THE OUTLAWS FETCH THE HOLLY 201
to meet him. He says that the messages were very involved but that at last he's worked them out and that the place arranged for the meeting is just here under this tree."
" But—but how does he think that the—the Mars person will get here ? "
" He's no idea, but he's certain that he'll come. I'm afraid that the poor old man will be terribly disappointed. He's been simply living for it, you see, all the time that he's been getting these messages, as he imagines."
" Of course," said the girl with fair hair, there may be something in it. ' More things in heaven and earth ' you know, and that sort of thing."
11 I'm afraid not," said the other. " So many people have thought they've had messages from Mars, and there's never anything in it. It's such a pity, because you know he's not really potty. It's just this one subject he's got a bee in his bonnet about. Here he is ! "
Still peering down from his leafy retreat, William saw an elderly gentleman armed with rulers and other measuring instruments drawing near.
" It should be just about here," he said excitedly, " I've verified all the measurements. There can't possibly be any mistake and," he took out his watch,
if I've interpreted the messages correctly it should be within the next five minutes."
" B-but, grandfather," said the dark-haired girl, " I—I think you'd better—better not expect too much. You know it may be a—mistake."
" You ought to be prepared for disappointment, I think, Professor," said the fair-haired girl, " because so many people have been mistaken. The whole thing's so incalculable."
" Nonsense," said the old gentleman, "I've calculated it most carefully. I've given months—years of work to it. I'm sure I've made no mistake." He knelt down and busied himself with the measuring