Ava Addams

A Homoerotic Story

By

Jason Land

FOREWORD

This story covers a two year period in the life of one, Dr. Andrew Waterlow, a brilliant Oxford classist who turns to school teaching as a profession, but who who is finally appointed, aged only thirty, to a research professorship at the University of Oxford. Depending on context, he is variously referred to in the text as the Headmaster, Dr. Waterlow, Waterlow and Andrew. His friend, colleague and ultimate his life’s partner, is Mr Jeremy Foster, referred to also as Jeremy. Andrew and Jeremy are both gay.

CHAPTER 1

The Chairman, Colonel Douglas Hartley MC (retired) was incandescent with with rage. He was addressing a meeting of the Governors of Rigby College, a small English public school located in the town of Market Ditchfeild in rural Lincolnshire. In spite of the peculiar spelling of Ditchfeild, with the “e” before the “i”, the name was, nevertheless, pronounced ‘Ditchfeeld’. Just how this inversion of the two letters had come about, was lost in the mists of time, for no one had any explanation for this anomaly. But to get back to the meeting, the reason why the Colonel was in such a rage was that Rigby College was in an utter mess; in fact it was in the process of slowly collapsing. Some five years previously the then Board of Governors had allowed itself to be sold a bill of goods by a new “reforming” Headmaster, full of modern ideas, who after five years with bis newfangled ideas, had succeeded in reducing the school to a shadow of its former self.

The problem had started in 1918, just after the Great War, in which several of the school’s younger masters had lost their lives. The then Headmaster, who had been overdue for retirement before the war in 1914, had soldiered on until until the Armistice in November 1918 and had then suddenly died, leaving the school not only bereft of many masters, but also of a leader. Finding themselves with a serious staffing problem and seduced by the ideas of a gentler, less rigorous, less formal and less structured approach to education of the sons of upper class families who sent their offspring to such private boarding schools, the then Board of Governors had appointed this man, Dr. David Baldwin, to the post of Headmaster. Dr. Baldwin had then gone on to recruit the urgently needed new staff, essentially men who agreed with his “new style” approach to education, to make up for the decimations of the war. This new team had then proceeded for a period of five years to run the school into the ground by practising their “new ideas”. And it was this present state in which the school now found itself which had brought the Chairman to the boiling point.

It has to be said that Colonel Douglas Hartley MC (retired) was a man whose temper had a very short fuse. He was a pompous, arrogant, belligerent, old style soldier, who acted as though he were still commanding a regiment and treated everyone around him as an underling. He rode roughshod over anybody and everybody, and his fellow governors, who were all men of a certain age, allowed themselves to be swept along by the Colonel and his ideas. He ran the Board Meetings as if he were addressing a bunch of schoolboys and his co-governors simply allowed him to do so.

But to be fair to the man, on this occasion he had every reason to be angry. He had been called in, as an outsider, to replace the previous Chairman of the Board, who when faced with the problems now confronting the school had “retired due to ill health”. Colonel Hartley had accepted the post but a few months earlier on the strict condition that he be given a free hand to correct any problems he found in his assessment of the school. His assessment now finished, he was making a formal presentation of his findings to his co-governors, several of whom were complicit in the decisions which had led to the present well nigh catastrophic state in which the school now found itself. Several of the board members would, frankly, have preferred not to be present at this meeting: they sat there in complete silence.

“Gentlemen, do you realise the parlous state into which this school has fallen thanks to five years of the totally misguided policies of the present Headmaster, Mr Baldwin and, I might add, his acolytes, the four housemasters whom he appointed. Rigby is a relatively small school, but until the end of the war, we had an academic record and reputation vying with the best: Eton, Winchester, Harrow or Rugby. Pro-rating our performance to our size, we were the equal of any of these major schools. We sent many of our boys to Oxford and Cambridge and made regularly placements in the British Civil Service, in particular to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Several of our old boys have reached Cabinet rank in the government and I am proud to say that many old Rigbyans are in senior positions in the administrations of the possessions of the British Empire around the world. In a word, gentlemen, we had illegal bahis a reputation of which we could be justly proud.”

