" I'm so nervous about it all," she said plaintively. " I think that these firework displays are so dangerous. One reads of such terrible things in the newspapers. But he will have them—every year—though I beg him not to. You've no idea what I go through beforehand. After all, the things are made of gunpowder, and it's a notorious fact that gunpowder is highly explosive. One of those Catherine wheels and things can do untold damage. Just a slight flaw in the manufacture and hundreds of people may be killed. Gunpowder, you know. I tell them so. I beg him every year not to have them, but he takes no notice of me."
The highly-polished figure of William spoke ingratiatingly and in its best company voice from its corner.
" Has he got his fireworks yet ? " it said.
Miss Masters turned her short-sighted eyes vaguely in his direction.
" Yes," she said despondently, " I'm afraid he has. In spite of all I've said to him I'm afraid he has. He's got them from Tanks' in London. I've refused to have them in the house, though. He's keeping them in the shed at the bottom of the garden."
Then the conversation tailed off to the rummage sale that Mrs. Brown was getting up and to which Miss Masters had promised to send an old hat and coat of her brother's, and while that was going on the sleek and radiant figure of William was seen to creep quietly from the room. A close observer might have noticed that its pockets now bulged considerably where it had, with a deftness acquired by long practice, unobtrusively secreted cakes for the other Outlaws.
" What a nice little boy," said Miss Masters when the door had closed on him.
" Y—yes," said William's mother uncertainly. She was wondering helplessly why William had come and where he had gone.
Outside in the road William distributed his largess,