BURIED TREASURE ¶ Recommendations of Online Male Homoerotic Stories and Male Friendship Stories (and anything else that catches my interest)

(Skip to the text.) Visitors should be aware that some of the sites linked below are intended for mature readers. But not nearly as many as some of you would like.

2010 Recommendations

October 2010

E. F. Benson: David Blaize of King's (also published as David of King's) ¶ Print book ¶ Now a nineteen-year-old student at King's College, Cambridge, David is just as sweet and affectionate as he was in David Blaize. Meanwhile, forever-angst-ridden Frank is worrying how David's growing maturity will affect their friendship.
As far as David was aware of his own heart, that heart was [Frank's], open to him and beating for him in that sexless surrender which boys make to boys and girls to girls. But there was a chamber there of which neither he nor even David himself had the key, which was dangling round the unheeding neck of some girl unknown. . . . No girl, except in one brief flash of remote summer lightning, had revealed [that chamber] yet. David thought of girls as amiable, inefficient creatures, slightly terrifying and enigmatical at close quarters, but easily avoided by the wide. There was a certain daughter of a don, for instance, who doted on him, and David, very polite but with a scared eye, ran from her like a hare and escaped, slightly breathless, to less embarrassing companionship. But one day, instead of running like a hare from some similar situation he would prance up like a neighing horse, and when Frank whistled to him he would give him no more than an ear laid back in irritation at the interruption. . . .

Thom Magister: The Slave Journals and Other Tales of the Old Guard ¶ Print book with online sample ¶ Love stories narrated by a series of leather masters from 1948 to 1980. Written by an author who draws upon his own memories of the earliest years of gay leather, Thom Magister's short stories are filled with realism, romance, healing sex, dialogue about responsibility, kisses on practically every page, and tons of masculinity.

"Look, we all do dumb stuff. We pick someone up, fuck him senseless, and walk away never knowing anything about him, or letting him see anything of ourselves. It happens. And when we do that, we shame ourselves and dishonor our inner man."

James Buchanan: Hard Fall ¶ E-book with online sample; site warning page ¶ A gay, cliff-climbing ex-con sets out to erotically tease a Mormon deputy sheriff. The deputy sheriff – who just happens to be an in-the-closet gay – isn't going to stand for it. The author's excellent use of Utah dialect and culture propels this story.

"Gear?" This boy was slow on the uptake sometimes.

"Yep." I hoped it was just 'cause he was out of his element, not that he suffered stupid. Stupid could get you killed out on a face. "Climbing gear, I understand you know how. I wouldn't think that you'd come up into God's staircase without it." Figured I needed to clarify that we'd do this old school, traditional climbing, not freestyle stunts like the one that landed Kabe in the pen. "And, I'm talking trad gear, hot shot. This is S&R, not free sport solo."

"Yeah." He stared at me. "I got the medieval crap."

Like pulling taffy through a sieve. "Get it." It came out as more of a growled order than I would have liked. Not much to be done once the words were spoken, though.


Shaking my head, I went back over the not so fine details. "Because Fred can't climb, the other two are damn near useless, none of the rest of the Search and Rescue team is available and I ain't stupid enough to go down a wall by myself." With the pressure of my thumb, I pushed my class-b Stetson, the dirty-white western style, back on my head. While I might go summer weight with short sleeves and straw cowboy hat, I wouldn't be caught dead in the kelly green polo and baseball cap we could use as an alternate. No criminal in their right mind took you seriously if you looked like you were headed out for a round of golf.

Christopher White: Skipjack: The Story of America's Last Sailing Oystermen ¶ Print book with online sample ¶ In 1951, a teacher who became a waterman described life on Tilghman Island, where "watermen" still used skipjack sailboats to dredge for oysters. Not long afterwards, a journalist interviewed Tilghman watermen, including a captain who had been catching oysters since the turn of the century. In the 1970s, a teacher who worked as a waterman recorded life on Tilghman. Now a journalist who worked as a waterman, Christopher White, has recorded the lives of what may be the final generation of Tilghman watermen to sail boats as they dredge for oysters.

I wondered out loud why the Larrimores were considering selling.

"It's time," Loretta said. "The orsters are dying, the boat's getting old, and so are we. It's been one gale too many. . . ." Loretta searched past me, through the door, out over Black Walnut Cove.

