Commander Reynolds’ rooming house

Commander Albert Reynolds, RN (retd.) turned the volume of his wireless down low and sat back in his comfortable chair. The boys had given him a strange proposition but he was not sure he should have turned them down.

He pressed his fingers together, pursed his lips and closed his eyes, allowing the sound of Henry Hall’s dance band to drift into his consciousness.

The three boys, well they were young men really, had departed back to their rooms, leaving the old man to re-evaluate their offer.

It had started a couple of months previously. Jack, James and Arthur had come to live at the Commander’s boarding house. They were from respectable families; otherwise he would never have let them stay.

They were students, just up at the Varsity. Out in the big world on their own for the first time in their lives.

The Commander recalled Mrs Rollington; Jack’s mother. “He’s a fine God-fearing boy, Commander,” she had intoned, rather fiercely, he thought. “He has been brought up in a good Christian family. His morals are impeccable.”

The Commander laughed at that as Henry Hall’s soothing voice introduced the next dance tune. “Impeccable morals, my eye,” he thought.

That had been the problem. Three eighteen-year-old boys let loose on the big city after years cooped up in high class boarding schools. The Commander was an old naval man, he knew what young men could get up to when out on the town. There was smoking, drinking, and, yes, even possibly the occasional woman: Jack, James and Arthur had been making up for lost time.

The Commander was no hypocrite; young men had appetites, he realised that. But there were his other tenants to consider. And there had been complaints; especially from Mr Bunyan at number eight.

Mr Bunyan had called on the Commander four times now. At each visit he was a little more irritated – and, irritating. The Commander knew the type, always finding something to complain about, but maybe this time he had a point.

“It’s just too much Commander Reynolds, Sir,” Bunyan had simpered, the first time he laid down the complaint. It had been about the boys arriving back in the early hours of the morning, clearly the worse for drink.

“It’s the ladies I feel sorry for.” He meant the women tenants. Apart from the three boys and the Commander, Bunyan was the only man lodging at the house, although the Commander was not so sure the word “man” quite described the flamboyant creature that stood before him. Was that a whiff of gardenia in the air?

The Commander was a leader of men and he expected to be obeyed. He had what he described to Bunyan as “a little word” with the boys.

Things improved, but not for long. By the time Bunyan was tapping on the Commander’s door with his fourth complaint, the Commander’s patience was exhausted.

That had been last Friday and it was yesterday he gave the boys formal notice to quit the lodgings. To go, find rooms somewhere else, leave Bunyan and the Commander in peace.

“Oh my, what will my mother say?” It was Jack who spoke first. The three boys were contemplating the devastating news – chucked out of their lodgings for immoral behaviour.

James and Arthur were equally aghast. James most certainly did not want to face his father with this news. Mr Miller expected impeccable behaviour from his sons, especially in public. He was old school, with the emphasis on “school.” He would not hesitate to take his whippy dragon cane down from its hook in the study and apply it with great force across his errant son’s backside; eighteen years old or not.

Arthur had no such fear of his own father. He had never laid a finger on him in his life. There would be no thrashing, but Mr Rhodes would show a deep sense of disappointment that would cut into Arthur much more acutely than any lashes with a cane across his bared buttocks.

“The Commander is right, we have behaved pretty badly,” Arthur had been raised to have a grave sense of guilt. But, neither of the other fellows disagreed. They were guilty as charged. They were not used to freedom that was the reason. They had spent the past ten years imprisoned at one boarding school or another; their lives totally regimented. Rules governed their lives. Do this, do that! Rules that must be followed, and of course, punishments endured if they were not.

“Yes, we have been rather foolish.” It was an understatement from Arthur. Too much wine, women and song had led them to this downfall.

“What if the university finds out? Will we be sent down?” James raised the question. Expulsion for bringing the university into disrepute would be disastrous. It would be the end of James’ chances of a career in the Foreign Office.

The three boys fell silent, each contemplating their own personal disaster.

Jack eventually piped up. “If we had been caught smoking and drinking at Bridgetown, my housemaster would have thrashed us.”

He left the sentence hanging. It was true; the consequence at school for bad behaviour was a very sore backside indeed. But, every boy who ever was ordered to “bend over that chair” to offer up his buttocks to a dominant master, agreed it was worth it. Six-of-the-best meant atonement. The crime had been committed, the punishment was accepted and everybody moved on with their lives.

“It was the same at my school,” James was almost misty-eyed with nostalgia. “Mr Horridge would’ve had us across his desk. Trousers and underpants at our ankles. Even when we were seniors. My hat! We couldn’t sit down for a week after that.”

James and Jacked joined in companionable laughter. Arthur’s face drained of colour. How could they find this amusing? Bare-bottomed thrashings. Not sitting down for a week. What brutes these schoolmasters were.

“What about you Arthur?” James peered through his spectacles at his young friend. “What did they do at your school? Did you get it bare?”

Startled, Arthur found himself saying, “Oh, my yes, of course, ouch! Yarroo!”

Why had he lied? Was he ashamed that he had attended a Quaker school, founded by pacifists? Corporal punishment was unheard of. He had never even seen a school cane in his life, let alone felt one across his stretched bottom.

“Hey! I’ve got an idea!” It was James who made the suggestion. It was such an obvious solution. He was sure the Commander would agree. He must have been a public school man himself. Surely, he would understand.

“Let’s offer to take a beating. Apologise, say we’ll never do it again. And we should mean it.”

Jack’s face lit up. “Yes, that’s it. He’ll understand. We could offer to go bare, if that’s what it took.”

The two boys were so taken by their proposed solution they failed to notice Arthur’s coughing fit.

So it was that the three boys stood in Commander Reynolds sitting room, hands behind their backs, feet slightly apart, eyes downcast inspecting a rather worn green-patterned carpet.

It had been James’ idea, so he was the boys’ representative.

“So you see Commander,” it was a confident address. The boys might have spent a little too much time on the town recently, but they were intelligent articulate teenagers. In time they would all make their mark on the world, but now, on this day, they had to dig themselves out of a rather big hole.

“If we behaved like this at our schools we should have been soundly beaten by our housemasters.”

Jack found himself inadvertently nodding his agreement, but still he stared at the carpet, unable to look the Commander in the eye. Cold sweat poured down Arthur’s back, he was certain he would be sick at any moment.

The Commander looked at the three boys in astonishment. Beat them, as if they were schoolboys and he was their housemaster. Who had ever heard of such an idea?

“So, we respectfully ask that you punish us with a beating and then allow us to stay on as tenants.” James finished his little speech. He had decided not to include the offer to take it trousers and underwear down.

The Commander silently counted to ten. His mother had taught him this when he was a very small boy. If you think you are going to lose your temper count to ten before you speak.

Eight, nine, ten. “No, that is not a good idea. You will all vacate your rooms as previously ordered.”

James opened his mouth, but the Commander cut him off. He would not hear argument. “That is all. You are dismissed!”

Two crestfallen (and one very relieved) teenagers trudged up the stairs to their rooms.

Now, in a darkened room, sitting in his chair, was the Commander having second thoughts? Corporal punishment, was it such a bad idea?

Heavy rain lashed against the window, almost drowning out the dance music. Suddenly, in his mind it was at least thirty years ago, he was a sub-lieutenant, young men in thin white trousers were being bound hand and foot, and forced to bend their bodies over a triangle. Handkerchiefs were stuffed into their mouths. A chief petty officer armed with a cane lashed twelve strokes into their taut buttocks.

It happened all the time; there was nothing unusual about it. It was perfectly legal and still happened today.

There were lighter, more informal punishments. The Commander silently chuckled. There had been this boy; what was his name? He was no older than the three tenants upstairs. He was an incorrigible rogue, but not an evil sort. It soon became a ritual. Anderson was he called? Anderson would be caught smoking or absent from his post, the Commander (he was not a Commander then) would be informed. Guilt would be established. Then Anderson was given a choice: be put a charge or go across the knee.

He was a tiny fellow, this Anderson. He looked like a small child. Perhaps that was why the Commander felt he should punish him like a naughty boy. A heavy wooden clothes brush was kept in a drawer. Anderson would be ordered to fetch it while the Commander settled himself into his favourite chair. Then, without further instruction, Anderson would hand the Commander the brush before unbuckling his own belt and lowering his trousers.

Then with an air of resignation on his face he would lower himself across the Commander’s knees. He remembered it as if it had happened that morning. The underpants were a rather grubby grey-white colour. He would pull the drawers up tight so the outline of Anderson’s buttocks were clearly visible and then at a slow, rhythmic pace he would crash twenty-four hard whacks into the boy’s stringy buttocks.

It hurt the boy, probably a great deal, but he never showed his pain. It must have been a matter of pride, to be able to take a whacking stoically. The spanking over, Anderson would jump to his feet replace his trousers and stand to attention, thumbs in line with the seams of his trousers.

“Thank you Sir, I deserved that.” He always said the same thing after every spanking. Had the Commander made him say that or had he thought to do it himself?

A thunderclap woke the Commander from his dream. Heavens, he had not thought about Anderson in more than thirty years. Poor boy, he died in action before he reached his twentieth birthday.

