Winker Wilson’s visit

Mr Walter “Winker” Wilson exited the London Underground station and blinked in the early evening sunlight.

It was September and the weather could not decide if it was yet autumn. A gusty breeze welcomed him as he joined the crowds on the High Street. It was not cold enough for an overcoat, but he had the buttons fastened on his suit jacket.

He had not been to this place before. He had been given directions, but he wasn’t entirely sure he could find the house. It didn’t matter yet, he was early. He had twenty minutes in which to complete what should be a ten minute walk.

Wilson wore a blue pin-striped suit and sported a bowler hat. He always carried a furled umbrella, come rain or shine. He would have gone unnoticed in the City of London where he had joined the Underground. But, here in the poorer eastern part of London he stuck out like a sore thumb.

But Wilson, the thirty-six-year-old stockbroker, realised none of this. He was apprehensive about the visit he was about to make. He was unsure why this was so. He, himself, had arranged the meeting. Nobody forced him to be here. He could’ve been on the commuter train to his home in Weybridge.

He partly remembered the way. It went something like this: leave the station and turn right. Cross the road at the lights and take the first turning on the left. After that the details were a bit hazy. Walk down the road for a spell, turn right and then left and the house was in that street. He couldn’t even remember the name of the street, so he couldn’t ask a passer-by for help.

He didn’t want to do that. If he asked the way, he was sure the stranger would read his mind. He would guess his ultimate destination. His secret would be out.

The lights were faulty and the rush-hour traffic was heavy. Wilson had to make an undignified dash between a Ford Anglia and a bus. Otherwise he might be left standing at the kerb all night long.

He tried to look nonchalant, but inside he was churning. He was convinced every face he passed was staring at him. Some were. They rarely saw a toff in a bowler hat in these parts.

He turned left as instructed. It was a long narrow residential road. Large houses, some damaged by wartime bombs, lined the street. Already some had been renovated; small flats and bed-sitting rooms, where large expensive houses had once stood.

The directions were excellent. He found the street without difficulty. He was nearly there. He paused and looked down the road. It was almost deserted. But not quite. Small children played hop-scotch in the road. Two women stood on a doorstep gossiping.

Wilson paused. Did he want to go through with this? Was it too late to change his mind?

He had confirmed by telephone that he was on his way. Mr Teddington was expecting him. He was preparing for his visit. Wilson couldn’t possibly back down now.

The two women roared with laughter when he passed them by. He had raised his hat and bid them “Good evening ladies.”

“Lor,” one crowed, “I’ve neffer seen nuffink loike it.”

Number 27 was his destination. He felt the stares of the women burn into his neck. Did they know where he was going? Had they watched similar gentlemen in the past make the same journey? Would they still be there on the doorstep gossiping when he departed?

The house was shabby. It shocked Wilson, but he wasn’t sure why. What had he expected in a district such as this? It was one of the poorest parts of London and heavily damaged by the Luftwaffe. He stood for a moment on the doorstep. The door was coloured green, but had peeled so badly that blue paint poked through in large patches.

Wilson lost his nerve. This was just like reporting to the headmaster’s study all those years ago at St Tom’s. No, he realised, it had been a mistake. He would go. Later he would telephone and apologise.

Suddenly, the door inched open. A small elderly man, easily in his sixties stood there. He smiled. A weak smile, most of the old man’s teeth were missing. Despite his shortness he stood erect. He had presence.

“Mr Tompkins?” he smiled again. The puzzled look on Wilson’s face did not deter him. Often his gentlemen did not give him their real name.

“Yes, indeed, yes,” Wilson blustered. He felt his face glow scarlet.

“Then please come in.”

It was a surprisingly spacious house and remarkably clean considering the shabbiness of the exterior.

“Put your hat and umbrella there,” Mr Teddington said, nodding towards a table in the hallway.

Wilson did as instructed.

“Now, stand and face the wall. Hands on head.” It was a curt command. Wilson knew that tone of voice. He had endured it many times from masters at school. It was the tone that said, “I am in charge and you will do as you are told. Or else.”

Wilson hesitated.

“You are in enough trouble as it is boy, do not make me lose my patience.”

It was astonishing. Mr Teddington could have been old Flynn, his form master at St Tom’s.

Obediently, he faced the wall and after unbuttoning his jacket so he was free to move his arms, he locked his fingers and placed them on his head. The Brylcreem in his hair felt sticky against his palms.

“You will wait there. In precisely two minutes you will knock on my study door.” He nodded to a dark brown door across the hall. “When I give instructions, you will enter.”

With that, Mr Teddington went into the study.

There was still time to escape. The front door was only yards away. He could be through it and on his way back to the Underground station before Mr Teddington knew he was gone.

He could do that. But he wouldn’t. He wanted this. No, he needed this. It had taken him years to pluck up the courage to make the appointment. He would hate himself forever if he did not go through with it.

He stared closely at the fading wallpaper. There was a faint smell of damp coming from somewhere close by. Even that reminded him of his old school.

With his hands firmly on his head Wilson was unable to access his pocket watch. He improvised. Slowly in his head he began to count. “One … two …”

This concentration helped to steady his rapid breathing but did nothing for his racing heart.

“.. one-hundred-and-nineteen … one-hundred-and-twenty.” He felt like a very small child starting a game of hide-and-seek. “Well, here I come”, he thought, “Ready or not.”

He crossed the hallway to the study. He hesitated. Suddenly and for the first time the absurdity of his situation struck him. It’s too late now he thought and rapped his knuckles on the door.

“Enter!”

It was a clear command delivered in the pompous tone of voice so beloved of schoolmasters across the land. Wilson breathed deeply, turned the handle and opened the door.

Wilson was no fan of science fiction. Had he been, he might have ascribed the scene to time travel. The room was decked out as a schoolmaster’s study. It could have been 1938 again and he could have been back at St Tom’s.

Mr Teddington sat behind a large leather-topped desk. He was resplendent in an academic gown. Like so many worn by schoolmasters, it was old and a bit tatty. On his head sat rather unsteadily a mortar-board cap. The desk itself had two columns of drawers. It probably weighed a ton. A stuffed horsehair chair with low arms and a high back dominated the middle of the room. There were four straight-backed wooden chairs and a low table. Shelves ran alongside the whole of one wall, stacked high with what appeared to Wilson to be pre-War geography textbooks.

Behind the desk attached to the wall was a glass-fronted cabinet. Wilson had never seen anything like it before. Even at St Tom’s none of the masters had such a thing. It must have been specially made. It was a cabinet containing five curve-handled school canes. They were displayed as one might show a prized stuffed fish.

“Stand there boy,” Teddington growled. He pointed to a spot two feet in front of his monumental desk. Obediently, Wilson shuffled into place. He had assumed such a position many times at St Tom’s. He clasped his hands behind his back and bowed his head. It was a submissive posture, appropriate to his status. He was no longer a successful young stockbroker; he was a thoroughly naughty boy.

Teddington jawed him. The list of the boy’s misdeeds was long and varied. What had he to say for himself?

Not much. As all boys seem to do when confronted by such a question, Wilson mumbled, “Don’t know, Sir.”

“Don’t know boy!” Teddington ejaculated. “Don’t know! Well you’ll know what-for soon enough.”

“Look at me boy.” The schoolmaster’s glare roasted Wilson.

Miserably, Wilson raised his head and gazed back at the man who was shortly to thrash his backside. Teddington was small in stature; he was easily two inches shorter than Wilson himself. But, when he was standing he stood erect, with shoulders back. He was a military man of some experience, Wilson supposed. His face was lined and dominated by a hook nose. Untidy side whiskers stretched from under his cap to close to his chin.

“I am going to beat you,” he barked. “I am going to beat you most severely.”

