The Old Boys

z used drawing master cane jonathon (2)

The headmaster always enjoyed the annual Old Boy’s Reunion; especially the canings he dished out.

It had become a ritual; two of the most revered Old Boys would not leave until they had each received ‘a proper’ six-of-the-best from the headmaster. When some years ago it had first been put to him that he should order them to his study, lecture them on their misdeeds and then command each to, “bend over that chair,” he thought he was having his leg pulled.

It was the school’s Bursar who raised it. He was one of the most venerable members of staff and had even been at the school when the Old Boys were pupils. The headmaster thought it was a bizarre idea, a bit kinky even, but had to respect the Bursar and hear him out.

“It goes on in schools across the land, you’ll be surprised,” the Bursar said. And the headmaster was.

“What harm can it do?”

Corporal punishment in schools had been made illegal at least fifteen years previously and the headmaster had never beaten a boy in anger. The two Old Boys were at least ten years older than he; it was absurd. One was a High Court Judge and the other a member of the House of Lords for pity’s sake.

“Headmaster, if you humour them I am sure we can get a new chemistry lab out of this,” the Bursar told him.

The headmaster laughed out loud at the suggestion; he had forgotten that each of the Old Boys were great benefactors of the school and had donated substantial amounts of money in the past and the Bursar was probably right; if he indulged them now they would give even more in the future. He agreed to go through with it.

The headmaster’s study needed surprisingly few alterations; it hadn’t changed much in the years since the Old Boys were pupils. The oak-panelled walls remained and the desk was surely as old as the hills; but the computer had to go.

The headmaster was embarrassed about having to go through this charade and wanted as few people as possible to know, but he had to rope in Mr Higgins, the school historian. He had set up a small school museum with mementos such as photographs of past headmasters and school rugby teams; but it also contained memorabilia including an old school desk, a blackboard and easel and, oh glory!, the tall thin cupboard that once stood in the corner of the headmaster’s study; including its contents: a dozen whippy rattan canes.

Higgins was alarmingly eager to supply the headmaster with everything he needed. He had indeed been an enthusiastic beater of boys’ bottoms when the law still allowed and he fervently hoped the legislators might someday reverse the decision. Perhaps, Lord Barnaby might be prevailed upon to raise the issue in Parliament.

Higgins had also kept the punishment books, where records of canings were kept. They dated back nearly a hundred years. He took great delight in reading them and recollecting the Good Old Days when boys showed their masters proper respect. And if they didn’t, they would soon be signing their names in the punishment book and nursing throbbing backsides.

Higgins’ name appeared many times in the book. On one day he had caned six boys for six different offences. One was Rodgers T. E.; he was in the sixth-form and thought he was immune to the rules. Higgins soon disabused him of that idea. He had been found in possession of a bottle of beer, despite the strict no-alcohol rules. Higgins confiscated the Watneys Pale Ale and took Rodgers to a classroom where he ordered him to bend across a school desk.

Try doing that today, Higgins thought, it’s all lawyers and childrens’ rights. But, back then, Rodgers knew he had no choice and despite being eighteen years old he went over the desk without complaint to show Higgins his arse for six top notch stingers from the master’s favourite ‘senior’ cane. He still had that cane. Rodgers was in some distress, the beating had been that severe, but he took it like a man and Higgins respected him for that. Later, alone in his digs, reminiscing the day’s events, Higgins enjoyed the boy’s beer.

The headmaster now had all that he needed, but he knew he had a problem. His two Old Boys were presumably very experienced receivers of the cane, but he had never even seen one, never mind used one. They would expect a proper thrashing, not just a tap on the bottom for old time’s sake.

Once more, Higgins had the solution. He was an expert caner and although it had been many years since he last lashed a rattan into a boy’s stretched trousers, it was surely like riding a bike; something you never forgot how to do. Let him be the one to administer the Old Boys beatings, he suggested, fervently hoping the headmaster would agree.

“No, I fear it has to be me, they seem to insist it is a headmaster’s caning.”

“Oh,” Higgins replied trying to hide his disappointment. But, he explained a “headmaster’s caning” did not only mean a caning from the headmaster; to schoolboys throughout history and all over the British Empire, a “headmaster’s caning” meant an exemplary severe thrashing; something to be dreaded.

The headmaster did not like the sound of this. What could he do?

“I can teach you how to use the cane to inflict maximum pain.”

The headmaster was grateful, but how could this be done? Would it be enough simply to whack the cane down into a cushion? Didn’t they need a real person to be on the receiving end?

Yes, Higgins agreed, they did, and he knew exactly the right person for the job, but it would be tricky to explain this to the headmaster.

“I have an acquaintance who might be willing to act as your guinea pig, so to speak,” Higgins did not want to say too much about Timothy Hutchins, a young man who hired out his backside to clients willing to pay for the pleasure of beating it black and blue.

The headmaster considered discretion in the matter to be paramount and was unwilling to bring a total stranger to the school for the headmaster to practice his caning technique. That’s how the headmaster met with Timothy one evening at Higgins’ dismal apartment in town.

It took the headmaster no more than an hour to progress from novice to expert caner. Timothy was a trooper, he did not object when asked to remove his trousers and underpants so the headmaster could see exactly where his cane stokes landed. At first, he was way off target, but soon he was landing them exactly where he wanted.

With accuracy sorted, the headmaster practiced severity. He was alarmed at the damage a single lash of the cane could inflict on flesh and began to doubt the wisdom of the whole enterprise. Could he really do this to the two Old Boys, even if they wanted him to?

“Don’t worry, headmaster. The bottom will not mark if the boys are wearing trousers.” Higgins knew he was telling a lie, but it was the only way to make sure the headmaster went through with it.

So, suitably prepared, the headmaster awaited the Old Boys’ Reunion.

The plan was surprisingly simple. The Old Boys wanted to be punished for committing real offences. What could be easier than to catch them smoking cigarettes? In the old days that would get them a caning from their housemaster, not the head. But, repeat offenders would find them on the list for a headmaster’s special caning. And, truly, both had been caned at school for smoking at least once.

Higgins had the pleasure of saying, “Barnaby, Bennett, report to the headmaster’s study. At once.”

The two boys walked in silence through the school quadrangle, into North Building and up the narrow staircase to the corridor leading to the headmaster’s study. They were reliving times in the past when they had last made this journey. Time can be deceptive. This wasn’t today, for them, this was thirty-five years ago.

They reached the study door and halted. As if in a dream each checked that their appearance was immaculate; shoes cleaned, ties straightened. Each was wearing the blue and yellow striped school blazer of their youth. Many of the Old Boys had these blazers and liked to dress up for the reunion day. Some secretly wished they could complete the outfit with their grey flannel short trousers, long grey knee socks and school cap, but these were not clothes that could easily be worn in public.

The two boys shuffled their feet, seemingly unwilling to take the next step.

“You knock.”

“No, you.”

“Oh come on,” Lord Barnaby, or now, plain Barnaby, C. T. E. knocked.

“Enter!”

They held their breath. Then Bennett took the handle, turned it and opened the door.

The headmaster sat behind his huge oak desk, resplendent in an old fashioned academic gown.

“Stand there, both of you,” he pointed to the carpet. The headmaster was used to hectoring misbehaved boys and his stern lectures were well rehearsed. He had giving tongue-lashings to many of them across the years. They did very little good. The truth was that it was impossible to punish a boy beyond giving impositions or lines. This was a boarding school and the pupils had very little liberty, so being placed in detention meant very little to them.

Since being introduced to the cane, and encouraged by Higgins, the headmaster had begun to believe that corporal punishment might be beneficial to his school. He could easily think of six or seven repeat offenders among his present boys who would profit from a sore backside. A cane laid on with force would soon buck their ideas up a bit. All it would need was one visit to the headmaster’s study for a ‘proper’ caning while bent across the desk, or over the back of the armchair. Six strokes whacked into their trouser seats; they wouldn’t be back in a hurry after that.

The headmaster eyed the two grown men standing before him: Barnaby and Bennett. He felt like laughing at the absurdity of it.

He picked up a piece of paper from the desk and read from it. “Smoking again. You have both been caned by your housemaster for this before. Is that true?”

Mumbled, “Yes, Sir,” from both of them.

“Barnaby, you have been caned twice before.”

“Sir,” said with real misery from his Lordship.

The headmaster gave his “cigarettes are bad for you,” lecture.

Only yesterday he had delivered a different lecture to two fifteen-year-old fifth-formers; their rudeness and arrogance to their masters had resulted in a visit to the headmaster. But, they had seemed unmoved by his words. He was certain they would be back on his carpet before too long. Oh, how he now wished it was them in front of him and he could whack some manners into them through their backsides.

