IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE to buy a school cane in the early 21st century. What seems nearly impossible is to buy one of good quality. Most of those available, like the early 21st century itself, seem somewhat sub-standard. They lack that indefinable combination of density and suppleness, that almost fluid quality which gives the penetrating sting all of us recall who were ever caned at school or over a governess's desk, and which made a good caning the most respected of all punishments.
The problem is, that with the short-sighted (and probably short-lived) abolition of corporal punishment in British schools, canes are no longer supplied by reputable manufacturers with a tradition of making canes to scholastic standards, but by amateurs, who, however keen, lack the necessary expertise and background. They are supplied to what is euphemistically termed the "adult" market, consisting not of experienced schoolteachers but of people who often have little specialised knowledge of what a real school cane should be like.
Our aim is to make genuine school canes available once again, for mistresses in private schools, for governesses, office supervisors and for the maintenance of domestic discipline in an age when children, young people, employees, maids and sometimes even spouses are more in need of firm guidance than ever before.
What is it that differentiates a good cane from a mediocre one? The answer is quite obvious when one considers it: the quality of the cane itself. Most "school canes" which are not really made for schools are made with cane never intended for disciplinary use, but acquired from craft and hobby suppliers who sell them for general handicraft purposes. It is rattan, of course, but there are several hundred varieties of rattan, only a few of which are well suited to the manufacture of corrective implements.
Our canes are made of the finest and most flexible rattan, traditionally used for the making of school canes. Senior and junior canes are not simply different thicknesses of the same rattan, but are different rattans selected for greater and less severity. Other canes are likewise selected for their suitability to their particular purposes. We also have a limited quantity of a very special rattan used in the manufacture of "Victorian"-style canes.
In point of fact, this "Victorian" rattan is no longer commercially grown, but is gathered "wild" by the natives in Malaya. When enough is gathered to make a bale it is shipped to the West for the benefit of a select group of discerning buyers. The Wildfire Club acquired the bulk of the most recent bale to arrive in the West. The bale before that came some fifteen years ago, and no one knows when or whether the next will arrive. Hence the high price of these treasured Victorian canes.
All our canes (except the Punitive) have the traditional crook handle.
This is the cane recommended for general use in junior schools. It is a light grade of rattan, but very strong, flexible and whippy. This is not a severe implement, but it nonetheless imparts a memorable sting. Although primarily intended for the younger child, it may be employed upon older children and adults with excellent effect, and, indeed, where an adult is subject to very occasional corporal punishment, a cane of this type is entirely adequate to give the sharp, painful lesson that is required. An ideal Home Cane where light to moderate discipline is the rule.
This cane is recommended for use in the enlightened office of the future, and the thought of it, underlined by its occasional use, is ideal for keeping the young secretary in trim. Also for excellent for nurses, "undergraduettes" and for use in ladies' finishing schools. This is a cane of the same grade as the Junior School cane, but longer and a little heavier. It is a very elegant implement: the "long, slender cane" that one sometimes reads about: very much a feminine instrument. Although light, the sting of this cane should not be underestimated. It can be used very effectively over a tight skirt, and an appointment with the Office Cane will not quickly be forgotten.
Price £14 Sterling
This is really the standard School Cane; made from a denser grade of rattan than the preceding canes, as well as being longer and thicker, this is a serious instrument of correction. It has a full-blooded, penetrating sting which must be felt to be fully appreciated. "Six of the best" with a real school cane such as this one is a punishment to be dreaded.
The senior school cane is shown above by Miss Marianne Martindale. Note the extreme flexibility
even in a thicker cane such as this one. The light colour contrasts markedly
with the dark burnished brown of the Victorian canes.
Price £14 Sterling
A very thin, whippy style of cane, traditionally issued to prefects. Where caning is a moderately frequent rather than a very occasional sanction, a cane of this type may well be considered.
Price £12 Sterling
All the above canes are made from high-quality rattan, quite unlike what normally pass for " school canes " in the late 20th century. We are, however, also able to offer our customers something very special: canes of the "Victorian" quality discussed in the Female Disciplinary Manual. These are the real, old-fashioned disciplinary canes, dark brown in colour (rather than the usual beige-to-yellowish hues), hard in texture, looking almost like an extremely slender walking-stick, yet of an extraordinary flexibility. While cane of this type may be neither thicker nor longer than a standard school cane, it is harder and heavier, and is an implement of considerably greater severity. This is the cane which made the Victorian governess a figure to be instantly obeyed.
Our standard Victorian cane is known as the Governess. She
is 34" long and though slender is an implement of the utmost severity.
We do not recommend the use of the Governess Cane for minor offences or for
regular use, nor can we commend it for use on the hands. This is, in our view,
really the Cane--the traditional and dreaded implement of formal discipline.
Price £25 Sterling
A much heavier Victorian cane, though it is still remarkably
flexible. It is to be used as an Ultimate Sanction, and we would submit that
this cane is too severe for most purposes. It should only be acquired by those
who know that very severe punishment is in order. Punitive canes (unlike our
other canes) are normally straight, without the crook handle, though a crook-handled
version can be supplied on request.
Price £30 Sterling
A 60-minute instructional auditape by the well-known Aristasian disciplinarian, Miss Marianne Martindale, teaching the use of the cane. Caning is an art and those who wish to administer this traditional form of discipline cannot do better than acquire this tape. On the reverse side, Miss Martindale gives a talk about her work as a Governess with special reference to the different forms of punishment she employs and their effects. Many of these are audibly demonstrated on a young lady volunteer.
Price £10 Sterling
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