It was only a few weeks after this that the next event that was to make a major change in my life came about. We were all assembled to witness punishment as usual. A small boy called Cook was awarded nine strokes and we all watched critically as he was caned over the gun. He yelled satisfactorily and the punishment trousers were stained slightly with his blood, which meant that he would be responsible for cleaning them as soon as he was able to walk unaided. No other names had been called so we all thought that was the end of the entertainment.
"2360 England," called out the officer and I had to walk down the length of the gym with all the boys' eyes upon me. My mind was racing to think what it was that I might have done to deserve punishment and, more importantly, since it wasn't actually necessary to have committed a crime to be awarded a beating, how many strokes of the cane I was going to get. I was beginning to pull off my tunic when I heard from the gym the sounds of the ship's company being dismissed.
"Commander's office, England, at the double," the officer told me.
This was potentially even worse than a caning and my heart was beating as I ran across the parade ground and knocked at the dreaded door. I entered when I heard the commander's shout and stood rigidly at attention in front of the desk. The commander looked at me steadily with saying a word for several seconds and my unease grew.
"England, do you know this gentleman?"
I looked round and saw, for the first time, a man in a suit sitting in an armchair, looking steadily at me. There was something familiar about his features but I was certain that I had never seen him before. The man smiled at me but I knew better than to return it until I knew what was going on.
"You have never seen him before?"
"That is hardly surprising," said the man. "He was a babe in arms when I saw him last. It is only his undoubted family resemblance that assures me that he is who I know him to be. Simon – I am your father."
Blood roared in my ears as I took in this astonishing news. I had always been led to believe that my father was dead and I had accepted that as the true story of my childhood. Now, the very basis on which I had lived was shaken and a host of questions thronged my mind.
But the immediate matter was my release from the training ship. Having been sentenced to the ship indefinitely, only a court could set me free, and my father had to leave me there for an interminable week while the necessary processes were gone through. During the week, every lash of Ronson's starter across my buttocks seemed like an intolerable extension of my punishment. But my father returned; I said farewell to my friends and the starter and the bo'sun's cane and my horrible naval uniform for the last time; put on decent clothes for the first time in two years, and I was finally free.
And then the truth about my father could be told. He had been captured by the Russians while on a spying expedition in Siberia a dozen years ago. The British government and his family had been obliged to give him up for dead. The Russians had denied all knowledge of a British spy and for twelve long years Colonel England had remained a prisoner in various Siberian labour camps. Now, he had escaped over the Himalayas to India and, after a long recuperation, had returned to England to find his brother dying and his son locked up in a training ship.
And now for the first time, I felt that there was another human being to whom I belonged. No longer a stranger on the earth, I was free to tell my father all that had happened to me and how I had felt about it. I disdained to feel any self-pity over it, but recounted my adventures and misadventures with as much humour as I could manage. Just as my father chose not to tell me the full details of his imprisonment, so I glossed over the brigadier's brutality and the harshness of the regime in the training ship, admitting only to having been regularly flogged.
"And did you deserve the brigadier's canings?" my father asked.
"Probably," I admitted, and grinned at him. He grinned back. He must have known what such places were like and I could see that he was full of love and admiration, even if he could never admit it, that I had borne such treatment with fortitude and had emerged a stronger character as a result.
Together we travelled the country in the first holiday of my life. But then we had to return to the home that I had not seen at all for two years, and before that only during the holidays since I had been sent away to school. My uncle never left his bed and death could not be far off.
I discovered that Mike Hill had survived the reformatory and now worked on a neighbouring farm as a horse-boy. Simon had not been so fortunate. He had weakened under the treatment, turned irrevocably to crime when they were released, and now was serving a sentence in the approved school, where he had another full year to serve. One Sunday afternoon, Mike and I lounged on a half-built rick and told each other about our time our various penal institutions. As well as the two doses of birch, Mike had been caned half a dozen times over the bare backside during his month's imprisonment. I described how boys were caned over the gun, and, astonishingly, we were able to laugh about what had occurred. I never forgot Mike, but after that I never saw him again.
And then I found someone else from my past. Martha, the little girl who I'd kissed when we caught the girls swimming in the river, now worked in the kitchen as a skivvy. When I spoke to her she lowered her eyes and blushed, and when I reminded her of the kiss, she blushed even more.
"Did you mind what we did to you?" I asked her.
"No, sir," she said, going crimson. In the two and a half years since then her brothers had made good use of her. After breaking her in themselves they had regularly hired her out to their friends for the cost of a couple of pints of beer on Saturday nights. When she protested it was easy enough to strap her bottom till they aroused themselves and then take turns to hold her down while the other one taught her her business. She was good for nothing but _f_u_c_k_ing, they said, so she might as well do that to earn her keep. The job in the kitchen had been found for her by her mother to rescue her from the life she was otherwise powerless to protect her from. Two of her sisters already worked as whores in Exeter.
Of course, I knew none of this at the time. But she reminded me powerfully of the young girl I had _f_u_c_k_ed against the wall in Devonport, and I couldn't look at her without my prick standing to attention and demanding to be seen to.
Another time I watched her from the top of the stairs as she scrubbed the hall floor. Her clothes were shapeless and coarse but I could imagine the whiteness of her body underneath, the swelling of her breasts that pushed out the front of her apron, the dark hair between her thighs. My prick went rock hard at the thought of it and later, in my bedroom, when she had vanished back into the kitchen, I wanked furiously while imagining myself _f_u_c_k_ing her.
