Six of the Best! Dr Calder's Forgetfulness, Emily's Error, and Oswald's Opportunity.

By Alex

Oswald Turnbull grew up in a small country town, where he acquired only a very limited social sophistication but did well enough in the local school to win a scholarship at London University. There he acquired an only slightly expanded social sense but did well enough to gain a good degree in mathematics. Despite the fact that he was a friendly and attractive-looking young man, he had managed only a few polite dates with female students and had had no sexual activity, beyond a visit to an adult review that had left him shocked, though deeply curious. He now had a qualification for a job, but little idea of how to find one.

Teaching was the obvious answer and he was soon hired by a third-rate private school for girls in a country backwater by the headmaster, the Reverend Calder. It was like returning to his roots, although in a very different part of the country. Perhaps, he thought to himself, he might get to the bottom of what he rre4ally wanted to do. He had no idea of the odd ways in which such a wish might be granted.

At the school, he did rather well in unspectacular ways. He found himself by far the youngest master and, in the view of many students though entirely unknown to himself, the only one of romantic interest. Several, indeed, developed the characteristic schoolgirl crush on him. His headmaster, the Reverend Calder, observed quite different aspects and was delighted to find a young mathematics master who seemed reasonably intelligent, though clearly reserved and somewhat unworldly. Since all the other teachers were either elderly or barely competent, he was soon treating Oswald effectively as assistant headmaster.

This required little but a few administrative chores and personal discussions, until one day, in the middle of the first term in Oswald' second year, the Reverend Calder had to go to London for a conference with his bankers. He left his assistant with minimal instructions and no expectation of any unusual event.

On the long train journey to London, the Reverend Calder suddenly remembered something. One of his senior girls, Emily Forster, had been caught smoking. He had summoned her to his office and, being particularly short of time at that moment, had informed her that she would have to return to his study at 4:00 pm two days hence, when she would be punished by six-of-the-best with the cane. Unfortunately, being rather an old dodderer, he had forgotten about his trip to London, for which he was leaving the next day. It was his appointment with Emily, now the following day, that he had now remembered.

The problem had a larger context. The Reverend made modestly extensive but peculiar use of the cane. He got a distinctive thrill from seeing the bottoms of his youthful female charges bared to his gaze and he always required offending students to lower their knickers, pull up their skirts and bend over to touch their toes. He also enjoyed the ritual of swishing his cane across their exposed cheeks. But it was essentially a ritual, inflicting minimal discomfort on his pupils, and the strokes were so feeble that they left barely a pink mark. He certainly got some gratification from observing such pink lines across the young bottoms with he was so enamoured, but he would never have trusted his ailing physical ability enough even to try to inflict anything more severe. Thus the girls hardly minded the punishment at all, except for the embarrassment. Even this, for many of them, was hardly a serious matter. They regarded the Reverend as such a doddering old fool that exposing themselves to him seemed more of a joke than anything else, although he was known as "the Dom," for Dirty old man. Furthermore, allowing themselves to be treated this way was a sure way into his favour, and he would grant this in such forms as a secret addition to their pocket money funds, or even an unspoken understanding that they could continue to play truant so long as they expected to return to his study at intervals. The school was, as we have said, in a rural backwater and had little pretense to academic distinction. Other people, especially his staff, either did not notice or ignored such goings on among the senior girls, who were mostly over eighteen anyway.

The Reverend's first reaction, on remembering his appointment with Emily, who had visited his study before, was, "Bother! I shall have to deal with this when I return!" But then he began to turn over in his mind notions that were equally characteristic of him. He had an utterly unjustified belief that he was an efficient and reliable administrator. The idea that Emily might think he had simply forgotten began to seem unacceptable to him. The nearer the train got to London, the more convoluted his thinking became.

He did, at least, have a notebook with addresses and telephone numbers in his baggage and so it was, when he got to his hotel, that he telephoned Oswald. Oswald was surprised to hear from his headmaster.

"Is anything wrong, sir?"
"No! Why should there be?"
"It's just that you hadn't led me to expect ... "
"I simply did not have a moment to talk with you before I left for the station!"
Oswald knew this was quite untrue, but he listened politely.
"As you know, Oswald, I insist on running a very disciplined institution and I do not eschew the use of corporal punishment when it unfortunately becomes necessary!"

Oswald was indeed surprised by this remark. He was vaguely aware that the Reverend would summon girls to his study for a caning at regular intervals. But he was socially so oblivious that he had never thought about it.
"Er, why yes sir! But is this a problem?"
"No! Of course not Oswald! It is simply that I had been obliged to inform Miss Emily Forster... you certainly know her for she must be in your senior class ..."
"Yes sir, indeed I know her... she is a charming young lady ..."
"Yes, I agree she is a charming young lady. Unfortunately she was tempted to hide behind the chapel and smoke a cigarette. She was discovered and, as a result, I informed her that she would have to report to my study to receive six-of-the-best. I was obliged to make that appointment for her on Wednesday, which is tomorrow."

Oswald had only the faintest glimmer of where this conversation was heading. "Well, I'm sure that was very appropriate, sir ... and you will attend to it when you return?"
"My boy, I shall be here! In London! You know I am a stickler for discipline, and I consider that when arrangements for disciplinary action have been made then they should be kept. I am simply requesting that you perform this duty for me."

Oswald was stunned, barely able to reply. "Er ... you ... er mean, sir ... that you wish me to ... er ... administer six-of-the-best to Miss Emily?"
"Yes, of course, my boy! What do you expect? You're the assistant headmaster! What could be more appropriate!"

