Lizzie does not believe the cane could possibly be as bad as her mother says, and decides to find out. Only problem is that corporal punishment has long since been abolished in schools.
By Joanna Jones
* * *
I taught at Carnton Grammar for the best part of forty years, before taking early retirement in 2000 to look after my terminally ill husband, who passed away a year or so later.
In 2004 the Grammar was fifty years old. A variety of activities to mark the event were happening. These included two ‘alumni’ balls, dances for the junior, middle and senior schools, and all were preceded by a ‘Fifties Week’ where the school would go back in time and today’s students would experience school as close as possible to the way the first cohorts would have known it.
I have to say I was very much looking forward to the alumni balls, and in particular to seeing some of my former charges. However, the event that most sticks in my mind as a result of the celebrations started with a phone call on a rather damp February afternoon during the ‘Fifties Week’.
It came from the headteacher, Mrs Andrea Jacobs, who in her early sixties was only a few years younger than me. We were both close friends as well as former colleagues, and we still met regularly socially. After the usual pleasantries she got down to the issue she wanted to discuss.
“Do you remember Lizzie Salmond?” She asked. “I think she was in your form group in the Junior School.”
“Of course!” I replied. “Extremely bright, outgoing girl, always well behaved. I expect she’s a prefect now?”
“Deputy head girl actually,” was Andrea’s response. “So, given what you know about her, would it surprise you that she was caught smoking in a school corridor?”
I was flabbergasted, as Lizzie was the last person who I would have expected to smoke, let alone do it on school premises, and said as much.
The response was even more surprising. The headteacher had told Lizzie that she was going to be stripped of her status as deputy head girl and suspended for a week. Lizzie had then pleaded for an alternative and suggested that as it was ‘Fifties Week’ perhaps she could have the cane!
“But surely she knows that’s not legal!?” I said.
“Indeed,” responded Andrea. “But she thought as she was eighteen already she could consent to it as an adult. She was rather shocked and disappointed when she found out that that could not apply to school teacher – pupil scenarios.”
My mind was beginning to work overdrive. “Are you telling me that she actually wanted to be caned?”
“Yes,” was the simple reply. Andrea then explained how she extracted the whole story from Lizzie; how she’d deliberately set herself up to be caught in the hope she could experience the cane as she found the stories she’d heard stimulating her curiosity. Apparently she wanted to find out if it was really as bad as her mother and grandmother made it out to be.
“So what have you done about it?” I asked.
“Well once she’d told me the story, and it was clear the desire to experience the cane was driving her, I decided that may be I should be more lenient and think about alternatives to my original proposal. Fortunately Mrs Williams, the PE teacher, found her, so sending Lizzie out, I got hold of her and had a chat. Both of us remember watching a TV programme on a fifties schools re-enactment where a difficult lad was sent for a cold shower. As no-one apart from the two of us knew of the offence, and her being eighteen, we agreed to keep the whole thing between us if Lizzie accepted that punishment.”
“I expect she’s mortified being stark naked in front a teacher at her age writhing in freezing February water”
“I hope so Clare,” was the reply. “She’s been very silly. That’s where she is at the moment, and if she takes it without complaint I’ve told her she can keep her badge.”
I was beginning to wonder where I fitted in when she continued.
“The problem is I don’t think this caning issue is going to get out of her mind.”
“And?” I asked. I was sure that I was not going to like what was coming next.
“And, Clare, you’re no longer a teacher so could perhaps talk to her about this obsession. Yes, you weren’t here. It is an obsession,” she repeated as I began to interrupt. “That she has.”
I was now reeling. “You want me to cane her!?” I exclaimed.
“No, I am suggesting you take time to talk to her, make your own judgment on this. However, if she can persuade you, then why not? She can legally consent to you as an adult friend with no formal links.”
“Andrea, are you sure about this? I am not very comfortable to be honest.”
“I know. I am hoping talking to you will dissuade her. However, to be honest the thing is locked in her imagination, and I would much prefer someone who knows what they are doing was involved rather than the risks, both sexual or of injury, if she asks a boyfriend or other friend to take some rigid garden cane to her backside. Between you and me I personally would have caned her today given all the effort and risk she took in planning this, but that is just not possible.”
Eventually I agreed to talk to her. After the Head had talked to Lizzie again I found myself expecting her round that afternoon, directly after school.
She arrived in what was a good approximation of the sort of uniform that was worn by a sixth former 50 years ago. Between the school, parents and the community I knew enough items had been found for all the pupils.
She was, not surprisingly, nervous, but after a cup of tea and some general chat I could recognise a mature form of the girl I knew, and had enjoyed teaching for the three years in the junior part of the school. Eventually I broached the reason she was here.
