Day 8: The Outlaws

The facts

Me?” William said. “Me? Me take a baby out in a pram?”

  • Number: 1.8
  • Published: 1922 (1919 in magazine form)
  • Book: Just William
  • Synopsis: William takes a baby for a walk.


So, yes, William almost allowed a baby to be trampled by a cow.

But on the other hand, his mum did insist on his taking it for a walk against his will, so she really couldn’t have had much faith in his safeguarding abilities.

“Go on!” said William triumphantly. “Write a note then. Write a note without paper and pencil, and we’ll all watch. Huh!”
“Well,” said Ginger sulkily, “I don’t s’pose they had paper and pencils in outlaw days. They weren’t invented. They wrote on… on… on leaves or something,” he ended vaguely.
“Well, go on. Write on leaves,” said William still more triumphant. “We’re not stoppin’ you are we? I’m simply statin’ a fact. Write on leaves.”

It’s hard, therefore, to be sympathetic to anyone in this story, although admittedly the Outlaws did do an extraordinarily bad job of childcare even for the inept: a brief flavour comes with the sentence, “For many years afterwards William associated babies in his mind with paraffin-oil and potato.”

(This also raises interesting questions about the passage of time – if William had that mental picture for “many years” did it stay with him throughout the rest of his time as an 11-year-old, ie. until 1970?)