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Many books have been written about the horror of boys’ public schools. Comparatively few, however, venture beyond the staff-room door to examine the suffering of masters as well as pupils. Of those that do, there is probably none that captures the wretchedness of their cloistered life more vividly than Mr Perrin and Mr Traill. Based in part on his own experiences as a boarder at King’s School, Canterbury, Walpole reflected that Mr Perrin and Mr Traill was ‘probably the truest’ of all his novels.