Day 27: What Delayed the Great Man

The facts

William, outstretched upon the floor of the summer-house, wrote his play with liberal application of ink over his person and clothes and the surrounding woodwork. William was not of that class of authors who neglect the needs of the body. After every few words he took a deep draught from a bottle of Orange Ale that stood on his right and a bite from an ink-coated apple on his left.

  • Number: 3.1
  • Published: 1923 (1922 in magazine form)
  • Book: William Again
  • Synopsis: William’s father is organising a village meeting to be addressed by a Cabinet minister. William is organising a play called The Bloody Hand.


The cast of William’s magnum opus The Bloody Hand were not entirely obedient, particularly little Molly Carter. When she refused to go on without a special top billing at the start of the performance, “William decided to be a woman-hater for the rest of his life.”

On paying a quiet and entirely informal visit to his sister’s bedroom in her absence, to collect some articles of festive female attire for his heroine, he had found every drawer, and even the wardrobe, locked. His sister had kept herself informed of the date of the performance, and had taken measures accordingly.

Of course, with two events taking place in the village on the same night – one of William’s organising and one of his elders’ – the predictable is bound to happen, as it does on at least a couple of other occasions in later stories.

As William’s many attempts at plays go, this is perhaps not the most entertaining.

Still, at least it seems the Cabinet minister enjoyed himself.