I had thought my caning of Mary was barbaric, but it was tame compared to this. It was clearly all she could do to hold on as the Head, grim looking it has to be said, methodically thrashed her buttocks. On the last stroke she made to get up and I, without thinking, touched her to remind her to wait.
I suddenly wondering if the Head would object, but he shrugged, much to my relief. He motioned for me to sort her attire and I gently tried to pull out the elastic on her knickers and part cover the set of nasty lines on her swollen rear. Mr McKendrick seemed to have an avid interest in the state of his stick as I did so until I finally flipped her skirt back into place.
Only then did he let her stand. Still sobbing, she gently gripped her rear as she slowly staggered to the side wall where she was to wait, hands clasped in front of her.
As I looked at the five remaining I saw their dread had clearly increased at what they had heard.
“Crowley!” He commanded. There was no question he was going alphabetically and I assume the others were quickly calculating where they stood in the order of things.
Alice tried to walk normally across to the desk, but was breathing oddly. I am sure she hesitated at the sight of the clear dampness on the desk from Harriet’s tears, before slowly assuming the position.
Once again I had to raise her skirt and adjust her thin white knickers before stepping back to allow the Head to carry out his duty.
Alice shocked me at her resilience. Apart from the odd moan and gasp, especially towards the end, she remained in control gripping the desk tightly as the Head gave her the eight vicious strokes. I got the impression he was a little frustrated at her lack of reaction. While the last cut he had given Harriet was perceptibly harder than the rest, here it seemed he was on full power for all of the last four. If his aim had been to break Alice to tears then he clearly failed. I got a little gasp as I pulled her underwear back into position before dropping her skirt.
The other thing about her punishment was that she continued the odd breathing, more like panting, throughout. I later found she had been using the breathing exercises she had helped her mother practice in preparation for her baby sister’s birth, less than a year before. The huge age gap and the pressures of a new born in the family were one reason they had all agreed that boarding would be best for her A-level education. On the breathing she said she had no idea if it had really helped, other than being something to focus on that was not the terrible pain being inflicted to her backside.
Whatever the case I was impressed at the strength of will she had shown.
Once she joined Harriet, Mr McKendrick called: “Jenkins!” And it was Fran’s turn. Before she got to the chair he stopped her and lifted her chin so she had to look straight into his angry face.
“You were caned by the Prefects’ Court, Jenkins.”
Fran nodded nervously at the statement.
“Your first term here and two canings. I will be making an especial effort to ensure you don’t wish a third! That includes two extra now! Now get over that desk.”
This disciplinary side of the Head was something quite fearful. I now could see why most pupils lived in awe of the man.
Fran had tears silently falling down her cheeks as I flipped up her skirt and massaged her rather conservatively cut knickers into place.
Clearly making the punishment memorable included using his absolute full force from the beginning. Fran held out for three blistering strokes before the wails and sobs started. On the seventh she lost control and stood up, giving her a repeat. On the eighth (her ninth) it happened again and she seemed unable to get back in position. The Head had to firmly force her back over the table and told me to go round the other side. For the first time I had to lean over a girl, clamping my arms around her shoulders to hold her firmly in place. Only then did he tell her she would get the eighth stroke again, and two extra for disobedience.
Five further strokes!
It was all I could do to hold her as she bucked and wriggled as the blows were delivered with the same maximum force used for the others. The screams were ear splitting as she begged to be released.
Finally it was over. I found my eyes wet in sympathy, or was it guilt? I had found the boys under the bed; perhaps I should have tried to ignore it.
Once she had enough control to know that it was over as long as she stayed in place I slowly raised myself off her and went round the other side. Her buttocks were a red angry mess from top to bottom. I was amazed that the skin was not cut given what I now know, but that is probably testament to Mr McKendrick’s ability and experience with a cane. Fran’s sobs were strengthened every time I touched the skin to replace her knickers and it took longer than usual before I could unfold her skirt and tell her she could join the other two who had been punished.
“Pearce!” Was the next name called and Susan was the next to take her stance over the table. I raised her skirt and sorted the pastel green knickers, with rather lacy edging I remember.
She took her punishment fairly well with progressively more desperate moans as it progressed. Watching her reflection in the bookcase glass I think it was only on the last two that the tears started to flow relatively quietly as they impacted the lowest regions of her hindquarters.
A small gasp as I replaced her knickers and she was finished.
Olive was trembling strongly and took an age to make the short trip to the desk and bend over it. As she lay down she pulled her long, dark hair over her head covering her face. Perhaps the veil was to prevent her seeing anything about what was happening.
Her relatively high cut pink knickers were easily adjusted by a simple tug, ready for the Head to begin.
However, she was unable to take her thrashing at all, jumping up on both the first and second strokes, to the fury of Mr McKendrick. He upped her punishment by three to eleven strokes and started again with me holding her.
Her screams were deafening as I kept a grip of the writhing girl below me, clearly undergoing a torture I could not contemplate imagining.
Even when finished it took an age for her to settle to the point that I could let her go and cover another rear with a mess of merged or merging cane marks.
Doris was already turning as the Head read the final name on his crib sheet: “Wilkins!”
She was a little plump and her white knickers were low cut and rather tight. It took me an embarrassingly long time to get the fabric out of the way. Doris clearly found my efforts humiliating as tears silently fell down her cheeks.
I watched as the last set of blows were administered at roughly 15 second intervals, which seemed Mr McKendrick’s standard, and was relieved that despite progressively more heartfelt cries, as she threw her head back to scream with each blow, clearly showing the agony in her face reflected in the glass in front of her, she remained in position till the end. She gasped and cried again as I had the unenviable task to replace the leg elastic of her too tight underwear before dropping her skirt back.
A brief lecture later and it was over. I watched the girls slowly stumble along the corridor to their rooms before going for another coffee in the Prefect’s common room. The boys knew better than to ask me for an account, but were perhaps more surprised that all Katie would say was that she could reassure them that, as far as she could see, the Head did not make any allowances for them being girls.
So ended my first term. As I sat with my parents on Christmas day I briefly wondered even then with a little guilt whether Fran and Olive were now able to do so comfortably.
But then my thoughts went to the planned day trip to London to the sales in four days time, meeting up with Derek at Paddington, and that drove the guilty feeling right out of my mind.
© Joanna Jones 2010