Day 200: William and the Bugle

The facts

William was much relieved by the discovery that he would miss an arithmetic lesson by taking part in the expedition. The arithmetic master shared something of his relief.

  • Number: 18.4
  • Published: 1936 (1935 in magazine form, originally titled William Gets a Job)
  • Book: Sweet William
  • Synopsis: William’s teacher confiscates his bugle.


One of the best in a reasonably long line of episodes in which William ingeniously seeks to recover confiscated items, this story sees him on a school trip to a stately home. William had joined the School Historical Society less because of a passionate interest in history, and more because he knew it would entitle him to an afternoon out of school.

Still, though, he takes no chances when it comes to the possibility of being bored, so he carries a bugle (belonging to a friend of Robert’s, and not William himself) with him to see off any monotony, should monotony arise.

“I oughtn’t to tell you,” he said, “but… well, it isn’t fair to let you go near her. Not till they know for certain. Of course if it isn’t smallpox—” He clapped his hand to his mouth as if he had inadvertently let out a secret. “There now, I oughtn’t to have told you.”


But disaster strikes when the history master confiscates it. The rest of the story is dedicated to William’s mission of recovering it.

And the stately home receives an unexpected new servant boy.