J. H. P. Cash, 367

When I Were Nowt But a Lad 15

"This is a fucking two-stud, you know!" Andy said suddenly, through gritted teeth, turning from his desk on Guy and me.

I was sitting in their armchair, my feet up on Guy's desk. Guy and I were chatting away happily and eating toast during a quick ten minute visit before afternoon classes.

"And I'm trying to work," Andy added.

"Maybe you should have finished your French Prep during Prep last night, instead of leaving it 'til five minutes before the lesson," suggested Guy a little primly.

"Fuck you, swot-face! I could easily get it done now if you and your boyfriend weren't giggling away like schoolgirls." Andy looked at me: "'Hast thee no home of tha' own t' go t'?", he said, broadening his accent ridiculously. His Uncle's side of the family business included a few pubs.

"I need to get my books together anyway," I said, getting up to leave. As I closed the door, I looked at Guy and put a finger to my lips, making an exaggerated "Shushing" mime. We both giggled like schoolgirls and Andy sighed.

I was indeed spending a lot of time in Andy and Guy's study. It was being remarked upon, even by Dab and Robert. But, well, two things: I was a little smitten and a little hurt. And both feelings were intimately connected. That rush of tenderness I'd felt for Guy in bed with him for the first time made me think about my affection for Robert, and his for me. And I had never really thought about either before. But now I wondered whether Robert had ever felt for me what I thought I was beginning to feel for Guy. And, if he had, did he now? And should I now feel upset that that affection might be threatened by Robert's doing stuff with Andy? This tenderness towards Guy and the different kind of tenderness, as of a wound, about Robert and Andy fed on each other. Spending time with Guy could nurture one tenderness and soothe the other.

Also, I had yet to get Guy even to suck my cock, never mind let me bum him.

Not that Robert and I had stopped having sex. Not at all. Only in my own mind had I possibly been usurped. Only in my own mind, possibly, had I ever held any position from which I could have been usurped. But now I found myself comparing myself unfavourably with Andy. Given the choice between myself and Andy, I would have taken Andy any day, and so I couldn't imagine that Robert felt any differently. Why would he still want me, when he could have Andy?

This is all probably complete crap, of course, but I do remember that I was feeling what I would not then have called "vulnerable" that Lent Term.

Fuck knows why. One thing I did have over Andy was that I liked getting bum-fucked and Andy so much did not that he'd refused even to try again. And I really did like it by now. It was still, at least initially, painful, but I now actually looked forward to it, seeing it now much more as the essential goal of having sex with Robert, rather than something I regarded, with a little trepidation, as an inevitable service you had to perform, more for the other's enjoyment than your own. I enjoyed a lot more too (or allowed myself to enjoy) the sensuality of the sex I had with Robert. Perhaps the awkwardness and slight clumsiness in what Guy and I had done made me appreciate more how wonderful it was to just lose yourself in holding, stroking, kissing, writhing against another boy, raking your fingers through his hair, nibbling at his neck. To have him hold your face in his hands and lick your chin, lick your nose, cover your mouth with his. I just knew that I was a better snogger than any of the girls at Robert's tennis club at home - with none of them could it possibly be so wild.

Although it was cold, we almost always ending up with the bed clothes slewed onto the floor within a few minutes of getting naked and moving in on each other. I might try to pull them back over us as I bent to suck him, but they would usually slide off again quickly. Unless I arranged myself on my side, my face on his tummy, and just held his cock in my mouth, hardly moving, warm and snug under the blankets. The little tent would concentrate the smell of his dick and balls. I had always enjoyed this, but now was unashamed about it. I had secretly sniffed his underpants when he wasn't there, and had even "borrowed" a jock strap of his from the Senior Changing Room and wanked off holding it to my face. When I first openly picked up his underpants from where he'd flung them on the floor when undressing and brought them to my nose Robert had looked disgusted.

"You let me suck your cock and lick your arsehole," I pointed out.

"Pervert," Robert smiled.

"You're the one fucking a 14 year-old!" I retorted.