“So, do you want to tell me about today at school?” I asked.
She had the good grace to blush profusely and the story she told fitted exactly with Andrea Jacobs impressions. She still felt a strong desire to be caned, and even went as far as reminding me that when I was much younger I’d thrashed her mother for smoking in the mid-seventies. It seems that had been the root of the plan she had tried earlier. It was clear she would like me to do it that afternoon if it were possible.
I told her that I wanted time to think about it, and pointed out that she might have difficulty explaining her reaction if her boyfriend put his hand on her bottom when dancing at the forthcoming senior school dance in any case!
Instead we agreed to meet and discuss for a few weeks, and then make a decision. I pointed out I was going to be much happier if I could convince her to keep her bottom intact, which she accepted. To give her an excuse I said I would help her with her A-level geography and she could help me with a couple of chores, and let me enjoy her company. She looked puzzled at this, but living alone can be very quiet.
And for a few weeks that worked out well. We discussed her project, school in general, and of course she was inordinately interested in the way punishments had changed while I was a teacher, and how it was when I was a child. As time went on, and it came clear to me that dissuasion was not going to work, we also discussed the practical issues associated with me caning her; for example her parents and boyfriend.
The former she sorted herself, having a chat with her mother, who then arranged to meet me. Over a coffee, she more or less said she thought her daughter was mad, but she was much happier with me doing the ‘honours’, if that was what she wanted, than some of the alternatives she could imagine. Her last words were: “If you do agree to thrash her, don’t hold back. After all she wants the real experience. I won’t mind if she comes home in the state I was in after you dealt with me. In fact, I’ll be rather disappointed if she isn’t!”
As for her boyfriend she would arrange an argument with him and sulk for a week or two. Poor John, I thought!
So about a month and a half or so since the events at the school, at the end of our weekly chat I said to her when she was least expecting it. “This Friday after school I want you to report here for your caning, assuming you still want it.”
Lizzie visibly gulped as the reality sank in. She quickly replaced that with a smile and lots of thanks. I wondered if she’d be thanking me in three days time.
Before she went I laid out some ground rules. First this was going to be a real punishment; I was going to award six of the best, extra for disobedience, and there would be no negotiation et cetera. She would have to hold herself in position. If she found it too much at any point she could leave the room, which in school terms would be accepting expulsion. Finally I told her that she had never seen me angry, at least on a one to one basis, and to remember that was part of what she’d asked for. Finally I gave her a note. At Cranton, in later years, a caning was preceded by a note home for parental, or in the rare eighteen year old cases where he or she so chose, the student’s own, approval.
Andrea gave me a couple of old senior canes, gathering dust in the school store, and I also got a couple of old gym kits of sizes around Lizzie’s and laundered them ready for her.
I had decided to use the school approach in the seventies, and had told Lizzie that would be the case for her “experience”. At that time only a small number of teachers (myself included) could cane and pupils had to change into a gym kit before reporting to the designated member of staff. My reasons for using it here were to give her plenty of time to consider what was going to happen; also I did not want her running out of the house in tears if she found it too much. Finally it was the way I would have dealt with her mother, all those years ago, so it seemed particularly appropriate.
She arrived fairly promptly at twenty past four, dressed in a pleated skirt and dark tights rather than her usual grey slacks that sixth formers were permitted to wear. I think she was a bit surprised that I had put on a business suit, again part of my effort to separate this from our friendly chats of the previous few weeks.
“Ah, Miss Salmond, into my study, please.” I walked into my back room which I used as a work room, keeping my documents and computer there. I sat down on a chair next to my desk, which was to one wall and left her standing in the middle of the room.
“You have your note?”
“Yes Miss.” She was clearly a bit nervous as she handed it over, although not as half panic stricken as most girls were when due a dose of the cane.
“Stand still girl, hands by your side!” I ordered. She had started fidgeting and her hands subconsciously were gripping her bottom lightly. Her eyes kept flicking around the room; I am sure she was looking for a cane, but both remained hidden next to my desk.
I took my time to read the note, which oddly enough was signed by both her and her mother. Lizzie had put a few thanks at the bottom, and there was a bit of a note saying she was nervous but I shouldn’t worry about punishing her properly. Rather viciously I thought it should be her that was worried; in my view she absolutely had no idea what she had let herself in for.
I looked at her hard for a few minutes before saying: “Right I am not going to lecture you again on your behaviour, you know perfectly well why you are here. You will go up to my private bathroom and change into one of the school gym kits up there, remember you are not permitted any underwear other than the gym knickers. Understood?”
Lizzie replied: “Yes, Miss.”
“Good, you have ten minutes to get back here. I expect you to knock then wait on the seat outside till I am ready. Off you go!”
