All is well in the world

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Harry Clifton was in no hurry. He ambled across the quadrangle. It was a fine day in early summer. The sun shone. The sky was blue. It was all in all a beautiful day. Except is wasn’t a fine day. Not for Harry Clifton, the sixth-form pupil at St. Francis Independent Grammar School; the soon-to-be former pupil of said school. The final exams were only weeks away. Then freedom. The end of school. Whoever it was who said schooldays were the happiest days of your life was an ass. Surely, Harry Clifton supposed, things could only get better after St FIGS.

Harry Clifton was on to something there. He knew as sure as eggs was eggs that this present day could never count as one of the best of his life. Ha! He almost smiled the best. Not so much the best, but six-of-the-best. It was a weak joke, but it was the best that Harry Clifton could come up with. He passed through the entrance of Founder’s Building and into a short, dark passageway. He was answering the summons of his headmaster. Chaps were only called to the Beak for one reason and one reason alone. There could be no doubt about it. Harry Clifton was in for a bowing. A swishing. A caning. Six-of-the-best.

Harry Clifton knew this for certain because St FIGS was a traditional school: traditional curriculum, traditional uniform, traditional sports and, of course, traditional discipline. No matter how slowly he walked Harry Clifton would eventually reach the heavy oak door of the headmaster’s study. He might delay his ordeal by a few seconds, but he could not put it off forever. He paused outside the door and ran his hand through his unruly hair. He rubbed each shoe against the back of his trouser leg. They were far from shining, but they would have to do. He made sure all three buttons on his green-and-gold woollen blazer were correctly fastened. All was ship shape and Bristol fashion. He was under starter’s orders. Ready for the off. About to go over the top. He drew down a deep draught of air, formed a fist with his right hand, raised it, and with more confidence than he truly felt, he rapped on the door.

Silence. Nothing. He craned his neck and placed his ear closer to the door. Was the headmaster not at home? Had he been called away on an urgent mission? Did this spell a reprieve for Harry Clifton? No, the senior sixth-former considered. The Beak had probably not heard. He bunched his fist again and was about to have another go at the door when a clear, sonorous voice rang out from the other side, “Come!” The headmaster had heard all right, he was only playing his silly games.

Harry Clifton sucked in air once more, gripped the handle and pushed the heavy door open. He hesitated on the threshold of the study. “Come in boy, don’t dawdle,” the headmaster rasped. Harry Clifton jolted forward and landed in front of the headmaster’s vast walnut desk. “Pah! Close the door Clifton! Close the door,” the Beak thundered.

With that task completed Harry Clifton once more stood before the headmaster. The Beak presented an imposing character, drenched in ugliness. Standing, he made a tall, lank, almost skeletal figure. His gaunt face, was heavily lined. His aquiline nose and thin pointed chin made the appearance of a caricatured witch. He wheezed through his nose. His dark piercing eyes transfixed on the boy before him.

For his part Harry Clifton resolved not to meet that alarming gaze. He focused on a spot over the headmaster’s shoulder, at a hat stand in the corner of the room. It was an ancient beat-about piece of furniture, old enough to be steeped in the tradition of the school. It had served many headmasters at St FIGS over countless generations. The number of hats it had supported over the years was a matter lost to history. The present headmaster had an additional requirement for the furniture. Harry Clifton’s gaze transfixed on the three long, thin whippy rattan canes that dangled by their curved handles. Small and relatively unobtrusive though they were, to the boy standing awaiting punishment they dominated the study.

Harry Clifton swallowed hard. The canes were of differing thicknesses, densities and lengths but he knew with absolute certainty that in the hands of the headmaster any one of these rods would “take his backside off” as the schoolboy slang then circulating had it. Alongside the canes hung the headmaster’s black academic gown and the flat mortar-board cap, the official uniform of schoolmasters across the land. The badge of office. The seal of power.

Harry Clifton did not concentrate on his droning headmaster. The room was hot and airless and the monotonous voice was sleep-inducing. Suddenly there was silence. A long, pregnant pause. “Well boy!” the headmaster barked. Harry Clifton shook awake, the headmaster leaned from his chair forward over the large desk, his black piggy eyes blazed, “What have you to say for yourself?”

At a loss to the question he had been asked, Harry Clifton mumbled an all-purpose reply. Schoolboys up and down the land and throughout history when carpeted in the headmaster’s study were required to utter these words at some point in the proceedings, most often immediately before the real action began. “Sorry, Sir,” he coughed, his throat irritatingly dry.

“Bah!” the headmaster ejaculated and leaned back in his chair, his nose and chin quivering so that the points of each almost touched. “Not good enough, Clifton; not good enough.” Harry Clifton had never supposed it would be. He expected Six and he wished the headmaster would just get on with it. The school day was at an end and he was anxious to be away home. He had a date to meet the boys at The Three Fishers that evening and there was every chance to meet girls of a certain character.

The headmaster jawed on and on. Smoking. Smoking cigarettes, surely the biggest crime imaginable at a school. Why, the headmaster had only last week delivered another of his edicts. He cared little about the harmful effects of tobacco to one’s health. It is unlikely that he had ever read about the causes of cancer. Cigarettes were banned because he said so. It was an order. Orders were given by those on high and obeyed (unquestioned) by those below. The hierarchy of a school was beyond question. The headmaster’s word was law and if that law was broken there could be only one outcome. The punishment must fit the crime. If orders were not obeyed society would crumble; the country would go to the dogs. Anarchy would reign!

Harry Clifton had been smoking on and off since the age of eleven and by the age of eighteen had developed a ten cigarettes a day habit. No headmaster’s proclamation was going to alter that. The craving for nicotine far outweighed any danger of capture. It was just bad luck that Mr Hopkinson, the junior sports master, had carelessly left a gym sock behind after lessons that morning. Harry Clifton was caught cigarette in hand. Mr Hopkinson, whose contract of employment at the school had yet to be confirmed, was delighted at the opportunity to demonstrate his loyalty to the tradition of St FIGS.

The headmaster had finished his jawing. “Take off your blazer Clifton. Hang it there,” he curled his lips and cricked his neck in the general direction of the hat stand. Harry Clifton had not expected the palms of his hands to be sweating. He wiped them on his blazer and tackled the three buttons. As he lifted it onto the hat stand he observed the three whippy canes in close up. They really didn’t look so awesome. None was thicker than a pencil. Their dark yellow colouring made them look old and worn; they were warped through excessive use.

As he was doing this he was aware of noises behind him. Floorboards creaked; the headmaster was on the move. By the time Harry Clifton turned back to face into the study the Beak had moved an ancient, armless, straight-backed chair into the middle of the room. He sat down and wriggled his bony buttocks in an attempt to achieve comfort. He snapped his fingers and pointed to a spot on the worn rug close by himself. “Stand there boy,” he rasped. Harry Clifton stood for a moment enveloped in confusion. He had half-expected a chair to be placed in position, but then if the usual script was being played out he, Harry Clifton, would be bent across the thing; head low, bottom high, offering up his posterior to his tormentor’s cane.

But what was this? The headmaster glowered across the room. “Now!” he roared, since he was unable to ever speak with a natural voice. A bemused Harry Clifton shuffled forward until he stood a foot or two to the right of the headmaster. At this point, the Beak spread his legs offering the wretched sixth-former a bird’s-eye view of the Beak’s bony thighs and knees. Harry Clifton’s head swam with confusion, but things were about to get much worse.

The headmaster’s ugly, lined face looked up at the boy, his mouth cracked into a sneer, “Lower your trousers and bend over my knee,” he cackled. The sneer widened into a full-on smile, revealing a set of nicotine-stained teeth that many would describe as “tombstones.”

Harry Clifton’s own mouth gaped open. He uttered no words, for it was not his place to question his headmaster. His mouth opened and closed so he resembled a goldfish. This could not be happening. Trousers down. Bend over my knee. No, it should be, Bend over that chair. It’s six of the best for you m’lad. The world’s order was being turned upside down. What game did the headmaster think he was playing?

“I’m waiting,” the headmaster growled. “Bend over,” and he slapped the palm of his right hand against his knee in case there could be any doubt about his instruction. Harry Clifton knew his face had flushed bright red; sweat made the collar of his shirt stick to his neck. His palms were once again damp. What should he do? Lower your trousers and bend over my knee. The words pounded in his head. What should he do? What could he do?. A chap expected a caning at a time like this. Commit a felon, bend over, whack-whack-whack-whack-whack-whack. Stand up. Dismissed. All over. The punishment fits the crime. The world moves on.

But, Lower your trousers and bend over my knee. That was not cricket. That was a nursey spanking. Something a chap might have expected from Mother when aged six. What was the headmaster thinking?

A disinterested observer might say Harry Clifton should tell the headmaster all this. “I’ll take a caning Sir, even trousers down if you insist, but I’ll not be humiliated by going over your knee.” But could Harry Clifton, or indeed any schoolboy faced with a similar predicament, say this? Harry Clifton was a bright boy and he weighed up the consequences of disobedience in seconds. The headmaster had instructed him to take a punishment and no matter how bizarre that might be he had no choice – absolutely no choice – but to obey.

Failure to comply would lead to suspension, or possible expulsion from the school. He would not be allowed to take his exams. He hoped to attend college, or even university, but without qualifications that would be impossible. No university meant no career. A life of drudgery as a clerk in some accountant’s office would be the best he could look forward to. He had to take the right decision.

Harry Clifton bit down hard on his bottom lip. He avoided looking at his tormentor as he unbuckled his belt. His pale-grey trousers were loose fitting and once he had unbuttoned the fly they slipped down over his thighs and knees and travelled at speed to rest in a puddle over his black lace-up shoes. He stood before his headmaster in gleaming white cotton Y-front underpants. His equally bright white shirt was long enough to cover most of his buttocks. Harry Clifton stood modestly with his hands clasped across his private parts.

He was an enthusiastic rugby player and quite used to undressing in company. Of course, after a match the whole team would romp naked in the showers and changing room. But standing here like this, trousers at his ankles in front of his headmaster, prior to going across the Beak’s knees for a little-boy’s spanking was beyond humiliating. How the sixth-former hated the vile, ugly bully.

