Note: The following story is entirely fictitious and is intended
for entertainment only. The author does not advocate the physical punishment
of children. Although the punishment described would have been acceptable
to some in the period in which the story is set, it would now be considered
abusive and illegal within the UK. The story is set in England in the 1950s.
For non-British readers, “pants” should be read as “underpants” and “vest”
as “singlet” throughout.
When next I saw Sylvia, she had enjoyed a long foreign holiday to see her father, whereas I had endured a wet week at an English seaside resort. In consequence, Sylvia returned with a golden tan, her hair bleached a shade lighter by the sun and full of boastful tales of exotic faraway places. I must confess to having been rather jealous. Sylvia also had a new, if temporary, friend. This was Barbara, a girl of about our age who was staying with her grandmother about a mile away. Actually, I liked Barbara, she being in character nothing like Sylvia or the awful Yvonne. Barbara was friendly and good humoured.
Barbara was shorter than Sylvia, but well made without being fat. Rather, she was athletic and something of a tomboy. The most notable thing about her build, for me, was her very prominent and muscular bottom, which tightly stretched the seat of her jeans. Apart from that, she had very thick, straight, tawny hair, which she wore cropped short around her head so that she looked like Hollywood’s idea of a medieval pageboy. Her face was round with fair skin, a multitude of freckles and pale blue eyes. She was thoughtful, in both senses, and her expression was often almost blank, but then she would spontaneously break out into an open broad grin.
One day my mother had a serious migraine. “Go and ask Sylvia’s mother if you can spend the day there, Philip. I’m sure she’ll give you your lunch and I can spend the day in bed to get rid of this dreadful headache.” Mrs Hews was perfectly willing for me to stay, but told me that Sylvia and Barbara were off somewhere unknown. But I was quite happy with sitting at the kitchen table doing a crossword puzzle while Mrs Hews bustled about at her work throwing out occasional guesses to answer the clues. After about a couple of hours, there was a telephone call. I heard only one side of the conversation.
“Hello Mrs Anderson … Yes, I knew they were together … Where? … What! … Yes, I agree … Yes, I do, quite often in fact … Oh, I’m sorry to hear that … Yes, it must be painful … Well, yes, I suppose I could… Yes, but I think you should check with her parents… Oh, did you? Well I suppose she would agree then, but I still think it would be better if you phoned her … Yes. By the way, I must tell you that I have young Philip Jones here as his mother has a migraine, poor thing … No, he’s been here before with Sylvia …OK, then, I’ll leave it with you … Yes, keep Sylvia there until you’ve spoken with Barbara’s mother … Yes, thank you. Goodbye, Mrs Anderson.”
“Sylvia and Barbara have been caught scrumping apples,” Mrs Hews said grimly, and though the rest of the conversation remained unexplained, my curiosity was definitely caught. About ten minutes later, the telephone rang again.
“Hello, Mrs Anderson. How did the conversation with your daughter go? … Oh, she did … Yes, well obviously, so long as she is quite willing … Yes I do, always … No, I don’t keep anything in particular—whatever comes to hand really … Well yes, if you want to send it along I don’t mind using it … You explained about Philip? … Good, so that’s all right then …Yes, OK, send them along … Yes, and tell them not to dawdle or it’ll be all the worse! … Thank you, Mrs Anderson. Goodbye.”
This time all my attention was given to the conversation. Filling in the gaps, I thought it likely that the girls were going to get a spanking from Sylvia’s mother and that it was probable that my presence was not objected to—or so I fervently hoped.
A little over ten minutes later, the two girls arrived puffing and panting at the kitchen door. As soon as they were inside, Mrs Hews began to deliver a furious scolding. “Scrumping may be just a game to you, but it is stealing just the same.”
“We only took two each,” Sylvia disputed sullenly.
“Two or two hundred, it makes no difference to the crime. Miss Milton is very proud of those trees. She spends all her time pruning and spraying them, and she says you have damaged them.”
“We only climbed up and took two…”
“Will you stop interrupting me, Sylvia! Whose idea was it anyway?”
“Mine, Mrs Hews,” admitted Barbara.
“Hm, well at least you have the honour to admit it. But you are both equally to blame and will be punished together accordingly—because you know your grandmother has asked me to deal with you, Barbara, as she has bad arthritis in her hands?”
“Yes Mrs Hews.”
“And your mother agrees. However, I don’t know you or your family well, so if you feel at any point that you are being punished worse than you would have been at home, tell me and I shall stop—understood?”
“Yes, Mrs Hews.”
