Day 57: The Sweet Little Girl in White

The facts

Me?” said William indignantly. “Me go to tea with that ole girl? Me?
“She… she’s a nice little girl,” said Mrs Brown weakly.
“I only hope,” said William sternly, “that she won’t ’spect me to talk to her.”

  • Number: 5.3
  • Published: 1925 (1924 in magazine form)
  • Book: Still William
  • Synopsis: A new family move into the fanciest house in the village, and their infamous daughter takes a shine to William.


The previous story, 5.2, starred Joan as “the only girl whose existence the Outlaws officially recognised”. This story sees the debut of the one girl whose existence the Outlaws would surely be most desirous of ending, Violet Elizabeth Bott.

In many ways the story itself is a slightly better rehashing of “Kidnappers”, 4.6.

“I don’t play little girls’ games,” William said scathingly. But Violet Elizabeth did not appear to be scathed.
“Don’t you know any little girlth?” she said pityingly. “I’ll teach you little girlth gameth,” she added pleasantly.

The scene in which William and Violet Elizabeth play “nicely” alone in the Botts’ gardens is a famous one, immortalised in the BBC’s 2010 dramatisation.

But most poignant is Douglas’ (characteristic) doom-mongering:

“I’m not going to have anything ot do with any ole girl ever again,” said William.
“’S all very well sayin’ that,” said Douglas who had been deeply impressed that morning by the inevitableness and deadly persistence of the sex, “’s all very well sayin’ that. It’s them what has to do with you.”
“An’ I’m never goin’ to marry any ole girl,” said William.
“’S all very well sayin’ that,” said Douglas again gloomily, “but some ole girl’ll probably marry you.”