“Bend over.” The command was terse. Harry Clifton peered down at the headmaster’s knees. They were thin and bony and encased in smart, striped trousers with a crease sharp enough to cut through cheese. Harry sucked on his bottom lip and pondered for a moment. How exactly was this done? Was he expected to leap over the Beak’s body, as if flying over a vaulting horse in the gym, and then land face down? Should he ease himself down gently by resting the palms of his hands on the headmaster’s thighs to steady himself as he spread his body forward?

“Pah!” the headmaster misunderstanding Harry Clifton’s hesitation for reluctance gripped the eighteen-year-old by the left wrist and tugged him forward with such ferocity that the boy tumbled forward. He stretched his arms in front of himself to avoid crashing and dug his palms into the ground. His nose was inches from the rug. Like this his head was low and his bottom was raised high over the headmaster’s thigh. Harry Clifton’s legs dangled in mid-air.

It took a second or two for him to recapture his breath. He was a trifle dizzy. Being prostrate across a man’s knees was an unusual posture and gave a boy a distorted view of the world. It had literally been turned upside down. How different it was to preparing to receive a caning. Then, a chap was required to “bend over” but whether he was across a chair or a desk or simply touching toes he always kept on his feet; he was vertical as it were, if he chose he could see what was going on around him. There was little disorientation.

Going over-the-knee was altogether different. Harry Clifton could see nothing but the old rug beneath his face; bent at this angle it was nearby impossible for him to turn his head. He was extremely vulnerable. He could see little but his other senses were unimpaired. His crotch ached as the weight of his body pressed against the headmaster’s thighs. He heard the Beak wheezing and felt the Old Man’s rough hand grip the tail of his shirt and tug it half way up his back. Then, a hand gently caressed the seat of his underpants as it smoothed away creases, even though the Y-fronts already fitted snugly. The hand patted and preened. Then it tapped gently across the fleshiest part of the left cheek.

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Suddenly. Spank! The hand swiped into the left buttock and then the right. Then it went high; then low. The headmaster smacked his rough hand with speed and force across Harry Clifton’s upturned buttocks. The boy stared down at the rug, his bemusement growing. He felt the hand strike his bottom again and again and again. The sound of hand hitting hard flesh resounded around the hot, airless study. It sounded like machinegun fire. The headmaster put all his beef into the spanking, delivering maybe eighty slaps in the first minute – and there were many more minutes to follow.

Harry Clifton lay face-down, head low, bottom high and let his headmaster get on with it. For he had quickly realised that a hand spanking did not hurt – even when delivered with vigour across the set of his tight, cotton underpants. Of course, he felt something. A tingling sensation. A slight warming of the flesh. But pain? No. A properly delivered six-of-the-best with any one of the three whippy, rattan canes that were at that moment still dangling from the hat stand could have had him howling. His bottom would feel like it had been beaten to become twice its natural size. Dark, vicious welts would throb beneath his underpants (even if he were allowed to keep his trousers up). The marks and associated bruises would last for days. He would display them proudly to the rugby boys in the showers.

But this? This over-the-knee spanking. Nothing. “My,” Harry Clifton pondered silently to himself, “I bet his hand is hurting more than my bum.” He almost smiled at the thought.

So, it went on. The headmaster spanked Harry Clifton on the seat of his underpants and the boy had to submissively allow him to do so. The headmaster was in control. There was peace in the nation. The Pound was sound. God was in his Heaven.

 

Picture credit: Sting Pictures

Other stories you might like

The military camp

Murph in the headmaster’s study

The housebreaker

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Also writing school stories as Scholastic here

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

Speaking in support of the birch

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z used birch school CS (20)

Gentlemen,

I speak this evening in support of the birch as a preferred method of chastisement in schools. As you will be aware there is a great deal of debate and correspondence in our great newspapers regarding the introduction of the supple cane to replace the age-old birch rod. I speak as the headmaster of one of our country’s greatest schools and I trust you will consider that I speak from experience.

For those unfamiliar with such things, the birch rod is an ordinary birch and is constructed of twelve or fourteen twigs held together at one end into a handle. Its length is up to eighteen inches and the spread of the rods is twelve inches. It is applied to the bare posterior once trousers and underwear are lowered.

As some of us know, the birch stings freely and occasionally breaks the upper skin and underlying tissue. But the birch hurts less than the cane in the end.

I approve of the use of this punishment rather than expulsion for some of the graver offences, and for the continual repetition of lesser faults, which other punishments have failed to control. I approve of the use of the birch only, for it simply temporarily stings.

It should be administered only on the place suggested by nature; and thus applied I continue to advocate it as one of the kindest, most impressive, and least injurious punishments.

Further, it should be invariably administered by the headmaster, or in his presence and never by the form-master. I entirely disapprove of the use of the cane, for it can act as an instrument of torture, severely bruising the posterior for days and weeks. Moreover, a vindictive cut with the cane on the hand by a master can be too easily given in the moment of exasperation. This could not occur where the birch was employed; the use of the birch, too, allows time for the temper to subside before its application.

I believe that the birch is a safer method of chastisement than the cane. It can do less harm than a severe blow with a single cane, and at the same time a lighter stroke causes more pain, owing to the number of thin supple rods. The severity of application is more important than the size of the birch. In all cases in which it is used the part should be naked, as injury might be caused by objects in the boy’s clothing coming in contact with the body under the blow. The presumption is that in all cases the boy is in a good state of health, but if he is not, the injury from the one method would be very similar in all respects to the other.

Those who paint harrowing pictures of the boy’s sufferings from his well-deserved punishment simply betray their ignorance. I can speak from knowledge. I have suffered both birching and caning; I have inflicted both, on some of my children and on some of my pupils. My own experience and that of my victims, voluntarily communicated long afterwards, is that the former is the less painful operation, though the marks (which no one need or ought to see) may to the uninitiated appear to betoken the contrary. I believe that medical authorities are pretty well agreed that of all the forms of corporal infliction in use in English schools and of all the instruments used for that purpose, flogging with a birch rod in the usual way is the least injurious. Caning on the hand is almost universally condemned, and the efficacy of an infliction on a covered portion of the body varies with the amount and texture of the ordinary (or extraordinary) clothing worn upon it at the time.

For centuries the birch was the usual form of school flagellation, and although no doubt in olden times school punishments, like those of adult criminals, erred greatly on the side of severity, that is no reason why a moderate chastisement should be regarded as an outrage. Probably a majority of the older men among aristocratic families have been flogged in the old fashioned way in their boyhood for much less serious offences than lying, and even the younger ones who have not experienced the discipline of the birch rod themselves have been at schools where they were liable to it on due occasion. Certainly no schoolboy who has had experience would regard five strokes with the rod (which, is the amount of this much-exaggerated punishment) as a very serious or severe infliction. I can only say that when I was a boy I should have expected (and my expectation would not have been disappointed) a much more severe personal penance for a similar offence, if at home from my parents or at school from my master.

In conclusion, may I say that if there be one thing that will not fit our boys for the important and honourable duties of future citizenship it is ‘mollycoddling.’ Some parents nowadays injure their children and lessen the teacher’s influence for good by listening to petty complaints about punishment. It is a great mistake. It tends to sap the growth of true nobility of character and make puling, whining nobodies. Long ago (those were manifestly more Spartan times) when a boy was caned or strapped the last thing he dreamt of doing was to tell his father. He knew that most likely in that case the chastisement would be supplemented. That line of action, for the boy’s sake, was immeasurably the better one. Let parents wisely, frankly, tenderly put their boys on their honour to be truthful, pure-minded, inflexibly fair and just, kindly and companionable to be, indeed, always and everywhere genuine, and to honour their teachers, on whose efforts their future so much depends. And while warning the boys against getting into scrapes, let the parents with equal frankness tell them, should they ever happen to get into one, not to sulk or whine, but stick to the truth and take their chastisement like a man and be wiser for the future. Above all things, may we be saved from a generation of ‘mollycoddles’!

Thank you for listening.

Picture credit: C of Sweden

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story was compiled from genuine correspondence in the Manchester Guardian, England, in 1907

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The Gaffer of The Academy 3. Caned-off

MacTaggart’s House for Naughty Boys

The Boy From Across The Street

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

John’s jam jar

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z used jar money drawing

John Hepplewhite was a modest man, he didn’t ask for much in life and he didn’t get it. He lived on a small pension from the Post Office and what he got from the state. He lived alone in two rented rooms and because he was trying to save money he would spend a lot of time at the House of the Sacred Light pensioners’ club where he could sit in the warm, read the newspapers and drink countless cups of tea without having to pay. And, what if from time to time he had to listen to some ruddy-faced fellow wittering on about the Bible.

He did his shopping at the shops and the market where they sold off perishable food cheaply late in the day. At home he never lit more than one bar on the electric fire. John Hepplewhite didn’t think of himself as poor. He was careful with his money. Hidden away at the back of the larder was an old jam jar. Into this he put every spare copper coin he had. Sometimes, when he had been especially careful, or he skipped a meal and made up for it with even more cups of tea at the House of the Sacred Light, he added silver. John Hepplewhite was saving for his special treat.

When the jar was about half full – for that was all he needed – he took it along to the post office where he used to work, and where he still collected his pension, and Mavis, a jolly old type, would patiently count out the coins and change them to banknotes. John Hepplewhite could scarcely contain his excitement and even though Mavis had known him for years she could never get him to tell him what he was saving for.

John Hepplewhite, now greatly excited and with the banknotes tucked securely in the inside pocket of his heavy coat, he trudged down the High Street to the public phone box. Of course, he wouldn’t dream of paying to have a phone at home, not even with the special rates they gave pensioners. His hands didn’t usually tremble, but they did as he lifted the receiver and dialled the number. He knew it by heart, he had rung it before many times. The phone at the other end rang and rang and John Hepplewhite was about to throw down the handset when there was a click and man with a smooth voice answered. John Hepplewhite beamed like a small boy with a new toy. The call concluded, John Hepplewhite returned to his rooms, not now trudging but walking on air, or walking on air as much as a man his age could.