I loved to lie there quietly, his cock in my mouth, tasting and smelling him as he ran his hands over my hair and down my face. Once he pushed a finger into my mouth alongside his cock, and I sucked that as well, then moved off his cock to take all four of his fingers in my mouth. I sucked on them, then replaced them with his thumb, then sucked on the skin between his thumb and forefinger. And so the frantic stuff would start again. He would huff and pull me up his body, turning me on my back so that he could thrust his dick along my belly, against my cock, and he'd push my wrists above my head and hold my arms up and away. I would nuzzle against his neck and chest, snuffle into his armpits, licking at the few hairs. I'd try to twist and free my wrists so that I could hold him but he would just say, "No, no, no, Little Boy: you're mine."

And there, then, I most definitely was his. I'd whimper, a little theatrically perhaps, but I'd mean it: little whimpers and moans of frustration and need and happiness.

When he did let go of my wrists I'd reach for the jar of Vaseline. Before that term, it would always be Robert who moved things on to the fucking. Now I wanted to offer myself first, before he'd even made the gesture that constituted his asking. I still liked to show off as I greased my bumhole, and would switch on his little bed-head light if it wasn't on already so that he could watch me shove my greasy fingers into myself. Sometimes he liked to help with his own fingers, but usually he just watched, smiling but a little impatient. I'd smear his dick. Then he'd say how he wanted me. "On your back," or "On all fours," or "On your front." I loved being on my back, being able to hold him, watch him and kiss him as he bummed me, but I felt most lustfully, abjectly his kneeling with my head down on the mattress between my forearms, my back arched to raise my hole to him.

The one occasion that I remember when I spunked without even touching myself, just from Robert's fucking, we were on our sides. I was surprised to feel myself actually coming - it always seemed close when I was being fucked, but suddenly my spunk was flowing, rather than spurting, from my dick onto the bottom sheet. There was no exaggeration to my long whine then. Robert didn't last much longer. I reached into the pool of my spunk as he came in my arsehole. It was a lake! Robert collapsed against me and I ran my finger tips wonderingly through my spunk, amazed by how much I'd shot. When Robert made to pull out, I said, "No, stay in!" I'd sometimes thought that before, but never actually said it. I tightened my arse muscles slightly and Robert pushed back into me. "Feel this," I said, guiding his hand to the flood on the sheet.

"Fucking hell," said Robert. "You've never spunked that much before."

He ran his sticky hand over my light pubes, coating them with my spunk. His hand flattened against my tummy, pulling my hips back into his. His cock was stiffening again. I felt his spunk running down the inside of my thigh. For the first and only time in my school career, I fell asleep lying in my own spunk with a cock still up my bum. How vulnerable is that?

I probably only drifted off for a few minutes. When I woke the spunk was still wet, but Robert's cock had slid out of me. As I stirred, so did he.

"We better clean up," he suggested.

I struggled to turn to face him in the narrow bed: "No, let's don't. Please? I like it."

"God, you really are a pervert. If only they knew.... butter wouldn't melt, but get you going...." marvelled Robert.

"I know... I am awful - but you like me!" I lisped, imitating and slightly misquoting a character from The Dick Emery Show.

I deliberated moved closer against Robert so that the spunk smeared both of us. My bum still felt wet. As I've said, I was a good boy as far as my teachers were concerned. I flashed on that other good little boy, Guy, lying in a pool of spunk, his tummy and cock and balls and thighs covered with the stuff. And him smiling as I was now.

Robert's chin was resting on the top of my head. "Yeah, OK, I do like you," he accepted.

"As much as Andy?" I wanted to ask. But I didn't.

Guy wouldn't do anything anywhere except after Lights Out in his dorm. After that first time he wouldn't even let me suck him off in his study, even if Andy wasn't there. The showers on a half-holiday, the Drying Room, the little storage room for cleaning stuff: all out of bounds as far as Guy was concerned. I even tried suggesting that we sneak out to the cricket pavilion bogs after dark, where Simon and I used to meet. Discovery was unlikely there and we could, despite the cold, get naked. I wonder now if this limitation on location was a deliberate tactic to avoid us going "too far", too fast. The need for at least tactful levels of noise-making in the dormitory restricted what we could do in bed there. To be blunt, I couldn't go about deflowering his bumhole there. He had, after a few sessions, tentatively sucked my cock, but then wanked me off, not allowing me to spunk in his mouth, despite my enjoyment of his spunk.

