But the two little figures clad in white cricketting flannels, were full of life and motion as they kept up an eager and animated conversation on their lofty seat.
"You see, Dudley, if nothing happens, we will make it happen!"
"Then it isn't an opportunity."
"Yes it is. Why if those old fellows in olden times hadn't ridden off to look for adventures they would never have found them at home."
"But an opportunity isn't an adventure."
"Yes, it is, you stupid! An adventure is something that happens, and so is an opportunity."
The little speaker who announced this logic so dogmatically, was a slim delicate boy with white face, and large brown eyes, and a crop of dark unruly curls that had a trick of defying the hair cutter's skill, and of growing so erratically that "Master Roy's head," was pronounced quite unmanageable.
He was not a pretty boy, and was in delicate health, constantly subject to attacks of bronchitis and asthma, yet his spirit was undaunted, and as his old nurse often said, "his soul was too strong for his body."
Dudley, his little cousin, who sat facing him, on the contrary, was a true specimen of a handsome English boy. Chestnut hair and bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and an upright sturdy carriage, did much to commend him to every one's favor: yet for force of character and intellect he came far behind Roy.
He sat now pondering Roy's words, and kicking his heels against the wall, whilst his eyes roved over the road on the outside of the garden and away to a dark pine wood opposite.
"Here's one coming then," he said, suddenly; "now you'll have to use it."
"Who? What? Where?"
"It's a man; a tramp, a traveller or a highwayman, and he may be all the lot together! It's an opportunity, isn't it?"
Roy looked down the narrow lane outside the wall, and saw the figure of a man approaching. His face lit up with eager resolve.
"He's a stranger, Dudley; he doesn't belong to the village; we'll ask him who he is."
"Hulloo, you fellow," shouted Dudley in his shrill boyish treble; "where do you come from? You don't belong to this part."
The man looked up at the boys curiously.
"And who may ye be, a-wall climbin' and a breakin' over in folks' gardens to steal their fruit?"
"Don't you cheek us," said Roy, throwing his head up, and putting on his most autocratic air; "this is our garden and our wall, and the road you're walking on is our private road!"
"Then don't you take to insulting passers-by, or it will be the worse for ye!" retorted the man.
The boys were silent.
"I'm sure he isn't an opportunity," whispered Dudley.
But Roy would not be disconcerted.
"Look here," he said, adopting a conciliatory tone; "we're looking out for an opportunity to do some one some good, and then you came along, that's why we spoke to you. Now just tell us if we can do it to you."
"Yes," Dudley struck in: "you seem rather down, do you want anything that we can give you?"
The man glanced up at them to see if this was boyish impudence, but the faces bending down were earnest and grave enough, and he said with a short laugh,-
"Oh, I reckon there be just a few things I'm in want of; but as to your givin' of them to me that be quite a different matter. Don't suppose ye carry about jobs ready to hand in yer pockets, nor yet