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Emily Anne Marshall gulped hard as the train
pulled into the station.
Normally by now she'd be standing by the door,
eager for a first glimpse of her Daddy. But not today. Today
she felt a chill, even through her coat and school blazer. Without
thinking, the slim, dark-haired child bent and pulled up her
Her fingers fumbled for her pocket, unconsciously
fingering the edges of the report, the way a tongue can't help
but poke at a sore tooth. Though written on heavy St. Clare
letterhead, the edges were starting to feel a bit fuzzy - Emily
had nervously folded and re-folded it too many times during
her three-hour train ride. Despite re-reading, the words were
always the same.
She gathered her bags and slowly made her
way to the door and onto the platform, only then looking up
to see her father smiling and waving.
It had always been only the two of them, and
Emily knew with the wisdom of a ten-year-old it hadn't been
easy for him to send her away from the Devon farm, let alone
hundreds of miles away. But St. Clare was her mother's school.
Emily had never known her so the school was supposed to be their
connection. She had loved the school immediately, loved her
house and housemistress, falling in love at once with the dark-haired
athletic prefect. Even so, leaving the farm and her father had
been very hard indeed.
"Did you have a good trip, missy? Were
you a good girl for the conductor?"
Emily neither laughed nor rolled her eyes
at his overly cute teasing. She just nodded, smiling slightly.
Her father hugged her tight and then pulled
her away. His eyes looked her up and down with concern. It wasn't
like her to be so quiet. School was changing her, making her
quieter, more thoughtful and reserved. It was to the good, he
knew, but still. He missed the eager bouncy child.
"I was good, Dad. It was just a long
"Indeed it is. But we'll soon have you
The drive home passed in silence. Emily watched
the countryside pass as the car sped on. Their farm was far
outside the village, one of many reasons it was sensible to
send Emily away to school.
Emily's old excitement seemed to return as
the house came into view. This was her house. Her garden, her
tree. The flowers had started pushing up in the months since
Christmas break. This was where she belonged. She longed to
leap out of the car and dash to the swing.
"It's really spring now, Dad."
"Indeed it is."
John Marshall swallowed hard, thinking again
of how much she'd changed - she sounded more and more grown.
Like a woman. Like her mother.
He'd watched her get off the train, crisply
starched shirt, red plaid kilt, tie, neatly trimmed blazer,
knee socks and black shoes. Her coat, hat and gloves had made
him think of a young lady. It was hard to remember Emily splashing
in mud or even swinging in the garden.
John felt awkward, not sure how to talk to
this child (woman?) next to him.
"I expect you'll want to see how the
treehouse fared over the winter."
His voice trailed off as he noticed her staring
out the window again, not really listening. Maybe she was too
mature now for such things. How does one know with girls, after
He removed her suitcase from the boot and
helped her carry it into the old stone cottage in silence. John
felt far too awkward to speak. And Emily seemed lost in her
own world, her movements a little too graceful, like someone
in a dream.
Emily could feel her father's eyes upon her.
She bit her lip anxiously. Could he know somehow? He was so
quiet. No stories, no questions. Was he waiting for her to tell
It was so hard. She wished it all back, that
she'd worked harder, that she hadn't ever talked to Leticia.
It was really her fault. If Emily hadn't met her she'd
be joking with her father instead of feeling his disappointment.
Maybe he'd be so upset he wouldn't even bear to talk to her.
She followed him up to her room, her school shoes sounding loud
on the old wooden risers.
"I expect you'll want to wash and change
before tea. Nothing special tonight. We'll go to the village
tomorrow for our shopping, how about that?"
Emily nodded absently as she looked around
her room. She touched the report again. Should she give it to
him now? Get it all over with? She shivered a bit. He'd be so
very angry with her. Maybe there was another way? But no. The
report was very specific. She'd read it on the train.
"Dad? I wanted . . ." her voice
trailed off as she lost her courage.
"I - I just want to change. You know."
He knew. She wanted him to leave. He nodded
and left, gently closing her door behind him.
After she heard his footsteps vanish on the
stairs, Emily pulled the report from her pocket, unfolded it
and read it yet again. Seeing that the words hadn't changed,
she threw herself on her bed, pulled her bear tight to her and
gave over to silent sobs.