Oddly, in his imagination, Barnaby became Probert and Bennett became Turner. No longer were they fifty-something middle-aged men, they really were two snotty fifteen-year-old schoolboys, deserving of a thrashing.

Yes, he would certainly give these boys the thrashing they so richly deserved.

Probert, you first, he thought, but said out loud, “Bennett you stand at the back of the chair. Barnaby, face the wall; hands on head.”

Meekly, both boys did as instructed.

The headmaster picked up a crook-handled rattan cane and thoughtfully bent it between his two hands.

“We shall see how you like the feel of this, Bennett,” without intention, the headmaster was speaking in an old-fashioned, upper class accent; like something out of a 1930s film: he had suddenly become Mr Chips.

“Bend over boy.” Bennett, expertly positioned himself; head down, bottom high, legs apart. As with Higgins, a caned boy never forgets how to present his backside to the satisfaction of the headmaster and his cane. Could it really be thirty-five years since his last headmaster’s caning?

Right Probert, you have been asking for this for a very long time. The headmaster raised the cane and brought it crashing down across Bennett’s trouser seat with great force. The boy gasped, but stayed in position.

“One Sir, thank you, Sir,” Bennett was reciting a ritual from days long past.

He thanked the headmaster for each of the five stingers that followed. The headmaster knew he had done a good job, his cane had left marks across the seat of the boy’s trousers and it was clear that the cuts had fallen neatly in a half-inch group across the centre of his buttocks. The headmaster would not know but the cane had bitten into the fleshy cheeks so deeply that welts had already risen.

It was with an extremely throbbing backside that Bennett rose from the chair and stood by his friend, hands on head, facing the wall. He desperately wanted to rub away the agony in his aching bottom, but the ancient schoolboy ritual did not allow this. Only when he was dismissed from the study would he be able to show that he was in any pain. Until then, he had to tough it out.

Turner, your turn, the headmaster thought, “Barnaby, your turn,” he said aloud.

The boy took up his position behind the chair.

The headmaster was enjoying himself. He swished the cane through the air a couple of times, before intoning the words all schoolboys once dreaded. “Bend over that chair.”

Barnaby was across the chair in an instant, eager to feel the lash of the cane. The headmaster eyed his target; he saw the backside of fifteen-year-old Geoffrey Turner, raised his cane high and let fly.

“One Sir, Thank you Sir,” his Lordship intoned.

He took his six-of-the-best like the man he was. The headmaster put all his effort into cracking his whippy rattan into the proffered buttocks.

“Phew!!!!” Barnaby thought, but could not say. This was the best thrashing he had ever had in his entire life; at school or after.

“Get up boy. Both of you stand in front of my desk.” The two punished schoolboys shuffled on the carpet, hands behind their backs, sneakily patting their raw buttocks with their thumbs.

The headmaster scolded them some more and dismissed them.

They sauntered from the study, as if they had no cares in the world. Once the door closed behind them, each boy jumped up and down on the spot, rubbing furiously at his buttocks.

“Crikey! What a whacking!” Bennett said.

“Quick let’s find the bogs. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” his friend responded.

And, that’s how it started. Every year they return to his study for six-of-the-best and each time the headmaster chooses from among the present crop, the boys he would dearly love to thrash with his cane.

Picture credit: Jonathon

This story was first uploaded in September 2015

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charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

Called in for a Caning

new story 2

In February 2006 Mr R. A. F. Brightlington-Pugh, a former housemaster at the Ridgeway private boarding school in the west of England, passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of ninety-seven. Some years later, his great-great-great-great nephew found a leather-bound travelling chest containing diaries he had written during the 1930s and 1940s. This present story Called in for a Caning was inspired by the diary entry for 14th July 1939.

Other diary stories here

z used pyjamas up contrite armchair london

One supposes that Wilkins thought it was a spiffing good idea at the time. It must have seemed like a jolly good jape. He must have expected the other fellows in the sixth-form to think of him as a hero. I expect he changed his mind after I called him in for a caning.

Can there ever have been another schoolboy in all the land in all of history who visited his housemaster’s study on the very last evening of his school career for a farewell six of the best? That was Wilkins. Tomorrow he and his fellow senior boys will for the last time take the up train away from Ridgeway never to return. Their days as schoolboys ended forever.

Wilkins is a darned fool and he deserved everything he received.

As far as I can tell it started three days ago when Wilkins, who considers himself both an artist and a clown, chose to combine both attributes. He drew a caricature of a schoolmaster resplendent in academic cap and gown that had a very passable likeness to myself. The figure was brandishing a crook-handled cane with (I must relate) a rather demented expression on his face. If that had been the be all and end all of the matter I might have let it rest. I am not a man lacking humour. I could have passed the drawing off as a piece of end of term ragging. One is allowed to let one’s hair down (as I believe the current vulgarism has it) just before the hols.

Alas, there was more to the drawing than simply an over-excited schoolmaster. For, included in the picture was another figure. This one – a boy, clearly a sixth-former, and I believe intended to be a likeness of Dewhurst one of the top scholars in his set ­– was shown bending across the back of a rather worn armchair. It was clearly intended to represent a scene in my study. There can hardly be a boy in my House who has not had close contact with that particular piece of furniture at some time. Indeed, one or two of the senior boys have more than a passing acquaintance with that chair.

One might have left it there. Visits to the housemaster’s study for a beating are part of a schoolboy’s life. I know such experiences stay with many ‘old boys’ long after they have departed school and made their way in the world. Indeed, on Founder’s Day when many of them return to Ridgeway I have on occasion been approached with the request to administer to them six-of-the-best for old time’s sake.

But I digress. It is true that Wilkins’s caricature showed myself beating a boy. But that alone was not the reason why I summoned the boy to my study. His depiction went a little further. For in Wilkin’s imagination Dewhurst was bent across the chair his trousers at his ankles and underwear at the knees and I was flogging his bared buttocks with my cane. The result of my endeavour was clearly visible across the cheeks of the submissive boy.

And the expression on my face was not meant to be ambiguous: I was enjoying myself thoroughly.

I have no idea if Wilkins expected to get away with this outrage. I understand the drawing circulated freely among the sixth-form boys and I have no doubt to other forms beyond. It would be only a matter of time before the identity of the artist became widely known. It is possible that Wilkins intended to be found out; why would such a talented artist hide his light under a bushel? There is no glory in anonymity.

It was my junior colleague Mr Mainwaring who drew my attention to the outrage. He had intercepted the caricature’s circulation among the cricket First XI. It was then but a matter of time before the full story emerged. It was entirely correct of Mainwaring to report the matter to myself, but did I detect a certain curling of his lip as he handed it to me? I have seen that look of insolence with the boys many times. Is Mainwaring himself in need of a trip across my armchair?

Wilkins was the culprit. He knew that I knew, but I resolved to keep my powder dry. I would not immediately call him in for a caning. Let him wait; he could stew a while. He might even start to believe that no retribution was coming. Poor fool.

I am not generally a vindictive man. Generally when a boy is discovered misbehaving I deal with the matter promptly. “Bend over that chair. Head low, bottom high, feet apart.” Then swipe, swipe, swipe – six stingers across the stretched backside. Then, “Stand up boy. Now get out.” It is over in a trice. Crime committed; punishment accepted and we both get on with our lives.

Not so with Wilkins. There were still two days to go before his final night at Ridgeway. I would bide my time. At last as the boys were changing into pyjamas minutes before lights out, I sent an emissary to the senior boys’ dorm. “Wilkins attend Mr Brightlington-Pugh’s study.” Naturally, I was not present when the message was delivered, but I expect it was received with dismay. So, it was not to be, Wilkins had not been excused. “Hard luck, Wilkey,” his fellows would have commiserated with him, while quietly relishing that one of their own was about to receive a severe bowing. Boys can be cruel creatures.

“Attend at once,” the message was clear, “In your pyjamas.”

It was an early summer evening and most of the boys’ clothes were already packed away in trunks ahead of tomorrow’s journeys home. Wilkin had no dressing gown so appeared at my door dressed only in his regulation grey-and-white-striped pyjamas and house shoes. His rat-a-tat knock was confident, defiant even. He knew why he had been called in, there was no doubt in his mind that this was not a social visit. I had not asked him to drop by so that I could bid him farewell and offer my felicitations for a successful future.

