Praetorium Responsibilities

Two girls’ drunken behaviour spoils a treat enjoyed by all the upper sixth, with painful consequences. By a new writer to us.

By Dobbo

Josh Evans woke up dreamily that morning, 14 May 1969, with the vague feeling that today would have something special to offer. As the haze of sleep evaporated so it came back to him with a start. Yes, indeed, today was THE day. The day when Laura Frankland and Abi Hunt were to appear before the Praetorium!

Josh was senior prefect, otherwise known as Head of House, at Allingham Hall, one of the lesser known, albeit highly prestigious, public schools so favoured by the families of ‘Middle England’. As such, along with the Heads of the other three Houses he also enjoyed membership of the somewhat grandiosely entitled Praetorium, in effect the pupil body that oversaw day-to-day school life. The prefectorial system has always been popular with English public schools and never more so than at boarding establishments such as Allingham. Having senior pupils taking a large measure of responsibility for the smooth running of the establishment was deemed essential, not least for the development of the pupils themselves as they moved from adolescence into full manhood. At Allingham each House had its own cadre of prefects drawn from the best of the Upper 6th. Matters pertaining to academic performance were, of course, totally the remit of the teaching staff but managing the everyday business of school life was very much in the hands of the prefects.

Allingham was a mixture of the conservative and the liberal, very much preserving conventional attitudes of the time to discipline but also recognising that young people, at any rate 6th formers, needed certain freedoms in order to develop. Thus, for example (and pertinent to this account), pupils who had reached the age of 18 were allowed, provided they conducted themselves with decorum, to frequent the public house in the local village at weekends.

As for the presence of girls, the late 60s had been a time when the private educational system was adjusting to the realities forced upon it by economic necessity and changing social attitudes. Allingham was in the early stages of this agenda, the key change, now in its second year of operation, being the creation of a House for girls. A benefactor had provided funding to restore a small property in the school grounds that had fallen into disrepair. It being of sufficient size just for forty girls, the decision had been taken to offer places only for 6th form studies; twenty girls to begin with for the Lower 6th and now, of course, with a full complement, the initial intake, including Laura and Abi, having moved on into the Upper 6th.

The first intimation of the event so engaging Josh’s thoughts had come two days earlier when his good friend, George Hirst, Head of the Praetorium (Head of School in other words), had invited him to his study for a chat after school. George had in fact initially said nothing, simply handing Josh a letter he had received earlier that day.

It was a note from the Headmaster, the redoubtable Mr Josiah Stirling.

The disgraceful incident that occurred at the Fox and Hounds last Sunday will, I have no doubt, shortly become common knowledge around the school. Before this happens and in order to avoid any misconceptions, let me state the facts as they have come to light. The misses Frankland and Hunt from Nightingale House left the school grounds after supper intent upon an evening together in the aforementioned establishment. This they were entitled to do, both being 18 years of age. Unfortunately, they did not conduct themselves with decorum. At 9pm I received a telephone call from an irate Mr Bates, the landlord, complaining that two girls from this school appeared to be drunk and had to be asked to moderate the volume and indeed the content of their language, and, having been so asked, had then been personally offensive to him.

I visited Mr Bates on Monday. He confirmed the facts. He also made his own position clear, namely that under no circumstances will he tolerate drunken behaviour, not least because it puts his licence at risk. I have to tell you that he is emphatic that pupils from Allingham will no longer be allowed in his establishment.

I had delayed a decision on punishment pending my discussion with Mr Bates. Having now met him, I have decided that the seriousness of the offence precludes punishment within the normal House system. This has to be a matter for the Headmaster. However, in the particular circumstances that appertain here, it seems to me appropriate to take the unusual step of referring these wretched girls back to the Praetorium rather than dealing with them myself. They are responsible for causing their peers to be denied what I know is a much valued privilege. Let them, therefore, be punished by their peers.

I would be grateful if you would make an appointment to see me so that we can discuss how to bring this distasteful matter to a conclusion.” 

Josh’s first reaction was: “Bloody hell! Why do the rest of us have to suffer just because Laura and Abi can’t hold their drink? It just isn’t fair. Nobody else has ever caused any trouble. Why can’t Bates just ban the two of them?”