Two days later John Hepplewhite took a bus into the suburbs. He had a pensioners’ pass so he didn’t have to pay the fare. He had already put its equivalent into his jam jar for the next treat. He got off near Widdicombe Wood and had to walk half a mile to get to his destination. It was late spring, the sun was shining but it was still a little cold. John Hepplewhite was as happy as any man could be. He lived for days like this.

He turned into a street called The Avenue, it was a long thoroughfare but entirely deserted of people. The large houses were mostly hidden behind walls or fences and sometimes high hedges. The house he wanted was half way down. He liked that no one was about, it made him feel safe. He didn’t like prying eyes. He saw a large figure on a bicycle ride towards him; as it got closer he saw he was dressed in a bright red school blazer. Instinctively, John Hepplewhite looked at his watch; it was not yet noon. As the bicycle approached and then passed him, John Hepplewhite noticed the boy also wore pale-grey short trousers. John Hepplewhite turned and watched him cycle off into the distance. He smiled broadly, the “boy” was at least forty if he were a day.

John Hepplewhite paused at the gate to number 42. The house itself was set back from the road with a wide shingle path leading to it. John Hepplewhite’s heartrate quickened and his mouth dried. He checked his watch again to make sure he was not early (he had never once been late for this appointment) and satisfied all was well he set off up the path. He rang the doorbell and since he was expected he was not surprised the door was opened instantly. An older women, dressed austerely in a long shapeless black skirt and a white blouse buttoned to her throat welcomed him in.

“Wait in the hallway,” she said abruptly and certain that he would comply with her instruction, she immediately waddled away and entered a room at the far end. John Hepplewhite knew the house well. There were five identical doors leading from the hallway, each made of heavy oak. A coat stand stood in the corner close to the door and there were two small tables along a wall. A grandfather clock that John Hepplewhite had never seen working leaned forlornly in another corner. There were no pictures on the wall but there was a full-length mirror that John Hepplewhite always avoided on his visits. He had no wish to see the reflection of a flabby old man staring back at him.

The woman was gone for five minutes and then she returned and briskly said, “Go into that room and change.” John Hepplewhite had been expecting this and without even a murmur he took the few paces needed to reach the door, he turned the handle and went in. The room was a library of sorts. In some houses it would be called a living room or a drawing room. This was a “library” because there were shelves of books. In the centre was a large oak table with matching chairs. Two leather armchairs were placed either side of a low coffee table. It took John Hepplewhite only seconds to survey the room. He was familiar with its layout and soon found what he was seeking.

Without hesitation, he began to strip off his clothes. He was nearly seventy and he was proud that he was still sprightly, unlike some of the others at the pensioners’ club who could no longer put on their own socks. He was soon completely naked. He stood admiring the collection of goods displayed on the oak table. He took hold of the white cotton briefs with Y-shaped front and elasticated waist band. He steadied himself against the table as he stepped into them. They fitted snuggly against his buttocks.

Then, he pulled the white singlet over his head and the snugness of the cotton against his flesh emphasised his flabby belly. In the correct fashion, he tucked the singlet into the waistband of his underpants. John Hepplewhite ran his eye across the oak table, his tongue darted through his pursed lips as he chose the grey shirt from a paper wrapper. It felt recently ironed and as he climbed into it he caught the distinct aroma of the starch that had stiffened the collar.

Next came his favourite; he lovingly fingered the grey short trousers, they were made of flannel and immaculately laundered and pressed and if he didn’t take care he might have cut his finger on the crease down the front. He felt his withered penis stir. He had no idea why, but short trousers always did this to him. He unfastened the button at the waist, and then the three on the fly, opened the top of the trousers and stepped in. Within seconds he had pulled them up and was tucking in the shirt and vest. The short trousers were especially tailored and fitted him snuggly.

He buttoned the shirt and found his school tie. It was of red and green diagonal stripes. There was no mirror and John Hepplewhite made several attempts to knot the tie neatly. His previous reservation about the mirror was gone. He so wanted to admire his appearance. He walked to the window and failing to see his reflection he sat in an armchair and pulled up his woollen stockings. They were so long they reached up his thighs and there was hardly an inch of flesh left uncovered between sock and trousers. He folded over the tops of the stockings until they were tucked just below the knees.

Soon he was in his shiny black lace-up shoes. He was not quite ready. His school blazer was on a heavy wooden coat-hanger. John Hepplewhite caressed the lapel between his finger and thumb. The quality of the cloth was superb; he picked it up and smelled its freshness. It fitted him well, as always. Finally, he took hold of the woollen cap and carefully placed it squarely on his head. It completely covered his recently cut short-back-and-sides haircut, as it was intended to. He was ready. At that moment the door edged open slowly and the old lady appeared. She appraised the situation and happy that John Hepplewhite was dressed she said, “The headmaster is waiting for you boy! Do not keep him waiting.”

John Hepplewhite rubbed his sweaty palms on his blazer and with a mixed feeling of anxiety and excitement he left the room and crossed the hallway. The old woman had left, her job completed for the moment. He stopped, peered at a sign displaying the word “Headmaster” in worn lettering, took a deep breath and rapped his knuckles on the door. His heart raced in anticipation of the response. It was some time coming. At last a voice boomed, “Come!” John Hepplewhite slowly turned the handle, it was a heavy door and he almost had to put his shoulder to it to get it to budge. He stood in the threshold. “Ah Hepplewhite, come in. Close the door. Stand there boy.”

The words were intoned by an imposing figure seated at a large mahogany desk. He wore a dark suit enclosed in a heavy, black academic gown. On his head balanced a mortarboard cap. The figure steepled his fingers and leaned back in a large leather chair. “You again, Hepplewhite,” he peered down his beaked nose. “This is becoming something of a habit, boy.”

Hepplewhite nodded meekly, but said nothing. He clasped his hands behind his back and stood, feet slightly apart. He looked intently at the headmaster who continued his lecture. “Your geography master informs me that you have failed on two separate occasions to complete your prep. You failed to present an imposition he duly set and you were insolent when he questioned you about it,” saliva dribbled from  his mouth. “Well boy! What have you to say for yourself?” he snapped.

The ferocity of the headmaster’s questioning rocked Hepplewhite. He burbled something unintelligible. The headmaster leaned forward, placed the palms of his hands on the desk and roared, “Hepplewhite I trust you are not trying to be insolent now!” Hepplewhite found his voice, “Oh no sir, truly sir, no sir, sorry sir,” but he was almost as incoherent as before.

The headmaster steepled his fingers once more. “Pah! I’m going to thrash you Hepplewhite. Thrash you. You deserve nothing less.” Hepplewhite’s faced flushed, “Crikey,” he said. “No please sir, don’t cane me sir. I shall be good.”

The headmaster grimaced, “Quiet! Stand in the corner. Hands on head. Contemplate your sins. Think about what’s coming to you.” He watched with satisfaction as the wretched boy before him, his face a picture of misery, turned and shuffled away. “Right in the corner,” the headmaster called after him, “I want to see your nose touching the wall.” He leaned back in his chair, then opened and closed drawers to his desk. He was not looking for anything, this was part of his ritual. He would give Hepplewhite ample time to anticipate what was to come.

After five minutes, the headmaster rose from the desk. “Let’s get on with this shall we,” he stated abruptly. “Turn around boy,” and when Hepplewhite did so and took his hands from his head, the headmaster who was incapable of speaking in a normal voice, roared, “I did not give you permission! Hands on head, boy!”

“Sorry sir,” Hepplewhite croaked. His eyes followed the headmaster as he walked across the study. He stopped when he reached a tall, thin cupboard. With great deliberation he reached into his pocket and after fumbling around he withdrew a small key. Hepplewhite watched with increasing anticipation as the headmaster opened the cupboard door and reached inside. The rattle as several thin, whippy canes were moved around seemed to fill the room. Hepplewhite licked his bottom lip and gulped; his mouth was now completely dry.

He watched as the headmaster withdrew a cane. It was a typical school punishment cane, about three feet long and as thick as a pencil with the traditional curved handle. The headmaster showed it to Hepplewhite whose eyes widened. He recognised it. The headmaster had thrashed him with that very stick on his last visit to the study. The headmaster flexed it between his hands and studied it closely as if he had never seen it before. He frowned, and replaced it in the cupboard. “I have acquired a new cane,” he said as he reached inside again. “It is especially suitable for senior boys. For recidivists. For boys who return to my study time after time. It is a Malacca!”

He showed the cane to Hepplewhite. It was much the same size and shape as the previous cane but as the headmaster bent it between his hands and then swished it through the air, Hepplewhite saw it was extremely dense, but whippy. It looked an awesome weapon. “Yes,” the headmaster spoke as if to himself only, “This will be very suitable.” He looked over at Hepplewhite who was still standing submissively, hands on head. “Go there,” the headmaster swished the cane in the general direction of a low leather armchair. “Bend over. You know what to do Hepplewhite.”

z used drawing cane quelch (38a) (2)

Indeed he did. He was no stranger to the headmaster’s study. Still with his hands on his head he took the three paces necessary to get into position. He looked at the chair in front of him. He was easily tall enough to clear its back. “Bend over Hepplewhite,” the headmaster growled, “He haven’t all afternoon.” He swished the cane to emphasise his impatience.

Hepplewhite took his hands from his head, rubbed them together and then fell forward. He stretched his arms out ahead of him and gripped the front of the seat cover. In this position his school cap remained firmly on his head. He spread his feet and jutted out his bottom, submissively. He heard footsteps behind him and a terrific swishing noise as the headmaster took practice swipes with his heavy cane. Then, in quick succession he felt a hand gripped the tail of his blazer and pushed it up his back and away from the target area; followed by the cane “sawing” across the centre of his bottom. Suddenly, it was lifted away and returned with great force so that it cut across both cheeks equally.

