A boy and a girl caught and punished
In the early seventies the boarding school my father had gone to started accepting girls into the sixth form. Up until then I had gone to a local grammar, but my parents felt that the education at the boarding school would give me a better chance of getting into a top university. I was warned that the cane was applied equally at the school and that it might be stricter than at the Grammar, where the caning of a girl (on her hands) was an event that only happened once or twice a year. The worst I had got was a slippering in the second year for forgetting to bring a textbook back from home.
At the boarding school I found that sixth formers (unlike those in the junior years) in general saw very little corporal punishment, but that if they did do something serious enough then it was virtually always the cane. I successfully avoided any such problems until my final term, when a few weeks after the Easter break, my relationship with another boy (Greg) in the upper sixth proved my undoing. I still remember very clearly the events of that day.
“Still up for that game of tennis, Kate?” Greg asked.
“Yeah. Greg looking forward to that is all that’s been keeping me going through this lot.” I gestured to my revision notes scattered over the desk I was using in the sixth form common room. “I’ve been studying for four hours solid. I need a break.”
“I have the court booked from four so see you in fifteen minutes,” he said.
Fifteeen minutes later I was in my tennis kit; white t-shirt and short pleated white skirt walking towards the court. Greg was already waiting, dressed in his white polo shirt and the relatively tight shorts that were popular back in the 1970s. He was quite a handsome lad and we had been going out for over a year. The school was (understandably) quite strict about what was and was not allowed, so it was a lot of chatting together with opportunities for more than a perfunctory kiss being rather limited.
I was fairly good at tennis, and the games were fairly close. We had an excellent hour’s play and both had enjoyed our relaxation as our slot came to an end. During the game a couple of tennis balls had gone over the high fence at the back and gone down the embankment behind, so leaving our rackets and the remainder of the balls on the grass at the top, we went to fetch them. One was quickly found, but the other had gone further and we eventually found it at the bottom, which was quite wooded.
I remember commenting: “It’s quite quiet down here,” to Greg. Looking up we could see that by going a little further we would be out of sight of any prying eyes on the court. We walked on a little and soon found a spot where we could have (what I thought at the time would be) a quick kiss and cuddle. However, that developed into a bit more than that and soon became a bit of petting.
We did not hear Mr Williams, the school PE teacher, approach. Apparently he had heard some noises, noted the rackets and had come down to investigate.
“What do you think you are doing!” He shouted as he found us.
Both of us sprang apart. Greg’s hand quickly withdrew itself from the inside of my T-shirt and my hand, which had been somewhere on Greg’s jockstrap with his shorts unfastened, also retreated quickly.
It was me who spoke first. “Sorry sir, we were just looking for a couple of balls that came down the back of the court.” I blurted out. It was a stupid statement and I regretted it as soon as I said it.
Mr Williams briefly smirked at us and said: “Well you were looking in some very odd places!”
I thought for a minute that my unintended humour might get us off, but his serious countenance more or less immediately reappeared. “You may have come down here for a legitimate reason, but what you were doing when I found you was most certainly not. This is a matter for your housemaster. You are both in Walborough, aren’t you?”
Greg pleaded. “Please sir, it won’t happen again, we just got a bit carried away after having revised all day.”
However, Mr Williams was adamant, and we soon found ourselves waiting outside the study of our housemaster, Mr Cartwright. He was not in and Mr Williams left us either side of the corridor, noses to the wall while he went to find him. We did not dare talk or turn round, and I remember a few laughs and some rather uncomfortable comments from a few junior boys as they went past the entrance to the corridor that led to Mr Cartwright’s private suite of rooms, including his study. Fortunately none of them dared come down the short corridor so their opportunities to torment us were limited to catcalls. No-one of course knew why we were there, but most assumed that we soon would have very sore, stripy bottoms and made the point. The reality that that might happen was sinking in fast and I could feel my body being to tingle with the anticipation (dread) of what might happen.
It was half an hour before Mr Cartwright arrived, unlocked his door and ushered us in. We both stood facing his desk, still each in our tennis kit, nervously fidgeting as he stared angrily at us.
“Well,” he said. “I have heard exactly how Mr Williams found you. Have you anything to say for yourselves?”
I stared down at my shoes, and was silent. Greg was equally quiet. There was little we could say, given how we had been found.
Mr Cartwright continued: “I am appalled at both of you and the behaviour you have shown. I am not going to lecture you on what you have done but I am going to make sure that you learn some better self-control.
“First, you are both forbidden from being alone together for the rest of the term, and that includes sports activities. You may only talk to each other in classrooms, the library, refectory and the sixth form common room. If you find you are going to be the last two present then one of you will leave that room. Second, you are both gated, forbidden from leaving school grounds without my express permission. Is that understood?”
We both muttered our assent; the opportunities to continue our relationship, other than talking of course, were being curtailed very effectively.
“And finally you will both receive six strokes of the cane to emphasise that this behaviour cannot be tolerated at this school.”
I gulped and felt sick. This was not helped by the appalled look on Greg’s face. I knew he had been caned in the junior school. There was hardly a boy who was boarding who hadn’t and seeing the look on his face made me realise that what was about to happen was going to be nothing short of dreadful.
Mr Cartwright though was continuing to speak as he pulled a chair into the middle of the room. “Right Collins, you know the form, trousers down and over the chair. You can show your girlfriend how it is done!”
