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The facts

“What did this man do underground?” said Ginger.
“He read…”
“What could we read?” said Douglas. “We’ve read all the books we’ve got.”
“I’ve got a book my aunt gave me that I’ve never read, called ‘Heroes of Hebrew History’,” said William. “We could take that.”
“What else could we do?” said Douglas.
“We could think,” said William.
“What about?”
“Well… jus’ anythin’. We needn’t think about anythin’ in particular. We could jus’ think.”
“Sounds jolly dull to me,” said Douglas. “Jus’ readin’ ‘Heroes of Hebrew Hist’ry’ an’ thinkin’ about nothin’.”

  • Number: 37.7
  • Published: 1968
  • Book: William the Superman
  • Synopsis: The Outlaws decide to live underground as a nice little earner.

Verdict

The boys have read the story of a spelunker who was paid £600 by a newspaper for living in a cave for four months. Henry works out that, if the Outlaws went in for the same offer, they’d earn £4 a day.

They choose a cave – an old air raid shelter of Sir Gerald Markham’s – and begin settling in, borrowing materials that they find around them to strengthen and improve their new accommodation.

“It’s about four pounds a day,” said Henry.
“Gosh!” said William. “If we only did it for one month we’d have nearly enough money to last us for the rest of our lives.”
“Depends how long we lived,” said Henry judicially.

But when they meet a friendly old soldier who has been camping illegally on Sir Gerald’s land and is facing eviction, their mission changes.

 The facts

“That’s what we’ll do, then,” said William in the tone of one who has solved a problem to the entire satisfaction of everyone concerned. “We’ll take treasures off foreigners an’ bring ’em back for the country.”
“How’ll we give ’em to the country when we’ve got ’em?” said Ginger. “It’s a long way to Parliament an’ we don’t even know its address.”
Frowning, William considered this objection, then the frown cleared from his face.
“I bet the Mayor of Hadley’d do,” he said. “He can take ’em up to London with him nex’ time he goes. He’s called Kirkham an’ I know where he lives. He’s jolly nice. He once bought me an ice-cream.”

  • Number: 29.6
  • Published: 1954 (1953 in magazine form) – originally titled William Goes Patriotic
  • Book: William and the Moon Rocket
  • Synopsis: The Outlaws are seized with Coronation fervour.

Verdict

In the aftermath of the Coronation, the Outlaws are determined to do their bit to help the country, in the spirit of the Elizabethans of days of old.

Strangely, William is under the impression that if he performs this task well enough he’ll become ruler of “Elizabetha”, but in any event the Outlaws all set to it with a will. And come across unexpected success…

The story itself is fairly uninteresting, though.

 The facts

William turned to VioletElizabeth. “Would you like to be Germany? It’s a jolly good part.”
“What thould I wear?” said Violet Elizabeth. “It dependth on what I’d wear.”
They considered the question. “Swashtikas,” suggested Henry.
“No,” said Violet Elizabeth firmly . “I don’t like thwathtikath!”
“Sackcloth,” said Ginger.
“No,” said Violet Elizabeth, still more firmly. “I don’t like thackcloth.” Suddenly her small face beamed. ” Tell you what! I’ve got a fanthy dreth at home I could wear. Ith a fanthy dreth of a rothe. I wouldn’t mind being Germany if I could wear that.”
“Well, you can’t,” said William shortly. “An’ if you’re goin’ to be Germany at all, you’ve gotter be sorry for all the wrong you’ve done.”
“Well, I’m not,” said Violet Elizabeth with spirit, “and I haven’t done any wrong.”
“You started the war.”
“I didn’t,” snapped Violet Elizabeth. “I wath in bed with a biliouth attack the day the war thtarted. Athk the doctor if you don’t believe me.”
“You’re bats,” said William. “It’s no good talking to you.”

  • Number: 27.5
  • Published: 1950 (1946 in magazine form) – originally titled The Pageant
  • Book: William the Bold
  • Synopsis: The Outlaws plan to celebrate Victory.

Verdict

The Outlaws are getting up a Victory Pageant.

The Hubert Laneites are also getting up a Victory Pageant – which they only think to do after Violet Elizabeth, spurned by the Outlaws, leaks the idea to them (“I bet even Hitler wouldn’t have done a thing like that” rages William).

But which group of warriors will end up with the ignominy of playing the captured German soldiers in the other group’s production?

Somehow the zest had gone out of it. It was the absence of Violet Elizabeth. They had resented her presence among them and heartily wished her away but, now that she had gone, they missed her – missed her dynamic personality, her unreasonableness, her contrariness, her varying moods, her uncertain temper, even her lisp… Joan failed to provide the stimulus that Violet Elizabeth had always provided. And, though they would not have admitted it, they felt wounded and betrayed. That Violet Elizabeth, their most troublesome but most loyal follower, should have joined the Hubert Laneites was almost too monstrous for belief.

Reeling from Violet Elizabeth’s perfidy, the Outlaws sullenly drill their Victory ‘soldiers’ and resign themselves to a pageant without the lavish refreshments being provided by Mrs Bott to the Laneite show.

But then two unexpected twists occur in quick succession…