It hurt Hepplewhite, but not much. He had received harsher strokes in the past. He waited patiently; this time the headmaster tap-tapped the cane into the softer undercurve of his buttocks. The cane rose and fell. It was a harsher stroke but Hepplewhite was not deceived, he knew the headmaster was just warming up. He took four more strokes so that now his bottom sported six lines running parallel to each other. The headmaster was an expert with the cane, each had fallen precisely where he intended.

“Stand up Hepplewhite,” the headmaster placed the cane under his arm and paced the study. When Hepplewhite was on his feet, the headmaster glared, “Shorts down Hepplewhite, bend back over.” Still facing the chair, Hepplewhite fumbled with the waistband of his grey short trousers and then the fly buttons. It would have been difficult enough for him to perform this task even if his fingers had not been trembling. At last the immaculate short trousers were open. They fell easily down his thighs and snagged at the knees. He opened them and they continued to the floor. Without hesitation, Hepplewhite threw himself back over the chair. This time his cap fell from his head and slipped to the floor.

The headmaster tidied Hepplewhite’s blazer once more and was presented with an expanse of white cotton underpants. He “sawed” the cane once more taking note of how it sank deep into Hepplewhite’s fleshy buttocks. This swipe was the hardest yet and the headmaster was rewarded with the sight of Hepplewhite’s knees buckling. Hepplewhite gripped the cushion harder, but before he could settle himself properly the second and third strokes bounced off his bum.

“Ouch!” it was a genuine cry of pain. The headmaster knew this for certain because Hepplewhite like several of his pupils usually reacted with the somewhat overstated yell of “Yarrooo!” during a caning.

The next three were harder still. Hepplewhite wriggled his hips and stamped his feet. This was genuine. His heart raced and his breath came in shallow pants. “Up Hepplewhite,” the headmaster strolled the study once more. Hepplewhite rubbed his rubbery buttocks ruefully. “Leave it alone boy! You know the rules,” the headmaster growled. Hepplewhite’s hand immediately sprang to his sides. “Pants down. Back over.” It was a simple command, given without histrionics for the headmaster had no doubt Hepplewhite would obey. The headmaster was in control.

Indeed Hepplewhite did not argue, he simply slipped his thumbs inside the waistband of the white cotton Y-fronts and with not much more than a flick of the wrist he sent them sliding to his knees. Not waiting to ensure they reached his feet he dived over the back of the chair. As the headmaster for the third time moved the blazer out of the way he took careful note of the dozen lines that now emblazoned Hepplewhite’s hairy bum. He congratulated himself on a job well done. “Brace yourself boy,” he called with some good humour as he sent the first of six absolute stingers across Hepplewhite’s bared bottom. Air whistled through his clenched teeth, he writhed and his shoulders rose a little.

Swipe! This one had Hepplewhite crossing one foot over the other to stop himself jumping up. His temples pulsated just as quickly as his bottom. This caning was proving hard to take. The headmaster never liked to draw blood during a caning so he aimed his cane at one of the few places that had not yet been touched. Thankfully, Hepplewhite’s bum was large so this gave him the opportunity to lay one high on the apex of the mounds. He was rewarded by the sight of a deep red line and a hissing boy.

At last the final of the six was delivered. It had been quite an ordeal: six-six-and-six; it wasn’t a punishment for a novice. The headmaster ambled leisurely toward the cupboard and then taking his time he found the key, unlocked the door and returned the cane to rest alongside its companions. All the while Hepplewhite stared down at the seat cushion. His bum was on fire; a caning on the bare, even if lightly delivered – and this one had not been – is always a severe punishment. The intense agony was quickly dissolving into a sore ache. It had been a harsh punishment, but he had survived.

At last the headmaster called across the study, “You may stand now, Hepplewhite.” He watched as he hauled himself to his feet. The short trousers and Y-fronts were in a puddle at his feet. Hepplewhite leaned down to retrieve them but was cut short, “Leave them be!” the headmaster snarled, “I have not finished with you! Stand back in the corner. Hands on head.”

Meekly, Hepplewhite waddled like a penguin until he resumed his place, nose pressed against the wall. The headmaster returned to his desk and sat back in his hair. From this position he had a superb view of Hepplewhite’s battered bottom. He watched the clock on the mantelpiece, keeping a close eye on the time and when he was ready he reached down to the bottom drawer of his desk. In it was the book where an official record of corporal punishment was kept. He drew this out and put it on the desktop and then returned to the drawer.

He stood up and walked in front of the desk, there he picked up a straight backed chair and manoeuvred it into the centre of the room. He sat down and with a little difficulty adjusted his academic gown so he became comfortable. Once satisfied he spoke with a haughty air. “Turn around Hepplewhite and face me.”

Hepplewhite did so and his jaw dropped open. He had not expected this. Seated in the straight-backed wooden chair was the headmaster and in his fist he gripped an off-white rubber-soled plimsoll, the type of slipper generations of schoolboys had worn for physical education classes.

The headmaster released his grip on the plimsoll and let it rest on his lap. He snapped his fingers, “Stand there boy,” he pointed to a spot close to his right thigh. As Hepplewhite waddled across the study, the headmaster took up the plimsoll again. He waited for the full import of the situation was clear to Hepplewhite and then intoned, “Bend over my knee.”

Without instruction, Hepplewhite slipped the blazer from his shoulders and tossed it to the floor. Then he dropped forward so quickly that he hurt his shoulder because he had to push his arms ahead of himself to break his fall against the hard ground. He pressed his palms firmly into the floor and bent his knees so that his bare bottom pointed at an angle over the headmaster’s thigh. He waited impatiently as the headmaster carefully folded his shirttail so that it bared his lower back. The headmaster took a firm hold of him around the waist and thwacked the hard slipper into his already-sore backside. The burning sensation was terrific.

And so it went on like that until the clock on the mantlepiece confirmed the hour was over. Hepplewhite dressed himself in his school uniform once more and the headmaster divested himself of gown and cap. And like that John Hepplewhite and the headmaster repaired to the kitchen and enjoyed a nice cup of tea, while the old woman discreetly counted the banknotes.

 

Picture credit: Unknown /  Charles Chapman (The Magnet)

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

Smoking on the bus

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I don’t often travel on the bus in the afternoon, but this day I had to leave work early for an urgent dental appointment. How is it that one small tooth can cause a grown man so much pain?

The bus was crowded – the schools had just let out – and I was obliged to take my throbbing jaw up to the top deck. The bus jolted throwing me along the gangway. I kept my balance, if not my dignity, and slumped into an empty seat. I rubbed my cheek hoping that by some miracle the ache would go away.

My head was pounding and my general mood wasn’t helped by the raucous noise echoing across the top deck. I must have been the only ‘civilian’ passenger among a sea of schoolboys. They wore green-and-gold blazers so I knew they must be from some posh school. The local grammar perhaps. Suddenly, from somewhere close behind me I smelt a familiar aroma. Someone was puffing a cigarette and the smoke was billowing across my face. Greatly irritated, I turned, intending to have an argument.

My mouth opened, but my aching jaw dropped. Sitting behind me was a schoolboy and between his fingers he held a lighted cigarette. His hand was held high and it seemed to me that he was waving it round for all to see. He showed little inclination to actually put it between his lips and suck. At first he didn’t notice me. That gave me time to notice the small badge pinned to the lapel of his blazer: Prefect. My head buzzed. A senior boy, a prefect no less. Smoking in public. On the bus. In his school uniform. In front of so many junior boys.

Suddenly, he noticed I had turned in my seat to face him. He didn’t speak at first, but the look of distain on his face spoke volumes. “Who do you think you’re looking at?” it said. I answered his unspoken question. “You shouldn’t be smoking,” I said. He glared at me in silence and made me continue, “You’re too young.” I trailed off. I couldn’t think what else to say.

What did I expect him to do? Apologise profusely? Stub out the cigarette? Promise never to smoke again? He did none of these things. His stare of contempt sent a shiver through my body. “I am eighteen,” he said haughtily. “I am old enough to smoke.” Then with great emphasis, he continued. “It. Is. Not. Against. The. Law.”

I am not a man who welcomes confrontation. The boy’s arrogant smirk unnerved me. I had wanted to say something like, “No, but it is against the rules of your school,” but I was too timid. The boy looked closely at the cigarette in his hands and slowly placed it between his lips. He drew smoke into his mouth, held it there for a moment and then quite deliberately exhaled it so that it blew across my face.

I told myself later that if the bus had not at that moment reached my stop I should have remonstrated with him. As it was I had to leave our skirmish unfinished. I am certain the boy smirked openly and encouraged his pals to do likewise as I bounced down the aisle towards the stairs. The meeting with the conceited schoolboy did nothing to calm me. I found it hard to contain the humiliation I felt and the raging pain in my mouth. By the time I presented myself to the dentist’s receptionist I had determined I would track down the boy’s school and report the incident to his headmaster.

Yes, I congratulated myself. I would not be intimidated by some snotty eighteen-year-old schoolboy. My mood had improved considerably by the time the dentist placed a mask over my mouth and asked me to count down from ten and I drifted off.

The next thing I remember was pacing an enormous room. A huge desk stood in the middle and there was a large armchair off to its right. The room was surrounded by book-lined shelves. An unlit fireplace dominated one wall. I was wearing a suit and over it hung a heavy black academic gown. On my head, slipping a little, I sported a mortar-board cap with its tassel dangling against my neck. In my hands I flexed a stout, yellow-coloured, rattan cane. It was more than three feet long and as thick as a pencil, yet also as light as a feather. At one end was a curved handle. The cane had notches along its length and the tip – the business end if you will – was frayed. This little beauty had seen some action in its time.

I swished the cane through the air. Butler, the arrogant boy from the bus, stood before me, hands clasped firmly behind his back. His head was bowed contritely. “An absolute disgrace, Butler,” I intoned. “You have let the school down. I won’t have it Butler. I simply won’t have it.” Butler’s neck reddened, but his face remained deathly pale. “To begin with, you will hand over your prefect’s badge. You are not fit for high office in this school.”

