William laughed shortly.
" Why, don' you know ?" he said. " It's the place where a witch was s'posed to have drowned herself in the days when there was witches, an' if you wish for anythin' there the partic'lar day she drowned herself it comes true."
" What day did she drown herself ? " said Maggie eagerly.
" S'posed to 've been June the sixth," said William carelessly.
" It's June the sixth to-day," said Maggie.
" Why, so it is ! " said William in a tone of intense surprise. " Fancy ! "
" I s'pose it's all a make-up ? " said Maggie doubtfully, but in a tone that pleaded to be told it wasn't.
"- Course it is," snapped Bert, whose isolating smile had changed to a ferocious frown.
" I 'spect it is," said William ; " I 'spect it's jus' a sort of chance when it does happen."
" Have you ever wished ? " said Maggie.
" Yes," admitted William as if guiltily—" often."
" Does it come true ? "
" Yes," said William. " It's funny, but it generally does. Jus' a sort of chance, of course."
"An' you have to wish just there—just by the willow-tree ? "
" Yes, jus' where I was goin' to wash the things."
" I'll come along and help you with the things," she said. " Come on, Bert. Seems a shame to leave him to do 'em all himself."
Bert followed morosely, making no further effort to reassert his influence till they had washed up and were sitting again on the grass by the river bank. Then gradually and very determinedly he led the subject back to himself again.
" Did you—did you care for me at all in the old days, Maggie ? " he said.