Day 46: “Kidnappers”

The facts

William had definitely and finally embraced a career of crime. On the table before him stood a bottle of liquorice water with an irregularly printed label: GROG.

  • Number: 4.6
  • Published: 1924 (1922 in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Fourth
  • Synopsis: Inspired by the story of Rudolph of the Red Hand, William and Ginger kidnap the daughter of the richest couple in the village.


There are two big character-shaped holes in the William stories so far. The first is Hubert Lane, who is still yet to appear. The second is the inimitable Violet-Elizabeth Bott – though perhaps she is a little imitable, because the seven-year-old Lady Barbara D’Arcey, who features in this story, was clearly a precursor to the dreaded Violet-Elizabeth.

William rose, majajestic and stately. “My name,” he said, “is Rudolph of the Red Hand.”
“Well, I’ll kiss you, dear Rudolph Hand,” said his captive, “if you like.”
William’s look intimated that he did not like.

Like Violet-Elizabeth, Lady Barbara attaches herself like a limpet to the Outlaws. She likes kissing. She likes making the boys feel gauche.

Unlike Violet-Elizabeth, her parents are genuinely upper-class, and not affected nouveau riche types like Mr and Mrs Botts.

When they invite William to join their daughter’s dancing class, he knows that only desperate, ransom-gathering measures will suffice…

Violet-Elizabeth is a better character though.