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Chapter Fifteen. Jennings loses and finds his glove.

Antony Buckeridge 
Jennings and His Friends

Book Content

Chapter Fifteen.  Jennings loses and finds his glove.

Jennings and Darbishire hurried to the bus stop behind all the other boys. Suddenly Jennings stopped. He dropped his bag and put his hands into his raincoat pockets.
"What's the matter?" asked Darbishire.
"My glove! I've lost it! I think I've left it in the train."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I've got this glove in my pocket look, but I can't find the other one. Let's run back to the carriage and see if we can find it. We'll soon catch the others up, if we run."
The boys ran back to the carriage when Mr Wilkins with the other boys disappeared behind the station.
They could not find their carriage at once.
"It must be this one," said Darbishire, because it has that notice about passengers putting their heads out of the windows.
"They've all got these notices," said Jennings, "our carriage is much farther on."
At last they found their carriage. They lumped in and began to look for Jennings' glove. They found an old newspaper, a teacup, and a comb, but there was no sign of the glove.
"It must be somewhere here. Look!" said Jennings.
"I am looking, but I can't see your glove. Let's get off now. The train may start any minute."
And at that moment the train really started. Jennings and Darbishire ran to the carriage door. But it was too late. Jennings put his head out of the window and shouted for help.
"Nobody will hear you, Jen," said Darbishire. "And it's dangerous to put your head out: the notice says so."
Jennings came from the window and sat down.
"Don't worry, Darbi," he said. "We'll have to stay where we are. And when we arrive .it the next station we'll walk back."
"But how do we know the train is going lo stop at the next station? It may be an express."
"I'm sure it isn't an express," said Jennings. "Don't worry, Darbi. The trouble is that Mr Carter has got our tickets, so it will be difficult to leave the platform."
This time Darbishire really began to worry. Suddenly he looked at Jennings in surprise.
"I say, Jennings: there is your other glove look - on your hand!"
"No, it isn't. This is the glove I haven't lost."
"But it can't be. You said you had the other one in your pocket."
Jennings put his hand in his pocket and took out the other glove.
"Yes, you are right, Darbi. I was so busy when I was looking for the second glove* that I didn't see that I had it on all the time."
The train slowed down and the boys saw the station. Pottlewhistle Halt, they read.
"Let's get off quickly," said Darbishire.
It was a very small station. From the station an old porter came out and cried, "Pottlewhistle Halt."
But nobody else left the train. Jennings took Darbishire by the hand and the boys hid themselves behind large boxes that were standing on the platform. The porter did not see them, and as there was nobody else on the platform the porter went back into his room.
"He didn't see us," said Darbishire. "Let's go quickly, or it'll soon be dark."
"It's a wonderful adventure!" said Jennings.
"I think it's a dangerous adventure. It's more dangerous than to put your head out of the window. It's your fault we are here. So you must lead the way back."
Darbishire was right. It was all very well for him to speak, but the trouble was Jennings did not know which way to go.
Pottlewhistle Halt stood far from the nearest village. There was no bus stop near the station. People did not often use it, and' only the slowest trains stopped there. A country path led up the hill, and through a little wood.
"Let's go along this path," said Jennings. "I'm sure it will lead us to the Linbury Road after some miles."
"After some miles! Don't forget that I was running along the touchline for two hours. I think we must ask somebody if it's the right way or not."
"How can we? There's nobody here to ask."
"Ask the old porter - he's at home."
"Don't be silly, Darbi. It's a good thing lie didn't see us and couldn't ask us about our tickets. It could be more dangerous to ask him than to put 'your head out of the window."
So the boys went along the path which led up the hill.
When the five-o'clock bus from Dunham-bury left the town Mr Carter turned to Mr Wilkins who was sitting behind him.
"It's a good thing I ran and stopped the bus. There is not another bus for two hours," he said. "You counted the boys, didn't you?"
"Well... No, I didn't," said Mr Wilkins. "We were in a hurry - I didn't have time. Don't worry. Carter; they are all here. I'll count them now, if it can make you happier."
It was very easy to count, because all the boys of Linbury Court School wore red-and white caps, and Mr Wilkins could see them all from where he sat - Venables and Aktinson were in the front row, Temple and Bromwich were behind them, then he saw Smith, Jones, Binns and Crosby, and in the back row were Armstrong and Wilson.
"That's strange! I can only see ten," said Mr Wilkins. "There must be one boy that I haven't counted."
"There must be two boys that you haven't counted," corrected Mr Carter. "Eleven in the team plus a linesman is... Linesman! Yes, of course, where are Jennings and Darbishire?"
Mr Wilkins looked surprised for a moment. Then he said, "They must be on bus, some-where. Maybe they are upstairs!"
"Upstairs! This is a single-decker bus, Wilkins."
"Sorry, I didn't notice."
"Well, really, Wilkins, why didn't you count them before?"
"All right, all right, all right!" Mr Wilkins was getting angry. He jumped to his feet and called loudly, "Put your hands up, everybody! I want to see who is here."
The Linbury boys put their hands up, and an old woman with a shopping bag put her hands up too: she was very frightened.
"Quickly, now. Put up your hands all the boys who are not here," shouted Mr Wilkins. "Well, I mean, has anybody seen Jennings and Darbishire?"
"Are you sure they are not here, sir?" asked Temple. ,
"Of course I'm sure," said Mr Wilkins. I "They didn't put up their hands when I asked those who were here to put them up and they didn't put up their hands when I asked those who were not here to... oh, shut up!"
Mr Wilkins wanted to do something at, once. He ran to the back door.
"I say, conductor, stop the bus!" he cried. "You are going the wrong way - I mean, I want to get off!"
"Please, Wilkins, come back to your seat," said Mr Carter calmly. "If we stop here on a country road two miles from the town and walk back it will already be dark, and I don't think we shall find the boys. Let's go back to school and telephone the station to see if they were still there." Mr Wilkins came back to his seat. "Maybe they left something on the train and went back to find it and the train took them to the next stop," guessed Mr Carter.
"And where is the next stop?" asked M Wilkins.
"It's only a local train. The next station is a little place which is called Pottlewhistle Halt."
Soon the bus stopped near the school. When the boys got off the two teachers went to the telephone in Mr Carter's room. They telephoned Dunhambury Station, but the man there could not tell them anything about the two boys.
"I'll go and tell the Headmaster at once,' said Mr Carter, "and if you want to do some thing you can telephone the next station and see if they got off there."
"Yes, of course. I'll do it at once." And Mr Wilkins went to the telephone as the door closed behind Mr Carter.

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