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Chapter Four Jennings and Darbishire meet Mr Carter.

Antony Buckeridge 
Jennings and His Friends

Book Content

Chapter Four Jennings and Darbishire meet Mr Carter.

"We can't take the parcel to school," Jennings said when the boys left the fishing boat
"Why not? There is no rule about it, is there?" said Darbishire.
"There must be. I think Matron will get angry if we came to tea with the fish. And if there isn't a rule, there soon will be one. Rule number nine hundred and ninety-nine: Any boy who comes to boarding school with a parcel of fish shall stay in class during football."
"Well, let's leave it somewhere before we come to school."
But this was not so easy. There were no trees or bushes on their way to school, and an old woman with a dog was walking behind them.
"We can't leave it here," decided Jennings. "Well, what shall we do with it?... I'll tell you what, Darbi. We'll take it to school and put it in my tuck-box."
"Yes," said Darbishire, "and then we can take it home to our mothers when we go on holidays." Jennings looked at his friend angrily:
"Sometimes you don't think before you speak."
"I see what you mean. But then why take it with us?"
"To eat, of course."
"What - raw! Thank you, Jen. I'm not a cat."
"I'm not going to eat it raw. I'm not a cat either. What we'll do is this. We'll get up early tomorrow and develop our film in the school dark room. There is a gas-cooker there and we'll fry a nice fish breakfast."
"What shall we fry it in?"
"In developing dishes, of course."
"Where can we get butter?"
"I'll think about that," said Jennings.
Darbishire thought it was a good plan: teachers do not come into the dark room when pupils develop the film there.
When the boys were near the school Jennings sent Darbishire to see if there was anybody near the building. Jennings put the parcel on the ground. At that moment Darbishire ran back.
"Mr Carter," he said. "He's coming here."
Jennings wanted to put the parcel quickly under his raincoat. But when he took it from the ground the newspaper dissolved into pulp and the fish fell on the ground. For a moment Jennings did not know what to do. Then, quickly, he began to put the fish into his raincoat pockets.
"Don't stand there, Darbi! Do something!" said Jennings.
Darbishire began to put the fish in his pockets too. Jennings had soon found a place of all except one.
At that moment he saw Mr Carter. Jennings took of his cap, put the last fish in it, and put the cap on quickly.
Mr Carter was a very kind and cleaver man, and all the boys in the boarding school liked him.
"Good afternoon, sir, " said Darbishire and took of his cap.
Jennings looked at him angrily. "Why did he do that. He knows well that I can't take of my cap," he thought.
"Good afternoon. You've come back early," said Mr Carter. "Did you have a good walk?"
"Yes, thank you, sir. We went to the harbour," said Jennings. " I took very good photos of a fishing boat and some fishermen."
At that moment Darbishire saw that Mr Carter was looking at Jennings' cap.
"They were Frenchmen, sir," said Darbishire. "And I had a little talk with them."
"Yes, sir," said Jennings, "they were Frenchmen and Darbishire called them 'fish'."
"Oh, sir, I didn't call them that, sir! Jennings doesn't know French well and he couldn't understand what I said to them."
"And could the Frenchmen?" asked Mr Carter.
"Yes and no, sir," said Darbishire.
"Well, the first thing which you two boys can do, is to go and take the fish out of your pockets."
So Mr Carter knew about the fish!
Mr Carter turned to Jennings.
"Fish may be good for the brain, but not when you put them in the head under your cap."
"I'm sorry, " said Jennings. "They are a present. We didn't want to take them but we didn't know how to say it in French."
"I see. Well, I think you must take the fish out of your pockets. After that Jennings, you can hang your coats in the school yard and then wash you hair."
"Yes, sir."
When Mr Carter left the boys Jennings looked at his friend's sad face and said, "why are you so sad, Darbi? We'll develop the photos and then - well, Mr Carter didn't say we mustn't eat them, did he?"
"The photos?"
"No, you silly. Why don't you listen when I talk to you?"
"Mr Carter said..."
"He didn't say that we mustn't eat the fish. He said that we must take them out of our pockets. We can take them out of our pockets and put them in my tuck-box. Then we can fry them with pepper and salt."
Before tea Jennings and Darbishire began to prepare for the next day. They had to ask permission to use the dark room. They decided not to ask Mr Carter. So they asked Mr Hid, a History an Music teacher. Mr Hid was a good photographer and was only to happy to give his permission. Then the boys had to get some butter. They did not eat any butter at tea-time, but took it out of the dining hall in an envelope.

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