A Warmly Remembered First Interview

by John K. Williams <Jozwill@ozonline.com.au>

"Well, that seems to be that", stated the headmaster of St Bede's, tapping out his pipe on an ashtray. "As coordinator of Classical Studies, your primary teaching duties will be with our senior fifth and sixth form boys, lads preparing for their University Entrance Examinations: 'Greek', 'Latin' and 'Greek and Roman History'. You will oversee the curriculum in 'Classics' from Form One upwards - but please do not change the presently set text-books too quickly. Your remuneration we have agreed upon. Your additional allowance as a Junior House-Master is admittedly small, but you will enjoy free accommodation, cleaning of your residence, meals, and laundry. Really, your expenses will be next to nothing. If you are 'into' - as we today are lamentably taught to say - saving, so doing will be relatively easy."

I could hardly believe my ears. St Bede's, admittedly, was not on a par with Eton or Harrow, but it was a highly respected, English public - that is, in England, private - school. As a product of the English government school system, and a graduate, albeit with First Class Honours, of London University rather than of Oxford or Cambridge University, I had not expected my response to a discrete advertisement in the London 'Times' to receive a reply, let alone result in an appointment.

"One further matter. The parents of our lads value, and the lads themselves accept without complaint, that strict discipline obtains at St Bede's. None of this so-called 'progressive' nonsense! By 'strict discipline' I mean corporal punishment, and by corporal punishment I mean a thrashing with the cane. Can I assume that you are familiar with, and entertain no objections to, this mode of discipline?"

"Headmaster, as you know my background did not include a school such as St Bede's. Corporal punishment was proscribed in Government Schools when I was in third - or was it fourth? - grade. I witnessed the gradual decay of anything approximating to a disciplined environment condusive to learning. I saw disorder and disobedience all but exponentially increasing. I saw academic standards declining. I saw more than enough to convince me that the cane had and has a role to play in any school worthy of the name 'school'. I ...."

"Good!", interrupted the headmaster. "You will, as a Junior House-Master, a Senior Teacher, and Coordinator of Classics, be required to exercise a disciplinary role. Actually, you will find several canes in the large closet in your study. Do you know how to utilise a cane?"

I paused. Truthfulness clearly was required. "Not really, headmaster", I responded.

"I see. Nothing wrong in that. Nothing that cannot be corrected. Let me think for a moment...."

In the silence that followed I gazed out the window of the Headmaster's Study. What I saw enchanted me. Gracious buildings. Willow trees that must have been more than a century old. Boys wearing their 'whites' playing cricket on a green oval. A chapel, from which the sounds of a choir practising an anthem to be sung at Evensong could be heard. And I was to become part of all this! It was too much to believe. But a 'Hah!' from the Headmaster shattered my admittedly romantic revierie.

The Headmaster stood, made his way to his study's door, and spoke to his secretary. "Find out what class Simpson of the Upper Sixth is taking. Contact the Master on duty and tell him to interrupt that class and order Simpson to make his way here - and quickly. Thank you!"

The headmaster returned to his seat behind his desk. "Simpson's a good lad", he said. Captain of our 'first eleven', actually. His father, Colonel Simpson, wants him to be accepted for Officer Training. Simpson wants the same. I remember when I last had a Scotch with the colonel. 'The lad has to be kept in line!', he repeatedly stated. 'When he gets bottom marks in class a marked Simpson Jr bottom is the way to go! Get to the bottom of the problem, I say. Never did me any harm! Never did anyone any harm! Full caning privileges are yours, Headmaster, and power to your arm!. He's a good lad, but a throbbing and twitching, thoroughly caned bottom now and then will do him the world of good!' A character is Colonel Simpson! And a great supporter of St Bede's!"

The headmaster leisurely fllled his pipe and lit it.

"Last week Simpson and two other senior boys - Cornish and, if my memory serves me correctly, Curtin - took themselves off to the village and indulged themselves at the local. How they staggered their way back to St Bede's is a mystery surpassing understanding! Their housemaster sent them to me, and rightly so. When senior boys set a bad example, a salutary example is required. I gave Cornish and the other fellow - Curtin, I think - nine strokes of the cane across their bared buttocks. Each took his punishment well. I deferred Simpson's punishment: he was heading our First Eleven in a cricket match against Birghton Grammar the next day and I wanted him to be at his best. But he's got a little price to pay!"

For a minute or so the headmaster engaged me in conversation. He spoke of the history of St Bede's. He made mention of some of the men of influence who had, as boys, been schooled at the college. He told me about a scandal of sorts that, over a century ago, threatened the future well-being of the college.