With that, he rose from the desk, turned on his heels and faced the glass cabinet. The five canes were of different lengths and thicknesses. Teddington had already made his choice. He would use his favourite. It was an ashplant of about three feet in length and a little warped from use. It was as thick as a pencil and frayed at the “business end,” a consequence of landing many times with some force across the seat of stretched trousers.

Wilson watched impassively. He had been eighteen years old – a senior man at school – when he had last been beaten. That was half of his lifetime ago. He had missed the sting of the cane. Hardly a week passed by without him reminiscing fondly about St Tom’s. The schoolmasters prefects and the head beak himself strode around the buildings and grounds with a cane constantly under their arms (or so it seemed to the boys) waiting for the slightest excuse to slip it into their hand and apply it across the seat of an errant schoolboy.

Teddington was ready.

“Please remove your jacket and place it on my desk.”

Wilson’s heart raced and hurriedly he complied with the instruction.

“Stand by the chair,” Teddington preferred not to engage in histrionics ahead of a beating, nonetheless he swished the cane at the dusty armchair to emphasise his point.

Wilson took up position.

“Lower your bags and bend over the chair.”

Wilson suppressed a smile. This was the moment he had been dreaming of for these many years. Eagerly, he unhitched his belt, unbuttoned the fly and let his heavy pin-striped trousers fall to his feet.

The armchair had a high back, far too high for even the tallest, lankiest, man-boy to put himself over and stretch out his arms to clutch the seat cushion for dear life.

Wilson knew the routine in such cases was for a boy to drape himself over one of the upholstered arms, tuck his knees into the side of the chair and thereby raise his behind high to meet the thwack of the ashplant.

He was over the chair in a jiffy. His head was down low in the dusty seat cushion and his bottom held high and at an angle; all the better to receive the stinging cuts from the schoolmaster’s whippy cane.

It was an authentic schoolboy beating. Six hard swipes delivered with vim. Each landed across the very centre of both buttocks. It was a “six” laid on with an energy and enthusiasm.

In his imagination, Walter Wilson was once more “Winker,” the incorrigible schoolboy of his youth. He was no longer in a strange house in bomb-damaged London. He was at the elegant St Tom’s school, the educational establishment for the sons of the gentry and the rising middle-classes.

He was showing his arse, but not to a paid professional “master.” In his imaginings it was Mr Flynn, his form master who was about to whip his bottom to shreds.

He shut his teeth and closed his eyes tightly and waited for the first shockwave.

It was not long in coming.

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It was as if Teddington were beating a carpet. The cane rose and fell in a succession of swipes that sounded like pistol-shots.  As the pain seared from his buttocks and engulfed his entire body, Wilson struggled to stay calm. A chap was allowed to holler when the cane was slashed into his flesh with vigour; it was a natural thing to do; but a chap must not blub. Blubbing was completely forbidden. No matter how severe the whopping, a boy must not weep tears. He would never hear the end of it from his fellows.

It was not merely “six.”  It was as thorough a licking as Mr Teddington had ever administered; such a licking as Wilson had seldom or never experienced before. He yelped and he howled and he squirmed and he roared, and still the cane swiped and swiped.

Then, it was over.

“Stand up boy.” It was a fierce command.

Wilson eased himself to his feet. It had been a long time since he had endured so much pain. Instinctively his palms shot to cover his buttocks.

“Stop that! How dare you!” Mr Teddington thundered. Wilson bunched his hands into fists and placed them at his sides.

“Get dressed. Hurry up boy.”

The pain was excruciating. Had the cane felt so awful when he was at St Tom’s? Memory plays tricks on people; he couldn’t be certain.

The agony was subsiding by the time Wilson was once again fully dressed. He stood motionless as the schoolmaster replaced the cane carefully in his magnificent cabinet.

Teddington turned to face Wilson once more.

“I want you to go into the hallway and face the wall. Place your hands on your head once more,” he barked.

Then he added, “I don’t want to see you rubbing your bottom.”

With his buttocks still throbbing, Wilson exited the study.

He stood as instructed, reliving the events of the past few minutes in his head. It had been an eighteen year wait, but it had been worth it.

Suddenly, the study door opened and Teddington emerged, dressed once again in his “civilian” clothes.

“Come,” his broad smile cracked his rather ugly face, “Let’s have tea. The kettle should have boiled by now.”

This story was first uploaded in April 2016

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

The headmaster’s guests

The headmaster and his two guests sat drinking tea in his study. The meeting looked to be a success. They had toured the school and they both seemed very impressed. Perhaps a deal was imminent.

There was a tap on the door. Blast, the headmaster silently cursed. He had forgotten all about Thompson.

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” he nodded towards the door of his study. “Something I must attend to.” Then more loudly he called, “Come!”

The door inched open slowly and stopped.

“Well come in boy! Don’t keep me waiting!”

Then a face popped round the door. It was a shiny face, a face that liked to smile a lot. But, not that afternoon. There was nothing to smile about – not when the face’s owner had been summoned to the headmaster’s study.

“Come in boy,” the headmaster had now all but forgotten his important visitors.

A miserable sixth-form boy shuffled into the study and then stopped still: puzzled. He had been in this room many times before and he knew entirely what his fate this afternoon would be. But never before did he have an audience.

“Well Thompson,” the headmaster intoned, affecting a grave expression. Like all headmasters he could be a bit of a ham actor when the occasion demanded it. “You know why you have been sent for.” It was a statement as much as a question.

“Yes, Sir,” the eighteen-year-old prefect eyed the visitors apprehensively, still unsure what part they were to play in the little drama that was about to unfold.

“Good. Then don’t let us waste any more time. Go through into Mrs Tomkinson’s office, she has left for the day. I’ll deal with you in a moment.”

The teenager blinked, almost in gratitude. So it wasn’t going to be a public thrashing after all.

The two visitors look on in awe as the headmaster strolled to a cupboard, opened it and extracted a thick crook-handled cane. Without a further word he exited into the secretary’s office, accidentally leaving the door open a little.

Both men remained silent, at first not daring to look each other in the eye. Joshua Durnford fidgeted in his seat and crossed his legs. His companion Winker Wilson watched Durnford’s eyes shine as almost inaudible voices drifted in from the adjacent room. Then there was the sound of a cane being swished through the air a few times before it landed with a resounding crack. Four times the room was filled with the sound of the swish and crack of the cane. Twack number four was met with a loud yowl!

Sweat moistened Durnford’s brow when he heard the authoritative voice of the headmaster say, “Bend over. If you stand up again you will receive extra strokes, do you understand?” There followed a moment of silence and then two more cracks.

Still the two men stayed quiet, unwilling to acknowledge to one another what was taking place next door. Sweat trickled down Durnford’s neck and his hand shook a little as he raised the teacup to his lips.

The door opened and Dr Burnham returned, replaced the cane in the cupboard and sat down and as if nothing had happened. “Apologies gentlemen, now where were we?”

An hour or so later all three men sat in the VIP lounge of the rugby club sipping their third whiskies. Durnford seemed only to have one thing on his mind.

“Headmaster, this is 1968 I didn’t think they still used corporal punishment.”

The headmaster had not expected this to be their topic of conversation, but answered nonetheless. “It has indeed fallen into disuse in some schools, particularly, I believe, the state schools, but in high-class private schools such as ours, it is an important feature. We find the parents appreciate their sons are in a disciplined environment. It is why they send them to us and why they are willing to pay high fees.”

The headmaster was keen to impress Durnford. He was trying to sell him Draffield Independent Grammar School, of which he owned ninety percent of the shares. He knew Durnford from the rugby club as a very successful and wealthy entrepreneur. When Durnford heard the school was for sale, he had said he might buy it. A traditional (almost old-fashioned) school fitted in with his interests, he had said.

