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.

z used cane prefect Mag (48)

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

 

More stories you might like

Housemaster’s double caning

The Gaffer of the Academy: 1. Beginnings

The Tyrant Headmaster Episode 1

 

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

 

Commander Reynolds’ boarding house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, that is precisely what the Commander did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture credit: Unknown

This story was first uploaded in February 2016.

 

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How other people live

My landlord’s slipper

The Meter Reader

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Also writing school stories as Scholastic here

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

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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The sling-shot

The vicar delivers

The rookie deputy sheriff

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Also writing school stories as Scholastic here

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

 

St Francis Grammar School – the compilation

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

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

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

Charles

 

First Day At School

z used drawing cane SFIGS (63a)

Picture credit: Unknown

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

 

The Padded Armchair

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

 

A Punch in the Face

used drawing birch hold (1)

Picture credit: Unknown

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

 

Headmasters, Like Elephant’s, Never Forget

z used drawing cane quelch (78)

Picture credit: The Magnet

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

 

Murph in the Headmaster’s Study

z used drawing cane picture quelch Mag no 6

Picture credit: The Magnet

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

 

The Run

z used twosome the runPicture credit: Unknown

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

Housemaster’s Double Caning

z used drawing cane master (3)

Picture credit: Unknown

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

 

Snowballs

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

 

A school-leaving present

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

 

All is well in the world

Harry Clifton is off to the headmaster’s study. It’ll be the cane for sure – it always is. But something most unexpected happens … Harry Clifton swallowed hard. The canes were of differing thicknesses, densities and lengths but he knew with absolute certainty that in the hands of the headmaster any one of these rods would “take his backside off” as the schoolboy slang then circulating had it. Alongside the canes hung the headmaster’s black academic gown and the flat mortar-board cap, the official uniform of schoolmasters across the land. The badge of office. The seal of power.

 

It was thirty years ago

z used drawing cane prefect boy Mag (2)

Picture credit: The Magnet

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

 

A memory

z used drawing cane master Mag (53)

Picture credit: The Magnet

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

 

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

Click below to download.

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

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Also writing school stories as Scholastic here

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

Out of the bushes and into the study

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The headmaster was at his most sonorous. He was reading a list of names. “And finally, Upper Sixth: Hawkes! Those people are to report for detention straight after school.” Dr Hines peered along the row of senior boys but Hawkes was not present.

“Creasey,” the headmaster moaned, “After assembly find Hawkes and tell him to report to my study immediately.”

“Yes sir,” the head boy smiled. It would be a pleasure.

Hawkes was in the bushes at the side of the school field. He popped out of the rhododendrons and looked down the slope to see if the classrooms were still empty. “Come on Janet, they’ll be out of assembly in a minute.”

They hurried through the bushes and over the muddy paths. Larry Hawkes ran across the wet grass, past the empty rooms and into the boys’ entrance round the side. Janet watched him go, then made her own way to the girls’ entrance.

Larry walked straight to a radiator and started to dry the two dark stains on the knees of his trousers.

When the assembly dismissed Larry still had his knees pressed to the radiator waiting for the natural colour to return to his trousers. His pal Terry Edwards joined him. “Hey up, Lar, where you been?”

“Celebrating.”

“Where?”

“In the bushes.”

“Who with?”

“Janet.”

“Again! You’ll both get expelled if you’re caught.”

“I don’t intend to get caught.”

Creasy came in and watched Larry. “This is the third time you’ve been late this week and missed assembly, Hawkes,” the head boy whined.

“No it’s not,” Larry protested. “I’ve been here ages.”

“You haven’t,” Creasy snarled. “Dr Hines called out your name for detention. You weren’t there. He’s sent me to tell you to report to his study at once.”

“Oh heck,” Larry grimaced.

“It’ll be six, easy,” the head boy smiled malevolently. There was no love lost between the two.

“I’ll just dry off my trousers.”

“Shouldn’t bother,” Creasy smiled. “You probably won’t be needing them.” He hurried away to his first class of the morning.

Larry Hawkes took his time. He was in no hurry. Nothing he did or said could change the course of events. He had been summoned to the headmaster’s study, it would mean only one thing.

Satisfied that the knees of his trousers were dry he gathered up his bag and headed at a snail’s pace out of the building and across the quadrangle to Founders’ Building. The headmaster’s study was on the first floor. Larry gently tapped his own backside with his thumbs as he walked. He had been here before.

He stopped at a large oak door and tapped on the “M” of the nameplate. A voice echoed from within, “Come!” Larry turned the handle and put his shoulder to the heavy door. Dr Hines was seated behind his large mahogany desk. He rested back in his padded chair and peered intently at Larry as he stood in the doorway. “Close the door lad,” the headmaster snarled and snapped his fingers. “Stand there.” He pointed to a spot on the rug in front of his own desk.

Larry stood as generations of schoolboys in similar circumstances had stood: hands behind his back and head slightly bowed. The headmaster shuffled through some pages of foolscap paper. He paused, shook his head and growled. “Quite a litany of offences, Hawkes. You seem to have forgotten that you are a senior boy and as such are expected to show the younger ones an example. Instead you behave no better than a first former.”

Larry grimaced.

“What have you got to say for yourself?”

Larry knew nothing he said would alter a thing. Matters had to take their course. “Sorry, sir,” he said quietly, although he wasn’t particularly. He was incorrigible and unable to follow rules. He would never learn. Not today. Not ever.

“Well,” the headmaster sighed, “If you insist on behaving like a junior boy, you cannot be surprised if I treat you as one.”

Larry looked transfixed as the headmaster slipped off his black gown and hung it on a hook behind the door, then took off his charcoal-grey suit jacket and hung that up too.

