Part 6. "PRISCILLA IS GOING TO BE CANED!" - DAY TWO
The considerable detail in which we have discussed the administration of the cane so far will prove, I hope, sufficient to ensure that when it comes to the actual event you will manage it smoothly and effectively. As you proceed with a caning, however, additional problems may arise and we will discuss some of them here.
The matter of penalties must first be decided. It hardly needs to be pointed out that to be caned is a very painful experience and that young women will sometimes protest, both before the caning begins and while it is progress. Such protesting may be accepted but only to a very limited degree, otherwise it will disrupt the punishment. It is therefore necessary to establish rules that will govern the penalties imposed to prevent it, and to make these clear to the young woman about to be caned (and to the school community in general).
First, she must remain in the position that she has been instructed to assume. A modest amount of movement is inevitable and acceptable but her hands should remain in the position specified. Restricting the movements of her hands will restrict the movements of her body in general. My first general rule is that, if she move them she will receive an extra stroke. My second general rule is that if she allows her hands to cover her bottom she will receive at least two extra strokes. A young woman will, of course, often react to a stroke of the cane with movements of protest, sudden or less so, as we have discussed, and you must be reasonable in permitting them. Stating the rule to her, however, enables you to exercise discretion and assign an additional stroke as you see fit.
The second rule I regard as absolute, but there are often complications that require further explanation. If she begin to move her hands towards her bottom but is dissuaded before they get there, then I usually allow one single exception. This usually means that I use the cane to stop the movement and accompany this with a very severe warning. If she tries to do it a second time, however, or if she persists in covering her bottom with her hands, then I always administer at least two penalty strokes for each time she does so.
When, after a young woman's caning has begun, her hands fly to her bottom immediately after a stroke, to quench the fire that the cane has just ignited, you need not be hasty in your own response. I generally wait until she has calmed down somewhat and then inform her in a matter of fact tone that she has incurred the penalty. Should she continue to keep her hands on her bottom, in an effort to avert the next stroke, I tap her hands lightly with the cane (you must on no account strike the hands hard) and tell her that she will continue to incur extra strokes so long as she leaves them there. I then count slowly, starting at two. On occasions I have counted as high as six before wisdom has prevailed. After telling her that she has incurred a penalty, you may simply increase the number of strokes, although I find it more effective to wait until the allotted number has been administered and then announce that the designated number of penalty strokes will follow. I usually make them harder. If, of course, she again disobeys the rules while receiving a penalty stroke, then she receives more. I consider it essential that offenders realize this will happen. You must also tell her very clearly that she must remain in position after the caning is finished until you instruct her to stand up.
If, even after you have delivered the last stroke, she moves her hands to her bottom before you have told her that she may stand up and rub her bottom, then you should return to your duty and administer two more. Even with a modest punishment of six lesser strokes pre-assigned, a girl who has not been caned before may yet be so nervous as to offend against these rules. You must not allow exceptions and, I assure you, experience has taught me that patience almost always prevails. If, nevertheless, it should prove necessary to secure a first-time offender (or any other), then do so after a warning. In such an event, however, I invariably impose a further penalty of eight strokes, informing her that this will be the case when I warn her that she will be secured if does not behave immediately.
Let us now suppose that a previously inoffensive student has offended against school regulations. My own habit is to interview the student when her offence is reported, to inform her at that time of what her punishment will be, and to have her report to my study for punishment at an allotted hour. My system of book-keeping allows me to do this without hesitation. Let us further suppose, therefore, that you have ordered her to report to your study for her first caning, which you already know will consist of a modest 6 wrist-stokes. Make sure that you have at least half an hour available for the caning at the time stated. This will probably be much in excess of what you need and the business may easily be concluded in five minutes or less. You must, however, on your first attempt leave much more time available in case you finish up with a very recalcitrant offender. In this latter case, you will need to deal with her in the manner just described.
The appointed hour has come and you are in your study prepared. If it is your practice to have a female member of your staff attending, she will also be there and you will have informed her of the punishment you are expecting to administer. You have already decided whether your method of instilling appropriate apprehension is to have canes already on display, lying on table perhaps, or rather to wait until the miscreant is present and then open the cupboard in which your canes are hanging and have her watch with increasing discomfort while you appear to choose the instrument (you should, of course, already have decided this but you should always take three canes, one thinner and one thicker than the one you expect to use). There will be a knock on the door, but you must realize that many young women in this situation are so nervous that their knocking is barely audible. You may need to leave the door ajar.