Wearing jeans and a tee shirt just a bit too
small for her, Emily sat silently, eating sandwiches at the
kitchen table with her father. Her face looked narrow and pale.
Inwardly her father sighed and tried again.
"So, Emily, how's this term going, missy?
Are you making your old dad proud?"
That got a reaction. Emily looked up
from her plate like a startled deer, eyes searching his face,
registering his surprise. She looked down again quickly.
"Why, Dad? It's going fine. I mean, same
old same old. You know."
Well he'd thought he knew. But not with that
reaction. He prodded a bit further.
"Going well then is it? All your teachers
still fond of you? You couldn't tell me enough about them at
"Oh, well, um. Yeah. It's all good. I
mean, mostly that is."
This Emily he knew. Oh sure, maybe
she was heading toward womanhood, but this was a child covering
her crime. Not wanting him to think it serious. Waiting. But
waiting for what - that he needed to know.
"Emily Anne Marshall, put down that sandwich
and look at me." He paused while she obeyed, reluctantly
looking him in the eye. She'd always been such an easy child,
so eager to please.
"I'm going to ask you once more. Think
before you answer me because if I find out afterwards you weren't
telling me the truth you're going to be in very serious
trouble, young lady. Now, is there anything at school that isn't
Her eyes filled with tears as she shook her
head no. John clenched his jaw a little. Emily couldn't have
said "yes" more distinctly. His surprise at her lie
stabbed at him.
The shake turned to a reluctant nod. Something
wasn't very well at all.
"What isn't going well, Emily? Tell me
She swallowed hard, trying to open her throat
The words were finally choked out, their release
making her shudder.
John couldn't quite make out the mumble for
almost a minute as he watched the tears trickle down his daughter's
"Please don't be mad, Dad."
"I'm not mad. Where is this report?"
Emily slowly withdrew a folded square from
the pocket of her jeans. Of course he wasn't mad. He hadn't
read it yet. She slid it across the table to him then put her
hands in her lap, twisting her napkin until it was a small linen
rope. Eyes lowered, she watched him read, his brow furrowing
as his eyes moved across the page.
When John realized Emily had had trouble at
school he was almost relieved. She tended to make too much of
things. He'd pushed her of course, wanted her to know he expected
her to do good work. Still, he knew maths was a struggle for
her. Spelling too, come to that. Her grades might not be up
to snuff. But a stern talking to, a bit of a threat, was all
it had ever taken.
But as he read the report from her school,
from the headmistress no less, he wondered again if he knew
this new creature at all. She'd been given three strokes of
the cane, unheard of apparently for someone under 12. Cheating,
lying, being disrespectful! These were crimes his Emily
would never have committed. Thrashed at school?! By her headmistress?
And none too soon from the sound of it. Plus there was the detail
of her previous report, one he hadn't seen yet had apparently
signed. And him being expected to return Emily in person so
he could speak to the teachers in question.
He looked across at Emily, eyes piercing.
"Well?" he said after a moment.
"What have you to say for yourself, miss?"
"Nothing? You have a report like this
for me and nothing to say for yourself? Is it all true
then? And what about this term report from your maths master?
I don't remember signing any such thing."
Emily nodded miserably. It was all true. Forging
her father's name on her last term's note from her maths master
had seemed only logical at the time. She could raise her grade
over the spring, no need to trouble her father. And then the
new term had come with maths harder than ever. It had seemed
a simple solution to copy Leticia's prep. And then lying about
it was her only choice. Otherwise she'd have had to tell on
Letty too. The disrespect was really all the other girl's doing,
but by then the head had seen them as partners in crime, caning
them both - three harsh strokes across their bare bottoms.
And since Emily had had to admit her father
hadn't known about her earlier report, the horrible inclusion
that he was to return her in person so this report had
to get through. She knew it was being followed by a letter to
arrive tomorrow as well, taking all choice out of her hands.
Emily shrunk a little on her chair.
"I'm sorry, Dad. I won't do it again."
Her father clenched his jaw.