George responded: “That was my first reaction too. To put it mildly, I’m totally pissed off. Head of School and I can’t even go into the fucking local pub.”

He stopped for a moment before going on: “But I’m also more than a bit intrigued by what old Josey means when he says he’s going to refer them back to us for punishment. Anyhow, I’ll be in a position to tell you later on. I’m seeing him at 5 o’clock.”

Josh went back to his own study to attend to the day’s homework but found his mind going back to what his friend had just said. Normal infractions of school rules were dealt with within each House by the House prefects. They had the power at their own discretion to impose lines and detentions, and for more serious offences, with the permission of the Housemaster, they had the power to cane. This was also the position at Nightingale House for girls. Discipline was, therefore, largely a same sex affair; girl prefects punished girls, boys punished boys. Although, of course, really serious matters, of which the Fox and Hounds incident appeared to be one, were taken out of prefects’ hands and dealt with by the Housemasters (or Housemistress) or even the Head himself. The Praetorium itself, the body of four boys and now one girl, operated as a council of seniors and did not get involved in day-to-day discipline. Except, it would seem, in this case. Intriguing indeed!

Needless to say, Josh was already waiting in George’s study, somewhat on tenterhooks, as the latter arrived back from his meeting with the HM. He had an odd, slightly bemused, look on his face, or so Josh thought. But as he began speaking it became clear that suppressed excitement was perhaps a better description of his state of mind. His words came out in an unnaturally formal way as if he was holding something back.

“As I told you, I have just enjoyed the privilege of an audience with our headmaster. Our Praetorium colleague, Francesca Jones, was also there since Laura and Abi are from her House, as he somewhat superfluously reminded me. Aside from that, the esteemed gentleman was direct and to the point. You will not be surprised to learn that he has decided the cane is the only possible sanction for a matter this serious. In normal circumstances he would, of course, administer the punishment himself. However, on this occasion he wants us, the Praetorium I mean, to undertake the distasteful task, as he describes it, on his behalf. Our instructions are to follow normal procedures as for a House caning, the standard six strokes. He told me that he has informed Laura and Abi of his decision.”

Josh was clearly having some difficulty taking this news in. The expression ‘his jaw dropped’ could rarely have been so aptly applied. It was going to take some time before he was capable of coherent speech, just the effect George had been hoping his dramatic words would cause. He, of course, had had more time to take the situation in, and his next words came out in an altogether different tone, accompanied by a huge grin.

“So, my boy, what do you think? Come on, wake up. There are preparations to be made, matters that need our attention. For example, I have no doubt you will agree with me once you’ve pulled yourself together that a key point of interest is this.” George paused deliberately at this point, before eventually continuing in his most teasing voice. “What colour, I wonder; yes indeed, what colour?”

Josh continued to stare blankly, obviously not comprehending what his friend was talking about.

“You clown,” George had to say in the end. “Do you not get it? OK, let me lead you there step-by-step. So tell me what the procedure is when a boy in your House is to be caned by your good self or one of your other House prefects.”

Josh slowly came to life. “Well, normally the sentence is decided and a time agreed for the offender to come back for it to happen.”

“Yes, yes, so what does actually happen when he comes back?” George was getting impatient now.

“We’re always very formal, as I’m sure you are in your House. He’s told to prepare himself and then bend over the back of a chair, and we get on with it.”

“Thank God we’re getting there. When you say, ‘told to prepare himself’, what do you actually mean?”

“You know perfectly well what I mean. Take his trousers off, of course, and then lift his shirt tails well up his back.”

“Exactly,” George said triumphantly. “In accordance with the time honoured phrase from the Allingham rule book that ‘miscreants who are to be caned will not be allowed to benefit from the protection of their outer layer of clothing’. Trousers off, that’s the way it is for a House caning. And a House caning is what we’ve been instructed to give Laura and Abi. OK, for them it won’t necessarily be trousers off, it might be skirts off instead.”

“Yeah, yeah,” was Josh’s disbelieving rejoinder. “You don’t seriously expect me to believe we’re to be allowed to have them do that.”