You will have to command "Come in!" in a rather loud voice and you will have to indicate where the miscreant should stand after entering (you may choose to be at your desk, or standing). At this point I ask simply if she knows why she is there. She may answer that she is there to be caned but, even if her reply is inaudible as it often is, I proceed without delay to order her to prepare herself appropriately and to assume the required position. While she is doing so, I observe her bottom to assess whether the assigned punishment needs to be modified. If, for example, her bottom is rather generous then I might decide to use a thicker cane. In the presently supposed case, however, there will be no such complications. Simply take up your position and raise your initially selected cane and place it across the waiting bottom cheeks
The first caning you administer will certainly be more interesting than your practice. Both the young lady and her bottom will be a great deal more responsive than the pillow, and the sights and sounds that immediately follow the impact of the cane will be far more rewarding. The advantage of beginning with 6-wrist-strokes is that the caning is likely to be much easier. The disadvantage is that, should such a caning be disrupted, then its determined process will be disrupted. Before you begin, therefore, you should inform the miscreant in an extremely severe tone that any such disruption will result in starting the punishment over again. This will normally be sufficient to persuade even a first-time visitor to remain comparatively still. If she does not, then allow her one severe warning with one additional stroke, and then administer the full penalty (as explained above) if she offends a second time. If she still refuses to cooperate, then you will have to secure her and, if you do so, you should change the punishment to vigorous half-strokes at the very least.
Let us hope, however, that your first administration of this caning proceeds smoothly. As your last good flick of the wrist drives the cane home then your confidence will undoubtedly establish itself firmly in the moment that follows. The next thing you should do, however, is nothing. Or, rather, you should observe carefully the results of your administration, for accurate knowledge of the effects of each caning you have administered will serve you very well in the future. After this observation, you should enter the event in you records and only then tell the young woman that she may rise, and dress or rearrange her clothing. Your last action should be to have her face you while you tell her, in a kindly enough tone, that her punishment is now ended and that you hope she has learned her lesson well. Rare will be the occasion that you do not see her rubbing her bottom frantically as she leaves the room.
If your first experience administering the cane is in a punishment requiring harder strokes, namely half-strokes or more, then you may have more problems. The miscreant may react more vigorously because the strokes, of course, will be harder and more painful. If she does so, however, it may be more easily dealt with because each stroke is necessarily followed by an interval, however, brief, as you prepare for the next one. This gives you a chance to reassert your authority. As with the preceding case, you should impress the young lady before you even begin, in the strongest possible terms, that any lack of cooperation will extend her punishment and you should be prepared to follow through with this, however much time and patience it takes.
Let us hope, however, that the miscreant is sufficiently impressed by your authority that she readies herself as you have ordered and that she accepts her caning without disruptive protest. The effect of your first stroke of the cane across a living bottom rather than across a pillow, will, of course, be even more marked than in our first case. Even before you know clearly what the young woman's reaction will be, you will probably realize that the sound of the cane through the air is the same whatever its target may be, but the sound and feel as it lands on a live bottom is unique. If your practice has been sufficient to give you confidence, you will probably know at that moment whether you will find the experience gratifying or otherwise. It is my hope, naturally enough, that, with the assistance of my advice, you will find it so and that you will find yourself looking forward to serving our educational mission in this essential duty. If you do not, then I would suggest that you try another three or four canings before deciding whether to pass this duty to someone more inclined to fulfill it.
If you choose to continue with these duties, you will soon enough start to know how effective is the stroke you have just delivered, even before the reactions of the young woman and the developing marks on her bottom inform you further. However, an experienced word or two upon this subject may not be out of place.
Experience has taught me to hear to the differences between what I refer to as the "thwick," thwack," "thwat" and "thwad" strokes. The sound of a cane's impact across the bottom cheeks will of course vary with the cane and the bottom, but I have found that the subtleties, with which one's technique is employed and which still determine so much of the effect, are such that often one is not fully aware of them until the cane has actually landed. At that moment, the sound of the cane's impact can be very instructive. The critical difference is between a sound that is close to a "thwack" and one that is more of a "thwat."
My experience suggests that this difference is related to the extent to which the cane buries itself in the cheeks of the bottom. The "thwack" (or in milder instances more of a "thwick") indicates that the cane has remained close to their surface. A "thwat" indicates a stroke that has embedded itself more deeply in the cheeks. The action of the cane is so rapid that it is extremely difficult to observe the moment of its impact, but the more practiced the delivery of the stroke and the less attention one is obliged to pay to it, the more freedom the eye has to observe. As an administrator of extensive experience, I have increasingly noticed that the bottom cheeks appear to be significantly flattened and distorted by a hard stroke and I suspect that the cane thereby makes an increasing impression beneath the surface of its cheeks. It is this depth of the cane's impression, I have come to believe, that results in a different sound. Observation of the miscreant's reactions has also shown me that the more embedded impact is more painful. It will produce a bruise arising more deeply below the skin, one that swells more prominently and eventually becomes more the "black and blue" of legend.