The Commander had been on the receiving end himself. Many times; beyond the age of eighteen. He had attended a naval training ship. There had been this one time, he was with a party of about thirty boys who misbehaved themselves ashore; they had to be rounded up by the ship’s authorities. They used a birch in those days. It was not as heavy as the judicial birch that was still in use today. One by one the boys were forced to lower their trousers and go across the block. The Commander wriggled in his chair as if the scars of the birching were still troubling him.

He moved from his chair and switched on a light. Perhaps the boys had a point. They could atone for their crimes. He did not want them to get into further trouble at the university.

He had listened to the news earlier on the wireless. Mr Chamberlain had returned from Munich with a peace agreement. The Commander did not believe it for a moment. War in Europe was coming and these boys would soon be fighting for their country. The Commander himself would probably be recalled.

Damn it, let’s do it. The Commander was a man of decision. Yes, a caning. Twelve each: on the bare. It must be an exemplary thrashing, but once delivered and received that would be an end to it.

That was how the following evening the three young men stood once more before the Commander, staring down at the carpet.

The Commander had made much preparation. First, he had to purchase a cane. They are readily available in most oil shops, as any naughty boy could attest. The embarrassment of being sent by father to purchase a cane was intense. The shopkeepers never believed a boy’s tale that the cane was needed because they were “playing schools.”

The Commander wanted a special cane, a Malacca for preference. The thick dense rod was as whippy as a school’s rattan cane but it packed more of a punch and with ridges every four inches or so along its length it would leave deep bruises on the boys’ buttocks. They had asked for a caning and it would certainly be given caning to remember.

There was a specialist shop he knew in Earls Court that supplied just the thing.

The Commander was now armed with a suitable weapon, but he had another problem. He was not the boys’ parent or guardian and he had no legal jurisdiction over them. In short, he had no right to punish them.

He was not a legal expert, but he drew up a short contract. The boys were not yet twenty-one and so were not adults. Even so, he would make them sign to say they consented to a thrashing. Next, he needed a witness in case something went wrong. Nearly all of his tenants were women and it would not be right to ask them to see the boys bare their buttocks. Bunyan would have to be the witness. He agreed a little too eagerly when asked.

There were no speeches or ceremony. They all knew why they were there. The Commander went over to the far end of the room, swung round the large horsehair armchair that was to serve as the punishment chair and pushed it into the centre of the room. Having done that, he turned back towards a cabinet and opened the top drawer from which he took the cane.

“Right, Miller,” he swished the cane at James, “Trousers and underwear down.”

James knew he was blushing as he removed his jacket then unzipped his trousers and pulled them down. He stood behind the chair and peeled his underwear from his buttocks before letting them drop on top of his trousers.

“I assume that you know the procedure,” the Commander was still swishing the cane menacingly. “Over the chair, with your legs well apart.”

James did of course know exactly what was required. As he got over the chair, he pushed his arms out along the full length of its armrests, so that his buttocks were raised over the apex of the chair and his legs were stretched apart.

The Commander turned his shirt back and Bunyan moved a pace or two to his left, ensuring a clearer view.

Unceremoniously, the Commander tapped the waiting buttocks then raised his arm to shoulder height, before with a flick of the wrist he brought the cane down hard across the exposed backside. James clenched his teeth but a groan still escaped as he absorbed the first of twelve stokes. The Commander was soon into his stride, ensuring he spread the strokes across the teenager’s bottom. Starting in the middle, he worked his way down till number six landed hard across the top of James’ thighs.

No amount of teeth clenching could stop the loud howl that escaped from the boy’s throat. The Commander paused to admire the six thick red, almost parallel, lines across James’ once creamy white buttocks. He landed number seven higher up, before changing his stance and lashing number eight diagonally crossing the previous seven welts. James roared and his bottom gyrated. The Commander was breathing almost as heavily as the boy he was punishing as he whacked the rest of the strokes diagonally across the buttocks, from the left and from the right.

James gagged as howls and sobs were wrenched from his body and he clutched onto the horsehair sofa as if his very life depended on it.

Then it was Jack’s turn. He had been panting vigorously since the start of James’ beating and his short, sharp breaths now grew more urgent as he lay across the chair.

His bottom was well-rounded with firm and toughened muscles, but it had no protective layer of flesh. There would be no give and compression of the cheeks as the cane struck home, its impact would be imparted directly into the muscle of the suffering boy. Movement would remain agonising long after the beating had been completed and all strokes administered. The lack of absorbent meat on his buttocks meant that the knots of the Malacca cane were likely to tear the skin and cause bleeding, perhaps even with a single stroke.

With incredible speed, accuracy and force, the Commander lurched forward and delivered three rapid strokes which ricocheted off the boy’s backside, making him writhe and jerk and gasp loudly before slumping back over the chair, panting and twitching, in total subjection.

The Commander wielded the cane with stunning skill. The stinging lines of pain which sliced their way across Jack’s backside exceeded any previous canings he had received at school. He bounced up and down on the back of the chair and strained every muscle in his legs to hold them straight and apart.

The twelfth and final stroke was imminent. Jack’s clenched fists, wet with the saliva from his mouth into which they had been thrust to hold back his cries, and stinging with the imprint of his teeth, groped desperately to cling on to the chair.

The cane rose and fell. The collision was formidable. The cane cracked with unrestrained vengeance across the bare flesh of Jack’s buttocks. The sound reverberated around the room and a shudder rippled through the teenager’s body as the full impact of the stroke bit into him.

Arthur stood gazing at the sight of Jack’s striped, bruised, red and purple blotched buttocks clenching and unclenching, trembling like jelly. His own legs buckled and for a moment he feared he would fall onto the floor in a fainted heap.

“Over!” the Commander swished the cane impatiently. Arthur wanted to push past the Commander and his fearful cane, and dash from the room. He would not stop running until he had reached his mother’s arms at his home one hundred and fifty miles way.

That is what he wanted to do. But it was not what he did. His two great friends Jack and James had endured their thrashings. They had been brutal, but the two boys had behaved honourably. They had misbehaved and had accepted their due punishment. No matter how terrible the ordeal might be, Arthur resolved to take the caning. He deserved it. He would not let himself down in front of his friends.

In a trance he stepped forward towards the chair. He clenched his eyes tightly shut and fumbled at his trousers. He could not quite get his fingers to work and it took an age before he felt the heavy cloth of his trousers slide down his thighs before travelling past his knees to rest at his shins. His underpants followed reluctantly.

The Commander’s impatience grew. “Hurry up boy, I haven’t got all day.”

Arthur felt the colour draining from his face. His legs became weak and an immovable lump came into his throat. His eyes displayed the sheer horror and despair which was consuming him. A sudden realisation that this boy was terrified brought a sneer to Bunyan’s lips.

With eyes still tightly closed, Arthur stretched himself forward and offered up his bared buttocks to his tormentor.

The boy’s apprehension was obvious, even without studying the quivering vibration of his naked and expectant bottom, the Commander knew that he was terrified of the pain of the beating to come. He was horrified that he might fail the test.

No matter, events must take their course. The Commander, surprised that his palms had suddenly begun to sweat tucked his cane under his arms so he could wipe his hands against his trousers. Bunyan too was sweating, but anxious to get on with the show.

The Commander slipped the cane from his arm into his hand and prepared to administer the third thrashing of the evening.

The first cut bounced into Arthur’s mounds and sank deep into the flesh, before it re-emerged leaving behind a thick red mark across the centre of both cheeks. Arthur let out a piercing scream and jumped from the chair, both hands grabbing his ferociously boiling buttocks. He stamped up and down on the carpet in a fruitless attempt to ease the agony.

James’ eyes widened at the spectacle. He had seen many boys caned in his lifetime, but none had behaved like this. What was wrong with the boy?

The Commander thought he knew. This boy had never before been on the receiving end of a caning. How could such a thing happen? Was he not eighteen years old and the product of an English public school? The public schools – which were in fact expensive independent private schools – were renowned across the British Empire for their discipline. The school cane had been one of the country’s finest exports for a hundred years or more. How could this boy be a virgin to its lash at his age?

“Back over!” it was a ferocious command. “Do not dare behave in such a disgraceful way. Take your beating like a man!”

Totally humiliated and with tears streaming down his cheeks, Arthur prepared once more to receive the kiss of the cane.

The Commander was a military man through to his inner core. This shaking, wailing boy bent over the chair, bared buttocks pointing upwards at him, might be experiencing this for the first time, but he must not be lenient. He was as guilty as his two fellows and he must be punished in exactly the same way. It would not be fair on them. Besides, if he laid the cane on lightly, Jack and James would know and they would despise Arthur for it. No, the right thing to do would be to tear the boy’s buttocks to shreds.

And, that is precisely what the Commander did.

The Commander saw the tension taking over Arthur’s entire body and sensed the teenager holding his breath to bursting point, as the older man realigned the cane to deliver a diagonal stroke to cut across the previous one.

His arm swept down. The cane struck the springy globes with a swish and leapt away. Arthur’s body convulsed on the chair, his fingers scrabbled and wrenched, he gave a pitiful whine and then settled again, ready for the next stroke.

The next lashes fell a fraction below each other getting lower and lower with number six landing right on the crease, by now Arthur was bawling and tears had fallen from his eyes and the chair cushion was wet with teardrops. His hands were tightly gripping the chair as another stroke landed at a right angle crossing all the previous stripes. Arthur howled once more and his backside wobbled and shook as he came to terms with this latest onslaught.

