Borrowed characters thanks for the loan.
Ben had been riding for so long on the stagecoach and then on the train
his backside was numb. He sat as he had done for most of the trip and
reread the letter he had received.
My Dear Mister Benjamin Cartwright--As you are the legal guardian of one
Priscilla Anthony we are writing you about a problem we are experiencing.
Miss Anthony, as you know, was placed in our school three years ago after
the death of her father, William Anthony. We were instructed that you
would be handling her father's estate and be her guardian until such time
as she became 21 years of age.
This past three months we have had numerous reasons to discipline Miss
Anthony on a variety of actions. These actions include: running away,
disrespect, disobedience, smoking, gambling, fighting, and sneaking off
to visit a young man. We here at the Sisters of Mary in Grace, can not
continue to deal with this behavior. If you are unable to convince her to
comply with our rules we will be forced to expel her from this
institution. Please convey your intentions to us as soon as possible.
Sister Bonaficia, Mother Superior
Ben had sent a wire that evening after reading the letter, "I will be
arriving as soon as possible. As winter is upon us, travel will be slow,
but I should reach Boston by the third week in January just as the new
semester will start. Please do not make any decisions regarding Miss
Anthony until I arrive. Thank you. Benjamin Cartwright, Ponderosa Ranch,
He knew this was going to be a hard trip, he wanted very much to take
Adam with him so he could visit with the friends he had made in school
there, but during his absence he would have to place the responsibility
of the ranch in Adam's hands. Little Joe was upset he could not go, but
school was in session and Ben did not want to have him miss out on
starting the new semester after Christmas. "Joseph, I can't allow you to
miss school for nearly a whole month. It would not be fair for you to
make your teacher have to work with you to catch up when we returned. You
will remain here with your brothers, and you will do as they say until I
return. Adam is in charge, do I make myself clear?"
He received no answer, "I said, do I make myself clear?"
With that Little Joe had looked at the ground in front of him and kicked
a clump of dirt over the toe of his boot, but still did not answer his
"Son, I do not want to leave here with the last think I remember is
spanking your bare backside, now DO YOU HEAR ME?"
"Yes sir, I hear you, but Adam gets so bossy when you are gone, I ain't
gonna like it." Joe said but not in a very loud voice.
"If you start off with this attitude before I am even gone, I suspect
your brother will be the one tanning your backside before I get back.
BUT, before you say something that will get you in trouble, remember what
I told both of your brothers, if you have to be punished, I will finish
what they start when I get back, if I think they were wrong, I will
finish it with them."
This made Joe a little happier, but not much.
Now Ben was on his way and the trip seemed to just get longer each day.
Finally he arrived in Boston. When the man at the station offered to call
for him a carriage, he told them all he wanted was directions to the
school, after so many days riding all he wanted was to walk.
It was about three-thirty that afternoon when he arrived at the big gates
of the school. He was greeted at the gate by one of the nuns and taken
quickly to the Mother Superior. "We are very glad you have arrived Mr.
Cartwright we are at our wits end with her."
"Sister, Bill Anthony was a business partner of mine, when he got sick he
told me of your school and how he had promised his wife that their
daughter would come here and get her formal education. I fulfilled his
request by sending her here and taking care of her inheritance. I have
not seen her since her father's death we do write often, but I consider
her part of my family. What have you done to discipline her, if you don't
mind my asking?"
"EVERYTHING, sir, she has been restricted, rulers on her hands, no
privileges, extra chores until we have run out of them. I have never seen
in all my days as a teacher/nun a child that seems to have no fear of
punishment. She simply laughs at us and does her chores, and does
something else to be punished for another time, sorry to say, but it is
your turn we have run out of options."
The sister took Ben up to Priscilla's room. Knock, Knock, Come IN
"Uncle Ben, is that you, why did you write! She ran to him and jumped
into his arms. I am so glad you are here."
"I will leave the two if you alone, if you need me I will be in my
"Well we certainly don't need you, bye." Priscilla said and shut the door
hard as the nun left her room.
"Priscilla that was just plain rude, Ben said and watched Priscilla come
back across the room to where he was standing. And I better not hear
another comment like that while I am here or you will regret it,
Priscilla just smiled at him and started asking questions about the
ranch, the boys, Hopsing, and everything she could think of.