To the differences between stinging "thwick strokes," and the "thwack" and "thwat" strokes, both of which may be seen to produce an increasingly severe sensation of burning, I add what I call the "thwad" stroke. This last sound is that produced by a thicker cane when vigorously administered. The reactions of bottoms I have caned in this manner suggest that, while the "thwad" may not indicate a stroke that seems to burn, it produces a pain that develops more slowly and is certainly followed by more severe bruising. Sensitivity to these differences will enable you to conduct your canings more thoughtfully and to vary your strokes within one caning where it seems appropriate.
My own sensitivity to the sounds of caning is such that I was once seized by levity and challenged a fellow headmaster to a competition. My suggestion was that we should each accumulate a representative collection of canings that needed to be administered, each with different conditions, and then administer them one after the other, all on the same occasion. As he did so, I would be listening around a corner and making notes, and he likewise while I discharged my duty. I was willing to wager that, on the basis of sound alone, I would be better able than he to identify correctly the size of cane and the type of stroke employed, the position of the young woman, the approximate dimensions of her bottom, and the appearance of the welts one minute after the caning had concluded. The idea, unfortunately, proved impractical.
There is one exception to the rule that a "thwat," as indicating a stroke that has penetrated more deeply, is therefore more painful. Bottom cheeks that are less yielding will result in more damage to the skin, the appearance of which has often appeared to me as much like a burn than a bruise. The sound is closer to a "thwack" but harsher and does not have the satisfying depth of a cane striking softer bottom cheeks. I do not consider this a desirable result in caning and this is the main reason that I do not recommend positions that stretch a young woman's bottom too taughtly. The same condition may be produced, however, when a young woman who is very nervous clenches her bottom as the cane descends. If she does this, you will readily be able to tell the difference both by feel and sound. I recommend that you discourage it.
In all circumstances, of course, you should continue to observe the state of the bottom with especial care, either on your own or in company with your assistant. You need not be reluctant to examine the bottom closely, but you must not touch it. If you have a female assistant, of course, she may choose to do so.
Let us resume our hypothetical narrative at this point, however, and suppose that your first stroke has safely landed across its target and that the event is proceeding as planned. You will, of course, wait to observe the reactions of the offender and determine whether you can continue. Let us further suppose that her sounds and movements, which will naturally enough also be far more interesting than the inanimate response of a pillow, are not disruptive, but are only such as you may comfortably register as the opening item in the knowledge of how a young woman responds to the cane, a knowledge that you will now begin to accumulate. You must also enter in your experience first observations concerning how the cheeks of a bottom themselves register this experience at the other end of the cane, in the terms that I discussed in my previous section. Do not proceed hurriedly to the second stroke but observe the bottom before you carefully and closely. You must not be reluctant to do so and you should resume your position for the second stroke only when you are satisfied that you have a preliminary assessment of how this particular bottom will stand up to this particular caning. This rule obtains for almost every stroke, of course, but is more important after the first.
There is one situation where it does not obtain and that is when you are administering several strokes in rapid succession. I do not generally do this, preferring that the young lady have time to think about the next stroke that she will receive, and that I myself have the leisure to contemplate each delivery carefully.
The\is matter does, however, raise the important question of how long the interval between strokes should be. The essential factor here derives from the effect that a stroke has upon the nerves of the bottom. My own observation of the immediate reactions of both bottom cheeks and person has convinced me that there is an initial and instantaneous shock as the cane lands across the bottom, but that another kind of very intense pain immediately follows and that this pain may take from two to six seconds to reach its maximum (it has been described to me as a fiery burning sensation). This is in turn followed by yet a third kind of discomfort, a throbbing ache that is less intense than the burning but is still severe. This impression has also been confirmed by informants whom I have sometimes been able to consult.
