The birch is a fearsome implement when used with any degree of force. They will easily cut the skin. Another disadvantage is that twigs break away during use, often travelling some distance from the recipient, a good vacuum cleaner is recommended !
Prompted by the use of this implement in “The Yellow Room”, I was sufficiently intrigued about its use and effect to consider making one. This page is an ongoing description of how I fared, along with one young lady’s account of the results.
And With Practice?
The birch has found a place amongst the cane, strap, paddle, slipper and palm. Where a naughty schoolgirl may feel a cane or tawse, then a sound birching seems most appropriate for the lazy maid. The original bunches of birch twigs have been first halved, and then quartered. It seems that the thicker the bundle, the less the sting. A thick bundle provides significant air resistance, and a broad spread of impact, while the thickness provides a cushioning springiness. The thinner bundles, on the other hand, are lighter, whippier, and more responsive to wield. We now have a selection of thicknesses of birch, each used depending on our relative needs and desires.
A Word of Caution
Do not attempt to birch your loved one without the aid of a working vacuum! Those little pieces of bark and snapped twig tips get everywhere. The surrounding area looks like a mini Autumn (fall), she will have little pieces wedged in all manner of intimate places, and if you make the mistake of using your bed as a whipping block you should expect to sleep amongst forestry remains.
Is it worth the effort? Yes. Oh yes, if only for variety. But the sensations provided by a birch rod are unlike any other, and many a person reluctant to experience the more severe instruments is likely to thoroughly enjoy a good birching.
The technique of birching
There is little information available on the technique of birching and no doubt there were considerable local variations. It may however be assumed that the experts followed the following practices.
- Ensure that the recipient is physically fit to receive the punishment.
- Ensure that both the birch and the recipient were as clean as possible and ideally a birch was not re-used.
- Ensure that the recipient is held in such a way that he is unable to damage himself if he struggles.
- Aim the birch so that it hits the middle of the buttocks and that the ends of the birch hit about one inch past the centre of the far buttock.
Effects of the birch
The following eye-witness account of a juvenile birching was published in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1887:
“The two boys were both found guilty of theft and sentenced to receive 12 strokes of the birch. The sentence was to be carried out at 1pm, after the birch had been pickled for two hours. It consisted of a number of long thin lashes tied to the end of a stick about 2 feet long. Each lash had a resemblance more to wire than wood. At the appointed time the magistrates arrived to witness the punishment and the sobbing boys were brought in. A move was made to the courtyard at the back of the goal, a dull, bare piece of ground surrounded by high walls. In the middle of the courtyard had been placed a bench, similar to a school form.