The headmaster knew the school was a robust business for now, but the socialist government had many cabinet ministers who did not support private education, so the future was less certain. If he could sell now he could retire very comfortably indeed.

“Do you use corporal punishment much, headmaster?” Dr Burnham was nothing if not perceptive and he noticed that Durnford appeared to have an unusual interest in the subject.

“No more than is necessary. I find once the boys understand the consequences of breaking the rules, they do not do so.”

Durnford leaned forward in his chair, spilling whisky from his glass. “But, headmaster, do you believe caning actually works?”

Dr Burnham noticed Durnford had referred to him as “headmaster” several times, even though they had been on first name terms for years. It was then the headmaster had the germ of an idea.

“It depends how you do it. If you do not cane a boy properly then you will have failed, he will learn nothing from it. However, if you cane him hard he will learn everything that you wish to teach him. The intense agony of the caning is short lived. I believe it to be a simple choice, a temporary sore and very bruised and painful bottom, or a lifetime of failure.”

The headmaster lapsed into silence and studied his companion who appeared to be debating with himself what to say next. So, the headmaster gave him the lead. “What do you think Thomas?”

Durnford blushed, a little, but this time it was not the effect of the whisky. “I was never caned at my school. I never went to a posh school like yours,” he trailed off regretfully, “just an ordinary Board school.”

Wilson’s ears pricked up. He had been Durnford’s business partner for many years but he never knew that. Wilson had assumed Durnford was a public school man like himself. What an oik, he hadn’t been to public school at all, just some simple council school.

He wanted to know more. “So tell me Thomas, were you thrashed at school?”

Durnford blushed and took a gulp of whisky as if distressed by the question, “No, we didn’t have the cane, nor the slipper. Nothing like that really,” he sounded disappointed and fell into an embarrassed silence.

“More drinks gentlemen” Durnford was relieved that the waiter had appeared from nowhere and they ordered another round of doubles.

“Of course,” Wilson said, enjoying his social superiority, “I was head boy at my public school, St Tom’s, and as such was allowed to cane the younger boys. This was long time ago of course. In the thirties.”

Durnford felt a surge of excitement and the whisky loosened his tongue and the words just poured out. “How did you cane them? How many strokes did you give? Was it on the trousers? I hear in some schools it was done on the bare?”

Dr Burnham’s eyebrows knotted and he smiled to himself. Now, he had the measure of this man.

Durnford, embarrassed by his outburst, swigged on his whisky; the men had not eaten and he realised he was more than a little drunk.

Winker Wilson had himself been thrashed many times at his school. All the boys had been; often by the senior boys who were prefects. Then, as they progressed up to the sixth-form and became prefects themselves, they had in turn beaten the younger boys. Such were the traditions of England’s finest – and not so finest – public schools.

Winker had loved the power that came with being head boy and he told his tale to his two drunken companions with some relish.

“At school there were several places where the chaps would go for a smoke after classes and on this day the prefects launched a co-ordinated attack. We raided all the smoking holes. We must have caught seven or eight boys.

“The worst of it was that one of the illicit smokers was a chap from the upper sixth. Charter, I think his name was. He wasn’t a prefect and so was subject to the same rules as everyone else.”

Durnford’s eyes shone in anticipation at the next part of the story and he shifted in his chair, crossing and uncrossing his legs in the vain hope that his companions would not notice his excitement.

Wilson relished increasing his embarrassment.

“So, I sent him to my wait outside my study. Poor chap, he was so embarrassed. He must have been eighteen years old, nineteen maybe, and he knew what was coming and there was nothing he could do about it,” Wilson almost giggled at the memory.

“I arrived and instructed him to enter. ‘Face the wall Charter’. I ordered as if he were one of the junior boys. He had no option but to comply. I had complete authority over him.”

He swigged more whisky, studying Durnford’s posture as he continued his story. “I began my preparations. The area in front of my desk was already clear of any obstruction so I placed a small chair about three feet away and sideways on to the front edge of my desk. I fetched a suitable cane from my small collection of five such implements in the corner cupboard and placed it on my desk.

“Charter had of course been caned previously – we all had – but it still came as a great shock when I ordered him to lower his trousers down to his ankles for six strokes across the underpants.”

Durnford was in great discomfort and would have been wise to adjourn to the Gentlemen’s lavatory to deal with his current predicament, but he was anxious to hear the rest of the story.

Wilson continued, “It is best to get it over and done with as quickly as possible, don’t you think so headmaster?”

Dr Burnham was determined not to be drawn into this discussion and remained silent.

Wilson had the floor to himself. I tapped the chair with my thick cane. ‘Bend right over the back of the chair, and put your forehead firmly down on the seat,’ I commanded. Of course, he had no choice and immediately complied. Boys did in those days. They took their canings without fuss. Is it much the same today, headmaster?’

The headmaster grunted, his response could have been Yes, or it could have been No, as far as Wilson could tell.

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Wilson was warming to this theme, “I waited only a few seconds between strokes, delivering six in a speeded up rhythm, which allowed very little time for the sixth-former to fully absorb the impact of the previous stroke before the next one landed. He did not take it very well, if I remember correctly. He was jumping up and down before the third cut hit home. I don’t suppose his underpants were much use to him.

“But it was over in a matter of seconds. When he stood he gave me such a look of contempt I was tempted to have him take his underpants down and give him another six on the bare. I restrained myself admirably, but did make a note to find an excuse to thrash him once again the very next opportunity that presented itself.

“He might have had contempt for me, but I had won. He was rubbing his stinging bottom like mad when he left my study that day.”

There was silence as all three swigged from their glasses. “Shall we go eat gentlemen?” Dr Burnham was keen to steer the conversation back to the sale of the school.

They tucked into steak and kidney pudding and potatoes, but the stodgy food did nothing to soak up the alcohol. Now, came the headmaster’s opportunity.

Speaking directly at Durnford he said in his experience many adult men missed the certainty of their school days. They knew what the rules were and what the penalty would be if they broke them: a beating.

“It was penitence,” he said. “The crime as it were had been committed, the bad deed had been discovered and six-of-the-best was the punishment. In that way they atoned for their crime and they moved on with a clean slate … until the next time, of course.”

Dr Burnham was ready to take an enormous gamble. On it could rest the future of his school, and certainly the size of his pension.

“Some former boys of the school still see me as their headmaster, an authority figure if you will. They find it a comfort to know that when they need to atone for some misbehaviour in their everyday life, their work for example, I can be at hand to help them with their penance.”

“Yes,” Durnford slurred, “I think I know exactly what you mean.” He stopped, his eyes glazed, it was as if he had lost his trail of thought. “You see, I have this thing, this problem,” he stopped in embarrassment.

“Thomas,” the headmaster leaned forward. “You have my number; telephone me if you need my assistance.” He did not need to wink, even in his drunken state Durnford knew what he meant. “I am usually in my study between four and five o’clock each evening. Please telephone me if you wish to.”

Durnford’s eyes glistened and the headmaster was certain he would soon receive the call. The headmaster was a man of the world and he knew what Durnford wanted.

Next day, the call came and they made an appointment for five o’clock that afternoon, by which time the secretary would have left for home.

Durnford was so excited at the prospect at his visit to the headmaster’s study he succeeded in arriving too early for his appointment. Mrs Tomkinson was still in her office, but hurriedly clearing up for the day, seemingly anxious to be away.

“Oh, Mr Durnford,” she greeted him formally. “The headmaster has somebody with him, but please wait he won’t be a moment.” And with that she darted from the room.

Somebody with him: did that mean what he thought it did? He stood close to the door that separated him from the study, hoping that it did mean just that. He was not disappointed. Through the door he heard the tell-tale sounds of cane swishing through the air, then a series of cracks, followed by gasps and ouches.

