“I’ve got a… sort of power over people,” said William.
Angela’s incredulity was fading into puzzled admiration. “Oh, William,” she said, “have you? Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“There were reasons,” said William. “I… well, I don’t like people to know about this power I’ve got.”
“I suppose they’d always be wanting you to do things?” said Angela.
“Yes,” said William, thankfully accepting the explanation.
- Number: 22.4
- Published: 1940 (1939 in magazine form)
- Book: William and the Evacuees
- Synopsis: William comes across to rival girls hunting for seashells.
On a beach holiday, William meets Adela and Angela, two immaculately-attired schoolgirls who are, as bitter rivals, collecting seashells in order the better to impress their much-idolised schoolteacher Miss Twemlow.
Bored out of his mind by the absence of other boys to play with, he sets himself two goals: find an orange shell for each girl; and reconcile them.
They both liked talking about Miss Twemlow, so it would be much better for them to talk to each other about her than to him. He wasn’t interested in Miss Twemlow. He imagined her, in fact, as a mixture of Violet Elizabeth Bott and a Pantomime Dame.
But when Miss Twemlow arrives at the seaside resort with her fiancé, William makes a rash promise and acquires a new mission: take the fiancé away somewhere so that the girls have unfettered access to Miss Twemlow.