From Blushes Uniform Girls 12
Spelling had always been her weakness. Judy Drake knew it and admitted it. The trouble was, now that she was coming up to her ‘A’s’, it was getting serious. It was pointless to be good at History, Geography and English Lit, if your exam papers were full of spelling mistakes. Mrs Stokes, her form mistress had pointed this out time and time again; Mr Barnard, the Assistant Head emphasised it, in no uncertain fashion. Then her parents had joined in. They had begun to realise that, after an expensive education at her public school (boarding), their daughter may well fail the first step on the ladder to university. And they had set their heart on her getting her degree. They knew she was a bright girl… but there was just this ‘blind spot’ about spelling.
Letters flew to and fro between the Assistant Head and themselves. They emphasised the importance of something being done about it and Mr Barnard agreed. The girls referred to him as ‘Old Barney,’ but in fact he was no more than in his mid-thirties. One or two of the more senior girls declared openly that they quite fancied him.
Mrs Stokes gave Judy special tuition but still things did not improve. Finally the Assistant Head wrote to her parents, more or less in desperation. ‘I have come to the conclusion,’ he stated, ‘that the only way to solve this problem is to take drastic action. By that, I mean your daughter should get a shock. A physical one. That may jerk her out of this mental block which is so seriously impeding her education. It will be unpleasant for her but for her benefit in the long run. What I propose, reluctantly, is corporal punishment for repeated spelling failures.
Of course, I must have your approval for this. If you say no, nothing on those lines will take place. Say yes, and I think I can guarantee results. I say this because I have had to deal with two similar cases over the last two years. I was successful in both of them. Please let me have your views.’
By return, a letter winged its way back to John Barnard.
‘It certainly is drastic action but, if you think it will get results, please proceed. Tell Judy you have our permission to chastise her if she does not make rapid improvement in her spelling.’
John folded the letter and placed it in his pocket with a sigh of satisfaction. He recalled that he had used the word ‘reluctantly’ in his letter to the parents. In all honesty, he had to admit to himself he hadn’t been exactly stating the truth. For, on the previous two occasions when special measures had seemed to be called for, he had found himself far from reluctant to apply them! However, white lies were sometimes necessary. To reassure his conscience, he told himself again that Judy would benefit in the long run. Why, one day, with her B.A., she might even come and thank him!
That day was, however, some way off. Meanwhile he would have to go and see the Head and tell him what was afoot. He was sure he would encounter no difficulties there.
She stood behind the small desk; it was rather like a lectern. Blue-grey skirt with split-pleat at the front, light grey pullover over skirt, and school tie; white socks and strapped shoes. Very conventional. Very charming thought Old Barney. Her hair was short and bunchy, quite curly; eyes blue. The tension in her was very evident and she looked at him with wide, glistening eyes.
‘You know why you’re here, Judy?’
‘Not really, sir…’
‘I don’t think that’s true, Judy,’ he said. ‘This matter has been discussed many times before. Your spelling. Something positive has to be done about it.’
‘I’ve tried, sir… honestly. Mrs Stokes and I have been working…’
John Barnard held up his hand. ‘The time for talking has passed,’ he said. ‘We must now have action. The school wants it… and so do your parents. If we don’t take action now, your academic career will be in ruins.’ He handed the letter from Judy’s parents across.
There was a long silence. Then several gasps. Those glistening green-blue eyes slowly came up to him. ‘It… it can’t be true,’ she whispered.
‘Perhaps you would like to contact your mother and father,’ said John easily. He watched the girl closely. It was soon obvious she realised the futility of that suggestion. Her parents were far more keen on her succeeding than she was herself.
‘I’ll never forgive them,’ she said in a small voice.
‘In time you will,’ opined John. ‘Believe me. In any event, Judy, this is a course that must be tried. You won’t like it. No, not one little bit. But it must be tried. Do you understand what is going to happen from now on?’
‘N-no… no… sir…’
‘I think you do,’ he said, trying to stay calm; and sound it. ‘From now on, Judy, you are going to be punished when you make stupid spelling errors. That may make you activate your mind a great deal more than Mrs Stokes’ admonishments, or mine.’
He saw her looking frightened. Very frightened. As well she might. ‘W-what do you… m-mean, sir… exactly?’ What a pathetically young voice it was! Quite enchanting.
‘Not to put too fine a point on it, Judy,’ said Old Barney, ‘if you do not very rapidly improve, I shall cane you.’
A great heaving gasp. ‘C-cane me! Oh… no… no… ooo…’
‘Oh yes, Judy. And don’t forget, not only does the school approve of these measures, but your parents also…’
‘Uuugh… it’s s-so… awful…’
‘Maybe, but sometimes in life, drastic measures have to be taken. Now, can we get on?’ John seated himself on a chair some way in front of the lectern-desk. On it lay a large volume. ‘The book on the desk has been specially prepared for you,’ he said. ‘In a way, it has been designed to make things easier for you. But also to help you spell correctly. Each page contains 20 words with definitions. You have to read the word, and its definition, and tell me if that word is spelt correctly. That’s easier than being asked to spell a word, isn’t it?’