One night we were just lying together after we'd both come - I think I was actually about to get up and go back to my own bed - when Guy said quietly, "I think we should stop this for Lent."

I thought at first that he meant the whole of the rest of the Lent Term, but then realised that he meant the religious period before Easter. It was a Church of England school, we had Chapel every morning and twice on Sundays and House Prayers in the evening twice a week, but the idea of any actual voluntary religious observance by a boy seemed quite odd.

"But it's not a bad thing," I protested. "It's not like sweets or smoking or that kind of stuff people give up for Lent."

"Silly, you're meant to give up something you like doing!"

Even now I could probably mumble the Lord's Prayer, The Credo and half-a-dozen hymns when anaesthetised upon a table, so frequently and so by rote did we "worship". But I'd never grasped this idea at all. We were admonished to "give up" something for Lent and put the money aside for the Biafran babies or slum children or some other good cause, but it was always made to seem that we should give up something which was bad for you anyway - something fattening, or unhealthy. Sex was naughty, of course, like sweets, but then...

"If you like it and it's not bad, why stop doing it?"

"Well, it is a bit bad, isn't it?" Guy suggested. "And, anyway, like I said, that's the whole point of Lent. We always give up something special at home."

"When's Lent then?" I asked, at least pleased to hear that Guy regarded this as "special". Or was this just an excuse?

"The forty days before Easter."

"And when's Easter?" I asked.

"God, don't you know anything?" Guy sighed and told me the date, not long after the end of Term.

"But that means we have to stop, um..."

"In two weeks."

"But..." I stopped myself. "Look, Guy, if you don't want to do stuff any more, it's OK you know? We don't have to. Really. You don't have to say it's for Lent or anything. Just say. I won't hate you or anything."

"It's not that..." Guy said.

"Are you worried about what your Dad might think?" I asked.

"God, no! He was at training college with loads of poofs. He doesn't mind them at all." Ah, the CofE of yore!

"No, really," Guy continued, "I'm... well, I don't know, really. Yeah, I do worry a bit, I guess. But I do like it. And I do like you."

From Robert that sentiment had not seemed quite so special. Guy was at an age when most boys had become particularly wary of straightforward statements and requests such as "Will you be my friend?" or "You're my best friend". It was rare for 13 year-old boys to state affection so boldly, even in private. For the first time I nearly failed to stop myself from saying to another boy, "I love you."

"But it's important, Lent... and..." Guy went on.

I remembered that before Christmas Guy had said something about how they didn't have many presents in his family because Christmas was a Church festival, not a time for "things".

When Guy set aside some of his pocket money for Biafra, I came to understand later, it meant something to him. For me and most of my fellows it was just another thing they made you do.

"Well, but..." I said. "But we've got two weeks still, yeah?"

I was on jack again. So was Guy. All this talk of abstinence had obviously got to us.

I opened our pyjamas again and pushed my dick against his smaller one. By now Guy was more relaxed about us holding each other close. His arm came round me tightly. He wouldn't kiss, but we grazed gently at each other's necks. I put my hand down under his pyjama bottoms at the back, cupping his bum cheeks. "Shall I suck you again?" I asked.

"Mmm Hmm," nodded Guy, shifting up slightly as I moved down the bed.

The difference between sucking Guy, whose whole slim cock I could easily take in my mouth, and sucking Robert, who filled my mouth even if only half-way in, was wonderful. The tastes and smells were similar but very different, and the emotions I felt were almost opposite. Sucking Robert I felt almost as if I was paying some kind of homage, giving myself. With Guy I felt tender and protective. And blessed, as if he was giving something of himself to me.

And, soon enough, he was. Only a little this time. But still as sweet.

I wanted nothing more than to wank myself to a climax with Guy's spunk on my tongue.