Oswald still did not know how to respond. "Er ... yes, of course, sir! ... That would be entirely appropriate ... it's just, sir, that ... I haven't ever done anything like that before!"
"You mean you haven't given a girl six-of-the-best?! Well, of course you haven't! I've never asked you to! But you will find, in our profession that it is a very useful, even an essential skill ... and I might even call it an art! And you have to start somewhere! You are, are you not, handy with the squash racket?"
Oswald replied, as modestly as he could, that yes, he liked to play squash. In fact, it was one of his few abilities apart from maths.
"Well! Then you will doubtless manage very well - you can simply substitute a cane for your racket and a bottom for the ball!"

Oswald strongly suspected that it would be more complicated than that, but he felt obliged to demur to the Reverend's rather startling request. A sudden surge of panic emboldened him, however, and he found himself saying, "I ... er ... mean ... sir ... that I ... er ... don't know what you actually say to a girl when you are going to cane her, or even what you actually DO! Or even where you keep the cane!"

The Reverend paused for a few moments, as he digested the fact that indeed, there was no reason why Oswald should have any idea at all of what transpired when a girl reported to his study for a caning. In some ways he was very glad of this, but he realized that he had opened something of a Pandora's box. For a moment he was tempted to cancel his entire request, but he entertained, as we have noted, a largely unjustified view of his own reputation and was anxious not to appear mistaken. He contemplated what his practices normally were when a girl reported for punishment, and tried to review them as best he could.

" Ah ... hmm ... the canes are hanging in the cupboard to the left of my desk. There are three of them but they are all the same ... you may use any one that you wish. It is, of course, and I'm sure there is not really any need to explain this, my firm belief that, if you are going to use a cane, then you should use it properly!"

There was a silence at the other end of the line as Oswald tried to imagine what "properly" might be. The Reverend felt obliged to continue. "That, ah ... er ... means that I always administer the cane across a bare bottom ... otherwise, why use it?! So ... er ... I ask the young lady who is present for the correction of her behaviour to pull down her knickers ... to her knees is sufficient ... to fold her skirt up securely around her waist ... it must be securely ... and to bend over and touch her toes!" He felt relieved to have found his way quickly to this point. "When she is in this position ... and, I must say ... that they are usually capable of understanding what is required of them very well ... then I think your common sense will be entirely adequate to guide you in the rest!"

Oswald, gulping air at the other end of the line, barely managed to utter sounds of assent and finally a promise to do his best.

When the telephone conversation was over, both the Reverend and Oswald were left in considerable confusion, Oswald because both the entire conversation and the headmaster's request were completely beyond anything he had expected, and the Reverend because he simply had not had the intelligence to think through how the conversation was likely to go. They both went to bed that night with troubled thoughts. The Reverend had by then decided that his contacting Oswald was a dreadful mistake and he almost telephoned him again to cancel the request. But then, he thought, he would seem even more foolish. And then his worry simply increased. He really should not have mentioned the Record Book. That was quite unnecessary and Oswald would discover which girls visited his study and also that some of them did so rather often. Oh bother! It was too late to change that! And he had not even told Oswald how hard the caning should be, but he did not want to let him know that his own use of the cane was ... well ... so feeble, since his interests really lay somewhere else ... or at least actually right there, but the cane was only an excuse. Well perhaps, he tried to reason, Oswald seemed such a mild mannered person that he wouldn't do much more than tickle Emily's bottom. And then, of course, he remembered that Emily's bottom was one his favourites and began to regret deeply having ceded it to his assistant, at least on this occasion.

Oswald, for his part, knew nothing about Emily's, or any other girl's, bottom. He was realizing, indeed, that he knew nothing about any of this.

But so it was, at about 3:30 the next afternoon that Oswald went to the headmaster's study, realizing that preparing for this event might not be so simple. He had seen Emily in class that day and she was her usual breezy, slightly cheeky self, apparently without any care in the world, certainly in regard to Oswald himself.

Once in the headmaster's study, Oswald looked around with a peculiar sense of uncertainty. He had been in this room often before, of course, but had not imagined it as a scene of punishment, even with the Reverend as the protagonist, so oblivious was he normally of such matters. But this was not normal at all, and the room looked curiously different. He tried to imagine Emily standing there, and then bending over, although this latter image was more or less beyond even his imagination. Where would she stand? In what direction should she face? He realized that he did not know about even such essential preliminaries.

Seeking a more tangible object, he went to the appropriate cupboard and opened it. There, indeed, three crook-handled canes were hanging. They were all the same length but one of them was slightly darker, with a higher degree of polish, both at the handle and for about a foot of its business end. He guessed this must be the one that the Reverend normally used and took it down, rather nervously, from its hook and began to examine it. He had once been caned, long ago as a schoolboy, and remembered it as surprisingly painful. But, even on that occasion he had not really seen the cane itself and had certainly never seen one since. The implement now in his hands was smooth and thin, and seemed surprisingly long, about 3 feet he guessed. Thinking of his squash racket, he wondered why it did not have a more substantial handle. But the crook seemed to fit quite comfortably against his wrist and his young, strong, hand had no difficulty in gripping it firmly. He waved it up and down, gingerly, and was even more surprised at its extreme flexibility. Its entire length seemed to whisk up and down for a moment before straightening and becoming motionless again. He waved it a bit more vigorously and was even more surprised when it flexed so rapidly and so sharply that it slapped against the leg of his trousers. He grasped the business end with his left hand and bent it carefully. It was extraordinarily resilient and he found he could actually bend it into a "U" without it threatening to break. Clearly it was not bamboo, as he had assumed it would be, even though its smooth length had a couple of knots. This was certainly no squash racket! He wondered what exotic kind of cane it was made from.

