Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Night of the cane - letters

Ok folks something interesting for you....I recently received these two letters below discussing Night Of The Cane....I think you will find them very interesting, especially as much discussion on the history of the competition has already begun:

Longacre October 4th 1938

Dear Oliver

I cannot thank you enough for your timely intervention at last Thursdays meeting, and the thanks of Miss Bridewell go along with my own.

Although I have been a member of The Birching Block for but five years, I have been increasingly uneasy at the stance of many of the Old Guard.

Our yearly competition is vital to our purpose, which is the celebration of excellence in the art of caning, not in the elevation of cruelty.

I knew that I was not at all alone in being appalled at Nettleship’s proposal to enter with a fifteen year old boy as his subject – irrespective of the lad’s wishes: What shocked me was the almost equal revulsion shown by several to Miss Bridewell’s profession of correctrix, and her comparative youth in relation to my own maturer years.

I cannot say that I regret the loss of so many individuals with their fossilised ideas. I am delighted that you have come our way, along with the Charter, so now our competition will go to even greater strengths, not be mired in conflict.

Since the name ‘Birching Block’ seems to remain with those others, I suggest we christen our new enterprise ‘The Rump’.

Yours with grateful thanks

Henry Crouch

[Footnote: Crouch’s suggestion was adopted, but he himself proved to be a bloody nuisance, and they kicked him out a year after. Poet! Granddad used to kick poets down the stairs. HGJ 1956]


Dear Leia

I was looking through my collection of school stories yesterday, and I found this letter stuck in a copy of Bunter the Bad Lad (1960). I don’t know how it can have got there, and there’s no receiver’s address.

From what it says, there was a right old barney going on between cane users in 1938, but very little seems to have changed these days; old versus new, and a caning competition going on even before the war.

I suppose it’s just feasible that Miss Bridewell could still be alive, so maybe she could tell us what the row was all about!

Terry Beard

I wonder if there are any more such notes waiting to be discovered in the back of the drawer somewhere...

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