He retreated from the study door just as it opened and out came a young man he recognised. It was Johnstone, a young rugby player from the club where he and the headmaster were members. He knew Johnstone because he had been sent off during a match the previous Saturday for punching an opponent.

Was Johnstone a pupil at the school, he wondered. He rather thought he was a bit too old for that and did not expect to see him here. It was all the more surprising because the burly lad had tears streaming down his face and was rubbing his rugby-shorts-clad buttocks in obvious agony as he peered over his shoulder to try and inspect the damage. He had not seen Durnford in the room and drew up the hem of his shorts, revealing a tightly-packed cluster of livid weals along the under-side of his bottom. He had clearly been beaten very severely.

Suddenly, he realised the presence of another man in the room. “Ohhh, Christ!” he wailed, and with his face now as red as his buttocks, he fled from the office.

Durnford paced the secretary’s room, staring at the clock on the wall, waiting and waiting for the minute hand to crawl to twelve. On the dot of five o’clock he tapped on the study door.

The study was lined with books; on the mantelpiece stood two large silver trophies and above it a framed portrait of the Queen. In the centre of the study was a large mahogany desk which had been cleared but for three canes of varying lengths and thicknesses and the headmaster’s mortar-board cap. Two armchairs of well-worn leather were to the left of the desk and to the right french windows looked out onto the playing fields. Framed in the windows was the tall figure of the headmaster standing erect with an air of imperious authority.

He was tall and solid, as befitted a former county rugby player. He wore a dark grey suit with a tattered, academic gown over his shoulders.

“Stand there boy,” the headmaster pointed to a spot in front of his desk. “Tell me why you are here?”

As arranged previously Durnford listed the many misdeeds that had brought him before the headmaster. Dr Burnham listened patiently, but was anxious to get this over with.

“What punishment do you think you deserve?”

“Twelve strokes, trousers down, thank you headmaster,” Durnford replied too eagerly.

The headmaster should have expected such a reply, but did not. A proper twelve strokes on the pants would be unendurable by even the most hardened receiver of the cane.

“No, this is your first offence and I intend to be lenient with you,” he said.

The look of sheer disappointment on Durnford’s face unnerved the headmaster.

“But,” he hurried to regain the situation, “If you are sent to me again, it most certainly will be twelve cuts with your trousers at your ankles.”

“Thank you headmaster.”

“Take off your jacket, boy, and put it over the back of that chair!”

Durnford was surprised at his own calmness. With no difficulty he undid the buttons of his suit jacket, slipped it from his shoulders and folded it neatly on the seat of a straight-backed chair.

“Good, now pull that chair over here,” the headmaster ordered pointing to a medium-sized leather armchair.

Durnford submissively obeyed his master and moved one of the ancient worn chairs until the head was happy with its position.

“Good. I am now going to beat you and it will be six of the very best,” and so saying he walked to his desk and inspected his canes. He selected one and looked at it carefully and seemed to realise something about it. He replaced it on the desk and exchanged it for another one. The new one was slightly longer, a bit thicker and completely smooth with the traditional crooked handle of the school cane.

While he did this Durnford waited, the tension of excitement mixed with anxiety swelling inside of him.

Satisfied with his selection, Dr Burnham took a deep breath, as if gearing himself up to perform an unpleasant task.

“Stand there boy. Face me.” He pointed to a spot a foot or two from the back of the armchair.

Durnford stood; his head bowed a little, hands clasped behind his back.

“You are about to receive six strokes of the cane, and I promise you, young man, that I am really going to cane you as hard as you deserve to be caned.”

Then he spoke the words Durnford had dreamed off all his life, “Now, bend over that chair.”

His heart raced and the blood rushed at speed through his arteries so quickly that he feared it would flood out of his body through his ears. Breaths came in short gasps and suddenly his back was drenched in sweat.

The time had come; he had been dreaming of this moment, it seemed, for the whole of his life. He mustn’t spoil the event by collapsing in a heap on the carpet.

He gulped in two lungs-full of air to steady his nerves, then by rubbing his hands together he composed himself. In a continuous movement he leaned over the chair thrusting his bottom firmly upwards for what would be for him the thrashing of a lifetime.

“Further!” There was no reason for the middle-aged man to move; instinctively he had presented his buttocks perfectly to receive the cane, but the headmaster acknowledged Durnford wanted to experience the full drama of a headmaster’s caning.

By the time the good doctor was satisfied his companion’s large bottom was sticking out ideally, presenting the maximum surface for the application of the cane. The chair had accommodated so many boys in a similar posture over the years and Durnford fitted perfectly into the folds of the chair back.

The first thing Durnford realised was that he could not see himself draped over the chair awaiting his first-ever punishment. Nor could he see the headmaster swishing his cane and cracking it into his own upturned buttocks. That was how he pictured this event in his fantasies. Instead, all he could see was the seat cushion that his face was pressed into.

He did however know that his bottom was taut and in the air. He felt the headmaster grab the tail of his shirt and remove it from the waistband of his trousers and push it up an inch or two so that his lower back was bare.  He was truly helpless, just like a vulnerable sixth-form schoolboy in position submissively waiting for a caning. He was trapped and he suddenly became very conscious of the tightness of his trousers around his buttocks.

He clutched the seat cushion awaiting his punishment. He could not help it: his vulnerable buttocks quivered in anticipation.

Dr Burnham was an experienced and very expert caner. He knew how to inflict the right severity of punishment to fit an individual boy’s personality and the crime he had committed, but he was unsure about Durnford. He was a mature adult and could probably endure much more pain that the average schoolboy, but he was also a novice and even a mild caning would for him be “the thrashing of a lifetime”.

He was still unsure how hard to lay it on as he flexed the cane between his hands and contemplated the pair of buttocks presented to him. Durnford might be a middle-aged gentleman but he was still very fit. That was when he decided: Oh damn it! I’ll give it to him in the same way I gave it to Johnstone.

The headmaster took up his position and for the first time in his life Durnford felt a cane tapping his buttock cheeks, He tensed as the doctor raised the cane then struck it hard across the waiting target. Durnford heard the sickening swish then the fire exploded across his bum. He groaned as the stinging pain took control of him.

The head took aim a second time and swung the cane to land crisply on the crown of the buttocks opening up a fresh line of stinging pain, which made Durnford’s fists uncurl and grasp at the coarse fabric of the chair’s seat cushion.

Each stroke was laid on with the same dreadful force. By the third Durnford was unaware of anything except the screaming agony in his bottom. He yelped as the cane made contact but stayed in position, as slowly but methodically the headmaster lashed the senior cane a further three times across the tender buttocks, low down in a tight band just where he would have to sit down. All six strokes were a very narrow strip across the very base of his bottom.

Durnford did not take it well. The caning came with alarming accuracy and devastating pain. His buttocks clenched and unclenched, his legs shook, his feet beat a tattoo on the floor and a strangulated cry echoed around the room. Patiently, after each stroke Dr Burnham waited for him to subside once more, measured the cane across the lower part of the cheeks and struck again with penetrating force.

It was over in a matter of seconds. In the distance Durnford heard the headmaster telling him to stand up and place his hands on his head. Almost unbelieving, Durnford staggered into an upright position, he wanted to clasp his throbbing buttocks, but with tears in his eyes, and hopping about from foot to foot, he obeyed the headmaster’s instructions, placed his hands on his head and moved to stand facing the wall.

The headmaster stared at the back of the ‘boy,’ unsure how this was supposed to end. Durnford had calmed a little, but he still fidgeted in some discomfort. The headmaster avoided looking for a tell-tale bulge.

In time, he decided to dismiss Durnford in the time-honoured fashion of headmaster and punished schoolboy.

