When the boys opened the last parcel they saw a square box.
"The Junior Printing Outfit!" read Darbishire.
They opened the box and saw letters made of
small pieces of rubber and a pair of tweezers with which they could take
the letters and put them in the printing block.
"How wonderful!" said Darbishire. "Now we can print our names on all our books."
"Yes, but the first thing that I'm going to use
it for is to answer all these birthday letters," answered Jennings,
"because I usually write the same things to my father, mother and Aunt
Darbishire took a row of rubber letters with
the help of the tweezers from the box and began to look at them. But he
could not see much because his spectacles were too dusty.
"I can't see whether these letters are e's or a's," he said. "My father says that..."
But at that moment he pressed to hard with the
tweezers and all the little rubber letters were at once in the four
corners of the big hall.
"I'm very sorry," said Darbishire.
The breakfast bell rang.
"What are we going to do?" asked Jennings.
"I don't know," answered Darbishire. "All those letters were the same - e's or a's."
Jennings looked in the box and saw that
Darbishire was right. There was a row of a's, a row of b's, a row of
c's, a row of d's and there wasn't an e in the box!
"We'll come back after breakfast," said Jennings.
But after breakfast it was too late. When the
boys came back to the hall they saw no letters on the floor: the floor
"Somebody has cleaned the floor with a vacuum cleaner," said Jennings.
For a moment they stood and looked at the clean
floor. Then Jennings turned and went to the common room. Darbishire
went after him.
"How am I going to write my letters now?" Jennings said.
"You can write something which doesn't have e's"
"Don't be funny," said Jennings.
"During breakfast I decided to print a Form
Three wall newspaper. We can print all the news about Form Three in it
and hang it on the wall."
"That will be wonderful."
"Yes, but we can't print any news which has an e in it. Well, I can ask Aunt Angela to send me some e's."
After tea that evening Jennings sat down at the
table in the common room to answer his birthday letters. He wanted to
try his printing outfit on his letters before he could begin to print a
wall newspaper. He put x's in place of e's and soon the letter was
ready. When Darbishire went into the common room Jennings showed him the
"I say," Jennings said. "All that I must do now is..."
"Yes, but I have something to tell you," Darbishire began
"Never mind! Look at this!"
"I was only going to say...
Jennings put the letter under Darbishire's nose.
"Not bad, is it?" he asked. "Of course we must get these e's before we begin to print our well newspaper."
Darbishire began to read the letter.
"Dxar Aunt Angxla! Thank you for your birthday
prxsxnt. I likxd all thx birthday prxsxnts which I had. Fathxr sxnt mx a
Darbishire stopped and said: "Well, I know what you bean, of course, but..."
"You mean these x's. but I've written P.S. on Aunt Angela's letter. She will understand it."
Darbishire read: "P.S. Plxasx, sxnd mx somx of lxttxrs which comx bxtwxxn d and f."
When Darbishire finished reading the letter he put his hand into his pocket and took out some rubber letters.
"These are the e's that I lost this morning," he said and he put them on the table.
"Yes, I've taken them out of the dust bag of
the vacuum cleaner. Now you can write your letters using all the
letters, can't you?"
"I can, but now that we have all the letters we must begin a Form Three wall newspaper."