Butler said nothing. His forehead glistened with perspiration. Not daring to look at me, he fumbled with the pin of the badge and unclasped it from his blazer. “Put it there. On the desk,” I growled. Sorrowfully, Butler did as instructed. “Now, remove your blazer.” Butler unbuttoned the front and slipped the jacket from his shoulders. “Place it on my desk.” He did this, all the time ensuring that I could not see his face. “Right,” I swished the cane through the air one more time. “Let’s proceed shall we.”

It wasn’t a question, it was a statement of my intent. “Stand by that chair.” I pointed the cane at the armchair in case there was any doubt. The whippy rattan cane wobbled violently as I did this. Butler, his head still bowed, shuffled the four or five paces necessary to cross the study. He stopped some distance from the chair. “Stand behind the chair,” I stressed the word, as if talking to a boy of low intelligence. He shuffled some more and stood feet slightly apart. “Pah!” I ejaculated. “Closer boy. Closer.” I could not be sure if Butler was an idiot or if he was deliberately trying to be difficult. He took a step closer to the chair.

Butler was eighteen years old and on the cusp of manhood. He stood about an inch taller than myself but he was much thinner and lighter. He wore a regulation white, long-sleeved shirt and pale-grey trousers. They were a big snug across the backside and fell to an inch above his shoes. He was clearly a growing lad and I supposed his mother had decided it wasn’t worth the expense of buying him new trousers so close to the end of his school career.

“Right Butler,” I spoke slowly and clearly. I do not believe in histrionics. I am the headmaster and he is the schoolboy. I give him orders and he obeys them. That is the nature of the universe. “Lower your trousers, Butler,” I instructed. A slight shudder of his shoulders informed me that Butler had not anticipated such a development. Clearly, he expected to be beaten. That had been clear from the moment he received the summons to attend at my study. Butler was a senior boy – a prefect no less – and his crime had been so public that nothing but the most exemplary punishment would suffice.

z used cane armchair white pants CP-L (6)

I flexed the cane between my hands as I watched Butler unbuckle his belt, pop the buttons of his fly and encourage the trousers to slip down his thighs, over his knees and land at his feet. A moustache of perspiration now glowed over his top lip. His hands shook slightly as he straightened up. Once again, he clasped them behind his back. I wobbled the cane and touched the tip against the apex of the armchair. “Bend over Butler,” I intoned. He screwed his eyes tightly shut, then opened them. He sucked in a deep breath and rubbed the palms of his hands together. He was obviously preparing himself for the ordeal to come. Once prepared, he leaned forward and in a very athletic movement he was over the back of the armchair. He stretched his arms out front and gripped the furthest edge of the seat cushion. His stomach cleared the chair by an inch or two.

I flexed the cane and moved so I stood slightly to Butler’s left. “Head low. Bottom high. Legs further apart.” Butler wriggled his position until I was satisfied. Now, his stomach rested on the chair and he had to reach almost on tiptoe so that his face was so close to the cushion that he could probably smell the dust. When Butler was standing his bottom was a little flabby, but the flesh tightened when he was prostrated across the chair. It was round and hard. I tapped my cane across the fleshiest part of his bottom. I wasn’t yet satisfied.

I tucked the cane under my arm and approached Butler. His white Y-front underpants hung loosely. His entire body tensed when I gripped the elasticated waistband. The stupid boy had supposed I was about to rip down his pants and thrash him on the bare. I had no such intention. At least not unless and until he was found smoking again. Instead, I pulled the underpants tight so that all creases were smoothed out of the cotton material. The Y-fronts now fitted like a second skin and dug a little way up the crack that separated the buttocks. I cupped my right palm and gently caressed each cheek, ensuring that the last of the wrinkles was gone. I was now ready.

I slipped the cane back into my hand and took up position about three feet from Butler. I tapped the cane so that the tip bounced off the very centre of his right buttock. His bottom tensed. Bottoms always do under such circumstances, it is a natural reflex reaction. I withdrew the cane, raised it above my shoulder and through an arc returned it with some vigour so that it struck Butler across the centre of both cheeks. I was rewarded with a lovely line across the taut cotton pants and a very long and loud hissing sound escaping between the boy’s pursed lips. His bottom rose an inch or so from the chair but he gripped the seat cushion for dear life and stopped himself making further movement.

I hadn’t announced such, but there is an unspoken rule between headmaster and naughty boy that said boy should remain submissively in position and take his beating like a man. Anything else will be rewarded with extra stokes. I put the second stroke a little lower, into the more sensitive “sit-spot”. Butler hissed some more and stomped his feet up and down rather like a guard on sentry duty. His face was now as red as I supposed his backside to be at that moment.

I let the boy settle. A caning is more effective if you allow the initial shock of the stroke to sink into the boy’s bottom. The pain will them travel up and down his legs and if it has been severe enough also to other parts of the body. The initial agony will be intense. Very quickly that will settle into a roaring pain. That is the point when the next stroke should be delivered. In that way the pain of the punishment grows with each successive stroke.

I waited about twenty seconds and swiped in the third stroke. This one went higher on the crest of the mounds. Now there were three pulsating cuts running across his bottom in parallel lines. There would be a strip about two inches wide throbbing under his underpants. Butler’s head was bobbing up and down and his face was butting the cushion. His fingers continued to grip the cushion and even from some distance I could see his knuckles were white.

I flexed the cane once more, enjoying the power I had over the obnoxious boy. I would teach him a lesson. No more would he smoke in public. No more would he be rude to his elders and betters. I tapped the cane across the highest point of his stretched bottom and let fly. The crack of rattan against tight flesh resounded around the room. He yelped, just like a little whipped puppy. His back arched and he threw his head from left to right and then up and down. He reminded me of a neighing horse. His knees buckled and his bottom slipped off the top of the chair, but still he hadn’t jumped to his feet howling, clutching his posterior with both hands in a fruitless attempt to rub the pain away.

“Back in position boy. Bottom high. Head low. Legs apart,” I paced the study observing Butler as he struggled to present himself for the final two strokes. His face was scarlet, his hair was soaked with sweat. His eyes were hollow. I had no doubt he was in intense pain. I did not care. That was the point of the exercise. What was the point of a caning, if it did not hurt. Butler would never dare smoke again. He would never cheek fine upstanding members of the community.

He offered me his bottom. I adjusted my position slightly and laid the cane so it rested in a diagonal running from the bottom of the left cheek to the top of the right. Boys at the school knew this to be my signature punishment. It was what made a “headmaster’s caning” so feared. I whopped the cane across his backside with all my might. It was like I was beating a carpet. Of course, it struck across the four welts already throbbing across his bottom, reigniting the pain in them all and adding a new layer of agony.

I am not sure how in practical terms a “shriek” differs from a “yell” so I might not be able to adequately describe the racket Butler made at that point. I can attest that tears flooded down his face as if a dam had burst. Rasping guttural noises filled the study. Butler humped the back of the chair. His feet marched up and down. He did the head shaking thing again. But, through all of that, he continued to grip tightly the seat cushion. He did not stand up. I rather admired the boy’s fortitude.

I probably don’t have to tell you that for the final stroke I laid the cane on the opposite diagonal. By the time I had finished Butler had a perfect “X” marked across his buttocks. Snot poured from his nose and mixed with the tears. His entire body convulsed with sobs.

Slowly, I paced the study until I reached the far corner. There, I hung the cane on the umbrella stand. I turned and admired my handiwork. The boy was still bent across the chair, unable to stand until I gave permission. That was another of the unspoken rules. To do so would incur extra stokes and I had no doubt Butler was in no state to take those.

I waited a minute and then another, just watching the boy bellowing into the seat cushion. I was engulfed by a feeling of deep accomplishment. My heart was racing and my temples throbbed a little. I shook my head. Suddenly, from a long way away I heard a voice.

“Welcome back,” it was my dentist. He smiled, “So, how does that feel?”

The light in my eyes was strong. I blinked. “That feels very good indeed,” I told him, not thinking for a moment about the tooth he had just extracted.

Picture credit: CP Services, London

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

Just an ordinary day

new 5

z used drawing master smuggs hots (1)

“Right Brooking,” the headmaster flexed his whippy rattan cane then pointed to a spot in the centre of his study, “Bend over. You two,” he gestured to my pal Christianson and myself, “Stand there, by the wall.” He turned back to Brooking, “Right-over lad! Touch those toes.” Brooking stretched his finger further down his shins. “Keep those knees straight, boy,” the headmaster swiped his cane through the air, not trying to hide his impatience. I could see the strain in Brooking’s face; touching toes isn’t as easy as it sounds.

The headmaster stepped forward and stood behind my pal. I had the perfect view of Brooking’s backside, stretched against his pale-grey trousers. They were so tight I could just about make out the outline of his underpants. I was surprised to see he wore briefs; Boxer shorts were the fashion among we boys at the time.

The headmaster tucked the cane under his arm, it slipped down a little as he leaned forward and with both hands took hold of the tail of Brooking’s blazer. He pushed it a little way up his back so it was away from the target area. An inch or so of Brooking’s white shirt poked out from the waistband of his trousers and I saw a little flesh.

The headmaster “sawed” his cane across the centre of Brooking’s bum, but below the crest. It was quite a big bum, I suppose. Brooking was one of the tallest boys in our sixth-form; easily over six foot and although he was in no way fat (not like the obese schoolkids you see today) he was beefy. Meaty, you might say. The headmaster tapped the cane a couple of times and I saw Brooking close his eyes and screw up his face, ready for the ordeal. We were all eighteen years old and in our final year at school but a caning from the headmaster was still nothing to be sneezed at.

Satisfied that he had a good aim, the headmaster raised the cane and I saw it wobble as he took it above his shoulder and then return it with a terrific whoosh! so that it cracked hard into Brooking’s hard bottom. There was no time for the pain to register or for Brooking to react before the second swipe caught him on the undercurves of his bum. Six strokes swiped down rapidly. It was all over in about fifteen seconds.

