The fags too, being young and weak, were very often brutally treated just for fun. On Sunday mornings in summer, for instance, we had an hour longer in bed. I was one of the half dozen juniors in the big bedroom; there were two older boys in it, one at each end, presumably to keep order; but in reality to teach lechery and corrupt their younger favorites. If the mothers of England knew what goes on in the dormitories of these boarding-schools throughout England, they would all be closed, from Eton and Harrow upwards or downwards, in a day. If English fathers even had brains enough to understand that the fires of sex need no stoking in boyhood, they too would protect their sons from the foul abuse. But I shall come back to this. Now I wish to speak of the cruelty.
Every form of cruelty was practiced on the younger, weaker and more nervous boys. I remember one Sunday morning, the half-dozen older boys pulled one bed along the wall and forced all the seven younger boys underneath it, beating with sticks any hand or foot that showed. One little fellow cried that he couldn't breathe and at once the gang of tormentors began stuffing up all the apertures, saying that they would make a "Black Hole" of it. There were soon cries and strugglings under the bed and at length one of the youngest began shrieking so that the torturers ran away from the prison, fearing lest some master should hear.
One wet Sunday afternoon in midwinter, a little nervous "Mother's darling" from the West Indies who always had a cold and was always sneaking near the fire in the big schoolroom, was caught by two of the Fifth and held near the flames. Two more brutes pulled his trowsers tight over his bottom, and the more he squirmed and begged to be let go, the tighter