“Enter!” I growled. The door sprung open and Wilkins appeared. He is a tall athletically built eighteen-year-old boy, who stands an inch or so taller than myself. Like his fellows, his hair is cut very short. His face is a little scarred by spots and there are signs around his upper lip that he might soon need to start shaving. Despite these outward appearances that he is a man he is decidedly nothing of the thing. He is a boy. Legally he becomes a man when he attains twenty-one and even then I have my doubts that many boys are truly ready for manhood even at that age.

Here at Ridgewood we insist that all pupils wear smart short trousers as part of their school uniform until they attain the age of sixteen and enter the sixth-form. Personally, I should be very content if they continued to wear short trousers until the day they left school in their nineteenth year. A Ridgeway boy is instantly recognisable in the locale. In additional to the dark-grey short trousers that reach to an inch above the knee, he wears a bright red woollen blazer with white edging; a red-and-white-hooped cap and grey knee socks with red tops.

I beckoned Wilkins into the study. I waved the offending caricature at him, rather as Mr Chamberlain did with his famous piece of paper declaring peace in our time. I had no message of peace for Wilkins; far from it. I accused him of being its architect and he immediately confessed his crime. I will say this for a Ridgeway boy, he is an honourable chap. It is undoubtedly true that he will try to break each and every rule we set for him and many times they escape undetected. However, if they are caught, they make no complaint and accept their punishment.

I had rehearsed a little something to express my displeasure with the boy’s insolence.  Disrespect; Impudence; Impertinence; were some of the words I threw at him. I acknowledge I had consulted a thesaurus earlier in the day. I make my own confession now; I have when occasion dictates a little of the ham actor in me.

Wilkins took it all on the chin. He stood on the worn rug feet slightly apart, hands behind his back, his head a little bowed and brow furrowed. His temples shone with perspiration. I jawed him for a while and then the case for the prosecution completed, I allowed him to speak in defence. He had nothing to say in mitigation and in a rather half-hearted way, he said he was sorry.

“Bah!” I ejaculated. “Sorry! Yes, Wilkins. Sorry! You soon shall be.” I hauled myself from my chair and conscious that the boy’s eyes were following me nervously I ambled across my study towards a hat stand in the corner. I always have two crook-handled canes dangling from it, so that I am constantly ready for action as it were. Earlier, I had hung my special Malacca cane there. This cane although no longer or thicker than my others is a rod of great density. It will pack a punch like no other. To be beaten with this is an awesome experience, even for the most battle-hardened senior boy such as Wilkins.

I reached up and took down the Malacca. I tuned to face Wilkins, his hazel eyes sparkled, his face paled. I flexed the cane between my hands thereby demonstrating its extreme flexibility. Then I swished it through empty air. It made a terrific whoosh! as it flew. This little pantomime served no practical purpose, I was already acutely aware of the rod’s properties. As I say, I do have a bit of the ham actor about me.

I swished the cane once more and pointed it at one of the two armchairs in my study. This one was the older of the two, the upholstery was worn across the back and so was the cushion; generations of schoolboys had leaned over that chair and gripped the seat for all they were worth. Now it was the turn of Wilkins to uphold that tradition.

The eighteen-year-old was no stranger to my study, nor my rituals. Without further instruction, he took the four paces necessary to reach the chair, I watched him take a deep breath, then he rubbed the palms of his hands together before leaning forward. He placed his head low and his bottom high then he spread his feet thereby offering his pyjama-covered backside at a perfect angle to receive the attention of my cane. I had to admire his fortitude. He was ready to accept just punishment. I took a moment to admire the tableau. Wilkins is a star of both our rugby and cricket teams, he is quite the athlete. His body is firm and his limbs are loose. In this position, his firm buttocks stretched against the cotton pyjama bottoms seemingly lifting and separating each cheek. The muscles in his thighs emphasised the roundness of his bottom. He stared down at the seat cushion, breathing evenly, waiting patiently for me to do my duty.

I fingered the cane and once more flexed it into a bow. I was ready to go. I took up a position about three feet to his left (a cane’s length) and gently tapped the Malacca across the very centre of his bottom, a half inch or so below the highest point of his mounds. I tapped some more, perfecting my aim. I was about to raise the cane to then bring it swiping down with maximum force when I stopped myself short. An idea had taken me.

“Stand up Wilkins!” I could see the look of astonishment in the boy’s still sparkling eyes. He pulled himself to his feet, his puzzlement evident on all his features. I swiped the cane through the air. I confess that my heart was thumping and my throat was more than a little dry. I croaked at Wilkins, “I think the seriousness of your offence is such that an exemplary punishment is called for.” I saw the boy’s face fall. I do believe he was one step ahead of me and had guessed my intention.

“Lower your pyjama bottoms Wilkins and step out of them.” I swear the sound of his gulp could be heard in the quadrangle outside of my study. His mind raced. I believe I could read some of what he was thinking. A bare-bottomed thrashing! On his final evening at school. For a second he contemplated a refusal. If he had said No! what would I have then done? He is undoubtedly bigger and stronger than I. He would win a brawl with ease. I would be left humiliated; my only recourse would be to ask the headmaster to expel him. What a humiliation that would be (for me)! Wilkins is due to leave Ridgeway tomorrow, he has already taken his examinations, expulsion would have no consequences for him.

I swiped the cane down hard across the apex of the chair. “Pyjama bottoms down. Step out of them. Bend over!” I made the command with more confidence that I actually felt. Wilkins bit down into his bottom lip, then not looking at me, he fumbled with the drawstring of his pyjamas. It took longer than one might expect for him to complete the task. The pyjamas tumbled to his feet and without hesitation he stepped out of them. He turned and dived across the back of the chair with alacrity. He wriggled into position, head low, bottom high, feet apart. I took three deep breathes. I was back in control.

Writing this diary less than an hour later I can reflect almost soberly (well, I have had a glass of whisky) that all is well with the world order. Wilkins, a schoolboy, understands his place. That is to obey his superiors (his “betters” as the lower classes like to say) without question.

Wilkins presented his bared bottom to me for punishment. Slowly and methodically I placed six cuts across the quivering meat. I started in the very centre of his cheeks across the highest peaks, then I struck slightly below and then slightly above that first marker. By the time I was finished he had six deep stripes running in parallel across his posterior in a group about two inches wide. If I may say so myself it was an expertly administered thrashing. Of course, Wilkins played his part; his stoicism and ability to stay in position, bottom raised even under such terrible fire, made my task that much easier.

With the six-of-the-best duly delivered, I ordered him to stand, he quickly retrieved his pyjama bottoms, put them on and tied himself up. I believe I detected a hint of admiration behind his by now very watery hazel eyes. I offered him my hand to shake. I think he deserved that. He had taken his beating like a man. I rather think I shall miss Wilkins.

I will keep his caricature with my other treasured memories of Ridgeway.

 

Picture credit: CP Services London

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charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

A Fragment of a Memory

new story 2

Fortescue unscrewed the cap of a new whisky bottle. More of the amber liquid splashed onto the table as into the glass. He raised it and gulped. It had been years since he had actually tasted the stuff. Somewhere in the room a wireless played inane disc jockey chatter.

He leaned against the window and peered out, seeing nothing. Dark clouds blocked the sun. Another dull, grey day. He drained the glass, sucked in breath and hacked phlegm into his throat. He reached for the bottle and rattled another drink.

Three paces away was his chair. If he concentrated very hard, he could make the distance. One pigeon step at a time. Concentrate man.  It wasn’t much of a chair. Not like the sumptuous leather one he once had his study. This was cheap wood, with a foam cushion. It made his back hurt.

Fortescue slumped. His chest hurt. He leaned forward trying to get his head between his knees. Damn! More whisky spilled.

He slumped back into the chair, head flopping. Soon he would be asleep.

A door opened and closed nearby. He could just make out excited voices of young men. His head dropped onto his chest.

It is a summer’s afternoon. About four o’clock. School has ended for the day. Most of the boys have returned to their homes. Some are at cricket practice. Fortescue can hear their merry voices drifting on the breeze. One young man is not so merry. Chippindale stands in trepidation, hands on head, facing the wood-panelled wall. The study is stuffy, smelling of old man’s sweat and cigarette smoke.

Fortescue sits behind his huge walnut desk. He leans back in his chair and places his hands behind his head. He stretches. He stares intently at the prefect. His pale-grey trousers fit snugly, displaying two chunky buttock cheeks: lifted and separated. The muscles in his back are taut. His gleaming-white cotton shirt clings to the contours of his torso. Even across the length of the study Fortescue can see the damp patch at his shoulder blades.

