“What do you make of her?” Jean Macintosh, Raven House of Eagle School’s head of house asked Charlie Starkie, her deputy.
“Who?” Charlie enquired. “Miss Swallow, or the new girl?”
“Well, I really meant Miss Swallow. It seems a little bit odd without old Tinpot.”
“A bit of a wimp if you ask me. It says a lot that nobody’s thought of a name for Miss Swallow yet. Though I suppose it is never easy to follow a housemistress who has been here since the year dot.”
“Yes, I expect she will send wrongdoers to the head; I doubt if she will do it herself like Tinpot did. I wonder if Tinpot took her slipper when she left? Anyway, what do you make of the new girl, whatever her name is.”
“Gillian, isn’t it? Gillian Smith, of all names. Why people who are called Smith don’t all alter their names I never know.”
“Yes, that’s it, Gillian Smith. Only here because her last school closed down for financial reasons, went broke in other words, or so she told me. Don’t think she is that pleased she had to do another year. Daddy insisted apparently.”
“Yes, a bit stuck up if you ask me. Could have done with Tinpot to warm her backside with the slipper when she was younger. Not that it will happen at her age, more is the pity. Maybe we should let her have the experience, just as a way of making her feel at home.”
“No, we’d never get away with it! She’d moan to Daddy and all hell would break loose, more’s the pity. Daddy knows the head apparently, so we’d better watch it.”
“I am always willing to do my bit for my country, but I would like to know a little more of what I and my school are letting ourselves in for. But it must be a very odd situation for you!” said Miss Tennyson, the headmistress of Eagle School to her new housemistress as they sat together over a cup of tea. “I am sure you went to a very good school, Miss Westwater, and here at Eagle School we are just English, arithmetic, cookery, and good manners. We set great store on good manners. I am not sure we even bother too much about reading. If they can read a decent magazine that is all I really care about. Hopefully the odd girl gets round to a good novel, but it is not really expected.”
“I would be very grateful, Miss Tennyson,” Mary Westwater responded just a touch astringently, “if you would be kind enough to use my pseudonym, even when we are by ourselves.”
“Of course, Miss Swallow, that was just a touch remiss of me. I can quite see we have to be careful about such things.”
“We have to be very careful!” Miss Westwater exclaimed with real passion. “Since the Reds shot her parents and all her relatives she is the only claimant to the throne of her country and there are very likely to be attempts to assassinate her. HMG regard her preservation as a very necessary thing and greatly to our own national interest.”
“And yet His Majesty’s Government,” Miss Tennyson observed dryly, “seem only willing to allocate a single agent to the preservation of this apparently invaluable princess, or is she now an uncrowned queen?”
“And that one agent is a woman, you are thinking no doubt! Well, you are half right, Miss Tennyson. The Secret Service is as prone to cuts as any other organisation in the aftermath of the war, and yes they are very happy to get away with one agent. However, I do honestly believe that her Royal Highness is safest here; it is the last place her enemies would look for her. She more or less grew up in this country and her English is impeccable. She even went to school here. Cheltenham Ladies no less, but bringing her here has the advantage she is very unlikely to meet anyone from that establishment.”
“Because this is such a crumby little school… you mean no doubt,” Miss Tennyson cut in.
“I am sure it is an excellent establishment of its sort. We, I and my boss that is, looked quite carefully before choosing it. Your position away from civilisation in Cornwall, and well away from a railway line, which is not an easy thing to find these days, was a great recommendation. Her Highness’s enemies would have to look incredibly hard to find her here. And while your standards are scarcely those of where I went, I do get the impression they are very adequate of their sort.”
“No doubt!” said Miss Tennyson irritably. “But I do hope that you are aware, Miss Westwater, I mean Swallow, that your Princess or whatever you want to call her looks decidedly old to be a pupil here. How old is she?”
“Twenty-three,” Miss Westwater announced, looking awkward.
“And my oldest girls are eighteen and nineteen. I suppose, Miss Swallow, that she has not started having an interest in young men? While perfectly natural in someone of twenty-three it is not something my girls are allowed to indulge in.”
“Not that I am aware of,” said Miss Westwater awkwardly, “and it has been made very clear to her that her life depends on cutting all links with the outside world.”
“And she had better not smoke either; that is absolutely forbidden here.”
“Err yes,” said Miss Westwater, well aware that her charge was a heavy smoker. “I had rather hoped that we might find ways round that. She does smoke rather a lot I am afraid, and it is a hard thing to give up just like that.”
