A better disciplined school has many advantages for a new girl, until she finds herself subject to that discipline.
It had been the high point of Jane’s life when she won a scholarship to the prestigious private Ladies Academy in her home town. Now she could leave behind her scruffy Comprehensive with its low standards and casual attitudes. Poor though her background was, she had earned a place alongside the local female elite.
From the start, Jane revelled in the superb facilities and the excellent sports ground which she enjoyed in the limited time between her demanding classes. She was proud to wear the uniform, including the maroon gold-braided blazer and school tie. Sixth Form girls had the option of trousers but Jane, who had worn them throughout her comprehensive years, was now pleased to put on a school skirt or summer dress over her regulation underwear. Keen to conform to her new standards, she always ensured that her knickers were maroon as well.
The only feature of the Academy that disturbed her slightly was the approach to disciplinary matters. Her old school had punished misdemeanours with lines or detentions, but here these were dismissed as a waste of everyone’s time. All penalties were physical, quick and very public, sometimes involving a ruler but more usually a gym plimsoll, or slipper, as the girls called it. It seemed that all the mistresses had one and used it as they chose. Nor were Sixth Formers exempt. Jane’s eyes opened wide when, on her second day, a late arrival in class was ordered to touch her toes, before receiving six wallops. Yet though the girl yelped a bit while the punishment was in progress, she sat down afterwards without any further reactions and her classmates, apart from Jane, seemed unperturbed. When she asked about it afterwards, she was amazed to discover that nearly all of them had bent over for the same treatment at some time in their careers, and thought nothing of it.
“But one thing you really want to avoid is the Headmistress’s cane,” warned one old hand. “I haven’t had it; very few girls have, but that really is vicious.”
Jane wondered if the cane was just a school legend, until changing after sports one day she happened to notice a girl’s bottom which was striped with four red painful-looking lines. She tried not to stare, but one of the others noticed and gave her a nudge.
“That’s what the cane does to you!” She whispered into Jane’s ear.
All this made Jane determined to maintain exemplary behaviour. Her own bottom had never experienced spanking, and she was determined she would not be presenting it for punishment. She had become aware some of the well-established girls resented her arrival, seeing her as a pushy and smug Miss Perfect, but she was unconcerned. So long as she kept up her good behaviour and immaculate appearance, she could bask in her teachers’ approval.
At the start of Summer Term, exams were set in the pupils’ A-level choices. Jane revised hard and diligently wrote down her answers in English, History and French. She was therefore surprised several days later when her History Mistress asked her and Marie, a girl she did not know particularly well, to stay behind after morning class.
“I’m rather concerned,” the Mistress began. “At the remarkable similarities between your two essays on the English Civil War.” She produced the papers, in which she had underlined a number of sentences that resembled each other word for word. “Now can you tell me how this could have happened under exam conditions?”
Jane was bewildered by this, until she remembered that Marie had sat next to her. During the three-hour exam it was permitted for girls to visit the toilet and she realised Marie must have copied her work while she was out of the room. But before she could speak, Marie admitted her guilt.
“I was the one that did the copying, Miss,” she volunteered. “Jane’s very clever, and she doesn’t mind any of us copying her work. I’m not the only one, Miss, other girls have copied off her in exams. I suppose she expects some reward from us, as she thinks we are all richer than her.”
Jane was lost for words when asked if she admitted her guilt. “It’s just not true, Miss,” she finally blurted out. “I went off to the toilet, that’s all.”
“I can’t see that so much copying could have been done in such a short time,” came the reply. And indeed Jane could not explain it. Marie must have surreptitiously peered at her papers throughout the exam. The awful realisation dawned on her that Marie, as a well-established pupil, was going to be believed over her, the newcomer.
“I don’t think I need to ask any other girls for their evidence,” concluded the Mistress. “You, Marie, are guilty of copying during an exam; and you, Jane, are guilty of colluding in this copying, possibly in other exams also. This is a very serious matter. I shall report it to the Headmistress, with a recommendation that you both take the cane.”
Jane could not believe what was happening to her. She had tried so hard to be well behaved at all times, and it now looked as though she was going to be not slippered but caned. As they left, Marie only had one sentence for her.
“I’ve been whacked once before,” she muttered. “And it bloody hurt.”
Jane could scarcely eat any lunch, and classes that afternoon were a slow torment. She realised she knew nothing about caning, other than the pain and the marks. Here she was, sitting down as usual in her blazer and dress, but would she have to strip them off for her punishment? To avoid such humiliation, she was determined to plead her case before Miss Wilson, the Headmistress.
Right at the end of the last period, there was a knock and the School Secretary entered. Jane’s heart skipped a beat. Sure enough, it was the message that she and Marie should present themselves immediately at the Headmistress’s study. With curious glances from all around, they both stood up with their bags and left the room. Jane’s parting thought was to wonder, should the worst happen, when she would sit down in comfort again.
Both girls plodded along in silence after the Secretary, who led them straight into the study. Miss Wilson was waiting for them, seated behind her desk. Once their escort had withdrawn, she began to speak.
“I don’t want to waste too much time on this misbehaviour, girls, serious though it is. I have heard all the particulars and I intend to deal with you both here and now. Your end of term History exam papers will be null and void. Maybe Jane, in the light of what Marie says about the copying activities taking place, all of your work should be destroyed. However, I don’t wish to pursue the matter any further provided that you both accept immediate corporal punishment. Of course, being Sixth Formers, you have a choice. If you don’t accept, you will leave the Academy forthwith, though you have the option of an appeal to the Governors. But if you do take it, you can both proceed towards A-levels. It’s just fortunate for you both that this all came to light now rather than later in your academic progress, especially for you, Jane. Take my punishment now, and your scholarship will remain intact. So what is it to be?”