Fortescue hauls himself to his feet. Slowly, for he is in no hurry and wishes to savour every moment. He crosses the study to the tall, thin cabinet. His hands shake slightly as he tugs open the door. The array of canes is impressive. He doesn’t have to count them, he knows exactly the extent of his arsenal. There are seven assorted rods, some with the traditional crook-handle; most made of rattan and two are dragon canes. The dragons are ideal for thrashing older boys; but today Fortescue has another idea.

The Malacca cane. It is no bigger or thicker than any of the other canes; but it is denser. This Malacca has notches every three inches or so along its length. These cut into the flesh and leave severe bruises and welts; even when applied to a boy’s bottom covered with trousers and underpants. When applied “trousers down,” even on the underpants, it rips at the meat of the buttocks. A boy carries the marks of such a thrashing for at least a couple of weeks and sitting down is a painful business for many days following. As Chippindale is about to discover.

Fortescue flexes the rod between his hands. Perfect. Dense, but whippy. He relishes the sound it makes as he swipes it through empty air. He turns towards the prefect. “Turn. Stand there.” He points the cane at a rather worn rug in front of his desk. He swipes the cane once more, studying Chippindale’s clear, open face, now clouded with concern.

The prefect shuffles into the required position. Fortescue stands, cane tucked under his arm. “Trousers down,” he barks. Without hesitation Chippindale reaches for his belt buckle. Fortescue allows himself a smile. It is all right, he tells himself, the boy cannot see you. It would not do to show his pleasure.

The belt now undone, Chippindale starts on the trousers. He has some trouble with the fly buttons. Fortescue watches intently as the front of the eighteen-year-old’s trousers open, revealing the white briefs beneath. “Down boy. All the way.” It is an unnecessary command. Chippindale is well trained. He knows the headmaster must be obeyed: without question.

The pale-grey trousers slip down Chippindale’s thighs but snag at his knees. He opens his legs a little and they continue their journey south and rest in a puddle at his feet. “Bend over. Touch your toes.” Another barked order.

Chippindale has been here before. He knows toes means toes. Right down. There is to be no resting hands on knees or gripping shins or ankles. He sucks in a lung-full of air and stretches forward. The tips of his fingers brush the toecaps of his shoes. Fortescue’s tongue darts in and out of his mouth, rather like a lizard. The prefect’s knees are slightly bent which thrusts his buttocks out, making his smooth cotton white underpants hug him.

z used school white pants touch toes sting (1)

Fortescue flexes his cane once more, seduced by it springiness and power. He looks at the prefect now submissive before him, the muscles on Chippindale’s legs are tense, the buttocks firm and inviting, the back arched. Fortescue advances, now eager to get on with the job. He stands beside the boy, grips the tail of his shirt and pulls it away from the target area, exposing an area of bare, hairless back. He cannot help himself; gently he caresses the proffered buttocks, running his right palm across each mound, discovering that a single cheek fits the size of his hand perfectly.

Fortescue positions himself a pace or two to Chippindale’s left; a cane’s length. He takes his aim, tapping the tip of the dense Malacca cane in the centre of the far buttock. He can scarcely disguise his pleasure when Chippindale’s body tenses and his buttocks clench in anticipation of the pain about to be unleashed.

Any moment now.

Swish! The cane swipes through the air and lands with a resounding Thwack! across the centre of Chippindale’s bum. A thick line forms across the tight, thin cotton pants. A perfect shot. Chippindale hisses, sounding like a steam engine settling down. It is a reflex action, he can’t help it. It’s a natural reaction, his body has to do something to cope with the pain.

Fortescue waits. In his head he is counting to twenty, giving enough time for the prefect’s body to register the stroke, for the burning sensation to travel across the stretched buttocks. Then, just as the agony is easing to mere pain – Swipe! The second cut lands; again dead centre of the backside, but this time a little lower. Now, Chippindale has a line of fire about an inch wide across his stretched flesh.

The headmaster is an expert with the cane. The boys say his beatings are awesome. They should be too – Fortescue gets plenty of practice. Chippindale’s hair is soaked with sweat; his face is as scarlet as his buttocks must be.

The cane flies and lands higher this time. Three perfectly parallel lines. The boy will have something to show his pals later. Fortescue takes pride in his own prowess.  Chippindale wriggles his hips left and right. His fingers leave the toecaps of his shoes. He nearly jumps to his feet, but stops himself just in time. He doesn’t want extra strokes.

“Keep still boy!” Fortescue’s voice echoes around the study. He is incapable of speaking in a normal tone of voice.

The headmaster pauses. He lets Chippindale settle, then takes careful aim. The fourth goes high. Chippindale rewards this with his first clear yelp. The prefect breathes hard, drawing gulps of air into his lungs. Fortescue takes a step back, the better to see the four distinct welts that are throbbing beneath Chippindale’s skin-tight underpants. A job well done, the headmaster congratulates himself.

He puts swipe number five lower, into the fleshiest part of Chippindale’s buttocks. Where there is most padding. The cane sinks deep into the meat before springing back, leaving another clearly-defined weal. Chippindale stifles a yell, Fortescue hacks out a dry cough.

The final stroke. Chippindale braces himself, Fortescue smiles broadly. All the boys at the school know about a headmaster’s caning and that last stroke. He adjusts his position, places the cane at a diagonal across both cheeks so it goes bottom left to top right. He taps it so Chippindale has no doubts about his intention. Fortescue likes the way the prefect’s body tenses, his shoulders heave. Here goes, he thinks to himself as he raises the cane high and with the effort a golfer might give when teeing off, he lets fly.

Whop! The cane goes at the speed of sound before crashing into Chippindale’s bum. It falls across the previous cuts and sets each one of them on fire again. Chippindale grips his ankles, determined not to show the intense pain. He wants to jump up and dance around clutching at the scorching flesh. But, he doesn’t. It takes a super-human effort to stay down, bent over, fingertips on toes. He is a beaten boy, he wants to scream and holler but he won’t. He wouldn’t give the tyrant headmaster the satisfaction.

Fortescue knows this. Of course, he is aware of the schoolboy code of honour. He would never tell the boy but he is rather impressed with his fortitude. He loves nothing more than a senior boy who can take a proper thrashing. Fortescue catches his breath and slowly paces the study and opens the door to his cupboard. He replaces the cane and turns to look at Chippindale still bent double, touching his toes. Submissively. A master and his pupil.

The headmaster returns to his desk, opens a drawer and finds the book he is looking for. He writes the details of the beating, omitting the fact it was administered trousers down.

“You may stand Chippindale.”

Hot, sweaty and very sore, the prefect straightens. Fortescue knows he is desperate to rub away at his backside. He is in no hurry. Let him suffer, he thinks. “Sign.” The headmaster slides the punishment book across the desk. Chippindale hesitates, he has no pen.

“Bah!” Fortescue has no patience, he delves back into the desk drawer, rummages around and finds a pen. He rolls it across the desk.

Chippindale signs his name.

“You are dismissed. Send in the next boy.”

Fortescue’s chin slips, he slumps from the chair, catching himself just in time before he tumbles to the floor. He tries to shake the dullness from his head and stumbles towards the bottle. From somewhere he hears a voice faking jollity, “And, now for the ten o’clock news.”

 

Picture credit: Sting Pictures

This was a story abut The Tyrant Headmaster, for more click here

 

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Housemaster’s double caning

The troublesome lodger

The housebreaker

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

 

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

What a Disappointment . . .

z used longs touch toes school sting

No sixth-former had ever been caned at my school, so I made history that day.

Actually, hardly anyone had been caned in living memory – it was a “progressive” school and I had thought corporal punishment had been abolished a long time ago.

But, as I was to find out it had only fallen into disuse and that day it was making a comeback.

And, I welcomed its return, thank you very much, Sir.

I was eighteen years old and for a long as I could remember I had had a thing about corporal punishment. I used to fantasize about what it would be like to go over someone’s knee for the slipper or be sent to the headmaster’s study for six-of-the-best with the cane.

And, now my fantasy was to come true: or so I hoped.

It was all rather unexpected. I was in no way a bad lad, a rebellious teen, or a troublemaker. In fact I was such a goody-goody I was a prefect at the school and tipped to go on to university.

I had fallen foul of one of the school’s most fearsome battle-axes: Miss Lowenstein. She really was an old crone. One of the ugliest women you’d ever be likely to meet, with buck teeth and a gammy leg, courtesy of a childhood bout of polio.

