THE MYSTERY OF OAKLANDS 11
out. If I was a policeman I'd cut everyone dead up. But they aren't any use, policemen aren't. Why, in all those books I've read there hasn't been a single policeman that was any good at all. They simply don't know what to do when anyone murders anyone. Why, you remember in ' The Mystery of the Yellow Windows,' the policemen were s'posed to have searched the room for clues an' they di'n't notice the cigarette end what the murd'rer had left in the fender and what had the address of the people what made it on it an' what was a sort they made special for him. Well, that shows you what the policemen are, dun't it ? I mean, they look very swanky in their hats an' buttons an' all that, but when it comes to a murder or cuttin' dead people up or findin' out murdrers, they aren't any good at all. Why, in all those myst'ry tales we've read, it's not been the police that found the murd'rers at all. It's been ordinary people same as you an' me jus' usin' common sense an' pickin' up cigarette ends an' such-like. . . . Tell you what it is," he said, warming to his theme, " policemen have gotter be stupid 'cause of their clothes. I mean, all the policemen's clothes are made so big that they've gotter be very big men to fit 'em an' big men are always stupid 'cause of their strength all goin' to their bodies 'stead of their brains. That stands to reason, dun't it ? "
" Course it does," agreed Ginger, and added slowly, " seems sort of funny they don't see it."
' They don't see it 'cause they're stupid," said William, " an' they're stupid 'cause they're so big and they hafler be big 'cause of the uniforms. So there you are," ended William on a note of finality.
Henry and Douglas, who had listened to this conversation with deep interest, agreed that William's logic was unanswerable.
They were just passing two small houses called Oaklands and Beechgrove, that stood together on the outskirts of the village. A man was working in the