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Chapter 18 (continued)
'I think it was a burglar,' said Elizabeth. 'There have been a lot of burglaries down here this summer.'
'Would a burglar burgle the outhouse? Rummy idea, rather, what? Not much sense in it. I think it must have been a tramp. I expect tramps are always popping about and nosing into all sorts of extraordinary places, you know.'
'He must have been standing quite close to us while we were talking,' said Elizabeth, with a shiver.
Bill looked about him. Everywhere was peace. No sinister sounds competed with the croaking of the tree frogs. No alien figures infested the landscape. The only alien figure, that of Mr Pickering, was wedged into a bush, invisible to the naked eye.
'He's gone now, at any rate,' he said. 'What are we going to do?'
Elizabeth gave another shiver as she glanced hurriedly at the deceased. After life's fitful fever Eustace slept well, but he was not looking his best.
'With--it?' she said.
'I say,' advised Bill, 'I shouldn't call him "it," don't you know. It sort of rubs it in. Why not "him"? I suppose we had better bury him. Have you a spade anywhere handy?'
'There isn't a spade on the place.'
Bill looked thoughtful.
'It takes weeks to make a hole with anything else, you know,' he said. 'When I was a kid a friend of mine bet me I wouldn't dig my way through to China with a pocket knife. It was an awful frost. I tried for a couple of days, and broke the knife and didn't get anywhere near China.' He laid the remains on the grass and surveyed them meditatively. 'This is what fellows always run up against in the detective novels--What to Do With the Body. They manage the murder part of it all right, and then stub their toes on the body problem.'
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