Teasing your younger brother may be a part of family life, but not everyone sees it that way.
By Joanna Jones
Mr Forbes was trying to get on with some staff promotion documentation but it was hard work concentrating. He had a meeting with a Mrs Southward in ten minutes time, at 10.15 am, which he was not especially looking forward to.
Yesterday Charlie Southward had been caught in an altercation with another boy, and having been sent to him, he had caned the pair of them. He had not got to the bottom of the issue, but adopted his usual strategy, which was to ensure there was no clear cut responsibility or bullying, then treat both equally.
They had both got four hard whacks on their trousers, which clearly neither had enjoyed, though both took it fairly well.
He expected however, that Mrs Southward had made the appointment to protest at the ‘barbaric treatment’ her little angel had undergone. It had happened with other mothers before, and the conversations were never pleasant, nor satisfactory.
Just before ten past ten the intercom went. Mrs Southward was a few minutes early. There was no reason to make her wait so he took a deep breath and decided to go to the door to welcome her in.
“Mrs Southward, please come in. Take a seat,” he said, indicating a rather functional chair next to his desk.
Returning to his own desk, and with Mrs Southward remaining silent till he did so, he realised it was up to him to start.
“Can I assume you are here to discuss your son and yesterday?” Mr Forbes asked.
“Well, yes.” Replied Mrs Southward. “I presume Charlie deserved the cane for whatever he did?”
The headmaster was surprised that it seemed she did not know the reason, but answered factually. “Yes, he was caught in a rather loud argument with another boy that was rapidly becoming physical. The teacher concerned decided it had gone a little too far for a warning and brought them to me. Normally fighting is an automatic six stroke caning, but as they were lucky enough to be caught before it became too serious I let them both off with four.”
Mr Forbes hoped his last comment, that he had gone a bit easier than usual, might reduce any expression of concern the parent was planning to make, and was relieved as Mrs Southward nodded thoughtfully.
“Seems fair enough.” She mused.
When she didn’t continue, Mr Forbes replied: “Well, if that has put your mind at rest then I am glad to have helped.” He was thinking this seemed rather a pointless meeting as he started to rise to escort his visitor to the door.
However, he was forestalled halfway out of his chair as Mrs Southward remained resolutely seated.
“Actually, Mr Forbes, asking about Charlie’s caning was not the main reason I wanted to meet. I wanted to discuss my daughter, Elizabeth.”
“Oh?” Replied Mr Forbes as he subsided back into his chair. He desperately tried to think of anything he knew about the girl. He did not know of any problem with her, and as such was not really sure even what year she was in. He had a vague feeling she was in the upper sixth, perhaps she’d been on the long list of the names that the prefects had been selected from, although he was certain she had not been chosen.
His recollection proved correct as Mrs Southward continued. “Betty is in the upper sixth, she can be a bit immature and impetuous, and her relationship with her little brother can be a bit up and down.”
As she tailed off, Mr Forbes was beginning to recollect the limited information he had on the girl. She had been regarded as being a little temperamental and selfish, and had a number of detentions, including a double one in the lower sixth for something which a boy almost certainly would have been caned for. That had led to her being almost automatically discounted as a serious prefect candidate.
“Yes?” He prompted.
Mrs Southward took a breath and continued. “Well, yesterday evening I got home just after them, and as I was opening the front door I heard shouting between them.”
She paused and took a breath. “Due to the noise they were making neither of them heard me come in and, rather than telling them I was home, I listened to their argument from the hall. Charlie was very upset that Betty found his caning so hilarious and apparently she had teased him incessantly on the bus, including trying to pinch and slap his backside, and letting everyone know what was in store if his mother found out. The slapping attempts apparently carried on as the group living on our estate walked from the bus stop. Charlie was clearly nearly in tears as they argued. Betty still found the thing clearly funny, teasing her ‘baby’ brother about how upset he was and gloating about the fact that she was exempt from the cane. The comment I remember most was a very conceited ‘But girls don’t get the cane do they?!’”
Mr Forbes listened and wondered where all this was going, though it was his suspicion that perhaps the mother wanted some form of school action on all of this. “I see,” he replied rather neutrally.
Mrs Southward continued. “Rather than confront them I brought the argument to an end by opening and closing the front door loudly and letting them believe I had just returned. When I entered the kitchen they were clearly unhappy with each other, but neither let on the real reason. They don’t know I am here.”
