My One & Only School Caning: Part Ii

by Limey


By Limey

The Headmaster put his face round the dormitory door.

"Who's making that disgusting noise?"

Two of us Lower Sixth 16-year old fellows, Bob Kenyon and myself, Jim Holgate, at once admitted our wrongdoings. (Of course. We were "decent chaps". Stiff upper lip, and all that. Which involved "owning up" promptly to any transgressions.)

In my case, I had been mindlessly projecting out silly sounds. The elocution master had taught us to use our diaphragm muscles. His tuition had unfortunately worked, only too well. I hadn't realised how far the "diaphragmed" sound would carry. But it had reached the ears of our tall, balding, ginger-moustached, new Headmaster, Mr. Stevens. That night he happened to be substituting for the regular resident master. Now he barked:

"See me in my study at 9.30 tomorrow morning."


This was in the 1940's, at a boarding school on the south coast of England, St. Peter's College. It sounded dangerously like a caning coming up. (Or 'coming down??' Whatever . . .)

"R-R-R-RING!!" Already morning at St. Peter's -- and, waking up with a sinking feeling, I immediately recalled my (sweet-and-sour!) appointment with the Headmaster.

"Sweet-and-sour" because one part of me didn't want to be caned, for the first time ever, at my age, and at my size -- already I was a gangly six-footer. But another part did -- because all my life I'd been a "Closet Cane-ophile"!

From the age of 4 or 5, I had always been absorbed by the whole subject of gym-shoes, or leather slippers, or whippy school canes, being applied to boys' bottoms, tightly bent over for their spankings. I loved reading about them in the boys magazines and Christmas annuals of the time -- and watching them, too, at school, if and when possible.

At this time, The Cane, all over England was of course in regular disciplinary use, on tens of thousands of schoolboys' bottoms, clothed or bared. The fleshy sensitive buttocks, because of their many subcutaneous nerves, were the ideal spot for boy punishment. For centuries indeed, the Cane, or earlier the birch, had been THE main instrument of discipline and punishment for all English boys and youths, aged, say, seven years through eighteen. Caning was quick, effective, cathartic, and economical. It was generally expected, by parents and boys. And it was generally accepted.

Chaps tried to be "manly" over it -- to say it was nothing to worry about, that it didn't hurt. But in truth a good caning -- six, eight, ten, twelve "of the best" -- was exquisitely agonising. To say the least, it was greatly respected. This national caning tradition was to continue in place for the next nearly fifty years. In those days, English school discipline and learning was generally excellent . . . No 'soccer hooligans' at that time!

And to this practically universal tradition of caning, St. Peter's was no exception. But at this school, or anywhere else, my own personal bum had never as yet received its due, and needed, share of The Cane. Spanked in the dormitory often enough, yes, with the heel of a gymshoe, in pyjamas, which hurt. But I had never once been caned, which hurt much more. There was a big difference. In pain, and in procedure.

So now, on this morning of my date with the Headmaster, my lifelong cane-exemption seemed, in all probability, shortly to be ended. My personal record was going to be broken, decisively.

However, as I've said, cane-tanning was my strange, secret fascination, disclosed to no-one else. At long last, it seemed, my personal bottom was now going to get its first cane-whipping. Well, at least I could enjoy tasty mental images of the various rituals and procedures that would likely be visited on it soon, in the Headmaster's study . . .

I went to the showers. There the the round, protuberant, teen-age bums, cavorting around, unconsciously clenching and relaxing, held a definite wry interest for me. My own, I soaped, washed, and towelled with particular care. After all, under punishment in the Headmaster's study, there was no telling what features the morning, and the Head's whims, might uncover . . .

As I dressed, it occurred to me that I might put on bathing trunks, or a second pair of underpants, under my uniform slacks, in case he did whip me? I dismissed the thought, as unworthy. (Didn't I say we were "decent fellows," "responsible boys"!? Padding one's bum before punishment was in the category of "not done"! Besides, ahem, the Head might take down one's trousers . . .)

A dormitory-mate, Joe Starkey, quietly asked me what I thought the Head would do to me, at 9.30. I shrugged, brazening the thing out as best I could.

"Probably try and cane me," I answered.

("Try!??" What could I have done to stop him, if I'd even wanted to!??)

