William turned to VioletElizabeth. “Would you like to be Germany? It’s a jolly good part.”
“What thould I wear?” said Violet Elizabeth. “It dependth on what I’d wear.”
They considered the question. “Swashtikas,” suggested Henry.
“No,” said Violet Elizabeth firmly . “I don’t like thwathtikath!”
“Sackcloth,” said Ginger.
“No,” said Violet Elizabeth, still more firmly. “I don’t like thackcloth.” Suddenly her small face beamed. ” Tell you what! I’ve got a fanthy dreth at home I could wear. Ith a fanthy dreth of a rothe. I wouldn’t mind being Germany if I could wear that.”
“Well, you can’t,” said William shortly. “An’ if you’re goin’ to be Germany at all, you’ve gotter be sorry for all the wrong you’ve done.”
“Well, I’m not,” said Violet Elizabeth with spirit, “and I haven’t done any wrong.”
“You started the war.”
“I didn’t,” snapped Violet Elizabeth. “I wath in bed with a biliouth attack the day the war thtarted. Athk the doctor if you don’t believe me.”
“You’re bats,” said William. “It’s no good talking to you.”
- Number: 27.5
- Published: 1950 (1946 in magazine form) – originally titled The Pageant
- Book: William the Bold
- Synopsis: The Outlaws plan to celebrate Victory.
The Outlaws are getting up a Victory Pageant.
The Hubert Laneites are also getting up a Victory Pageant – which they only think to do after Violet Elizabeth, spurned by the Outlaws, leaks the idea to them (“I bet even Hitler wouldn’t have done a thing like that” rages William).
But which group of warriors will end up with the ignominy of playing the captured German soldiers in the other group’s production?
Somehow the zest had gone out of it. It was the absence of Violet Elizabeth. They had resented her presence among them and heartily wished her away but, now that she had gone, they missed her – missed her dynamic personality, her unreasonableness, her contrariness, her varying moods, her uncertain temper, even her lisp… Joan failed to provide the stimulus that Violet Elizabeth had always provided. And, though they would not have admitted it, they felt wounded and betrayed. That Violet Elizabeth, their most troublesome but most loyal follower, should have joined the Hubert Laneites was almost too monstrous for belief.
Reeling from Violet Elizabeth’s perfidy, the Outlaws sullenly drill their Victory ‘soldiers’ and resign themselves to a pageant without the lavish refreshments being provided by Mrs Bott to the Laneite show.
But then two unexpected twists occur in quick succession…