Day 4: The Fall of the Idol

The facts

William would have no half-measures. They were to be married by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. He would wear his balck pirate suit with the skull and crossbones.

  • Number: 1.4
  • Published: 1922 (1920 in magazine form)
  • Book: Just William
  • Synopsis: Left alone with Miss Drew after school one day, William becomes infatuated and begins to plan the wedding.

Verdict

Perhaps William’s headmaster was less astute as regarded his safeguarding responsibilities than would be a modern school.

But the scene in which William accompanies an unwilling Miss Drew on a date (with her “very nice-looking male cousin” no less) will defintely linger long in my memory – as, no doubt, it will in Miss Drew’s.

“Well, I can’t unnerstand any of it. I can’t think why people go on givin’ people bits of money for givin’ ’em lots of money. Anyone’s a mug for givin’ anyone a hundred pounds just ’cause he says he’ll go on giving’ him five pounds and go on stickin’ to his hundred pounds. How’s he to know he will? Well,” he warmed to his subject, “what’s to stop him not givin’ any five pounds once he’s got hold of the hundred pounds?”

Fortunately, William’s crush comes to a rapid end when he goes to a lot of trouble to obtain his teacher some syringa flowers – by ‘obtain’, of course, I mean ‘steal’, taking refuge in a dirty hen-coop when the irate landlord appears on the scene – only to discover that she prefers guelder roses.

His idol fallen, he treats her to his trademark look of “stony contempt” before abandoning his not altogether successful attempt at being a Model Student, and returning to his wayward ways.

This story seems particularly jarring to the modern reader but still a pleasing tale of William causing utter chaos to all around him, even when in love.