After breakfast, etc., plumb on 9.30, black shoes well shined, our school uniforms perfect, Bob Kenyon and I reported ourselves to the Head's study, as ordered the previous night.

Mr. Stevens wasn't long in letting my friend Bob go. He just shoo'ed him out, with a smile. It was me he was after, apparently, me alone he intended for a sharp shock.

When Bob was gone, and the door closed, there followed an appalling dressing down. The worst of "My Life as a Teachers' Pet"! After a few seconds, I realized it was the Cane for me all right, no messing! The Boss was really working himself up to it. He scolded me up hill and down dale. I was a failure in the school. I was lazy. The other masters complained of me. I wasn't pulling my weight. Etc., etc. Strip after strip was torn off me.

Looking back, I can only say, honestly, that the Boss was only too right. I had become conceited, too full of my own teen-age importance. Which attitudes might have been corrected long since by my Father's three-tailed strap at home, kept in the dining room sideboard. But he used this on me only once, at about the age of eight or nine. This was a really wild, enraged lashing, all over my clothed body. I was sobbing hysterically at the end, as he more or less threw me about. I can't now remember what I'd done wrong -- probably been chronically insolent.

He never repeated this strapping though, even when I definitely deserved it and was sure he was going to -- when, for example, late at night, more than once, he burst into my bedroom, and caught me, heart in mouth, clandestinely reading with a flashlight under the bedclothes. This he had strictly forbidden. (Somehow I now feel that my well-meaning Mother, who held the purse- strings in the family, may have told him he wasn't to thrash me again . . . ! I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect it . . . My loss, of course.)

Anyway, Mr. Stevens at least, for one, obviously wasn't about to miss his opportunity to teach me my lesson (of a lifetime, as it turned out). He finally ended his diatribe. The time for action had arrived. He got up from his desk. He went over to his bookcase, explaining nothing -- just letting his movements speak for themselves. (What my immediate future held, of course, really needed no horoscope, or crystal ball!) He selected a tiny key from his chain, unlocked a long, oblong, panel in the bookcase -- it must have been a special Headmaster's item of furniture! -- and withdrew from it --The Cane!

Just to sidetrack for a moment. This "cane compartment," or "cane panel," in the Head's bookcase, I found very interesting. I'd never heard previously about any bookcase's containing such a "cane section." This must of course have been custom-designed by the manufacturers (I wonder how they described it in their catalogues!?). Nor have I heard of such a compartment since. On thinking about it, though, it seems to me to be rather sensible, to fill a need, to represent something of "a reasonable compromise."

Meaning? Well, after all, caning was very much a fact of school life in those days. And some Headmasters actually had umbrella stands in their studies, containing a wide variety of punishment rods. Yet didn't there seem to be something a little crass, something a little in-your-face, about these canes being in plain view like that? Surely the sight would disturb, wouldn't it, normal communication between the Headmaster and his visitors -- boys, parents, teachers, other callers, whatever?

Yet, on the other hand, there seemed no reason, either, to be unnecessarily furtive, or secretive, about the existence of the canes. Hiding them behind filing cabinets, say, or on the tops of cupboards. That's why I call the "cane compartment" idea in the Head's bookcase a "reasonable mean" -- a good compromise, between the umbrella stands, and the backs of the filing cabinets.

This lockable "cane panel" still seems to me a good solution to the practical problem of how and where to keep Headmaster's canes, when not in use. (Kept them secure too, I guess, from vandalizing boys . . . though these were pretty rare in those days!)

Anyway, as I say, Mr. Stevens withdrew The Cane, with a bit of a rattle, from his "Cane Compartment." I didn't get a chance to look at it too closely, but it was long, thin, and smooth, not knobbly. He doubled it up, almost in a circle.

My bottom tightened in anticipation.

Vigorously he switched the weapon up and down, to get the feel of it again. To remind himself, I guess, of the rhythm and proper handling of this solid rattan whip, rippling along its length like something alive.

As he did all this, the breath was leaving my body. I panted, almost. Unbelievably, amazingly, I was actually going to be "executed!" My bum was actually about to get its very first Caning -- at school or anywhere else! My knees turned to water, my heart was thumping like a steam hammer.

