This odd bit is from a nineteenth-century book: The Jest Book: The Choicest Anecdotes and Sayings by Mark Lemon.

A SCHOOLBOY being asked by the teacher how he should flog him, replied, “If you please, sir, I should like to have it upon the Italian system — the heavy strokes upwards, and the down ones light.”

Indeed, the Italian educational system of that time appears to have been very soft on misbehavior. In all fairness, the school system that inquires of students how they would prefer to be punished in also not without merits.

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