I heard Lizzie climb the stairs and set about getting ready, putting the chair I was going to use in the middle of the room, and checking the window was closed. My back garden was large and private, but I know noise can travel a long way. Finally I chose the better looking of the two senior canes I’d been given. It was about a yard long and I laid it on my desk and then waited. Soon enough I heard a knock and reminded her to wait. Nothing like a few minutes to get the tension up.
Eventually, cane in hand, I called her in. For the first time I saw her blanche as she saw the rod. She was clad in a fairly tight pair of green gym knickers with white piping on the sides and a white top with green piping on the short sleeves. The top was rather short and the hem was only just tucked into the top of the knickers.
“Right girl, let’s get on with this. Six strokes. I want you bent over the back of that chair as far as you can, keeping your legs straight. Remember failure to keep position WILL mean extra strokes. You will not get up after the last stroke until I tell you so. Understood?”
Another: “Yes Miss,” before I said: “Right then, Bend Over!”
She took her time getting in position, but soon her bottom was in the air coated by a layer of stretched green fabric. It was then I noticed a distinctive ruggle line near the top of the gym pants. Surely not! I went forward lifted the top of the elasticated shorts, provoking a gasp from young Miss Salmond, and found the top elastic of a plain black thong which I pulled out and let snap back to her skin. I did not need to pretend to be cross!
“Elizabeth Salmond! Stand up girl! What is the meaning of this? Did I not say no underwear under your gym shorts? Get that thing off right now, and one extra stroke for such outrageous disobedience!”
She looked quite shocked as she stood up, and very disconcerted. I doubt this was part of what she envisaged. “Please, it’s only a thong, what difference will it make?” She said.
I could not believe that she was going to argue with me. “What difference? The difference is in not doing what you are told! School regulations permit one layer of clothing to protect your modesty, not your backside. You have two. Now get that thong thing off right NOW!”
She was beginning to look quite distressed, perhaps it was getting too real for her. If so that was too bad, I thought.
However, she still wanted to argue it seemed. As she said rather desperately: “But, please!” I got really angry.
“BUT what Miss Salmond? BUT perhaps what has been normal practice for years at this school is not good enough for you? Enough of this! One more stroke for your insolence.” I took a deep breath and spoke a little more calmly. “Since you seem so attached to that thong I’ll give you a choice. You have two items protecting your modesty. I want one on this desk and the other on your backside waiting for my cane over that chair. Choose quickly, you are already up to eight strokes. I want no argument, the only other alternative is expulsion.” I said pointing with the cane towards the door.
I looked at her stonily as she tried to decide what to do. She seemed to be on the verge of tears. Perhaps she was hoping I would turn and give her some privacy to change, but if so she was sadly mistaken. Eventually with what seemed like a little sob she pulled down the shorts and took them off and, turning away from me, the thong too. Her bare buttocks were quite full and firm, I noted, as the gym knickers were pulled back up into place. Their creamy white colour would be very different soon though!
As she put the thong on the desk she said in a quiet voice: “Sorry, Miss.”
“You’ll be a lot more sorry in a few minutes,” was my rather tetchy response. “Now get back over that chair!”
Once again the green fabric was tightly stretched over the target. Her hands, I noted, were gripped tightly around the chair legs. However, her legs were slightly bent.
“Legs straight girl!” I ordered, tapping the underside of her buttocks gently with the cane to make the point.
She complied quickly and I set to lining up my first stroke, right across the centre of her buttocks. I took my time gently tapping to get my eye in, and having final thoughts on how much force to use. I had three rough mental levels; “firm”, “hard” and “full-force”, and normally for a first caning of the number of strokes here (although eight for a first timer was exceptionally rare) would use firm for the first half with two hard and a couple of real stingers at the end. For a sixth former, however, I might tend to be bit more severe. Eventually I settled on a strategy of seeing what reaction I got.
Finally I raised the cane and whipped it down with a crack, right on target across the centre of her bottom.
A gasp and “Oooh!” from my ‘willing’ victim. Perhaps a sudden realisation of the pain even one stroke can give.
Taking my time, I lined up the second stroke and brought it down just above the first.
“Nnngh,” was the reaction as she tried to control herself.
After another twenty seconds or so I unleashed the third stroke, again just above the second. This time there was little more than a grunt. She was managing better than most for a first experience.
However, she still had five more to come. Preferring to concentrate my fire on the lower buttocks I aimed just below the line of my first stroke and this time brought it down ‘hard’ with a strong “Thwack” as it hit the target.
