A girl faces a caning, and then has to tell her mother
By Robert Roberts
Florence Townsend stood nervously before the school secretary, Alice Bassnet, a kind-hearted, friendly, middle-aged lady.
“I’ve been told to report to Miss Phelps,” said Florence in hushed tones.
“Yes,” replied Alice looking sympathetically towards Florence. “Your name is on my list. Miss Phelps shouldn’t be too long. Why don’t you sit over there?” she suggested, pointing to a row of unoccupied seats.
“Do you know what’s going to happen to me?” inquired Florence.
Alice, aware Florence was visibly shaking, smiled thoughtfully. “I think you know the answer to that question. Your friend, Alan Stokes, was here this morning. He was caned. I heard him tell Miss Phelps it was all his fault, so she might go easy on you. Take some deep breaths. It will all be over before you know it. The waiting is the worst part.” Having never been caned herself, the secretary didn’t know if the waiting was the worst part, but she wanted to try and give Florence some reassurance.
The telephone rang and Alice answered, prompting Florence to take herself off to one of the seats. The minutes ticked by and various students and teachers came and went. Embarrassingly for Florence, a fellow sixth former, Eileen Poole, breezed into the office and went behind the counter.
“I’m here for the afternoon, Alice. What would you like me to do?”
“That’s great, Eileen. Can you start with photocopying those letters to parents and stuffing them in envelopes?”
“Sure thing. Oh! Hello Flo. I didn’t see you sitting there,” exclaimed Eileen who, rather against Florence’s wishes, came from behind the counter to speak to her.
Florence and Eileen were not close friends, but Eileen thought it polite to speak, asking the obvious question, “What are you doing here?”
‘She’s going to hear me being whacked and she’s going to hear me yelping,’ thought Florence to herself. ‘Might as well be up front and tell her.’
“I’m here to see Miss Phelps for the cane.”
Eileen seemed genuinely surprised and concerned, but before she could probe with further questions Alice called out to her to return behind the counter and get on with her tasks.
Further embarrassment for Florence came when Mr Jewkes, the teacher who had caught her and Alan Stokes smoking and reported them to the headmistress, came into the office. Florence quite liked Mr Jewkes, but had rather clumsily pleaded with him not to report her and felt ashamed that she had not acted with greater dignity.
“Hello Florence,” Mr Jewkes greeted her with a sufficiently sympathetic reaction to demonstrate he cared about her unfortunate situation.
She stood up politely, responding to his greeting. He was an imposing figure; six feet two inches tall, athletic build, wavy black hair slightly greying at the temples. A deep booming voice and a sense of humour that appealed to his students making him very popular, especially with the girls. His main subjects were history and geography and although he had not taught Florence for two years, he remembered her and had that way with him that made her think she was special to him. But now she was finding out not that special to overlook her transgression this morning.
“I’m sorry I had to report you and Alan Stokes. I guess that’s why you are here now.”
How Florence wished his voice was not so loud. Eileen and Alice could not help but hear every word. Speaking, almost whispering, Florence tried to apologise for her snivelling performance when she and Alan had been apprehended this morning.
His voice seemed to echo around the office as he answered, “Not to worry, Florence. I suppose it was the shock of being caught out. But let’s try and get a positive out of this. Make sure the caning teaches you to give up that filthy and expensive habit.”
Turning away, he acknowledged Alice and Eileen and passed an envelope to Alice.
“Please make sure Miss Phelps gets this report today.”
Upon leaving the office, he gave Florence a smile and a wink and said, “Good luck.”
Florence had now been waiting a very anxious thirty minutes. She approached the desk and spoke to Alice. “I’ve got games at 2 o’clock and I’m going to be late. That will put me in more trouble.”
“Don’t worry about that. Miss Phelps will give you a pass, or I can if necessary. I’m sure Miss Phelps won’t be long now.”
An anxious Florence returned to her seat. She didn’t have to wait much longer.
“Hello Florence. This is a big disappointment isn’t it?” commented Miss Phelps as she entered the office. “Come with me,” she said, and as she led Florence into her own office she asked Alice, “Anything urgent?”
Alice replied there was nothing until her 3 o’clock appointment.
