Day 54: A Dress Rehearsal

The facts

William was not fond of his own society. He liked company of any sort. He went out to the lawn and stood by his father’s chair.
“You’ve not got much hair right on the top of your head, father,” he said pleasantly and conversationally.

  • Number: 4.14
  • Published: 1924 (1923 in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Fourth
  • Synopsis: William stands in, at a school dress rehearsal, for “a Nanshunt Briton”.


This one is just a bit too similar to William Gets Wrecked, 3.14, for me.

William dresses up in a caveman costume to help out at a school dress rehearsal; Ginger finds his clothes and, naturally assuming that they were the products of smugglers’ activities, has them sold for charity.

“All right,” said Ginger. “I’ll gettem back. If you will leave your clothes all about the cave lookin’ exactly like smugglers’ things…”

The rest of the story is William’s fruitless quest to regain his suit, during which he is mistaken for an Eskimo model and becomes the butt of the mirth of most of the village’s children.

Eventually he manages to get hold of a younger boy’s suit, which turns out to be ludicrously too small for him, but he puts a brave face on as he returns home: “You know… everyone says how fast I’m growin’…”

I’ve marked this one William comes out on top because, even though he fails to regain his clothes and is punished for their loss, he ends the story in blissful happiness: sitting in the garden, at his father’s knee, recounting an exciting pirate story he had recently read. Just what he had really wanted to do all day. (Mr Brown seemed less happy about this.)