Some girls decide to augment their food supply
By Jane Fairweather
“I am so hungry!” Jessica Miles suddenly stated, pausing in the middle of undressing to go to bed.
She had carefully put on her long white nightdress before removing her school knickers and stockings, for she liked to expose as little as possible to the view of the two friends who shared the three-bed dormitory. She paused at this point, as if something approaching a plan was forming in her mind.
“Me too!” Susan Hind responded. “We never got overfed at this school before they brought rationing in, but did you see the amount of meat we had this evening, or didn’t have?”
“Well, strictly speaking,” said Mary Jones, who was by far the brightest of the three. “It is not rationing. They have just made it too expensive for Miss Alleyne to buy us as much as we need. And they have rationed bread, so we cannot fill up on that.”
“I bet the soldiers at the front still get plenty of meat and everything!” Jessica said irritably.
She immediately wished she had not said that, for Susan then started crying slightly, which was understandable; Susan’s brother had been reported killed in action only ten days before. She walked over to Susan and put an arm round her naked shoulders and felt, not for the first time, that she liked the feeling her friend’s naked flesh gave her, even though it was not quite proper. They stayed like this with Susan crying bitterly on Jessica’s shoulder for several minutes.
“When you two have finished cuddling,” Mary stated almost ironically. “There is something we could do about it, you know. There are all those apples in Farmer Grimes’ orchard. I am sure he would not miss a few. And while apples aren’t meat or bread, they would fill us up a bit.”
“There are some pears too.” Susan cut in hungrily, abruptly stopping crying as if food was more important than grief. “But we would have to slip out after lights-out. Doing it in daylight would be suicidal; we would get caught and end up with a jolly good whipping.”
“If we get caught out of bounds after lights-out, we will probably get sacked.” Mary pointed out very dryly. “But, on the other hand, girls, the chances of getting caught after lights-out are low. We are on the ground floor and we can get in and out through the window. They will expect it to be open because of the heat, and the bushes will give us cover.”
“Like a night patrol on the Western Front,” Said Jessica, and then rather wished she had not said that because of Susan’s brother and the likelihood that her friend would burst into tears again.
However, Susan just said rather proudly, “Michael did a lot of those and was very good at it, apparently. Three or four of you creep out into No Man’s Land and see what the Jerries are up to and hopefully take a prisoner or two, you know.”
“Well, we cannot take prisoners, and the last thing we want is to meet anyone. Come on, girls, if we are going to do this we need to be practical. How are we going to do it?” Mary said brusquely.
“No moon would be ideal, and a lot of cloud,” Jessica cut in. “Provided we don’t break our necks because we cannot see, of course.”
“There is no moon tonight, and it has been cloudy all day. My torch for reading under the bedclothes still has plenty of battery left.” Mary said firmly.
“So, we are really going to do it?” Susan said, sounding slightly startled.
“Yes, of course we are!” Jessica and Mary snapped in the same breath.
“We will wait an hour after lights-out and creep out through the window.” Said Mary.
“If we put our raincoats over our night gowns, we can fill the pockets with the apples; we won’t need that many.” Susan said, and then added unexpectedly, “It really does not hurt much when you get whipped, does it? I know you’ve both had it. It seems to me it is quite likely to happen, especially if we risk it more than once, which we probably will, if the first time is a success.”
“It is not a big thing at all. More embarrassing than anything else.” Jessica assured her, imagining Susan’s plump bottom glowing red after three or four with Miss Alleyne’s’s birch rod, which would probably lead to Susan squeaking a bit, she decided, a touch maliciously.
“It does sting a bit, but it does not last,” Mary said reassuringly. “Not like the cane from my Papa, which is altogether grimmer. I only had that once, but it was quite enough. It really stung and I was so sore after it.”
“You are a pair of monkeys,” said Susan laughing. “But I reckon we are fairly safe. Nobody will be expecting us to be doing it because we are girls. It is the sort of things boys do!”
“Are we really going to do this?” Jessica asked. “It’s not going to be easy to get across the lawn to the bushes without being seen. Perhaps we should think again.”
“Nonsense! It’s dark and there’s no moon. Anyway, you and Mary were the two who said that of course we were going to do it a couple of hours back. We can always creep on all fours, or go on our stomachs like my brother and his pals did in No Man’s Land.” Susan said with surprising decision.
“As long as you realize that if we get caught it means a whipping at least.” Jessica said with sudden concern for her friend, and wondering if grief for her brother was making Susan reckless in a way that was not at all the normal Susan.