The intervals between strokes may be correlated to these reactions. If the caning proceeds at a deliberately considered pace, then your intervals may last from ten seconds to a minute and you may well choose to vary them. If you wish to increase the level of conscious pain to the maximum, then one stroke should follow another at the moment that the burning sensation reaches its maximum. This varies from bottom to bottom, but you can usually estimate it by carefully observing the bottom cheeks and listening to the young lady's gasps. The tightest clenching of the cheeks and the most desperate intake of breath will signal this moment. I have found that six such strokes in succession is the maximum that she will be able to take before her protests become too violent. If you deliver two strokes in very rapid succession, then the first initial shock will be doubled by the second. In this case, it is unlikely that the young woman will be able to stand more than two such strokes. I usually reserve the six stroke sequence for the eight-stroke penalty imposed when the miscreant must be secured, delivering them across the crown of the bottom, and concluding with two final extra-hard strokes delivered more slowly low across the bottom. The rapid double sequence I often use when it has become apparent that the initially assigned punishment is too light and I can increase it by provoking a desperate clutching of the bottom by errant hands. I prefer to achieve a modification of the original decree in this way, rather than by seeming to change my mind arbitrarily about a decision that I have already issued.
If a caning reaches the maximum of 36 strokes but penalty strokes are still required, this necessitates a second caning, which is automatically a minimum of 12 strokes. I require the offender to return after 3 weeks for an inspection of her bottom. If it has sufficiently recovered from her first caning, then I administer the second. If my assistant decides that her bottom still needs more time to recover, then she is instructed to return again after another week. The young women in such cases are sometimes so nervous that it is helpful to secure them even before beginning. On principle, however, I ask them if they wish to be secured and explain that this will necessitate a further 2 strokes. I have been surprised at how often this arrangement is accepted. The fear of earning an even higher number of penalty strokes is evidently stronger.
A word of reassurance on a related matter may be in order here. In discussing the cane with others who take this matter seriously, several masters have told me that, when they found themselves for the first time contemplating the private parts of a young woman who had just bent over to receive her caning, they had been overwhelmed with fear that the cane might strike and injure this obviously tender anatomy. Subsequent experience, of course, always proved such fear to be groundless. It may be helpful, however, to reassure the beginner that this will be the case.
The fear is perhaps not surprising in the inexperienced and is to be lauded, as a sign both of careful concern for one's charges and also of an appropriate awareness that the object of a caning is the bottom and only the bottom. The fear must, however, be distinguished from that very proper domain of observation, which I have repeatedly emphasized as essential to the productive feeling of mortification on the part of the offender. The beginner may feel firmly assured that all the tenderest details of female anatomy rest safely in the bottom's cleft and between the thighs. One might, indeed, even speculate that the cleft was part of a divine design to protect these parts, lying so closely to that swelling flesh provided by the same divinity as that part of the anatomy most perfectly suited to corporal punishment.
I have often marveled at the elegance of this divine solution when contemplating the results of a caning. Few sights seem so attractive and so expressive of the quality of a caning as the pale and unblemished valley of this cleft, rimmed by the crimson corrugations of the imprinted welts as they disappear from one cheek only to reappear on the other. When my assistant and I examine the state of a bottom to decide whether to continue a severe caning, I have noticed that she often feels along these corrugated edges of the cleft as she estimates how much damage the cheeks have suffered. I must confess that, as the person whose cane has just imprinted itself in this bottom, I have sometimes wished to employ my fingers in the same way. The propriety of a schoolmaster, of course, precludes any such contact.
One may speculate that in the application of the birch this sanctuary within the cleft and between the thighs may not have been so safe. The evidence of written accounts, of some renderings by artists, and of thought about both the construction of the implement and the formation of the female bottom, leads one to suspect that an immodest and doubtless very painful contact between the birch twigs and the female private parts was often a part of this punishment. I do not myself believe that the Victorian era was less enlightened than our own. Perhaps, in that era, the degree of expertise in the administration of corporal punishment to young ladies was much higher than it is today, and there was a better understanding of the extent to which these tenderest parts of female anatomy could safely and usefully be subjected to such punishment. My own belief is that the loss of such understanding has led also to the abandonment of the birch. Whether or not this is the case (and my efforts here are meant to reverse this trend at least in regard to the cane), and having received no training in the use of the birch, I have occasionally wondered whether I should reintroduce it to my own school. I must confess, however, that I have an innate preference for the precision of the cane as an instrument of punishment. I leave the birch, therefore, as a matter of speculation alone.
My final comments in this section concern multiple beatings. By this I do not mean the occasions when several miscreants are lined up outside your door, each having committed a different transgression and each nervously waiting her turn to enter your study to be caned. There are, of course, niceties to be decided even in these common circumstances, such as the order in which you cane them, whether they are allowed to leave one by one or must wait until the last one has been caned and whether you leave the door ajar so that they all may hear more clearly the sound of each one being caned, but I leave these decisions to your personal choice.