‘I s-suppose so, sir…’
‘Of course it is!’ He was sharp. Important to be fully in control from the start. ‘Now, I have to tell you, Judy, that for every mistake you make, you will receive one stroke of the cane…’ A horrified gasp. ‘…I think that knowledge may help you to concentrate your mind quite remarkably!’
‘Oh… oooh… sir… please you know how b-bad I am at this…’
‘Precisely Judy. That is why we are having to take these measures. Now, open the book at page 10… and read the word and its definition. Then tell me if the spelling is correct.’
The girl was gulping. She had gone quite pale. Quite a test of nerve was in front of her. On the other hand, if she did not know, there was always an even money answer on every word. Really, thought John, he was making things quite easy for her. But she was sure to make some mistakes!
Slowly and laboriously, Judy worked her way through page 10. He could see her brain working overtime. Never before, quite obviously, had she concentrated so hard on her spelling… which showed how powerful the threat of punishment was. John marked each answer with a tick or a cross, but made no comment. As far as the girl was concerned, she could have been right or wrong. As she reached the end of the page, her nervousness increased, and he saw she was almost in tears. She looked up at him, running hands through her hair.
‘H-how have… have I d-done… sir? He could see she was taut as a bowstring as she awaited his answer.
‘Not bad, Judy. But remember, I have started you on an easy page. You got only three wrong…’
‘Oooohhh… threee!’ It was an anguished cry. It seemed that even three strokes of the cane was too much to bear!
‘Now, Judy, we will take on something more difficult. Turn to page 20, please… and concentrate your mind even harder. Don’t ever forget what awaits a mistake. That may help you.’
She looked at him with a mixture of horror and pleading. How aware she was that there would be even more mistakes this time! Unless, of course, she could activate that quite able brain of hers. That was the object of this exercise. So the Assistant Head told himself, anyway.
Breasts heaving under her grey pullover, Judy turned to page 20. Her mounting distress was evident. Already she had earned herself three strokes of the cane; how many more might she earn this time? It was a quite petrifying prospect. She looked at the page and almost burst into tears. Most of the words were twice as long as those on page 10. Oh it was so unfair! He was deliberately trying to make it too difficult for her! So unfair!
All the same, with a sudden and frightening clarity. Judy realised she must concentrate her mind as never before. Far more than she did at History, Geography or English Lit.
In short, without realising it, she was being educated. Albeit, in a subject which did not come naturally to her. The most unpleasing kind of education of all!
Even more slowly she went through the page, while the Assistant Head looked on impassively. Steadily the mistakes mounted, until by the end of the page, Judy had got half her spellings wrong.
‘Ten mistakes, Judy’ he said, feeling a pulse of pleasure beginning to beat inside him. Horror filled the young face.
‘Oh… that can’t be true!’
‘I’m afraid it is, Judy. That makes thirteen strokes in all.’ A very unlucky number for her, he thought ‘A bad start, indeed. But, in time, I know you’ll improve.’ Yes, he said to himself, the cane is a great improver.
‘Oh no… not thirteen… oh no…!’
‘That’s it Judy. Now let’s be sensible about this. Otherwise you’ll only make matters worse for yourself. If necessary I can call in Mrs Stokes to assist me.’ He saw at once that the fact that force could be used, if it were required, was not lost upon the girl. She had gone pale and was trembling.
‘O-ohh… it’s so unfair…’ she wailed.
‘It’s not unfair. It’s to teach you. Now, Judy, go to that cupboard and bring me what you find there.’ There was another gasp of dismay as the cupboard was opened; then, mouth quivering, she came across the room bearing the cane across the palms of her hands. She handed it to him, stepped back, and held out both palms upwards. ‘Oh no, Judy,’ he said, ‘you don’t get it there, you get it on your bottom.’
‘Yes, you must,’ he said gravely. ‘Don’t forget what I said about Mrs Stokes. If I have to send for her, it will mean extra strokes.’ He saw her flinch at that. Then he watched her move and place the cane across the desk and slowly lift her skirt to reveal a pair of green serge school knickers. Her bottom, he saw, was well-formed for a girl of sixteen. He stood up. ‘Now push your knickers down,’ he ordered firmly.
‘Oh… s-sir… no please…’
‘Just do it, Judy. I won’t warn you again!’
She had begun to sob. Then, as she reluctantly pushed her knickers down to her thigh tops, he walked across and picked up the cane. ‘Since you are new to this, Judy,’ he said, ‘I am going to make things easier for you. But that won’t necessarily always be the case. On this occasion, I am going to give you your punishment in two parts. Six strokes now… and a further seven strokes in half an hour’s time.’
There was a long sobbing groan. It wasn’t exactly one of relief; merely one of dread.
‘Bend forward…’ She bent slightly, looking back up at him in terror as he raised the cane. ‘Bend more than that, Judy. And I think it would be best if you placed your hands on the desk.’ Sobbing incessantly now, the girl obeyed.
