Algernon at Eton
The Schooldays of A.C. Swinburne 1849 – 1853
PART ONE: SEDUCTIONS
Young Algernon Charles Swinburne takes an immediate liking to his tutor, Mr. James Leigh Joynes who at twenty three is only eleven years his senior. He watches with half disguised interest as the husky, hirsute tutor reads his letter of recommendation, and notes his rugged features, immense bushy sideburns and the dark curly hair protruding above the collar of his black academic gown. When he catches Mr. Joynes casually studying him he deliberately lets their eyes meet and believes he sees a faint smile forming on his tutor's lips before he politely averts his gaze.
James Joynes believes he is destined for greatness, the modern era is full of promise and opportunities, and with his keen and perceptive mind he hopes to contribute to universal progress and the greater glory of the British Empire. His mind is still churning from the intellectual stimulation of his university days, particularly the profound insights he obtained studying under the great Professor Lubyanka at Cambridge.
He certainly believes he's destined for more than being an Anglican deacon, a master and tutor of boys. But boys, boys are what he knows, a boy is what he's been, and it seems that God has given him this gift of great affection for boys, and it's as a tutor and house master to boys that he was able to marry the voluptuous Edna. Joynes would never admit to more than a mere manly affection for boys and it seems his greatest pleasure is flogging them. A boy once heard the lovely Edna talking to her sister; it seems that Jimmy is never more spirited in the marriage bed than just after thrashing a boy or two.
Actually Joynes's love of flogging makes him less abusive than he might be otherwise. He has little but contempt for masters and tutors who use the cane or rod indiscriminately or savagely, without regard for art or sentiment. He feels he's becoming an expert on the subject and his zeal has led him to study anatomy and physiology, speculate on theories of pain and the manifold cultural and patriotic benefits of flogging.
In his short practicum he has experimented with many instruments of correction and the techniques for their use. He feels there is much to be learnt through the rational application of the laws of modern science to this ancient practice. But Joynes's peculiar quirk, one which saves many a poor boy's bottom, is that he much prefers aristocratic behinds. These he will cunningly stalk, flogging others as necessary along the way, and when they are trapped these better bred bottoms can expect a masterfully royal thrashing, usually just before bedtime or in privileged privacy. Young Algernon, the son of an admiral in the Royal Navy, scion of wealthy landed gentry, is perhaps destined to become his tutor's favorite.
“I see by this letter from your former tutor, the Reverend Fenwick, that you're clever at verse. Rather precocious for your years, eh Swinburne?” He glares condescendingly at his new pupil.
“Well no and yes Sir, Mr. Joynes.” Algernon replies with conscious ambiguity letting his bright red hair flop over his lightly freckled face.
“Some might consider that remark flippant, Swinburne.”
“Oh no Sir, flippant means to show disrespect through cleverness.”
“Enough, Swinburne, I shall make it very clear, I do not tolerate impertinence, or any questioning of my authority. Is that clear? Those canes you see in the rack by the chalkboard are not for decoration. And as you are both my pupil and my boarder, my authority over you is well nigh complete. Here at Eton we instill discipline and initiative.” Algernon nods, his older cousin Mitfort has boasted about the thrashings he's received at Eton and shown him some residual scars.
Mr. Joynes returns to the letter. “Ah! And it seems you have a 'rebellious nature', Swinburne. How very interesting... That will be all for now, I'll have the House Captain show you to your quarters.” A strapping lad, perhaps eighteen, arrives shortly and is introduced as “Lunsford, Arthur Lunsford”.
Pleasantries over, Algernon picks up his bulky luggage and follows Lunsford out into the main hall and up the stairs to the right. “Well, Swinburne,” Lunsford looks over the new boy, “welcome to Eton. Do as I say and we'll get along fine, and oh, if you don't want to come a cropper, never make the mistake of going up the left hand stairs,” he counsels, “they go to Jimmy's digs.”
“That's Mr. Joynes, but we don't call him that behind his back.” Algernon acknowledges Lunsford's wit and wishes he had a good riposte. “It's where he keeps his darling Edna, and it's worth a jolly good thrashing to be caught poking around there.”
Along the gloomy upper corridor Algernon passes several large rooms where boys are studying or resting on cots and he gets a glimpse, and smells the rears with their little cubicles. Near the end he is ushered into a room with eight narrow cots, a row of wardrobes and a large desk at the far end between the tall windows. Algernon drops his bags on a cot as Lunsford introduces him to three other boys.
“This is Swinburne, your new room-mate, De Vries” A pert faced, doe eyed boy about his own age with dark hair and olive skin extends his hand with a smile. “Thackery.” A barely blondish, pimply boy a year or so older glowers at him and farts. “And Smith.” A tall skinny, baby faced boy of maybe fifteen smiles weakly and limply shakes his hand. “You'll meet Throckmorton later.” Lunsford, as House Captain has his own room at the end of the corridor which also connects to Algernon's dorm, and he retires to it.
Suddenly Thackery spits out, “Don't put your things on my bed.”
“I'm sorry, I didn't know.”
“Well, you should know better.”
“And how was I supposed to know?”
“A smart alec eh?” Thackery shoves him down over a cot. Algernon instantly enraged gets up and charges Thackery, fists swinging and gets in a few good blows before the bigger boy is able to get a hold on him and pin him to the floor. “You're new here; you got a lot to learn.” SLAP He slaps Algernon across the face. He keeps on slapping him not quite as hard as he could while Algernon enraged struggles in vain. After a minute Lunsford comes out of his room, tells Algernon he is creating a disturbance and to get up off the floor immediately. Lunsford consults with the others and they all agree that Swinburne needs a lesson. The slipper is brought out, a bit of a misnomer in view of the fact that it is over a foot long and has a sturdy leather sole, a formidable strap in effect. Algernon protests vehemently, it's not fair, but Lunsford merely suggests that he apologize to Thackery - it will only be six if he does.
Algernon is not going to apologize, and it takes all the other boys to hold him down as Lunsford lays long hard strokes on his squirming bottom. Algernon's anger feeds his determination as he endures the assault, but it doesn't stop. Finally he shouts, “You said only six.” Lunsford informs him, that's after he apologizes. Algernon's rage boils over and he struggles with all his strength but they manage to hold him and the beating continues. “You bloody bastards!” he screams. Boys from other rooms crowd in to watch the spectacle, and then Mr. Joynes arrives. Algernon is in tears sobbing loudly, more from frustration than his burning bottom. Mr. Joynes tells him to see him in the Pupil Room when he's tidied himself up.
Algernon enters looking much subdued and stands in front of the desk. Mr. Joynes ignores him for over a minute before leaning back in his chair with a look of exasperation. “Really Swinburne, we can't have you bawling your head off over a mere tickling.”
“But it was so unfair Sir, I didn't know it was his bed, and even if I did...”
“I'm not interested in petty details, the fact is you managed to create a commotion which disturbed others. Here at Eton we have a system of traditional privileges which allow the boys a measure of self rule, much as Whitehall is proposing for certain of our colonies. You must deal with the boys yourself. My obligations are the subject of a contract I have with your uncaring father. You are here to learn and I am here to teach and provide you with basic sustenance, and I might add, discipline. As for the scene upstairs I will say no more. Do you fully understand your situation?” Algernon remains silent, sulking. “I assume your aristocratic bottom is well acquainted with the cane.”
“Uh, no Sir, Mr. Joynes.”
“You mean your former tutor, Mr. uh....”
“The Reverend was a kindly man; he didn't think boys ought to be beaten. He told me they didn't in France.”
“This fortunately, mercy of mercies, is not France. And am I also to suppose that your parents were equally derelict in their duty?”
“At home, only the servant boys were beaten, and very seldom Sir.”
“They have a number of servants I understand?”
“Not more than forty Sir, and that would be counting all the gardeners and hired hands, and there were no more than seven or eight boys and a couple were never whipped.”
“I trust they were well caned or birched?”
“Well no Sir. I mean they were tawsed, Old Dunc, he's the Scot in charge of the stables, he has this big leather tawse split at the end, they said it's as thick as his accent. He be the one to whip the boys.” Joynes encourages Algernon to continue. “The foreman keeps tally during the week and on Saturdays he brings the boys down to the tack room to be corrected. Boys who've only earned one stripe are usually forgiven but Micky, he works in the scullery, he's usually good for half a dozen anyway, and once he got fifteen. They say you count the china he'd broken by the scars on his bum. You could hear him howl all the way up to the house. Old Dunc would make him clean the splatter off the saddle rack and sweep the floor before he put his pants back on.”
“I gather then that you were privileged to watch?”
“Only when I was older Sir, maybe eight, and I'd bring Old Dunc an orange or some cake, but he'd never let me hold them down, not even Micky who's smaller than me.”
“You enjoyed the executions?”
“That is what the boys call floggings here.”
“I was just curious Sir.... I wanted to see what it was like”
“Again and again? Well you'll get frequent opportunities here, Swinburne.”
“Oh I know Sir, hundreds; my cousin Milford told me all about it.”
Joynes smiles, “You are a bright and clever boy, and no doubt imaginative, but do you think you can imagine how that part of your anatomy God made for the purpose, would feel if it received a real thrashing? It is well known that those with red hair have particularly delicate and sensitive skin.”
Algernon, feeling somewhat sheepish, quietly makes his way back to his room. Only De Vries, plodding through some Latin conjugations is there and Algernon is glad to be ignored. He finds his luggage stacked on the cot he was told was Thackery's, and after a moment of uncertainty he asks which cot is his. Samuel De Vries informs him that it's the one where his things are. “But....” Algernon sputters.
“All new boys get slippered, didn't you know? It's a tradition.” De Vries becomes more friendly, shows Algernon his space in a wardrobe and helps him unpack. “You certainly brought a lot of stuff.” Algernon shrugs to show it wasn't his idea. “Your mum eh?” When they're finished De Vries asks, “How's your bum?”
“Well, it feels warm, a bit sore still but.... I'd not been beaten before.”
“Never? Well you put on a jolly show. I thought for a minute Jimmy was going to give you a real thrashing.”
Later Algernon looks at his bum in a mirror and is pleased with how pink it is.
Sammy De Vries takes it upon himself to show Algernon around Eton, explaining the various traditions, and passing on some of the lore of the ancient institution. They gaze up at the twin pinnacles of Lupton's Tower, they pass under the heavy stone arches of the hallowed Cloisters where stairs lead up to the College Hall where the collagers or scholarship students (The boys at Mr. Joynes's and other houses who are a majority are oppidians or fee paying pupils), live and eat, poke their heads in the Chapel and look up at its magnificent stain glass windows and high, fan vaulted stone ceiling. He learns that Eton's founder, King Henry the Fourth, laid the cornerstone in 1441.
They have just returned to their quarters where the other boys are studying when Throckmorton, a small lad with curly jet black hair and a very white, milkmaid's complexion arrives, his nose running and looking quite upset. “It weren't fair. Hickenlooper, the bastard put me in the Bill for insolence just because I told him he had confused Ovid with Aenid. My book was open at the quotation. He wouldn't even look and sent me up. He's bin raggin' me for days.” Bartholomew Throckmorton also has strikingly rosy cheeks but in more than one way Algernon soon finds out.
“You look like you come a cropper.” Smith exclaims, and indeed Bartholomew Throckmorton has just received six of the best from Dr. Hawtrey, the big beak or Head Master.
Thackery, “I say, you are off to an early start, Throcky. You sure it's not your pretty bum, and not the insolence?” The boys laugh.
After supper, a mutton, turnip and potato stew which he barely picks at, Algernon is called to Lunsford's room. “Well Swinburne, I trust you're enjoying your stay here... Now, as my personal fag is unable to attend me this evening, I want you to clean out the ashes and clinkers from the fireplace and light it, and if there's not enough coal bring up a scuttleful, you'll find some in a bin beside the stables at the back, right beside the ash can. Afterwards you may sweep out the room and polish my boots.”
“But my prep, I've got a lot to catch up on as I started late.”
“Really Swinburne, I'm sorry to hear that, but what on Earth does that have to do with the matter in hand? Oh, I forgot to mention you're to dust first, and don't forget the top of my wardrobe, and when you are finished your other duties you may make tea. And I'll have no more of your cheek if you don't mind.”
Algernon, whose personal experience with brooms, scuttles, ashes and coal has been totally non tactile tries his best, getting pretty grimy in the process. Lunsford reads and watches his clumsy efforts with amusement. Finally, Algernon following instructions serves tea to the house captain. “Well Swinburne, you have a lot to learn, and look at yourself, you look like a chimney sweep boy. You need a bath. Get Eena the servant girl to heat some water on the stove and bring it up to the rears along with two buckets of water from the scullery. And be quick.”
Algernon strips and gets into the metal tub of warm water in the bathing room off the rears with Lunsford, and Thackery, as two boys are not allowed to be in the room alone. Algernon, embarrassed by the others' gaze tries to wash modestly. The house captain insists he also wash his hair and threatens to dunk him when he hesitates. Then Lunsford has him stand and lather himself thoroughly all over as the other boys watch closely. “What a lovely round arse! A bit of a stunner, wouldn't you say Thackery?”
The blond boy nods. “Swinburne, your dick is dirty. I want you to soap it well.” Algernon's already hard and tries to think of other things. “Come on, you little tart, I want to see your prick scrubbed rosy as your arse.”
“You can't make me do that. It's wrong. They're my privates.” Algernon defiantly covers himself.
“And you Swinburne are my private, and privates do as they're told. You will call me 'captain' from now on. Is that clear? Thackery! Fetch two buckets of rinse water from the rain barrel... Now, let's see you wash your dick, and your arse too, I want to see you soap your poophole.”
“Bloody damn well I will, you frigging bugger.”
“I'm not a bugger Swinburne, you're a blooming tart, and I should remind you I have the authority to cane your soapy bum. You do as I say, and hurry or I'll doctor your bottom until it's striped like candy cane.
“You wouldn't dare. My cousin Milford says you have to hold a meeting first, and the house master has to agree. I think I've I have finished bathing Lunsford, thank you” He steps out of the tub.
“Jimmy doesn't mind me caning a boy now and then; he says it helps me learn responsibility and leadership. Now do as I have told you Swinburne, or else. We can always have a meeting after.”
“Swinburne?” SMACK He slaps Algernon hard on the cheek.
“NO.” Algernon trembles with fear and rage. “Cane me if you wish - if you can. But, I will get you back.
“I don't want to cane you, I....”
“You were making an improper suggestion.”
“Swinburne, finish washing, look at your fingernails, and be silent.” Algernon scrubs his still grimy knuckles and nails while Lunsford looks away. Thackery returns with the two buckets, and as instructed, slowly pours the near frigid water over Algernon. It's a shock; he's soon goose pimpled and shivering. “That should cool you down Swinburne.” Algernon's rinsing himself quickly when he spies someone; it's Eena, peeking into the room.
“What's she doing here?” Algernon demands turning and covering himself with his hands. “Tell her to bugger off.”
“Why she's our official dick inspector. Come in Eena. What do think of this specimen? It may be a bit shriveled right now.”
“I'm afraid I can't see very much, Arthur.”
“Thackery, hold his hands behind him.” The boy advances cautiously towards Algernon who suddenly lunges at him and punches him in the throat, Thackery collapsing in pain. Algernon picks up the other bucket of water and sloshes Lunsford and Eena. The others are stunned as Algernon grabs a small towel, his dirty clothes and strides out the room.
Lunsford has little to be satisfied about and realizes that the new boy is going to be difficult to deal with. In fact he rather likes and admires Swinburne. He could even become a sort of friend. He decides it might not be wise to cane Algernon. And in any case, he would not be allowed to. The last thing Jimmy wants is for someone else to have first dibs on the new boy's bottom.
Thackery, in a surprisingly pleasant mood corners Algernon shortly after breakfast next morning. “You're all right Swinburne, but you got a lot to learn as a new boy.”
“You need friends here, why you don't even know how to dress.” Algernon looks at him questioningly. “For a start you must always wear your jacket done up, not like that, and you must keep your hands out of your pockets and never slouch. Being one form higher I can leave one button undone and have one hand in a pocket. And I can carry a brolly, but I can't open it until next year and then I'll be allowed to slouch too. And you must always wear your top hat outside, but never indoors, and make sure you brush it every morning. I'll show you what to do and be your friend.”
Thackery tells him of the rebellions, the last not twenty years ago when the renowned Dr. Keate, the great flogging Head Master of Eton stayed up all night flogging over a hundred boys and wore out a huge pile of birches. “Oh, it's a bloody war here; the beaks are just as afraid of us as we are of them. If they didn't beat us we'd take over.” He pauses, “But as it is with me getting beaten more'n most, I figure that with all I've gotten away with I'm coming out ahead in the game. Because once you know how much a beating hurts you can figure out the cost of other things.” Algernon is perplexed. “Some things are worth risking a thrashing for, once you know that you can get ahead. You get beaten anyway, most fag masters beat you.”
“Did yours beat you?”
“Of course he beat me, he had to or he'd be chaffed, but only on Fridays and that was only if m'tutor didn't cane me that week. I got him to use a smaller slipper and he wasn't allowed more than six unless I said so. When I get my own fag you can bet I'll beat him a lot more than that.”
De Vries arrives, “Come along Swinburne, Mr. Tattler doesn't like us tardy for Latin.” On the way they pass a couple of members of Pops, the Eton Society, in their dandyish attire; stick up collars with white bow ties, black morning tail coats braided with ribbon, checkered trousers and bright silk waistcoats, some were no less than 'creations' of exquisite design and tailoring. Both carry long knobbed pop canes. One glances imperiously at the younger boys, comments to his companion and they both snigger lewdly.
“I don't like it when they look at you that way; you have to be careful of them. If they catch you even for using a main entrance when you're not supposed to, they can thrash you with one of those long knobby canes. They call it a poptanning and it hurts more'n any rod or ordinary cane.” De Vries pauses for effect. “And they can fine you too, once I had to pay sixpence because I couldn't name all the houses, their colors and captains.”
Algernon has heard about Pops, the self elected 'debating' club from his cousin Milford who wanted to be invited to join. Everyone, almost, wants to be in Pops, because that's where those who are, are, and they rule that part of student lives not claimed by dames and masters. And if you get into Pops you can you can influence who else can.
After classes Sammy De Vries takes it upon himself to chum with Algernon, he needs a friend too; the English are such narrow prudes. He claims women all pretend they don't like boys; no one ever taught them anything. He never talks about the men he's known but thinks English boys are too innocent and you have to explain too much. He hasn't had a girl since he left the continent, and that was many months ago. He hoped his father's job didn't keep him in London for another year. Swinburne has no scent of girl but has a very different beauty than his own. Their affection went no further than hugs, good hugs that you felt and gave together.
That night after lamps out Algernon becomes aware of someone moving around and hears sounds that he guesses are those of the unnatural things he's been warned about. He can almost make out crouched forms and then a hand is pawing his blanket. Algernon waits wide awake as the hand first strokes his hips and then reaches under the cover. He can't tell who it is. Suddenly Algernon lunges, trying to grab and kick whoever but he misses. The boys grumble at the commotion. “Bloody Swinburne!” Smith shouts. “Another lesson is what he needs.” Algernon's awake for a long time but nothing more happens.
The next day is very busy. Classes, Greek is still very greek to him, but he manages the Latin. Having started a few days late Algernon is behind most pupils and spends most of his free time trying to catch up. This night he wakes when someone crawls into bed with him. He's not sure who it is and doesn't care, and knees the boy in the groin. He's not disturbed again.
Algernon's so busy that he doesn't get a chance to watch the executions at the Library until his third day. Thackery has told him that he's missed some beauties. He finally risks, not quite, a caning himself to see Hawtrey birch a boy. 'Finally' goes through his mind. This day, unfortunately, the wide doors to the Library are jammed with excited, chattering boys and he can't squeeze through to where he can see anything. He hears Hawtrey call out a boy named McGregor and, after admonitions for some unspecified insubordination, order him to “Go down.” Then he hears the swish and splash of the birch rod as it connects with the boy's backside. Algernon imagines the dark birch with its hard little buds raising brilliant welts on pale buttock mounds. The audience's hushes just before each blow lands and the murmurs after make the images in his mind vivid. He hopes there's at least a little blood, to make it look better. He sees in his mind, McGregor, a big, husky, handsome lad with his face a picture of stoical indifference, taking his licking stoutly. He feels a confusion of admiration and envy for the boy he can't see. The flogging over Algernon has to move aside as the victim, as they're called, is helped out of the room by two mates. And McGregor turns out to an effeminate, skinny dark eyed boy smaller than himself. An older lad near him comments, “Not much fun in that, I'd a thought the tart would've bawled her head off.” Algernon's eyes follow McGregor as he shuffles down the hall. Algernon also fails to get a glimpse of the next two floggings including one where the boy pees all over the block to the mixed cheers and snickers of the crowd. It isn't until the fourth, and the last it turns out, when most of the boys leave, that Algernon gets a chance to watch. An unattractive lad with overshot teeth and a large purple birthmark on his right thigh receives four rather indifferent strokes from the good doctor who can't remember his name after. The boy squirms and after he breaks out in sobs, and it's very disappointing for Algernon who was hoping for a real capital thrashing with a bit of blood.
That evening however, for the first time since his arrival, Mr. Joynes announces that there will be a caning in the Pupil Room after supper and he suggests that everyone, the new boys in particular, attend. Algernon is thrilled, and all the more as it's a boy he likes, Reggie Thornside, from the room across the corridor. He pretends to be blasé but makes sure he gets a place in the front rank of the two dozen or so boys, almost all the residents, watching. Both Thackery and De Vries claim that Jimmy's one of the best floggers in the school, and Thackery should know having been flogged by more different tutors and masters than anyone else. “And Jimmy rather fancies licking Reggie's bottom; you can bet he'll be plowing Edna right after.”
Jimmy stands majestically at the side of the large oak desk. He does a few stretching exercises and rotates his shoulders to limber up, then he interlocks his hands flexing his muscles before stretching again. He does not dwell on the offence, repeated failure to prepare Greek lessons, but speaks of the need for discipline. “I am gratified to see so many eager faces here. To want to see justice done is only right and natural, it is the reward of morality. Is there not one among you who does not in some way enjoy, nay rejoice in seeing your mates receive their just and loving chastisement? This is good. This is a sign of spiritual health: If you love thy neighbor as thyself, as the Almighty commanded, then ye should also rejoice in his just suffering. It is also a sign of hope, hope for the future, for the Empire, for the race. It is the seed from which true justice shall grow and prevail in the Empire, indeed in all the Christian lands.” Algernon is very glad to hear this; his enjoyment of the caning will be all the more wholesome. “Now lean over the desk Thornside.” The boy obeys, his elbows on the top and his breeks tight over his raised bum. Jimmy hesitates briefly, “Perhaps, as there are some new boys here, we should see that justice is not only done but is seen to be done. Lower your trousers Thornside.” Jimmy pushes the long black sleeves of his gown up his thick hairy arms and flexes the cane to demonstrate its flexibility. “Ready?” he calls. “Aye Sir.” Reggie mumbles. Jimmy pauses for a moment of meditation, then swinging back the cane, he takes a few running, skipping paces and with a loud smack slams it into Reggie's bottom. Algernon's wildly impressed and joins in the excited murmurs as a bright red track forms on Reggie's pale bum. “It's probably best to cane without any textile impediments although decency may betimes require otherwise. Novices should always precede natis nudis until they've acquired some experience. And unlike the birch which even women can master the cane requires some considerable skill to employ to best effect.” The second blow is neatly spaced just below the first.
Algernon thinks Mr. Joynes looks just splendid and he can tell he's good; his flowing gown, his bouncing strides, his hairy muscular arm, intense expression and athletic form. It's a bit like watching a good bowler at a cricket match, but he never got a boner watching cricket. And Reggie, he just takes the blows his face gritted but unflinching. Algernon wonders what it would feel like to have Jimmy cane him and briefly tries imagining that he is Reggie. He is impressed, Jimmy's blows are evenly spaced, except the last one which overlaps the one before and somehow spoils the perfection of the spectacle. Algernon feels a tinge of regret. At the end he notices other boys have boners too. Reggie his face flushed pulls up his breeks and tries to feign nonchalance. Jimmy dismisses the boys and immediately goes up to his digs. “What'd I tell you Swinburne,” Thackery looks at him smugly, “He's gone up to bang his darling Edna.”
Later in their quarters Algernon is talking to Thackery and says he's surprised that no one cries when they're flogged, like the boys at home usually did. “That's the one thing you daren't do, or you'd really get it. I bet you could flog most boys to the bone before they'd scream. It's this Empire thing, you got to show the natives you're better. Like you saw Thornside, well that's the way you got to do it. They're lucky they haven't killed anyone in years.” Then Algernon notices that Smith is playing with himself, and doesn't seem to care that others see. His cousin Mitfort had told him about such disgusting goings on. He feels he should bring it to Lunsford's attention when he notices that the captain is doing the same. And even de Vries. Only Throckmorton who sits facing away from the rest is not abusing himself. And then Sammy De Vries sits down beside him and starts playing with his thing like it was a piccolo right in front of his eyes. Algernon hides his boner, clenches his eyes shut and tries conjugating the Latin verbs for 'come' and 'go'. “Come on Swinburne,” Lunsford exclaims, “don't be a killjoy, pull it out. We're all men here.”
Algernon decides he has to go to the rears, and he hides himself in one of the stinking cubicles. He feels sorry for himself, all these evil boys doing bad things. And his own prick, it's always embarrassing him. And even thinking that makes it get hard. Even knowing that he shouldn't, he begins to tease it.
Little dick, eleventh finger
Am I sick when others linger
around your tingly tip and flip
and rub and pinch? you itch
and every inch feels aglow
it thrills me so and I find
my mind cast adrift
like some small ship that heaves
on turbulent and tempting seas
Two boys from another room enter and pee in the trough unaware of Algernon, one of them is Reggie. “Let's have a look at your arse there, Thornside?”
“Aw, you just want to spoon, don't you, Ferguson?”
“Don't you Reggie?”
Algernon listens to muffled words and labored breathing. “Oooh, oooh, not so bloody fast, I want to make it laaaaaast.... You rotten bastard Ferguson, you did it again.”
Algernon returns to his room just before lamps out. The other boys are innocently sprawled on their cots quietly playing games or reading. Smith turns to him, “By the way Swinburne, you missed the crimes against God and Nature.” Algernon goes straight to bed without a word and when he puts his head down on his pillow he finds some strange sticky stuff on it. No one bothers him during the night.
Another busy day, Algernon's catching up on his prep and can't make it to the Library for the executions. Thackery tells him later that he missed some rare sport. And he's promised Mr. Joynes he'd work on a poem. When he returns to his quarters only Sammy De Vries is there lying back on his cot. He puts a hand inside his waistband starts playing with himself intensely observing Algernon who's sprawled himself in one of the big chairs. Algernon tries to ignore his room-mate but soon feels uncomfortable under his gaze. “Why are you staring at me?” he finally demands. Sammy smiles, rubs himself harder but says nothing. “You're not supposed to do that you know.” Algernon pronounces.
“Play with yourself, it's not nice.”
“I think it's very nice... Can you squirt?”
“What do you mean?”
“Make seed, you know like in the Bible, the seed of Abraham and all that begatting business.... and stallions and bulls.”
“Well I don't know about any seeds.”
“You might be a bit young for chizz, d'you have any hairs?
“Let's see.” Sammy comes over and squats in front of him, a hand on his knee. “Come on, let's see”, he practically implores.
“You can call them that if you want. I mean your cock. Come on, let's see it.” He reaches for Algernon's fly buttons.
“That's not right; nobody's supposed to touch it. It's not polite.” He cups his hands over his crotch.
“You mean you never play with your prick, Swinburne? Bullshit!” Algernon's prick, contradicting his words, is throbbing to be touched and it only takes a couple of seconds before its ostensible owner withdraws his hands. Simple pubescent lust carries the moment. Sammy unbuttons Algernon's fly and a skinny pink appendage springs free. “That's a bonny bone, and right proud too.” He starts to examine it with his fingers pulling the skin back.
“Hey, you can't do that, you can look and that's all.”
“You can't tell much just looking.”
“Well you can see I haven't got any real hairs.” Algernon, his morals temporarily overcoming his hormones, starts to do up his buttons.
“But you still might be able to squirt, I can, just. D'you wanna see?”
“I dunno.” He's intellectually curious and hornier than a donkey.
Sammy pulls out his stubbier model and flips it inches from Algernon's big eyes. “You wanna play with it?” Sammy has lived in a number of European countries and has known boys and men intimately in Naples, Vienna and Paris, oh, and London. These experiences have helped him perfect his natural talents and appetite for hedonism. And he desires Algernon and loves him more than anyone besides himself. “It wants you to play with him.” Algernon gingerly touches it, lifts it and turns it, feeling the strength of its stiffness, noting its duskier tone and the rosy knob. Algernon is thrilled. Sammy meanwhile lowers his breeches to the floor, slips out of his shirt, and widens his stance so Algernon can inspect his balls. Algernon has never had a really close look at another boy down there. He squats down on the floor to get a better look at things. There are lots of angles you can't see on yourself. Then Sammy takes Algernon's hand and shows him the things he likes others to do for him and after a while he suggests they move to a cot where he lies back indulgently, with dreamy eyes and a silly smile, while Algernon with his eyes inches from the action works diligently. But not for long. It isn't much but Algernon gets a spatter on his cheek and more on his shirt.
“What's this?” Algernon blurts.
“Really?” He remembers the funny stuff on his pillow.
“Now it's your turn.... And take off your clothes, it's nicer.”
Algernon can barely control his trembling, “But what if someone comes?”
“They'd probably want to watch, and maybe have a turn themselves.”
Except for his shirt and socks he insists on keeping, Algernon is stripped in seconds. Sammy immediately pulls him down and gentle play wrestling soon becomes gentler touches and stroking. After a while Algernon gives in to the sensations but the delightful tingles soon turn into unbearable tickles and Sammy has to start again. Sammy is patient and cunning. Algernon's liking it more and more, and closes his eyes to get inside himself. Then he feels a soft, smooth, exquisite - suddenly he can't stand it - sensation on his cock. He looks down and pushes Sammy's head away.
Algernon is shocked and Sammy laughs, “I learnt that from my cousins in France.” After a minute or so Sammy is permitted to 'french' him again and this time Algernon watches closely, amazed and soon eager. “And there's other things I know about, Algernon, can I call you that?”
“Sure, and I can call you Sammy?” They shake hands in a formal way and then Sammy embraces him and says, “In France I would kiss you on both cheeks now. 'Pity', as you people say.” Algernon returns the embrace but they do not kiss. His morals have been thoroughly corrupted in less than half an hour.
Five minutes later when they're doing prep, Lunsford, Smith and Thackery enter. “And don't forget the bottle of muscatel you promised us.” Lunsford reminds De Vries Algernon is briefly humbled by the fact that his initiation was arranged, but when he remembers how nice it was, and when can he do it again? He's almost grateful Sammy spooned him. Mitfort didn't tell him how much fun it was.
At supper Mr. Joynes announces that there will be a thrashing after, Fane, Frank Fane is the victim and as usual very deserving of a royal thrashing, but he's one of those boys Joynes would sooner forgive than flog; dull, clumsy and inferior breeding. However Jimmy has no choice if he wants any reputation for impartiality. And the poor devil had to kneel for the good doctor just two days ago and he won't be half healed yet.
Less than half of the boys turn out for the spectacle, most having seen Fane flogged too many times already, and it's always the same. Jimmy after his preliminary loosening up, addresses the boys. “A good flogging is also an opportunity to learn more about the world. There are certain points about this ancient practice of which I would like to remind you. The whip, a simple but noble invention is one of the foundations of civilization. No society from antiquity to these modern times has achieved greatness without the liberal application of the lash; Egypt, Greece, Rome, and our own great, God blessed Empire. Countries, that have abandoned the lash, in some misguided fit of idealism, have sunk into decay. We need look no further than across the Channel for proof of that... Isn't that right, Mr. Fane?”
“Yes, Mr. Joynes.”
“Now look at the Prussians, they flog, they flog liberally, and mark my words, they are destined to take over the Germanic states and put France with its decadent Rouseauite, bleeding heart philosophy in its proper place. We may have to flog harder to maintain Britain's leadership in the world. Isn't that right Fane?”
“Yes Sir, Mr. Joynes.”
“Take your usual position Fane. Four it shall be.”
A distinct “Boo” is heard, and a loud whisper, “Only four?” A murmur of disappointment goes around the room.
“Enough. Another sound, and Fane shall have company... Now where was I? Ah, the lash. Can you imagine a world without the lash? A world where men still used clumsy bashings with fist, foot and club? You might have discipline but it could be days or weeks before they'd be ready for labor or fighting again. The lash, lads, is an ingenious device for maximizing pain while minimizing potential production losses. It is a practical example of the concept of maximizing utility, and the theory of the whip pre-dates by millenniums similar theories of the political economists, such as the esteemed David Ricardo.” Joynes is a little disturbed as he realizes that the law of diminishing marginal utility must apply to flogging as it applies to everything else, in fact sometimes Jimmy wonders if there's any point in flogging Frank Fane further, but he likes the alliteration.. However, in pedagogy it is necessary to start with the simpler concepts first. “The introduction of the lash in pre-ancient times led to huge increases in productivity and provided the economic surplus to support civilization as we know it. There never would have been an Aristotle, a Newton or a Gainsborough without the whip.... Ready, Fane?”
“Yes, Mr. Joynes.”
Jim my rotates his shoulders a few times, pauses, and with three graceful strides slams the cane into Fane's already purpled flesh. It's jolly enough but Algernon would have preferred to see a boy bleed starting from nothing, but there is a lot of blood, and his shoes pick up a bit of splatter from the Fourth stroke.
“That will be all, Fane.” Mr. Joynes dismisses the boys and goes up to his quarters
Still excited from the flogging, though it wasn't much, the boys led by Smith are soon openly tossing off in their quarters. Algernon joins in, horny again, and takes a good look at all the other boys' bones. Sammy tells him that there's ways to make the really jolly part last longer. Unfortunately Algernon is just short of being able to give himself the satisfaction that other boys can attain. Except for Lunsford everybody gets to play with his dick and he plays with theirs. And then they go at it again.
After elevens next day Algernon and Sammy notice dozens of boys streaming towards the Lower School. Thackery, running by shouts to them that there's to be a mass execution in the Schoolroom. They join in and along the way find out that there'd been a minor uprising at supper the night before and Fourth Formers had to be brought in to restore order. Apparently a cauldron of rotten mutton stew was deliberately dumped, and a cook and a master were pelted with half boiled potatoes. “You know how the right Reverend Carter feels about rebellion. You can bet he'll leave no bum unbloodied. The numbers involved and the expected severity of the sentences have attracted over a hundred Upper School boys who normally shun Lower School executions.
The large Schoolroom has been arranged for the occasion, the 'Temple of Doom' as the boys call it. The block, roughly a twenty inch stepped wood cube draped in black cloth is near the far wall of the tall gothic room. It is already crowded with excited, chattering boys when they arrive, but Algernon following Sammy, squirms his way to the front. In the back boys are standing on chairs and desks. To one side is a deep rank of Lower School pupils and a boy nearby points out the seven ringleaders standing near the front. Algernon looks them over and a skinny but very pretty boy catches his interest. The boy noticing him looking gives him a little smile and Algernon's heart seems to leap, the small boy is like a saucy angel, and he smiles back with adoring eyes.
The Lower School Head Master, the Reverend Adolphous Carter and two Fourth Form collagers, all in full academic robes, enter. Despite his steadfast adherence to the doctrines of the Church and his contempt for the Roundheads generally, Adolphous Carter believes the Calvinists are on to something with their theory of infant depravity. He does not like to admit it in the midst of maudlin contemporary sentiment, but children are basically evil. They are the main source of evil, as original sin rules their minds, pretend otherwise as they might. He cannot understand why this is not self evident to everybody. Perhaps it is one of the tricks of the Lord of Darkness that most people, the uninformed who constitute the vast majority, view children as sweet and angelic. This has led to a decline in the awareness of the public that children need to be firmly disciplined if we are to avoid anarchy and dictatorship! One needs only to look across the Channel to see the consequences, and they only stopped flogging children not that many years ago. But Adolphous knows it's not as easy as he once thought. You just can't take infants and beat them into a lifetime of obedience. It really isn't just infantile depravity, it's childhood depravity and it's far worse in boys. The depravity is a continuous thing, like new depravities keep developing in the child and have to be dealt with. Today he must deal with an enormous depravity – rebellion!
The call for order is slow to be obeyed, and only when the names of those to step forward are called out does the room fall silent. Seven nervous boys from nine to maybe twelve present themselves, trying to maintain some bravado. The reverend master looks over the sea of eager faces. “Rebellion,” he allows a pause for the word to sink in before repeating it, “rebellion is not only an offence against lawful authority, but it's also a rebellion against God's Will. It was for rebellion that God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. That was Original Sin. Disobedience and rebellion.” The reverend master continues his long harangue where God and Solomon are extensively quoted and disobedience and rebellion are condemned. The boys have not come to hear castigations and start fidgeting. A sigh of relief and a flurry of crotch grabbing erupts as the executions are about to begin. Algernon feels his rod repeatedly grabbed and finds Sammy and two other boys with boners in their breeks. “And lastly, as Christians we should turn to the Scriptures where it written, HEBREWS, Chapter 12 Verse Six, 'For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.' I hope you keep these words in mind as our most merciful Lord guides my hand in loving chastisement.” While the standard and maximum sentence is six strokes, the Reverend Adolphous Carter announces that the ringleaders are to receive eight to twelve. The crowd murmurs its approval, they won't be disappointed.
The smallest and most frightened looking child, a frail lad with a quizzical squint, is the first to have his breeks lowered by the two husky collagers. “Go down.” commands the master. The child kneels on the black draped block in hushed silence. Then the black robed collagers lift his shirt tails and hold him down securely. Precious time is not wasted, the Head Master takes a thick birch rod of tightly bundled twigs which is about as long as the child is tall, raises it, and brings it whooshing down to splash against the tiny bum and wrap around the flanks. Algernon appreciates the onomatopoeia of the word swishing. Swishing. He mouths it to himself several times and thinks of rhymes; kissing? blushing? blessing? wishing?
Algernon's whole body tingles with excitement and he notices Sammy unobtrusively playing with himself. After the eighth stroke, the sobbing, near hysterical child's backside is rasped raw and flecked with shreds from the birch. He is half carried away.
“I would also like you to keep in mind the next verse, number seven, 'If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?' The rod I hold in my hand is a symbol of God's love for you.”
The next victim is the slender sweet faced cherub he exchanged smiles with. When the boy steps forward a wave of sympathy and empathy engulfs Algernon, and he becomes aware of a strange feeling of caring for someone else. He feels wonderful and uncomfortable at the same time. He tries to make eye contact with the boy. Excitement is replaced by concern for the angelic child. He stares mesmerized as the boy's pale bum is bloodied. “'But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.'” The skinny child barely makes it through his ordeal with his dignity intact. A mate helps lead him red eyed out of the room.