Even as a newly appointed Chairman, the Colonel, as he spoke, already identified himself completely with the school and its pupils. He used the words “we” and “our pupils” with such conviction, that an outsider would have thought he had been wedded to the school all his life. And in spite of his recent appearance on the Board of Governors, it was precisely this sense of conviction that allowed him to sweep his fellow governors along with him: he was the complete master of the situation. If anyone was going to get anything done to improve matters at the school, then it was the Colonel, by sheer force of his personality.

“And where are we today? Well I will tell you exactly where we are: at the bottom of the league of minor public schools of this country. Just look at our results. In the last academic year only one boy went to Oxford and not one to Cambridge; our entry into the Civil Service was minimal. And, even more serious, looking at the enrolment figures for the coming year starting this September, we are lacking more than twenty boys from our normal intake. In a word, gentlemen, Rigby School has become a laughing stock; word has got round and parents are sending their offspring elsewhere. This is the disastrous situation in which we find ourselves today.”

“So much for the academic record; but what about the school itself and its pupils? Well, gentlemen, I can tell you that I was astonished to see the lack of order into which the running of the school had been allowed to slip. As far as I can tell, there is practically no discipline of any kind, due to the “modern” thinking of the present Headmaster, who feels that each boy should be given the liberty to develop his own talents and character in his own time. So there are no sanctions, either physical or intellectual, imposed on the boys, who, as far as I can see, are more or less free to do exactly as they please. They are allowed to come and go to classes as they wish; tests and internal examinations are non-existent; they may dress as they wish and, as far as I can see are free from any form of constraint. In a word, gentlemen, the boys are being educated in a sort of Shangri La. Little wonder that after five years of this, we see the dismal academic figures I have just presented to you To sum up the whole catastrophic situation the the laissez-faire attitude of the Headmaster and his acolytes made the cardinal mistake of giving the boys that fabled inch and they, of course have taken a mile. This cannot go on: things have got to change!”

When the Colonel had finished his harangue, here was complete silence from the other Governors, until one brave soul ventured to ask what the Colonel thought the solution was.

“The solution, gentlemen, is quite simple; the present Headmaster and the four Housemasters, whom he appointed, have got to go and replacements have to be found, replacements I might add, who have a more traditional approach to educating boys from our upper class families, for it is from just this stratum of society that our pupils are drawn. An entirely new team must be put into place; rules must be written and enforced by the strictest discipline as has always been the tradition at public schools in this country. The cane and the birch will be reintroduced into the daily life of the school, for words alone will not quell a load of miscreant youths. In short, the school must re-adopt the teaching methods and profile which have stood the test of time in all our public schools and indeed, which were in force here until this disastrous “educational experiment” was embarked upon by the present Headmaster.”

“But, Mr Chairman, to be clear, are you suggesting that we discharge the Headmaster and the four housemasters?” asked one of the governors.

“Unless you have a better suggestion, I do not see any other way: they have to go; so, either we terminate their contracts, in other words dismiss them, or they resign, which I suppose is another option. Resignation, would, I suppose, help them save face. But let us be under no illusions: they all have to go!”

“But, do you not think that under a new Headmaster, the housemasters might be persuaded to adapt themselves to the new approach?”

“Frankly, no! Lock, stock and barrel, all of them have got to go; we need a new start: these five men, Mr. Baldwin and his four likeminded housemasters, have together brought this school to its knees and I have not the slightest compunction in telling them to go. And, gentlemen, so that we all understand one another clearly, the dismissal of this “gang of five” if I might describe them thus, is a non-negotiable condition of my continued membership of this board: either they go or I do. I trust I have made my position clear to all of you so that as we embark upon this salvage mission, there are no misunderstandings among us.”