She was, of course, a spinster and we boys all thought she was sex starved (as if we weren’t). And, she was a tough disciplinarian. She called herself a “martinet” and woe betides anyone who did not call her “ma’am”. No way were we allowed to call her “miss”, like we did all the other women teachers.

She had a mean streak and that’s how it was that I was about to break the record and take a caning.

We had a school magazine, it wasn’t a posh one, professionally published, but just something we cobbled together on an old Roneo printer. It was mostly short stories and poems (well doggerel verse really). It was my prowess as a poet that got me in trouble. I’d penned a verse that did not name her, but everyone knew who I meant. Somewhere in there it called her a “crow” and that she did not like.

So, before I knew it she was onto Mr Henderson, the head of Upper School, whining on that something must be done. And, the only “something” that would satisfy the bat was me bent over getting a sore arse.

When I realised I was for it I was not the least worried. I had dreamt about this for so long. I was fascinated by school canings and read lots of stories and comics that involved schoolboys getting their backsides tanned.

My favourite stories took place in public schools which were a world away from the inner city comprehensive I attended. In England “public” schools are expensive private schools, often where pupils boarded. What they all had in common was the thwack of the cane across the seat of the trousers that rewarded boys who misbehaved.

At home I used to pretend I was one of the boys sent for “six on the bags” as the school stories had it. Often I would dress up in my school uniform and pose in front of the full-length mirror in the passageway of our council flat. I would bend over touching my toes admiring the reflection of my bum in the mirror.

I never did anything about my spanking fantasy. I was young and we were all very naïve in those days. We didn’t have Internet then, so I wasn’t to know that there were plenty of people out there who shared my interest. Let’s face it there would have been plenty of people ready to cane an eighteen-year-old schoolboy’s backside raw (and much else besides) if they knew he was ready and willing.

I had one friend who looking back I think might have shared my interest. We were too young to express to each other our true feelings and the closest we got to doing anything was one day, while playing in his house, we found some sticks and had a go at sword-fighting. I can’t remember how it happened, but we moved on from medieval knights or whatever to naughty boys.

To this day, I remember he was willing to get a whacking from me. He bent over the back of the couch. We were both children so he couldn’t quite stretch all the way over. But, I do remember his chubby buttocks stretching against his corduroy trousers. He made a perfect target and if I hadn’t been so shy, I would have (no, should have) swished the stick into his arse.

But I chickened out. Why? I don’t know. But even now nearly fifty years after the event I still have pangs of regret.

So, I wasn’t about to give up the chance of a proper headmaster’s caning from Mr Henderson.

I went to a pretty ordinary school and we had no airs and graces: my school uniform was a very standard black blazer with grey trousers.

My uniform was ordinary and if truth be told I was pretty ordinary too: about five-foot-seven, a little over eight-stone in weight, and properly proportioned, not like the obese teenagers you see today.

At the appointed time I went to the concrete and glass Admin Block and knocked on the door of Mr Henderson’s office. My heart was thumping as if I had run a mile in a minute to be there. Something exciting was happening here and I couldn’t easily describe it, but I hoped that after this afternoon I wouldn’t quite be the same again.

I entered on Mr Henderson’s command. I was surprised to find Miss Lowenstein waiting there: not only was she determined to make sure I got my beating; she was going to personally witness it.

Mr Henderson had a modern office and it was very small. With all the filing cabinets you couldn’t swing a cat (or hardly a cane) in it. He probably looked like a typical comprehensive schoolteacher: wearing a rather scruffy shirt and plain tie with beige trousers that had seen better days since he bought them at a cheap chain store many years ago.

There wasn’t much room with all three of us present. I stood as best I could in front of Mr H’s Formica-covered desk. It was a mess, piled high with files and school notebooks. Miss Lowenstein moved out of my eyesight, probably all the better to get a view of what was to happen next.

Mr Henderson didn’t quite know what to say. He called me “Walton,” which isn’t quite my name. He mumbled something about how awful I had been. He actually said my behaviour was “ugly” and I suppressed a laugh at that, knowing that word perfectly described Miss Lowenstein.

I said something nondescript in return and then he told me matter-of-factly that he was going to cane me.

He moved to a filing cabinet. I hadn’t noticed before, but on top of it lay a short stick. This was no crook-handled ashplant cane beloved of public school masters; this was a  piece of bamboo, a little over two feet long and so rigid it would be impossible to bend it, or get much of a swish out of it.

Then he said the wonderful words I had dreamt of hearing for so long, “Bend over, Walton.”

There wasn’t anything to bend over, a desk or a chair, so heart thumping madly I just bent down. He hadn’t given the time-honoured command “touch your toes,” so I leaned forward a bit and keeping my legs straight I put my hands on my knees. That was enough. I was stooped there showing sufficient backside to serve the purpose.

I waited staring down at the worn carpet for the first stroke to land, remembering all those times I had bent touching my toes in front of the mirror. It didn’t matter how much it hurt I would shut my teeth and stick it, just like the boys in the stories I loved so much.

There was no swish as the cane landed on my bum, just a dull thud. I felt it, but there was no searing pain. The second and third stoke landed. What a disappointment. I hardly felt a thing. Mr Henderson’s heart was not in this. I felt terribly let down.

I got six strokes, but there’s no way anyone could have mistaken them for “six-of-the best.” I remained bent over after the last one landed. I knew the etiquette was you stayed in position until you were given permission to stand up. In the stories if a boy stood up before being allowed he got extra strokes. I wouldn’t have minded some more, but I doubt Mr Henderson would have obliged.

Eventually, rather absent-mindedly Mr Henderson said I should get up. I did as I was told. Did my face show my disappointment? I can’t be sure, but I could see Miss Lowenstein had a face like thunder. She was not impressed. Had she wanted to see me jumping about from foot to foot clutching my bum in agony and choking in fits of sobs?

Maybe she did. I’m sure that’s what I wanted too.

Mr Henderson was still holding the cane, not sure what to do with it, or how to dismiss me from his office. I don’t suppose he had much experience caning schoolboys since corporal punishment had all but been abolished at the school.

Eventually he summoned up enough wit to send me on my way.

I was in no real pain. In the stories I would have been rubbing my backside furiously as I rushed back to my study. I did have a surreptitious feel of the seat of my trousers, just a quick rub with my thumb, but there was no sensation there.

I knew I couldn’t go to the lavs to inspect the damage (if there was any) because they would be full of smokers and there’d be no privacy.

Instead, I went straight home. Thirty minutes later I was lying on my bed, my trousers and pants on the floor beside me. I was sorely disappointed. I couldn’t find a trace of the cane’s marks. It was as if it hadn’t happened.  There were no welts or bruises that would last for days and no chance that I would have difficulty in sitting down at tea time or have to sleep on my stomach tonight.

I leaned over and took an ancient storybook and a handful of tissues from the bedside table. They certainly knew how to deal with misbehaving seniors at St Tom’s School.

Dr Tulke rose from his writing-table. To Wooton’s surprise, he picked up a cane. Wooton could not see what the cane was wanted for.
He was, however, soon to discover.
“Senior boys,” said the Head, “are not usually caned at St, Tom’s, but there are exceptional cases that can be dealt with in no other way. Bend over that desk, Wooton!”
“Eh?”
“Bend over that desk!”
Wooton – bewildered and dismayed – bent over the desk.
Swipe! Swipe, Swipe, Swipe, Swipe, Swipe!

It was not merely “six.”  It was as thorough a licking as Dr Tulke had ever administered; such a licking as Wooton had seldom or never experienced before.
It seemed like a horrid dream to Wooton of the Sixth. But it was no dream; it was painful reality. Very painful! The head was a venerable gentleman, but he seemed to have a lot of beef in his right arm. He put it all into that whacking.
Wooton fairly squirmed.
“Now,” said the head, breathing hard, “you may go, Wooton! Not another word, or I shall cane you again! Go!”

Wooton almost tottered from the study. He left with pale face and compressed lips. His eyes were burning like hot coals.

Picture credit: Sting Pictures

This story was first uploaded in August 2015

Other stories you might like

Never too old

The freshman class

Changed Times 7. Pub landlord

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

Murph in the Headmaster’s Study

z used drawing cane picture quelch Mag no 6

A St Francis Independent Grammar School story. Click here for the full series.

 

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.

Getting into position meant bending over and presenting his bared backside for a caning even though he was a grown-up young man of eighteen.

In front of him, Dr Henderson-Smith, the headmaster, was rummaging through his punishment cabinet intent on finding just the right stick to take the bully’s arse off.