When number twelve landed the Commander whipped it with a will right on top of stroke number seven on the crease, Arthur’s head shot up and he screamed in agony.

“That will do.” It was a calm, courteous statement. The punishment was over.

Arthur let go of the seat cushion; his knuckles now bleached white. Nothing registered clearly or coherently as quickly he got up, but his hands immediately went round to feel his scalded buttocks and he could not get dressed immediately until the pain reached its peak.

The pain was so intense that in spite of his eighteen years he could hardly see for the tears which were flooding his eyes: he had taken as severe a caning as could have been delivered.

Five minutes later, the Commander was once more alone in his room. The three boys were upstairs admiring their corrugated backsides and congratulating one another on their fortitude. Mr Bunyan was lying on his bed, his trousers at his ankles. In the distance a thunderclap heralded yet another rain storm.

 

Other stories you might like.

 The office manager

The boys in the mailroom

The Senior Tutor

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

Six of the best caning stories 3. The Colonel takes control

cane malacca cane (2)

“Send Master George to me!”

Colonel Thompson flexed the cane between his hands thoughtfully. It was an ideal specimen. A crook handled ashplant, fully three feet in length, and as thick as a pencil. It would do the job admirably.

Gripping the ashplant just below the handle he swished the cane up and down and then in an arc to left and right through the air.

The Colonel knew he had a duty to perform this evening and he had prepared thoroughly. His gamekeeper had secured a number of ashplant canes from a man in the village. Old Mr Hardacre was an expert in making walking sticks, but he also performed the task of producing ashplant punishment canes, which were effective at correcting any miscreant boy. Indeed, there was probably not a house in the village that did not contain one or two examples of Mr Hardacre’s handiwork.

The Colonel had dined, and he was alone now in the old, dark, oak-panelled dining-room at Thompson Lodge. A bronzed, grim-visaged old soldier was the Colonel, and under the rugged exterior there was a man of iron.

The door of the dining-room opened, and the Colonel compressed his lips slightly as he looked at the boy who came into the room.

He was a handsome, well-built lad, finely-formed, strong and active. He was eighteen years old and stood no taller than 5ft 7ins. His face was handsome but there was a cloud upon it and in his dark eyes was a glint of defiance. The whole manner of the boy was one of suppressed opposition, and the Colonel realised it keenly enough without words being spoken.

“You sent for me, uncle.”

In the tones of George Thompson, too, was a half-hidden hostility and defiance, as if he knew that he had not been sent for in a friendly spirit, and was ready to meet anger with anger.

“Yes, George.” Colonel Thompson’s voice was very mild, but it betrayed the anger that was raging inside of him.

“Stand there boy. I want to speak to you.”

George Thompson did not move. The Colonel raised his eyebrows.

“Stand there boy.”

“I suppose you are not going to keep me long.” said the boy doggedly. “I want to go out before dark.”

The Colonel half rose from his seat, a flush of anger darkening his cheek.

“Stand there!” he thundered.

For a moment it looked as if the order would be disobeyed, but the Colonel’s thunderous face impelled obedience. George Thompson slowly and sullenly moved to the spot indicated by the Colonel.

“Now, George,” said the Colonel, “I want to speak to you seriously. I am your uncle: you are the only son of my only brother, and you should understand that I have your truest interests at heart.”

The boy’s lips slightly curled, but he did not speak.

“I have come home from India,” resumed the Colonel, slightly raising his tone, “to find that you have run completely wild under the charge of my sister, and I should not be doing my duty to my dead brother if I did not take you in hand and make at least an attempt to put you on a better road.

“You have done exactly as you liked, and you have not the least idea of discipline. During the month that I have been at home I have tried to improve you…”

“Perhaps I don’t want improving,” George interrupted the Colonel, a dangerous thing to do.

“You probably think so,” said the Colonel. “But I think otherwise, and, as your guardian, I have my duty to do. You are obstinate and wilful, and inclined to be insolent to your elders. All that must cease. You have run wild too long. That must come to an end.

“You are determined to have your way, and I am determined that you are not to have it.”

George Thompson smiled slightly. He knew perfectly well that the old man had undertaken his reform and he had set himself against it. The Colonel would find his reform thankless task, but he had not been quite prepared for what was to happen soon.

The smile on the boy’s face irritated the Colonel, and he had to make an effort to speak calmly and dispassionately as he went on, “You are indeed in need of discipline and this evening I shall take it upon myself to teach you a very important lesson in life.

“I shall thrash you most severely. It is the very least that you deserve for your constant insolent behaviour.”

George bristled. He had not expected this turn of events.

George had not seen the ashplant lying on top of the shiny dining table. The Colonel strode across the room and picked up the cane.

“Go and bend all the way over that chair!” The Colonel thundered pointing to a dining room chair he had previously strategically positioned.

George knew he was in for the thrashing of his life. It would be excruciatingly painful. It was to demonstrate beyond all doubt that the Colonel had complete control over him.

But, George was not going to give in. He would not show the Colonel he had won. No matter how severe the flogging, George would not give his tormentor one indication that he was suffering.

Boldly, but it was with false bravado, George marched up to the indicated chair and without hesitation put himself over its back. His lowered his head and raised his bottom high, ready for the lashing. It might look to an innocent onlooker that George’s had taken up a position of submission.

On the contrary it was a position of defiance. No words needed to be spoken, but George said to the Colonel, “Go ahead! Do your worst. I don’t care. I can take it. You’ll never break me.”

The Colonel heard the unspoken defiance. He despised the boy and the boy hated him back. The Colonel would rip the boy to shreds; he didn’t have a mind to what condition George’s backside would be in at the end of the thrashing.

The Colonel was a military man, he lived by obedience. He also lived by duty. It was the Colonel’s duty, he knew without question, to ensure that George understood the meaning of obedience.

The Colonel had never thrashed a boy before, but that did not trouble him. In the case of George there could be no such occasion as lashing too hard. It did not matter one jot to the Colonel that by the end of the punishment the boy’s backside would be torn to pieces. The boy must be broken: all hint of defiance vanquished.

The Colonel’s knuckles whitened as he gripped the cane, ready to start his task. He looked across at George draped over the chair awaiting his attention. George let out the air of one who was untroubled. That innocent bystander would not know by George’s demeanour that this was the prelude to a whipping that could leave him unable to walk in comfort for days.

George’s outward demeanour was one of calm, but inside he raged. He was outraged that the Colonel had the power to put him in such a position. His rage was such that he determined no matter how hard the lashing was to be, he would remain outwardly unconcerned. He would not let the Colonel see he was a beaten boy. He would not let the Colonel win.

Still gripping the cane tightly, the Colonel marched the five paces across the room to the chair. He raised the cane high into the air and with all the powerful force a military man possessed, he lashed it into the seat of George’s britches.

Not a murmur came from George.

The Colonel repeated the swipe. He hit George so hard it was as if he were beating a carpet.

Pain shot through George. It started at the point of contact on his buttocks and within seconds touched every nerve in his body. He wanted to yell; to scream; to shake the rafters of the huge dining room. But, something, call it stubbornness if you will, refused to let him do this.

The Colonel’s face, quite red to begin with, now turned purple. This was an outrage. The boy had shown no contrition for his crimes and now he was showing no reaction to his flogging.

The Colonel stepped forward to view George’s face. He saw the handsome young eighteen-year-old was pale, so white that even a ghost would look grey beside him. George turned his head away.

He did not want the Colonel to see his eyes, for if he did, the Colonel would have known immediately that George was indeed broken. They were the eyes of a boy whose body had been crushed, but who was fighting against odds to determine that his spirit would not also go the same way.

The Colonel was not a cruel man, but he believed in duty and as he had previously determined it mattered not at all if George was whipped to shreds.

He raised the cane high again and jumping a little from the floor slashed two swipes into George’s posterior. The boy jerked as the impact of two lashes, one immediately after the other, hit their intended target, almost exactly on the same spot.

George’s bottom was a mess of cuts, he could feel welts rising under his britches and he knew instinctively that blood was seeping from them.

Slash! Slash! Two more cuts landed and the sound echoed round the room like rifle shots.

The Colonel stood back. His heart was racing, the rage inside him, rather than subsiding as he had expected as the boy succumbed to his punishment, increased. The boy must be in agony, the Colonel knew this but he showed no sign. George was physically beaten, that was certain, but his spirit remained whole.

George, still across the back of the dining room chair was breathing heavily. Both hands gripped the seat in front of him. His fingernails had dug so deeply into the wooden chair that they were trickling blood.

But, as yet there were no tears, no vocal expressions of sorrow, or of contrition, no begging for mercy, or promises to mend ways, if only the thrashing would cease.

The boy was not yet broken.

“Stand up!” With great difficulty George tried to rise. His body did not wish to respond to his brain’s commands at movement. Eventually George was on his feet, but unsteadily. His movement had disturbed the contours of his buttocks, which rubbed gently against his underclothes and britches. It was a gentle kissing of flesh on wool, but its effect was to send waves of agony from the welts and shoot pain through his whole body.

George stared straight ahead; he could not bear to look the Colonel in the eye: he knew if he did so, he would break down and the Colonel would have won.

