Day 286: William Meets the Professor

 The facts

“Professor Golightly,” the headmaster said, “is one of the most distinguished scholars of the age. We cannot let him go away with the impression that our children are devoid of intellectual interests.”
“I don’t see why we shouldn’t,” said William. “I’m jolly well devoid of ’em an’ I don’t know anyone that isn’t.”
“Dunno what good they’d be to us anyway,” said Ginger. “I want to be a juggler when I grow up.”

  • Number: 28.2
  • Published: 1952 (1950 in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Tramp
  • Synopsis: William enters an essay-writing competition.


The village’s schoolchildren are competing in an essay-writing competition judged by a Professor of History, nephew of a local headmistress.

William’s first draft, prepared on behalf of all the Outlaws, read:

Bony prince charly
He came bekause they playd skotsh chunes on bag peips he dansed with ladies and fort a battel and fel into a bogg and then there wasent ennything elce to do so he went hoam in a bote.

“Let’s go’n’ write that hist’ry essay.”
Reaching Ginger’s bedroom, they sat on the floor in silent concentration.
“Well, come on,” William said at last in a tone of irritation. “Think of somethin’, can’t you?”
“Let’s all have a think about hist’ry,” said Henry. “There’s Victoria.”
“That’s a station,” said William.
“It’s a person as well,” said Henry.
“Well, I’m not goin’ to write about that,” said William. “They’d get muddled up, wonderin’ which I was talkin’ about.”

Meanwhile, Joan has had her mother’s birthday present confiscated at school, and beseeches William to recover it from the headmistress’s house.

And while he’s in there, he meets the Professor of History, and they form something of an affinity…

Fairly touching on the whole. (And as a bonus, Hubert Lane gets a bit of come-uppance as well.)