Commander Reynolds’ boarding house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Commander turned his shirt back and Bunyan sat upright on a sofa, ensuring a clearer view.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, that is precisely what the Commander did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture credit: Unknown

This story was first uploaded in February 2016.

 

Other stories you might like

How other people live

My landlord’s slipper

The Meter Reader

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

 

St Francis Grammar School – the compilation

As readers know one of my favourite subjects for stories is the old-fashioned English school. Masters prowl the passageways dressed in academic gowns and caps. They swipe whippy curve-handled rattan canes across stretched backsides. Sometimes the unfortunate victims have their trousers – or Glory Be! – their underpants at their ankles. My heart is racing just thinking about it.

Some of my earliest school stories were set in St Francis Independent Grammar School (affectionately known as St FIGS). St FIGS was a traditional school: traditional curriculum, traditional uniform, traditional sports and, of course, traditional discipline.

I have gathered some of those stories together here in one place. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Charles

 

First Day At School

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Picture credit: Unknown

John Allison is on his first day at St FIGS. He is new in town and has a lot to learn. He encounters the housemaster Mr Durrant and his lunch-time line-up: the boys sent to him each day for caning. Boys like James Axford … Mr Durrant whipped six stingers into the boy’s submissive buttocks: rat-tat-tat- rat-tat- tat. The strokes were a little more vigorous than he had originally intended and the cracks of his rattan cane against the tightly-stretched grey Terylene trousers rang around the room like machinegun fire.

 

The Padded Armchair

Jack Wilks stood about two feet from the padded armchair. At any moment he would be bent across its back, face in the soft cushion with his bottom high for the schoolmaster to whack it with a heavy slipper. He deserved it, of course. He knew that: he had no argument. The rule was simple and all the boys understood it. If you got less than sixty percent in a class test you got the slipper.

 

A Punch in the Face

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Picture credit: Unknown

Christopher could feel a searing pain in his knuckle as he crushed it into the face of the opposing team’s centre-half. Blood poured from the schoolboy’s nose as in agony he sank to his knees. His piercing scream drowned the shrill blast of the referee’s whistle. His nose could quite possibly be broken, Christopher didn’t care. It served him right. He would, of course, have to suffer the consequences of his action.

 

Headmasters, Like Elephant’s, Never Forget

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Picture credit: The Magnet

Former pupil Kevin Smith is now a junior ‘cub reporter’ on the local newspaper. He returns to St Francis to collect details of the annual speech day and pick up the names of the pupils who won prizes only to find there is painful unfinished business with the headmaster.

 

Murph in the Headmaster’s Study

z used drawing cane picture quelch Mag no 6

Picture credit: The Magnet

Murph was bent over the desk, awaiting his fate. He had been told to grip the far edge of the desk, so he was stretched across it. His school blazer, shirt and white vest had ridden up his back. His grey school trousers and white Y-fronts were down at his ankles.

 

The Run

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Brother Sebastian sends the sixth-formers out on a cross-country run. All but two arrive back on time. But where are Allison and Howard? There will be hell to pay when they return. A heavy rubber plimsoll applied with great force across the backsides would be the solution.

Housemaster’s Double Caning

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Picture credit: Unknown

Da Silva recounts a visit to Mr Hill, his housemaster … I flinched as I felt him pull the end of my shirt out from under the waist-band of my trousers and all too soon the cane was tapping the middle of my buttocks. I kept telling myself that it was not going to be too bad, right up until I heard the crack then felt the fire sweep across my bum, Jesus he was going to rip my backside open.

 

Snowballs

It is winter and the throwing of snowballs is banned. George Baker, sixth-former and prefect knows the penalty for disobeying the headmaster’s ruling. The snow is falling fast and the temptation is great, what will he do?

 

A school-leaving present

It was now halfway through the last week of summer term and in just a couple of days another batch of what Mr Price, the deputy headmaster, regarded as his natural prey – the sixth-form boys – would be leaving forever and be beyond his gasp. Or more specifically beyond the reach of his cane. The thought made him grind his teeth.

 

All is well in the world

Harry Clifton is off to the headmaster’s study. It’ll be the cane for sure – it always is. But something most unexpected happens … 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.

 

It was thirty years ago

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Picture credit: The Magnet

Corporal punishment was banned in schools thirty years ago but two present-day sixth-formers are keen to travel back in time … Robbie inspected the cane carefully. It was a little over a metre long and had four notches along its length. One end had been curved. It was very light brown, almost yellow, in colour and as thick as a pencil. He gripped it at the end near where it curved. It slipped in his sweaty hand. Then, holding it in front of his face he wobbled it. The rattan was highly flexible. He gripped the cane tightly and swished it through the air. It made a wonderful whoosh as it went. He bent it again in his hands. Yes, it was the real deal all right.

 

A memory

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Picture credit: The Magnet

A chance encounter at a bus stop takes George Harkness back to his schooldays in the housemaster’s study with Will Rigley …. George Harkness watched intently as Dr. Cuthbertson sawed the cane across the centre of Will Rigley’s bottom. He took careful aim, then lifted the cane away from the seat of the pale grey trousers, before whipping it back with terrific force. A tremendous crack as cane connected with backside echoed around the study. Air hissed through Will Rigley’s clenched teeth. His buttocks swayed under the sting, but he quickly settled himself for stroke number two. George Harkness watched in awe as a white line appeared across the seat of Will Rigley’s trousers. He imagined a thick red welt must be throbbing across Will Rigley’s buttocks.

 

Some of these stories were collected together as a free-to-download book in PDF format.

Click below to download.

Tales from the study 1. St Francis Grammar School by Charles Hamilton II

 

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

 

Drama in the Housemaster’s study

new 5

z used study (48)A theatre play

The scene is set in the housemaster’s study at an elite public boarding school. It can be set anytime between the 1930s and the early 1960s but it has to be ‘old fashioned.’ If theatre resources allow the room should have wooden panels. At the very least it must have an old wooden desk with a chair for the housemaster. In one corner there is a hat / coat / umbrella stand. Hanging from it are at least three traditional whippy punishment canes. There can be more but however many are available, the canes must be of different lengths and thicknesses.

There are two characters the HOUSEMASTER who is aged fifty-plus. Ideally, he will be dressed in an academic gown. His mortar-board cap can hang alongside the canes. If the gown is not available, he should be dressed in a formal suit. He may leave the jacket hanging also.

The second character is REYNOLDS, a senior boy. He is eighteen years old and soon to be leaving the school. He is dressed in traditional school uniform of pale-grey trousers, grey socks and black shoes. He also wears a white shirt with a striped tie. He should also wear a school blazer with a crest. Since this is an elite school it is preferable that his blazer is not just a simple black one. Ideally it should have some colour (red, blue or green are typical) or it can be in different colour stripes. There is no need for him to be wearing a school cap.

Throughout the scene the HOUSEMASTER adopts a stern visage and tone of voice.

