The Helper

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The excitement began at breakfast. William descended slightly late, and, after receiving his parents' reproaches with an air of weary boredom, ate his porridge listlessly. He had come to the conclusion that morning that there was a certain monotonous sameness about life. One got up, and had one's breakfast, and went to school, and had one's dinner, and went to school, and had one's tea, and played, and had one's supper, and went to bed. Even the fact that to-day was a half-term holiday did not dispel his depression. One day's holiday! What good was one day? We all have experienced such feelings.

Half abstractedly he began to listen to his elders' conversation.

"They promised to be here by nine," his mother was saying. "I do hope they won't be late!"

"Well, it's not much good their coming if the other house isn't ready, is it?" said William's grown-up sister Ethel. "I don't believe they've even finished painting!"

"I'm so sorry it's William's half-term holiday," sighed Mrs. Brown. "He'll be frightfully in the way."

William's outlook on life brightened considerably.

"They comin' removin' this morning?" he inquired cheerfully.

"Yes, DO try not to hinder them, William."

"Me?" he said indignantly. "I'm goin' to help!"

"If William's going to help," remarked his father, "thank Heaven I shan't be here. Your assistance, William, always seems to be even more devastating in its results than your opposition!"

William smiled politely. Sarcasm was always wasted on William.

"Well," he said, rising from the table, "I'd better go an' be gettin' ready to help."

Ten minutes later Mrs. Brown, coming out of the kitchen from her interview with the cook, found to her amazement that the steps of the front door were covered with small ornaments. As she stood staring William appeared from the drawing-room staggering under the weight of a priceless little statuette that had been the property of Mr. Brown's great grandfather.

"WILLIAM!" she gasped.

"I'm gettin' all the little things ready for 'em jus' to carry straight down. If I put everything on the steps they don't need come into the house at all. You said you didn't want 'em trampin' in dirty boots!"

It took a quarter of an hour to replace them. Over the fragments of a blue delf bowl Mrs. Brown sighed deeply.

"I wish you'd broken anything but this, William."

"Well," he excused himself, "you said things do get broken removin'. You said so yourself! I didn't break it on purpose. It jus' got broken removin'."

At this point the removers arrived.

There were three of them. One was very fat and jovial, and one was thin and harassed-looking, and a third wore a sheepish smile and walked with a slightly unsteady gait. They made profuse apologies for their lateness.

"You'd better begin with the dining-room," said Mrs. Brown. "Will you pack the china first? William, get out of the way!"

She left them packing, assisted by William. William carried the things to them from the sideboard cupboards.

"What's your names?" he asked, as he stumbled over a glass bowl that he had inadvertently left on the hearth-rug. His progress was further delayed while he conscientiously picked up the fragments. "Things do get broken removin'," he murmured.

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