“Would you like to go to Cousin Sybil’s wedding?” Mrs Brown said.
“No, I wu’nt,” said William without hesitation.
“Wouldn’t you like to go dressed up?” she said.
“Red Injun?” said William with a gleam of hope.
“Er… no, not exactly.”
- Number: 1.9
- Published: 1922 (1919 in magazine form)
- Book: Just William
- Synopsis: William is forced to be a page at a family wedding.
If the idea of going to a wedding as a page-boy, “dressed up” in – horror of horrors – some of sister Ethel’s old clothes, is not an affront to William, then nothing is.
And, to make matters worse, the scandal makes its way around the village and he becomes the butt of every boyish joke for miles around.
“There’s nothing mediæval or romantic about William,” Mrs Brown said.
But, when the dreadful day finally arrives, William meets the maid-of-honour, his 11-year-old cousin Dorita (I wonder if she ever grew up?), for the first time. “‘Are you keen on this piffling wedding affair?’ she went on carelessly, ‘’cause I jolly well tell you I’m not.'”
A kindred spirit!
She not only detested fancy wedding clothes, but shared William’s passion for carrying mice around in the pocket, for “mountaineering” in the form of climbing up a garden fence, and more.
“If I’d got to marry,” she reveals, “I’d as soon marry you as anyone.” “I wu’nt mind,” replies William. “But,” he adds hastily, “in ornery clothes.”
The idea of a female William – ageing or otherwise – could have taken the series in a whole different direction. But this was Dorita’s only appearance so the wedding of the future may remain an aspiration…