WILLIAM AND THE WAXWORK PRINCE 87
which, however, was so nearly right that he escaped reproof. And so things went quite well till " rec." But at " rec." the tragedy happened.
Hubert Lane was passing the open door of William's form room and, meeting William's eye, he contorted his pale, fat face into a grimace of ridicule and defiance that William found intolerable. Hubert did this in the comfortable knowledge that the headmaster, who was walking just behind him, would not see his grimace, but would probably be a witness to whatever reprisals William might think fit to take. The result exceeded his wildest hopes. William, infuriated by his enemy's impudence, seized the weapon nearest to hand, which happened to be his school satchel, and hurled it. It missed Hubert, but caught the headmaster very neatly on the face, completely enveloping it for a second or two before it fell to the ground.
There was a horrible silence, during which William's prayers that the end of the world might now take place remained unanswered. Then Ole Markie shot out a furious hand in William's direction and roared : " Did you throw that ? "
William, thinking that he might as well go down with colours flying, assumed a debonair expression as he said gaily, " Yes, sir."
Ole Markie gazed at him wistfully for a few minutes, but he happened to be suffering from a rather severe attack of arthritis in his right arm, so he only roared, " Stay in an hour after school," and passed on his majestic way growling.
The horror of the Outlaws was indescribable. Without William, their leader, the visit to the fair would lack all savour. There seemed to be nothing to do, however, but to bow to fate, and so the three remaining Outlaws set off disconsolately for the fair after tea, while William, still debonair, took his seat in the headmaster's room before a page of Latin verbs.
" Doesn't seem much fun without William," said