MR. BATES was powerless to stem the tide of commotion in the classroom. With good reason the boys were excited, everyone talking to everyone else. The regular timetable dissolved as if by magic, and the map of South America--in white chalk for the coastline and brown for the long curving rib of the Andes--was being rubbed out by the prefect, who even forgot himself and shook the chalk rag in the classroom, so that brown and white dust- clouds penetrated layers of light slanting in through the windows.
Assembly and prayers had gone by and, to the intense joy of the class, Mr. Bates stayed writing at his desk. Brian was close enough to hear the reedy turmoil of his pen and the rustle of overturned paper. What was he writing on a day like this? For whom could he be using these unique minutes? Maybe it was the best he could do while waiting to see what happened, because had he ordered the class into the hall and set them to singing hymns, they would possibly have mutinied, or acquiesced so truculently that hall- discipline would have been impossible.
"Bosworth!" Mr. Bates cried, glancing icily at the prefect when