From Janus 19
White as a sheet and petrified of what lies ahead, Polly Smyth returns home from school. Not at the usual time, however, and not to ‘home’ as most of us would think of it.
Polly has been sent home by her headmistress in the middle of the day after being caught cheating in a mock exam. She was spotted by the invigilator furtively consulting a pocket French dictionary concealed in the waistband of her navy blue school skirt. Appalling this misdeed may be, but it is merely the latest and most serious in an endless series of offences Polly has committed against school rules.
Because of the pathetic abolition of corporal punishment at Polly’s school, all her headmistress can do is send a misbehaving girl home and telephone her parents to explain the reason. Polly’s case is slightly different because she is an orphan who has lived with a succession of foster parents who found her too difficult to cope with. She is a real problem child, approaching school leaving age, without a home of her own.
But now at last there is hope for this disobedient and troublesome girl. Polly’s new foster parents, Mr and Mrs Hammond, are determined to help her out of the mire of moral degeneracy in which she is floundering close upon drowning. The fact that they are only apparently married — although they always give the best impressions on fostering forms — does not affect the staunch stand both take on the issue of reforming Polly for her own good, by any means necessary. The social workers ultimately responsible for this overgrown brat are only too pleased to have found a couple of mugs to dump her on.
The girl herself has a clearer perception of the true nature of her position vis-a-vis the Hammonds, but she is a delinquent — it’s as if she’s always getting herself into trouble in order to get noticed. Mr and Mrs Hammond apply very exacting standards of expectation to Polly’s behaviour, demanding total perfection when utter mischief would be more realistic. Yet whatever their real motives may be — and we would not be prepared to oversimplify — the Hammonds’ inflexibility is not entirely inappropriate in Polly’s case. Some kind of jolting shock is absolutely essential for her if she is to stand any chance of escaping the rut of dishonest and despicable misbehaviour she should have grown out of years ago… unless she was born simply in order to boost juvenile crime statistics at their present rate of alarming escalation. This would be the only alternative to punishing Polly severely each time she goes off the rails and making the consequences of her misdeeds so painful to her that she’s forced to think again. Polly’s headmistress wishes she could do this — as she tells Mr Hammond on the telephone.
Polly can hardly force herself to walk through the door of the Hammonds’ home. Her walk home, amidst a whirlwind of anticipatory fears, has reduced her to a nervous wreck. Now she can only stand there in the Hammonds’ living room in her school uniform, so aware that she should be at school sitting her mock ‘O’ levels for the second time around. She finds her new guardians seated closely together on the leather sofa in an ominous silence, intently studying the large black book in which they scrupulously inscribe the details of each and every punishment they mete out to her. Polly is very scared of Mr Hammond because he is such a hard man.
He rises to confront her in anger. ‘You, girl,’ he points at her with his finger, ‘you’ve gone too far this time, I can tell you! Cheating in French ‘O’ level — yes, Miss Blakemore has phoned and told me all about it! You must be out of your mind, Polly! What kind of future do you think you’re going to have now? No qualifications — nothing!’
The immediate future is far too clear to Polly for her to do anything other than tremble and shake. Her lips tremble too but she’s unable to utter a word. Mrs Hammond supports her furious and forceful partner by staring at Polly severely from the leather sofa. She is dressed in one of her many eyebrow-raising outfits — today, in a long, black, split-sided dress with leather boots beneath. Polly can expect no sympathy from her — rather, the reverse. The culprit is shocked and frightened now, trying to wish herself into a state of oblivious non-existence.
‘We have no option but to cane you, Polly,’ Mr Hammond says loudly. ‘The cane is the only way to teach you,’ he barks even more emphatically, aware that of all punishment instruments Polly hates the cane the most. She’s quite accustomed to being spanked on her bare bottom, and can even take the strap without too much difficulty, but the sharp, narrow, cutting, agony-bands that are the unique hallmark of the cane she finds absolutely unbearable.
‘For this atrocious offence, Polly, we shall both cane you together, giving you alternate strokes. Stop snivelling, girl! Your behaviour has been abominable — but this is the worst thing you’ve done yet, and you’re going to pay for it! … What the hell do you mean, “Please don’t hit me hard?” Polly, you’ve got to learn that misbehaviour of this kind at your age has terrible repercussions. Over the arm of the settee, Polly!!!’
Polly fearfully stretches forward over the solid leather arm in her normal punishment position, her school-knicker-clad backside upturned over its very edge. She strains on tiptoe and arches her body on Mr Hammond’s orders as Mrs Hammond raises her school skirt and blouse. Then that awful moment comes when Polly’s navy blue school knickers are lowered ignominiously almost to her knees. It is certainly not by chance that Polly is always wearing her school uniform when she is punished; canings that should have been administered at school but now cannot be are simply transferred to home and made much more ferocious. It is probably no consolation to Polly — but merely an additional incitement to her strict new foster parents — that her bottom looks very pretty atop her bare thighs when she bends over in this position for correction.
