Sisters

An incident from years ago sparks memories.

By Jane Fairweather

It was one of those Christmases. It was the mid 1950s and a dark post-war greyness lay across the land. The two sisters had come to their parents’ large house in the Welsh hills and everyone was shrieking at everyone else. Maria, the youngest granddaughter, had flown in a rage at her elder sister Helen and been sent to her room. Their Mother and Aunt had escaped from the atmosphere of the house to go for a walk. Jane was more or less happily married to a man she had met while serving as a Wren in the War and had three children. Her sister, Susan, was still ambiguously single, though she was almost sure she was about to enter into a relationship with a younger woman, Helena Attwood, whose gentle humour always soothed her, and had the prettiest backside she had ever seen. But they had not known one another that long.

“We would have had a spanking and a half if we had attacked one another, or quite possibly the cane, and I am really tempted to give Maria something to remember.” Jane observed of her erring offspring.

“Nobody would approve today. And it does not always work, though sometimes it does.” Said Susan thoughtfully, hoping to spare her favourite niece a painful session across her mother’s knee, and feeling benevolent to the world in general.

“Well you ought to know, you slippered enough girls for Miss Cartwright.” Jane said with a chuckle. Not least me! Do you remember?”

“Of course I remember!” Said Susan.

*          *          *

She could remember sitting very comfortably in the small room just outside the gym, which was her private domain at St Mathilda’s School for Girls. Her feet were up on the small desk that the school provided for the occasional form or letter. Her rather full but, for a woman, unusually muscular bottom was ensconced in a blue wickerwork chair with a large cushion which came from her parents’ house and she had slipped it into her domain with a minimum of fuss. Not that Miss Cartwright, the headmistress, was a difficult woman, but she could be a touch awkward about not doing things in quite the normal way.

It was a moderately warm June afternoon and although Miss Chaffin in theory was taking advantage of the end of school for the day to read Arnold Bennett’s Helen of the High Hand, which was very light and amusing, she had in fact slipped off into something approaching sleep. A full day teaching Tennis, not to mention PE in the new gym, in whose design she had been allowed a very significant part, had left her pleasantly weary.

To her annoyance she was roused by a knock on the door. Very crossly she took her feet off the desk, thinking it would never do to be seen in a position that the girls were absolutely forbidden to adopt. Then she stood, adjusted her skirts, strolled rather irritably to the door and opened it. She was about to bark an abrupt enquiry, full of annoyance at being disturbed, when she suddenly realized it was her sister, Jane, who was all of nine years younger.

Jane was as usual looking very pretty with her shoulder length chestnut hair and blue eyes, and the blue check of her summer dress if anything accentuated the girl’s very genuine beauty. Susan thought, not for the first time, that she was thoroughly glad her own increased status at the school had enabled Jane to come here in the Lower Sixth at a level of fees her parents could afford. Not that St Mathilda’s was a perfect school, far from it, but it was far better than the very dubious establishment Jane had previously attended. Jane was bright and needed the best school she could get.

She was about to mutter polite enquiries about the school walk into the surrounding hills that she knew Jane and most of the rest of the Lower Sixth Science must have been on. Personally, Susan always had her doubts about forcing girls to go on a weekly  walk to take advantage of the heavenly mountain scenery round St Mathilda’s, but it was one of Miss Cartwright’s principles and Wednesday was always the Lower Sixth Science’s day for their walk. She knew it was because they always grumbled about having to do PE and a walk on the same day. But then she realized that Jane had undoubtedly been crying and she was clutching a folded piece of paper in her hand. She had seen girls with a similar face and a similar piece of paper on too many occasions before.

“Oh God!” She thought. “Not that!”

“Whatever is the matter with my Sis?” Susan said aloud.

“I am in real trouble, Sis!” Jane wailed back.

“Come in and shut the door.” Said Susan.

She quietly resumed her chair, but this time with her legs firmly on the ground.

“And just tell me what’s happened, but without too much fuss.” She said rather awkwardly. Then she added as an afterthought: “Whatever you’ve done, you are still my sister. Not that I can rewrite school rules for you.”