Mr Forbes nodded and decided he’d better ask the question. “So why exactly are you here Mrs Southward?”
The reply shocked him.
“I want you to cane my daughter.” Replied Mrs Southward baldly.
The headmaster considered for a long time. Sufficiently long indeed that Mrs Southward felt compelled to speak again.
“I believe it’s allowed by the LEA,” she said.
“Yes,” said the headmaster reluctantly. “And by the Board of Governors. It’s a personal decision to try to avoid it. It is not well known, but I have actually caned two girls in the past five years. Both were serious and I gave them four strokes, two on each hand. However, both were carried out after school with their parents’ knowledge, and indeed presence, as an alterative to suspension. Being after school they did not get well publicised.”
“I would like my daughter to suffer the same punishment and embarrassment as her brother if possible.” Replied the mother rather firmly.
Mr Forbes stared at the adamant woman. “I am not sure about this.” He replied slowly. “I feel it improper to cane a girl’s bottom, and there is some evidence that it is rather inappropriate even for a female staff member to administer the cane in that manner.”
“Hmph! Not evidence I would agree with.” Replied Mrs Southward vigorously.
“But still evidence I, as Headteacher of a school with about 400 girls, may need to take account of.” Was the reply.
“So, like the other two girls, would you cane her hands then? I believe my daughter needs a bit of a shock and really needs taking down a peg or two,” she asked.
Mr Forbes sat back and considered. This conversation was not going the way he had expected at all. Instead of having to justify caning one of her offspring he was being asked, well really persuaded, to cane the other. It was not something he really wanted to get involved in, he thought.
Finally he replied. “It seems that much of this is a domestic matter. I am not sure that the school is best involved in altercations that occur in your house.”
“But,” the mother interrupted. “The teasing and bullying of my son happened in public, both on the bus and after. Surely that would normally be a matter of concern to you.”
The headmaster slumped. She was clearly very determined. Eventually he decided on a course of action. “It is difficult for me to act without some complaint.” He replied and overrode the start of another interruption. “However, I will carry out some investigation about what happened on the bus and if the situation is as you say, then I will punish your daughter as you request. However, if I cannot find evidence, then I am afraid it will be up to you to consider what ‘domestically’ you wish to do with your family. That is the best I can say.”
Mrs Southward clearly was not totally happy, but eventually said: “I suppose that is fair enough.” Then after a pause she continued. “I am sorry if I am pushing on this, but Betty can really behave badly to her brother at times, and this is just a step too far.”
As he escorted her to the door the Head replied: “I understand, and I will investigate the incident on the bus, and let you know the outcome, but I cannot cane any pupil without clear evidence of wrongdoing, either in school or in a way that relates to the school.”
Mrs Southward gave a final thanks as she exited the room to leave the Head to ponder the conversation back at his desk.
After about ten minutes he asked his secretary to check which prefects usually took the school bus that included passing the entrance to the estate the Southwards lived on. There were two: David Olde and Patricia Knight; and he asked the secretary to find them both, and have them come to his office directly after the morning interval.
David arrived first and he took him straight in. It soon became clear that he knew very little. He always sat on the upper deck whereas Betty Southward and friends sat on the lower, where two facing benches and the back bench led to a good zone for all the older girls to chat in a group. He did remember that Charlie had unusually sat downstairs but did not know why.
Thanking him he let him go, and by that point Patricia was waiting.
She was clearly a bit nervous and confused as to why she had been summoned to the Headmaster’s office. However, she did relax somewhat as he invited her to sit down.
“Patricia, did you take the bus home from school as usual yesterday?” He asked first, and after receiving an affirmative continued with: “And did you sit downstairs?”
For the second time Pat replied: “Yes, Headmaster.” She was confused as to where this was going.
“I have received a report of some altercation on the bus that could be construed as bullying. I was wondering if you saw any trouble or teasing.” He asked
In response he got a rather confused look from Patricia and she replied: “I saw nothing untoward, Headmaster.”
Mr Forbes persisted. “Nothing even between a brother and a sister?”
This time he got a spasm of recognition, something had indeed happened.
Pat was thinking carefully. “Are you talking about between Betty and Charlie Southward?” She asked slowly.
Mr Forbes nodded for her to continue.
“There was just some brother – sister banter, nothing serious.” She said rather too quickly and confidently.
“That is not what I heard. So, would you care to elaborate in more detail, Patricia?” Mr Forbes asked.