I looked for her every day, even going into the kitchen on some pretext or other, and every time I said anything to her she blushed and giggled.
"Would you like me to kiss you again?" I asked. She only blushed in reply. "Because I'd like to see you swimming again."
The half dozen servants slept either in the attic or in small rooms over the stables. I discovered, by watching out for her, that she slept over the stables, and that she had a room to herself. For several nights I lay in bed unable to think of anything except the girl, lying naked in her bed.
At last I could stand it no longer, crept out of my room and down the stairs. The door out to the stable yard was never locked and in no time I was standing outside her room in the pitch darkness. My prick was as hard as a peg and wouldn't stay inside my pyjamas. Slowly, desperately trying not to make a sound, I lifted the latch. Moonlight was streaming into the room by the low window and I could easily make out her shape in the little bed.
"Who's there?" she said, sitting up.
"Me," I said. "I've come for my kiss."
She let me in, if only because she believed she had no choice. I kissed her quite tenderly and was delighted when she opened her mouth and forced my lips apart with her tongue. I had never, of course, kissed like that and the power of it surprised me. So did her fingers when they found my prick and the blood pounded through my veins. She pulled off her night-gown and then unbuttoned my pyjama jacket, running her hands over my chest. She untied my trousers and then I too was naked. She taught me what to do. She held my _c_o_c_k_ and guided it into the warmth and wetness of her cunt and her hands on my bum stopped me from pumping too fast. Even so, I came within a very few seconds, the fierce heat of the pleasure shocking me as I shot my sperm into her.
Then I was able to explore her body with more leisure. I ran my hands over the smoothness of her skin, feeling the sharp points of her little breasts and the coolness of her thighs. My prick was still stiff as a flagstaff and when I mounted her a second time I savoured every second as it slid deliciously into her. She made me _f_u_c_k_ her slowly, and the fierce sensation took my breath away, expanding inside me till I seemed to be made entirely of the fire that came into me through my prick. Gradually I picked up the tempo and drove deeper and deeper into her till it felt as though my prick must be reaching the very core of her body. Faster and harder I drove with my prick and all the while I could feel the power growing until it shot out of me and my whole body went rigid.
When it was over I rolled off her and lay on the sheet relishing the breeze as it cooled the sweat that covered me. She kissed me and her hands ran down over my belly and into my groin. My prick was limp, but jumped as she touched it and hardened as her fingers caressed my aching bollocks. I lay still, enjoying it, while she caressed me with her fingers and her mouth. At last I could wait no longer, rolled over and climbed on to her a third time. My prick seemed to find its own way into her cunt now and she wrapped her legs round me, holding me deliciously inside her. The _f_u_c_k_ lasted a long time and every thrust was ecstatic pleasure.
My knees shook as I made my way back to bed, my prick now limp and quivering. But as soon as I was back in bed and thought of this wonderful experience, it leapt to attention once more.
Next day I thought of nothing but the girl and the warmth and wetness of her cunt. I couldn't get her out of my mind, couldn't wait till night came. I found her in the scullery and _f_u_c_k_ed her there, against the sink. She whimpered in terror, expecting someone to come at any moment. I relished the danger, though I had no appreciation at all of what would happen to her if we really were discovered.
The following day I sent her on an errand to the village, and waited for her by the corner of the orchard where there was an old derelict cottage. Inside I made her take off all her clothes, then stripped myself and _f_u_c_k_ed her solidly for nearly half an hour.
And every night I crept to her bed for more _f_u_c_k_ing and she showed me different ways of doing it. Her brothers had forced her to vary their pleasures. It had been nothing but torture then, but now, with me, I think she enjoyed it nearly as much as I did. When she took my prick into her mouth I saw again vividly the petty officers forcing the youngest boys in the watch to suck them off, and my prick went limp for a moment, but then the sheer pleasure of it overcame me and I allowed her to do it. But still what I liked best was to ride her willing body, my prick anchoring me to the wonderful pleasure of her cunt.
But it couldn't last, of course. My father was almost the last person in the household to know what was happening. The stratagems that I thought were so utterly ingenious and impenetrable had fooled nobody and all the servants knew that Martha was being _f_u_c_k_ed by the young master. My father was angry but fairer than I had any right to expect. He arranged a job for her with an old friend at the other end of the county and my pleasures were over.
The interview with my father was painful. "You should be horsewhipped, you young blackguard." And I, given my previous experience, expected nothing less. But my father did not whip me. He explained the dangers – pregnancy, and its consequences for the girl, diseases, and so on – but he could not bring himself altogether, I could see, to condemn me.
"Did you enjoy it?" he asked.
"Yes, father," I replied. And even there and then, my prick jolted in my trousers at the thought of it.
"Good. But you must wait till you're older. It does no good for a young lad to start having too much fornication."
"But I'm nearly fifteen, father."
"Indeed you are, and you should be thinking of rugger and schoolwork, not some little trollop's cunt. Which reminds me. What are we going to do with you now? You ought to go back to a decent school. You can't hang around here much longer. Your holiday is over."
"Do I have to go back to school? The boys I was at school with in the village are all working now."
"But they are labourers and you, I'm afraid, will have to be educated like a gentleman."
I had thought that my education was complete. That, after all these years, I could lead my life without the fear of being lashed across the arse. And I knew that wherever I went to school there would be prefects and masters who would impose their will on me with canes. I sighed, but knew that father was right; that I would have to submit myself all over again.