“Stand up lad!. Stand over there. Christianson take his place.” Brooking stood gingerly, his face was scarlet. He always had a pale complexion and I suppose being made to bend over like that must have sent the blood rushing to his head. Apart from his colour he didn’t appear to be unduly concerned about his caning. I couldn’t be so sure about Christianson. He didn’t have Brooking’s stoicism, in fact he looked decidedly nervous as he settled himself in the middle of the study. It was a small room, dominated by a too-large desk (something to do with status I suppose) and there were two “easy” armchairs at the other end and a row of shelves. In the corner was a hat stand with no hats (they had gone out of fashion long before) but three canes dangled by their crook handles. They were of differing lengths and thicknesses but none of them was as dense or as stout as the one the headmaster had chosen to pepper our arses with. We were senior boys and so were getting the “senior” cane.

The headmaster aimed his cane across Christianson’s backside and fifteen seconds later he was back on his feet. His face was pale and his eyes were definitely moist, but I don’t think he was actually crying. Tears were not rolling down his cheeks. He rubbed his bottom ruefully as he took his place back by the wall. He went down in my estimation for that. Generations of schoolboys have abided by an unwritten law that says you never let the master know you are in pain. We would rib Christianson unmercifully later for not being able to “take it”.

It was now my turn. I strode to the spot and in one athletic movement I was peering down at the worn rug. Before I stretched my fingertips to brush the toecaps of my shoes I pushed by hands behind me and flicked the tail of my blazer away from my bum. It was my way of telling the headmaster, “Go on then. Do your worst. See if I care.” I returned my fingertips to the shoes took a deep breath and let him get on with it. Fifteen seconds later I was standing. My bum was burning but I wasn’t in any great agony.

The headmaster hadn’t flogged us, he had caned us. It was a schoolboy punishment. Six-of-the-best, we called it back in the day. The cane burns the moment it whacks down across your stretched backside and the way the headmaster laid on his canings so rapidly meant that burning sensation built up as each successive stoke hit you. So, by the time he’s through your bum is on fire, but that pain disappears pretty quickly. By the time the headmaster was ready to dismiss us from his study the pain had diminished to a throbbing and before too long was no more than a tingle. The bruising would fade over a day or two, before disappearing completely.

After we left the study we went down to the sixth-form bogs and compared our marks. That was another unwritten schoolboy law: you have to show your pals. Then, we went home and forgot about it. That happened more than forty years ago and I can’t remember what we had done to deserve that particular caning; there had been so many. It was that kind of school: traditional curriculum, traditional sports, traditional uniform, traditional discipline. I suppose it was just an ordinary day at that school.

….. Sorry. I lost my thread there…. Why am I telling you this? ……. Excuse, me I must go mix myself another gin-and-tonic.

 

Picture credit: The Hotspur

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

Waiting …

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z used corner school study sting (1)

The Headmaster’s a sadistic old so-and-so. He makes you wait, standing, nose inches from the wall. He does it every time. Waiting. What for? I know it’ll be the cane. I’ve been here before. Many times. It’ll be on the bare for sure, this time.

I can’t see him, but I can sense that he’s there. Just sitting. Waiting. Letting me stew. The study is hot. I’ve never seen the window open. It’s muggy and smells a bit of stale cigarette smoke and old man’s sweat. Cigarette smoke. I wonder how many schoolboys’ backsides the Old Man has caned because they were caught smoking. So that makes him a hypocrite as well as a sadist.

I could be standing here for hours. All right, not for hours, but for a very long time. “Stand there and think about what you’ve done,” he growled when he pointed me towards the wall. That’s not what he really means. What he really means is, “Stand there and be scared about what I’m about to do to you.”

He doesn’t scare me. Honestly, he doesn’t. You can only be scared if you don’t know what’s coming next. The first time a boy is called to the study and put through this rigmarole, he might be frightened.  Frightened of the unknown. Will it be the cane? How many strikes? Will it hurt? Can I stop myself blubbing? But once you’ve been through it you know the answers. They are yes, yes, yes and no, not necessarily: in that order.

When he’s ready – and that might not be for some time yet – he will drag himself from behind his desk. He will sigh like he’s got all the world’s troubles on his shoulders. I have to keep my eyes glued  to the road map of Brocklehurst the Headmaster has on his wall. I look to find the street where I live – The Avenue – while the Head takes a gentle stroll across the study. I can’t see him (of course) but his heavy footsteps make the old floorboards creak.

When the footsteps stop there will be a pause of maybe twenty seconds while he rummages through his pockets. He is looking for the small brass key that opens a tall thin cupboard that stands in the corner. I won’t be able to hear the door open, but he’ll make certain I hear him as he puts his hand inside. He’ll rattle the canes around. They make a strange, unmistakable jangling as they knock into one another and against the wooden sides of the cupboard. I don’t know how many canes he keeps in there, but the echoing noise suggests there are plenty.

I suppose by this time the boy about to be beaten is supposed to be trembling with fear; counting down the moments until the Headmaster’s inevitable command: “Bend over!” It doesn’t work like that. Does he know? All I can think of is: “Can you get on with this please, I’m meeting Freddie and the gang at five o’clock.”

I read somewhere – don’t laugh, but it was in some newspaper article calling for the abolition of corporal punishment – that schools claim the cane is only used as a “last resort”. They meant that a boy is put through any number of punishments – writing lines, detentions, you name it – and if all that fails, only then  do they get a swishing. Ha! Not at this school. The cane is pretty much the First Resort. I couldn’t tell you how many rules there are here, there are so many, but it seems to me if you break just about any one of them you could find yourself touching your toes or bent across a desk or the back of a chair. Last Resort – my eye!

Can there be a single boy at this school who hasn’t had his backside battered at some time or another? It’s hard to believe. And it’s never ending. Here I am, eighteen years old, a sixth-former, with only a few weeks to go until I’m free of this place, and still I am forced to stand, contrite, hands-behind-back, waiting nervously for six-of-the-best.

After a great deal of rattling, the Headmaster finally chooses his weapon of choice. This is a farce, of course. He has caned so many boys over the years that he is intimately acquainted with each and every one of those rattans. He could pick one out blindfolded. But, it’s the little game the Headmaster likes to play and there’s nothing you or me can do about it.

The heavy footsteps start again. He is returning to his desk. I can smell his body odour. He is standing close behind me. I still can’t see him, but the swishing sound as the cane flies through empty air tells me all I need to know. He is getting himself ready, flexing the thin rod between his hands. Swiping it to demonstrate its power. It is a standard school cane. You’ve probably seen a few in your time, and if you went to a school like mine, felt the sting across your stretched backside. By now, a boy is supposed to be sweating with anxiety, shaking a little. Overcome with fear. Not me.

As I said, fear comes with the unknown. I know almost exactly what comes next. I’ve been here before. Many times. I have no fear. I think economists call it “diminishing returns”. The fear gets a little less with each visit to the study, until it gets to the point when all I want is for him to get on with it. I have broken the rules, the Headmaster is determined to punish me. He has already jawed me; told me why I am to be beaten. When he orders it so, I will submit to the cane. God is in his Heaven. The world moves on.

“Turn around,” the Headmaster intones. I face him. He is an ugly, old man. His nose is long and pointed and would not look out of place on the face of a witch. What hair he still possesses is grey and sticks out from his temples in untidy tufts. A pot belly strains against his tight waistcoat. He wears a tweed suit that might never have been fashionable, but almost certainly dates from before the war. Over this he has an old and rather tattered academic gown. Among schoolmasters an ancient gown is seen as some kind of status.  I says the wearer has been around for many years; has seen it all, and cannot be fooled.

The Headmaster wobbles his jowls and growls. His yellow, uneven teeth show. “Pick up that chair,” he swishes the cane towards and old, wooden straight backed chair. “Put it there,” he nods his head imperiously at a space in the middle of the study, just in front of his desk. The chair is surprisingly heavy. I have seen it at close up before, but that doesn’t stop me noticing how much of the varnish has worn away in two places: the apex of the back and the seat. Generations of schoolboys have submitted themselves across that chair and held on to the seat for dear life while the Headmaster went about his duty.

I let the chair down with a thump and take a step back. I stand, head bowed, hands once more clamped behind my back. It is a position of respect, but I don’t feel respect. I feel slightly annoyed that I should be going through this. Again, and at my age. The Headmaster swishes the cane again: does he really think this intimidates me? He really is a ham actor. “Take off your blazer. Put it there.” This time he wobbles the cane at his desk. I walk the two or three steps necessary and stand by the desk. I count up to ten in my head. This serves no purpose but I am feeling a bit bloody minded; two can play at amateur dramatics. Then, with a steady hand I unbutton the jacket and slip it from my shoulders. I take my time folding it neatly. I wait. The Headmaster has not told me what to do next.

“Pah!” he ejaculates. Obviously, he had expected me to return to the chair. I count that as a small victory. “Stand by the chair,” he barks. I make the return journey and wait patiently about two yards from the back of the chair. “Pah!” the Headmaster almost shouts, “Closer boy; closer!” Has he realised my little game?

Innocence itself, I shuffle forward. He swishes the cane again and snarls, “Lower your trousers.” I swear the tip of his tongue darts through his pursed lips when he says this. He looks like a lizard. My pale-grey trousers fit snugly and need no belt, so all I have to do is undo the button on my waistband and the fly and they are open. The Headmaster adjusts his position so that he is standing directly across the chair from me. He gets a perfect view of my white Y-fronts as the trousers slip down my thighs and snag at the knees. I part my legs slightly and they continue their journey down to my shins. I stand straight. By now a boy should be shaking like a leaf, anticipation with dread the next command. Not me. “Bring it on,” I say, but aloud.

The Headmaster clears his throat. “Underpants down.” It is almost a whisper. I put my thumbs under the elasticated waistband and with hardly a flick of the wrists I send them south. They stay at my knees and this time I leave them there. The Headmaster’s eyes glaze. He stares at the whippy, rattan cane in his hands as if only for the first time realising he is holding it. I feel a slight breeze across my bare legs, even though the window is closed.

“Lift up your shirt,” the Headmaster’s voice is dry and cracked. My white shirt has long tails and covers part of my buttocks and privates. I take it in my hands and raise it so that I am now fully naked around the Headmaster’s target area. “Bend over the chair,” the Headmaster unnecessarily taps the cane against the back of the wooden chair. The clunking sound it makes reverberates around the room.

