Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
OTHER TOOLS OF TORTURE
IT seemed to me then, and does even now, that Master
Pormont spent more time devising means of
punishment than in teaching us our lessons, for he had as
many torture tools of various kinds as would have
served to make a heavy load for either of us children.
That which. the lads most feared was the flapper, and
truly it was well contrived to cause pain. It was a piece
of stout deer hide, or thick leather, four or five inches
wide, and twice as long, with a hole in the center about
as large as the end of my thumb. One end of this was
tied to a stout handle, and, when applying it, Master
Pormont forced the child who had disobeyed the rules
of school, to lie over one of the benches in such a
manner that he could come at the lad's bare skin. When
the flapper was laid on vigorously, at each blow the
 flesh would puff up through this hole in the center of
the leather, in a way most painful to behold.
There is little need for me to say that Master
Pormont had a number of dunce's caps made of bark from
the birch tree, on which were painted different in
scriptions to suit the offence, such as "Stupid Boy,"
for one who could not readily answer the questions he
asked concerning the day's lessons; "A Silly Dunce,"
to fit one who was slow in learning; "A Wicked Liar,"
for some lad who had not told the truth.
In fact, I cannot set down all the names which
Master Pormont had written on these dunce's caps,
and there was hardly an hour during the day when at
least one of them was not in use.
which he had for children who would not
sit quietly on their
benches, was, seemingly, the most innocent, and yet, as I
know to my sorrow,
caused a vast amount
of pain. It was a small
square of puncheon
plank with a single
 stick in the center as a leg, and on this the culprit was
forced to sit, balancing himself or herself as best might
be by the feet, without being allowed to touch the
hands to anything.
As I thus set down the poor description it seems a
harmless thing, and a punishment too mild to meet a
grave offence, but yet if you were to try to balance
yourself on this unipod, as Master Pormont called it,
for the space of an hour, every joint in your body would
cry aloud with pain.
As for myself, I know that more than once I would
rather have fallen headlong from this unipod, than
have endured the torture a single moment, even had I
not known that more severe punishment would follow
such a disregard of the rules of school.