Ben sat down on a small loveseat and tried to answer all her questions.
Finally he got back to the subject at hand and why he was there.
"Prissy, I received a letter from here about your behavior. I am here to
tell you this is going to stop and right now. Your father wanted you in
this school, and here you are going to stay until you graduate. Do I make
myself clear, young lady?"
"Oh, Uncle Ben, don't be such a stick in the mud, these old ladies are
just pains in the butt, I want to go to school somewhere else anyway. The
only reason Father sent me here, was Mother's wish that I was sent to the
nuns. Just because we were Catholic and Irish she though is was the only
place to go. I am dying here it is so boring. You know I have enough
money to go anywhere I want, and there is a school I can go to in
Pennsylvania where I can finish my last year and go to college right at
the same place. How about it, my favorite Uncle?"
Ben was getting more red faced with every word out of her mouth and stood
up. "Young lady, first of all that tone of voice had better stop, now!
Secondly you will show respect for your teachers, and as far as their
being a pain in the butt you are very close to that experience yourself.
Third you will finish school here, and maybe, and I said mayyyybeee, I
will consider your going to a woman's college after. Oh, and the favorite
Uncle routine will get you no where."
Priscilla turned her back to Ben and said something he did not hear, but
the meaning was clear. He caught a hold on her shoulders, put his foot up
on the chair and pushed her over his knee, six strong swats he placed on
her backside and then stood her up. "You keep that up and you will find
yourself teakettle over teacup, Miss and quickly."
Priscilla was shocked. Her face was as white as a sheet, but she quickly
recovered and without giving it much though lashed out at her "Uncle"
Ben. "You have no right to strike me, I am the same age my mother was
when she married my father 16 years old, that makes me a woman, and I
will not be treated as a child. With that said she stamped her foot at
Ben fought for control of his temper, no child, or young adult, nor adult
for that matter, that he was responsible for, or was living under his
roof, would talk to him in that manner nor would they act that
disrespectful to him. "Young lady I have a 21 year old son that I would
take to the woodshed and tan him till he could not sit for a week if he
talked to me the way you just did and I warned you first." As he was
talking to her he took off his coat and placed it on the table, started
to roll up the sleeves on his shirt, never taking his eyes off of her.
Priscilla did not seem to understand what was about to happen, but she
started to back away from Ben. If there had been more room she would have
ran, but she was trapped. She kept moving back from him and he just kept
advancing toward her.
Suddenly the only view she had was the bottom of Ben's boots. He had
caught her by the arm and pulled her with a quick snap over his knees as
he sat down on the first available chair. Her skirt was now falling over
her head with several layers of slips following. The sudden realization
that she could feel cool air on her bottom could only mean one thing he
had pulled her knickers down and her bare backside was exposed. She felt
Ben move back and she heard his belt being unbuckled and pulled out from
his pants loops. She started to try to get up, but his strong arm fell
across her back and pinned her down. "Uncle Ben you wouldn't do this, you
can't, I am sorry, please, not on my bare butt!"
Ben was in no mood to be swayed from this chore, smack his belt came down
on the virgin skin of Miss Anthony's backside. Smack, smack, smack,
smack, she yelled and screamed with each crack of the belt on her. Ten
licks had been delivered, when the door to her room opened up, there
stood Mother Superior. Her eyes got wide as she looked at her student's
bare backside with several red strips across it. Ben looked up, and
"Oh, don't let me stop you sir, I see you have the situation well in
hand, with that she closed the door saying, I will see that you are not
"Sister, help me", Priscilla yelled, but no one entered the door.
"Uncle Ben, I said I was sorry, now let (puff) me (puff) up!"
"Young lady, I am in charge here and you are not giving the orders." With
that the spanking continued. Smack, smack, smack, smack, Ben had started
to pick up speed and the licks were coming faster. He had reached
twenty-five before he slowed up. Prissy was crying loudly and yelling
with every crack of the leather belt hitting her. Just as she thought it
was over, Ben started again, this time as he hit he reminded her of each
transgression as he struck her. "You will treat your teachers with
respect, smack, you will study hard, smack, you will not sneak off to
meet young men, smack, you will not gamble, smack, you will not smoke,
smack, you will not drink liquor, smack, you will obey the nuns, smack,
there will be no fighting, smack, and most of all you will never raise
your voice to me, smack, or use that tone with me, smack, again, smack,
smack, smack. And now, you may get up.
