THE OUTLAWS DELIVER THE GOODS 139
the headmaster's voice suddenly riveted their attention on him.
" I think," he was saying, " that you would all like to help with the new wing and therefore I suggest that in the next fortnight you all do what you can to raise funds for it. I propose that you split yourselves up into groups of, say, four or five boys, and work hard this next fortnight to bring in the funds. Solicit subscriptions from your friends and relatives and do little services for them for cash—helping in the garden and in the house. They will, I am sure, when they know the object, be ready to pay you by the hour or piecework. In their interests I suggest the latter. Ha. ha. . . ."
Then he continued after the fashion of his kind to enlarge upon all these points and the Outlaws returned to their nuts and mouse and blotting-paper battle. It never even occurred to them to identify themselves with the great money-raising campaign thus initiated by the headmaster. They knew nothing and cared less about the new wing and they had no money and no chance of getting any. They had solicited subscriptions from friends and relatives for purposes of their own so frequently that their friends and relatives became abrupt and disagreeable before they had even broached the object of the solicited subscriptions and, as they had frequently discovered, their families were the sort of families that expect you to do little services for them without payment. So convinced were the Outlaws of this that they would never have given the headmaster's suggestion another thought had it not been for Hubert Lane and his followers.
The headmaster had drawn his speech to its long delayed conclusion and the school trooped out into the road. The Outlaws' thoughts were wholly concerned with a mouse fight that they were organising in the old barn. The two combatants were William's mouse and Ginger's mouse. The first round had