George heard the sound of the cane swishing through the air behind his back. The Colonel put as much effort into these practice strokes as he had done to the thrashing itself. The action was intended to intimidate George and the plan was working.

Was George’s ordeal not yet completed?

“Lower your britches.”

It was a barked order from the Colonel. He was a military man and he had the voice of command.

George hesitated, but just for a part of a second.

He was agonised by the thrashing and was broken, but he would not, could not, let the Colonel know this.

He fought hard to steady his hands and fingers as he unbuttoned his britches and their weight alone took them down as far as his knees.

“Bend over!”

A simple order. To the point.

George did as commanded. Again his fingers dug themselves into the wooden seat of the chair.

Once again George submissively offered his rear to the swish of the ashplant. The Colonel hated this boy. He hated his behaviour to his sister. He hated his insubordination. He hated his refusal to give in.

The Colonel took three steps backwards, raised the cane high above his shoulder and rushed in at George, slashing the most almighty swipe into his backside.

Again and again, the Colonel rushed and slashed into George. Blood was now freely flowing from wounds and George’s woollen drawers were stained red.

George very nearly bit off his tongue in an effort to stifle a yell. He wanted to, he wanted to express the agony he was feeling. It was a physical emotion. Any person suffering so much pain would want to howl like a banshee.

But, to yell and scream, would not seem like a natural physical reaction, it would, to George, be an admission, of defeat. He would have lost and the Colonel would have won.

The Colonel gave George six on the drawers, making twelve good cuts in total.

The Colonel could see the boy was physically beaten, but his spirit was not.

Purple with rage, the Colonel marched to the opposite end of the room. He was a military tactician and he was regrouping. He must consider his strategy. The enemy was injured, but not defeated. What should he do now?

Step up the punishment? Make one final push to see off the enemy’s defences. What should he do?

He looked across at George’s body. George lay still across the chair. The Colonel could only see him from the rear end, and the scene appeared one of quiet serenity. But had the Colonel ventured forward to see his enemy from the front, he would see from George’s face that this was a defeated enemy.

The next assault: the drawers should come down and six stingers, no a dozen lashes, should be administered with maximum severity on George’s bared buttocks.

But no, this, even the Colonel could not contemplate. He cared nothing that the lashes would rip the boy’s flesh and expose meat below. No, the baring of the buttocks would be immodest. He did not care what others said on the matter, nakedness of this sort was not godly. He did not have to be told that as a magistrate in the district he often sentenced miscreants to the birch rod, and he knew the circumstances in which a birching was administered.

No. George would be spared removal of the drawers.

The Colonel took on deep breath, and again strode towards George. The Colonel gave George twelve almighty swipes at pace, one after the other, like a machine gun.

At one point George’s body rose from the back of the chair, but his hands remained gripping the wooden seat. Lash! Lash! Lash! The Colonel’s cane bounced into George’s backside. The blows were so rapid, George had no time to react to one, before the next flayed into him.

That innocent onlooker might have supposed the Colonel was out of control. But, far from it: he knew what he was doing and he set about his task with relish. If the boy’s spirit could not be broken this evening, his body most certainly would.

At the completion of twelve lashes, the Colonel was breathless. And, so in his way was George.

Without ceremony, the Colonel commanded that George rise from the chair.

The boy tried to do so. The Colonel could see the boy could not stand on his own. The Colonel’s one regret was that he had not arranged for a servant to be present to carry George off at the end of the ordeal.

At last, George found his feet. He had to hold on to the chair to stop from toppling back to the floor.

The Colonel saw no need for ceremony now. “You are dismissed.”

He turned his back on George and returned the ashplant to a place in the cupboard. As he did this, George, clutching on to furniture as he went, made his exit from the room.

Such was the pain in his buttocks that he could not walk across the great hall to the staircase and was obliged to crawl on hands and knees to the staircase, and hang on to the bannisters as he edged up the stairs to his own bedroom.

When his rage had subsided and later after a glass or two of red wine, the Colonel relived the encounter. He could see that he had won the battle, but maybe not the war. George made a remarkable adversary and there would surely be many more encounters before the war was over.

And, the war would have to be fought to a conclusion: no amnesty could be made.

 

Other caning stories you might like. Click on the titles

The cartoonist’s painful memory

A memorable night at the theatre

Footballer’s judicial caning

The Senior Tutor

In the chill of the night

Never too old

Murph in the headmaster’s study

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

 

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

The rooming house

Roger stared at the ceiling. It was a freezing cold night but he was snug and warm under the blankets. Cautiously he ran his fingers across the welts that criss-crossed his buttocks. The pain had gone now, but one or two were still tender when he touched them.

Perce, his boyfriend, lay by Roger’s side, breathing heavily: he seemed to be dreaming. Earlier, when they had made love, Roger could see Perce’s once dark blue bruises were turning a lighter shade, almost turquoise. It would take several days, more than a week possibly, before the evidence cleared of the twelve severe strokes of the cane they had been forced to endure on their naked buttocks.

Upstairs, in the top flat, Higgins, their landlord, slept the sleep of the just; alone in his bed. Higgins had moved in after his wife left him for another man. His children were grown up and making their own ways in life. He was very content to live in the block of flats his late mother had bequeathed to him.

He had never met such people as his tenants. As well as the gay boys, there was Lucy who had a small baby, but no husband. Upstairs from her was Miss Alison, an aging spinster, who apparently was once a successful actress. Higgings thought she was probably very lonely. Mr Weston, who lived in the flat next to the boys, was from the West Indies. Mr Higgins had never met a West Indian before he moved in. Now, he knew many: Mr Weston was a gregarious man and had many friends.

Higgins wondered what his colleagues at school would make of it if they knew about his band of tenants. Gay boys, unmarried mothers and West Indians did not feature much at the grammar school. St Francis was a traditional school: traditional classes, traditional sports, traditional religion and traditional discipline.

Higgins believed in corporal punishment. He knew the cane applied with some force across the stretched bottom of an errant schoolboy was a great motivator for good behaviour. Even those boys who came back for more eventually discovered the errors of their ways.

Higgins had taken an awesome school cane back his flat when he was forced to deal with Sterling. The boy had the flat next to Miss Alison. The aging actress was all alone in life and vulnerable to the advances of the nineteen-year-old charmer. Sterling was not after sex, of course. He wanted the money he firmly believed she had hidden in her flat. It was easy to befriend a lonely person. In no time he was running her errands and sharing cups of tea. When her back was turned he removed her door key and later had a copy made.

One Thursday morning; it was pension day and the only time in the week Miss Alison would be certain to be out of her flat, Sterling made his move. It was a small flat and it only took minutes to search. He went under the mattress, in the tea caddy, behind the drawers in the kitchenette. There was nothing to find. Frustrated, he was half way through the circuit again in case he had missed something when the door eased open. There was nowhere to hide.

Higgins was no fool. He sized up the situation immediately. Despite his willingness to inflict severe pain on schoolboys, Higgins was a kind man. Miss Alison never discovered that Sterling’s friendship was a sham; a trick simply so that he could steal her money.

And, Sterling? Later that day he found himself in Higgins’s flat. It was a straight choice: the police or a thrashing. It was no choice at all, not with Sterling’s record. If the police got involved, he would do time, there was no doubt about that.

Sterling had been fifteen the last time he felt the cane across his backside. It had been four years ago, only weeks before he finished school forever and embarked on his life of dead-end jobs and petty crime. It had not been too bad. Bend over, whack! whack! whack! stand up. It was all over in seconds. He had a bit of a sore bum, but it was nothing to worry about.

Yes, Sterling agreed, rather too enthusiastically to Higgins’s liking, he would take the stick.

“Where do you want me?”

Higgins detected a smirk. Was the boy daring him?

The experienced schoolmaster knew how to wipe a stupid grin from a boy’s face.

Sterling stood nonchalantly, unconcerned about the events about to unfold.

With his anger rising, Higgins tugged open a drawer and pulled out the cane.

Swish! Higgins swiped the stick through the air. Then he smiled. Sterling had for the first time caught sight of the rod that was going to be used on him. It was nothing like the short rigid bamboo stick they had used at his council school.

Higgins grasped the cane which he had chosen to use to inflict the beating. It was not particularly long, thick or heavy, but what made it fearsome was the series of roughly-shaped and hardened knots which decorated every three or four inches of its length. These gave the cane its remarkable ability to bruise boys’ bottoms, leaving marks that might last for a month and making sitting down a delicate and painful business for the unlucky victim. A severe beating would usually split the skin of the suffering boy and bloody his arse as a further reminder of the penalty for misbehaviour.

Sterling’s cocky demeanour vanished instantly. His face paled and he could feel his hair dampen with sweat.

His mouth gaped open, but no words came as he realised there was nothing he could say, except beg for mercy and his pride was not about to let him do that.

Swish! the cane flew through empty air. Higgins pointed the wicked rod at a low armchair.

“Right. I want you take down your trousers and underpants and bend across the chair.”

This time, Sterling did speak. “Wha …?” was all he could say before an impatient Higgins cut him short.

“It is the police or the cane. You choose, but you must do it now.”

Tears were already forming behind the nineteen-year-old’s eyes as mournfully he unzipped his tight loon pants and helped them over his buttocks and left them to slide to his knees. His breathing was laboured as he tucked his thumbs into the waistband of his mauve underpants and sent them in the same direction to meet his loons.