‘S-sir… mmfff… mfff… not h-hard… please!’ The girlish nates were twitching with dread. In fact, John did not intend to be too hard on her. Even a light caning, at this stage, would be painful enough. Later, if there was still no improvement, he could take sterner measures.
He gave her a wristy cut across the centre of her bottom. There was a breathless squeal and a hand flew back. ‘Keep your hands on the desk!’ he rapped out.
‘P-please, please… oh that hurt!’
John regarded the light pink weal he had raised. Nothing too serious. Still, as he had reckoned, Judy had found it quite adequately painful. He laid on the second, a little higher, and got similar reactions. ‘Didn’t I tell you to keep your hands on the desk?’ he snapped.
‘O-oooh… I c-can’t… it hurts so!’
‘If Mrs Stokes were here, she’d hold your hands on the table.’
Quickly the hands were replaced. That idea was not at all pleasing!
Number three fell a little lower and, although she squirmed left and right with pain, Judy managed to keep her hands in position. John nodded with satisfaction. Some girls learnt quite quickly.
The squeals grew louder and the squirming became more frantic as John laid on the remaining three strokes, leaving a goodish interval in between. He was, to be honest, quite pleased with the way Judy was taking her punishment. She seemed to have more spirit and guts than he had assumed at the outset. After all, she was still very young… and the whole thing must have come as a dreadful shock to her. Having to bare her bottom in front of a man! Then enduring the pain of a cane for the first time!
‘You may stand up, Judy,’ he said, looking at the light weals with satisfaction. He reckoned he had judged things to a nicety. ‘I am now going to leave you for half an hour. To think things over. You will keep your knickers where they are. And your skirt up. That will act as a potent reminder for what is still to come. Seven more strokes…’
‘Oh please, sir… pleeee… eease… let me off those… this first time… ooohhh… pleease!’ How appealing she was! Such a sweet girl.
John shook his head sorrowfully. ‘That would never do, Judy,’ he said. ‘If I went easy on you whenever you asked, you’d never learn.’ And, with that, he strolled from the room, locking the door behind him.
I must get out of this awful room. That cane is too awful… I just can’t stand any more. Oh how it bites and stings! And he says he’s going to give me seven more. Oh Mummy… how could you let them do these awful things to me! How could you shame me so? Did you know I was going to have to take my knickers down… and be caned by the Assistant Head? A man! It’s too utterly shaming! How could you? How could you?
I must get out. I must run away. But how can I get out? And if I did, where would I run to? They would only catch me. Then I’d get a worse caning. Oh, is there no one who can help me?
I think I’ll drop my skirt, pull my knickers up. It feels so indecent with them down around my thighs like this. But supposing he came back unexpectedly? Perhaps he’d be angry. Perhaps he’d cane me even harder. No, I daren’t risk it. I shall have to put up with the awful humiliation of it. Thank goodness no one can see me. None of my friends. Do they know about this, I wonder? I bet word will get around. Then it will be even more shaming.
Oh how hot those weals feel against my cool palm! How they sting! I cannot believe I still have seven more to come. What a cruel way it is to eradicate a girl’s only weakness. I’ll never forgive them. Never!
John unlocked the door and opened it swiftly. The girl swung round. He saw the neatly trimmed pubic mound as she faced him briefly. Then, colour flooding her cheeks, she swung back again, to show him her lightly-striped bottom. He was most gratified she had continued to obey him, even in his absence. It showed that, already, he was gaining mastery over her. That was important under the circumstances. For it was evident that these special measures would be going on for some time.
‘Back over the desk, Judy,’ he ordered. He intended to start laying on rather harder. Over her shoulder, she looked at him imploringly, but said nothing. She must have realised, from the harsh look on his features, it would have been useless.
With a dry sob, she bent, hands going down on the desk, bottom curving, nates flinching and quivering. Oh… sir… s-sir…’ she whined.
‘Seven more to come, Judy,’ he said relentlessly. The girl had to learn, didn’t she? That’s what everybody wanted, wasn’t it? This was no time for weakness; for sympathy. John cracked down the cane considerably harder across the bare behind presented to him.
There was an anguished gasping-shriek… and Judy writhed almost to her knees on the floor, hands clasping to a far brighter weal. ‘No… aaagh… no… ooo… I can’t stand any more… I can’t!’
John looked at her grimly, as she knelt there. She’d really felt that one alright. ‘Back over that desk, Judy,’ he said firmly.
‘No… no… ooo… I can’t… oooh!’
‘I’ll give you one more chance. Get up… and bend over again…’
‘Ooooh… I just can’t… ooh… I won’t!’ She was in utter despair; half-hysterical. By no means as tough as he had begun to assume.
The Assistant Head shrugged. ‘Very well,’ he said. So it would have to be Mrs Stokes after all. No bad thing, really. He could give it to her good and hard, he thought, as he walked to the house-phone.The question was, should he give her any extra, while he was about it?