A sixth form girl struggles to avoid being sent away from school

By Jane Fairweather

“Why can’t you see the Head the same day you do something?” Said Jean Sampson to the little group in the Sixth Form Common Room that she normally hung out with. “It was only not doing a flipping essay after all! It’s not bullying or stealing. Why do you have to wait till Wednesday afternoon to be told off for something you did the Thursday morning before? It’s thoroughly silly. It was only an essay!”

“I can see Aggy’s point though!” Retorted Anne Tremayne. “After all, she does not cane us because we are girls; and having to wait to be told off is quite a good punishment in itself. It’s getting to you, Jean, isn’t it?”

“And anyway,” chimed in Veronica Coates. “You have been getting a bit slack, Jean. Smithy only sent you the third time you missed an essay. You have rather asked for it. And you are supposed to be trying to get to College. You need to pull up your socks, my girl. It’s different for me, I’m off to finishing school and then it’s husband hunting time! But you need a job, at least to start with.”

The five minute bell went for the end of dinner time.

“Well I suppose I’d better get it over with.” Said Jean wearily, thinking it would not be a good idea to be late for the Headmistress’s queue and departed to facetious comments about putting on an extra pair of “Knicks”; and be sure to have plenty of Vaseline to hand.

“Aggy does have a cane you know.” Said Veronica confidentially when Jean had departed. “I saw it when I was there for something or other in the Third Form. She opened her cupboard to find something for me and there were several of them. I wasn’t even being told off.”

There was a slightly shocked silence.

“You can’t imagine Aggy caning anyone though, can you? She’s so little.” Giggled Elizabeth Tremayne, Anne’s twin sister.

“It wouldn’t do Jean a lot of harm though, would it?” Said Veronica with an air of reasonableness. “She is so slack at the moment she might as well not be here.”

“She’d feel it with that plump bum of hers!” Remarked Elizabeth, giggling.

“Oh well, it’s not going to happen, so lets drop it girls.” Said Veronica firmly. “We’ve got better things to gossip about, though I would like to know if it really hurts. You never get any sense out of boys when you ask that. They either claim it does not hurt at all, or it’s the next worst thing to beheading.”

*******

Jean wondered how long the next victim was going to take. There had only been five girls besides herself for Miss Agatha Browning, the Headmistress, to interview, but so far Jean had been standing outside the dreaded door for nearly two hours and there was still one bright faced fifth former to go in, who she barely knew. She felt embarrassed that all the other girls were from the first four years; she felt too old to be in this position. She felt uneasy that two of the three girls had emerged in floods of tears and the third had not looked too happy. Cane or no cane, this was undoubtedly an ordeal.

The girl in front of her suddenly turned round and said: “My brother always says it’s so quick when you have the cane. I must say I wouldn’t mind just walking in and having a whacking and that’s it. Aggy always makes me feel so guilty!”

“Do you see her often?” Asked Jean curiously.

“Fourth time this term. I was caught smoking again. And you?”

“It’s the first time.”

“What! REALLY the first time! You’re a Sixth Former aren’t you? I’ve only ever seen a Sixth Former once before in the Wednesday Queue. Whatever did you do?”

“I haven’t been working as hard as I should have been.”

“Is that all? Well, you won’t get much, if that’s all. I’m dreading she meant what she said last time. 2000 lines by Thursday morning was what she threatened. Your wrist falls off when you have to do that and you get in to trouble because you haven’t had time to do all your Homework. And then Dad might spank me. He did last time and it really hurt. I wish I could have that instead of the 2000 lines though.”

“Yes!” Said Jean, not quite sure what to say.

She wondered for some reason if Yvonne’s Father had left her knickers on, or had taken them down. Her own couple of punishments had been on the seat of her knickers, pushed over the back of the sitting room sofa. The use of a large hairbrush however had mitigated the effects of having her knickers on. Surely nothing like this was going to happen today; she was too old. She noticed the girl’s very pretty blonde hair and realized with some disgust that it was reeking of cigarettes.

“What’s your name?” The girl was asking.

“Jean.”

“Mine’s Yvonne.”

The conversation might have developed further, but the latest victim emerged and Yvonne had to go in.

Jean felt very alone. Even the aggravating Fifth Former, who she thought to herself deserved a jolly good hiding, had been something like company. And it was disconcerting that you could hear nothing of what was going on in the study. She remembered talking to a boy who said that at his school if you were waiting to be caned you could hear everything that went on and it set you on edge even before you stood before the Headmaster. She decided she would have preferred that.

Yvonne emerged rather sooner than the rest and stood there rather uneasily.

“What’s going on?” Asked Jean, not able to bear the silence.

“She’s ringing my Dad. She said I was terribly impertinent as well as the smoking. If he will agree to give me a real hiding I can stay in the school.”

“That’s tough!” Said Jean with real sympathy. “What? The cane or something?”