Sterling’s pale face turned scarlet as he realised he was now standing half-naked in front of this old man; a man who in a moment was going to rip his arse to shreds.

“Bend over,” Higgins feigned impatience.

Sterling closed his eyes, took a deep breath and curved himself over the back of the armchair. He was too tall to fit comfortably over the chair and had to bend at the knees. In this position his creamy-white buttocks jutted out behind him, offering a wonderful target for the cane to lash into him.

Only then did it occur to Higgins: despite all his years as a schoolmaster and the countless canings he had delivered, he had never before thrashed a boy on his naked buttocks. And, rarely, had he beaten a boy as big as Sterling (although there had been a time when he had thrashed five of the first XV rugby team and they had all been exceptionally large schoolboys).

Even so, Higgins laid it on with vigour. Sterling’s arse convulsed and he lifted one foot off the floor as the pain flooded from his backside throughout his body. But, he submissively stayed in position, hands gripping the seat cushion with some strength but with his behind still offered bravely for the remainder of the beating that Higgins continued with enthusiasm.

Higgins gave his bruised and now very colourful bottom a further four cuts in rapid succession. The two after that were directed at the crease between thigh and buttock and were laid one on top of the other. Sterling was now bellowing with pain, clenching and unclenching his quivering deeply ridged backside, and working extremely hard to maintain the correct position bent over the chair.

In the nearby flat, Miss Alison turned up the volume of her wireless.

Higgins was a hard and accurate caner and he delivered twelve of his very best, leaving Sterling hugging the chair and holding on for a minute when the landlord put the cane away and sat down.

There was no lecture. There was no need for one. In his own time, Sterling rose from his submissive position. He made no attempt to hide the tears that choked him. Gingerly, he pulled up his underpants and buttoned up the loon pants and without a word he shuffled from the flat and staggered down the staircase to his own room.

Three days later Sterling moved out and Higgins never heard from him again.

2

I think the gay boys Roger and Peace are my favourite tenants. They are so full of vim and energy. I know that probably has a lot to do with the pep pills they take; I’m not naive.

I’d never met any homosexuals before (at least not that I knew of). The boys were not what I expected. I thought homosexuals were all swishy and feminine, as if they were men trapped inside women’s bodies. Roger and Perce are nothing like that; you wouldn’t know they were gay to look at them. Although they are very well groomed; so that might be a clue. They are members of the youth cult called ‘the Mods.’ They have very tidy short hair and wear sharp well-cut Italian suits. Or for ‘leisure’ they wear brightly-coloured pullovers. They also have green Parka coats and ride around on Italian motor scooters.

I don’t think the Mods are gay; but I might be wrong. But there are so many of them, it can’t be possible. The Mods have a rival cult called the ‘Rockers’ who have untidy greasy long hair and wear leather jackets and jeans and ride large motorbikes. The two groups are known to have big battles at seaside towns on holiday weekends.

I don’t think Roger and Perce go out fighting, I’d never seen them with cuts and bruises, until I laid a few of them on the pair myself.

The boys seem pretty respectable. The government decriminalised homosexual acts for men aged twenty-one and over last year so it is perfectly legal for Roger and Perce to be sleeping in the same bed together.

They are mostly good tenants, although they sometimes come home in the early hours and disturb us with their scooters; or they play their music a bit too loud. But, all young people do that; my own sons were the same.

I do have one big problem with them: they don’t pay the rent. Or more accurately, they are late payers, or sometimes they only pay part of what they owe. There is no excuse: they both have good jobs at the John Lewis department store: Roger’s in men’s out-fitting and Perce is in soft furnishings. Between them they earn more than enough to afford the rent I charge.

But, instead of paying rent, they prefer to spend their money on sharp clothes and their motor scooters. I genuinely have lost count of the number of times I have asked them to pay up and the number of broken promises they have made to me.

So, I lost patience with them. They might be twenty-one-year-old adults but they still needed to be taught a lesson in responsibility. All I was asking was that they paid the rent before they spent the rest of their money on their luxuries.

They needed a short sharp shock to pull them up a little, and I knew exactly how I was going to do that.

They are not evil like Sterling, so it would not be right to flog them with the knotted cane I used to rip his backside to shreds. Instead, I collected a stout senior rattan cane from my large collection at school. It was the same one that I used on the five eighteen-year-old rugby players who disgraced the school by getting drunk after a match one weekend. It packs a great punch, especially when I am the one wielding it.

Of course, at school I was only allowed to administer a maximum of six strokes per boy and then only on the seat of his trousers. But in my flats I make the rules, so Roger and Perce were to get twelve each on the bare buttocks.

I gave the boys one last chance to pay me what I was owed. All I got were promises in return; the same as the last time I asked and the time before.

They didn’t seem surprised when I announced I was going to cane them. Nobody in the flats had ever spoken to me about the thrashing Sterling received, but I think my tenants knew what had happened.

I launched into a prepared speech. They could get the cane or they could leave the flats; and whatever they chose to do they would still have to pay me the rent. Leaving the flat was not an option; the law on homosexual acts might have changed, but gays could still be sacked from their jobs or thrown out of their homes. If the boys left my flat they would find it almost impossible to find another place where they could be together.

But, I didn’t want that. I wanted my rent money and if putting a whippy rattan cane across their naked arse cheeks got me that, I would be satisfied.

Meekly, both boys accepted the inevitable. I sent Perce to the kitchen, while I dealt with Roger. I had no idea if either of them had been caned before and I didn’t care. I intended to lay on a sharp dozen cuts that would leave even the most experienced receiver in agony. I was not, as our American cousins are apt to say, blowing smoke here.

Roger could not take his eyes of the cane as I swished a few practice stokes through the air. His trepidation was clear. He was not looking forward to this impending thrashing one little bit. Nervously, he lowered his trousers and pants and bent over the armchair.

He closed his eyes and clenched his teeth as rat-a-tat-tat I swiped six hard stingers across the crown of his buttocks. Then after a pause of twenty seconds to allow him and me to catch our breath, I whipped in another six, this time all in the under curve where the cheeks meet the thighs.

When he rose his eyes were blazing, but he successfully held back the tears. His face was deathly pale, but his neck was as scarlet as his buttocks.

I allowed him to dress and then ordered Perce to change places with him. I had always thought of Perce as a cute little mouse; he was short with dark brown eyes and sticking-out ears. Usually, he had a perpetual smile on his face; but not now.

I don’t know what was going through his head, but unbidden by me, he lowered his trousers and pants and almost threw himself across the chair in his eagerness to offer me his bottom. I had known schoolboys adopt the same attitude; they were arrogant in their belief that nothing I and my whippy cane could do would hurt them. I always disabused them of that idea.

I am pretty sure Perce had never been across a chair before for a caning. I had to instruct him to keep his head low, his bottom high and his legs apart. It took him several attempts before his body was positioned to my satisfaction.

Once he was positioned correctly, I rolled his shirt clear of his bottom. Picking up the cane I swished it a couple of times then stood to his left and gently tapped his pale buttocks. I lifted my arm to shoulder height then let the cane swish hard onto the naked cheeks. Perce gasped as the first stroke landed and he wriggled his bottom.

Perce’s compact but nicely rounded bottom had plenty of give. His chunky buttocks were first compressed by the force of the first blow before springing back as the cane was withdrawn ready for the second strike.

I was still new to the experience of beating boys on their naked bottoms, but I was beginning to see its advantages over caning on the trousers. I could see the strokes as they landed, enabling me to see where they struck, and if I was hitting too hard, or too weakly, to adjust my power.

The punishment on the bare was more painful and of course there was the added humiliation for the boy of having to lower his trousers and present his bottom submissively for the beating.

Perce was unable to contain his distress and gave out a series of loud shouts, not for mercy but simply to release the tension of the mounting agony in his beleaguered backside.

The next swipe propelled a lung-full of breath out of Perce’s mouth, and left him gasping and grunting inarticulately. The cane rose again and landed once more on almost the exact same spot, emptying the lad’s lungs for a second time.

“Last one, boy!” Try to take this one quietly please,” I requested with little sincerity as I cracked a deliberately extra hard stroke down, causing Perce to yell and stand up clutching at his battered bottom. I simply stared as he danced around clutching and kneading the burning flesh of his buttocks.

I brought the two tenants together and lectured them about fiscal responsibility: they must pay my rent. I did not say, but it was implied, that if the money was not forthcoming they would be back over the chair for another thrashing.

….

Roger stared at the ceiling, reliving the events from earlier in the day. If he missed a payment on his motor scooter and delayed buying that Italian suit he so craved, he should be able to pay off his rent arrears. No way did he want to go back over that chair, he thought as he caressed the scars on his buttocks.

Perce beside him was stirring. In his dream, he was in what he imagined was Mr Higgins’s oak-paneled study at the grammar school. The schoolmaster was dressed in an academic gown and he wore a mortar-board on his head. In his hand he swished a cane. Perce, was unbuckling the snake belt of his short grey flannel trousers before lowering them and then his sparkling-white underpants to his ankles, prior to bending forward to touch his toes.

3

Higgins replaced the telephone receiver in its cradle and stared through the window into the darkness outside. It was an intriguing idea and it might just work. But, he did not even know the boy; it had nothing to do with him. It was probably best to leave him alone.