"The whole island is changing," she continued. "Not just the older captains retiring or skipjacks being sold. Property is being bought up. The rumor is that a developer has snatched up the old farm fields around Dogwood Cove. Won't be long before town homes pop up instead of corn." She shook her head and seemed bewildered, like a nurse who can't get the pulse on a patient. Her eyes wandered, following a great blue heron at the edge of her yard.

C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America ¶ Film with online trailer ¶ "What if the South won?" Not terribly realistic as alternative history (surely there is more to white Southern culture than racism and hillbilly music), this mockumentary is actually a satire making viewers aware of dark trends in current American culture. As one reviewer put it, "CSA isn't comedy, it's prophecy with jokes."

April 2010

Adagio. Created by BlackMamba as a trailer for TokenBlackGirl's original fiction story Adagio. Heterosexual fiction, contemporary fiction, race/ethnicity themes, spy fiction, music videos.¶ Online videos. ¶ References to topics of sexuality. On-screen violence.

Skillful editing, beautiful music, and careful attention to the Latin American setting. Original fiction vids are rare, so it's nice to see one that's so well consturcted. The trailer was created for Valent Chamber, an archive of original fiction and fan fiction on women of color.

Randall S. Peffer: Watermen (with an excerpt at Amazon). A young schoolteacher struggles to prove his worth during a year among the rough-and-ready fishermen of Tilghman Island on the Chesapeake Bay. ¶ Male friendship nonfiction, memoirs, nautical nonfiction. ¶ Nonfiction books. ¶ References to topics of sexuality (brief). On-screen violence (brief).

Alternating between comical anecdotes and poignant passages, the author tells of his attempts to fit into the highly masculine culture of "watermen": Chesapeake Bay fishermen following centuries-old traditions. (See also the article he wrote more than twenty years later, "Chesapeake: Fishing with the Locals.")

"You ain't no sissy baby are you?" called the captain.

I spit salt water into the bottom of the boat with as much defiance as I could muster.

"We're goin' to make some money if you can stand this sea. Them other boys can't take it I guess. Look." The captain pointed to a half dozen crabbing boats steaming for Tilghman.

"Damn sissy babies," I said trying to copy Bart's bravado. Another sea hit At Last and sprawled me spread eagled over the engine box.

"Damn sissy babies," Murphy mocked at me.

Syd McGinley: The Complete Dr. Fell, Volume 1: Lost. (Author's Website. Protagonist's Website, including online excerpts from the Dr. Fell stories.) A group of rich masters swap their leatherboys back and forth with cheerful abandon. Then one master meets an arrogant boy who needs to be taken down a few knotches. ¶ Male homoerotic fiction, male friendship fiction, BDSM fiction, contemporary fiction, erotic fiction, spirituality themes. ¶ Fiction books (collecting stories originally published as fiction e-books). ¶ On-screen sex. On-screen violence.

I have to admit that this trope – which was first popularized in the late 1970s through Mr. Benson, by John Preston, who in turn stole much of his material from earlier writers – is not my favorite BDSM storyline. Maybe it's because I'm such a realist that I expect the masters to be arguing over which master's protocol the boys should follow.

Syd McGinley, though, has done what I would have thought impossible: The Complete Dr. Fell, Volume 1: Lost (which was donated to me by the author) is a realistic version of this trope. It's not only realistic, but it retains Preston's admirable mixture of humor and pathos.

McGinley's novel actually reminds me more closely of Preston's I Once Had a Master, which Preston based on episodes in his own life. Unlike Mr. Benson, which nobody could describe as realistic (with the possible exception of the chapter set in the Mineshaft bar), I Once Had a Master sought to mold porn fantasy into something that could pass as literary fiction. McGinley has done the same. Amidst all the unlikely erotic passages – a cock ring made of hollies? – the novel addresses such topics as domestic abuse, immigration laws, illiteracy, and Robert's Rules of Order. "Jesus, he's spent too long in corporate land," the narrator says of another character. "I mean, it is important to discuss who is having what mark put on which boy, but do we really need a fucking agenda?"

In addition, to my very great relief, the dominant who narrates the story is not rich.

Dr. John Fell is an engaging protagonist: a scholarly curmudgeon who has a soft spot for abused and ill-trained leatherboys. I can't say that I agree with every decision he makes, not to mention his propensity for thrashing bare flesh with wild plants. (I winced during those passages, since I'm allergic to just about everything I touch in my garden.) But that's entirely the point: this is no Mr. Benson, no idealization of an infallible master. Instead, Dr. Fell is struggling with a personal demon: an inability to move beyond a past tragedy, which inhibits his relations with others.