I take a lung-full of air, release the shirt and lean forward. I am eighteen years old and quite tall so there is some distance between my stomach and the top of the chair. I arch my back and grip the two sides of the seat. I spread my legs. I know from experience this is how the Headmaster wants me. My head is low and my bottom high. My buttocks are a bit flabby when I am standing, but when presented in this way they stretch and become taut. I cannot see myself, but I am certain I am presenting a perfect target to my master.

I hear the floorboards creak as he moves and stands behind me and to my left. I am pretty certain that my buttocks are completely bared, but even so the Headmaster takes hold of the tail of my shirt and pushes it further up my back. I am naked from my shoulders to my knees. He slaps my left buttock with the palm of his hand. Next thing I feel is his cane resting across the very centre of my buttocks, then it is tapping across the fleshiest part of my bottom. My cheeks tense. They always do, I have no control over them. They harden as a way to protect me from the pain I am about to experience.

It isn’t long in coming. There is a definite swish, followed by a resounding thwack! and a second or so later I feel the searing pain. There is a deep cut forming across my stretched buttocks. It is agony and very soon it radiates from my bum and travels up and down my legs. My heart beats faster. Within seconds the pain is subsiding. That is when the Headmaster flogs me with the second stroke. This one lands a little lower. I rise up on my toes and grip the seat of the chair; already my knuckles are turning white and this is only the second stroke.

The Headmaster takes a pause. He likes to leave some time between each cut to allow the full force to register. He paces the study. It is not a large room and he reaches the far end in no time. He pauses, probably admiring his handiwork from a distance and then slowly returns to his mark. The cane taps across my buttocks, this time a little higher than the first stroke. He lets fly. Make no mistake, the Headmaster is an expert. He always hits his target. I now have three throbbing welts running parallel to each other in a band about two inches wide. My backside is on fire. It feels like he has taken a white-hot poker from his study fire and pressed it into my flesh.

The pain is intense. It always is. There are three more strokes to come. I steady myself. It helps to close your eyes and just wait. Let him get on with it. It will be over soon. There’s nothing you can do about it. You must just wait, submissively and let him get on with it. I am resilient. I know I cannot stop my body reacting to the pain at the moment the cane connects with naked flesh. My hips might wriggle, my knees buckle and my head rise and fall. These are perfectly natural reflex actions. I have no control.

I do not and I will not, yell. I will not beg for mercy. I will not cry. A boy might do any or all of these things the first time he presents his behind to the Headmaster’s cane. That is to be expected. The shock of the experience is too much for him. I am not that boy. I am not a novice. I am a veteran. I have been around the block. I have seen it all before. The fourth cut goes low, into the crease where the buttocks meet the thigh. This is the sensitive “sit-spot”. I will reignite the pain in that cut every time I sit on a hard surface for a long time to come. I do the hip wriggling and knee bending. Blood is rushing to my head and my face must be as bright red as my bottom surely is.

Four down; two to go. The floorboards creak. The Headmaster goes on another wander. I am in no hurry for him to return. I know what comes next. The Headmaster is a sadist. I’m sorry, but there’s no other word for it. In a school where corporal punishment is an everyday affair, he believes that a Headmaster’s caning should be something memorable; awesome even. It is something to be feared by each boy in the school. Once experienced he would never return for more.

I  feel the cane resting across my throbbing cheeks. The Headmaster has placed it so it runs from the bottom left, diagonally across to the top right. Tap-tap-tap. Just this small movement rekindles the burning flames. I brace myself. My temples pound, blood rushes to all corners of my body. Sweat soaks my shoulders and trickles down my spine. The cane is moved away. Swish! Swipe! Crack! I bite deeply into my tongue. My head shakes from side to side, I look like a horse neighing. My feet stamp up and down like a sentry on guard duty. My hips sway to left and right. It feels like blood might be seeping from the wounds where the cane has intersected the previous four cuts.

The Headmaster goes walkabouts. I hear him clearing his throat. I have lost all sense of time. It seems like hours. Every sinew of my body aches. My eyes are moist, but, I swear to God, I am not crying. At last, the footsteps start again. The cane taps across my naked buttocks for the last time. He is placing it across the opposite diagonal. When he has finished I’ll have a perfect “X” mark across four parallel strokes. I hold my breath and grit my teeth simultaneously. Whop! He swipes the cane with all his energy; he could be beating a carpet. My bum is already on fire, this final cut makes little difference. I couldn’t possibly hurt any more.

It is over. Six-of-the-best. On the bare. Again. The Headmaster leaves me still bent across the chair, I am wheezing like a dolphin out of water. The pain is excruciating, but I know that in remarkably little time, it will subside. Even before I am dismissed from the study, it will have downgraded to a searing, pulsating throb. In time it will become an irritating ache and then a warm glow. The marks of the cane might last days. The worst – where the diagonals cut – might not clear entirely for a week or two. My cherry-red bum will swiftly turn mauve and over the coming days turn to a variety of blues and yellows. It is over. I have survived. I will live.

“Stand. Get dressed.” The command comes from behind me. As I stand and retrieve my underpants and trousers, I hear the Headmaster return the cane to its home among its countless companions. Without waiting for instruction, I put on my blazer. My fingers tremble as I fasten the buttons.

“Dismissed,” the Headmaster intones. Nonchalantly, I open the door. I close it slowly. Then, I run through the empty passageway to the sixth-form bogs, howling.

 

Picture credit: Sting Pictures

 

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

St Francis Independent Grammar School: Snowballs

Dr Henderson-Smith the headmaster was at his most self-important. Five hundred schoolboys sat in rapt attention.

The headmaster, dressed in a rather old-fashioned academic gown, berated his boys. He was a commanding figure, tall, grim, stiff as a ram-rod. His white moustache bristled and his knitted white brows frowned.

The headmaster had centre stage and the old ham actor was enjoying his moment. The topic of his sermon was snowballs; and the throwing thereof. The dangers of eyes poked out by shards of ice. Damp clothes and influenza.

He wrapped his academic gown around his body giving the appearance of a crow about to take flight. “I do not have to spell out the consequences to any boy found throwing snow.”

Undeniably he did not. St Francis Independent Grammar was a traditional school. It had traditional classes, traditional sports, traditional uniform and traditional discipline. An errant boy could expect a very sore backside indeed.

It was proving to be one of the worst winters on record. Brocklehurst had been carpeted with snow for most of December and January. It had stopped snowing for a while, but forecasters predicted more to come.

That evening George Baker, sixth-form pupil and prefect at St Francis, stared from his bedroom window. The snow was falling once more. He tucked a hot water bottle beneath his sheets and dived under the blankets. Shivering in bed, he went through a plan in his head. He had been thinking about it for months. Maybe, he thought, one day, he would put the plan into operation.

The next day Dr Henderson-Smith sat in his study. The school day was completed. The open fire roared, but there was still a chill in the air. He busied himself preparing a composition to inflict on his Upper VI Latin class. His concentration was disturbed by a dull thudding noise. He paused from his labours, uncertain what it was that he had heard.

Then, there it was again. Thud. Something had connected with the outside of the study window.

“What the Dickens?” the headmaster said aloud, even though he was alone in the room. When a third thud followed, he was certain he had solved the mystery.

A handful of snow was slithering down the outside of the window.

He rushed over and peered through the now-misty glass.

“What the …?” This time he failed to complete the sentence. Below his study window, in his clear view was a boy throwing snow. Dr Henderson-Smith watched dumbfounded as the boy crouched down, scooped snow into his hand, fashioned it into a ball, and then threw it, seemingly at random at passing pupils.

z used drawing snowballs Mag (2)

The boy was clearing disobeying the headmaster’s instruction. No snowballs. Dr Henderson-Smith stared with radioactive eyes. Then he threw open the window and roared, “Baker, my study. This instance!”

The boy dropped the snow he was fashioning for another missile and turned to face the noise.

“Yes, Sir,” he said meekly and moved to enter the building.

The headmaster closed the window and sat at his desk, dumbfounded. He had caught George Baker throwing snowballs in clear violation of the headmaster’s expressed instructions.

George Baker? Sixth-former and prefect. The boy was in the headmaster’s Latin class. He was among the brightest boys in the school and was destined to go up to one of the country’s top universities.

There was a timid knock on the heavy oak door of the study. Baker had arrived.

“Enter!” Dr Henderson-Smith bellowed. Slowly, the door inched open and a head appeared. It was a small head topped with short curly black hair. The face was flushed; possibly caused by freezing cold air; or possibly because its owner, one George Baker, knew he was in serious trouble. Very serious trouble indeed.

“Don’t dawdle boy!” Dr Henderson-Smith was incapable of speaking at a normal volume. “Close the door, you are letting the warmth escape.”

Baker edged his way into the room, closed the door behind him and halted, unsure what to do next.

He eyed the headmaster resplendent in his academic gown, seated behind a huge oak desk. The boy had never been in this room before. There had been no reason for him to visit. Particularly not for the purpose that had brought him today. Baker found the dense oak panelling intimidating. The room was gloomy even during bright sunny days, but now, in the bleak mid-winter, it felt like the inside of a cave.

“Stand there boy!” the headmaster pointed very deliberately to a point on a worn rug in front of his desk. Generations of schoolboys had shuffled their feet on this spot. It was the first phase of a ritual played out over possibly hundreds of years at St Francis. This was where every sorrowful boy stopped and stood, head bowed, to await his fate.

The second phase was the “jawing.” The headmaster berated the woeful boy for his misbehaviours. Dr Henderson-Smith had perfected his own style: pomposity. He aimed his steely eyes at Baker like a weapon.

“Were you not in att-end-ance at morn-ing ass-emb-er-ley yes-ter-day morn-er-ing?” the headmaster strung out every syllable for dramatic effect. This way, he believed, he struck terror into his boys.

Baker listened confused. When Dr Henderson-Smith spoke this way it could be difficult to follow what he was saying.

“Well, Baker?”

The eighteen-year-old sixth-former took a stab at a reply.

“Yes, Sir.” It was not a detailed response, but the boy hoped it would do in the circumstances.