The call had been from Professor Ambrose from Brocklehurst University. Higgins had known Ambrose for thirty years or more, since as a boy the professor had been a pupil at St Francis and Higgins a junior master. Higgins could not be certain but he fancied Ambrose might have been the first boy he had ever caned: the first in a very long line of proffered buttocks that stretched across three decades. The very thought of it made Higgins feel old.

Ambrose was now among other things a senior tutor at the university with responsibility for the pastoral wellbeing of students. He had a problem, he had told Higgins in the phone call and it was a problem he felt certain Higgins could solve for him.

It was Baxter, a first-year student who was going off the rails and if drastic action was not taken immediately the eighteen-year-old boy would become a train wreck.

The story was simple; Baxter had arrived at university after a successful career at a very traditional school; Higgins would know the type, Ambrose assured him. He was, of course, referring to St Francis: traditional classes, traditional sports, traditional religion and above all, traditional discipline. But, at university Baxter had let things slip; seduced by the high-life of Brocklehurst he was neglecting his studies by spending too much time in coffee bars and chasing after girls.

Back home, in his small town in Scotland, Baxter’s widowed mother continued to scrimp and save and neglect herself to pay for her son’s university education.

Baxter had one last chance, Ambrose had said. He could re-sit his examinations in two months’ time, but to be able to pass, he would need to knuckle down to some hard work. Baxter needed an incentive; the knowledge of his poor widowed mother’s sufferings would not do the trick. Baxter would not work hard on his own; he lacked self-discipline. That was where Higgins came in. Would he take the boy under his wing and impose the discipline that Baxter lacked?

Universities faced a problem when disciplining students: there was not much they could do. Young people were not legally adults until they reached the age of twenty-one, so university staff acted in ‘loco parentis,’ that is the university stood in for their parents. But, that only went so far: a professor could not give a boy a damn good hiding when he needed it. Ambrose and some of his senior colleagues lamented that the university had no regulation that permitted them to use corporal punishment. If somebody had swished a cane across Baxter’s backside the first time he skipped a tutorial or failed to hand in an essay, he would not be in this mess.

Higgins sympathized with Ambrose. He had married late to a woman twenty years his junior and his youngest son Horatio was still at university. Higgins hoped the boy’s professors would show the same concern for him if he was not performing. Indeed, if Higgins found out Horatio was slacking, he would take the boy across his knee for a bared-bottomed encounter with the hairbrush: twenty years old or not.

Higgins continued to stare through the window, rain was softly falling and soon there would be a heavy downpour. The room had darkened, but he did not switch on a light. In his mind he weighed up the possibilities.

He had an empty room since Sterling had moved out suddenly; he could easily accommodate Baxter. If the boy accepted the new regime, it would not be too difficult to draw up a kind of contract concerning curfews, deadlines for completing homework and general behaviour about drinking and smoking. The penalty for breaking the contract would be corporal punishment. Higgins knew from a lifetime’s career in school-mastering that corporal punishment worked; he had no doubts about that and it would work with Baxter.

Higgins thought about the boy’s widowed mother and the sacrifices she had made for her son. Higgins owed it to her to save the boy. The boy had lacked a father figure growing up; perhaps now, he could be the father that the boy needed.

Yes, he decided, tomorrow he would call Ambrose and say he would take on the case.

Two days later Alexander Baxter, aged eighteen, first-year university student, stood impassively in the front room of Higgins’ flat. His new landlord had just helped him move his belongings from the university hostel. Higgins noted with dismay the boy had a portable gramophone and a number of records, but no books. To Higgins that summed up the boy’s problem.

Higgins eyed the boy, he was only a few months older than the sixth-formers at his school, but he looked as if he had visited from another planet. His expensively-styled hair flopped over his collar and he wore the tightest multi-coloured ‘tank top’ pullover imaginable. His trousers were equally as tight at the waist and across the buttocks, but the legs flared down into ‘bell bottoms’ that left folds of cloth covering his wet-look shoes.

Higgins had a lecture prepared, but the boy was not listening. Baxter had endured an embarrassing meeting with his professor and he already knew the score. He had not been too surprised when the subject of corporal punishment was raised: he was used to feeling the sting of leather across the palms of his hands. He had last received a beating only a few months previously, when in his final week at school he had let his guard down and had been caught smoking. He was a chronic smoker, but was rarely caught. The two-tailed taws was in everyday use at his old school, but he had thought he had left it behind when he moved to university.

He also knew that punishment by leather strap across the palms was almost unheard of in England. Here the preferred method of punishment was three feet of flexible rattan administered with some force across the seat of a boy’s trousers. Baxter did not like the idea of that one little bit.

However, the boy decided, it was all academic. He was not stupid; he knew he was in danger of expulsion. He was letting himself down and, yes, his mother also. He also had a strange feeling he might be letting Prof Ambrose down as well. He did not know why it was but his senior tutor appeared to be taking a strong interest in him. Baxter was not the only slacker student in his year, but he was the only one to be given this last chance.

Higgins completed his lecture.

“Well, Alexander?”

The boy started. He had not been listening. Had the old man asked him a question?

“Were you listening to me?”

Baxter’s blush confirmed he had not.

“Doh!” Higgins was losing patience with the boy. The sooner he spanked his backside black and blue the better.

Higgins had thought about it a lot over the previous two days. The boy needed a new discipline regime to make sure he behaved well and worked hard in future. But, he could not be allowed to get away with his past slacking. He would need to be spanked immediately, so that he understood why he was here and what his failings were.

Higgins had concluded it would be a spanking and not a caning. Higgins believed in the efficacy of corporal punishment and had no compunction in caning the boys at school, but he used a different method at home.

He had always spanked his sons on their bare bottoms while they lay (or in their younger days were held forcibly) across his knees. This was the appropriate way for a loving father to discipline his sons. At school a beating was more bureaucratic; the boys broke a rule and the regulation stated they should be beaten on the bottom with a cane (“on the seat as normally clothed”, as the instruction from the Department of Education had it). In that way the punishment of the boy by the schoolmaster was quite literally at arm’s length. But, a parental spanking was more intimate. It was almost an act of love with father and son in close proximity with the boy’s bared bottom bouncing across the man’s legs.

Higgins wanted to be a father to Baxter, or Alexander as he would call him, and he would treat him like a son from the very start. He had used a very heavy hairbrush on his own sons, but his wife had taken that when she left. Undeterred, he had visited the Co-operative Retail Store that morning and purchased a large oval-shaped clothes brush that would make a very fine substitute.

“I said Alexander that you will have to be spanked. You are to take down your trousers and your underpants and bend across my knee.”

Baxter’s impassive look cracked and Higgins could see the boy had not been prepared for this.

“I thought Professor Ambrose had explained …” Higgins let the sentence tail off.

“Yes, but …” Baxter was no better at completing his sentences.

“Perhaps you need time to think it over. I do not want to make you do anything that you do not agree to. If you want to stay here with me you will have to accept that I am going to spank you on your bare bottom for all your misbehaviour since you came to Brocklehurst. You must also understand that I will use corporal punishment on you in the future if you do not abide by our contract.

“If you do not want to do this, you may leave and return to the university hostel. But, you should know that in all probability you will fail your examinations and be sent down from the university.”

Baxter was perplexed. He understood corporal punishment and had received it many times at school, every boy did, it was that kind of school. Professor Ambrose had told him he would be subjected to it if he continued to break the rules, but he had not been expecting to be punished for his past actions. But, he understood it made sense that he should be.

Yes, he concluded he deserved to be punished, but not in this way. He expected the strap on his hands, or since this was England, the cane across his bum. But, this old man expected him to take down his trousers and pants and bend across his lap so he could spank his bare buttocks like he was eight years old.

Higgins was reasonableness itself. “I can give you until tomorrow morning to make up your mind. Then, you must either take your spanking or leave.”

I spent the most fretful night. I did not know what to do and I had no one to turn to. I couldn’t go back to my pals at the varsity and tell them what was happening: I’d be a laughing stock. I’m getting my bare little botty smacked. Wah! Wah! Wah!. I’d never hear the end of it.

I stayed in my room all night. It was a great room, much bigger than at the university hostel, with its own little cooker and wash basin. Higgins was going to charge me the same rent as at the university: it was a great bargain. I’d fallen on my feet, except for the very sore bum I had to suffer.

I unpacked my things. At the bottom of my bag were the pyjamas my mother had bought me on the eve of my departure from home. She said my others were a disgrace and I couldn’t be seen dead in them. I don’t know who she thought would see me in my pyjamas. They were a cheap pair, they were all she could afford, made of flannelette with red stripes. They could have been worse; the last ones she bought for me had designs of football players all over them. I had never worn the new pyjamas. I considered myself ‘grown up’ now and preferred to sleep in only my underpants, even on very cold nights.

As I unpacked the pyjamas I realised how much I missed my mother. She loved me so much and made so many sacrifices for me. And, how had I repaid her? I went out on the town as often as I could and neglected my studies. Soon I would be sent down from the university and the shame of that would break her heart.

It was not that I was unintelligent, I was brighter than average. When I bothered to do any studying I found it quite easy and I scored good grades. The thing was I was lazy: Professor Ambrose had spotted that. I was my own worst enemy; I had no self-discipline.

