SCENE. The principal’s office at Brocklehurst College, a “crammer” for young men who have failed their A-level school examinations. Five assorted eighteen-year-old boys are lined up ill-at-ease in front of the Principal’s desk. The Principal is speaking.
Stand up straight, all of you! You boys have never met one another before but you know you are all here for the same reason. You failed your A-level examinations and now we have little more than two months to prepare to retake them.
None of you are stupid, that’s clear. But you are lazy and you lack self-discipline.
It’s because you lack self-discipline that here at Brocklehurst College we have a regime that imposes discipline upon you.
Here we use corporal punishment.
Don’t look like that; you are fully aware of our methods here. More to the point, so are your parents. Indeed it is precisely because we use corporal punishment that they have signed you up. They want you to pass your A-levels and we want you to pass. It is still to be seen whether you boys want to pass.
We use corporal punishment. The teachers will use a strap or a slipper if you are late for class or inattentive. For more serious offences, such as poor work, they might use a cane. If you are sent to me for punishment I shall administer the cane across your backside. If you repeat the transgression or are guilty of a more serious matter, that caning will be on the underpants or bare bottom. I hope I make myself clear.
Good, it seems that I do.
Here you will work hard; seven days a week. As a break from your studies on Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings there will be physical activities that are also intended to broaden your minds. These activities are compulsory for you all.
When I have finished with you please go to the dormitory where you will find your college uniform. You each have a blue-and-yellow-striped blazer, grey flannel short trousers and grey and blue knee socks. You will wear this uniform at all times, both inside and outside the college.
You will hand in all your other clothes and these will not be returned to you until the day you are ready to leave. You will also hand in all your personal possessions, including phones and electronic gadgets. This is an alcohol, tobacco and drugs-free college so if you have any of these items in your possession please hand them in.
You should consider this an amnesty. If you have these items and hand them in then nothing more will be said, but if you do not and later you are found in possession of any these items you will be punished with the utmost severity. Is that clear?
Is that clear!
You boy, what’s your name?
We use surnames only at the College. And you will always address me as, Sir.
Well, Wendersley, did you read the College instructions about haircuts?
Yes, you did. Then you know the College rule is that hair must be cut short and not touch the neck or ears.
So, why have you not followed the instruction?
Sir! I have already told you that you must always address me as, Sir.
So, you knew of the instruction, but decided to deliberately disobey it.
Yes, that is about the size of it. You will wait behind after the others have been dismissed. I am going to beat you and then I shall arrange for a man to come from the town to cut your hair.
Be quiet. All of you.
Now, I want you to go and put on your uniforms and return to my office at five o’clock. Do not be a minute late. I will then give each of you six strokes of the cane.
Pah! I will give you six-of-the-best. This is to show our dissatisfaction at your past laziness and failure at the examinations.
I said be quiet. I will not allow this. You will obey my instructions to the letter.
I will give you six-of-the-best to show our dissatisfaction at your past behaviour, but it will also be a warning for the future. If we consider you are slacking in your studies you will be beaten again. I hope I make myself clear?
Right. You four boys go to the dormitory and change. You. Wendersley. Stay behind.
Right let me deal with you Wendersley. Please take that armchair there and turn it round so that its back faces into the room.
Ah, it would seem that you have never seen a rattan cane before.
I thought not. It is a pity. If you had been caned earlier in life you would not be the slacker you are today and you would not need to be here.
Look how swishy it is. It will hurt you a very great deal. That is the point of a caning.
Please stand behind the chair.
Silence, boy. You will do as you are instructed. Stand by the chair.
Wendersley, if you do not accept your punishment I will not allow you to stay at the college.
Would you like me to telephone your father and tell him I am putting you on the next train home?
No, I thought not.
Stand by the chair.
I see you are wearing thick jeans. Perhaps, you should take them down.
Wendersley, you are becoming tiresome. You will please do as I instruct. Take down your jeans.
I am waiting Wendersley.
Ha! Bright red underpants. From now on Wendersley you will be wearing white cotton Y-fronts.
Now, bend over the chair.
Keep your head low and your bottom high.
That’s right. Here is the first stroke.
Bend back over boy. If you stand up again, I shall give you extra strokes.
Doh! Keep still.
I shall not tell you again.
Stop your blubbing, take it like a man.
Keep those legs still.
You may stand up Wendersley.
Stop rubbing your bottom.
Pull your jeans up. Get dressed properly.
Here, take this and wipe your eyes.
I hope you have learnt a lesson. At Brocklehurst College you must obey the rules. Failure to do so will result in corporal punishment. There will be no exceptions.
Tomorrow, I shall arrange for you to have your hair cut. For now, go to the dormitory and change into your school uniform. Be sure to be back here at five o’clock with the other boys.
You are dismissed.
SCENE Some days later in a classroom after a geography test. The geography master and a student are alone.
Well, Hill, fifty-two percent; that’s pretty dismal don’t you think?
It’s nowhere near A-level standard, boy. You should have been able to answer these questions at GCSE, lad.
You need to buck your ideas up.
Yes, you do.
Please fetch me that plimsoll.
Hill. Fetch me that plimsoll.
Hand it here, boy. Hand it here. Thank you.
Stand there beside me.
Look, Hill. If you make me repeat everything I shall make sure I also repeat the number of stokes I give you. Do you want double?
No, I thought not.
Now, take down your shorts.
Over my knee.
Doh! Come here.
Put you head lower.
Now, give me your arm. We don’t want you going anywhere.
Stay still. Stop wriggling.
Still boy. I am going to spank you with this slipper. Just accept the inevitable. And make sure you do better in tomorrow’s test, or you’ll be across my knee again.
Let’s have these down. Oh, you weren’t expecting that? Well, Hill, it’s not a proper spanking unless it’s on the bare.
Don’t fight me boy!
Hhhhhhh, if you fight me, I’ll get one of the other boys to come in to hold you down over the desk. So help me, I’ll take your backside off.
Mmmmm. The more you struggle, the harder I’m going to spank you. I can keep it up all night if I have to.
Hill! Do you want me to send you to the Principal? Do you want his cane across your bare bottom?
No, I didn’t think so.
Stay still, take your punishment.
Twelve more, then we’re done.
Other stories you might like.
More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second