Florence followed the headmistress into her office. Apart from the fear of the cane, this was embarrassing for Florence and not without some uneasiness for Miss Phelps. She and Florence’s mother, Francesca, were good friends. Miriam Phelps and Florence had known each other since Florence was two years old. Over the years, they had celebrated birthdays, days out, and holidays together. When she was very young, Florence addressed her as Aunty Miriam. In school, she was always careful to address her as Miss. Nobody in the school was aware of their relationship, although it was not deliberately kept as a secret.
“Sorry to have kept you waiting, Florence,” apologised the headmistress without giving a reason. “This is a dreadful situation. You realise I’ve got to cane you, don’t you?”
“Yes,” replied Florence despondently.
“I can’t imagine what your mother is going to think of me caning her daughter.”
“She has always told me that if I get into trouble she will not intervene on my behalf, and if you have to punish me she will never try to talk you out of it,” responded Florence.
“And what do you think of that? Wouldn’t you like to use our relationship to try and get you out of a caning?” inquired the headmistress.
“I’m not brave. I would do anything to get out of a caning, but I realise you have got to do it,” replied Florence.
“Sensible answer. I’m going to have to treat you the same as your accomplice, Alan Stokes. He received the maximum for a boy of six strokes across his bottom and you will receive the maximum for a girl; four strokes across your hands.”
“Why do I get it across the hands if we are supposed to be treated equally?” asked Florence.
“Simply because I think it is humiliating and unladylike for a girl to have to bend over and lift up her skirt or lower her trousers to receive a caning. Boys get it over their underpants and girls get it on their bare hands, so they only get four strokes with a lighter cane.”
Florence guessed as much, but wondered if she would rather have it over her bottom. She couldn’t imagine being able to hold her hockey stick this afternoon when the caning had been completed.
“This is very difficult for me, Florence. You have put me into a difficult situation,” explained the headmistress. “What lessons have you got this afternoon?” she inquired, thinking about the difficulty Florence would have holding her pen in the classroom.
“Ah. As much as I understand the importance of physical exercise for you girls, it’s not like a lesson in one of the subjects you are studying for A level. I will give you a pass and you can go home, unless of course you would rather attend games and return here for your caning at 4 o’clock.”
“I like the idea of going home, Miss,” replied Florence, thinking this was the best outcome.
“Right. Shall we get on with it? Two strokes on each hand. I hate having to do this to you, so I am going to blank out from my mind that it is you.”
“I will do the same, Miss,” responded Florence, trying her level best to be brave. “Just one thing. Will this affect our future relationship? Will you look at me differently in future? Will I forever be the naughty girl you had to cane?”
“It will certainly not affect our relationship. I will treat you the same as any girl up for a caning, but once the punishment is over you will once again be my darling Flo. I hope your mother… Well, I guess I’m going to find out soon enough.”
Florence took a deep breath. She was trembling and she could feel her heart thumping.
‘Wouldn’t it be awful if I fainted?’ she thought to herself, but then admonished herself and said a little prayer for strength.
The Headmistress issued instructions. “I realise you have never been caned before. So, right arm outstretched. After the first stroke, your natural reaction will be to lower your arm and rub your hand, but I want you to return to the position for you to receive the next stroke immediately. And then we change over to your left hand. Got it?”
Florence did not answer, but just held out her right arm as instructed. Miss Phelps adjusted the height of the girl’s arm and the angle of her hand. She would aim to hit hard across the palm of her hand, avoiding the fingers and thumb. If she caught the girl’s fingers it would be because the girl had moved her hand and that would be her fault.
Everything went smoothly and efficiently. Four hard strokes were delivered accurately and with the minimum of fuss. The pain for Florence was excruciating. The first shot was fired in with such ferocity it took her by surprise. The cane zipped through the air and juddered to a halt as it connected with Florence’s right hand. She squealed, not an uncontrolled shriek, but certainly her pained cry could be heard by Alice and Eileen. She did indeed instinctively drop her arm and clutch her stinging hand, but bravely returned her arm to the correct position for the second stroke.
Miss Phelps did not hold back on the second stroke. With deadly accuracy, she overlapped the first stroke. Florence closed her eyes before its delivery and, not being taken by surprise this time, was able to muffle her cry, but tears were now streaming down her cheeks.