He was surprised when Patricia did not answer immediately but fidgeted uncomfortably.
Eventually she bit her lip and said: “Do I have to?” As Mr Forbes raised his eyebrows at the question, she blushed and said quietly: “Betty is my best friend and well…” With that she tailed off to silence.
Mr Forbes tried to hide his irritation, and fixed her with a glare that made Patricia feel very small.
“Patricia, when you were appointed as a prefect, what did I say about the job and friends?” He asked stonily.
Patricia looked rather sick and prayed it was a rhetorical question, but eventually she stammered a nervous reply. “You, you said we needed to ensure the rules of the school are followed no matter who was breaking them. You said that might be hard at times.”
“And did you agree to that?” He asked remorselessly.
“Yes, sir.” She whispered.
Mr Forbes replied flatly: “So either you can tell me exactly what happened, or leave this office without your Prefect badge. I should warn you that I am extremely disappointed to be having this conversation, Miss Knight. Thus, if you leave you will also serve a detention for disobedience as well. If you choose to stay then I am going to cane you, and how severely now depends on the fullness and truthfulness of the answers you give me.”
A horrified look settled on her face. Eventually she broke. “I’ll tell you everything, I am sorry! Please, please don’t cane me though, can’t I have a detention instead? “
Mr Forbes stared at her until her eyes dropped to the desk. “Patricia, prefects help monitor detentions. It would undermine you and your colleagues for a prefect to serve one, would it not?”
When Patricia did not respond Mr Forbes said: “I suggest you start telling me precisely what happened, and see where that takes us.”
Jolted into action Patricia started. “Well Betty found out in the afternoon that Charlie and another boy had been caned. She made Charlie sit with us downstairs on the bus, saying she might not tell their mum if he did. During the journey she sort of teased him about it and the fact that he was quite red-eyed, according to the girls in his class, immediately after. When Charlie got a bit annoyed she warned him what mum would do if she found out, and teased him about how much he hated a spanking from his mum. When she tried to pinch Charlie’s bottom I suggested she let him be, but Betty was a bit too carried away with herself. Perhaps I should have told her more strongly. I am sorry.” She finished lamely.
Mr Forbes listened to a story that was remarkably similar to that Mrs Southward had pieced together. He looked at Patricia, who was looking agitated with nerves as she waited for his reaction.
“Very well, thank you Patricia. Did she carry on teasing her brother after they got off the bus?” He asked.
“I, I get off at the next stop, but I saw her slap her brother’s bottom quite hard in front of the group that got off there as the bus drove off. She also slapped it a few times in the bus aisle as they waited to get off. It made Charlie jump and get rather upset.” She said rather miserably.
“Very well, thank you Patricia. It is a shame you did not tell me that at the beginning, and that you did not tell Miss Southward more forcibly to stop.” Mr Forbes then paused.
While not crying, Patricia, he could tell, was certainly more than a little distressed. She knew he was about to announce her fate, and the prospect of the cane was clearly intimidating.
Eventually he spoke again. “I should probably give you more, but I am going to give you just one stroke of the cane. Stand up and take your blazer off.”
She stood slowly, clearly struggling with nerves as she briefly twisted a bunch of her long dark brown hair that framed her face. Obviously nearly in tears, she shrugged her blazer off and placed it on the back of the chair. Her rather dainty hands were being wrung in front of her skirt in anticipation as she stood with her legs lightly crossed watching her Headmaster.
“Please,” she whispered as she saw Mr Forbes pull out a thin whippy cane, about two and a half feet in length.
“Non-writing hand out, Patricia.” The Head ordered firmly, though remarkably sympathetically.
Shaking she uncrossed her legs and wiped her left hand on her dark grey skirt before extending it out.
Rather than order her to move it, the Head adjusted his position so the cane would cut across her palm. At the same time he ordered her to tuck her thumb out of the way.
Patricia, with a glance towards Mr Forbes that clearly indicated she could not believe that this was really happening, stared at her hand as she did as requested and set her thumb in position.
The Headmaster did not give her a chance to look up again as he whipped the cane down immediately he was satisfied with the position.
Patricia crumpled as she screeched in pain pressing the outraged palm to her midriff. The tears that she had resolved would not fall sprung to her eyes. The pain was bad, but coupled with that was the embarrassment of having received the cane. She personally knew of no other girls who had received that painful humiliation.
