Story from The Roue 03.
St. Angela's Stands FIRM!
The recent statement of the European Court regarding corporal punishment in schools must assuredly have come as a great shock to educational establishments throughout the land. One of the most hallowed of British traditions apparently declared unlawful?! Fantastic! And presumably at all our finest schools caning will now merely be a thing of the past? Quite unbelievable! Retired old gentlemen must have been having fits! And undoubtedly such an earth-shattering pronouncement must have caused heated debate and discussion up and down the country.
Yes, this is certainly true, but on one score at least those old gentlemen may relax. Because at one noted school, at any rate, debate on this topic was virtually non-existent. I refer of course to St. Angela's school for Girls. Where the girls all knew without asking, without being told, that such a ruling would mean absolutely nothing to Mr. Ingham and his staff. Life at St. Angela's would continue unchanged and as always knickers would continue to be taken down, on the spot if necessary, at any master's whim.
However to say that 'all girls knew' is to give a false impression of what actually happened. For while all, deep down, undoubtedly did know there was nonetheless a few, a meagre handful, who fondly imagined, or shall we say hoped, that things might change. Sally Andrews and Judy Macintosh initially. 'Look, what it needs is a petition to the Head pointing out that spanking and caning are not unlawful,' said Sally.
Her friend Judy very sensibly had serious doubts as to the wisdom of this but was finally persuaded to agree: 'Well, all right. I suppose he can only say No. But nothing too strong. Something like: We respectfully request that the Headmaster... er... consider the recent decree of the Court. And... and could he please see fit to... er... to now abolish corporal punishment at St. Angela's.'
The petition did not get many signatories, the great majority of girls having learnt that at St. Angela's the best way to get by (and keep your bottom out of trouble, trouble by definition meaning having it bared over the chair in Room 2D) was to keep your head down, to remain as far as possible anonymous. Five names were all that could be mustered and this included those of the two instigators. 'Let's call it off,' said Judy but Sally unfortunately was not prepared to let her brain-child sink without trace. She sealed the petition and the five names in an envelope and gave it to the secretary to hand to the Head.
Undoubtedly it was a bold, indeed reckless, move. Those who knew waited with baited breath. There was not long to wait. Morning Assembly one day later...
The routine business out of the way and then the Head cleared his throat and looked sharply out at the ranks of girls. He had, he said, received a note – a petition it called itself – signed by five girls. Five silly girls, not to say impertinent ones. Referring to something which girls had presumably read about and seen on the television recently. Impertinent statements from a foreign body calling itself the European Court or something which purported to be able to tell sovereign countries how they should conduct their affairs. Well, other countries could do as they wished but we all knew no one told us in Britain how to run our lives. We would of course carry on exactly as before.
Now the girls in question. First of all he was glad to see that the number involved was so few – just five girls. Five girls had been sufficiently disloyal as to take part in this unprecedented act. Well, so much for this co-called Court's decree, these five girls would now receive what it had the impertinence to think it could ban. Yes they would each be caned and they would be caned now, as this Assembly, in front of the whole school. These girls will now step forward: Sally Andrews... Cynthia Barker... Judy Macintosh... Barbara Renfrew... Nancy Verity....
A tense excitement grips the assembled girls as the five unfortunates step out from their places and with flushed faces climb the short flight of steps on to the stage to form an unhappy-looking line. Tense excitement because a public caning in front of the whole school is a rare event and, let's face it, if it's someone else and not you, well, it is undoubtedly exciting. A chair placed carefully by Mr. Ingham near the front centre of the stage facing sideways. The first name called out. Sally Andrews.
She steps forward, a tall pretty girl with shoulder-length blonde hair, whose original idea this whole thing was of course. Mr. Ingham bends her over the seat of the chair so that her bottom faces the assembled school and all will clearly see. In his practised way he flips her skirt up over her back. Then pulls the tight white knickers down past the tops of her nylons to just above her knees. Sally's full pale bottom, waiting. The cane in the Head's hand. Raised. 'I shall give you six strokes. Miss,' And lowered. Thwack!....
A yelp of anguish from Sally. A bright pink stripe across the pale flesh. Sharp intakes of breath from those watching – for they all know what it feel like, the vicious sting on that tenderest part of your body.
Thwack! A second stripe now joining the first across Sally's desperately squirming buttocks.
Thwack!... Thwack!... Mr. Ingham is really laying it into her. A steady unhurried cadence, the awful sound of cane on flesh punctuated each time by a wild yelp from Sally. Her bared buttocks squirming more and more frantically as the stripes multiply.
Six finally delivered. Sally now standing, openly crying, fumbling up her knickers, stumbling back down the steps. Cynthia Barker next: a pert brunette with a ponytail, not as tall as Sally, she is already close to tears from having had to watch. The same routine. Over the chair. Skirt up. Knickers down. The cane raised. Thwack!.... A loud anguished howl....
Methodically the Head continues as the five girls in turn take their place over the seat of the chair. In turn skirts are raised and knickers lowered. In turn each receives six on the full flesh of the bare bottom. In turn she tearfully pulls her knickers back up over the angry stinging stripes; then hot faced, and with little dabs at the tears which will not stop coming, she returns to her place.
