WILLIAM THE SHOWMAN 117
of an anshunt sort of cake, but we wanted to have everythin' jus' like what it was in anshunt times."
The audience stared suspiciously at the potatoes, but were momentarily silenced by the severity of William's voice and expression.
" He burnt the cakes, you know," said William vaguely. William had meant to borrow a history book with its full complement of pages to read up the careers of the historical characters that figured in his show, but he'd been so busy preparing his waxworks that he hadn't had time. He burnt his cakes, you remember. Let 'em fall into the fire jus' when he was eatin' 'em. Got 'em burnt up, you know. Pulled 'em out, but they were too burnt to finish eatin'. Got insurance on 'em," he ended uncertainly with vague memories of a hearth rug onto which some coal had fallen out at home the week before, and added hastily, " Now let's look at the next one. The next one's made very speshul for this show. At very great expense. It was a jolly expensive one this one was. It's King Charles."
" Which King Charles ? " said an earnest seeker after knowledge in the front row.
" The one what had to do with an oak tree," said William coldly and hastened on. " His clothes is made exactly like the real one's clothes were like. He's a very expensive one indeed."
" Wasn't he killed ? " went on the earnest student in the front row.
" Yes," said William, assuming an air of omniscience, " killed fallin' out of the oak tree," and hastily proceeded, " his crown's made of gold same as the real one's was."
"I thought he was put to death with an axe by Parliament for doin' something wrong," protested the student.
" Yes, he was," agreed William, trying to accommodate his story to this fount of knowledge. " He