“We do use corporal punishment for things like that, even on senior girls. Still, as long as she is not caught out too blatantly I will turn something approaching a blind eye. You might find the small copse at the far end of the grounds beyond the playing fields quite interesting, Miss Westwater. It has a wide variety of wild flowers all year round. A very interesting place if you are given to botanising, Miss Westwater. Because the flora is so precious I am normally the only person allowed there, but given your deep interest in botany the privilege will be extended to you. And if you should choose to take one of your charges who happened to share your interests I would have no objection.”
“I will bear it in mind, for I am very fond of botanising!” said Miss Westwater solemnly. “And I am sure her Royal Highness can be persuaded to take an interest. But I would be so grateful if you could remember to call me Miss Swallow. Please, Miss Tennyson!”
“Oh, I will do my best! And Miss Swallow, I most certainly do not think we can promise her that she is above discipline, but between us no doubt we will do our best to avoid any untoward incidents. Just try and stop her being caught out too obviously.”
“I will do my best!” Miss Westwater replied.
She imagined her charge’s rather full buttocks bare and red as a leather slipper descended with a loud whack. She had never seen a slippering, though she had been threatened with one on several occasions as a child, and it had in consequence a certain awful fascination.
As she left the room that imaginary scene in which the Princess was soundly spanked kept going through her head and she found it unsettling (the diplomatic repercussions could well be considerable and it might be more than her job was worth) and oddly arousing. Then it struck her: was use of the slipper part of her duties as a housemistress? Miss Tennyson had half hinted in that direction. She should have asked. It might well fall upon her to chastise her charge. If a real offence occurred it would have to be done she supposed, and it was much better that not too much fuss was made about it; the very public event of a visit to the headmistress’s office was probably best avoided. But would the Princess plead rank or take what was coming meekly? If it ended on Sir Walter’s desk it would make for an interesting situation. Which way would he jump? She found herself close to laughter at the thought.
“The Big B is settling down quite well!” Jean Macintosh observed to her deputy towards the end of the autumn term.
“It is a bit hard calling her the Big B,” Charlie Starkie replied with a giggle. “Her boobs aren’t that big. Still it seems to have stuck. The Terrible Three gave her the nickname after she slippered them for fooling about in cookery. Five apiece bare for chucking cake mix. Apparently her boobs were going all over the place while she was wielding the slipper. On the other hand it is almost a mark of respect coming from the Terrible Three; I get the impression she got through to them, even though they try to laugh it off. They have not been quite so terrible since.”
“It certainly took some bottle to take on the Terrible Three. A few mild pats might easily have made them worse; but thank God she did it really hard and she seems to have got away with it. But I wish Gillian was not so obviously her favourite though,” Jean observed almost as an afterthought. “They are always talking to one another. And they always go off to look at that stupid piece of wood the head keeps for botanising. Apparently the head has told the Big B that if she is really interested in flora and fauna and stuff she can go there as often as she likes, and she always lets Gillian tag along.”
“But have you noticed their breath when they come back?” said Charlie very dryly. “It always reeks of peppermint. Why suck peppermints every time you go to look at a few fungi or some interesting lichen? I think they are smoking.”
“But you’ve no proof, Charlie. They could be tasting of the noxious weed, but then again they might not. And anyway there is every sign the head likes the Big B as much as the Big B likes Gillian. I doubt if she’d do a thing if you went to her.”
It was spring, or almost spring and the snowdrops were out in the headmistress’s private wood and the daffodils had thrust into the light, even though they were not yet open. The Princess and Mary Westwater were leaning against the trunk of a large and ancient elm and sharing a cigarette in between a good deal of gossiping.
Mary noticed, not for the first time, how chatter about school life had at last partially replaced the endless monologue from the Princess about the events in her native land that had brought her to the strange exile of this school. The Princess has been in London during the revolution in her native land and for the first few months that Mary had known her charge she had been forced to listen to some very unpleasant imaginings about what it was like to be tied to a stake and publicly executed by firing squad. Mary was well aware that the Princess was suffering from the most intense guilt because she had escaped the fate of the rest of her family, but it still seemed ghoulish to want to imagine such terrible events in such detail. And she was glad to find the conversation today was mainly about life in Raven House and the little naughtinesses and rebellions that made life there interesting.
“But what is it like, Mary, when you have to punish someone?” The Princess was saying out of the blue with a definite glint of interest in her eye.
Mary immediately had the uncomfortable feeling that they were back with firing squads, but from a different angle. She paused and chose her words carefully.
