shouted comments which sought to emulate the success of the first, an increasing number of which reflected ways the child star’s prettiness might be rewarded were he a Castonian. Encouraged by the anonymity of semi-darkness these inevitably sought to surpass each other in ribaldry and bawdiness. At times the noise was so raucous that even the triumphant music on the soundtrack was drowned, and it obliterated entirely the unlikely dialogue that purported to unravel the final twists of an improbable plot.
This would have been regarded as a serious disciplinary matter but for two fortunate circumstances. At the last moment the benefactress had been unwell and was therefore unable to attend herself, thus the High Master had, thankfully, been able to excuse himself from attendance at a function which would have given him no pleasure.
The second piece of good fortune lay in the fact that the Master charged with ensuring that the audience (excused from the usual Saturday evening academic preparation) behaved with decorum, was a man of long experience, who had been living quietly in retirement until the outbreak of war recalled him to the School at which he had taught for forty years. Luckily, the film had virtually ended; as the cast-list appeared, he briskly switched on the lights and began to play God Save The King very loudly on an elderly out-of-tune upright piano, causing Castonians to stand in silence just before the situation escalated into riot. He was also experienced enough to understand that in certain circumstances, the fewer words spoken the better and therefore said nothing.
After Chapel the following evening, the High Master enquired cautiously, ‘Ah, Begley, I imagine that I may write to our benefactress and say that Saturday’s film was enjoyed by the school? Could I say it was both entertaining and instructive?’
With his hands clasped behind him, gown billowing in the lazily falling snow, Begley, a notably shrewd Housemaster in his time, answered in even tones, ‘Indeed yes, High Master. Quite apart from its impeccable moral message, I fancy the School found it, shall I say, more entertaining than it might have reasonably anticipated.’
Like most small boys, Angus had shown momentary curiosity about his own occasional tumescence. Now, awed by the impressive size of an adult erection, he was amazed by its almost comic ungainliness which must, he thought, suppressing a desire to giggle, be sometimes very inconvenient if it happened as unpredictably as his own childish stiffenings.
‘Hey! Don’t drop off again. Not till we’ve finished.’ There was a pause. Dawes whispered urgently, ‘Come on, Angus, tassel me.’
Angus’ evident ignorance of what was expected of him eventually communicated itself to Dawes: ‘Surely Singleton… . Oh no, I suppose bloody Aunty Singleton never did…’
Sleepily Angus asked, ‘Never did what?’ There was a momentary pause. ‘Bloody Aunty Singleton!’ Dawes took hold of Angus’ hand and, with thick, almost brutal expectation, in his voice, muttered, ‘I suppose you do know what this is…?
Sitting in the sun, watching cricket the following afternoon, Mawsom was not very communicative and the obvious topics of conversation were exhausted after a few minutes. Angus said, as if