The slightly open door

What a lovely quote, from a reminiscence of school life in the 1930s:

“On the way [to class], we passed Dr Hare’s office. Dr Hare was a mystery, seen only on ceremonial occasions. The door of his office was always slightly open, and the only thing visible was a cane standing in the corner. It was an inner sanctum never to be entered, we hoped.”

It makes me think that the headmasters in my fantasies are too familiar to the girls. I think they need to be more aloof, more formal…

A girl knocks lightly on the “always open” door. “Come in!” calls the headmaster. “And close the door behind you. Now, why are you here?”

“I’m Anna Leonard, sir. Upper Four A. Mr Watkins sent me. To… to be punished.”

He consulted a paper on his desk: “I see!” – before looking up at her: “And why are you to be beaten, Miss Leonard?”

“Please, sir. It was out of character. I promise…”

He cut across her. “The issue here is not how you’re to be punished. It is merely to make sure you learn your lesson…”

“Yes, sir.” Downcast. “I… was caught copying another girl’s work in my History essay.”

“Then your housemaster was entirely correct in his judgment that you should be thrashed. Now, let’s get this over with: take off your knickers, and bend over and touch your toes.”

The cane taken from its corner. The trembling girl’s skirt lifted. No announcement of the number of strokes: just the first, cutting home, and her sob. The second, the third. A long pause. The fourth, fifth, sixth. A longer pause: surely, now it was over. But the next descended, and the next, before the instruction to stand was given.

Before she was sent on her way. Before, as she opened the door, he stopped her in her tracks with one final question: “Who was the girl whose work you copied?”

“I… no, sir, I mean…”

“Do you need me to cane you again, Miss Leonard?”

“No, sir. Please, sir…” Realising that the other girl’s identity was no secret, their work having been compared. “It… it was Joanne Thompson.”

“Then when you get back to class, send her to me, would you, so I can discuss her role in this matter?”

One thought on “The slightly open door

  • 22 December, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I absolutely agree that the HM should be represented as a formal, aloof figure – always male in my fantasies. Ideally considerable ritual should attach to canings in order to bring out the full drama. Cheating at exams is a standard but always welcome scenario. For me at any rate with the ‘heroine’ an 18yo senior 6th former. What about the cheating itself? I have this picture of the girl going into the exam room with a few small bits of paper containing cribs she hopes to use. Concealed, perhaps, in her bra. Very easy to pull out from the straps or from the bra itself if she’s wearing an open neck blouse. However, she’s caught and ends up in the HM’s study. I can hear her housemistress, also present, telling her “Right, girl, I am going to confiscate your bra seeing as how you can’t be trusted to use it for its proper purpose. Take it off now! Yes, and your blouse too” Seeing as how skirt and knickers are already off in readiness for the cane, this does not leave her with much left.


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