A look into the life of a new headmistress
by Jonathan South
The Private Diary of Sue Lawler, Headmistress at St Beebs – a finishing school for young ladies hoping to have careers in news reading and journalism
The letter has arrived – I have been offered an interview!! I’ll just have to see how it goes. Need to pull all the stops out and show them how good I am!! It’s a super opportunity for me, and one which I do think I am suited too!
I have to be there at 2 pm. Miss Rippen, the chair of the Governors, outlined on the telephone that she would conduct our meeting and then tour me the school. I’ve laid out two outfits to choose from. My black sleeveless dress is favourite, but the final choice will be made in the morning. I do hope I can sleep.
I’m very tired now (11.24), but I feel it went well. I certainly did my best – calm and collected – on the outside at least. Miss Rippen – or Angela as she permitted me to call her, made it much easier for me. Clearly she is a woman of authority – but seemed to take to me. We chatted freely. She must have ten years on me in age. Anyway now I must wait. She promised it wouldn’t be long. Black dress was a good choice – it was warm day.
I am a very excited lady!! I have the appointment. I am the new Headmistress. A letter from the School arrived today. I have the job and can arrive later this month over the summer break! Well done Sue.
It feels slightly strange tonight writing here in my new bed in my new flat. It’s a little plain, but entirely comfortable. Today has been wonderful with so much to report.
Angela met me and has spent most of the day with me, showing me around, explaining procedures and introducing me to the other staff.
The school is clearly an old house, Victorian, a vicarage or similar with a number of rooms downstairs, now classrooms, kitchen, dining etc and the dorm for the girls, my study, toilets, and a room for the nurse upstairs. There is an attic but I’ve not ventured there, and store rooms in the cellar.
The classes will be small, taught primarily by Miss Scutt. She must be about forty; quite pretty but slightly shy. I am to call her Selina. She has been at the school a few terms but I sense that Angela isn’t as happy with her as she could be.
Angela lives in town about seven miles away she has explained, and calls about twice a week at the school. I will have to teach, act in a pastoral capacity and administrate affairs. She is returning tomorrow morning to have a further “discussion” with me. I am relishing the opportunity.
July 24 lunchtime
I spent time with Angela again this morning. It’s pretty routine. She dealt with the issue of discipline with me, always an awkward topic, but one she had canvassed my views on at my interview. Corporal punishment is used regularly which is fine with me. She has confided she is concerned that Selina is slightly soft with the girls. We went through my study and she has presented me with three new canes! I’m obviously happy to cane but the presentation was a surprise. She told me she would rather supply them herself so she knows what we are using! Then she gave me quite a lecture on the subject in fact. They’re thinner than I’d have chosen but it’s her school so I won’t complain. Class teachers may cane in lessons up to six strokes; serious breaches of discipline will be reported to me.
I have a free afternoon now. I’m having supper with Selina at her cottage across the Green.
Selina is fine and she made a nice meal for us. She admitted that she finds discipline hard and that Angela is too strict. I didn’t reveal my hand to her, but she will have to change if we are to bring the success Angela requires.
She’s explained a bit more about the girls, well ladies, they are all over eighteen. Most are from good backgrounds and well educated. They are with us usually two years. She reminded me that I must choose a prefect in the first week.
The girls arrive tomorrow. Things are going well. I need to be bright and breezy!
The most significant event today was an hour spent with the senior class: Five young ladies who all have excellent potential. As expected of me I raised discipline and punishment with them. Heads were slightly bowed as I reminded them I simply wouldn’t tolerate bad behaviour or disobedience at their age. “I am sure Miss Scutt will deal with any of you who test the rules. I have however, told her, ladies, that if she feels lessons are not being learnt that I would be happy to play a role.”
“Who has Miss Scutt had cause to cane last?” I enquired, pointing at the lady at the end of the row. She looked up. “Yes you, what’s your name first?” “Stephanie, miss, Stephanie Flenders”. “Well Stephanie, tell the class who was the last of you whom Miss Scutt had cause to punish last term!?”
All of the girls’ heads stayed dipped staring at their desks. I raised my eyes to break the pause. “Sue, miss. Sue Theard”. I walked along the row of the girls’ desks. “So perhaps Miss Theard will care to stand and tell the class what she received her punishment for?” I turned and looked along the line of desks. After a further pause Sue stood, her blonde hair falling about her shoulders. She tried not to look up. “Well Sue, tell me, and remind the class?”
“I swore in class Miss Lawler. I am very sorry, and Miss Scutt did punish me quite severely.”
“I see Sue. Well I will be listening out for you now so watch your tongue so the episode isn’t repeated! Sit down.”
“In fact ladies I intend to take a very keen interest in all of you; and especially in your faults. I have found the cane to be a very effective tool in my career in changing the failings of young ladies. You all know that, while you may be quite grown up, none of you are too old to bend before me.”
