Day 71: The Leopard Hunter

The facts

There was a certain monotony about William’s school reports. The horror and disgust of his father at them was generally as simulated as William’s penitence. They knew their respective roles and played them, but they had gone through the scene too many times to be able to put much spirit into the parts.

  • Number: 6.3
  • Published: 1926 (1925 in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Conqueror
  • Synopsis: William takes desperate measures to rid his house of an annoying guest.

Verdict

Somewhat surprisingly, the eponymous leopard hunter is not William, but Mr Falkner. Mr Falkner is a talkative former schoolmate of Mr Brown’s who invites himself for a “short visit” to the Browns’ household and stays there for a considerable length of time, driving each member of said household to distraction with his constant boastful chatter.

At mealtimes William rather welcomed the presence of Mr Falkner. Mr Falkner’s accounts of his varied exploits of dauntless bravery and dazzling cleverness seemed to induce in William’s family a certain apathy of hopelessness which William thought a very proper attitude on the part of a family.

But it wasn’t until he appointed himself tutor, mentor and best chum of William (who is then ostracised by the Outlaws) that William thought to take direct action against his presence in the house.

Having overheard Mr Falkner tell the (obviously false) story of courageously shooting big game in Africa, he hatches the splendid plan of announcing that there is an escaped leopard in the village, and appropriating the family’s leopardskin rug.

The events of that night so humiliate Mr Falkner that he leaves first thing in the morning.

Mr Brown, secretly, approves.