Lady Compton's School for Girls was well known for its pupils's excellence in gymnastics. The skilful school team, headed by Lisa Gladwell, had won inter-school competitions throughout Ryedale and the whole of North Yorkshire. Their most recent success had been at the Scarborough and District Gymnastics Competition, where they had achieved first place in both the floor and the vault events. But no team can always be on form, so there was disappointment but no recrimination when the Lady Compton's team was, rather unexpectedly beaten by a team from Leeds in a competition covering the whole of Yorkshire.
Not all the girls at Lady Compton's School were as keen on gymnastics as Lisa and her team-mates. Tricia Hammond, a fifteen year old, hated it! She didn't like gym lessons at all and only attended because she had no choice. One Tuesday Tricia had a hundred lines to write out, which she needed to take to the headmistress by half past three. She knew that if she didn't hand them in on time she would get the cane. Tricia already knew by painful experience what Mrs Laverick's cane felt like, and she certainly didn't want a repeat dose! If she'd had any sense she would have done the lines the night before, but she hadn't done so, preferring to enjoy herself with her boyfriend at a disco. She sought out Lisa who, as captain of gymnastics, had authority to give her permission to miss the gym class so she could write out her lines instead.
But Lisa sternly refused. Even when Tricia explained that she had to do the lines and that if they weren't done she would get the cane from Mrs Laverick the sixth former did not relent. Priggishly she commented that Tricia ought to have done the lines already and that if she hadn't she deserved the cane. "It won't kill you!" she said "It's probably just what you need!"
Tricia walked away burning with anger and indignation. She bet Lisa had never had the cane, probably not even the slipper. She was still resolved to miss the gym lesson - she would much rather risk the gym mistress's slipper than Mrs Laverick's cane - but now she was also determined to get back at that smug sixth form madam, who acted as though butter would not melt in her mouth. Tricia knew something about the Lady Compton's School Gymnastic Team!
Tricia duly skipped the lesson and did manage to write out her lines. She wasn't surprised when, towards the end of the period, Miss Lewis, tipped off by Lisa, came looking for her holding a large plimsoll. The gym mistress marched her back to the changing room and there, in front of her classmates as they changed after the lesson, Tricia had to bend down with her skirt rolled up to reveal her school knickers. The slipper smacked down hard six times on Tricia's rear, sounding very loud in the small changing room. Tricia took the punishment stoically, but as she stood up and smoothed her skirt over her sore bottom her lips were trembling and she took deep breaths.
Tricia's bottom was still stinging when she handed in her lines to Mrs Laverick. The headmistress gave them a cursory look and then told Tricia she could go. Tricia walked away thinking over the details of her intended revenge.
The next day Mrs Laverick was surprised to find an anonymous note on her desk. It was written in block capitals and made a very serious allegation. According to the note Lisa Gladwell had placed a bet on favourable odds that Lady Compton's School would lose to the Leeds girls and the whole team had deliberately thrown the match. Mrs Laverick could not believe it at first, but the note was very specific and a little investigation proved it to be based on fact. Mrs Laverick was furious. The six girls of the Lady Compton's School Gymnastic Team were summoned to her office.
When the livid headmistress confronted them with the evidence no denial was possible. The five girls apart from Lisa were told to report to her office at half past two, when they would be caned. This was bad enough but with eyes gleaming Mrs Laverick turned to Lisa and informed her that she was to receive a public caning at three o'clock.
Pluckily Rachel Granting tried to tell the headmistress that Wendy Chapel had not been involved in the scheme. She explained that Wendy had refused to take any money from Lisa and had honestly tried to do her best in the competition. But Mrs Laverick said that she had known what was going on and had not reported it and she had taken part in a contest knowing it to be rigged. She fully deserved to be caned, although in view of the circumstances she would be dealt with less severely than her team-mates.
The headmistress then announced the details of their punishments. Lisa would receive twelve strokes of the cane on her bare bottom in front of the entire school. Donna Black and Erica Shannon, the two other sixth formers in the team would receive eight strokes each over their knickers, while Rachel Spencely and Mary Young would both get six strokes. In view of her lesser involvement Wendy would be given three strokes. Mrs Laverick emphasised that Wendy was not being let off lightly. Three strokes of the cane was by no means a trivial penalty.
Mrs Laverick said that she would cane Donna and Erica herself, and would also deal with Lisa. The three other girls would be punished by Miss Lewis, the gym mistress.
