This was printed on paper blushing pink—Biffen’s colours—and Grim and Wilson, when they got the advance proof last thing on Saturday night, almost embraced in their jubilation. There was such a swagger look about the “N.B.”
Meanwhile B.A.M. Cherry had consulted his dictionary, and therein found that an “epilogue” was defined as “a concluding speech in an oration or play.” He broke into a cold sweat of horror. That was an epilogue, then! Where could he find one? What would be the good of one if he did find it? And supposing he had one and could recite it, it was at the wrong end of the programme—the programme which had already been printed in such hot haste? It was too late to tell Grim, who would have instantly summoned all the strength of Biffen’s to scrag him. The wretched Cherry shuddered at his awful plight.
Nothing could he do or dare he do. In desperation he determined to fall ill on the concert night. B.A.M. Cherry hadn’t the heroic soul, and when Grim asked him cheerfully how the epilogue was going on, he said “spiffing,” in the tone of a martyr at the stake.
On the Monday Grim scuttled about all day—now on the stage, listening to Thurston going over his songs with Brown, now getting entries for his boxing competition, now encouraging Sharpe, who was in the throes of composition, and now criticizing the Dervishes with much force. Acton put in an appearance in the concert-room, and gave Brown the accompaniment to “Jim;” and, after hearing him play it through, went and read his novel the rest of his spare time.
At 7.30 the juniors of St. Amory’s began to stroll in, Biffen’s lot collaring the front seats as per custom. The programmes were distributed to each one as he came in, and created no end of sensation, and W.E. Grim was allowed to have come out very strong in the programme line. St. Amory’s fags did not spot anything wrong about item one, but the older fellows chuckled a little and said “the manager was a funny ass.” This opinion was instantly conveyed to Grim by one of his cronies, and made that young gentleman think himself no end of a sly dog.
Punctually to the minute Grim rang his bell, and, darting into the dressing-room, said, “Now, Cherry, come along with your epilogue, They’re all waiting. Where is that ass?”
“Cherry has not turned up yet, Grim.”
“What?” he said in horror.
“Not turned up yet!”
“I’ll go and fetch the beggar at once.”
Grim darted out of the room, tore along the street,
and was hammering at
Cherry’s door within the minute.
“Fruity, hurry up, they’re all waiting.”
“I’m not well, Grim.”
“I’m not well—I’m in bed.”
“You miserable beast!” shouted Grim. “I’ll massacre you. You’ll make us the laughing stock of the whole school. Get up, man, Be a man.”
“I’m ill,” moaned Cherry from within.