Mr Hammond, who has drawn two canes from the store cupboard, now passes one to his partner and there follows what for Polly is a most nerve-wracking and disturbing period whilst her dual correctors straighten, bend and swish their long slender school bamboos through the air in whistling practice cuts, re-familiarising themselves with the springy, tensile instruments, measuring their distance and perfecting their action and stances. In all, this terrifying preface to Polly’s latest punishment lasts almost five minutes during which time neither Mr or Mrs Hammond, who give the impression of being tennis aces limbering up for a critical match, speak.
Then, another stern and threatening burst of admonishments from Mr Hammond who finally places his cane firmly across the centre of Polly’s bottom. The last words she hears, trembling over the sofa arm before the first sharp swish of the cane are from the masculine disciplinarian:
‘Normally, Polly, as you know we tell you in advance how many strokes you are to receive. But for the dreadful crime you have committed today I cannot award any fixed number. We shall simply thrash you until we are both satisfied that there is unlikely to be any repetition of this or any other serious misbehaviour. And that is a goal which right at this moment seems quite far off.’
So saying, Mr Hammond lashes his cane down really hard, granting Polly no mercy whatever from the full maximum infliction of pain possible from his very strong right arm. Mrs Hammond’s face (invisible to Polly who has been ordered to face the wall) at last expresses a measure of pleasure as she follows his stroke through with a mean one of her own. Within seconds six stripes decorate Polly’s bare bottom, and so fast are they applied that the pain from each of them climaxes simultaneously. Polly’s cries are simply the natural and logical accompaniment to such sensational cane-service.
The strokes are accurately placed, for the Hammonds have read every treatise on the subject and are no newcomers to administering discipline. The arrival of Polly in their lives however — and the social services department have never stopped praising their public spiritedness in requesting a difficult girl to foster — has presented them with a wholly new range of opportunities for practising their favourite skills. Mr Hammond knowingly directs two vicious strokes low down, across the base of Polly’s bottom and lower still across her left thigh, the tip of his cane whipping round viciously.
Thereafter it is necessary for Mr and Mrs Hammond in turn to hold Polly’s wrists behind her back and physically compel her to maintain her strained punishment posture for further, inexonerable cane strokes.
For the sake of accuracy we should have to describe this particular punishment — just one entry amongst dozens in the Hammonds’ black book entitled Polly’s Punishments — as more of a cane-whipping than an official schoolgirl caning which is governed by so much red tape. Polly’s new foster parents do not recognise any particular limit to the number of strokes, they never permit any protective bottom-cladding, and they both cane her as hard as possible. The motive they assert in machine-gun concert is the absolute necessity of reforming Polly out of her diabolical disobedience and mischief, which justifies extreme remedies and penalties on a regular and frequent basis. Her nature has to be refined through fire. Emergency measures are required to prevent Polly wasting her whole future life and becoming just another statistic on the juvenile crime charts.
So much for the philosophy that underlies Polly’s punishments. The tangible reality is a dramatic spectacle and sound event, a loud and energetic retribution, a potent storm of emotions and sensations for all three concerned. Mr Hammond’s reprimands and commands ring out with an almost parade ground effect. His wife is perhaps more of a surprise to us, for whereas his face remains set firm and stern hers is soon wreathed in smiles as the midday discipline progresses. Mrs Hammond evidently extracts unbridled joy and satisfaction from her joint administration of those spreading and emblazoned tramlines. Her mode of speech and dress take on greater significance if one studies her performance and reactions during Polly’s thrashing. To the unenlightened eye, Mr Hammond could be simply discharging his moral obligations to chastise his ward with implacable vigour and panache. By contrast, his wife’s delight in caning Polly is quite remarkable. One does not see such an expression on a woman’s face unless she is aroused.
However, the most interesting member of the trio is probably Polly. Here we see a teenaged, almost adult girl who has gone so far astray that nothing less than her new foster parents’ discipline could possibly save her from herself. Depraved as she is, she must nevertheless recognise that the dreadful double-caning she is receiving is fully justified. There is probably even a certain measure of release for her in being brought forcibly to terms with her misdeeds and thus expiating them. Savage though the caning is, and limitless as the number of strokes appear to be, she prefers the blazing smart that every imprint leaves upon her delicate behind to the dizzying trepidation and unholy terror she experiences before being punished. Perhaps she even feels some compensatory pleasure in being exposed bare bottomed over the punishment sofa, the object of not one but two disciplinarians’ undivided attention. But that cannot possibly be Polly’s primary experience now.