Then he suddenly woke up to the fact, almost unbelievable, that the purpose of this remarkable instrument was the beating of young women's bottoms. Despite the obvious reason for his visiting the Headmaster's study, this realization struck him as somehow extraordinary, and it made him look anxiously at a clock on the wall. It was 3:45. He still had 15 minutes but he still had important matters to clarify.

It was obvious that simply waving the cane to and fro was not good preparation. It was so bendy that it needed some target. He looked around and saw the roundly padded back of a couch, so he went over and tried striking it with the cane. He soon discovered the difference between a modest blow, which simply made a modest "whap" and a movement that was vigorous enough to produce a "swish" through the air and a sharp "thwat" when it landed. He also noticed that this latter made some dust rise from the couch and left an impression in the material that lasted for a few seconds. To his squash player's eye and mind this seemed rather satisfactory and he repeated the experience a number of times, raising the cane well above his shoulder and swishing it rapidly down to produce the satisfying sound. He started to enjoy in its feel. Realizing, rather vaguely, that he was shortly going to be involved in some physical activity, he took off his jacket and hung it on the back of the door.

He still had not tried to plan the coming event in any detail, mainly because he still did not know what any of the details were, and his imagination was still completely failing him. The couch remained a couch and he had no way of translating it into a female bottom. Then he remembered the Reverend's remark about the record book and promptly found it on the shelf. It was surprisingly thick, with a hard, black cover. He opened it ... and was immediately astounded at the large number of entries. They all had the same form, beginning with a date, continuing with a girl's name, and concluding with the unvarying words, "six-of-the-best." The Reverend was certainly a creature of habit. He turned to the most recent pages, noticing that there seemed to an entry approximately every two weeks, on the average, and soon finding Emily's name, first once, about five weeks previously, and then again, earlier than that. Well! At least she would know what to expect!

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. He looked up at the clock in a near panic. Gracious! It was 4:00! He had quite forgotten how the minutes were passing! He looked around frantically ... he certainly wasn't ready, but he did not dare keep the young woman waiting after the Reverend's remarks concerning such matters. "Come in!" he called, very nervously. Nothing happened and he almost began to hope that she'd gone away. Realizing that he had not called very loudly, however, he called "Come in!" again, more loudly.

The door handle turned. The door opened, and Emily's face appeared, cheerful as when he had last seen in her in class. For a moment she stared at him, surprised. It was obvious that she was taken aback, both by the Reverend Calder's absence and Mr. Turnbull's presence, but she seemed to recover immediately recovered and an even more cheerful smile spread across her face. "Oh! Mr. Turnbull! I was expecting to see the Reverend!

"Ah .. .um ... the Reverend had to be away, quite unexpectedly ... and he has ... ah ... umm ... asked me to substitute for him."

Emily seemed quite unperturbed, "Oh, that's quite alright! Really!"

Goodness, Oswald wondered to himself, quite uncertain as to what her response meant.

'Shall I come in, sir?"

"Yes, yes, of course! Please come in ... and shut the door behind you! Do you know why the Reverend had asked you to come at this hour?"

"Oh yes! Of course, sir! I am to be given six-of-the-best!" Oswald was looking at her even as he tried to absorb her reply. He had been aware that Emily was an attractive young woman, but his observation of women was normally somewhat repressed. Internally, he certainly reacted to their physical attributes sexually, but consciously he tended to avoid any thoughts about such things. He had previously thought of Emily mainly as a face but now was forced to notice her figure as well. Of medium height, with a persistently cheerful face framed by short, black hair, she was well proportioned but trim. Oswald still tried to suppress repress thoughts of what this implied beneath her school blouse and skirt. She had by now closed the door behind her and was standing in front of the desk, where he was still sitting, increasingly nonplussed. She looked down at the desktop and he suddenly realized that the cane was still lying there, where he had placed it to search for the Punishment Record. He was, for some reason, embarrassed by this, but Emily apparently was not.

"Oh! I see you've got the cane out already! The Reverend always asks me to fetch it for him!"

Oswald felt even more nonplussed but realized that he had to say something.

"So you have ... er ... been caned before?" This despite the fact that he already knew from the record book that she had been.

"Oh yes sir! Three times!"

Goodness! One more even than he had discovered. Emily appeared to think that this required some explanation.

"It's not that I'm a really bad person! I just tend to give into temptations ...and this time someone gave me a cigarette so I thought I really ought to try it! Just to be experienced, you know!"

"Ah .. umm ... quite so! Well, I'm afraid it has now landed you in this rather unfortunate predicament!"

"Yes sir, I quite understand! That's quite alright!"

This was certainly the most peculiar conversation that Oswald had ever had ... even more peculiar than the one with the Reverend that had led to this moment. He had to do something, but what next? "Ah ... er ... well, we'd better get on with this unpleasant business, hadn't we?"

"Oh, of course sir!" She did not appear to expect anything unpleasant and, indeed, seemed peculiarly content with the prospect of an activity that was threatening to send Oswald into a paroxysm of panic. He, of course, was entirely ignorant of how the Reverend managed his private interests. Emily was entirely familiar, and even happy with it. Her first visit to the Reverend's study had certainly not been planned, for she had skipped Sunday chapel quite confident that she would not be missed. She had been and it had become obvious that a visit to the Reverend's study was imminent. In a panic at that time, she had started asking other girls who she knew had been caned about what would happen. By the time the event had actually occurred she had been well informed about what to expect: the request for knickers down and skirt up, the bending over, a sense that the Reverend was most of all interested in observing her bared bottom and even her private parts. a caning that was only mildly painful, and a subsequent, mysterious boost to her pocket money account. As a young woman who was cheerfully prepared to garner benefits of modestly flirtatious behaviour, with the encouragement of some fellow students she had then fallen in with a second and specifically suggestive opportunity that had led to another visit to the Reverend's study, and then a third. The benefits increased each time and she was perfectly happy at the prospect of her fourth visit.