The news of what was going to happen to the gymnastics team spread around the school like wildfire. Several girls had heard rumours about the fix and everyone agreed that girls prepared to make bets on and then deliberately lose a school match deserved a severe punishment. There was some surprise, though, that Lisa, who had always seemed to be rather a favourite of Mrs Laverick was to be publicly caned. The last public caning had been over five years before and few girls who still remembered that were still at the school. Lisa was one of them. With a shudder she recalled how Geraldine Lambert, who was obviously a very tough girl had taken the first part of her punishment very bravely, but had had to be held down for the last few strokes.
At half past two Mrs Stewart, who was taking 6A, told Donna Black and Erica Shannon to report to Mrs Laverick. Lisa saw them go and realised that the other three girls would also be on their way. She felt sorry for them, of course, but most of her thoughts were wrapped up in contemplating what was going to happen to her.
At three o'clock 6A were taken to the school hall. The rest of her class went in but Lisa had to wait outside until she was told that she could enter. As her colleagues filed in they saw the rest of the gymnastics team already lined up on the stage, obviously having already been caned. They were standing side by side facing the back of the stage, hands on their heads, with their skirts pinned up to the backs of their blouses. Marks of their canings could clearly be seen around their knickers. Most of the girls had taken the canings well. They were obviously very fit, being gymnasts.
But Erica Shannon was apparently not so tough as the others. She was still crying quite loudly and was hopping from foot to foot. Her hands were pressed convulsively to her short brown hair and she was obviously wishing desperately that she could clasp them to her outraged behind. Donna Black and Mary Young were also still crying, although more quietly.
Tricia Hammond, sitting in the audience, was sorry that her plans had needed the other girls to get the cane. In particular it had been a shame that Rachel, who was in her class and was quite friendly with her, had had to be caned. However Tricia had no sympathy for Wendy Chapel, whom she regarded as a stuck up little cow. Wendy lived in the same street as the Hammonds and Tricia's mum was always telling her that she should be more like Wendy. She wondered what her mother would say when she told her that her wonderful Wendy had had the cane!
Mrs Laverick climbed up onto the stage. She ignored the sounds of distress from behind her and made a short speech explaining why the girls had been punished. Flexing a long cane between her hands she said "I have not had occasion to use this on many of you, and I am sure that we all hope that it stays that way! But remember this - it hurts!" She turned and pointed her cane at the line of punished girls: "I don't think these young ladies will be sitting down comfortably for some time!" Erica sobbed loudly, as if in confirmation.
Mrs Laverick went on to say that the worst culprit was Lisa Gladwell, whose idea it had been, who had actually placed the bets and who was the team captain. Lisa was to receive a public caning, a full twelve strokes on the bare. Mrs Talbot, the deputy head, was asked to go out and fetch Lisa in.
As Lisa trudged through the crowded hall she wished the earth would open and swallow her up. She was aware of everybody looking at her, obviously knowing that her naked bottom would shortly be exposed to the headmistress's cane and wondering how well she would deal with the intense pain. She looked the picture of misery as she trailed down the hall in complete silence.
When they reached the stage the deputy went up as well as Lisa. Mrs Laverick wanted her there in case the girl needed to be held in position. Lisa was made to remove her blazer and then told to bend over a high backed chair which had been placed in the centre of the stage. The teenager obeyed, leaning her slender body forward with the practised grace of the first-rate gymnast. The back of the chair was towards the audience so they could all see the girl's long legs trembling as her blue skirt was pinned to her blouse. The headmistress then put her thumbs under the waistband of Lisa's knickers and, in one smooth movement, drew them down to gather in a ruck around her ankles.
There were gasps and one or two giggles at the sight of her firm white buttocks contrasting with the golden brown of her tanned calves and thighs (not to mention the tufts of pubic hair which could be seen between her legs) but these were quickly silenced by a stern glance from Mrs Laverick. The horribly humiliated seventeen year old pressed her legs as tightly together as she could.
The headmistress recapitulated the reasons for Lisa's punishment. Of course everybody already knew it but she thought that it would do the shivering, half-naked girl good to have another pause for anticipation. Indeed poor Lisa was so terrified that she actually wished that the headmistress would get on with it! Eventually Mrs Laverick reached her peroration and lifted up the cane. She swished it fearsomely through the air, making such a loud noise that Lisa's legs trembled even more than before. The noise even upset Tricia Hammond, who had been looking forward to this moment all day.