"Well, now that's a relief. It's
all right if you never do it again. And of course I can trust
you not to." His voice was sarcastic, cutting, and made
tears run over onto her pale cheeks. Still he continued, letting
his anger guide his words. "After all, why should I mistrust
the word of someone who hides my mail, forges my name, cheats
on exams and tells lies?"
She bit her lip. He wasn't really expecting
her to answer. But Emily did.
"I don't know."
"Don't you now? And you know what I mean?
I mean for the two of us to take a trip out to the barn, just
like I used to with my father. You'll think twice before you
disgrace us again, missy."
The words were out before he'd thought. Still,
it seemed right. Behaviour like this deserved a damned good
thrashing. He'd use his father's razor strop. Severe, but clearly
merited. Behaviour like this wasn't to be tolerated. And obviously
the school thought her old enough for the cane.
"You've earned yourself a trip to the
Emily felt the blood drain from her face,
felt her hands tremble. She'd heard her father and uncle joke
about "trips to the barn" with her grandad. He'd stropped
them until they couldn't sit - or so they'd said. Emily had
rarely even been spanked - a few bottom smackings when she was
six or so. He'd never really even threatened anymore. Surely
her father didn't mean to thrash her.
Not like that.
Fear of punishment helped her find her tongue
and she babbled explanations - about Leticia and how the cheating
was really all her fault, about how she'd panicked and lied
and was sorry, so very sorry.
"Please, please no, Daddy."
John Marshall was a simple man, however, and
he had already decided.
"Come with me, Emily Anne. No fussing
now. It says here you took your thrashing at school bravely.
I expect nothing less at home."
At that, Emily did start "fussing"
just as she had when she was much younger, whining, begging
that he not spank her, not take her to the barn, swearing that
it was a mistake and she'd never do the like again. Her hands
gripped the side of her chair, holding her tightly in place.
John tried to be patient, but his annoyance
"Miss, if you know what's good for you
you'll get yourself out to that barn this second. Don't make
me tell you again!"
Much to her father's surprise, Emily's response
was to drum her feet against the floor like an infant in a pet
and shout: "No, I won't go and you can't make me!"
John's temper snapped. Emily's father pulled
her bodily out of her chair and firmly over his knee in one
swift motion. Not bothering with further talk he landed ten
smart whacks to the seat of his daughter's jeans and then ten
more. Her kicking stilled and he set her on her feet in front
of him, shaking his finger at her.
She stood frozen, too startled even to rub,
looking up at him with a stunned expression. Fear and something
else seemed to war in her eyes.
"We'll have no more of that! It's about
time you did as you were told. Now out to the barn with you."
With that John Marshall took his dark-haired
daughter by the wrist and led her from their house to the large
whitewashed barn some fifty yards away.
They say when someone's about to die their
life flashes before them. On the way out to the barn, Emily's
life didn't flash before her, but her caning did.
Beginning with the smug notice from her maths
master that she and Leticia would be meeting with the headmistress
after lessons. The realization that her cheating had been found
out. Changing into her formal dress uniform and sitting neat
and starched outside the office.
"It's quite clear to me you girls cheated.
Lying to me isn't going to make it any better. I don't believe
Emily felt her stomach shrivel inside. She
went pale as Letty sneered disrespectfully.
"Well, you can't prove it. Emily just
made the same mistake I did. We have the same teacher after
The headmistress looked at Letty coldly until
the girl finally looked away.
"Child, I don't need to prove anything.
Either you admit to cheating and apologize to me for your rudeness
or I shall call your parents and have them come claim you."
There was a longish pause. The headmistress
turned her stare to Emily as well as Leticia.
"Emily Marshall? Do you have anything
Emily swallowed hard, and whispered, "I'm
"Sorry for what?"
"I'm sorry I copied Leticia's assignment.
It was all my fault. I hadn't understood the work and so I couldn't
do my prep." Emily's eyes overflowed.
The headmistress had smiled slightly at her
confession and turned to Letty.
"There now. And do you have anything
The game was clearly up so after shooting
Emily a glare, Leticia had grudgingly confessed.
The lecture on honesty went by her in a blur.