When she had opened the door she had been completely surprised to see Mr. Turnbull sitting there, and had even noticed the odd fact that he was in his shirt sleeves but, being a very quick-thinking young woman, adapted with barely a blink to this unexpected situation. Two factors combined in her reaction: one was that, like many of the girls, she thought Mr. Turnbull was romantically attractive and that here, quite fortuitously, was an opportunity for a private exchange, even if possibly a very peculiar one; the second was an immediate assumption, or at least a very strong hope, that the well-accepted understandings and distinctive attractions of a visit to the Reverend were still in place, but now with a much more intriguing hand holding the cane. She was, optimistically, even more cheerful and even inviting than she would have been with the Reverend.

Oswald, entirely ignorant of all of this, had picked the cane up from his desk, still with an odd sense of embarrassment, risen from his chair and walked around it towards the space where Emily was standing, frantically thinking of how to issue his next order. He realized that he didn't even know where she should stand.

Emily solved the problem for him. She moved back from the desk but remained facing it, now turning her head towards where Oswald was standing to her left. "The Reverend has me stand here ... is this alright?"

"Er ... yes ... of course! Thank you!" Oswald suddenly realized the absurdity of these last two words, but Emily only smiled more sweetly. Oswald struggled to continue, "And ... uh ... will you prepare yourself please!" His ardent wish that he could rely on her experience was granted. With a more serious expression, now looking at the floor, she reached down to the hem of her skirt and then brought her hands up and under it to find the waistband of her knickers. With a slight wriggle of her hips she pulled the crumpling blue knickers down to her knees. They were the first schoolgirl knickers that Oswald had allowed himself to look at for more than a split second. But this moment did not last much longer because Emily had now pulled up the hem of her skirt and was beginning to tuck it securely into the waist. The folds of her skirt were lifted higher and higher, up her hips, even above her hips, until Oswald was at last confronted with a stretch of bare female skin, from the top of her gray socks, up past the blue knickers crumpled around her knees, up her thighs to the startlingly sudden expansion of her bottom, up over the swelling and then narrowing curves, up to Emily's s waist where the material of her skirt had somehow been almost completely tucked away. Oswald could only stare in wonderment, too embarrassed even to look away.

Even this amazing moment was fleeting, for Emily quite deliberately turned towards him and asked, "Is this alright sir? ... Shall I bend over now?"

Oswald was incapable of speech for a few moments and Emily seemed happy to wait for his answer. In turning to ask him, she had also turned her hips. The result of this was that her front was now quite visible to him, her firm schoolgirl stomach with its tummy button, her thighs and, of course, between thighs and stomach that converging triangle of the female form so celebrated by Venus, and between the thighs themselves that equally celebrated narrowing V with, in this case, Emily's dark, soft pubic hair, covering the most celebrated of all aspects of female anatomy as this turned in under her body and out of sight. But what was in sight was much more than enough to paralyze Oswald for a moment for, apart, from the offerings of art, the only previous opportunity he had to observe any of this was in his single, secretive visit to an adult review during his days in London, where two naked women had stood on stage, still as statues, during part of the performance. Now it was all right in front of him, presented by this charming young lady from his maths class, with an innocent smile on her cheerful face. That this charming face was not exactly innocent became embarrassingly apparent when her eyes flickered downwards for a moment, to where Oswald realized with sudden horror that her was becoming distinctly aroused. In his horror he did not dare make any move to disguise this fact and, when Emily's eyes immediately reverted to his face, her insouciant charm apparently uninterrupted, Oswald desperately tried to convince himself that she had not seen.

Goodness! What had she said several moments ago? Oh of course! She had asked him if she should bend over. "Ah ... uh ... yes please!" He still could not help his absurd politeness. "Yes, will you please adopt the position that your ... ah ... experience has ... ah ... made familiar!"

Once again Emily rescued him. She turned back to face the desk, slid her feet about eighteen inches apart, and bent right over till her fingers were touching the floor. Unsuspected by Oswald, of course, she had turned her face away partly to allow him to manage the bulge in the front of his trousers that she had knowingly observed. Oswald was simply grateful for the opportunity and hurriedly made some adjustments to his crotch, desperate to make his reactions invisible. He was not entirely successful but Emily, sweetly, pretended not to notice.

But his mind continued in a whirl. Just before she had turned he had had a momentary glimpse of the light coloured carpet between her thighs. This had silhouetted her crotch, dark against the light background, and he had registered a fleeting but entirely clear outline of her sex, like a very shallow, rounded W, and a few whisps of hair. Ignorant as he was, he knew that the ultimate secret of females was hidden within some kind of a groove that ran between their thighs. The knowledge that he had glimpsed this temple of sex, even if so briefly, span in his mind.

The events, so confusing that they threatened to overwhelm him, continued. He was now confronted with Emily's bottom, bared and raised before him as the wondrously rounded summit of a body that was naked from socks to waist. He stared in wonder at its perfection, expanding in such surprising and charming rotundity from the tops of her thighs, its paired spheres swelling up on either side of the deep cleft until her cleft shallowed and disappeared, and the smooth,ly rounded, pale spheres gracefully narrowed and subsided into her waist, just below where her skirt was tucked in. And Emily, her face now inverted, was still turned towards him, her expression still expectant and her eyes as cheerful as ever. "Is this right, sir?!"