Sammy notices Algernon's rapt fascination with the small boy, “You getting a taste for tarts already?”
“What? I just felt sorry for him, nothing wrong with that.”
“He stole your bone.” Algernon's face reddens with embarrassment when he sees he's soft.
A plump lad follows, faints, and has to be revived with smelling salts and slapped before his thrashing is finished. Two boys struggle to carry his limp form out of the Schoolroom. Algernon has never been so excited and horny, except maybe for the first time with Sammy who's beside him now, also enjoying the spectacle. Seven boys being flogged, what an abundance after his father's estate at Brooks on the Isle of Wight where he'd be lucky to see one a week. Algernon stares trance like, wallowing in the bloody luxury of it all.
“PROVERBS Chapter Three. Verse Twelve, probably sums it up best 'For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.'”
The fifth lad has bright red hair like himself and a cocky attitude. Algernon imagines he is him. “Go down.” barks the master and Algernon just perceptibly bends his knees. WHOOSH SPLAT He imagines pain exploding on his bum and a huge tingle leaps through his body. He feels a mystic aura of glory and power. He wishes he could feel the flogging and envies the boy who shows no sign of pain and amazingly glares at the headmaster as he walks head high back to his mates after. Algernon doesn't see him break into sobs a few seconds later.
But the scene is almost too much, adrenaline saturates his system and he and other boys are having difficulty in keeping still. Algernon sneaks a hand down his breeches and digs a thumbnail into his insistent boner to calm himself but the pain just makes him more agitated. The bloody orgy goes on and on, boy after boy, and Algernon's strange ecstasy becomes like drunkenness. After, he's glad when Sammy grabs his arm and they push their way out and run, run as fast as they can.
They stop some distance away in a copse of scrub oak next to a dense hedgerow, panting heavily. “That was an overdose,” Sammy catches his breath, “my nuts are aching something awful, I gotta wank, bet you do too.” They look around, pull out their little boners and start in.
“Yeah, you should be able to toss off while you're watching.”
“That would be neat by cricky, that's when you most want to.”
“It could be like some pagan ceremony, but I'd want to be able to squirt first.... Oh, oh, I gotta stop.”
“And they'd flog the boy until everybody.... Aaah.”
“I can't make mine go down.” Algernon complains.
“GO DOWN” Sammy imitates the master's voice and they both laugh Algernon briefly neglecting his wanking.
“They could use racks; I saw an old one once in a dungeon and they said it still worked.”
“But that would be torture, we're civilized now.”
“But it would be jolly fun to see someone stretched.” Algernon pulls out his foreskin till it hurts, “I wouldn't want them to come apart though.”
“Hurry up, someone may come.”
“I can't, I can't, it just gets worse.” Algernon gives up. On the way back he comments, “I didn't like that one kid who screamed and kicked, he spoiled the fun.”
“But you seemed sure seemed taken by the skinny blond.”
Algernon ignores the remark. “But the red haired boy, you see him give the beak the eye, he was a stout one, by cricky.”
“And I didn't think they beat little kids that hard, they made a bloody, bloody mess of their bums.”
“Yeah, I think just a little blood is best. Maybe they shouldn't get more'n six in the Lower School.
“And flog them more often?” Algernon jokes.
“Are you speaking for your virgin bottom?”
In his spare moments Algernon's mind goes back to the mass execution. He tries to recapture the feeling, the sights, and the sounds.
S W I S H I N G
swishing sounds just so
the birch's kissing
so they glow
from the mighty bushy blows
S W I S H I N G
swishing sounds just so
Boys are rushing
pushing to get close
not missing any moans
S W I S H I N G
swishing sounds just so
the victim's twitching
from his switching
curling up his toes
wishing almost pissing
S W I S H I N G
Swishing sounds just so
the boy is bending
writhing in its throes
his eyes are pleading
but not succeeding
and on and on it goes
Algernon likes his poem but knows that Mr. Joynes would find it too undisciplined. And he would not like it anyway. He just doesn't understand. Thrashings are more than punishment. He can't quite put it into words but they are boy ceremonies. For Algernon the Library is more sacrosanct than the Chapel. After watching so many birchings Algernon sees them as dramas played out on the block. Part of what you are is how you take it. Sometimes Algernon's imagination embellishes the holy ceremony with pomp. A bugle precedes the master's announcement of the sentence. A drum roll builds up and stops, an instant before the rod splashes into flesh. Some victims are cast as lambs, some as martyrs, some go in pride and others in shame and yet others to be confirmed. All are scrutinized. There are roles to be played and Algernon's mind costumes and denudes the players.
It would be much better if Mr. Joynes never saw the poem. But then Algernon thinks, if he found someone to copy it out for him, someone whose writing Jimmy would not recognize. He didn't want to be blamed although he wouldn't mind being under suspicion. He would put it on his desk in the Pupil Room. I'd have him make a few copies and hand them around. He'd see that Lord Orford got one to pass around in Pops.
Algernon dwells on the mass execution for days, his mind plays out imagined roles of master and victim again and again with variations. He changes details to make it better and fantasies of monumentally choreographed orgies give way to thoughts of crueler delights. He imagines himself torturing boys he knows, or Eena, the servant girl. He doesn't much like Thackery, he could use the tongs on him, but then he has all those pimples. Throckmorton with his nice complexion would be more fun and things would really show up good on him. But mostly he thinks of Sammy because he's his chum, only they would do it to each other, taking turns. He imagines them passing a cane back and forth, always saying “please” and “thank you”.
A few days later when he's alone with Sammy he suggests they take turns spanking each other with Lunsford's slipper. Sammy thinks he's cuckoo, and gives him a playful push which leads to a romp on the carpet and one of Sammy's favorites, slow, stop and start mutual masturbation. Algernon has not yet learnt to enjoy the prolonged tension and is almost glad when Lunsford arrives and tells them to hurry up.
Algernon has plenty of time to think about, contemplate getting thrashed long before it happens. Nobody denies the pain, except to show their fortitude. But if you don't make a fool of yourself on the block you get more respect, and Algernon believes, friends. He knows Jimmy is going to give him one of his royal canings sooner or later. There is fear and apprehension, he's hardly suffered at all in his life. But Algernon is also deep curiously, has feelings of unfulfillment, and the challenge, and the aura and mysticism surrounding flogging intrigue him. Does it make you different after?
Fortunately or not, Algernon fails to get thrashed for weeks although the daily birchings at school and the frequent canings in the Pupil Room become his favorite spectator sport. He usually manages to see about six good thrashings a day. He best loves to watch Mr. Joynes, or Jimmy in action; his vigorous form, his brawny hairy arm, the measured force of his blows, the intense expression in his eyes and, sometimes, he thinks he can detect the presence of a huge boner beneath the loose black gown. No cricketer ever had a fonder fan. Jimmy it seems is in no hurry. He likes to like the boys he flogs, and he's getting to like Algernon more and more. He knows it's going to take some thought and careful preparation, particularly, and most deliciously, as it's the first virgin bottom he's encountered in his short career. Jimmy calculates that he's already forgiven the boy one caning and delayed a decision on another, part of his plan, but feels he needs one more incident to fully justify the juicy thrashing he has in mind.
Mr. James Joynes rather enjoys his pupil's ready grasp of ideas, except in mathematics, his wide ranging curiosity and his remarkable ability with verse. Algernon challenges his pedagogical wisdom in ways he finds intellectually satisfying to deal with. Algernon's his most interesting pupil. After Mr. Joynes praises his work in Latin, Jimmy asks to hear his math. Long division is not Algernon's forte and conical sections leave him without a parabola to hang his hyperbolas on. Jimmy explodes and promises him a royal thrashing complete with bloody details which he dwells upon, that's two he owes him, but its date remains nebulous, and soon Jimmy reverts to the kindly Mr. Joynes offering friendly assistance to his pupil. Once again Algernon is encouraged to feel the hard flexed muscles of Jimmy's thick hairy arm and contemplate their power. If Algernon were a cat he'd be purring, as it is he rubs himself against his tutor like one. Jimmy cannot resist the urge to hug his young charge, tousle his carrot top of floppy, rebellious locks, and unseen bring his puckered lips to within an inch of the boy's neck. But Jimmy knows better, and switches things over to gentle horseplay where Algernon can better appreciate his strength and he can explore the boy's daintiness. He hugs Algernon to him as tightly as he dares. He massages his scalp and hairline with one hand while the other assesses the musculature of his narrow buttocks. And he tries to repress an awkward image of them both naked in bed. SMACK Jimmy can't help himself and apologizes for his exuberance. “Joke only.” he blusters. And then he holds Algernon and rocks him from side to side and tries to suppress the tears of joy and longing whelming up inside him.
Jimmy feels, well anyway believes, that this attraction he has for boys is a gift from God, to focus him on their need for education, for moral guidance, and perhaps most importantly, their need for discipline. But why is there this aspect of lust? this desire to touch? even sometimes to kiss? And why are boys' privates so fascinating and why is it so exciting to see them naked? Jimmy knows these things are unnatural and are supposedly an abomination to the Almighty. But could it be that God is testing him? Jimmy concludes that God moves in strange ways.
Algernon cannot get enough of his wonderful handsome tutor. He feels honoured, appreciated, an exception to the general rules, somebody special as he snuggles into Mr. Joynes, a masterful, omnipotent being for whom he'd do anything. Algernon loves the hugging and stroking but wishes Jimmy would kiss him too, only his nanny ever did before. But that, Jimmy could never do; it's unnatural and besides we're not Frogs. The promise of a caning is seemingly forgotten amid the demonstrations of manly affection.
The paradise of Eden's garden's found
beside the noble Thames at Eton
poetry beside the Pond
lessons for the mind to feed on
All pleasures here abound
Greek, prayers and classic Latin
floggings and fooling around
with tarts with bums like satin
The following Saturday morning, a magnificent spring day, Mr. Joynes asks Algernon if he would like to accompany him to Windsor Town as he has a few items to purchase. “I had planned to ride Darius, but it's such a beautiful day for this time of year I thought we'd walk. We could look at the famous castle, the Queen might even be there, or perhaps explore nature on the way back.” Algernon is of course delighted, feeling it a special privilege to accompany his handsome tutor and idol with the big curly whiskers. He steals occasional admiring glances up at him as they walk along the road in the warm spring sunshine.
In town they stop at an apothecary shop to purchase iodine, tonic and some dressings. Algernon notices a display of colognes and asks the clerk if he might look. He unstops a bottle and sighs as he sniffs the contents. Mr. Joynes looks at him questioningly and the boy remarks, “I've always had a thing for scents and smells.” His tutor smiles. “Please Sir, why don't you try some? It's for men.” Algernon is very pleased when his tutor includes the cologne in his purchase.
At the dry goods store Joynes asks to see the instruments of correction. The clerk brings out a huge assortment of canes, whips, straps and birches, all made from the finest materials available they're assured. Joynes tests a number of canes for their heft and flexibility and encourages Algernon to do the same. The boy runs his fingers along the smooth bamboo surface and takes a couple of swipes at the air. “Now Swinburne, you've got to learn to hold it properly, like this.” he places his hands over the boy's and they make a slow motion swing together. “There's not much room here, perhaps later outside.... Now this one is heavy but pliable, the quality I think is most important. It's not recommended for children under fourteen, but skillfully applied I find it extremely effective on boys as young as you.” Joynes has a selection of canes wrapped up and gives them to Algernon to carry.
“Mr. Joynes Sir, why did you buy all canes and no birches?”
You do well Swinburne, to show your curiosity. As a matter of fact I do keep a small stock of birches, which we have specially made, but I much prefer to use the cane. The birch has a long and glorious tradition. It is said that Julius Caesar was flogged with such an instrument, and I think there is no better doctor for boys in the lower forms. And its dramatic visual effects add to its effectiveness.” He picks one up. “However, these hard little buds on the twigs which make it such an excellent purveyor of pain also abrade the flesh.” Algernon strokes the twigs and feels the little buds, they are hard, and he can see how they can cut especially when the ends flick around. “With the sterner correction required by mature lads the results tend to be messy. A little blood is fine, but you wouldn't want too much.” Algernon could not agree more wholeheartedly.
“There's more of a knack to the cane, and because of its deeper contusions more skill is required to avoid complications. It's partly a question of spacing, avoiding too much overlapping, although I find a lighter second coating, preferably after several minutes have elapsed to allow for some swelling, and the increased sensitivity that accompanies it, very effective. I pride myself that I can give a young lad up to a dozen stripes and he is still able to attend classes next day.”
Later they stop by a sweet shop where Mr. Joynes buys a small bag of toffee and chocolates, has a couple himself and gives the rest to Algernon who quickly finishes them off.
Windsor Castle forgotten, Joynes suggests they return by way of the path through Ashburn Woods where they might study the spring flowers. It's a pleasant walk, but warm, and soon both of them have removed their jackets and loosened their collars. Algernon can't remember being so happy. Daisies and dandelions brighten the pastures, the rich aroma of fresh turned sod mingles with the scent of wild lilacs and roses blooming in the hedgerows. A skylark can be heard overhead and the hero of his heart is strolling beside him. Joynes invites the boy to sniff crushed needles of fir and pine, and smell the sticky budding twigs of alder and birch. Algernon responds indulgently and gazes up at his tutor with eyes full of adulation.
Mr. Joynes knows of a spot where the bluebells are particularly abundant, and they set off into a grove of giant beeches to a place where an ancient tree has fallen leaving a sunny glade where bluebells form a brilliant carpet. The fallen trunk makes a comfy perch to sit on and they begin to talk about the modern poets. Algernon's inspired, and proposes that what Wordsworth did for daffodils they should do for bluebells. Joynes is genuinely amused and Algernon improvises:
Strolling through a beechen glade
Winding my way o'er hills and dells
I saw a wondrous thing God made
A dazzling carpet of bluebells
“That is not your best verse, Swinburne, but there is value in imitation in that you discover your weaknesses and strengths.” Mr. Joynes quotes at length from Thomas Gray and Coleridge and warns him to stay away from Blake and Shelly. Soon they both remove their shirts to enjoy the sun. Algernon is thrilled by the man's great hairy chest which he's not seen before and slides closer, his tutor putting an arm around his shoulders. The tangy smell of the man's sweat and his strong arm around him make Algernon shiver with delight.
“I trust you've prepared Monday's Latin lesson, Swinburne?”
“But Sir, that's two days, I planned to prep tomorrow after Morning Service.”
“I shan't have time to hear your lesson tomorrow, and I can't have you going to class unprepared. I have a duty to see that you uphold the high standards of Eton.... Now let me hear it.” Algernon manages the first few lines of a poem by Virgil but that's all. “Fetch the canes!”
“But Sir, it's not fair, I should have until tomorrow to prep.”
“You will learn that many things in life are not fair Algernon, but that's beside the point. You may recall that you already owe me at least two good thrashings regardless. Algernon brings the package over and Jimmy Joynes selects one of the heavier canes.
The boy is both scared and enormously excited, his little boner showing through his trousers. “But Sir, you know I always do my prep the day before....”
“This has gone quite far enough, my dear little Algernon.”
“You may call me 'Jimmy' for the time being, as I know the boys do, when my back is turned.”
“Yes, rather chummy wouldn't you say? And I'll call you 'Algy'.” Jimmy's hands cup the boy's head, tilting his face up to his own. “You do want to be caned don't you? You've seen a number of boys flogged, some royally, and no doubt you've wondered what it would be like to have your own bottom so blessed. You are curious?”
“Maybe a bit Sir.... Jimmy.”
“I hate to think of a boy reaching the considerable age of thirteen without having his bottom bloodied at least once. Don't you think it's time your curiosity was satisfied?”
“I never thought of it that way… Jimmy.”
“You know you're a nobody at Eton until you've had a good thrashing.” Algernon knows this is true. “Now my dear Algy, would you like to be caned? I'll make it a good one.” Algernon quivers with a mixture of excitements and fears. Jimmy very tenderly massages his neck and shoulders with his big hairy hands. The boy nods his head. “Fine lad, fine lad. You know in ancient times boys were not only flogged as punishment but as a way of worshipping certain gods at the temple. What god could resist such a delicious sacrifice? This lovely sylvan glade, warmed by the sun, adorned by the flowers of spring, and sweetened by the scent of budding trees must surely be one of Mother Nature's temples, a perfect place to worship.” Jimmy hugs the boy who nuzzles in his salty, sweaty chest, and lightly squeezes his small buttocks. “Shall we begin, Algykins? .... Hmmmm, what's this?” he touches the cane to the bulge in Algernon's trousers.
“Nothing Sir.... I mean Jimmy.”
“Now off with them Algy, there's nothing to be embarrassed about among men.” Algernon obeys but tries to keep his erection hidden. “Take your hands away, I'm sure the cane will cure that indecency.” He nudges the little proud prick with the cane.
“Jimmy, Jimmy, I'm scared.... Don't, please Sir.... Sir.”
“'Jimmy', please, my little Algy. We'll have no whimpering. There's nothing to be scared about. You should be thankful of the luxury of receiving your first thrashing in private, and can you imagine a more beautiful place for one? .... Come here.” Jimmy hugs the slender boy affectionately ruffling his hair brilliant in the bright sunlight. “Here, I'll put my jacket over the trunk so you'll be comfy.... Are we ready?”
Algernon is trembling more with excitement than fear as his bare chested tutor stretches and rotates his shoulders. “How many, Jimmy?”
“Shall we try six for a start, my little Algybums?”
“Are you gonna put on some of that cologne?”
“Would you like that Algy?” he splashes some on his neck and shoulders. “Yourself perhaps? They say a little perfume heightens the other senses.” He puts a few drops on the back of Algernon's hand. Now stretch forward so your toes are just touching the ground, and look at all those beautiful bluebells.... Good.... My what a lovely aristocratic white bottom you have, a perfect pleasure to flog, and to think, still a stranger to the....” WHACK Algernon gasps, sighs, the pain seems impossible to endure, but he must and more.
“Ah, I see you redden quite nicely....” WHACK Algernon grits it out and waits. “Well placed if I say so myself....” WHACK the boy sighs, it's almost a relief when he feels it land. He looks around and sees Jimmy with his huge hairy arm swung back and intense joy in his eyes as he bounces towards him. WHACK He feels glad his tutor is happy. The pain radiates, reverberates, through him. It is everything and terrible. And his loins are tingling. WHACK His consciousness is engulfed. “Why it's blooming like a rose, such beautiful hues.” WHACK The boy moans, his closed eyes see beautiful stripes forming where he feels them, and Jimmy, hirsute and heroic slamming him. WHACK Algernon is inside himself inside the pain, and it's getting tinglier. “Why I think even old Keate himself would be pleased, you've heard what a devil he was with boys' bottoms.” Jimmy maintains his bravado. WHACK Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, the boy mumbles to himself, Oh Jimmy! WHACK Algernon wriggles and lets out a loud moan. He turns towards Jimmy and stares at his dribbling cock.
“My seed, my seed!” he exclaims in wonder.
“Oh, don't be disgusting Swinburne, control yourself.” But Jimmy really feels elated, a great satisfaction in bringing the boy to ejaculation, something not all that uncommon when boys are flogged. Sometimes he feels there's something wrong about the pleasure he gets from it, that it's immoral, but in his rational moments he knows that it's part of the gift God gave him. And boys will be boys which makes his work so challenging. He will not question God's wisdom.
“But Jimmy?” But Algernon knows there's nothing he can say, and suddenly he's acutely aware of the trauma of his beating and the fiery, throbbing, consuming pain. He feels faint and rests on the trunk.
“Shall we resume our lesson?”
“What? But Sir, you said only six, and I think it's eight already. Please Sir.”
“It's 'Jimmy', how many times must I tell you.... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound angry, but the fact is I said six for a start, and we'll also finish with six. Come here, let's have a look. Why your bottom's barely bloodied and I don't see many tears on your pretty freckled cheeks. However, I'll switch, excuse the pun, to a lighter cane, but first, you might be thirsty.” He produces a flask. “And I'd advise a tot of tonic too.” Jimmy fusses over the boy, pushing his hair out of his eyes and fluffing up and rearranging his jacket on the trunk. And he lends him his big white handkerchief so he can blow his nose.
Several minutes later Jimmy has Algernon almost lie right over the trunk so his thighs are more accessible and his hands can play with bluebells. Jimmy splashes more cologne on Algernon's shoulders and rubs it around his neck and ears. He steps back, and runs his hands down the boy's unblemished thighs. “I will claim these first, and then warm up your bottom again.... Now come on Algy, be stout. Give us a good show.” WHACK Algernon somehow desperately wants to please Jimmy. WHACK “We should be seeing some right royal purple soon if I'm not mistaken.” WHACK Algernon grimly holds on, the muscles of his buttocks, stomach and anus contracting involuntarily as the cane regularly lacerates the swollen flesh. New thoughts, driven by agony, push through his mind; pity for himself changing into fear, flashes of desperation, and a feeling of awe, of making Jimmy happy, of love for Jimmy. It seems rather a lot more than six. Algernon doesn't know how he makes it through, he remembers only the dazzle of bluebells through tear filled eyes and the smell of cologne as he bites hard into a knuckle.
“Well done Algykins, most boys would have to be held.” Jimmy picks him up tenderly, rocks and cuddles his dear Algy with tears running down his bewhiskered face. Algernon can't see but he can tell. Manly affection is taken to an extreme. They entwine, Algernon clings tightly to Jimmy, sniffling and tasting the sweat on his shoulder, and feeling very precious and secure. But the pain is awful and seems worse when later Jimmy carefully swabs the raw cuts and applies iodine. Algernon loves his tutor and Jimmy, of course, loves Algernon.
By the time they get back Algernon is suffering more from the deep aching discomfort in his flesh than from his raw skin except where it rubs on his clothes. He tries to avoid unnecessary movements and things like climbing the stairs are quite painful. Lunsford and Smith are gone for the weekend but the others are there. They know right away he's been thrashed and after congratulations he has to display his bruised behind and provide details of the execution. “Obviously Jimmy's handiwork, the long even weals, the careful spacing.” Throckmorton traces them lightly with a fingertip.
“There's a lot more than six cuts, looks like twenty. Jimmy must really like you.” De Vries adds.
“He's never given me more'n eight,” Thackery pouts, “I think I should complain.”
“And a private flogging in the woods you say.” De Vries teases, “You have to be one of his favorites to deserve that.” Algernon is advised that in the future he should take his thrashings at the time rather than owing Jimmy for his time of choosing.
Thackery borrows a bottle of brandy from Lunsford's cache and pours out a glass for each. “To your first jolly thrashing Swinny, may it not be your last.”
“Bottoms up, eh what.” Throckmorton jokes and they all toast Algernon. “Cheers” all round. Throckmorton brings out his pipe and tobacco and after hacking and coughing for a while proposes another toast, this one “To the man who made the first toast possible, Jimmy.” They laugh, drink and fool around until supper time Algernon is feeling much better already.
After supper where he hardly eats Algernon feels awful. He can't make himself comfortable and the ugly, dull throbbing pain in his bum seems to get worse. He wishes there were more brandy. He is miserable and after a few attempts by the other boys to cheer him up they leave him alone. He doesn't think he gets any sleep on the hard cot that night but he manages, painfully to attend the Sunday morning service in the Chapel and sit sullenly through it. Afterwards he has a good sleep in his room. He doesn't wake up 'til mid afternoon feeling better but very depressed. Sammy offers to play cards with him, he has a deck he bought in Paris and shows it to Algernon. Algernon likes the pictures of the naked ladies but he's in no mood to play.
Then Sammy whispers something about a 'secret tower' and gets Algernon to follow him out of the room. No one's around and they go into one of the reeking cubicles in the rears. In the ceiling is a hatch which can only be reached by one standing on the shoulders of the other. Sammy opens it and pulls down a crude pole ladder with notches for steps. It hurts Algernon to climb, straining his bruised muscles, but Sammy insists that he come up. He pulls the ladder up after them and closes the hatch. Algernon can barely see until Sammy lights a candle. The peak of the roof isn't much more than six feet above the joists they must carefully make their way on. At the gable end planks and scraps have been laid to make a platform, and a few boxes, an old carpet and several old, dirty pillows and blankets provide the furnishings. Sammy lights three more candles and places them at the corners of the platform.
“Golly!” Algernon's amazed, “It's sure neat.”
“It's not really a tower but only a few boys know about it, less than half I'd say. And you're not allowed up here if you haven't been caned. Jimmy doesn't know about it although the tutor before him did and flogged any boys he found up here.”
“I sure don't want to be flogged right now.”
“Only Eena, the servant girl knows, and she wouldn't tell. I'll lay out some pillows with a gap so you'll be comfy.” Algernon lies down on his back without discomfort for the first time since his flogging. “Oyez, oyez,” Sammy imitates a town crier, “now hear this.” He takes a cracked and chipped toy porcelain music box from a crate and opens the lid. “We even have music!” A few of the tines are missing but Algernon recognizes Greensleeves.
“What do you do up here?”
“Three guesses, and the first two don't count.”
“I don't feel like doing that right now.
“All you got to do is lie there.”
“I dunno, I never thought I'd feel so bad after.”
“Well, you got to get thrashed at least once around here, everybody knows that. Coming from France I thought floggings were part of the Dark Ages, but they are sort of fun to watch, but oh, do you ever suffer when it's your bum.”
“Yeah, do you ever, but it's funny being thrashed, I sort of wanted to but didn't. I felt so helpless and scared but I got so excited and had this strange feeling like I had power. All I'd ever had was a sprained ankle and that slippering you guys gave me. And all those bluebells and my bum burning up.” Algernon's not going to tell Sammy about squirting or being cuddled after.
“Yeah, Jimmy's a mite strange. Once he took me into the downs and flogged me with heather, I was never so sore, and then he tried to pat my head and hug me after. Another time he suggested a walk to Cuckoo Weir, it's a nice place, but I owed him more'n one flogging at the time, so I told him if he wanted to thrash me to do it in the Pupil Room. Like private floggings are supposed to be only at the pupil's request. I learnt a lot about marsh plants, frogs and tadpoles that day and got royally caned after supper.”
“Well, what do you think of Jimmy?”
“He's absurd, like the rest of us.”
“But I don't mind him.”
“He's everything a tutor should be, and more.”
“Well I'd let him flog me again if he had to.”
“Is your willie a lost cause too, porridge brain?” Sammy casually unbuttons Algernon's fly and pulls out his ready rod.
“Of what?” Sammy gently and expertly starts frenching.
“Don't do it too much...” after a minute, “Eeeee”
“You squirted, I can taste it Algernon! Your first time?”
“Yeah.” Algernon lies.
“You're very tasty for a beginner.” he licks his lips.
“Now we can milk each other, I'll show you soixante neuf next time. Boys in the East Indies call it the Ring of Life.”
Algernon returns the favour for the first time, he feels he should. It takes him a while to interpret the cheesy smell as not unpleasant and he soon likes the feel of Sammy's bone in his mouth. He glances up and sees Sammy smiling at him and winks. Sammy strokes the back of his neck and he feels a thrill of his own when his lips detect the spasms, he hears Sammy moan and tastes the slightly salty sweet semen. He swallows.
“Delicious!” Not really but he owes it to Sammy.
Monday, Algernon's still very uncomfortable and often in pain, but he goes to all of his classes and regains his appetite at supper where there's beef instead of the usual mutton stew. He notices that the other boys at Jimmy's pay him more attention in the following days. Thackery is especially curious regarding himself somewhat of an expert on thrashings due to his personal experience. “Back in the old days one beak told us that the king himself, old George the Third, would come down here, chum with the boys, and ask about their beatings. They say he did a lot for Eton, not like the prissy prude on the throne now. You'll hear all about him when the Glorious Fourth comes along.”
* * *
Then there are times when Jimmy feels that moral guidance may be more important than discipline, but then it is very difficult to draw a line between them. Discipline is obviously part of moral guidance and we all know what the main moral problem of schoolboys is; the sin of self abuse. Jimmy has long suspected that the solitary vice debilitates the body, leads to impotency and erodes the moral fibre of youth. While he normally distrusts any thing coming out of France he tends to agree with the new scientific discoveries of a doctor there who spent much of his life working in an insane asylum. He has conclusively established that self abuse leads to the progressive enfeeblement of the mind often culminating in full blown insanity. Self abuse drains the very essence of life and youth, weakens the will, erodes moral fibre and in a few short years insanity and death frequently follows. It is well known that self abuse is rampant in English asylums, although fortunately rare among British public schoolboys unlike in France. Jimmy believes that self abuse, along with the abolition of flogging and republicanism, is a major reason for the decline of the French nation. You could even call it the French vice except that the Turks are known to be absolutely addicted to the practice. Jimmy doesn't want to dwell on the stories that he's heard about the Musselman, especially about how fathers teach the vice to their sons. But why hasn't it affected their fighting abilities more? He wonders if it's because they flog their boys more. Maybe the debilitation from the self abuse is offset by the invigoration resulting from frequent floggings. Could enough floggings perhaps cure boys of the sin of Onan? Jimmy has no doubt about the sin's prevalence among the lower classes. That's why they're poor. Any reformer hoping to uplift the lower classes beyond their station will only cause misery. Anyone who truly wants to help the poor must tackle the problem of self abuse. Think of the energy that could be released for productive purposes. Piece work rates could be reduced raising profits which in turn could be invested…. He sometimes thinks he should have studied political economy instead. But where would I find boys to tutor and flog? He can admit that he was once a self abuser himself but fortunately was caught the fourth time he tried it, given the thrashing of his life and never did it again. Only God knows how lucky he is.
Jimmy is inclined to agree with Madame Lubyanka that it is only within the loving clasp of the feminine generative organ that male energy can be harmonized, and the debilitating effects of the act itself reduced to a minimum necessary for the propagation of the race. Apparently there are vital feminine juices that men need to absorb to maintain a balance of the fluxes. The ancient moral wisdom of total celibacy before marriage has now been verified by modern science. Now that he's thought it through he realizes he must be more vigilant and treat the problem of self abuse vigorously.
The spirit of this resolution is still percolating through his mind when Jimmy goes in search of the Irish servant girl Eena, and he happens to look in the rears. Quimby minor and Lipton are not just engaged in self abuse, but what might be termed mutual abuse, which adds a dimension of conspiracy to the act. It's as if God is guiding him by presenting him with the challenge of the depravity of the two boys. Jimmy realizes he must seize the opportunity to instill fear of self abuse into all the boys, he will make sure that Quimby minor and Lipton get memorable thrashings. He owes God at least that. And he knows that he must also choose his words carefully.
Actually Jimmy hasn't caned a boy for a week, since last Friday which is highly unusual although Smith claims he once went almost two weeks without flogging a boy, but it's hard to imagine a Friday without at least one royal thrashing. It's been a bit of respite, a lot of boys are tired of watching canings all the time, they do get to be much the same after a while and not worth mentioning. But Jimmy's announcement whets interest, “A sin of the flesh that can only be atoned through the flesh.”
“The last time Jimmy talked like that,” Thackery looks around, “the whole front row got splattered.”
“And they are a pretty pair of tarts,” Smith observes, “I think Lunsford rather fancies Quimby.
“Are you jealous?” Thackery teases, “or are you....”
“I'm not going to say.”
“And Jimmy, I don't think he's beaten either one yet, certainly not Lipton.”
“And his father's a duke?” De Vries gives his omniscient gaze, “I can't believe that?”
Algernon tilts his head to the side, “I wonder....
Two stunning young tarts from old Eton
Caught it spooning without even a sheet on
'Tis wrong!' the dame claimed
'You boys should be maimed.'
But fain they were jolly well beaten.”
It'll be a jolly thrashing, the boys quickly wipe up the last of the mutton and turnip stew with bread so they'll get good seats in the Pupil Room. Jimmy is pleased by the enthusiastic turnout for the executions, it shows, he believes, that the boys are concerned about moral questions and eager to see justice done.
“There are some sins so unspeakable that we cannot talk about them, even in the rude company of boys and men. I am referring of course, to crimes against Nature and God. I don't think you would want to know the nefarious details, nor yet the name of the sin for which Quimby minor and Lipton stand accursed, except to know that it is a most wicked and depraved sin.” He looks around at the boys' faces, all intensely following his words. “There is another, albeit lesser heinous sin that I will talk to you about, and that is the sin of self abuse. I trust we all know what that is. But are we all aware of the risks we take, the dangers we expose ourselves to? Do you know the consequences of what you are doing? Do you boys know that the loss of seminal juices outside the sacred chalice of the feminine generative organ leads to mental enfeeblement, palpitations, moral depravity, pimples and within a very few years, insanity!”
“Quimby minor and Lipton, I will not dwell on your sins, I will only remind you of Sodom and Gomorrah, and God's wrath. Rejoice that the Lord Himself has already suffered on the cross for your sins. Rejoice in the majesty of His mercy. Be glad you are here in enlightened, civilized England where you may atone through a minor tickling of eight.” And then, Jimmy thinks God gave him the idea, he continues, “And to remind each and both of you of the evil you have done, not only to yourselves but each other, I am going to cane you alternatively so that you are aware of not only your own pain but also that of your fellow sinner.”
Suddenly Jimmy wonders if he isn't making a mistake by mixing the viewing and experiencing of pain. Maybe they'd cancel each other out? But he isn't backing out now, he orders the boys to lower their trousers and brace themselves at either end of his huge desk. The two boys, alike in other ways also have very similar bottoms.
From the back of the crowd comes an audible whisper, “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum/Come a cropper on the bum.”
“I heard that!” Jimmy starts to rebuke, but then a thoughtful smile crosses his face. “It's not often we have such identical subjects, and we should perhaps not neglect this unique opportunity to conduct a practical experiment, especially for the benefit of the new pupils.” Jimmy has already made notes for a speech he hopes to give before a learned society, and he'll try to explain his ideas to his boys. “No doubt some of you have wondered why I favour the cane as a doctor rather than the birch as used in the school. I shall explain. Now Lipton shall receive the cane.” Jimmy flexes a long heavy model as he studies the young earl's bottom. And reaching into a cabinet, “Quimby minor shall savour the old fashioned birch rod. And we shall all be able to compare the results.” Jimmy is even seeing the experiment as significant, he must make notes immediately after and discuss the results with professor Lubyanka. It might just be the evidence he needs. “Now observe closely...” SWISH SWISH … SMACK SMACK …“You will notice we get considerably more reddening over a larger area with the rod. Its effect is primarily on the surface areas which makes it particularly appropriate for younger children and those with thinly fleshed nates. Part of the rod's effectiveness is the fine lacerations it induces, this will be apparent shortly. However as the rod shreds there may be nasty cuts from broken twig ends which is why masters often call for a fresh rod...” SWISH SWISH … SMACK SMACK… “The cane on the other hand elicits deeper, longer lasting contusions and its effectiveness, unlike the rod, is little diminished by the intercession of cloth which decorum may on occasion demand. This is why captains and Sixth formers are only entrusted with canes and slippers.
As usual when watching floggings Algernon is highly aroused. He can feel his prick hard against a seam in his unders and with subtle movements he can enjoy a slight rubbing. He can see that Thackery, who's half slouched with one hand in a pocket is also enjoying himself. And he feels he's learning something from the lesson.
SWISH SWISH … SMACK SMACK “Now observe the differences; a large inflamed area with small nicks, and I believe we're getting a little trickle here, but not much swelling compared to the generous ridges Lipton sports, and note how they're starting to purple...” SWISH SWISH … SMACK SMACK “Now another reason why I favour the cane is its durability. The head master frequently wears out over a dozen rods a day at considerable expense, I would point out, to your fathers who're billed for them. I doubt if I go through a dozen canes in a year.” Algernon feels himself on the brink of orgasm. His eyes are glazed and he's just waiting for the blows to land.
Jimmy, or is it Mr. Joynes leans forward and looks his pupils in the eye. “There is however some debate in learned circles as to which is the better instrument of correction. Tradition favours the birch. And it is produced from indigenous materials creating employment here in England. We've all heard of Finmore who makes the rods for the head master. But as your fathers know, they are not cheap. And God knows, we've got enough birch in England to flog every boy in the Empire thrice weekly if need be. But I believe such parochial views are shortsighted. England's wealth, Britain's future depends on trade,” Jimmy flexes his big hairy arms and readies himself to resume flogging.
“M'tutor, Sir,” Quimby pleads, “We've had our eight already.” Other boys nod and Jimmy reluctantly puts down the rod.
“Well, as I was saying, it is far better for England to import bamboo and manufacture canes in our factories, generating profits so that our capitalists can build more factories leading to yet further progress. We should not be deluded by the discredited theories of the physiocrats and mercantilists, and support inefficient cottage industries where the profits, if any, are dissipated on gin, dog fights and bear baiting, cruel, inhumane blood sports, unlike the fox hunt. Now boys, I might not be as candid with some of my colleagues, but I predict that the birch will become a thing of the past except for doctoring small children. But the birch can be very messy in the severity required for older boys and children of the lower classes. Blood splatters, stains and can become quite sticky. Boys can end up with their trousers stuck to their bottoms. Another drawback is that the birch shreds, after six vigorous strokes it can lose up to an ounce. The hard little buds so effective in inducing pain slough off leaving the twigs which are likely to leave lacerations with no increase in the pain conveyed. Observe.” He raises the birch over Quimby minor's already bleeding backside.
“Ah yes Quimby. Some other time perhaps.” He looks around at the audience noting the attentive faces. “And in closing, we should always remember that it's trade, free trade backed by the might of Her Majesty's Royal Navy which binds the Empire together, that makes England rich and strong.
Algernon understands, he wants to applaud but feels he may be the only one, sometimes he thinks he is the only one who understands his tutor's genius. Jimmy looks expectantly around the room, and then he sees a boy dozing. “MAXWELL!” The boy wakes up. “What did I just say?”
The boy rubs his perplexed hazel eyes, “Please Sir, I couldn't understand what you were saying Sir.”
“Inattentiveness? I have a cure for that which you will understand. Step forward Maxwell.” Maxwell, bless his golden fuzzed bum gets six of Jimmy's best without any distracting lecturing. Algernon squirts half way through and Jimmy retires immediately to his quarters.
Algernon is happy, he's just learnt something about political economy, he's just witnessed three jolly thrashings, and he's still horny. Smith, Thackery and Sammy are already wanking off when he enters his room. “Maxwell, the poor devil,” Smith comments, “he should've known Jimmy'd wound himself down with all his talk.”
“Right O,” Thackery adds, “An' I bet he's ploughin' Lady Edna right now, gettin' ready for seedin' I'd say.” Algernon gets a tiny bit of help from Sammy and it's all over in a couple of seconds. Bartholomew Throckmorton is unmoved, “You guys, I don't think it's right. You're going to make yourselves crazy.”
But Throcky lad it's good to wank
You should be glad to rub your shank
It's jolly fun and should be done
By everyone under the Sun
Enjoy the joys of self abuse
Could any boy ever refuse?
