Wednesday, 12 May 2010
A new belt for Bunter
“I say you fellows, all the more stickies for us now Wharton’s bagged the top job, eh?” The Fat Owl of the Remove rolled his eyes and rubbed his ample belly with a grubby paw.
“What rot are you jawing now, Bunter?” yawned Bob Cherry, momentarily closing his tattered copy of Hillard and Botting’s Latin Primer.
The boys of the Greyfriars Remove were enjoying the May sunshine under an oak tree by the old tower, some sprawled on the turf, some perched or sat cross-legged on the fallen pillars that were all that remained of the ancient Franciscan monastery which had given the school its name.
“I mean, now Wharton’s been elected head of the National School Assembly, he’ll make sure his chums at the alma mater don’t go short in the jam tart and cake department,” said Bunter.
“Sadly I think the tartlessness of the future will be terrific,” murmured Hurree Jamset Ram Singh, the Nabob of Bhanipur. “Neither can I be foreseeing many abundancies of cake.”
“Eh?! Ow!!!” Sitting up suddenly, an alarmed William George ("Billy") Bunter had banged his unlovely cranium on a fragment of flying buttress.
“Still,” said Skinner. “At least Harry Wharton saw off the oiks from Courtfield County Council School. At blooming last. Talk about bad losers. Now we’ll show ’em who’s boss.”
“I don’t think,” Frank Nugent remarked severely, “that Harry wants to turn his victory into an excuse for a school war. Or a class one.”
“Isn’t that how it usually goes? We’ll see,” said Sidney Snoop. “Hey, Mimble” – Joseph Mimble Esq, the Greyfriars porter, was approaching at an amble, with an envelope protruding from the pocket of his long, black, calico apron – “how do you feel, Mimble, about Greyfriars chaps being back in charge of the Assembly again?”
“Well, Sir, on the one hand, it do seem to be t’natural order o’ things to ’ave you boys on top,” ruminated Mimble, stroking his long white sideburns. “But on t’other, it be a shame, I allus says, that t’lower orders can never take up t’reins o’ t’carriage without endin’ up, in a manner o’ speaking, stabbin’ each other in t’back an’ tryin’ to push each one t’other off t’driving seat. Seems as how us’ll never lairn t’meaning o’ t’word ‘solidarity’. Any road, ’ere’s a letter for ee, Master Bunter.”
Bob Cherry whistled. “Hallo, hallo, hallo – here comes Wharton. But who’s those fellows with him?”
The tall, handsome figure of the Captain of the Remove had turned the corner of the old crypt, arm and arm with a smaller boy, who looked rather like a rabbit, with wide, startled eyes and a cockatoo crest. An older, worried-looking lad trailed behind them.
“That,” said Hurree Jamset Ram Singh, “is young master Mick Pegg, the esteemed headboy of Rookwood School. At rearwards is the boy who is being his deputy, Quince Gable. Greyfriars and Rookwood are now in a sharingness of the Assembly.”
“What?” expostulated Sampson Iffley Field. “Sharing with Rookwood? But we beat them at Cricket. And Hockey. And, and, and Fives, too. They’re div two, and no mistake.”
“Now, now – no more school wars,” repeated Frank Nugent.
“Hmm. That'll be a first,” Field muttered.
“Cripes! Yaree! My postal order! It’s come at last!” yelled Bunter, waving a piece of paper over his head.
“Thank you Bunter, I’ll take that,” said Wharton, sternly. “I’m afraid the Assembly purse is rather short of brass. Almost empty, in fact.”
“But... but... but...” Bunter howled.
“But,” added Mick Pegg, “Quince here has brought you all a present.”
Quince Gable opened large canvas bag and handed everyone a new leather belt.
“I say, thanks.” The Fat Owl struggled to loop the belt through his chequered trousers – but then, no matter how hard he tugged, buckle and strap obstinately remained a good six inches apart.
“Stupid thing doesn’t fit,” he snorted.
“It will, Bunter, it will,” smiled Harry Wharton.
“Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” chortled the boys of the Famous Remove.
Thanks to Tony Hiam’s Greyfriars Website for memories and accuracy checks.