“I’m having sixteen guests,” said Archie, “I sent out sixteen invitations – you remember, William. You posted them – and I said: ‘Don’t answer unless you can’t come. If I don’t hear from you, I shall expect you,’ and I haven’t heard from a single one, so that means they’re all coming. It’s very gratifying. Very gratifying indeed.” A blissful smile lit up his features.
A blank look had come over William’s face.
- Number: 28.8
- Published: 1952 (1953 in magazine form, ie first published in book form)
- Book: William the Tramp
- Synopsis: William has forgotten to take round the invitations for Archie’s party.
When William realises on the eve of Archie’s party that he failed to deliver the sixteen invitations, he scours the district for sixteen people he can persuade to attend at the last minute.
“We realised as soon as we got away…”
“But why did you come here at all in the first place?” squeaked Archie, almost buried beneath his canvasses.
“A boy directed us here. I don’t know who he was. The other boys called him William.”
Of course, by complete Cromptonesque coincidence, there are sixteen art collectors lost in the neighbourhood, on their way to an art exhibition in Marleigh.