Now if you think the hand's immoral
I'll lend you lips to try it oral
And if you find them rather banal
There is a kind of pleasures anal
Spread the Word ye masturbator
Praise the Lord, our Great Creator
Algernon easily works himself hard again. Smith and Thackeray are soon working on seconds flaunting themselves in front of Throckmorton. And then with Smith holding the smaller boy's shoulders Thackery has his breeks and unders almost off. The small boy struggles at first as Thackery tries to make his little dick hard but can't. Throckmorton lets Smith try after he agrees to let go. Algernon asks if can suck and he just tickles Throckmorton silly. “See? You can't make me crazy, only my wife will ever carnally know me.”
* * *
It is less than a week after his first thrashing that Jimmy, largely because of his poor progress in mathematics, promises Algernon another thrashing. However when he realizes that Algernon's bum will still show ugly bruises he suggests that they defer it. “How about a fortnight Friday? By then your bottom will be as good as new, and we can start with a clean slate so to speak..”
“It will give you something to look forward to, why they say much of the pleasure of things lies in their anticipation.” Jimmy puts an arm around Algernon's shoulders and strokes his unruly red hair. “It will only be six cuts of the cane this time so we won't have to wait so long again. Jimmy puts his thick hairy arm around Algernon's shoulders, strokes his unruly red locks and softly inquires if he would prefer a private caning upstairs in his library. Algernon, trembling with excitement and some fear nods his head. He tries to imagine it; the cane slamming into his bottom, and the pain, the overwhelming pain again and again, and the feeling, the tingling in his slender loins. He wishes he didn't have to wait so long.
Upstairs in their room Sammy cannot understand his seeming impatience if not enthusiasm. “You want to get thrashed? You're a bloody loony, Swinburne.”
“Oh no! Nobody'd want to get caned, I just mean that if you're going to get thrashed, you might as well be practical about it.”
“And what does that mean?”
“Well it's sort of interesting, but hurts too much.”
“Really? I won't ask you to explain what that means.”
“I guess you just don't understand.”
Algernon is excited. Time passes smoothly as Mr. Joynes spends hours tutoring and talking with him. He revels in the attention although other boys resent it. He acts out the caning in his mind dozens of times with different details but always with the same thrill in his loins. He thinks about it every time he tosses off which is every chance he gets, and when Sammy frenches him. They make frequent trips to the secret tower, but often it's already in use. Once they do a double ring of life with Reggie and his chum Ferguson. He even tells Sammy that he wishes he didn't have to wait so long. He hardly misses any of the floggings at the Library and when he can he even exercises his privilege to view the Lower School executions. He tosses off every chance he gets, once during a flogging in the crowded Library.
On the appointed Friday Jimmy informs Algernon early on that he will be caned after supper in his library. “I feel they're more effective in private.” Algernon is bursting with excitement and horniness rubbing himself when he can. He takes his hand out of his pocket just as Sammy comes along and asks him how come he's all horned up. Algernon quite excited explains that he's to get a private flogging.
“A special dispensation, no doubt.”
At supper Algernon is chaffed mercilessly. “A private affair indeed!” Smith comments.
“Too good for us commoners, eh Swinburne?” De Vries adds.
“Ask to have Edna hold up your shirt tails.” Thackery smirks.
Algernon, with a gauntlet of chaffing boys watching goes up the stairs to the left and knocks on the door. “Good to see you Algy, but what's the matter? You don't seem very happy.”
“It's the boys chaffing me Jimmy. I'd sooner be caned in the Pupil Room like other boys.”
“Next time you shall, I promise.” Jimmy leads him though a short hall to his library where a large collection of various, exotic instruments of correction are displayed along with a number of books. Jimmy shows and hands him a very slender whip with mother of pearl inlaid in the leather bound ebony handle. “This is among my favorites, a harem whip from Macedonia, almost impossible to scar even the most delicate skin, but too light for most tasks.” Algernon experimentally flicks it imagining a naked slave girl dressed in Arabian clothes. “Now lets take a look.” Algernon lowers his trousers and at Jimmy's suggestion takes them right off. “Why your bottom might still be virgin.” He bends over to take a closer look, “Mmm,” and “starts to massage the contours of Algernon's bum, but catches himself just in time. He hugs the boy and looks longingly into his face, “Are we ready my little Algybum?” Algernon trembles with excitement and fear. “I've lit some frankincense, it goes well with bamboo. I'm sure you will like it.... Now lean over the desk.” A slight draft wafts the incense towards Algernon's nostrils as he waits for the first blow. Jimmy also waits, he too has anticipated this moment again and again. He doesn't have enough room for running strides but that's all sham anyway. He too is aroused in his loins in ways he cannot understand, explain or justify. He hopes Algy doesn't notice his excitement and promptly begins. WHACK “Trifle high? Luckily it's a light cane. Are we ready?” WHACK “Better?” Algernon who can just twist his head enough to see Jimmy nods affirmatively, and closes his eyes to experience the pain clearly. Jimmy smiles at his protégé. WHACK “They say that right There, is where it hurts the most. Would you agree?” Algernon grimacing nods. The pain is starting to overwhelm him, Jimmy's pain, he feels a love for this man. WHACK “The great professor posed an intriguing question, 'Is the total pain inflicted greater if two strokes are separate, or overlapping?'” WHACK “I promised to look into the question. What do you say my little Algybuns?” Serious attention to the proposition, which Algernon deals with in depth, helps distract his mind from the pain WHACK “Just a couple more to bring it up to an even six, what do you think?” Algernon's concentrating on the growing thrill in his loins WHACK WHACK He squirts and squirts and dribbles, and after notices his chizz dribbling down the carved oak front of the desk. His bum is nowhere near as abused as the first time. Jimmy hugs the snuffling, clinging boy to his chest, unseen tears running down his cheeks. Jimmy comes back down shortly after Algernon. Edna it seems is visiting her family.
He doesn't get much sympathy when he gets back to his room, and as custom demands displays his stripes. “Six, eh?” How come I can see eight?” Throckmorton wants to know.
“Jimmy said it was six, it doesn't feel like more.”
“Six my arse!” Thackery sneers, “What were you doing while he was thrashing you? Wanking?”
“I'd wank too if it felt like less.” Smith adds.
Thackery complains, “Private floggings, it's not fair Swinburne, you get to see ours but we never get to see yours.”
“Jimmy promised me the next one would be in the Pupil Room.
“Have you set a date for the blessed event yet?”
Algernon insists that he doesn't like getting caned but Thackery, who's more objective about it, scoffs.
* * *
There are few bottoms that Jimmy would sooner doctor than that of Bartholomew Throckmorton II, and he tries to as often as he can although he frequently finds that the head master has gotten to it first. Insolence, or what appears to be, gets his bottom thrashed regularly, that and tobacco. The child is unquestionably pretty with his pale milkmaid's complexion set off by ruby lips and dark curls. And as everyone knows pretty boys get flogged a lot more anyway which compounds the frequency and severity of his thrashings. He is a remarkably stout lad and money has been won betting he won't blub. Bart is not so much insolent but stubborn, especially in his adherence to what he believes is right. Failing to defer to the interpretations of masters he will repeat his unorthodoxy and defend it. It is something that cannot be allowed regardless of the facts of the situation. For Jimmy, there is the added appeal of the boy's modest aristocratic lineage, which while it only goes back three generations to a pirate with a knack for gratuitous slaughter and choosing the right side, this more than suffices in his case. Jimmy appreciates that he also tends to be stoical and not make a fuss. There are in fact a number of reasons why Jimmy, or any reasonable person for that matter, might want to flog Throckmorton. And he's a crowd pleaser, most boys will stay after supper to watch him get caned. Jimmy realizes this gives him an opportunity to say a few important things for the boys' moral guidance during the execution.
But today Jimmy is in luck, Throckmorton hasn't had a good thrashing in at least three weeks and his pale bottom should be pristine. Jimmy has allowed Throckmorton to accumulate a debt of three thrashings, largely as a result of the head master's lacerations; he hates going over someone else's handiwork. Unable to recall the nature of the boy's offences he decides to find a new offense. The time has come he believes to revitalize the campaign against self abuse. “Throckmorton, I'm surprised that you of all people are guilty of the sin of self abuse. You know how I have called on you to respect the vessel of human flesh God has loaned us for the duration of our humble lives.”
“Sir, Mr. Joynes, it was tobacco, remember, a red and blue package.”
“Silence, Throckmorton, I will not have you contradict me, “
But Mr. Joynes Sir, You put it in your bottom drawer, look!” ”
“Insolence will get you extra strokes.”
“Don't you jimmy me. One more word out of you and it'll be up to twelve.”
“But I don't commit self abuse. Wanking's wrong.”
“Hmmph, it seems to have gotten to your mind already… Throckmorton. Bend over the desk and keep quiet.”
With the room crowded he decides to work on a lecture on purity he's been preparing for a sermon he's been invited to give in Slough. He must carefully word it to avoid indelicacies as well bred wives and spinsters will be in attendance. He will preach a positive message of hope, of redemption.
“But sir, Jimmy…” THWACK
“Purity,” he begins, “starts with our bodies, taking care of them. This precious flesh that accompanies the soul in its journey through this life must be protected, especially that of the young who are impressionable and by nature mischievous. Purity is how we treat our bodies, keeping them clean and free from moral corruption. Purity is the meeting of the physical and spiritual, of cleanliness and godliness.””
THWACK “But sir, it was, Tobacco.”
“I am referring to sin, not trifling things like smoking tobacco, I am referring to that most grievous sin that some boys indulge in. For we live in a dangerous world, the forces of evil, and often the Devil himself, lurk in unexpected places, putting temptation in the minds of susceptible young boys. Temptation is everywhere, in novels, in plays and lewd performances, and most insidiously in the debauched poetry of atheists, libertines and revolutionaries.
THWACK “It's not fair!”
“Throckmorton, you have just earned yourself two more…I was saying we are the guardians of our bodies, which with all their anatomy the Almighty allows us to use while we live. We must take good care of our bodies and refrain from using them in ways that would offend God. THWACK Bart has become resigned. THWACK
It gets up to fourteen, but Bart has spoilt things for Jimmy with his loud and awkward insistence on reality and justice, and Jimmy does not flog with his usual enthusiasm despite his annoyance. The fact that Edna is having her monthlies doesn't help. It's not until he remembers that he is owed seven floggings from four different boys that his equanimity returns. It's like having money in the bank. Thornside, who's always gratifying to beat, owes him two.
Throckmorton, perennial victim of injustice feels particularly aggrieved, not because he suffers, but that suffers unfairly, suffers for the truth. He toys with heroic fantasies where God is keeping tally. He wouldn't have minded so much if he had been flogged for tobacco, but he feels mortified to be flogged for the sin of self abuse. His arse is witness to the injustice of the world, and while he doesn't think it's proper it cannot matter in the grander scheme of things if his roommates have a close look.
Algernon thinks of his own arse. For the first time in a while there isn't a mark on it. Jimmy had railed against the French Revolution again and the persecution of the nobility. Algernon's mind wanders back to the final days of the ancien regime. He is the Compte d'Algernon, a young French Nobleman traveling in disguise as the revolutionaries have sent assassins after him, even to the far wilderness of Kentucky. His traveling companion and hired tutor is Dr. Jimsom. Then we get ambushed by revolutionaries disguised as bois couriers. One of them recognizes Dr. Jimsom and they suspect I'm the Compte d'Algernon. I'd be worth a rich nobleman's ransom. However, the clever Dr. Jimsom aware of the dangers explains that Algernon is merely his slave, and immediately flogs him sorely to prove his point. Algernon cringes and pretends to cry to conceal his well bred origins. Saved by his hide they make their way by riverboat down the Mississippi winning thousands of dollars at poker along the way. In New Orleans they buy a bunch of slaves, including some girls for Algernon, and they carry out experiments flogging them. And it would even be legal to torture them too, not that we would of course, but it's interesting to know. Algernon's not sure if you can buy white slaves, It wouldn't be fair if you couldn't.
* * *
“What ho, Swinburne!” Thackery greets Algernon going the other way. “There's to be a jolly thrashing at the Library, you don't want to miss Gibson...” he turns to Smith, “Do we?”
“Not jolly old Ian Gibson, the dry bob, I'd sooner see him play tailup on the block than in the scrum any day. He's one of those bloody puritans, he doesn't think boys ought to have their breeks lowered for the birch.”
“And with that lovely big bum of his, seeing it glow is half the fun… well not quite.” Smith sighs, “We can't miss his performance.”
“Well,” Throckmorton joins in, “I hear he doesn't think boys should be flogged at all.”
“What!” Thackery exclaims, “No floggings at all? What would we do for executions? We'd end up a nation of nellies like the Frogs, I say.... And I bet there'd be a bloody rebellion here if they tried to abolish the birch.”
“Right on the noggin there, Thackery.”
“The big beak would have to flog around the clock to put it down.” The boys all laugh.
Algernon was going to sit by the river and work on a poem using an iambic meter which thinks would please Mr. Joynes who's been very encouraging lately. And besides, he's seen the head master birch over a hundred boys already, most of whom he would've liked to have seen birched more. And the ones he's missed he's heard weren't worth the effort. He ponders the decision he should make.
“Come on Swinburne,” Smith entices, “Gibson bloody well punched a beak, knocked him flat. That should be worth at least a dozen of Hawtrey's mighty swishes, wouldn't you think?”
With the promise of blood Algernon decides that poetry can wait. He joins the boys streaming towards the Library.
We're off to see a flogging
A jolly Eton swishing
no more waiting and awishing
all eyes will be agogging
to see some rods ashredding
on blushing bottoms pleading
for Hawtrey's special kneading
at a birch and bottom wedding
Almost a hundred boys are crowded in and around the wide double doors to the Library. Six are to be thrashed but everybody it seems is here to watch Gibson. The third, a standard six, is in progress when they arrive and Algernon, who's become quite adept at it, elbows his way through to the front. Algernon's feels he's become somewhat of a connoisseur especially since he's had a flogging himself. The preliminary bouts are quite dull although one boy pees his breeks and is loudly chaffed until the good doctor glowers menacingly.
Finally, with his arm well warmed up Dr. Hawtrey orders Gibson to step forward. A big hulking lad, he must be twenty, shuffles towards the black draped block looking very embarrassed. The head master's castigation is vehement but mercifully brief, and it will be twelve. Thackery winks at Algernon. “GO DOWN.” The holy ceremony begins again as the black robed Sixth Formers lower Gibson's breeks, raise his shirt tails and hold him securely. Gibson tries vainly to maintain a modicum of modesty. Algernon's impressed, What a magnificent arse! and the biggest bone I've seen yet! Gibson's face blushes as red as his bottom will soon be.
All watch keenly as the first rod is shredded. Behind him Algernon hears two older boys whispering, “I got a bob that he won't last beyond seven.” The other replies, “You're on, it was eight last time.”
A new rod is fetched from the cabinet and Hawtrey resumes his labor and Algernon returns to his horny trance, an eye on Gibson's great bone and a hand on his own. seven.... eight.... nine. And then he sees it squirt and squirt, and squirt again after “ten”. A loud murmur with a few subdued “Bravos” erupts in the crowded room. Hawtrey glowers and vows to spend the entire afternoon flogging if need be. Gibson, his bottom magnificently bloodied, endures his ordeal stoically, a most unhappy wretch.
“Jolly, eh what Swinburne?” Thackery beams proudly, “You don't get to see that very often.”
“I told you it would be a performance,” Smith reminds Algernon. “and with an encore too.”
The two older boys behind settle their bet, “He must be slowing down in his old age.”
“I dunno, could be lack of practice.”
“And to think that squirting is why some nellies want flogging abolished,
“You can't just abolish flogging over squirting. We got rights too.”
“But they say it's indecent. Can you imagine?”
“Indecent? Why it's the best part. I can't see why Gibson gets so upset about it.”
“I hear in London men pay whores to flog them until they do. Gibson's lucky getting it for the mere price of a couple of birches.”
“But he's probably so ashamed of liking it, the bloody puritan, says they should abolish flogging. I think they should start over if they squirt.”
“And flog 'til they squirt again?”
Algernon wonders, he's glad others squirt and not just himself, and he sneaks away to fantasize a flogging as he wanks. Jimmy is simultaneously naked and robed in a royal purple gown that glistens with red highlights as he majestically wields a cane of perfect pain upon his bottom. It's like a magic cane, a wand which plays all these pure notes of pain all over your body and you can squirt for ages. Sometimes he imagines he gets flogged every day but by next morning he is completely healed like magic and ready to be flogged again. Another of his favorite wanking fantasies, I'm Charles Swin de Burne, the famous explorer who gets captured by the Redskins, taken to their camp and tied to a post. Sammy has told him that the Indians let the women and children do most of the torturing. Algernon doesn't know what instruments they'd use, he has to improvise, I imagine they're civilized enough to have whips. Then he escapes, captures the young chief, and tortures him 'Tell me where the gold is hidden or I will beat you with a Spanish bull pizzle whip. Then he finds out that they still have slaves in America. He's not sure if you can have white slaves, but it wouldn't make sense not to. And with real slaves you can do anything you want. Maybe he should go to America and become a slave owner. And he could even have a torture chamber like the one he saw in the dungeon.
* * *
Mr. Joynes looks up from the assignment he is grading. Once again Frank Fane has failed to do the assigned work. Jimmy wonders if there's any point to flogging Frank Fane further, but likes the alliteration. It wouldn't bother him so much but his father is a coarse publican. You could flog Fane to the bone and he'd just say “Thank you Sir” after, and still not do his prep. Even the boys aren't interested, once he recalls only one showed up to see him caned. In Fane's case he has to conclude that the marginal utility of flogging must be close to zero. But flog him he will. Fane represents an intellectual challenge in trying to develop a modern, scientific concept of flogging.
Perhaps the key to understanding Discipline Economy, as Jimmy is beginning to call his new science, is the concept of optimum flogging. While the concept of negative marginal utility has not yet occurred to Jimmy he can see that too much flogging could actually reduce production by incapacitating the workers while too little would breed laziness and malingering. The ideal amount would be where production or profit is maximized. Jimmy is not sure how this would apply to Eton where the product is the nation's leadership and destiny. Nevertheless he believes that he understands Ricardo. Probably it would make more sense to flog in the factories than schools. We'll start with just occasional moderate floggings and then increase them. We could determine the level of flogging that led to the greatest output or profit. However it wouldn't be scientific, or fair to initiate such a policy unless the floggings were made up of standardized strokes. This is a reoccurring problem, standardized strokes.
The hand that wields the lash controls the nation's destiny. He hopes it doesn't take too long to work out the details. The great hope in the long run is to integrate political economy, Anglican theology, imperialism and the new science of discipline economy into one grand unified theory that could explain human destiny. The hand of God linked with Adam Smith's invisible hand linked with the hand that wields the lash united in the service of the Empire. The potential for mankind is blinding. Visions of unprecedented prosperity, where well bred people would never have to suffer or fear surly lower classes, traipse through his mind. He can already see his name linked with those of Locke, Smith, Ricardo, and of course Lubyanka.
* * *
Then there are times like this evening when Mr. Joynes is reading assignments and has come to one by Percival. He cannot seriously flaw the boy's effort, he is always very diligent, if not particularly bright, always polite and well behaved. But Jimmy worries about Percival; he's been at Eton for six years and never been flogged. Not only has he never provided cause for a flogging, he lacks a certain prettiness or charm that excites the flogging lust of masters and tutors. It is a pity, Jimmy reflects, a form of deprivation if it be known, for a boy NOT to be flogged. How can we expect to make men out of them if we don't flog them? What should be done in cases like Percival's? You can't just flog a boy because he hasn't been flogged. That would reduce the moral significance of punitive floggings. It would also be unfair, but then he wonders, Is it better for a boy to be beaten unjustly than never to be beaten at all? Then he recalls one of Professor Lubyanka's lectures on Ancient Greece. But mandatory, annual floggings for all boys would be fair, maybe something similar to those at that temple in Sparta. He realizes that we can't go back to worshiping Artemis, and aside from St. Bartholomew's martyrdom by whipping he can't see the Church being much help. Although we could use the Chapel in that case, and if we flogged them up on the alter spectators could get a good view. The Headmaster's library is hopelessly inadequate. He envisages a boy kneeling on the block illuminated by a shaft of light pouring through the magnificent stained glass window as bright red weals form across his bottom. But then he sees that some narrow traditionalists would object, especially if any blood splattered on the alter and he reluctantly gives up the idea.
Suddenly he has an inspired idea, Outdoors, hold it just after the Glorious Fourth, George the Third would have liked that. Call it Empire Day: hundreds of boys getting flogged in an intimidating spectacle of British fortitude. When word of that gets back to the colonies they would abandon any thoughts of revolt. Smaller rites would be easier to organize, perhaps at the conclusion of rugby matches. The idea of exhausted, muddy, sweat drenched boys coming off the playing field to receive their floggings momentarily excites Jimmy.
As it happens Alonius Sylvester Percival, a gangling, pimpled, chinless youth, appears at the door of the Pupil Room and asks if he can look at the big map of the Roman Empire. Mr. Joynes looks up from his desk and Jimmy smiles, “Why certainly Percival. I'm pleased with the interest you've been taking with your studies, I have just looked at your prep, and I get good reports from your masters. I can find only one fault in fact.... Percival, would you be so kind as to fetch me a cane from the rack, the second one from the top, it's slightly thicker.”
“Y, y, yes Sir.”
“Are you personally familiar with effects of the cane?”
“No sir, I've never....”
“Are you saying 'No' to me?”
“N, no Sir, I'd never do that.”
“But you just said 'No' to me again. You're contradicting yourself Percival. Which is it? I'll not have you being impertinent with me.
“Yes Sir, yes Sir.”
“You apologize, I understand?”
“Yes Sir, yes Sir”
“Seeing as how you apologize for your impertinence, you will only receive six strokes.”
Word quickly spreads through the house, “PERCIVAL, Bloody Percival's come a cropper!” Algernon had never seen so many at an impromptu flogging. The boys tease Percival horribly but cheer him at the end as he manages to endure. Jimmy is pleased, as far as he's concerned it's as if Mr. Joynes had performed the execution. It was very professional he believes. He makes a mental note to check if any of the other boys in his house haven't been flogged. If there are it would also be a splendid opportunity to practice the standardized stroke he believes should be adopted if flogging is to be taken more seriously in scientific circles. There is, he believes some urgency.
Recently there has been talk of reviving Jeremy Bentham's proposal for mechanical flogging machines. While Mr. Joynes is no Luddite and has some respect for ideas of the great reformer, Jimmy has serious reservations about his mechanical flogging machine and his claims about standardized blows. Apparently the Prussians are working on a new design and it is rumored that a crude prototype is already being used in Russia although there were some unfortunate problems during the early human trials. It's only a matter of time before someone invents a better flogging machine and free trade will ultimately reduce costs so that even smaller schools will be able to afford them. Jimmy is concerned, Will my efforts be in vain? Then out of the blue it occurs to him: Flogging machines are impersonal, it's doubtful if they are even humane. They might be torture! Flogging should be personal, he doesn't have the intellectual framework to conceive of discipline as a form of intimate communication but he comprehends that it shouldn't be something conveyed through mechanical contraptions. Jimmy isn't worried for himself of course, Eton is very slow to adopt innovations, but for the subjective and aesthetic qualities of the flogging experience which includes both parties. Why even the Bible could be used to back his contention, because when you flog you are acting as His agent, and how could a machine be an agent of God? Perhaps the threat of flogging machine and the harsh reality of the market is just what masters and other champions of discipline need to organize themselves and promote correction as a science. A very human, personal science. Given the hectic pace of technological development he knows he must act soon and decisively. He thinks of Algernon.
He must perfect a standardized stroke before it is too late. Standardized blows would lead to fairer punishments. Even his best efforts, he knows, will ultimately be inadequate.
* * *
As Lunsford and Thackery are away for the weekend it's not very difficult for Algernon and Sammy to sneak out this blustery Sunday evening after they're supposedly abed. It's been very boring, drizzling for days. Algernon has already read all the dirty books Sammy bought in Paris and they've exhausted each other six times in the last twenty four hours. They've had enough of each other's dicks for a while. They're not quite sure why they sneaked out particularly when the scotch mist becomes a downpour, but they're not going back. And as they can't afford to get their clothes too wet they stash them right up under an eave. Then they see the light in the pupil Room go off, hear the main door bolted, and soon the only light is coming from Jimmy and Edna's bedroom. Sammy turns to Algernon, “I bet he's going to mount her now.”
“What do you think I mean? I've watched before, he's got a mighty pizzle he has, like a bull.” Algernon is extremely keen to see Jimmy's pizzle.
The noise of the rain helps to disguise any sounds the boys make as they climb the downspout beside the bedroom window. And there's a stone ledge they can almost stand on but they need to hold the downspout for balance. Edna, a shawl pulled around her shoulders waits patiently as Jimmy modestly puts on his nightgown before stepping out of his unders and slipping into bed beside his wife. They both disappear under the covers. Then it looks like Jimmy must be thrusting her as the covers bounce around. After a while Algernon claims he is disappointed but Sammy counsels patience. They believe they can hear moans, then Edna squeals throwing back the covers. And there is Edna, not a stitch on squatting on Jimmy. Slowly an immense floppy pizzle is excreted like a turd on his hairy belly.
“What did I tell you.” Sammy boasts nudging Algernon perhaps too hard as he grabs the downspout. It comes loose and the boys' best efforts are to no avail as it swings out crumbling beneath them. They fall with loud thuds into a muddy bed of primroses. Jimmy is at the window right away as the stunned boys try to get up.
They don't have a chance, Sammy's hurt his ankle and Algernon's trying to help him limp away. Jimmy simply grabs them both by the hair and drags them through puddles, mud and the barnyard into the stables at the back of the house. “Boys of your breeding becoming common peeping toms. I don't think I need to explain what you can expect. There can be no mercy for those who violate the holy conjugal sacrament. May God be witness to my wrath. Jimmy lights two lanterns which cast a yellow glow over the boys' pale goosepimpled forms and the rich hues of leather and saddle blankets. “I rather fancy this,” he comments taking a heavy horsewhip from its rack, “But it would probably be the last flogging you'd ever have. And that would be a pity. Luckily we have a tawse, a rather hefty one for the tough hides of common stable boys I feel it might satisfy some of your curiosity. But look at yourselves, you're filthy! First you must bathe, you first Algy, off with that muddy rag and climb in the rain barrel.
“But it's cold. I might get pneumonia Mr. Joynes.”
“Jimmy if you please Algynins. Cool perhaps, but invigorating, I don't want you dozing off during the lessons I'm about to give.” Shock shows on Algernon's face as he lowers himself down under Jimmy's glare. “Now duck under.” When Algernon's not fast enough Jimmy holds his head under, ten.... twenty, the boy struggles desperately.... thirty seconds and he's allowed up sputtering, gasping for breath and shivering uncontrollably. He then has to scrub himself with a hard grooming brush and when Jimmy says scrub harder he does. He's allowed a coarse itchy horse blanket to wrap himself in as Sammy goes through the same treatment.
Jimmy takes the tawse from its nail on a post. “You may wonder why the tawse has remained so popular with the canny Scots. It takes no great skill to use but it is actually an ingenious instrument of correction. This was first explained to me by my learned friend, Professor Lubyanka whose lectures at Cambridge I was privileged to attend. The wide section of the strap provides broad coverage of a basic type of pain while the narrow split ends can attain a higher velocity and often behave erratically leading to a variety of pain sensations. I'm not sure but there may even be some sort of harmonics of pain, where the total effect as in music, is magnified manifold. The professor believes there's a need for further investigation into this matter.”
“There is also some debate in learned circles as to whether the effect of a thrashing is enhanced if the bottom is wet. Most authorities believe that to be the case. Now Sammy, if I may, is going to have the honour of exploring this intriguing question. And you Algy, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do to you yet, but I'm sure you wouldn't mind being his holder down. You like that?” Algernon doesn't want to appear to be too happy at the prospect in front of Sammy but he shudders with excitement. “I remember how thrilled I was when I first chosen to be a holder down, it was back in the days of the great Dr. Keate. One lad told me it was almost worth a turn on the block itself to hold down a chum, seeing him beaten inches from your eyes and watching the stripes form.”
Algernon tries but fails to hide his hardon as Jimmy cinches Sammy's ankles to the base of the saddle rack. From the other side he holds his shoulders and arms down. The rich aromas of hay, leather and manure heighten his arousal as he looks down his chum's bony back to the rising twin moon mounds of his bum, moon colour in the lantern light. Meanwhile Sammy's eyes are inches from Algernon's little boner, and after a moment Sammy starts jerking it. Algernon is almost at the point of squirting when SPLASH Jimmy douses the two of them with a bucket of cold water from the barrel leaving them shivering, teeth chattering. “That should do it.... Now the first two blows are for my good wife's honour.” He swings back the tawse. SMACK Algernon can feel the impact of the blow through Sammy's body as he holds him and sees a huge red welt form. He's thrilled. SMACK Sammy gasps. “There's no pleasure in thrashing crybabies.” He looks closer, “Hmmm.... perhaps a mite heavy, I forgot Old Dan had arthritis. But we must make do with what we have.” SMACK Jimmy's strokes moderate somewhat and Algernon likes it better and can't remember being so horny. He wishes Sammy would jerk him some more. After eight strokes the olive skinned boy's bottom is magnificently inflamed with a good scattering of small oozing nicks, but it's far from the worst he's had. After he's uncinched, another bucket of cold water completes his ordeal. “You may go to your room now, and Sammy, I should flog you more often. And you Algy are to come with me to my library where I will arrange a suitable punishment.
Algernon is given a large white towel to wrap himself in and the has to wait in the library while Jimmy talks to Edna in the bedroom. When he returns for him he is told to act contrite and hang his head in shame.
“Edna m'love, I've brought young Swinburne here, he is one of those beastly boys who spied on us earlier. The other one I've already had the pleasure of flogging…You remember our little talk about honour?”
Edna, lovely in a loose fitting nightgown looks at Algernon thoughtfully, “You suggestion was certainly most interesting James.” A sideways glance to Algernon and small smile to her husband set the scene.
“You can call me Jimmy, m'love, it's alright in front of him.”
“I do suppose I could learn to apply the cane, but you don't think it's unladylike?”
“Nonsense m'love, the best mothers in all England do so regularly. Women are so liberated these days, riding horses in jodhpurs and working as nurses. They should be prepared to take on more responsibilities. I hear that in London there are even some who advocate women's' suffrage!”
“Really Jimbo? I'd think they should be happy with the hand that rocks the cradle.”
“And the hand that wields the rod!”
Algernon is made to bend over the high bed and modestly expose his buttocks. “It's basically quite simple m'love, I'm sure you'll pick up the knack in no time. You watch closely and I'll show you how it's done.” He takes a couple of steps back first and delivers a loud stinging blow. THWACK Algernon surreptitiously grabs one of Edna's gloves and scrunches it under his nose. “Now I'll show you how to hold it.... That's right.” He guides her hands and arms, like someone teaching a duffer to drive. “Now back.... Good.” Together they deliver a second thwacky blow to Algernon's pert mounds.
“I think I've got it Jimbo, I think I do! Look.” She tries one on her own that gives a satisfying smack. The next one sounds even better. “Oh Jimmikins, you're such a good teacher.”
“Keep up the good work m'love.”
Edna smacks away at Algernon's pinkening bum with growing enthusiasm. “You know Jimbo, I could learn to enjoy this.”
“I hope very much you do, m'love.”
“Oh dear, is that blood?”
“No, just a bit raw, it's nothing to worry about m'love. Boys are disappointed if they don't get a good thrashing, their mates may chaff them. They expect it, their, ah, ah.... little behinds, in God's wisdom were designed for it. Do not think of it as beating a child, think of it as instilling discipline, as developing leadership. Think of it as Strengthening the Empire!”
“Oh Jimmy, you're so Wise in the ways of the world.” Her eyes light up as she charges with the cane, “For India!” SMACK “For Africa!” SMACK “For Upper Canada!” Algernon takes a deep sniff of the perfume on her glove. SMACK “For Lower Canada!” SMACK Algernon squirts. “For Massachusetts!”
“I'm afraid we lost that one m'love.”
“Is Persia ours?” Jimmy shakes his head. “Well, for Ireland!” SMACK “Oh Jimmikins, this is so much fun!.... Barbados!” SMACK
“I'm so proud of you Ednins.”
Later, when Edna leans over him to swab his cuts, Algernon inhaling her musty scents and perfume gets aroused again.
Throckmorton receives a boudoir flogging three days later, and after that Reggie Thornside, Sammy and many others, all the stunners, and the evidence on their bottoms is that Edna's strokes are improving. Sammy, undressed from a flamboyant court page costume, is whipped by Czarina Ednova with an authentic Russian knout that the great professor recently sent Jimmy. Lubyanka will be pleased to hear that Jimmy confirms his opinion about the knout being quite inefficient. Far too much laceration and blood for the pain delivered. Jimmy again faces the problem of no reliable way to quantify pain. Reggie has to wear a pink velvet and lace dress which he has to keep hoisted up while Edna lectures him on modesty. He found it difficult to keep his genitals tucked between his legs as he was told to when she started pinching his bum as hard as she could. Luckily Jimmy informed her that it might be torture and she stopped, but not before he earned another fifty lashes with the Macedonian harem whip for naughtily exposing his cock. Some of these events require three or four boys and elaborate props and costumes, Edna is delighted and her proficiency grows. And then boudoir punishments and pageantry abruptly cease but some boys claim they can still hear floggings being given up in Jimmy's digs.
* * *
Algernon knows that the several private and Pupil Room floggings he's had from Jimmy don't really count at Eton. He's concerned about his reputation as a poet prodigy, and that can only be confirmed on the block at the Head Master's Library. He's already been 'sent up for good', to receive Hawtrey's congratulations for scholastic excellence. Now he should get himself put on the 'Bill' and perform in front of the whole school. He has a number of admirers he doesn't want to disappoint. Indeed, the more he thinks about it, the more he's convinced he must get thrashed by the Big Beak. And actually after all he's seen, and all the canings and experiments that Jimmy's put him through, he has a certain curiosity about the mystical birch.
Next day in Mr. Tattler's rather large Latin class Algernon, as perhaps the brightest, and certainly the teacher's model pupil, has no difficulty getting called upon to give his translation of a poem by Martial. His cleverly obscene version greatly amuses his fellow pupils and has Mr. Tattler seething with rage. To be in the Bill for his poetry, actually insolence, Algernon knows is brilliant and by tomorrow everyone will know.
Before he leaves for the Library at elevens late next morning Algernon, who doesn't want to squirt in front of everybody, has Sammy give him a quick, double frenching in the secret tower. Ah, Sammy is so expert and says he tastes the most juice yet. Sammy however gets only verbal thanks for his services.
Algernon is amazed and delighted at the huge crowd jamming the stairs and the entrance to the Library, and it's him they're there to see though others are on the Bill. He reckons there are almost as many as when the captain of the eight got swished. Acknowledging and touching hands with his schoolmates he makes his way up and through the wide double doorway to stand near the front. He is giddy with excitement and apprehension, he trembles with stage fright but he believes he has it figured out. The crowd keeps on talking and fidgeting, despite the Head Master's calls for silence as the first two boys in the Bill are rather moderately thrashed as if Hawtrey was merely warming up. A hush falls over the audience when Algernon is called forward.
Hawtrey begins, “I once commended Swinburne here for scholastic excellence; I thought that perhaps here was one of England's future leaders. I hope I was not wrong. There are times when a teacher feels sorely betrayed, when a pupil with great promise uses his talents to spread evil, obscene thoughts, trying to poison your young minds, trying to corrupt your moral fibre with clever verse he pretends is only amusing.... And don't think I don't know that some of you may toy with that misguided interpretation. But there is nothing amusing about Hell and eternal damnation I can assure you. If there is one thing worse than a crime against nature, it's leading others into the same depravity. God's mercy is sorely tested this day.... As becomes my duty as both a master and a humble servant of God I will try to salvage what I can, I will try to set a life on the right course again. The stakes are high, a young man's future may be decided this very hour. We cannot allow it to go to waste. Just as I as a member of the clergy seek the salvation of souls, so I, as a teacher seek the salvation of minds.... I don't think ten is excessive for such an insolent and insidious offense, Swinburne.... GO DOWN.”
Algernon has his plans, he turns to the crowd smiling and starts to bow to the audience when two husky collagers grab him roughly, quickly take his trousers down and have him helplessly pinned to the black draped block his cute bum presented to the crowd and the birch. He doesn't have time to get ready or think, the ten splashing, abrading blows delivered with such zeal and force hurt, there's nothing good about the pain and there's nothing Algernon can do about it. He cannot get on top of the pain and at the end he's truly beaten, he cannot force a smile or keep tears of frustration out of his eyes. The boys quietly move aside as he shuffles out. Sammy's there and walks with Algernon back to his room where he sobs, “I was going to bow again after and say, 'Thank you'”, lamenting the bravado he'd planned after, but couldn't manage.
But Algernon is not judged harshly, in the days after he finds he has more friends and fans than he imagined, and a new respect. He's told Pops would allow him to be seen with one button undone, which would give some status. And no one seems to notice when he starts keeping one hand in his pocket. Algernon begins to cut a figure of sorts at school. His failure is a triumph after all.
* * *
Algernon is going through his wardrobe trying to decide what to wear for the Glorious Fourth of June, Eton's main celebration which honours George the Third on his birthday. He only died thirty years before and a few of the masters remember meeting him on his frequent visits. Hawtrey recalls him when he was a collager. “I'm bloody sick of wearing black all the time.” he remarks to Thackery..
“You can thank old George the Third for that. It's been thirty years since they put him under and here in Eton we're still in mourning clothes. He was supposed to be our great royal friend, apparently the closest thing to a patron saint we got. Old Cumberbirch tells us he once shook old George's hand. They say he used to come down and hobnob with us Eton boys, even inquiring about our latest swishings. And he'd invite boys up to the Castle. He wasn't a snob like George the Fourth or William.”
“D'you think I should wear my flannel jacket and a straw boater?”
“Yeah, and get some flowers for your hat, but don't get caught picking roses in the garden. Nothing too gay, you don't want to show up the Sixth Form.”
“Did I tell you that bastard Tattler had to complain and put me in the Bill tomorrow.”
“So?” Algernon's not very sympathetic.
“It's just before the bloody, Glorious Fourth and I'll be spending most of the day cramped up in one of those stupid boats in the procession. I hate it. My arse will suffer more than on the block
“Well at least you get to wear something other than black, Thack old man.”
“You should come in black, mourning for my arse Swinny.”
“Black? Won't your arse be wearing some black anyway? Pinstripes… Or rather cane stripes.”
“Funny. Hawtrey's not your beloved Jimmy, he swishes.”
Algernon attends Thackery's thrashing, it's a relatively moderate affair but after his own experience he has more respect for the victims. Thackery is always worth watching.
The Glorious Fourth, the speeches and handing out of prizes, the cheers and shouts followed by the procession of decorated boats filled with gaily attired and bedecked young Etonians rowing up and down the Thames before Windsor Castle. In bygone days the good king would review their fleet and entertain Eton lads in the castle. Algernon cuts a minor figure and his infatuation with Eton is complete.
