Day 199: William Helps the Cause

The facts

“Kidnappin’ would be all right if you could do it without kidnappin’ anyone. It’s the people you kidnap that always mess it up so.”

  • Number: 18.3
  • Published: 1936 (1935 in magazine form, originally titled William the Money-maker, which is also the title of 5.6 and 9.4) – not to be confused with the 1930 story, 12.4, of the same name
  • Book: Sweet William
  • Synopsis: William fakes his own kidnapping.


The lecturer from William Clears the Slums, 16.8, is back, and the Outlaws need to raise some money. They quickly reject honest labour and sale of goods as methods, but light upon the idea of kidnapping themselves and keeping the ransom.

“I bet my father wouldn’t pay a hundred pounds for me,” said Ginger. “You should hear the way he goes on about my school bills and suchlike.”

The ransom letter ends up in Robert’s hands, and Robert (who currently has a guilty conscience, having foolishly signed a blank cheque to a distant acquaintance as a joke) takes it to be a genuine demand from a loan shark.

The letter was signed, in William’s eccentric spelling, “Kidnaper”. “That must be the name of the money-lender. It sounded foreign. A Jew probably. All money-lenders were Jews,” thought Robert.

He pays up, but then begins to smell a rat…