A knock at the door interrupted what was an enchanting narration. "Wait!" called the Headmaster. He stood and walked to a cupboard, which he opened. He removed an academic gown and donned it. He returned to his seat behind his desk. "You might care to move from that armchair to the couch", he suggested. "As you will see, that armchair soon will serve another purpose."

When I had repositioned myself the headmaster thundered the single word, "Enter!"

The door opened. A well-built, cheerful looking, red-haired very English boy entered the study and closed the door behind him. He made his way towards the headmaster's desk and there stood at attention. "Good afternoon, headmaster" he said.

"Good afternoon to you, Simpson!" replied the headmaster. "I am going to give you a well overdue beating. You remember what led to this unhappy state of affairs, I assume?"

"Yes sir. Out of bounds and - grievous - misbehaviour."

"Shake hands with Mr Cutler. He is our new head of Classics. He will be taking your 'Greek',' Latin', and 'Greek and Roman History' classes. Mr Cutler is a learned and scholarly, First Class Honours man. You are fortunate indeed to be instructed by him. I have a feeling that Mr Cutler will have more than one occasion to beat you. I want Mr Cutler to observe the procedure we at St Bede's adopt when thrashing a wretched boy such as you!"

I was startled by the abruptness of the headmaster's words. Simpson was not so startled, or so it seemed. He turned, approached me and somewhat awkwardly proffered his hand. He gave me a grin of sorts. "A privilege to meet you, sir. We've been without a teacher in Classics for nearly two weeks. I've got some catching up to do. I guess that I'll be baring and positioning my bottom for you to deal with in the all too soon future! Sir!"

I shook the boy's - really, young man's - hand. "Good to meet you, Simpson!", I managed to splutter. The sheer good sheer with which the lad contemplated a caning from my inexperienced hand somewhat unnerved me.

Simpson turned to the headmaster. "Do you wish to take me naked, sir?", he courteously asked.

"How else?" replied the headmaster.

Fascinated, I watched as Simpson stripped. First, he removed his jacket. He then knelt down and untied then removed his shoes and socks. He lowered his braces and then his trousers, stepping out of same. "Where shall I place these, sir?", he asked the headmaster.

"Where else but on the floor - but neatly!" replied the headmaster.

Simpson carefully folded his trousers and placed them beside his jacket and shoes. Then off came his tie, followed by his shirt. These too were neatly folded and placed on the floor. He then removed his vest, folded and placed it, then looked at the headmaster. "Underpants off!", ordered the headmaster. With what seemed like a sigh Simpson lowered, then stepped out of, his underpants. These too were carefully folded and placed beside the pile of his previously removed garments. The now nude boy again made his way to the front of the headmaster's desk. Without being ordered so to do, he placed his hands on his head. "I am ready, sir", he simply said.

"The chair is over there. Bend over it, and make sure that your backside is positioned for my and the cane's convenience!", said the headmaster. Again the headmaster made his way to the closet. This time he removed and took possession of not an acedemic gown but of a wicked looking cane.

In the interim Simpson had positioned himself as requested. He was leaning slightly forward over the armchair I had previously occupied. He was not, so to speak, 'tightly' bent over. 'Bowed over' might be the better description. His bared buttocks retained their 'fleshiness'. The headmaster lightly tapped the boy's buttocks with the cane, and those buttocks sort of 'bounced' in response.

"You might care, Mr Cutler, to move over to my left", stated the headmaster. "You there will get a better view of the procedure, I think."

To my embarrassment, and indeed surprise, my _c_o_c_k_ was hard. Yet I followed the headmaster's suggestion. My eyes could not but feast upon two firm, well-rounded, very white buttocks, superbly positioned for what clearly was to come.

"I am going to adminster nine hard strokes - I understand that you lads call them 'sizzlers' - with the cane. Are you ready, Simpson? And do you agree that you more than throughly deserve what is soon to come?"

"I'm ready, sir. And I knew the rules, broke the rules, and deserve a _d_a_m_n_ good thrashing!", responded Simpson, his voice surprisingly strong.