“Oh but I do. It was just about the first thing Francesca asked old Josey. Good for her. I’m not sure I’d have had the nerve. She said that this being only its second year, there hadn’t yet been a caning in her House but she’d been told about boys having to take their trousers off, so would girls have to do the equivalent? I forget her exact words but you get the gist. Anyhow, what matters is that Josey was totally dismissive. He said something about her being a member of the Praetorium and so he couldn’t see a problem. He was sure he could rely on the Praetorium to carry out his instructions in a seemly manner.

“So believe it, or believe it not, Laura Frankland and Abi Hunt are going to have to show us their knickers. It should make a nice little show. I don’t know about you but I’m rather looking forward to getting a good, hard look. So, come on, what colour do you reckon? Have you ever wondered?” He again said teasingly.

This was nothing if not a poignant question, for it should, at this point, be mentioned that girls’ choice of underwear was a matter of considerable interest and speculation. Teenage boys being teenage boys, any opportunities to catch interesting glimpses such as an upskirt flash were seized upon. Indeed, a certain John Wardle had set himself up as ‘Keeper of the Colour Register’ as it became known. Any 6th form boy who had a sighting of the knickers being worn that day was expected to report in, for example; ‘Susan Smith, pink, quick flash when getting up from armchair in common room’. And if an independent second sighting was obtained the original was marked as confirmed and accredited to the original reporter. In the absence of actual sexual gratification, obviously forbidden under pain of expulsion, even assuming a girl would cooperate, this activity provided at least some kind of outlet for testosterone filled boys.

Josh remained speechless. Wonder how these two girls might look in their knickers? By God, he had. In bed at night, he’d imagined all sorts of impossible circumstances, romantic and others, in which, miraculously, Laura and Abi (not to mention a few others) might appear in various states of undress. But not in his wildest dreams could he have imagined this. A mental picture built of Laura, his favourite of the two, standing in the Praetorium room, taking her skirt off with red knickers slowly becoming visible. Why red? Just something arousing, he couldn’t have said why. And then, oh so reluctantly bending over with those knickers tightening across her backside.

*         *          *

The denouement was set for 4.30pm two days after these revelations. Abi Hunt had been instructed to report at the time and Laura Frankland 20 minutes later.

Josh Evans that day did not enjoy the full benefits of the expensive education he was receiving. There was one thing only on his mind. Made all the more interesting by the little conversation he and Peter Leonard, the Head of the other boys’ House, had had the previous day with George Hirst. The latter had explained that he would be delivering the final two strokes of each caning and that Francesca Jones, at her request, the preceding two. “Seems only right since they’re her girls, so to speak,” he had said.

That left Josh to deliver strokes one and two for one girl and Peter for the other. How to decide who to go first? Toss for it? He had had a better idea, something to add yet a little more spice to the occasion (as if it was possible for it to be spicier, Josh had thought). George had then produced two folded slips of paper.

“Take one each,” he had instructed.

Josh had unfolded his to find the words ‘any other’ written on it, whereas Peter’s was inscribed ‘black or white’. George had laughed at their blank looks.

“Knickers!” He had said grandly. “We’ll have Abi in first. If she turns out to be wearing plain black or white knickers, Peter gets to kick off the proceedings. Anything else and Josh gets the honour.”

The four Praetorium members gathered at 4.15. There was a moment’s awkward silence after the usual niceties of greeting, broken by Francesca.

“Look, I just want to make it clear that I’m 100% behind all this. Don’t think I’m in any way on Abi and Laura’s side because they’re girls. None of us in Nightingale are. ‘Bloody stuck up bitches’ just about sums up what everyone thinks. I’m as pissed off as you are. Remember, I’m also going to miss out on pub visits, just the same as you. So the worse we can make this for them the better, so far as I’m concerned. Don’t pretend you lot aren’t looking forward to seeing their knickers.”

At 4.30 precisely Francesca opened the door of the Praetorium sanctuary and ushered Abi Hunt in; a white-faced, uncertain, Abi Hunt, but sporting a defiant expression. Composed, yet uncomposed. She was wearing dark grey trousers rather than a skirt as permitted by Allingham’s dress code, topped by a white open necked blouse. After school had finished at 4pm sixth formers were allowed to dispense with ties if they wished.

