One straw too far
Image from The Penitents
She'd been pushing her luck since the day she's joined the school a month earlier. One of the rules at Bexhill was 'No excessive jewellery': but each time one of the staff pulled her up for wearing too many rings, bracelets, etc, Marlene would go into a whole histrory of exactly what was meant by 'excessive'. The teachers, Matron, her Dormitory Captain and the Prefects were all becoming exasperated by her attitude. Even her friends realised she was pushing the boundaries and secretly wondered who would crack first: would Marlene's bottom feel the whack of the Dorm Captain's slipper, the slap of a classroom paddle, or the crack of the Headmistress' cane? Marlene herself seemed oblivious that she was destined for one of these fates.
Today, Miss Laing had been teaching - or, in Marlene's case, trying to teach - history, specifically the reasons why Napoleon's advance on Moscow went so disastrously wrong. Marlene appeared to be supremely disinterested. She was called to task for filing her nails, then doodling, and Miss laing issued a final warning to her for day-dreaming. All the admonishments were met by a theatrical sigh and shrug of the shoulders. The class could tell that a boundary was approaching, even if Marlene couldn't.
The straw that eventually broke the camel's back was when Miss Laing, summarising the lesson she'd spent 40 minutes delivering, asked Marlene what was the main factor which forced Napoleon's retreat. Marlene looked up from the magazine she had concealed within her textbook.
"I suppose the Russians had a better army."
Miss Laing's eyes narrowed. "No, Marlene, the Russians didn't have a better army. It was snow."
"Snow?" said Marlene in exaggerated disbelief, "Snow? I thought this was a history lesson, not the weather forecast."
There was an intake of collective breath.
"That does it!" Miss Laing shouted, banging the top of her desk. "Come on, Marlene, up here. At once!"
Marlene still didn't seem to grasp the situation, until Miss laing strode over to the cupboard, shuffled some papers aside, and withdrew the classroom paddle. It was gleaming, varnished oak. It had never been used before.
Marlene now made her way uncertainly to the front of the room.
"Take your skirt and knickers down. Bend over my desk."
Considering that she had a smart answer for every other situation, Marlene seemed flummoxed by this one. Slowly she unzipped her skirt and let it drop around her ankles; her panties followed. She closed her eyes and lowered herself over Miss Laing's desk, facing the transfixed class.
"You're getting six. Now stay still and keep quiet."
Somewhat to everyone's disappointment, that's exactly what she did, although most of the rest of the girls flinched every time the paddle cracked against the bare skin of Marlene's cheeks.
"Right, get up, hands on your head and face the blackboard. You'll stay there until the next class starts."
As soon as the class was dismissed, they rushed to tell their colleagues from the other forms to come and peep through the door at their new 'exhibit'.
Marlene stood still, with perfect dignity, longing to be told that she could put her hands down and massage the blaze in her cheeks.
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