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Chapter Thirty-Four. The geography test.

Antony Buckeridge 
Jennings and His Friends

Book Content

Chapter Thirty-Four.  The geography test.

When Jennings finished writing the last letter under his drawing Mr Wilkins himself arrived to begin the lesson. Quickly Jennings turned over the page. Mr Wilkins must never see the caricature.
The boys began the geography test and worked on it during nearly all the lesson. Jennings was ready for the test and soon he found that he could answer most of the questions well enough. So he finished the tests ten minutes before the end of the lesson.
That was very good because it meant that he had some time to think what to do with his masterpiece. If Mr Wilkins mustn't see his portrait he must rub it out before Mr Wilkins stood up to take in the boys' exercise-books at the end of the lesson.
At the same time Jennings did not want to rub out the drawing. He wanted to show it to some other boys of Linbury Boarding School who, he was sure, would like it too.
"I'm sorry I've chosen my geography exercise-book to draw Old Wilkie's portrait," thought Jennings. "But how did I know that I could draw a masterpiece? Maybe I'll cut the page out."
He looked at the teacher's desk. Mr Wilkins was reading something. Now was the time!
Jennings opened his desk and put the exercise-book into it. "If Old Wilkie looks at me, he will think that I'm taking my books and exercise-books for the next lesson," Jennings thought. From a box in his desk he took his penknife and opened it.
"Jennings!" Mr Wilkins' voice rang so suddenly that the boy jumped. "What are you doing inside that desk?" Jennings quickly shut'' the exercise-book. "I-I wasn't really doing anything, sir."
"Don't talk to me over the top of a desk!"
Jennings closed the desk.
"What's that penknife doing in your hand?"
"This penknife, sir? Well, you see, I've, finished the test, and now 1 have nothing to do, and I am... cutting a piece of paper, sir!"
"Cutting a piece of paper! Again these Christmas decorations! It's bad enough that you boys spend all your free time on this nonsense, and I'm certainly not going to let you do it in class, whether you've finished your work or not."
"No, sir."
"Bring that penknife to me. I shall confiscate it."
Very slowly Jennings went to the teacher's desk and put the penknife on it.
"Will you give it back to me at the end of the term?" he asked.
"I haven't decided it yet," was the answer.
"But sir..."
"Don't argue with me. Be quiet; the other boys are still working," Mr Wilkins said. "If you've finished the test you can leave the room and stay in the corridor till the end of the lesson."
"It was bad luck about the penknife," Jennings said to himself in the corridor. "I may get it back before the holidays or may not. You never know with Mr Wilkins. The only thing I can do is to be decent to him for a week and then ask him to give me back the penknife."
Jennings was not worried about the drawing, because when the lesson was over he could go back into the classroom and... The bell rang and a moment later Mr Wilkins came out of the classroom with a pile of exercise-books under his arm.
In a state of wild panic Jennings ran into the classroom. "Who collected the exercise-books after the test?" he shouted.
"I did. Old Wilkie told me to," answered Bromwich. "Don't worry about your exercise-, book. When I saw it wasn't on the top of your desk, I looked for it inside and I found it."
"What?" exclaimed Jennings. "You - you mean you took my exercise-book and gave it to Old Wilkie?"
"Well, of course, I did," said Bromwich. "You want Old Wilkie to correct your test, don't you?"
The horror swept over Jennings.
"Why did you want to do a thing 1 that, Bromo?"
Bromwich looked at him in surprise.
"I did no harm when I got your exercise-book out of your desk, did I?" said Bromwich,
"No harm!" exclaimed Jennings. "Oh, no! No harm! You've only given Sir a caricature on himself with his name under it in large letters."
"I'm very sorry," said Bromwich. "But how could I know?"
"Everybody knew," said Jennings. "Everybody saw it before the lesson."
But Bromwich really was the only boy who did not see it.
There was no time to talk about it because at that moment Mr Carter arrived to begin an English lesson. And all the time during the next two lessons Jennings was thinking about his drawing.
"I must get my exercise-book back before Old Wilkie begins to correct it," thought Jennings. "By hook or by crook."

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