Ben helped her to her feet and helped her pull her under things up. They
were going just fine until they touched her very red and very tender
backside. She yelped just as he got them to the top. "Sorry, but I could
see no other way to get your attention. Maybe now at least for a week or
two you will remember what I said."
"Well you have got my attention now, she said between sobs as the river
of tears flowed down her face, you have most surely got it now."
Ben caught her in his arms and held on to her as she sobbed and sobbed.
He spoke softly and told her it would be all right, she would still be
his favorite niece. All at once he had a quick thought of his sons and
Ben had secured a promise from Priscilla that she would be good. Well,
she said she would be as good and she could. Mother Superior had thanked
him over and over, she also asked him to stay. She settled for just
having dinner with him. Ben told her how he hoped his visit was
successful, but if Miss Prissy continued to misbehave he would see to it
that she returned to Nevada. He also gave the sister his full support in
any type of discipline she felt necessary.
He and been in Boston for four days, and now he felt it was time to
return home. He hated being away from his ranch and most of all his sons.
That evening he was having supper with Priscilla in his room at the
hotel. "Sweetheart, I am going back home in the morning, but I want you
to know how much I care for you and that I will always be there if you
need me. I am sorry I had to punish you the first time I had seen you in
so long a time, but you deserved it and I think you understand that,
don't you? He didn't wait for an answer, but kept on talking. I have
instructed the Mother Superior to keep me posted as to your actions. If
she feels for any reason that you are out of their control, she will be
sending you home. I want to promise you right now young lady that if you
are sent home, you will not be able to sit down for the first month you
are back, and maybe longer. You have a fine chance for an education here
and I want you to take advantage of it, we can look at other schools
later, once you are finished here."
Priscilla looked at her Uncle Ben, "I am also sorry the ol' bitties sent
for you, Uncle Ben, and also sorry I made you so angry. But I will do
better at least until I get away from here, I mean graduate. I have no
desire to have you spank me again. I am still not exactly sitting with
ease tonight after the first one. My ma spanked me a few times when I was
little, and my pa even fewer. I never though I would have my bare
backside burn the way it did when you got through with it. Do you punish
your sons in the same way?"
"In the first place my dear if you call the nuns "bitties" one more time
in my presence I will put you back across my knee. In answer to your
question, yes my boys have had their bare backsides tanned, and before
you ask it doesn't matter how old they are, they are still my sons, and
as long as they are in my house I set the rules and the punishments."
The next morning Ben was back on the train heading for Nevada after a
long goodbye at the station. He had hugged Priscilla, and then turned her
around and gave her a sound smack on the backside, "just a reminder young
lady." Now he could lean back and smile, he was going home.
Adam was boiling, sitting at the breakfast table waiting for Hoss to come
home. He had drunk his fourth cup of coffee when he heard the horse ride
up. It took a few minutes to put up his horse, but Hoss finally walked in
the front door. The look on Adam's face left nothing to the imagination.
Hoss knew he was in deep trouble with his big brother.
"Where have you been all night, Adam said in a low voice, and it better
"Sorry Adam, he started to explain, you see I left here with the
intention of just going over to Tess's house for a few minutes, ya know,
just to say howdy and ask if I could take her to the dance Friday night."
Adam never changed expression, just nodded for Hoss to continue.
"Well, it's like this, while I was there a skunk had worked it's way into
the vegetable garden Tess was growing, and she wanted to get rid of it,
but she was afraid, and ask if I could help with the capture. Hoss was
beginning to talk real fast. I got a gunnysack and a stick and well, it
took a while, but I got him and went to get rid of him and come back
home. That is when I saw the lump on Chubby's leg. I couldn't ride him
back, and Tess made a poultice for it from potatoes and it worked, but I
guess I kinda fell asleep in the barn with ol' Chub." He finally took a
"Has Margaret got back from her sisters?" Adam asked.
"Ah, no can't rightly say she has."
"So you were alone with Tess all night? Right?"
