When the boys went along the corridor Darbishire said, "What are we going to do? We can't take this parcel to Old Wilkie's room, can we?"

"We must hide it somewhere."

"But where?"

They went to Mr Wilkins' door.

"What shall we do? He'll be here in a minute," said Darbishire. Jennings decided to do something.

"Open his door, quick," he said to Darbishire.

"You are not going to hide it in Old Wilkie's room - are you?"

"There is no other place, is there?"

Darbishire opened the door and the boys went into Mr Wilkins' room. It was a small room. There was a table, three chairs, an arm-chair, a cupboard and a bookcase in it. The boys looked around and understood that there was no place to hide the parcel.

   From the corridor they heard Mr Wilkins' footsteps.

   "Go out and talk to him," said Jennings.

   "What about?"

   "I don't know. Something interesting. The weather, for example."

   "The weather?..."

   "Please, Darbi, do as I say."

   Darbishire left his friend and hurried to the corridor. Mr Wilkins was coming up to his room and his face told Darbishire that the teacher was not going to talk to him about the weather.

   "What were you doing in my room, Darbishire?" he asked.

   "I... I... I... am coming out, sir."

   "I can see that. But I told you to wait at my door."

   Mr Wilkins opened the door and went into his room. Darbishire went after him. He was so frightened that he closed his eyes. When he opened them he was greatly surprised.

   Jennings was standing on the carpet. He had no parcel in his hands. There was no parcel under his coat either. Darbishire looked around the room. "Where has Jennings hidden the parcel?" Darbishire could not answer this question. He looked around the room again.

   "What's the matter with you, Darbishire?" asked Mr Wilkins. "Have you lost anything?"

   "No, sir. Thank you, sir," answered Darbishire.

   "Darbishire and Jennings, you developed the photos without permission, and you did it before the bell. So you will do an hour's work for me on Saturday afternoon."

   "Yes. Sir. May we go, sir?"

   "You may."

   When the boys went out into the corridor Jennings said, "Well, that wasn't so bad, was it? If he knew that we fried fish in the dark room!"

   "Yes, where is it?" asked Darbishire.

   "The dark room? You know that well."

   "No, where is the parcel of fish?"

   "Oh, that! Well, I had to do something, quick."

   "And what did you do, quick?"

   I put it in Old Wilkie's chimney."


   "What could I do? It was all very fine for you to stand at the door, and I..."

   "But we can't leave the parcel there for ever."

   "No, we can't. but we have to say goodbye to our early breakfast."

   At that moment the breakfast bell rang, and Jennings and Darbishire went down to the dining hall.

   "Where have you been?" Venables asked when Jennings and Darbishire sat down at breakfast.

   "Yesterday Mr Hind said that I could develop my film in the dark room. And when we were using a developing dish as a frying pan it began to burn. At that moment Old Wilkie came..."

   "Why did you fry the photos?" asked Venables.

   "Oh, I don't mean the photos. We were frying the fish."

   "What fish?"

   "The fish in Old Wilkie's chimney."

   Venables could not understand it. Then Darbishire explained it all to him.

   "It will be easy to take it from the chimney when Old Wilkie isn't in the room," said Venables.

   "It is all very fine for you to talk," said Jennings. "I'd like to see you do it."

   Of course, Jennings had decided to get the parcel from the chimney, but he did not want to let anybody say that it was easy.

   Darbishire did not eat much at breakfast that morning. He was thinking about his plan to get the parcel back from Mr Wilkins' chimney. "I'll go to Old Wilkie's room," thought Darbishire, "and knock at the door. If there is no answer it will mean that there is nobody in the room. If there is an answer - well, then I'll see what to do. But I must do in quickly. Today is Monday, and this evening Jennings and I wanted to begin to print the first issue of the Form Three Times."

© 2023