Eventually he took cold of the Malacca, a fearsome specimen. It was no longer or thicker than the rattans among his vast collection; but it was denser. And every three or four inches along its length were notches which, the headmaster knew from the rod’s satisfactory use in the past would raise serious wounds on a boy’s buttocks. A deep red welt would raise immediately the Malacca connected with flesh, then within minutes deep purple bruises would cover the entire area of the globes. The marks would stay for days, more than a week sometimes and the boy on the receiving end of such a thrashing would find it painful to sit for many hours. Some areas of the buttocks would remain tender to the touch for days.

Yes, Dr Henderson-Smith was convinced this was the cane to deal with young Murphy.

Mick Murphy, naturally known across the school as ‘Murph’, was from the town’s growing Irish stock. He was typical of the breed; his head was oblong shaped and his face looked like a potato. His body was built like a navvy’s and covered in hair. The good doctor had never before seen such hairy buttocks on a teenager.

Murph shuddered in anticipation of the ordeal to come as the headmaster moved into position behind him, and swished the cane menacingly through the air, adding considerably to the young man’s trepidation.

Dr Henderson-Smith had no sympathy with the boy now prone across his leather-topped desk. He was a bully and an extortionist. For many months the lout had been terrorising junior boys and taking their lunch money. Murphy’s was a simple plan. At St Francis Independent Grammar School the prefects were not allowed to punish the younger boys outright; instead they distributed punishment slips for breaches of good behaviour. If a boy collected three such slips it meant an automatic caning from his housemaster.

Murphy dished out the slips as if they were confetti; but he would ‘let a boy off’ if he coughed up his lunch money; which they always would do. The cash kept Murphy in smokes and paid for the ‘girlie’ magazines that were easily available from certain newsagents in town.

It went on for months: perhaps, the only question to ask is why he did not get caught sooner. It was only by chance that Mr Tooke, a junior master, looking through the chemistry lab window saw the brute attack the tiny eleven-year-old boy. Albright rolled in a ball on the ground to protect himself from the flailing legs of his attacker.

That was how Murphy found himself knocking on the sturdy oak door of the headmaster’s study.

‘Enter!’

Murph gulped and entered the study closing the door behind him, the desk in front of him was clear. The headmaster was a bit of a drama queen. Calmly, he told Murph that his behaviour was unacceptable.

“You’re going to be sound-er-ly th-rashed, my boy, and that means a prop-er can-ing,” he rolled every syllable around his tongue, fondly believing this would drive terror into any misbehaving teenager’s heart.

“Move over to my desk, drop your trousers and underpants and spread yourself across it, gripping the sides. This will hurt and is intended to.”

Murph had expected this. Although he had never been sent to the headmaster’s study before, he had heard tales from other boys who had. His friend Mitchell had been caned last week; he said it hurt something awful. Felt like a red hot poker against his skin.

In a trance, Murph unbuckled his belt, unfastened his trousers, pulled the zip and let them slide off his hips and down his thighs. As he did as he was told he dreaded what was to come next.

“Underpants too, boy!” It was a sharp command. The headmaster was not about to have his time wasted by this sixth-former.

Still Murph hesitated; he really did not want to expose his bare flesh to the headmaster.

“Please don’t make me come over there and take them down for you!” Dr Henderson-Smith would have too. He found that many of his pupils were far from stoical when the time came for a caning. In generations past it was a matter of honour for a schoolboy to present himself gallantly for a beating, but many modern boys lacked the courage to do this.

With shaking hands and scarlet face, Murph stuck his thumbs under the waistband of his underpants and dragged them to his knees, displaying his genitals. Quickly, he cupped them in his hands to hide them from the headmaster’s view.

“Stupid boy! I am not the least bit interested in your private parts,” the headmaster thought, but did not say aloud. It was the another part of the boy’s anatomy that interested the good doctor.

He tapped the wooden desk with his finger. “Bend over.”

Murph bent right over it, clutching the far edge and offering his bottom most submissively for what was to be a thrashing of a lifetime.

There was no ceremony with the headmaster. He had a job to do, no a duty, to perform and he got on with it.

The boy felt the cane rest on his backside and then it was gone. The next thing he felt was the cane land on his bare backside and an intense line of fire erupted across his buttocks, This was Murph’s first bare-bottomed caning and the eighteen-year-old screamed. He had never felt anything quite like it. He was hot all over, but his bottom was definitely hotter still and rapidly overheating.

It might have been fairer not to give such a vicious first stroke, but the headmaster was in no mood to show any leniency, and had delivered it with every ounce of effort at his disposal

After a slight pause, a second stroke landed a little below where the first had marked him. Murph was astonished by the severity and intensity of the stripe. He felt flushed and humiliated to be fully dressed on his top half, but naked from the waist down.  Cold perspiration ran down his back.

“Please Sir!” Murph wailed. “Please Sir, I’m sorry!”

“Silence boy!” thundered the headmaster and cracked the cane down again. Strokes three onwards landed on the bare flesh, hurting, if possible, even more than the first one. By the fourth stroke, snot and tears were cascading down his huge face. The headmaster did not decrease his punishment one bit and was well satisfied with the boy sobbing on the desk in front of him.

The sixth stroke slashing across the base of Murph’s bottom, where it joins the thighs, was the final straw, causing him to yell out and sob loudly. His legs danced and thrashed about. He had never been in such pain, nor imagined that such pain was possible to survive.

With Murph still across the desk, the headmaster gave him a final warning about his behaviour before giving him permission to get dressed. As the teenager was dressing Dr Henderson-Smith replaced the cane in the cabinet and sat down before opening the punishment book. He wrote Murph’s name, the nature of the offence and details of the punishment inflicted. He noted with some satisfaction that this was the fifteenth entry in the book that month and it was still only the second week.

When instructed by the headmaster, Murph slowly pushed himself back on his elbows as he got unsteadily up. His legs felt weak and he had to lean on the desk for a couple of moments before he got his balance.

Murph slowly pulled his underwear back up over his buttocks, unable to resist gently probing the damage with his fingers as he did so. He could feel the painful ridges that would be visible for quite some time to come. Finally he got his school trousers up and fastened, then stood, hands clenched at his side, in front of the headmaster, his hands gently massaging his throbbing backside and his eyes wet with tears. He signed his name in the punishment book with the lecture from the headmaster on his future behaviour and a warning that it would be worse if he ever came before him again on a similar offence, ringing in his ears.

Murph was dismissed and slowly he limped from the study his hands rubbing his buttocks and his eyes still moist with tears.

Picture credit: The Magnet

This story was first uploaded in August 2015.

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Untidy bathroom

Lord Bowinem’s chauffeur

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

 

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

The Poker School

new story 2

In February 2006 Mr R. A. F. Brightlington-Pugh, a former housemaster at the Ridgeway private boarding school in the west of England, passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of ninety-seven. Some years later, his great-great-great-great nephew found a leather-bound travelling chest containing diaries he had written during the 1930s and 1940s. This present story The Poker Game was inspired by the diary entry for 3rd February 1938.

z used cane pyjamas up armchair school london (2)

All schoolboys like to think that they are adults and should be treated accordingly. It is the schoolmaster’s duty to disabuse them of this notion and be a constant reminder that they are indeed children who must subordinate themselves to the will of their elders.

It was for this reason that Ridgeway insisted that all its pupils wore smart short trousers as part of their school uniform until they attained the age of sixteen and entered the sixth-form. Personally, I should be very content if they continued to wear short trousers until the day they left school in their nineteenth year.

A Ridgeway boy is instantly recognisable in the locale. In additional to the dark-grey short trousers that reach to an inch above the knee, he wears a bright red woollen blazer with white edging; a red-and-white-hooped cap and grey knee socks with red tops.

Despite, all our attempts to remind the boys they are but children some continue to defy us. Thus it was that this evening I chanced upon the sixth-form poker game.

I am not in the habit of patrolling the house after lights out. There is a prefect body whose duty is to keep good order in the house. To that end they are expected to account that each boy is safely tucked up in his bed before they too retire for the night.

This evening I was feeling particularly irritable. There was nothing to listen to on the wireless save for Bandwagon, a humorous programme (or so says my copy of the Radio Times). I could bear Arthur Askey and Stinker Murdoch no longer, so decided on a tour of the house.

All was quiet, as indeed it should be at this hour. I did not venture inside the dormitories; I trust my prefects to do their jobs properly. I was certain all would be well. For no particular reason that I can recall, I ventured down the passageway that led to the senior studies. I could tell at once something was amiss. A shaft of light gleamed beneath the door of number five. As I approached my nostrils were assailed by a familiar scent. An aroma that was unwelcome in the boys’ studies. It was the smell of cigarette smoke.

