“What’s that thing he said we hadn’t got any of?” said William.
“Initiative,” said Henry.
“Oh…” said William. “What is it?”
“Doin’ things without bein’ told to,” said Henry.
“Gosh!” said William in surprise. “Seems to me we’re always doin’ that.
- Number: 37.5
- Published: 1968
- Book: William the Superman
- Synopsis: William founds a new society bent on finding adventure.
The headmaster has given the entire school a motivational talk, and, although William rather missed its point (“I thought he was talkin’ about takin’ an interest in world affairs an’ not jumpin’ over his tulip bed”), Henry was paying close attention. He heard the suggestion that the boys get together and create some extra-curricular societies to promote responsibility, industry and other desirable qualities.
William is well up for this.
“We’ll have an Adventure Society,” he said.
“What’ll we do in it?” said Douglas.
“Adventures,” said William simply.
“Now we’ve got to take an oath,” said William. “They always take oaths in secret societies. You can make up the oath, Henry. You’re better at long words than us.”
“All right,” said Henry. He cleared his throat impressively then raised his right hand. “I swear never to betray the secrets of the Adventure Society an’… an’ to carry out all its adventures” – he paused, at a loss momentarily for words, then remembered the heading on one of his mother’s tradesmen’s bills – and ended, “promptly and efficiently.”
There is some concern that Mr French, the form-master, may not be a fan of this plan, but William isn’t worried. “Ole Frenchie can’t stop us if the headmaster says we ought to. It would be mutiny.”
After agreeing a constitution for the Society (“Deadly weapons may be used but axshul murder not allowed”) they proceed to appoint Officers:
“We ought to elect a President, an’ Secretary an’ Treasurer,” said Henry.
“Well, there’s no time for that,” said William, “so I’ll be all of ’em.”
And the Adventure Society is open for business, with its first mission being the slightly vague one of fighting crime. Naturally, the person who falls most under their suspicion, after his cruel refusal to permit the Society to exist at all, is Mr French.
They cause a fair bit of chaos, but Mr French – and his new fiancée – isn’t too peeved.