THE MYSTERY OF OAKLANDS 27
down to the ship to go abroad an' they only jus' managed to stop him in the nick of time jus' as he was goin' on to the ship that was goin' abroad by pretendin' to send him a message from a confederation-----"
" A what ? " said Henry.
" A confederation," said Ginger impatiently. " A confederation means another crim'nal. Well, they sent him a message from a confederation to say that he'd found the money an' put 'em off the track. An' he believed it an' came back an' they were all detectives in disguise an' they got him."
" Yes, I remember," said William, " that was a fine one. Wasn't that the one where they saw a green skeleton walkin' down the attic stairs ? "
" No," said Ginger, " it wasn't that one at all. That was the one with the picture of a big splash of blood on the back."
" I remember that one," said William. " That was a jolly clever picture. H ever I write a book I'm goin' to have a picture of a big splash of blood on the back like that. It'd make anyone want to read it. Anyone 'd buy a book that had a picture of a big splash of blood on the back 'cause they'd know it would be a nice excitin' one. I can't think why more books don't have excitin' backs like that. It's 'str'ordinry to me to see books like what one sees with girls' faces an' such-like on the backs. Who'd want to read a book with a girl's face on the back ? Anyone sens'ble would sooner read about a murder than a girl any day."
They had reached the point where a lane ran by the side of Farmer Jenks' field. The Outlaws, as habitual trespassers on his property, were cordially detested by Farmer Jenks.
" We'd better go by the lane," said William regretfully, for his proud spirit hated to surrender to a foe. " I'm not quite sure how I c'n run in these trousers of Robert's. They may be all right for runnin' in or they mayn't. They feel sort of big an' as if they'd come off rather