"Yes, it ... it ... is!" stammered Oswald, managing to omit the thanks this time. His mind was cannoning frantically between two seemingly irreconcilable realities, which were nevertheless now presented to him as completely singular. One was the cheerful face of Emily in his class, and the other was her entirely naked bottom, now specifically and incontestably proffered for his attention. Even though the sight of her pubic area had shocked him, at least he had seen this aspect of female anatomy at the London review. But the show had not given him any view of the female bottom and he found himself almost more taken aback by what he now saw, so close and so explicitly presented as a site for his own activity. He found himself thinking that Emily's bottom was one of the most entrancingly attractive sights he had ever been granted. The roundness of those two parallel spheres, a perfection of parabolas! And though he had been aroused by the sight of Emily's pubic area, somehow he found himself becoming even more excited by what he was now staring at. He knew almost nothing about what was hidden between her thighs, but he certainly knew that such secrets lay within the place to which his eyes were irresistibly drawn, that confluence of curves and creases, where her cleft, the lower edge of her bottom cheeks and the junction of her legs all came together.

Emily understood well how to charm men with her bottom as well as with her face, and she sensed that she was doing very well. She knew very well what was going on in Mr. Turnbull's mind and she deliberately tilted her hips up a little higher, sticking her bottom out a bit further, for she had seen the foolish smile that would grow on the Reverend's face when she made this movement. Things seemed to be going well, although she realized that they were still a little precarious.

Oswald gulped several times, knowing he had to find some way out of his growing paralysis. He suddenly remembered the cane, hanging in his right hand. He forced himself to speak, "Ah, yes! Well let us begin then!" The cane had abruptly brought to his mind the very recent memory of his experiments in smiting the sofa. His psyche at once inverted itself, like Emily's face. He knew what to do and suddenly felt sure he could do it. There had been a quiet but very perceptible change of tone in his last remark and Emily had noticed it. Her expression of cheerful cooperation flickered for a moment as she realized that she really did not know what to expect from this master who was now staring at her naked bottom, with a cane in his hand. He was not the Reverend. She felt a flutter of anxiety in her tummy. But surely it couldn't be too different, even if things seemed not quite the same. Anyway, there was certainly nothing she could do about it. But there was another flutter in her tummy, this time more like fear. The fact that he was in his shirtsleeves suddenly struck her anew. Somehow this seemed to make him look more threatening. She saw him raise the cane with a look curiously like confidence and determination, and she felt its thin length placed across her cheeks. The sensation was familiar but her bottom was so helpless, she suddenly realized, even though she had so cheerfully presented it in its present, vulnerable state. Her eyes started darting around, searching for some clue to whatever was going to happen.

Oswald had realized that what was to happen was between him and Emily's bottom was critically attached to the presence of the cane in his hand, and that he should stop looking at Emily's face. He raised the cane to lay it across the bottom lifted before him and felt its thin length making contact with the skin of the paired spheres, the further curve perfectly repeating the nearer across the dividing cleft, their skin so pale and smooth, so perfect and so ... waiting! The moment sent a sudden shiver through him. But it was a shiver that clarified his mind. With a peculiar access of confidence he shifted his position and his stance so that his arm was comfortably stretched out and the cane was resting evenly across both cheeks of Emily's bottom. He lifted and lowered the cane several times, judging how it would fall when he delivered the stroke. It was just like serving in squash, only much more exciting, and at what a convenient level Emily's bottom was, he thought, gratefully.

It was like serving in a game of squash. Forget what your opponent was thinking, breathe evenly and keep your eye fixed firmly on the ball ... which was, in this case, the line where his cane was resting across Emily's bottom. He remembered clearly the sensation when he had practiced on the couch. The cane had to be lifted high enough and brought down hard enough to produce both the swish and the thwack. He concentrated.

Emily in this instant knew that it was going to be very different from what she had expected when she had knocked on the door. Suddenly frightened, she squeezed her eyes tightly shut and tried to concentrate everything inside her head, excluding everything outside it. For a few moments everything was completely still, but Emily was focusing so intensely inside her own head and Oswald was focused so intently on her bottom, that neither of them noticed the silence. For Oswald, the moment of decision came like a flash.

SwishThwack! For a moment Oswald had a sudden sense of success, but the moment was cut very short by a wild shriek from Emily. Oswald found himself staring at her abrupt transformation, half upright now, hands clutching her bottom, eyes and mouth wide open as she stared, shocked, apparently into empty space.

If Emily was more shocked than ever before in her life, Oswald himself was almost as surprised. He had not even thought about how Emily would react to the cane. Now he suddenly found out and was completely at a loss. What had he done? Had he made the stroke much too hard? But he certainly could have made it even harder still! What on earth could he do with this young woman who was sobbing and stamping with outrage in front of him. The thought passed through his mind that, if Emily's earlier revelation of her pubic area to him had seemed oddly deliberate, then the moments of similar exposure now were not. They were simply the careless result of her desperate attempts to deal with the pain in her bottom.

His mind, rather belatedly, began to work more logically. Pain went with the cane as inevitably as wet followed water. Indeed, and the obviousness of the point quite took him aback, that was exactly the purpose of what he was doing. As if to emphasize this dawn of understanding, Emily had finally closed her mouth and refocused her eyes, on him. "Oh sir! That hurt so much!"

"Of course it did, Emily, that is exactly the purpose! It is a punishment that should persuade you to reform your behaviour!" Oswald barely recognized his own voice in these words, but at least they seemed to be coming out of his own mouth. He was, of course, completely ignorant of the strange calculations and understandings that had governed Emily's actions. "Oh sir! I promise, I really promise that, that I'll behave! Please don't cane me again!"

"Again?" Oswald still felt that he was speaking at the dictation of some higher authority, but he was happily grateful for it. "There will be no "again" if your behaviour improves. But your punishment on this occasion is the result of misbehaviour already perpetrated. "Again" is what you will now do. Bend over, again, so that we may conclude this punishment and it will then be up to you to ensure that it doesn't happen again!"

