WILLIAM'S DOUBLE LIFE 79
wards. Then he saw his enemy watching him grimly from an upper window and he knew that all was over. Algernon would be of no avail now. In any case he was getting sick of Algernon. He felt that he'd rather let events take their course than submit himself again to the torturing and degrading process of cleansing and tidying that Algernon's character demanded. And he'd got his fishes. He felt a glow of pride and triumph. He'd got his two hundred fishes. He didn't want ever to go to her silly pond again. And he was sick of her apples. They didn't taste half as nice as they'd tasted at first. He didn't care if he never saw her apples again. Anyway, Ginger was coming home to-day. He was looking forward to showing Ginger his aquarium.
" What are you going to do this afternoon, dear ? " said his mother at lunch.
" I'm going to tea to Ginger's," said William.
" Well, you mustn't go till I've seen you're tidy," said Mrs. Brown. " You look dreadful now. Whatever have you been doing this morning ? "
It was some time before she passed William's appearance as fit for his visit to Ginger's home. Though Ginger's mother saw William daily in his normal state Mrs. Brown had a pathetic trust that, if she sent him inordinately cleaned and tidied for all formal visits, Ginger's mother would come to believe that he really was like that. He set off jauntily enough, but at the bend in the road collided with Miss Murgatroyd. He looked round for escape but saw none. So he assumed a blend of his virtuous and defiant expressions and awaited events.
" William came again this morning, Algernon," said Miss Murgatroyd, " and I'm on my way now to speak to your parents about him. Nothing you say will make any difference to me. I have finally made up my mind. You must come with me, Algernon, and I will tell them how you have tried to spare their feelings."