I stripped off my fashionable clothes and pulled on the pyjama bottoms. The flannelette material was thick and soft. I didn’t think they still made flannelette pyjamas; surely, the fashion was for cool cotton. Then I put on the jacket. It was a bit too big for me and when I glanced at myself in the mirror I looked like the small child I had until recently been. I couldn’t help it and I dissolved into tears.

After that, it was an easy decision to make. I had let my mother down and I had let myself down. I was the luckiest boy alive; I was being given a second chance. The next morning, despite the intense humiliation I would suffer, I would let the old man take me over his knee and spank my bare bum.

I think Higgins was surprised when the next morning I knocked on his door and he opened it to see a remorseful pyjama-clad teenager. The jim-jams symbolised to me that I was still not an adult and I needed to be reminded of that. I also thought somehow they represented my mother; they were the kind of clothes she would expect me to wear; not the fashionable cosmopolitan clothes I wore at university.

As I prepared to knock on the door one of the neighbours came by on the stairs; he was short and mouse-like, with shiny brown eyes and sticking-out ears. He beamed at me and I swear gave a wink as he hurried on his way. Something about him intrigued me and I hoped soon we would get to know each other better.

I did not have to say much to Mr Higgins. Once I told him I accepted his terms he was ready to get down to business. He walked to a sideboard, opened a cupboard and extracted a shiny light brown brush. The look on my face must have told him I had not expected this.

“You are too old for me to spank you with my hand, you wouldn’t feel a thing.” I swear he smiled when he said this. It wasn’t an unkind snarl; he was only stating a fact as he saw it. I had no way of knowing the truth of his statement, despite my beatings at school I had never been spanked on the bottom. My father had died when I was very young and my mother never laid a finger on me; not even when on the many occasions that I was spiteful and disrespectful to her. My Uncle Gordon, exasperated at my bad manners, had once threatened to take his belt to my backside if I did not stop giving my mother grief, but although I continued my shameful behaviour he never carried out his threat. I think my mother may have had a word with him.

Mr Higgins pulled a straight-backed armless dining room chair from beneath a table and placed it heavily in the centre of the room. Then, he sat down and spread his legs by maybe two or three feet. In doing so he had created a perfect platform for me to bend across his lap.

I had been awake half the night visualising this scene. I had determined that I would not make a fuss; I would ‘take it like a man.’ But, now the moment had arrived I was not so sure that I could be brave. The thought of taking down my trousers and exposing my private parts to a stranger (to anyone, really) filled me with horror. And, then to lie across his lap and show him my bare buttocks with the crack and everything was beyond any humiliation I had ever endured in my life.

I had not even started to think about the pain I would suffer. The strap whistling down across the palm of the hand had been agonising and I doubted that a beating on the bottom could be worse.

“Come here Alexander,” Mr Higgins’ tone was gentle and in a way that I couldn’t quite understand, this calmed me.

He reached his hand out and gently took the elbow of my right arm. Before I knew it he had guided me across his lap and I found myself face down staring at a dusty and slightly worn carpet. My feet were a little above the ground and my middle was resting on the plateau Mr Higgins had created with his open legs.

Instinctively, I tried to cover my buttocks with my hand, but found that Mr Higgins had positioned me so far forward that it was physically impossible for me to do this. I was soon to discover that Mr Higgins was an expert spanker and he knew how to place a naughty boy across his knees for maximum impact.

I was still wearing my pyjama bottoms, but any hope I retained that this would not by a spanking on the bare was dashed when he gripped the elasticated waist of my pyjama bottoms and slowly eased them down over my buttocks as far as my thighs. Then he raised my jacket away from the target area so that I was naked from my shoulders to almost my knees. I did not realise it at the time, but my new master had deliberately spared me the humiliation of taking down my trousers and exposing my genitals to him.

I felt a movement in Mr Higgins’ body: he was making his final preparations. Then: I had never experienced such a concentration of pain in my life. The brush crashed down into the centre of my left buttock; I exhaled so quickly that it seemed that I had no more breath in my body. Before I could gulp fresh air into my lungs, the brush landed with equal ferocity on my right buttock. Then it hit the left cheek again; and then the right. Then the left. Over and over again, he whacked his brush into my fleshy globes. There was no let-up; he set up a steady rhythm, spanking each cheek on and on.

My legs kicked out involuntarily and I wriggled my body to the left and right. I must have looked as if I was trying to do the crawl stroke at swimming. But, I was going nowhere: Mr Higgins had me securely gripped around the waist and the angle of my upper body across his knee was so acute that I had no means of escape. I had no choice: I had to lie there face down, bared bottom high, and let Mr Higgins spank the living daylights out of me. When he was satisfied I had suffered enough, and only then, would he release me.

I don’t know how many times he whacked that heavy brush into my buttocks but when it was eventually over and, back in my room, I inspected the damage in the mirror, I could see every square inch of my buttocks from the top where the spine is, across the fleshy globes, into the under curves, where the cheeks meet the thighs and the tops of the thighs themselves, were a mass of dark blue and mauve bruises. At the edges of the cheeks I could clearly see the oval shape of the brush imprinted into my flesh.

From the first whack to a long time after the final wallop hit home I was gagging for breath. I think the fact that I was gasping for air stopped me yelling and screaming with the pain. I was crying copious tears. I had never cried when I got the strap: boys never did. We were allowed to yelp with the pain; that was something we could not control, but any boy who blubbed would have been treated badly. The boys would have called them ‘girls.’ or even something much worse.

Eventually, Mr Higgins released his grip and allowed me to stand. He averted his eyes, so as not to see my cock, as I tugged my pyjama bottoms up. The pain was intense, but even as I stood hopping from foot to foot in front of the man who had punished me, it was turning to a throb that very soon would become a warm glow. I had suffered one heck of a spanking, but Mr Higgins was not a brutal man.

He smiled as I rubbed away at my bum.

“Will I need to do that again?” It was a gentle question. He did not seem to be a demented, angry man.

“No, Sir,” I sniffed. I meant it too. The slate had been wiped clean. I had been punished for all my misdemeanours since I had arrived at Brocklehurst. It was now up to me. Once I had been given time to recover from my spanking Mr Higgins and I sat down (me, gingerly) to agree a contract of behaviour. If Mr Higgins had cause to assault my backside again, I would only have myself to blame.

 

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Boy at the photocopier

The casting couch

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

The military camp

Lieutenant-Colonel Toby Masterton looked the boy straight in the eyes. “Your behaviour has been contrary to good military discipline. You will now drop your trousers, bend over and touch your toes.”

Eighteen-year-old Sapper Alan Barrett had been returning his commander’s stare impassively; but now his eyes sparkled as the seriousness of the situation sank in.

He had not expected this. Barrett knew the Lt-Col was newly appointed to command the Royal Engineers embarkation camp. What he didn’t know was that Masterton had specific instructions to tighten up discipline at the unit. And, he was going to do this in traditional military style.

The Lt-Col rose from behind his desk and picked up his swagger stick. It was a solid rod, about twenty inches long. He knew from experience this would leave an impression on the boy’s behind that he wouldn’t forget in a very long time.

“Get on with it Barrett,” it was a stern command. Masterton smacked the stick into the palm of his left hand to emphasise his impatience.

Barrett had not expected this. He had been absent from the camp without leave and knew he would have to be punished, but usually a lad was confined to camp or lost some other privileges, or even a day’s pay. But, to be ordered to take down his trousers and bend over like some schoolboy in front of the headmaster was unheard of.

Blushing scarlet, the boy began to loosen his trousers and let them drop to the top of his (not very highly polished) army boots. Then in one athletic movement he swooped over, stretching his fingers so the tips touched his steel toe caps. Barrett knew the procedure. He had been caned many times both at school and the orphanage where he had been brought up. He knew very well the sting a whippy rattan cane could make as it thwacked into his stretched backside.

The difference today was that he wasn’t at school, his trousers were at his feet and it wasn’t the headmaster about to whack him with a thin whippy cane, it was his commanding officer who was going to lay into him with a solid stick.

Masterton looked on impassively as the boy obeyed his order without question. He deserved this thrashing and it would do him a lot of good, he thought. Once word got around camp that this was how miscreants were treated, the Lt-Col expected behaviour to improve immeasurably.

Masterton took hold of the boy’s khaki shirt and moved the tail away from the target area, revealing an expanse of off-white cotton underpants. Barrett was quite small, a consequence of poor diet from an early age. Most men of his social class were the same. It was a wonder they were fit enough to undertake military service.

He placed his hand on the base of Barrett’s back to move him slightly so he could get an uninterrupted swing into his buttocks, raised the swagger stick shoulder high and brought it crashing down into the boy’s cheeks. He let out a gasp and screwed up his face tightly, but otherwise remained impassive. After a dozen strokes he was ordered to stand.

Barrett had never known such agony, it felt like his bum was a covered in welts and his pants were stuck to his skin; he was sure he was bleeding.

His face had turned from scarlet to deathly white and he was desperate to scream out with the intense pain, but he was a military man and as such he could not show he was hurt.

On command he pulled up his trousers and was dismissed. Later, he was still so sore he had to eat his lunch standing up.

Masterton was thirty-nine years old and had been brought back to England from Germany to take command of the camp. The Top Brass had decided it was going to ruin and it needed a strong disciplinarian to turn it around. Masterton was their man and they didn’t mind too much how he went about the job as long as he succeeded.

