FIREWORKS STRICTLY PROHIBITED 179
It was Mr. Brown, not William, who felt that the conversation had been vaguely unsatisfactory.
At the same moment Henry's father and Douglas's father were holding similar conversations with their sons.
" It's a stupid, uncivilised habit," said Henry's father. " It's amazing to me that any intelligent boy can give a thought to it."
And Henry agreed.
" When I was your age," said Douglas's father, "my mind was too much taken up with my school work to have room for such foolishness as fireworks."
Douglas implied that his was, too.
But it was Ginger's father who produced the bombshell.
" Your aunt has given you five shillings, as usual," he said, " but I am taking charge of it for you till after to-day. I'll give it to you at the end of the week. I didn't want you to be exposed to the temptation of spending it on fireworks.
Ginger, aghast, hastened to convey the news to his friends.
" He's got it an' he's not givin' it me till the end of the week," he said.
For a moment the Outlaws were speechless with horror. Then they ejected " Crumbs ! " in tones of helpless horror.
" 'S not my fault," said Ginger weakly; " I told him I wanted it to-day most particular, but he di'n't take no notice. I told him I wanted it for a pore old man what might be dead to-morrow. That wasn't a very big story 'cause I was thinkin' of the guy. But, anyway, he di'n't take no notice even of that. If it had been a reel old man I'd wanted it for," he went on with stern and righteous indignation, '" an' he'd starved to death to-day it'd serve him right if he'd got put in prison for murderin' him."
" Yes, but what 're we goin' to do ? " said William.