Fortunately, he is surrounded by a loving and supportive community. (Dr. Fell describe this as a D/s group, though it reads to me as M/s, since all of the group's boys are owned and appear to have little say on how their lives are led.) Many BDSM stories zero in on a sexual pairing, leaving the reader with the impression that there's a solid wall between BDSM partners and the rest of the world. McGinley's approach is refreshingly different, presenting a network of BDSM relationships, and even hinting at what is taking place in the vanilla world. (The passage where Dr. Fell doms his students during a writing exercise is particularly amusing.)

Although Dr. Fell frequents a leather bar (how he got past the doorman before he bought himself a leather jacket is left an unanswered question), there's not much gay leather culture in the novel. On the other hand, there's a strong enough gay atmosphere that one doesn't feel that McGinley has stolen the plotline from yaoi manga. (In a tongue-in-cheek sequence, McGinley portrays a boy as harboring such manga.) Although the characters – in another realistic touch – range from bear to effeminate, Dr. Fell himself is very much a product of masculine culture: "We're saved from having to do awkward macho congratulations," he reports at one point. Thanks to the first-person narration, we get to witness his inner turmoil, but only occasionally are the other characters granted a glimpse of what lies behind his forbidding countenance.

The novel begins a bit awkwardly, with Dr. Fell subduing a recalcitrant submissive by sheer force and, it might be added, no condom. (The characters' attitudes toward condomless anal sex are frustratingly inconsistent; at one point, a boy prepares contributions for an AIDS foundation mere hours before barebacking another dom's boy.) In a wonderful divergence from the Mr. Benson tradition, however, the submissive turns out to be not quite subdued after all: "irrepressible" is how the long-suffering narrator describes him.

The next story in the novel takes a darker turn, and the author shows considerable skill at mixing tragedy with comedy.

Alas, McGinley, like most other BDSM writers, is better at describing naked bodies than at describing the characters' surroundings. Usually, I try not to quibble over such matters, but it's hard for me to believe that a Renaissance scholar who carries around a volume with phrases like this—

The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses . . .
—would proceed to describe his surroundings in this manner: "I throw myself into winterizing the cabin: chop lots of wood, finish up roof repairs, install storm windows, and seal gaps in the wooden walls." There is precious little visual detail in the novel, and virtually no smells, tastes, senses of touch, or sounds (other than dialogue). This is a shame, because the novel, being primarily set in one location, could easily have provided the reader with some sensory hint of why the narrator so much enjoys living in the woods. One passage in particular suggests that Dr. Fell has a certain affinity with Thoreau: "I have few possessions: a laptop, sweats and jeans, a box of books. I believe luxury comes from attention to detail, not possessions."

What few descriptions of the cabin exist are slipped into the narrative in a natural manner, usually because one boy or another is doing domestic work. While the novel doesn't scrimp on scenes of sex and SM, McGinley is one of the few BDSM writers who seems to have grasped that doms occasionally emerge from their bedrooms and dungeons. The primary focus of the novel is on nonsexual training as Dr. Fell provides the boys with opportunities to expand their skills.

And not just the boys.

Twink slams in. "Dr. Fell, Laurie says he needs a doctor."

"A real one, not some PhD," hollers Laurie from the porch.

Twink and Dexter suck their breath in unison. I give them my cold smile.

"You two find something to do in the kitchen. I'll be busy for awhile."

Laurie is on the porch, unrepentant. His ass is a mess, but twink has done a good job of cleaning it. He looks me straight in the eye. I know a challenge when I see one.

I shut the door behind me. Laurie keeps his head held high.

"What the fuck are you up to, boy? Is your ass not sore enough?"

I can see tears glistening in his eyes, and I realize it's all bravado and he wants me out here in private.

He shakes his head. "I'm so scared, Dr. Fell. What I'm going to need is too much."

I stand next to him by the railing and put an arm around him. I've only touched to punish so far, and he whimpers in surprise.

"I don't think so, boy. Only if you fight it."

His back is rigid under my arm, and then after a second he starts to tremble.

"Stop being so proud. You know I need to bring you low before you learn better ways. But if you understand and work with me, it's easier."

I get a small sob from him, and then he puts his head on my shoulder and weeps.

"Why doesn't sir do that for me? He just ignores me; he doesn't care if I'm struggling."

"He sent you here."