“Laura Mason and Mary Rankin got cross about something I said on the walk.”

“What did they get so cross about?” Susan found herself demanding very irritably.

“They said I should not show off about knowing rare flowers; it is not done, or something. They’ve been saying things like that all year. It gets to you after a while.”

“And?” Susan demanded with a glare, though she knew full well that the two girls in question could be very silly.

“I told them that if I wanted to talk about Botany then I jolly well would. Then I dawdled to look at some orchids and Miss Hancock sent them back to hurry me up, or so they said. Anyway, they tried to put mud in my face and pull my hair and there was a bit of a scrum. Anyway, Mary fell and cut her knee quite badly. When Miss Hancock came along they accused me of pushing Mary deliberately over the side of the path where it is steep. It is true I shoved her a bit, but she was trying to pull my hair and put mud in my face, and anyway it was not that steep. I told Miss Hancock the truth, but she just would not believe me. She said it was really dangerous to push somebody so close to the edge of the path. So I was the one sent to the Head, which was really unfair. I tried to tell her what happened, but she just said I had behaved incredibly stupidly and I deserved to have my bottom smacked hard and she sent me to you.”

“For the slipper, presumably?” Said Susan rather unnecessarily, wishing she did not get £25 a year for the dubious privilege of being the school’s executioner.

“Yes.” Jane replied looking at her toes.

“Can I see the note?”

Jane handed it over without a word. Susan opened it, feeling very strange.

Dear Miss Chaffin

I am very sorry to land you with this, but the alternative to your sister having a sound spanking is for her to be thrown out of the school, as far as I am concerned. She will no doubt tell you (as she has told me) of a very silly schoolgirl quarrel, and claim total innocence. However, the end of it was that your sister’s actions could have caused death or serious injury. Would you please give her six with the slipper as hard as you can? I am sorry, as I say, to have to trouble you with this, and I am aware it will distress you, but it seems the simplest solution and perhaps the kindest to your sister.

I am sure you will not fail in your duty.

Yours

Lavinia Cartwright

Susan paused to think that Miss Cartwright must have been as embarrassed and upset when she wrote this note as she was beginning to feel herself. The slipper at this school was only given rarely and always for serious offences. Miss Cartwright, she knew, was almost too inclined to give girls the benefit of the doubt.

“Did you pause to think that you were by the edge of a precipice when you pushed Mary?” She asked very severely.

“You are taking their side!” Jane retorted with real bitterness in her voice.

“Apparently the answer to that is ‘No’, so you did not pause to think! And because of that I agree with Miss Cartwright. I think you deserve a jolly good whacking, and you are going to get it. Go and wait for me in the gym with your hands on your head. Now Jane, or I will go to Miss Cartwright, and tell her I think that you deserve to be expelled, which I more than half think you do deserve.”

Jane walked out of the door with a shrug of the shoulders and an air of martyrdom. Her sister opened the desk and took out a large tennis shoe. Then, thinking a little anticipation would do no harm at all, she sat herself in the chair and read Arnold Bennett for twenty minutes. During this time she found herself getting angrier rather than the reverse, and rather wishing she had a cane. Then abruptly she slammed her book down on the desk and walked out of her room, slamming the door.

Then she stomped into the gym. Jane at least was doing as she had been told and was standing in the middle, hands on head, unless of course she had put them there when she heard her sister slamming the door of her room.

“You really have been an absolute idiot.” Susan yelled at her.

“Could we please just get it over with? I’ve already had quite a lecture from the Head.”

“Oh very well! “Jane shrieked. “Walk to the wall bars and put your hands on the lowest rung. You are going to have six as hard as I can give them you.”

Jane complied with a shiver. Susan paused for a second to reflect that Jane’s behind was as large as her own, but a great deal softer. Normally in the summer when the girls only wore thin cotton pants under their summer dresses she would have left the clothes in place. It was only in winter and spring that she lifted gym slips up and slippered the offender on the seat of their school knickers, which were somewhat thicker and fuller than the summer variety. Today, however, she was furious and she unceremoniously hauled her sister’s dress and slip well above her waist. Then she stood back and eyed the two full plump buttocks with the thin white cotton pants tightly stretched over them.