“Well, either we do it, or we don’t, and I vote we do. So, come on, Susan. Are you coming, Jessica?” Mary said decisively.
“Yes, I suppose so.” Said Jessica. “But are we running or crawling across the lawn?”
“Someone might spot the shadows if we run, even in this light, so we’d better go on all fours. If we crawl, it will be hard to explain the mud.” Said Susan, who was clearly bent on this madness.
Jessica realized her unease. “It won’t be quite as dangerous as a patrol in No Man’s Land, but it will be a real adventure, and there is so little to do here, so come on, Jess, do stop fidgeting and come on.” Mary almost demanded.
“Yes, do come on, Jess!” Susan was adding.
“Well, one whipping more or less should not make that much difference, though I hope we don’t get the sack.” Jessica said almost crossly and led the way through the open sash window on to the lawn.
She dropped on all fours and led the way through the moonless night to the bushes, which were only twenty yards away. One of the others was breathing rather heavily, presumably with nerves. Oddly, she had a feeling it was Mary, though it ought to have been Susan. And yet, though she despised the heavy breather for their nerves, it did seem an awfully long twenty yards and she could almost hear her own heart hammering.
She got into the cluster of rhododendrons and stood up. A second later, and the other two were beside her.
“My rain coat is soaked in mud from where I have been crawling!” Mary said, rather louder than Jessica liked.
“Well, we can walk the rest of it to the wall, and the mud will sponge off.” Susan was saying. “Oh goodee, this feels like a real adventure. It feels brill!”
“It will feel less brill if Miss Alleyne gets her rod out, so shut up blathering, Susan.” Jessica snapped.
“Everyone should have it once!” Susan observed.
Jessica wondered if this was why her normally mousy friend was behaving so out of character. She must want to find out what a whipping was like, or did she? Quite probably Susan just wanted to find out what it was like to risk a whipping, but not to undergo one!
“I have had it three times and I don’t particularly want a fourth! So let us stop standing about and get on with it.” Mary said crossly.
The girls made their way upright through the school garden to the old stone wall, which had lots of easy footholds and they got over quite quickly. Then they darted down the lane and a couple of hundred yards on into Farmer Grimes’ orchard. Apples were plentiful and they were careful to only take as many as would fill the pockets of their raincoats. And by going from tree to tree they managed to avoid being too obvious.
The return was almost an anti-climax. No one was there to spot them, not even a cat or a fox. There was only the slightly nervous twenty yards on all fours from the rhododendrons to the window of their dorm that worried them at all. And even during that, Jessica was much less nervous than she had been the first time.
“Well, that was an adventure, girls!” Said Jessica as she ate her second apple, sat on her bed. I’ve got six left. I’m going to have two a day and then I suppose we will have to do it again.”
“Volunteering for the Night Patrol again are we, Jess?” Susan said sardonically.
“Sort of.” Jessica observed ironically.
“We had better get the muck off our rain coats and night dresses while they are still damp,” Mary said practically. “If they spot that there will be questions.”
Nobody disputed this, but there was a definite feeling they were on a roll and they were not going to get caught.
“Annie and Elsie each want half a dozen, and they will pay a shilling each.” Susan said, slightly nervously.
“Oh Susan,” Mary replied nervously. “You know jolly well that is six people to carry apples for, as well as our own. We shouldn’t keep letting more people share our loot. If they want to scrump apples, they should do it themselves. As it is, I don’t like us carrying that ridiculous pillow case full of apples. It is one more thing to trip over. It was so much simpler when we were putting the apples in our pockets. Besides, someone is bound to ask why a pillow case needs more laundering than normal, two weeks running. And I am not sure we should go at all tonight. The moon is getting near to full and it is quite bright. We should leave scrumping till it changes.”
“But we never see anyone.” Said Jessica. “And the chances are that it will be no different tonight. Come on. Let’s do it! Please Mary!”
“I think we should go too.” Susan said decisively. “Come on, girls, we have got away with this before. There is no reason why we should not this time. Besides, there won’t be apples on the trees much longer; they are beginning to pick them.”
“Oh, alright!” Said Mary very uneasily.
Jessica wondered silently yet again if Susan really did want to find out what it was like to be whipped.
The moonlight was uncomfortably bright and eery, and Susan who was the lightest of the three girls and the best climber by far was up on a branch of a half picked tree. She was carefully selecting the best apples, so far as she could in that light, and throwing them down to her friends, who were putting them in the famous pillow case.
Then suddenly out of the blue there was a man’s yell, “Heh, you boys! What do you think you are doing? Come here, you varmints!”