Emily, at heart an honest child, was relieved at not having
to lie anymore. Still, it came as a shock when the headmistress
had them stand up and move their chairs toward the walls.
She was going to cane them.
Emily felt oddly thrilled as the order came
to take her knickers down to her knees and put her fingers on
the floor between her feet. The plaid kilt tickled against her
bare bottom, all of her senses feeling more acute. She heard
Letty breathing beside her, heard the closet latch click, then
a whistling sound.
Even though this was the first time Emily
had heard it, she knew this was the sound of a cane cutting
through the air. Caning was a grown up punishment, which made
her feel brave and determined not to shame herself further.
"Three strokes each. You will count them
out and thank me for each stroke. Extras will be given for getting
out of position. Girls your age usually aren't caned at this
school, but I can see you've made yourselves exceptional."
Emily bent still further over at the sentence
of three strokes. With her palms flat on the floor, fingers
digging into the carpet, she prayed to stay silent and in position.
The caning was painful, but Emily found it
easier to take than she imagined. Leticia was given her stroke
first and shrieked loudly, needing to be prompted before she
gave the "One and thank you Miss" count. Emily pressed
her teeth together tight, focused on keeping her knees straight.
The first stroke she didn't even feel before she gave her count,
the pain hitting only as she heard Letty yelp again and the
voice of the headmistress scolding the other girl for getting
out of position.
"Bend right over, Leticia Corpi. Or you'll
be getting two extras instead of just one.
The second stroke, given slightly below the
first, hurt a great deal and made Emily's knees bend slightly.
She struggled to keep her voice steady for the second count.
Still, she kept brave and in position by thinking over and over,
"I have only one left. Letty has two."
Actually, Letty had two even after her third
stroke as she sprang out of position and stood rubbing her bottom
before the headmistress shamed her into bending back over. The
other girl sobbed openly at the news she would receive two more
"Last one, Miss Marshall, if you can
conduct yourself properly."
The last was the hardest yet. Emily felt her
eyes tear up at the pain, but managed to make the count, perhaps
a bit louder than she meant to.
"Three! Thank you Miss!"
Remembering tales from older students, Emily
stayed bent over, waiting for permission to rise, the desire
to run her hands across her scorched nether cheeks almost overwhelming.
She hoped Letty would get these last strokes over with so they
could both leave.
But Letty wouldn't. Each time the headmistress
raised the cane, Letty leapt up and out of position.
"That was your last chance, Miss Corpi.
You now have three strokes remaining. Since you won't be still,
I shall enlist Miss Marshall to help you as you both have helped
each other with your punishments thus far. Emily, pull up your
knickers and come over to me."
Still dizzy from the rush of blood to her
head, Emily replaced her knickers, wincing as the soft cotton
rubbed against the raised tram-lines.
"I'm sorry, Ma'am," Letty sobbed.
"I just can't bear any more caning."
"That's too bad, because you shall. Emily,
place that stool in the center of the room and kneel in front
Emily trembled a little and obeyed, sighing
a little with relief as the headmistress guided Letty to the
stool's other side.
"Bend over, Letty, and place your elbows
on the stool." The girl obeyed the headmistress. "Emily,
since Miss Corpi can't behave for her caning, you will hold
her wrists tight and help her stay in position."
Watching Letty's face during the caning, Emily
felt each stroke's impact as though it passed through her own
body, feeling and fearing these far more than her own. Letty
had sobbed openly, her teardrops landing on Emily's hands.
Walking the distance between house and barn,
John Marshall was lost in his own memories. Of days long past
when he made this walk slowly, a naughty boy with his father's
hand heavy on the back of his neck. Knowing that when he got
there he'd be ordered to drop his trousers and pants, then bend
right over the stable bars.
The air always felt cool on his bare bottom
as he waited for his father to fetch the strop from its hook
on the barn's center support. John knew better than to stand
or argue. He was meant to stand there silently, waiting for
justice to descend on him. John's father had punished severely,
but never unjustly.
From across the barn, John would hear the
metal across metal scrape of the strop being removed from its
nail and curl his toes hard into the soles of his boots. There
was always a pause after his father walked back. John couldn't
see the man, but still remembered feeling the chill of his disapproval
across his bare skin. And, as he walked, he remembered the searing
burn of the strop.