 

THE SCENE

HOUSEMASTER (H.M.) is seated behind his desk. There is a whisky bottle (almost empty) on the desk. He holds a glass in his hand and is staring blankly into the middle distance. There is a knock on the study door that wakes him from his apparent stupor. Suddenly realising that the bottle and glass are visible, he hurriedly opens a drawer to his desk and hides them there.

H.M. Come!

The door opens slowly and REYNOLDS stands half in and half out of the doorway.

H.M. Don’t dawdle boy. Come in.

REYNOLDS reluctantly enters the study. He stands uncertain what to do next.

H.M. Close the door boy.

REYNOLDS closes the door.

H.M. Stand and face the wall boy.

H.M. waves his arms about and vaguely indicates a spot against the wall. REYNOLDS shuffles into position. He slouches.

H.M. Stand up straight boy. Hands on head.

REYNOLDS does this. H.M. sits still at his desk. It is obvious that he has no pressing business to attend to. He merely wants to make Reynolds wait; to let him stew. After a few moments H.M. rises from his chair and slowly paces the study. REYNOLDS can hear his footsteps and turns his head slightly to see what is going on.

H.M. Face to the wall boy!

H.M. paces some more staring intently at REYNOLDS all the while. After about one minute of pacing H.M. returns to sit at his desk.

H.M. Turn around Reynolds. Stand there

H.M. indicates a spot in front of his desk. REYNOLDS tries to look unconcerned (although he is). He slouches.

H.M. Straighten yourself up boy. How dare you present yourself to your housemaster in such a fashion.

REYNOLDS straightens himself up with his hands by his side. Thinking this makes him look too much like a soldier, he clasps his hand behind his back. He looks directly at the H.M.

H.M. Well Reynolds you know why I have summoned you.

H.M. pauses expecting an answer and when none comes he continues.

H.M. I have it on good authority that you have been frequenting The Three Fishers public house.

H.M. pauses once more. REYNOLDS looks ahead blankly. He starts at a spot somewhere over the H.M.’s shoulder.

H.M. Well boy what have you got to say for yourself.

REYNOLDS shrugs his shoulder but does not answer.

H.M. Pah! Don’t add dumb insolence to your crime boy. Were you or were you not in The Three Fishers?

REYNOLDS. [Almost inaudibly] Yes sir.

H.M. Speak up boy. Were you in The Three Fishers?

REYNOLDS [Louder] Yes sir.

H.M. leans forward in his chair and steeples his fingers. He glares at REYNOLDS.

H.M. You are aware that The Three Fishers is out of bounds. To all boys. Seniors as well.

REYNOLDS. Yes, sir.

H.M. You are aware that earlier this term the headmaster himself announced that fact.

REYNOLDS. Yes, sir.

H.M. And yet Reynolds you took it upon yourself to ignore the headmaster’s instruction.

REYNOLDS stares down at the floor and wrings his hands behind his back.

H.M. Well Reynolds. Do you believe the headmaster’s instruction does not apply to you.

REYNOLDS continues to look at the floor.

H.M. Well boy! Answer me Reynolds!

REYNOLDS. No sir.

H.M. No sir. That is correct Reynolds. The rules apply to you and to the other boys equally. You have deliberately flouted the headmaster’s instruction and for that you must be punished.

H.M. hauls himself from the chair and paces the study once more. He stops at the hat stand. REYNOLDS follows his progress with his eyes. H.M. looks intently at the canes dangling. He chooses one and flexes it between his hand. He acts as if he had never seen the cane before. He puts it back and takes a second cane. He flexes this as before. He swishes it through the air. He puts that back and selects a third. He flexes and swishes it. Then he turns to face REYNOLDS.

H.M. I shall cane you Reynolds.

REYNOLDS looks alarmed. He waves his arms.

REYNOLDS. You can’t do that sir. Cane me. I’m in the Sixth. A senior. Seniors aren’t caned sir.

H.M. glowers at REYNOLDS. He flexes the cane menacingly.

H.M. How dare you Reynolds! Such impertinence. I shall cane whomsoever I wish.

REYNOLDS. But sir. I’m a senior. Eighteen. I’m too old to be caned.

H.M. leans into REYNOLDS. He is so close the boy can smell the whisky on the H.M.’s breath.

H.M. As long as you remain a pupil at this school REYNOLDS you are never too old to be caned.

REYNOLDS. But sir. It’s not done sir.

H.M. Not done! Not done. It might not have been done before in recent history but never have I been faced with a wretch such as you Reynolds.

H.M. wobbles the cane and points to his desk.

H.M. Take off your blazer. Leave it on my desk.

REYNOLDS rubs sweat from his face.

REYNOLDS. Sir you can’t cane me. Really you can’t.

H.M. Outrageous! Truly outrageous. If you do not comply with my instruction immediately, I shall take you to your headmaster. Rest assured he will flog you before putting you on the next train away from here. Expelled Reynolds. Never to return.

REYNOLDS is sweating. He stares anxiously at the cane in the H.M.’s hand. He looks across at the desk. Slowly, he unbuttons his blazer, slips it from his shoulders and carefully places it on the desk.

H.M. wobbles the cane and points to a spot in the centre of the study.

H.M. Stand there boy.

Reluctantly, REYNOLDS shuffles to the spot. H.M. swishes the cane through the air.

H.M. As you were quick to remind me Reynolds you are a senior boy, I shall deliver a senior boy’s beating. [He pauses for dramatic effect] Take down your trousers.

REYNOLDS looks shocked. His mouth gapes. He thinks about making a further protest. The words “But sir” form on his lips, but he says nothing. There is a long pause before, his hands shake as he struggles to get his belt undone and the fly buttons of his trousers open. The trousers are open but he holds on to them so they don’t fall.

H.M. Drop the trousers Reynolds.

REYNOLDS lets go and the trousers fall to his feet. He is wearing traditional white cotton Y-front underpants.

H.M. Bend over boy.

REYNOLDS glares at the H.M. before he bends down and places his hands on his knees.

H.M. All the way REYNOLDS.

REYNOLDS grabs his shins.

H.M. Pah! Right down boy. Touch those toes. Knees straight.

REYNOLDS struggles to get into the right position.  H.M. watches him thoughtfully flexing the cane in his hands. At this point the theatre group must decide how to proceed with the caning. It might be possible if REYNOLDS keeps his back to the audience for some protective padding to be hidden inside his pants. Or he may be required to bend at such an angle that it looks like he is being caned, but the cane actually misses – it would prove difficult to do this in such a way that all members of the audience wherever they are seated are deceived. It is also possible that the young actor playing REYNOLDS is sufficiently dedicated to his craft that he is prepared to take an authentic caning. This would be the author’s preferred course of action but it is recognised that if the play has a long run at a theatre the actor will have to endure a corrugated bum for the entire duration.