Yet I found time to wonder, for a moment, fleetingly, if I shouldn't (as a "decent chap"), align myself openly on the Head's side, of law and order and discipline. That is, if I shouldn't frankly accept the coming punishment, by "unselfishly cooperating," by "going the extra mile," as it were.

Specifically, believe it or not, what had crossed my mind was nothing less than to take the initiative, and, unrequired and unasked, voluntarily to let down my own trousers! I would thus be presenting my bum, of my own free-will, barenaked to Mr. Stevens' cane, for a really thorough whipping.

The object of the exercise would be just to show willing, as it were -- just to preserve my "responsible, well-behaved boy" image to the end -- (literally!). The Head would be bound to respect that gesture, wouldn't he? (Amazing what the human brain can come up with in a split second!)

But I hesitated too long. The frozen moment passed. My trousers remained where they were.

I heard the magic, mystic words that I'd so often rehearsed in my own mind, but never thought to hear addressed to me personally, as a school offender.

"B-E-N-D O-V-E-R the chair, Holgate."

For sheer awesomeness, in terms of spanking rubrics, this formula, "bend over", probably led all the rest. Even such as the galvanising, "Go to my study," or "Fetch me The Cane," or "Take off your jacket," or "Pull down your shorts," or "Much tighter."

Indicating a chair with the wobbly thin cane, the Headmaster actually repeated the time-honored, bend-over, command.

I continued of course to be dazed, staggered. If anything, my bewilderment heightened. Could all this, the totally unexpected, the totally unanticipated event -- at least up to last night in the dormitory -- possibly be happening to me now?? Was my bottom really going to be caned for the first time?? At sixteen?? At six feet tall?? Could it be possible that all my scores of secret CP fantasies were now going to be made real, after lo! these many years??)

Ahem!! Phew!! Yet, there were the words:-

"B-E-N-D O-V-E-R the chair, Holgate."

But there was a problem here. The Head didn't say HOW I had to bend over the chair. I gulped, blushing bright red.

Did he want me to bend over the chair back?

Or over an arm?

Or to push my head down in the seat, hands gripping the edges, and then raising my trousered bottom up, for tanning -- or what? All these positions I'd read about.

I danced about the chair, nonplussed, confused. It seemed only too blatantly obvious I'd never been caned before.

I also imagined Mr. Stevens thinking to himself, "Right -- I'll soon cure that!"

However, at last, to break the deadlock, to do something, whether right or wrong, I made as if to kneel on the chair, starting to stick my bottom out. (Subconsciously hoping, perhaps, to give Mr. Holgate "the right idea," a hint to employ an arrangement I rather liked.)

But the Head didn't take the hint. He said, "No. Not like that. Like this."

I got off the chair. He demonstrated. Merely leaning -- leaning! -- over the chair back, he simply slid his hands, not right down the chair legs, as in most of the written accounts of corporal punishment, but just over the chair arms. And that was it.

Frankly, I was deeply disappointed. I felt cheated. It seemed a very amateurish, tame position for a proper beating. Such a mere "stooping over" a chair back was not going to produce a properly tight bottom, for my first (and, as it proved, my only) school caning.

Mr. Stevens seemed deficient in other respects too. He didn't tell me even to remove my blazer, nor to pull my shirt up out of my pants.

No, "Take your trousers down, Holgate."

He didn't say even, "Stretch your pants."

That is, tug them up at the back, thus tightening the trousers round the two plump cheeks, and, spine hollowed, knees bent, presenting them in perfect relief, in thin dark slacks, almost as bare, to the sucky, flexible Cane. (Also disposing of the "hands" problem.)

But no, nothing like that. Particularly, no use of my very favourite, oft dreamed-about, arrangement -- two chairs placed back to back. As the miscreant, I would clamber up on the first chair, kneeling on a couple of thick dictionaries, thus stretching my pants. And then, legs spread, hoisting my groin and tight bum on the very top of the two chairs -- "right over, Holgate" -- forearms and head well down on the seat of the second chair. (Or even, in view of my six feet of height, fingers on the actual carpet beside this chair.)

This would have been the ideal set-up for a really efficient, swingeing, caning. My round peachy bum would be perfectly positioned and displayed. The cheeks just waiting, practically immobilised, to receive their slow, leisurely, careful thwacks -- horizontal, vertical, diagonal -- for the elegant, painful painting on them of the renowned "Barred Gate" pattern, or even the "Union Jack." I wouldn't have minded if he had taken ten minutes over the job.

