The girls always got a bit boisterous as half-term approached, but Flo, the Head Girl, had become exasperated with Linda and Sally, two inveterate jokers who were never far from trouble.
They had been pushing the boundaries all day: answering Roll Call in funny, squeaky voices; surreptitiously pinning sheets of paper with "KICK ME" scrawled in brushwork on to the backs of their colleagues; telling juniors to deliver envelopes the Prefects' Common Room with notes saying "PLEASE GIVE ME SIX OF THE BEST" inside; and so on.
The last straw came at supper when the two girls started playing shoveha'penny with the salt and pepper pots on their table. This ended in disaster when one over-ambitious push from Linda shattered a glass water jug, inundating several girls sitting nearby. In the silence which followed, Flo had simply ordered the two girls up to their rooms. Both looked pretty sorry for themselves as they made their way out of the dining room, watched by scores of pairs of eyes who - like Linda and Sally themselves - knew what they were in for.
Flo told the rest of the girls to get on with their dinner and then made her way up to her own set of rooms, where she collected her 'badge of office', a medium-weight rattan cane. She visited Linda first, where she laid six stinging strokes across her bare backside. A few doors down the corridor, Sally could hear the swish and crack of Flo's cane, and the howls of her suffering friend.
Then, as Linda ruefully fingered her 'trademarks', Sally heard Flo's footsteps approaching, and knew that her bottom, too, was about to be decorated with six searing tramlines.