H.M. tucks the cane under his arm and then takes hold of the elasticated waistband of the underpants and pulls so that they hug the contours of the buttocks. There should be no creases in the cotton. He then gently rubs the palm of his hand across first the left buttock and then the right. He gives one cheek a playful slap. Then he slips the cane from his arm into his hand. He steps back and stands to the boy’s side and gently taps the point of the cane across the very centre of the buttocks. REYNOLDS visibly flinches. H.M. “saws” the cane from side to side across the tensed buttocks. He raises the cane and swipes it across the buttocks with tremendous strength.

REYNOLDS. Ouch! Oww!

REYNOLDS shakes his hips. Almost raises from the touch-toes position. Steadies himself.

H.M. Tucks the cane behind his back and slowly paces the study. He reaches the far end and from a distance he admires the figure of the submissive boy. He does this pacing after delivering each stroke. H.M. knows that the boy’s buttocks are blazing and it will take a few seconds for the intense agony to ease before he can lay on the next stroke. He paces back to the boy and takes aim again. A little lower this time. REYNOLDS visibly tenses. H.M. swipes the second. H.M. tucks the cane behind his back and paces again. Then he repeats the tapping and sawing and delivers the third stroke.

H.M. I trust I am getting through to you Reynolds.

REYNOLDS [Gulps and gasps] Yes sir.

H.M. Will you be visiting The Three Fishers again?

REYNOLDS. No sir.

H.M. I’m very glad to hear it.

H.M. tucks the cane under his arm and with both hands he takes hold of and pulls at the elasticated waistband of the underpants.

REYNOLDS. Oh no sir. Please no sir.

H.M. Snorts. He peers under the cotton at Reynold’s backside. He is only checking to see how accurately his cuts have landed. He lets go of the waistband, tugs again and with the palm of his hand he smooths creases from the cotton.

H.M. A fine set of marks so far Reynolds.

REYNOLDS shuffles his feet slightly. He is finding it hard to take this severe caning.

H.M. [Barks] Keep still boy. Steady. Let me get on with my job.

H.M. taps and saws and whacks down stroke number four into the underside of the cheeks. REYNOLDS yelps and starts to stand. He just about manages to steady himself and bends over again so that he brushes the toes of his shoes with his fingers.

H.M. Yes Reynolds. Stay in position. If you do that again I shall administer extra strokes. And we’ll see how you like it with your underpants at your ankles.

H.M. taps and saws and strikes across the centre of REYNOLDS’ bum. REYNOLDS’ body shakes. His head rises and shakes. It takes a monumental effort for him to stay bent over touching toes.

H.M. Nearly over Reynolds. Two more to go.

H.M. taps and saws and lands a terrific swipe. REYNOLDS goes through a litany of wriggles and shakes while yapping and yelping. H.M. presses his hand into Reynolds’ back to stop him jumping up. When he is satisfied the boy is steady H.M. paces the study. He returns, taps and saws.

H.M. Last one boy. Brace yourself.

H.M. swipes the hardest cut yet.

REYNOLDS yells. His knees buckle, he almost topples onto his face.

H.M. You may stand Reynolds. Get dressed.

REYNOLDS jumps to his feet and hops from foot to foot doing the spanking dance. Both hands grasp his buttocks and he rubs furiously. H.M. stares at him with undisguised contempt. After much jumping about REYNOLDS reaches for his trousers and pulls them up. He flinches as the trousers touch against his roasted bottom.

H.M. Take your blazer and leave.

REYNOLDS grabs the jacket from the desk and not waiting to put it on he rushes from the study. H.M. watches him go. Then, slowly H.M. walks across the study and returns the cane to the hat stand alongside the others hanging there. He is breathing heavily. Unsteadily he slumps in his chair at the desk and he tugs open the drawer. He grabs the whisky bottle and holds it up to the light. It is almost empty. A look of fear crosses his face. He doesn’t bother to pour it into the glass but raises the bottle to his lips and drains the last of the whisky.

Light fades to dark

 

Picture credit: The Magnet

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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

The disgraced prefect

new 5

z used school headmaster study boy by H M Brock

Worthington stood before his housemaster in the dark luxurious study, his hand deep into his trouser pocket. He was the senior prefect in the House and quite used to being called in to see Mr Whitbread; often late in the evening after ‘lights out’ and the juniors were safely in bed. This evening, he supposed, was no exception. The Old Man probably wanted to congratulate him on how well Worthington ran the House. The Association Football trophy had already been bagged and they had high hopes for Cricket that summer. He might even offer him a glass of sherry – which they would enjoy together, man to man.

Mr Whitbread sat imperiously in his leather chair behind a large mahogany desk. He still wore his formal academic gown, despite the lateness of the hour. Worthington hesitated. He had arrived at the study fully two minutes ago, he had expected to be offered a take a seat by now. From the corner of his eye he saw a fine leather armchair was placed close to the housemaster’s desk. He toyed with the notion that he might sit down uninvited. He glanced at it, hesitated for a moment, and then decided to make his move. He took one step and was halted in his tracks.

“Stand there!” Mr Whitbread roared. “How dare you be so impudent!” Worthington froze, startled. “And take your hand out of your pocket! I have never witnessed such impertinence!” Worthington turned and faced the desk to be confronted by an icy stare. He stood, puzzled. This was not what he had expected.

“There boy!” Mr Whitbread waved his hand royally and indicated a spot in front of his desk. Worthington shuffled and stood. No, this was not going to plan at all. The housemaster leant forward in his chair so that his hands gripped the desk. Worthington blanched. Instinctively, he clasped his hands behind his back. He felt like the most junior boy in the House called in for a wigging.

“You are a disgrace to the House, Worthington! I have never known anything like it!” Mr Whitbread thundered. Worthington looked down at his own feet, lost for words. What was happening? He could think of nothing he had done to warrant such an outburst. “Shameful …” Mr Whitbread shook his head violently and his three chins wobbled like jelly. A thin line of spittle trickled from the corner of his mouth. “What have you to say for yourself?”

Worthington stood perplexed. What was the Old Man talking about? Mr Whitbread mistook his silent puzzlement for something much worst. “Answer me boy! I shall not tolerate such insolence!” he thundered. Again, Worthington stared at his own feet, “B.. b..” he stuttered, but could not start a sentence.

“A card game!” Mr Whitbread boomed. “How dare you!”

Suddenly, it dawned on Worthington. Card game. The Old Man knew about the card game. “Smoking. Gambling. And much else besides I should not wonder,” Mr Whitbread fumed. A lump rose to Worthington’s throat and stuck there. How had the housemaster found out?

Mr Whitbread half rose from his chair and with his hands firmly on the top of the desk he leaned forward so that his face was only inches from Worthington’s. The boy could smell the tobacco on the housemaster’s breath. For a moment he feared the Old Man would grip him by the lapels and throw him to the floor. “Never before in my entire career as a schoolmaster have I encountered such a thing,” he intoned pompously.

Worthington’s head buzzed. Now he understood. It was all about the fourth formers. They had taken to abandoning their beds at night. They had formed a poker club in study two along the fourth-form passageway.

