Day 21: The Revenge

The facts

“I’d like to do somethin’,” he confided to a rose bush with a ferocious scowl. “Somethin’ jus’ to show ’em.” Then his face brightened. He had an idea. He’d get lost. He’d get really lost. They’d be sorry then alright. They’d p’r’aps think he was dead and they’d be sorry then alright. He imagined their relief, their tearful apologies when at last he returned to the bosom of his family.
He set off cheerfully down the drive. He decided to stay away for lunch and tea and supper, and to return at dusk to a penitent, conscience-stricken family.
He felt rather bored and began to wonder whether it was lunch-time or not.

  • Number: 2.9
  • Published: 1922 (1920 in magazine form)
  • Book: More William
  • Synopsis: William sets off in his Scout’s uniform to punish his family.

Verdict

At last, a youth activity of which William approves!

Still more remarkably, a youth activity of which William approves and of which his family approved. Approved, past tense, because they had expected Scouting to “keep him out of mischief” and had been utterly disproved.

William was a scout. The fact was well known. There was no one within a five-mile radius of William’s home who did not know it. Sensitive old ladies had fled shuddering from their front windows when William marched down the street singing (the word is a euphemism) his scout songs in his strong young voice. Curious smells emanated from the depth of the garden where William performed mysterious culinary operations. One old lady whose cat had disappeared looked at William with dour suspicion in her eye whenever he passed.

When he is so embittered at the constrants of familial life that he decides to run away, he encounters a little boy whom he leads into adventure/ mischief.

As William’s runnings-away go, this is a somewhat unusual one because he does not intend it to be permanent. He is temporarily absenting himself so as to teach his family a lesson.

The only problem is, he has no sense of the passage of time, so when he concludes that he has been absent for long enough for hearts to grow fonder, it is in fact barely one o’clock that same afternoon.

For William, though, this may be a mercy, because how else could a person survive the torment of being an 11-year-old for five decades?