he quite forgot what he'd come to say. Then the housemaid realised their presence and assumed the forbidding scowl with which he felt more at his ease.
" We want to speak to the Vicar," said William.
" Well, you can't," said the housemaid ungraciously; " he's busy."
" It's very important," said William.
" I don't care what it is," said the housemaid, " he wasn't to be disturbed except for sudden illness or death. Are you sudden illness or death ? "
William admitted reluctantly that he wasn't either.
" Well, then, he can't be disturbed for you," said the housemaid tartly; "he's writing his sermon, so go away."
" What about her ? " said William; " when will she be back ?"
The housemaid had no need to ask who " she " was.
" She's stayin' away till to-morrow," she said, and added piously, " Glory be ! "
" Well," said William, drawing the teapot from under his coat with a dramatic gesture, " we've got this back. It was stole—stolen, stole two years ago."
The housemaid gave it a fatuous smile. To her it wasn't a teapot. It was the milkman. William was disappointed by her receipt of his news.
" You make the tea in it for tea," he went on. " Don't tell him. Just see what he says when he sees it. It'll be a nice surprise.'
The housemaid emerged partially from her day-dream and gazed at William's face with the distaste that she now felt for every face that was not the milkman's.
" What did you say ? " she demanded curtly.
" I said make tea in it an' take it in to him."
The housemaid had returned to her dream again. She received the order with automatic resignation as though it had been given her by the Vicar's wife herself.
" A' right," she said dreamily, taking the teapot