“How should I know! He’s only ever used his hand before and that hurts quite enough.”

“Sorry! I should not have said that. It was tactless.”

They relapsed into silence. Jean wondered if a hand spanking with knickers on hurt that much. Presumably Yvonne’s previous punishments had been bare? Or was the girl not as tough as she made out?

The door remorselessly opened. The slight figure of Agatha Browning stood in the door way with a supple looking cane of nearly three feet in one hand and a piece of paper in the other.

“Small practical difficulty; your Father has not got a cane and has no time to get one and personally I always feel that corporal punishment is best carried out almost immediately. Therefore you will take this cane and this note to Miss Gregory. You will wait till her current lesson is over and then you will give her the cane and the note. I’ve told her to give you the traditional six, if you are wondering. Now off with you and not a word. This is your final warning, young lady. Next time you are out of the school. I will not tolerate conduct such as you have been guilty of.”

Yvonne was visibly trembling as she took the cane and the note and she gave a piteous look at Jean, who wondered if there was any way she could help or give any comfort. She found herself liking the girl in spite of herself. She decided the cane from Miss Gregory would be anything but a joke. Miss Gregory was the Games Mistress and also the Regional Women’s Tennis Champion and well known for her strong serve.

“Now, Miss Sampson, you’ve had a long wait haven’t you? In you come. Shut the door after you.”

Jean entered and glanced round. She knew perfectly well that there were portraits of three previous headmistresses on the walls, but she still glanced up at them and they all looked at her disapprovingly. It was a school legend that the first one, Miss Cuthbert, had used the birch rod on the bare buttocks rather freely back in the 1880’s, not that such things happened today. Then she very reluctantly glanced downwards towards the large brightly polished mahogany desk behind which her Headmistress had seated herself. She looked, thought Jean, ridiculously small behind the large desk, but also very formidable. This was after all a woman who had just ordered a severe caning, a fact which Jean felt scarcely able to take in.

“Now Miss Sampson, the reason for your presence here is very simple. I have heard from all your teachers that you simply are not working. Essays are regularly not handed in. When they are handed in then they are often half done, or even a quarter done. This has been going on for the best part of a term, I know. All your teachers like you and everyone hoped you would reform. Finally Miss Smith, who has rather more courage than her colleagues, has formally sent you to me to be dealt with as if you were a Third Former, which frankly from your conduct I am rather inclined to think you are. Is this a fair summary Miss Sampson?”

“Y, yes Miss Browning.” Stuttered Jean, suddenly feeling terribly guilty.

“Well it seems to me that you have lost all interest in being at school. I’ve met this before. It’s probably best all round if you go out and get a job. Anything to say?”

“I really don’t want to leave school, Miss Browning. I really don’t. I want to go to College and train as a teacher. I know I’ve been slack. I don’t know why. I will change Miss.”

“I doubt it. And short of a good old fashioned punishment, for which you are anyway on the old side, I doubt very much if you will change. And even then I doubt it.”

“Am I being expelled Miss?”

“Yes, effectively you are being expelled. I suppose, though, we will not put it like that in any references that we give. It will just be said that you left early. Anything more to say, or is that it, Miss Sampson?”

Jean burst into tears and stood glued to the spot.

“Is that it, Miss Sampson? If so, there are other things I would like to get on with.”

“Couldn’t I go to Miss Gregory too, Miss?”

“What, for the cane?”

A sardonic smile passed Miss Browning’s lips.

“Yes, Miss. I do want to stay, Miss.”

“Well if you think a very sore backside and a lot of humiliation is worth it, you can have the cane. However, I make it clear to you that if there is one more missed essay you will be out of the school anyway! Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, Miss Browning.”

“Do you want me to ring your parents first?”

“No, I would rather get it over with.”

“I would rather get it over with, Miss Browning! Go on say it. And I want an apology as well”

“I would rather get it over with, Miss Browning, and I apologise.”

“Very well. I will write you a note. I doubt if Miss Gregory will punish the other girl before school ends, which is just coming up, so if you hurry you should just be in time to join in.”

**********

Jean rather shakily entered the front door of the gym. She was trying not to cry and finding it difficult. Through double doors to the right, a gym lesson was in progress. Straight ahead was the Game Teacher’s own room. Its door was open, but revealed no more than an armchair, and a desk and chair. She noticed the cane had been put flat on the desk. To the left was the changing room. Stood, looking very nervous and wringing her hands was Yvonne who, Jean realized with mild envy, was not crying.

“Why are you here? Has she sent you with a message? Am I being let off?”

“Sorry, but no. It’s just I’m getting whacked as well.”

“But you only didn’t do an essay. I mean I did a lot of teasing I did not tell you about as well as the smoking and the cheek.”

“Well, it’s what’s happening. Have you talked to Miss Gregory?”

“Yes, I’ve given her the note. She said she hoped the Head would change her mind and she would put it off till school ends, but it can’t be long till then.”

