I have many readers from across the pond, but mostly the settings for the stories I post here are in the US. So in an effort to broaden the scope of my offerings, here is a tale set in England in the latter days of WWII. How true to life incidents like these may have been, I have no idea. Maybe they are mere flights of fancy, but then again, maybe not. The author of this piece is given only as “Robert.” It’s pretty well written and it sounds like it could have been real, so Robert is to be commended.
In January 1945 when I went away to boarding school, we were entering the sixth war weary year of the 1939/45 conflict. All able-bodied men were, at this stage, engaged on war work or on active service with the forces of the Crown and the teaching staff, even in a boys’ boarding school, included some women teachers. House Tutors, the members of staff who lived in and supervised the dormitory blocks where we boys lived, had, however, always been male, albeit somewhat aged, so it was a real novelty when Miss Brown was appointed Tutor of my house. She was in her early thirties, an experienced and able teacher who had been on our teaching staff for a couple of years. She had had prior experience in girls’ boarding establishments and, clearly, did not consider the task of looking after 100 or so teenage boys beyond her professional ability. We observed her with considerable interest as she assumed her new role!
It has to be said that Miss Brown ran the House with a light but effective style and demonstrated imagination when it came to discipline. She managed to gain the co-operation of the boys who, initially, seemed to display an old world courtesy to her as a member of the gentle sex. The house ran smoothly and the Head Master was moved to pass to us, through Miss Brown, his pleasure at a trouble free term. Inevitably, boys being boys, some began to wonder whether Miss Brown was ‘a soft touch’ and, as time went by, tested her tolerance to see what she would do! Her tactics were unique, when there were cases of rule breaking she assembled the whole house before bed time and issued a lecture, naming names and insisting that she would not tolerate continued misconduct. This approach worked well as those named became figures of ridicule rather than heroes and soon mended their ways. I understand, though this may be apocryphal, that at Staff Meetings the Head had drawn to the attention of the other House Tutors the trouble free regime Miss Brown had established. Her more cynical colleagues openly resented the implication that they were falling down on the job and openly awaited her, to their minds, inevitable downfall. To them it was as if written in tablets of stone that the only thing boys understood was six of the best applied across a tight bottom! In a way, perhaps inevitably, they were to be proved right but not to Miss Brown’s discredit.
There had been, as there was from time to time, trouble in the village between boys from the school and local youths. The Head put the school in quarantine for a month to allow things to cool down and no boy was to visit the village without express permission. Infringement of this rule, if detected, would, we understood, lead to a severe punishment! Boys, however, as has oft been remarked upon, will be boys and there were those of us, including I am sorry to say myself, who reckoned they could visit the village and return without the school staff being any the wiser. We were wrong, oh boy, were we ever wrong! A dozen of us were found out and reported to our House Tutors for disciplinary action. Subdued but philosophical, there is strength in numbers, we all expected the cane and demonstrated false bravado at the prospect of bending over to have our bottoms beaten! There was no privacy in boys’ schools in the early part of the 20th century, showers, and even lavatory cubicles, were without doors and there was no room for false modesty! The showers were where those who had recently been caned displayed, willingly or not, their weals and we would, no doubt, soon be bearing that badge of honour upon our bottoms. A caning, though dreaded, was soon over and we would be heroes. Three of the culprits, including, of course, myself, came from Miss Brown’s house. We had, oddly enough, not given much thought to the gender of our House Tutor, a caning was a caning and just possibly our canings might be less painful than those our friends from the other houses were to receive. I know there are some strange chaps who find the prospect or even the fact of being beaten by women exciting, we were not of that ilk! She would, of course, cane us, we would survive and that would be that. We thought!
At evening assembly she, as we feared, named us and expressed her grave disappointment that boys from her house should choose to ignore a direct instruction from the Head. She went on at some length expanding on the disgrace we had brought upon the school and the house. She reminded us of the responsibility we owed to the village and the school …… in other words she made the three of us feel very small and very guilty. For the first time since she took over as House Tutor the assembled boys thrilled to the words “I will see you three in my study immediately after assembly.” She then turned to other business but I doubt whether the boys heard much of her various announcements filled as they were with vicarious excitement! Schadenfreude is a powerful emotion! We three culprits certainly were not listening preoccupied as we were with thoughts of our forthcoming date with the cane. Assembly ended and, with the whispered jibes of our comrades ringing in our ears, we trooped off to stand outside Miss Brown’s study – and wait for her.
