would never have believed that William, alone and unaided, could have wrought such a transformation. Even his ears were clean. He wore his best suit. The tabs of his shining boots were tucked in. His knees were pink from scrubbing.
He walked mincingly up to the front door of The Laburnums and rang the bell. He fixed the housemaid who opened the door with a stern and defiant stare.
" Can I speak to Miss Murgatroyd, please ? " he said.
The housemaid, who was a stranger to the village, treated him with more politeness than housemaids were in the habit of treating him, and merely said, " What's your name ? "
" W—Algernon Brown," said William.
" Walgernon, did you say ? " said the housemaid surprised.
No," said William irritably, " Algernon."
He was shown into a drawing-room where Miss Murgatroyd received him affably.
"It's Algernon, isn't it ? " she said.
" Yes," said William, and added with quite convincing anxiety, " He didn't come this mornin', did he?"
Miss Murgatroyd sighed.
" I'm afraid he did, Algernon," she said.
" I pled with him not to," said William sorrowfully. " I cun't stay with him to stop him comin' 'cause— 'cause an uncle took me up to London. But before I went up I pled with him not to come. I told him all you said about trespassin' an'—an'-----"
" Meum and tuum ? " supplied Miss Murgatroyd.
" Yes," said William vaguely. " An' I asked him how'd he like people comin' into his garden an' stealin' his apples and fishes. If he'd got a garden, I meant."
" And what did he say to that ? "
" He said," said William unblinkingry, " he wun't