The more particular topic concerns those occasions when a group of girls have committed an offense together and you feel that their caning should therefore be a collective event. I believe that this is sometimes effective and there are several options. If undressing is required, then I usually have them all do this before I start, but then there is the question of whether they should all watch each other's caning, or merely listen to it, or perhaps be subjected to some combination. The latter is my usual choice and in this case, after they have finished any undressing required, I have them all line up towards the back of the room, from where they will be able to see the event. After each girl in turn has been ordered to the position of punishment and received her caning, she is then ordered to the front of the room, where she stands facing the wall with bottom exposed. I choose this position so that, as the next girl is bent over for her own caning, she can see the results on the bottoms of all who have preceded her. There is no doubt that they are impressed by this arrangement, but others are possible.
A situation that requires more careful planning, however, occurs if you decide that their complicity deserves an even more coordinated punishment. The easiest way to explain this will be to describe two occasions where I solved the problems with what I like to think was some ingenuity.
The first occasion was a rather surprising one, when six second-year girls had collaborated in performing a dastardly trick on a master. I decided that they each should receive six of the best with the ¼' cane, and all at the same time. Since my study was too small, I arranged the event in the school gym. The event was obviously going to be an unusual one, so I had to post staff outside the gym to keep excited students at bay. The six girls themselves were already extremely nervous even as they arrived. On the floor of the gym, I ordered them to remove their knickers and to stand side by side in a row, facing alternate directions. I had calculated that they needed to be six feet apart to allow myself adequate room to wield a 3' cane. After they had been instructed to bend over, I then had each of them move back about 1 ½' so that three heads were aligned with three bottoms. Lastly I went along each row and carefully lifted and folded back their skirts above their waists.
Preparations thus complete, I began with the girl at one end and administered one full stroke, and then moved on to the next and so on, until they had each received one stroke. Then I commenced with the second round of strokes, and so on. I had thought about instructing them to turn their heads, stroke by stroke, towards the girl who was to receive the next one. However, as I suspected, their natural curiosity and fear made them do so anyway. None of them had been caned this hard before and there was a great deal of screeching and crying. There were several who misbehaved and received penalty strokes. As I recall, one girl managed to behave and received only her allotted six. One girl's punishment reached twelve strokes and the others were in between. I found the experiment very successful and the two lines of neatly marked bottoms were certainly a gratifying sight.
The second occasion was equally surprising, for a group of seven fourth year-girls, young women I should call them, all went off school grounds in a highly illicit jaunt and the offense was altogether more serious than the above. They had all been caned before, some of them more than once, and my record books suggested that 24 strokes with the 3' 5/16" cane was appropriate for all of them. Separately considered, the appropriate punishments would have varied slightly, but I decided to make them all the same. With the above experience in mind, I also scheduled this event in the gym. It was more complicated, however, since this degree of punishment necessitated that each miscreant bend over a table. I located seven tables, each 2'x5', and arranged them like the spokes in a wheel. To provide enough space for using the cane, I had to move them slightly back from the center. The seven young women were instructed to disrobe completely (except for their socks of course) and each was bent over one table, so that their heads were at the hub of the wheel and their bottoms pointed outwards, radiating from the center.
When I finally commenced the caning, with a resounding stroke across the first bottom (I had arranged them in alphabetical order), an individual shriek and a collective gasp left no doubt that a major event was taking place. I progressed slowly around the circle, stroke by stroke, twenty-four circuits to begin with (168 strokes in all) but by then, not surprisingly, a number of penalty strokes had accrued. In the end, two young women received only 24 strokes, two more received 28, one received 30, one received 34, and the last not only received 36 but had to return 3 weeks later for a further 12. When she did so, marks were still visible across her bottom and my assistant delayed her additional 12 strokes for another week. In fact it was 14, for she elected to be secured according to the rules described above. The main event was the only time that I wished I had had a cane with a padded handle. The messages that the resilience of the cane transmitted to my hand were, of course, very instructive but that hand was beginning to tire by the last stroke. I recall feeling tempted, when the collective caning was complete, to line them all up in the touch-toes position so that I could more easily assess the entire result. I let them stay where they were for five minutes, however, while I slowly walked around several times. It was an excellent opportunity to assess how different bottoms showed considerable variation in how they were marked by a range of severity in caning. I gathered later, from an informant, that this became a famous event in the school and that several viewing parties were organized so that fellow students could admire the full parade of very well marked bottoms.