That night Mr Whitbread, bored to distraction, had taken a stroll through the building. A shaft of light gleamed beneath a door. As he approached his nostrils picked up a familiar scent. An aroma that was unwelcome in the junior boys’ studies. It was the smell of cigarette smoke. Six astonished juniors were caught playing poker. Now, only moments before Worthington’s arrival they had hobbled from the study with their bottoms glowing red-hot.

Before commencing the swishing, and on pain of a bare-bottomed thrashing, the housemaster had ascertained from the wretched youngsters that the poker school was a regular event informally sanctioned by the prefects, headed by Worthington.

The housemaster’s complexion was the colour of prunes. He straightened himself and still glaring at the woeful boy standing before him, he boomed. “You have betrayed my trust. You have dishonoured the position of senior prefect. You are an abject disgrace!”

Worthington withered under the onslaught.

Mr Whitbread shoved his chair to one side as he wobbled from behind the desk. “Scandalous. Disgraceful. Unutterably …” he broke off, seemingly unable to think of further insults. He straightened himself and stood so close to the hapless Worthington that they were eyeball to eyeball. Spittle once more dribbled. “Beyond comprehension! Such behaviour!” the housemaster appeared to have gained a second wind.

He backed away from the boy and unsteadily made his way across the study. Worthington’s eyes followed him on his travels. The boy’s jaw opened in astonishment. The housemaster had stopped beside a hat-and-coat stand. He wheezed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Then, without ceremony, he reached up and snatched from the stand a long, thick crook-handled cane. He swerved around so he faced the boy and with fury waved the cane through the air.

Worthington blanched. Involuntarily he took a small step backwards. “Now, boy,” Mr Whitbread swiped the cane through the air, it made a terrific swoosh noise as it flew. “Bend over that chair!” He pointed the cane at the chair that stood in front of his desk. Worthington was rooted to the spot, aware that suddenly he was sweating profusely.

Mr Whitbread’s already-mauve complexion turned dark red. He wobbled his chins and waved the cane once more. “I said bend over that chair!” his voice cackled with emotion. “Now boy!”

Worthington felt the room spin. This could not be happening. It must be some kind of dream; a nightmare, he thought. In a moment he would shudder awake and find himself in the sixth-form dorm, safely in his bed.

“I do not propose to tell you again Worthington!”

Worthington shook his head, trying to get his brain to work properly. “But Sir,” he almost wailed. “You can’t,” he said and realising he might have been too bold in answering back to his housemaster, he added, “Sir.”

Spittle flew from between Mr Whitbread’s lips, “How dare you!” he exploded. He swiped the cane through the air, “Bend over that chair!”

“But Sir,” Worthington had found his voice. “You can’t Sir. I’m a sixth-former, a senior boy. Sixth-formers can’t be beaten.” He bit down hard on his lower lip. No sixth-former was ever beaten. It was unheard of. Not only in this House, but anywhere in the whole school. He was eighteen years old dammit. Of course, he could not be beaten.

“Bah!” Mr Whitbread exploded. “I shall decide who can and cannot not be beaten.” He furrowed his brow and his eyes shone malevolently. “I have told you to bend over that chair, Worthington! You must not resist my authority. If you are so ill-advised, I shall take you to your headmaster with a request that you shall be immediately flogged and then expelled from the school for rebellion against authority! I am waiting, Worthington!”

“But, Sir,” Worthington’s heart thumped. The housemaster was serious. He really intended to thrash him.

“I’m waiting, Worthington,” the housemaster had traversed the study and now stood directly behind the sixth-former. He had half a mind to grip the boy by the scruff of the neck and force him face-down over the back of the chair. Decorum won the day. It would be undignified to scrap with a boy in the study. Worthington must bend to his will. Quite literally. If he refused to take his punishment the housemaster would make good on his promise and march him off to the headmaster’s study first thing next morning.

“But, Sir,” Worthington was an intelligent boy and usually more literate than he was at this moment. Words failed him. What argument could he put forward to escape the thrashing? He was guilty as charged. He had permitted the juniors to play their poker games. He had done similar things and much more beside after lights out when he was younger. It was almost a House tradition. It would be pointless to try to explain that to Mr Whitbread. He was ‘old school’. He would never understand.

The cane swished for the umpteenth time. “Do you intend to keep me waiting, Worthington? Bend over, this instance.” The housemaster flexed the cane. It was about three feet long and as thick as a pencil. It had notches along its length and was coloured dark yellow. At one end it was shaped in the traditional curved handle and the tip at the other end was frayed. The whole whippy, rattan cane was warped, due to excessive use.

Worthington stared intently at the cane. It looked a mightily-effective weapon. Mr Whitbread was aged and long-ago had run to fat but he was still strong enough to take any boy’s backside off with that cane. Worthington sank a mouthful of air. What choice did he have? Take a caning now, or wait to the morning when the headmaster would almost certainly flog him on the bares with birch rods. Then, once he was able to walk again he would unceremoniously be taken to the railway station and sent home in disgrace where his father would in all probability repeat the thrashing.

The cane swished once more. Worthington took another long lung-full of air and shuffled so that he stood behind the chair. It was a smallish chair with a soft back and wooden arms. It was just the right height for a boy of his size to fit over comfortably. Of course, what happened next would be far from comfortable.

The floorboards creaked so Worthington knew his housemaster was taking up his position behind him. Worthington licked his now-dry lips and rubbed his sweaty palms together. Then, in one continuous movement he leaned forward and stretched his arms so he took a grip of the front end of the soft seat cushion. He spread his legs so that he was able to rest his stomach on the top of the chair’s back. He felt the material of his trousers stretch over his buttocks. He could not see himself, but in this position he made a terrific target for chastisement.

Mr Whitbread took a moment to take in the sight before him. Worthington was one of the House’s finest athletes and his body demonstrated this. Back muscles rippled beneath his jacket and his buttocks, now stretched across the chair, were firm and meaty and his thighs were taut.

The boy’s face was deathly pale and his light brown hair fell in a fringe over his forehead. He closed his eyes tight and tried to pretend this was not happening. Mr Whitbread slipped the cane under his arm and with two free hands he took hold of the tail of Worthington’s jacket. With some force he tugged it so that it rode up the boy’s back and away from the target area.

“Thank your God that you are not presenting yourself to me with your trousers at your ankles,” Mr Whitbread snarled. He stood to the boy’s side and gently rubbed the cane in a sawing motion across the highest part of the cheeks. Satisfied that he had his aim, he gently lifted the cane until it was at shoulder height, then swiped it down with all the energy he had. The cane thwapped against the tightly-presented backside and bounced away. It sounded like a pistol shot. A wide, white line formed across the seat of the trousers. Worthington gasped and held on tighter to the chair.

Mr Whitbread frowned. He was not sure of the quality of his performance. His aim was true, but had he struck with sufficient force? He sawed the cane across the meaty buttocks once more, this time about an inch lower than the first. He lifted the cane away in an arc and swiped it home with all the vim he could muster. The boy yelped. His bottom shook violently and his knees buckled. Mr Whitbread silently congratulated himself on a job well done.

