Day 195: A Present from William

The facts

“We’ll find out if there’s any special sort of stuff for stuffin’ cats, an’ if there is we’ll buy it with the shillin’. An’ p’raps we’ll have a bit left over for presents for our mothers.”

  • Number: 17.11
  • Published: 1935 (1934 in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Detective
  • Synopsis: William destroys a treasured stuffed cat.

Verdict

Ginger’s elderly cousin comes to stay, and the Outlaws take a great shine to her. She gives them sweets, is generally friendly, but best of all she possesses a stuffed cat (or ‘pussesses’ maybe), a legacy from an even-more-elderly uncle.

William set to work. By the time he had finished, the cat seemed to have lost all semblance to his former self. His head dangled limply, his paws dangled limply, his body was completely shapeless. Even the sinister leer seemed to have left his eyes.
“It isn’t like anything,” said Ginger faintly.
“It’s a bit like a tea-cosy,” said Douglas.
“Let’s say we’ve made it into a tea-cosy for her Christmas present,” suggested Henry.

Unfortunately, William’s first inclination on meeting a stuffed cat with a piercing, glassy stare is to “introduce” it to Jumble. The predictable happens (“It was jolly brave of him,” argues William half-heartedly), but shamed by the cousin’s understanding kindness, the boys decide to re-stuff the cat.

But they find something surprising inside…