"Awe, Adam it wasn't like that, we didn't, ah, well we wouldn't, ah, you
know better than that!" Hoss yelped out.
"Hoss I don't care that you didn't do it, you shouldn't have been over
there where you could do it in the first place. Pa has told you, in fact
both of us, you don't go to a girls house without a parent there, and ALL
night, what were you thinking? Never mind I know what you were thinking."
"Just cause I was thunking about it didn't mean we did anything all I did
was kiss her a couple of times, no harm in that is there? I couldn't ride
Chubby home, what could I do?"
"How about borrow another horse and leave Chub there, how about WALKING
home, how about not going there in the first place, leaving your chores
undone, and me to worry all night about where you were. I couldn't very
well leave Joe alone to go look for you, and you knew Hopsing was in town
to visit his cousin for the next few days. Does that answer your
Hoss just looked stunned, "I am sorry Adam, I really didn't think about
how you might worry about me, I can take care of myself you know."
"That is not the point. You know what I am going to have to do, don't
ya?" Adam said as he looked over at his brother sitting in the chair next
"Guess you will have to tell Pa when he gets home, but Adam no one got
"That not all I have to do, brother, Pa said I have to be in charge and
that means doing what he would do. We are going to have to go the barn on
this one, and I don't know anyway around it."
"WHAT!" You can't be serious. I know I messed up, but your not saying
what I think you are, are ya?"
About that time Little Joe came around the corner, "Adam you can't tan
Adam was surprised by his little brother's sudden appearance from around
the corner. He was still sitting on the kitchen chair, and there standing
in front of him still in his nightshirt was Joe looking shock at what he
had just heard.
Adam suddenly reached out and caught Joe by the arm. With one quick
movement Joe was over Adam's knees and his hand was whacking Joe's
bottom. All that was between his hand and Joe was a thin layer of
nightshirt. Joe was kicking and yelling with every swat. Smack, smack,
smack, he delivered about twenty good solid slaps to his baby brother's
bottom before he stood him up.
Tears were streaming down Joe's face, he caught his breath and yelled
out, what did you do that for?
"Pa had told you about this and spanked you for it before, does the word
EAVESDROPPING come to mine young man? Adam was looking right in Joe's
eyes. And don't you yell at me again, or I will start all over and you
won't be able to sit."
"Oh, but, I, oh," Joe could not come up with an answer for that one, he
was caught and he knew it.
"Now I suggest, no let me put it another way, get your tail in your room
and get ready for school, NOW!" Joe turned and ran as quickly as he could
sore butt and all.
"Hoss I know that this will not be easy, but if I don't do something
about it, Pa will most likely tan both of us, you for not coming home and
me for not doing anything about it. (Sigh) Let's get to the barn and get
it over with brother."
Adam got up and started to the barn, Hoss went around him and went out
the door first. Adam then reached back and got one of Pa's belts that was
hanging on a hook by the door. Maybe if he used Pa's belt it would make
it easier than using his own Adam thought.
Hoss was waiting and as Adam came in he started to unbuckle his pants.
"No Hoss, you don't have to take them down, I will do it with them up."
Hoss looked surprised, "Adam you know Pa wouldn't do it that way, now
"No, but I just have to punish you, and I have a feeling it is going to
be the same rule when he gets home for you and Little Joe, I start it, he
finishes it. If he doesn't give you a lickin' when he gets home, that's
ok, but if he does you can take your pants down then for him, ok?"
Hoss then turned and bent over the saddle stand, holding on to the sides.
Adam folded over the belt and took aim. The first lick took Hoss by
surprise, he didn't know a belt could hurt that much through longjohns
and pants. Adam kept hitting, and with each lick the Hoss' tears got
bigger. He was hurting inside and out. He had always idolized Adam, and
to have his big brother standing behind him whippin' his backside with
Pa's belt was more embarrassment than he though he could ever feel.
Finally after about thirty licks Adam stopped. Hoss raised up slowly and
turned to face his brother, it took all he had in him to do so.
Adam's face was no longer mad, in fact it was just as wet as Hoss'. Tears
were running down his face. He moved over to Hoss and the two Cartwright
boys hugged, Adam thought maybe Hoss would break his ribs as hard as they
were squeezing each other, but he finally turned loose. "Hoss I don't
ever want to do that again, but if I have too................." They
started out of the barn.