A change of hands with no words being spoken. Again Miss Phelps made a slight adjustment before revealing to poor Florence that no mercy was going to be shown. Florence rocked on her heels before thrusting her damaged left hand between her knees and gripping her wrist with her stinging right hand. This didn’t bring any relief.
Her reaction was a controlled sobbing, and Miss Phelps heard her whisper, “No, no, no. Please no.”
The Headmistress waited patiently for a few seconds before gently reminding Florence with a light touch to her arm. Florence obediently and slowly raised her left arm for the fourth and final stroke. The cane drove hard into her hand, engendering a feeling as though she had been slashed with a jagged broken bottle.
Indescribable pain but she had survived. She stood where she had been caned, sobbing and gently rubbing her hands, noticing the angry red stripes developing into a swelling on each hand. As she did with all her girl miscreants, Miss Phelps told Florence to sit on the sofa where she would remain for ten minutes to reflect upon her wrongdoings before being allowed to apply some aftercare to her damaged hands.
Meanwhile, in the adjoining secretary’s office, Eileen was mortified. Upon hearing the distinct sound of the crash of the cane into Florence’s hands, followed immediately by her woeful cry, Eileen shuddered and turned to Alice.
“I don’t know how you are able to cope with listening to this.”
“Fortunately, Miss Phelps really does not like giving the cane, especially to girls,” explained the secretary. “It only happens three or four times a term.”
As the second stroke landed, Eileen winced. “Listening to Mr Jewkes talking to Flo explains what happened in my history class this morning. Alan Stokes came into the classroom amid jeers and unkind comments, but it became apparent that he was in pain and he was crying. He tried to sit at his desk but couldn’t manage it. He was really upset and we all went quiet. Mrs Parks went up to him, gave him a pass to the library and told him to stay there until lunchtime to take the time to compose himself.”
After the sound of Florence’s third stroke, Eileen said, “Poor Flo. This must be agony. Hope she’s going to be all right.”
“She will be very sore for a couple of days but she did bring it upon herself. Are you a smoker, Eileen?”
“No. Nor am I going to be after this.”
The fourth stroke landed.
“Thankfully, that should be it,” commented Alice. “Just to reiterate, Eileen. Whatever goes on in this office is confidential. You must never speak of it to anyone, including Florence, unless she speaks to you first.”
“Understood,” responded Eileen, still quite shaken by what she had heard next door. “What happens next?”
“Miss Phelps makes them sit still for ten minutes to reflect on their wrongdoing. If it’s the boys, she sends them on their way. If it’s the girls, she lets them use her private washroom to run their hands under the cold water tap and then gives them some cream to apply.”
And this is exactly what happened to Florence. For ten minutes, she sobbed quietly and tried to bring some relief to her hands. Miss Phelps put away her cane and, ignoring Florence, sat at her desk and dealt with some correspondence. Eventually, she suggested Florence might get some relief if she applied running cold water to her hands, and pointed in the direction of her private adjoining washroom.
“There’s a tube of cream on the shelf. You are welcome to use it.”
Florence was able to compose herself and, upon leaving the washroom, she presented herself to the headmistress.
“Are you OK, Florence? You took it well. It was harsh, but appropriate. No more smoking on school premises or there will be a repeat.”
Florence nodded. The pain was distracting, although the cold water and definitely the cream had helped. All she wanted now was to get home, thankful that she had been given a pass. She left the office, head bowed and not wanting to converse with Alice or Eileen, but Eileen felt she had to say something.
“That was awful, Flo. Hope you’re all right.”
Florence acknowledged Eileen’s concern, but without saying anything she set off for home. She felt weak and very tearful. The whole process from being caught by Mr Jewkes, the knowledge that her friend Alan had been dealt with very severely, the waiting for the corporal punishment to be applied to her, and the embarrassment of being whacked within the earshot of Alice and a fellow sixth former, was all very distressing. Not to mention the unbelievable stinging pain to both her hands.
Miriam Phelps telephoned her friend, Florence’s mother, Francesca Townsend. After the expected exchange of pleasantries, Miriam dropped the bombshell.
“Francesca, unfortunately I had to cane Flo. I’ve just finished with her and she is on her way home. I’m really sorry.”
There was silence for a few seconds before an incredulous Francesca asked, “Whatever for? What did she do?”
