“You see, dear,” Mrs Brown said, “you and your friends can form a sort of Houses of Parliament and… well,” vaguely, “pretend to be Ministers of the Crown and that sort of thing and… and discuss politics.”
“Yes,” said William and added with rising interest, “yes, it’s a jolly good idea.”
Mrs Brown stifled a slight feeling of misgiving.
- Number: 29.2
- Published: 1954 (1953 in magazine form)
- Book: William and the Moon Rocket
- Synopsis: Mrs Brown suggests that William might like to play a game called ‘House of Commons’.
Inevitably William is going to turn Mrs Brown’s suggestion of a nice, quiet game – House of Commons – into a disaster. Partly because he believes that Black Rod is “the chucker-out”, partly because he takes the view that “it’s educational so that makes it all right, whatever happens”, and partly just because he’s William.
Their first task is to secure accommodation for their game:
“We’ll have to find a house. We ought to have more than one to call it the Houses of Parliament, but we’ll manage with one.”
“Yes, an’ how’ll we find one?” said Henry. “It isn’t so easy, findin’ houses.”
William glanced at the houses that bordered the road along which they were walking.
“There’s lots about,” he said carelessly.
“Yes, but there’s people livin’ in them,” Ginger pointed out.
“There’s lors about houses,” said Henry darkly. “Some people can’t get in ’em an’ some people can’t be got out of ’em. It’s not so easy.”
But William’s optimism was not to be dispelled. “I bet I get one,” he said, licking the last vestiges of lollipop from a stick before he threw it away. “I bet I get one all right.”
“I bet you don’t,” said Douglas, “an’ I bet even if you do it’ll get us in a muddle.”
“I’ll be the Foreign Secret’ry,” said Douglas. “I’m jolly good at bein’ foreign.” He extended his mouth in an imbecile grin, gesticulated wildly and said in a high-pitched squeaky voice, “Je suis, tu es, il est… hic, haec, hoc… bonus, bona, bonum… la plume, la porte, la fiddlededee, la thingamagig.”
William and Ginger laughed hilariously, but Henry looked doubtful.
“I don’t think the Foreign Secret’ry axshully is foreign,” he said.
“’Course he is,” said Douglas, elated by his success. “If he’s called a foreign secret’ry he mus’ be foreign.”
“’Course he mus’,” said William. “Stands to reason he mus’. Well, it’s news to me if a foreign secret’ry isn’t foreign.”
After ‘buying’ a house from a little girl for five shillings, and proceeding to eat its entire contents, they allocate roles (“Well, come on, let’s look for a whip”) and get down to business.
“That was a jolly good fight,” said William as he picked himself up.
“They call it a debate,” said Henry.
“Well, it was a jolly good debate, then,” said William. “Let’s have another.”
Fortunately, their occupation/ destruction of the house they are using turns out not to be as disastrous as could be…