“Personally I don’t like it very much, but it is how they do things here. I suppose at least it saves having to supervise detentions, which would be a bore. You have the culprit or culprits in; you give them a jolly good lecture. Then personally I always make them take their gym slips off, though I am told at least one of the other housemistresses just pulls the gym slip up over their waist after they have bent over. Anyway after that I bend them over and stand back and take aim. I always notice their tie is hanging down and I always feel a bit embarrassed at that point; you see rather a lot with their knickers so tight. And then you let fly. They usually squeak a bit and there are usually a few tears, but I am not sure how much it really hurts; I think it is the humiliation that counts, so I make it as formal as possible. They stand with their hands on their heads for a good while afterwards, which I think rubs it in quite a lot. Their arms must ache as well as their bottoms.”
“But you spank them bare sometimes, yes?”
The “yes” Mary reflected was one of the very few mannerisms in the Princess’s English that betrayed the fact that this was not a native speaker. She hoped devoutly nobody else had noticed it.
“I only give them it bare for serious offences,” she responded rather stiffly. “In fact I have only done it once, so I suppose you mean when I had to deal with those three awful girls who threw cake mix.”
“The Terrible Three, yes. Everyone is very impressed that you made them behave better; nobody else has managed it,” the Princess gabbled.
“I suppose I should take that as a compliment,” said Mary uneasily.
There was a slightly awkward pause as Mary wondered not for the first time why the sight of those very red bottoms had excited her so much. She ought to be pleased with herself for having extracted real tears and something approaching contrition from that very awkward trio of very unladylike young ladies. Perhaps the lecture she had inflicted on them beforehand had helped, not to mention the slow deliberation of the punishment. She remembered the real pleasure of lowering each of those tightly stretched knickers in turn. She had deliberately left each victim to wonder till the last second if they were going to be the one to keep their knickers on, or not. After she had lowered the knickers she had paused to let them feel the air course round their nether regions and have time to get nervous, and two out of three of them had burst in to tears during that painful wait. But she still felt embarrassed by the nudity and the redness.
“I wonder what it is like to be the victim?” said the Princess thoughtfully, as if the idea was not wholly unappealing.
“Well, hopefully, Your Highness, you will not have to find out,” Mary said with a rather forced giggle, wishing the image of the Princess’s buttocks looking very red and wriggling under the impact of the slipper would cease to haunt her.
Shortly afterwards they finished the cigarette and Mary stubbed it out, slipped it into her pocket, and handed out the ritual peppermints. The Princess took them with some irritation for she was getting weary of the taste of peppermint. Then they headed back up to Raven House.
It was a pleasant day in mid-June and the sun was pouring down, but Mary Westwater was sitting at the desk in her study, staring at a letter and feeling very worried. The contents were simple enough. The Foreign Office believed (or so her boss informed her) that British interests demanded the recognition of the new republic, and that in turn would mean the withdrawal of the limited support given to the previous Royal family, in other words the Princess. He suggested purely informally that Mary had no more than a month to prepare her charge for this and should encourage the Princess to ask for a visa to the States and, if she agreed, then help her obtain it; the Princess should be aware that HMG would be reluctantly compelled to withdraw their protection and support in the near future. Etc. She knew Sir Walter well enough to know that he would have written this letter through gritted teeth, but clearly there was nothing he could do. She wondered when she should break the news and also what her own new assignment would be.
There was a knock at the door; it was Jean Macintosh: the headmistress wanted to see her immediately in her study. She wondered if Miss Tennyson had also had a letter from Sir Walter. She rather reluctantly strode off down the corridor thinking Jean Macintosh had been looking rather self-righteous, and that quite possibly meant some unfortunate girl was going to present her bottom for the slipper this evening. It was one of the odder customs of the school that such matters were not brought to the housemistress’s attention till six each evening.
Miss Tennyson greeted her with her customary friendliness, gave her a chair, said one or two vague nothings and then turned serious.
“I am afraid Gillian is in trouble, Miss Swallow, and you are going to have to deal with it.”
“You’ve had a letter from Sir Walter too then?”
“No, I’ve had nothing from Sir Walter for months. I am afraid Gillian has well and truly got herself into a pickle. Those three awful girls from your house came to me.”
“The Terrible Three!” said Mary with a smile, but feeling distinctly worried.
“Quite so! The Terrible Three. They accused Gillian of smoking in her room and offering to sell them cigarettes. I thought there was an even chance it was a lie, or could be smoothed over. Anyway I rather reluctantly went straight to her room and found it was reeking of cigarette smoke and there were four or five packs of the wretched things in open view. Really, I ought to expel her, but in the circumstances I really cannot. I have told her you will give her a slippering to remember at six o’clock this evening. I am sorry, but I could not think of anything else to do. If I take official notice of it I will have to expel her. It is a ridiculous situation.”
“No, there is no choice!” said Mary, feeling that expulsion would take away from the Princess the precious couple of weeks for a planned retreat that Sir Walter had so kindly provided.
