Day 187: William the Conspirator

The facts

“What I think is,” said William, “that it’s silly jus’ havin’ Guy Fawkes day in November, an’ then nothin’ else all the rest of the year. Lots of other excitin’ things must have happened in hist’ry
that we oughter do something about same as Guy Fawkes.”
“What else has happened? ” demanded Douglas.
“I don’t know. I don’t know much history. Ginger ’n’ me’ve got a game we play in hist’ry class with rulers an’ a rubber an’ it doesn’t leave us much time for listenin’.”

  • Number: 17.3
  • Published: 1935 (same year in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Detective
  • Synopsis: The Outlaws begin a campaign for free speech.


The Outlaws try to come up with a new festival to fill the gap between one Guy Fawkes’ Night and the next.

“What month is it?”
“Well, what did they do in history in Febru’ry?”
“I ’spect someone killed someone. They did that all the time.”

Then a breakthrough comes when Ginger finds a historical calendar:

“February 5th: Relief of Kimberley.”
“Who was he?”
“What was he relieved about?”
“Dunno. It doesn’t say.”

“Well, that’s jolly well what we want, free speech,” said William excitedly. “I’m jus’ about sick of bein’ told to shut up the minute I open my mouth. I hardly ever get a chance even to start a sentence, let alone finish it. I don’t think,” pathetically, “I’ve ever finished a sentence in all my life.”

They eventually settle on the little-known Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820. Upon reading that the conspirators attempted to “kill the government” in a bid to secure free speech, the Outlaws begin selecting a target. William suggests the Headmaster, but Douglas points out that he’s “only a sort of servant to the guv’nors” (“Fancy him bein’ a servant!” gasps William).

So they decide to kidnap one of their school Governors.