Margaret was still not too old to feel the sting of leather on her hands or bottom. This is a cautionary tale of being brought down a peg or two.

Margaret had gone for a cigarette in the girls toilet at break time. She was checking her make up in the mirror when two first year girls she knew came in and asked her for a cigarette. She gave them one each and started on her lipstick.

After about 30 seconds, Mrs Jessiman came in doing one of her regular checks for smokers. She caught the 2 of them with the cigarettes lighted. She told them to put them out and asked them if they knew school rules.  They both said they did.

Mrs Jessiman put her bag down and pulled her thick brown leather strap out. Margaret said the toilets were full of girls of all ages pretending to being doing one thing or another, but really they were hanging about to see the belting that was coming.

“Hands up,” Mrs Jessiman said to the first girl, Sharon. She got 2 on each hand. Margaret said she howled at every stroke  and they weren’t hard ones.

Mrs Jessiman turned to the next girl, Louise.  “Up!” She said. She got the same but took them better, only crying softly after the last one.

Margaret had a good view of the belting in the mirror. She was putting her make up bag in her bag when Mrs Jessiman demanded the girl with the cigarettes hand the rest over.

Sharon at once pointed at Margaret and said: “Margaret Montieth gave us them.”

Margaret said she was scared out of her wits. Mrs Jessiman came right up to her face.

“Is this true, Margaret?” She shouted.

Margaret was so taken aback she said: “Yes, Miss.”

“How dare you!” The teacher shouted. “Giving first year girls cigarettes!”

Margaret said she was sorry.

“You will be, girl,” shouted Mrs Jessiman. “Give me the rest of them, now!”

Margaret handed the packet over out of her bag. She said all the rest of the girls were busying themselves at the mirror. They knew what was coming, and so did Margaret. She was slipping her rings off her fingers and leaving them at the side of the sink. Mrs Jessiman took her strap out of her bag again.

“Think yourself lucky the headmaster isn’t dealing with you for this, girl!” She shouted at Margaret. “You won’t forget this in a hurry. Both hands side by side, girl!”

Margaret held her hands out. She then got six of the very best. Margaret told me she pulled her hands away after every stroke. The toilet was silent. All you could hear was leather hitting her hands and her cries.

Later, when she told me what had happened, she said she hated Mrs Jessiman. Her hands were pure red-purple in the fat bits beside her thumbs. She was slowly opening and closing her hands because they were numb.

One of the girls had put her rings in her bag.

The school sent Margaret’s parents a letter, and her mum leathered her again for her smoking and for giving younger girls cigarettes. She showed me the marks on the backs of her thighs and her bottom. They were like grazes.  She could hardly sit.

A few weeks later, Margaret gave Sharon a battering for grassing her up. Unfortunately Sharon’s mum and dad went to see Margaret’s. Margaret ended up getting yet another leathering from her dad. Her Backside was red sore.

He then took Margaret to Sharon’s house and she had to apologise to her. He told her he had leathered Margaret. Margaret was mortified.