groups‎ > ‎

Chapter Eighteen. Let's be decent to old Wilkie.

Antony Buckeridge 
Jennings and His Friends

Book Content

Chapter Eighteen.  Let's be decent to old Wilkie.

It was late when the search-party got back to Linbury Court.
Jennings and Darbishire had to go to the Headmaster's study where for twenty minutes they had a very unpleasant conversation with Mr Pemberton.
"You will not go with the school team to an 'away' match again this term," the Headmaster said at the end of the conversation.
"It's not so bad for you because you are not in the team," Jennings said to Darbishire when they came to the dormitory, "but there are four more matches during this term; and some of these schools give wonderful tea after the game."
"Never mind," said Darbishire. "You'll have more time for our wall newspaper. The next issue must be ready very soon, now."
"With a nice photo of the winning goal in the Bracebridge match, I think!" said Jennings with a smile. "You were a wonderful photographer, Darbi. You came when the game was half over, and didn't take any photos."
"But we can write about the search-party," said Darbishire. "Jennings and Darbishire Find Search-Party! That will be a nice title, won't it? Or Search-Party Finds Jennings' Glove."
Darbishire decided to write the titles in his exercise-book, but at that moment Mr Carter put out the dormitory light. Darbishire was only too happy - he wanted to sleep. And in the next bed Jennings, who did not want to sleep, was thinking about... yes, he was thinking about Mr Wilkins. "We must really be decent to Old Wilkie," he thought. "He is not bad, after all. That search-party was certainly too much for him. I'll try to work well during his lessons," he decided.
"Darby," Jennings said suddenly.
"Oh! Shut up!" came from the next bed. "I'm sleeping."
"You are not sleeping. You can't talk when you are sleeping. Listen! You know we were wondering what we could write about in the next number of the Form Three Times?"
"A fine time to wake me up!"
"Yes, but listen! What will you think if I write some life-stories of famous people like Julius Caesar or Charles Dickens, for example?"
"I'll think it strange."
"Yes, but that's not all. I think it will make Old Wilkie happy."
"Why do you think he will want to read, about Charles Dickens?" asked Darbishire in surprise.
"No, you silly! We'll write about Old Wilkie In our Famous Lives, and maybe of other teachers too. We must really be decent to Old Wilkie."
"Let's talk about it tomorrow, Jen. I am really sleeping already."

* * *


During the next four days Jennings and Darbishire did all they could to be decent to Mr Wilkins. They tried to mend his pen (it was not their fault that they could not do it), they woke him up early in the morning to show him Darbishire's new drawing, they once opened the door for him - they did it so quickly that Mr Wilkins nearly fell.
"I think he will be happier when he sees, his life-story in the Form Three Times," Darbishire said to Jennings when they waited for Mr Wilkins to arrive for an algebra lesson a week later. "Are you writing those famous life-stories?"
"I've already written Juluis Caesar's lifestory," answered Jennings, "but there wasn't much to say about Charles Dickens, so I am going to write Mr Carter's life-story to fill up the space. Mr Wilkins' life-story is the most difficult one: I can't find out how old he is or what his first name is."
At that moment they heard Mr Wilkins' footsteps in the corridor. The door opened, and Mr Wilkins came into the classroom.
"Good morning, sir," said Form Three.
"Good morning," said Mr Wilkins. "I am going to show you a new sort of problem during this lesson. So sit up straight and try to understand."
Form Three sat up straight, but to try to understand Mr Wilkins was another thing, because it was not easy to understand when Mr Wilkins explained about new problems. There was one problem about the man who walked at the strange speed of x miles an hour for the strange time of y hours.
"I've never seen a clock with y's on its face," Jennings whispered to Darbishire. "Maybe Mr Wilkins will be interested to know about it."
And Jennings told him so. Other boys asked Mr Wilkins questions which he thought were very silly too.
When he finished his explanation he said, "Now we'll see how much you've understood. Try to work out the next problem for yourselves."
He wrote the next problem on the blackboard and sat down at the .teacher's desk. The problem was about a walk from one milestone to the next and there were some x's and y's in it too.
"Do we have to work it out in our exercise books, sir?" asked Atkinson.
"Of course. You don't think I want you to write it on the desks, do you?" came the angry reply.
Temple put up his hand.
"Please, sir, we can't find the answer to this problem, sir. You haven't told us how far it is from one milestone to the next. And before we know that we can't work it out, can we, sir?"
"I'm sure, Temple, you must know how far it is from one milestone to the next mile-stone. It can't be more than one mile, can it?" said Mr Wilkins and left his desk. "Well, Bromwich, have you worked out how much time it will take?"
"Yes, sir, three days, sir."
"Three days to go a mile! Don't be funny, you silly little boy. A snail can do it in that time!"
"I thought it was a snail, sir. The problem doesn't say it has to be a man. So I thought, it could be a snail."
"Well, well, Bromwich... Darbishire! I think you have worked it out, haven't you?"
"Yes, I have, sir. I used a man, sir, and I worked it out quickly. He must finish his trip at half past z, sir."
Mr Wilkins clasped his hands over his eyes and sat down at the desk.
"Please put your hands up all boys who have written down 'twenty minutes' for the answer," he said loudly.
Nobody put up his hand.
"Not one right answer to an easy problem!" exclaimed Mr Wilkins. "Very well. You all must come here at a quarter past four on Saturday and we'll have some more examples."
The boys were certainly not happy when they heard the news. Bromwich turned to Jennings and Darbishire.
"The first team will play a 'home' match on Saturday," he said. "When the game is over at half past three then it's the time we can go to the village. I think Old Wilkie has purposely chosen this time for his detention class, because we won't have enough time to go to the village and to come back."
"You mean we shall have enough time to go to the village and come back, because it takes us ten minutes to walk each way. But we won't have any time to spend in o the village, will we?" said Jennings.
Jennings didn't want to go to the village this Saturday because he had no money. He decided to finish his life-stories for the next issue of the wall newspaper which he wanted to hang on the notice-board the following Tuesday.
The algebra lesson ended when the bell rang for break, and Mr Wilkins went to the staff room for a cup of tea.


Comments