A headmistress resolves to enforce the rules more strictly
by Sally Cavendish
Dr Celia Croft, the long-serving headmistress of the Manor School in Herefordshire, was not a great believer in New Year’s resolutions. She had made a few in the past, but with mixed results. She believed, in her pedantic, schoolmistress way, that if someone was resolved to make changes in their life, they should do it immediately, not in accordance with some artificial timetable.
But this year, somehow, was different. Perhaps it was something that the chairman of the school governors had said to her just before Christmas.
“You are really much too nice to be a headmistress, Celia. You are far too inclined to let girls off with a warning.”
Or perhaps it was overhearing one of the girls in the playground refer to her as ‘Softy Crofty’. The pejorative nickname said it all.
In any event, that year did see Celia Croft make a solemn New Year’s resolution, which she wrote in bold letters on the first page of her desk diary:
I MUST DEAL MORE FIRMLY WITH POOR BEHAVIOUR.
Little did she know how soon her resolution would be put to the test.
On the very first morning of term, her secretary, Sheila, came bustling into her study.
“Dr Croft, I’m so sorry. There is something I should have told you at the end of last term. It completely slipped my mind in the pre-Christmas rush.”
“What is it, Sheila?”
“Well, I’m sorry to have to tell you…”
The story did not take long to tell. Taking a short-cut into work via the back of the gymnasium, Sheila had caught a sixth-former called Stephanie Pearce smoking a cigarette.
“She nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw me,” said the secretary, chuckling at the memory.
The headmistress scowled. “Well, she’ll be doing some more jumping if I have anything to do with it. Send for her immediately.”
Ten minutes later, a very nervous 17-year-old was facing a headmistress who, from her implacable demeanour, bore little resemblance to the ‘Softy Crofty’ of popular repute. The stage was set.
Dr Croft was a kindly soul at heart and, as she saw the trembling sixth-former standing in front of her desk, she felt a twinge of sadness. She was fond of Stephanie, who was a model pupil in many respects, and it was a great shame that their first meeting of the year should take place in such unpropitious circumstances. But what alternative was there if she was not to rip up her New Year’s resolution in the first week of January?
“You’re probably wondering why you are here, Stephanie,” Dr Croft said, tapping her pencil on the desk. “Would you care to guess?”
“Well I, that is to say, no Dr Croft, I was, um, surprised, to, um…”
“Nothing on your conscience?”
“Nothing that comes to mind, Dr Croft. Sorry.”
The headmistress maintained the same cordial tone, although there was a hint of steel in her next question.
“You wouldn’t care to cast your mind back to your last day at school before Christmas?”
There was a lengthy pause while Stephanie struggled to recall the events of three weeks ago. Her face was a study in confusion. Then she suddenly reddened as if someone had flicked a switch.
“I thought you’d get there in the end,” said the headmistress, with a grim smile. “Yes, that’s right, Stephanie. Smoking on the school premises. Honestly! Will you never learn? It’s a disgusting habit and you should have outgrown it by now. You should also know better than to smoke in the school grounds, which is strictly forbidden, as you well know. Unfortunately for you, my secretary saw you with her own eyes. There is not much more to say, is there Stephanie?”
“No, Dr Croft. That is to say, I didn’t, I thought, I mean, I’m very sorry.”
The poor girl looked so dejected that, on impulse, Dr Croft rose from her desk and gave her a warm, almost motherly, hug.
“We all make mistakes, Stephanie,” she whispered. “That’s only natural, particularly when you are young. Sadly, mistakes have consequences at this school, as you are about to find out. The rules on smoking could hardly be clearer. It is an automatic caning offence. It always has been and it always will be. Would you kindly remove your skirt and tights and place them on the sofa.”
“But, Dr Croft?”
“Just do as you’re told, Stephanie. You’ll get extra if you don’t.”
Two minutes later, having slipped off her tartan skirt and navy tights, Stephanie was standing in front of the headmistress’s desk, head bowed in shame. She felt horribly exposed in the simple white panties which peeped out from under her striped school shirt. Her eyes strayed to the whippy-looking cane which Dr Croft had produced from the recesses of the corner cupboard, and she gave an involuntary wince. She had never been caned in her life, the odd parental spanking being her only experience of corporal punishment.
The headmistress saw her distress and, for a moment, softened. But only for a moment. If she did not apply the rules, firmly but fairly, she would not be doing her job.
“Bend over the desk,” she said, in the time-honoured way, before tucking up Stephanie’s shirt, so that it was out of the way. Only those thin white panties, stretched tight across plump young buttocks, stood between Stephanie and her nemesis.
“Are you ready, Stephanie?”
“Yes, Dr Croft.”
“Then I want you to hold your position while I administer your punishment. If you move, or put your hands in the way, you will get extra strokes. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Dr Croft.”
“Then brace yourself. This will not be pleasant, but it will soon be over.”
Seconds later, with a swish and a loud crack, clearly audible to Dr Croft’s secretary in the next room, the first stroke had found its target, leaving a line of pain right across the middle of the proffered bottom. There was a sharp gasp of pain from the sixth-former but, mindful of the headmistress’s injunction, she did not move her position.
Dr Croft nodded approvingly. She liked girls who took their punishment stoically. And she had secretly enjoyed the classic thwack of rattan landing on a young female bottom. Once more with feeling, she told herself, as she administered the second stroke, a real stinger, which landed an inch or two below the first one.
Again Stephanie gasped in pain, but kept her position well. After the third stroke, she gave a little involuntary hop, but her hands did not fly to her bottom, as so often happened, and within seconds she had resumed her position over the desk.
By now, Stephanie’s knickers had ridden up slightly, and the headmistress was able to admire her handiwork; livid parallel red stripes stretched across the lower part of the buttocks. The cane came lashing down for a fourth time, and then a fifth.
“Just one more to go, Stephanie,” the headmistress whispered, her voice as gentle as the rattan was harsh. “You’ve been very brave and I’m very proud of you.”
‘Well, if you’re so proud of me, why are you beating my arse to pulp,’ thought Stephanie, gritting her teeth for the last time. And seconds later, after a real humdinger of a sixth, the hardest yet, her ordeal was over.
“Can I rub my bottom please, Dr Croft?” she asked meekly.
“Of course, dear,” came the reply. “I was going to suggest the same thing.”
As the sixth-former rose to her feet, her face stained with tears, and started gingerly rubbing her bottom, the headmistress was overcome with compassion.
“There, there,” she said, hugging her once more. “I’m sorry, that must have been agony. Your poor bottom! But it’s over now. And if I have made you think twice about smoking, that can’t be bad thing, can it?”
“No, Dr Croft. That’s the last time I’ll smoke at school. I promise.”
“Good,” said the headmistress, putting the cane back in its cupboard. “Because if you are caught smoking again, young lady…”
She paused theatrically, enjoying the moment, enjoying the sensation of power, enjoying the fact that she had applied the school rules strictly, as she had vowed she would.
“Yes, Dr Croft?”
“If you’re caught smoking again, you’ll get twelve strokes, not six, and those panties will be coming down before I administer them. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes, Dr Croft. Quite clear.”
© Sally Cavendish 2022