Emily was staring at him in pained astonishment, partly, of course, because she did not wish to resume the position that would inevitably be followed by another stroke of the cane, and partly because this was not the Mr. Turnbull she had known.

"Bend over and touch you toes again. If you don't do as I ask you, then I will extend your punishment." This threat surprised both of them, for Oswald had no idea of whether he was authorized, or whether he would dare exceed, the allotted six strokes. But it worked, for Emily, with a gulp of dismay, dragged her hands away from her still smarting bottom, turned back to face the desk, bent down to touch the floor and, once more presented her bottom in the time-honoured position.

Her skirt was still securely folded into its waist and Oswald had just begun to register, again with some surprise, the reddening mark across her cheeks, when he observed that her knickers had been dislodged by her protests and had now slipped down to her feet. He saw that this was keeping her from placing her feet apart. When she had first done this, of her own accord, he had noticed it without really thinking about the results. Now, increasingly educated in the niceties of a caning, he realized that the parting of her legs served to expose what lay between her thighs. Though still not bold enough to make too obvious use of such opportunities, he nevertheless knew he was excited by simply seeing that Emily's most hidden intimacies could be seen, if he chose to look, and he was inspired to take some action.

He reached downwards with the cane and pressed its tip into the crotch of Emily's knickers, pinning them to the floor. "Step out of your knickers (goodness, he probably had never even spoken the word before!) ... they are impeding your position!"

Emily, slowly putting her mind back together, knew perfectly well that Mr. Turnbull's intention was to make her expose herself more obviously. Her visits to the Reverend had familiarized her with this habit. She began to hope that gratifying Mr. Turnbull's desires might possibly soften the unexpected severity of his assault on her bottom. So she twisted and lifted first one foot and then the other out her knickers. Improvising with growing hope, she then asked, from her still inverted position, "Shall I pick them up and put them on a chair, sir, so that I don't get tangled with them?"

Oswald, though his mind still dithered between his new-found incisiveness and his normal indecision, thought there was probably some benefit to this suggestion, "Er, yes ... please do that."

Emily promptly reached for her knickers and straightened up again. Standing up even for a few seconds made her feel a little less threatened and the benefit for Oswald was immediately, if briefly, demonstrated when she turned away from him to walk over to the chair. Her bottom, as she took these few steps, seemed even more charming and he was just observing, with considerable curiousity, the rippling of the bright red line of the cane across its two mobile cheeks when, after placing her knickers on the seat of a chair, she turned and presented to him a fully frontal view of her crotch. Once more Oswald's thoughts were stopped in their tracks. Emily was gratified to notice the downwards flick of his eyes and, desperately improvising further, suggested, "Perhaps you could just have me stand here, with my hands on my head, or a book or something, for a quarter of an hour, or something like that! Like we do in gym! I mean, I do really know what a caning would be like now, and I promise I wouldn't do anything bad again!" She almost went on to suggest that she could take of all her clothes as part of the punishment, but couldn't think of a way to say that with it sounding altogether too suggestive.

Oswald's thoughts were going along a very similar path for an instant, but he couldn't think of a way to make it sound remotely distant either. His newly found authority suddenly reasserted itself, however, "Procrastination will not do you any good at all ... you are here to be caned and caned you will be. You have only received one stroke so far and you still have five to go. That is, unless you choose to make such a fuss that I am obliged to give you even more!" There was that threat again ... well, at least he could make it!

Despair settled in Emily's mind. Whatever had gone wrong had gone so terribly wrong that there seemed to be absolutely no hope of it going right again. Whatever else she could or couldn't do, however, it was probably better to keep Mr. Turnbull happy, rather than risk making him unhappy. Resigned, she went back to her place in front of the desk and, once again, reached down to present her still smarting bottom in the required position, taking care to place her feet apart, even a little further than they had been before.

A realization suddenly swelled up in Mr. Turnbull's mind: this bared bottom was once again stuck out in front of him, awaiting his administration of the cane, as a consequence of the exercise of his authority ... an authority that he had never knew he had! And now he saw quite clearly how sharp and bright was the bright crimson line curving around the two bottom cheeks, slightly askew but more or less across the crown. The result of his own action! He was becoming better at absorbing the successive revelations of this event, but this still caused him some surprise. His mind had to put this together, his earlier realization that the purpose of a caning was indeed to produce significant pain in the bottom of any young woman who had to suffer such punishment, and the now apparent physical result of this punishment, in the form of the bruise that recorded the cane's imprint with such startling clarity. His reactions, however, were changing. For a moment he was disconcerted, but then he thought, "Well, if that's the result of my first stroke then I must be doing something correctly! Now I have to make five more!"

With that, he raised his cane to Emily's bottom again, laying it along the mark of his first stroke, summoned up the skills he already possessed, and with conscious confidence swept the cane up and down.

Swishthwatt! Emily had known it was going to hurt again, but the burst of deep fire across her bottom took away both her breath and her mind. "OW! Oh ... oh ... OW!" Oswald had but a brief moment to feel the hint of another stroke well made before Emily's agonized jerk in reaction had her, once again, half-upright with hands clasping her bottom. He stared at her for a moment but this time sensed, however, that something was starting to seem different. Rules were being established, and they were both beginning to know what they were.

Emily opened her eyes and took several deep breaths, hands pressing hard into her bottom cheeks as the initial shock of the cane's second impact receded into a throbbing burn. She looked at Mr. Turnbull, who looked back at her. She knew he had changed. He was holding the cane in both hands again, slowly bending it to and fro. The message was completely clear. The caning would continue and Mr. Turnbull now knew exactly what he was doing. For Oswald, his confidence made him feel almost generous. "Bend over again and stay in position ... if you do so and behave properly through the remains of your caning, then you will receive six, and that will be that!"