The illegal bahis siteleri Colonel spoke as a man who is used to being obeyed and after a moment’s silence, the board agreed with his conditions; they really had no idea what they were going to do without someone to lead them. But, there was nevertheless an undercurrent of feeling that they had appointed a leader, but did he actually know where he was leading them.

CHAPTER 2

The Colonel had given a great deal of thought to the momentous staffing changes he proposed the Board to make.

“Gentlemen , now that we have an agreement as to now we are going to proceed, allow me to give you my thoughts on the matter, for I have already spent considerable time thinking about the difficult situation in which we find ourselves. Clearly we cannot simply dismiss the five masters in question without having replacements available to take over immediately, for the school cannot function five men down, so to speak. We are now in August and the new academic year will being in early September, and so I am afraid that we shall probably have to endure another year comparable to those we have just experienced. In other words we shall have to look on helplessly, whilst the school continues on its downward path. I see of no solution for the coming academic year: the die, alas, is already cast.”

“My plan, however, is simple in concept but may be more complicated to carry out. We will, as a matter of upmost importance, immediately begin the search for and appoint a new Headmaster to take over the running of the school at the very latest a year from this September. We need to secure a suitable person as soon as possible and we shall have to face the fact that we shall have to pay him his salary well before he himself occupies the Headmaster’s study. It will then be up to him to find the four persons who will replace the present housemasters. It is essential that we find and appoint the new Headmaster as soon as possible, as he will need time to find the replacements, who themselves will, in all probability already be occupying posts else were, which will be tied to certain terms of notice.”

“So, gentlemen, the best scenario I can see, is that we find the new Headmaster before the end of this year and that he be appointed as of January 1st next year, or even before if he is free. But he must have enough time to find four new colleagues before the start of the academic year one year from now. Once we are certain that we have the five new men on our staff, then we shall give notice to the present Headmaster and his four colleagues. I will not go into the alternative scenarios which can be envisaged if all does not go according to plan and will leave that to your imagination. So, gentlemen, do we or do we not agree that this is the best way forward? If anyone else has a better idea, then now is the time to voice it, otherwise words as the marriage ceremony says: hereafter forever hold your peace.”

The Board of Governors unanimously gave its approval to the plan outlined by the Chairman. One member then posed the critical question, asking how the declared aim was to be achieved.

“Well gentlemen, we could, of course, advertise for a new Headmaster in the appropriate press, which may not be a bad idea if we wish to have a selection of candidates to choose from. However, quite by chance an old army colleague of mine also happens to be on Board of Governors of another school similar to ours: Cumbria Academy, situated near the town of Kendal in the Lake District. In a conversation I had with him recently, totally unrelated to our problem, he happened to mention that the second master of that establishment, which I gather is highly regarded as a bastion of old style teaching methods and values, and where discipline is very strict, is looking to move upwards into a headmastership in another school, by way of advancing his career.”

“This man, called Andrew Waterlow, a D.Phil from Oxford, no less, is himself a classicist, and was the leading light in his year at Oxford. I gather that had the Oxford examiners been in the habit of listing the degrees in order, he would have have been placed head and shoulders ahead of his fellow students. He then went on and completed, within two years, a course for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, normally a three year course and I understand that his D.Phil dissertation was considered remarkable: something about the influence of ancient Greek democratic thinking on pagan Rome; goes way above my head, I have to say, but then that’s neither here nor there is it? Anyway, he was offered a three year research fellowship at St. Tristan’s College, Oxford, which he turned down, preferring instead to become a classics teacher at the Cumbria Academy, which is where he has been teaching for the last five years. He is rather young for the post of a headmastership, but, by all account is a brilliant teacher and a first rate administrator, so much canlı bahis siteleri so that two years ago, aged only twenty-six, he was named Assistant Master. I understand, academic brilliance apart, that he is an excellent teacher and, most important from our point of view, he is a strict disciplinarian, who is not afraid to wield the cane. I can well understand that such a person is now seeking preferment, and I wonder whether we should not, at least talk to him and see what we think.”

