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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesHead Of Kay's - Chapter XXII - KAY'S CHANGES ITS NAME
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Head Of Kay's - Chapter XXII - KAY'S CHANGES ITS NAME Post by :Jeremy_Daley Category :Long Stories Author :P G Wodehouse Date :June 2011 Read :3272

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Head Of Kay's - Chapter XXII - KAY'S CHANGES ITS NAME

CHAPTER XXII - KAY'S CHANGES ITS NAME


For the remaining weeks of the winter term, things went as smoothly in
Kay's as Kay would let them. That restless gentleman still continued
to burst in on Kennedy from time to time with some sensational story
of how he had found a fag doing what he ought not to have done. But
there was a world of difference between the effect these visits had
now and that which they had had when Kennedy had stood alone in the
house, his hand against all men. Now that he could work off the
effects of such encounters by going straight to Fenn's study and
picking the house-master to pieces, the latter's peculiar methods
ceased to be irritating, and became funny. Mr Kay was always ferreting
out the weirdest misdoings on the part of the members of his house,
and rushing to Kennedy's study to tell him about them at full length,
like a rather indignant dog bringing a rat he has hunted down into a
drawing-room, to display it to the company. On one occasion, when Fenn
and Jimmy Silver were in Kennedy's study, Mr Kay dashed in to complain
bitterly that he had discovered that the junior dayroom kept mice in
their lockers. Apparently this fact seemed to him enough to cause an
epidemic of typhoid fever in the place, and he hauled Kennedy over the
coals, in a speech that lasted five minutes, for not having detected
this plague-spot in the house.

"So that's the celebrity at home, is it?" said Jimmy Silver, when he
had gone. "I now begin to understand more or less why this house wants
a new Head every two terms. Is he often taken like that?"

"He's never anything else," said Kennedy. "Fenn keeps a list of the
things he rags me about, and we have an even shilling on, each week,
that he will beat the record of the previous week. At first I used to
get the shilling if he lowered the record; but after a bit it struck
us that it wasn't fair, so now we take it on alternate weeks. This is
my week, by the way. I think I can trouble you for that bob, Fenn?"

"I wish I could make it more," said Fenn, handing over the shilling.

"What sort of things does he rag you about generally?" inquired
Silver.

Fenn produced a slip of paper.

"Here are a few," he said, "for this month. He came in on the 10th
because he found two kids fighting. Kennedy was down town when it
happened, but that made no difference. Then he caught the senior
dayroom making a row of some sort. He said it was perfectly deafening;
but we couldn't hear it in our studies. I believe he goes round the
house, listening at keyholes. That was on the 16th. On the 22nd he
found a chap in Kennedy's dormitory wandering about the house at one
in the morning. He seemed to think that Kennedy ought to have sat up
all night on the chance of somebody cutting out of the dormitory. At
any rate, he ragged him. I won the weekly shilling on that; and
deserved it, too."

Fenn had to go over to the gymnasium shortly after this. Jimmy Silver
stayed on, talking to Kennedy.

"And bar Kay," said Jimmy, "how do you find the house doing? Any
better?"

"Better! It's getting a sort of model establishment. I believe, if we
keep pegging away at them, we may win some sort of a cup sooner or
later."

"Well, Kay's very nearly won the cricket cup last year. You ought to
get it next season, now that you and Fenn are both in the team."

"Oh, I don't know. It'll be a fluke if we do. Still, we're hoping. It
isn't every house that's got a county man in it. But we're breaking
out in another place. Don't let it get about, for goodness' sake, but
we're going for the sports' cup."

"Hope you'll get it. Blackburn's won't have a chance, anyhow, and I
should like to see somebody get it away from the School House. They've
had it much too long. They're beginning to look on it as their right.
But who are your men?"

"Well, Fenn ought to be a cert for the hundred and the quarter, to
start with."

"But the School House must get the long run, and the mile, and the
half, too, probably."

"Yes. We haven't anyone to beat Milligan, certainly. But there are the
second and third places. Don't forget those. That's where we're going
to have a look in. There's all sorts of unsuspected talent in Kay's.
To look at Peel, for instance, you wouldn't think he could do the
hundred in eleven, would you? Well, he can, only he's been too slack
to go in for the race at the sports, because it meant training. I had
him up here and reasoned with him, and he's promised to do his best.
Eleven is good enough for second place in the hundred, don't you
think? There are lots of others in the house who can do quite decently
on the track, if they try. I've been making strict inquiries. Kay's
are hot stuff, Jimmy. Heap big medicine. That's what they are."