I gripped the handle and twisted it. The door would not budge. It was locked. There was some illegal activity afoot. I hammered the palm of my hand against the heavy wooden panel.

Inside the study a little poker party was suddenly startled. Tracey jumped up, his hand of cards slipping from his fingers. “What the …” he exclaimed.

Wright, Amber and Prior were all on their feet. That sound could mean only one thing: a master had discovered their game.

“What dashed bad luck,” breathed Wright. “Quick get the cards out of sight.”

I banged again, somewhat louder this time. “Open up in there! Open up I say!”

“The smoke; we can’t clear the smoke,” hissed Amber, waving his arms around like a demon.

“Keep the door locked Wright,” whispered Prior. “Tell him you’ve dropped the key to make us some time.”

I continued banging.

“All right Sir,” called out Wright in a shaky voice while his chums frantically hurried cards and cigarettes out of sight. “I … I’ve dropped the key.”

I called out, “You will open this door immediately Wright. At once, or the consequences for you all will be very grave indeed.”

I heard the scraping of the key in the lock and slowly the door eased ajar; but only by an inch. I pushed it open and strode into the study.

Four ashen-faced eighteen-year-old boys stood before me. They were dressed in their regulation grey-and-white-striped pyjamas. The evidence of their crimes lay all around them. A deck of playing cards and hastily extinguished cigarettes.

There was very little to say. They had been caught in the act.

“Attend my study immediately. Wait outside for my arrival.”

Such a command could mean only one thing: a beating was imminent.

I watched four sorrowful schoolboys as they trudged down the passageway. I put the cigarettes in my pocket; I would smoke them myself later. I searched the room half-expecting to find a whisky bottle secreted somewhere, but there was none.

Minutes later I joined the four miscreants at my study. They stood in the passageway facing the wall with their hands on their heads. I had not instructed this, but it was a standard requirement of any boy sent to attend a housemaster’s study. These four knew the drill. There was not a bottom before me that I had not thrashed before.

I called the four into my study and they stood in front of my leather-topped desk. Like so many schoolboys in their situation they took an intense interest in the rug beneath their feet. I instructed them to look at me and I jawed them. I did not take too long; we all knew why we were there.

As any schoolmaster should attest, the cane is a highly efficient tool of punishment. No caned boy can be in any doubt of his schoolmaster’s disapproval. His buttocks will glow and so they should. The punishment is delivered and is then over within minutes; then we all move on with our lives.

I knew each of the four boys before me intimately. They were all similarly culpable in this evening’s crime. None of them was a leader and none the led. I could treat them all equally – and that was precisely what I did.

Hardly a day goes by without my caning a boy. My preferred method is to make him lay face down across the back of my worn armchair; his arms stretched ahead of him; his feet firmly planted eighteen inches apart on the ground and his bottom raised. The buttocks are presented at the perfect angle to receive swipes from my cane across the fleshiest part of the posterior.

I reached across to the hat stand that stood in the corner of the study. I always have at least two canes – one thick and one thin – dangling ready for action.

“Wright,” I called, “Bend over the chair.”

Wright would not catch my eye, even though this was hardly a new experience for the eighteen-year-old. He stepped forward and rather like a diver going into an icy pond he flopped forward and held on to the arms of the chair.

“Come now Wright,” I sighed, “You have been here often enough. You know the form: head low, bottom high, feet apart.” He wriggled about a bit until he was presented to my satisfaction.

I choose the thicker of the two canes, flexed it between my hands, and tapped Wright gently across the very centre of his bottom. Six strokes of the cane fell, hard, one after another.  Every one was a hefty lash; but no sound came from Wright. When I gave permission, he rose from the desk, his face pale, and his eyes glinting. He resumed his position alongside his fellow poker players.

“Amber, step forward.”

The boys were stoical, but Amber, who it must be reported had a very meaty backside, wriggled a little as each stroke fell. I do not play games when I cane a boy. Each swipe fell with great force. It was as if I were beating a carpet.

Tears were forming behind Amber’s eyes when he rose from the desk. I could see he desperately wished to rub at his fleshy behind, but such a thing is not permitted. There is some unwritten code: no rubbing until you are out of the eyesight of the schoolmaster.

Prior was next. I had last thrashed the boy only the previous week. That had been for breaking bounds. I had laid it on him with terrific force; he was a recidivist and often skipped out of school. He must have a high tolerance for pain; it was as if he had hardly felt a thing. I had considered later that perhaps he had smuggled some padding beneath his trousers. This time with only his pyjama bottoms for protection there would be no doubt.

As had his fellows, Prior positioned himself without fuss. I saw him close his eyes and shut his teeth in anticipation of the searing pain he was about to endure.

A caning is really a competition of sorts between the master giving correction and the boy accepting it. One has to inflict; one has to endure. I must lay these strokes on the boys’ bottoms with all the skill I can muster. I must be firm; I must be precise. My job is to be the agent of authority. The boy’s job is to hold fast, without crying or begging to be let off. In short, to accept the discipline.

Prior behaved admirably. I could see welts forming under the thin cotton pyjamas. The thrashing must have hurt him terribly, but he showed little outward sign. When commanded, he rose and took his position alongside the others.

Tracey was last to go. He had witnessed the stoicism of his fellows. I do not know if this adds to the intensity of the occasion. Did knowing that the others had taken their beating well put additional pressure on a boy not to let himself down?

Tracey was over the chair in a trice. It was as if he were saying, “Go ahead, do your worst. I can take it.”

I did indeed do my worst; or do I mean my best? I delivered six of my very best across the most tender part of the boy’s bottom at the point where the under-curve of the cheeks met the thigh. Tracey’s body wriggled and writhed; his hips swayed and his feet marched up and down on the carpet. I heard him cough and splutter as he successfully stifled the yells he most certainly wanted to make.

It was over. I estimate it had taken no more than three minutes to put the boys through their paces. They stood before me with four pairs of blazing buttocks. I am not a cruel man, I knew they very much wanted to be on their way down to the lavatories where they would inspect the damage, admire my handiwork, and congratulate one another on their fortitude.

I sent them on their way. Later, I lit one of the confiscated cigarettes and returned to the wireless. A musical interlude was being broadcast. I leaned back in my armchair and blew smoke rings at the ceiling and reflected on my efforts – a very contented man indeed.

Picture Credit: CP Services London

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Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

First Day At School

z used drawing cane SFIGS (63a)

A St Francis Independent Grammar School story. Click here for the full series.

John Allison walked through the gates of St Francis Independent Grammar School for the first time as a pupil.

All around him boys were hurrying along, anxious not to be late.

“Hurry along you tykes,” a senior boy, obviously a prefect, called to a group of eight or nine young boys, who were some way off from the gate. “Gates are closing. You don’t want to be up for a bowing.”

The boys ran at fall pace and as the last one made it through the ornate gates, the prefect slammed them shut. Any boy who arrived now would have his name taken and could find himself up before his housemaster for a caning.

John stood unsure where he was supposed to go. For a moment he paused to take in the splendour. St Francis Grammar School, Brocklehurst, reputedly could trace its roots back to the 1700s. It certainly was a splendid old building, but not ancient. John had never seen anything quite like it. His previous school had been modern in all respects: the buildings, the curriculum, the attitude of teachers to their charges.

Seemingly hundreds of boys streamed into the building. They certainly didn’t look too modern in John’s eyes. All the boys in the first, second and third forms wore grey short trousers. John didn’t know any eleven- to fourteen-year-old boys in the real world who wore short trousers to school. If it had been said that the boys should wear short trousers at Calmbury, his previous school, the boys – and the teachers too – would have mocked the suggestion.

John surveyed his new schoolmates. He didn’t feel quite so absurd now wearing his green-and-gold-hooped school cap: everyone as far as the eye could see wore the strange headgear. His mother had laughed out loud when she read the school’s regulations and teased him unmercifully: school cap; white Y-front underpants (how would they know?); short-back-and-sides haircuts and Ha! Ha! Ha! six-of-the-best-for-you-young-man if you are naughty. And, no girls!

His father did not join in the fun. Even now, more than twenty-five years after he had left behind St Tom’s forever, he still resented the canings he and his fellow pupils had endured.

John hated the school uniform. His green school blazer with gold braiding around the edges shrieked of self-importance. At least, aged eighteen, he would not be forced to wear the short trousers.