The headmistress stopped her swishing and laid the rod across Lisa's nude buttocks to take aim. The girl flinched at this first faint contact of the cane. Then Mrs Laverick slowly raised the cane above her shoulders and brought it accelerating down with all her strength across the girl's unprotected haunches.
There was a squirm and a gasp from Lisa as the cruel weapon bit into her naked flesh but the victim stayed in position and did not cry out: she even thrust out her bottom for the next one! But Mrs Laverick was too experienced a caner to fall for that one; she knew that too rapid a succession of strokes meant that the earlier ones would anaesthetise the bottom so that later strokes would not have their full effect. So she waited a good while, until the line across the girl's buttocks had changed from white to a vivid crimson, before raising her arm once more . . .
Again a sharp gasp and an even more frantic jerk as Lisa's bottom collected another line just below the first. But she didn't try to move away (ten more like that this! How would she stand it?). Mrs Laverick raised her arm . . .
This time Lisa did cry out, but she didn't try to move away from the chair. Mrs Laverick smiled grimly, she was beginning to get through to young Miss Gladwell!
Lisa yelped and jumped up, clasping her striped bottom for an instant. But she quickly bent back down over the chair before the headmistress could do anything. But Mrs Laverick had seen the tears starting to trickle from Lisa's brown eyes.
The next three strokes were similar, but the eighth was so low - top of the thighs - and so vicious that Lisa screamed, straightened and ran away from the chair, not caring how much she was showing. Rachel Granting, who had got over the worst of her own caning, half twisted round to see what was going on. She was glad that Lisa was getting it worse than the others - really it had all been her fault.
Eventually Lisa resumed her place, only to be rewarded by hearing Mrs Laverick say that she wouldn't count the last stroke and that the next one would still be number eight. Determined to teach Lisa a lesson she would not forget the headmistress landed this next stroke right on top of the previous weal, now glowing a bright crimson.
The effect on the girl was electric! She jumped up and, clasping her outrageously stinging bottom in her hands, ran away from the chair - he knickers had already fallen off her ankles - to squirm in a corner of the stage howling and sobbing. Rachel and Mary turned round - the other girls were still too intimidated by their own recent canings to dare to do so. Despite her throbbing bottom Rachel was seen to smile at the sight of her erstwhile friend's distress. Several little first and second years in the audience, who until now had not realised just how serious a punishment a caning could be, had started to cry in sympathy with Lisa.
It took all the combined strength of the headmistress and Mrs Talbot to force Lisa back over the chair. This time the deputy took hold of Lisa's upper arms to keep her in position. She was still crying loudly.
Still refusing to count the stroke Mrs Laverick drew her arm back to deliver a third 'number eight', this time crossing the other two! Lisa threw her head back and shrieked, trying to break away; but she was held too tightly. Instead she tried to relieve her agony by drumming her feet on the floor, all the while screaming loudly. The headmistress waited until she had screamed herself out. When she finally stopped she continued sobbing interspersed with low moans and entreaties of "No more! Please!" The next three strokes had similar effects - increasing the girl's distress - but the last. . .
This was the lowest and hardest yet, allowing Mrs Laverick to wreak all her pent up fury - she had trusted and admired this girl and her trust had been betrayed. Lisa howled louder than ever, tore herself away from the deputy's grip on her arms and once more cowered in a corner of the stage. The headmistress and her deputy dragged the weeping girl back across the chair where she continued to howl for almost a minute before managing to gasp "No more! Please! I can't take it!"
"But that was the last one!" said Mrs Laverick! The pain had caused Lisa to lose count. "However I want you to remain over the chair until the girls have all gone."
Mrs Laverick made everyone leave by the side entrance so that they had to file inches past the sobbing girl and her shuddering crimson striped buttocks. As Tricia walked past she whispered quickly "Well, it didn't kill you did it! It's probably just what you needed!" but she wasn't sure if Lisa had heard her.
When all the other pupils had gone Mrs Laverick walked down the line of caned girls and unpinned their skirts, letting them fall back down over their painful bottoms. Then she told the girls that they could take their hands off their heads. Four pairs of hands - the exception was Rachel - were immediately clasped to the back of blue school skirts. Then they too had to file past the still-sobbing Lisa before leaving the hall.
Mrs Laverick surveyed the well-punished girl with a faint smile of satisfaction before telling her that she too could get dressed and go.