Emily opened her mouth, but remained silent. Tears were beginning to fill her eyes. She took another deep breath and, once again, bent over to offer her now throbbing bottom for a punishment she knew she could not avoid.

"Good! Stay in that position and, as I have said, your punishment will be six-of-the-best, and only six." As Oswald was pronouncing these words, now sounding curiously both strained and also rather pompous, he returned his attention to the bottom that was the center of this event. He saw that his second stroke had landed almost exactly along the first. The welt was now visibly swelling, and was already turning purple in places where the two strokes had exactly coincided. No wonder Emily had leapt upright on this stroke too! That must have really hurt! Intrigued by the observation of this further effect of his work, however, he decided that he should avoid it for the remainder of the punishment. He was beginning to feel as though he were already an experienced caner. He tapped the lower curve of Emily's bottom thoughtfully as he decided on where to aim his next stroke. Emily started slightly and he saw a sudden tightening of her cheeks in reaction to her sense that the stroke was coming. But Oswald was now taking his time. He was deciding that he would deliver each of the four remaining strokes lower than his first two. The lower curve of Emily's bottom somehow seemed both appropriate and inviting. And he would take care to aim each stroke just below the preceding one.

A moment of stillness and silence, then swishhTHWATT! The stroke was a little harder than the first two and it landed where Oswald had aimed it, a little lower. Emily jumped and gasped loudly, but she remained bending over. Her more resigned acceptance of her third stroke had allowed Oswald to register a peculiarly satisfying sensation of the cane's swish through the air and its thwack across the bottom. Like the game of squash again! What had the Reverend said? Something about caning being an art? At the time he had barely noticed this remark. Now he found himself remembering and agreeing with it. The realization that his last stroke had landed almost exactly where he had aimed it convinced him that it was also an art, one which he was enjoying. He was, of course, still aware that Emily was obviously finding this experience very painful, and he certainly was not a cruel person. But this fleeting moment of guilt was neutralized by the sudden thought that what he was doing, after all, was simply continuing the noble tradition of English Education. He had a duty!

As the mark of Emily's third stroke grew more darkly crimson, Oswald raised his cane again, laid it just below it the third stripe, and pressed it firmly into her bottom for a moment. He noticed with interest how the pressure of his resting cane slightly indented both her cheeks. That was where his cane would land! Then he released his fourth stroke with exactly the same force. SwishhTHWATT!

Though Emily kept her position, more or less, her bottom seemed to jump at the impact of the cane and for a few moments, as she gasped and struggled to absorb the pain, her bottom pumped and twisted and up and down. Oswald, who had never before acknowledged the ways in which he could be aroused by such movements of a female bottom, let alone if it were naked, looked on entranced. His interest increased yet more when he suddenly noticed that the swivelling of Emily's bottom from side to side and the effects of these movements in her cleft were resulting in very fleeting but nevertheless unmistakable exposure of anatomical details that were otherwise invisible. There was no doubt! There was a glimpse of that of that small, embarrassing private aperture, normally so invisible between the cheeks of the bottom. He knew what that was! And then there was something much more mysterious, at least to him, a glimpse of another cleft and two parallel folds of flesh deeper between her thighs. These revelations passed by Oswald' eyes in a mere moment, but their effect lingered. He started to wonder how he might justify a more probing examination of the female secrets that Emily had seemed almost ready to offer him, at least before her caning began.

But there was no obvious way of achieving this at the precise moment, which seemed, irresistably, to require his administration of the next stroke. So he raised his cane once more and returned it to Emily's bottom, his aim now adjusted to just below the crimsoning line of the fourth stroke. And then again, carefully, as a rhythm took hold, at intervals of about ten seconds, the fifth and sixth strokes, swishhTHWATT! ... swishhTHWATT. Each time Emily jumped and gasped. Each time, held by sheer determination, her hands returned to touch the floor and her bottom stayed thrusting up, fixed as the target of the strokes to come.

Then it was over, both Emily and Oswald realized, both with a peculiarly confusing sense that they were suddenly emerging from another world, a very astonishing world into which events had catapulted them, and that they now found themselves returning equally helplessly back into the one where they had been before. But the return was confusing, to say the least. Emily was still bending over and, although this was a position that was already familiar, the throbbing, aching heat in her bottom was as strange as it was, inescapably and painfully, also real. She had, by now completely forgotten about the bulge in the front of Mr. Turnbull's trousers, though it was still most decidedly there.

And for Oswald, everything was rapidly beginning to seem utterly strange, and unbelievable, except that there was no doubt whatsoever about Emily's presence before him, her naked bottom now brilliantly striped by the welts of the cane that he still held in his hand. Five of them, or six, he corrected himself, remembering how the first two had overlapped. He noticed that the marks had swollen slightly into narrow ridges and that the twin outlines of her bottom, formerly so perfectly smooth, were now interrupted by these five bumps. He had an unaccountable urge to feel them, but realized that this would be quite unacceptable. Entrancing though her bottom had appeared to him when she had first revealed it, he now found himself struck by the though that, decorated by his work with the cane, it somehow seemed even more wonderous.

He forced himself to speak, somewhat unsteadily now that the Voice of Authority had deserted him. "Er ... um ... you may stand up now, and dress yourself properly again!" Emily straightened up, tears running down a face that was red, but not nearly as red as the bottom that was now mostly obscured by her clutching hands. She shuffled over to the chair and pulled her knickers back on. He had a final sight of her red-striped bottom as it disappeared inside the blue undergarment and under the skirt that she now untucked, straightening it out and returning it to its original purpose of keeping her clothed with due modesty.

