Day 224: William and the Dentist

 The facts

“They’re my teeth, aren’t they? Not his. I know all right when there’s anythin’ wrong with ’em. An’ there never is anythin’ wrong with them. He’s one of those people what ought to be in prison for torcherin’ people. This Prevention of Cruelty to Children thing lets dentists torcher children without even tryin’ to stop ’em!”

  • Number: 20.8
  • Published: 1938 (same year in magazine form) – originally titled William Visits the Dentist
  • Book: William the Dictator
  • Synopsis: William escapes from the dentist, into a rather confused lifestyle.


I find this story really frustrating, because the premise – William literally fleeing from the dentist’s surgery – was so promising, but in actual fact the story just degenerated into fairly generic tramp-crimefighting-vagueness. (For what it’s worth, it’s also an unusual premise in that William quite openly shows his fear of the dentist; although less surpising is his idea to mask this behind the bravado of running away.)

“Well, look at pots an’… an’ milk jugs an’ things like that. You don’t take them to be mended before they’re broke, do you? It’s same as takin’ boots and shoes to be mended before they’re wore out. Just a waste of money.”

He was taken tot he surgery under heavy escort; last year, “he had gone alone to the dentist’s, had tapped on the door so softly that he could hardly hear the sound himself,
and immediately gone off to spend the afternoon with the Outlaws, reporting to his parents afterwards that he could get no answer to his knock”.

But he manages to give Ethel the slip, and soon meets up with his old friend/ nemesis Sandy Dick…