A girl sentenced to six of the best tries to soften the impact of the cane, with disastrous consequences
by Sally Cavendish
If the bus depositing 18-year-old Angie Roberts outside the school gates had not got held up behind a funeral cortege, she would have had ample time to get to the nine o’clock assembly without running. As it was, she had to sprint down the corridor so fast that when the headmistress, Dr Felicity Hammond, suddenly emerged from a side-door holding a sheaf of papers, a collision was inevitable.
“I’m s-s-so SORRY,” stammered the hapless sixth-former, crimson with embarrassment.
Dr Hammond had managed to stay on her feet, but the papers she had been carrying had been scattered to the four winds. Angie frantically picked them up and returned them to the headmistress with an apologetic curtsey. But, from the look of fury on Dr Hammond’s face, she had a sinking feeling that an apologetic curtsey would not be atonement enough.
She was not wrong.
“What the HELL do you think you are doing running about the school like a marauding rhinoceros?” Snapped the incandescent headmistress.
“I’m so, so sorry, miss. The bus was late. There was a funeral…”
“A FUNERAL? I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous in my life. Come and see me after school and I will cane you.”
“You heard me, Roberts. If ever a girl deserved six of the best, it’s you. I’ve never seen such behaviour. Running in the corridor at your age! In fact, you can count yourself damn lucky that this will not be a bare-bottom punishment. Now get into assembly, girl. And don’t you dare be late for your appointment with my cane. I will expect to see you at five o’clock sharp.”
At two minutes to five, it was an extremely nervous Angie Roberts who ascended the stairs leading to the headmistress’s study. Dr Hammond’s no-nonsense canings were part of the St Anne’s legend. Those unlucky enough to have been on the receiving end of six of the best from an irate headmistress would talk about the experience in hushed tones for days afterwards. Their friends would listen hypnotised to their tales and count themselves fortunate to have escaped unscathed. And Angie, thus far, had remained unscathed.
The only crumb of comfort was that this was not to be a bare-bottom caning; the most feared sanction of all, for obvious reasons. All day long, Angie had pondered the significance of the headmistress’s words, wondering if perhaps they represented an opportunity to make the whole experience less traumatic.
“Come!” Barked the headmistress as, at five o’clock sharp, Angie knocked timidly on the oak door to her study. She had a face like thunder and there was no missing the yellowing rattan cane, nearly three feet long, which was laid out on her desk, ready for use. Angie, petrified, could hardly keep her eyes off it.
“You know why you’re here, Roberts, and you know what’s going to happen to you,” came the cold, remorseless voice of authority. “I don’t like having to cane sixth-formers, but you can’t say you don’t deserve it after your loutish behaviour this morning.”
Without further ado, the headmistress moved a high-backed chair into the middle of the room and gestured to the girl to bend over it. As soon as she had, she flipped up her tartan school skirt to reveal flesh-coloured tights and, under the tights, a pair of regulation white cotton panties. The headmistress frowned. She did not normally cane over tights, but as they offered scant protection, and she was confident in her ability to teach Angie a lesson she would not forget in a hurry, she decided to let it pass.
A few seconds later, after a practise swing, the cane was lashing down on a point roughly half way up Angie’s bottom. It was a real stinger, as the headmistress fully intended, and elicited a grunt of pain.
The second stroke elicited an even louder grunt and the third the loudest yet. By the fourth stroke, the girl was sobbing quietly and having difficulty staying still.
‘Good,’ thought Dr Hammond grimly, before administering the coup de grace.
It was her invariable practice when administering six of the best over panties to make sure that the final two strokes landed below the panty-line, on the bare flesh closest to the top of the thighs. That not only ensured that the punishment reached a suitably harrowing finale, but enabled her to observe the livid red stripes that are the hallmark of a well-applied caning.
The sixth stroke was such a scorcher that Angie’s hands flew to her bottom and she started jumping up and down as if she had been bitten by a hornet, exactly the effect the headmistress intended. She was about to dismiss her when some sixth sense made her suspicious.
“I do hope,” she said quietly. “That you weren’t wearing padding, Roberts?”
“Oh no, miss,” said the girl, hastily adjusting her skirt, now that her punishment was over, and turning towards the door. “Of course not, miss. Thank you for my caning, miss. And I’m sorry for running in the corridor, miss. Can I go now, miss?”
The words came out in such a rush that the headmistress’s suspicions were deepening by the minute.
“No, Roberts, you can’t go. After I have caned a girl, I have to enter the details in the punishment book, and before I have entered the details in the punishment book, I have to satisfy myself that everything was in order. Lift up your skirt.”
“I thought so.” With a sudden movement, the headmistress had raised the girl’s skirt, peeled down her tights and established that there was not one pair of white cotton panties underneath, but two.
“Miss, I can explain…”
“Oh, it’s too late now, Roberts. It’s far too late. Two pairs of panties indeed! I’ve never known anything so outrageous. Your first caning is null and void. Oh, I know you’ve got a sore bottom, but it’s not as sore as it should have been if you hadn’t tried to deceive me. You give me no alternative. I want you to go away and come back in five minutes wearing a single pair of panties. Do I make myself clear?”
Five minutes later, still in state of shock, Angie Roberts found herself once more bent over the chair for six of the best. If she had thought the first six were bad enough, it was nothing to the excruciating pain of the second six. A caning through a single pair of panties hurts a lot more than a caning through two pairs. Also, the cane was now landing on top of her earlier stripes, which only made things worse. And on top of everything, Dr Hammond, who had previously been merely cross, was now bloody livid, laying on her trusty rattan with a vengeance.
As the sixth or, as this was second helpings, twelfth stroke landed, flush on Angie Roberts’ tautly stretched bottom, the head felt something close to elation; the satisfaction of someone whose authority has been challenged and who has responded by asserting her authority in the appropriate way. And if Roberts thought her ordeal was over, she had another think coming.
“Stand up and look at me,” the headmistress barked. “If you hadn’t been such a silly fool, you could have escaped with a simple six of the best. But the fact is that you were a silly fool, Roberts, and you now have to face the consequences. Your original punishment, for running in the corridor, is now over. That’s the good news. The bad news…”
“Is that you are guilty of two further, and more serious, infractions. The first was to wear padding in a cowardly attempt to escape the consequences of your behaviour. The second was, when challenged about wearing padding, to lie to me, your headmistress. I can’t let either of those offences pass unpunished. You will receive six of the best for each, on your bare bottom.”
The sixth-former’s protests were predictably futile. And a matter of seconds later, she was once more bent across the headmistress’s chair, this time with her white panties at half-mast. Dr Hammond was not without compassion. The bottom now presented to her was so vividly striped already that the impact of twelve further strokes of the cane was likely to be excruciating. For a second, she thought of deferring the second instalment of Roberts’ punishment to a later day. But then she remembered a favourite of saying of her predecessor, Miss Marjorie Manners: “Girls’ bottoms are remarkably resilient. They can take a good caning. Remember that you’re teaching them a lesson. Leave your mark.”
So Dr Hammond, remorselessly, left her mark.
And as Angie Roberts hobbled from her study five minutes later, miserably clutching her bottom, a bottom decorated so spectacularly by the cane that it would cause a minor sensation when other girls saw it later in the showers, Dr Felicity Hammod reflected on a good morning’s work and on the virtue of old-fashioned values, reinforced by traditional sanctions.
© Sally Cavendish 2017