Jessica and Mary hurtled off, abandoning the pillow case of apples, pursued by several hefty Land Girls in dungarees and Farmer Grimes. One land girl and a rather ferocious sounding dog remained at the foot of the tree.
Jessica and Mary were both quick on their feet and they got over a stile and through a meadow and into a wood where they lost their hefty and out of breath pursuers by hiding in a thicket and letting them rush past. Eventually, the Land Girls and Farmer Grimes passed them again, obviously having given up the pursuit. Then Mary and Jessica made the long and nervous circle back to their dormitory without being caught, though their hearts were going like drums and they expected to get caught every inch of the way.
“Poor Susan. She can’t have escaped. She’ll get a whipping and a half from Miss Alleyne, and quite possibly worse.” Said Mary, shivering a little.
“Well, it was her choice.” Said Jessica dryly. “I only hope she does not get so frightened that she tells on us.”
“I don’t think she will.” Mary replied. “Whatever else Susan is, the girl is a sport. I am more worried about the pillow case that we had to leave. If it gets to the school they will work it out from the dorm number on the tag and Susan will probably have to tell them what school she is from.”
Both girls put themselves back to bed with considerable unease, though Jessica for one felt oddly exhilarated at the adventure they had just had, and the danger they were in.
“I think you had better come down. Much easier for you if you give yourself up, you know. And you are not going to get away. I’ve got a very fierce dog here.”
The tall yet solid Land Girl at the bottom of the tree had a surprisingly upper-class accent, Susan realized, and she was definitely not male, which Susan had been decidedly frightened of.
“You are a girl, aren’t you?” Said Susan, just to make sure.
“Oh good lord, you are a girl too.” Said the voice, “We thought you were boys scrumping. But I suppose a girl scrumping is just as bad, if not worse. After all, we girls are supposed to be superior to the male sex in morals and all that, even if we don’t have the vote. Anyway, come down here and we will talk.”
Susan very uneasily dropped lightly from the branch to the earth, wishing the dog would stop barking, but mercifully, as soon as she was on the ground, the dog allowed itself to be called to order, so perhaps it was not as fierce as it sounded.
“You are a school girl, aren’t you, judging by that badge on your rain coat?” The Land Girl stated. “I quite thought you would turn out to be some stupid creature from the village. What on earth are you scrumping for?”
Susan cursed the school’s practice of putting its badge on every conceivable garment.
“Rationing is quite hard.” She said, trying to sound pathetic.
“And as a girl from your background should know, stealing is inexcusable for any reason.”
“What are you going to do with me?” Susan asked, full of horrible apprehensions of being sent to prison, and quivering somewhat.
“Well, I am not going to wait till Farmer Grimes gets back here. He would give you a hiding to remember. He hates boys scrumping. No, that would be a bit much for a girl, not that I did not get the odd good hiding when I was younger. I think I am going to walk with you to your headmistress’s house, tell her what happened and let her deal with you. That badge is for Miss Alleyne’s Hilltop School, isn’t it? It’s hard to tell in this light.”
“Yes, I am at Hilltop.” Susan said miserably, so much wishing the badge had not made it so obvious.
“Well, there’s a strange chance. I was Miss Alleyne’s Head Girl nearly ten years ago. I expect she will remember me. Quite a dab hand with the rod, I seem to remember, and quite a believer in it. Always said it was quicker than a lecture.”
“You didn’t get it, did you?” Susan said, caught quite off balance.
“Yes, several times and it hurts. Once, for being out of bounds at night was especially severe, as I remember. However, we had better not waste time. I don’t want Farmer Grimes to come back just yet. I’ll tie the dog to the tree. He will only get in the way. Come along my girl, you had better face your music.”
Susan felt her arm being gripped with an almost male force, and then she was being marched along the road in the direction of the school. Then in by the main gate and down the drive and then to the headmistress’s house, which was rather apart from the school.
“Oh, she is up. I thought she would be. She always used to read late, and it is not even midnight.” The Land Girl said at more or less the same moment as Susan noticed the light in the sitting room and the fully clothed woman reading in the armchair. Miss Alleyne had not even bothered to draw the curtains, she realized.
Then the Land Girl was knocking the large knocker on the rather gothic front door, and then Miss Alleyne’s voice could be heard asking who was it? And was there really a problem at the school that would not wait till morning?
“It is Maggy English, Miss Alleyne. And yes, I think you would want to deal with this now.”
The solid oak door opened with a creak and the headmistress, in white blouse and long grey skirt, emerged.
