Krrr… Brrr… What’s that?
Wha-what’s that? What’s this infernal ringing?
Is it a fire? It must be the fire brigade…
I ought to tell Erzsi to put out the light.
The cupboard must have caught fire.
No!… it’s the alarm-clock…
It’s the alarm-clock ringing…
but then it must be half past six now…
Time to get up.
That’s impossible – I only turned in a short while ago!
What day is it today?
Wednesday? Hungarian, German, Maths, Geography, P. T.
That makes five.
It’s all right. In that case I can sleep
another five minutes yet.
Hungarian, German, Maths, Geography…
Whew! I haven’t done my map yet…
I’ve sketched it in pencil, and now I ought to go over
the Frontiers of Hungary with India ink…
Phew! I ought to go over the Geography and Hungarian.
I ought to get up. There’s to be a test today…
There’s to be some testioning… teshoning… do-day…
Lord! What’s this? You aren’t going to fall asleep again?
You can’t do that, you know. There’s going to be a test…
The teacher – Mr. Mákossy – and the Frontiers of Hungary…
“Now look, Bauer, you want to keep cool, you know.
Want to keep cool, Bauer.
Mustn’t do anything in a hurry, you know…
Avoid acting in a harum-scarum manner.
This getting-out-of-bed business can be managed
with your keeping your shirt on, so to speak
– managed with a steady hand –
after due preparation…
Why, even as he led his troops in a suicidal assault against the
besieging Turks, Zrínyi didn’t charge out of bed just like that!
He made appropriate preparations to do so,
“Sir, please, sir, I have done the homework…”
“You don’t need to stick your leg out from under the blanket,
into this cold air… Of course, socks are important when
you want to get up… But you want to proceed with caution, Bauer.
Proceed with caution… That’s right…
The man can touch under the chair and carefully grab the hosiery.
That’s right! You pull them nicely back under the blanket…
You say you got to stick your legs out for that?…
Nonsense. You can pull them on under the blanket just as easily…
There, you see?” …
“Phew! There’s a rush of cold air on the side now…
Ahoy, sir, the bed’s sprung a leak!
Oh, Captain Nemo, sir, she is going down…
The leak’s got to be stopped… Ah, that’s good.”
That’s done at last. Now I’ve got them on. Difficult piece of work,
it was. Let’s have a few minutes rest now.
I’ve turned the corner, anyway, now I’ve only got to put on the shoes
and the clothes, so I can take a few minutes rest after this effort.
It’s vital for me to have some rest because I am sick. “Dear Sir, – I hereby certify that, owing to an indisposition,
my son cannot attend classes this morning. –
Yours respectfully, Károly Bauer.”
That’s not likely, though. All the same, perhaps I ought to go over the Geography and I ought to go over that thing with India ink…
But why should I get up for that?… For one thing,
I read through it once yesterday, and I’m going to get up in a few minutes,
anyway, and take a look, so it makes no difference now. Silly. Besides,
the whole thing is only one page all told. And I’m indisposed, to boot.
Not only will I go over that thing, but I shall repeat the stuff right
here in bed; I’ll repeat it by heart, the way I read through it last night…
For it is not to laze away my time that I’m still in bed –
No, sir. I’m lying here in order to revise the Geography…
It is vitally urgent business that’s keeping me in bed…
It must be seen to at once, this lying-abed business, for
I suppose it’ll be seven o’clock now…
Well, then. Hungary borders, in the south, on the Danube and Serbia…
and the Rumanian… Dalmatian… and Serbia…
and the capital of Serbia.., and the Serbia of capital…
“Start afresh, Bauer, you poor blighter.”
“Sir, please, sir, I have prepared my lesson.
I have learned it, but I have forgotten it.”
“None of your cheek, Bauer. You are being tested, and you’ve
jolly well got to say something. You are rather weak on Serbia,
and the school-report conference is sitting already. Shut up, Bauer.”
“Yes sir, the school-report conference is in session,
on the Serbian frontier, and deliberating. They’re only waiting
for the commander to arrive and then the battle will begin straight away.
Well, what is the capital of Bosnia? Shut up, Bauer. Sit down here,
next to this gun. Now you are Chief Gunner and it’s up to you to defend
the Hungarian frontier.”
Oh, all right. If it’s me who’s got to defend it, then let them give me
a thousand fine, seasoned cowboys, each of them armed with a movie camera.
Then I’ll show them, I will. “Forward, ye valiant men! Up and at ’em!
Give Bauer a horse!”
“Now!… Our forces are already advancing into Serbian territory…
I think, Mr. Headmaster, this fellow Bauer, after all, is the right man
to defend the frontiers of Hungary. He’s had bad marks in Mathematics, true,
but he can do as many as twenty eagle-wings on the gym bars –
the very thing that’s required of him as Commander-in-Chief.
Now go in, Bauer, dear boy… Go and take Serbia…
It’s your only chance to improve your bad marks.”
“It’s all right with me, sir. Do you think my general’s uniform will do,
sir? So. Well – Follow me, boys! You, Mr. Mákossy, sir –
you shall be my aide-de-camp… . But be sure you get my orders right
and keep your mouth shut… That’s right.
Now get on my horse behind me and intercept all bullets flying this way…
I’ll give you what for. None of your cheek, sir!
Sir, you haven’t prepared anything, sir. Well, what is the capital of
Serbia? Can you tell me that? Of course you don’t know.
Well, the capital of Serbia is Budapest – Yes – Because
I’m going to occupy and annex it to Hungary.
Sir, you sit down, sir. You get a bad mark from me, sir.”
“Now where is Serbia? Where on earth is it?
It must be somewhere, I am sure, but I can’t find it.
Oh, oh, sir, please, sir, I can’t find Serbia, and if
I can’t find it, how can I occupy it?”
“Of course you can’t find it, you rascal. How could you when you’ve
forgotten to outline the frontiers of Hungary on the map in India ink?
Because you’ve failed to do so,
one cannot see the point where Serbia begins.
Our troops are waiting at the border and daren’t cross it
for fear they might walk into the India ink before it’s dry.”
“Bauer, you blackguard, this is your doing.
Just you wait! Off with your head! Off with your head!
Executioner, chop his head off with that cigar-cutter. Quick!”
“Oh, oh, please, Mr. Executioner, I have prepared my lesson.
Oh, Erzsi! Erzsi! Help!”
“Yes. What’s the matter?…
What! Are you still in bed? Why, it’s eight o’clock now.
Mr. Bauer has already left for his office.”
Golly! I’ve slept in again!
Phew! There’ll be the devil to pay for this!
Good job I’ve already got my socks on.