She immediately focused on the cane strategically placed by George on the sturdy chair set in the middle of the room and winced, quickly suppressed but noticed certainly by Josh. George wasted no time.

“You know why you’re here, Abi. I want you to prepare yourself and then bend over this chair, your feet hard against its back legs and then grasp the front legs as close to the floor as you can get.”

Abi said nothing, just threw him a venomous look. With some dignity, it must be said, she walked across to the chair, took a legs-astride stance as instructed, leaned forward over the seat and grabbed the front legs about half way down. With her backside well elevated and stretched by this position, one mystery at least was solved. From the 45° angled line rising from the crotch of her trousers up to the line of her waist, it appeared that Abi Hunt favoured conventional, albeit high-cut briefs.

But clearly all was not as it should be. George broke the silence angrily.

“What do you think you’re playing at, Abi?” He barked. “I said ‘prepare yourself’ and bend over. So bloody well get on with it.”

Francesca broke in equally annoyed. “Let’s not beat about the bush. Get those trousers off. A House caning is what we’ve been told to give you and that’s what you’re going to get. The boys are looking forward to seeing your knickers,” she teased. “So don’t let’s disappoint them.”

At this Abi scrambled furiously back to her feet and turned to face the Praetorium. In her agitation her exact wording was lost, but the meaning came across loud and clear. Summarising – minus expletives, of which there were many: “OK, whatever I think about that old fossil of a headmaster, I know I have to accept a caning… Ridiculous in this day and age…;  no way I’m going to show my knickers to you lot…; couldn’t be right…; he couldn’t have meant it…; etc.”

George, to his credit, took this tirade calmly. When she had quietened down he simply told her the Headmaster had been perfectly clear and that the Praetorium had no intention of disobeying a direct order. He would give her a minute to compose herself and then she was to take her trousers off and bend back over.

Time seemed to stand still for Josh. Never had a minute passed so slowly. But at the end of it Abi had not moved.

George again. “Right, 30 seconds more, and if you still haven’t done it, I’ll have no alternative but to send you back to Josey. And believe me, that will be even worse for you.”

Those 30 seconds passed too. George was frantically trying to think of anything to scare Abi into submission. After all, he too was keen to see what lay underneath her trousers but there seemed to be nothing he was going to be able to do. Finally, he gave in.

“OK, have it your way. Get out of here and I’ll take this back to him.”

When Abi had left, George turned on Francesca, accusing her of not having made the situation plain to Abi. Francesca was having none of it, however. In fact, she claimed ruefully, she had taken great pleasure in spelling out precisely what Abi was going to have to do. “I even told her not even to think of wearing gym shorts or anything like that, just ordinary knickers.” She offered to try once more to make Abi see reason.

“No!” George butted in. “We are not going begging to Abi Hunt. It’s to the Headmaster you and I are going, Francesca. And we’ll see if we can’t manage to make it even worse for her as I said. Not sure how as yet. We’ll have to see what he proposes to do.”

And so to Laura Frankland who duly appeared at 4.50 as instructed. As white-faced and uncertain as the recently departed Abi, she was minus the defiant expression. Much to Josh’s and George’s relief she appeared resigned to her fate. Indeed it looked as if tears were not far away. Altogether more buxom than her friend, Laura had curves in all the right places. Perhaps in later life she would be prone to the inches creeping up but right now she was in the prime of young womanhood. She had not opted for trousers, so it was the just-above-the-knee length pleated skirt that the boys’ eyes turned to.

The same speech as before from George; prepare yourself, bend over and grasp the chair legs as far down as she could reach. Laura gave no indication of having heard. She stood motionless as if converted to stone. Time stood still. Would she, wouldn’t she? Eventually Francesca took it upon herself to take control.

“Skirt off!” She snapped.

At this Laura slowly came to life. Hands shaking, she began hesitantly to unzip the side fastening of her skirt. But, having lowered it just a few inches, she froze again. Clearly this was to be a drawn out affair. But after all what’s the rush, Josh thought not uncontentedly. He took the opportunity to stroll round the room to stand to that side of Laura where the action had taken place. To his delight even the limited unzipping had revealed something of interest. The top band of her tights, then below at the very top of her leg, underneath the tights, about two inches of what appeared to be plain white fabric.