The excitement is finally over and it is time to get to class. Girls shuffle expectantly. But what is this? What is the Head saying?
Everyone has now seen these girls dealt with in the time-honoured way. But is could just possibly be that their action was only the tip of the iceberg and that although other girls did not sign this ridiculous petition they may nonetheless believe that this self-appointed foreign Court does indeed have some jurisdiction in these matters, and that they can have some say in what happens at St. Angela's. Could this possibly be so? wonders the Head in icy tones as he looks around. He does not expect an answer and does not get one, only an uncomfortable shuffling of bottoms in chairs as girls uneasily wonder where this is leading.
They very quickly learn as Mr. Ingham continues: He has decided therefore to take an action which he hopes will remind everyone what the situation is. So that no girl may be in any possible doubt he is going to cane every girl in the school. Four strokes with knickers down.
Gasps of disbelief, a buzz of outraged muttering. Within this general hubbub one voice – its owner momentarily forgetful of the golden rule at St. Angela's of keeping out of sight – is heard to say with unfortunate clarity: 'That's just not fair!'
'Stand up that girl, please!'
Red-faced she rises: it is Alison Follet, Seven A.
'You, my girl, will be given a double dose – eight strokes. Now does anyone else think it's unfair?'
No answer – not surprisingly!
'Good. I shall begin now, directly following this Assembly. I shall deal with one class at a time. Let's see, we will start with Form Six A. Those girls will proceed to the corridor outside Room 2D where they will take down their knickers and remain quietly in line until I arrive. The Form Leader will then send girls into me one at a time and finally come in herself. Other Forms will go to their normal classes until they are called. The girls I have just caned will not, of course, be exempted from this caning of the whole school.
'That is all I have to say except this one last thing. I want every girl to remember this, when it comes to her turn to get over the chair in Room 2D and have her knickers slipped down. To remember that St. Angela's stands firm against any attempt at interference. That is all. School dismiss.'
The clatter of 130-odd girls getting to their feet and with it the hum of what sounds like 130 voices – shocked, indignant, and especially angry voices. There is no point directing the anger at Mr. Ingham – you can do nothing about him. But you can perhaps do something about those five who inevitably are seen as responsible for this caning. Outside the Hall they are angrily jostled; hands reach out to sharply pull hair, to viciously pinch already stinging bottoms. Hissed threats: 'Wait till we get you back in the dorm tonight!' Sally and Nancy are soon once more in tears.
Back on the stage the Head turns to his colleagues. 'Well, gentlemen, I hope this will nip any possible rebellion in the bud.'
Mr. Harris, as always ready to agree with the Head, but on this occasion he undoubtedly speaks for everyone: 'Excellent, Headmaster. Most excellent! An inspired move, if I may say so. And an awfully good phrase too: St.Angela's Stands Firm!'
'Yes, one does have to keep one step ahead of them. And I think, gentlemen, that for the next couple of weeks at least, it will pay us all to be on our toes. Because this matter is bound to excite continuing comment both in the press and on the television. Therefore at any excuse whatsoever ask no questions, simply take the girl's knickers down and apply the cane.'
There are sounds of general approval. Not that what he has said is really anything new: for at St. Angela's it is normal practice to take down knickers at the slightest excuse. What he means of course, as they all know, is to take them down without any excuse.
'A kind of blitz!' offers Mr. Walker, polishing his glasses. Since his first somewhat unsure days this young master has become a much more confident caner, due mainly to having overcome that early hesitancy with the older girls. Deciding he had to face his problems head on he finally steeled himself in his second term to tackling a couple of the most grown-up looking girls, making them take their knickers down and then caning those bare mature-looking rears until they were abjectly begging for mercy. After that it was plain sailing.
'Yes,' says the Head, 'A blitz on behinds. Well, I must go: I believe Six A are awaiting my attention.'
* * *
In the corridor leading to Room 2D, Six A are indeed unhappily waiting. Mr. Archer, caretaker, is with them. He has chanced to find them here and on being told what, and whom, they are waiting for has given himself the task of checking that each girl has her knickers down in readiness. He has been moving slowly along the line, his hands reaching under skirts producing varied squirms and yelps.
He has now reached Linda Worsley, one of his favourites, a quietly attractive 16-year-old who has already, in this her first year at St. Angela's, learnt that Mr. Archer can be a useful ally in avoiding too frequent caning. An ally naturally has to be kept sweet. She squirms in turn as the hard hand reaches under her skirt and takes hold of the furry mound; but does not flinch away. Instead she co-operatively parts her closed legs, giving a suppressed squeal as the fingers reach in. She has learnt to accept what Mr. Archer likes to do: indeed she quite likes it herself when she's in the mood. And when, as now, you're waiting to be caned, a caning which this time even Mr. Archer can't get you out of, well, it does rather take your mind off it.
Eyes closed, Linda leans against him, biting her lip, hoping the girls on either side will not realise exactly what Mr. Archer and his fingers are doing. Surreptitiously she starts rhythmically moving her hips, wondering if there'll be time to actually....