Fortified by this success, he whipped the third stroke higher than the previous two. Worthington’s head rose from the seat cushion, he shook it like a horse bothered by flies. His feet stomped up and down.

Mr Whitbread licked his bottom lip so intense was his concentration as he lined up the next stroke. Swish! Crack! “Agggghhhh!” Worthington could not control himself. The pain was intense. A wide strip of flesh beneath his trousers and underwear was burning like the fires of Hell. Never in his life – and this was not the first caning he had endured at the school – had he hurt so badly. It was agony. Worse even than that time when he was hit between the legs by a cricket ball.

So it went on. Mr Whitbread delivered a full dozen. Twelve strokes of his heavy, whippy rattan cane. Each time the rod fell it left a line embossed across the seat of Worthington’s trousers. The housemaster had no doubt that the boy’s bottom was in ribbons. Welts would be throbbing across his corrugated buttocks. Worthington’s face, once deathly pale, was now glowing scarlet. Perspiration soaked the back of his neck. His eyes blazed.

Worthington lay over the back of the chair choking for breath like a goldfish out of water. His bottom was raw; as if he had been forced to sit in a cauldron of boiling oil. He desperately wanted to get up and rub the ache from his backside. But traditions were traditions and he could not rise until his master gave permission.

Mr Whitbread slowly paced the study before returning the cane to the hat-and-coat stand. From his vantage across the study he surveyed the miserable boy, still head-low, bottom-high across the chair. The buttocks continued to quiver long after the final stoke was landed. It gave him grim satisfaction to see the boy so distressed. It was a job well down, Mr Whitbread was relieved that he still had it in him to deliver such an exemplary thrashing.

In his own time, he barked, “Get up and go!” He watched, now impassively, as the senior prefect hauled himself unsteadily to his feet. He neither looked to left or right as he hurtled towards the study door and freedom on the other side.

Mr Whitbread stayed standing for a while, then slowly crossed the study to a cupboard which he opened. From inside he took a heavy glass whisky decanter. He held it to the dim light and confirmed to himself that it was indeed empty. He had cleaned it out early that evening just before he took his tour of the building.

Picture credit: H M Brock

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A housemaster muses

new 5

Without doubt the most annoying thing about being housemaster at a boarding school is I am never off duty. There is not a moment of the day I can truly call my own. By the nature of my work I have responsibility for a house full of schoolboys. During the day I am one of a number of masters who teach them; by evening and night we live under the same roof and I must account for their safety and general welfare.

It can be very wearisome. My wife would prefer it if I went to teach at an adult college or preferably a university where we could have a home we could call our own. I think she also finds the company of adults more agreeable.

This evening has been a case in point. We had settled down after supper to enjoy a glass of whisky (one each that is not one between two) and listen to a concert on the BBC Third Programme on the wireless when we were interrupted by Blair, the school porter. He had a message he felt he must convey to me with the utmost urgency.

I cursed under my breath when he arrived on my doorstep, but propriety requires that I treat such visits with the utmost seriousness. I allowed him to enter into the hallway, but, keen to get rid of him at the earliest opportunity, I did not invite him further into the house. I had no wish to antagonise my wife further.

Blair told me in the breathless way he has that he had intercepted Wilson, a senior pupil in my house, as he climbed over the exterior wall of the school. He had been out of school illicitly. Blair did not have the sense to ignore this and allow the boy a safe passage to his dormitory. The dunderhead decided he had to come to inform me.

There are many rules at boarding schools; too many some would say. Boys break them all the time, but logic suggests that a rule can only be noticed to have been broken if the boy is caught. Put another way, if I did not know that Wilson had been breaking bounds then I need not do anything about it. Now, that I did know, I was required to act, thereby disturbing my cosy night at home with my wife.

Blair was without doubt exceedingly pleased that he had intercepted Wilson. I knew he would not allow me to turn a blind eye and he would expect me to fulfil my duty as a housemaster. Of course, I had to act. Now, that Wilson had been caught he would expect nothing less of me. If I failed to do so word would soon spread among the boys and my credibility would be ruined. I would become a “soft touch” and they need never heed my word again. No, my hands were tied. I had no choice.

I might have left this problem until the morning but since my evening had already been disturbed I reasoned I might as well get it over with now. Blair was inordinately pleased when I asked him to seek Wilson out in the dormitory and instruct him to visit me in my study. “He’ll be in his pyjamas,” he said, his mouth widening into a cruel snarl. “It is a warm evening,” I responded evenly, “Tell him not to get dressed.” The snarl became a broad grin and Blair darted off enthusiastically.

I popped my head around the drawing room door to appraise my wife of developments. She did not speak but her icy stare said enough. I went across the passageway and awaited Wilson’s arrival. I know enough about the senior boys here to know he had probably been visiting The Three Fishers which is a run-down hostelry a short distance from the school. It is a disreputable establishment where they think nothing of serving pints of mild beer to our boys. I also knew without doubt that Wilson would not have been alone. Blair would be disappointed to know that although he had snared Wilson there were others who had evaded his capture. I also decided that I would not make it my business to try to get Blair to give me the names of his companions. The schoolboy code of honour runs deep and I did not want to spend more time on this than I absolutely had.

No more than two minutes later there was a knock on the study door. I called for Wilson to enter. He waited hesitantly in the doorway. “Come in. Stand there.” I pointed to a spot in the middle of the room and Wilson went there, his feet apart, his hands clasped behind his back and head bowed. He knew what to expect; he had been a pupil at the school for long enough.

Indeed, he was eighteen years old and in less than a month would be leaving us for good. I walked to the corner of the study where several whippy, rattan canes dangled from a rail by their crook handles. I took down the thickest cane from my collection. Wilson continued to stare at his bare feet. I flexed the cane between my hands; this serves no practical purpose and I suspect I do this by habit.

“Look at me Wilson,” I intoned and he did so. I continued bending the cane. It was less than three feet long and dark-brown in colour.  It was denser than the other canes and most suitable for a senior boy. It had notches every six inches or so along its length and I knew from experience it would deliver a satisfactorily sound beating.

Boarding schools are unusual places; they are their own little world. I wonder how many people realise just what goes on here. I was about to cane an eighteen-year-old pupil for staying out late. Is there a father in the entire land who would do the same to his son of similar age? Would such a boy submit himself to punishment if called upon? I don’t need to answer those questions.

But at boarding school we have our rituals and one was about to play itself out here. I read Wilson the charge sheet. Did he know being out after lights out was against the rules? (An unnecessarily question, but one needs the miscreant to acknowledge same.) Did he have anything to say in mitigation? (Of course not, what could he say?). So, the verdict was guilty as charged. Let punishment commence.