“Pah!” It was an explosion. Air rushed through the headmaster’s lips. His snowy white moustache bristled; his eyebrows knotted. The outrage he felt was intense.

“And, yet!” Dr Henderson-Smith was barely in control. “And yet, you saw fit to disobey my clear instructions on the throwing of snowballs!”  The headmaster was speaking more clearly now, but Baker was unsure if this was a rhetorical question. Was he supposed to answer?

He chose silence. He stared down at his feet and let his headmaster continue his denunciation.

“Never in my whole life as a headmaster,” he lied, “have I ever come across such wilful disobedience as this Baker. Never.”

Dr Henderson-Smith slapped the palm of his right hand on the desktop, startling young Baker who was intently studying the pattern on the rug.

“What do you have to say for yourself boy?”

Baker’s heart pounded. What could he say? He wished the headmaster would just get on with it.

“Well!” the headmaster screeched. He genuinely could not understand what Baker had been thinking.

“Sorry, Sir.” It was all he could think to say. He certainly couldn’t tell the truth.

“Pah!” It was another explosion of indignation. Sorry, the headmaster thought to himself. You soon will be.

“You leave me no choice, Baker.”

The boy raised his head. His grey-blue eyes shone as he watched the headmaster heave himself from his chair and pace the study. His destination was a corner cupboard. It was unlocked and within seconds the headmaster was rummaging round inside. His body blocked the teenager’s view, but he could hear a distinct rattling within.

Seconds later, Dr Henderson-Smith withdrew a curve-handled cane. Baker had seen many of these in the past; St Francis was that kind of school. But he had never before been on the receiving end of one. The headmaster looked attentively at the cane in his hands; as if seeing it for the first time. He murmured to himself and thoughtfully he flexed it between both hands. It was a little over three feet long and no thicker than a pencil.

Baker gawked from a distance. As school canes went it did not look especially vicious, he thought. He had seen longer and thicker ones. But, what this caning novice did not know was that in expert hands even a short thin cane could be made to deliver an excruciating sting. Dr Henderson-Smith was such an expert.

The headmaster turned to face the boy. He swished the cane through the air. If the swoosh! that it made was intended to intimidate the sixth-former it worked. For the first time that afternoon Baker wondered if disobedience had been such a good idea.

“Take you blazer off and hang it on the hook on the door.”

Baker wanted to comply with the order, but his fingers didn’t want to work. Was it the cold or his nerves, he wasn’t quite sure.

Eventually, the jacket was in place.

The headmaster swished the cane once more. “Stand in front of my desk.”

Baker had never been caned in his life, but he had heard enough tales from school friends to know that in a moment he would be bent across the desk, with his bum in the air to allow the headmaster to thwack six-of-the-best across the seat of his trousers. It would hurt like blazes. He expected that. That was after all the point of it all.

“Lower your trousers.”

Baker had not expected that and the pleading look in his eyes betrayed his feeling. He stood rooted.

“Lower your trousers boy!” the headmaster repeated, a little louder this time.

Still Baker could not move.

“If you do not submit yourself to corporal punishment, I shall contact your father and tell him you are suspended from school. Do you wish me to do that?” The headmaster spoke slowly and deliberately.

He hoped it would not come to that. What on Earth would Mr Baker make of the situation? His eighteen-year-old son in the headmaster’s study refusing to take a beating. His son who had never given a moment’s trouble before. He had never needed caning before; never been given detention; never been set lines. He had probably never been admonished for bad behaviour in his life.

“One last time Baker. Lower your trousers.”

Sweat from the boy’s palms transferred to the belt as with shaking hands he struggled to loosen it. He could feel blood racing through his body at great speed as he pulled the buttons of his trousers loose, exposing the white Y-front underpants beneath.

The mid-grey trousers slipped down to his knees. He waited for the next instruction. Dr Henderson-Smith had developed a cruel streak in his years as a headmaster. The youngster standing in front of him was terrified. Dear God, the boy would be thinking, please don’t make me take down my underpants. The headmaster waited a moment and then waited some more.

“Lift your pullover and shirt clear of your bottom and bend over the desk.” He tapped the cane gently across the hard oak desktop in case there was any doubt.

Even though blood coursed through his body, it drained from Baker’s face, making him look ghoulish.

The boy adjusted his clothing exposing a flat hairless stomach and stretched his arms out ahead of him, gripping the desk top with both hands and thrusting his bottom out.

“Not like that,” the headmaster was easily irritated when a boy did not present himself properly for a caning. “Right over. Flat on your stomach.”

Baker eased forward. It was a huge desk and it was a stretch for him to reach the far edge with his hands. Unsure what to do with his arms, he folded them and tried to bury his head.

“Put your hands on your head and keep them there,” the headmaster barked. “Do not move them and at no point try to protect yourself with your hands.”

Baker did as instructed. Hands on head worked. It was a surprisingly comfortable stance to take. Comfortable for now, but what happened next would be far from that.

Thinking about it later, Baker tried to imagine the scene. He was stretched across a huge oak desk; his trousers now at his ankles, revealing long, slim, slightly hairy legs. His shirt and pullover was pushed up and his midriff was bare. It was a cold room but he could feel the heat from the roaring open fire against his naked flesh. His white cotton underpants fitted snugly once the headmaster had tugged them tight against his buttocks.

His face was pressed down into the old oak desk. There was a faint aroma that he couldn’t identify; probably some kind of polish.

He waited, heart racing, teeth clenched, eyes tightly shut, while Mr Henderson Smith a powerful upright man and as strong as an ox adjusted his academic gown so he could get a better swing. Then Baker imagined, the headmaster preparing himself, flexing the cane.

He did not have to imagine his shudder of anticipation as the headmaster laid the cane across the centre of his buttocks and pressed it hard into the meat. He was getting his aim. The boy felt the cane move off his bum; then there was an almighty swish and it came crashing down, hitting his buttocks and sinking deep into the flesh.

Baker’s mouth opened and closed. “Hisssssssss.” It wasn’t a yell, it was almost silent. The sound of air being exhaled. The boy tightened his grip on his entwined fingers and pressed down on the top of his head.

Swipe number two was equally as hard and landed almost exactly on top of the first. That got Baker yelping. The pain shot from the centre of his bum and sped up and down his legs. He wriggled his hips and waggled his buttocks.

Two down. The pain was excruciating; so much more than Baker had expected. How could anyone take six strokes like this? Then, he panicked. Six? It was to be six wasn’t it? The headmaster hadn’t announced a tariff. Would it be more? Please God, no.

The third stroke interrupted his thoughts. It landed lower, across the crease. Each swipe had been laid on with vigour. Dr Henderson-Smith was giving it some beef. Each stroke had been an almighty swipe; he could have been beating a carpet. This one had the boy’s feet marching up and down on the spot. His bum felt swollen. He desperately wanted to jump up and rub away.

“Oh, no!” Baker thought it but did not say it aloud. Dr Henderson-Smith had taken hold of the elasticated waist of his underpants. “Please, no, don’t pull them down.”

He bit down into his bottom lip, stifling his desire to beg for mercy. But, he need not worry. The headmaster pulled the waistband of the Y-fronts away from the boy’s back to get a full view of his bare buttocks. He was inspecting the damage done so far.

What he saw were three deep red marks, across both cheeks, almost parallel to one another. A thick welt had formed where two of the strokes had landed nearly in the same place. If he struck that area again, it would surely bleed, he thought.

The headmaster was not a sadist. He believed in corporal punishment; not in torture. A caning should be well laid on, especially if the body on the receiving end was a senior boy, or a recidivist, a repeat offender. Intense pain should be inflicted and there should be marks that would stay for days, a reminder of the penalty for bad behaviour.

Dr Henderson-Smith did not wish to leave Baker’s buttocks bloodied, so for number four he took aim lower down, away from the danger area. It struck at the sensitive “sit spot,” where the cheeks met the thighs. That one had Baker hollering. Tears flowed. He head-butted the desk; he marched his feet up and down and twisted his hips and bottom; but none of it helped. The agony was intense and it was not going away any time soon.

Four strokes had been delivered in a carefully timed sequence. Sufficient time was allowed to elapse so the full force of a stroke could be felt before the next was sent crashing home. The final two were delivered in quick succession, and at intense speed. Whack-whack. The whippy rattan bounced off the tight cotton-covered buttocks. It sounded like two pistol shots echoing around the ancient study.

George Baker thought he might faint. His scorched bottom felt like the headmaster had forced him to sit in the open fire. When the headmaster delivered the final cut to the boy he rested the cane on the desktop and waited for the final throaty scream to recede. For what seemed an age neither the headmaster nor the thrashed boy spoke or moved.

The only noise in the room was the continued quiet sobbing of George Baker, still bent across the desk.

Dr Henderson-Smith brushed his hand across the boy’s shoulder. “You may get up now,” he said softly.

Unsteadily, Baker lifted himself off the desk. His backside felt twice its normal size. He rubbed gently and even through the cotton underpants he could feel at least two distinct deep weals. The surface of his bum felt hard, like leather.

Tears still trickled from his eyes, but he was in control of himself now. Gingerly, he pulled up his trousers and tucked in his shirt. He could not bear to look at the headmaster. He wanted to get out of the study without delay.

While Baker struggled into his blazer, Dr Henderson-Smith reached into the drawer of his desk, extracted the punishment book and entered the details.

“Sign,” he pushed the book and a ball-point pen across the desk. The headmaster wanted this to end swiftly too.

“You are dismissed.”

Dr Henderson-Smith stood at the study window perplexed and watched Baker walk through the quadrangle and out of the school gates.

Twenty minutes later at home in his cold bedroom George Baker inspected the damage. The pain had gone, but his bottom was tender to touch. It might be a bit uncomfortable sitting on a hard dining room chair at tea time.

So, he thought, that’s what it felt like to get the cane. It would have been a pity to have gone through his whole school career at St FIGS without knowing. He picked up the Football Monthly, eased himself down on the bed and flicked through its pages.

Picture credit: The Magnet

 

This story was first uploaded in March 2016.

 

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New boy at school

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

 

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com