* * *
Mr. Joynes looks back on the past year, he has learned much and gained confidence. He has found a protégé in Algernon. He is immensely delighted with his progress and has great respect and affection for him, believing he will go far. Jimmy also loves Algernon, he's never known a boy who's so thrilling to flog. And he has found a disciple, a kindred spirit with whom he can develop the myriad ideas percolating in his mind. The fact that he gets so aroused by the boy is something he believes can only mean that God blesses his stern, manly love.
Discipline, Jimmy strongly feels, should become a science rather than an art. He hopes to make a modest contribution to the theory and practice of discipline. He looks forward to the day when it is regarded as one of the exact sciences. He feels it's shameful that in this so called Age of Enlightenment that there is no royal society to promote greater understanding and research. He will consult with his mentor, the great Professor Lubyanka at Cambridge.
Part Two: Affairs
Returning home for the summer to his family's estate on the Isle of Wight Algernon indulges in the warmth of his mother and younger siblings whom he had genuinely missed. He plays the young scholar spouting his new learning to all who'll abide him. He acts with more authority, bossing servants around and he cultivates pretentious manners to the annoyance and amusement of servants and friends. But after the first few weeks his summer is not the best of times.
Eton stimulated his interests in certain matters and he goes out of his way to befriend Old Dunc, bringing him treats including some fine Dutch pipe tobacco, and pesters him with questions about the flogging of servant boys. Algernon figures the old stable master must have flogged boys over a thousand times in his more than twenty years at the estate a number that deeply impresses him. He wants to know what it was like. “It's me job, always has been, ain't nobody else gonna do it. The admiral an' lady ain't even keen on whippin' their own issue... I don't mind beatin' 'em, maybe did a mite at first, but Saturday floggin's are sort of like tradition now... I know the tawse hurts like the blazes, sure as hell, but I dinna think the boys mind getting beat that much. Sure ain't no hard feelin's 'bout it. I can't see that it din any of 'em any good though, it's always the same ones. May put off some of the others at first but they know it's smart to get licked at least once. Any boy I figure may be a onetimer I make good an' sure he gets an extra heavy dose. Like a taste of the eternal inferno one lad told me after... Like all I do is whip 'em. I don't decide who to whip, an' a lot of the time I dinna know why 'less the lad tell me. They just get sent to me. But I know how they take it, how most try not to cry out and sob too much, and that tells me somethin' 'bout 'em. I like seein' 'em take it, and with a stout lad I play with 'em like that a bit sometimes... I figure whippin's help keep things goin'. Like what woulda become of Micky if he dinna get beat all the time? It's only 'cuz his mum worked for the admiral afore she died that we got him, and the cook wouldn't keep him on if I dinna beat him.” Algernon encourages the old stable master to relate more tawsing tales, and anecdotes about the boys involved, and their reactions. He in turn pretends interest in how it's done at Eton and Jimmy's ideas.
Algernon is rewarded after a few Saturdays when Old Dunc allows him to be his holderdown when he's whipping a difficult servant boy, thrilling Algernon. He relives it many times while pleasuring himself. What would it be like to Wield the Whip? To do? He feels good, powerful and righteous. I want to whip a servant boy, I know how, I might as well whip one as anyone else. It's nothing to them anyway, they're used to it and Old Dunc says they don't mind that much. I'd like to make them bleed, just a tiny little bit to make it look good. Despite his pleas and promised bribes the old stable master refuses to let him try flogging anyone, angrily stating that it's a man's job. Undeterred Algernon stalks Micky the scullery boy whom he's seen whipped on many occasions, he offers the child bribes, he threatens him, but Micky haughtily refuses to let Algernon beat him, not even four strokes with a flimsy garden cane that Algernon's willing to compromise on. Offering him money is useless as he'd just give it to Old Dunc. Finally, by more than chance Algernon finds the scullery boy alone in the pantry, and picking up several fine bone china serving plates he threatens to drop them, for which Micky would of course be blamed, that is if he won't let him flog him. The boy glares at him, “You be the one to tell the cook? You say you saw me?”
“They'll know it was you. You're always breaking things.”
“An' alwuz gettin' beat.” They glare at each other. “Y' gonna drop 'em, Mahster Schoolboy Sissypants?”
Algernon is not getting his way. He hesitates, At least I'll get to see the little Mick flogged, and royally at that, and slams the fine chinaware down on the floor. Micky looks at the shattered pieces in surprise, almost admiring their extent, before he turns to Algernon and spits, “I sooner get beat by Old Dunc than get pattycaked by you.”
Old Dunc says he will deal with the matter next Saturday, in five days, perhaps too much time for Algernon to dwell upon it. Saturday looms and he is not so sure he played things right. Micky knows better than to protest, the truth is irrelevant, he's only a servant boy and he's going to be beaten. But he's not going to let Algernon get off scot free: he goes out of his way to mock, taunt and belittle Algernon every chance he gets. And then some do hear and believe the truth. Servants look at look at him strangely or completely ignore him. Algernon can't take it, he can't fight back, he can't seek the comfort of his mother's counsel on this, so he goes out on long solitary walks, roaming, climbing pinnacles and sea cliffs, and swimming in the cold restless waters of the Solent and bays.
Come Saturday Algernon who remembers often being the sole spectator is surprised when he finds a dozen others when he arrives at the stable. Shades of Hawtrey's Library. Almost the entire kitchen staff, all the stable, garden and house boys are there, and Micky is the only one to be beaten this day. Before he can think about anything, Old Dunc with the greatest courtesy requests that Algernon be the scullery lad's holderdown, praising his generous assistance in the past. Algernon would like to back out but all eyes are expectantly on him. After cruelly setting up Micky for the flogging Algernon is not too keen on holding him down, even if the boy is accustomed to the lash. Maybe what Jimmy says about lower class bottoms is right!, they don't feel it as much so it doesn't really matter.
It's not at all like when he held down Sammy. Micky does not make his job easy, he squirms, bucks and when Old Dunc isn't looking he smashes an elbow into Algernon's ribs, the acute pain dashing any concerns of conscience. He holds the boy as tightly as he can although after the first blow Micky, while continuing to resist his grip, passively absorbs the blows. Algernon expected him to wail and holler like he used to but he barely reacts and makes no sound. Algernon concentrates on the blows slamming into Micky's bare arse, but try as he might he fails to arouse any lust in loins during the ten, moderate stroke sentence. After, Micky gazes at him with barely moist eyes, and surly as ever he sticks his tongue and accuses, “Worse than a bloody tattle tale you is, You be a right royal bastard, Mahster Algypants, you be mummy's little sissyboy, eh?” Nobody seems to notice Micky's insults and Algernon suspects they know the truth. He hurriedly leaves.
Algernon decides he won't bother himself with the old stable master any more, I can forgo the Saturday servant boy floggings, really, they're inferior, they're nothing compared to the executions at Eton. And besides, now I have Jimmy. He consoles himself by recalling scenes from the Library and Pupil Room and his tutor's contempt for lower class bottoms, and feels somewhat better. However it becomes a rather miserable summer at home. While his mother is always comforting, his younger brothers know Micky and no longer fawn on him. Partly to escape Algernon spends days roaming the bucolic countryside and seacoast, exploring and observing the details of the land, sharpening his poet's mind.
* * *
As Michaelmas approaches Algernon becomes anxious to return to the camaraderie, excitement and the special world of Eton, Once more the magic of Chapel, School, Pupil Room, tarts and spooning, and Hawtrey's Library! And of course, he misses Jimmy.
Aside from a little fagging
The beaks' and tutors' nagging
I don't think that I'm bragging but
But speaking personally
I say, Eton is the place to be
And I say just in passing
That I find it rather smashing
To watch a jolly thrashing at
At Hawtrey's library
I say, Eton is the place to be
The Thames at dusk for 'xample
Or the vaulting in the chapel
Or fields where dry bobs grapple
It's all such lovely scenery
I say, Eton is the place to be
From morning's mass and porridge
Latin conjugation garbage
Trysting tarts beneath the bridge
By Jove it suits me to a T
I say, Eton is the place to be
* * *
During the summer Mr. Joynes rereads the better, great Latin poets, prepares a laudatory lecture on Tennyson, and studies the modern pedagogical ideas of the late Thomas Arnold. There is indeed a need for boys to study mathematics and modern languages, and he heartily approves of Arnold's emphasis on religion, morality and manliness. These are the keys to England's destiny. On the Great Western Railway coach back from London he peruses some comments by an Oxford professor attempting to clarify some point of dispute about the influence of Jeremy Bentham on Ricardo's marginal analysis approach. While Mr. Joynes doesn't see much sense in it, Jimmy is intrigued and makes a note to read it again.
Jimmy on the other hand consults with his mentor, the great Professor Lubyanka at Cambridge, gaining many insights, and becoming inspired he resolves to make the subject of discipline into a more rigorous scientific and intellectual discipline. Discipline must become more disciplined. he notes with uncharacteristic irony. He must deal with the issues raised. Back at Eton he rereads the passages in Plutarch's Lives concerning the rites at the Temple of Artemis Orthia in Sparta where the blood of flogged boys formed an offering to Diana. He immerses himself in medical and anatomy texts in order to gain a greater understanding of the opportunities for, and tolerances of pain and bruising in the young male body. In his readings in the obscure field of neural physiology he comes across a scientific fact that profoundly affects his thinking. Pain. It's these nerve endings, and all we have to do is to find ways to stimulate them in an intense and unpleasant manner to cause pain. It's a revelation, for a moment he even wonders if caning would still be needed in this new order, but quickly suppresses the thought. At this level the subject of discipline becomes cosmic in his mind. Pain. It's like some sparkling energy force that goes forth seeking out sin and misbehavior and it would leave behind in its beneficent wake a herd of truly sorry, well behaved boys. He has little use for utopian thinking but feels he has been blessed with a glimpse of earthly perfection. Establishing an empirical and theoretical basis for the science of discipline will be his life's great work. What Isaac Newton did for understanding the physical universe, what David Ricardo did for political economy, he will do for discipline. Eton is as good a place as any to begin.
Jimmy has no illusions about the enormity of the task ahead. Discipline lies at the junction of the physical, medical, and psychological sciences, and the arts of correction. One theory embracing them all is his goal, a unified field theory. In his grasp of the need for a multidisciplinary approach Jimmy is a century ahead of his time, maybe more. He realizes that much research needs to be done employing new scientific principles. Objective observation, measurement and experiments are critical in developing a comprehensive theory. What is required, he believes, is the establishment of a royal society to draw public attention to, and to promote research into the subject of discipline. Sometimes he can even envisage himself as head of the RSPD, the Royal Society of Professional Disciplinarians. In his more sober moments he knows that that honour should go to the great professor. Word needs to get out, the message must be heard. He will be attending a meeting of assistant masters at Cambridge next month and has a chance of presenting a paper. He should start with the basics:
Pain, inducing pain is the heart of discipline. He must make this simple point absolutely clear. He has heard grandiloquent theories oblivious to this obvious fact. Pain, through the measured and intense stimulation of nerve endings must be central to our studies. He tries to recall something Bentham wrote; it might be useful, or utilitarian. The speech flows again. What the master cannot inspire in his pupils must be conveyed in other ways. Did not the ancients claim that whipping was to learning as condiment was to meat? Pain is the means by which punishment is experienced. It is the currency of discipline just as gold is for the economy. He imagines flows of pain circulating through society maintaining its health and prosperity. Tiny capillaries would reach into every organism. He thinks a short pause would be in order. It may also make the victim more amenable to future expectations. Yes, he can see it and that leads him to another profound insight. There would be a natural equilibrium. Too little pain and wrongness would proliferate, to much pain and there wouldn't be enough wrongness to make it worthwhile. He feels he should read Ricardo again.
Jimmy feels there's some urgency in establishing a firm scientific basis for the effectiveness of flogging to refute the growing influence of the Rouseauites and their decadent French ideas. Most of them he's sure have never witnessed a proper flogging and seen the meritorious results. However, he must not forget to deal with the sentimental molly coddling arguments that are raised against the institution of flogging. But while I am familiar with other approaches to discipline, I have little use for the French model and all methods involving the creation of mental anguish. The recent uprising in Paris, the so called Commune, is evidence that they're not flogging enough. They know not what they are doing with their so called humanity. Physical pain, sharp and intense, perhaps with some lingering discomfort, avoids the morass of manipulative psychological methods. Many of these, while leaving no marks on the victim's physical body are cruel in other ways and invariably ineffective. The sensation of the lash is sharp and unmistakable. The meaning of the pain is clear. Unlike other methods of discipline which seek to correct some root cause of the offence, physical pain respects the victim; his loyalties, dignity, idiosyncrasies and personal integrity. It does not demand that he compromise his principles. It does not intrude on the victim's privacy, his secrets and inner beliefs are respected. It is not conditional; it does not confuse the victim with its intent. It ennobles rather than humiliates the victim, and it is quick, simple and soon over. The debt is paid, the slate is clean. And perhaps most important, it does not endanger our traditional British liberties. Physical pain, our eminent physicians tell us, is the unpleasant excitation of nerve endings. The whole structure of discipline is built on this now irrefutable scientific fact of the excitation of nerve endings. We no longer need to rely on the old primitive understanding that floggings just hurt. This is a scientific fact, but who knows what mental pain is? Can mental pain be manifest? Can we see its weals and contusions? No, I say.
Moreover, physical pain does not inflict tedium on the boy as punishment must, when he writes out two hundred lines of Horace, which can also be an annoying distraction for the master while he has other things to do. Tedium provides the boy with opportunities for fanciful, undisciplined and unhealthy thoughts and can lead to resentment. And as there are no ladies here, I would add the unnatural vice of self abuse. I've known boys who practically beg for two quick strokes rather than write out even fifty lines. If I may paraphrase, the Devil makes work for idle minds. Whether a thrashing be mild or severe the victim's mind is not going to wander from the infliction of the punishment. Physical pain is stimulating, it seizes his total concentration and is the very opposite of being boring. It is exciting of more than the nerve endings. He might reword that when the time comes.
And if we cast our eyes beyond our schools, what do we find? The growing reluctance to flog in certain circles can only lead to more and more prisons draining our treasury. Or more capital sentences which are becoming more difficult to obtain and carry out because of reluctant juries. Only the hemp farmers, a backward lot indeed, benefit from the hangman's trade. And think of the tedium, the tedium for those inside our prisons and those who administer them. Is this a way to reform the criminal? No. I say. Physical pain is the humane way, and if humanity is to be served, more scientific, measured and focused methods need to be developed for its delivery. And remember too, that pain can be a challenge to the boy, an opportunity to demonstrate his fortitude, test his manliness, and add to the strength of his character in the process. Would our nation have had such resolute leadership without the lash? Would the Empire have been possible without it? What possible moral benefits could accrue to the boy from writing lines or such silliness as wearing a dunce cap?
There is some urgency for by devious means Rouseauite ideas have been worming their way into popular discussion, even The Telegraph has given voice to their spokesmen. A modern scientific basis for the efficacy and beneficence of flogging must be established and scientific technologies must be developed before our traditional British values become diluted and subverted by alien influences. Jimmy thinks he should pause for emphasis at that point. That is why I say, we must take immediate steps to set up a royal society to raise public awareness, and fund scientific studies and research in the field. Only thus can we ensure the survival of the British way of life, and the prosperity of the Empire. Modestly he adds, I can think of no one better qualified to head up such a society than that great scholar and pioneering thinker, Professor Lubyanka of Cambridge. He wonders if he would get a standing ovation at this point.
* * *
His speech could have been better received. His fellow masters seem unaware of the Rouseauian threat and the urgency of the situation. Not easily discouraged Jimmy resolves to proceed on his own. There are many variables to be considered and he must make a start. And he will start with Algernon! After Mr. Joynes hears his Greek prep Jimmy expounds on his new ideas, and runs his fingers through those unruly red locks and down his back to his bum where he discovers a new fullness. Jimmy confides his hopes for the science of discipline, laying out a bright future for the Empire, “and mankind.” Algernon listens intently. He is excited by the vision, it certainly seems that discipline offers a key to understanding the universe, and despite being unfamiliar with Newton, Adam Smith and Gainsborough, Algernon tries, and thinks he does understand, and at a certain level he actually does. Swinburne soon becomes Algynins and he is overwhelmed by love. The boy feels privileged and is inspired by the glowing account of the prospects for the science. He feels a calling; he has a role in the big scheme of things. Jimmy has taken me to the frontiers of scientific inquiry. They will explore the dream together.
Algernon is prepared for the painful challenges ahead. For his part he observes as many executions as he can, assessing the force of the strokes, their effects on the flesh, and the reactions of the recipients, as Jimmy wants them called. He carefully notes the boys' attitudes, bearing, expressions and other signs of their suffering of pain: …by the seventh stroke he had to be held down… he stopped resisting after three… he only bled where two strokes crossed… he cursed the beak behind his back… He'd like to just ask the recipients what it was like, “What did you feel at the time or think, Thornside?” but Jimmy says that would not be scientific. Algernon knows others aren't like him when it comes to flogging. Hoping to get one reaction Algernon tells a recently birched boy that while Hawtrey swished him he thought of the greater glory of the British Empire. The boy looks at him astonished, “I just thought about how much it hurt and tried not to blub.” Algernon has to admit that others may not see things his way. And he wasn't thinking about the British Empire at the time. Algernon regularly reports his observations to Jimmy, omitting mention of hardons, and they discuss cases earnestly. Jimmy shares what he has learned introducing Algernon to tales of the ancient Greeks and Romans whose languages he is learning. Algernon's daydreams increasingly focus on flogging and torture, themes fed by his studies. In Sparta Algerogenes is one of several boys competing in the rites at the temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis. The boys are tied to tall marble columns and whipped by naked priests. He feels the whip cutting into his back, wrapping around his thighs and the blood trickling down his legs. I would outlast the others, be crowned with the laurel wreath, and be carried in triumph through cheering crowds.
And in Ancient Rome, Caesar has returned from more conquests in Gaul and Briton with hundreds of stubborn captives. As the trusted centurion, Algernonius Swinburo, it would be my duty to break them in so they're useful slaves. He uses a cane and cat-o-nine tails on the naked boys but chooses a long thin whip for the girls who are allowed to wear a fig leaf. I wonder what it would be like to whip breasts? Caesar is pleased with his work and invites him to an orgy, a Sixth Former had given him most of the exotic details that Jimmy had ignored. I would take along some extra slaves, good looking ones for people to flog if they wanted to, it would show my appreciation. He imagines himself eating peacocks' tongues and drinking wine from a solid gold goblet while a dark skinned girl frenches him and ten others are whipped in his honour. I really must watch girls being flogged sometime.
* * *
What with so much going on Algernon's attendance at the executions has become lax. He figures he's already seen a few hundred during his time at Eton. He still likes to watch of course, fascinated as ever by the holy ceremony, but he's become more discriminating. He still finds out who's in the Bill, the list of those to be swished, and if there's someone he knows or something interesting, he attends. He'd've hated to miss the magnificent eight that Hawtrey laid across Thackery's pimpled, farting bum to the silent cheers of the audience. The Library reeked as if Thackery had been eating beans for a month although the good doctor pretended not to notice. They celebrated with Lunsford's last bottle of port which Algernon promised to replace.
He seldom attends the Lower School executions, but it was on one these infrequent visits that he rediscovers Tristan. Almost immediately he sees blond, saucy faced Tristan slouching against the opposite wall, waiting with the other victims. His insolent attitude, more than the fact that the boy is a real stunner strikes Algernon. When he notices Algernon looking at him he gives him a sweet, smirky smile and shrugs in the direction of the Reverend Head Master Adolphus Carter who is examining the first birch he intends to shred. Algernon is smitten by the child, but he does not think of him as a tart as he studies the boy's pert face and nonchalant attitude. He sees a heroic quality as the slender well built lad of eleven stands awaiting his doom on the block and the reverend addresses the crowd:
“We are gathered here my boys, to witness God's chastisement of one of our own Christian children. We are here to see justice rendered, we are here to see hope for the future renewed. As for the offence I believe it would be difficult to overstate the moral and physical harm done by tobacco. Not only does tobacco stunt growth, but it also eats away at the brain, leading to depravity and ultimately lunacy. One need only look at the degenerate state of the American Redman for proof. As a consequence of their depraved use of tobacco the Redman is unfit even for slavery, think about that boys; not even fit to be slaves! This is why the American states had to import Negroes from Africa… And smoking is a dirty, vile, disgusting habit.
“Insidious as tobacco may be that is no reason for others amongst you to feel smug. I would remind you that we are all born with Original Sin. We all start life with the burden of our.... uh, let us say concupiscent beginnings. The babe in arms, so seemingly innocent and sweet, is a sinner in God's eyes as much as any blasphemer.... While I strongly disagree with them on many fundamental points of theology, I must confess that the Calvinist's Theory of Infantile Depravity [there really is one] offers the only clear and logical basis for modern pedagogy. And the Original Sin which we are born with must be exorcised, but exorcised not just by faith alone as some Calvinists claim, but by prayer, good works for the rich, labor for the poor, and the rod! When I chastise, I believe He guides my hand, and I serve Him gladly.” The Reverend Adolphus Carter knows that some of his arguments are too subtle for young minds but he wants to practice a few lines he hopes to use in a lecture he'll be giving at Cambridge.
“There may be some amongst you who feel that I may be too severe, especially with those of tender years, in carrying out His Will. But remember, boys, when you suffer on the block beneath the rod's seemingly cruel affliction, it is for your own good. God in his inscrutable wisdom made those nether parts to help you receive the illumination of civilization and Christianity. Flogging builds character. Flogging is a bulwark against the devious temptations of the Devil. Flogging helps relieve the burden of sin pressing down on your soul. Flogging is part of God's Plan for the Universe. Only when children have surrendered their will to God, through his lawfully anointed agents, can they be considered free. Only then are they free to obey His Will. Obedience is the only signpost you need on the road to salvation. Let the rod help you surrender your will to Him. Breaking the will of a rebellious child is the highest calling that a disciplinarian can have. A boy's will is not broken if he still struggles, grits his teeth or if his body is rigid, or if his cries are merely those of anger or self pity, not the genuine cries of a broken will,” the reverend is sure he can tell the difference, “then the beating must continue. That means the child is still resisting, he is still fighting you. To cleanse the child of sin, to bring him to the threshold of His Mercy may require the utmost perseverance on the part of the disciplinarian. He must not be distracted by cries, by appeals to sentimental compassion, or the sight of blood. The bloodiest of floggings is nothing compared to the eternal damnation of Hell.”
“Before I begin boys, I want remind you once again of the Hellfires of Damnation. Can you imagine feeling your flesh being consumed for an eternity? Forever and forever? Unending pain and suffering? Think about it my boys.... I will put the question bluntly: What is a transient discomfort in your nether parts compared to the indescribable joy of life ever after, sitting at the side of God as he guides the Empire and the Universe to its sublime destiny? Think boys. Think and rejoice that thou art Englishmen and be ye glad that the rod is not spared.”
The Reverend Adolphous Carter knows that the policy of fixed punishments, particularly the supposed maximum of six lashes is short sighted and, the word had not yet been coined, counterproductive. “Children must be beaten until their wills are broken, however much that takes. If the punishment does not break their will, it merely enures the child and compounds the problem. If humiliation, or a scolding is sufficient to break a child's will then a few light taps may be all that is required. In other cases twenty heavy lashes which leave the boy bleeding copiously may not be enough. Discipline is a contest. The boy must not be allowed to win.”
“Murray, Master Tristan Murray, step forward.” The blond boy casually saunters up to the black draped block. “GO DOWN.” The master commands. As the two black gowned collagers lower Tristan's breeks the master bellows, “Wipe that insolent expression off your face unless you want an extra taste of the rod.... So be it Murray, it shall be eight.”
Algernon's infatuated, his heart twirls inside him as he watches Tristan's small pale mounds become inflamed and then bloodied by the shredding rod. He wishes he could see Tristan's face and wonders if his tiny dick is hard. His thoughts are of the purest love, he must have Tristan as a friend, a platonic friend. At the end Tristan staggers back to his mates, head up and with a forced grin on his face. Algernon almost swoons but Head Master Adolphus Carter is furious. “Come back here Murray. I see I'm not yet finished. You are still trying to hold onto your will.” He takes a new rod from the cabinet. “GO DOWN!” SWISH SWISH “I am going to thrash you until you stop resisting.” SWISH SWISH “God and I are going to win. You are going to humble yourself before me the way I am humble before God.” SWISH SWISH
The thrashing has gone too far for even Algernon's sensibilities. His heart, soul and conscience are in unusual alignment, he stands forward and fists raised charges forward shouting, “Stop, you bloody bastard. It's not fair!” but one of the collagers grabs him and twists him to the floor a knee on his neck. Nevertheless, the other boys are inspired, and shout and taunt the Lower Master. A book crashes into his forehead, boys start wrestling and punching the collagers, others break into the cabinet and steal the birch rods.
The next day there is another mass execution at the Lower School but Algernon is too sore to attend, Hawtrey having repeatedly lost count while flogging him. And Jimmy is put out as he won't be able to cane Algernon for some time. Algernon is in a funk, Smith and Thackery think he made a fool of himself – all over some silly Lower School tart. Sammy at least listens to him. Algernon thinks, dreams of Tristan, sometimes even as Sammy frenches him, but it's very difficult at Eton for him to even converse with a Lower School boy. He's never liked little boys, they're so stupid and pesky, but Tristan's like a little prince. He looks so… he smiles so…he… Tristan has a perfection, an innocence, so different from other little boys.
Cupid's arrow soared aloft
from Cupid's springy bow
and as it happens oft, it veered capriciously
unsure where to go
its flight perversely engineered mischievously
Watch out down below!
The heart the antsy arrow struck
did not unite damsel and beau
but with more than random luck
made Tristan his betrothed
It doesn't take Algernon long to find out a few things about Tristan as his older brother is a friend of Throckmorton's. His father is an ironmonger and not very rich, and the son likes chocolates and steam engines. A few days later on a superficial pretext of looking for someone else he accosts young Tristan, compliments him on his stoutness on the block and shares the chocolates he just happens to have with him. He proceeds cautiously of course, as affairs between older and younger boys are actively discouraged at Eton and fraternization with Lower School boys is strictly prohibited. Tristan is flattered by Algernon's attention and sitting in a hidden spot by the river they talk, and agree to make an out of bounds excursion to Cuckoo Weir on Saturday, something else that could get both boys into serious trouble.
Algernon dreams of Tristan, dreams of feeding him chocolates, of riding with him on one of those new, Great Western Railway steam locomotives, of brushing away his wavy blond locks out of his strange blue eyes, of merely holding his delicate hand, of cuddling him and yes, We would kiss. something he could only remember doing with his nanny who used to help make his willie grow. I would only kiss to converse spiritually, to express the purity of my love. He stocks up on chocolate and other treats and packs them with a towel in his bag. They meet in the copse behind the Chapel as arranged and set off in their town clothes on a roundabout route. Algernon believes he has never been so happy as they stroll along byways chattering about school and exchanging tales about their lives. Tristan is a bright and clever lad and Algernon revels in entertaining him with his verse and doggerel.
At the weir Algernon suggests they swim and Tristan quickly strips, a perfect boy cherub whom Algernon idealizes as a demigod. Algernon would love to dawdle but he is embarrassed by his boner and plunges into the cool water. Tristan is right behind him and they swim out to the middle of the river. They climb on the weir and dive off it playing in and under the water until they're both out of breath. Then they sit on the weir, the water spilling past them and talk. Algernon tells Tristan what an interesting and intelligent person he is and how he wants him to be his special friend. After in the shallows they chase, splash and dunk each other until they're tired and chilled. Algernon hoping his dick stays soft picks Tristan up and carries him across the muddy bank to the grass. Algernon volunteers to dry his chum's back and then insists on drying the rest of him too. My, what a pretty little dick he has. And though it's wagging like a puppy's tail he does not linger there. A breeze comes up and they quickly dress. The towel becomes a tablecloth and Algernon reaches into his bag of treats. “Now close your eyes and open your mouth.”
“Why?” But he does, and Algernon pops a fine imported Belgian chocolate into his beloved's sweet mouth. “Wow!”
“I hoped you'd like them.” It's a while before Tristan is allowed to feed himself as Algernon courts the child according to his fantasies. They talk and nibble, Algernon doting on the boy. After Algernon starts1 a playfight and he finds that Tristan is strong for his size. And they wrestle and wrestle getting grass stains all over their clothes. Finally Algernon gets Tristan in a hold where he is more or less cuddled on his lap and affectionately finger strokes his blond hair claiming it's not dry yet. My what lovely lips he has.
Tristan looks up into the adoring eyes. “I bet you want to spoon.”
“Oh no. I just want you as a special friend.”
“I don't mind as long as you don't tell anybody.” He starts to unbutton his fly.
“No, no, I just want to do things for you Tristan, and help you and be friends because I like you.”
“Well we are friends.”
“Yeah, but I don't want to toy around down there even though you got a nice one even if it's small. I just want to be friends and be nice and maybe hug you sometimes because I like you in a real special way.”
“That's alright, I like you too.”
“Like maybe sometimes we could even kiss.”
“We don't have to, I just thought it would be nice.”
“I don't mind you kissing me down there if you want.”
Algernon will sacrifice kissing for the sake of friendship and he hugs Tristan a little bit harder and longer than the boy would prefer.
* * *
The reading in the Chapel this morning is from Genesis. The Reverend Doctor dwells on the happy state of innocence before the Fall, “before man's disobedience...” Algernon's mind is transported by visions of the Garden of Eden where he pursues a naked Eve, or is it the girl in the book shop, through tall flowers and grasses which sort of rub themselves sensuously against him. He tries to run faster but then it feels even nicer when he slows down. It's like the bushes and flowers are all licking at me. And then Jimmy is there, quite starkers, his huge pizzle thrust like a fist out from his loins and his thick hairy arm wields a magic cane like wand whose blows leave bright weals all over his body that disappear moments later. Algernon presents himself to the wand's searing, caressing lashes, welcoming them and seeing himself dripping with blood, he grabs Jimmy's enormous pizzle, as he feels more blows cutting into him, and it spurts, cupfuls, and Algernon squirts too. Jimmy kisses and hugs him after and lets him play with his dripping pizzle, and after a while Jimmy whips him again, and again they both squirt.
That evening Algernon reflects that Jimmy hasn't flogged him since just after Michaelmas, the beginning of the term. It's not that he's complaining of neglect or wants Jimmy to flog him; it's just unusual that he hasn't. Actually Mr. Joynes spends a considerable amount of time with his favourite pupil encouraging his interests in language and poetry. His other pupils might resent this favouritism but for the fact they know Algernon's bottom normally pays a heavy price for the attention he receives. But lately everybody's been very busy and there's nary a mark on his bum according to Sammy, except for some barely perceptible scars from old floggings.
It's not that Jimmy isn't flogging. There's a new boy in the house, a tall, shy lad of just twelve with flaming red hair brighter than Algernon's, hazel eyes and generous freckles, that Jimmy somehow finds cause to cane his first evening, and it seems that his bottom barely has time to heal before he's caned again, and then again. He always gets ten moderate strokes. At first Algernon felt relieved not to be beaten, but when the new boy began to receive his thrashings in private jealousy began to gnaw at Algernon's heart. What's he got, my bum is just as nice, and I know more too. He worries that the new boy may squirt easier. Finally he confronts Jimmy. “You recall our discussion? Well, I have been conducting scientific experiments. I'm saving some very important research for you, something different and very special for your next flogging. Algernon is of course curious but Jimmy will tell him no more, although he does promise to flog Algernon before he flogs the new boy again.
A couple of evenings later as Jimmy studies the fine features of Algernon's intelligent face bathed in the mellow glow of the oil lamps, his floppy carrot top aglitter with highlights, his lust returns. And he has an experiment in mind. Mr. Joynes has just gone over Algernon's translation of an obscure passage from Virgil. “I must congratulate you, Swinburne. You're showing remarkable progress, you should be proud. I feel I have done my job well.” Algernon seems incredibly beautiful at this moment, a living portrait out of a Dutch master painting but with the mysteries and affections of a real boy. The Pupil Room is otherwise empty and Jimmy's big hairy hand makes it way down the boy's delicate neck, bony spine to the growing fullness of his narrow bum. “It's been a while, Algernins, hasn't it?” Algernon looks up at his tutor, one part of him dreading the days of discomfort that follow his floggings but the other thrilled at the prospect, and his little prick stiffens. “I'm thinking of something different, something special for a change. How about next Saturday? It will give you something to look forward to. I once had to wait four days for a thrashing.” Thrills surge through Algernon's pubescent body as Jimmy hugs him, an unseen tear running down his cheek.
“Can we have it outside Jimmy? I don't like your library.”
“Outside it will be then. The weather's remarkably fine for so late in the year. As a matter of fact I'm thinking of Cuckoo Weir. Would you like that Algy? And if this weather holds, it should be warm enough for a swim first. I know you'd like that. And if we need a reason, the weir is out of bounds for pupils. But we don't need reasons anymore, do we my little Algerbums?”
“What're you going to do? Flog me when I'm wet again?” Algernon likes to know details so he can go over them again and again in fantasy beforehand. Sometimes Jimmy tells him exactly how he is going to be flogged but this time he ignores the question. “You going to try out something new the professor sent you?” He remembers when the great professor had given Jimmy a bastinado left behind by retreating Turks in Greece. Jimmy had explained that the Turks used bastinadoes on the soles of the feet. It was an awful, ugly sort of pain and Algernon lied when he said it didn't hurt very much. He did not want to encourage Jimmy and he, unimpressed anyway, believed him. Jimmy had made some notes for Lubyanka's files even though he feels that beating the feet is not very aesthetic. The great professor agreed that the bastinado is just further evidence of the inferiority of the Eastern races. Algernon feels sorry for Turkish boys because their false religion won't let them flog starkers bottoms. “Why don't you use that little Arabian harem whip again?”
“I know you liked it Algy, but really, it's only for women and girls. Maybe I should bring that Spanish bull's pizzle?” he teases. It's more like a club and Algernon has refused it before. “You must learn to be patient. You have two days to let your imagination to run wild.”
“Jimmy, could you bring one of Edna's gloves with her perfume on it?”
“You know I don't think that's proper, and besides you might get blood on it.”
“We could it rinse it out.”
On the anointed Saturday Algernon bathes more thoroughly than usual, carefully cleans his fingernails and brushes his floppy red locks 'til they gleam. He studies his face in the mirror practising subtle expressions. He turns half profile so he can admire the shape of his nose. Then as suggested he selects his finest gentleman's suit from his wardrobe, a paisley handkerchief, his best leather boots even though it may be muddy at Cuckoo Weir, and tops off his ensemble with a raffish broad brimmed hat. He smiles at the young dandy in the mirror as he leaves. Jimmy is waiting for him outside looking very much a gentleman in his more modest finery. “You look a stunner, Algernon! You might be a duke.” They set off down the road strolling leisurely in the warm morning sunshine each wishing they could hold the others hand. At a picturesque inn along the way Jimmy suggests they stop for a pint. “They say a pint is good for you, even at your age. Helps to clean the blood and promotes good digestion. And I think one, not more, sharpens your sensitivity. Jimmy orders two steak and kidney pies and starts eating. “I know you don't like to eat beforehand.”
“Well I feel better if I don't, although I think you feel it more when you're a bit hungry.”
“Interesting point Algy. I suppose a full stomach could dull one's sensitivity. I must mention the possibility to Professor Lubyanka. But there are other matters, so revoltingly disgusting.... Uh, when a boy can't control his bowels. One master thinks boys should be given castor oil an hour before they're flogged.”
“But that's as bad as a flogging itself.”
“You're right Algy, it's not properly part of correction.”
“Castor oil is torture.”
“Why Algy, I don't know when I've found myself agreeing with you so much. As you know I am opposed to all forms of cruelty and torture.... Well, we should be leaving if you're going to have enough time for your swim.” They finish their pints.
“Are you going to do it when I'm all wet? Maybe right in the water?”
“I want it to be a surprise, Algynins.” Algernon is getting more and more excited and it's still a ways to Cuckoo Weir yet. He starts to imagine himself bent over in the shallows as Jimmy splashes and canes him. But Jimmy hasn't brought a cane or any other instrument of correction he can think of. The thought of being wet makes his bum tingle and bones up his dick. He has an idea, “Jimmy, are you going to swim?”
“I hadn't thought of it.”
“Come on, I want you to swim with me. Please.”
“And see me starkers? I know your evil mind. It may be alright to see other men naked, but to want to, is something I'm sure the Almighty frowns on.” Algernon neatly folds his fine clothes and places them in the crotch of a tree overlooking a secluded corner near the weir, and plunges into the cool but comfortable water. He loves swimming and strokes out to well past the middle of the slack behind the weir. There he dives under coming up yards away. He frolics, splashes, somersaults, and it's over twenty minutes before he wades through the shallows up to the muddy bank looking exhausted. Jimmy, bare chested is waiting for him with a towel. He picks up the boy, washes his feet and carries him over to where he's laid out a blanket. Tenderly and meticulously he dries off the goose pimpled boy. The drying soon evolves into cuddling and fondling everywhere except for Algernon's slender, quivering hardon. He hugs the sitting boy tightly from behind and brings his pursed lips to within a hair of Algernon's slim neck and lean shoulders. He lightly, wistfully sniffs. Algernon's bum can feel that Jimmy has a hardon too. He's thrilled and wiggles his bum in closer. He's long suspected Jimmy gets hard when he flogs him but it's hard to tell when he's wearing his gown. He only wishes Jimmy would let him see it and maybe touch it. Jimmy is however very willing to let Algernon explore the impressive muscles of his hairy arms and chest. And when the boy playfully pulls a hair out of his chest he pretends not to notice. He hugs the boy from behind again, there's more than one tear this time, and finger combs the still damp carrot top. Algernon loves it. He feels secure and is excited, he wants this man to flog him.
“Jimmy, you know those ceremonies you told me about in Ancient Greece where all the men were naked....?”
“But we happen to be Christians, not pagans you evil minded child.”
“But with those trousers I can see your boner anyway.”
“Swinburne, I should flog you for such impertinence.” Algernon cannot restrain his laughter, but Jimmy's too humourless to join in. “Shall we begin, my dear Algernins? I would like you to stand with your eyes closed tight - no peeking. I have a surprise for you; I'll be back in a moment.” Algernon doesn't want to spoil the surprise this late in the game. Eyes closed his fantasies turn to the tactile. He thinks of thrilling flashes of searing pain slamming into him, and how he'll be inside himself exploring the shape of the pain, that strange feeling and how it happens. The ugly agony after is forgotten as he shudders. Jimmy returns with an armload of evergreen boughs and picks out a small one. “Stand steady my Algynins, and keep your eyes closed.” He gives the boy two quick slapping blows across the thighs.
“Fir! I could almost swoon, you know how I love its fragrance, and it feels like a soft warm birch.”