“Aaaagh!” A satisfying scream followed by constant little moans. Her legs were bending slightly as she wiggled her bottom. Tapping the cane again I ordered her to straighten and keep still. I could not see, but experience of the sounds emanating from the chair seat suggested to me she was now struggling to control her emotions.
“Thwack!” The fifth stroke landed hard just below the fourth provoking another screech. I followed quickly with the sixth, leading to a strong crack as it landed more or less full-force slightly lower again.
“Aaaagh! Please, please, enough!” Was what I heard between sobs as she stood up desperately holding her bottom. Perhaps the lack of a pause had caught her out.
However, I was not sympathetic. She had pleaded for this, and she was going to get it. “That stroke doesn’t count!” I exclaimed. “Now get back over that chair this instant unless you want extra.”
She just stood there sobbing, moaning. “Oh it’s so painful, so, so sore.”
“Of course, it’s meant to be sore, now get bent over, or…, you know the alternative.” I said pointing to the door.
I could see the indecision as she weighed her ‘need’ to see this through with the desire to escape. I looked at her hard. “Come on!” I encouraged. “You are over halfway. The only thing you are going to get by standing there are more extra strokes. Bend over now and let’s finish this.”
She made her decision. Slowly she turned around again, gasping amongst the sobs as the knicker material stretched again as she got back over the chair.
“Hold as tight as you can and keep in position till I tell you that you can get up. Three strokes to go now!” I ordered as I tapped the cane wondering where to put the extra one she had just earned. There was only really room for two stingers at the bottom of her buttocks and I was keeping that for the end. I wondered about a diagonal one, but it was not something I had ever liked. Eventually I took aim just above where I reckoned I’d put the topmost stroke and brought it down hard.
Another scream but she stayed put. The sobbing and moaning which had calmed a little during the pause had restarted. It needed a few more taps and sharp words to get her legs straight and still for the second last stroke. Taking aim just above the lower elastic of the gym shorts I brought down the cane full-force, eliciting another scream, feet movements and bottom wiggling.
I again had to remind her to straighten her legs. “Last one, as long as you keep in place!” I said to remind her of the rules as I lined up the last stroke right on the knicker elastic which ran horizontally across the line where her buttocks and thighs met. She, like me, knew the last stroke was going to be the hardest. I wondered, as I had about twenty years before, if this would be the last time I would ever administer a cane stroke.
I could hear her muttering: “No, no, no,” amongst the sobs as she waited. Finally, I drew back the cane and whipped it as hard as I could onto the target, the stroke landing perfectly with an almighty ‘Thwack!’ I could see the mark at either side forming, part covered by the gym shorts.
Though the scream was deafening she thankfully stayed in position. I gave it about a minute watching her writhe over the chair before finally allowing her to stand.
Her hands of course went immediately to her backside as she stood facing me. Her face was a mess. “Right Lizzie, stand straight, hands by your side away from your bottom while I make the note. Some girls prefer to put their hands on their head to prevent temptation.” Normally this would be the school punishment record, but here I wrote a note on a piece of paper as a ‘souvenir’ for her. Lizzie clenched her fists by her side. She was having difficulty regaining some form of control over herself, with tears still trickling down her cheeks.
Finally, giving her the note I said: “Right. All finished. For a first experience you took that pretty well, I think. Very few girls manage not to be held down for such a severe thrashing. You can go upstairs, clean yourself up, and get changed. If you want, I have left the door to my spare bedroom open. In my experience most girls want to see the damage and there’s a full length mirror in there. Feel free to take your time. I’ll wait for you in the kitchen with a cup of tea.”
She managed to say: “Thanks very much,” and then staggered out and up the stairs with the note and thong that had cost her so much extra pain. She was cradling her bottom in both hands as best she could.
It was at least half an hour before she reappeared, red-eyed but otherwise okay. She was back in her uniform, but not unexpectedly had left her tights off. I saw her in the hall tucking them into her bag. She gave me a faint smile when she saw me, which I returned with a wry smile of my own.
“So are you satisfied that you now know what a caning is like?” I asked as I passed her a cup of tea.
“Yes,” was the reply. “It’s far worse than one can ever imagine. Never again!”
After a chat in which I was delighted to agree to continue helping her with her geography project, her mother’s car drew up outside.
She suddenly said: “I guess you never normally got to see the marks you gave someone, do you?”
“No,” I replied. “Not normally.”
She blushed and asked: “Shall I show you?”
“I wouldn’t presume to ask.” I shrugged. “It’s up to you.”
Coyly she turned and lifted her skirt. She was only wearing that black thong (which she later told me her mother had suggested might be more comfortable after) underneath, giving a clear view of her bottom covered in a set of angry red parallel lines, some merging together. As she dropped her skirt and made to leave I congratulated myself on a job well done.