“Well,” began Ginger slowly, “you remember tellin’ me about those deaf an’ dumb children you was gettin’ those papers for? Well,” Ginger cocked his thumb at William, “he’s deaf an’ dumb.”
“Dear dear!” said Miss Fairman sadly. “Is he quite deaf?”
William, remembering his dumbness but forgetting his deafness, nodded vigorously.
“And is he completely dumb?”
“Yes, I jolly…” William was beginning to assure her earnestly when Gigner kicked him under the table.
“Well,” said Ginger, “you know you said that you took that paper to help deaf an’ dumb boys?”
“Yes, dear. I sell it for them.”
“Well, this boy’s deaf an’ dumb an’ he’d rather have the paper than the money.”
- Number: 17.8
- Published: 1935 (1934 in magazine form)
- Book: William the Detective
- Synopsis: William thinks he’s lost a valuable document.
The Outlaws are holding a hare-and-hounds race. Therefore they need a vast quantity of torn-up bits of paper with which to litter the countryside.
The Outlaws aren’t the only people hunting for scrap paper, though. Miss Fairman, a newcomer to the village, is collecting waste paper to sell in aid of a home for deaf and dumb children. William and Ginger find so much paper in Robert’s bedroom that they happily give the excess to Miss Fairman.
“It’s gone!” said Robert wildly.
“I expect mice have eaten it,” suggested William. “Mice do eat paper.”
“Not there hundred pages in two hours,” objected Robert.
“Why not, if they were hungry? I bet if I was a mouse I could eat three hundred pages in two hours.”
Unfortunately, Robert had had a friend staying who had left a valuable manuscript in the house, so William has to resort to desperate measures to persuade Miss Fairman to return his donation.
And his attempts to convince her that he relies on sign language to communicate are somewhat… unconvincing:
“I’m afraid I’ve never learnt finger language,” said Miss Fairman.
Reassured by this information, William began to make lightning passes with his hands, rather in the manner of a mesmerist.
“How oddly he does it!” she said.
“No, his is the right way,” Ginger assured her earnestly. “It’s the others that don’t do it properly.”