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Chapter Three Jennings and Darbishire go to the Harbour

Antony Buckeridge 
Jennings and His Friends

Book Content

Chapter Three Jennings and Darbishire go to the Harbour

All the pupils of Form Three liked the hobbies' hour because during the hobbies' hour they could do what they liked and how they liked.
During the hobbies' hour after tea on the next Monday Jennings and Darbishire sat at a table with some paper and pencils in front of them. They sat between Atkinson who was making a toy for his sister's birthday and Venables who was making a great noise.
"Now, Darbi, let's give our wall newspaper a name," Jennings began. "Let's call it the Form Three Times"
"That's a good name," said Darbishire.
Then they decided to print the first issue of the Form Three Times next week.
When the other boys heard the news about the wall newspaper they came up to Jennings and Darbishire.
"If you want some news you can come to me for it, Jennings," said Temple. "I'm not pulling your leg. There was a disappearance."
"Who has disappeared - Mr Wilkins?" asked Darbishire.
"No, my left football boot has disappeared. And if you want to know how a burglar could do it I can tell you. He left his car in the school yard when we were all in the classroom and... "
"Why did he take only one boot?" asked Jennings.
"Maybe he has only one leg."
"If he has only one leg how can he play football?"
Temple could not answer that question.
"Well," Jennings turned to Darbishire, "if we want to make our newspaper interesting we must take some photos and put them in the newspaper."
"Yes," said Darbishire, "I can take a photo of you when you are sitting down and you can take a photo of me when I'm..."
"No," said Jennings. "Who will want to see you when you are sitting down. We must take some interesting photos. We can go to the harbour and take a photo of a ship, for example."
"All right," said Darbishire, "let's ask permission to go to the harbour next Sunday."
When Sunday came it was raining. But after breakfast the sun came out and Jennings and Darbishire went to Mr Carter, the teacher on duty. They asked permission to go to the harbour. When Mr Carter gave them permission the boys took the camera and hurried to the harbour.
Soon they came to the harbour. It was a small harbour and there was only one fishing boat there that afternoon. The name of the boat was "Sainte Marie".
"It's French," said Darbishire when he saw the name of the boat.
Five Frenchmen sat on deck mending their nets. The boys stood looking at them for a long time. At last Darbishire said: "Why are we standing and looking at them? Let's go and ask permission to take a photo of them. My father says you must strike while the iron is hot."
"All right, let's go," said Jennings. And they went to the fishing boat.
"Excuse me," said Jennings when they came up to the boat.
There was no answer from the boat. Five pairs of hands were working quickly.
"Excuse me," repeated Jennings loudly.
The hands stopped working and the five fishermen turned their heads towards the boys.
"My friend and I want to ask permission to come on deck and take some photos of you for our newspaper," said Jennings.
No answer. The fishermen looked at the boys with surprise.
"What I mean is there will be a wonderful picture of you mending your nets."
"Comment?" said one of the fishermen.
"What did he say?" asked Darbishire.
"I don't know. Something like 'come on'."
"No," he said, 'comment' means, 'how many', or 'what' or something else in French."
"I will tell him that I want to take only one photo," Jennings said to Darbishire. And he said loudly, "I want only one photo."
But the fishermen did not understand Jennings.
"Comment?" another fisherman asked.
"It can't mean 'how many'. I've told him that I wanted to take only one photo and now he has asked again. Maybe he means 'come on'. Let's go," Jennings said to Darbishire.
Soon the boys were on deck. The fishermen smiled at their visitors, but did not say a word because they did not speak English.
"Good afternoon, it's very nice to be here," said Jennings.
"Comment?" asked the third fisherman.
"We can't come on. We are already here," said Jennings.
"They don't understand English" said Darbishire.
The fishermen began to speak French, and then one of them said something in French to Darbishire.
"Maybe he says that they don't speak English and that you must talk to them in French if you want to take a photo," said Darbishire.
"Me talk to hem in French? But you are one of the best pupils in the French class. Ask them if we can take their photo," said Jennings.
"I can't. I don't remember the words."
"Please, Darbi, say something."
Darbishire thought and said what he could.
"Attention, mes braves! Nous voulons du poisson... No, no! What I mean is..."
But the fishermen began to smile: they understood at last! They turned and hurried below deck.
Jennings looked at them in surprise: "Where are they all hurrying to?"
"Well.. you see..." began Darbishire, " I think I've made a mistake. I didn't remember the French for 'fisherman' and said 'poisson' which means 'fish'"
"Do you mean you called them 'fish', and they got angry and ran from the deck?"
"No, I think I said we want some fish."
"How could you say that?"
Darbishire did not answer.
"Never mind," said Jennings. "I've taken a good photo of them. They don't know I took it because they were talking to you."
"That's good. Let's go home then. I'm happy it's all over."
But when they turned to go they saw the five fishermen again. They were coming on deck with fish in their hands.
"Thank you very much," said Jennings, "but..."
"C'est pour votre maman," said one of the Frenchmen.
Darbishire understood. "He says that we must take the fish home to our mothers," he said.
"Tell him we don't have mothers at boarding school. Thank them and tell them we don't want any fish," said Jennings.
"I can't. There are too many words there that I don't know. Let's take the fish and go."
"But we don't want it. What can we do with it?"
"We must take the fish. It is a present. The fisherman think we have come here only for fish. They are happy to give it to us. They will not like it if we don't take the fish."
"All right," said Jennings and took the fish from one of the Frenchmen. Then the others hurried to the boys and gave them the fish they had in their hands.
After that one of the fisherman took a newspaper out of his pocket and made up a big parcel of the fish. Yes, the men from "Sainte Marie" were very kind people.

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