For a few moments she remained there, reluctant to turn again and face Mr. Turnbull after everything that had just happened. Oswald recovered enough sensitivity to guess what was going on in her mind. "Now that we are finished, Emily ... you may go ... and I hope you have learned the appropriate lesson from this ... er ... unfortunate matter!"

She turned, mouth pursed in a mix of physical and psychological discomfort. Her face was still red and wet with tears. She swallowed hard, for she didn't really know what the lesson should be. She brushed her wet cheeks with a hand, "Yes sir, thank you sir! I ... er ...." Then she walked across the room, face downcast, opened the door, and hurried away, hands still clasping her sore bottom.

On her way back to the private cubicle that was the privilege of a senior girl, she saw a few of her friends. It was clear to them that she was upset but she passed by their surprised enquiries without replying, leaving them looking after her in surprise. Shutting her cubicle door behind her with relief, she threw herself on her bed, face down. Her hands, naturally enough, slipped behind her, under the waist of her knickers, and began to rub her still throbbing bottom. Soon enough, however, she found herself wanting to see what the results of her punishment looked like. She got up from the bed and turned her back to the mirror on her dresser. Though no one knew better than she how painful the caning had been - indeed, she was the only person who knew - she was quite shocked to discover the corrugated state and the colourful appearance of her own bottom. With her knickers once again pushed down and her skirt hauled up, she twisted back as far as she could to inspect the damage. Five crimson marks! But there had been six strokes! Then she noticed how the highest mark was purpling and swollen. Of course! Now she remembered how the two first strokes had seemed higher up across her bottom and how the second had hurt so much. He'd hit her twice in the same place! With dismay, she ran her fingers carefully up and down and from side to side over the corrugations, especially the double welt that was more swollen. Slowly, as she relived the shocking experience, she began to recover.

It took a considerable effort on Oswald's part to pull himself together when he was left alone in the room, still holding the cane. For a few moment he tried to recapture in his mind's eye the now departed scene. . He swished the cane thoughtfully. But now there was no target. He realized that he had missed the opportunity to look more carefully between Emily's thighs at the secrets that he had only glimpsed, but he couldn't think of any way he could have managed it. Finally, he took the cane back to the cupboard and closed its door, went to sit at the desk, and carefully wrote in the record book that he had left open "Emily Forster, April 6, 1937, six-of-the-best." He closed the book, replaced it on the shelf and stood up. There was nothing in the room at all that gave any hint of what had just happened. But the uncomfortably confined pressure in the front of his trousers was still there. He rearranged himself and his trousers again, put on his jacket, which he hoped was long enough to hide the embarrassment, and left the headmaster's study. He returned at once to his lodging, where we will not follow him.

One might have expected that the outcome of these events would have been unfortunate, but this was not really so. Emily's bottom indeed remained sore for a couple of hours and uncomfortable for much longer. She found an excuse to avoid the evening showers and kept events to herself that night. But when she got up the next morning and examined her bottom in a mirror, finding that she could still feel how her flesh was hard along the still brightly coloured bruises, she decided to make the most of it. She told some friends what had happened and they refused to believe her until she showed them the indubitable evidence of her bruised bottom. When they demanded to know how much it had hurt, she had tried to cover both sides of her reputation by replying, "Oh! A lot! ... But I didn't really mind!" She also allowed her closest friends to feel the still swollen marks and this effectively made even more vivid the reports that began to circulate even more widely around the school. Her friends, of course, were amazed and Emily, as she had hoped, soon found herself a celebrity, particularly in the ten days or so during which the marks of the cane remained visible. What made this even more gratifying was the view of other girls, carefully fostered by Emily herself, that the caning represented a strange kind of uniquely intimate relationship between herself and Mr. Turnbull, one of which the other girls immediately became peculiarly jealous. "Why!" she had exclaimed to much giggling, "You should have seen the bulge in the front of his trousers!" Emily herself, however, took great care not to repeat her mistakes and, since she graduated from the school at the end of that year, was not involved in any further such events.

Unavoidably, of course, they had met in Mr. Turnbull's maths class the day after Emily's caning. Mr. Turnbull had at first tried to avoid meeting Emily's eyes, but soon failed in this attempt. He had discerned a distinctly accusatory expression on her face and she had been pleased to see a distinct reddening of his. For Mr.Turnbull, inevitably, there had been a reversal of the very peculiar feeling of disjunction at the beginning of Emily's caning, when he had found it so difficult to reconcile his sudden view of her bottom with the view of her face that was his normal, daily experience. Now he had to try to suppress, not only his vivid memory of the bottom she was now sitting on, but also his curiousity about what it now looked like. This curiousity was, naturally enough, never satisfied. It was, however, definitely in his interest to re-establish something like their normal relationship of master and pupil. And Emily considered it in the interests of convincing her friends that there existed some particular relationship between them. They thus were back on friendly terms by the end of the class.

The Reverend Calder, when he returned, inevitably discovered what had happened. At first he was dismayed. But then he realized that the development could be turned to his advantage. By careful planning he managed to get one girl, and then another, and then another, back into his study for the kind of "punishment" that had been his speciality. His reputation was thereby restored and the practice continued. At the same time, he realized that he could now treat the occasional serious offences among his pupils quite differently. He himself did not dare to try to administer a serious caning, but he now asked Oswald to take on this duty. The satisfaction for the Reverend himself was simple. The offending young woman would be summoned to the study where the Reverend waited with Oswald. Oswald would administer the caning while the Reverend, as Headmaster, remained to observe, with great gratification to himself. For Oswald, who now fulfilled his role in such events with confidence, the event with Emily was an obvious and very satisfying turning point. But the memory of his first encounter, with Emily's bottom, never faded through many subsequent administrations of the cane, and, indeed, he always remained profoundly grateful to her.

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