He's still sobbing, and I'm rubbing his back gently.

"I know, but he never controls me, and he's having you do it, not him. I know it was wrong to use the credit card. I didn't even buy stuff I wanted."

I hide a sigh. Training Doms is much harder than training boys, but it's Laurie's doctor who is the real problem. Laurie is still babbling and his sad little remarks about how being a doctor's boy is lonely and boring confirm my thoughts. Poor Laurie. He, as I suspect are several of the group's boys, is a trophy sub. Cute, outwardly obedient, and bored out of his skull while his rich owner works on staying rich and not on being an owner.

Syd McGinley: The Complete Dr. Fell, Volume Two: Found. (Author's Website. Protagonist's Website, including online excerpts from the Dr. Fell stories.) Male homoerotic fiction, male friendship fiction, BDSM fiction, contemporary fiction, erotic love stories. ¶ Fiction books (collecting stories originally published as fiction e-books). ¶ On-screen sex. On-screen violence.

Syd McGinley gifted me with Volume Two of the Dr. Fell series, and I saved it up as a Christmas present for myself. Without giving away too much of the plot to anyone who hasn't read Volume One, I can say that this is BDSM domestic fiction. (One chapter is entitled "Curtain Fic.") The novel starts where most romance novels end: with the unsettling details of trying to get along with someone you live with day after day.

"Being a top really is a deeper submission," the top narrator comments at one point. A lot of that can be attributed to the boy whom the top has chosen.

"I love you, John Fell, and I want what's best for you. Especially when you don't know what that is."

I kiss him and grumble, "Remember who the top is here, boy."

[He] smiles sweetly. "Just trying to anticipate your needs, sir."

The novel sees Dr. Fell slowly getting his life straightened out, with the help of his boy . . . and a couple of female authority figures.
She inspects the thermometer while I control a pout.

"One-oh-one. Better than it was. Stay right there. I'll get you some soup."

One-oh-one – introduction to pneumonia. I snigger. Oh man. I'm losing it. Oooh, my soup is full of stars! I'm sorry . . . I'm afraid I can't do that.

"Eat your chicken and stars, Johnny. Don't just stare at it."

I blink. Mama P is sitting on the end of the bed, waiting.

"Yes, ma'am."

It tastes funny, but I eat it all obediently. Mama P takes the bowl and asks if I want the TV on. Shit, it's been moved it into the bedroom while I was asleep. I growl. I truly hate TV in the bedroom.

Mama P just laughs. "I want you to stay sitting up for awhile, Johnny. You'll breathe easier, and besides, your tummy is full." She turns on the TV and hands me the remote. "Now relax. I'll be right back."

I do not throw the remote at her, but I deliberately find a kids' show to sulk through. That bites me in the ass as I end up cackling at a sponge wearing shorts.

As with Volume One, there is a wonderfully authentic flavor to the stories about Dr. Fell, leaving aside his magical ability to turn up lubricant on any occasion. "I like being able to stash lube wherever I want it" is the way he blandly puts it at one point. At least he draws the line at using engine grease when he and his boy set out to reenact Lube Jobs and Grease Monkeys 2.

The only mildly irritating aspect of the novel is that it began as a series of separately published stories, which weren't edited at the novel stage to take out the repetition, so the reader is told the same backstories several times. On the other hand, the stories' overlapping timelines are part of the book's charm. And the novel has humor and it has mainly-outdoors sex and it has poignant moments, especially in the chapters "Teacher's Pet" and "Back in the Day." What more could one want from an erotic love story?

Evangeline Walton: The Cross and the Sword. In the eleventh century, a Viking warrior is caught in a bloody struggle between Norsemen and Englishmen over the fate of England. ¶ Heterosexual fiction, male friendship fiction, class/rank themes, family relationship themes, historical fiction (Middle Ages), love stories, military fiction, prisoner fiction, race/ethnicity themes, spirituality themes. ¶ Fiction books. ¶ References to topics of sexuality. On-screen violence.

1956 was a good year for the Vikings. While Mary Renault dazzled the literary world with her first novel about Ancient Greece, other historical novelists turned their attention to Norsemen: Rosemary Sutcliff with The Shield Ring, Henry Treece with Viking's Dawn, and Evangeline Walton with The Cross and the Sword (published in Britain as Son of Darkness).