“Turn around.” Durnford did so. “Keep your hands on your head. Look at me when I am speaking to you.” The headmaster wobbled the flexible cane he had used for the thrashing close to Durnford’s face. “Remember next time it will be double the strokes and trousers down. Is that clear, boy?”

“Yes, Sir, headmaster Sir. Thank you headmaster,” the endorphins had kicked in and Durnford was on a high.

“If that is understood then please leave my study.”

Durnford did not need telling twice. The second he was through the door, his hands clasped his buttocks and he rubbed away furiously.

The headmaster replaced the chair to its rightful position and then gathered up the canes and put them in the cupboard. Then he sat down in the same chair that minutes before had held Durnford’s prostrate body, wishing a bottle of whisky was close at hand.

He stared through the french windows into the playing fields beyond where senior boys were engaged in rugby practice. How many more times would he have to do this before Durnsford agreed to buy, he pondered silently.

This story was first uploaded in May 2016

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

 

What strange times they were

new story 3

z used solo blazer badge cravat (1)

“Take down your trousers,” he rasped. “Underpants too.” I shuffled uncomfortably. The room was cool, even though outside it was a fine spring afternoon. “Bend over my knee,” the vicar scrunched a large leather-soled bedroom slipper in his right fist. He wriggled his buttocks on the worn wooden armless chair and parted his legs a little. “I am going to spank you on your bare bottom,” his eyes blazed.

I was one of three lodgers at the vicarage – the vicar called us “paying guests”. We were all up at the university in the nearby town. Without hesitation, but also without enthusiasm, I set about slipping the braces that held my trousers aloft over my shoulders. The trousers were loose at the waist and I hardly needed to unbutton them before they slipped easily over my thighs and down to my shins.

My underwear was the modern type with drawers that were separate from the singlet. If I had worn the traditional “combinations” I should have had to strip off all of my clothes to be able to offer the vicar my bared buttocks.

I undid the drawstring of the underpants and guided them down. I hesitated, The vicar frowned. I knew what I was expected to do. This was not the first time I had been across the vicar’s knee. It wouldn’t be the last. All we lodgers got it. This Sunday it was my turn. We were on a kind of rota. It happened as regularly as clockwork. Every week. Winter, spring and autumn. The university was closed in summer.

The vicar had rules. Lots of them. We were expected to obey. Without question. People did in those days. He used to inspect our university work as well. If an essay scored less than a B-plus, out would come his whippy rattan cane. But more of that later.

I was standing a couple of yards from the vicar, my trousers and underpants at my shins. He twisted that slipper in his hand and tapped it against his right thigh. It was his way of saying, “Get on with it young man.” And I was a Young Man. I went into the vicarage aged nineteen and left three years later when I graduated with my degree from university.

I took the hint and shuffled two small steps forward so that I towered over the seated vicar. At the time he seemed to me to be an elderly man, but thinking back he was probably only in his forties. He was tall and stocky. He had spent many years before the war as a missionary in Africa, thinking nothing of trekking tens of miles through the bush to take the word of God to the heathens.

I suppose he was what we used to call “a Muscular Christian”. He certainly had muscles, especially in his right arm and upper body, as I can attest. A spanking from the vicar was an ordeal to be endured.  I lowered myself across the vicar’s knee. His thighs were as thick as tree stumps and I was a few inches shorter than he was so my body made a good fit across him. I stretched my arms forward and planted the palms of my hands firmly into the thin rug. I could feel the heavy wooden floorboards beneath.

My legs dangled behind me and the toes of my feet did not quite reach the ground. Of course, I could not see this myself but like this my bared bottom was presented across the vicar’s right thigh at a perfect angle to receive the slipper. As usual, he slowly and gently tucked the tail of my shirt away from the target area so that I was naked from the shoulder blades to the shins. Then, with his left hand he gripped me around the waist and he lent his forearm into my back. I was pinned, face down across his knees. My head low, my bottom high, ready in the traditional spanking position.

I clenched my buttocks. I always did this. I supposed that this would toughen up my cheeks and defend me – at least a little – from the onslaught of the vicar’s slipper. It was as if my body was taking up some natural protection. I imagined my bum was as tough as rubber.

It was only many years later that I discovered this was in fact the worst stance I could take in such a situation. Tensing the muscles did not lessen the pain, indeed it did the exact opposite. I read in a reputable medical text book that the best way to endure pain is to relax the muscles, not tense them. I forget the reasoning now. Also, one should try to ignore the pain; that is think about something else.

Oh well we live and learn. I clenched my cheeks and stared at the worn red-patterned rug beneath my face. I felt the leather sole of the slipper tap not too gently across the centre of my right cheek. That was the vicar finding his aim. Seconds later it was lifted away. There was a slight pause and then Whoosh! Bang! The slipper flew through space and landed with an enormous wallop across my bottom. The sting burned furiously. It had been a hefty swat with a heavy slipper. Bedroom slippers back then were nothing like the light plastic things that fill the shops these days.

Before I regained my breath a second and a third wallop had my backside blazing. The vicar was old school. He believed in discipline. He believed in punishment. He believed in the Wrath of God. Bam! Bam! Bam! He fair took my backside apart. He showed no mercy. In his eyes I had sinned. I had failed to perform my household chores to his satisfaction. I had been late down to breakfast one morning and – in his mind at least – I had been disrespectful to Miss Frotherinsham, an elderly spinster in the village who regularly visited the vicar in search of spiritual guidance (and a free cup of tea).

So, I was in for it. The vicar had his little rituals. He would start by tanning the highest points of the cheeks and when the pounding made them as hard of leather he would turn his attention to the top of the mounds. After maybe fifty whacks he would go underneath. You know, the place where the bum cheeks meet the thighs. That’s the part that connects with the chair when you sit down. It meant that the pain would reignite for hours later whenever you sat.

Finally when there was no square inch of flesh left untoasted, the vicar would go for the back of the thighs. If you weren’t gasping in pain and praying (silently) for it all to stop already, you certainly were now.

I remember many times after a bare-bottomed slippering examining my ravaged buttocks in the bedroom mirror. The flesh was dark red and oftentimes I would see the imprint of the slipper emblazed time and again across my bum. The skin felt like leather and when I cupped my buttocks in my hand they seemed to be twice their normal size.

As I said, we took many spankings like that. Even when we were twenty-one. In those days you didn’t legally become an adult until you were twenty-one and we youngsters were used to being treated like children. People’s eyes pop when I tell them how we were spanked back then. “Crazy,” they say. “Why did you let him?”

The answer is: everything was different back then. We were much more deferential. You respected a vicar like he truly was God’s representative on earth. The Second World war was recently over and many men did not come home. That put enormous pressure on the mothers who had to raise boisterous boys without a father. Men of standing in the community stepped forward to lend a hand. The vicar was often called to deal with errant boys in the village, a duty he was happy to fulfil. I often returned from university just in time to see a boy hobbling down the drive, rubbing his bottom ruefully with his eyes blazing.

In the village where I grew up the local medical doctor took on this role. He often visited the homes of his patients not to offer remedies to the sick but to put his thick, wide leather belt to use.

Such was the way of life. It was how things were and we accepted it. I suppose, you could say we knew our place.

I certainly knew mine. It would never have occurred to me for a moment not to bow to the vicar’s authority. Even, when logically he had no authority over me. A case in point was in my first term at the vicarage. I was new to the university and it took me time to settle. I had attended a traditional grammar school where masters supervised every move we made. It was not like that at the university. We rarely had lectures and met with our tutors maybe once a fortnight. We were given essay titles to work on and told to go to the library and get on with it.

