Giggling at another’s misfortune gets a girl into trouble, then manages to make things even worse.
The Sixth Form English class was proceeding as normal until the Headmaster’s Secretary appeared, to summon Tony Bullinger to Mr Clarkson’s presence. A buzz of speculation was quickly silenced by Mrs Summers, but an apprehensive mood descended over the class until Tony reappeared about ten minutes later. Clearly in pain, he hobbled to his seat and sat down very slowly and carefully, much to the amusement of Susie, who whispered and giggled to her neighbour.
“Susanna Smithson, stand up!” ordered the teacher. “How dare you laugh at Bullinger like that! You can write out two hundred times ‘I must not take pleasure in another’s suffering’, and bring it to me first thing tomorrow. Now sit down and be quiet.”
Susie was chastened by this rebuke. She was normally a well-behaved pupil who rarely got into trouble. Hastily she wrote down the words of her imposition and then tried to concentrate on the task in hand.
Once home, she diligently copied out the text in her best handwriting and handed it over the next morning without any qualms. She was soon to be shocked out of her complacency when Mrs Summers turned on her angrily.
“You stupid girl!” She shouted. “Don’t you know that pleasure has an ‘a’ in it? And what happened to the apostrophe in ‘another’s’? The teacher tore up Susie’s lines and threw them in the bin. “For your carelessness in not checking the correct spelling, you can go into detention tomorrow after school.”
Susie was almost in tears at the thought of detention. And she had PE as her last lesson tomorrow, which would mean a quick change of clothes beforehand.
Susie did what she could to ready herself for that hour in the detention room. She remembered to tell her mother that she would be late home, but pretended that she was involved in a drama rehearsal. Telling the truth may well have led to a smacked bottom. But she could not prepare adequately for what turned into an extended session in the gym. Once it was over, she dressed with breakneck speed and arrived just in time, as the register of those in detention was about to be read out by Miss Hargreaves, the Deputy Head.
Waiting breathlessly for her name, Susie thought that at last her run of bad luck would be over.
“Susanna Smithson?” Intoned Miss Hargreaves.
“Yes, miss,” she answered politely.
“Why have you come to detention improperly dressed? Where is your tie?”
Horror-struck, Susie realised exactly where it was; lying forgotten on the changing room floor.
The Deputy Head did not wait for her explanation. “You should know,” she continued, “that detentions are to be taken seriously. For your frivolous behaviour, you can instead go home. But you will present yourself to me tomorrow, when I send for you.”
Susie wandered off in a daze. Once home, it was simple enough to claim the rehearsal had been cancelled. But she could predict that tomorrow she would be bending over in Miss Hargreaves’ study for a dose of the slipper. This was the standard punishment for girls who had gone beyond impositions and detentions. Others who had experienced it said it was not too bad; it stung for a while but it did not hinder you sitting down, and it was not reported to parents. Yet Susie had never expected to be anywhere near getting corporal punishment at school. It was bad enough still being spanked by her mother’s hand.
After a restless night, Susie dressed for the day with great care. Although it was summer, she rejected socks in favour of dark tights covered with a thick pleated skirt. Now when she had to present her bottom for punishment, it would at least be well covered. Lessons dragged on, and no summons came. Had Miss Hargreaves forgotten all about it? But then, just after the morning break as another class with Mrs Summers was about to start, the Headmaster’s Secretary came in to announce that Mr Clarkson wanted to see Susanna Smithson immediately.
Surely there was some mistake, Susie thought, as she rose amidst the same speculative buzz that she had heard when Tony was summoned. But no, this was the Head’s own Secretary leading her into Mr Clarkson’s study, an awesome place that she had never entered before. And there he sat behind his imposing desk, with the Deputy Head to one side.
It was Miss Hargreaves who opened the interview.
“When you arrived in detention, Susanna, I did not know the whole story. But now I have had time to check details with Mrs Summers, and I thought it appropriate to refer you to the Headmaster.”
Mr Clarkson then took over.
“Over the last few days, Susanna, you have failed to complete an imposition correctly and you turned up inadequately dressed for a detention. But the root cause of these delinquencies was your mockery of a fellow pupil returning from a caning at my hands. We have therefore decided to make the punishment fit the crime. The same penalty that Bullinger received will now be inflicted on you. You also will receive four strokes of the cane across your posterior.”
Susie was so dumbfounded by this news that she froze on the spot. When the Head ordered her to pull a chair into the middle of the room, she reacted only when he repeated the command in a louder voice. Then she shivered when he ordered her to remove her blazer, drape it on the chair-back and bend over it. As she reached down for the seat, she saw him pull an object out of his cabinet that neither she nor any other girl in the school expected to see. It was the same implement that had inflicted such pain on poor Tony and which she must now experience for herself.
Susie caught her breath as Mr Clarkson approached her, flexing the cane in both hands.
“Get down lower, girl,” he ordered. “And grip the chair legs.”
Susie did as she was told, aware that her hair was flopping into her face. But at least she had her long thick pleated skirt to protect her. Or so she thought. Suddenly she heard Miss Hargreaves’ voice.
“Headmaster, I know you want this caning to resemble Bullinger’s punishment as much as possible. I assume that you beat him through two layers of clothing. But Smithson is wearing three!”
“You are quite right, Miss Hargreaves,” the Head replied. “Perhaps you would be so good as to raise this miscreant’s skirt so that she takes the strokes across her tights and knickers.”
Immediately the Deputy came round and firmly pulled Susie’s garment right up her back and almost to her armpits. The tights were fully revealed and they did not hide the thin pants beneath. Susie’s plan had gone horribly wrong. She would have done better with socks after all, and tears of frustration poured from her eyes onto the floor.
But Mr Clarkson was unmoved. “I don’t know what you’re bawling about yet, girl,” he snarled. “I haven’t even begun!”
He lined the cane up across Susie’s clearly defined buttocks, raised it high, then brought it down sharply upon the now quivering target. Susie’s tears turned into yells. She tried to stand up but was held in place by the firm hands of Miss Hargreaves on her back. The Head delivered the remaining three strokes in quick succession, aiming for maximum pain by landing them all on the same spot, right in the middle of her backside. Susie felt as if her rear end was ablaze.
“Very well, Miss Hargreaves,” announced the Head. “You may release the culprit.”
Susie leapt up as soon as she could. She looked thoroughly dishevelled, with damp hair and tears all over her face, and her hands instantly reached for her buttocks to rub them.
“Stop that display at once, Smithson!” He ordered. “Pull your skirt down and get your blazer on! Now you will waste no time in returning to your class. And I should also add that a note of your punishment will be entered on your end of term report.”
Still whimpering and clutching her behind, Susie headed for the door which Miss Hargreaves held open for her. She would have liked some relief in the nearest toilet, but the Deputy Head accompanied her back to her class.
Gasps followed her entry, as the obviously very sore girl made her way to her place. Miss Hargreaves informed the class about the reason and nature of Susie’s punishment, pointing out that girls were not exempt from bending over for the cane in the Headmaster’s study.
Susie, meanwhile, had to carry out the same difficult exercise that Tony had accomplished. Aware that all eyes were upon her, she held her desk edge while slowly lowering her bottom onto the wooden seat. Throbbing pain filled her backside, but she was determined to remain perfectly still as the Deputy left and the lesson re-commenced.
Of course she was aware that all was not over. The other girls would demand to look at her stripes when next in the changing rooms, and her parents would have to be told. Taking the cane had been truly awful, but maybe it would be even worse to get smacked on her sore bare bottom before bedtime.
© David 2014