All of Jane’s intentions to contest this injustice evaporated. She could not risk losing her scholarship and returning to her dreadful old school. Amidst her thoughts she heard Marie agreeing to be punished, and then she too murmured her assent.
Without delay, the Head moved to her wardrobe and pulled out an item hanging from the rail inside. Jane gawped at the sight of this object which she had never expected to see. It was a yellow-brown crook-handled cane.
“Very well, Marie,” she continued. “You’ve felt this before, haven’t you? Was it for smoking?”
“Yes, Miss,” came the reply. “I got two.”
“So now, after this more serious offence, you will take four. Give your blazer to Jane, and turn round the chair in front of my desk.”
Marie did as she was told. She remembered what to do, kneeling up on the chair and bending over its back. She reached down for the chair legs, so that her bottom was sticking well up in the air. Though not particularly large, it now bulged up under the tightening trousers. The edge of her knickers was clearly visible.
Jane remembered this chair, from her one previous visit to Miss Wilson’s study. On the first day of term she had been invited to sit on it while being congratulated on her scholarship. Now she was to occupy it again, but in a very different posture. She clutched her classmate’s blazer, terrified by the scene taking place before her, but unable to take her eyes away.
Gently and carefully, the Headmistress lined up her cane across Marie’s buttocks, causing her to flinch and wriggle.
“Keep still now, girl, or you’ll get extra,” she ordered.
Then she raised the cane shoulder high and brought it down vigorously on the centre of the outstretched target. Marie suppressed a scream but maintained her position. Miss Wilson did not rush, laying the cane a little lower, and cracked Marie a second time, this time eliciting a sob. The third stroke led to a full-blown howl and caused the girl to jerk her backside down and up again, but she stayed with her fingers gripped round the chair legs. But the fourth stroke, delivered right across the first, made Marie jump up instantly and hop round the room as if in some crazy dance to her own accompaniment of yells and groans.
“That’s enough, Marie,” the Head commanded. “Straighten yourself up and put your blazer on again.”
Still sniffling, Marie snatched it from Jane’s grasp and thrust her arms into it, but continued to rub her bottom vigorously once it was back in place.
Jane realised her turn had come. As if preparing for execution, she slipped out of her much-loved jacket and gestured with it to Marie.
“Stop rubbing yourself, girl, and hold Jane’s blazer,” came the order, and Marie reluctantly took hold of the garment. “Now Jane, you know what to do.”
And Jane, feeling vulnerable and defenceless, hitched her dress above her knees and climbed on to the chair as if mounting the scaffold.
But before she could get in position, Miss Wilson had worse news for her.
“I can’t cane you effectively through that dress,” she announced. Then Jane gasped as she felt hands on her thighs, raising her dress until her knickers were revealed right up to the waistband.
“Now bend over the chair and hold on to its back. And grip it tightly!”
Jane obeyed, flinching as Marie had done, when she felt a gentle stroking on her behind. She whimpered when she realised that this teasing feeling would soon be replaced by something quite different. But the Head still had a further announcement before the punishment started.
“I was intending to give you six strokes, Jane, as a fitting reward for your mischief,” she declared. “But seeing that you are properly dressed in regulation knickers, I shall reduce it to five.” And at that she raised the cane and slashed it down across the middle of its target.
Jane could never have imagined the burning pain that resulted from just one stroke. With a yell she jerked upwards and clasped both hands around her buttocks.
“Back in position, girl, or I shall give you extra,” came the order.
But Jane could not stop herself from clutching her cheeks again after the second stinging stroke had landed.
“I can’t help it, Miss,” she blurted out between sobs. “I just can’t stay still.”
“Very well,” the Head replied. “We shall try something else. Marie, put down Jane’s blazer and come round behind the chair. Jane, get back over and hold the sides. Marie will grip your wrists while you take the final three strokes.”
When Marie had taken her stance, Miss Wilson issued further instructions.
“Jane, lift your head up and look Marie in the eye. And you too, Marie, keep your gaze fixed on Jane’s eyes.”
Jane felt that she had moved from the scaffold to the torture chamber. Marie’s grasp was firm. It was an effort to raise her head but then she caught Marie’s look, gloating over Jane’s agony even whilst her own rear was still sore. She dared not take her gaze away from those contemptuous eyes, even when her own eyes were flooded with tears as the three strokes landed in quick succession on the most sensitive regions of her backside.
“Thank you, Marie,” announced the Head. “You may now leave.”
Marie made her exit while Jane slowly climbed down from the chair and rubbed first her wrists and then her bottom before pulling her dress down, donning her blazer and finally facing the Headmistress. Her crying had subsided, though she still needed to dab her eyes.
Miss Wilson now adopted quite a different tone. “I know that was a very painful experience for you, Jane. Maybe your crimes have been exaggerated. But you must be aware that corporal punishment is our tradition, and receiving the cane, even though both painful and humiliating, is nothing to be ashamed of. Now go home and come back refreshed tomorrow.”
That night, after inspecting the five angry red stripes across her buttocks, Jane felt very uncertain about her future. Marie would ensure all the class would be aware of her punishment and might even demand to see the evidence, which would be visible anyway in the changing room after games. But then she remembered the Headmistress’s parting words. There was nothing to be ashamed of. She had been forced to stare into Marie’s face during her punishment but now she could look any girl in the eye. She had at last become a true Lady of the Academy.
© David 2016