advise anyone he catches hold of to take care of their ears," he ended with deep feeling.
" Oh, do shut up about your ears," said Ginger wearily. " We're riskin' our lives jus' so that you can go to the pantomine, an' you will keep on an' on an' on about your ears."
" You'd keep on an' on an' on about your ears, too, if he'd got hold of them same as he got hold of mine," said William spiritedly.
" I'd have shut up about them by now, anyway," asserted Ginger, and continued hastily before William could contradict him, " anyway, let's go back now an' watch his house to see if we can get any clues to the wrong he did in his past."
They went back to Mr. Ballater's house and William posted them at various points. Ginger was to guard the front gate, Henry was to guard the back gate, and Douglas was to hide in the shrubbery that commanded the kitchen door. William, as leader, chose the most exciting part for himself. He was to hide outside the open drawing-room window to overhear any conversation that might be going on.
It happened that Mr. Ballater had had an aunt and cousin to lunch. The aunt had retired to rest after the meal, and the cousin was talking to her host in the drawing room. She was a nice cousin, the sort of cousin you confide in, so Mr. Ballater was confiding in her. He was telling her about Eglantine. He had already told her about the dastardly boy who had let her out of her sty and ridden—ridden—her across the lawn.
" Must have lost pounds," he moaned, " and upset her so much that she wouldn't touch her dinner—and the show next week."
The nice cousin smothered a yawn and uttered a sympathetic murmur. Mr. Ballater was encouraged to deeper confidences.
Of course," he said, " I have a good deal of jealousy