Then, slowly he crossed the study lecturing Larry about the headmaster’s shock and horror at his misdemeanours. He reached the cupboard. The door was already slightly ajar. He reached in an gripped a cane. He paced the large open space in the centre of the study, flexing the cane to and fro the whole time. He bent it almost into a circle, then let it spring back.

Larry’s head bowed lower and lower, his hands now clasped tightly his backside, as though trying to protect his tight bottom from the imminent chastisement.

“Right Hawkes. Take off your jacket, hang it on the door. Then stand in the middle of the room.”

Larry took his time. Matters had to take their course, but he was in no hurry to get on with them. He slipped the blazer off his shoulders and reached up to the hook. Slowly, he turned and took up the required position.

Dr Hines watched him thoughtfully. He flexed the cane once more and intoned, “Lower your trousers and underpants.”

Larry blanched. He had expected the cane. Perhaps even trousers down. But on the bare. That was unheard of. He looked intensely at the headmaster. His stare spoke volumes. He opened his mouth to protest. The headmaster cut him short, “Hawkes, you might want to consider the likely consequences if you refuse to accept your punishment. You will be immediately suspended from school and later expelled entirely. You are a bright boy and despite your abominable behaviour you should do well in your examinations. You could go on to the university. Why put all that in jeopardy?”

It was a long speech and Larry listened to every word of it. The headmaster held all the cards. Larry had no choice. A bare-bottomed beating would be a terrible humiliation, but what choice did he have.

“Trousers and underpants down,” the headmaster repeated solemnly. Larry reached for his belt. It was the second time that morning he had lowered his trousers and pants; the first time had been ecstatic. The trousers tumbled down his thighs and bunched at his shins. He slipped his thumbs under the waistband of his Y-fronts and helped them slip down. He cupped his hands over his privates; they were still a little sticky.

“Bend over. Touch your toes,” the headmaster swiped the cane through the air. “Touching your toes is a position normally reserved for the junior boys,” he said, “but it seems appropriate for you Hawkes since you are being punished for the sort of behaviour we normally associate with first or second formers.”

Larry reached for his toes. He was an athletic boy, the star of the nearby youth club’s football team, and his body was lithe and supple. Many of the local girls admired it. He stared down at his trousers bunched at his ankles. He concentrated on the label giving cleaning instructions. He felt his shirt being folded back so that he was bare from halfway up his back down to his ankles.

His buttocks were creamy white, hard and smooth, in spite of the hairs elsewhere on his body, particularly his legs.

Larry was humiliated and blushed red, but the headmaster had not noticed, he was looking at the cheeks of his bottom not the cheeks of his face. Larry reflected that only a few minutes ago he had had sex with his girlfriend. He was eighteen years old, but here he was, bent over touching his toes, like a junior boy, waiting to have his bare bottom lashed by the cane.

The headmaster stood to Larry’s left. He was a man of action. He studied the rounded buttocks presented before him and saw how the naked orbs seemed to twitch slightly and the two cheeks pulled tightly together as though trying to reduce their size so the cane would not have so much to whip down upon.

z used cane school white pants down touch toes sting

He didn’t waste time, tap-tap-tapping, taking aim. He drew back the cane and let fly. There was a hiss followed by a barely audible “hhhha.” Larry sucked in his breath sharply. Across the middle of his bottom was a crimson blotch that was slowly fading into a pink stripe. His bottom looked like a hot cross bun with a thin line at right angles to his deep dividing cleft.

The headmaster raised the cane and then whipped it down again, not too hard but with enough strength to make Larry hiss wildly.

The third vigorous stroke landed across the full meat of Larry’s backside, very close to the line of the first. His bottom danced franticly. Larry sagged and the agony was intense, Larry struggled to stay down in the “touch toes” position, he wanted to leap up and rub away at his scorching bum but he wouldn’t give the headmaster the satisfaction of seeing he had hurt him so much.

The headmaster laid the cane across the fullest part of Larry’s buttocks, making them jiggle. Then smoothly he raised it and brought it down with a quite a sickening Thwack! Larry gave a strangled gasping cry.

The cane bit into his hard bottom again. Once more he jerked as another scarlet line blazed across the firm flesh like a red-hot needle. Larry moaned softly.

Larry was expecting six strokes and bit his lip in anticipation that the final cut would be awesome. The cane whipped into the gentle underswell of his buttocks and needles of fire lanced through his whole body. He gasped and all the breath was expelled from his lungs, causing him to gulp for air, exaggerating and prolonging the sharp pain and hurting him beyond belief.

He writhed and moaned and yelped a bit while wriggling his backside from left to right.

“Stand up. Get dressed.”

Slowly, Larry unfurled himself and rose. It felt like his bum was on fire. He desperately wanted to rub away the pain. But that would have to wait until he was far away from the headmaster’s study. He pulled up his pants, wincing as the cotton pressed against his scorched skin. Soon his trousers were up and fastened and he was climbing back into his blazer.

Dr Hines was not a cruel man. He knew he had punished Larry severely and that the senior schoolboy wanted nothing more than to run away to the lavatories for a prolonged howl. He dismissed him curtly and Larry half-ran and half-stumbled down the stairs and out to the quadrangle.

He had a free period and so no class to run back to. As he entered the school building he saw Janet waiting. She greeted him with a beaming smile. “Been to the headmaster, I see.”

“Does the whole school know?”

“Probably, you know what they’re like.”

Larry made a joke of rubbing his bottom vigorously and kneading pretend tears away from his eyes.

“Well,” Janey shrieked, “Let’s see then?”

“Do what?” Larry laughed.

“Let’s see the marks then.”

Larry blushed, his heart raced. He took Janet by the hand and together they raced towards the bushes.

Picture credit: Sting Pictures

 

Other stories you might like

New boy at Albion

Bend over. Touch your toes

The fire-raiser

 

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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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