Look good, act refined and know how to work your forks, was the mantra at most 1920’s Finishing Schools. The retiring Head of Hutton Hall for Girls leaves some notes for his successor.
Soon you’ll be doing my job and I know you’ll succeed. Your earlier work proves you can handle young people. But please allow me to pass you these few lines, because becoming Principal of a Finishing School for Girls you assume responsibility of a different order. When you have read them, keep these papers safe or (probably better) burn them.
Hutton Hall girls range from 18 to 22 years of age — older than those you’ve recently taught. They have spent their years answering to nannies, governesses, tutors and parents stiff with Victorian attitudes. In short, they’ve been oppressed — and now they’re ‘set free’. The caterpillar and chrysalis stages are gone, and the emergent butterfly is more akin to a fractious filly than a delicate painted lady.
Your challenge is to continue to educate this breed, who do not intend to let their newly-tasted liberation evaporate. How can you prepare them for roles as wives and mistresses of fine houses if they mean only to take up smoking, drink, dress outrageously, make assignments, attend the theatre, parties and balls, always flirting and sometimes copulating with whatever male company comes their way?
A reminder of the order of things
The answer, of course, is discipline. I know from your interviews with the Board of Governors that you understand discipline in principle. I wonder, however, if you have taken aboard what it entails in practice? I’m afraid that for most of your charges severe punishment will be necessary. Allow me to explain why.
The first few weeks Hutton Hall symbolise to the girls escape from home. Untrammelled by parental governance they fly to extremes. They do not accept rules and are reluctant to take instruction. They will openly flout your authority and although you may chastise them they will still do everything they can to test you. The more allowances you make the more they will expect, so you must rule from day one. That means (please do not flinch from this) as soon as they transgress you must treat each girl to a well-flogged bottom.
Waste no time giving warnings. For a misdemeanour lift the rod from the wall (where I have always displayed it as a wordless warning), call the culprit to the front and give three on either hand. That is for a misdemeanour. For more serious crimes mark the girl’s fault in the punishment book, making it plain the marks will shortly be transferred to her bottom. For outright insolence and disobedience send the girl to the Contrition Room and attend to her as soon as possible.
The Contrition Room is furnished with desks on each of which is kept a Book of Contrition. These are like diaries, except they record not events of the day, but punishments given. Immediately after she has been caned, the girl returns to the room and writes an account of her punishment, what happened, how long it took, what was said and how she feels.
Part of the purpose is so the culprit may record her remorse. But the more powerful reason is so girls waiting to pay for their sins may read how their peers were chastised and how they felt on leaving my study. What better way to ratchet up the terror they are in than when they read off a tear-stained page a message in a shaky hand?
Excerpts from Books of Contrition
Penelope Wilton, 18, second term at Hutton Hall. I didn’t know what fear was until I stood in front of your desk and you told me to take down my panties. Embarrassment and shame make me blush to the roots of my hair. Then when I had to bend, and my bottom was sticking up in the air, I was so miserable I felt sick. That was before the caning began.
Caroline Simpson, 19, second year at Hutton Hall. I promise you I will never disobey, argue with or contradict any person in authority at Hutton Hall again. The pain in my bottom hasn’t begun to subside so I write this standing up, and tear stains are spoiling the page. I saw my father spank one of our maids once, but that was nothing compared to the thrashing I have had.
Charlotte Hawkin, 18, third term at Hutton Hall. I was crying as I bent over, and screamed at every stroke. When I’d been given four I thought my heart would break I felt so scared and sore. The last two, which seemed to take ages, were laid across stripes already there, so it increased the pain still more. Knowing what I know now I will never do anything which leads to the cane again.
[No name given]. I hate you. You are the meanest, most cruel person I’ve met in my life. It isn’t fair. Yes, I copied my work from another girl but the punishment is out of all proportion. I am limping and can’t bear to wear clothes. I shall write to my father.
I unearthed the girl who wrote that, and extracted such a price from her bottom she hates me even more. When parents come to Hutton Hall I never hide the fact that the cane is part of our regime, indeed I take parents to my office to inspect the instrument. I also encourage them to read a few pages from Books of Contrition. Then, should they still choose Hutton Hall, we receive no complaints about sore bottoms.
