THE OUTLAWS DELIVER THE GOODS 161
of buns and lemonade. Only their notice was left, turned upside down with something written on the other side. There was no sign of tne hospitable old lady. Wide-eyed with horror they approached and read the notice :
" Many thanks for buns and lemonade—
" Hubert Lane.
" P.S. Aren't I a nice old lady ! "
" It was him ! " cried the Outlaws with mingled fury and despair. " It was him! He's done it again. What 're we goin' to do now ? "
But nobody answered for nobody knew. They stood, a drooping, disconsolate group around their empty stall.
" We can't even fight 'em," said Ginger mournfully, " 'cause they'll take jolly good care not to come out of their garden gates."
" An' I don't see how we can get ten pounds now," said Douglas. " It's after tea time an' he wants the money in to-night to read out at prayers to-morrow mornin'."
" An' we haven't even had any tea," said Henry, " an' I'm feelin' jolly hungry."
" Well, there doesn't seem anythin' to stay here for," said William, eyeing the empty stall distastefully. " I votes we go home to tea anyway. It's no good goin' without tea on top of everything else."
They set off down the road, walking slowly, dejectedly and in silence. Suddenly Ginger, who was walking at the side of the road, said :
" I think there's a rat in the ditch. I saw something move."
Even their dejection, great as it was, was not proof against that. They brightened and hung over the ditch, peering down.