I swished the cane through the empty air and pointed it at a somewhat worn armchair that I had already strategically placed. “Stand behind the chair,” I instructed. In my years as a housemaster I have never had a boy refuse my instructions. One or two of the younger ones, and therefore with less experience of corporal punishment, might plead for clemency. I have known them shed tears before the first stroke has landed. But, none, ever, has refused to comply.

Wilson positioned himself to my satisfaction. He placed his steady hands on the back of the chair and waited further instruction. “Take down your pyjama bottoms. Bend over.” A flicker of his grey eyes and a slight colouring of his cheeks revealed to me that he had not expected that order. His hands were less steady when he took hold of the drawstring on his pyjamas and undid it. Once the front of his pyjamas were open all he had to do was to let go and the bottoms hurled to his ankles.

He turned his body slightly to conceal his privates from my view then after taking a deep breath he slumped across the chair.

z used cane pyjamas armchair london CPS

Wilson was the prefect height to fit across it. His stomach rested easily on the back’s apex. He reached his arms forward and gripped the seat cushion tightly. He kept his head low and stared down at the rather soiled material. Without my requesting, he spread his feet and raised his bottom high. He presented me with a perfect target.

All I had to do was take hold of the tail of his pyjama jacket and pull it away from the buttocks. I could hear he was breathing heavily and saw a trail of moisture forming down the centre of his back. As if to remind me that this was a senior boy submitting his backside for discipline, his bottom and legs were covered with fine hair and two testicles hung below his cheeks and between his legs.

There are some people who object to the corporal punishment of schoolboys. I can only say they have probably never taught; and certainly not in boarding school. A caning is an effective discipline and unlike a detention or the imposition of lines or an essay it is takes up no time. It is over in minutes. The boy has committed a misdemeanour, he has been found out, he admits his guilt and he submits to a beating. Then he and the schoolmaster get back to work. I have no doubt whatsoever that if the school decided to abolish the cane in favour of some other punishment the boys themselves would lead the complaints.

So it was that Wilson submitted himself to my cane. He tried to be stoic but his bottom quivered the moment I sawed my cane across the centre of his cheeks. I took my aim, raised the cane high and twisting my torso slightly (as a golfer does when taking a swing) I slashed the whippy rattan down. It hit him exactly where I intended and a glowing red line immediately appeared. A hissing noise like a steam engine setting down whistled through his clenched lips, but otherwise he made no sound. He gripped the seat cushion harder and pursed his lips.

I know (because I was beaten often enough myself as a boy) that the agony as the cane impacts is intense. Almost immediately that pain dissipates and becomes a throbbing ache. For maximum effect the master should wait a few seconds before delivering the next stoke. I have my own ritual whereby I hold the cane behind my back and gently stroll the length of the study. It is not a big room but by the time I have circumnavigated it and returned to stand behind the boy sufficient time has elapsed for me to continue.

I put the second swipe an inch below the first. Wilson’s knees wobbled but he showed great fortitude and otherwise remained motionless. I went for my walk and then laid the third cut high. Now, he had three parallel lines and a band of throbbing, red flesh three inches wide to contend with. My method of caning is quite typical. When presented with a boy’s bottom there isn’t much more one can do. I believe that a good master should put six strokes one beside the others across the posterior and that is a sound enough caning. Some of my colleagues try to get a stroke to land on top of one previously delivered, thereby re-opening the cut and intensifying the pain. I am sure the boys agree with me that that this is not cricket. Let punishment be appropriate to the misdeed committed; there is no need to resort to torture.

That can be left to our headmaster; his preferred method is to deliver four parallel strokes and then place two diagonals across them so the boy has a perfect “X” embossed across his bottom. Now, that really is not cricket; but I, a humble housemaster, will keep further comment on this to myself.

So, I put six parallel strokes across Wilson’s bare bottom. He took them well. They hurt and I could see his buttocks were glowing. I had roasted his posterior well. I toured the study for the last time giving my beating time to fully sink in. Wilson’s pyjama jacket was soaked with perspiration and the back of his neck was almost (but not quite) as scarlet as his bottom. In contrast, his face was a deathly white. I instructed him to stand and quickly he pulled up the pyjama bottoms and tied himself up. I could see he desperately wanted to rub away at his buttocks, but in the etiquette of these things, that is not allowed. A boy must never let his master know he is in pain.

I let him out of his misery and dismissed him. I am sure the moment the study door had closed behind him he massaged  his rump vigorously. He certainly would have dashed to the lavatories to inspect my handiwork in the mirrors there before belatedly going to bed.

I replaced the cane with the others and went to re-join my wife. She poured us both whiskies and we settled down to enjoy the final movement of the concert on the wireless.

 

Picture credit: CP Services, London

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

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Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

Tompkins in the housemaster’s study

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Tompkins stared down at the dirty grey carpet. From his position he had an excellent, close-up view. It wasn’t the first time he had been in this position with his knotted striped tie dangling in front of his face and his fingertips brushing the toes of his black, shiny shoes. It probably wouldn’t be the last time either, St. Tom’s was that kind of school.

He waited, stoically. He was in no hurry to have his backside blistered one more time by the housemaster. His heart raced as he felt the tail of his shirt being raised and folded up his back.

He tried to ignore the sight of his pale-grey trousers bunched at his ankles. His back was arched, it ached a little. Touching toes was more difficult than it looked.

He could feel his white Y-front underpants stretched across his firm bottom. They fitted a bit too snugly and rode up into his crack. Not that it made much different, this was to be a bared-bottom caning. Not that the thin cotton pants could offer any protection against the housemaster’s thick, but whippy rattan cane.

Tompkins felt the housemaster’s warm hands on his flesh as he took hold of the elasticated waist of his underpants. Then they were fluttering down his legs to land on top of his trousers. Now, he was ready for a stinging Six.

The housemaster wasn’t quite ready. He had a ritual and it included preparing a boy by uncovering his bottom and then going to fetch the crook-handled cane that dangled from the hat stand in the corner of the study. From the corner of his eye Tompkins watched the headmaster’s feet as he made his journey. A cool breeze from an open window tickled Tompkins’ naked legs.

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He could hear, but not see, the cane being lifted from the stand. It made a slight rattle. There was a pause, followed by a tremendous whooshing noise as the headmaster swished the cane through the air. Tompkins’ heart skipped a beat. It usually did at this moment, even though he was eighteen years old and no stranger to the sting of the rattan across his stretched bottom.

The housemaster’s creaking footsteps announced he was nearly ready for action. He stood to Tompkins’ left and slightly behind him. Again, the boy could see him from the corner of his eye. The feet swayed slightly. Tompkins knew that the cane was high in the air. Any moment now!

Swipe! Crack!

Tompkins grunted as the cane landed in the centre of his naked cheeks. It was a real stinger. The housemaster put all his beef into it. He could lay it on when he wanted to. Tompkins knew he was really going to take his backside off. He expected nothing less. The housemaster was a renowned caner, one of the best (or the worst, depending on your point of view) in the entire school and he had many rivals for that honour.