Dab, fully recovered now, was outraged when I told him about Guy's plans for Lent. "But that's bonkers! Forty days without sex, for fuck's sake!"

"For God's sake, actually," smirked Charlie.

"It's him that's giving it up, not me," I pointed out. "I'm stopping smoking. Or Curly Whirlies, or something."

"Are your sure he's not expecting you to stop completely as well?" asked Dab suspiciously.

"He's an Anglican," Charlie pointed out, "they don't expect anyone else to actually do anything. Not like the Catholics."

But I was suddenly uncertain. I hadn't made some kind of pact with Guy, had I?

"I'd better check," I said. "Maybe it wouldn't be too bad. I mean, Robert's got mocks coming up just like us, so he says he wants to revise more..."

Dab looked at me open mouthed. Literally.

"Nah!" I smiled and reached for his crotch. He went to protect himself, but then let me. Charlie gave us a look that, thirty years later, would have said, "Get a room, you guys."

But we didn't have a room. Well, we had our study of course, when Charlie wasn't there, but Dab felt that was a bit beneath us now. We were still in the same dormitory together, but, a little strangely, there was less communal acceptance than when we had been younger. Queering was kid's stuff, really; not what two Fifth Formers should be doing together. Kemal had actually had one of his Little Boys in his bed in the dormitory, but that was deemed more appropriate somehow. But since Dab's stay in "Hos" and our little re-enactment of our letter to Mayfair, something had re-kindled. We could simply wait until most of our dorm-mates were asleep and then get into bed together. If only one or two other boys witnessed us, the collective dynamic of disapproval would not be so strong.

Having sex with Dab again was just great. He was so familiar, so comfortable; we could be so sure of each other. We had no concerns about what either of us would want - we knew that we both approved of everything. Well, everything we could possibly think of, anyway. And we could really indulge ourselves in girly stuff like kissing and caressing. Dab was the first person who ever did that thing where he starts kissing your neck and moves down your torso, kissing all the way, little butterfly kisses, down past your belly button 'til he’s kissing the tip of your cock and then all the way down your cock to your balls. We didn't need no internet porn to show what was what. Dab and I just worked out what we liked. Dab's were the first nipples I ever sucked, just because it seemed like a good idea at the time and he seemed to like it. Love it, really.

And with Dab, almost unintentionally, I first took my own spunk back into my mouth from the mouth of another boy. I'd spunked in his mouth and Dab, thinking to repeat my trick on the ward, had come up with his mouth still full, about to open it and show me the contents. I snogged him just as he did so, and tasted my spunk on his lips. I licked it and then kissed him properly, my tongue finding yet more spunk in his mouth.

I'd often eaten my own spunk - indeed always did when I wanked on my own - but taking it from Dab's mouth was great. It was lovely not only that my friend would let me spunk in his mouth and swallow it, but that I could actually see and taste it in his mouth was wonderful. A simple brief swallow was, in a way, disposing of the evidence: "All gone, Matron!" Sharing it showed that you enjoyed it; had no shame.

"Have you no shame?" Charlie had once thundered, mock-pompously, at Dab. Dab had pretended to wonder whether any such feeling lurked within him. "Don't think so, no," he replied.

Guy stuck to his Lent intentions, but was clear that I had to make my own decisions. It would have been so charming and sweet to show my affection for Guy by joining with him in his observance. But... forty days!

I was allowed to kiss him goodnight on his forehead if I was in the Junior Dorm after Lights Out and allowed all other normal contact with him. Well, except that he now always took a shower if I was around after Games, rather than joining me in one of the baths. I could perhaps have gone and stood next to him under the showers, but that would have been too hard.

"Are you not even wanking?" I asked, about a week in.

"Don't be silly!" was Guy's response.

I wanted to ask him what he thought about when jacking off. I wanted to ask him if he didn't miss doing stuff with me. I wanted to ask him if he thought that what he was doing was worth it. He wasn't pious or otherwise overly religious at all. A little cardboard Christian Aid collection box had appeared on his desk for Lent, but they were handed out to anyone who asked, and despite the "Christian Aid" on the side, they were hardly devotional objects. For most of us they might as well have said "Duty Aid". I put the money I saved from not buying Players No. 6 in Guy's box.

