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Mark is so sick of being beaten for not having schoolbooks that he starts playing hooky.
He knows that if he stays away for a month, the teachers will expel him. So for three weeks, he starts hanging out with a group of boys, stealing beer and whisky bottles, which they would sell to shebeen owners. Then they would go to the movies.
Mama asks him why he keeps arriving home so late and he lies, saying he has to stay for choir practice.
But Mama was checking up on him and discovered that he wasn't doing new work.
She went to the school and talked with the Principal, then followed Mark to see where he was going. She told the Principal where he was going.
Two days later, while he's hanging out at the junkyard with his gang, he sees a group of schoolboys heading his way. He hears Mandleve, the truant officer, says he's come to take him back to school.
Mark even threatens Mandleve with a crowbar, trying not to go back, but there are too many of them. He says he'll go back to school tomorrow if they leave him alone, but he's lying.
Mandleve finally grabs him. He and the boys bind Mark with rope, and then carry him back to school.
The Principal and male teachers are waiting for him. Mama is also there and she tells them to "whip him good" (26.31).
The beating is "savage" (26.31) and Mark faints. He spends a week in bed, recovering.
He almost never cuts school again. Even when he's sick, he goes to school, and the teachers have to send him home.