“Good lord, it is you, Maggins. I never thought I would see you again!” Miss Alleyne exclaimed, holding out her arms.
The Land Girl and her headmistress rushed into one another’s arms and kissed with alarming passion. Whatever were these adults up to?
“I have been so meaning to come and see you, my dear,” Maggy English was declaring, after the first rush of kissing was over. “But I am in the Land Army, you know, and we never get a spare moment.”
“The country comes first, of course,” declared Miss Alleyne. “But you know how fond I am of you, my dear. You would be welcome at any time. But I presume this young lady is the reason you are here. What has happened?”
“This young lady and a couple of her friends were scrumping our, well Farmer Grimes’ apples, you know. The Grimes Farm is where I am working. And she was the one that was caught. Her friends may have been, but they looked to me as if they were getting away when last seen. It was a bit unfair, really. This girl was up the tree handing the apples down, so she had no means to run.”
“Unfair or not, she is the one who got caught; and she is the one who will have to be whipped like you were, Maggy. It must be twelve or thirteen years ago now. Ghost hunting, wasn’t it? Anyway, it was the thing that made me take notice of you.”
“Yes, ghost hunting, of all things. And I was so sore. But you were kind enough to ignore my pals, which I have always been so grateful for. You could easily have worked out who they were. But in many ways you were so kind and it was the beginning of our feelings for one another, which that silly row, which I have so regretted, has interrupted more than it should have done.”
“Yes, I have regretted it too.” Miss Alleyne declared. “And I hope now we have made contact again we will be as close as ever. But now I think we had better get this young lady’s punishment out of the way. You had better come with me to my study, Susan Oates. Do you want to come and witness the punishment, seeing you are the offended person, Maggy? Or would you rather stay here? But I hope you will linger a while and not hurry back to Grimes’ farm. It is a long time since I saw you.”
“I used to enjoy watching a whipping when I was Head Girl, but I am a little older now, Lizzy. But don’t worry, I will linger. I really want to see you again as well.”
It occurred to Susan that her headmistress had just been addressed by her Christian name, and nobody ever did that. These two were acting like men and women were supposed to behave when they were in love. It seemed so odd and so unlike her normally stern headmistress.
“Right, my study, young lady, and let us get it over with.”
For the second time that night, Susan found herself being seized by her arm and marched along, and she felt on the verge of tears and very sick. She could hear her shoes on the wooden staircase, and it sounded like the march to the scaffold. Something in her stopped her from pleading, but only just.
Then they were in the study, which was up a flight of stairs.
“What clothes have you got on, girl?” Miss Alleyne was demanding.
Susan blushed as she glanced round at the study, with its polished oak floor, which had no carpet. There was a book case, a desk with a chair, a sofa and a couple of arm chairs. She noticed the electric light was flickering. The lights in the school always did, for the generator that drove the electricity was not very efficient.
“Well? What clothes have you got on, girl? Are you deaf?’
“I’ve got my nightgown under my coat, and my knickers and vest under that, Miss Alleyne. I am sorry I am not properly dressed.”
“I don’t think there is any need to apologise. No doubt you wanted to give yourself a chance of being able to say, plausibly, that you had been in bed all the time in the event of your being closely pursued, which is very sensible and practical, and I might have done myself in your place.
“However, young lady, much as I like a spirit of adventure and daring in my girls, you know I detest stealing, even of a few apples. And out of small things come large, so you are going to be well whipped. Are you ready to take your punishment?”
Susan wondered what would happen if she said that she was not willing to accept her punishment. Expulsion, in all probability, which would worry her parents to death. She gulped as she realized she would have to take the punishment. Then she thought, rather oddly, that this was at least going to be an experience.
“Yes, I will accept my punishment, Miss Alleyne. I am sorry, Miss.”
“Very well, you will remove your clothes except for your knickers and vest.”
Susan did as she was told, wondering why her sense of fright was being matched by an odd sense of exhilaration. Then she realized that a low stool had been placed in the middle of the room. She noticed the single stick with a curved handle in Miss Alleyne’s hand. Surely there ought to be three pieces of birch tied together? Everyone knew about three line whips for severe punishments and joked about it. But knickers always came down, didn’t they?
“I don’t think it is quite nice to take a senior girl’s knickers down. It is not a situation that arises that often. So, I am going to cane you and not use the birch rod.” The headmistress was announcing, echoing Susan’s thoughts quite uncannily.
