Day 37: The Circus

The facts

“William,” Mr Brown said, “the effect upon the nerves of the continued sound of your voice is something that beggars description. I would take it as a personal favour if it could kindly cease for a short time.”
William was crushed. The fact that he rarely understood his father’s remarks to him had a good deal to do with the awe in which that parent was held.

  • Number: 3.11
  • Published: 1923 (1920 in magazine form)
  • Book: William Again
  • Synopsis: William takes his grandfather to the circus.


This is a really touching story.

William is anxious to go to the circus, but first his dancing class (the teacher remarks, “You’re enough to make any litle girl cry, the way you dance!”) and then a visit from his frail, elderly grandfather intervene.

But it turns out, just as William rebels against the civilising strictures of his mother, so does his grandfather rebel against the caring totalitarianism of Aunt Lilian.

William had never met his grandfather before, and he gazed in astonishment at him. He had met old people before, but he had not thought that anything quite so old as Grandfather Moore had ever existed or could ever exist. William was fascinated. He could hardly keep his eyes off him all tea-time.

When William is sneaking out of the house, through his (supposedly sleeping) grandfather’s bedroom, to go to the circus, he finds the old man still awake and “obviously revelling in his wickedness”.

They form a remarkable bond and decide to sneak out together: William evading his mother, Grandfather Moore evading Aunt Lilian.

They have a wonderful time, share their disdain for dancing classes, and sneak back without being caught.

Again, William proves a hit with elderly relatives.