WILLIAM - online children's book

More adventures of the famous 11 year old and the "outlaws"

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64                                  WILLIAM
ate so many apples that he went home in a state closely bordering on intoxication.
The next day, more from force of habit than anything else, he went to the house as usual with his jar, his fishing-rod, and what a week's hard wear had left of his net. He went without any definite plans. It was no longer that most exciting of playgrounds—an " empty house." It was now inhabited, owned and presumably guarded. He would be liable now at any minute to a descent from a ferocious inhabitant. He watched the house from the front gate for some time. Maids were cleaning windows, shaking out dusters, pulling up curtains. An elderly woman with pince-nez and very elaborately-dressed hair was evidently the mistress of the house and she seemed to be in sole possession. That relieved William, who generally found women easier to deal with than men. The bustle within the house, too, reassured him. While they were cleaning windows and shaking out dusters and putting up curtains, they could not be making descents upon the pond and orchard. He might surely take this last day in his paradise.
He found it even more enjoyable than any of the others. He had decided that it must be his last day there, and yet the next morning he set off as usual with his jar and rod and net. He did this partly because the risk now attached to the proceeding enhanced it in his eyes, and partly because he'd only got 100 of his 200 fishes. He felt that 100 fishes in that pond still be­longed to him and in fetching them he was only claiming his rightful property.
It was a beautiful morning. The sun shone brightly on the pond and orchard. The apples seemed riper and more delicious than ever before, the inhabitants of the pond more guileless and trusting. After his customary fruitful journey through the orchard he sat as usual nappily fishing by the side of the pond.
Then—it happened. It happened without the
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