next his beloved. But whenever he thought he'd managed it, the walking mass of parcels that was William was always miraculously between them. Bert finally decided to accept the inevitable and walked without further machinations on the other side of William. The sun still glinted on his flaxen curls as he walked and he cast languishing eyes at Maggie.
" Do you remember, Maggie," he said, " the picnics we useter go when we were young before you broke my heart by marrying Pete ? "
She blushed and lowered her eyes.
" I remember goin' a few picnics," she said. " I remember the parish outin' down at Little Marvel."
" Yes. Pete was there. I remember watchin' him and you talkin'. I din't like him, Maggie. I must be honest, I din't like him. I din't think him good enough for you. No one could be that, of course. I remember I watched him and I watched George, too."
" I heard of a man once," said William suddenly, " that had seven fingers on each hand."
Bert threw him a murderous glance, but Maggie, as William had already discovered, was a simple soul with that consuming curiosity about the abnormal that is one of the marks of an essentially normal mind. She turned to William with sudden interest.
" Countin' thumbs or without thumbs ? "
" Without thumbs," said William.
Maggie spread out her hands in naive wonder.
" Fancy ! " she said. " You wouldn't think there'd be room for 'em on a persons hand, would you ?'
" And I remember lookin' at you that afternoon," went on Bert languishingly, " an' thinkin'-----"
" I s'pose he'd have specially large hands, would he ? " said Maggie to William.
" An' thinkin'-----" said Bert raising his voice.
" Yes, he had 'normous hands," said William.
" That'd be eight with thumbs, wouldn't it ? " said Maggie, and " Eight on a hand ! Fancy."