His father never spoke during these punishments,
unless he or his brothers were foolish enough to try to stand.
And then always the same, "Do you think you'll get off
so easily?" and a strong hand pushing a shamed boy back
over the rail as the stropping continued.
John hadn't been punished often, but each
was memorable. And he had rarely needed to be punished for the
same crime twice. As he reached the door of the barn, this time
with his daughter's arm firmly in his, he swore to himself this
punishment would be something Emily never forgot, so she might
never need it repeated.
He cleared his throat.
"Emily, you know what you did was wrong
and admitted your guilt. And I know you're sorry. But sometimes
sorry isn't enough. Part of taking responsibility is taking
your punishment. This is one of those times. I expect you to
behave at school - not to shame yourself in this manner."
His daughter looked up at him and nodded,
tears spilling out of her dark eyes, over her long lashes.
"You go on over to that rail now,"
he said, pointing. "And take down your jeans. Bend right
over the top, grabbing the bottom rail tight. I'll give you
your punishment and then it'll be over and we'll say no more
John watched as his daughter nodded up to
him, her tears now flowing freely. He could tell she was scared
and his heart felt heavy as he went to fetch the strop from
where it still hung on its nail.
The familiar metallic noise sounded loud to
his ears as he removed the old leather from the wall - it had
darkened and stiffened with age. The leather felt thick and
hard in his hands. As a boy he'd been afraid to touch it; sometimes
even looking at it had been enough to send his heart racing.
Now, it was stiffer than he remembered it and he wondered if
perhaps he should oil it. Not now of course. Tomorrow. It was
supple for dealing with Emily tonight.
Looking down at the strop he decided on twelve
strokes laid on hard. His father had generally given twenty,
but that seemed too many. Despite the crime, twelve seemed too
many. Perhaps six laid on full would be enough.
John Marshall turned back toward Emily. She
had already taken her jeans down and was struggling to bend
over the barn rail, which hit her at mid-chest. Too high to
bend over, she seemed to be trying to pull herself up then over
but failed. Emily was just too small.
Suddenly the punishment he planned seemed
far too harsh. He rehung the strop.
"Get away from there, Emily."
She turned to face him, face streaked with
dust and tears, meeting his eyes for an instant before the jeans
at her ankles tripped her to the floor.
He said nothing more, but scooped her up and,
seated on a milking stool, turned her over his knees, spanking
her crisply over her panties.
Surprise kept her silent for a few minutes,
then she began to whimper.
"Not such a big girl now, are you, miss?
You just try and be good while I give you the bottom smacking
With that, he pulled her panties down to her
ankles and resumed the hand spanking. His hands were heavy and
hard and he held little back, focusing his attention on her
lower bottom cheeks, noting that his hand still spanned both
globes in a single smack.
"I don't need to use that strop on you
yet. I'm sure I can make you one sorry little girl with just
Emily's bottom was getting hotter by the second,
and she squirmed and kicked.
"Please, Daddy, I'm so sorry!"
"Yes indeed. And you're going to be a
lot sorrier because I'm nowhere near finished with you."
With that, John sped up his spanks, reddening the tops of her
He didn't enjoy spanking Emily, but was pleased
to hear her fussing, see her trying to put her hands back, whining
for him to stop. It made it clear to him that this was hardly
a young woman, but his child who needed a child's punishment.
Hearing her sob, he told himself to continue, counting the spanks
from that point, to one hundred, the last ten delivered with
all the strength he could muster.
Emily's bottom was a dark crimson, with some
raised welts on the right where his fingers had struck repeatedly.
He let her lie there a moment, hearing her sobs, before turning
her over onto his lap. As she had when she was six, Emily buried
her face in her father's chest, crying and apologising for her
"Hush, sweetheart. It's over now. Shhhh."
He stood, still holding her, and carried her back toward the
house, her jeans and panties long since forgotten.
Emily Anne Marshall would be a child for a
The strop, back on its nail, watched from
the far wall.
to St. Clare School stories
to the treehouse