The housemaster waited, counting slowly to twenty in his head; waiting for the pain in Tompkins’ bottom to ebb away. Then he lashed the second stroke, landing it an inch below the first. The pain rose sharply to a new peak. He was rewarded with a sharp exhalation of breath. Tompkins screwed his eyes tightly and shut his teeth. Before the housemaster was finished Tompkins’ rear end would be a raging fire.

The third cut made him yelp and he rocked on the balls of his feet. His fingers shot up off his toes but he quickly grabbed his ankles and this stopped him jumping to his feet. He must avoid that at all costs: he didn’t want extra strokes. His bottom roared like mad, he knew three deep welts were throbbing across the middle of his bum, expertly delivered in a strip no more than two inches wide and perfectly parallel. There was still plenty of space on Tompkins’ quivering bottom for more strokes.

Crack!

“Yarooh!”

It was a full-throated cry. Tompkins couldn’t help it. He shook his head from side to side as the excruciating agony coursed north-south; east-west throughout his body. His bottom wriggled.

“Steady, boy,” the housemaster intoned. Tompkins watched the housemaster’s feet, whenever he raised the cane, he dug his heels into the carpet.

Tompkins clenched his buttocks as he waited for the next stinger. It was a natural reaction. His bottom tried to compressed itself into something approaching a hard, rubber ball. It was supposed to be a protection from the stick. It didn’t work.

Slash! Slash!

Two in quick succession. Tompkins’ bottom felt like it had been cut open with a razor. His knees buckled and he let out a shrill scream. He was fighting back the tears. The housemaster’s shiny shoes disappeared. Tompkins knew then that he was returning the cane to its resting place.

Tompkins waited, head low, bottom high, fingers now back on toes. The punishment wasn’t yet over. The housemaster had one final ritual to perform. With the cane now safely stashed away until the next time, he sauntered over to Tompkins. The boy held his breath. This was the worst part. The housemaster patted Tompkins naked rear and gently caressed the corrugated flesh. Then, the hand rose and slapped down hard first on the left buttock and then the right. They were painful blows, reigniting the cuts on Tompkins’ roasted rear. He wriggled from side to side.

“Up you get!” the housemaster ordered brightly.

Tompkins sucked down a lung-full of air and slowly straightened up. The housemaster stood directly in front of him, gazing at Tompkins’ cock as it bounced up and down while the boy struggled into his Y-fronts. Soon, his trousers were back in their rightful position
Now, fully dressed again, Tompkins gingerly rubbed the seat of his trousers. “Thank you, sir,” he croaked and he hobbled towards the study door.

“My pleasure, Tompkins,” the headmaster replied graciously.

Picture credit: CP Services, London

 

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

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Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

Penalty for ‘Attitude’

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A cold wind whipped through the quadrangle of St Tom’s school. It was only just four in the afternoon but already the sun had disappeared below the far horizon. Coals blazed in the fireplace of Mr Stanley’s study. The housemaster himself rarely felt the cold. His heavy tweed suit and waistcoat protected him from the worst of the elements. An ancient academic gown, draped from his shoulders, acted like a shawl.

Mr Stanley sat in his heavy leather armchair, leafing through the pages of the Morning Post. The Socialists had been defeated in the recent elections, a new Tory Government was in power for another five years. All was well with the world at large.

Much, Mr Stanley mused, could also be said about the world at St Tom’s. Nothing much changed. God was in his Heaven. He folded the newspaper and hauled himself from the deep leather chair. He dropped the Post onto his desk and slowly took a gold pocket watch from his waistcoat. Any moment now …..

As if on cue there was a timid knock on his study door. He allowed a slight, almost unnoticed, smile to curve his mouth. He waited before responding. He knew who was standing outside. Mr Stanley had after all summoned the boy to his study. Let him suffer, he told himself.

Outside in the freezing passageway McAlpine, a recent arrival into the Sixth at St Tom’s, stood hopping from foot to foot. He was eighteen years old, but had only attended the school since the beginning of the term. In the few weeks he had been at St Tom’s he had developed, a reputation for precociousness, with a stubborn inability to remember to address Masters as “Sir.”

Mr Stanley was first to recognize that the good of the House would be best served if McAlpine spent a spell in the study touching his toes. It would improve his attitude somewhat.

Nothing could be more important than a boy’s “attitude”, at St Tom’s. Parents sent their sons to the school to have the attitude knocked out of them. Where would the country be if young people were permitted to display attitude? Obedience. That was what they had to learn. First, how to take orders. Later, how to give them. The British Empire was built on obedience.

“Come!” at last Mr Stanley acknowledged the wretched boy’s presence. He stared intently as the handle slowly turned and the heavy oak door creaked open. McAlpine was a slender youth with a mop of fair curly hair and finely chiseled features, with sensuous shining grey eyes.

He hesitated in the doorframe, uncertain of his next move. “Close the door, boy! Don’t let all the heat out!” Mr Stanley barked. “Right, boy,” he intoned once McAlpine had successfully done this. “Stand there,” he snapped his fingers and waved at a point in the middle of the study. He sat behind his desk and closely surveyed the sixth-former. McAlpine was clearly perplexed and very edgy. He chewed on his fat bottom lip. All bravado was gone.

“I have spoken to you before about your attitude,” Mr Stanley had prepared a short speech. “Now, it is time to deal with you.” The housemaster peered into McAlpine’s soul. The boy flinched as if an arrow had shot through him.

“Yes, Sir,” he murmured, his lips pressed tight in concentration and regret. McAlpine showed no signs that confirmed the reports of voluble dissent and disorderliness Mr Stanley had heard of him. He stood timid and fearful awaiting his fate, his eyes moistened. He shivered, although the fire was roaring. He fidgeted while Mr Stanley jawed him.

“And so, McAlpine,” the housemaster had finished his speech, “You deserve to be beaten.” The sixth-former sighed deeply, his pale face flushed. At last he forced out a whisper, “Yes, Sir.”

Mr Stanley hauled himself to his feet, steadied himself and then proceeded with a glide across his study. McAlpine’s eyes followed his master’s procession. It was a large room, made mostly gloomy by the heavy, dark furniture that dominated it. As well as the huge desk there were several heavy, straight-backed chairs. They had not been made for luxury. Towards one corner stood a much more comfortable armchair with a small, low table beside it. The walls were lined with shelves and cupboards.

It was towards one of these cupboards that the housemaster made his way. Reaching his destination, he stopped. His hand delved into a small pocket in his waistcoat. McAlpine stood, wide-eyed and uneasy. At last Mr Stanley found what he was seeking; a small gold key. He unlocked a tall thin cupboard and with his right hand reached in. The rattling sound he made was unmistakable.

Soon he had a light, whippy cane in his hand. It was perhaps three feet in length. He peered at it, tightened his lips and quickly replaced it. He cleared his dry throat with an almost unnoticeable cough and reached in again. He had a selection of canes to suit all bottoms; large, small, tough, and tender. “Aha,” he said, almost to himself. He had a thicker, longer, more dense cane in his hand.