The awful alternating cane blows whipping her bottom from opposite directions are making her jerk and twist and writhe in agony. Her moaning whimpering cries increase in volume and desperation with each stroke. Her stretching, kicking, bucking motions at length become so frantic that Mrs Hammond has to abandon caning Polly to hold her down, twisting the girl’s arm behind her back. The master disciplinarian then completes Polly’s punishment with a series of viciously whistling swishes and cracks that even the applicators must feel! Polly responds with the most plaintive cries. Tears spill down her cheeks and streak the sofa leather.
‘I’m not yet satisfied that you’ve learned your lesson,’ Mr Hammond shouts. ‘How am I to be sure you won’t repeat this dreadful offence — or do something even worse? What do you think, dear?’
His wife murmurs that she doesn’t think Polly can physically withstand any more punishment straightaway, and suggests a concluding spanking just before Polly’s bedtime which tonight will be brought forward to 7pm.
The dominatrix pulls Polly to her feet, and the girl stands sobbing forlornly while Mr Hammond stares down at her sternly and Mrs Hammond smiles with perverse pleasure…
‘Now go to your room, change into your pyjamas right now and stay in your bedroom until you are called — in about five hours,’ Mr Hammond tells her.
‘No reading, Polly. You will stay in your room and reflect on the cause of your punishment today… your horrendous misbehaviour. You will receive a bare bottom spanking from my wife this evening. Now get out of the room, girl!’
Still crying bitterly, Polly obeys.
Five hours after that tremendous thrashing — hours that she has spent lying on her tummy on her bed in her pyjamas, crying from the flaming pain in her bottom and later dozing and waking fitfully in the darkened room — Polly is summoned by Mr Hammond who marches straight in and orders the girl to present herself downstairs in the living room in five minutes to receive her scheduled hand spanking.
Polly knows better than to attempt to argue with Mr Hammond who has a wild temper when roused and a granite-like implacability even when he is in a normal mood. Her bottom still throbs and stings abominably and looking in the mirror Polly sees that the lines of pain are still dramatically clear, red and swollen. She knows that a thorough spanking on top of those cane weals will be quite dreadful, and her fear of Mrs Hammond’s hand is even greater than her husband’s. At least Mr Hammond is straightforward in his disciplinary ardour, whereas she is not too simple. Polly understands that her strict new female foster parent enjoys punishing her very greatly, and that her motive is sadistic.
Polly timidly enters the living room to discover Mr Hammond seated on the sofa filling in her punishment book which lies open in front of him on the long wooden coffee table. Mrs Hammond, still wearing her black velvet dress and boots, and an expression that makes Polly’s heart sink, is sitting in her bamboo rocking chair. Mrs Hammond appears to bristle with suppressed electric energy; Mr Hammond broods on the entries in the punishment diary.
Polly does not even need to be told to go over to Mrs Hammond’s side. Once again that helpless, dismal, fearful mood overcomes the girl, who acts as if she has become an automaton, phased out of conscious human existence. Her silent tears however give her away.
Mrs Hammond’s tight smile starts as soon as Polly begins to drape herself over her lap. Polly feels her pyjamas being pulled down below her knees — and somehow, at her advanced age, being bare bottomed in pyjamas makes her feel even more humiliated and vulnerable than when she is punished in school uniform.
Then the spanking starts! Mrs Hammond is a cruel, ardent hand spanker who relishes each stinging slap of her hand on poor Polly’s already fiery buttocks as the ultimate in voluptuous physical sensation. She quickly establishes a rhythm that is faster than Polly can stand, and her vigorous slaps inflame those cane weals almost to their original intensity of pain.
When Polly starts to whimper and gasp, her bottom oscillating and bouncing over the crisp hard spanks, Mrs Hammond cunningly increases their force and tempo, taking Polly into a new plateau of suffering. After her opening sharp remark, ‘Get across my knee child!’ Mrs Hammond says not a word whilst delivering this intimate yet excruciating discipline. She is far too engrossed in her task to bother with Polly’s reformation. Such weighty moral matters she leaves to her husband — Mrs Hammond’s prime delight in life is practising her virtuoso punitive skills for their own sake.
Mr Hammond watches the proceedings from his vantage point on the sofa. He appreciates and enjoys both his wife’s very obvious corrective rapture and Polly’s squealing discomfort. He keeps count of the number of spanks and jots down interim figures in his large black book. From time to time, as the spanking really takes off, this excellent couple exchange glances filled with many shades of meaning. And then Mrs Hammond’s gloating smile returns to Polly’s blazing, jouncing bottom cheeks and to the intense effects she is engaged in wreaking upon them.
Polly is certainly paying a very high price for her error of judgment in cheating in her examination. She becomes a threshing crying cipher for whom no other experience exists than sheer terrible bottom-pain.
It is only when she is at long last permitted to raise herself off Mrs Hammond’s lap that Polly once again feels embarrassment and shame. Her feelings are in turmoil and she hates having to stand and cry openly in front of her foster parents.