Meanwhile, we had Mock 'O' Levels to take and Robert had his Mock 'A' Levels. Public examinations were then entirely that - exams. There was no coursework, no continuous assessment: everything depended on the exams. So we practised taking exams. We did questions from past papers in lessons and were encouraged to keep strictly to time limits in doing our Prep. And then, the term before the real exams, you took "Mocks". They didn't count towards your eventual grade, they were purely an internal school exercise. It wasn't as if we were inexperienced in taking exams - we had class exams at the end of every term in every subject throughout our time at school. But Mocks were precise recreations of the several-hour actual exam papers, taken in strict conditions in the largest classrooms and the Big School assembly hall/theatre.

For good boys like Dab and Charlie and me the mocks were indicators of areas we needed to make up on in the few months before the real exams, but they were also little individual competitions between us. Unlike the real exams, you got to know your actual percentage mark in each paper, rather than just the grade, and so you could compare results. For Kemal the Mocks served as a "wake-up call". He wasn't stupid, but he'd been idling. Unless he "bucked his ideas up" as master after master imaginatively put it, he might not even be allowed to do 'A' Levels. "And your father a university lecturer!" the masters nearly all added, equally imaginatively.

Sorry, you don't need to know all this, but it was pretty fucking horny at the time, I can tell you. Or, rather, not. Parents were paying, then, for much more than exam success, but exam success was important part of the marketing of a public school. I mean no snobbishness when I say that at my school most of us were first-generation private boarders. Our parents were no aristocracy. Many had "pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps" and, while "chipping off the rough edges" of their sons was a motivation, many parents' preoccupation was that their sons had the advantage of the educational opportunities they'd never had. My own parents, I discovered later, both of what were then called "humble origins", had decided to move abroad in part because working as an expatriate meant that your employers paid for boarding school fees for your children (and some of the fares for travel to and fro). Even before we were born my parents were planning the next steps up the social and economic ladder that my brother and I would take.

As exams loomed, things got serious. For Charlie, his continuing full scholarship (all his fees and expenses covered) depended not just on passing his 'O' Levels but on his achieving the stellar grades expected of him. He claimed indifference towards his future at "this poncy place", but he knew that his parents desperately wanted him to be able to stay for 'A' Levels and was, anyway, enough of a scholar to want to "do himself justice".

God, how easily those trite phrases come to mind: "You better pull your socks up, young man"; "Would you do that sort of thing in your mother's house?"; "It's not my time you're wasting - I get paid anyway"; "That's not the kind of thing we expect from you". That last would be what I heard on the few occasions when my behaviour or work was not as perfect as usual. "We're not angry, so much as disappointed" was, as any even slightly perceptive master would know, all the disciplining I needed. I was keen to please, anxious not to disappoint.

Sorry, you're not my fucking therapist, are you? (Are you? If you are, I'm not that surprised you're here, frankly) You're trying to work out how this has anything to do with my sexual history. Well, see, we were all busy, OK? And under a little strain. Robert, in particular, had received an offer from his university of choice, but it was conditional on 'A' Level grades that he wasn't confident of getting. Sex was a welcome relief, but was grabbed hastily and thus was more intense. I could no longer linger in Robert's bed for a post-coital ciggie. If I wanted one, he'd be up looking through revision notes while we sat at the window. Then I was sent off.

Sometimes I almost felt that I had been slotted into Robert's revision timetable: "9:00 to 10:00 - Merchant of Venice (characters - QUOTES); 10:00 11:30 - Causes of WWI; 11:30 to 12:00 - sex with the Little Boy". He'd shake me awake and I'd follow him a few minutes later. In his bedsit the desk would be strewn with books and large index cards on which he'd written his revision notes in tiny script. He'd be standing reading over one of them and I'd have to take it off him before dragging him over to the bed. There, as I groped for his cock, he would awaken from his studying trance and suddenly become aggressively passionate.