Walton's lyrical Mabinogian Tetralogy has been much praised, so it's a wonder to me that her 1956 historical novel has received so little attention. The reason for this, I fear, is that medieval fantasy is a favorite genre among today's readers, while the readership for medieval historical fiction has largely fallen by the wayside. The Cross and the Sword deserves more readers than it has received.

It is the tale of a boy turned warrior, outcast from his Viking family because his foreign-captive mother was considered a beguiling witch. His exile takes him overseas, where he finds himself caught between two cultures: the heathen Norsemen who plunder England out of greed, and the Christian English who maim and torture in the name of their God. Nowhere, it seems, is goodness to be found; yet Sweyn longs for something he believes cannot exist.

Past noon it must have been when, sometimes staggering, sometimes crawling on hands and knees, I came to a meadow where horses grazed. Wolf-like I crouched under a bush, a stone in my hand, until I had a chance to come up behind the horse-herder. I killed him then, strong as trapped rats are strong. I laughed when his blood and brains spattered the stones and me. Good it was to get my hands upon an Englishman; I told myself that he would be the first of many.

So it goes. Many wrongs the English had to avenge upon us; lifetimes of murders and rapes, of burnings and robberies. Not human did we Sea-Folk seem to them. I doubt if any man ever kills another who seems to him human like himself. Even to the robber, the man he slays may seem a menacing wolf, self-defense a threat. . . . So we keep the wheel turning wrong for wrong, and then fresh wrong to avenge that wrong.

Rudyard Kipling: Stalky & Co., with additional stories added in The Complete Stalky & Co. Three schoolboys wage war against their schoolmasters. ¶ Male friendship fiction, class/rank themes, historical fiction (Victorian Era), military fiction, school fiction. ¶ Fiction books and online fiction. ¶ On-screen violence.

[House master] Prout expounded to Beetle the enormity of money-lending, which, like everything except compulsory cricket, corrupted houses and destroyed good feeling among boys, made youth cold and calculating, and opened the door to all evil.
To hear some literary historians talk, one would think that subversive schoolboy literature was invented in the 1910s. That was the decade when a flood of solemn treatises issued forth which "revealed" to the British public that not all good schoolboys are noble, honest, friendly to schoolmasters, enthusiastic players of school sports, and admirably qualified to become prefects.

One can only conclude that these historians of school fiction have never read Rudyard Kipling's Stalky & Co. (1899).

"Well, you know, that little beast Manders minor saw Beetle and me hammerin' McTurk's trunk open in the dormitory when we took his watch last month. Of course Manders sneaked to Mason [a house master], and Mason solemnly took it up as a case of theft, to get even with us about the rats [that the boys had put in Mason's room]."

"That just put Mason into our giddy hands," said McTurk, blandly. "We were nice to him, because he was a new master and wanted to win the confidence of the boys. 'Pity he draws inferences, though. Stalky went to his study and pretended to blub, and told Mason he'd lead a new life if Mason would let him off this time, but Mason wouldn't. 'Said it was his duty to report him to the Head."

"Vindictive swine!" said Beetle. "It was all those rats! Then I blubbed, too, and Stalky confessed that he'd been a thief in regular practice for six years, ever since he came to the school; and that I'd taught him—a la Fagin. Mason turned white with joy. He thought he had us on toast."

"Gorgeous! Gorgeous!" said Dick Four. "We never heard of this."

"'Course not. Mason kept it jolly quiet. He wrote down all our statements on impot-paper. There wasn't anything he wouldn't believe," said Stalky.

"And handed it all up to the Head [Master], with an extempore prayer. It took about forty pages," said Beetle. "I helped him a lot."

"And then, you crazy idiots?" said Abanazar.

"Oh, we were sent for; and Stalky asked to have the 'depositions' read out, and the Head knocked him spinning into a waste-paper basket. Then he gave us eight cuts apiece—welters—for—for—takin' unheard-of liberties with a new master. I saw his shoulders shaking when we went out. Do you know," said Beetle, pensively, "that Mason can't look at us now in second lesson without blushing? We three stare at him sometimes till he regularly trickles. He's an awfully sensitive beast."

