Day 177: The Plan that Failed

The facts

It was a magnificent football, obviously worth far more than half
a crown, and the Outlaws had decided at once to buy it, the chief obstacle to this process being the fact that they could not muster a halfpenny, much less a half a crown, between them.
“I asked my mother to lend me what was in the missionary box,” said Douglas, “an’ I said I’d pay it back out of my pocket-money, but she wouldn’t even listen to me.”

  • Number: 16.4
  • Published: 1934 (1933 in magazine form, not to be confused with the 1931 story, 13.2, of the same name) – originally titled William’s Weekend
  • Book: William the Gangster
  • Synopsis: William tries training a prize cat.


The Outlaws want to buy a football from Victor Jameson, and their best fundraising opportunity seems to be sending William away to visit his Aunt Florence – who, the Outlaws expect – would likely present him with half-a-crown as a “tip” at the end of his stay.

“You’ll jolly well be able to do it all right,” said Ginger. “You can act polite an’ clean an’ all that better than anyone I know.”

William’s mother, on being tactfully approached, refused with horror to allow him to pawn his Sunday suit or to hawk flowers and vegetables from door to door in the village, or to enlist as a drummer boy in the army.
“I never heard such nonsense, William,” she said. “I can’t think what makes you want to do such outrageous things.”

Aunt Florence is preoccupied by her cat Smut, which in days gone by had won every prize in the neighbourhood, but had recently begun losing to a new resident’s cat, Smu, which has an uncanny resemblance to Smut in both name and appearance.

William has a go at ‘training’ Smut, less out of the goodness of his heart than out of a desire to reap monetary rewards.

William loses Smut.

William ‘finds’ Smut (and, mysteriously, Smu vanishes that same afternoon).

Something of a re-run of William and the Black Cat, 4.9.