WILLIAM - online children's book

More adventures of the famous 11 year old and the "outlaws"

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234                                WILLIAM
exercise necessary to his existence till the Saturday of the treat.
It was, of course, William who suggested going round through Mr. Ballater's back garden to look at his pig. Mr. Ballater had a pig of gigantic proportions that had won prizes at every local show for miles around. Mr. Ballater took an inordinate pride in his pig. He fed it and tended it with his own hands. He allowed it no rivals. It was said that he had surreptitiously photo­graphed every pig in the neighbourhood who might possibly pose as a rival to it, and kept copies of the photographs in an album next to photographs of his Eglantine. He worshipped Eglantine as a savage might worship the totem of his tribe. Eglantine had a great fascination for the Outlaws, too. They loved to gaze at the enormous bulk of her, at her tiny eyes sunk so revoltingly in her mountain-like cheeks, to watch the unwieldy mass of her as she moved lumber-ingly across to her trough from her sleeping quarters or to her sleeping quarters from her trough.
They entered the back garden cautiously. They were not welcome visitors at Eglantine's shrine. One of their favourite amusements some months ago had been to bring curious and, as one would have thought, inedible substances for Eglantine to eat, and watch the enjoyment with which she consumed them. Mr. Ballater had been much mystified and distressed at that time by the gradual failure of Eglantine's appetite. When he brought to her the nourishing viands he prepared with his own hands she merely turned away her mountainous head distastefully. It was only by hiding in a neighbouring tree in an attitude of acute discomfort for several hours that he caught the Outlaws red-handed in the act of feeding her with large quantities of the cinders and sawdust for which Eglantine had acquired a perverted taste. He had fallen upon the Outlaws with such fury and put them to flight with such terrible threats (for Eglantine had been losing nearly a
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