“Of course, your mother would then have the opportunity to finish punishing you when you go home. And I have also explained about Philip being here, but apparently your mother spanks you in front of your brothers and also your cousins when they are round.”
“Yes, Mrs Hews.”
“And you have something for me, do you not?”
“Yes, Mrs Hews.” Barbara handed over a package.
“Very well, you two can take off your jeans and stand facing the wall either side of the dresser until I’m ready to deal with you.”
Sylvia gave me her usual baleful glare, but Barbara’s eyes only flickered in my direction before both began to undo their jeans. Soon it was revealed that Sylvia was wearing lemon coloured pants and Barbara, to my delight, white Aertex. This was branded cellular cotton that, when stretched tight, as these pants over Barbara’s jutting rear certainly were, was semi transparent. The two girls took up their positions either side of the dresser, which made two corners. Sylvia crossed her hands behind her back—or rather, over her bottom. Her mother was having none of that and brusquely pulled them away and slapped first her bottom, and then her legs, several times. “And that’s just a taste of what you’ve got coming,” she said. Barbara wisely kept her hands by her sides.
Whether Sylvia’s mother really was too occupied to punish the girls straight away, or whether, as now seems much more likely, this was just a ruse to keep the girls waiting and thus add a painful period of anticipation to the punishment, I cannot say for sure. Certainly, she busied herself around the kitchen, pausing every so often to add another smack to Sylvia’s tempting rear.
“It’s not fair, objected Sylvia, “you haven’t smacked Barbara once yet.”
So much for friendship! But Sylvia’s mother must have felt the complaint to be justified because, few minutes later, as she passed Barbara she delivered two sharp slaps to her thighs, and several times after that, others to her bulging bottom. Eventually though, the time came for more serious chastisement.
“Sylvia! Barbara! Come over here.”
The two girls left their corners and moved to stand facing Sylvia’s mother. She proceeded to give them another long lecture on theft and vandalism. Barbara’s face was impassive; bur Sylvia was her usual moody self, staring at the floor with a down turned mouth, which probably did little to mollify her mother. In the end, Mrs Hews told Sylvia to get across her lap, which, with a scornful shrug of her shoulders she did. “You really are a little brat, Sylvia,” her mother said crossly as she took down her pants.
I had seen Sylvia spanked several times by now, but I was in no way becoming bored with the experience. The sight of Sylvia’s cheeks changing colour from white, through pink, to red remained as agreeable to me as it ever was. I glanced at Barbara to see how she was reacting to her friend’s spanking, but she seemed neither perturbed nor pleased at the predicament of her companion in crime. The spanking went on for a long time and, as usual, Sylvia’s show of disdain broke down long before it was over, and by the end she was kicking and crying true to form.
When Sylvia’s mother had decided that Sylvia had been spanked enough for the time being, she told her daughter to get up and stand where Barbara had been and for Barbara to take Sylvia’s place. Sylvia hopped from foot to foot rubbing her red bottom while Barbara arranged herself across Mrs Hews’ lap. I was looking forward to seeing Barbara’s pants come down and was not kept waiting long as Sylvia’s mother firmly tugged them over Barbara’s protuberant bottom and along her legs. Barbara did not resist or complain, but lay compliantly across Mrs Hews thighs. This docility seemed somewhat uncharacteristic to me, as Barbara was a tough little girl and looked unlikely to be easily overawed by authority. Mrs Hews spanked away at the child’s cheeks without appearing to make much impression on that bulbous bottom apart from reddening it effectively. By the time she’d finished, Barbara was giving out half-stifled yelps and beginning to wriggle, but that was all. When she was released, she could not help rubbing her hot seat, but otherwise stayed still. She seemed undisturbed by my own presence, even managing to give me a quirkily rueful grin.
“OK girls, go back and stand in your corners while I have a look at what Barbara’s grandma has sent me.”
The girls shuffled across the kitchen, impeded by their pants around their legs. Mrs Hews opened the package and took out a coiled leather strap. She unwound it. It was about fifteen inches long, three inches wide and about ¼ inch thick. Its length was divided into three roughly equal parts. The first being narrowed and shaped to make a handle, the second section was a broad, straightforward strap and the third was split lengthways into three one inch strips. I would not then have recognised the word ‘tawse’, but this was a type of that Scottish instrument of classroom correction. But whereas Scottish schoolchildren were strapped on their hands—but I am getting ahead of my story.
“I understand this dates from your mother’s childhood, Barbara.”
“Yes, Mrs Hews,” Barbara replied from her corner.
“And it has been used on you more than once before now.”
“Yes, Mrs Hews.”
