EHW Meyerstein

A Spanking Good Read... - Issue 6 . Summer 1999

Some recent additions to the Brighton Ourstory Project archive, have proved unusually stimulating. I refer to the novel Bollond and Some Letters by obscure author, EHW Meyerstein. Born in the 1890s, he was schooled in Eastbourne and later Harrow. It was during his time at Harrow, that something sparked an interest in flagellation. He once confessed that his first recollection of his 'beating-complex' was when he was just 12 and a half.

During the First World War, he worked for the British Museum in London. Here he based his short novel Bollond, which although written in 1920 remained unpublished until 1958, after Meyerstein's death. It is the story of a young man's misadventures adrift in the West End of London in the last months of the War. Reginald Bollond, the central character, unwittingly attracts the attention of a series of homosexuals, including a cocaine dealer who wants to set him up as a rent boy:

"I went upstairs, remembering to walk as he had taught me. The bedroom was tidier but thick with smoke. I could distinguish three men sitting on chairs round a table, about to start a game of cards, I thought, but I was wrong, they had just finished. I heard one whisper to his neighbour, "Roddy's latest", as I came in. "Stretch yourself on the bed, Bollond," said Ames, I suppose by way of introducing me to the company..."

Our hero is finally taken under the wing of Dorothy, a prostitute with a boot fetish, but sadly Reginald drowns himself at the novel's end. The story was clearly inspired by the 1918 case of Billie Carleton, an actress who died of an overdose of cocaine supplied by the notorious queen about town, Reggie de Veulle.

Meyerstein travelled around Europe for a while, before settling down as a lecturer at Magdalen College in Oxford where he himself had studied. He was a regular visitor to the south coast, and on May 12 1925, he checked in at Royal Crescent Hotel, 100 Marine Parade, Brighton, for several weeks holiday. In Some Letters (published 1959), we discover that he wrote to a number of friends during his stay. He told them how he adored the Pavilion, enjoyed eating shrimps on the pier, and hated people with freckles!

Whips burned

The letters reveal some other interesting details about old Eddie. He was famously mean amongst his friends, and his Xmas cards were the cards he had received the previous year with all the names crossed out. He was also known to pick up fruit and sweets from the street, and eat them. It becomes clear that his lifelong personal fantasy, was him as a schoolboy being publicly beaten by his headmaster. He had an extraordinary collection of whips from many countries, which were discovered under his bed after his death in 1952, and burned.

The Daily Telegraph put it rather well, when commenting on Meyerstein's autobiography Of My Early Life (published 1957) "Out of this strange obsessed life came strange obsessed novels and poems which could have been written by nobody else".


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