Mr Forbes gave her a moment to recover as he filled in the punishment book. Then sympathetically he suggested she clean herself up and return to her studies.
Still in shock she slowly left the office making a beeline for the privacy of the toilets, before finally returning to the prefect’s common room.
Meanwhile Mr Forbes asked his secretary to escort ‘Miss Betty Southward’ to his office. He had already resolved she was not going to be let off with only one cut of the cane! He also asked that she fetch Charlie, but only after Betty had entered his office.
A few minutes later there was a knock as Betty tapped on the door.
She looked nervous and confused. Clearly, Mr Forbes reflected, she had no idea why she had been summoned to his office.
He did not invite her to sit down, and Betty’s concern that she was in trouble solidified when the headmaster’s first words were: “Southward, stand up straight in front of my desk!”
Nervously she stood straighter, clasping her hands in front of her and waited.
“I have this morning received a complaint of bullying a younger pupil where you were the perpetrator.” He said with a glower.
Betty was shocked. “I deny it, I have never attacked any younger pupil.” She exclaimed.
“So you deny teasing a younger boy on the bus home and in the street yesterday?”
Betty was shocked as she realised what Mr Forbes was getting at. “You mean Charlie, but he is my brother!” She gasped.
“And what difference should that make?” Mr Forbes responded coldly.
Betty stared uncomprehendingly at the Headmaster. “I know my brother, it was a kind of joke, just fun.” She replied.
Mr Forbes glowered at the young woman in front of him. “So getting the cane is to your mind some kind of funny joke?”
Betty was beginning to get rather confused. “Yes, no, I mean, no, of course, but I thought it was a way to remind him how stupid he’d been. He is my brother.” She finished lamely.
“And I am supposed to accept that as an excuse for you teasing, and physically assaulting another pupil, which is what he is to me!” Mr Forbes voice had descended from cold to distinctly frosty.
“Well, maybe I was a little hard with my words, but I did not assault him, sir.” She replied, now much more quietly.
“Oh! So you did not pinch and slap his bottom then?” He asked.
“Well, maybe a little bit, but I was not trying to bully him, really.” How did the Head know all this, she wondered.
“So what you are saying is that it is fine to hit and verbally abuse someone if she or he is a family member?” Enquired the headmaster dangerously.
“Well, it sort of depends.” She muttered by way of response.
“Well, Miss Southward, for this school it does not depend on anything. It does not matter if it is your brother, and I do not believe you were teasing him for any other reason than for your own amusement! Is that not the case?”
Betty was now quite shocked and stated numbly at the desk.
However the Headmaster was not to be fobbed off with silence. “Miss Southward?” He demanded.
Eventually she succumbed. “Yes, Sir. I am really sorry.” She whispered.
“So, having considered this matter earlier, and hearing your response, my view is since you think the cane is such an amusing punishment, you can experience it for yourself. You will receive four strokes, as your brother did, though as a girl they will be to your hands. Get your blazer off and place it on my desk!”
Betty stared slack jawed at the Headmaster who had stood as he said it, and immediately proceeded to his cupboard to retrieve the same cane that he had used on Patricia.
She could not believe this was happening. “But girls don’t get the cane, do they?” she half asked, half pleaded as Mr Forbes turned to face her with the rod in his hand.
“Not usually Miss Southward, but they DO get it if their behaviour merits it, and yours most certainly does. Now I suggest you get your blazer off right now, unless you want extra.” He replied impassively to the now quaking girl.
After a brief disbelieving pause Betty finally obeyed and, physically shaking, removed her blazer before laying it neatly on the desk.
For the second time that morning Mr Forbes heard the plea of “Please.” from a young woman wringing her hands in front of her. In Betty’s case she was slim but broader on the shoulders, and her hands were a little larger than Patricia’s. Like her best friend she looked to be on the point of tears as she looked in horror at the implement in Mr Forbes’ hand.
However, while Mr Forbes may have had some sympathy for Patricia, for Betty he had none. She had been lucky not to have been in this position before, with only his reticence to put girls through the trauma of a caning saving her last year. The fact that by her own admission she thought getting the cane amusing for its victim only hardened his resolve.
“Hand out!” He demanded.
Sickly Betty did as she was told, extending her left hand away from her body.
“Turn a bit more to your left and thumb out of the way.” Ordered the Head.
Unable to take her eyes off Mr Forbes and his cane, she did as she was told and watched as he quickly raised the cane and, before she had a chance to think, slashed it sharply down on her palm.