In a book that is now on primary-school reading lists (apparently, schoolteachers aren't reading the books they recommend to their pupils), Kipling presents to the world a supremely subersive trio: Stalky, the type of self-contained boy who smiles at you as he plots your destruction. McTurk, an Irish aristocrat for whom bad aestheticism is the worst crime. And, refreshingly, Beetle, a bespectacled poet. (His glasses are mended. As Kipling puts it, from his own experience, "The life of a poet at a big school is hard.") Their deadly combination wreaks havoc on any schoolmaster unwise enough to set himself in opposition to them.
"Not the least good having a row with a master unless you can make an ass of him," said Stalky, extended at ease on the hearth-rug. ". . . Now, my dearly beloved 'earers"—Stalky curled his legs under him and addressed the company—"we've got that strong', perseverin' man King [a house master] on our hands. He went miles out of his way to provoke a conflict." (Here Stalky snapped down the black silk domino and assumed the air of a judge.) "He has oppressed Beetle, McTurk, and me, privatim et seriatim, one by one, as he could catch us. But now, he has insulted Number Five [the study group made up of the three boys] up in the music-room, and in the presence of these—these ossifers of the Ninety-third, wot look like hairdressers. Binjimin, we must make him cry 'Capivi!'"

Stalky's reading did not include Browning or Ruskin.

"And, besides," said McTurk, "he's a Philistine, a basket-hanger. He wears a tartan tie. Ruskin says that any man who wears a tartan tie will, without doubt, be damned everlastingly."

"Bravo, McTurk," said Tertius; "I thought he was only a beast."

"He's that, too, of course, but he's worse. He has a china basket with blue ribbons and a pink kitten on it, hung up in his window to grow musk in. You know when I got all that old oak carvin' out of Bideford Church, when they were restoring it (Ruskin says that any man who'll restore a church is an unmitigated sweep), and stuck it up here with glue? Well, King came in and wanted to know whether we'd done it with a fret-saw! Yah! He is the King of basket-hangers!"

Down went McTurk's inky thumb over an imaginary arena full of bleeding Kings. "Placete, child of a generous race!" he cried to Beetle.

"Well," began Beetle, doubtfully, "he comes from Balliol, but I'm going to give the beast a chance. . . ."

The company [students who were rehearsing a pantomime with the three boys] retreated to their own neat and spacious study with expectant souls.

"When Stalky blows out his nostrils like a horse," said Aladdin to the Emperor of China, "he's on the war-path. 'Wonder what King will get."

"Beans," said the Emperor. "Number Five generally pays in full."

"Wonder if I ought to take any notice of it officially," said Abanazar, who had just remembered he was a prefect.

There is a dark streak of righteous cruelty to the boys of Number Five that comes through most clearly in the chapter entitled (unfortunately) "The Moral Reformers." This is, after all, a Kipling novel: right is achieved through might. But a childish sweetness also underlies the boys' pranks, as can be seen in this oblique reference to public-school sexuality.
"But do you never feel that the world—the [masters'] Common-room—is too much with you sometimes?"

"Not exactly—in summer, anyhow." Stalky's eye roved contentedly to the window. "Our bounds are pretty big, too, and they leave us to ourselves a good deal."

"For example, here am I sitting in your study, very much in your way, eh?"

"Indeed you aren't, Padre. Sit down. Don't go, sir. You know we're glad whenever you come."

There was no doubting the sincerity of the voices. The Reverend John flushed a little with pleasure and refilled his briar.

"And we generally know where the Common-room are," said Beetle triumphantly. "Didn't you come through our lower dormitories last night after ten, sir?"

"I went to smoke a pipe with your house-master. No, I didn't give him any impressions. I took a short cut through your dormitories."

"I sniffed a whiff of 'baccy, this mornin'. Yours is stronger than Mr. Prout's. I knew," said Beetle, wagging his head.

"Good heavens!" said the Reverend John absently. It was some years before Beetle perceived that this was rather a tribute to innocence than observation. The long, light, blindless dormitories, devoid of inner doors, were crossed at all hours of the night by masters visiting one another; for bachelors sit up later than married folk. Beetle had never dreamed that there might be a purpose in this steady policing.

The final chapters of this comic novel take an interesting turn – just how interesting is clear from this passage, in which the school's students are deciding whether they want to join the school's newly formed cadet-corps.
"Hullo," said Ansell of Macrea's, shouldering through the mob. "What's all this about a giddy cadet-corps?" . . .

"Don't know whether I've the time," said Perowne. "I've got no end of extra-tu [extra tutoring] as it is."

"Well, call this extra-tu," said Ansell. "'Twon't take us long to mug up the drill."

"Oh, that's right enough, but what about marchin' in public?" said Hogan, not foreseeing that three years later he should die in the Burmese sun-light outside Minhla Fort.

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