THE OUTLAWS DELIVER THE GOODS 151
gettin' it an' not bein' able to see old Hubert's face when it's read out."
It was well for their peace of mind that they could not see old Hubert's face at that moment as, still wearing the semblance of a venerable old lady, he stood with his followers around the Outlaws' refreshment stall, drinking the lemonade and eating the buns with gloating haste.
The Outlaws hesitated for a second at the gate of the house the old lady had mentioned. " first on the right," then summoned up their courage and entered. After all they were invited guests. . . . They walked round to the side of the house and there they found a tea laid for four on the verandah, just as the old lady had said. It was a most sumptuous tea, spread upon a dainty lace tablecloth—cups and plates of eggshell china, tea in a silver tea-pot, cream in a silver cream jug, wafer-like bread and butter, buttered tea-cake, iced cakes, chocolate biscuits and a big currant cake all arranged tastefully upon lace d'oyleys. They sat down weakly upon the four wicker chairs that were ranged round the table and gazed at it open-mouthed. I say," gasped William in a faint voice. " How— how jolly decent of her ! You—you don't find many ole ladies as decent as this nowadays."
They all looked at the feast eagerly and yet with compunction.
" She needn't have took so much trouble," said Ginger, his voice throbbing with gratitude. " We wouldn't 've minded a bit havin' it plainer, would we? "
At that moment they heard voices. Four people were coming round the house to the verandah. And in a flash some sixth sense informed the Outlaws that these were the four people for whom the feast was intended. Like four rabbits making for their burrow they dived into the only refuge available—through the open French window just behind them into a small but — mercifully — over-furnished drawing-room. There