This is an episode which has not been extended beyond the proportions of the novella; rightly so, although it is a genre difficult for the writer (and the publisher) to handle. The time is the present or near present, when assigned to a regiment of Guards, stationed in Egypt, is a seventeen year old boy, Van der Haar. Lost, frightened, a little careless and much too young, Van der Haar is still ""a civilian in uniform"". Lutwyche, his superior, decides that he should be caned as a ""significant experience"". Actually this is an inverted attempt to exercise his own guilty attraction to the boy. The humiliation of the exposure and flogging is terrible indeed, and the message is just as bare and blunt: sadism is not isolated in one man or one country....Griffin has used few words to tell this small story and make his point. All of them count.