The headmaster stook back. He took aim, gently tapping Simpson's bared bottom with the cane. He then lifted the cane above his right shoulder, paused, and then all but threw his entire body into bringing the cane down across Simpson's oh so vulnerable, waiting backside. I heard a 'swish' following rapidly by a 'crack'. For a split second Simpson was unmoving. Then his body lurched forward and a gasp was forced from his lips. A fierce, red weal made its appearance upon his previously white buttocks. Both buttocks quivered. I noticed that his left buttock was more dramatically marked than was his right buttock. I kept watching the poor boy's shaking bum-cheeks. "Thank you sir", Simpson managed to say. "That is stroke number one. I am ready to receive stroke number two". Clearly, young Simpson had been well trained.

The headmaster was, I could not but acknowledge, magnificent. Each stroke of the cane was precisely placed. A strange sort of elegance characterised the positioning of each clearly burning weal. After the ninth and final stoke, Simpson's bottom was striped with a neatness and precision that could not be denied. These weals constituted a tidy set of straight lines, separated only by the remnant whiteness of poor Simpson's buttocks. Simpson's entire body was quivering. To be truthful, the quivering and wobbling - even sposmodically jerking - of his rump was somewhat amusing to behod.

Simpson's sentence executed, the headmaster laid his cane on his desk and sat down. Simpson remained where his was, his savaged buttocks still twitching. He was speaking, in a muffled voice. "Oh sir, please, enough. Enough. It hurts, it hurts so terribly much. No more. I will try to be good. I've learned my lesson. Oh sir!...."

At long last the headmaster spoke. "You may stand!"

The boy immediately and gratefully stood. His hands grasped his striped buttocks. It looked as though he was attempting somehow to 'squeeze out' the agony he clearly was enduring. "Oh sir. That hurt. Hurt a lot. Oh Jesus! Oh sir. Well administered, sir. But oh Jesus... "

Again the headmaster spoke. "Go over to where Mr Cutler is seated. Turn around then bend over. Let him see what a well-caned bottom looks like!"

Simpson turned from the desk, faced me, forced a twisted smile, and moved towards me. His _c_o_c_k_, I could not help but notice was hard and erect. He turned around and bowed slightly forward.

His bottom was a sight to behold. I could actually count the nine weals resulting from the headmaster's precisely placed strokes of the cane. I gently touched his left buttock, noting how it quivered at even the lightest touch. I firmly smacked his striped right buttock, and noted with a strange fascination, how that buttock clenched when smacked and heard him gasp. "Bend right over, Simpson!" I found myself saying. Immediately the boy obeyed. I looked at his tight, striped bottom. It was not - how to put it - an unattractive sight.

"You will, I fear, on a not too distant occasion have more than ample cause to thrash that bottom!" I heard the headmaster say.

"How do you feel about that prospect?", I found myself asking the shivering boy.

"I would hope, Mr Cutler, Sir, that I will obediently strip as required, position my bottom as is fitting, and take my deserved punsihment with dignity. Mr Smithers, your predecessor, sir, used to say that a good thrashing is a cooperative enterprise. You have a job to do and I have a job to do. My job is to take it and to place and keep my backside in a position enabling you to do your job well. Your job is to give it, and give it hard. Mr Smithers once made my bottom look like raw steak and made be bawl my eyes out, and in front of him too. Maybe your job is, if my work is unsatisfactory or if I offend in some way, again again to turn my bottom into raw steak to make me bawl. Sir. It is very important to me and my Dad that I get accepted into Officer Training. Sir."

The headmaster almost smiled.

"I think you now understand our procedure, Mr Cutler. You, Simpson, may stand, dress, and squirm your wretched way back to your dormitory - where, I imagine, your fellowd will examine your bared bottom, sympathise with your unhappy lot, but secretly wish that your dose had been doubled or tripled or worse! But before you get dressed and make your way - your esteemed father has made it clear to me that the only way you really learn has you squirming and writhing under the cane. Do you agree?"

"Yes, sir. I hate it, but it's true. I don't know why."

"So maybe you might have a request to make of Mr Cutler."

"Sir? I'm not sure that I understand."

"How can Mr Cutler best equip you for the Officer Training entrance examination?"

"Oh that! Mr Cutler, sir. I'm not all that bright, but a _d_a_m_n_ good caning - even a caning that makes me bawl my eyes out - sort of works. If I make stupid mistakes in translation of that sort of thing, well -- strip me, make me position my bottom so it's conveniently placed, and cane my bum until your arm gets tired. I'll try to keep still - and I guess if I don't you'll know what to do!"

Again, the headmaster smiled.

"Stand up, Simpson, get dressed, and go to your dormitory!"

The boy did as ordered.

And me?

I thought about caning those firm, rounded buttocks myself!

More stories byJohn K. Williams