WILLIAM - online children's book

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230                                WILLIAM
leaning down over it, William examined closely the mop of flaxen curls and that something of his despondency dropped from him as he did so.
Bert got in first in order to help Maggie into it. William got in next to hold the boat closely to the landing stage. And then, before Maggie had entered, the boat swung out suddenly into mid-stream.
" What'd you let go for ? " exploded Bert.
" Sorry," said William succinctly, " I can work it back all right."
But he didn't. No one quite saw what he did, but in a few seconds the boat was overturned and William and Bert were floundering in the water.
Maggie screamed and wrung her hands on the bank.
" 'S all right," called William from the water, " I'll save him."
And he seized hold of Bert's head and pulled. In a few seconds William was holding on to one side of the overturned boat and Bert the other. But it wasn't the Bert they knew. It was an elderly man with a bald head except for a thin wisp of grey hair on the top of his head. And on the water just by the boat floated a bedraggled flaxen wig.
Maggie moaned and covered her eyes with her hand.
Her sister's wish was fulfilled. She saw Bert as he
really was.
William walked slowly down the road past the cottage.
Mrs. Round way smiled and nodded from the window, then came hurrying down with a cookie boy in her hand.
" There you are, love," she said. " It was such a pretty wedding. She and George have gone to Brighton for the honeymoon. It'sórather nice to be alone again. I'm one that likes quiet. That Bert never turned up again after your picnic, you know."
" Di'n't he ? " said William carelessly.
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