Betty’s fair hair flew about as her face went through multiple contortions as she tried to hold in the scream that was trying to escape.
Instead a pained grunt escaped as she briefly waved her left hand about and extended it for the second cut.
Mr Forbes kept the cane at his side for a moment allowing the tension to build in Betty’s mind before once again rapidly raising it up and whipping it down on her hand.
“Aaah!” Moaned Betty quietly as the second blow was perceptibly harder than the first.
Mr Forbes gave her a brief moment to recover slightly before ordering her to face the other way with her other hand out.
While she had not screamed, the pain was clearly telling as with a grimace she managed to put herself in position, now with her right hand extended.
This time as soon as Mr Forbes raised the cane she squeezed her eyes shut in anticipation.
Another hiss and ‘thwick’ as the blow cut hard across her palm.
This time she screamed as the pain got to her, and a tear or two escaped out of her eye as she waved her hand and tried to cope.
Even though she had stilled her palm for the last blow the Head let a good pause go by for the girl to understand his anger at her behaviour before finally whipping the cane, as hard as he’d ever caned a hand, down for the fourth and final time.
This time the scream was unrestrained and the tears increased to form two salty tracks down her cheeks as Betty cradled her hands in each other, intermittently examining the red marks now running across each palm.
Mr Forbes meanwhile completed the entry in the school record, then went to the door.
Betty was shocked when he invited Charlie in. Initially he was clearly worried he was in further trouble but that concern rapidly turned to surprise as he saw his sister desperately trying to assuage the pain in her hands as she bounced on the spot with them under her armpits. She was clearly desperately trying to stop the tears that were reddening her eyes.
Mr Forbes spoke. “Elizabeth, explain what has happened and apologise to Charles.”
Betty looked miserably at the Head before turning to her brother. “Mr, Mr Forbes has p… punished me for teasing you yesterday after you g… got the cane.” She stammered. “I am sorry I was so mean to you.”
Charlie just nodded as he looked at his miserable sister.
Mr Forbes then spoke again to intimate he expected neither of them to tease each other or for that matter anyone else in future as he dismissed Charlie back to his class. In the case of Betty, Mr Forbes himself escorted her back to the sixth form common room.
Betty found fresh tears welling in her eyes as the Head announced to those present she had been caned for teasing a younger pupil who had been punished, and if any of them found her caning amusing he would cane them too, boy or girl.
Forbidden to clean up, Betty spent the rest of the period staring at a textbook, while deflecting the sympathetic enquiries of her peers away.
On the bus home, Betty audibly wondered who had told on her. Patricia miserably admitted she’d had to confirm what had happened, and showed the still visible mark on her hand she’d received for her reticence.
The emotional part of Betty was upset that she’d told on her, though the rational part knew that she would have done the same in her position. Ultimately Patricia had been brave to stand up to the Head at all, and she too had been caned as a result. Glumly she reflected it would probably have made little difference, though she still wondered who had split on her in the first place.
Both Charlie and Betty agreed to keep their canings secret from their mother as they walked into the estate. Neither of them wanted to experience the inevitable ‘school support’ their mother always viewed as necessary.
When they entered the house therefore they both answered that their day had been fine as they went into the kitchen for their usual snack that they had on getting home.
It was when their mother asked Betty how her hands were that they realised things were, as far as they were concerned, very wrong.
Both look at each other and then back at their mother. “What do you mean mum?” Betty asked.
Mrs Southward fixed her daughter with a steely eye. “I believe the headmaster caned you today, yes?”
“Y… yes, mum.” Betty stammered. “But, but how did you…?”
“Know? That would be because after I heard you two arguing yesterday afternoon about you teasing him on the bus I told Mr Forbes about it, and asked him to cane you,” her mother replied matter-of-factly.
“You asked him to cane me!?” Betty screeched incredulously.
“Yes, of course I did. I have never been so embarrassed to call you my daughter as I was when I heard how you had behaved towards your own brother like that. You are supposed to be eighteen, not twelve!”
Mrs Southward took a breath and turned to her son. “And as for you fighting, Charlie, you are equally bad!”
Both offspring were now looking very pensive as their mother finished her brief tirade, and took a deep breath.
“You know the rules in this family.” She said as she went to a drawer, pulled out a wooden spoon and handed it to Charlie.
The tears were already pricking his eyes as he begged: “Please, mum,” as he took the implement that would soon he knew be impacting on his bottom.