"You're a wonderful man, Kennedy," said Jimmy Silver. And he meant it.
Kennedy's uphill fight at Kay's had appealed to him strongly. He
himself had never known what it meant to have to manage a hostile
house. He had stepped into his predecessor's shoes at Blackburn's much
as the heir to a throne becomes king. Nobody had thought of disputing
his right to the place. He was next man in; so, directly the departure
of the previous head of Blackburn's left a vacancy, he stepped into
it, and the machinery of the house had gone on as smoothly as if there
had been no change at all. But Kennedy had gone in against a slack and
antagonistic house, with weak prefects to help him, and a fussy
house-master; and he had fought them all for a term, and looked like
winning. Jimmy admired his friend with a fervour which nothing on
earth would have tempted him to reveal. Like most people with a sense
of humour, he had a fear of appearing ridiculous, and he hid his real
feelings as completely as he was able.

"How is the footer getting on?" inquired Jimmy, remembering the
difficulties Kennedy had encountered earlier in the term in connection
with his house team.

"It's better," said Kennedy. "Keener, at any rate. We shall do our
best in the house-matches. But we aren't a good team."

"Any more trouble about your being captain instead of Fenn?"

"No. We both sign the lists now. Fenn didn't want to, but I thought it
would be a good idea, so we tried it. It seems to have worked all
right"

"Of course, your getting your first has probably made a difference."

"A bit, perhaps."

"Well, I hope you won't get the footer cup, because I want it for
Blackburn's. Or the cricket cup. I want that, too. But you can have
the sports' cup with my blessing."

"Thanks," said Kennedy. "It's very generous of you."

"Don't mention it," said Jimmy.

From which conversation it will be seen that Kay's was gradually
pulling itself together. It had been asleep for years. It was now
waking up.

When the winter term ended, there were distinct symptoms of an
outbreak of public spirit in the house.

The Easter term opened auspiciously in one way. Neither Walton nor
Perry returned. The former had been snapped up in the middle of the
holidays--to his enormous disgust--by a bank, which wanted his
services so much that it was prepared to pay him 40 pounds a year simply
to enter the addresses of its outgoing letters in a book, and post them
when he had completed this ceremony. After a spell of this he might
hope to be transferred to another sphere of bank life and thought, and
at the end of his first year he might even hope for a rise in his
salary of ten pounds, if his conduct was good, and he had not been
late on more than twenty mornings in the year. I am aware that in a
properly-regulated story of school-life Walton would have gone to the
Eckleton races, returned in a state of speechless intoxication, and
been summarily expelled; but facts are facts, and must not be tampered
with. The ingenious but not industrious Perry had been superannuated.
For three years he had been in the Lower Fourth. Probably the master
of that form went to the Head, and said that his constitution would
not stand another year of him, and that either he or Perry must go. So
Perry had departed. Like a poor play, he had "failed to attract," and
was withdrawn. There was also another departure of an even more
momentous nature.

Mr Kay had left Eckleton.

Kennedy was no longer head of Kay's. He was now head of Dencroft's.

Mr Dencroft was one of the most popular masters in the school. He was
a keen athlete and a tactful master. Fenn and Kennedy knew him well,
through having played at the nets and in scratch games with him. They
both liked him. If Kennedy had had to select a house-master, he would
have chosen Mr Blackburn first. But Mr Dencroft would have been easily
second.

Fenn learned the facts from the matron, and detailed them to Kennedy.

"Kay got the offer of a headmastership at a small school in the north,
and jumped at it. I pity the fellows there. They are going to have a
lively time."

"I'm jolly glad Dencroft has got the house," said Kennedy. "We might
have had some awful rotter put in. Dencroft will help us buck up the
house games."

The new house-master sent for Kennedy on the first evening of term. He
wished to find out how the Head of the house and the ex-Head stood
with regard to one another. He knew the circumstances, and
comprehended vaguely that there had been trouble.

"I hope we shall have a good term," he said.

"I hope so, sir," said Kennedy.

"You--er--you think the house is keener, Kennedy, than when you first
came in?"

"Yes, sir. They are getting quite keen now. We might win the sports."

"I hope we shall. I wish we could win the football cup, too, but I am
afraid Mr Blackburn's are very heavy metal."

"It's hardly likely we shall have very much chance with them; but we
might get into the final!"

"It would be an excellent thing for the house if we could. I hope Fenn
is helping you get the team into shape?" he added.

"Oh, yes, sir," said Kennedy. "We share the captaincy. We both sign
the lists."

"A very good idea," said Mr Dencroft, relieved. "Good night, Kennedy."

"Good night, sir," said Kennedy.

Content of CHAPTER XXII - KAY'S CHANGES ITS NAME (P G Wodehouse's novel: Head of Kay's)

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