“My pet” bolted and came back with the year-old programme of the Corker’s fags.
“Pass the abomination this way, Rogers. Gentlemen,” said Grim, with intense scorn, “those unspeakable Corker asses started off with a prologue.”
“We must go one better—eh, you fellows?” said Rogers.
“Rather!” they all shrieked.
“I vote,” said young Cherry, “that we lead off with an epilogue. That will leave ’em standing.”
“Hear, hear!” said Fruity.
“Who’ll second that?” said Grim.
“I will,” said Rogers, cheerfully.
“Then do it, you ass,” said the chairman.
“I second,” said Rogers, hurriedly, “and you needn’t be so beastly strict, Grim.”
“Gentlemen, the proposal before the meeting is that we lead off with an epilogue. Item number one on the programme to be ‘An Epilogue.’ Those in favour signify. Carried unanimously.”
“I say, Grim, what is an epilogue, anyhow?” said a voice.
“Oh, I say,” said the chairman, “pass that young ignoramus this way. Lamb, do you mean to say you don’t know what an epilogue is?”
“No, I don’t.”
“This is sickening,” said Grim, with disgust. “A fellow in Biffen’s not know what an epilogue is! Tell him, Fruity,” he added, with pathetic vexation.
“He asked you,” said Cherry, hurriedly.
“I’m the chairman,” said Grim, in a wax, but with great relief. “Explain away, Fruity!”
“Oh, every first-class concert starts with one,” he said vaguely.
“See now, Lamb?”
Lamb professed himself satisfied, but he did not appear absolutely blinded by the light either.
“Anyhow,” said Wilson, “Fruity will see to that. I propose he does.”
“I second it,” said Lamb, viciously, whereupon Cherry kicked the seconder on the shins, for he did not exactly thirst for that honour. “I’m an ass,” he said to himself; “but, anyhow, I’ll look up what the blessed word does mean, and try to do it.”
“I see,” said Grim, “they’ve got a poem on ‘Cock House’ for number two. That seems all right, eh?”
“Oh yes; it’s always done.”
“Well, we’ll have one too, eh? Who’s got to do the poetry, though? Somebody propose somebody”—thereupon every fag proposed his chiefest enemy, and the battles raged along the line. “And you call yourselves gentlemen!” said Grim in disgust—he had been overlooked for the time being.
“I propose Sharpe,” said Wilson, dusting himself. “He does no end swell construes from ‘Ovid.’”
“I second that,” said Rogers. “He has long hair. Poets always have. Milton had.”
“That bit is side,” said the chairman, judicially. “Those who are in favour of Sharpe doing the poetry hold—Carried, nem. con.”
“Nem. con. is side too, Grim,” said Rogers.
“Shut up, you mule! Sharpe, you’ll have to do the poem.”