" Yes. I told him so," he said.
" Did he tell you that I was going to tell his parents ?'
William cleared his throat and with a superhuman effort deepened his expression of virtue till it bordered again on the imbecile.
" Yes," he said, " that's why I came. I came to ask you not to tell them just this once an' I'll do what I can to stop him comin' to-morrow. My—my mother's got a bit of a headache an' so I thought it might worry her hearin' about William takin' your apples an' fishes, but if you'll let him off this once more, I—I'll try 'n' stop him comin' to-morrow. I'll plead with him."
" But don't you think," said Miss Murgatroyd earnestly, " that it would do William good to be punished ? "
" No," said William with considerable emphasis, " I don't think so. I reely don't think so. I think it does him far more good to be pled with."
" Well, I can tell you," said Miss Murgatroyd with great severity, "if I'd got him here now I'd box his ears most soundly. Will you have a piece of cake, Algernon dear ? "
He signified that he would and she opened a corner cupboard, brought out a rich currant cake and cut him a generous slice. He ate it, making a violent effort to display that restraint and daintiness that he felt would have characterised the obnoxious Algernon. She watched him fondly.
" You certainly are very like your twin," she said at last, but she spoke without any suspicion. " Which did you say has the longer nose ? "
William had forgotten, but he said " Me," with such an air of conviction that Miss Murgatroyd believed him and said, " Yes, I see that you have, now you mention it."
" So—so you won't tell 'em about William ? " he said when he had finished.