Day 25: William and the Ancient Souls

The facts

“Do you know any Latin, William?”
“Jus’ a bit,” said William, guardedly. “I’ve learnt a lot, but I don’t know much.”

  • Number: 2.13
  • Published: 1922 (1921 in magazine form)
  • Book: More William
  • Synopsis: The President of the Society of Ancient Souls, a staunch believer in reincarnation, moves in next door to the Browns.


When even someone as sophisticated as Robert refers to the new neigbour as “the old luny”, you know they must be dreadful.

And Miss Gregoria Mush, who convenes a group of other old lunies who are in touch with their previous existences, is not only a thorn in William’s side (“She objected to his singing, she objected to his shouting, she objected to his watching her over the wall, and she objected to his throwing sticks at her cat. She objected both verbally and in writing”) but quite predatory, and she has set her sights on his other neighbour, Mr Gregorius Lambkin, who, as his name suggests, is far too mild to tell her to shove off.

So keen is William to help extricate Mr Lambkin – a friend and supporer of William’s – from his predicament that he sacrifices his April Fools Day (almost) to his task.

Particularly full of bizarre characters, this one.