“I’m going to leave her to tell you, Francesca. Look Francesca. Let’s meet and have a chat. Not just about Florence. What about tomorrow lunchtime?”
“Is Florence OK?” asked Francesca, worrying over her daughter and ignoring Miriam’s request for a meeting.
“She has been caned and she is hurting, but she will be fine. I promise. I wouldn’t do anything to cause her harm.”
Francesca did not know what to think. “Let me see her when she gets home and I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Florence, tears rolling down her face, showed her bruised and swollen hands to her mother. “Miriam caned me Mum. It was awful. It hurts so much.”
“My poor darling,” exclaimed Francesca as she held her daughter’s hands, shocked at the red, turning blue, angry stripes across the palms. “Miriam rang and told me she had caned you, but she wouldn’t tell me why. So you tell me why, sweetheart.”
“I can’t tell you. You’ll be so angry,” sobbed Florence.
“Have you stolen something? Cheated in your exam? You haven’t bullied someone, have you?” questioned her mother. “I’m meeting Miriam tomorrow, so you might as well tell me. Whatever it is, I want to know.”
Florence withdrew her hands from Francesca and took a deep breath. “Early this morning, before registration, Mr Jewkes caught me and Alan smoking a cigarette.”
Francesca took a step back from her daughter. A few seconds of stunned silence. “What!” she shouted. “You have lied to me. You promised me you had given up smoking. You handed over to me what you said was your last pack of cigarettes. Only two days ago.”
Francesca sat down disconsolately. “What am I going to do with you?”
“Mum, I’m so sorry, but I’ve been punished. I’ve learnt my lesson. It will not happen again, I promise,” she wailed.
“You have been rightfully punished for smoking on school premises. I am going to match that punishment for you telling lies and deceiving me. Go to your room.”
“Mum. I can’t take any more. Look at my hands,” the girl begged.
With all sympathy evaporated, Francesca repeated her order. “Go to your room. I need to calm down. I don’t want to punish you until I’ve calmed down.”
Miserably, Florence, in a flood of tears, went to her bedroom, threw herself on her bed and cried herself to sleep.
A couple of hours later, Francesca, still feeling desperately disappointed at her daughter’s deception, but temper dissipated, slipped into her daughter’s bedroom with a conciliatory cup of tea. Florence was asleep. Francesca looked at her badly swollen and very sore hands, knowing that she would not be able to further punish her for a couple of days.
Florence stirred and, becoming aware of her mother’s presence, woke up with a start, anticipating a further tirade. But Francesca was there to make peace.
“You know you have behaved badly towards me, and I’m going to punish you, but I will wait until your hands have healed.”
Florence nodded. She was in pain and would be for a few hours, but this would not be the end of it. Her hands were going to be subjected to more torment. Her mother looked on with pity as her daughter struggled to manage holding the cup of tea.
“I’m really sorry, Mum, and I promise there won’t be a repeat,” she asserted.
“Your apologies and promises mean nothing after lying to me. We’ll sort out your punishment at the weekend, if your hands have recovered.”
Miriam Phelps and her friend, Francesca Townsend, met for a chat over coffee and cake.
“We don’t need to discuss you caning Florence. You gave her what she deserved. I’ve always said if you need to punish her I will not interfere and she understands that,” Francesca reassured her friend Miriam. “Her hands are bruised and painful. How long before they recover?”
“In my experience, she will be fine by Friday. Still some marks but the pain will be mostly gone,” explained the headmistress.
“So I should be able to cane her on Saturday?” questioned Francesca.
Miriam looked surprised. “I really think the caning I gave her is enough punishment.”
“Punishment enough for smoking on school premises, maybe. But I need to punish her for telling me lies and deceiving me.”
“I don’t think I would recommend caning her so soon. I gave her a hard time, and you wouldn’t want to risk injury,” responded the concerned headmistress.
“That’s a pity. I would like to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I don’t possess a cane. Could you lend me one?”
Miriam hesitated. She worried that Francesca, who had no experience of using a cane, could cause serious injury to her daughter. A badly aimed swish could strike the wrist or the fingertips. She offered some advice to her friend.
“I choose to cane girls on their hands because I think it is degrading for a young lady to be required to bend over, lift up her skirt and expose her buttocks. But in the privacy of her own home, you, as her mother, could cane Florence on her bottom. It would also be safe. Bottoms are made for caning. What do you think?”
