ALL ON A FIFTH OF NOVEMBER
terfered. And Molly had gone stonily shy. " Births, please," repeated Alec, impatient at being stared at.
" What name ?" said the gentleman, looking at them amused.
" Thompson," replied Alec.
" Any particular Thompson ? You see, we may have several Thompsons in our entries—five or six at least."
" This is Mr. Guy Thompson," said Alec, showing the marked paragraph.
"Very well," said the gentleman (who, thought Alec, must be the Duke's butler). "But have you got the fee?—the half-crown you must pay for the search ?"
" A half-crown's very dear," said Alec. " Can't you do it for less ?"
The gentleman looked at them with kindly eyes. " I dare say I can," he replied, putting his hand in his pocket, and rattling some coins. " But I'm afraid you'll have to pay a shilling. The King wants one." They paid their shilling for the King ; watched while the gentleman looked up his records, and followed him into the corridor as he prosecuted his search. At last he said—
" Quite right. Born on the fifth of November : year's all right. It's all in order."
" Then Father is twenty-one ?" queried both boys doubtfully.