The punishment regime in more detail
During your first days introduce a harsh regime. Increase the intensity of supervision so plenty of girls are marked for punishment. The floggings will dispel any idea that girls should try to test your resolve. Announce at Assembly that the Books of Contrition are to stay — there is always speculation a new Principal may abolish them.
My habit is to carry out punishments daily. Those marked for chastisement gather in the Contrition Room. Install a prefect to stand over them, make sure they read a Book of Contrition, and allow them to cool their heels for ten minutes or so before you call in the first culprit. Girls due to be caned for the first time are anxious and agitated but they generally can control themselves. Not knowing how terrible a flogging can be imbues them with false confidence.
Those called before me a second time can be more difficult to control and may cry even before you remove their panties. Tears are caused by fear and I invariably deal with that by flogging hard so they are also caused by pain. I know a girl is feeling the effect when she’s up on her toes and dancing. They hop from one foot to another, buck and sway, and struggle to shift their bottoms from the line of fire. The harder they are to control the harder I lay on and when they realise this, submission comes the sooner.
The principal reason to punish
Soon girls settle down and you can relax your regime. It won’t be long before you only rarely lower a girl’s panties because she is insolent or lazy. You see, there is only one reason why chastisements are a regular occurrence.
Every girl indulges in self-abuse, or to call it by its proper name masturbation. They play with themselves. None is free from the impulse nor abstains from the practice. The twin-fingered-ballet doesn’t bother me, it releases tension, is done secretly and the girl feels better when it’s over. Unfortunately the Board of Governors see matters differently as I discovered when I spoke to the Chairman.
‘Hrrumph! Touchy matter, don’t y’know. A girl’s body is a temple and deserves a holy respect. Girls must abstain so the Holy Ghost may dwell in them. Not saying it’s harmful don’t-ye-know, but it creates guilt and emotional stress and in no way expresses the proper use of procreative powers. I urge you, Principal, to make every effort to curb the practice…’
The secret games in the dormitory
Matron has explained what girls get up to in bed. They may place a thumb and forefinger around the clitoris and gently roll it between their fingers. They may move their fingers in a circular motion over the top of the clitoris, varying speed and pressure. Or they may tap. The left hand pulls the pussy lips back so the clitoris is exposed, then, with the right-hand index finger they tap very lightly. The sensations builds until they can’t hold back.
Their favourite way to masturbate is to ‘ride a pillow’. The girl takes one of her pillows and twists one corner into a hard knot. The knot is tucked between her legs while she hugs the pillow tight against the clitoris, pretending it’s the torso of her currently favourite man. She rides to climax with her ‘lover’.
We knew all this but could not think how to prevent it, and to be frank I didn’t see what harm was being done. But I had to find an answer and it came from a surprising source. The priest who attends Hutton Hall for Sunday service, introduced us to D-Tect. He got it, so he claimed, from the Mother Superior of a nunnery he visits, and the nuns use it to discipline their novices. Here is how it works.
In the Hutton Hall laundry D-Tect is added to the water used to wash bed-linen. Absorbed by sheets and pillow cases it is undetectable when dry. Incredibly it makes the linen what I can only describe as ‘sex-sensitive’. Which means if so much as a trace of vaginal fluid touches it, that spot turns a pale purple. Imagine: the girl is enjoying herself, reaches her climax and turns over to sleep — but her fingers are damp and she is betrayed. Noticing the purple stains next morning, the girl thinks nothing of it. She does not know what the marks indicate.
There were healthy queues in the Submission Room when we started to use D-Tect. Many girls were caned not knowing their bed-linen betrayed them. But however you expose masturbation, and whatever punishments you use to prevent it, you will fail. A sore bottom may dissuade the girl from touching her vagina for a night or two, until the pain of the thrashing has passed. But other girls, seeing a welted arse, spotting ruddy weals laid over a creamy moon, find themselves inexplicably aroused.
The marks of the cane on one poor female can send a ripple of arousal through another. The clitoris sends out tiny messages and as they become more urgent so fingers act in response. Nature will not be denied. Of course the girls make sure their games are undiscovered, lie when challenged and share tips on where it’s safe to play.
One way to make them squirm is to interrogate cruelly when they are naked before you. ‘So, you insert fingers into your vagina?’ There is a horrified silence and the girl squirms with shame. ‘How many fingers, just one? Two maybe? More than two?’ The eyes well with tears.
