Just because Lisa had a small tatoo on her backside (admittedly an affectation a little in advance of its time), it was no reason to torment her. But reason plays little part in the sometimes cruel ways in which schoolgirls treat each other and Glenda, the school bully, seized her chance when she found Lisa in the showers.
"Oh, Lisa, look: you haven't managed to get that nasty mark off your bottom."
"But it's a tatoo, Glenda - it won't come off."
"I'm sure it will with a little effort. Come on, Deirdre, fetch our belts and lets see if we can help poor little Lisa."
Fearful of Glenda's wrath if she didn't play along, Deirdre went to the hooks where they'd left their clothes and brought back two leather belts.
"Now," said Glenda, taking hers, "If we whack Lisa's bum really hard - like this! - I'm sure that mark will come out. Now you try, Deirdre."
"Owww! Oooouch!" Lisa yelled as the blows fell across her pale, wet skin. "Stop! Please stop!"
"But this is for your own good, Lisa. The mark is a bit stubborn, though. We'll just have to try harder, won't we, Deirdre?"
Outside the shower room, Lisa's friend Cynthia listened to the slaps and cries coming from within. She hated it when Lisa was bullied by Glenda, but there was a strict code amongst the girls that they must never tell on each other. But, surely, did this include bullying? A particularly viscous 'thwack!', followed by a heart-rending cry from Lisa and a giggle from Glenda, made up Cynthia's mind. She dashed round to Matron's room.
"Please, Matron, come quick. Lisa's being bullied again."
Retribution followed quickly. As soon as Glenda and Deirdre had dried themselves and got dressed, they were marched down to the Headmistress's study. Then it was only a minute or two before they were kneeling side by side on the sofa, preparing to receive a dozen strokes each with the Dragon cane. The Headmistress had applied the first six to each girl, and had just completed Glenda's twelfth stroke, when the Dragon broke.
"Don't move, either of you. I'm going to the secretary's office to fetch another cane. Deirdre, you've got another six coming."
As the Head's footsteps retreated down the corridor, Glenda turned to Deirdre, sniffing back a tear.
"Just wait until I get my hands on that wretched little sneak. I'll teach her to tell tales."
Some leopards never change their spots.
Images from The Penitents
Next illustrated story HERE