“I would guess it hurts a good deal more than the hand,” Sylvia’s mother said, testing the strap by slapping it lightly against her own palm.
“Yes, Mrs Hews.” Barbara was a girl of few words.
Mrs Hews suddenly slammed the strap down on the table. Both the girls—and I—nearly jumped out of our skins.
“Hm, most effective, I’d say.” Mrs Hews said calmly. Personally, I was still trembling from the shock. I could hardly imagine how the poor girls must have been feeling, standing bare bottomed and knowing they were to have first hand experience of the awful instrument. But Mrs Hews let them stew for a good while longer before she told them to come and stand in front of the table again.
“Now, as this is quite a harsh implement, I intend giving you only six whacks each across your bottoms.” (I doubted whether this was exactly a relief to the girls) “But first I am going to give both of you three good belts across each hand to remind you not to take things that do not belong to you.” Sylvia grimaced at this, but Barbara remained pokerfaced as usual. Perhaps for this reason, Mrs Hews said, “You can go first this time, Barbara. Stand over here and put your hand out.”
Still with her knickers hanging round her knees, Barbara moved and held out her right palm, but cupped it in her left, so that her hands were crossed. This, I found out later, was how she had been taught to receive the tawse on her hands by her grandmother, who had been born and brought up in Scotland. (I have since discovered that this method used to be common practice among Scottish schoolchildren as it makes it more difficult to dodge and avoid the full force of the blow, as well as adding to the effect as the leather hits part of the supporting hand.) Mrs Hews cracked the strap three times across Barbara’s hands. Even she could not help screwing her mouth up and blinking. She shook her hands and rubbed them soothingly and then held out her palms again, with the left this time on top. Three more, solid whacks were given
“Now you, Sylvia,” ordered her mother.
Sylvia did not seem at all keen to take Barbara’s place. She hopefully held out just her right hand.
“Do it the way Barbara did,” her mother instructed.
Sylvia pulled a face but knew better than to disobey. I guess she was cheesed off with Barbara for giving her mum this idea that she probably would not have thought of. She crossed her hands. The strap thwacked down. “Ow!” yelled Sylvia and dropped her hands.
“Don’t be stupid, Sylvia. If you do that again you’ll get extra.” Under this threat, Sylvia kept her hands in place for the next two and then again for the following three, although her hands shook in apprehension before each and she yelled loudly after every slap of the strap.
“I think you can both spend another five minutes in the corner while Sylvia composes herself before I belt your bottoms,” Sylvia’s mother said, as her daughter sobbed and rubbed her hands. The two girls returned to their positions either side of the dresser and I watched the minute hand of the kitchen clock creep round until the time elapsed. Mrs Hews told Sylvia to remain facing the while she instructed Barbara to bend across the table. When the girl was in position, Mrs Hews swung the strap down so that it cracked loudly against the child’s bare cheeks.
“Ow!” yelped Barbara. Clearly, the strap hurt a good deal if it made that hardy child shout. A broad crimson band was printed on Barbara’s red bottom. Five more overlapping bands were added with Barbara yelling louder with each one, and by the end, even that resolute girl was crying. Sylvia jumped involuntarily every time she heard the strap smack down. It cannot have been encouraging for Sylvia to listen to this without being able to see what was going on and when she was allowed to turn around to see tears running down brave Barbara’s freckled cheeks. But Sylvia had to take up her position bending across the table for her own six stinging swats with the tawse. She howled loudly long before the end and, with tears streaming down her face, jigged up and down clutching her bottom when she was allowed to stand. After that, the girls were returned to their corners for a further humiliating spell with their red bottoms on display before they were allowed to make themselves decent and Sylvia was sent to her bedroom. Barbara was packed off back to her grandmother.
The next day Barbara told us that when she arrived her grandma made her take down her jeans and pants so that she could see the marks of Mrs Hews’ punishment. Mrs Anderson pronounced herself well satisfied with the result , but nevertheless sent Barbara off to her room with some more smacks to her sore bottom, despite the elderly lady’s arthritic hand.
There was a postscript to this story that Sylvia’s mother told us about
a couple of weeks later. She had been speaking to Mrs Anderson who told
her that when Barbara’s parents had come to collect their daughter the
weekend after the apple incident, they had taken Barbara and the tawse
round to Miss Milton’s house. There they pulled Barbara’s pants down and
soundly strapped her all over again on her bare bottom in front of that
aggrieved lady, though quite what the prissy spinster thought of this public
retribution I cannot guess. Luckily for Sylvia, her mother did not follow
Back to Issue 28
Back to All the Stories