I then let the matter drop, and took my own register in my notebook for reference. Having them stand one at a time they gave me their names. Stephanie, who I have already introduced, Celina Honchcliffe, the shamed Sue Theard, Sophie Rawart and Emily Maitlin. Woe betide them if they misbehave.
Angela rang at lunchtime to inform me of a new late arrival. She has been expelled from her current school and referred to her. She will bring her at lunchtime and wants me to be free to “help her”!
Angela arrived early in her Jaguar about twelve. I was free and went out to greet her. In the passenger seat was an attractive young lady with flowing brown hair. “Come along Suzanna, get out quickly,” she barked, a tone I had not previously heard her use. The lady opened the door and got up out.
“Follow me,” she commanded next. I allowed the girl to walk behind her and then brought up the rear. Now that expression was quite apt. Walking behind her I couldn’t ignore the wiggle of her bottom. Her loose navy blue dress was gathered by a thin belt at her waist and then flared out again falling below her knees.
Angela headed inside and towards my office. The door closed and Suzanne was beckoned to stand against a wall. Angela faced her with me to the side. I was unsure what she wanted to do. I assumed a lecture would follow and I was partly right. The girl stood and looked at us. I almost detected a faint smile on her until Angela spoke. “This is Miss Lawler, she is your new Headmistress. She will be watching you very closely. You will find our ways much stricter than where you have come from. Many young ladies your age think, and as you clearly have until now, that you are too old to receive serious punishment. Here you will find you are not. Our pupils soon find out how effective our ways are. In fact I intend to show you straight away.
Angela turned to me and smiled cruelly. Then purposefully she turned and brought the chair facing my desk into the open space before us. Realising her plan I turned, closed the door and went to the cupboard – my special cupboard! Reaching up I took one of the three new canes down and returned to where we were.
Suzanne was now staring at me and then Angela one at a time. “You’re not going to hit me with that.”
“I’m afraid we are girl as you need it. I intend to give you the caning you deserve.”
“You can’t, not at my age. I’m not that bad.” The girl spoke strangely confidently.
Angela wasn’t wasting time and stepping forward she reached for the girls wrist and pulled her to stand at the back of the chair. “Miss Reade, I would advise you to take your punishment humbly. Many girls initially protest when we punish them but find in the long run it’s better not to. I would have thought your bravery displayed at your last school would stand you in good stead. Now bend over please, quickly.”
Angela calmly placed her hand on the girl’s shoulder and applied sufficient pressure to make it very clear what was required. I fondled the cane watching the scene unfold and breathing a little quicker at what was to happen. With the girl bent over Angela made her final preparation stepping behind the girl and in one smooth movement raised her loose dress back up and onto her back. Suzanne tried to rise at this gasping: “Please, noooo!” To which Angela responded with a sharp slap on her thigh. “Quiet! Until I really give you something to cry about”.
Suzanne was a shapely young lady. Her legs were bare from her black shoes to a surprisingly sensible pair of black bikini cut knickers. Angela turned to me and motioned for me to stand at the other side, behind the girl’s head. I passed her the cane which she examined for a moment, and then flexed in her hands. “I think you’d better hold her,” she whispered to me. I stepped forward and placed one hand on her neck and the other on her shoulder. I winked at Angela and she began.
I have given many many canings and seen many more. I would even admit that I received a number myself, but what I saw was a textbook example. Angela laid on hard strokes, perfectly placed up and down the poor woman’s bottom. The cane swished in the cold room, and then thwacked smartly on the bottom causing it to wobble despite being stretched. At the early strokes Suzanne gasped and rocked as I applied just enough pressure to keep her down. Angela was calm throughout, pausing between each stroke.
The swishhhhhhh, thwackkkkkk of the cane was delivered by her arm in smooth downstrokes. Her feet firmly placed but her body swinging slightly, causing her own skirt to sway.
After four or five strokes I noticed Suzanne’s gasps were more muffled, and then she broke and sobbed. She strained again to rise but I held her firm. I wondered how many strokes she would receive. I counted silently. “Swishhhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Six. Her knickers offered no protection, except to save her modesty.
Angela paused and then raised the cane again, then paused again before swinging it down and across. It cut Suzanne across the seam at the bottom of her knickers, where her buttocks met her thighs. Seven…
SWishhhhhh, thwackkkkkk! “Nooooooooooooo!” Eight.
Angela’s pauses grew longer between strokes, but her expression remained calm and firm, almost as though she was enjoying a difficult but necessary task.
Suzanne was broken. Ten. Eleven, and Twelve. She rocked at each stroke clenching the chair, but held firm by my grip. Angela stepped back and nodded at me, motioning for me to let go and move away. Slowly I did leaving the girl sobbing over the chair back.