“Very good my Algynins, 'a soft warm birch', well put. And something that can be applied more liberally than the cane or birch, and to places too delicate for their application.” Algernon wishes Jimmy would speak simply so he could understand more, but then he learns a lot anyway. “Shall we try it on your shoulders? You may want to keep on a top for a week or so. And if you don't mind Algy, why don't you put on your fine boots and that very becoming hat. Algernon complies and poses haughtily with one hand on his hip as Jimmy admires him. “You cut a rather rakish figure my dear Algynins… Hold still.” Algernon maintains the pose as Jimmy flails his shoulders and back until they're pink. “How was that my little duke?”
“It sure stings, but it doesn't feel the same as on the bum. My skin feels hot, like it's burning, and it's getting worse.” Jimmy is pleased to hear this; it confirms something he's only read about. There is another question he wants to explore; that of the sensitivity of different body parts.
“Well, shall we try the chest then? Now raise your arms, I don't want to make any marks on them.” Algernon poses arms stretched wide like a christ on a cross. “Now, let's have one of your sweet smiles, that's good.” SWISH SWISH… SWISH SWISH Jimmy is delighted as Algernon is soon grimacing in extreme pain.
“Jimmy, Jimmy, my chest is on fire.”
“Wonderful! And Algy, you don't know what a delight it is to see your face. Being able to see your face makes flogging you much more intimate and satisfying.” SWISH SWISH “The expression in your eyes, you don't know what I've been missing. Perhaps they should install mirrors with every flogging block so we can study the victim's reaction, I'm sure it would increase the exemplary effect. More foliage destroying blows land across Algernon's chest leaving it brightly inflamed. “Was it.... Was it better? Algy? I have this theory; er speculation based on theories about the nervous system. My good friend, the professor wants me to write a learned paper on it. My contention is that the chest by virtue of its greater concentration of nerve endings is more efficient to flog than elsewhere. It is simply more sensitive. It also has the advantage that any excesses can be easily reached and treated by the subject himself, saving embarrassment and money. What do you say, Algynins?” Algernon thinks Jimmy is right. He's certainly had a lot of good ideas that have enriched his fantasies in the past. But his chest is burning so intensely, and seems to be getting worse that he can't concentrate on the question.
“Jimmy, I'm burning, burning, burning, it's like my whole front's on fire!”
“Really? Professor Lubyanka told me it might have that effect. He's had unconfirmed reports from Norway where they sometimes call fir something that means, 'pepper birch'. You Algy, confirm their findings. You have added to the body of scientific knowledge!... The time has come to resume our research, but first a tot of exhilarating tonic first.” They pass the flask back and forth swigging the bitter but boozy concoction copiously. “Ready, my sweet Algynins?”
“Aye, aye Sir, Jimmy.” He believes the research is important for man's destiny and he's also feeling less pain.
Jimmy adjusts Algernon's hat rakishly bringing the broad brim down over one eye and has him pose chin up arms raised in supplication. The boy knows the right expressions to provide SWISH SWISH “This peppering effect, this burning sensation you mention my dear Algykins, I think we're onto something.” SWISH SWISH “Just think, with modern science we might synthesize a tincture of fir. We could rub it on boys' bottoms first to heighten the sensation of pain. A salve to increase rather than reduce pain, anti-laudanum! Imagine that Algy?” SWISH SWISH
“You mean you wouldn't have to flog us so much?”
“I never thought of it that way, but yes. You could run a whole school with just a few slippers.”
“And your bum would hardly hurt next day?”
“Yes, yes, yes, and be ready to be slippered again if need be.” SWISH SWISH
Algernon tries to control himself, “But you wouldn't get to see any blood?”
“D'you think there should be a little bit of blood?” Algernon nods.
“I agree Algy, the visual effects of a jolly good thrashing do have dramatic impact.” SWISH SWISH However things are becoming too much for Algernon. He squeezes his eyes shut as the burning pain on his thinly fleshed rib cage encloses him. The searing of parts not used to pain, of parts so central to his being, set him shaking, gasping with each blow. Jimmy is thrilled as agony contorts the face of his beloved Algernins. Enraptured, he flails even harder making the flesh raw, opening small weeping wounds on the boy's chest. Algernon quivers, squirts and collapses. Jimmy, acutely concerned helps him to his feet. “Algy, Algy are you alright?.... I....”
“Sorry Jimmy, sorry. I couldn't stand. I'm burning like in Hellfire, I just can't take it any more.”
“That's alright. You did very well.” He hugs the boy. “Here,” he carries Algernon over to a sitting rock, “Let me look at you. My! I've never seen such brilliant scarlet on anyone before!” He leads the boy into the shallows and rinses off the coating of sap, fir debris and assorted bodily fluids from his slender torso using a huge white handkerchief to dry the tenderest places. Only a few daubs of iodine are needed this time; a few tiny cuts around a nipple and a larger one beneath the navel. Jimmy realizes that he should switch to fresh boughs more frequently next time to avoid the sharp broken twig ends.
Back on the blanket Jimmy finishes drying off Algernon who is exhausted and just emerging from his cage of pain. Algernon feels better, he likes being helpless, he likes Jimmy carrying him and drying him off. But he could've dried my hair down there. He wants Jimmy to play with him the way Sammy and other boys do. What would it be like to be cornholed by Jimmy's horse pizzle? Even Sammy had hurt the first time but now he wishes his was much bigger which is one reason why Algernon is chummy with Smith these days.
He imagines Jimmy screwing him, he can almost feel the pain in his poophole and his pretty cock stiffens and tingles as he does. Jimmy pretends not to notice as he strokes the boy's bright hair. Then through half closed eyes Algernon notices a moist spot on Jimmy's trousers right where you might expect. The thrill of this discovery, the joy it brings to Algernon's heart makes him temporarily forget his pain. He's long speculated that Jimmy might squirt when he flogged him, but he could never tell because of the loose robes he usually wears. Now he knows and feels pride, and maybe power, and a great affection for Jimmy. That's why he hangs around after flogging me instead of going upstairs to screw the lovely Edna. I'm special. He hides the tears of joy running down his cheeks. But why can't he screw me? Jimmy sits and cuddles Algernon from behind so he can also weep in love and joy unseen. He can feel Jimmy's warm breath as he finger combs his still damp locks. Why can't we? But he knows that would be wrong.
“You're a stout lad, my Algernins, magnificent breeding!” They dress and the flogging is seemingly forgotten. As the fashionably attired duo wend their way home through the slanting shadows of late afternoon Jimmy makes the occasional botanical observation but mostly they walk in silence, each feeling very much at peace with the world. Algernon works on his suffering, he analyses and tries to classify the different types of pain he feels. The burning peppery effect is the worst although it's going away. It's a nasty pain and he vows never to let himself be flogged with fir again. Pain sort of has notes and tones like music! He thinks it may even have harmonies and discordancies. He listens in on the cut by his left nipple remembering the flash of the sting and concludes that pain there is more intense than on the bum. It's interesting. Jimmy's theory may be right. But the back and shoulders are no good; whipping them is stupid, almost as bad as beating the soles of the feet. And as for tinctures and salves that would increase the pain, they'd be nothing but torture. Jimmy should know better.
Jimmy realizes that a pain enhancing salve could revolutionize flogging. At first he is inspired, Boys reduced to cringing wretches after a few blows, criminals repenting and reforming on the spot. The reduction in crime, the savings to the Treasury, and maybe I could get the first patent? But then he has second thoughts. You wouldn't actually need canes, or birch rods. If the salve really worked you might not even need slippers. Maybe just the application of the salve, maybe just a little dab would do you? It wouldn't take any skill or finesse. He imagines himself rubbing the salve onto a boy's bottom and waiting for it to have effect. You might have to rub it in thoroughly and it might take a minute or two to take effect. He becomes aroused as he thinks about rubbing boys' bottoms. But suppose it didn't work the same with all boys, and what about allergies? And with a stout boy how could you tell how painful it is? And would you still have him kneel on the block or touch his toes? Or maybe just place him over your knee? He decides not to dwell on that. But then salves would lack the drama of traditional floggings. And Algy has a point about the lack of blood. In his mind he warms up his arm, steps back and with three quick steps brings the cane up. Ah the satisfying thwack of the cane. He glances at his beloved Algynins, “I'm not so sure that a salve would be a good idea Swinburne.” Algernon nods, “It would be torture like when they soak the rods in brine… Well perhaps not torture, but I'm beginning to think we should stick with the traditional approach.” Algernon is relieved.
By supper the peppery effect is almost gone and Algernon's feeling remarkably good for having been flogged earlier, the soft fir has caused little bruising. He forgets about it until he's getting ready for bed when his mates notice and crowd around him. "What happened to you?” Smith inquires.
“What fer?” Sammy wants to know. “Porkypine fur, I bet.”
Throckmorton grins, “Jimmy's experimenting again.”
“Looks like a fancy paisley weskit if you ask me.” Thackery comments, “You got paisley unders too?”
Algernon has to show his unblemished bottom. “What's Jimmy saving it for?” Smith teases, “Tomorrow?”
“No, hemlock.” Sammy rejoins.
“Did you have a jolly time? Come on, own up, we all want to know.” Thackery asks not just in jest. Details are always welcome and Algernon's ambivalence at least about being flogged is known to his mates, which he finds embarrassing.
“You know what they say,” Algernon begins, “that variety is the spice of life. But fir's a mite too peppery a seasoning, it makes you feel on fire. I'd sooner take a good caning on my bum any day.”
“Everyday?” Thackery jokes.
A few days later Algernon reconsiders. Except maybe for his first it was the most beautiful flogging he's had. The swim, the drying and cuddling, the lack of bruising, and most of all the wet spot on Jimmy's trousers. But then there is always a certain magic to one's first flogging which makes it difficult to compare it with subsequent ones, however idyllic they may seem. He didn't mind being whipped on his chest although the skin under his arms is still tender. What Jimmy said about seeing his expression was true, he was also intrigued by found Jimmy's expression, the intense, zealous look in his eyes, as he lashed him. However, despite the lovely smell of the fir he doesn't want to be whipped with it again, it doesn't give a nice kind of pain.
* * *
Jimmy is feeling more confident. After the rather cool reception for his idea of establishing a royal society he feels he must try a new approach. He must proceed on his own with the resources available. He must come up with a brilliant theoretical concept, he must shake up conventional thinking, only then will funding, recognition, honours and wealth come his way. He sees Algernon's recent flogging as a start, perhaps his first experiment although he admits that his methodology was less than wholly scientific. He neglected to ask the subjects' evaluations after each stroke and record them, but based on observable effects and the subject's reactions, he believes it should be included in his study even if he doesn't follow it up. He doubts if Algernon would be interested in repeating it. Jimmy decides nevertheless to have a short section on: Botanicals and Chemically Enhanced Kinetic Pain Delivery Systems. Everyone will know of course that he means flogging but he knows that proper classifications are important. Thus, Subsection: Fir Boughs as Pain Vectors. Omitting the emissions he records the subject's reactions and statements. He won't mention that flogging might be completely unnecessary just yet. He knows that in this squeamish age some might see the lack of blood as an advantage but he won't mention that either. He then holds up traditional flogging with its solemn setting and moral purpose, and ominously points out, “With all these new chemical discoveries in Paris and the German states, there might be no need for floggings at all, and what would that mean?” The logic is devastating. Once again he sees a threat to the British way of life. The future of the Empire is at stake. Chemicals would destroy the intimacy of floggings; it would be a chemical causing the pain, not a real person. How would a chemical know when to perhaps relent a bit if it's going to save an embarrassment? How will the chemical know, or be able to increase the punishment because of the boy's attitude? And I would ask you in closing, What is the exemplary effect of chemicals? Would it simply be good enough if the victim simply screams? But then he knows that most boys are quite stoical but if chemical enhancers made all boys scream, could you then devise a way to measure the intensity of pain through the volume and pitch of the screams? But what if even the stoutest boy screams? However there is a moral side to the question. As a liberty loving Englishman he has to reject chemicals. Chemical pain enhancement would inevitably be torture, although he still supports the idea of using salt on broken skin as it tends to have a cleansing effect. He knows that if flogging is going to keep up with the rapidly changing times that there is much work to be done, research to be conducted, and boys to be flogged in carefully constructed experiments.
* * *
For discipline to become a science a number of things are necessary. One is the need for standardization. Jimmy is convinced that standardization has helped make progress possible. Without it, the expanding vistas of foundries, mills and factories would never have been possible. There is the particularly difficult question of standardized application in terms of the force of the stroke, as well as the placing of the stroke on the subject subject. He briefly flirts with the idea of using referees or judges, as in rugby and cricket, but realizes something more scientific is required. He sees problems with the birch and believes he must abandon it as it is a hand made bundle of twigs that inevitably varies. He does not want to demean the craftsmanship of Mr. Finmore who delivers a dozen fresh birches daily to Hawtrey's Library, but Jimmy has found them to vary by over an ounce from the stipulated twelve ounces and occasionally over an inch short of the fifty four inch standard. But he must give credit where it is due. Eton has made more progress in standardizing birches than the railroads have in standardizing gauges. He strongly favors the Great Western's wide gauge. However the birch varies from school to school, and those used for judicial punishments are substantially heavier. Another factor is the birch is not very durable, Hawtrey recently used up four in one flogging, and it's simply too messy when it shreds. The little hard buds on the twigs, which give the pain its particular quality, are actually quite delicate and boys' skin is tougher than it looks. The buds so effective in inducing pain break off, and bare or broken twigs are likely to lacerate with no real increase in the short term pain conveyed. And they are not cheap. Headmasters might be disinclined to use the rod sufficiently if they couldn't bill the fathers for their sons' thrashings. And the birch can be quite bloody in the severity required for older boys and the children of the lower classes. Blood splatters, stains, and can be quite sticky, and sometimes boys end up with their bottoms stuck to their trousers. Despite the birch's efficacy for small children, Jimmy feels that there is no place for the birch in discipline's future. There is no question as to the superiority of the cane in terms of a scientific approach. He will abandon the birch. Jimmy is aware that standardizing force and placement is going to require a lot of boy flogging but he feels his arm is up to it. He stretches, picks up a cane, and taking three bouncing strides he whips it through the air, he repeats it again and again as he contemplates the idea of a standardized stroke. No more going easy on the less desirable and more delicate boys, no, no.
But the thought of being inconsistent does bother him and he recalls the idea of flogging machines. Jimmy hasn't seen Jeremy Bentham's diagrams but he can guess at some of the problems in designing a mechanical flogging machine. There would have to be some device, a slip sprocket would do, so the blows would not all land in the same place. A wind up spring mechanism on a ratchet which could store kinetic energy would be the ideal way to power the machine. He imagines a flogging contraption beside his desk in the Pupil Room with a boy winding the ratchet crank between blows while he castigates the victim. The cast iron frame would have J.L. JOYNES CO. LTD. embossed on it in large letters. It might make me rich! But then he realizes that mechanics are not his forte, but ideas are. There is however the matter of having to make adjustments to tailor the discipline to the individual boy. He realizes that this could offset some of the labour saving advantages of the machine. Then he has a stroke of brilliance - Have the machine automatically adjust to the object of discipline! The boy would stand on a step which would weigh him and automatically adjust the force of the blows accordingly. And in adjusting the height of the bar he leans over the boy would also set the average height of the blows. Jimmy's more than a century ahead of his times with the concept of feedback. He wonders if there are other considerations which might have to be taken into account. Everyone knows that the skin of redheads is more sensitive to pain for example but do they merit separate treatment? He can't ignore the established fact that well bred boys are much more sensitive to pain than those of the lower classes which is why judicial floggings have to be so severe, not like the ticklings dispensed at Eton. He also knows that there is an even greater relationship to skin colour with black Negroids being practically immune to pain. A scientific schedule of pain sensitivity according to graduations of skin colour would be of great assistance to American plantation owners, and through its contribution to sound management could even further reduce the cost of cotton. He suspects that most slave owners are not as cruel as some claim they are, however the serfs in Russia are probably overflogged. Class and colour, the two main flogging variables require exacting study. It is at times like these that we need a royal society to support scientific inquiry if we are not to face a loss of productivity. It might be cheaper carry out research in Russia because without even serfdom we could never recruit enough subjects in Britain. I'm sure Russian boys feel pain the same as ours. And when he considers the undertaking through the lens of cold hard logic wouldn't he himself be just the person to carry out such investigations, even if the idea of thrashing dark and lower class bottoms hardly appeals to him. He hopes he could put the same dedication into it.
While he believes he is on solid ground for excluding the birch from his scientific investigations he knows he cannot as easily dismiss the tawse or strap because of Scottish cultural sensitivity, and because Lubyanka is partial to it, the martinet, although Jimmy believes the ineffectiveness of that French invention partly explains why the ancien regime was overthrown. On second thought he can see some advantages to the martinet; being less bruising it would be ideal for experiments involving the chest, back and thighs. It may be that the French didn't use it properly. However, the cane is the king of the implements of chastisement; it alone has the deep bruising power to instill fear among the stoutest lads. It is what it does to the flesh, crushing it, or rather stimulating the nerve endings to convey a deep, rich, fear inducing, multidimensional pain, not like the slap of the strap or sting of the martinet. It was Algernon who first got him thinking about the different flavors of pain, and how rich and complex the flavor of the cane is. While canes need to be standardized he is aware of the need for variety and different sizes. We must, in our noble English tradition of freedom allow masters the choice between using straight or crooked models. Perhaps there could be a commission to advise on standard sizes. Here at Eton we'd need two at least and perhaps four. I wonder if it is more than a fortuitous coincidence that Burma has just formally recognized British suzerainty, giving us access to the best stands of rattan and bamboo in the Orient.
If the boys had known it was only Fane being beaten few would have attended but Jimmy deviously encouraged a rumour that it was Lunsford, the House Captain who was to be flogged, a most remarkable event indeed. He feels that the deception was justified as it would help him spread the message about the new scientific discipline and allow him to practice a speech he hoped to make. Once the boys arrive it would be rude for them to leave until the flogging was over. Jimmy lays out the grand historical context for the uncomprehending boys. “Civilization gentlemen,” some of the assembled pupils can't restrain their giggles, “Excuse me, boys, is based on the four pillars of science, art, free trade and discipline. But with discipline not well understood, and indeed in disarray” he thinks the phrase would also go well in the paper he is working on. “the discontent among the lower classes is almost comprehensible. We must speak up. We must act. There is so much pioneering work to be done. Lubyanka will always have his place in history as a pioneering theorist, who in some important ways was mistaken, but I will be remembered as the real father of the science of discipline.” Intuitively he knows that the key to making it a science is classification and measurement. “It is easy enough to conceive of a readily reproducible instrument of discipline. Standardization becomes more difficult when we examine the questions of the force and placement. For a while I had some favour with the idea of a flogging machine as has been proposed by that enlightened reformer Jeremy Bentham. But gentlemen, I mean boys, it will be a long time before any machine can rival the dexterity and accuracy of a trained arm.” Algernon wants to applaud but the other boys act bored and restless.
“Not only are there the different types of pain depending on the particular correctional instruments applied, and God knows there's still pioneering work to be done on that aspect, but the experience of them would vary among the different parts of the body. For example, would a standardized blow of a birch rod generate more pain on the bottom, the thighs, the back, or the chest?” Jimmy ponders. He suspects that research is also lamentably lacking on this subject. “What is really needed is a mapping of the human body's sensitivity to pain so it can be delivered with greater efficiency. Think of the savings if, as I suspect, lashes on the chest, which has been sadly neglected since Roman times, will generate almost twice the pain of a similar blow on the bottom. Not only does it have more pain sensitive nerve endings, but it also has the advantage that any excesses could be more easily treated by the victim himself, thus leading to fewer trips to the infirmary. Nor must we neglect the thighs, back and front, although I think we can discount the calves.” Jimmy decides to ignore the soles of the feet as he doesn't have much respect for the correctional technology of the Turks. “And to deal with the inevitable objections of the bleeding heart proponents of upper discipline we will have to include the back in our experiments. It may be fine for women working in the cotton mills of Manchester but I can't see it being appropriate in a boys' school.” He's sure the boys would agree. Reluctantly he feels, he would have to include the hands, if only for the youngest. “I firmly believe that these matters must be vigorously pursued in the spirit of free enquiry if Britain is to maintain its lead in the modern world.” He realizes he will probably have to conduct his own experiments and Swinburne immediately comes to mind. Algynins could assess and compare the sensitivity to pain of different parts of his body.
“Mr. Joynes sir, are you going to beat me?” Frank Fane is perfunctorily beaten
But once again Jimmy is faced with the pesky theory of diminishing marginal returns and realizes that the different parts of the body might respond differently. He poses the problem hypothetically; Might not lashes on the chest rapidly build up to a plateau of pain with additional blows marginally adding little pain or utility to the total, while on the feet there might be a gradual continuous build up with only slowly diminishing marginal returns leading a larger quantity of total pain. Suddenly Jimmy realizes that he's broached the concept of comparative marginal utilities. He wonders if the great Ricardo himself has contemplated the problem at such depth in his famous study on corn.
He comes to realize that mapping the body's sensitivity to pain is a much more complex problem than he imagined but he knows that all great thinkers go through trying times. He is determined to meet the challenge. But suddenly Jimmy is beset by doubts. The problem is even more complex than he imagined, he needs more subjects for his experiments so he can make comparisons. Is it really true that those with red hair have more sensitive skin? And if so, how much more sensitive? And, of course, he should test his hypothesis that the lower classes are less sensitive to pain just as the dark skinned races have proven to be. In fact, Jimmy wonders, Maybe sensitivity to pain explains the organization of the human universe? The paler races being more sensitive have a greater propensity to learn and therefore hold the darker races in their thrall? Could the darker races be made more sensitive to pain so they could learn and function at a higher level? He quickly rejects the idea as dangerous. And in Britain could it explain why the ruling classes rule? Once again Jimmy is aware of the immensity of the question, and the challenge it presents to him.
Rather than recruiting lower class subjects it would probably be better to examine ongoing judicial floggings. Tens of thousands of boys are flogged annually in our police stations and we could observe their reactions to being flogged and compare them with their backgrounds, their father's occupation, religion and the presence of Irish blood. Parish records might be useful. This approach is far ahead of times. Frederick Engels would eventually get much of the credit for this approach. The greater severity of judicial floggings compared to ticklings handed out at Eton would potentially make the results more valid.
Once again doubts set in. As a devotee of the scientific method he knows that he must not only compare, but measure pain, but how can it be quantified and measured? He must find a way. That alone would be a gigantic step forward. One promising possibility is electricity. Harnessing the new science of electromagnetism for discipline electrifies his mind, Just think, volts instead of strokes! He knows electricity can be measured and has pain generating potential, although reports are not clear on some points. It would however be very scientific. At last it would be possible to map the relative sensitivity of different parts of the body! He sees himself with a timing watch applying electricity to boys' bottoms, legs, chests and even the feet, and scientifically observing their reactions. Other places occur to him but they would be indecent. He's not sure just how it should be done, but by giving boys a choice of more on different places he could infer where it was most painful. He's hoping the chest is the most sensitive so he can watch their faces' agonized reactions. A troubling question arises in his mind; Would the fact that you could see the boy's reactions, and he could see your expression have any effect on the pain given and received or expressed? Does David Ricardo mention this? No he doesn't, he didn't carry his thinking that far. Once again Jimmy is over a century head of the best minds of his day with his feedback theories. Unfortunately he never published them. He does not see any insurmountable technological problems. In a flash he conceives of small desktop electric pain generators that every master worth his salt would want to buy. I should perhaps discuss it with Professor Lubyanka and my banker. In another speculative insight he realizes, It could be that by providing an initial commercial market for electricity, discipline could incubate other applications, and be a creative part of our dynamic economy. In addition to its pain causing attributes there may other benefits that electricity can bring to the mankind. It might even toast bread.
Electricity he knows has already been used to send messages along wires, Just think of the messages it could send through boys' bottoms! He is however concerned that the visual effects of electrically induced pain may not be impressive which would detract from the drama of punishment and leave the boys with nothing to show for their suffering, but he hopes that these problems can be overcome. However he has other doubts, ominously he wonders; Would electricity be torture? That is a difficult moral question. While Jimmy has no qualms himself he fears that convincing the powers that be could be an insurmountable obstacle. The French would accuse us of being barbarians, perhaps even the Russians, and the political struggle could drain all my energy. Also he knows that innovations are typically rejected, especially at Eton, so with a heavy heart he gives up on the idea of electricity punishment.
Jimmy goes back to the article they read on the train about Jeremy Bentham's contributions to Ricardo's theories. His mind becomes obsessed by the question of diminishing marginal utility; that additional units of a thing eventually bring less utility, less satisfaction than the one before, like eating apples, the first one is very satisfying but the satisfaction, the utility of each subsequent apple is less, and with too many the marginal utility becomes negative. Is it indeed a universal law? Would too much profit cause capitalists to reduce investment? Or reduce consumption? And can you have too many capitalists so they their profits become less in total? History teaches that after every unfortunate plague or famine, workers are fewer, wages go up, because of their temporarily increased marginal utility. Jimmy wonders if killing off half the capitalists would double profits. Anything less, and it wouldn't be worth it, he feels. But it bothers him that the law of diminishing returns doesn't seem to apply to profits. He understands Ricardo well enough to know that if you kept raising wages, workers would try and reduce their hours as even money has diminishing marginal utility to workers, but not capitalists of course. The law of diminishing returns applied to wages, but capitalists always want more profits. Each additional pound is wanted as much as the one before. Capitalism is truly exceptional, it breaks the law of diminishing returns! Could discipline also be an exception to the law? It takes a great deal of moral courage to admit the possibility. Then suddenly all is clear, just as if God had popped the idea into his mind; it's a simple question of polarity, discipline, or rather the pain, is negative profits, floggings are the equivalent of losses. And to the extent the lash succeeds we can speak of the Dividends of Discipline. It is a continuum, Profits and Punishment, the phrase has a nice sound to it. In that case it there would be no reason for floggings to be subject to the law of diminishing returns. More would always be better, provided the subject was not incapacitated. Jimmy is starting to feel better. There is a way to find out through applying the principles of modern science and political economy. Jimmy knows what he must do: He must test his hypothesis by flogging a sample of boys in a properly controlled situation. Ten would be an adequate sample he believes. In this respect, recognizing the need for proper statistical basis for his investigation, James Leigh Joynes is again years ahead of his contemporaries who rely solely on anecdotal evidence. But even this requires preliminary research.
After prolonged and deep contemplation he realizes that there are two dimensions to punishment; the frequency and the severity of floggings. Intuitively Jimmy realizes that severity is the key factor. And! And again the inspiration seems to come out of thin air or from God, The boys would measure it themselves, measurement is the key! Algernon agrees as he listens intently, it's like Jimmy's trusting him the way he talks and holds his hand. “And you could help me!” Jimmy realizes he needs a small basic pain unit on which to base his new science. Once that is done he can experiment with finer degrees of pain and try to develop an aggregative scale. He would call the basic unit of pain a 'joyne', and he can see it becoming a household word like the watt or volt. A parent disciplining a child might say, “Next time you forget to say 'please' Michael, I will give you twenty joynes.” Jimmy's confidence gradually returns.
Thinking of what it could mean to medicine Jimmy sets out whipping boys in different places and getting them to rate the pain from standardized blows. He was hoping to map the body's sensitivity to pain and correlate that with the density of nerve endings. Think what it would mean for surgeons alone! The sensitivity charts could be compared with others perhaps revealing more insights into the functioning of the human body. Algernon volunteers his flesh as often as he can as together they explore the frontiers of pain objectification. He revels in the responsibility of his role and the trust Jimmy places in him. He just wishes he had more flesh to offer and wasn't so uncomfortable after.
Jimmy starts by ordering small custom made canes of the finest Burmese bamboo. Each is exactly twenty inches long and less than one quarter inch thick. Its lightness will not preclude its application to various parts of a boy's anatomy too delicate for regular canes. It opens up the chest, shoulders, back, abdomen, hands and lower legs for the infliction of punishment, thus permitting assessments of their relative sensitivity. However it isn't Algernon who pioneers this research. One night when he sneaks into Sammy's cot something is strange. “Wot happened to you Sammy? You got ridges all over.”
“Jimmy, I wasn't thinking about the two I owed him when he asked me to ride with him to Slough. He took me to this empty crofters house two miles the other side and beat me with this new small standard cane as he called it, six times everywhere, even the feet, and I had to tell him which places hurt the most. When I couldn't be too sure he did me all over again. I'm not sure I gave right answers but he copied down what I said and told me it was research so tutors can give better floggings. I figure he's gonna be wanting a lot more'n one victim, like in science you got to keep having victims until it's proved.” Algernon examines his friend's body as well as he can in the darkness. “It sure stung but it weren't as bad as two of his regular canings.”
Algernon doesn't have to wait long before he gets a chance to participate in the research. Jimmy feels it is time to settle once and for all whether the chest is more sensitive to pain than the bottom. After being caned on both places Algernon's not sure if blows on the chest generate that much more pain than ones on his bottom, although ones landing on his nipples are extremely painful. Jimmy ponders this, Could a special instrument for whipping nipples, a strap perhaps, be designed? He strongly believes that God intended that everything have a purpose, but until now male nipples, despite their wealth of nerve endings, have perplexed Jimmy. Then it comes to him, a veritable explosion of insight that staggers him, the ancient mystery of male nipples is revealed, They're disciplinary organs! Jimmy expostulates, “You see, by having no other function in males the nipples can act as specialized pain receptors without impairing other functions of boys. Even slippering bottoms can cause distracting discomfort for sedentary pupils doing their schoolwork. Whipping nipples avoids that problem. Wouldn't you agree my dear Algernins?
Algernon listening intently nods, and begins forcefully pinching and twisting his slightly swollen, average size for his development stage nipples. “Awesome Jimmy, awesome.” he savours, or rather assesses the sensation with a satisfied expression.
Jimmy looks on curiously. Boys wouldn't have to sit on them after so cuts wouldn't matter so much, and it would be easy for the boys to attend any wounds there, applying their own dressings if necessary. Ah the advantages of the chest! Then, having another revelation, he suddenly becomes loudly indignant, “Swinburne! Stop that sinful immoral behaviour immediately.”
“But pinching nipples would be good discipline, it hurts good, er... hurts well.”
“I don't suppose you're aware that when you were told not to play with yourself that it includes your nipples too.” Jimmy is concerned that there's not a good proper word for male nipples as there is for the indelicate parts. Tits and teats are even more vulgar.
“Nobody told me, and anyway it wouldn't be playing with them if you were trying to hurt them, it's not like playing down there.” Jimmy listens cautiously. “We could do an experiment, you pinch my nipples and together we figure out the pain. You might have to work out a standardized pinch.”
Jimmy closely studies Algernon's nipples which are pinkened and a little bit swollen from puberty if not pinching. To think of the centuries, if not millennia that the pain receptor potential of the nipples has been neglected. Rather pretty looking things too. He's not studied them before and becoming curious he reaches out to touch one when he jerks back, and glares at Algernon. He is furious, “It would be quite improper for me to even touch your nipples, and if I catch you doing it again I will thrash you… Pinching and twisting nipples is torture. You know my thoughts on torture, it's barbaric and uncivilized, and I won't have you bringing up the subject again.”
Suddenly Algernon has an idea, “But what about whipping them? That wouldn't be torture, you already whipped mine, see.” He squeezes out his left nipple which has discernable stripe across it. “You could have a piece of canvas around the chest with two holes for the nipples.” If the nipples are caned or strapped, but not pinched or twisted, Jimmy has to agree that it would not be torture. Algernon asks, “Would big nipples hurt more, I mean be better pain receptors than small ones? And maybe get fewer strokes?” It's true, there's a vast difference in the size of boys' nipples and once again Jimmy feels frustrated in his pursuit of a scientific discipline by concerns of fairness. There is a fundamental equality amongst bottoms that does not exist among nipples. However, with their abundant nerve endings Jimmy is very reluctant to give up the idea of nipple whipping. More research is needed before they can proceed further.
“How about experimenting with different sizes?” Jimmy is interested. “Like Thackery hardly has any, maybe mosquito bites, but you should see Throckmorton's, they're like round ruby pyramids.”
“By Jove Algynins, that's a capital idea. I'll see that both of them have their nipples whipped by tomorrow at the latest. I'm sure each of them owes me at least one flogging, or soon will. First we need a nipple belt as you suggested.” It takes only a couple of minutes to fashion one from an old leather jacket sleeve. Algernon volunteers to test it with his already inflamed nipples. “Are we ready, my Algynins?” It is a fairly light strap but the hard blows soon have his nipples brilliantly bruised and plump. Algernon bravely endures, grimacing in agony to Jimmy's delight. “Bravo! I think we're on to something. Well done my Algynins.”
As soon as the belt is off Algernon starts rubbing his nipples to relieve the intense pain, just as he would his bottom after a caning. Jimmy looks at him questioningly. “I'm just assessing the pain Jimmy.”
“If I am any judge of expressions I'd say you were indulging in a carnal pleasure.” Now I understand why boys are not supposed to play with them. It's as sinful as self abuse, in fact... “Stop that immediately you degenerate beast!” Nipple whipping is abandoned.
Later Algernon discovers that just lightly touching his sore nipples brings on a pleasant warm raw pain:
Both Mr. Joynes and Jimmy are concerned about the long term threat of Russia. Algernon's not sure why but he sees possibilities: Standing proudly, his chest thrust out, breast bound by tight cinched nipple belt Count Algernoff stares into the face of the cruel czarist interrogator, Drakova Jimovich, with his nerve rich cones proffered to the cruel blows of the strap. “I warned you Algernoff, that if torture didn't work we would whip your nipples. Now confess you are an English spy.”
Interrogator, will you please
Whip my nip-ples
Don't just tease
Whip them raw and whip them ruddy
Make them swell and leave them bloody
Jimovich rubs the rough rawhide surface of the crude strap across his nipples as Algernon begins to pinch the nubs.
Little nipples, pain receptors, organs of discipline
And incidentally, pleasures of solitary carnal sin
That ripple through my body and the mind within
Let each pinch send, from each nerve end, a pure
Message of pain to my keenly waiting brain, to cure
The longing in my lustful loins, hot torture
Eyes staring into each other's, Jimovich lashes him again and again as Algernon digs in his thumbnails in and yanks on his flesh.
If just a gentle pinch
Can make my boner grow
There must be nerves that link
To my groin below
A connexion which methinks
Can make my loins explode
I can feel it starting
I can feel the thrill begin
Sparkles are a darting
The message is coming in
Despite my nipples smarting
I fly on thrills within
Boner's growing, greater girth
Knob's emerging from its sheath,
Thumbnails digging in to hurt
Tortured teat to groin beneath
Amplify the message 'til I squirt
And feel the tension go, relief
I praise the pain of nipple glow
The afterpain of crushing so
A pain that only slowly fades
Allowing play for several days
A few good twists, a quick replay
Provides a rush to last the day
But no matter how hard he pinches, twists and yanks on his nipples he's unable to squirt without touching his dick. But it sure felt a lot better usual
Thackery listens curiously but he's not the slightest bit interested in any nipple experiments. “But maybe if you played with them and did all sorts of things to them they'd get big like Throcky's.”
“Now why would I want bigger nipples Swinny?”
“You could probably feel more pain for one thing.”
“Now just why might I want to feel more pain?” Algernon has no good answer.
* * *
Jimmy works on his stroke trying to get them consistent. Algernon thinks he's getting pretty good at estimating joynes, and he tells Jimmy that by his estimation the last stroke was just a hair under a joyne. Jimmy believes that with enough practice consistency is obtainable, but the problem of getting all masters to standardize their strokes is immense. He can't see them learning in less than twenty boyflogs as he's decided to call the basic practicum units. The system must be equitable. Once again Jimmy thinks of Jeremy Bentham's flogging machine. A machine could give a standardized stroke. The rotary principle should however be abandoned. A reciprocal, slapping motion device would be best, something you stand on small table and operate with a crank and foot release, you could surprise them better that way. Carefully gauging his force he lays another stroke across Algernon's thigh. “Perfect Jimmy, exactly a joyne, ah oh.” A machine has advantages but he's not sure they could replace a skilled disciplinarian. There's a certain knack, wrist action that would be difficult to duplicate. And a good flogging is not just applying a series of standardized blows. A good flogging has a life of its own, its own if prosaic theme, a good flogging is... Jimmy's uncomfortably aroused. You don't want the blows all the same. You don't want standardized blows. He's flipped. You may want to let up slightly for one or two strokes before applying maximum force. You want to play the boys like an angler plays fish. That's when it's most fun. It's things like that, that make flogging an art. While discipline is a science, flogging is an art! Inspired he delivers the next blow with much greater force. “OwwwOOOughh,... That last one was almost two joynes Jimmy.” Mechanical flogging is impersonal. That's it! He's not even sure if mechanical floggings are humane. It might even be torture! “Mmm, maybe only half a joyne that time.” Flogging should be personal. He doesn't have the intellectual framework to conceive of discipline as a form of intimate communication but he comprehends that it shouldn't be something conveyed through mechanical contraptions. Jimmy isn't worried for himself of course; Eton is very slow to adopt innovations. Mechanical flogging ignores the subjective and aesthetic qualities of the flogging experience for both parties. These must be addressed. Why even the Bible could be used to back his contention, because, when you flog you are acting as His agent, and how could a machine be an agent of God? Perhaps the threat of flogging machines and the harsh reality of the market is just what masters and other champions of discipline need get them act! To organize themselves and promote correction as a science. A very human, personal science. Given the hectic pace of technological development Jimmy knows that he must act soon and decisively.
* * *
“Now Thornside, I believe you, along with a number of others, have recently come to owing me two or more thorough thrashings for your sinful behaviour. However, on certain conditions I will reduce it to one.” Algernon, with Jimmy's permission observes from behind a bookcase panel. Except for Fane, who no one cares about, hardly any boys are flogged in the Pupil Room anymore. And the boys are pissed off because they still get thrashed, more in fact, but they don't get to watch anymore when Jimmy does his experiments up in his library. “After each stroke I want you to tell me how much pain you feel as measured in joynes.” Jimmy has the bare bottomed boy lean against his heavy desk and takes out one of his small standardized canes. SMACK “Now that was one joyne, remember what it feels like Thornside. Now I'm going to employ a regular cane.” THWHACK “Now how many joynes would you say that was?”
Jimmy's concerned over the differences in the boys' estimates. THWHACK “Now what would be the total joynes for both?”
“Eighteen? Only one more in total? You don't mean twenty eight do you?” Thornside shakes his head. It's as if the law of diminishing returns had already taken effect, and the subject had only received two strokes. THWACK “Now, the total, everything you feel right now, all three strokes together?”
“I dunno, maybe twelve?” This is an incredible reply, not just diminishing but negative returns. Those weak willed spineless abolitionists would use this as evidence against flogging, demonstrating that it was unnecessarily brutal and ineffective, and we all know how misguided, to say the least, they are. THWACK “Now tell me.”
“What do you want me to tell you?”