There was a knock on the door. It was six o’clock, the time for punishments, so it was unlikely to be anyone other than the Princess. Mary quite genuinely did not like having to use the slipper, but there it was neatly laid out on her desk, a dark piece of leather that had almost ceased to be a slipper from its frequent use and gave quite a sting if wielded with the right timing. She glanced back at it, double checking it was definitely there, before striding to the door in real anger. Why had the girl behaved so stupidly? She flung it open. It was indeed the Princess.
“You had better come in, Gillian Smith,” she barked, thinking she must say nothing to suggest this was anything other than a normal punishment of a senior girl, who was extremely lucky to be getting off with just a slippering.
“Why did you do it, in God’s name?” Mary demanded after the door was shut. “You must have known you were putting your time here at risk, and with it your own safety.”
“I got bored, Mary,” said the Princess with a lazy smile. “And why shouldn’t I smoke. I like smoking, yes.”
“For a start, Gillian Smith, while you are in this room I am Miss Swallow and I am your housemistress. And if while a pupil of this school you flagrantly break school rules it is my duty to punish you. Take off your gym slip. Now, Gillian Smith, or shall we have some of your fellow pupils in to take it off for you.”
“I did not think you would really do it, Mary, I mean Miss Swallow,” the Princess said pitifully. “I thought we would just pretend. Can we not pretend, please?”
“No, we bloody cannot pretend!” said Mary, getting even angrier.
The gym slip was very reluctantly removed. Black stockings overlapped the rather full knickers, which were considerably more stylish than was allowed, even to a senior girl. Mary almost took note of the fact, then decided this punishment was going to have to be extremely severe anyway and she could not face adding to it.
“Bend over and put your hands on your knees,” she said briskly.
There was a distinct pause, then the victim said, “Please!” very desperately. However, faced with dour silence from her executioner, the Royal back bent and the Princess’s hands gripped at her knees, rather hard, Mary noticed.
Mary picked up the slipper and slapped her own hand with it. She did not hit herself that hard, but it still stung. The Royal knickers were thin and she wondered for a second whether to leave them, but then decided that this punishment most definitely required the considerable humiliation that went with a bare bottom punishment; apart from anything else the other girls would expect it. She walked up behind her victim and lowered the immaculately cut knickers slowly and deliberately till they formed a white band just above the knees. A band, Mary reflected, that should make any resistance that bit more difficult. The victim did not say anything, but began to weep copiously.
Mary stood back and paused, looking at the full soft buttocks with their very white flesh. Then something made her touch them with her hand; they were very cold.
Then she stood back and let fly with the slipper on the underside of the girl’s rather large bottom; it was much the biggest she had punished.
“Please, Mary! That hurt,” the faint voice on the other side of those large white buttocks protested.
“The more you plead, then the harder I am going to hit you,” Mary proclaimed, feeling a certain pleasure, which she would not normally have felt.
She paused to admire the faintly red patch, then hit it again even harder and then again. She noticed the victim was swaying about slightly and the cleft between her buttocks was beginning to open out. She paused slightly before applying another three on exactly the same spot. This had the intriguing effect of making the girl’s more private places and her lavish black pubic hair visible.
She paused again, wondering how long to go on, only to be interrupted by the Princess saying, “Please, Mary, I know you don’t normally give more than six. Please, no more, Mary, please stop it!”
“No, you are a big girl, with a big bottom, who ought to know a great deal better,” she found herself saying in genuine anger. “You’ve got quite a lot more to come, you stupid bitch! You brought this on yourself.”
She had just called a royal Princess ‘a stupid bitch,’ she realized with a start, and she was enjoying this punishment far more than she ought to. She switched her attention to slightly higher on the right buttock and applied another six slowly and deliberately, noticing as she did it that the sobs were mounting in intensity, but there was no more pleading. She repeated the process on the left buttock. Then she stood back a little. The Princess’s most private parts were now open and very wet, and her bottom was a vivid red and she found the combination oddly gratifying.
“Right, last six!” she said. “But if there is any pleading at all then it will be a dozen. Are you ready, Your Highness?”
“Yes, Mary, I am ready,” came the surprisingly stoical reply.
She mercilessly administered a final, very hard six whacks where the buttocks curved into the thighs. Her victim began to gasp and thrust and was undoubtedly climaxing. Did this add to the humiliation of the punishment or make up for it, Mary wondered; she could not quite make up her mind.
Then she stopped and gave the Princess a couple of minutes to recover before making her stand face to the wall, hands on head, displaying her very red bottom for a good hour.
