WILLIAM THE SHOWMAN 113
you say about 'em either. No one'll know any different whatever you say."
" How d'you know ? " said William. " Sometimes they do. Sometimes there's someone there that knows things an' keeps on contradictin' you."
" Smack his head," said Ginger simply, " or else learn up the history first so's no one can contradict you."
There's so many pages out of my history book," said William, " it makes it more muddlin' readin' it than not readin' it. I'd better not start 'em all fightin' either. There always seems to be trouble when everyone starts fightin'. You know, their mothers all comin' round to tell your father afterwards. No, if anyone starts contradictin' me I'll jus' reason with 'em. I'm good at reasonin' ! "
11 Well, then, it's nearly settled, isn't it ? You the showman an' Douglas Alfred and the cakes. He can easy get some cakes an' burn 'em. An' me King George goin' to the Crusades in tin trays and things. An' Henry King Charles. It ought to be all right. An' how much shall we charge ? "
" I wonder if they'd pay a penny ? " said William hopefully.
You bet they won't," said Ginger bitterly. "I've never met such a mean lot of people as the lot of people that lives about here. I bet they'll only pay a halfpenny. Or a farthin'. I bet they try to get in for a farthin', or a cigarette card. An' bring ones you've got at that."
But subsequent enquiries among the Outlaws' contemporaries elicited the fact that the potential patrons of the show had no intention of paying anything at all. They were willing to come if the show was free and they were equally willing to stay away if entrance fee was charged. William reasoned with them.
" Kin'ly tell me," he said with dignity, " anyone