THE MYSTERY OF OAKLANDS
It was due partly to a spell of wet weather and partly to a sudden passion for detective novels on the part of Hector and Robert, who were Ginger's and William's elder brothers respectively. If Hector and Robert hadn't been seized with a sudden passion for detective novels, the houses of the Merridews and the Browns wouldn't have been filled with them from top to bottom, and if there hadn't been a spell of wet weather William and Ginger wouldn't have read them. On the first fine day after the wet spell, William and the three other Outlaws met and walked slowly down the road together.
" I bet ole Potty would be glad if he knew what a lot of readin' I've been doin'," said William virtuously. " He said in my report I oughter read more. Well, I've jolly well been readin' all these wet days. He jolly well oughter be pleased if he knew."
" What've you been readin' ? " said Ginger.
" ' The Mystery of the Blue Square'-----" began
" I read that, too," interrupted Ginger, " so you needn't be so swanky. An' what's more I read it before you 'cause it was Hector's an' Hector lent it Robert an' I read it before he lent it Robert."
" Oh, well," said William, " that's a good deal better for me than you, then, 'cause with you readin' it first you've probably forgot it an' with me readin' it after you I prob'ly remember it much better than what you do."
" I jolly well bet you don't. Who killed him ? "