"Oh, and Hoss I don't think you should worry about that dance, you aren't
"I understand big brother, Hoss said shaking his head, now, let's go
check on Joe, and even if I have to use a pillow, I need some breakfast."
Ben stepped off the stage, again one long trip. He twisted and turned and
tried to get the kinks out, suddenly he was hit with full force by one
fast running Joseph.
"PA! PA! Boy are we glad you are home." he was screaming.
"Me, too son, me too."
It was noon before they could get Pa's luggage and himself back to the
ranch. Hopsing had fixed a welcome home meal fit for a king's return. As
they ate Adam caught Pa up on the timber cutting, the stock, the everyday
ranch details. Joe was talking 90 miles a minute about the new school
semester, how cold it had been, and how warm it had been, just anything
to keep talking to his pa. Hoss was not as vocal. Ben noticed but he let
it go, never knew what Hoss had on his mind, he was the shy one of his
After they had eaten, Pa went over to his bags he had brought in from the
trip. He searched around in them and came up with three brown paper
wrapped items. Little Joe's eyes got big and he hoped they were gifts for
Ben went over to Hoss and handed him one of the packages, then to Adam,
finally to Joseph. You may open them, they are a thank you for being my
sons and taking care of the ranch so well gift.
Joe ripped open the package as quickly as possible. Then his eyes did get
big.........a hunting knife, wow, and in its own leather case. "Now, the
ground rules will be that you do not PLAY with that, it is a tool like a
hammer or saw. You will use it as it was designed for or I will take it
"Yes, sir, but can I take it to school tomorrow and show the class,
"All right, but I will take you to school and we will make sure the
teacher is aware of it, it will be up to him," Ben answered, oh, and if
you cut a finger off, you get tanned and I get it back," Ben laughed and
tussled Joe's curly brown hair.
"I will be careful Pa, honest."
Hoss had not opened his gift, he got up and said "Thanks Pa, I need to go
check on Chubby" he hurried out the door to the barn.
Ben looked at Adam who was also just holding his gift. "Joe, why don't
you go tend to your chores while I talk to Adam about business?" That was
all it took to get Joe out of the house.
"Ok, son what is wrong with Hoss and you?"
"Pa I didn't want to ruin your homecoming, maybe we should talk later?"
Adam was stalling.
"No, I think now."
Adam looked up and just blurted out, "I tanned Hoss."
Ben was standing, now he was sitting. "You did what? For the love of all
that is Holy, why?"
Adam related the story to his father, trying very hard not to make anyone
out to be the bad guy. Then he waited for Pa's reaction. Ben looked at
him, "Should I ask about Joseph's behavior while I am at it?"
Adam told him about some minor items he had to deal with and finally
about spanking him for listening in on his conversation with Hoss.
"I guess I need to go put someone out of his misery, and take the smile
off of another." Ben got up to go to the barn.
"Pa," Adam said, Ben looked at him, he was pale and the worry seemed to
pour off of his face. "It will be all right son, we can talk later."
Ben found Hoss in the barn brushing down Chubby. "I think we need to talk
don't we son?"
"I guess Adam told ya, huh Pa?" Hoss said without looking up.
"Yes, I knew something was wrong and I asked. Come over here son." Ben
moved over and sat down on a bench near the saddle stand Hoss had bent
over just two days ago.
"Pa if you are going to tan me too, let's do it first and then talk about
it, I can't stand the waiting, you know that."
"Sit down Hoss, if you can?"
Hoss moved over and sat down near his Pa on a grain sack.
"Hoss you know the rules about girls in this house, you knew Mrs. Greene
was gone, and most of all you didn't think about what might have happened
if someone came to the house and saw just the two of you there. A man can
get away with almost anything and still be respected, a woman can't be
even suspected of doing anything wrong or she will never outlive the
shame. I want you boys to be caring men, who think about others. If this
was told in town, Tess would have to carry this scandal forever. Do you
see why it was so wrong what you did?"
"Yes, sir, I guess, but we didn't do anything, I told Adam I kissed her,
but even that was .....well....just a peck or two, ya know, not like I've
seen you do with Ma."