The Lt-Col soon let it be known to fellow officers and NCOs that he approved of corporal punishment above all other sanctions and he was prepared to turn a blind eye to its use.

That was how Peter Jenkins found himself, trousers and pants down, bent across the knee of Lt Allenby. Gunner Jenkins was a mess orderly and among his other duties he was expected to keep Allenby’s quarters clean and tidy. He was a jolly boy and Allenby liked having him around. He wasn’t well educated and Allenby had started helping him with his reading (many of the boys joined up especially so they could have a chance to learn to read and write). Allenby thought he had developed a good relationship with the eighteen year old and hoped the boy saw him as a bit of a father figure.

Things went very well until one day anxious to get away from camp on a forty-eight hour pass Jenkins skipped his chores and left the lieutenant’s bed unmade and his room un-cleaned.

Jenkins knew he had behaved badly and expected to be punished on his return. But he didn’t expect to find himself face down across his commander’s knees staring at the un-swept floor while the lieutenant whacked his bare arse with a gym slipper. The pain was intense and so was the humiliation of showing his crack and balls to his master.

After a couple of dozen hard whacks the boy was released. For some moments he stood hypnotized, not certain what he should do next. His rear was on fire and raw from the top of the cheeks to his thighs. The imprint of the slipper was clearly visible where the sole had branded the flesh. If you looked closely you might be able to read the trade name ‘Dunlop’ in reverse across his buttocks.

Allenby ordered him to get dressed and resume his duties. So, fighting back the urge to bawl his eyes out and with a throbbing backside, the eighteen year old held onto a broom and started to sweep the floor.

..

No boy on the base was allowed to smoke until he reached twenty-one and became a legal adult. If he did Lt-Col Masterton had ordered he should be flogged across the buttocks with a stout cane. He preferred it to be done with some ritual.

The camp’s military police soon devised a ceremony that struck fear into the hearts of all the young tobacco addicts. Tommy Alberston, a twenty-year-old serial smoker, was the first to go through the rite. The camp had a dummy gun, rather like a canon used one hundred or more years earlier, and this became the centrepiece of the proceedings. He was marched in to discover beside the gun a file of men and a corporal from the military police; he was a big, powerful fellow and he fingered a stout cane.

On command Alberson stepped forward hitched up his trousers and threw himself across the gun on his stomach; his head hanging down one side, his feet on the other. A couple of men knelt by his head and took a wrist and an ankle each and drew them together so that the trousers fitted very tightly across the young man’s firm buttocks.

The corporal threw himself into his striking stance, intending to inflict the maximum pain possible. Swish! Alberson stifled a scream and tried to wriggle free, but the two men gripped him firmly in position.

The corporal was in no hurry. The first stroke had been a sort of overhead and downward cut. This second one – swish! – came underhand and upwards. He wriggled on the gun, sweat now pouring from his body and his face was scarlet as one supposed were his buttocks.

Whizz! A straight forearm cut fair across the other two lines. The men let his hands and feet go, he sprang erect with flushed face and suspiciously brilliant eyes, and trotted off to his duties, but he wouldn’t be able to sit down to do them for a day or two.

..

Nobody could remember the last time a lad had been birched at the camp. The police corporal didn’t even know how to prepare the birch rods so he sought the advice of a willing retired officer. He was able to find the necessary leafless branches in a copse close to the army camp. He cut eight of them so they were three feet long and tightly bound them at the base with sticking plaster. He had been advised to soak the birch in brine for as long as possible to ensure the suppleness of the rods and the effectiveness of the sting they would inflict on bared flesh: he found a large enamel bucket and thus prepared he was ready to deal with Gunner Johnstone.

Johnstone was nineteen-years-old and something of a recidivist; he was constantly in trouble and often for similar offences which other punishments had failed to control. When sentence was passed, twelve cuts of the birch bare breech, he was impassive. He too knew no lad had been birched in living memory and when he survived the ordeal he would be something of a hero in the camp.

The sentence was set for the following morning (to allow the birch to soak overnight) and Johnstone was summoned to the camp gymnasium for nine o’clock. As with Alberston’s caning, there was a guard of honour to meet him when he arrived as instructed dressed only in a white PT vest and tight gym shorts. Johnstone was a big fit lad, standing over 6 ft tall and he was a keen football player and athlete. His body was muscular and well-toned and he fitted snugly into the vest and shorts; not that it mattered too much since the shorts would be removed and the vest pulled right back so that he was naked from nearly the shoulders down.

He was commanded to stand in front of the vaulting horse and after the charges and the punishment details were read aloud, he was instructed, “shorts down and over the horse lad.”

Johnstone wished that some of his pals were among the guard of honour to witness how well he would take the birching; after all a little bit of history was about to be made here.

The corporal and his colleagues had decided Johnstone should not be held down for his whipping, instead he would be expected to take it like a man. They fully expected that he would not be able to do so and would try to escape his punishment after the first lash landed eight supple birch twigs into his bared buttocks. Then, they would add to his humiliation by forcing him back over the horse and holding him steady while the corporal laid in the remaining eleven cuts.

Johnstone stuck his thumbs in the waistband of the tight white shorts and tugged them down to his feet. Then, not looking to left or right he swiftly dived across the back of the horse. It could have been tailor made for him. A fit young man of 6ft easily fitted across the horse and with his feet planted firmly on the ground on one side he was able to stretch over the horse’s back and grab hold of the rope handles on the side that were used for carrying the PE equipment.

The corporal had a grudging admiration for the boy, who seemed ready to take his punishment without fuss. The corporal had never birched anyone before but had been advised that the pain from such a punishment could be less than that from a traditional caning and therefore he must ensure he lashed the birch rods into the proffered fleshy buttocks at considerable force.

He withdrew the birch rod from the enamel bucket and the sound of wood against metal echoed around the gymnasium, making Johnstone crane his neck to see what was going on behind him.

“Face the front lad,” ordered the leader of the punishment detail and then after a pause. “Let the punishment commence.”

The corporal took a moment to take his aim; he admired the muscle tone of the lad and his almost completely hairless body. Johnstone flexed his buttocks a little in anticipation of the agony he expected as the rods struck home, the corporal took a deep breath, lifted the birch, then lashed down the first stroke.

Johnstone gasped and gripped tightly onto the rope handles, but other than that he made no reaction. Eight small scars immediately formed across the centre of his buttocks.

Number two hurt the boy even more, but he was determined not to show it. He groaned a little, but he was still in control of himself. Lash number three was directed to the lower part of the cheeks where they met the thighs and the pain was excruciating; Johnstone gagged a little and vomit rose to his throat but he managed to swallow it down and he hoped no one in the punishment detail had noticed.

Sweat poured from his body, down his half-naked back and into the crack between his buttocks. There were dozens of lines across his bum, arranged neatly from left to right and from the top of the globes where they meet the spine to under the curves close to the thighs. Every square inch of his rear end was scarred.

The pain turned to agony and the boy’s face was as white as a sheet. The next swipe had him almost tearing the ropes from their moorings. He groaned at the agony and tears formed in his eyes, but he was not a broken man.

The corporal, unsure how a boy should react during a birching and thinking he might not be whipping the nineteen-year-old gunner hard enough, laid the next strokes on with renewed vigour. Johnstone wriggled his body from left to right, but with the aid of the horse’s handles he struggled to remain in position, prostrate across the wooden vaulting horse with his bared arse still pointing submissively at his punisher.

By cut number ten, blood was forming as some birch strokes landed upon those that had already marked the once white and now reddening bottom. Johnstone let out a silent cry; it was a wonder that he wasn’t howling the gymnasium down. The agony was intense and the pain had travelled from his blooded buttocks throughout his whole body. His shoulders ached with the effort of gripping at the rope and his finger nails had cut deep trenches in the palms of his hands. His head ached as his blood pressure went through the roof and tried to burst through his ears. But, he refused to cry out: he would not give them the satisfaction.

Then, cut number twelve thrashed into his flesh, Johnstone’s head rose and he bit deep into his tongue to stifle the yell he so wanted to make. His tongue would be damaged and he would have as much trouble speaking over the coming days as he would sitting down.

“Punishment over,” the leader of punishment detail intoned and unceremoniously the corporal replaced the birch rod in the bucket of brine.

Johnstone lay across the vaulting horse; a spent man. He could barely breathe and was in urgent need of medical attention, but the punishment detail being inexperienced in birching had not thought to invite a doctor to attend as witness.

“Dismissed.”

It was a curt instruction; Johnstone fell off the back of the horse but managed (just) to stay upright. He took a deep gasp, hauled his shorts up to cover his blazing bottom and staggered out the door, bouncing off the wall as soon as he was through it and out of sight of the others.

The punishment detail was dismissed and the corporal tidied way the horse before picking up the birch rods and the bucket.

He wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but the corporal had a grudging admiration for Johnstone and the way he had taken his whipping. But the admiration was only grudging. Next time, he vowed to himself as he closed and locked the gym door, he would whip the brat to death.

Author’s note: part of this story was inspired by a news report in Daily News, London, 10 August 1903.

 

Other stories you might like.

Where’s the paddle, hon?

When Dad got home

One hot summer afternoon

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com