The next Monday during hobbies' hour Jennings and Darbishire were talking about the next issue of their wall newspaper.
"I don't think we'11 have any competitions this
time," Darbishire said. "Not many boys take part in them. And we can't
continue to give boys their own things back as prizes, can we?"
Then they decided to write about the foot-ball
game against Bracebridge School. It was an "away" game and the next
Saturday the Second Linbury Court School football team had to go to
Bracebridge by bus and train.
Jennings was a very good player and took part
in every game. Darbishire was a very bad player and never took part in
football games. So Jennings decided to ask Mr Carter to take Darbishire
as the photographer.
"I'm not sure that Mr Carter will let you go as
photographer," Jennings said to Darbishire. "We've never had a
photographer with us before. So I'll ask Mr Carter to take you as a
linesman. And when you are a linesman you'11 certainly have time to take
one or two photos."
Mr Carter agreed to take Darbishire as
linesman, and for the next four days Jennings showed his friend how to
use the camera. He also explained to him what he must do as a linesman.
Mr Carter and Mr Wilkins took the team to
Bracebridge School. They went to Dunhambury Station by bus, and there
they took train. The team was very happy to go to Bracebridge School not
only because the Bracebridge team was going to give them a good game,
but also because they usually gave them a good tea after the game.
At two o'clock in the afternoon they arrived at
Bracebridge School. The team went to a dormitory to change. The
linesman had nothing to change and Darbishire was shown into an empty
classroom to wait for his friends. He sat down in the back row and began
to look around the classroom.
Soon the door opened and a lot of Brace-bridge boys in grey suits came in. They looked at Darbishire in surprise.
"I've been told to wait here," Darbishire
explained to a round-faced boy with large ears, who came and sat on the
desk near him. "I'm Linbury linesman and photographer."
"Oh! Then I advise you to get out of here before Old Fox comes."
"Who is Old Fox?"
"You'll soon find out if you stay here."
Darbishire decided to leave the classroom quickly. He took his camera and his flag and stood up.
"Sit down, that boy," he heard a voice and saw that a man with bushy eyebrows was sitting at the teacher's desk.
That was Old Fox! The teacher was looking at a book on his desk and did not see Darbishire. Darbishire decided to explain.
"Excuse me, sir..." he began.
"Don't talk, that boy!" The teacher was still
looking at his book. "One more word from any boy, and you will all be
back here this evening."
"All right! You will all come back here after tea!"
Darbishire sat down and put up his hand. "Put
that hand down!" said the teacher. He was still looking at his book, and
did not see whose hand it was.
At that moment Darbishire heard a whistle from
the football field. "The game has started," thought Darbishire. "And
nobody has come to take me to the football field." Time passed and
Darbishire knew that it was a detention class. He decided to ask the
round-faced boy about it. But when he opened his mouth he heard: "Stop
talking there in the back row!"
This time the teacher looked at Darbishire at last.
"I don't remember your face. May I ask you what you are doing here, boy?"
"Please, sir, I've come with the Linbury football team, and..."
"Too bad, too bad! Of course, it's very easy to
get into my detention class, but it is very difficult to leave it. Are
you sure you don't want to stay with us?"
"Yes, sir, I'm sure I don't want to stay here! Thank you, sir."
"All right, all right. And if you want to visit us we'll be very happy to see you any time you like. And now you may go."
Darbishire ran out of the classroom and hurried to the football field.
But it was too late. When Darbishire arrived
the winning goal had already, been scored by Temple, and that was the
only goal in the game.
It was a good, fast game, too fast for
Darbishire to use the camera. Because when the ball was near his
touchline he had no time to use the camera, and when the ball was on the
other side of the field the players were far away.
Jennings found this out on the train going home and was very angry with his friend.
Darbishire tried not to look at Jennings. lie turned away and put his head out of the open window.
"There's notice for people like you over the door," said Atkinson. "Can't you read?"
Darbishire looked at the notice, "It is Dangerous for Passengers to Put their Heads out of the Window," he read.
"I didn't put my heads out," he said. "I've
only got one head to put out. That notice is nonsense. They had to say -
No passenger must put his own head out."
"Very good!" said Bromwich. "That means that we can put somebody else's head out. Whose head shall we put out?"
"Darbishire's, of course,- he is only the linesman," said Atkinson.
Jennings decided to help his friend.
"What they meant to say is: All passengers' must not put his, her or its head out, respectively."
"You can't put your head out respectively," said Temple.
"Stop talking nonsense," said Mr Carter. "The
train is coming into Dunhambury Station. Don't leave anything in the
carriage. Have you got your gloves, Jennings?"
"I think so, sir. One is in my pocket, and the other is somewhere here, sir."
"Where are your football boots, Venables?"
"In my bag, sir. I wrapped them in my clean towel because they were very muddy, sir."
"What?" asked Mr Carter in surprise.
But at that moment the train stopped and Venables had no time to answer Mr Carter's question.
Mr Carter and the boys got out of one carriage, and Mr Wilkins and the other boys got out of the next.
"The bus to Linbury is leaving any minute," Mr
Carter said to Mr Wilkins. "I'll hurry and ask the driver to wait and
you, please, look after the boys."
"Come along, boys, come along," said Mr Wilkins
in a voice that every football player of the Linbury team could hear