‘Then you start to rub your clitoris?’ There is a gasp of breath that I should mention such a word. ‘Do you rub for a short while, or do you make it last?’ Silence. Tears break over the eye-rim and sneak down the cheeks.
‘Well you might cry, my girl. You’ll cry harder when I remind you school rules forbid bedtime games.’
‘Please sir… I’m nineteen. I can’t help what my body needs…’
‘Needs?’ Silence and shame. The girls hangs her heads and weeps.
‘You do not indulge needs. It is the worst kind of indiscipline. But I am not here to barter with you… Bend!’
The moment you have the bottom naked, jutting out, unable to escape, swing the cane. Do not play games, your task is to cut lust and disobedience down to size. And cut is the word, make sure the cane slams hard against tight skin. Be sure the skin indents, the girl shrieks in alarm and pain and her toes drum in an attempt to assuage the hurt. Ignore the dance. Do not pause, but even while the fire eats into her, drive in again, as near to the first cut as you can. And continue until six stripes are delivered. You recall descriptions in stories for Victorian boys about the five-bar gate? That is the pattern you should effect, and you will know it is achieved by the miscreant’s whey face, slack lips and howls of despair.
Delegating the responsibility
Generally the Board expects the Principal to administer all corporal punishment and for some time I kept the duty to myself. But you cannot be in all places at all times and you may need to delegate. When you do, bear in mind you must always carry out an inspection afterwards to see that justice has been done. You will be pleased to hear your Head Girl Claudia Huntingdon knows how to use the rod. She tasted it herself when she first came to us and since her appointment I have tutored her, demonstrating on culprits while she stood by. Claudia is often helped by the Matron, whom I call on to observe and assist at virtually all thrashings.
After Claudia has caned, the punished girl is allowed to slip into a thin cotton gown, whereupon Claudia sends her to me. There is a tap on the door. I say nothing. A second tap comes after a long pause, the girl probably hoping I am not at home. I open the door instantly. This is to catch any girl who might show the least resentment or defiance at her stripes. ‘Come in girl… come in. Go to the middle of the study. Take off your gown. No, lifting it will not suffice, take it right off.’
The penitent stands there, usually with tears streaming, head hung, salty drops spattering over bare breasts. Do not let this fool or discomfort you. The waterworks are usually simply turned on to reduce her chances of a ‘topping up’. I tell my visitor: ‘Drop your chemise. Bend and touch your toes, I need to see Claudia’s work.’
Look long and hard, touching if necessary. If the bottom is evenly striped, the stripes are raised and ruby, and there is little or no creamy texture left, then you may dismiss your visitor with a curt: ‘That will do. I hope it has taught you a lesson.’
But if the stripes are uneven, or not especially severe, or you have any other reason to believe extra stringency is required, do not hesitate. Let the cane fly into your hand, push the girl’s head down so she’s doubled at the waist, tap inside her calves so she is fully astride, and administer justice to the uttermost farthing.
Hutton Hall is long-established. We have a reputation in high circles for excellent results and the creation of capable, accomplished and dutiful young women. I know of curmudgeonly duchesses who will direct their sons toward Hutton girls confident that the bride will be obedient and the marriage permanent. A duchess knows our girls have tasted the cane even into their early twenties and can be encouraged in their duties by being frequently reminded of the fact. His grace the duke might add his two-penn’orth, thus:
‘Thing is m’boy, take her riding. Get her in jodhpurs and on horseback. Work up a sweat and when you’re back in the stable with the groom brushing your mounts down, tap the crop into your palm. Prattle on, tapping the while, and when her eyes flick to yours (as they surely will for the girl is mesmerised by the instrument) stress the importance of obedience. You’ll soon see whether she’s gonna be pliable. And if she looks like she may rebel, and you still want her, tell her a crop can be taken to bed and tucked under the pillow. A well-bred wench will squeal at the prospect.’
For all the above reasons my dear Giles, I urge you to adopt and continue with a rule of iron. If you do, you will be proud of the girls who leave school at the end of their tuition and the world shall speak well of you. If you do not, the stripes which you should have laid on their behinds, they will lay (metaphorically) on you and you will suffer from disobedience, insolence, wilfulness, impudence and distain. The rod is the answer and the one condition that makes a girl submissive is that she possesses a well-flogged bottom.