I remember on one occasion arriving to find him actually sat at his desk, writing notes. I closed the door quietly, took off my pyjamas and stood there, waiting. He didn't look up. Did I put my hands on my hips, exasperated? I hope not. No - I just stood there. Not even hard now. Finally he did look up. I raised my arms and went, "Tah Dah!". Robert smiled bleakly and said something like, "Be with you in a minute."

I might have thought, "You don't treat me so good no more!", but even my ever-expanding frame of cultural reference was not, I think, quite that good at that time; nor my facility with camp yet quite so developed. I got into the bed and sat there examining my nails. Yes, the queer way, backs of the hands to me, fingers splayed.

Robert finished his notes, looked up briefly, thinking, then capped his Parker 45 and took off his spectacles. He turned, looking at me with that slightly startled look short-sighted people have when they've been wearing their glasses for a while. He took off his shoes, socks and trousers and came to stand by the bed. His dick was hard in his white y-fronts. He put a hand behind my head and pulled my face over into his groin. I kissed and sniffed.

"You really do like smelling them, don't you?" he commented, pleased.

I nodded: "Uh huh." It was still thrilling to admit it.

"Lick my balls. No, don't take them down. Through the pants."

Revising could obviously make your balls as sweaty as any game of hockey. Robert tasted wonderfully strong. And his cock smelled strong. He let me lave his balls and then return to mouth along his cotton-covered dick. He finally pulled the underpants down and off and brought my head back to his cock, holding his shirt up on his tummy.

"Aren't you getting in?" I asked, breaking off from sucking.

"Um, well, need to do a bit more tonight. If I lie down I'll just crash..."

A quickie, then. I sat up and put my legs over the side so that I could bend and take his cock more easily in my mouth.

"I still want to bum you though," Robert clarified. He gave me the jar of Vaseline (how many jars had we got through by then?). I lay back and fingered myself slippery, then handed him the jar back.

"How?" I asked.

"Face the wall, on your hands and knees."

Between the side of the bed and the wall the heating pipes were boxed in, leaving a wooden shelf by the bed about eight inches wide. Robert left this shelf mostly empty, since anything on it would tend to get knocked off and end up in the way when we had sex. I knelt and put my hands flat on the shelf. I shifted my knees so that my bumhole was at a convenient height. Robert took my hips and adjusted my position slightly. I felt his finger go in.

"Shall I bum you, Little Boy?" he asked, taunting a little.

"Uh huh," I answered.

"What? What did you say?"

I sniggered and said, exaggerating, "Yes. Yes please Bobbie! Please bum me!"

He slapped my arse sharply. Robert was always "Robert", not "Rob" or Robbie" or "Bob", and certainly not "Bobbie".

"Say it properly," he insisted,

"Please bum me Robert," I said, straight-faced. I was no longer at all giggly. It was good being made to say what I wanted. Remember, this was before easy access to porn, and anyway probably before porn actors fucked to chants of "Oh yeah, suck that dick; you like that big dick, don't you?" (do they have semi-clons in porn?) Our "dirty talk" just arose naturally, like my discovery that sucking Dab's nipples was exciting for both of us.

Robert bummed me. He may have wanted to get back to his revision, but he moved quite slowly at first. I lowered myself, resting the side of my head just on the edge of the bed, my hands still on the shelf. As Robert leant over me my shins barked a little against the other wooden edge of the bed unit. I lifted my feet and tried to grip Robert's thighs with them. As he started working faster, they dropped again. It was a little distracting, my shins bumping on the side, but it felt good, just kneeling there, taking my Big Boy's dick. Being almost, somehow, used?

When he had spunked he reached to wank me. Just a couple of strokes and I spurted onto the sheets. Robert put his pyjama bottoms on and I slipped into mine. Buttoning my jacket, I watched Robert sit at his desk again. He looked up. "Did you wipe your arse?" he said.

"Nah. Wanna feel your spunk up there when I go to sleep."

Robert smiled and shook his head a little, muttering pleasantly, "Pervert!"