He turned away from the cupboard and swished it through empty air. It made a tremendous swooshing sound as it flew. McAlpine’s eyes shone brightly. The housemaster held the cane close to its crook handle and flexed it between his hands. It bent easily. Mr Stanley straightened his back and peered cross the room at McAlpine. The housemaster swished the cane once more and with an air of finality said sternly, “Stand there, boy.” He pointed his cane to a point on a worn rug close to the middle of the study. “Bend over. Touch your toes.”

McAlpine might have been new to St. Tom’s but he had learned enough to know he had no say in the matter. A summons to the study was not a summit. It wasn’t a debate, a discussion. Mr Stanley was the master; he, McAlpine, was the submissive. If the housemaster ordered, “Touch your toes!” that was the end of the matter. His heartbeat raced and suddenly the palms of his hands felt very sticky as he shuffled across the rug. He reached his point of destination and hesitated.

“Bend over, boy!” Mr Stanley intoned. The cane swiped through the air once more. McAlpine took a deep breath and in one swift athletic movement bent his body double. He took it as Gospel that “toes” meant toes and not knees or shins. His fingertips brushed the caps of his shoes. It was a difficult position to attain, even for a slender, fit eighteen-year-old. There was a tremendous strain on the back of his calves.

Mr Stanley tucked the cane under his arm as he moved closer to the submissive boy. McAlpine presented a good shape, his school blazer flowed around his buttocks. The housemaster took a gentle hold of the tail end and pushed it away from the target area. Now, McAlpine presented two hard, round buttocks. The housemaster gripped the waistband of the boy’s pale-grey trousers and tugged hard. This smoothed creases from the folds of the flannels and lifted and separated each cheek.

“Touch your toes and keep those fingers there, if you move those fingertips, I shall award extra strokes,” Mr Stanley announced. He stared down at the sixth-former bent submissively before him. The back of his neck was glowing bright red. His bottom would be a similar colour very soon.

He stood about a cane’s length from McAlpine’s left and swished the cane through the air one more time. He sucked down a deep breath. His own heart raced equally as fast as the boy offering up his buttocks. The cane was about the thickness of a pencil and just under three feet long. He tapped its tip against the centre of McAlpine’s right cheek; finding his aim.

Tap, tap, tap. Mr Stanley derived satisfaction seeing McAlpine close his eyes and grit his teeth. He pulled the cane away, rose it high and brought it down with some beef across McAlpine’s buttocks. The boy flinched as the rattan cane bit deep. It had not been a tap, it was a swipe. The housemaster put his full force behind the stroke.

McAlpine’s his face reddened, his mouth opened and a gust of wind escaped through his lips. A thin white line formed along the boy’s tight trousers.

McAlpine’s eyes blaze, he had a close-up view of the faded red rug. He couldn’t make out the pattern. He examined it closely. Some kind of building? A farmhouse perhaps. He concentrated hard, anything to keep his thoughts from the ordeal he was experiencing.

Mr Stanley flexed his cane once more. He watched McAlpine, bent submissively, offering up his backside for punishment. “Yes,” he said to himself. “This will beat the ‘Attitude’ out of him.”

McAlpine felt the cane tap against his stretched trousers once more. The first slash had burnt a welt across the centre of his bottom. His trousers and underpants did not protect him. Mr Stanley had really laid it on. The tapping started again. Any moment now. McAlpine braced himself. His buttocks clenched, his eyes screwed up tight. He bit down on his bottom lip.

Swish! Crack! The cane swiped through the air and landed with even greater force, an inch lower than the first. McAlpine hissed like a steam engine settling down, his head nodded back and forth. He couldn’t help it. He was out of control, it was his body’s reflex action against the agonising pain.

Another swipe bit deep into his flesh. McAlpine’s buttocks blazed. Mr Stanley was an expert with the cane. He ought to be, he had twenty years and more of experience thrashing boys’ bottoms.

Swipe number four hit the top of his thigh. “Yarooh!” He wriggled his hips left and right. His fingers left the toecaps of his shoes. He nearly jumped to his feet, remembering just in time, the awful penalty for such an action. He most certainly did not want extra strokes. But, the cut was low, too low. The pain seared. He had never had a stroke of the cane hurt him so much. It felt like Mr Stanley had pressed a red-hot poker from the fire against the back of his thighs.

Mr Stanley’s own eyes glowered. He paused, allowing himself a moment of self-congratulation. McAlpine was suffering. Good! The boy needed to be taught some manners. He had to learn his place in society. He waited upwards of thirty seconds while McAlpine settled down. He took a careful aim. The previous swipe had struck low, the next would go high. McAlpine’s buttocks were hard and round. Mr Stanley bounced the cane off the top of the mounds and was pleased to be rewarded with a clear yelp. “Good,” he told himself, “the young scoundrel deserves it. That’ll knock some of the arrogance out of him.”

McAlpine breathed hard. His temples pounded. The back of his throat was raw. Waves of pain shot up and down his legs. Perspiration soaked the back of his shirt. Welts had risen under his tightly-stretched trousers in neat parallel lines leaving a strip about two inches wide blazing across his buttocks.

He heard footsteps on the floorboards. From the corner of his eye he saw Mr Stanley adjusting his position. Now he placed the cane at a diagonal across both of McAlpine’s cheeks, so it went bottom left to top right. Tap, tap, tap. The sixth-former tensed his whole body. His shoulders shook. Whop! The cane sailed at the speed of sound, crashing down into the boy’s bottom, intersecting the welts already weeping under the boy’s underwear. It set each of them ablaze once more.

McAlpine gripped his shins. He wanted to jump up and stamp his feet about, or march up and down like a sentry guard. But he stayed down. Like generations of schoolboys before him, he refused to reveal to his master how much he was hurt. He felt as if he had sat on a coal fire.

Mr Stanley slowly paced his office and opened the door to his cupboard. He replaced the cane before turning slowing to admire his handiwork. McAlpine was still bent double, touching toes submissively.

“Up you get,” Mr Stanley barked. Slowly, McAlpine unfolded himself. He stood unsteadily, feet apart, his moist eyes downcast. His bottom roared. His heartbeat was slowing, returning closer to normal. He desperately wanted to rub away at the pain. But, that would have to wait until he was dismissed from the housemaster’s study.

Slowly, the housemaster returned to his desk. He slumped into his chair, suddenly noticing his own tiredness. He leaned toward the inferior boy and growled. “I trust McAlpine you have learned your lesson?” He paused for dramatic effect rather than in expectation of an answer. The tip of his tongue darted through his almost closed lips. “If not and you are before me again, we shall see how much you like my cane with your trousers and underwear at your feet. Do I make myself clear?”

This time, he did expect a response. McAlpine croaked an almost inaudible: “Yes, Sir.”

“You are dismissed,” the housemaster waved his hand and watched with deep satisfaction as McAlpine hobbled to the door.

Picture credit: Charles H Chapman, The Magnet

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 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