“Get a move on,” came curtly from Francesca.

It was like watching a slow motion film. Josh might have lost patience had it not been such a fascinating show. At last the skirt was fully unfastened but even then Laura could barely bring herself to lower and step out of it. But she did and, looking round at Francesca for instructions, placed it on a side table.

“Now tights,” Francesca again.

A sob escaped Laura. Now, spirit gone and totally subservient to Francesca’s will, she kicked off her shoes and reached under the blouse which had fallen to cover the tops of her legs. Decorously in the circumstances, she reeled down her tights and placed them on the skirt.

“Tuck your blouse up out of the way.”

The moment had arrived. Finally, magically, there came to pass an unobstructed view of Laura Frankland’s knickers. Conventional briefs, waistband midway between navel and pubic hair line, and the back just covering where the buttock cleft begins. Plain white knickers. Ordinary knickers, but in an extraordinary situation. As intimated earlier in this account, visions of Laura Frankland thus undressed had played no little part in Josh’s dreams. So a dream came true.

Josh was not in fact disappointed that plain white knickers meant Peter, not he, would be delivering the first two strokes of the cane. He could now withdraw to a chair strategically placed and lean back, hands deep in pockets.

By now Laura had eased herself into position over the chair, legs slightly apart, head well down, her backside all the more prominent now with body bent over; even more prominent having, at Francesca’s command, pushed herself up on to tip-toes.

Peter’s two strokes were, it has to be said, somewhat lame. The rhythm necessary to effective delivery was just not there. Understandably, he was nervous and the sight in front of him was certainly distracting. Made all the more so as a result of Laura, immediately before bending over, having pulled up her knickers, presumably with a mind to covering herself as much as possible. In truth this probably instinctive action had made little difference to the amount of buttock on show. But it had had an effect lower down, pulling the material tight into the crotch such that the cleft between her legs was clearly delineated.

It was a different story when Francesca took over. Deadlier than the male? No question. A full backlift, turn of the shoulders to bring her full weight into play, and a flick of the wrist at the last moment. A devastating blow. Two devastating blows as the cane hummed through the air and cracked across the beckoning knickers. More than enough to have Laura jerking, gasping and writhing.

George took over where Francesca had left off. Stroke one was greeted with what can only be described as an orgasmic shriek and thrusting of the hips backwards and forwards. Even the normally imperturbable George was taken aback by this reaction, which perhaps explains stroke number two being a much less well timed effort, not that one could have been sure given Laura’s breaking down into tears and frantic rubbing as she shot to her feet. She should, of course, have remained in position until told to stand, but nobody present somehow had the mind to admonish her further. Enough was truly enough.

Laura was allowed to gather her clothes and make her departure. This she did with alacrity, caring little that her state of undress would present a most interesting spectacle to any passing 6th former. Josh’s final view of her was the last of many unforgettables that afternoon. A white knickered bottom, with bright red tramlines showing across the uncovered lower portion of her buttocks, already turning purple at their extremities where the tip of the cane had struck.

Silence now reigned in the Praetorium room, everyone reluctant to break it, everyone concerned only with their own emotions. Eventually George simply said: “Right, a job well done. I’m damn sure our Laura can have no doubts about what we think of her. And so far as Abi is concerned, I’m going immediately to see old Josey and tell him what happened. Francesca, if you’d like to come with me please. Thanks everyone, I’ll get back to you asap.”

*         *          *

It was not in fact until the following day that George summoned the Praetorium once again. He delivered Mr Josiah Stirling’s decision with some relish and with a satisfied smirk on his face. It appeared that, having deliberated overnight, the HM had decided not to expel Abi. Instead he would cane her himself. “And to make quite sure she does not feel she has escaped the opprobrium of her fellow 6th formers.” Josey speaking here, of course.

“We are all invited to be in attendance at this event. So 6 o’clock today in his study, that is if you can possibly find the time.”

