Day 318: William and the Nature Ramble

The facts

“I’ve got a jolly good idea,” said William. “It’s come to me quite sudden. We’ll go over the road to the woods on the other side an’ play Red Indians.”
“We’re s’posed to be doin’ nature,” said Douglas.
“Well, Red Indians are nature,” said William. “Gosh! They’re nat’ral, aren’t they?”

Verdict

During the school’s annual wild-flower-gathering competition, even Mr Crisp is bored stiff, and doesn’t really notice when the Outlaws sneak off for a ‘quiet’ game of Red Indians.

But it turns out there is a girls’ school operating in the same area, and one of its members attaches herself to the Outlaws as their squaw. And, with a Violet Elizabeth-esque determination not to be shaken off, they are stuck with her. But on the plus side, she offers them delightful delicacies, in huge quantities.

“You… you’ve none of you noticed anything strange going on, have you?” asked Miss Hampshire.
“No,” said the Outlaws. The blank imbecility of their expressions would have roused suspicion in anyone who knew them, but, fortunately for them, Miss Hampshire did not know them.

It all turns out alright, though, and they even manage to entertain a bird-watcher, foil a crime, feed Douglas monstrous quantities of sweets in a deliberate attempt to make him vomit up some poison (I particularly enjoy this scene: “Mr Bentley, standing behind his counter, was mildly surprised by the sight of three boys watching with tense, set faces a fourth boy eating an ice-cream”), complete a struggling writer’s poem, help the headmistress of the girls’ school, and, best of all, find an exceptionally rare flower.