WILLIAM AND THE PRIZE PIG 235
pound a day} that he had defeated his own ends by investing his back garden with that glamour of danger that the Outlaws found so irresistible.
" Let's jus' go'n' look how she is," said William. " Well, we won't give her cinders or sawdust to eat or do anythin' wrong like that. But there can't be any harm in jus' goin' to look at her."
The Outlaws, who had been finding the quiet walk rather dull, did not need much encouragement.
They entered Mr. Ballaters back garden cautiously and hung over the side of the sty, gazing wonderingly at Eglantine, who turned a half-hidden eye in their direction.
" She's fatter than ever," said Ginger in a voice of awe. " I bet if you pricked her with a pin she'd go off pop."
" I bet she doesn't like his stuff half as much as the stuff we used to give her," said Douglas.
" It was fun watchin' her crunch cinders," said Henry wistfully.
" Seems to me," said Ginger, " as if she was tumin' into an elephant. I bet you could ride on her back now jus' the same as if she was an elephant."
" I bet you couldn't," said William pugnaciously. The life of quiet virtue that he had led for nearly a day was getting on William's nerves.
" I bet you could," repeated Ginger.
No one ever knew who undid the latch, but they found themselves suddenly inside the sty.
" Try, then," challenged Ginger. William seated himself tentatively upon the enormous back. Eglantine cast a fatuous glance up at him, but remained otherwise unmoved.
" There ! " said Ginger triumphantly.
"That's not ridin'," protested William, "that's sittin'."
" It's what I call ridin'," said Ginger firmly.
" You can't call it ridin' when it's not movin\" said William indignantly.