“The truth, Thornside.” But he himself is no longer sure where the truth lies. “Now tell me how many joynes you feel.” THWACK “And I want you to tell me when the total pain reaches twenty joynes.” THWACK
“Now Sir, Mr. Joynes, I think I feel more'n twenty now for sure.” It is a fact that Algernon seems to be the only boy who understands what he is trying to do, who shares his vision. Jimmy has to discreetly wipe away a tear. But he doesn't want to abandon the flogging, or set any unfortunate precedent for those he's scheduled ahead. He wants it all to be seen as fair, and scientific. Perhaps he's stopped too soon, six is after all the standard at Eton, and there must have been some reason for that which intuitively included a comprehension of the marginal pain of consecutive blows. THWACK THWACK THWACK “Now, Thornside, how many joynes do you feel?”
”Lots, Mr. Joynes, a hundred maybe?”
Jimmy's concerned about the discrepancies between different boy's evaluations which leads him to question the reliability of self-reporting. Maybe if different boys experience pain that differently the whole concept of units of pain is flawed. However he doesn't want to abandon the joyne, he still believes it's a brilliant concept, but how to quantify it in a way that it can be applied to discipline. Indeed, That is the question. The time has come to step back, to consider flogging in a broader context. When he does Jimmy sometimes becomes aware of the spiritual side of flogging. It is like you're doing God a favour, and to think how humble we appear before Him. It's how you feel after, somehow renewed, relaxed yet re-invigorated, by the graceful vigorous exercise, and if just a touch, not too much blood, well... I believe a little bit of blood adds a symbolic significance to floggings. I' suspect the boys see it that way too. Certainly I've never known them to complain about a little blood. The ideal is flogging for its own sake, free from reasons and recriminations, as a pure art form, or like some mystical Eastern practice. Think about it, just whipping as many boys as you feel like, and as hard as you want. And not bother with a lot of questions. He's momentarily blinded by the brilliance of his thought, but it's not really possible. There's a tear in his eye as he comes to accept that the joyne is no more. Is this the end of my aspirations?
* * *
“Swinburne, might you be pleased to help saddle Darius, I must be off to Slough on some business. I'm afraid the stable master is down with a frightful fever and that lout of a stable boy is nowhere to be found.” Algernon is flattered to be asked, his tutor cuts a fine figure on horseback, and even though he knows little about horses and tack he eagerly agrees. He's seldom goes near the stables behind the house except to fill scuttles at the coal bin, but he has noticed the stable boy Jack, a lad smaller and perhaps younger than himself with a head of tawny curls and a saucy attitude. He could be quite the tart Algernon figures, and he's fantasized spooning him but it would be quite out of the question as he's a common vulgar boy. He's done no more than exchange polite hullos.
The smell of leather and hay greets his nostrils as he follows Mr. Joynes into the gloomy stables. A horse whinnies and others sound restless. He remembers the tack room with all its harnesses, crops, whips and the heavy tawse that Jimmy flogged Sammy with. Jimmy notices Algernon gingerly fingering the tawse on its hook, “Ah. I bet that brings back fond memories, eh, Algy? your first time as holder down, and yes, that scullery lad you told me about, how you watched him being doctored with one of these instruments a number of times. Take it down, examine it, try it out if you want.” Algernon swings it a few times and then vigorously strikes a post. Jimmy has an amused look, “I don't mean on a post.”
Algernon appears perplexed. “You mean...?” Jimmy smiles broadly. “You mean really? Jimmy looks at him patiently. “I tried once but Old Dunc wouldn't let me, but he let me be a holderdown. And I tried to get Micky to let me flog him, I even offered him treats if he'd let me whip him.”
“Justice at a price?”
“No Sir, Jimmy, I was just curious. I wanted to know what it was like to flog someone, but he wouldn't let me, not even for two shillings.”
“I can imagine you're even more curious now having been on the receiving end so many times. The common flesh of scullery lads and stable boys is of no interest to me, unlike your aristocratic posterior.” He pats Algernon's bum. “But then I believe youthful curiosity should be satisfied, from both ends, and I know it will be some time before you have a fag of your own with which to further your education. I've observed you watching the stable boy, would you like flog him? Satisfy your curiosity?”
Algernon has never thought of flogging Jack but now that Jimmy mentions it, “Uh... It would be interesting, Jimmy... if you know what I mean.” With the prospect suddenly real he barely controls his eagerness. A boy that he could whip, a boy he found very physically attractive. His eyes plead.
“Then you shall.” Algernon's heart leaps at the thought. It's as if his whole body is suddenly infused with some magical elixir, his loins tingle, his mind churns with images of Jack's naked buttocks, and himself wielding the tawse, he lashes the post again, striping, inflaming the stable boy's bum. His very blood bubbles and he begins to tremble. “It will teach you responsibility, judgement and the exercise of power, all things the sons of England need to know.”
“Oh Jimmy, I so want to learn.”
“I don't think the churl will make things easy for you, you'll have to tie him down.” The idea of tying the stable boy down unleashes a flood of new images in Algernon's mind; ropes and chains cutting into flesh, futile struggles and utter helplessness. He thinks it's a pity there are no rings or hooks high enough up so Jack could be suspended with heavy weights attached to his feet. Despite the delicious prospect Algernon is still obedient to the concept of punishment with rules, why he even believes that at this moment he owes Jimmy three floggings. “But what has he done?”
“What would you like him to have done?” Algernon looks at his tutor quizzically. “Perhaps a better question is: What would you like to do?”
“But should there not be a reason?”
“Is not your desire a sufficient reason?” Algernon's mouth falls open. “Do not worry, there will be a reason he understands.... Now help me saddle Darius, I shall return before supper. And then we will see about satisfying your curiosity.” Jimmy looking splendid in his tan tweed jacket and dark twill jodhpurs gives Algernon a manly embrace before he mounts and canters off towards Slough.
Algernon is still watching Jimmy in the distance, What a magnificent and wonderful person!, when Jack returning from the apothecary shop with some medicine for Old Dan's fever “hullo”s him. And when Algernon warmly returns the greeting calling him by name he gets a pleasant smile back. Jack takes the medicine over to Old Dan's cabin. While he waits for Jack to return Algernon takes out, the don't get caught with it, illustrated book of William Blake's poems and scribbles between the original lines.
Buttocks, buttocks, burning bright
Beneath the birch and master's might
What delightful weals to see and touch
Can there ever be too much?
From what palette were the hues
The bloody reds and sombre blues?
Oh what grace, the master's stroke?
What the fun the blows evoke?
What the skill, what the brain
Engineers the searing pain?
What the muscles, what dread grasp
Drive the wicked rod to rasp?
When the blood runs down the legs
And forsooth the victim begs
Does master smile his work to see?
Does he who kindly preps whip thee?
Algernon knows it needs some polishing but it would be very painful if Jimmy were to see it, and not just because of the meter. There Would be blood running down my legs.
Algernon wants to know his prey better, pick up more details for his ongoing fantasies. Jimmy has promised. When Jack returns he follows the boy trying to befriend him. Algernon likes his good natured face and the palest hazel eyes he's seen, and he admires him bare chested, muscles flexing beneath his soft clear skin, as he vigorously rubs dubbin on a harness. He'd look good tied to a marble column. Only his coarse hands spoil his classical beauty. But Algernon, unlike Jimmy, feels no class barriers when it comes to flogging Jack.
“Is there somethin' that yer want?.... Like I's got extra work now's Old Dan ain't well.”
Algernon has perhaps seen enough and become quite aroused. “I'll see you again soon Jack, and I'll try to bring you a piece of cake sometime.” Jack gives him a perplexed look and Algernon retires to indulge in anticipation, beautiful floggings with not too much blood. I could tie him to the post and pretend it's the column of a Greek temple. Maybe he'd even squirt!
The marble flesh of the Spartan boy
Diana's willing sacrifice
Whose blood will stain the marble
column soaring high
Awaits the sacred searing lash
We feel his taut fibrous bonds
that bind him to its base
We contemplate his steady eyes
and stout expressioned face
Calmly waiting for the whip
We wonder at his fortitude
his offering of his flesh
We marvel at his faultless form
and his inviting grace
But we wonder at our wonder most of all
When Mr. Jimmy returns he tells a boy to see that Swinburne reports to him at the stables immediately. He dismounts and waits for Algernon before entering the stables. Jack is alone carrying buckets to fill the troughs. As Algernon arrives Jimmy demands, “Boy, where were you when I needed Darius this morning?”
“I be buyin' some medicine fer Old Dan!”
“That is not my concern; you were not here when I needed you. I had to get poor Swinburne in here to help me when he was supposed be doing his prep. I want you to know, I will not tolerate such malingering.”
“Don't question my authority, I pay the wages here. You need a thorough thrashing.”
“For impertinence as well as laziness! Another protestation and I'll have your stripes doubled. I want the stable master to flog you immediately, six of his best.”
“But he's ill Sir, he can barely stand up.”
“Really? Well I'm not one to flog your coarse unworthy hide.... Swinburne, I order you to flog this impertinent lout. Make it twelve, or as many as it takes for him to show proper respect.”
Jimmy is not without a sense of cruelty, or humour for that matter. He watches with amusement as Algernon tries to make Jack obey him. “Pull down your breeks and bend over that saddle rack so I can tie you down.” Jack will have no part of it. “No bloody snot nosed bastard's gonna make me.” Algernon is bigger and maybe stronger too but when he does get a hold on Jack he can't do anything anyway. Finally after Algernon has suffered several sharp elbow blows and a knee in the groin Jimmy intervenes and within a few seconds the stable boy is stripped and snugly cinched over the saddle rack. He can just barely wriggle. Jimmy leaves but conceals himself where he can keep an eye on things.
“You friggin' pricks, Old Dan would never flog me for somethin' like this.... I bet it's cuz of you!”
Algernon's still tired from the struggle, and he's getting angry. “You be quiet, you're not supposed to make a fuss or say anything.”
“What sort of bloomin' loony are you?”
“That's impertinence Jacky, why I should....”
“JACK. Don't Jacky me.”
“Shut up! Stop spoiling things; it's no fun if you keep this up.”
“Oh? What's that mean your snotship?”
Algernon pretends to ignore him, takes down the tawse and fondles it trying to get in the mood. He feels more like beating Jack than flogging him. Jimmy has explained that beatings are a form of torture, not part of the art of correction. He remembers Jimmy telling him that floggings require a positive mind free from the foibles of emotion. He's not in the mood but he swings back the tawse and lashes as hard as can. SMACK
“Yer're a fuckin' arsehole.” SMACK “Yer mum screws monkeys.” SMACK “Fuck you!”
“Shut up, I don't like interruptions.” SMACK
“His snotship don't like 'ruptions do he?” SMACK
“You be quiet or I'll....” SMACK
Jack's beginning to think the schoolboy may be some sort of lunatic, and maybe he should be nice to him. “Did you ever think that we're friends? Like you talk to me, you're not like the others.” SMACK “We could just pretend, like I'll holler, Old Dan says it looks better if I do.” SMACK Jack decides to try crying, “WHAAA, WHAAA, WHAAA.”
“You stop that immediately.” SMACK SMACK
“Oh yeah? You can't make me.”
“You're not supposed to make a fuss.”
“Why not, yer snotship?”
Algernon is getting desperate, it's not working out. He could almost kill Jack for what he's doing to him. He can't recall his magnificent fantasies of the previous hours. Out of sight he puts his hand down in his unders but he can't even get his dick stiff. “You bloody rich buggers; you think you're better than the rest of us.”
Algernon knows he has to do something. “I'm sorry Jacky, uh Jack, I have to flog you. Mr. Joynes would know. But if you shut up and don't make a fuss I'll give you a pound, and I really will bring you some cake, I'll save my piece on Sunday.” A final price of three pounds, a very considerable sum for Jack, is agreed upon and Algernon completes his flogging but is too upset to enjoy it much until it's almost over. It's not fair. However he finds some pleasure in the mess he's made of the stable boy's bottom. He's not finished untying Jack when Jimmy returns to inspect his handiwork.”
“First of all Swinburne you need far more Determination, Will. A poorly acted play is not worth seeing. And I think you should learn to be more patient. For the time being I would abandon your forearm stroke until it's stronger, your backhand is more consistent.”
“What's with you blokes, hain't got 'nough fags at the school?” Jack glares at them as he leaves.
“You didn't handle that very well, my dear Algernins. These lower class louts either bawl their heads off or curse you. There's no real pleasure in either, unless you're into torture perhaps. Some day you will understand why I prefer well bred bottoms.”
“It wasn't as good as I thought, Jimmy.”
“I know, but Your next one will not be a disappointment. Eat lightly and report to my library after supper.”
“But Jimmy Sir, you caned me only two days ago.”
“I know, I'm doing some research for Professor Lubyanka, he's giving a paper where he compares healing rates with the frequency of flogging. And it has an aspect of primal savagery I want to explore.” Algernon had already figured he owes Jimmy another one for Jack, but not right away. It's by far the bloodiest and one of the worst canings Algernon has ever had from Jimmy. But Jimmy's compliments and cuddling after make him feel proud and loved. He's sure Jimmy must have squirted though he himself didn't come close.
Jack finds out how rich Algernon is, and is open to negotiation. The second time Algernon has much more fun even though he's only allowed to use a slipper and can't call him Jackykins or cuddle after. Jack collects more than half his meagre annual wage. After the fifth time Jack leaves to seek his fortune in London where he no doubt prospers. And Algernon's father sends him a letter asking why he needs so much pocket money.
* * *
More and more Algernon sometimes wonders what fucking a woman would be like, Smith said he fucked servant girls but it sounded more like they did him since he was only nine. He thinks of girls he knows and them not having a cock down there, but a place to put a cock, a cock hole. He recalls Jimmy speaking of the feminine generative organ, a chalice for his cock. It must be something more than another arsehole. Algernon wonders what it looks like down there. All Sammy's cards show is a copse of hair. The gardeners say it feels better to screw than arseholes, and Sammy's arse is fun to screw But he druther have his lips around his bone. Maybe cunts are more like mouths, so maybe they can feel more than arses. Algernon doesn't mind getting it, Sammy feels good in his arse, but not as good as Smith now that he's used to his bigger bone. Would girls feel the same thing in front, maybe more? He imagines he has a cunt and Smith is screwing him. How would it feel? Would it hurt like the first time Smith did him? His need to imagine defers to his busy hand. Maybe they squirt too? I must screw a woman, preferably a well bred one.
Algernon is just leaving the rears when Hannon from across the corridor grabs his nuts and gives a little friendly squeeze before letting go. “Just seeing what you got there Swinburne.” Algernon briefly grabs Hannon's crotch in turn and finds himself groped by another boy. Other boys around join in the sex play feeling up one another while pretending to protect themselves. Algernon loves these playful gropings and only a few boys like Throckmorton refuse to go along. Soon some sport boners beneath their breeks and then as if by agreement the play subsides.
Lunsford appears, “Enough boys, we can't have you exhausting yourselves when most of you have prep to do.” Back in their room Lunsford chides Algernon, “Jimmy'd have kittens if he found out. You know how he's crusading these days.”
“Yeah, it's worth a bloody flogging if you shake it twice these days.” Thackery adds as he grabs Algernon's bone.
“Now boys, both of you, I think your diet of tarts is going to your heads.”
“There's always Eena,” Thackery smirks, “if you don't mind the bloody smell of Mick cunny. But you gotta have five inches.”
“Maybe she'll make an exception in your case, Swinburne.” Smith offers.
It becomes a dare and finally Algernon declares, “I'll jolly well fuck the wench.” He has yet to see a woman naked and is not sure what to expect although he knows there is some sort of hole for cocks, a cockhole. Lunsford arranges a tryst in the Secret Tower and he and Thackery help Eena and the boy virgin up through the trap door, and along with Smith they visit the end room where the residents are only too glad to join them in eavesdropping through a crack in the ceiling. It's not the first time.
Candles have already been lit and the pillows cozily arranged. “Well, off with them Swinny,” Eena demands in her brassy voice, “I hope you got more than I last saw.” Algernon undresses modestly turning away as he steps out of his unders. “Come on, let's see.” she pulls up his shirt. “Doesn't look like your rooster's ready to crow. Looks like you need a little help.” She tries to rouse his shriveled dick with only limited success. “Here, you can help with me this. Some of the boys say it's the best part.” Algernon awkwardly helps her undress and when she is stark naked he tries to avoid looking at her down there. “Come on Swinny, don't you want a peek at the Holy Grail. Here,” she takes his hand and places it on her cunt, “I'll show you how to give a woman pleasure.” Algernon gingerly rubs her as shown.
“Do you come up here often, uh Eena?”
“Now, what's that to you? You be the one to tattle to your mates? Now lie down beside me, and I'll show you how to make love to a woman.” Algernon is encouraged to fondle her immense breasts and then with Eena holding his head he is told to suck on her teats. There's little passion in his labor “Now isn't that better than licking dick.” Algernon ignores her sarcasm and with a finger in her cunt as well he works to satisfy the girl as she lazily fondles his limp dick. “Your little rooster could do with a little starch.” Algernon prays that it will get hard but despite his and her best efforts it remains stubbornly soft. “Well, Swinny, you're just going to have to lick me.” It does smell, but he valiantly complies, trying not to retch. “A little bit higher.... That's it.... Aaahhaaa.” After she has enjoyed herself a few times Eena vigorously works on Algernon's manhood but to no avail. Humiliated, he finally pleads that he is too nervous because it's his first time.
“Well, how did it go Swinburne?” Smith asks.
“Great, I had a capital time, and she loved it.”
“Really? Can you still smell her cunny on your dick?” Thackery inquires.
“Let's see.” Thackery holds Algernon from behind as Smith yanks down his breeks and unders and takes a sniff. “I don't smell any good Irish cunt here!” Smith exclaims. The boys have had their fun and do not press the point. “Mind you it's only free the first time. It'll cost you a bob next time.” Algernon tells himself that it would be different with a nice, well bred girl.
Girls are the farthest thing from his mind when Algernon sneaks into town one Saturday afternoon. His prized collection of Shelly's poetry has gone missing from its hiding place; Algernon speculates that a beak must have discovered it and probably claimed it. It's a good thing he wasn't caught with it and he's off to buy another which he'll be more careful with. He's browsing in the back of a Windsor bookshop when he is surprised by the young clerk, a girl of perhaps sixteen. “May I help you sir?” He is struck by the girl who is quite petite, shiny dark hair set off by a Bart like milkmaid's complexion, and who smiles rather nicely at him. She looks well bred and after looking her over closely he thinks, Why she's as pretty as any tart. Algernon sounding well bred himself inquires if they have any of Shelly's work in stock. “We have strict orders to not sell any Blake, Shelly or Keats to the school's pupils.” Algernon shows his disappointment. She does sound quite well bred though “There's lots more we more we can't sell you. If you want to know what pupils can't buy I can show you.” the girl again smiles nicely at him. He follows her into a storeroom and is shown several shelves of books, poets he's heard of but not read, and many others, and books with titles like Juliette and Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure which mean nothing to him. Algernon is awed and quickly glances through several books, folios and quartos. “You'd be surprised what we sell to the masters, well maybe not...” She catches him furtively staring at her and gives him an amused smile, “Why don't you come back when you're not in school togs, I'd be happy to oblige. I just don't want anyone getting into trouble.” Algernon is charmed by her, introduces himself as an aspiring poet and finds out her name is Chastity Ann. It's a week before he can manage to return, and in the meantime he tries to think of her when he wanks, her lovely face, her delicate hands, her dainty bosom, and her down there, he's sure she would smell better than Eena. He imagines her as naked improvising from statues he's seen. Slowly he becomes aroused, his rooster rising, but when he squirts, it's to the image of Sammy's willing arse wiggling beneath him.
He decides he must write a love poem to his Shoppe Princess. He's sure she'd be delighted. He's never even written a poem for a girl before. Just tarts and Tristan.
Wandering around in Windsor town
near castle cliffs of serried stone.
I spied a sign in an old book shoppe
It said New Poems, so I had to stop
Inside I met the clerk of the smile
She bade me browse and stay a while
She showed me Shelly, Keats and Blake
But they were not for me to take
Not for pupils of the school
Eton attire is just not cool
She coyly hinted that I return
An invitation I could not spurn
From a beauteous well bred girl
Who set my poet's heart atwirl
And with her lovely countenance
Triggered in my loins romance
Ah my dear Chastity Ann
You make a boy feel like a man
But then the poem does not he feels, convey the depth of his passion, a well bred girl yes but:
My lady of the flesh
Bearer of a sacred feminine generative organ
Chalice of bliss
My divine cockhole
Stoke my loins
Inspire my soul
Harrier of my heart
Prettier than any tart
Oh my lovely book shoppe girl
Your well bred cockhole 'tis
Sweeter than any arsehole
More adept than any arse's anus is
My romantic goal of bliss
Is to fill yours up with my chizz
On second thought he feels it's a trifle vulgar, but then he reasons that girls should have an obligation to screw boys anyway:
As boys bear beatings without a fuss
so girls should share
their cockholes with us.
Compared to what boys must bear
It seems rather just and nicely fair
On rereading his verse he realizes it's not his best, and he decides not to show it to Chastity Ann. Rather he'll write her a proper sonnet after he screws her.
He returns the next Saturday, dressed in his dandiest suit and boots with more than a touch of cologne perfuming his presence. Chastity Ann takes him in the back room where he makes a selection of Shelly, Keats, Blake, Byron and others. Algernon is particularly taken by a handsome illustrated copy of Blake's The Songs of Innocence and Experience and spends more than he planned. Prohibited books are not cheap. Together they make up a quite a large bundle. Chastity Ann is very pleased with her big sale and cheerfully smiles at him while putting them in a box. “I'll wrap them in this paper so it'll look like you've been to the haberdasher, that is if anyone cares.” Algernon nods and smiles at her studying her pale slender neck, and the seven tiny moles he finds scattered from her ear to the cleavage in her bosom. He feels he must be being overwhelmed, and opts, as he sees it, to casually inquire, “Could we meet after you're finished clerking? I could walk you home, and I know where there's a beautiful grove of beeches.” If she goes for it I'll be late and sure to get put in the Bill. A major thrashing looms and Algernon can't help but to imagine the pain. But if I get to spoon Chastity Ann, I'd gladly take a thrashing. Wait 'til I tell Thackery, he's never fornicated a woman.
Alas, “You're a very sweet boy Algernon, and charming as I find you, I'm not sure I can accompany you. I'm betrothed to a young gentleman at Cambridge who gets rather jealous.” She puts an arm around his shoulder and pecks his forehead. “Have a pleasant time reading your poems, mind you I hear some are a bit seditious, and what with the queen practically next door.” That evening he and Smith go up to the Secret Tower.
* * *
Several days later Algernon knocks on the door of a small house just off Windsor's high street that a sixth former told him about. An attractive, cultured woman in her late thirties opens the door, “May I help you young man?” Algernon explains that he was told this was the place to come. “Oh, I see, I am Madam Glenda, do come in. And what might be your name?”
“Richard.” Algernon replies.
“Oh, I like that name. Young men are so very welcome here Richard. You understand that there's a consideration of a pound and two shillings for my services.” Algernon nods and takes out his purse but she stops him. “You can pay me later. Shall we go upstairs Richard?” Algernon follows her up a narrow flight and into a small, richly decorated bedroom. Madam Glenda pulls the curtains and leads him over to the bed. She takes his hand in one of hers and strokes his head with the other. “I've always been partial to red hair; some say it's a sign of passion... Would you like me to help you off with these?” He shivers with excitement as she starts to undress him removing his jacket, pulling off his shoes and stockings, and loosening his collar and taking off his shirt. As she helps him out of his breeks and unders Algernon inhales her perfume and imagines he's swooning. His little dick stiffens in her hand. “Has anyone ever told you what a fine member you have Richard?” Algernon blushes and stares in awe as she bares her bosom and body to him. Pornography come to life! The mystery of her copse is revealed as he is encouraged to finger her cockhole and explore. It seems like Eena's but it doesn't smell. Madam Glenda takes Algernon in her arms and gently positions him over her and guides his cock to her cunt but Algernon soon goes soft. Glenda whispers reassuringly in his ear and expertly fluffs him but to no avail.
Algernon, again feeling humiliated pleads, “Could you spank me first?”
“That's rather unusual for such a young man, but for an extra two shillings I'll gladly oblige.” It's a very mild but effective spanking, and another stage of Algernon's education is complete. Next time she would gladly employ a martinet for another pound. “The French swear by them.” Algernon goes back once again, but after that Madam Glenda refuses to serve him anymore.
* * *
Being a little mad is not a bad idea at Eton, it helps make you a somebody, and Algernon finds it requires little effort. And it's a way to appeal to those beyond the pale of poetry. It's a warm spring day with blustery winds that remind him of home and the Isle of Wight where his daring swims and climbs caused much consternation for his family, and brought him a certain recognition. He is in a manic mood and is on his way to nowhere in particular, and as he proceeds he twists, skips and gestures with his arms as he declaims for any who might want to listen, “
spongy moss bestreaks the craggy cliffs of Wight
Slippery treachery for boys ambitious climb
And his arms spiral as if falling but he recovers with legs pumping, climbing air.
But by this rare route one earns the right
The sight of pastorale and angry sea sublime
He stands with a gaze of triumph arms flung out
Entered through vertigo's gyresome gate
Buffeted by capricious gusts and storm
Avoiding fates that do not wait
Gives it taste not elsewhere found
He is wondering if he should show it to Mr. Joynes when springing around a corner, and not looking or caring, he crashes into Simms, Lord Orford, knocking him down sprawled in a puddle. Not only are his trousers mud smeared but his magnificent purple paisley weskit, and even his immaculate top hat are bespattered. Rage erupts in Simms squat visage. His two Pops companions grab Algernon, and the one known as Oakes, a huge youth who towers a foot above him, lifts him off the ground by his collar ready to punch him with his other hand. Then Simms expression abruptly changes, a curious smile forms and with uncommon magnanimity he restrains Oakes. The large boy inquires, “Are you thinking of a debate your lordship, a jolly tanning?” Simms smiles condescendingly. “We haven't had one in a while, have we? I'm sure I saw him using a Sixth Form entrance a few days ago.”
Simms gets to his feet, “Interesting idea Oakes, quite interesting, but I don't think that's necessary.” He leans into Algernon's face and remarks, “Swinburne, I presume. I've heard a lot about you. Lunsford absolutely sings your praises.” Algernon struggles to pull free and demands,
“Tell your chum to let go.”
“Yes, yes.” Simms looks around at his companions, “It must be the knowit poet, the bard of the yard.” His lordship scrutinizes Algernon from his knees to his bright mop of hair. “Hmmm, ripening rather nicely, a mite stale for a tart, but I understand it has a tarty sauce.”
Oakes adds, “And a pretty face, and a whacking ripe bottom all right, I'd say.”
Algernon who'd been expecting a vicious beating, not a kind he's ever dreamt of enjoying, is puzzled when Simms smiles ambiguously. He repeats his demand and Simms signs for Oakes to let him go. Then he extends his muddy hand and smiles, “It was nice to bump into you Swinburne, and it Will be my pleasure to know you.” Algernon ponders what that means. Two days later Simms comes up to him beaming, “My dear, if I may Algernon, I'm delighted to see you. We really must get together sometime.”
It is not many days later and Algernon is sitting at his burry practicing Greek grammar in his head when he notices Lunsford restlessly pacing around the room. He fusses with his hair and smoothes his eyebrows, not that it makes any difference, and heads out to rears twice in as many minutes. After he goes into his room Smith confides to the others, “I saw him talking to Simms, and I hear he may be up for Pops.”
“That would explain it. Pop palpitations.” Thackery comments, “He'd give his left bollock to get in.”
“Lunsy's such a swell already; he won't be fit to mess with if he does.”
“But he could be a bit of a beast if he doesn't.”
Not long after Lunsford reappears Simm's pretty doe eyed fag arrives, “Lord Orford desires your attendance at the Library, there's to be a debate.” Lunsford pretends mild surprise and assures the boy he will. “I am to remind you that his lordship requests that you bring along Swinburne. Sharp at two o'clock.” Algernon notes that Mr. Cumberbirch is expecting to hear his Greek at that time, and he will assuredly be put in the Bill if he's not there. I bet the bastard knows that. Lunsford does his best to conceal his joy, he's sure he made it, and he doesn't question Simms's request for Algernon to come along. Half an hour later Lunsford, with visions of social triumph, and Algernon with visions of kneeling on the block in Hawtrey's library, make their way over to Pops. It is not a flogging he's looking forward to, but he's resigned.
Arriving at the door they see a rather pretty but terrified Fourth Form lad waiting to one side. With his soulful face, large albeit red rimmed eyes and a perfect bum beneath his old worn breeks, they can fancy fancying him. Lunsford informs Algernon that there will be a poptanning and that he must pretend not to notice it. Lord Orford greets them effusively, he assures Lunsford that his election is almost in the bag, and he seats Algernon in a comfy chair to one side of the large window taking the one beside him. Perhaps most of the other members of Pops are sitting around the large room quietly chatting and reading newspapers. A few are smoking pipes and tobacco scents the room. Oakes sitting on the other side of the window attired in a bright checkered weskit and over size collars gets up, complaining, “It's beastly stuffy in here.” and opens the window. The centre aisle from the door to the window is clear.
Lacey, a gangling member with a wan, pimply face looks up from his copy of the Daily Telegraph, and leans towards his neighbor, “Compton. You know how the bloody abolitionists, having got rid of slavery in the Empire, are now going after flogging? We can't have that, can we? You should read what this Reverend Rodney Smiley has to say. It's quite keen. He claims that birching is a human right. Well, I never heard of human rights before, but it certainly sounds reasonable. He goes on to say no one should be denied the right to be flogged. Apparently his children agree.”
Compton, a stout lad with a precociously adult face nods, “I certainly agree with beating children, I'm sure his probably deserve it, but what on Earth are human rights? I mean, Englishmen have rights, but humans? Do you think he means to include the Irish? I've certainly got nothing against them being flogged. The whole bloody lot of them if you ask me.”
“But what about horses Compton? They're not human, but don't they a right to be flogged?”
“Clever point Lacey, horses don't have rights. They certainly don't have the right not to be flogged in any case.”
“Not even, flogging a dead horse?”
“I rather like this idea of human rights. Just think, we might have Negroes rioting for the right to be slaves
“Another letter here calls for the abolition of the cat-o-nine tails in the Royal Navy.”
“And what have they got against Her Majesty's Navy?” Lacey inquires.
“It seems the writer, Commodore John Brownlee Retired, believes that young officers so recently torn from the loving arms of their aristocratic mothers become hardened and morally corrupted from having to watch the cruel scenes of ratings and cadets being flogged.” They exchange grins of exasperation, Compton reads: “The writer's most profound and heartfelt sympathy goes out to those victims of the barbaric system who are who are compelled to inflict the cruel punishments.”
“How can they print such dreadful gibberish. I suspect the writer's more likely a woman or some sort of communist. It's obvious he was never at Eton.”
Lord Orford turns to Oakes, “I think we've been patient enough.” Oakes opens the door and calls Pennington in. “Is this the lout who was found slouching with all his buttons undone?” Oakes nods and after a perfunctory lecture which only further terrorizes the skinny boy he is told to kneel on a backless chair with his breeked bum raised and stick his head out the window.
Oakes observes, “It's getting a bit chilly wouldn't you say?” and he lowers the heavy sash down on the scared boy's neck.
Simms looks to Algernon, “Swinburne, Lunsford tells me that you've become quite the favorite of your tutor, Mr. Jones.”
“Mr. Joynes” Algernon corrects.
“My apologies. Lunsford tells me that you really are a poet, rather clever with your lips in fact, a regular poet lionate with your ruddy mane. I've been thinking you might like to perform for us here at the Library some time. You know inverse, verse visa?” Oakes, a heavy knobby cane in his hand, strides down the aisle, three pounding paces, and slams it into Pennington's bottom a couple of feet from where Algernon is sitting. The boy gasps. “I've always appreciated the great poets although my talent is basically in having others prepare my lessons.” The room is silent, everybody seems to be reading or staring vacantly into space. “You should come over to the digs I maintain on High Street. There's usually a friend or two up from London staying there. I'm sure some of them would be delighted to meet you.” Again the floor shakes as Oakes bounces down the aisle and connects loudly with Pennington's posterior. A brief squeal is heard. “Lunsford tells me you're partial to Shelly, a rather naughty choice I hear, here at Eton anyway. I just happen to have a new collection that was privately printed for someone I know.” He hands a slim quarto to Algernon. “You might want to look at it.” Algernon is indeed anxious to look at it. “Take your time and tell me what you think” Algernon opens the book, less eagerly than he might in other circumstances, as out of the corner of his eyes he sees the cane slam another loud jarring blow into the boy's small bottom. He struggles to make sense of Shelly's lines as the heavy blows continue to land beside his head. Lord Orford smiling benignly keeps his eyes fixed on Algernon, studying him, watching his every expression as he tries vainly to read. Pennington struggles bravely but soon has to be held and begins shrieking hysterically. A conversation now would be difficult. The boy's old trousers become frayed and blotted with blood. “Well, what do you think of them Swinburne? Some say it's not Shelly's best work.” Algernon's quick tongue fails him; he hesitates as the boy staggers past him to the door.
Swinburne's swishing after elevens the next day is not the worst he has received but it's one his most unpleasant. He resents Simms' duplicity and his anger almost boils over when he sees Oakes and another of Lord Orford's lackeys exchanging smug glances in the doorway. He controls his rage and after he is able to immerse himself in his studies. He feels no satisfaction from his flogging or his brightly etched and very tender buttocks. Then Mr. Cumberbirch inexplicably and loudly finds fault in his translation of Strato. Algernon cannot understand and when he protests the master accuses him of impertinence and puts him in the Bill again. When he reflects that the master had no real cause to begin with he suspects that Lord Orford may have had a hand in it. His suspicion is confirmed when he sees Simms in the crowd at elevens next day.
Hawtrey is already in one of his less benign moods and when Swinburne appears before him for the second time in so many days; he takes it as an affront to his disciplinary skills. “Back so soon Swinburne, Are you implying that my arm has gone soft?” Hawtrey raises the rod well above shoulder, which is not according to form, and brings it crashing down on his already raw bum. “I don't want to disappoint those who have come here to see justice done.” There seems to be no count but three rods are shredded, the collagers having to hold Algernon as blood drips down to his knees at the end. It's a miserable wasted flogging that goes well beyond what he can take with any equanimity. Only his anger and desire for revenge enable him to put on any show of bravado as he leaves. Mr. Joynes offers his sincere sympathy, even Lunsford suspects something fishy, and Jimmy wishes he could have watched.
But that is not the end of it. Algernon wants to be alone and that evening despite a steady drizzle he goes out to High Street around to the back of a shop where he can buy a small bottle of brandy for his pain. He takes a few gulps and rests in the shelter entryway until he feels its warmth before raising his umbrella and heading back. He's only gone about half way when he is overtaken and accosted by Simms and Oakes. “Since when have boys in the lower Fifth Form been allowed to unfurl their umbrellas on the grounds of Eton, Swinburne?” Algernon seethes as he rolls up his umbrella with Oakes staring down at him. “You know, Eton would degenerate into a state of utter anarchy if the Debating Society didn't maintain a modicum of decorum. And by the way, we expect the honour of your presence at Pops tomorrow promptly at two.” There would be no way to avoid it; he would be dragged if he did not come. Simms regards him smugly as Algernon shams contriteness and pleads. Then without warning he rams the point of his umbrella hard into Simms's gut and whacks him on the back of his neck as he tumbles gasping into a puddle. Oakes charges and Algernon bracing himself butts him in the face smashing his nose. They both fall but Algernon is quicker and smashes him again and again with the umbrella until he breaks it. Blood is pouring from Oakes' nose and he is in agony but Algernon does not relent. Simms warns him to stop but a very ungentlemanly kick in the groin leaves him helpless as he gets whacked by his own umbrella. He backs off spouting dire warnings and Algernon walks away. His head is throbbing; he's disheveled and splattered with blood. He pours more brandy down his throat spilling it over himself.
Algernon is fortunate that no one sees him before he gets back to his room. The others all want to know what happened when they see and smell him. He explains he got into a fight with a couple of bullies but is vague about who they were. Sammy helps him clean up and rinse Oakes' blood from his hair and helps him peel his bloodstuck unders from his bum. A poptanning on top of his two swishings would be more than he could take. They finish the heel of brandy while Sammy helps him bathe, and after Sammy pleasures his loins. Algernon is feeling much better and has just changed into clean duds when Simms' lovely doe eyed fag shows up wanting to see him privately. He hands him a sealed unsigned note saying: Say nothing and I am willing to forget everything. The little fag asks if he heard about Oakes's accident, apparently he fell off a horse and broke his nose. Algernon offers his condolences and tells the boy to tell his lordship that he will think about it. Soon every boy in Joynes' house but Lunsford knows what happened. There is mood of uncommon solidarity.
The next day Lunsford is in a deep funk after he learns that his candidacy was rejected. He prowls the room discovering trivial faults and rants at the others. He threatens Throckmorton with a slippering for his untidy wardrobe but backs off when Thackery, Smith and De Vries object loudly. He would most like to get Swinburne whom he blames for his failure but that is not practical. It is only later when he finds some fault with his personal fag Findlay, and the sounds of a lengthy beating and eventually squeals of protest come from his room does he return to a semblance of his usual self. Poor Findlay, normally a bright and cheerful lad, is outraged at the injustice of his beating and goes around loudly cursing Lunsford. Sammy to avoid further trouble leads him away and, others suspect, up to the secret tower.
* * *
Even without the joyne there is a tremendous amount of work to do. Work must be speeded up if he is to get the basic research done. He hasn't been able to carry out half of the experiments he had hoped to. He's written to Lubyanka that he will bring the raw data to Cambridge so he can study it before he completes his paper. They're running low on boys for experiments, rumours of suspicions circulate amongst the pupils in Jimmy' house and boys have become extraordinarily cautious. Algernon has no unbruised flesh available, and won't for a fortnight. There are a number of key experiments remaining and Jimmy simply has to recruit more boys. For this he requires more caning offences. Algernon who's listening sympathetically mentions. “At home I saw a servant girl get spanked for not setting the dining table correctly, she'd put the big forks on the outside.”
Jimmy's eyes open wide, “Brilliant! My Algernins. We shall see that the boys learn proper table manners.” After consulting Edna Jimmy draws up a list of table manners rules. On a large piece of cardboard he has Algernon print in large letters:
DINING CODE OF ETTIQUETTE:
Using the wrong knife, fork or spoon: penalty 2 strokes; elbows on the table: penalty four strokes;
Forgetting to say please: penalty six strokes;
Spilling food on the floor: penalty eight strokes;
Throwing food: penalty twelve strokes,
All payable at the housemaster's discretion.