When one stands outside the tutor’s room everyone knows why you are there! Traffic along the corridor at bed time is heavy and the passers by do not spare the feelings of culprits awaiting punishment. Many a boy wondered audibly how good ‘Miss’ was with the cane and giggling juniors hurried by clutching their bottoms! It was not a happy time. Eventually Miss Brown appeared, opened her door and, saying “Come in”, ushered in the first of us. My stomach turned over as I heard the door close behind him, I waited with dread to hear the SWISH, WHACK of a caning. I admit to trembling with anxious anticipation. We could hear the sound of the Tutor’s voice but could not distinguish her words, we could hear the mumbled monosyllabic replies of our pal as he, no doubt, contemplated his beating. The sound of furniture being moved, a chair for him to bend over perhaps? It was close! I shivered. Then, quite clearly, an alarmed “Oh, no, Miss, please!” and her calm but authoritative “Do as I say, please, now!”. We two miserable culprits looked at each other in alarm, there were, thankfully no passers by at that moment. Another awful pause then the astonishing but unmistakable sound, not of a caning, but of a bare bottom spanking! The chilling sound of hairbrush on bare buttocks which I had not heard since mother last smacked my bottom at home. We stood, transfixed, each with his own miserable thoughts and listened to our pal receive a long, hard smacking! When it was over there was more mumbled conversation then, my heart leapt, the door opened and Miss Brown was heard to say “Now, to your shower and bed” and our pal crept out, his face flushed and embarrassed, and walked stiffly past us without raising his head. “Come in!” and I was left alone in the corridor.
The next few minutes were a torture! The same mumbled conversation, or rather a monologue as my pal did not seem to have much to say as he waited to have his bottom smacked. Then again I trembled at that familiar sound SMACK! Foolishly I added to my torment by counting the strokes which this time were interspersed with cries of pain and humiliation. Fifty, FIFTY crisp smacks! I had never had that many at home. I clutched my bottom in anticipation and was close to tears. I felt physically sick as the door opened again and the second, visibly chastened, boy, tears upon his flushed face, crept out. “Come along, your turn”. Perhaps noticing my distressed state Miss Brown gently took my arm and lead me into her room!
“Now, you are not going to be silly are you? You will have guessed that I did not cane your pals?” I nodded “Yes, Miss” “I do not believe in caning boys. I know that there is a foolish, perverse pride in taking a caning and that boys boast afterwards even though they may have bawled under the cane. I do not want boys showing off their caned bottoms, I want them to feel ashamed of what they have done and of their condign punishment. I have agreed with the Head Master that I may use a more traditional form of punishment – a sound spanking over my knee! Now, take down your trousers” and she seated herself on her settee holding her hairbrush. My fingers fumbled with my belt buckle as I prepared to have my bottom smacked. My trousers fell away and I stood before her in my underpants. Miss Brown took my arm and moved me round to her side “Get over my knee” and she pushed me forward so that I went down and lay, my head resting on my arms on the far side of her and my feet just touching the floor. My heart thumped in my chest, my breath came in rasping gulps. I was about to be spanked. I felt her fold my shirt clear and, with a swift, smooth movement she pulled my underpants down to my knees, I felt the air cool upon my trembling bottom. “You must learn that when the Head Master forbids boys to go into the village or issues any other instruction he means to be obeyed. Do you understand?” “Yes, Miss” I whispered and tensed my waiting cheeks. SMACK! My body jerked and I gasped with shock! It hurt, oh how it hurt! I lay, held firmly in place by Miss Brown’s left arm, and took the most astonishingly painful and humiliating smacked bottom. Like a little boy over his mother’s knee I bawled and sobbed, there was no-one there to watch my spanking and I made no attempt to be brave. In the end I was sprawled unresisting across her lap having totally surrendered and accepted my punishment. She helped me to my feet and made me stand before her, chastised and humbled, while she gave me another brief scolding before reaching forward and gently hoisting my pants back into place. “Get your trousers on and go to bed. There should be no-one in the showers now to witness your shame”. I crept out!
When your mother smacks your bottom she usually forgives you with a comforting hug. That hug assures you that despite your punishment you are loved and cherished. There was, of course, no such hug at school and the whole business had been frightening and shameful. The word soon got around, of course, and there were inevitably unkind and bruising remarks from the other boys but, privately, they too learned a lesson and we three shared the doubtful privilege of being the only boys to go across Miss’s knee.
Her system worked wonderfully well!