She positioned herself as she normally did for a slippering. She wished yet again that she had a cane, then decided abruptly that a run up might make it hurt more, so walked back ten paces or so and swept in. She was rewarded with a loud whack from the slipper hitting the lower part of the offender’s bottom harder than normal, or so it seemed to her.

Then Jane was saying desperately, that it had really hurt, and please would she not do it so hard? For some reason Susan came back to earth at this point and realised this bottom belonged to her sister, who ought to know a great deal better and that made her even angrier. She ran in and hit her sister even harder in exactly the same place, and Jane yelped. Susan felt a certain odd pleasure at getting a reaction. At the third whack Jane started to cry her eyes out and plead desperately, while her sister noticed some redness in the area of bottom not covered by the pants.

At the fourth stroke Jane began to howl and wriggle backwards and forwards. The process continued remorselessly, reaching a crescendo of hysteria during the fifth and sixth whacks. Susan found herself feeling a certain pleasure at such a successful punishment, whereas normally she felt a certain distress at this point.

Jane stood and felt her bottom before pulling her skirts down. The tears were still rolling. Susan dismissed her, feeling at once exhilarated and a sense that justice had been done. She realised she felt almost no guilt for punishing her sister.

*          *          *

 “So do you really remember having to slipper me because old Miss Cartwright thought I’d tried to push Mary Rankin down a hillside?” Jane asked. “All those punishments must blur into one. I bet you don’t remember at all.”

“We’ve never talked about it, have we?” Susan said awkwardly, not liking to say she had been haunted ever since by those few minutes in the gym and she could never quite get the image of those wretched white pants out of her head. And no, she had not punished that many girls, but somehow she did not say that.

“I was more or less guilty as charged, just in case you ever wondered. It is true they started teasing me about my obsession with strange plants, but they did not pull my hair or try to put mud on my face. I just flew at Mary in a rage rather like my daughter did with her sister today.”

“So Miss Hancock was right. I always wondered if she got it right, though I always thought you deserved it anyway for being within an inch of killing Mary by pushing her off the path. I think I would have expelled you for that if I had been Miss Cartwright. I suppose she gave you the benefit of the doubt.”

“I suppose she did.” Jane said dryly. “Which was more than Dad did. He’s never really forgiven me for getting into trouble like that. He started talking about it when Maria went for Helen this morning. He really said: ‘Like Mother like Daughter.’ Did you know he CANED me when I got home? I have always thought that was over the top. You weren’t there, of course, so you probably never knew.”

“No I never knew.”

Susan imagined those ripe buttocks with the victim touching her toes and the cane swishing. For some reason she imagined Jane touching her toes, rather than being given something to hold on to. She wondered what, if any, underwear the victim had been wearing. Or had it been a bare bottom punishment? She had never punished a bare bottom in all her years as Miss Cartwright’s executioner. Nor for that matter had she ever caned anyone. Was it very different?

“Dad was not very good with the cane.” Jane observed unexpectedly. “I got four and it stung, but it was nothing like that slippering. God! That was a lesson and a half. And because I knew I deserved it, it actually worked. I suppose I ought to thank you.”

“That’s kind of you. I’ve always thought I was a bit too much.”

“No, you got through to me.”

“Thanks!” Susan replied and meant it.

“Time to go back!” Said Jane abruptly. “I’ve got a daughter to deal with.”

“Are you going to spank her?” Susan enquired, feeling rather sad about it.

“I will see how sorry she is, but I am most certainly not ruling it out.”

Susan wondered why she was so much softer about her niece getting a well-deserved spanking than she would have been two decades before. She thought again of Helena with whom she had been spending so much time, and who it was impossible to see till after New Year because of this wretched family get-together. It was love of a sort she knew, and perhaps it was making her gentler, but she really did not know whether it would finally lead to anything, or not.

Still Helena had boobs and a backside that she would never forget, and a chuckle that was quite marvellous. She must ring Helena. She would make some excuse and slip into the phone box on the way back. She had probably done as much as she could to save Maria from a spanking. Anyway she had to talk to Helena!

The End

© Jane Fairweather 2015

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