A tide of Fourth Form girls in blue, brown and green school knickers and brown vests swept past them into the changing room to put their gym slips, blouses and ties back on. Miss Gregory followed. She was a tall, elegant, rather muscular woman, dressed in an adult size gym slip with white blouse and tie with black stockings, which made her look like an oversized school girl. Her hair was up in a rather severe black bun.

“I do hope that note in your hand is what I think it is, Jean Sampson. I really don’t want to have to do this.”

“’Fraid not Miss!” Said Jean, feeling very sorry for herself, but handing the note over.

“What! Two canings in one afternoon? What is the Head playing at? Still if she insists, I suppose I must do it. Go and wait in the gym. I will deal with you as soon as the girls are changed and gone. They should not take long.”

Jean glanced at Yvonne and they walked into the gym together.

“I wonder if we get a blindfold?” Said Yvonne laughing shakily.

“The boys I know say that you bend over a chair or a desk or touch your toes. No blindfold I am afraid! I wish there was!”

“Well I expect we’ll touch our toes then.”

“Unless she takes us into her office. There is a chair and a desk there.”

The double doors opened and shut. Jean jumped.

“Right you two, remove your gym slips and blouses and quick about it. I would not mind getting home reasonably promptly.”

Jean fumbled with her clothes. As usual the tie (she hated school ties!) stuck, but she managed it eventually. When she had finished she glanced at Yvonne. She noticed her bottom looked rather well proportioned through her school knickers, which were tighter than a lot of girls wore them. Miss Gregory was swishing the cane unpleasantly in front of their faces and Jean for one felt her heart beat increase rapidly.

“Right girls. You will each when I tell you, touch your toes and stay in that position till I tell you can stand up. You first, Yvonne Smith!”

There was a slight whimper from Yvonne, but she reached right down to her toes. Jean noticed how tight the victim’s blue, knee length knickers were, then felt she should not really be watching and closed her eyes. She heard the cane swish and whack three times and Yvonne moaning and sobbing. Then Yvonne was pleading desperately for it to stop. Miss Gregory seemed to pause at this point and Jean opened her eyes and realized Yvonne was rubbing her bottom frantically. Miss Gregory very firmly ordered her victim to bend over again. Jean instinctively shut her eyes again. Presumably Yvonne had complied, for the cane resumed its noise.

This time Yvonne howled. It was the only way to describe it, thought Jean. She decided she wanted to see what it was like before it was her turn. She opened her eyes and saw the cane lash deep into Yvonne’s soft buttocks twice more. Yvonne roared with pain and her whole body convulsed at each stroke. Her hands flew to her bottom and she started to jump on the spot, which Jean felt to be upsetting, comic and oddly exciting in the same breath. She wondered if Miss Gregory would say anything about Yvonne standing up before she was told, but nothing was said.

She felt Miss Gregory’s hand on her shoulder.

“Stand away from her please. She’s making such a fuss she is just going to make your punishment take longer.”

Jean complied, letting Miss Gregory lead her to the other end of the gym.

“Bend over!”

Jean bent. She never worked out if Miss Gregory went soft on her, or she had her knickers slacker than Yvonne, or there was some other reason, but anyway, although it was very painful and sticking her bum in the air to be punished was very humiliating indeed, it was not quite as bad as she expected. She managed to take it without yelling, though she could not stop the tears.

“When you are ready, get yourselves dressed and be off with you.” Observed Miss Gregory. “But you don’t want anyone else to see you like this, so take your time. I won’t say anything if you linger. And I will leave some Vaseline on my desk. Feel free to use it!”

******************

“How did you get on with Aggy?” Asked Veronica to Jean next morning in the Sixth Form Common Room.

“Oh I got a terrible telling off and I am out if I do it again. She was in a terrible mood. That poor Yvonne Smith girl got the cane. I think she sent her to Miss Gregory for it.”

“I don’t believe it!” Said all the Sixth Form Girls in ear shot, though they were not quite sure whether to believe it or not.

“That girl is a bad bully and a rebel. Will do her no harm at all, if it’s true.” observed Veronica. “Do you really know for sure that it happened, Jean? They did not let her off or anything?”

“Not as far as I know, she was certainly sent for it, I saw the poor girl being sent over to the gym with a cane in her hand.”

“My Fourth Form are saying two girls got whacked, but they don’t seem to know who. I think they must be making the other girl up.” Said Anne, who was a prefect. “You’re obviously right, Jean.”

“If it happened it must have been one of the other girls. I’m really not sure. I only saw Yvonne being sent.”

Jean felt a certain relief that the aching in her bottom was not enough to make her wriggle too obviously, which would have given her disgrace away. The odd thing was that her feelings afterwards had been oddly pleasurable. Had Miss Gregory done it deliberately, she wondered? But that was hard to believe.

The End

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