WILLIAM'S DOUBLE LIFE 63
been made by the frequent passage of the Outlaws' solid bodies. Time had healed the breach to a certain extent, but there was still room just to admit William with his accoutrements. Having scraped through the hole with only a few casualties (the loss of his worm, a hole in his net and a forest of scratches on his hands) William cautiously made his way to the orchard. It took him longer than it need have done to cross the orchard. The amount of apples William could consume during a leisurely stroll across an average-sized orchard would have astounded anyone of normal digestive capacities. At length, however, gorged and happy, he made his way to the pond. And the pond exceeded his wildest expectations. It teemed with inhabitants, and inhabitants of an engagingly friendly and trusting disposition. They jostled each other for entrance to his net and those who fell through the hole seemed to struggle to get back again. They impaled themselves willingly upon his bent pin. They even placed themselves confidently in his bare hand. He fished there for over an hour. At last, carefully carrying his glass jar by its string handle and glowing with the pride of the successful hunter, he sauntered slowly back through the orchard. The apples delayed him again for some time, and when even William had reached his limit (a limit to be spoken of with bated breath) he stuffed his pockets and wandered homeward, mentally composing (slightly exaggerated) accounts of the affair to tell the other Outlaws on their return.
Then followed a blissful week for William. He went to The Laburnums with his jar every morning. He first spent an hour or so in the orchard. After that he staggered to the pond in a state of happy repletion, filled his jar from the teeming population of the pond, then, with appetite restored, returned to the orchard.
He felt that it was too good to last, and it was. At the end of a week he saw a large removing van entering the front gate. He made the most of that day. He