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Chapter Eight. The Form Three Times.

Antony Buckeridge 
Jennings and His Friends

Book Content

Chapter Eight.  The Form Three Times.

The following morning Jennings and Darbishire hung the first issue of the Form Three Times on the notice-board. There were a lot of boys near it and they liked the newspaper. There was only one boy who did not like it. It was Temple. He did not like it because there wasn't a story about his football boot. He had already found his boot, but he was ready to hide it again because he wanted to read his story in the newspaper.
There was another boy who could not say anything good about the newspaper. He could not say anything bad about it either. He did not see the newspaper. It was Bromwich.
Jennings saw him in the tuck-box room. Bromwich was making a toy bus for his little brother.
"Have you seen my newspaper," Jennings began.
"No, I haven't," answered Bromwich. "All the time you lose your things and think that every boy must know where they are."
"No, I haven't lost it! I mean have you seen it up in the wall?"
Bromwich looked at Jennings in surprise.
"How could it get up there?" he asked.
Jennings explained, and Bromwich decided to go and see the newspaper.
When they came to the common room a lot of boys were still standing near the wall newspaper. They were talking about the two competitions and the two big cakes.
"I could do with one of these big cakes," said Temple.
"I think I'll try to write a poem," said Atkinson. He turned to Venables who was standing near him. "You can take part in the other competition - you have a beautiful handwriting."
"I don't know," said Venables. "I haven't decided yet which competition I shall take part in." He came up to the notice-board and began to read the rules: "Those who want to take part in the competitions must send their poems or twenty lines of their best handwriting by Friday. Do not write on one side of the paper..." here Venables stopped. "I say, Darbishire, came here. I don't understand this rule. If we can't write on one side of the paper, what can we do?
Darbishire came up. He was the author of the rules. "You can write on the other side, can't you?" he asked.
"How shall we know which the other side is?"
"It doesn't matter. I mean that it will be better if you only write on one side at a time, or.."
"You want to say we mustn't write on more that two sides of the paper?" asked Atkinson.
"No, you mustn't write on more that one side of the paper," said Darbishire.
Venables turned to the rules. "Take your poems or twenty lines of your best handwriting to the tuck-box room, and do not forget to write 'Competition' in the top left-hand corner."
"I can't reach the top left-hand corner of the tuck-box room if I don't stand on the table," said Atkinson.
"It doesn't mean that! You don't want to understand," said Darbishire and left the common room.

* * *

When Jennings woke up next morning the first think he thought about was food. Jennings liked to eat and he often thought about food when he woke up. But this time he didn't think about the food that he wanted to eat. He thought about the two big cakes and the parcel of fish.
He knew that Darbishire could help him to get the parcel back. But how could he get two big cakes? His Aunt Angela was a very kind woman, but she very often forgot things. He decided to write to her at once.
He began the letter during the first break and finished it during Mr Hind's history lesson.
Before the football game, as Jennings and Darbishire were putting on their football boots, Jennings said to his friend, "Don't forget, Darbi. After the game is over I'll run to Old Wilkie's room and you must keep him on the field. Ask him any questions that you like, but don't let him go before you see me wave from the school yard. That will mean that I've got the parcel from the chimney."
"All right," answered Darbishire.
The weather was bad that afternoon and Mr Wilkins was not sorry when the game was over. At once Darbishire came up to him.
"Sir, please, sir, will you explain something, please, sir?"
"Well, what is it? Hurry up, I don't want to stay here all day."
"Well, sir, if, for example, I was centre forward for the white shirts and I kicked the ball to Temple who was on my right, and there was nobody in front of him, and he didn't get the ball, and Venables, who was centre forward for the green shirts, got it and kicked it to Jennings who kicked it to Atkinson who played for the green shirts, and Bromwich was coming behind him in a white shirts, and there was nobody in front of him, will it be off side, sir?"
"I don't understand you, Darbishire. Will who be off side?"
"Well, Bromwich, for example, sir. Or if not Bromwich, then one of the others."
"I don't understand what you are talking about. Darbishire. Let's go to my room, and I'll give you a book of rules of the game." He turned and left the football field.
"Oh, don't go, sir. Please, don't go. Do you think I played well this afternoon, sir?"
"No, I don't think so, Darbishire."
"Can you show me how to play football well, sir?"
"Not in these shoes, thank you," Mr Wilkins pointed to his new shoes. "Then it's too cold here. I'm going to my room to light the fire. The Headmaster is going to visit me at 4 o'clock, and... Well Darbishire, where are your spectacles?"
"My spectacles!" exclaimed Darbishire. "I've lost hem. I know I had them when we began to play."
Mr Wilkins and Darbishire went back to the football field. After some time they found the spectacles near the goal.
"Jennings has had a lot of time to get that parcel from the chimney, my spectacles helped him," thought Darbishire. He thanked Mr Wilkins for help and let him go.


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