I don’t need to spell it out. My first essays were pretty poor. They were not failures but they would not set the world of academia alight. The vicar had already ruled that should any of we paying guests receive less than a B-plus we should be caned. Pure and simple. No discussion. No mitigation.

The vicar had a selection of crook-handled canes. He kept them in plain sight standing in an oversized vase in one corner of his parlour. You could buy these on any High Street in those days. Every classroom had one. Some schoolmasters would leave one hanging from the corner of the blackboard in easy reach should it be needed to encourage learning.

They came in all sizes and makes. The vicar’s were made of whippy rattan. Each was at least three feet long and they varied in thickness to one that was not much more than a reed to the largest that was the size of a pencil.

He asked his maid to call me to his room. She was a young woman, not much older than myself. I think she was often in the house when the vicar dealt with the village ruffians. I know for a fact she hovered outside the parlour door the time Higgins, a fellow paying guest, was beaten. Her flushed face betrayed her feelings.

She tried not to smile when she gave me the vicar’s instruction. I shrugged, affecting nonchalance, but my heart beat fast, I had by this time been spanked twice by the vicar but never caned. His beatings were legendary. I was not looking forward to this.

I had been caned before at school. Who hadn’t? It was that kind of school. My last beating happened only days before I was due to leave forever. Myself and two pals, Richardson and Jenkins, were summoned to the head’s study. The headmaster was an old stick (he and the vicar would have got on well together) and very hard on what he called “form”. To him behaviour was either good form or bad form.

The exams were over but we senior boys were expected to continue to attend school until the official leaving date. We had little useful to do and spent some of the day idly playing cricket. Oftentimes a master or two would join in. I suppose since we were eighteen and about to leave school we saw ourselves as adults. Our manners and behaviour slipped. Richardson, I know, was unabashed about smoking cigarettes behind the cricket pavilion. We joshed with the masters. Sometimes cheekily.

As I said there was good form and bad form. How the headmaster learned of our laxed behaviour I do not know. But that is as irrelevant now as it was then. So, we found ourselves standing three in a line in front of the headmaster’s desk.

I can picture it now, as if the scene was caught in a sepia photograph. Three thin, gangly senior schoolboys. Dressed in ill-fitting striped blazers and grey flannel trousers. Perched on our heads are ridiculous hooped caps. What a picture of a bygone age. If we had been first or second formers we would be dressed in grey short trousers and knee socks.

The headmaster was an ogre. A tyrant. A fiend. Boys trembled in dread as he swept through the passageways of the school, his academic gown flapping all around him. In my memory he always carried a stout curve-handled cane. Could that memory be true? Surely, not always?

We stood in terror. The headmaster was a smallish man and very wide. We had just been through a war and food and other commodities were still scarce but he appeared to eat well. His double chin had an extra chin of its own. His arms and legs were pudgy. His gown hid his hanging belly.

I can’t remember exactly what he said. It was many years ago. I do know he said it at great length. Every sentence or two he would pause so that myself, or Richardson, or Jenkins, or all three of us, could agree that we were the most disgraceful, shocking, scandalous pupils ever to set foot in his study.

The study was a large room but the headmaster’s huge desk dominated it. It seemed to me to be the size of a small paddling pool. At the other end of the room were a couple of armchairs and a low table. Several straight-backed chairs were gathered around the room. An open and unlit fireplace dominated one wall and two others had glass-fronted bookcases. Stained glass windows were on the fourth wall.

As I think I’ve made clear corporal punishment was common in those days. I think they still flogged prisoners in jail, certainly the cane was used in borstal and other institutions for juvenile delinquents. I tell you this to explain why nobody thought it strange that on one of the walls between the bookcases there was a display cabinet containing three curve-handled canes of various gradations and thicknesses. One for the junior boys, another for the middle school and so on.

The headmaster growled and heaved himself to his feet. It took some doing. Out of the corner of an eye I watched him wobble away from his desk. His destination was clear. He puffed and wheezed as he made his journey. He sucked in a lung-full of air as he reached up to the cabinet. Without hesitation he picked the longest and thickest of the three canes. My heart sank. Richardson bit down deeply on his bottom lip.

The headmaster turned. “Face me,” he growled. His breathing had eased and his authority returned. He flexed the cane menacingly between his hands. Why did all schoolmasters do this? Isn’t it the hammiest acting ever? He swiped the cane through the air to demonstrate its power. He needn’t have troubled himself. Each of us had been caned in the past by housemasters. Jenkins several times. We knew the damage a well-handled cane could inflict.

“Jenkins. Richardson. Stand and face the wall,” the headmaster barked. Relieved that they were not the first to get it my two pals hastily retreated. I breathed deeply. My heart raced, I couldn’t help it. I had no control over the inner workings of my body. I clasped my hands behind my back to steady myself. “Cap, blazer off,” he wobbled the cane as he spoke.

Despite unsteady hands I got the cap off my head and hung it on a hook on the door. Getting the buttons of my blazer undone was more trouble. “Hurry boy. We haven’t got all day,” the headmaster snarled. As far as I was concerned we did have all day. I was in no hurry to be flogged. I flushed bright red and with difficulty placed the blazer alongside the cap.

“Bend over the desk.”

It was a firm command and, of course, one I expected to be made, but I couldn’t get my legs to work. I was only three steps away from my destination but as I attempted the first of them my knees buckled. I gathered myself before I fell to the floor. The humiliation avoided, I staggered like a drunk man to the desk.

I had been ordered over the desk before. It was my form-master’s preferred positioning. My housemaster in contrast preferred a sixth-former to go over the back of his armchair. It’s all about the angle that the bum is presented, I suppose. It would depend on how tall the boy was. If you have him over the chair your swing with the cane might be in the upwards direction; if over the desk it might be downwards.

“Over the desk,” to my form-master meant laying flat on the stomach across the desk top. You had a choice of gripping the edge of the desk with your hands of folding your arms and burying your face. In the absence of further instructions from the headmaster, I lay flat and gripped the far edge of the desk. I turned my head so my left cheek touched the cold wood. Like this I had a clear view through the window. All I could see was blue sky and the lightest of fluffy clouds.

The floorboards creaked with the headmaster’s weight as he shuffled into position. My cock and balls were pressed hard against the desk. My trousers were tight across my buttocks. Clothes were still rationed so I had to wear them even though they no longer fitted well. I heard the headmaster move to stand by my left. The tip of his heavy cane touched the centre of my right bum cheek. He “sawed” the cane across the plumpest parts of the buttocks. It lifted away. I held my breath. I gripped the edge of the desk tightly. I closed my eyes and sucked my lips.

Swish! Crack! An almighty swipe slashed across both buttocks. It whizzed with great speed and force and sliced through the meat of my bum like that hot knife and butter everyone talks about. I heard it land across the seat of my stretched trousers but it seemed an age before the agony followed. I’ve never had a red hot rod pressed into my bum before but if such a thing were to happen it would not hurt as much as the headmaster’s first stroke.

My whole body shuddered. My hips swivelled. I humped the edge of the desk like I was servicing a chambermaid. The agony was so great I didn’t have the strength to cry out.

Then the second swipe cut. Lower than the first but equally as deep. I could feel a welt rising under my underpants. My head banged up and down into the desk. Water filled my eyes, blinding me. A yap like a little whipped puppy might make fractured my throat.

“Huh!” The headmaster behind me seemed pleased with his handiwork so far. “Keep still boy,” he hissed. That was easier said than done. All the breath had been knocked out of me, I was gasping for air.

The third swipe sliced me across the top of the buttocks. The headmaster was an expert. He had landed three cuts perfectly parallel. I had a burning stripe about four inches wide across my backside. I didn’t know because I couldn’t see but my pals were staring at my blistering bum wide-eyed with terror.

“Face the wall!” the headmaster raged. “Do you want extra cuts?” That was a rhetorical question, if ever I have heard one.

