There was to be no fancy stuff this time—it would just be a straight lashing. Mr Demetre puffed out his cheeks, raised the strop high over his head, and brought it down with all his strength. But Wacka was ready for him, and those lightning reflexes that made him the best centre-half forward the school ever produced poised to meet the challenge. As the strap came down, the feelingless Braun simply closed his hand about it, wrenched it from Mr Demetre’s grasp, and laying it flat upon the desktop, whipped out his switchblade and proceeded to cut it into very small slices. About this Mr Demetre did nothing, for the very good reason that Doodles Weekes had leapt out of his desk and taken him from behind in a full nelson.
It is probably no surprise that Tom Brown’s Schooldays bore no resemblance whatsoever to my own. It’s not just because his was an upper crust school—it’s because all that sentimentality and reasonableness which permeates the book was missing from my experience. The whole thing is rough and tumble enough, but all in a good-humoured way and not possessing the sheer brutality I remember. The only character to strike a chord is the despicable bully Flashman. It might be reasonably said that Moorabbin Tech consisted entirely of Flashman types—students and teachers alike.
As I recall, this book was originally written by Anonymous, and I don’t know when or how Thomas Hughes got dobbed in. He went on to be a judge and MP and probably didn’t want to be seen bad-mouthing his Alma Marta. I should look it up but to be honest, I have way too many other pressing matters to research. You’ll just have to do it yourself.