Ben turned a little red. "I know son, but the most innocent thing can get
out of hand when the barriers are down. Without Margaret or myself around
I hope you would act the way I have tried to raise you, but I was a
teenager, too, even if I don't let you boys know it very often, and I
made mistakes too."
"Please open your gift." Ben told him.
"No, sir I don't deserve anything, I didn't stay out of trouble while you
"Open it, Hoss, it's ok."
Hoss tore open the package, several packages of seeds were in there. Hoss
started to read the contents. They were all different types of flowers.
"Hoss we made a stop near the place where I met your mother and I bought
the seeds there. She loved flowers so much, she said they were God's own
way of making this world beautiful. When we were expecting you, she would
hum some of the songs from her homeland and look for hours at seed
catalogues. She would tell me that someday we would have a big ranch and
all around the house she would plant flowers. She could see a field of
wildflowers on the trail, and she would send Adam out to pick them for
our wagon. She loved to attach them to the tarp around the wagon, "fer
beauty" she would say."
"Son promise me you will try to think about all of this next time the
situation occurs, ok."
Hoss just looked up at his Pa, he had tears in his eyes, but was holding
them back as best he could. "Yes, sir, thanks for the seeds, I will work
hard at getting them to grow this spring." Ben got up and his hands went
to unbuckle his belt, Hoss got up and moved over to the saddle stand. Ben
chuckled, "No son I was just going to loosen them a notch, too much
lunch, he buckled them back a little looser, turned and went back to the
barn door, "you are restricted to the house except for chores, for the
next week, just to think about this some more."
Hoss didn't know where to shout, cry, laugh, or just thank God that Pa
had not tanned him again. His bottom was still sore from Adam's
punishment. He knew he would give it his best try not to ever get himself
or anyone else in that predicament again. He looked down at the seeds in
his hand, and then he cried.
Joe had been in making sure the chickens had feed and water, he came out
and ran right into Pa. Joe looked up and the look on Pa's face for some
reason made his butt tingle. "Hi, Pa."
"Didn't I make you a promise that if Adam had to punish you I would
finish it when I got back?"
"Yes, sir." he said meekly.
"And did he have to?"
"Yes, sir," same voice.
"And the reason he had too?"
"Eavesdropping," just barely above a whisper.
"We have talk about this more than once before, right? and do you think
he was unfair in punishing you for it?"
"No, sir I guess not, but ........"----------- BUT, what?
"Nothing, ok, over your knee or bend over, my room or the barn?" Joe
"So you understand that in order to keep my promise to you I have to
finish what Adam started, correct?"
He put his hands on Joe's shoulders and turned him around with one mighty
pop to Joe bottom he sent him several steps forward, "now it is finished,
get back to your chores."
"YES SIR!" he shouted and off he went, butt was tingling, but he would be
sitting for supper.
Ben went back into the house. "Adam," his oldest was still sitting where
he left him holding his package not yet opened. "Please open your gift."
Adam looked at him, hesitated, but obeyed. It was a new razor, ivory
handled and silver. It was beautiful, Adam thought. "I thought it was
time you had a new one, and not have to use my old one. I brought it back
to the son I left in charge, but now I know I also brought it back to the
man I left in charge. You did everything I asked of you son, and I am
proud of you."
Adam's eyes were filled, "but Pa, what about Hoss," he asked.
"It is all taken care of, and no, I didn't tan him, I restricted him for
a week. I am sure if I had been here when it happened, I would have done
just what you did, in fact he would have been hard pressed to be sitting
at all, you did the hard part of being the acting parent. I don't blame
you for what you did, it was a serious thing, no one was hurt, and I am
sure Hoss' thinking was as innocent going into this as he could be, but
there are always consequences to actions, you have to think it out. I
know it was hard on you to punish your brothers, but if you had let them
get away with things while I was away you would not have been doing them
any favors. And the next time it might have had a different ending. So, I
don't guess I have to warm you up for abuse of power, he said with a
laugh. Finally, Adam smiled.
"What about Joe," Adam asked.
"I put a period on that sentence, too. Now let me tell you about Miss
Priscilla and Boston."
Adam was so happy his Pa was home, and he sure didn't mind at all not
being "in charge".