WILLIAM AND THE PRIZE PIG 249
Cautiously they peered in. And the first thing they saw was a cabinet full of old silver pieces among which was a silver teapot.
" There it is ! " gasped the Outlaws.
Almost before he had said it William was over the window-sill and across the room.
" Be careful," hissed Douglas, " he'll be comin' back with his gags and things!" But the cabinet door happened to be unlocked, and William was back with the silver teapot in a few seconds.
" Quick," he said in a melodramatic whisper as he whipped it under his coat. " Quick, before he comes back! " They fled precipitately to the gate, then down the road, not pausing to draw breath till they were near the gate of the Vicarage. Then William took the teapot from under his coat and they examined it.
"" I don't see how it can help bein' the Vicar's," said William, as if trying to quiet some small doubt in his mind. ' He had it stole about two years ago an' I heard this man sayin' he stole it from the Vicar about two years ago, so I don't see how it can help bein' the one.
They approached the back door of the Vicarage. The Vicars wife, who had a great respect for her front door-step, had trained the juvenile population of the village to approach the Vicarage by the back door.
Still holding the teapot under his coat and with his Outlaws ranged behind him, William knocked tentatively at the Vicarage back door. An untidy housemaid opened it. She looked at the Outlaws as if she didn't see them. She didn't see them. She saw only the milkman. She and the milkman had plighted their troth the night before, and to-day the housemaid, in the fashion of maidens who had just plighted their troth, saw the image of the beloved wherever she looked. She even gave William a fatuous smile. William, who wasn't used to smiles, fatuous or otherwise, from housemaids, was so startled that for a minute or two