Did you know that you can savour spunk almost as much with your bumhole and crack as with your mouth?

Little Spurt 03

Spit on the Biscuit (or "Cookie", for American readers)

In my first year in my Big School House, one of the monitors was chatting to my section of South Dorm (so, six of us) and he told us a story that at the time none of us believed, but which turned out to have been true. Ish.

When he'd been our age they had had a dormitory game called "Spit on the Biscuit". This involved a group of boys standing in a circle around a Digestive biscuit (or, perhaps, a Rich Tea - remember that this was a time when the most exciting biscuits around were Bourbons and Garibaldis). All the boys would jack off and when they came, aim to shoot their spunk onto the biscuit. The last person to come had to eat the biscuit. (We all went "Urrrrgh!" and "Gross!" and "Weird!", but I thought that it sounded like a good game.)

Apparently they were at this, six or seven of them, by torchlight one night after Lights Out and the Housemaster came quietly into the dorm and caught them. And he just said, "What are you all doing out of bed, you lot? Back to bed. And you know you're not allowed to have food in the dormitories." (No, well I made that last bit up - but apparently he did pick up the biscuit - no one had actually got as far as spunking on it before he came in.) Then he walked out. Everyone was sure that he was just holding back on punishment and they worried all the next day they they would be called to stand outside his study after House Prayers for a severe caning - perhaps even expulsion? But no. He never mentioned it.

The monitor telling us his story claimed that he'd heard from a boy who was then a monitor that a couple of nights before this incident Toodle had found a monitor and a Fifth Former in bed together and had just told them to get back to their own beds and see him in the morning. When they did he said that they were not to do "that kind of thing" any more and that he would be considering what punishment was appropriate. Not many years before that time the automatic punishment would have been expulsion and so, of course, exposure to one's parents. The older boy pleaded with Toodle not to tell their parents, but just cane them or something. Toodle told them that he would make his decision in a few days.

And, so the story went, he was still considering his decision when he came upon the "Spit on the Biscuit" game. And Toodle never did anything. Except that, supposedly, he stopped patrolling the dormitories after Lights Out (I don't think that there were any bedsits at that time). Oh, and he did cane the two boys caught in bed together, but didn't say anything to their parents.

In my time Toodle did indeed not patrol the dormitories after Lights Out and if he came up before, he would always alert the Duty Monitor in advance. But I couldn't believe the monitor's story as to the origin of this policy, so challenged him about it a few days later. He claimed he'd been told that at a Monitors Meeting a few weeks later Toodle, without mentioning the incidents, announced that he wanted the monitors to take greater responsibility for the day-to-day running of the House and that he would be relying on them to be his "eyes and ears". The monitors were to refer to him any serious matters that they felt needed his attention, but they were to "use their own initiative a lot more". He didn't say that he would be telling the Duty Monitor before touring the dormitories, but this became his practice, and it became the practice of the Assistant Housemasters who came in for the occasional evening to give Toodle an evening off. Of course, it riots broke out, Toodle would intervene, just as, say, A Head of Department would come in to support a new, inexperienced master if a class got out of hand. But, as with the Department Head and the junior master, there would be a degree of "standing back". No one learnt responsibility without being given any.

I still don't know whether I believe this story. But it could have some truth to it. Toodle was by no means a "trendy young master" but he was a decent, intelligent man, and now I see him as, consciously or unconsciously, experimenting with ways of modernising the way his House ran in tune with the developments of a more liberal society in the outside world. Perhaps this is just sentimentality on my part. I do know that when I became a monitor and, eventually, Head of House, I did come to realise that he had some sort of definitive philosophy about the discipline system and pastoral aspects of the House as a community. There was a degree of, well, uncertainty in his strategy and tactics, but there was also some thought. More on that, later, perhaps.

Maybe, on the other hand, he just thought "Fuck, I can't sack nine boys in one go. How would we get an Under 16s House rugby team out!"

I never did persuade my dorm-mates to play up and play the game. Even despite my suggestion that we use a 'Wagon Wheel' as an extra treat.