Day 337: William and the School of Nature

The facts

“So what’s your story about?” asked Ginger.
“Well, it’s jolly excitin’,” said William. “It’s about a gang of international diamond smugglers an’ they all pretend to be members of a golf club, but really this golf club’s a sort of blind. It’s the headquarters of this smugglin’ gang. They only pretend to play golf. Really they’re smugglin’ diamonds all the time.”
Ginger considered this in comparative silence. “Sounds like all your other stories to me,” he said at last.
“Well, it isn’t,” said William indignantly. “It’s abs’lutely diff’rent. It’s diff’rent from every other story I’ve ever written in all my life.”

  • Number: 35.2
  • Published: 1965
  • Book: William and the Pop Singers
  • Synopsis: William and Ginger try to save a visiting golfer from an evil gang of smugglers.

Verdict

Somewhat overawed by a visiting and erudite friend of Robert’s, William is converted to the ‘school of nature’ in which the most important characteristic of fiction is that its characters appear genuine and natural.

So, in his latest story about smugglers, William names the characters after residents of the village, and invents a detective, Meredith (“red hair an’ a bit of a limp”), to pursue them.

The doors burst open.
William charged through one, brandishing his fire extinguisher, and Ginger charged through the other, hurtling his trolley before him. But, unfortunately, no rehearsal had been possible and their sense of direction misfired. They charged across the room full tilt into each other. William directed his fire extinguisher into Ginger’s face and Ginger drove his trolley with all his might against William’s solid form. The two struggled on the floor amid the wreckage of the trolley.
“Fire!” shouted William.
“Murder!” shouted Ginger.

So, of course, when a young man with red hair an’ a bit of a limp arrives in the village, William naturally assumes that his work of fiction has, remarkably, turned out to be fact.

They do what they can to save poor Meredith from the evil clutches of Miss Golightly (headmistress of the girls’ school and archvillain of William’s story), but it turns out that the two of them are actually quite happy to meet…