WILLIAM - online children's book

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228                                WILLIAM
leisure several themes similar to the theme of the man with quickly-growing hair. Maggie gazed at him still open-mouthed and ejaculated " Lor ! " at intervals. At last Bert took his pipe out of his mouth, and, fixing William with a cold eve, said:
" What time d'you go to bed ? "
" About eight," said William guardedly.
Bert transferred his gaze to Maggie.
" Maggie," he said, " I'll be callin' for you at nine to-night an' I hope you'll come for a little walk with me.
Maggie switched her mind from the region of the abnormal to the region of the romantic.
" Yes, Bert," she said, blushing.
Bert fixed meaning eyes upon her and said:
"I've a question to ask you, Maggie, an' I think you'll know what it is.
Her eyes dropped, her blush deepened.
" Yes, Bert," she said.
William's heart sank. He'd have no chance at all of accompanying them on a walk at nine o'clock at night. And, anyway, he couldn't hang round them all day and every day. No, things would have to take their course. Yet—he was sorry. He'd wanted to help his friend. . . .
" Now," said Bert with rising cheerfulness, " let's go'n' get a boat an' have a little row."
They walked down the river to the boat-house. As they went, William told Maggie about a man who was bitten by a dog and ever after barked instead of talking and spent most of his time chasing cats, but there wasn't any zest in the telling of it. Bert, secure in the knowledge that his turn would come later, did not attempt to compete with him and the whole thing fell flat.
Then he helped Bert and the boatman to get the boat out.
It might have been noticed that, while Bert was
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