Of course, the opportunity to appoint a man who appeared to come with such stellar academic qualifications and five years experience in a similar school to Rigby appealed enormously to the entire Board of Governors and the upshot was that the young man was invited down for a preliminary discussion. The Colonel, of course, led the interview, and explained exactly what the present situation at Rigby was and how the school had been allowed to sink so low.

“So Dr. Waterlow, if we were to offer you the post of Headmaster of Rigby it would be a real challenge for you to pull matters back from the brink of disaster. You appreciate that not only yourself as Headmaster would be new, but that you would have four new Housemasters, the senior staff, if you wish, but with an undercurrent of other masters who will probably resent your appointments and wish to avoid change. Your job would be to change completely the misguided policies introduced by the present Headmaster and to knock the school back into shape: the classic shape of a medium sized English public school; quite a tall order, I think; do you see yourself up to the task?”

Of course, Dr. Waterlow, eager to move up the academic ladder and become a Headmaster, declared, as would have anyone else in his position, that he could certainly meet the challenge. And so, the matter was left that both parties would consider the matter further. The Board of Governors was, on the whole very favourably impressed by Dr. Waterlow and finally decided that, subject to a further interview and a closer check, they would offer him the post. The Colonel decided that it would be wise to see firsthand exactly what sort of an establishment the Cumbria Academy was, and so he arranged a full day’s visit there for himself and two other board members. As Dr. Waterlow had declared his intention to seek a higher post, there was no problem with this and his present superior, the Headmaster of the Cumbria Academy welcomed the visitors with open arms.

What the visitors saw, was a well-run school with a good academic record, similar to that which Rigby had formally enjoyed and so the afternoon was to be spent in final discussion with Dr. Waterlow, at which, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Colonel had the permission of the Board to offer him the post.

CHAPTER 3

It was after lunch and the Colonel and is two co-governors were ensconced with Dr. Waterlow in his study. The Colonel noticed with a certain degree of satisfaction that over by the door was standing a large cylindrical oriental pot, of the type often used as a repository for walking sticks. However, the sight of a number of canes poking out of this receptacle filled the Colonel with hope that here was possibly a man who believed, as did the Colonel quite fervently, in the power of the cane to inculcate good manners and behaviour into the pupils, with a view to turning them into young gentlemen.

The discussion turned as to how Dr. Waterlow would set about recruiting the four new housemasters, critical to the regeneration of Rigby, when it was was interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell. Like many master’s studies, the door was equipped on its outside with two lights: one red for engaged and one green for enter. If neither light was burning, then visitors simply rang the bell and waited until the green light came on to enter the room.

“Oh dear, gentlemen; do forgive me; I am afraid I had completely forgotten that I had an appointment with two boys who are in need of correction. Am so sorry, it just slipped my mind. Let me tell them to come back later.”

As he rose to open the door to the two miscreants who were standing waiting outside, the Colonel stopped him.

“Dr. Waterlow, please let the boys in and continue as you had planned. We shall be interested to see how you deal with punishments here in the Academy, for as you know, corporal punishment has been banned at Rigby for the past five years. In fact, not to mince words, its absence is one of the main reasons why the school is in such a mess at present. So, please go ahead; it will be instructive for us to see your methods. I might add, Dr. Waterlow, that belonging to the “Old School” as we three clearly do, we are all totally in favour of corporal punishment as one of the key components, indeed probably the absolute key method of keeping order and maintaining discipline in a school. So, please do not hold back on our account; deal with these boys as if we are not here. We shall be interested observers,”

Two obviously first year boys entered the room looking very, very nervous: a typical reaction to a summons to the master’s study.

“So, Jarvis and Mawdsely, you two are in Latimer House, I believe.”

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