Image from The Penitents
She'd got all dressed up for sports' afternoon, but then she looked out at the grey, cold, drizzly weather and thought 'What the hell? They won't miss me.' Sports were compulsory on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, come rain or shine, and there were severe penalties for those caught shirking. Daphne knew this, but the attraction of curling up in her room with a nice romantic novel, and perhaps a bar of chocolate, was irrestistible.
At least until the Captain of the House decided to make a snap check. Shirley went about her task stealthily, quietly opening doors, peering into the rooms, and then silently closing the door again and moving on to the next.
So engrossed was Daphne in 'A Virgin No Longer' that she didn't even hear the door open. She was lying on her bed, facing the wall, and the first thing she saw was a shadow moving. She jumped a mile.
"Aha," cried Shirley. "So today's excercise is flipping the pages of a book, is it? And what's this? Chocolate to give you energy for this onerous task!" She grabbed the book and frowned at its title.
"Perhaps you'd like me to reveal your taste in literature to 'Fuzzy', would you?" 'Fuzzy' Furze was the Housemistress. As far as anyone knew, her idea of literature ran to the bible and perhaps Shakespeare.
"Oh no, please don't" Daphne pleaded.
"Come up to the Prefects' Common Room and we'll discuss this."
She led the way to the top floor and down the squeaky brown linoleum of the corridor to the last room on the left. Many girls, including Daphne, had waited outside that door in trepidation while the Prefects decided on their fate. Today, there was no waiting.
"Well, Daphne, it's six for skipping sports' afternoon. Now, do you really not want me to speak to Mrs Furze?"
"No, please Shirley. She'd be furious."
"So, I think an additional six will be in order then."
"Oh, for God's sake, it's only a bloody book!" Daphne emphasised her outrage by sticking her hands on her hips. It wasn't a really good move.
"Your attitude, Daphne, leaves a lot to be desired. Twelve it is, then, but..." Shirley leaned forward, fiddling with the stack of canes, before pulling out the heaviest rod, "...I think your unfortunate manner merits Mr Whippy, our thickest rattan. Now, please bend over and touch your toes."
Daphne's look of defiance was already turning to one of horror.