But, alas, the Boss didn't adopt this "Two-Chair" gambit.

Neither did he put chalk on The Cane, to leave white traces on my bum that would aid the more precise placement of subsequent strokes.

He didn't chalk my bottom itself -- that is, draw a careful chalk line across the two tight cheeks of my black uniform slacks, low down, again to act as a kind of "pathfinder" guide, to the "bombs" impending from the rod.

Nor did he have me sprawled over his desk, jacket off, trousers hitched up, chin on hands, eyes looking up to a spot on the wall, legs widely parted, feet on tip-toe, my round smoothed bum raised high for the cane -- an arrangement I'd read about that had always appealed to me.

Nothing like that. He didn't send me out to the gym., either, to take off my trousers and underpants, and replace them with brief, tight nylon, football shorts.

He didn't tell me to touch my toes, or grab my ankles.

Not at all. None of these procedures and techniques. None of the luscious, juicy, spanking commands, rituals, and routines I'd read about so often. Just 'lean over the chair.' Oh, brother!!

As I say, I felt cheated, frustrated. Dust and ashes were my diet. The Headmaster, executioner of this, my one and only caning at school, who 'ex officio' was supposed to be a professional caning expert, was coming across as a very pedestrian, very ordinary, uninspired, unimaginative, amateur. It was an awful letdown.

Anyway, I did as he told me. Disgusted, sniffing, I just inclined slightly over the chair back, hands on the arms..

And the caning itself was hardly more satisfactory. He let me have five, not even six.

THRASH!! One!! THRASH!! Two!! THRASH!! Three!!

After a businesslike three, I must say it did become quite painful. After all, I assume the cane he was using was a special "Headmaster's Cane." Like the dense, deadly, willowy weapon I was to purchase much later in Piccadilly, London, as described in Part I.

To the day of my death, I will clearly remember thinking to myself:

"If he goes on like this for much more, sixteen years old or not, I'm going to be crying."

TH-RASH!!! Four!!! TH-RASH!!! Five!!! Two more, harder.

But at five it was over. Then, without another word, without any kind of pep-talk or anything, he just grabbed me by the elbow, and jostled me out of the door.

(He didn't even give me the chance to say a clean-cut, stalwart, "Thank you for beating me, Sir" -- another "decent, blue-eyed boy" expression, which, admittedly, was far from my mind at the time!)

Deflated and disappointed, knuckling my pants a bit, I nevertheless hurried up to the empty dormitory. Pulling down my slacks and underpants, as Jim Helliwell had done terms before, I lifted my shirttail, and examined minutely the damage to my bum in the swing mirror.

Just as I thought. Little to see. A few red tramlines, soon to disappear, on my right buttock, and below it. But what else could you expect, with a bottom merely 'stooped over,' protected by three layers of clothing?

And that was it. I couldn't believe it. What a miserable effort, for my one and only school caning! Very basic, very elementary, to put it mildly. Nothing stylish, or elegant, or ceremonious, or artistic, or satisfying about it. Most cursory, is what it was. You really couldn't call it a decent, respectable, punishment-tanning at all.

By way of excuse, Mr. Stevens was our new Headmaster at St. Peter's. This was his first job as a Headmaster. In his previous existence, perhaps he hadn't had all that much experience of the fine art, and science, of tanning deserving schoolboy bottoms. But what a dull, grey, weak anticlimax -- after the exciting, many-splendored, fantasies and dreams of a dozen years! I was one disgusted, tooth-sucking, cane-ophile!

I joined my fellow Sixth Formers, including the sympathetic Bob and Joe, in our senior class, for Latin or something. As I came in, the guys looked at me askance. I passed my hand over my rear, took my time sitting down, and they got the message.

Ultimate letdown or not, yet I suppose the humiliation of being told to bend over, and for the first time have my bottom cane-whipped -- however prosaically, however inadequately -- in my last term at school, like any old schoolboy erk, did perhaps help to bring me down to earth, to shape me up a bit and to fly right. I guess, in the end (again, literally!), "It didn't do ME any harm!"

More stories by Limey