He thanks Algernon for doing such a good job and says he's going to hang it from a beam in the dining room where all can see it. The drought of boys to flog will soon be over. Looking happier than he has for weeks and with a gesture of triumph Jimmy hops up on a bench to reach the beam. Disastrously he slips, tumbling awkwardly to the floor and cracking a bone in his flogging wrist. Mr. Joynes curses loudly and struggles to hide the acute pain he feels. A doctor is fetched, makes him drink a bottle of tonic containing cocaine and a tincture of laudanum in a strong alcoholic base. When Jimmy Joynes is feeling much better the doctor sets the bone, and applies a splint and plaster. Algernon is saddened and shares Jimmy's disappointment as the research must be abandoned for now. Elsewhere there is some rejoicing. Throckmorton sees divine providence at work, DeVries and especially Thackery are relieved, Smith sees it as a just dessert but admits he'll miss the after dinner executions. Jimmy delegates the house captain Arthur Lunsford to take over caning miscreants until his wrist is better.
Jimmy, his wrist in a cast and unable to do much, takes to prowling the house and catches Findlay, Lunsford's personal fag, red handed with a package of tobacco. Jimmy doesn't know or much care that the boy was delivering it to his fagmaster, and special friend. He's delighted by what he sees, a pretty tart with a full and moderately well bred bottom. He looks forward eagerly to seeing it flogged. The child has just enough flesh to use a light whippy cane with some rigour. I'll point that out to Lunsford. Mr. Joynes on the other hand feels a degree of sympathy for the boy whom he's sure was just running an errand, and is inclined to leniency, two hard quick strokes across his breeks. As usual in these situations Jimmy has his way, and orders Lunsford to deliver a dozen hard strokes across his fag Findlay's narrow naked buttocks. Lunsford, an expert with the slipper seems to have no idea how to cane a boy. It isn't that the boy's difficult but Lunsford just doesn't feel right about flogging his own fag for obeying his own demands, and goes as easy as he dares, although he thinks Findlay could have been more careful. He's enamoured of the tart, he has the prettiest prick and loves to spoon, and he's so affectionate. Algernon who seems able to sniff out floggings arrives as Lunsford begins to waver seeing the ugly marks on his beloved fag's bum. He tries holding back but Jimmy tells him two strokes don't count and Lunsford has to force himself to whip his lover unbeknownst to Jimmy. .
“I'd be pleased to give you a demonstration but if I even grab a rail the pain is almost unbearable. You must bring your arm further back like OWW… and then just as you bring down your arm you flick OOOWWOO It's a completely different stroke from using the slipper.” With coaching Lunsford's technique improves dramatically over five strokes and with the victim giving no trouble Lunsford's feeling better, basking in Jimmy's compliments and the power he's experiencing. While he feels for Findlay he thinks, Caning other boys might be capital fun.
* * *
Algernon brushes his top hat, leaves his jacket unbuttoned and saunters over to the Cloisters to rendezvous with a certain collager who has promised to lend him a book. The collager has already read him a few passages and he has agreed to two shillings for a week. The Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, John Cleland's novel, inspires Algernon beyond any of Sammy's cheap little stories and playing cards. After reading the marked passages he reads it through, dwelling on the illustrations of Fanny flogging the young Mr. Barville. He misses Mr. Tattler's Latin class due to cramps in his hand, he knows the work anyway, but he may just find himself in the Bill. Later that night Sammy inquires, “What's the matter? I've never known you to have such a limp dick.” Fanny Hill thrills him for days but despite his pleas Sammy will not give him more than playful love spanks on his bum. The collager has a couple of other books to lend but they, Algernon finds are, Twice the price for half the vice.
* * *
With the approach of June preparations begin for the Glorious Fourth celebrating the birthday of Eton's beloved George the Third who died some thirty years earlier. Each June 4th all the boys dress in their finery and take to the river in boats to parade up and down the Thames opposite Windsor Castle where in bygone days the good king would review their fleet and entertain his Eton lads. Lunsford has arranged to have two large sculls and a river boat for the boys in Jimmy's house. Algernon has acquired a large bottle of brandy and two thin hip flasks pour apportez which he'll share with Sammy, Thackery, who has little to spend is taking gin he got from a bootlegger.
Jimmy has the serving of supper and gives a rousing speech:
“To honour good old King George on his birthday, and to celebrate the glory of our glorious Empire we hold these festivities. The Empire boys, think of it, it's more than vast red areas on the map. Here at Eton we prepare boys to rule this Empire in a profitable and efficient manner: Rebellions, as we likely to soon find out in the Raj, are costly. We need to learn better how to discipline, and instill discipline in our colonies. There was unfortunate instance some years ago when bonny George was on the throne that some colonies united and broke away. While some have dared suggest that the beloved monarch was to blame, wisdom now suggests it was a simple lack of discipline. There will be no next time if we act firmly and take decisive action when troubles arise in the colonies where many of you will be bringing the benefits of religion, civilization, and discipline. Discipline without which the other two are unlikely to flourish. Your duty is the Empire's destiny.
“There can be no doubt but that the vast improvement in native welfare brought about by British administration is due to our superior discipline. Boys? Can you believe that in some parts of the Empire the beating of children was formerly unknown? This is the kind of backwardness you will be dealing with. It will often be necessary to beat natives, or have them beaten. At Eton we do our best to prepare our pupils for such onerous duties by giving senior boys the opportunity to rule those below. This includes the right to employ the slipper. We must never forget that we have an empire to rule!” Jimmy becoming overwhelmed by his own rhetoric takes out his handkerchief and blows his nose. Tears come to his eyes before his cracking voice calls out, “God Bless good old King George!” The boys burst into applause; they're hungry and want to eat their cold mutton shoulder and turnips.
Many boys improvise costumes or prepare their finery for the morrow. Vendors sell feathers, trinkets and flowers which most boys wear. Old and abandoned clothes are sought and remade. Thackery has put together an eclectic collection of articles blue. Algernon studies him and lends him his dandy's broad brimmed hat which he strips and batters into shape. He looks in the mirror, “That's what it needed, thanks Swinny. My father had to pay out so much for birches last term I daren't ask him for more.” Sammy sports a dark chestnut velvet suit, a cream, ruffled shirt and raffish black hat, which with his olive complexion makes him look slightly roguish. Many boys simply adopt a white jacket and straw boater. Lord Orford has had a boat made up as Cleopatra's royal barge; he will be Marc Anthony, Oakes a Nubian slave, and his doe eyed fag will wear a wig and dress.
After all the speeches and presentations most boys head for the river and boats. Algernon, Sammy, Thackery and four other boys command a small scull, row upstream to a more secluded location where they can view the scene and imbibe their booze. A while later, fearing they might be missed and with the processions underway, they push off hoping to get back unnoticed and join the others. When they have almost reached the riverbank Sammy and some of the boys fooling around at the other end capsize the narrow scull. They all scamper ashore and flee, soon to be caught by collagers delegated to hunt them down. Hawtrey questions each boy and at the end Algernon and Thackery are requested to come to his library after breakfast in the morning. They were both quite drunk and the only ones found with liquor on them. Most went overboard.
The Bill attracts a lot of interest for despite it still being holidays over twenty turn up to exercise their right to see justice done. Hawtrey complains that he doesn't appreciate having to deal with boys during festivities. “I have a very busy schedule at this time and if it wasn't for your disgusting state of drunkenness I would have been inclined to overlook your little escapade but… I think this offense merits six... Thackery. Here.” Thackery makes his way to the block. “Go down.” Both boys have seen the other swished on several occasions, they are both fans of the holy ceremony, but it is the first time they've been flogged together, and each will be keenly aware of how the other handles it. Algernon watches as Thackery's lean muscled posterior is etched with fine red cuts which by the end coalesce and begin to ooze blood. Thackery feigns disinterest, something that has earned him additional strokes in the past. When he rises his nonchalance is clearly an affectation, but he manages to acknowledge chums in the audience and walk away with his head up. Hawtrey looks ready to call him back. Algernon's not quite ready when he calls, “Swinburne. Here.” Algernon feels his heart pumping with excitement, but he feels confident. The two collagers quickly have him pinned down on the block. Algernon knows the speed and intensity of Hawtrey' thrashings, He doesn't like to play around like Jimmy. SPLASH The first one is always easy. SPLASH Hawtrey is putting his arm if not his heart into his strokes. The pain quickly builds up and Algernon concentrates on preserving his determination to flaunt his bravado and disdain after. It's almost something like faith that enables him to endure the blows without reacting. Maybe all those martyrs had some sort of faith. A trick? The flogging ends. Algernon rises and pulls up his trousers. He stands looking straight at Hawtrey unable to recall any of the witticisms he'd thought of earlier.
“You want to say something Swinburne?”
“No sir.” Algernon leaves.
It hurts something awful as they climb the ladder but their first time alone together in the Secret Tower is fun, although neither particularly fancies the other. It would be a lot more fun if he had a bigger dick. Thackery has fewer morals than Sammy, and he doesn't have to think about it. It's all what you can do and how much. Their shared swishings have made them good friends, and they share their dreams, or sexy scenarios, material that if written down would be seized by the state and lead to charges of obscenity. “Just think Swinny if you could have a girl fag too, and she could always avoid a slippering if she really wants to... That way they wouldn't tease me.”
Algernon's not sure about having a girl fag. “They wouldn't have much of a bust at that age, but maybe their nipples might be worth whipping. I hope they wouldn't smell like Eena.” I might have to wash them first.
Thackery's starting to like the idea more and more. “When they each got up to ten demerit points they could pay it by fucking in front of me, I'd invite you Swinny, and maybe Thornside. And then I'd have them suck and lick each other. I don't know when I'd of learned about all that stuff if my uncle hadn't made me do it. Everything but screwing a woman that is, I got left a bloody virgin after all that!”
“You deserve to be a virgin… Why don't you just beat them Thack, I would.”
“I know, I would anyway, but just once. I can't afford real pornography.”
“I have seriously thought about having slaves. I might go America and buy some. You're not allowed to bring them back so you'd have to use them over there.”
“Aren't they all black people?”
“I'm sure if you had the right connections you could find some paler ones, and if you bred them carefully you might be able to produce Spaniards or Greeks. My father breeds horses and knows about such things.”
Part Three : Quarrels
At the end of the term Sammy has to go to London to see his father at the French Embassy and Algernon decides to go with him to see the great city that he has heard so much about but seen little of. He writes his mother saying he won't be home for another fortnight as he has some unspecified business in London. Sammy who is never broke has some 'left over' money and Algernon figures he can get an advance from his father's solicitor. He insists that they sit up by the locomotive on the Great Western Railway having heard about how exciting it must be from Tristan. He wants to be able to talk about it with him when he returns. As they race through the countryside at twenty miles an hour Sammy tells him some interesting things that he picked up from a passionate gentleman he met in London last summer. “Their brothels he told me are second to none. At one there were girls I'm sure who were no more than eight, and very prettily made up indeed. With proper care they can be virgins up to seven times. He treated me to a very buxom quean with red hair like yours but insisted on watching. And there was this music hall with ladies dancing, and some were naked just like pornography!”
Algernon is wide eyed. “Real, live living pornography?”
“They weren't ladies of course but they were very... Ooo la lah! What big bouncy boobies they had!” Algernon is fascinated by his tales. “Most places in London are expensive so it's best to get a rich gentleman interested in you, and then they'll do all sorts of things. Some of them even go balmy over you; it's bloody amazing how easy it is. They'll not only buy you things but will take you to all these places where most respectable people wouldn't dare be seen. Once I was in this den, a real den like you read about, full of these yellow Orientals, and I smoked some gooey stuff, opium I was told. It stank worse than Thackery's farts.” Algernon is enthused. “It made me puke and I started thinking in poetry.”
“A poesy enhancing drug?” they both laugh. “And how does one meet these rich gentlemen?”
“Oh, they find you if you look interested, and once you meet one, you'll meet others. You don't need money, but as they say, clothes make the man. They all want to spoon, but be careful, you just can't give them everything they want all the time or they lose interest.” Algernon understands Sammy perfectly, A rich gentleman!
“It can be scary, and the thing is my father can't know anything. He could be ruined by the scandal. I hardly saw him last summer; he thought I was visiting with you. I didn't want to talk about my London adventures at school; people could get the wrong idea and think I was a whore.
Detraining at Paddington Algernon and Sammy take a cab to the Drake Hotel where Algernon had once briefly stayed with his father the admiral. After bathing, a quick ring of life and changing they go out to explore the bustling city. There is much to see and do in London especially as this is the first time Algernon has been on his own in the city. Soon after he arrives he visits his father's solicitor and picks up a generous advance, and after a few days of enjoying the city and each other with carnal abandon, Sammy arranges to see his father at the French Embassy. His father tells him he is being promoted to a deputy and transferred. Sammy will be attending school in Vienna. He's enthusiastic about the new school he'll be going to, and he has a cousin in Vienna who used to fuck him before she married, but he will miss Algernon. Both boys feel poignant twangs which more sex helps them overcome. Two squirts each later Algernon turns to his friend, “Do you really love me Sammy?”
“What? Well sure Algernon, you know that. I loved from the very first, I seduced you, remember? You'll always owe me for that.” he gives a friendly shove.
“But would you do anything for me?”
Certainly I would, I love you, like we're friends. But what d'you mean?”
“Flog me Sammy, you've never flogged me, prove that you love me.”
“What's that got to do with it? You know I love you. We've been though all this before.”
“I need it Sammy, I know you don't understand, but flog me to prove your love, because you don't understand. I beg you.”
“How many times do we have to go through this? I'm not going to flog you, that's not.... whatever you want to call it.”
“But I want you to; if you love me you'll do it. Come on Sammy, I even found a cane in the local high street, it's right here, and nobody'll hear us right now. Please, thrash me until...”
“Until you squirt?... Squirt in my arse. Isn't that better?”
“But you're leaving. We may never see each other again; I want you to flog me just once. I want it to remember you by.” Sammy looks at Algernon as if he were crazy.
“You don't understand.”
“You've never given me a thrashing, you've never....”
“So bloody what?”
“Please, here's the cane, I bought it specially. Do it, do it for me.”
“But it's stupid.”
“But I want you to. I mean if you truly love me.”
“Sure you don't miss your Jimmikins?
“I don't want Jimmy, I want you.”
Algernon's no bigger than Sammy but he's stronger and more aggressive; he shoves him down, leaps on top and starts punching his friend. Sammy manages to clinch and they wrestle rolling around on the floor until both are exhausted. Finally Sammy, who's getting the worst of it, agrees to give Algernon a 'thrashing'. It's a very light and unsatisfying caning. Sammy can't stop making clever remarks, and asking distracting questions, and then cleverly imitates Jimmy complete with sarcastic remarks and ends by dramatically breaking the cane with his hands. Algernon is furious but later admits the absurdity of the situation. Algernon first, they screw each other somewhat more forcefully than usual.
* * *
A day or so after Sammy picks up a copy of the Telegraph and reads: “The notorious highwayman, Sam Paloc is to be hanged the day after tomorrow at Newgate, along with four lesser criminals, including one sodomite.” Sammy looks at Algernon with a touch of disdain, “They say the English have to hang a couple of sodomites each year to prove their moral superiority over the French.”
“It should be jolly fun to watch, I never seen a Sodomite. Are they something like the Irish?”
“More likely Greeks I hear.”
“A whole bunch of hangings, that would be capital!… Shall we?”
”We'd have to go early; they say Newgate'll be packed for the hangings, but you can rent seats.”
“According to Jimmy, if we were a century earlier we'd have got to see garottings and little kids hanged.”
“I don't think I miss seeing little kids hanged.”
“But the garrottings?”
Back in the Drake Hotel Algernon is still excited. Hangings, real executions, the dread of the doomed facing the ultimate execution, not just a flogging, and we get see them die, croak, their last moment. They say they twitch for minutes. Sammy does not share his enthusiasm, the French are more civilized, and later neither has his usual enthusiasm for simple pleasures of the flesh.
Next day they take a cab to Newgate and find several houses with bills advertising view seating. Algernon picks one overlooking the scaffold and Sammy raps the knocker. In less than a minute the door opens a crack and the head of a little old woman with untidy, black dyed hair cautiously peers out at them. She introduces herself as Mrs. Henning and when the boys explain what they want she lets them in and leads them up two narrow flights of stairs to a tiny furnished room. Looking out the casement window they have a good though angled view over the platform and scaffolds. “It'd be comfy for six; I once had eight when they hanged Tom Burns.” The boys look it over, “Now I'd be wantin' five pounds for the room and an extra three shillings for any over four. Now it'd be less if you shared mind you, but most gentlemen like their privacy.” Algernon inquires if Mrs. Henning has something better and she says all the other rooms have been spoken for. Algernon controlling his eagerness glances at Sammy who's obviously keen. After taking their money Mrs. Henning inquires, “Would you be wanting tea served for the festivities?” The boys decline and tell her they will be back early tomorrow.
The hansom cab that brought them is not to be seen so the boys look for another one to take them back to the hotel. None is to be found so they start walking down the dirty busy street. Sammy stretching to cross a puddle gets bumped by a navvy and his accomplice, a ragged urchin of ten expertly snatches his handkerchief. Sammy feels nothing but Algernon sees it, chases and grabs the small boy who struggles and kicks.
“You let go you bloody bastard.” He tries to twist away. “You got it back, what more d'you want?... Bloody well let go of me.”
“You, you bloody well need a bloody thrashing.” The idea dilutes his anger and he gets a tight grip around the back of the boy's neck forcing him to look at him. “How many gentlemen's' handkerchiefs have you swiped, you beastly little arab?”
The boy cringes in pain, fear, and appeasement, “Not five all day, Sir. An' I not get a shillin' for any of 'um, an' we needs money bad for the wake, we do.”
“Who died, yer poor dear muther?” Algernon squeezes his neck harder.
“No, no Sir. It's fer me friend Billy, they're bloody 'angin' 'im tomorrow. And we's buys a bottle of the Gilby's Gin t' drink t' 'im.” The small boy looks at them with tears running down his cheeks and Algernon and Sammy are taken aback, they saw his friend's name, Billy Barton, on a bill. “He robbed a bloody magistrate he did, should've... “, he makes throat slitting motions. The boy, Tommy's his name, tells them all about his friend and asks if they they're going to watch the hangings. “We all be sayin' good bye to Billy.” Sammy tells him they're getting a room overlooking the scaffold. Despite his thievery they feel sorry for the boy and each give him a shilling when they leave. The boys haven't felt so Christian in years.
* * *
The next morning the boys skip breakfast to leave early yet when the cab drops them at Newgate perhaps a thousand are already there. Ambulant vendors move through them with food and drink and others have set up stands with their goods. They work their way around the dense crowds by the scaffold and knock on Mrs. Henning's door. They get no answer and after several minutes Algernon raps loudly and calls her name. He is starting to kick the door when a copper, one of Peel's new bobbies, advises him to move on. Sammy had told him about them, but that was the first either had seen. Algernon is quite upset over the ten pounds he laid out, half the total for the room, and they return to Mrs. Henning's half an hour later and watch. No bobbies are in sight in the growing crowd, and after a minute they notice three fashionably dressed ladies let into her house but when they knock on the door there is again no reply. Then two gentlemen arrive and the door is opened for them. Algernon grabs Sammy and they push in right behind them and follow them up the stairs. Mrs. Henning protests claiming she doesn't know them from Adam, and two big burly men escort them back down.
They had not expected to have to mingle with commoners, but they are determined to see the hangings. Gradually they work their way close to the scaffold where they'll have an excellent view. “Wouldn't be surprised if we could hear their last words.” Sammy remarks. Looking around at the pressing crowd they feel conspicuous and out of place in their gentlemen dandy attire. They find themselves pressed next to a couple with two young daughters. The father, a hale and hearty sort, inquires of Sammy, “You come t' the 'angin's a lot?” Sammy replies that it's their first time. “Good, I like to see young people here. I figure it's good for 'em t' see the 'angin's. It's an Englishman's right t'see 'angin's, to see the justice bein' done.” Sammy says that they'd heard about the highwayman, Sam Paloc. “Ah him, quite the scoundrel he be, England be well rid of the bastard. I hears he was figurin' t' rob a Great Western mail car, says not enough coaches nowadays. Can yuh imagine that?” Sammy and Algernon nod agreement. “We's come to see the 'einous William Stead, the 'einous rapist 'anged, he done ravished a wee eight year old I heared.
“I don't usually take my young 'uns to the 'angin's, a wee bit beyond their grasp I figure, but me Cynthy here, she's ten and gettin' old enough to know hows the law deal with vermin like this Stead character.” Algernon and Sammy nod agreement. “Now floggin's are a different kettle of fish, even four year olds can larn from them. I took my wee tykes to see some floggin's a fortnight ago. Edifyin' I tell yuh, very edifyin' indeed. Not once has either of 'em been one step out a line since. I figure it works better'n takin' the stick to 'em.”
Algernon is curious, “Where do they hold the floggings?”
“The prison's got the best ones, that's what I heared. Still use the cat they do, but yuh pretty well need an invite, like I never seen one. But if you don't mind just seeing young'uns getting birched, the best place is the precinct stations after court, that's when most sentences are carried out. They say they're nothin' like the floggin's forty years ago, bloody gory they were I heared. Now supposedly, they can only birch lads under fourteen but it all depends on the magistrate and the chief constable. They knows better 'n the politicians. I figure the older ones need it a lot more.”
The wife who's been following intently adds, “For some, like this here Stead character and that sodomite, I figure 'angin's too good for 'em, too quick and easy if you ask me for all the sufferin' and the sin they done. I think they should bring back to the garrotte, I heared it took a nice long time an' they went all goggle eyed and puffed out blue. You don't get to see much when they just drop them. I hope my little Cynthia ain't disappointed.” She turns to the smaller girl, “Now you remember t' watch real close when I tell you.”
Then Algernon and Sammy notice the boy they'd met yesterday pushing through the crowd, taking advantage of his smallness. Two older companions follow him and they scrunch in nearby. A moment later Tommy sees Algernon. “Sir, yuh come to say good bye to ol' Billy Barton?” They move in together and meet Tommy's friends, boys their age dressed in their bizarre street finery as poor boys with a little money do. Algernon and Sammy feel a little less out of place. Tommy introduces them to Brad and Perry and they are invited to have a swig from a bottle in a bag. “We be rememberin' ol' Billy Barton.” Tommy toasts. Things become convivial and Tommy's friends ply the two young gentlemen with tales of goings on at the old Vic and talented ladies of the night, and more gin.
The sodomite and another man are the first to be hanged. Algernon tries to watch the proceedings closely and affect indifference like his new companions at the same time, and misses much of the action. The others don't seem curious. Only when Billy Barton is led out do they, and much of the crowd take notice. A handsome young man, looking as proud and cocky as one can while shackled and arm bound, acknowledges friends in his audience. The crowd is quiet as people listen to the priest attempting to give last rites to the condemned. Billy Barton interrupts and shoos the cleric away. Algernon sees Billy Barton performing like an Eton boy approaching the block for the first time. Billy looks out on the crowd:
“I dinit want t' waste the priest's time, I knows where I'm goin', gonna meet a lot of me best pals... I want to say good bye to Molly, an' to Maggie, an' Jenny, an' Lizzy, I'll miss you all, an' all me chums, I can see yuh out there, an' all the boys at the old Vic...” Little Tommy starts sobbing and clings to Algernon. Brad and Perry begin coughing and weeping, and hugging Sammy. They see the hangman pull the lever and Billy Barton's body twitching below, and all get caught in a surge as the crowd moves forward.
“My wallet!” Algernon shouts, Sammy checks and finds he's been robbed too. “Bloody cutpurses!” he swears. Tommy and his chums are nowhere to be seen. They've lost over forty pounds. Sammy, perhaps from experience has stashed money in his boot and has enough for a cab back to the hotel and supper in a pub. Sammy says that they need to meet some rich gentlemen soon. Algernon agrees.
Back at the Drake Hotel Algernon is accosted by a young woman of thirty in the lobby, “Aren't you Algernon, the Admiral's boy?” He turns around; he doesn't recognize the smartly attired woman immediately. “You don't remember the time you went swimming during a storm, and your father and mine pulled you into the dingy?”
“Katherine! I don't think I'll ever forget it; I was trying to swim across the bay from the headland rather than climbing around the long way. Then there was lightning and torrential rain; the sea got quite choppy, and then the boat with our fathers was there, and oh, you were there too.”
“You remember what you were wearing?” Algernon blushes. “I didn't think you'd forget. When the dog showed up without you we set out immediately... I'm surprised that the admiral didn't have Old Dunc thrash you, but then you never did get beaten that I recall.”
“That was before Eton.”
“After the stories I heard from your cousin Mitford, I'm not surprised. Not like Old Dunc's ticklings, he told me. Mary Gordon and I watched him tawse little servant brats a few times but he wouldn't let either of us watch the older boys getting theirs. Indecent he said. I suppose the beatings helped but I never saw it making any lasting impression on them. They were back to their old tricks an hour later. Now I'd just love to see a genuine Eton flogging, Mitford made them seem so dramatic; it was like it was staged; everyone watching the boy on the block. Imagine, flogging as drama, a play that is repeated over and over again with endless variations.” Looking at him with a playful eye, “Why Algernon, I could even imagine watching your bottom getting royally thrashed.”
“Really?” he counters, “You could?” She looks at him appraisingly. “And have you ever flogged a boy?”
“No, I've never beaten a boy but I've birched several young girls including your cousin Mary Gordon when she was small.”
“I would have loved to see that.”
“Algernon, she's your cousin! You should be ashamed. I think the whipping of boys, especially older boys, would be more..., well interesting. I'm told their privates may respond.”
Algernon fanaticizes being whipped by Katherine, and screwing her, but not wanting to be blatant about it he asks, “I've wondered about flogging girls, maybe on the bosom.” Katherine smiles encouragingly. “I wouldn't use a cane; I think a slender, tapered leather whip that would leave brilliant narrow stripes.” Katherine's generous bosom has not escaped Algernon's notice, he can see exactly where her nipples are and with her willing acquiescence he lightly squeezes her breasts. They're not as solid as I thought but you could still whip them” Whipping them on the breasts would be neat, twin mounds like a bum, but with a nipple in the middle of each buttock! I'd aim for the nipples.
“You would whip women across their busts?”
“I figure you'd even be able to cane them there, they're like buttocks, the gluteus maximus, and you don't have worry about bones close to the surface.”
“Do you think women would go along with that, it hardly seems fair?”
“We could let women do things to us, or maybe we could just whip their bosoms instead of bottoms, that would be fair.”
“I gather you and Mary Gordon have talked about certain things, Algernon.”
“She thinks men and women are equal, even full suffrage, and that girls should be flogged as much as boys. I agree; it's only fair. But I don't like her idea that only women should whip girls though, that's not fair.”
“How do feel about women whipping boys?”
“I would propose that boys should be free to choose, and girls too so that if a girl wants to be whipped by a man that would be her right. Men should not be prohibited from flogging women, but I can't see many would want to, unless they could whip their bare bosoms.”
“You know Algernon, your interest in these matters has been noticed by some in the family, they all blame Mitford and his stories.”
“I don't think they should. Besides there's much to be said for fustigation, some even believe it's one of the foundations of civilization. Think of the Empire.”
“I suppose.” Katherine is becoming quite enamoured of Algernon, his brightness, his poise and confidence for one so young, and his sensitive appearing skin. The thought of spanking Algernon, the spoilt child who with perceptible wisps of facial hair, who is no longer a child, excites her. He also lacks sufficient respect for the fair sex. She can see herself playing headmaster to him; she thinks his bottom is adorable. She moves obliquely, “Have you ever disciplined young boys?”
Algernon has only had his expensive and unsatisfying experiences with flogging Jack, however, “Once, under my master's orders, I had to flog a stable boy. My master believed the lad was guilty of a crime I knew he was innocent of. I was told to beat him until he confessed. Between each stroke I laid on I begged him to pretend to confess - but he stubbornly refused despite my efforts. I gave him as jolly a thrashing as I ever got.” Algernon smiles, he is pleased with his new version of the truth. He feels her gaze upon him and would like her to flog him but there is no mating of the complementary desires, they both realize it would be difficult to arrange and it remains unspoken.
“We must continue this conversation soon my dear Algernon.” she gets ready to leave and she gives his bum a hard pinch as she busses his cheek. “Bye, Algernon, I'm off to have breakfast with Aunty Millicent, and later we will be having tea with an interesting old lecher she met who's a chief constable in the Peelers.”
Sammy takes Algernon to a different hotel nearby and they stand idly a few paces apart near the kerb. Presently Sammy is accosted by a man who might be a solicitor or doctor and after a minute's conversation they leave in a waiting cab. Not long after, a tall conservatively well dressed mature gentleman introduces himself as Mr. Bradshaw. “When I realized you weren't waiting for a cab young sir, I thought you might be interested in some company.” Richard suggests a nearby inn where they can get to know each other better over a pint of ale; Algernon doesn't want things to move too fast. After, they proceed to his town room. The gentleman knows nothing of the poets, or anything of interest, and while a ring of life excites and satiates him he insists on endless clingy embraces and slobbery kissing on the lips for many minutes after. Ten pounds cannot be dismissed but Algernon would prefer not to meet with him again.
Back in the Drake Katherine confides to Algernon, “That old chief constable I mentioned has invited Millicent and I to observe the birchings of some young miscreants at the local station tomorrow. Legally they're not supposed to flog boys over fourteen because of some new act but, he says it's more humane than jail, 'Imagine what they would be exposed to among all those hardened criminals'. He said that most ladies prefer the older lads which I thought was rather understanding. He is anxious for the public to see justice done, and is especially gratified when young ladies and mothers attend. He went on about the hand that rocks the cradle and the need to instil a proper fear of the consequences of wrongful behaviour at an early age. The pompous old bastard was full of the most nonsensical platitudes... I just think it will be fun.” Algernon has heard Jimmy talk about how shocked he was by the judicial floggings he saw in London. He would love to go, and asks if they could accompany them. “I'm not sure, he promised that this demonstration was for ladies only, but come along, I'm sure they must have something for gentlemen too... I can't wait to tell Mary Gordon all about it when I see her.”
Algernon and Sammy accompany Katherine and her aunt Millicent to the police station and meet the Chief Constable, Jack McGregor, a gruff older man with a huge moustache. He formally takes the ladies hands and kisses them. “I'm delighted you could make it. I just wish more of the fair sex took your interest in the operation of the judicial system. Mothers, and future mothers, the hands that rock the cradle, I feel if we can get to them, there will be a lot less crime in these isles in the future.” Three other ladies are there and shortly the Chief Constable asks them all to follow him. Algernon, uncertain, goes to ask the chief constable something but McGregor firmly informs him, “Sorry gentlemen, but this viewing is for the ladies only. I suggest you see Constable Malone as I believe he may be dealing with some other miscreants.”
The boys find Constable Malone near the main desk, “We's always much obliged t' have respectable gentlemen attend, especially Eton gentlemen. I hears you're no stranger t' the rod there, I think everyone's heared about old Keate, a righteous, God fearing man if there ever was one... Unfortunately gentlemen, you picked a bad day, we's just got one wee wretch right now.” The boys don't object. “I'll go fetch the little bugger now... Oh, I almost forgot, we's requestin' that our guests make a small charitable donation t' the Police Orphans Fund. The money goes t' providin' the poor little tykes with shoes and decent winter coats. A pound say, from each of you gentlemen would be sorely appreciated by the little buggers.” The boys pay.
Constable Malone returns dragging a miserable, ragged barefoot boy who can't be more than nine or ten. Between sobs the child cries for his mother. “You'll be seeing your mother soon enough me lad, just as soon as we're finished.” Turning to Algernon and Sammy, “A pickpocket, caught 'im red handed they did. A few years back we'd a probbly 'anged 'im, the magistrate he just ordered a dozen. They're tough little buggers mind you, I can always add a few extra if it would please you gentlemen.” Algernon figures he just wants more money and declines.
Constable Malone recruits a couple of burly helpers who grab the boy's shoulders and they make their way through an equipment room and enter a small dreary earth floored courtyard with high brick walls all around. A sturdy bench and a bucket of birches in water or brine are the only furnishings. When they enter the little boy sees them and starts screaming for his mother and struggling desperately. “Mother, Mary.” He's obviously Irish and reminds Algernon of Micky a few years ago. The helpers strip to their waists and Malone removes his jacket. The boy is quickly stripped of his ragged trousers and filthy shirt, slapped when he resists, and made to lie face down on the bench. One helper sits on his shoulders while the other holds his legs. Things are happening fast, no ceremony, and before Algernon's ready to watch, Malone slams a birch down of the boy's buttocks, and more blows follow in quick succession. The boy struggles and shrieks hysterically, his buttocks become bloody and the helpers get lightly splattered as the heavy thrashing continues. Algernon stares in shock as the skin shreds and blood flows freely, much of it from cuts on his belly where the twigs have wrapped around. Malone moves around to the other side of the screaming boy, “Don't fuss laddy, you'll be seeing your mummy soon now.” The flogging continues. Algernon is shocked by the severity of the birching, he wants to tell Malone to stop, it's not fun. Sammy can no longer watch and turns away, teeth gritted crying to himself. After the boy is released Malone lifts up the convulsively shaking, screaming boy and sits him on the bench, blood running down his legs. “Settle down child, I ain't got all day.” The boy keeps on screaming and the constable slaps his face. “Stop your silly bawling you pathetic little Mick, I've got t' hand you back to your mum now.” The helpers pull his ragged trousers up his sticky legs and over his bleeding bottom. Malone advises the sobbing boy, “Tell your mother t' take 'em off afore the blood dries.” Algernon controls his rage and could have become violent if Sammy had not grabbed him and suggest they leave. Malone looks at them contemptuously, “I woulda figured Eton lads were up t'eyeing a good thrashin'.”
Algernon and Sammy have little to say to each other and wait outside the precinct station for Katherine and her aunt. Millicent stomps out first, loudly indignant, “I thought it rather forward of Chief Constable to practically demand a donation for the Police Orphans' Fund.”
“Well I suppose,” Katherine reasons, “there are needy orphans, and he did go to some trouble to arrange the demonstration which I found quite worthwhile. I understand the birchings were originally scheduled for yesterday, and the magistrate likes them on the day of sentence. And you have to admit the old codger was very kind and respectful. I do think a pound each was a bit steep however, but you have to agree it was quite entertaining.”
“Perhaps,” Millicent admits, “that first boy, the oldest looking one was quite comical as he tried to cover himself, as if he had anything worth hiding.”
“I thought beatings were supposed to make them bigger.” Katherine turns to Algernon, “You weren't much smaller when you were in nappies.” Algernon blushes.
“He did put on quite a show when McGregor got him you know where.” They both laugh,
“After that rude noise and the disgusting stink he made, he probably deserved it.”
“The birch certainly seemed to cure him of his modesty, everything flopping around, and you don't often see grown boys cry like that.” Millicent giggles.
“That tall skinny one who couldn't stop shaking was interesting; I could see his face making all sorts of funny expressions every time the lash bit into him.”
“They must feel it, it can't all be sham.”
“You wouldn't believe the things he did... And did you notice his thing?”
Millicent smiles broadly, “And did you notice his toes curl?”
“No... I wonder why,... something to do with those new neural things you think?”
“The last one had no idea what was happening. I think he was one of those...” she makes the circling gesture for a loony. “And he... micturated all over the floor.”
“At least the others tried to be manly. Can't blame the constable for giving him a few extra, but he wasn't near as much fun to watch.”
“I agree, I prefer it when they at least try to take it like a man.”
“Yes, you can appreciate their suffering better.”
“You would have thought there would have been more blood from the look of their posteriors and bellies.”
“Surface blood, the birch doesn't cut in very far. Mitford said it's quite easy to draw blood with the birch, he wanted to show me, but...”
“Well at any rate, I suppose we'll be able to feel safer on the streets now, with those cutpurses and pickpockets punished.”
“I feel safer already.”
“Yes, I suppose floggings are the silver lining of the cloud of criminality.”
Katherine turns to Algernon and Sammy, “How was your little boy flogging?”
* * *
Back at the hotel Sammy observes, “You know Algy, I bet some rich gentlemen would pay good money to watch boys flogged. I figure those constables probably take in over five pounds a day just in donations for those ugly miserable thrashings. Think if you could sell admissions to Hawtrey's Library!”
“The Holy Ceremony!... Imagine with the late afternoon sun coming in the windows illuminating the block against the dark panelling.”
“But there'd be no room for the rest of us to watch.”
“We could widen the doorway,... or tear out the wall.”
“Why not move them to the Chapel, or rent a hall?”
“We'd make a fortune, especially if we could hold events for ladies.”
“But where would we get the boys,” Sammy wonders, “I don't think any at Eton would do it, not even if you paid them.”
“I bet some of the boys we saw at the hangings would, for just a crown or two. I'd gladly pay to see Tommy and his pals royally thrashed.”
“We'd have to supply the birches of course, but d'you think we'd have pay Hawtrey?”
“Too bad Jimmy doesn't like common bottoms, or he'd do it for free.”
“I'm not sure the big beak would go along with it anyway. You know how preachy Hawtrey gets, I just don't think we could get away with it at Eton.”
“I know what,” Algernon suggests, “Lord Orford's got digs on High Street, we could flog boys there. He has connections in London, and I think Oakes would make a magnificent headmaster. We could become partners.”
“Don't even tell Simms, if he gets the idea he'll simply start charging for Pop tannings, and seeking new bottoms with a vengeance.”
They decide they can't trust his lordship, and on further consideration they're not sure the scheme is practical.
* * *
A discrete inquiry at the hotel gives Algernon an address on Bedford Street where he might find what he is seeking. A beautiful fulsome girl a few years older than himself opens the door and leads him into an opulent parlour where she asks him to wait. Shortly a richly dressed, big bosomed woman enters and introduces herself as Mistress Terrissa, and sits beside him on the brocaded sofa. “Please make yourself comfortable Master Richard, I want you to enjoy your visit.” Algernon is brightly attentive. “We cater to the most intimate needs of gentlemen and with the utmost discretion.” She lightly clasps his right hand with hers. “There is no need to be shy...” She raises him to his feet and with an arm around him walks him into an adjacent room with an enormous bed. On the walls he sees a lovely slender tapered whip, a three tongued tawse with a richly embossed grip, and a gleaming martinet discretely displayed among the abundant bric a brac. He smells incense, not a favourite, but... Interesting. They sit on a cosy seat and talk. Her own confessions and kind manner encourage him to speak candidly. Mistress Terrissa seems to feel that his desires are worthy and fascinating, she seems to understand him perfectly, and he reveals his most bizarre thoughts as she praises, pets and encourages him to expound on himself and his desires. Tears of joy, of relief come to Algernon's eyes. Terrissa strokes his neck and shoulders, massages his head, his scalp and almost has him purring. “I want to help you; I love the things we talked about. Do you feel ready?” Algernon nods, nuzzling in her ample bosom. “It will give me great pleasure to help you.” she serenely but expectantly gazes into his face. “Your pleasure?” Algernon's so content and cosy he is almost forgetting the purpose of his visit.
Algernon emerging from his bliss, blurts, “I would fancy a fustigation.”
“I'm glad to hear that. We pride ourselves on our fustigations; they are like a tonic and renew both the mind and the body. Some of our clients discover a spiritual dimension and partake two or three times a week.” She can tell that Algernon is more than ready and indulgently pets his neck, thighs and bum. “Do you have anything in particular in mind Master Richard.?”
