The facts

“I’ve got a jolly good idea,” said William. “It’s come to me quite sudden. We’ll go over the road to the woods on the other side an’ play Red Indians.”
“We’re s’posed to be doin’ nature,” said Douglas.
“Well, Red Indians are nature,” said William. “Gosh! They’re nat’ral, aren’t they?”


During the school’s annual wild-flower-gathering competition, even Mr Crisp is bored stiff, and doesn’t really notice when the Outlaws sneak off for a ‘quiet’ game of Red Indians.

But it turns out there is a girls’ school operating in the same area, and one of its members attaches herself to the Outlaws as their squaw. And, with a Violet Elizabeth-esque determination not to be shaken off, they are stuck with her. But on the plus side, she offers them delightful delicacies, in huge quantities.

“You… you’ve none of you noticed anything strange going on, have you?” asked Miss Hampshire.
“No,” said the Outlaws. The blank imbecility of their expressions would have roused suspicion in anyone who knew them, but, fortunately for them, Miss Hampshire did not know them.

It all turns out alright, though, and they even manage to entertain a bird-watcher, foil a crime, feed Douglas monstrous quantities of sweets in a deliberate attempt to make him vomit up some poison (I particularly enjoy this scene: “Mr Bentley, standing behind his counter, was mildly surprised by the sight of three boys watching with tense, set faces a fourth boy eating an ice-cream”), complete a struggling writer’s poem, help the headmistress of the girls’ school, and, best of all, find an exceptionally rare flower.

 The facts

“What’s a right of way?” asked Ginger.
“It’s weighin’ things right,” said William. “That new man at the sweet shop doesn’t even try to. He stops puttin’ them on soon as the scales begin to wobble ’stead of goin’ on till they go down with a bang same as he’s s’posed to by lor. I once told a p’liceman about it but he didn’t take any notice. He was prob’ly in league with him.”


Bored of all the weeding which seems to come their way during Bob-a-Job Week, William and Ginger take on a different sort of task: a friendly old lady is being terrorised by some yobbish older boys whenever she crosses through their garden (using an ancient right of way) to reach her bus stop.

The Outlaws quickly manage to lock the yobs into a bedroom in their house – but then a rather interesting siege situation develops, because the room in which they are locked has a large number of heavy tiles in it, and plentiful windows through which the yobs can throw them so as to keep the Outlaws in the house as well. They are trapped.

“l’d’ve made my will again if I’d known… I made a new one last week but I forgot to leave my c’lection of insects to the British Museum.”

“We ought to try one of those war escapes,” William said. “They dug tunnels. They dug tunnels from where they were imprisoned to outside of it. If we could dig a tunnel from inside the house to ole Miss Risborough’s garden…”
“How?” challenged Ginger. “Kin’ly tell me how to dig a tunnel through people’s floor-boards comin’ out into other people’s gardens. You tell me.”
“Oh, shut up!” said William testily. “There were other ways… Some of ’em got out in a wooden horse.”
“All right,” said Ginger, “find a wooden horse.”

They succesfully escape, bringing back with them a copper jam saucepan of the old lady’s which had been stolen from her… but then it’s back to weeding. Hey ho.

 The facts

The housemade assumed her air of hauteur. “What name shall I say?”
William eyed her suspiciously. “It’s William Brown, if you don’t know,” he said, “an’ I bet you do.”
“I’d be deaf and blind in this here village if I didn’t,” agreed the housemaid.


Robert is “bats on” Roxana Lytton, and Roxana and her family are desirous of buying a patch of wasteland from the Botts to turn into a tennis court. Mrs Bott, being Mrs Bott, won’t hear of it, so Roxana turns her desperate eyes to Robert for help and Robert is powerless to resist (especially because she’s also turned her desperate eyes to Osbert Sanderstead and Robert is very keen to save the day before Osbert does).

Mrs Bott is partly in such a tetchy mood because she feels left out of the local gentry; they are all taken with a sudden craze for flower-arranging and budgies that speak, and she can’t do one and hasn’t got the other.

William had paid the toy shop another visit and made the shopman a sporting offer to weed his garden, polish his car, clean his windows and wash down his front doorstep in exchange for the aeroplane – only to be summarily ejected from the shop before he had had time to add the further offer, which had just occurred to him, of cleaning his chimneys.

She so breaks Robert’s spirit that he absent-mindedly gives William an extraordinary amount of money, and William is so struck with gratitude that he feels he must repay his brother in kind.

But the natural chaos he causes on his way out of The Hall somehow results in a wonderfully ‘natural-looking’ arrangement of flowers, and a budgie that appears to do a cat impression…

Although very strongly in the vein of previous stories in which William accidentally helps Mrs Bott out of social jams and is richly rewarded (William Goes Fruit-Picking, 25.12, et al), this is quite a fun one.