Two girls defy their headmistress
By Felicity Warren
It was a Thursday afternoon in late September 1967 at St Hilda’s School for Girls, and two of the boarders, Louise Macadam and Polly Brittan, were in trouble. The fairground had come for its annual visit to the fields a few hundred yards away, but in the Wednesday morning assembly the headmistress had announced that it was out of bounds to all girls. This, she said, was due to “some unfortunate incidents” the previous year, without being specific about what those incidents were.
The girls were in different houses at St Hilda’s, and Louise was in the school year ahead of Polly, though in fact she was only a few months older. The girls lived near each other at home and had become close friends outside term-time as well as at school.
The summer of 1967 was, of course, the ‘Summer of Love’, and ‘Swinging London’, which preceded it in 1966, was still in full cry. It had even reached the depths of Dorset where the two girls lived and, like their contemporaries, the friends were trying to keep pace with the latest fashions. They had both bought their first proper mini-skirts, a daring three inches or so above the knee. The girls would have liked to show more leg, of course, but with tights a brand-new and expensive invention there was the conflict between showing more leg, or showing stocking tops. A dilemma for the girls, but fun for pretty much every boy they knew.
The announcement from the headmistress gave Louise and Polly a bit of a problem. They had already arranged to meet two local boys, Michael and Peter, at the fairground and neither girl wanted to miss their dates. After all, the two boys were rather fanciable. So, after prep on Wednesday, the two girls changed out of their school uniforms into mini-dresses they’d bought during the summer, put on their make-up and sneaked out of school via an unattended porter’s lodge. Dusk was falling and they were pretty confident that nobody would spot them. And they’d be back and in their respective dormitories well before lights out.
Twenty minutes later, they were with their boyfriends, though none of the four were paying much attention to the fairground rides or the music. Recent hits like ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Itchycoo Park’ blasted out from the fairground rides, but having hands all over each other was much more fun than the waltzer or the music. Michael was exploring Louise’s dress and had discovered, to his pleasure, that she hadn’t yet made the move from stockings to tights, while Peter was trying to fathom out the intricacies of Polly’s bra.
After about 20 minutes of petting, one of the girls broke off and suggested that ice cream would be a good idea, so the couples came out from behind the fairground ride where they’d spent their time, and the two boys went off to the ice cream van. It was at this moment that everything went wrong.
“What are you girls doing here?” It was the voice of Miss Hilton, the mathematics mistress, and with her was Miss Jackson, who taught cookery and needlework. “You girls were in assembly this morning, so you heard the headmistress give her instructions. Didn’t it occur to you that there’d be teachers here to make sure those instructions were followed? Back to school for both of you. Now!”
The two girls were marched back to school, one with each mistress, and immediately sent to their dormitories without any opportunity to speak to each other. Thankfully, the mistresses had not realised there were local boys involved; it seemed like they just thought the girls had simply gone to the fairground.
Louise and Polly were in different houses at St Hilda’s, and with Louise being in the year above they took different lessons on Thursday, so they had no opportunity to talk to each other. Around 3.00 pm came the dreaded summons to report to the headmistress at 4.00 pm.
So, Louise and Polly found themselves sat on the bench outside the headmistress’s office, they were obviously in big trouble.
“What will happen?” asked Polly, the younger of the pair. “Will she give us loads of detentions, or lines? What do you think?”
Louise was not as naïve as her friend. “Lines? Detention? No chance, we’ll get the slipper. How many depends on how annoyed the old cow is.”
Polly was shocked. “What? The slipper? I’ve never had that. I know some girls who have, but I’ve never ever thought I’d get it. I wonder how much it hurts.”
Louise looked askance at the younger girl. “It hurts at first, your bum’ll feel like it’s on fire, and you won’t be able to sit properly for a couple of hours, but it wears off, and you’ll get a warm feeling on your bum.”
“How do you know?” asked an incredulous Polly. “Have you had the slipper before?”
“Yeah, I got slippered last year for smoking. Six on my backside with my skirts raised.”
“What?” said Polly. “I didn’t know, you never said.”
“Well I wouldn’t have, would I? If I’d told you, then you’d probably have told my darling little brother, and he’d have shot his mouth off at home. Mother would have been livid, and I’d probably have got whacked some more. She’s even got a cane, you know, though I haven’t had that for a couple of years.”
“Sorry, I never knew,” said Polly, now more shocked that ever. She thought for a minute or so, then repeated her question. “OK, what will happen then?” she asked reluctantly.
“The old cow will call us in separately. You have to bend over the desk, or a chair, or whatever. She lifts your skirts and you get whacked across your knickers. You don’t move or make any noise, or you’ll get extra whacks. Then when she’s finished and she tells you to stand up you have to thank her.”
“Thank her? She whacks your backside and you have to say, ‘Thank you, Miss’? That’s totally bizarre, if you ask me.”
