the Headmaster's study. To the question, "What do you mean, Sir, by bringing lizards and white rats to school?" Tommy said, "Yes, Sir," and then, after thinking for fully three seconds, he said he had a ferret at home, and did the Headmaster know how to hold a ferret so that it couldn't bite you?
It seems that ferrets, if they once get hold of your thumb, never let go--not never--and that you have to force their jaws open with a penholder; also ferrets exhibit a marked preference for thumbs. All this information Tommy conveyed without drawing a breath. The Headmaster said, "Quite so, my boy, quite so. But don't you know it is extremely reprehensible conduct to bring animals to school in your pocket?" Well, you see, that is how Tommy's mother talks to him, so he knew what to do, and, looking up into the Headmaster's face with that wistful look of his, he imparted the deep secret that he had a tortoise.
Tortoises, the Headmaster learnt, had a way of getting lost among the cabbages, but,