“I will be good, Mary!” said the Princess when she finally staggered out of the door, and perhaps rather surprisingly for the brief remainder of her time in the school, Gillian Smith’s behaviour was quite immaculate.
Six months later Mary was sitting outside Sir Walter’s office. After her odd year at the school she had been sent to infiltrate an Irish republican plot to bomb one of the Clyde shipyards. She had accomplished her mission where one of her male colleagues had already failed at the cost of his life by blatant use of her not inconsiderable feminine charm and skills in bed, which she had had no chance to exercise during her time as a housemistress. She had eventually got enough evidence to put Rory O’Higgins and his accomplices behind bars, though it had left her full of distaste at the way she had been compelled to prostitute herself and she was still suffering from a lingering, embarrassing attraction to the terrorist leader. A major and often very dangerous piece of work, which could well have cost her life and had left her nerves feeling very raw!
And yet through all this she had never stopped thinking about the day she had been ridiculously compelled to slipper a member of Europe’s royalty. Perhaps thinking about it had served as a defence mechanism from getting too involved when Rory was giving her the fuck of her life. But she had also become convinced (and perhaps this was a sign of the state of her nerves) that sooner or later the slippering would result in her being dismissed.
But anyhow, Mary asked herself (as Sir Walter’s meeting went on far longer than expected), what had happened to the Princess? She had been so busy trying to catch the Glasgow plotters and keep her own life intact that she had not even thought about what was happening to the Princess in the States. Now her mission was over perhaps she should take the trouble to find out. At that her nerves, which had been stretched to breaking over the last six months, suddenly started to play up. She found she was anticipating her interview with Sir Walter, imagining what he would say. It must be because of the Princess that he wanted to see her, and nothing at all to do with her successful mission at all!
“I thought I would tell you this myself rather than letting you see it in the papers,” he would say. “I am afraid the Princess was grabbed by their agents in New York; without you she has been rather less than discreet. Anyway she was bundled onto some ship, we never found out which one. And when they got her home she was publicly shot, just like the rest of her family, within forty-eight hours of getting there. They did not even bother with a trial; they said she had already been condemned with the rest of her family, and goodness knows there have been better Royal families. There was no time to do anything. I do hope you understand that. We would have done something, if there had been time.”
And she would reply absurdly, “She would have died bravely. I had to slipper her once as her housemistress and she took it very bravely.”
But then the real, rather portly Sir Walter was there in his elegant, slightly old-fashioned suit. He was apologising for the delay and summoning her into his office and pouring out his very real congratulations on her outstanding work. It appeared she was to have some medal, which she did not really want and more to the point two months’ paid leave.
She gave the expected thanks, then asked as neutrally as she could if Rory was going to be executed. He had been involved in murder and would almost certainly hang, she knew, and she had got fonder of him than she liked to admit.
“No!” said Sir Walter to her surprise. “There is no question of that. I have every hope of making use of him in the negotiations that His Majesty’s Government intend to open with the Irish rebels.”
Then he added as if eager to step away from the subject of Rory, “Incidentally, you know that girl I had you looking after at that school?”
“Yes,” Mary said faintly, convinced that the horrible daymare she had just lived through was really happening, or was the slippering next on the agenda? Was she going to be told off like a schoolgirl? At least she seemed to be keeping her job.
“I have had several very amusing reports about her from an agent in New York. She is there in all the gossip columns, going to parties, dressing in these horrific short skirts that young women seem to go in for these days. One magazine calls her ‘a Princess for the Jazz Age.’ Rather splendid, don’t you think! I gather there are even reports of her marrying a Rockefeller, though those no doubt are exaggerated.”
“I did fear for her security when she went there without our protection,” Mary commented very seriously.
“My dear Miss Westwater, publicity such as our Princess is getting is by far the best guarantee of her safety. If we could have given it to her when she was over here, then it would have been much better than hiding her in that school. Her enemies won’t touch her in New York, especially if she marries well; the bad publicity worldwide would far outweigh any conceivable advantages of whisking her back home for immediate execution. Besides what conceivable threat is she to them in New York? In England it was at least possible she would have become the centre of a plot. But now, my dear Miss Westwater, I do hope you are planning to make good use of your leave and come back to me refreshed; we always need our best agents.”
She went out of Sir Walter’s office, thinking that some country silence, perhaps a couple of weeks walking was what she needed; no plots, no Jazz Princesses, and then some not too serious sex. Sandy Maclean had given her that open invitation to his lodge in the Highlands, hadn’t he? And somehow although it had been a most polite invitation, it had sounded not at all platonic. And Sandy was always into bad jokes about bottoms, wasn’t he… Yes, she decided, a visit to Sandy ought to suit her present condition.
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