“When I was younger I knew the birch and the cane, but only from men and I...” Mistress Terrissa regards him sympathetically, gently pulls him over onto her lap and lowers his trousers enough to expose his buttocks and lightly spanks them while she caresses his head with her other hand. Leaning close and pulling him into her ample bosom, she strokes his head and softly, reassuringly whispers in his ear. His trousers are adroitly removed and Algernon snuggles in holding her perfumed glove to his nose, his eyes fluttering smiles and his hard boner quivering.
She firmly massages his just pinkened bum inquiring, “Were you spanked as a small child?” Algernon shakes his head, and Mistress Terrissa starts increasing the force of the blows which soon turn his globes a bright red. Algernon is beginning to respond, his breathing quickens and she can feel his tension building, and then she slackens off and slowly strokes his back from his neck to his knees. She pinches his buttocks and blows in his crack and then lightly kneads his bum again. The spanking resumes, gradually becoming harder until his bottom quakes with each blow, and his breathing becomes audible moans. The slow spanking has built up a surprising level of pain and need. A few more and Algernon shudders and squirts as Mistress Terrisa hugs him caressing his shoulders and neck. Mistress Terrissa knows and loves young boys, and wishes she received more.
Starting lightly she resumes spanking. Algernon feels his balls being played with and a hooked finger probing his arsehole. After several stop and start minutes and bouts of persistent hard spanking Algernon squirts again and is praised, “Richard. My magnificent stallion.” She takes a dribble from his cock and tastes it, “Ambrosia, my prince!” Algernon feels wanted, heroic, happy and sated but more is called for. She lies back and draws Algernon's head to her bosom, and retrieving a very thin cane from beneath a pillow she begins whipping his bottom. She licks his face, cuddles him and kisses his temple as she smartly snaps the cane into his inflamed mounds. It takes a while and he doesn't squirt much this time but his heart is pounding and he has to catch his breath. Mistress Terrissa cuddles her naughty little boy, her fantasy not his, and very lightly fondles his privates. Algernon feels sated, warm and loved in a way that Jimmy could not comprehend. His bottom is terribly sore but next day he is amazed by how little bruising he has. Three days later when the marks are almost gone he returns for another expensive session with the voluptuous and compassionate Mistress Terrissa.
* * *
After Sammy leaves for France Algernon is at loose ends, and despite a couple of rather boorish, though kindly rich gentlemen he finds himself short of cash, or enough to visit Mistress Terrissa with any frequency. His father's solicitor refuses to give him any more advances unless he hears from the admiral and Algernon with some regret decides to go home to Wight. Cousin Mary Gordon is there and although Katherine is tied up in London. Perhaps Katherine and I...
His family welcomes him, his mother is proud of her young scholar and his young siblings are intrigued by his tales of Eton. The servants however are beastly to him. Micky, who's grown a bit, pretends he doesn't even exist. Algernon's offended by the rudeness but can't really do anything about it. He forgoes riding and doesn't even say hello to Old Dunc. When he's not with his family or his cousin Mary Gordon he goes on long lonely walks, swims and climbs, reads and writes. The Isle is its own little world.
Wight is Right
Wight, bright nugget of the crown
cast off but cuddled by Hampshire's downs
Coast frothed with foaming garland
eroding chalk cliffs and moving sand
Embraced by storms and crashing seas
Hard rock o'ergrown with soft fecundity
Like Wight, I am apart
The Solent of my mind
from their Christian morality
Freeing me to pursue my fancy
The truth worth knowing
My mind is cuddled
comforted by the calls of poets
to be a knower of reality
Challenged by the storms
Tugging winds and slumping cliffs
Stupidity and hurting heart
I know realty, the one for me
Beyond the Cannon Clustered at Cowes
The cappings of white caps
the frothy foam that forms
where waves crest
or oceans lap
on the surface of the sea
Like lives passing through history
Being there a moment and then on
Perhaps to some beyond
What winds will blow
and agitate my mind and soul
What will I find where I venture
to and fro indentured to the pursuit
of truths I may follow
I want to know
* * *
Algernon's return to Eton this Michaelmas is not the joyous manic occasion of before, he has become too worldly, and the school is no longer the universe where 'all pleasures abound'. A few mundane things have changed; Smith is now House Captain, and shows off the cane he can now use and practices on a pillow. Throckmorton has been reborn as a Methodist over the summer and is even more priggish. Algernon listens to dire prophesies and punishment and sometimes doubts his own lazy agnosticism. But he sees Bart in a new, almost heroic light when Hawtrey beats him for mocking Church liturgy and threatened apostasy. A martyr to his faith! It seems heroic, something a poet would do.
The humble Saint Gernonus dressed only in a tattered remnant of his order's robe stands before the special inquisitor dispatched from Rome to deal with him. Saint Gernonus remains steadfast as the inquisitor lays out the tools of his trade and explains their use. Real Torture! He looks contemptuously at the inquisitor and states heroically, “Save yourself the effort, I will never recant. You might as well just burn me at the stake now.” Algernon however has the inquisitor insist on applying torture, he takes the red hot pincers out of the brazier and brings them up to his nipples. St. Gernonus remains resolute despite the smoke from his burning flesh. But then he knows the Turks, the Anglicans and everybody else have their martyrs too. Some say there are even Irish martyrs and Throcky has lovely big ruby red nipples.
* * *
When he returns to Eton Mr. Joynes greets him warmly and Jimmy notices a confidence, a cockiness in his bearing he'd not seen before. After pleasantries Mr. Joynes inquires of his summer reading and is shocked that not only does Algernon admit to reading William Blake but praises him, volunteers that he found much of interest in The Communist Manifesto, and that he met a most fascinating émigré from Greece who had fought the Turks and met Lord Byron. Mr. Joynes is unsure whether he is more shocked by his choice of reading, his communism, or his sympathy with insurgents. He obviously doesn't understand that we need the bloody Turks to keep the Russians in check.
While Mr. Joynes tends to be tolerant of youthful indiscretions, Jimmy is eager to renew his acquaintance with Algernon's bottom, and discuss some new developments. He patiently waits while Mr. Joynes lectures the boy about the false and dangerous ideas of Blake, “that pernicious conjuror of visions, that advocate of libertinage and seditious revolutionary ideas,” and makes his plans. Algernon's new cockiness will have to be dealt with firmly if they are to work together. Lubyanka advised him to take pre-emptive action when boys reach a certain age and start to display undue independence. A good hard thrashing to knock him down a few pegs, and he can think of as many reasons as may be necessary. A thrill shudders through him. He will bide his time and wait until after the school term officially begins after Michaelmas. Darling Edna's dizzy spells better be better soon.
Just after supper on the second day Jimmy takes Algernon aside, “I assume you're aware you owe three thrashings. I didn't want to spoil your first day but we can't have boys spreading seditious, atheistic ideas at Eton, and preaching immorality. Never mind the communists, it's what these blasphemers like Blake and Byron promote. We have standards to maintain at Eton, standards of propriety, of morality, of loyalty to what England and the Empire stand for. That alone warrants a dozen wouldn't you say? And sedition, I don't mean that silly manifesto, I'm sure David Ricardo takes care of anything Marx might say, but this republicanism which threatens our traditional British liberties I will never tolerate. This must be stamped out ruthlessly. Eight for sedition would seem fair. And do you want the Russians taking over the Bosporus? That's what will happen if we don't back the Turks… If you'd at least denounced Byron…”
“You want to beat me, don't you, Jimmy?”
Jimmy looks at him uncertainly. “What do you mean? I only want to correct your misunderstandings.”
“I thought we didn't need reasons anymore Jimmikins.” Algernon looks at him coyly.
“Why Algynins,” a smile of radiant surprise spreads over Jimmy's face, “it has been a while, hasn't it?... What do you say to my library after supper? Eat lightly.”
“Flog me in the Pupil Room.”
“But we have so much to discuss my little Algybum. I have important news from the great Professor Lubyanka.”
Thackery thinks he's a fool but Algernon agrees to a private flogging. “You bastard Swinny, what about me, and the rest of us, what're we gonna do for fun if your arse is privately flogged?” Algernon however, has his reasons.
Edna is visiting her mother so Jimmy is alone when Algernon reports after supper. Jimmy sits Algernon on his big leather sofa by the window. Slanting sunrays brilliantly backlight the boy's long unruly red hair. Jimmy finds an attractive visceral quality in his new adolescent facial texture and wonders if he has any pimples on his bum too. “Shall we?” Algernon casually strips showing little modesty as he stands before his tutor rubbing his buttocks. Jimmy notices how his protégé has changed; he's only a couple of inches taller than when he first met him, but his soft form has filled in with lean hard muscles giving him a strong wiry build. He sees that hair is spreading around his balls and creeping into the crack of his muscular arse. He also takes a close look at Algernon's nipples. Hmmm, I think I'll always prefer bottoms. But then after his discussions with Professor Lubyanka Jimmy believes that nipple discipline will bring him fame and fortune. I'd have to write a book and there'd be lectures tours. He sees himself performing demonstrations on local boys in England, Wales and Scotland. There would probably be lucrative offers from France and the German states, Vienna maybe, and I've heard that Italian boys have particularly fulsome nipples. Who knows? Perhaps even America! We should help the Empire's errant daughter share in the progress of civilization. Jimmy pauses, selects his favorite medium cane. “Shall we start with a dozen, Algybuns?”
“Why don't you spank me first?”
“Spank? We're not running a nursery here Swinburne.”
“But Jimmy, it makes it better if you have a warm up first.”
“What on Earth do you mean? What's this all about Swinburne?”
“I was just…”
“Enough of this. We have momentous developments to discuss. Now be quiet and listen.” Jimmy positions Algernon over the chesterfield with extra pillows to prop up his head so he can listen comfortably. THWACK “D'you want another pillow?” Algernon shakes his head. “The great professor believes that discipline must become more diverse, more politically sophisticated, and be more open to new methods and definitions in order to prosper as a science. He said that scientific disciplinarians like us are locked in a mortal struggle against the forces of international namby-pambyism. He was very enthusiastic about nipple discipline, an elegant concept he said, and he agreed that whipping them is not torture although pinching and twisting them clearly would be He was greatly impressed by the work we carried out. Mind you I had to improvise a few results because of my broken wrist but I have confidence in my intuition…” THWACK Nipple whipping he believes it is appropriate for males and for females up to ten. I was ready to concur when after some deliberation Madam Lubyanka stated it would be permissible for girls up to eighteen provided that they are carnally innocent.” Algernon is glad to hear this. THWACK “She described tests that could be employed to determine girls' carnal innocence. Also, she immediately grasped the problem of boys' variable nipple size, and suggested that it would not be an issue if electrical stimulation was employed as all nipples have roughly the same number of nerve ends regardless of size…” THWACK “I sometimes suspect that she's more brilliant than her illustrious husband. It was in the spirit of advancing discipline's influence in the nation that the professor informed the Admiralty of our work. They immediately assigned Rear Admiral Burchall, the man in charge of counterespionage to the project. You'll be interested to learn my dear Algykins…” THWACK “that they've already obtained a ruling from the Privy Council that electrical stimulation in counter espionage interrogations is not torture. The Archbishop of Canterbury concurs...” THWACK
“Why don't you want to spank me Jimmy? We could do an experiment.”
“Don't jimmy me Swinburne!” THWACK “I'll have no more fuss...” THWACK “The idea of my bare hand touching your naked bottom smacks of indecency. You should know that...” THWACK
“But Jimmy...” THWACK
“Be quiet! Now you're probably wondering why the sudden interest in our research. Admiral Burchall confided to us that they're expecting war with Russia, a new modern kind of war with new weapons and technology; rifled barrels, long range cannon, and what he terms, information technology. Wars will never be the same. Information technology, IT he was calling it for short, is crucial for counter espionage operations. They deal with spies, traitors and double agents.” THWACK “These people have information, information that could be vital for saving lives, the lives of our brave British soldiers facing the cruel, cowardly, serf ridden Russians. Extracting this information may mean the difference between victory and defeat. Think of the enormous suffering that could be avoided with proper, torture free, electrical information extractors. I didn't inquire but I got the impression that they were also considering non nipple applications…” THWACK Algernon tries to get into the flogging but Jimmy's incessant babbling and questions allow only the horrible pain into his consciousness. It s not how he likes to be flogged at all and he has to struggle to manage. Jimmy too draws little thrill as he is caught up in his schemes. The patents alone should make me rich. THWACK
“I suggested that we develop the prototype extractor right here at Eton where we have available subjects for testing. Also, I didn't mention it in front of Burchall, but I think we need to keep in mind non military applications.”
“Like schools Jimmy?”
“Of course my Algybuns, anywhere where you want pain...” THWACK They would be simple to manufacture, a hand cranked generator and two wires with clamps for the nipples. They could be small enough to be portable, maybe on wheels.”
“But wouldn't the clamps be like pinching, and maybe torture?”
“Interesting observation Algynins, but I'm sure if the Admiralty can find a way around it, so can we.”
“Instead of clamps it could have needles that would be inserted, that wouldn't be torture, would it?”
THWACK “I think you're on to something Algybuns!”
Eventually they finish with another dozen. It is not one of Jimmy's best performances; Algernon only survives by imagining Jimmy's giant pizzle working his hole .He comes nowhere near squirting and Jimmy patiently waits for Edna to get home.
After Throckmorton's generous nipples get infected from the needles and Thornside's get nasty burns, the Admiralty, on the advice of legal counsel, shifts the tests to one of its training ships, and research at Eton is suspended.
* * *
Thackery has grown and blossomed, very fine blondish wisps adorn his chin and upper lip, pimples populate his cheeks, and he now has a head on Algernon. With Sammy gone he is the only boy around that Algernon considers worth talking to. He knows a lot and seems to have figured everything out, and he can be clever like Sammy. But he doesn't love him like he did Sammy. Thackery has no interest in poetry and they've hardly fooled around. Then Algernon is pleased to discover that Thack's cock is finally catching up with the rest of him. And his nipples too. Now that Smith has his own fag he's not terribly keen to screw Algernon, who understands, but there's no one else until he decides Thackery will do. Actually Thackery, who's learnt to do some things with his long fingers is quite fun to spoon, although he's not as nice to screw as Sammy was, and he sometimes farts.
Thackery is looking forward to having junior boys fag for him. “You were lucky Swinny, your time as a fag was mercifully brief and mild; just a few slipperings for impertinence and laziness you said. My fag master provided me with a detailed accounting of the cost of pain. It's like I learnt its value. He kept tabs of everything you did and you got demerits, and when you got five, you got five with this enormous slipper, all for little things, I never got less than thirty a week. He liked to save them up give me ten or more at a time. I didn't mind. I figured it all out. Sometimes I worked out deals with him which left my arse mighty sore. Next year I hope to have my own fag, one I can learn how to rule with; one with a pretty face, an impressionable mind and a fine whacking bottom.”
“Good training for running the Empire?”
“And keeping the arm in shape, just think, you might have to deal with over a dozen servants in the colonies. I think I'll start him off with a good whacking; ten'd probably be about right. You know what they say, at Eton you enter as a slave and leave as a tyrant. I want my turn as tyrant. I've done the first part and after five years on the other end I feel I deserve a few privileges. Knowing the price of floggings, I'll get the most out of the fag without much effort and get my fun too…I don't think I'd spoon him, but that would depend. I think it's better to have tarts on the side. There are times you really need one… And what about you Swinny?”
“I would fancy a sturdy lad, one who can lift and carry things, with a nice plump bottom and a mind dull enough to deserve frequent slipperings, but I'd only spoon him if he had a big dick.”
“You are a pervert, Swinny.” They both laugh. “Anyway, we've earned it. I think it will be heavenly to have a bottom to whack when we need it.”
* * *
“Boyeeee.” Algernon calls. He's just getting used to making fagcalls and have younger boys run errands for him. He sends one off to deliver a letter he's sealed with wax imprinted with his ring to Tristan. He wants his beloved to meet him in the oak copse behind the chapel. Algernon waits almost an hour before Tristan arrives.
“Tristan, I was worried you wouldn't come.”
“I got your message, but I was fagging for a tug.
“Did you read my poem?”
“Not yet, a beak almost caught me with the note and I had to shove it down my breeks.”
“Sit beside me, and I will read it to you.” Tristan breaks the seal and gives the note to Algernon who with an arm around his friend recites without reading:
Dare I tell thee noble lad?
Dare I my thoughts reveal?
Dare I sing o' the joy you bring
And make my poor heart glad.
Dare I speak of my pure love?
Dare I express just how I feel?
Dare I pray that on this day
Our souls shall be betroth?
Dare I sing of minds harmonic?
Dare I praise my blithely prince?
Dare I adore your face and more?
And rejoice in love platonic
Algernon pulls him closer, “As a token of my love, may I kiss you?”
“I was thinking of your lovely perfect lips.”
“As long as you don't stick your tongue in, but won't the cheek do?”
“I love you Tristan.” Algernon takes Tristan's hand
“I am very fond of you too, you know that.”
“I mean love. You represent truth and beauty to me.”
“I respect you, I am flattered, I am honoured that you care for me.”
“Do you love me? Do you feel?... I want you as the subject of a perfect sonnet. I want our love to be so pure, as pure as the perfection I see in you… Tristan. Oh, Tristan.” Algernon goes to kiss Tristan on the lips but the youngster pulls away and shakes his head.
“I really like you Algernon, I like you more than I ever liked… say, Sammy.”
“Oh we didn't do all that much, we sure as hell didn't kiss, but a beak almost caught us.” Tristan rubs himself and puts his other hand on Algernon's thigh. “Take me to this secret tower you told me about. My dick will agree to what my lips cannot accept, and should not mention.”
“I want our love to be pure, 'Minds harmonic/Love Platonic,' that's what I want with you. True friendship on the highest, purest level, above the flesh, and mere spooning.”
“Why? I want to spoon, I like it and I want you. I think of you when I rub to make it grow bigger. My uncle says that's why the Musselmen have such big ones. Spoon me Algernon.” Disappointment, despair contorts Algernon's face. “Don't make me into an idol. Don't worship me, Algernon, please.” Tristan shoves down his trousers and unders, pulls up his shirt exposing himself, inviting Algernon to touch him. “See, he's glad to see you. You can kiss him all you want.”
“No Tristan, No. I don't want to love you that way, I don't care if DeVries had you that way, my love for you is pure.”
“Come on Algernon, my dick is hard.”
“I would do anything for you, I would take thrashings for you, I would never tell, it would be our secret… Come on, cornhole me. Please. I want it; I know you're boned up. Show your love by screwing me.” Tristan lies back, knees by his ears, his anus seeming to wink at Algernon.
“I can't Tristan, I love you too much. We should be beyond that, Our love is so precious and I don't want anyone to ever hurt you. We should show our love by saving it, by not squirting, it would be a test of our devotion.”
“Bloody Throckmorton, maybe you should get platonic with him.” Tristan bursts into sobs, and when Algernon attempts to comfort him he is rejected and told to go away. Algernon again tries to comfort the sobbing boy but gets a hard elbow in the ribs for trying.
“But you don't understand my prince.” he protests grimacing in pain.
“Well, you just understand this.” Tristan kicks him hard on the shins. Algernon, suddenly enraged, pushes Tristan to the ground and starts pummeling him. It's a lobsided scuffle and Tristan's nose starts to bleed. Algernon quickly cools down and takes out his handkerchief to wipe his beloved's face. The younger boy tells him to go wank off, and pulls his own hanky out of his jacket pocket. A card falls out, the ace of hearts, and when Algernon turns it over he sees a picture of a buxom lady clad only in a tiny black corset. It's from Sammy's deck.
“A souvenir?” Algernon asks. “Sammy screwed you too?”
“Didn't he screw you?”
“That's got nothing to do with it.”
“That's more than you done.” Tristan laughs. Algernon's ready to attack Tristan again. But the boy smartly grabs the card and sarcastically inquires, “D'you want to beat me? What is your pleasure Mr. Swinburne, the birch or the cane?” Algernon can barely control his anger. “Or would you like ME to spank YOU?” He laughs, and starts to walk away, but with tears in his eyes he turns, and puts an arm around Algernon's shoulder. “Sorry Algy, I didn't mean that.” Algernon shakes him off violently. Tristan leaves again as Algernon screams obscenities and cries, sobbing convulsively. Algernon cries until he can cry no more and feels so very alone in the oak copse where he'd planned to somehow demonstrate the purity of his love. Sammy, though at times he hated Sammy, I know he really loved me. Sammy, Sammy would understand
* * *
Algernon soon starts plotting to have Thack spank him, and maybe cane him. “Ever beaten anyone before?”
“Not yet, but I'm looking forward to it when I get a fag. Lunsford said it takes a while to get the knack of it.”
“D'you want practice?” Thackery looks at him questioningly. “Would you beat me?”
“I'd like you to.”
“It wouldn't be right, Swinny. It's not like you're my fag which would make it on the up and up, and you're only a year younger.”
“That's enough, and you'd be doing it as a friend. I'll give you instructions.”
“Instructions? Isn't it enough that I just beat you?
“Well, I want you to spank me first.”
“Spank?” Thackery pretends shock,
“Yeah, with your hand. You'll start not too hard at first, and then harder, and you can play with my…”
Interrupting, “Beggars can't be choosers. I'll stick to a stick, or rather a slipper.”
“You stickler you.”
“I'm not going to hand it to you… Get it?... Actually the idea of practicing fascinates me, and I suppose your bottom is better than a pillow, but I won't be spanking when I've got a fag. Nobody ever gets spanked here Swinny, you should know that.”
Thackery thinks about beating Algernon, Why not? It doesn't make sense but he's curious and it could be fun. He's becoming enthusiastic and can't think of a better person to practice with. He got to watch Lunsford on a couple of occasions, It's the way you flick the slipper. However he has no interest in getting beaten himself.
“But what if some rich gentleman offered you forty pounds if he could cane you, Thack?”
“I can't see why anyone would want to, maybe Throcky, but not me. Forty's a lot, he's telling you he's got money, so I'd ask for eighty and then come down a bit if I had to. It'd depend on who they were and how much I figured they had. I wouldn't take a caning, say six of Jimmy's standard strokes, for less than five pounds. It'd be what you could get, but I'm sure there are better things.” Algernon finds his minimum price reasonable but as one gentleman to another he cannot suggest a deal.
Algernon would like Thackery to cane him, he's sure he'd be willing, but what if Jimmy found out, saw the marks? But what if he did? Then there's a three day period where Mr. Joynes will be in Cambridge attending a conference of Latin scholars, and Jimmy won't be around. Algernon hopes to steal one of Jimmy's canes. He sees his chance and approaches Thackery, “I'm offering you your chance to practice, isn't that sweet of me?”
Thackery knows of an abandoned crofter's shack the other side of Slough that Jimmy had once taken him to. It's pleasant walk and along the way Algernon cuts some hazel switches as he was unable to steal a cane. “What are those for? I need to practice slippering, I won't be able to cane my fag, so I'm going to slipper you, I got a big one under my jacket that Lunsford left me.”
“At least you can spank me first?”
“Yes, it makes the caning better.”
“I'm not going to cane you, and I'm not sure I want to spank you, it seems rather silly. I'm not your nanny.”
“Come on Thack, Please.”
Algernon strips and slides himself over Thackery's lap and the tall blond boy starts slapping his arse. After a while Algernon complains, “You gotta do it harder than that.”
“What about my hands?” Thackery quips but obliges with hard regular stinging spanks and Algernon settles in indulging in the growing pain and the tension in his loins. He squirts and soon is on his way again. “I can't take it much more Swinny, my hands are on fire.”
“Be stout old boy, you can take it.” After a second coming Algernon demands, “The cane, the cane.”
“What about the slipper?”
“You can use it too.”
Thackery, looking at the mess on his breeks swears, “You bloody bastard Swinny, I hope Eena doesn't notice. Now you really deserve a sound thrashing.” Algernon gives him a broad smug smile and kneels on the bench. Thackery takes one of the improvised canes and starts whacking his crimson bum with considerable enthusiasm. “I'll teach you to control yourself.” It takes a while, and only after weals begin to overlap and ooze does Algernon call it quits.
“Now, could you screw me?”
“I don't know Swinny, your arse is pretty ugly with all those welts, and ugh! It's all sticky.”
“Aw Thack, come on. Please!”
“Oh well, I suppose.”
After Jimmy returns from Cambridge he's anxious to exercise his marital rights but desiring a warm up first he grabs Algernon. “My dear Algybums, what do you say to a minor tickling? You know there is absolutely no one else I love caning more.” This is as close as Jimmy ever gets to verbalizing his love for Algernon. After Algernon bares his bruised and welted bottom Jimmy explodes indignantly, “What's the meaning of this Swinburne? I won't have you playing around while I'm gone?” Algernon ignores him and pretends indifference “Who was it, not Smith I hope.” Algernon pulls up his trousers. “Swinburne? You should get a dozen extra for this.” Just then he notices Reggie Thornside going up the stairs and calls him over. “I have a matter I want to discuss with you Thornside.” Jimmy's only wanting an appetizer before feasting on the lovely Edna.
* * *
The thought of Jimmy flogging him no longer excites Algernon, or certainly not as much. He's known better. Jimmy doesn't understand. Maybe he doesn't know how. While Algernon doesn't want to just get beaten anymore, Jimmy's enormous pizzle, or so he remembers it from when he and Sammy were peeping in his bedroom window, intrigues him. He's convinced it's a foot long and he wants to take it up his arsehole. He shivers as he imagines it impaling him and fucking him not too gently. Jimmy has him on his lap, on thick hairy thighs, and hugs him around the shoulders and strokes his head. Mqybe he would spank me first… and maybe just a couple with a cane to get me real close…and it would be nice if he pinched and twisted my nipples just enough to…
But Algernon tells himself he's being silly, the truth… well he doesn't ask that, he doesn't know to, and it's a difficult question anyway. He knows he likes everything to do with beatings, from seeing what led to it or hearing about it, the announcement of the event, to the ceremony itself. Anticipation. Then the victim coming forward with everybody watching him, his condemnation by the headmaster, his sentence, the beating, his contest for control with the crowd watching, the victim's demeanor and return to his peers. I know it anyway but when my name is called my heart pounds and I feel more than real, and then it happens and hurts terribly, He never really remembers how bad it felt, although sometimes it's beautiful. The pain is the ante.
Much as he gets his jollies out of being beaten they are still painful and awesome affairs. And he knows that after, the following days, the discomfort is worse than the pain was. Yesterdays weals are ugly, and tender. Not much to look at but still nice to run your fingers over and feel pain's echo. You can't just glide through the next day, you try but you hurt. You try to ignore the burden: It is an unloved blemish which at last disappears.
Then you are whole again and move with unconscious grace, and are ready? You relive and fanaticize and speculate. You can take it. But you have to use your floggings, not just be stupid or unlucky. You're known by them. Cousin Mitford remembers his mates by their swishings, and not much else. Everybody knows you're a nobody at Eton until you're swished by Hawtrey. Thackery's figured it all out, and there are boys' laws which decide who can beat who, and that's how we're ruled. Everybody gets beaten, but only a few get to do a lot of beating. Thackery wants his share.
Being beaten has been how he's loved Jimmy, tried to make him happy, and squirt! You have me, I give myself, I do this for you Jimmy. I prove my love. His beating is a gift. Being able to take beatings has given him strength and knowledge of himself. Taking a beating is like a difficult swim across an inlet in stormy seas, you struggle to get through. An accomplishment? He knows that it means he can take it and other things too, and do much else. He has more power for having taken beatings. Beatings tell you about the cost of things, like Thackery asks, 'What would you trade a beating for?' But then beatings hardly seem to bother Thackery although he claims no pleasure from them.
I remember watching Old Dunc flogging Micky, at first it was just about hurting him, to punish him. I loved watching him suffer, his screaming and bawling and it made me happy, I was safe and felt superior to him. I was lucky. Then he recalls the last time when he'd had to hold him down, and Micky was barely fazed and unbowed. It was like Old Dunc had made him stronger with his beltings. Maybe Jimmy is right, maybe that's why England is strong and has the Empire. Maybe beatings do things to us, maybe just by making us not scared of some other things. Does knowing what beatings are like, and being able to take them make you different? It must. Eton beatings are not like the beatings of convicts and slaves which keep them in place, Eton beatings make you strong. But then he doesn't believe that either. He's seen what they can do to some boys
We take our beatings. Punishment? I like seeing swishings but I never think of it as punishment. I don't care what the victim did. Jimmy doesn't beat me to punish but because he likes it. The only time Algernon thought of beating to punish was when little Tommy robbed him. Beatings are better when they're not punishment, when you don't need reasons. I bet Jimmy wouldn't get as much fun from beating me if I was bad or he was angry. Algernon spends much time contemplating some of the beatings he's known and sees meanings. They're like chapters in his history. Mistress Terrissa has been an inspiration on many occasions. On other refractory occasions he sees joining her in some venture where they teach others the proper way to spank with all the frills. People would learn by being spanked. Terrissa could teach Thackery. He visualizes it. Soon you wouldn't be able to notice the pimples on his crimson bum. She could show him the right way to hold my nuts when he spanks me. Maybe we could put on demonstrations of the correct way to spank at some of those rich gentlemen's clubs. Terrissa and I would be on a round mattress, maybe on a turntable in one of the salons. She would hold me to her bosom and spank me with the other hand. Maybe have a drum to set the beat, and maybe a flute or whatever they used at that temple in Sparta. Maybe the rich gentlemen would cheer. And then that skinny little cane she has! That harem whip would be nice too. I bet Thackery's long fingers would be good for pinching and twisting nipples. He could have a booth. Algernon wonders if he would volunteer.
Soon Algernon is horny again and since no other regulars around he goes looking for Thornside whom he thinks owes him a favour anyway. “Done your prep Reggie?” Thornside nods, “Up to anything?” Thornside shakes his head. “Want to go up the tower?” It takes a few seconds before Reggie realizes he's suddenly horny and they quietly sneak off.
They take off their trousers and talk about their dicks. “Yours has sure grown Reggie.”
“You haven't seen it in over a year you know.”
“I saw it the last time you were swished.”
“That doesn't count, mine just shrivels on the block, not like yours… And this time you have to screw me first, and I'm not going to beat you, so don't ask.”
It wasn't quite what Algernon really wanted, but then beggars can't expect to be choosers. Afterwards he wonders: Why can't we always get what we want? It's not clear who the 'we' are. Reggie, the bastard, was finished before I really got started. Algernon feels cheated. Everybody should have to screw if you want them too, and for as long as you need, and girls too, it's only fair.
There comes a period when Algernon loses interest in floggings. It may be that he has watched far too many canings and swishings, and become jaded. Actually most beatings aren't all that interesting to watch. He makes an exception for Hawtrey's swishings if only because of the crowds and comments. Maybe they should try new things. How about martinets with lead tipped thongs that could get in places that are hard for even birches to reach? I bet even Throckmorton would squirt.
* * *
Lord Orford, who rarely goes around Eton unescorted, is by himself when he almost bumps into Algernon as he comes around a corner in the Cloisters. They look at each other in surprise. “Well, well, well, Swinburne old chap, it's good to see you.”
Algernon warily looks around, nothing unusual and he replies airily, “It's certainly been a while your lordship.”
“Yes it has, a considerable length of time I would say.” He waits to see Algernon's expression before proceeding, “I think bygones should be bygones. I hear all sorts of things, you seem to making quite a name for yourself here. That was quite a stunt you pulled on the Glorious Fourth.”
“I certainly thought you made a fine Marc Anthony.”
Lord Orford graciously acknowledges the compliment, “You know Swinburne the Debating Society needs to replenish its membership, Lacey and Oakes are off to King's College at the end of the term, and your name was brought up.”
“I'm not sure your lordship,” Algernon feels a delicious satisfaction and encourages Simms. “Being a member of Pops is certainly an interesting prospect.”
“I have the greatest respect for you Swinburne. People like us should stick together. We should be friends, not antagonists, we have much in common. Even here one cannot completely escape the vulgar herd.” Algernon nods his head. “Why I understand that there are several earls in your family” Algernon smiles modestly. “Your might explore your fascination with the cane. New members, as a sort of initiation get to beat a boy, like you're not really a full member until you do. It's what Pops is about.”
“Can I choose any boy?”
“Any tart you fancy. Have you checked out the new fish in the lower Fourth? I hear there's some real stunners. Just point him out and it will be arranged for him to attend one of our debates.” Algernon appears very interested. “I have an amusing anecdote to confide. When you arrived here somewhat tardily I had just been admitted and beaten some poor wretch. When you showed up I wished I had waited.” Simms smiles.
“I don't know if I should feel honoured?” Algernon retorts.
Simms laughs, “Swinburne, you're just the kind Pops needs. It gets dreadfully boring around there at times.”
“Would I get to use one of those knobby canes?”
“Certainly, we employ no other kind. They do tend to be a bit hard on the trousers which we require for decency, I hate to think what they might do to the skin otherwise. You know the routine I presume.”
“I recall when Pennington was…”
“Yes, yes, we put that on for your and Lunsford's benefit. We like to have one or two at our regular meetings. And if you're interested, I'm having a little get together at my digs on High Street this evening. A friend in London is bringing me up a selection of liqueurs from the Continent. They're all the rage in London. Well, what do you say Swinburne?”
“I'd love to be a member of the Debating Society. I even feel I might have something to contribute. And there is a boy I'd fancy beating, he's a rather short lad with a delectable plump bottom.”
“Wonderful, Swinburne, I'll arrange to have him attend. By the way, do you know his name?”
Algernon ponders and brightly announces, “Yes, as a matter of fact I do, Simms, your lordship in fact.” Lord Orford promptly turns and leaves.
* * *
According to Eena who tends to know such things, the lovely Edna has just completed her post menstrual ablutions and is ready for passion while her patient husband is chafing at the bit. Thackery claims that Jimmy will almost certainly want to hone his lust with a flogging or two before claiming his marital rights, and he plans to stay out of sight. Minutes later Algernon can see lust, flogging lust in his tutor's face when he's unavoidably cornered after supper. “Why Algybuns, we haven't had a good talk in a while, and there are matters we could discuss.” Algernon has thought over a number of things and pretends to simply comply. “I was thinking six would be nice number.” Jimmy thinking of himself honestly believes that six would be just right, would set him up.
“For a start?” Algernon jokes, and begins to strip.
“Why Algybuns, you're very thoughtful,” he looks at him sincerely, “but I was thinking six in total.”
“Spank me first Jimmy.” He bends over in front of Jimmy.
“Swinburne, I don't want to go through that again.”
“Then why don't you screw me first? He lies back on the floor, legs spread and raised with his hands pulling his arse cheeks apart. “I can tell you got a boner. Come on, let's see it Jimmy, pull it out.”
“Swinburne, don't be disgusting
“Don't you want to cornhole me? I'd like that.”
“Get into position, you filthy, disgusting creature.”
Algernon flaunts his cock which has more than doubled in size since Jimmy first saw it. “You like it Jimmy? Big as yours? Eh, Jimmy?” Jimmy angrily starts to cane Algernon with all his strength. THWACK THWACK THWACK “Is that the best you can do? There's ladies in London who can do better than that.” Jimmy starts wielding the cane wildly as Algernon taunts him. “Fuck me Jimmy. Take me. What's the matter?” he offers his arse. “Isn't this what you really want? My cockhole, it's here for you, don't you want to stick your big pizzle in it? THWACK THWACK My unholy chalice awaits your generative organ Jimmy.” Jimmy loses control and lashes Algernon indiscriminately dozens of times. At the end, when Algernon collapses bruises cover his shoulders, back, hips and legs. It's by far the worst beating he's ever had, his mind is dulled with anger, he hates Jimmy, and curses him publicly.
Algernon is in a deep funk for days. He rejects Thackery's attempts to console him but pesters Smith and Thornside to screw him; he can't seem to get fucked enough. Finally after two weeks he goes to confront Jimmy. He finds him alone in the Pupil Room. Mr. Joynes looks up from his desk, “Can I help you, Swinburne?”
'I'd like to speak to Jimmy.”
“I insist you address me correctly Swinburne.”
“I shall have you thrashed, I'll see you're in the Bill tomorrow Swinburne.”
“Fuck me Jimmy, I'm hard for you.” He stands demandingly over his desk. “How about you?” he grabs at Jimmy's crotch but is roughly slammed away. “Fuck me, take it out and fuck me. I want it.”
“Get out, get out immediately.” Algernon tries to fight Jimmy but is no match for his tutor and gets thrown to the floor.
“Aren't you even going to beat me?” he bends over offering his posterior.
“No, Damn you. Get out! Out!” He physically escorts him to his room.
Mr. Joynes is extremely upset, his anger is lost in his confusion. Swinburne has gone too far; Hawtrey must thrash him and send him home, and he could have been... Tears come to Mr. Joynes' eyes. Jimmy's rage subsides into self pity. He might just leave. All the things I'd planned, the nipple discipline wand, my new 'Sure Bleed' tawse with the tiny blades embedded at the end of the strands. Even a light whipping would provide just that touch of blood which enhances the visual effects. He needs Algernon's help desperately. How far can the blades stick out without cutting muscle tissue? And perhaps most he would miss, That look in his eyes when I'm about to thrash him. The tears are flowing freely, he buries his head in his hands at his desk in the Pupil Room and sobs, “Algybuns... my dear Algybuns... Whaaaa... hu... hu... hu...” Not long after boys in the room closest to Jimmy's digs swear they hear the sound of a heavy caning coming from his bedroom.
* * *
Algernon finds that he is not in the Bill. He tries, he arrives late for classes, he fails to prepare lessons, he's impertinent and blatantly insulting, he comes close to punching Mr. Cumberbirch. No master complains or even reprimands him. He also flaunts Pop's rules and nothing happens. After a few days Hawtrey summons him to his library. The Headmaster tells him he is a bad influence on the school and must leave immediately. He hands him a letter from his father instructing him to return home right away and that other arrangements are being made for his schooling. Smith as House Captain is delegated to help him pack and escort him to the Great Western station. Things are happening very fast; he doesn't get a chance to see Thackery or Tristan. Jimmy hovers in the background but says nothing and refuses eye contact. As they are about to go down to a waiting cab Algernon bursts into tears and sobs uncontrollably, “Eton, my Eton…”
* * *
O Wondrous is the path that leads
From Chapel to Lupton's Towers
From Eton to Westminster
From Whitehall to Rangoon
Eton is the crucible
Of our nation and empire
Us skinny little farts will rule the world
Blessed be our Eton
Blessed be the Fourth of June
We are the bloody best
We always win the day
Three cheers for George the Third
Hip hip hooray!
With our tailcoats and top hats
Our Pops, wet bobs and fags
Our bullies and our tarts
Our Latin and our Greek
Eton's birches and the cane
And the pain upon the block
We shall rule the world for king and queen
Blessed are Eton's legions
Blessed is our destiny
Bloody well the best
What more can we say
Three cheers for George the Third
Hip hip hooray!