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Chapter Thirty-Seven. Jennings' new plan.

Antony Buckeridge 
Jennings and His Friends

Book Content

Chapter Thirty-Seven.  Jennings' new plan.

It was a sad evening for Jennings. Temple and Atkinson did not want to go to the staff room again and meet Mr Wilkins. Even Darbishire, Jennings' best friend, had no wish to meet Mr Wilkins again.
"I will watch if you decide to try again," Darbishire said to his friend.
"But there is no time to try again," said Jennings. "Maybe he is correcting our tests now."
"No, he isn't," said Darbishire. "He told me he wouldn't do it till tomorrow morning."
When Jennings was in bed he began to think of a new plan for the morning.
"Yes," he thought, "there is still a chance for me to rub out the drawing before breakfast, It is a good time to do it, because there will certainly be no teachers in the staff room before breakfast. But it is also the time of my piano practice. In the next room Mr Wilkins will certainly notice it if I stop playing for more than one minute."
Suddenly a wonderful idea came in to his head. Of course! With a little help from Darbishire he could do it!
"Hey, Darbi, wake up!" he called to his friend in a whisper. "I have a wonderful plan."
"Yes?" came a sleepy voice from the next bed.
"I know how to rub out that drawing. I couldn't think how to do it and then suddenly a wonderful idea came into my head."
"Well, what happened after a wonderful idea came into your head?"
"Well, Old Wilkie usually knocks on the wall if I stop practising for more than half a minute. So I think I will ask somebody to go on playing Beethoven's Minuet in G, and I'll go to the staff room.
"If you think I can play it you can think again," said Darbishire. "I can play only An Easy Piece for Little Fingers."
"But I don't want you to play. There is a record of that piece in the music room."
"What record, An Easy Piece for Little . Fingers?"
"No, Beethoven's Minuet in G. Mr Hind played it to me during my music lesson some weeks ago. So all you have to do is..."
"Hey! Stop whispering and go to sleep."
That was the voice of Bromwich, the dormitory monitor.
Jennings had to stop talking. "Never mind," thought Jennings. "When the time comes Darbi will understand what he has to do."
* * *
At half past seven the next morning Jennings went into the music room and began to play Beethoven's Minuet in G. Soon he stopped playing and listened. In half a minute he heard a knock on the wall. Yes, Mr Wilkins was listening, Jennings began to play again.
Jennings smiled to himself as he turned back to the keyboard. Everything was all right!
Five minutes later Darbishire ran into the music room.
"Here I am," he whispered. "What do I have to do?"
Jennings stopped playing and answered, "Do you see that cupboard in the corner? There is a pile of records on the top shelf, and among them you'll find Beethoven's Minuet in G."
"I don't understand why you can't do it yourself," said Darbishire and opened the cupboard.
The answer to this question was a loud knock on the other side of the wall.
"That's why I can't do it myself," Jennings pointed to the wall and began the Minuet again.
Soon Darbishire found the record and put it on the record-player. Then he switched on the record-player and whispered, "Say when."
Jennings stopped playing and jumped to his feet. "Start now!" he said.
At once the boys heard Beethoven's Minuet in G. There was a difference, of course, between Jennings' playing and the playing of a famous pianist on the record. But for the boys there was no difference. They were happy with their idea.
"Wonderful, isn't it!" exclaimed Darbishire. "It sounds just like you playing. I'm sure Old Wilkie will like it. He'll think-"
"Be quiet, Darbi. I'm in a hurry." Jennings went to the door. "Maybe I'll come back before the record has finished, but if I'm not, start it playing again."
Jennings hurried from the room. The sounds of Beethoven's Minuet in G followed him along the corridor to the staff room.
* * *
Mr Wilkins did not listen to Jennings' playing attentively. He was quite happy that the boy played without stopping. So the record-player had been playing for half a minute before Mr Wilkins realized that something unusual was happening.
To his surprise he began to sing the melody - a thing he had never done before. Now he realized that the music sounded quite different: the boy was improving!
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