“But, but sir, I’ve only got my jockstrap on under my shorts!”
“As far as I am concerned they will suffice as underpants, Collins, now get over that chair before you get extra.”
Mr Cartwright, had a reputation as a very fair but firm teacher, and Greg knew better than to argue a point. I watched mesmerized as Greg went over to the chair back, slowly unzipped his shorts again, and then pulled them down until they could fall to the floor around his ankles. I could see his bare bottom framed neatly by the waist and thigh elastic of his jockstrap and watched as he bent over tightly into position, grasping the low bar on the chair. I have to say the sight was quite alluring as he really did have, in my view, a very cute bum.
Meanwhile, Mr Cartwright was over in his corner cupboard and returned with a three foot long crook handled cane (Greg told me later it was the so-called senior cane). I had never seen a cane before and got butterflies in my stomach just looking at it.
“I expect you to stay in position until I am finished. If you move I will repeat the stroke. Understood?” Said Mr Cartwright as he took position.
I heard Greg reply: “Yes Sir,” as Mr Cartwright gently placed the cane across the middle of Greg’s backside.
After a few taps I saw him slowly raise the cane high and then bring it down with an almighty Swish onto Greg’s bottom. The ‘crack’ was like a gunshot in the room. I could not believe the force he had used to hit him. My eyes were nearly popping as I watched with appalled fascination as a white line rapidly changed colour to a red stripe across his rear end.
I was amazed that Greg had not jumped up screaming, rather than just give a gasp as the stroke hit him.
Mr Cartwright meanwhile was calmly lining up his second stroke. I watched as the cane again was raised into the air and heard the hiss as it arced down to the target. Another horrible ‘crack’ and I watched another mark form on his bottom, accompanied by a bit of a grunt from Greg.
On the third stroke Greg cried out for the first time, and on the fourth one I could no longer watch properly. I part closed my eyes and turned my face away as the cane whizzed down and ‘cracked’ across his bottom, accompanied by a scream from Greg.
I could hear Greg sobbing as he took the last two strokes, which Mr Cartwright seemed to put even more effort into. The final stroke landed partly across the broad elastic covering the bottom of his buttocks, but judging by the screech, that offered little if any protection.
As soon as the last stroke had been given Greg stood bolt upright and tried to grasp his bottom. His face was a mess. I knew Greg was supposed to be a brave lad, and was utterly shocked at what I had witnessed. All the time of course the sickness in my stomach had been rising as I knew my moment of truth was arriving all too soon.
Mr Cartwright ordered Greg to the wall (he did not make him face it, and I knew then that he was going to be able to witness my thrashing as I had seen his). I then heard his first command aimed at me.
“Arkwright, skirt off and over the chair.”
I really wanted to run away, and despite promising myself to be brave, I found that I was already crying. I was having great difficulty in moving.
Mr Cartwright said “Come on girl, get that skirt off now, unless you want eight!”
Jolted by the threat into action I slowly unwrapped the skirt, and put it on the chair seat in front of me. Bending over was difficult and I found myself on tiptoe to stretch over the back and grasp the chair legs. I was very glad my tennis knickers were much more modest than some of the underwear I could have worn, especially at weekends. All too soon I felt the light tap of the stick on the middle of my pants.
I kept telling myself that it was not going to be too bad right up until the ‘crack’ I heard as the first stroke landed across my bottom. I could not believe how sore it was, complete agony. I confess I screamed, stood up, grasping my bottom with tears running down my cheeks.
Mr Cartwright was not amused. “You heard what I said about extra! Get back over that chair this instant! I will let you off this time only, as it was your first stroke”
I looked in disbelief at his face. This teacher, normally very helpful and patient to his pupils, was changed into a harsh disciplinarian. Slowly I turned around and presented my bottom again. This time I gripped the chair legs as tightly as I could, trying to ignore the top of the chair back digging into my stomach and the pain from that first stroke.
Crack! I screamed but held on as the agony from the second strike built up. Then further pain as another ‘crack’ announced the arrival of the third stroke. I was blubbering, pleading and screaming as the next two stokes landed on the target that was my bottom.
I remember feeling the pressure of the cane pushing into the bottom of my buttocks as he lined up the last stroke. I know I was crying “No, please. No.” As the cane whistled into the allotted landing site with all the force that Mr Cartwright could put into it. As soon as it was done I stood up and my hands went to my bottom. I was in utter agony, tears were running everywhere, mainly due to the pain, but also as I was so ashamed that I could not have controlled myself better.
I somehow managed to wrap my skirt around me and we were dismissed separately, myself first, to our dorm rooms. I found Rachel, my roommate waiting for me. She looked shocked at the state I was in and, after a few words of comfort, I was left while she went to the evening meal. It must have taken me at least half an hour crying into my pillow before I could even think of getting changed into my pyjamas.
That evening I found myself an unwilling centre of attention as most of the girls wanted to see the results of my thrashing. I was the first, (and last girl) in my year group in ‘Walborough’ to get it so there was no way to avoid their “sympathy” which seemed to me to have an unhealthy element of excitement in it as they examined the weals on my bottom.
Greg and I did manage to keep our relationship going until we both went our separate ways at the end of the summer holidays, when we went to different universities. However, during the rest of that term we kept to the rules laid down by Mr Cartwright. Neither of us wanted to experience a second dose of that cane.