“Bizarre or not, that’s what she’ll expect, so remember to do it. Quiet, she’s coming.”
The headmistress appeared around the corner and walked towards her office at the end of the corridor. Both girls stood up, as they were expected to do in the presence of the great woman; hands in front of them, looking as demure and innocent as they possibly could. The headmistress looked the miscreants up and down with something between contempt and disappointment.
“I think I made my words crystal-clear in assembly yesterday. Yet you two silly girls thought the rules didn’t apply to you, I presume. And it never seemingly occurred to you that the staff would check that the rules were being followed. You are an embarrassment to your houses, to your classmates and to your families. Your punishment will be richly deserved. Brittan, you will wait here. Macadam, into my study.”
Louise managed a grimace to her friend, unseen by the headmistress, as she went through the office door. Polly tried to hear what was happening through the heavy door, but without success at first. Suddenly she heard a resounding whack from inside. She realised that Louise was right about the slipper. Seven more whacks followed, each separated by five to ten seconds. Finally they stopped, and eventually the door opened. Louise was holding her bottom underneath her skirt, and had tears welling up.
“It was supposed to be six whacks of the slipper, but I got two more because I half got up from the desk. Don’t do that, whatever you do. Go in, she wants you now. I’ll wait around the corner down there for you.”
Polly knocked, and opened the door to the command of “Enter”. The head still had her look of contempt, a look she probably reserved for naughty girls reporting for punishment.
“Brittan, the procedure is as follows. You will bend over my desk and reach for the far side. I will raise your skirt and slip, then smack your bottom soundly with the slipper, across your knickers. Is there anything you’d like to say before I punish you?”
“Please Miss, I’ve got a pantie girdle on. I’ve started wearing tights, sometimes, instead of stockings. The trouble is, the tights can sag, so my mother bought me girdles to wear to hold then up. Do I have to remove my girdle and tights?”
The headmistress considered. “Girls’ fashions are certainly changing, obviously due to the shorter skirts you all want to wear these days. You may keep the girdle and tights on. After all, the tights won’t provide any extra protection at all, but the girdle certainly will. I intended to slipper you six times. Instead, you will receive an extra three. Now bend over, please, and let’s get on with this unpleasant business.”
Polly walked to the desk and bent across it as the headmistress has instructed. She felt her skirt being raised and folded back, followed by her slip. The head placed the slipper on her girdled bottom, as if she was taking aim. Polly held her breath and braced herself for what was to come.
Whack! Polly heard the slipper hum through the air and land on her bottom, and a split second later felt the effect. Like Louise had said, her bottom felt like it was on fire.
‘I can’t take nine of those,’ she thought, as the second whack landed and she almost stood up from the desk, remembering just in time what Louise had said. The tears built up as she felt the third whack, but she said to herself that she wouldn’t move or cry out, she wouldn’t give the head any excuse to smack her even more.
The whacks of the slipper came again and again, though Polly managed to keep count. In total, the nine smacks from the slipper landed a few seconds apart as Polly hung onto the desk for dear life. The head had spread the slippering around, so the whole of Polly’s bottom was now on fire, no doubt bright red as well.
“Punishment over, Brittan. You may now stand up and adjust your clothing.”
Polly pulled her skirts back into place, then she remembered what Louise had said to her.
“Thank you Miss, I’m sorry I misbehaved.”
The headmistress looked Polly up and down. “You may now go, but I don’t ever want to see you in this study again. You should be aware that I have a cane that I could have used today, had I so chose. You might like to modify your behaviour in such a way that I never have occasion to discipline you further. Now return to your house”.
Polly left the office and, as soon as she had shut the door, her hands went straight under her skirt to her slippered bottom. She turned the corner of the corridor and Louise was waiting as promised.
“What happened? I thought I heard nine whacks. Did you annoy the cow even more?”
“No, I told her I’d got tights and a girdle on, so she gave me extra because of the girdle protecting my bum.”
The girls walked awkwardly down the corridor and back into the main school. It wouldn’t be long before the other girls put two and two together and the questions about their slippering would start. There’d be requests to show their bottoms in their dorms that evening.
Louise’s mind started wandering. She wanted to see Michael again. Should she tell him what had happened to her? After all, it was partly his fault.
Polly, meanwhile, wondered whether she ought to revert to stockings, because the girdle her mother had advised her to wear was now feeling very tight indeed across her red-hot bottom. And, after all, when she saw Peter again, well, boys liked suspenders, didn’t they? Then again, did they like short skirts more? A difficult one, that. Polly wondered whether she could get away with both next time she saw him. Perhaps she could tease him with flashes of stocking top.
Polly’s mind continued to wander. If she did that, maybe Peter would tell her she was a naughty little minx and that he ought to put her across his knee. Polly could hear herself saying, “I’d like to see you try”.
© Felicity Warren 2020