“Well Miss Reade, I trust I have taught you a lesson. Get up quickly.” She obeyed revealing her red tear stained cheeks from behind her brown hair. Unable to sustain her dignity her skirt fell back down as she stood one hand pressed against her bottom the other at her face trying to stop her tears.
I have been giving some thought to a new Head Girl. The girl who stands out is Fiona Brace, one of the eldest. I shall arrange to see her tomorrow and discuss the matter with her.
Suzanne has settled into school now. I have asked Selina to watch her and let me know how she gets on.
I thought Fiona was very mature when we met. We covered her studies and then moved on to discipline. Her records show she has kept out of trouble most of her time here. I asked for her views on corporal punishment and said it was a splendid idea. The girls knew that the cane was part of the school and those who had received it were suitably humbled.
I have told her that if I decide to appoint her as Head Girl tomorrow she will have the power to cane girls herself for minor offences.
I announced Fiona’s position to the school in assembly and also gave her a prefect’s cane when we met privately later. There was a warning though that I expect the highest standards of behaviour from her now.
I am concerned about Selina Scutt. I don’t really feel she has the right ideas and certainly isn’t firm enough. I caught her this evening punishing Sophie Rawart in the classroom after the other girls had left. She hadn’t heard me approach and though the glass panel of the door I saw Sophie being whacked by Selina. She wasn’t putting much effort into the strokes and the girls smart red skirt seemed to be absorbing most of the sting. As Selina delivered the strokes the girls face hardly twitched.
I am going to have to talk to her. Angela will expect me to update her on staff again soon.
I asked Selina to come and see me this evening. I tried gently at first to see if she thought her discipline was strict enough. She blushed and stuttered excuses about the girls being too old. I listened as my temperature rose.
After a long silent pause I stood and walked behind her. “Discipline and punishment are part of our tradition. You are expected to uphold them. You need to understand Selina that I am not at all happy with you. The Governess has asked me to monitor your teaching and I shall have to report to her soon.”
The schoolmistress bowed her head and tried to look away. I paused again to emphasise the gravity of the matter. I took her upper arm so she stood and walked her to my cupboard. Standing now right next to me I opened it up and looking at her withdrew the thinnest of the three canes. Closing it, still in silence, I again took her arm and led her now to the back of the chair she had sat at. With a blank expression I nodded at her. Words were not required. She paused avoiding my gaze and then obediently bent over.
I was pleased with my performance. I had to keep it up. Stepping behind her I raised her loose pale blue skirt up to expose her. Her firm bottom was cased in a white triangle of tightly stretched knickers.
“Perhaps this shall serve as an example to you of what is required!” And with those words I raised the cane and swooped it down onto her. She gasped.
I then caned her a further five strokes, each really quite hard causing her to cry out quietly.
“Get up now Selina,” I ordered. “I really trust that it will not be necessary to repeat that?”
“No, no, Miss Lawler,” she whispered.
“I sincerely hope not my dear, now leave.” Awkwardly she walked to the door and left.
Stephanie Flenders has given me cheek twice this week when I have told her off for her arrogant tone. Tonight I caned her in the dormitory before bed in front of the other girls. Miss Scutt, who is now more confident in punishment, attended and held Flenders over a stool. Progress!
I fear a problem is brewing. Celina Honchliffe bravely came to see me tonight. A little shy I settled her in my room and gave her a cup of tea. She was hesitant at first but I coaxed the matter from her gently.
She admitted that several girls had been punished by Brace, the Head Girl, herself included. She went on though nervously to explain that they felt that Brace was finding issues with them that were unreasonable. For the slightest error Brace was giving up to twelve strokes and saying that if they were sent to me it would be worse. She winced as she spoke. I took the young lady up from her chair and sat her next to be on the sofa. “Show me Celina,” I asked softly. She stood, and then slowly undid the waist of her trousers and eased them down. It clearly hurt. When she turned away from me I reached forward and pulled the waist of her knickers away from her. Vivid red lines cut across her.
Miss Scutt and I met at lunchtime to decide how to deal with Brace. It will have to be severe. Scutt is taking her away tonight from the dormitory to a single cell we have prepared in the basement. She won’t have time to realise what it’s about until she is secure.
I have ordered a birch from Susan Berkers in the town. She does a special line in them for local mothers and has supplied the school before. I told her I wanted a tidy affair for a young woman and she has suggested perhaps just five or six thin wands held by a pretty stringed grip over laid with ribbon. She has promised to deliver it first thing so it’s fresh.
The school will gather at ten am when Brace will be brought up to face her accusers. Miss Berker has said she will be happy to stay and ensure all goes smoothly. I just need now to go back to the hall and set the stool on the stage. This is an awesome task. I hope I will perform well.
To be continued!