WILLIAM AND THE PRIZE PIG 253
opportunity to get in again with Eglantme, and all went merry as a marriage-bell till suddenly Mr. Ballater's eyes fell upon the teapot. He stared. His eyes bulged. He faltered in the middle of a description of Eglantine's weekly menu. His teapot, his Georgian teapot . . . he could have sworn that it was his Georgian teapot, the one his godmother had given him last year. The Vicar was wielding it quite unconcernedly. The Vicar was an absent-minded man without an eye for details. He could not have described the teapot in which his tea was generally brought to him. He could not have recognised it had it been shown to him in company with a dozen strange teapots. To the Vicar a teapot was just a teapot, a thing containing tea with a handle and a spout. He asked no more of it. He poured the tea from Mr. Ballater's Georgian teapot before Mr. Ballater's gaping eyes with no thought in his mind but a determination to convince Mr. Ballater that Judith had been every bit as big as Eglantine and that that snapshot that Mr. Ballater had of her was out of focus and made her look about half her real size. He found it unusually easy to stem the flood of Mr. Ballater's rhapsodies. Mr. Ballater suddenly seemed unable to do anything but gape helplessly at the teapot. As a visitor the Vicar found him rather disappointing. There wasn't much satisfaction in saying that Judith was as large as Eglantine if Eglantine's master didn't contradict him. The whole thing lacked zest. The Vicar, in fact, wasn't sorry when Mr. Ballater, still gazing at the teapot as if it were a ghost, rose to take his leave quite an hour earlier than he usually took it. He walked down the drive like a man in a dream. The Vicar watched him from the window. A sudden explanation of his strange behaviour occurred to him. He's beginning to realise it at last," he said with a smile. " She was as big—every bit as big."
Mr. Ballater almost ran up his front drive, flung open his front door and hurried into his drawing-room. And