It was a plea that was ignored as his mother turned to the cupboard saying. “As for you Elizabeth Southward, I went out today and found this.”
Betty’s jaw dropped for the second time that day; a three foot long crook handled cane had appeared. Her mother continued. “Mr Forbes may have let you off with a few strokes to your hands, but I will ensure you really understand that a proper caning is no joke!”
Betty felt her eyes becoming wet too as she took the cane in her hands. She did not need to flex it to see how whippy it was.
“Charlie, go to your bedroom and get ready.” His mother ordered firmly. “I will be up shortly.”
Miserably he left the room and headed upstairs to change into his pyjama top and bend over the back of his desk chair, bare bottomed, with the spoon in front of his nose on the seat. He knew only too well not to make it worse for himself.
Meanwhile Betty was standing helplessly in front of the cold smouldering eyes of her mother, reluctantly fingering the cane she had been given to examine.
Her mother closed the living room curtains and manhandled an armchair round so the back was facing the middle of the room.
“When I come back you will have your skirt up, knickers down and you will be bent over that chair considering that cane in front of your nose. Is that clear?” She said coldly.
Betty whined tearfully “Please mum, not my knickers too. I am eighteen, an adult, can’t you treat me like one?”
“I will treat you like an adult when you finally learn to behave like one.” Was the flat response. “In fact I will see you get into position right now. Come on, get yourself ready and over that chair immediately!”
Sniffing, Betty put the cane as best she could across the chair seat and slid her hands under her skirt to drop her tights, and then a pair of plain white cotton knickers, to below her knees. Still under her mother’s baleful glare she finally bent over the back of the armchair, being forced onto her toes as she was told to get her head right down.
Only then did her mother quietly leave the room and silently climb the stairs to her brother’s bedroom.
A few moments later she heard the lecture start punctuated by slaps of the spoon and, as it progressed, wails from Charlie as the blows rained down on what she knew would be his bare backside. Despite knowing all too well her mother’s ability with a wooden spoon, she was almost jealous as her eyes looked down on the cane meant for her. Dully she wondered how her mother had managed to acquire one so quickly. Not that it mattered, here it was and she was sure it was going to hurt. A lot!
Eventually the sobs from her brother were no longer punctuated by pleas and wails. The tension in her stomach tightened.
And then tightened further as she heard the familiar creak as her mother trod on the bottom-most stair.
Her mother came into the room and immediately the cane disappeared from Betty’s view. Shortly after she felt the stick gently press on the bare flesh of her behind.
“I am not going to lecture you Betty. Just concentrate on staying still. I was thinking to give you six for your behaviour and six more for trying to avoid telling me. However, I will let you off with four for each as long as you remain in place, since this is your first time.
A total of eight did not seem like being ‘let off’ to Betty, and even beforehand she was definitely planning to ensure that this ‘first time’ was also a ‘last time’.
After a long pause the stick finally stopped pressing. Betty’s still aching fingers tightened on the base cushion of the armchair and only a second later there was a whoosh and thwack as the cane introduced itself.
“Aaaaah!” exclaimed Betty as, after a brief pause, she felt the consequences flood into her brain.
There was a fair pause then another swish led to a further pained sound from Betty. Her mother was really laying it on. She wondered if she could hold it together for the full eight, as she regretted teasing her brother about his red eyes.
The third blow had cut somewhere low on her bottom.
“Aaaagh!” Betty wailed as the cane landed higher. Her mother was half way through.
“Yeeaagh” was the scream as the louder humm preceded a blow that was significantly more painful that its predecessors. Despite her efforts she felt a wetness building in her eyes.
“Three more at least as hard as that young lady!” Intimated her mother.
The sixth was met with a guttural screech as Betty’s resistance finally crumbled and a sob wracked her body. She also started to beg.
Her pleas were ignored as her mother hammered the seventh cut down in the largest remaining gap she could she, to yet another scream of agony.
It was all Betty could do to hold the armchair cushion as she waited for her mother to deliver the final blow.
Using all her might Mrs Southward slashed a diagonal blow across the middle of her bottom that cut across three or four of the earlier marks.
With a final scream Betty struggled up from the chair and danced around the living room clutching at her poor bottom, oblivious to anything but the pain it was in.
There was, she decided as the tears refused to stop flowing, absolutely nothing whatsoever funny about having one’s backside caned.