THE OUTLAWS DELIVER THE GOODS 145
nose. It was that that brought Henry's spirit down from the proud height to which it had soared. He picked up his note, the errand-boy picked up his basket and they parted amicably, the errand-boy as proud of his burst nose as Henry would have been of his black eye if it hadn't been for the note. For Henry knew that it was no fit note to present to anyone's ladye love—trampled underfoot by muddy boots and dyed in an errand-boy's gore. He handed it to the housemaid with a muttered apology and the evident horror with which she received it did nothing to lessen his misgivings. He was sure that the appointment suggested in the note would not be kept by the lady and that his brother would find out the reason and lay the blame on him. He was already engaged in composing as an explanation the story of a gigantic man who had leapt upon him from behind a wall and cruelly assaulted him, trampling him in the dust and bursting his nose. He hastened, however, to put his twopence into William's charge before his brother could demand its return.
William regarded it with perhaps over-optimistic cheerfulness.
" Well, it's a beginnin' " he said, and added in a challenging tone, " no one can say it isn't a beginnin'."
" Not much of a beginnin' to ten pounds," said Douglas mournfully.
" It's as much a beginnin' to ten pounds as it would be to anything," said William spiritedly and with truth.
" Why did you say ten pounds ? " said Douglas again mournfully.
" Doesn't matter what he said," said Ginger, " we'd still be as far off it whatever he'd said. We'd be as far off it if he'd said a shilling."
" No, we'd only be tenpence off it if he'd said a shilling," said Henry the literal. " With him sayin' ten pounds we're nine pounds nineteen shillings an' tenpence off."