Francesca thought this was an excellent idea. All she needed was a cane, but then she remembered her ex-husband used to wield a strap when punishing Edgar, their son. She shared this idea with her friend, who agreed the strap applied to the buttocks would be a safe and effective option.
Friday evening, and Francesca asked Florence, “How are your hands, darling?”
Her daughter showed them to her mother. Still marked, but Florence assured her mother the pain had all but gone.
“I’m playing hockey for the school tomorrow morning,” she announced proudly.
“That’s really good dear. I’m pleased. Sweetheart,” she continued. “We need to discuss your punishment which I’m intending to carry out this weekend. Probably tomorrow afternoon, after you get back from hockey.”
Florence’s attitude stiffened. She had hoped her Mum was going to give her a pass.
“But Mum, I don’t think my hands can take another caning. Not yet.”
“OK to hold the hockey stick?” smiled Francesca. “You needn’t worry about your hands. Your backside is going to be introduced to your father’s strap. The one he used on Edgar. I found it in the garage. I’ve cleaned it up so it’s nice and shiny and just right to teach you a good lesson.”
Florence looked crestfallen. She grabbed her school books, and now feeling nervous and fearing another two or three days of pain and torment, made a move to her bedroom.
Her Mum stopped her. “I hate this, but I’m determined to teach you a lesson. We’ll get it out of the way and then all will be forgiven.”
Florence stayed in her room all night, not wishing to communicate with her mother, who decided it was best to leave her alone.
Florence entered the kitchen looking downbeat.
“Hello darling. How did you get on?”
“We lost 2-1. I had a chance to equalise in the last minute, but I fluffed it.”
“Oh no.” Francesca consoled her daughter, wrapping her arms around her. “Never mind, you’ll be the star next match.”
“If I get picked,” was the gloomy answer.
“I’ve made some lunch for you,” said Francesca. “Me and Marie had ours earlier.”
Florence shuffled uneasily and was scared to raise the subject of her being spanked.
Her mother sensed her agitation and said, “Yes, dear. We need to sort out your spanking. We can do it now, or you can have your lunch first.”
Tears dribbled down Florence’s cheeks but Mother was unforgiving. “Come on, Florence. You knew this was going to happen. You are going to get six of the strap over your backside. Not so bad as the cane over your hands.”
“Please Mum,” pleaded Florence hopelessly.
“Go to your room. I’ll be with you in a minute. And can you ask your sister to join us?”
“What! Why?” asked Florence disbelievingly.
“I want her to see you being punished so she gets the message what will happen to her if she misbehaves. She’s been getting a bit mouthy of late.”
Florence trudged unhappily upstairs to Marie’s bedroom. She politely knocked on her younger sister’s door and entered.
“Hello, Flo. How did you get on?”
“Bad luck. You look a bit down.”
“I’m going to get a spanking from Mum. She wants you to come and watch.”
Marie looked bewildered. “No. I don’t want to. Why would I?”
“I don’t think it’s a request. You had better come now.”
Very reluctantly, Marie went with her sister to her bedroom and they were soon joined by their mother wielding the fearsome-looking strap.
“Hop onto your bed and get onto your hands and knees. Stick your bum out.”
Florence obeyed. Her short sports tunic rode up, exposing her knickers. Feeling vulnerable with her bottom exposed, she didn’t have long to wait for the commencement of her chastisement. Francesca raised the strap above her shoulder and lashed it down hard across her oldest daughter’s buttocks with a loud thwack. The inevitable plaintive cry followed. An immediate red welt appeared across Florence’s buttocks where not protected by her sports knickers. Five more tough-to-take lashes followed, accompanied by much wailing and crying out, but Florence gamely held her position with just one collapse onto the bed after the third stroke.
“That’s it, debt paid,” stated a breathless Francesca. “You are forgiven. But no more smoking and no more lying to me.”
Francesca departed to leave Marie consoling her sobbing sister.
“Are you OK?” asked Alan. “You look a bit shaken up.” He put his arm around Florence and drew her close to him. “Are you going to show me the results of your spanking?”
“All right,” said Florence. “But let’s have a ciggy first.”
© Robert Roberts 2022