St Francis had a fine academic record. It was a traditional school: traditional teaching methods, traditional sports, traditional school uniform and traditional discipline. It was a boys-only independent fee-paying grammar school with delusions that it was an elite public school. This was such be a contrast to Calmbury, also an independent school, but it had girls as well as boys and attitudes were so informal the pupils were not expected to wear school uniform and corporal punishment was unheard of.

“Excuse me.” John was approached by a short, stocky boy, about his own age.  “Are you by any chance Allison?” He seemed friendly and John was happy to confess his identity.

“I’ve been told to take you along to meet your form master. My name’s Anderson.”

And, with that he led John into the ancient building and his new life at St Francis.

His form master Mr Tatler gave him a lot of information about his lessons timetable and where the classrooms were. But, John couldn’t take it in. Tatler (the boys, John later discovered, called him ‘Tatters’) was dressed in a formal academic gown and resting nearby on a desk was his mortar board cap.

John didn’t know how to react; it was as if he had stepped into a time machine and travelled back; how many years? He had never seen a schoolmaster dressed like this. He assumed all the teachers, or ‘masters’ as he had better get used to calling them, wore something similar. He had never seen anything remotely like this in his life, except perhaps once when he had been a small boy and he went exploring in the attic at his granddad’s home. He had found a pile of old comics; the Magnet and the Gem he thought they were called. They weren’t very good, they were full of words with few pictures, but the drawings he did see were of schoolmasters dressed like Tatters.

Anderson was a good sort and he soon took John under his wing. At lunchtime he was given the ‘grand tour.’ And, ‘grand’ the school certainly was: ivy-covered walls; mullioned-windows in the library; a ‘clock tower’ with narrow stone steps leading to the headmaster’s study.

“You don’t ever want to go up there,” Anderson said cheerfully. “It can mean only one thing.”

He laughed at John’s puzzled expression. “A bowing from Dr Henderson-Smith,” he laughed as merrily he swiped his right arm through the air in parody.

John blanched. He was silent, unsure what he was expected to say in response. His mother had mocked the corporal punishment regime at St Francis, but John was not so offhand. This school gave him the creeps. Anyhow, he knew he was only nine months away from taking his final examinations and leaving school for good. He would just keep his head down. Besides, he was eighteen and far too old to be summoned to the doctor’s study for a ‘bowing.’

The tour continued through the passageways (as ‘corridors’ were called at St Francis) of the three main buildings.

“And around here is where the housemasters’ studies are.” They turned a corner into a long passageway, almost bumping into four boys standing in a line, facing the wall.

“Ha!” Anderson, chuckled and called over to the miserable looking youngsters. “Hello there! What’s this, the ‘lunchtime line-up’?”

Suddenly, behind him, he heard footsteps. It was Mr Durrant, the housemaster of Treacher’s.

“Quick!” Anderson grabbed John by the sleeve of his blazer. “Let’s go, we don’t want to get caught here.”

But, Mr Durrant was in no hurry; he had enjoyed a satisfying meal and was on his way to his study for what had become known among the boys as the ‘lunchtime line-up.’

Every day, almost without fail, one or more boys would be sent to him for a caning. St Francis Grammar was a traditional school and corporal punishment was regularly used. There were rules and if a boy got caught breaking them, he was punished, and very often that meant a beating.

One of Mr Durrant’s duties, and he took it very seriously, was to be impose discipline. That day he expected to find four boys waiting nervously outside his study and as he turned the corner he was not disappointed. They were an assorted bunch; two eleven-year-old juniors dressed in short trousers; most unusually, a prefect; and then Anthony Brewer, a fifth-form rebel who was becoming a regular visitor.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen,” he always called the boys he was about to thrash, “gentlemen.”

“Stand up straight all of you. Keep facing the wall.” The boys did as instructed, but the housemaster detected some resentment from James Axford, the prefect. Well, if he did misbehave and break rules he shouldn’t be surprised that he was treated the same way as the first-form boys; in every respect.

Mr Durrant unlocked the door of the study and beckoning to the prefect, said, “Come with me Axford.”

Showing no enthusiasm, the eighteen-year-old prefect followed behind the gowned master. James Axford entered the study, splendid in his smart green blazer with gold braiding. He looked a little apprehensive as well he might; senior boys, particularly prefects, were expected to set an example to the younger pupils, not to break the rules themselves.

“Stand there, in front of my desk.”

It was a large room, gloomy, with dark oak bookshelves around three walls. A large desk, also made from oak, dominated the room and there were a number of small wooden chairs. Two large padded armchairs were arranged around a small coffee table. The chairs were called ‘comfortable chairs,’ but to the boys who bent across their backs routinely during the lunchtime visits they were far from comfortable. In the corner was a tall, thin, cupboard that housed the implements that were responsible for that discomfort: Mr Durrant’s vast collection of canes.

He sat behind his desk and surveyed the boy. Mr Durrant knew he should have sent the boy to the headmaster, but he was certain Dr Henderson-Smith would have given Axford a special thrashing because he was a senior boy and also withdrawn his prefect status. Mr Durrant thought that punishment was too harsh for Axford’s crime.

He had been spotted in town during school hours: the school uniform was very conspicuous. Mr Durrant suspected prefects sometimes left the school premises during their free periods: the only thing Axford did differently was to get caught.

He selected a longer, thicker whippy rattan cane from his cupboard.

James had been expecting this and had a speech rehearsed, “You can’t cane a prefect, Sir; it’s not allowed.”

The barrack-room lawyer! Mr Durrant was more amused than angry, but tried not to show it.

“Pardon?”

“Prefects aren’t allowed to be beaten. No prefect has ever been beaten, that is,” he trailed off a bit as he realised his housemaster was in no mood for this.

Mr Durrant knew Axford was both right and wrong; no prefect had been caned in recent memory, the boy would have the privilege to be the first in a very long time; but there was no rule that said he could not be beaten.

The housemaster was beginning to wish he had sent the brat to Dr Henderson-Smith. All he wanted was for Axford to bend over and take his Six and they could both move on.

Then he had an idea. “Take off your tie, Axford.”

The boy was genuinely puzzled by this order. “Tie, Sir?”

“Yes Axford, take off your prefect’s tie.”

The boy hesitated, trying to work out in his mind what was going on.

“Please do it now Axford, I have others waiting outside to visit me.”

Still unsure what this meant, the boy loosened his tie and pulled it from under his shirt collar.

He held it in his hand, wondering what he was meant to do now. He didn’t have to wait long to find out.

“Hand me the tie, please.”

The housemaster took the tie and put it on his desk.

“Now, Axford, you are no longer a prefect. Please bend over that chair.”

James was indignant; he was to be beaten and lose his prefect’s status; just for being out of the school. The other guys did it all the time.

The housemaster swished his cane impatiently.

“The chair, Axford, the chair.”

James took a deep breath and stood close to the back of the armchair. He had been in this position before, but not for at least three years, when he had been caught smoking; it had been the first time he tried cigarettes and after the whacking he got then from Mr Durrant, it was also the last.

“Bend over please.”

James leaned forward and reached out to grasp the front of the seat cushion.

“Let’s have your bottom a little higher please.”

James had to stretch on tip toe before he satisfied his housemaster.

“Legs further apart.”

James screwed his eyes tight and gripped the cushion for dear life.

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.

James groaned as the whacks pounded into his buttocks, but stifled his desire to yelp out loud. He could feel moisture behind his eyes and prayed he would not cry; not at least until he was far away from the housemaster’s study and the boy standing outside waiting his turn.

Mr Durrant had not yet allowed Axford to stand. He put the cane away and watched the boy from a distance; Axford was breathing heavily and his head was so low he was almost kissing the seat cushion. The caning had hurt; Mr Durrant knew it but he also understood the importance the boys placed on their dignity, it would not matter how much agony the caning caused them, they would not want to let their punisher know.

The housemaster saw the boy wanted to get out of the study without delay, so he put him out of his misery.

“You can remove yourself Axford. You took that well.”

James stood and despite himself, his hands shot to the seat of his trousers to hold his throbbing buttocks tightly.

Mr Durrant pretended not to notice and turned to his desk and picked up the tie.

“Take this Axford, you are now reinstated as a prefect.”

Despite the agony in his buttocks and his original resentment, James was genuinely pleased to be restored to the prefecthood.

“Thank you very much, Sir.”

He signed the punishment book and Mr Durrant offered his right hand and they shook; like gentlemen do.

As he painfully shuffled towards the door, Mr Durrant called after him, “Ask the next boy to come in please.”

Picture Credit: Unknown

This story was first uploaded in September 2015.

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

 

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

School, st francis independent grammar school,