assumed his most expressionless expression. The Professor looked him slowly up and down—William, rough-headed, freckled, frowning, in his school suit. He'd retrieved his coat and shirt from the wood and he'd washed his face. The Professor burst out laughing.
" It most certainly isn't the same, my dear sir. Hardly any resemblance at all. My—my visitor was at least a foot taller and altogether more—more mature. Though of small stature, he had an intelligent and thoughtful face. He moved with dignity and grace. This—excuse me, my dear sir—this is an ordinary uncouth English schoolboy."
William's face was still drained of expression as he met his father's gaze.
" Well," said his father, " I'm glad to hear you say so. It certainly simplifies the situation as far as I'm concerned."
Then they departed.
" Go on dancing, William," said Ginger as soon as they'd gone.
" I've forgotten where I was," said William, " with everyone interrupting."
But no sooner had he mounted his platform to continue than there came yet another interruption. It was the Vicar's wife. She entered, wearing her brisk bright smile.
" I've been waiting for the holly, boys dear," she said. " I meant you to bring it to the Vicarage, but perhaps you misunderstood me. Where is it ? '
The Outlaws gazed at each other open-mouthed. Then : " Crumbs I " gasped William, " we quite forgot the holly."