“I’m not coming, old chap! This pain in my arm—I mean my leg—.”
“Don’t be a fat ass,” said Harry, tersely. “It’s a compulsory day, and Wingate
will give us a look in. Get a move on.”
“I hope you’re not going to be a beast, Wharton! You can let a man off if he’s
ill, as captain of the Form. Tell Wingate I’m ill. There’s a pain in my leg
like a red-hot poker,” said Bunter, pathetically. “I’m as keen as—as anything,
but with this awful pain, I could do simply nothing. I believe I’ve got a touch
of pneumonia in my knee—.”
“Oh, crumbs!” ejaculated Bob Cherry. “That sounds bad.”
“It is bad, old chap! I can bear it,” said Bunter, nobly.
“I’m not a fellow to make a fuss, even about agony like this. I think I’ll take
a rest in your armchair, Wharton—I couldn’t even walk downstairs at this
moment. I couldn’t even walk out of the study.”
“You fat chump, get a move on.” said Wharton, impatiently.
“Oh, really, Wharton, when I’m suffering this fearful pain—!”
“Hold on,” said Bob. “If Bunter’s got a fearful pain, and can’t walk out of the
study, he certainly can’t go down to the nets, and you’ll have to let him off.
But perhaps he exaggerates. I’ll try prodding him with this bat, and I
shouldn’t wonder if he could walk out of the study all right.”
“Yaroooh!” roared Bunter. “Keep that bat away, you silly ass! Whooop!” Billy
Bunter fairly bounded.
“Well, he can jump, if he can’t walk,” said Bob. “A pot of prodding—!”
“Ow! wow! Will you keep that bat away!” roared Bunter, dodging round the study
table. “Beast! Leave off shoving that bat at me, will you? I—I’m going. Will
you leave off bunging that bat in my ribs, you beast! I’m going, ain’t I?”
Billy Bunter—under Bob’s cheerful prodding—found that he could not only walk,
but actually run! Two chuckling juniors followed him down. Five minutes later a
fat figure that looked on the point of bursting out of its flannels rolled reluctantly
down to junior nets. If Billy Bunter was keen on cricket, nobody would have
guessed it from the expression on his fat face.
QUELCH IS NOT PLEASED!
‘You will go on, Bunter.”
“Oh, lor’!” breathed Billy Bunter.
He hoped to escape the gimlet-eye that morning! In a numerous form like the
Remove, every fellow was not called upon for “con”. Any fellow might be called,
so it behoved every fellow to be prepared. Any Remove man who neglected “prep”,
and trusted to luck in the form-room, was taking risky chances. But William
George Bunter was just the fellow to take the risk.
Since that serious talk with Quelch in his study, Billy Bunter had made new
resolutions—he had made up his fat mind to do a spot of work: and indeed, to
surprise Quelch with a display of scholarship. And for several days Bunter had
kept more or less to his new resolves. But though the spirit was willing, the
flesh was weak. Laziness supervened: and, at length, Bunter had chanced it,
once more, in his happy way.
It was very unfortunate, in the circumstances. He really did want to make a
good impression on his form- master—if only it could be done without exerting
himself. He really did want a good report that term—a good report was in fact
indispensable to him. He wanted his report to contain such phrases as
“painstaking”, and “conscientious worker”. The only way was to satisfy Quelch
in class—and the shortest cut to Quelch’s esteem was a good “con”. Bunter
really wished he had not been too busy the previous evening to bother about
prep. But it was too late to think of that now.
He had hoped that the gimlet-eye might pass him over that morning. But the
Bunter blinked dismally at his Latin page. Even when he had taken a shot at his
prep, his translation was generally rather askew. But this time he had not even
looked at it. A page of prepared Latin presented many difficulties