Mr Stirling’s study was accessed through his secretary’s office. George, Josh, Peter and Francesca duly presented themselves there at the appointed hour. No sooner had Mrs Agnew, his dour long-serving secretary, asked them to wait than the door of the inner sanctum opened. Four chairs could be seen against the wall and facing into the study. Mrs Agnew indicated that the Praetorium were to enter and sit themselves down. This they did with the minimum of fuss and with heads down looking straight ahead. With the tension feeling positively electric not one of them wanted to draw attention to themselves by any unnecessary movement. They received but a curt welcome from Mr Josiah Stirling sitting magisterially at his desk.

Perhaps two minutes passed in silence. Then Mrs Agnew entered again to announce the arrival of John Markthwaite, the head of the PE department, and Abi Hunt. The latter was in her gym kit of white shorts and T-shirt. She was sweating profusely, presumably having just been put through a strenuous session by the former, but also, it occurred to Josh, in trepidation of what was to come.

Words were few. “Thank you, John,” from the headmaster, followed by the curtest of curt instructions to the trembling Abi. “Shorts off!”

Abi was standing erect with her back to the Praetorium. She was absolutely motionless as if in a trance scarcely able to believe what was happening to her. In front of her was a chair, the back of which she was, presumably, shortly to bend over.

She had most certainly shown spirit when in front of the Praetorium but now that she was in front of the HM her nerve had left her. She meekly followed his instructions in a daze. Down came the shorts revealing a pair of conservatively cut, slightly off-white knickers, their paleness emphasising her long tanned legs. Abi was a slim girl with legs that tapered into buttocks to match, nicely rounded, unmistakably female although almost boy-ish in size. Josh drank in the milky creaminess of the lower part of her buttocks not covered by the knickers.

“Bend over,” barked Josey. “And I want you to stretch right forward to grasp the front legs of the chair as close to the floor as you can reach. And for stability I want you to stand astride with your feet hard against the back legs of the chair.”

As she complied, the knickers tightened across her now raised backside and the vision in front of Josh became even better.

The HM’s cane was equally flexible but slightly thicker than that used by the Praetorium. He wasted no time in using it. A firm ‘legs astride’ stance just behind and to the left of Abi, right arm raised and back, a swivel of the hips and down it scythed with the characteristic, frightening whistle. Crack across the centre of Abi’s buttocks, followed almost instantaneously with a scream and jerking of the hips. Her hands gripping the legs of the chair whitened in their desperation to hold on, but hold on she did.

Afterwards it was the red lines across Abi’s buttocks and the speed with which the colour deepened almost to crimson following each stroke that Josh remembered most vividly. Who could not be affected by her ever increasing writhing, which by the fifth stroke resulted in the lower half of her body being in continuous motion.

It was the sixth stroke that did it, however. Abi’s tormentor had moved his feet to be more at an angle to her body with the result that the final cut struck diagonally across the other five. The shriek was catatonic and the reaction what can only be described as orgasmic. Abi’s pelvis thrust backwards and forwards perhaps half a dozen times.

Abi was left alone for perhaps 30 seconds to allow some calmness to return and then instructed to stand. The HM then returned the cane to its cupboard and came round to stand in front of her. The Praetorium members, of course, continued to stare at the damaged buttocks. Already the wheals were starting to turn purple and there was some noticeable glistening where the sixth stroke had cut across the others. There was, however, one more aspect of the ritual to be completed.

Josh and the others then heard the HM intone the following words: “Your punishment is now complete. You may pick up your shorts and leave my study and return to normal school life. However, before doing so, I want you to turn to face the Praetorium members behind you and apologise both for the actions which were the cause of all this and for your refusal to accept their authority. You will then shake each of them by the hand. Only then may you take your leave.”

Abi Hunt was beyond anything other than mechanically obeying any instruction given to her. Did Josh meet her eyes as she came forward to shake his hand? Fleetingly, only fleetingly. His eyes remained averted downwards, taking in and enjoying his last look at the rare sight of a female pupil in her underwear.

And there the matter was concluded. Abi Hunt exited the study, the Praetorium were thanked for attending and for the decorum with which they had conducted themselves in difficult circumstances.

The End

© Dobbo 2016

This author would be pleased to correspond with readers. Email him at: daviddobson5050@gmail.com


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