Susan’s first reaction was one of relief that she was not going to be punished on her bare behind, for her sense of modesty was quite strong. But then she thought that being punished on her knickers was almost as bad from that point of view. And then it crossed her mind that the cane was supposed to leave real marks, or could do, if it was done really hard, at least according to her brother, who had fed her fascination with punishment perhaps rather more than he should have done. Oh well, she decided, it was going to be an experience; and since she knew no one else in the school who had been caned as opposed to whipped with the rod, it would give her a certain status, she decided.
“Now, Miss Oates, if you would be kind enough to walk forward and put your hands on the stool.”
Susan did as she was told. It seemed an awfully long way down to the stool and when she reached it and held it she could not help feeling how embarrassingly high her bottom was in the air. At least her knickers were not particularly tight, so not everything would be on view.
“What am I going to get, please Miss?” She found herself asking rather awkwardly.
“Five strokes, young lady, unless you make a fuss. I think six is a little much for a girl, especially one with a plump little bottom like yours.”
Susan instinctively shut her eyes and gritted her teeth and waited, feeling this odd mixture of fear and exhilaration that she could not quite account for. Was it, she wondered, something like what her brother had felt before going into action on the Western Front? And she began to feel suitably heroic. Then, to her annoyance, she felt her knickers being pulled up that extra inch which brought her back to reality with a bump.
‘The cow!’ She thought. ‘That was really mean!’ But she dared not say it aloud. And at least the knickers had gone up and not down.
Miss Alleyne swished the cane a few times and then, without any warning, sent it stinging deep right into the middle of Susan’s bottom. It felt rather as if the knickers had not been there. At first Susan thought it had not hurt quite as much as she had expected, but then there was an agonising wave of pain and she said: “Ah, ah, ah!” with very real feeling at the same moment as tears appeared in her eyes.
The cane lashed down again, after a distinct pause, and caught the top of the thighs and Susan screeched at the top of her voice.
“Stay still, girl. You are wriggling. Watch it, or you will get extra.”
Susan realized she was lifting her legs up and down and somehow stopped herself. Like a soldier continuing after getting shot, she thought with an odd pride in her brother.
Arguably, the last three hurt less, though they were no less hard. It was as if the initial pain had dulled the later ones. The strokes were placed, she noticed, with an odd detachment very neatly in the quite small area on the lower part of her bottom between the first and third stroke She knew enough about her body to know something interesting was happening, but it did not quite happen.
When it was over, she stayed where she was for a second, with tears rolling down her face, feeling extremely dazed and quite glad she had the stool to hang onto.
“Stand up girl, and get dressed and then go.” The headmistress was saying definitively. “And in your own interest I would not tell too many people that this happened. Thieves are not popular in this school.”
Susan struggled to her feet and put her rather odd combination of clothes back on, feeling at once exhilarated and embarrassed. It had, she decided, despite the painful, large weals she could feel rising, not been a totally bad experience.
“And if by any chance you did have any partners in this crime, I would suggest you tell them to keep very quiet about their part. I would prefer not to have to use the cane two days in a row.” Susan realized the headmistress was saying, just as she had put her hand on the door handle to leave the scene of her punishment.
Susan staggered out of the well-lit study where there had been both electric light and moonlight, for Miss Alleyne had followed her odd fashion downstairs of not drawing the curtains in the study. It struck Susan with embarrassment that if there had been anyone watching they would probably have seen quite a lot of her punishment. However, then she realized that the headmistress’s house was so far from anything else in the school that it was extremely unlikely anyone had been watching.
Then she realized she really wanted to go to the loo. Would anyone mind if she went here? Was there a cloakroom under the stairs? There was in a lot of houses. She hauled her aching body down the stairs and tried the door under the stairs. She was right. She staggered in and did what she had to, taking the opportunity to feel the angry swollen red lines on her bottom and rather regretting there was no mirror. Oh dear, she was silly, she thought. Why take such pride in a punishment? Bit like soldiers getting medals, except it wasn’t, not at all.
She opened the door to go out, only to hear voices in the sitting room.
“Silly girl!” Miss Alleyne was saying. “Such a silly scrape. But she took it like a trooper. I will give her that. I have always thought she was not the bravest girl in the school, yet she took it remarkably well.”
“I thought she had a bit of spunk when I caught her up the apple tree.” Maggy Forester was saying rather impishly. “But I suppose she had a prettier bum than me, did she my dear?”
“Certainly not, my dear Maggins. Yours is in a class of its own!”
At this point, Susan very quietly slipped out of the front door and shut it as quietly as she could, feeling relief that Miss Alleyne seemed to have forgotten to lock it, and slipped away towards her dormitory.
© Jane Fairweather 2020
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