This is a story about one of the many memorable spankings I got during my schooldays. When I was 13, my father’s work took him for six months to a town in the north of England. The local state school had a bad academic reputation, so my parents enrolled me in a Catholic school staffed by a teaching order of Irish nuns.
The school was run on very traditional lines. Pupils were expected to study conscientiously and follow strict rules of conduct. These standards were maintained with the help of the ferula. This was a thick, long-handled paddle, the face of which was pierced with holes to lessen air resistance when the nuns applied it to adolescent male backsides and female palms.
And apply it lavishly they did, as Mother Immaculata, the headmistress, made clear when my parents took me to be introduced to her on my first morning at the school. For some reason, I did not take Mother’s warning seriously.
I had both a mischievous and a lazy streak, for which I had been regularly slippered at my previous school and which earned me some long, hard spankings at home. These had been painful but few had been severe enough to improve my behaviour for more than a few days at a time, and I probably thought that there was little to fear from the Catholic nuns of St Euphemia’s.
Moreover, my form mistress was Sister Bridget, an inexperienced Irish girl who had only taken her vows the month before and seemed more nervous of her pupils than we were of her.
So it was not long before I overstepped the mark. Sister Bridget was trying to direct our attention to the Lakeland poets, but her teaching style was dull and the class was restive. She was having to raise her voice to be heard over a growing murmur of conversation and restless feet. It seemed a losing battle and she was close to losing control. I was trying to cope with a stabbing pain in my gut which had been caused by drinking too much ice cold Coca-Cola during the lunch break.
Suddenly, there was one of those sudden silences which sometimes occurs in a crowded room and at that very moment, I let out the most spectacularly noisy fart. My classmates burst into helpless peals of laughter, while Sister Bridget turned bright red and rushed tearfully from the room.
Relieving the tedium had done wonders for my popularity and I felt pretty pleased with myself until Sister returned, accompanied by Mother Immaculata. The headmistress’s presence was enough by itself to silence the merriment immediately and I realised, with a cold shiver, that I was ‘for it’.
Mother grabbed me by the ear and dragged me to the front of the class. “So, Robert you can’t control your bodily functions? Let’s see whether we can’t do something about that, and find out whether you can control yourself after you’ve had a good beating.”
She turned to the young nun. “Sister Bridget,” she said, “I’ll take over your class for the moment. I want you to march Robert down to my study. You’ll find my ferula on the desk. Take it and give this boy’s bottom a walloping with it that he won’t forget, and only bring him back here after he’s apologised to you properly.”
That walk down the passage to Mother Immaculata’s study, with Sister Bridget’s coarse, black habit rustling behind me, was one of the longest in my life. There on the desk, as Mother had said, lay the ferula. Sister Bridget sent me over to fetch it for her.
It was only when I handed it to her, feeling sick, that I realised that she was trembling. She had never before had to give a spanking and was as nervous as I was. Under those flowing black robes and the white, starched headband, she was just a ruddy faced farm girl, whose knowledge of corporal punishment was restricted to what her mother had told her after she saw her brothers hauled out to the barn for a sound dose of her father’s strap.
A dutiful daughter, destined for the church, she might never even have been over her mother’s knee. I could see her wondering how she was going to do it. I was almost as big as she, yet Mother expected her to chastise me on one of those parts of my anatomy she had always been taught to think of as ‘sinful’.
She was blushing bright scarlet now and I could see that, around the edges of the black veil which fringed her plump, young face, she was perspiring freely. For a moment I thought I was going to get away with it – then her eyes narrowed in resolve.
“I don’t want to do this, Robert,” she said, “but there’s no help for it. You heard what Mother Immaculata said. You’d better get yourself over the edge of that desk.”
I tried pleading. It had the wrong effect. “You’ll not get round me that way,” she replied, smiling slightly for the first time. “You’re only making me more determined to lay it on you good and hard! Now bend over!”
I gave up and lowered myself face down across the polished desk top. Sister Bridget brought the ferula down, still somewhat nervously, on my backside. To a hardened criminal like me, it was little more than a tap.
She repeated the operation. “Did you feel that?” she asked. “Is your bottom hurting?” No experienced teacher would ever have asked such a question. They knew how to make it hurt and they made sure it did. Like a fool, I gave the wrong answer. “You can’t hurt me, Sister.” How wrong I was. “Oh, can’t I?” There was a steeliness in her voice which hadn’t been there before. “Then you won’t mind if I hit you a bit harder this time.”
The next stroke nearly made me jump as it exploded across the tightly stretched seat of my trousers with a loud ‘whack’. Sister Bridget could see that she had got my attention now. For a novice spanker, she was getting into a pretty good rhythm. She had me squirming and crying.
The ferula hurt more than anything I had ever been walloped with before. I twisted my head round, to see Sister standing over me, raising the implement, glowing with exertion and with a triumphant gloat on her lips. “I didn’t tell you to turn round!” she barked. “Get your head down – now, do you hear?” Whack, whack, whack.
I got a total of 15 strokes from Sister Bridget that afternoon. I was still sobbing as she made me sign the Punishment Book. “Stop your snivelling!” she ordered me. “Such a fuss over a few smacks on your bottom! You’ll be getting far worse from me the next time you step out of line!”
Then I had to kneel in front of her, recite 10 Hail Marys and apologise. “I should think so, too,” she smirked. She was feeling very satisfied with herself after spanking a boy for the first time.
Then I was taken back to the classroom and made to stand in front of my school fellows, while Sister reported to Mother Immaculata that she had paddled me until I apologised. “And very abject he was, by the time I finished with him,” she ended. “Good,” Mother replied. “I hope he’ll mind you in future – but if he doesn’t, I might just have to see to him myself!”
I spent the rest of the lesson in the corner with my face to the wall, feeling as if my aching buttocks were twice their normal size and resolving to behave myself in Sister Bridget’s class in future. But, of course, this good resolution lasted only until I could sit down again!