Miss Strang Chapter 19
Copyright 2008 by Governess, all rights reserved
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This story is intended for ADULTS ONLY. It contains explicit depictions of sexual activity involving minors. If you are not of a legal age in your locality to view such material or if such material does not appeal to you, do not read further, and do not save this story.
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Simon and I were instructed by Miss Strang to spend the next half hour learning our spellings for testing later in the morning. Meanwhile John continued laboriously picking up the bits of birch that had been spread over the wooden floor. When he had finished, Miss Strang told him to get up and check that all had been collected. She pointed to several that he had missed.
"Just get down on your hands and knees and finish the job, please, John."
I watched as his little bottom, bare and flogged to a raw smarting red, moved enticingly as he crawled under the table. When he had placed the last of the bits into the bowl he stood up.
"Give me the bowl, please, John."
She took it, trickling the birchen debris through her hand, then letting it fall back into the bowl. She did this several times, her lips pressed tightly together.
"You did very well, John. It was a tedious task. Did you enjoy it?"
I could see that John had no idea how to answer her.
"I... I am not sure, Miss Strang."
"But surely crawling around on your knees on a hard wooden floor must have been rather painful?"
"I... I suppose so, Miss Strang."
"Well, I am sure it was. And having to do it with a bare bottom, in front of us all."
He was wringing his hands together and chewing the inside of his mouth.
"Well I make no apologies for either, John. It was meant to be painful, and if a small boy behaves in a shameful way, then he must expect his punishment to be equally shameful. But I hope that you have now learned the need to be obedient and respectful of authority at all times."
"Well, have you learnt that?"
"I hope so, Miss Strang.""No, John. I can hope that you will be an obedient boy from now on. That is because the choice is not mine. But it is not for you to hope. It is for your to choose. To choose to be obedient at all times. Are you going to do that?"
"Yes... yes, Miss Strang."
"You see that red book on the shelf over there. Bring it to me."
He walked over to the shelf, picked it up, and brought it to her.
"Thank you, John."
She handed it back.
"Now put it back where it came from."
When he had done that, she put her hand under his chin and lifted his face.
"You did what I asked and that is obedience. Was it difficult?"
"No, Miss Strang."
"No. That was easy. But sometimes small boys are asked to do things they do not want to do. And that is more difficult for them. Sometimes it is because they want to do something else. Or they cannot see why they should do it. Or, worst of all, they resent being asked to do it."
She still had her hand under his chin and the bowl in her left hand. She released him and taking the bowl in her right hand, she shot the contents back on the floor, scattering everywhere the bits he had so laboriously collected.
"Pick them up, John. On your hands and knees."
I shut my eyes and waited. But when I opened them he had gone down and was slowly refilling the bowl. Miss Strang watched. Two minutes must have passed, when she spoke in a soft warm, affirming voice.
"That is very well done, John. That is complete obedience. You may get up. Come and stand here."
He stood in front of her. She bent down and kissed his head. The display of affection overwhelmed him. He started to sob uncontrollably and buried himself in her dress.
"Hush, John. There is no need for tears. I am pleased with you. You have been flogged but you have learnt from the flogging. You see. The birch is an excellent teacher."
She smiled and tousled his hair.
"But just remember an excellent teacher is one who is ready to repeat a lesson if it needs to be relearned. Now put on your shirt and sit down at your desk. In a moment we will have a spelling test."
I noted that although she had allowed him to put on his shirt, his trousers and pants were still over the back of the chair. He winced as his bare bottom made contact with the hard oak bench.
"Right children get out your rough exercise books. You each have your own list and I will call out your name and then the word to be spelt. I will call it out only once so please listen carefully. If it has been properly learnt then that should be enough. And for every word misspelt you can expect one cut of the cane, and two cuts if the word has not been properly attempted."
She started with Simon and I remember for some strange reason that his first word was 'rabbit.' I cannot remember any of the other words even my own. We must have each had about ten words although John's list was longer than either Simon's or mine. At the end she collected in the books.
"Livia, I am very disappointed."
My heart gave a start.
"I expected no mistakes from you. You have let me done."
"But it is only one mistake. I am afraid that will mean one stroke of the cane. However, I will postpone that until your bedtime."
I felt a sense of relief mingled with a strange shivery anxiety at the prospect."
"Simon, you have four mistakes. So that will be four strokes of the cane. I will attend to those in a moment."
She paused and looked again through John's book. She shook her head slightly and sighed.
"Unfortunately, John, you have not done at all well. There are six mistakes. And clearly you became confused half way thorough the test and there are at least three spellings that have not been properly attempted. I am sorry."
She drummed her fingers on her desk.
"Of course, while Livia and Simon had an opportunity to revise their spellings you were on your hands and knees picking up bits of birch from the floor. Perhaps you should be spared the twelve strokes that are your due. What do you think. John?"
"I... . I am not sure, Miss Strang."
"Well let me help you. Most small boys facing twelve strokes of the cane would be very eager to avoid them. And a boy who has just had his bottom flogged with a lithe springy birch rod would be gasping with relief not to be caned on his already wealed and smarting flesh. So why are you not sure, John?"
"Please Miss Strang, I... . I don't want to be caned. Please don't. Please."
"And is that because you think it unfair that your brother and sister could revise, but you could not. Is that the reason?"
"Yes, Miss Strang."
"But John why were you not able to revise as they were? What were you doing?"
"I... I was on the floor."
"Yes. Doing what?"
"Picking up the bits."
"Yes. Picking up the bits. And bits of what, John?"
He hung his head.
"Bits of birch, Miss Strang."
"Yes. And what were bits of birch doing on the floor?"
"Because... . because I had been flogged... . Miss Strang."
"Yes, John. And why were you flogged?"
"Because I had been disobedient... . "
"And rude and slov... . slovenly."
"Exactly. So not being able to revise was a consequence of your bad behaviour. You could have chosen to behave, but you chose not to. And because you chose not to, you had to be punished. A punishment that could have been avoided if you had chosen instead to be obedient, polite and industrious. And if you had chosen that rather than sin and its painful consequences, then you would have had the same opportunity to revise as Livia and Simon. Is that not so."
"Yes... . Yes, it is, Miss Strang."
"I am glad to hear your accept it with such a firm voice and in a truly manly way, John."
She beckoned to him with her long first finger.
"Come and stand in front of me."
He got up and stood before her desk."
"So, John, there is simply no way that I can mitigate your punishment. I have explained why that it is, and you have accepted it as entirely reasonable. That is wise of you. Now please go and stand facing the wall to the left of the clock."
I was surprised at this, for I had expected him to be placed back over the arm of the chair. I assumed that he was having to spend some time in disgrace to anticipate what twelve strokes of Miss Strang's flexible rattan cane would feel like on flesh already scored and abraded by the birch.
He dutifully stood facing the wall.
"Place your hands on the wall, John. That is right. Palms flat against the wall. Now step slowly away from the wall. A little further. And still a little more."
John was now leaning against the wall. His arms outstretched, and the weight of his body resting on his palms. Miss Strang stepped forward and rucked his shirt and vest up and over his shoulders.
"You will remain in this position until I tell you you can move, John. You will not attempt to straighten up or move your feet forward."
She bent down and drew a chalk line immediately in front of John's feet.
"And if you are foolish enough to move your feet over this chalked line, then I will begin the punishment again from the beginning. Do you understand?"
He replied in a small, raspy little voice, that I could barely hear.
"Yes, Miss Strang."
(To be continued)