new-comer to the neighbourhood to introduce to her. The new-comer was Miss Murgatroyd. She greeted Mrs. Brown and then looked uncertainly at William. He wasn't quite dirty enough to be William. On the other hand he wasn't quite clean enough to be Algernon.
" This is—er-----? " she began.
" William," said Mrs. Brown.
William met her gaze with an utterly expressionless countenance.
" Your other little boy isn't here, then ? " went on Miss Murgatroyd.
" No," said Mrs. Brown, rather surprised to hear the 17-year-old Robert referred to as a " little boy," but assuming that the phrase was meant to be facetious.
" He and I are great friends," went on Miss Murgatroyd coyly; " give him my love, will you ? ' She glanced coldly at William. "I'm sure you wish that this one would copy him in behaviour and tidiness."
" Yes," said Mrs. Brown with a sigh," I do, indeed."
Then with a final stern and meaning glance at William, who met it with his blankest stare, she went on in the wake of her hostess to be introduced to someone else.
Mrs. Brown gazed after her in bewilderment.
"How funny," she said. "Robert's never mentioned meeting her. I must ask him."
William had heaved a sigh of relief. It had seemed almost incredible that this meeting should have passed off without betraying his double life, but it had. He knew, however, that it could not be sustained much longer. Miss Murgatroyd would be certain to learn sooner or later of the non-existence of Algernon. The time was short. He must finish his aquarium tomorrow and then let events take their course. He'd only got sixty fishes to catch now.
The next morning he tried to elude his enemy by arriving at an earlier hour than usual. He thought that he had been successful till he was setting off home-