The headmaster gave me a full Six. Six-of-the-best we called it back then. I don’t think that phrase did the headmaster’s beating justice. It was the harshest thrashing I had ever received. Each stroke delivered with aplomb, landing with power and accuracy. The man was the best – literally, a master.

You might wonder why I let him do it. Looking back after several decades I wonder why too? The exams were over, we were going to leave school for good in a few days’ time. What would have happened if we had refused?

Nothing. That’s the answer. But, as I said, things were different back then. Deference. We knew our place. It did not even occur to any of us: myself, Richardson or Jenkins, to refuse. Our superior ordered us across the desk, so across the desk we went.

So, when a few months later the vicar summoned me to the parlour for a taste of his cane, I went without question. And I went on doing so for three more years. Over the desk. Over the knee. What strange times they were.

 

Picture credit: Unknown

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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 cunning plan

new 5

z used cane (94a)

I made a fist with my right hand, rapped on the dark-oak door and strained to listen for the imperious command from within. It came immediately for I was expected. “Ent-ter!” the headmaster boomed. I surprised myself by my own calmness. I was entering unchartered territory. I took hold of the handle and pushed. The door was heavier than I anticipated and I had to put my shoulder against it. When it gave way unexpectedly I half tumbled into the study

The headmaster glared from behind his desk. Meekly, I pushed the door shut behind me.

“There!” he bellowed, snapping his fingers to indicate I should stand on the rug before him. I obliged without question. Humbly, I held my hands behind my back. My gaze did not leave the old man.

Dr Butterworth was dressed in a dark suit over which he wore a formal black academic gown. He was nearing sixty years of age. He was over six foot tall and as bald as a badger. When the weather was hot and he did not wear his mortar-board cap his head was often sunburned, which caused a lot of amusement among we boys. Round rimless glasses perched on his hooked nose and his moustache gave the impression that a small bat had landed on his top lip.

I had never been summoned to the headmaster’s study before so I was entering new terrain. This was more than fifty years ago and mine was an old-fashioned Grammar. They said they could trace its history back hundreds of years. I doubt much had changed in that time. The buildings had ivy-covered walls and mullioned windows. The schoolrooms were large and draughty. This was in the days before they built the science block and multi-purpose sports hall.

The study was imposing befitting the status of the headmaster. To the rear of the desk was a mantelpiece on which stood a number of cups and trophies. Framed photos of rugby teams lined the panelled walls. It was spring and the large open fire was unlit even though there was a definite chill in the study. In one corner was a hat-stand and dangling from it ready for action was a stout crook-handled cane. It is a cliché but my heart really did skip a beat when I noticed this weapon of punishment. I had never been caned, but there was no doubt that was about to change.

Dr Butterworth did not speak, He held a sheaf of papers in his hand and affected to study them intently. He tore his attention away from the papers and glared at me. A lump formed in my throat.

His eyes returned to the file. I waited submissively. I looked what I was, a typical boy from the professional classes. We were an elite school and it showed in our uniform which was a blue blazer with gold stripes, pale-grey long trousers, black lace-up shoes, a gleaming white shirt and a striped tie. On my head was the blue-and-gold hooped cap they forced us to wear.

The headmaster examined more papers and then, very abruptly, he slapped them down on his desk. The glistening spectacles were removed, meticulously folded and placed beside the papers. His claw-like hands met and clasped each other on the polished surface of the desk, and the clear icy blue eyes fixed their penetrating gaze on me. I swallowed hard. The headmaster breathed deeply and clearly irate he moaned, “Three detentions this term.”

There was a pregnant pause. I twisted my fingers behind my back. Was that a question? Indeed I knew it to be a fact. “Yes sir,” I mumbled.

“Pah! Twice found smoking cigar-rettes.” He rolled the word cigarettes around his mouth with relish. “Twice!” he exploded. “And once for disrespecting Mr Albertson the maths master. What was all that about boy!”

I explained I had been cheeky to him when he caught me reading the Football Monthly at the start of his class. The headmaster gurgled. I couldn’t be sure if he was upset that I had been reading, or that my choice of magazine was the Football Monthly. I didn’t feel able to question him on the point, so still I do not know.

The headmaster grimaced as if he had accidentally sucked on a lemon. “Three detentions,” he grunted. “You know the rules.” I did but he was about to confirm them to me anyway. “A caning. Six strokes.” He hauled himself from his padded chair. I watched as he smoothed down his academic gown before slowly traversing the study to the hat-stand. He reached up and grabbed the cane, like plucking an apple from a tree. He turned to me and flexed it between his hands. Even from a distance I knew this was an awesome rod. It was dark yellow and as thick as a pencil. I guessed it to be more than three feet long, not counting the handle.

Dr Butterworth swished the cane gently through the air as if getting its measure. I saw then how worn and warped it was. This cane had seen some action. I imagined generations of boys before me. All standing on the same spot. All waiting for the headmaster’s command.

His command to me came quickly enough. “Stand in the middle of the room. Face the window. Bend over and touch your toes,” he hissed. “And toes, means toes,” he snarled. I took a deep breath. The middle of the study was devoid of furniture so there was plenty of space for me to bend and for the headmaster to swish his whippy cane through the air. I noticed at that moment how high the ceiling was.

I walked to the spot and reached for my toes. My cap hurtled to the floor. In my enthusiasm I had forgotten to take it off my head. “Leave it be,” scolded the headmaster. He took up position to my left and began to saw his cane across the centre of my buttocks.

I was fifteen years old when that happened. I think I had realised I was entranced by corporal punishment a couple of years earlier. I would dream of visits to the headmaster’s study or of being taken across the knee by my Uncle Reginald and having my pyjama bottoms taken down. For some reason I cannot explain I never imagined being spanked by my father.

Corporal punishment was not used in my family, even when my brothers and I drove mother and father to distraction. It took me a while to work out that I could engineer a visit to the headmaster’s study at school. There were so many rules it was impossible for any boy to keep to them all. There was an elaborate series of available punishments ranging from the mildest awarding of demerits through writing lines and attending detentions. At the apex of all this was corporal punishment.

Some bright spark had ordained that there would be an automatic caning for three detentions. That made my task all the much easier. After that first time I treated myself to a visit to the headmaster’s study once every term. Dr Butterworth never suspected. Or at least I assume not. If the cane was supposed to be a deterrent against bad behaviour it obviously wasn’t working in my case. Who knows? Perhaps he knew more than he let on. I’m sure I wasn’t the only boy in the school who was a repeat visitor. Did they share my interests? I wish there had been some way available back then for me to find out.

Dr Butterworth retired by the same time I was in the sixth-form and his replacement a Dr Bludginton was an equally enthusiastic caner. He also believed in what today we call ‘equal opportunities,’ by that I mean he was not averse to caning senior boys as well as juniors.

My last visit to the headmaster’s study occurred when I was eighteen and on the cusp of taking my examinations and leaving. We had a small number of formal classes and a lot of so-called study periods. I took to escaping school during these times which was strictly against the rules. Well, boo-hoo. What are you going to do? Cane me? Please!

Bludginton took the bait. The fact that I had all but given up performing my duties as a prefect would have helped his decision to beat me. He was a much younger man than Butterworth, and it was common knowledge among the boys that his right arm was somewhat stronger than his predecessor’s. I looked forward to the new experience.

Where Dr Butterworth was a touch-your-toes man, Bludginton preferred to order a chap to drape himself across an armchair. There was a marvellous padded leather effort in the study. Its arms were high enough to accommodate the junior boys while we taller seniors were ordered across its back.

