“What were they like?”
“Filthy ragged little urchins. I took it for granted that they were children from the East End of London who’d come out into the country for the fruit picking… And yet – it’s odd,” she added thoughtfully.
“What’s odd?” snapped Mrs Bott.
“There are two boys here who are extraordinarily like them. They can’t be the same ones, of course, because these are quite well-dressed and clean, but-they are extraordinarily like those two little urchins.”
“Show me them boys,” said Mrs Bott between her teeth.
But William and Ginger had not waited for the end of the conversation.
- Number: 25.12
- Published: 1945 (same year in magazine form)
- Book: William and the Brains Trust
- Synopsis: William accidentally purloins Mrs Bott’s gooseberries.
William and Ginger are going to pick gooseberries to help the war effort as part of a school group, but they miss the train and have to make their own way to the (unknown) gooseberry farm.
“Did you enjoy the day?” asked Mrs Brown.
“Yes, thanks,” said William, deciding that it would serve no useful purpose to describe the various complications the day had offered.
Inevitably they go to the wrong farm and abstract the wrong gooseberries – and Mrs Bott is not happy.
Sadly the story itself is a bit overlong and thematically rather similar to the immediate previous story, Feasts for Heroes, 25.11 (in the sense of ‘boys try to do a wartime favour but end up doing it in the wrong location’) and William’s Invention, 14.9 (in the sense of ‘boys do something outrageous to Mrs Bott but serendipitously help her out and so get away with it’).