I wondered whether the new headmaster would allow that the sixth-form boys were seniors and accordingly treat them more harshly. I would gladly lower my trousers and offer him my bottom clad in tight, white cotton Y-front underpants. And, if I could plot a repeat performance before it was time to leave school I’d happily take Six across the bared buttocks.

I plotted a cunning plan. After Dr Bludginton had jawed me about my rule breaking, he announced the inevitable. I was to be caned. He moved over to the low armchair at the furthest end of the study, swung it round and pushed it into the centre of the room. He picked up his cane – the same one old Butterworth had used for many years – and whacked it across the back of the leather chair. “Bend over,” he intoned.

In one smooth movement, I walked to the chair, halted about two feet from its back and swiftly took hold of the buckle of my belt. It was loosened in moments. I popped the button at the waist of my pale-grey trousers and undid the fly. The weight of the belt and some coins in a pocket helped the trousers slip swiftly to my knees. I spread my legs and they continued to my shoes. I gripped the tail of my gleaming white shirt which hung over my privates and buttocks and lifted it clear of my Y-fronts, then I dived over the back of the chair, took hold of the cushion and spread my legs.

Dr Bludginton had a perfect target. I was growing out of the pants so they clung snugly to the contours of my buttocks. At home earlier I had set up mirrors so I could observe myself bend over the armchair in the living room. If I say so myself I looked terrific.

In the study I looked down at the cushion waiting patiently for the first swipe across the underpants. Nothing happened. I heard floorboards creak, Dr Bludginton was pacing the study. Perhaps he was admiring my young, lithe body submissive in underpants. I supposed I would do something similar in his position.

He was breathing heavily, like an asthmatic without his inhaler. “No, no, no,” he gasped. “This will not do. No. Stand up boy.”

I stood my ground. I was not ready to give up quite so readily.

“Stand up, stand up,” he spluttered.

Still I did not move. If this was a contest of wills I intended to be the victor.

“Stand up!” he almost shrieked. Unnerved, I pulled myself to my feet and stood, trousers still at my feet. Dr Bludginton’s face was as scarlet as I’d hoped my bottom would be.

“No, no, no,” he was dumbfounded.

A sudden thought struck me, “But sir,” I purred, “This is how Dr Butterworth did it,” I grimaced, “Trousers down, sir.”

Dr Bludginton’s eyes popped. He suspected it was a lie. He blustered, “No. No, I don’t believe it.” His head shook violently, “That’s not true. It’s simply not true,” he protested. “Get dressed, get dressed,” he was becoming hysterical. “Now. Get those trousers up boy.”

Reluctantly, I reached down and pulled the trousers up. At a snail’s pace I tucked in my shirt and rebuttoned the fly. I still hoped he might relent and whip my backside on the pants.

Dr Bludginton watched me with fear in his eyes. I didn’t think it then, but looking back I wonder if he thought I was setting him up for blackmail. Caning a senior boy on his underpants was irregular. A schoolmaster might end up in the law court for less.

The new headmaster relaxed visibly when I was again fully dressed. I waited head bowed a little embarrassed that my trick had been uncovered. I waited for him to order me back over the chair. Maybe, I thought he would award me extra strokes for my hoax.

Dr Bludginton smiled, a broad, open grin. At that moment I knew I had been rumbled. He chortled quietly and walked across the study to return the cane to the hat-stand. When that task was completed, he turned to me. “No caning,” he said. “Not now. Not ever. Not for you.” I felt my face hot with embarrassment. My mouth opened, but I bit back the plea I wanted to make.

“Instead,” the new headmaster had not finished, “You will write me a four-page essay entitled, ‘The pitfalls of corporal punishment.’ By next Monday. You are dismissed.”

“No,” I wanted to beg. “Please don’t do this to me.”

“Go lad, now.” Dr Bludginton held open the study door. Crestfallen, my legs like lead, I shuffled from the room, never to return.

In videos these days I have seen many scenes where headmasters cane their naughty boys with trousers and pants down. Alas, that never happened in real life – or at least not at my school (worse luck!).

Picture credit: Unknown

 

Other stories you might like

Rock ’n’ roll truants

You, called home

Two cousins in need of spanking

 

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

Birching in school hall

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birch at school Mag (6)

Adapted from stories in The Magnet

 

The hushed school hall was packed with boys. Every fellow of every form was there, from sixth-form seniors down to fags of the second form. The prefects were in their places, canes under their arms: the masters, with grave faces: the hapless culprit, quiet and subdued, but with a hint of defiance in his glinting eyes. The Headmaster’s voice was deep and stern.

Hargreaves, his face very pale, stood. The eyes of the boys followed. There were two grinning faces. They seemed to think there was something amusing in a public flogging.

A public flogging was a rare occasion at St Tom’s. The hard old days were long gone when that ancient hall had often echoed to the swishing of the birch in the hands of grim old head-masters and to the painful howls of the victims. St Tom’s men were “whopped” when they required the same, but “six on the bags” in a study was the usual limit. Only on very rare

Occasions – very rare indeed – was there a public “execution”: with the school assembled in the Hall, masters and boys all present, and the culprit “hoisted” in the old fashioned way – and no doubt it was all the more impressive for that reason.

“Hargreaves” – the Head’s stern voice was audible throughout Big Hall.  “You have a disobeyed my commands, and committed what was apparently an unprovoked assault upon a boy belonging to a Highcliffe School. You have not been able to offer the slightest excuse in extenuation of your conduct. I am about to flog you, and I trust the punishment will be a warning to you in the future!”

Hargreaves did not speak. The Head made a sign to Gosling, who advanced to “hoist” the eighteen-year-old. Hargreaves clenched his fists for a moment, and unclenched them again. Apparently the thought of resistance had passed through his mind, only to be dismissed at once. He submitted quietly. Gosling took him up.

Through the silence of Big Hall the lashes of the birch sounded clearly and distinctly. It was a severe flogging, but no sound came from Hargreaves’s lips. His face was pale, his teeth hard set, his eyes gleaming. If the punishment had been doubly as severe, he was determined that no cry should be wrung from his lips. Hardly a sound was heard in the crowded hall.

It was a severe infliction. There was nothing of the grim old Bushy type about the Headmaster, but he had his duty to do, and he did it. And kind old gentleman as the Head seemed at happier moments, there was no doubt that he could whop! Skinner whispered to Snoop that he wondered where the old boy packed the muscle, and Snoop grinned, and Taylor giggled. But most of the fellows were grave and quiet. Hargreaves had asked for it – and more – Hargreaves was tough all through, hard as hickory, and he would have disdained to allow a single cry to leave his lips. But very few fellows could have gone through that castigation in silence.

The last blow delivered, Hargreaves was lowered from Gosling’s back. He slipped to his feet, and stood a little hesitantly, his face white as chalk, his eyes burning. The Head’s glance was compassionate. He had done his duty, and it had been a painful duty to him. “You may go!” he said quietly.  Hargreaves went without a word.

The Head made a sign, and the assembled school in silence, crowded out of Hall. Tom Spencer slipped his arm through Hargreaves’s and led him away. Some fellows would have spoken to him – but the look on Hargreaves’s face did not encourage them. It was pale, set, with eyes smouldering like live coals. Spencer led him away in silence, and the door of No. 4 Study closed on them. Hargreaves leaned on the study table, breathing in gasps. He had succeeded in keeping up an aspect of iron endurance and indifference while many eyes were upon him. But it had fallen from him now like a cloak.

Picture credit: The Magnet

 

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

 

Other birching stories you might like

Bend over my knee for a birching

The debut

The thieving window cleaner

Drama in the Housemaster’s study

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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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Rock ‘n’ roll truants

Smoking on the bus

The freshman class

 

 

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

A housemaster muses

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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

Other stories you might like

 

Housemaster’s double caning

The rookie deputy sheriff

His eldest brother

 

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