Miss Bellairs was Robert’s latest inamorata. William knew this only because it was impossible to live in the same house as Robert and not know it.
“Can’t make out what makes ’em act like that about her,” William said with fierce exasperation in his voice. “I’ve seen her an’ she looks perfectly orn’ery to me.”
- Number: 9.9
- Published: 1928 (same year in magazine form, originally titled William on the Trail which, confusingly enough, was the name of the only uncollected story, 18.0, from 1935)
- Book: William the Good
- Synopsis: William and Ginger lose Ginger’s aunt’s parrot.
In the second parrot story in this book, Ginger and William sneak into Ginger’s aunt’s house to get a look at her parrot (whose cry of “Oh, shut up!” is particularly entertaining to an 11-year-old boy).
Ginger’s aunt was what is known as ‘houseproud’ and Ginger – leaver of muddy boot marks and sticky finger marks, breaker of nearly everything he touched – knew that he was not a welcome visitor to her house. He was not at all sensitive to shades of manner, but she had left him in no doubt at all on that subject.
It inevitably flies off into the distance, and the boys chase it from place to place in the village.
First, it lands in a room set out for a public meeting. William creeps in:
She turned to William. “Are you interested in Total Abstinence?”
“Yes,” said William without a second’s hesitation and looking blanker than ever.
Both ladies stared at him and looked very much perplexed.
He actually behaved perfectly creditably during the lecture, but unfortunately the parrot didn’t (“Get out, you old fool!”), and William took the blame and was ejected.
While all this is going on, Robert is determined to catch a band of burglars who have been operating in the village (because he will thereby impress his latest squeeze, for whose affections he is a rival of Ginger’s brother Hector’s). Once again, he proves himself basically to be an unreconstructed William when he plans to overpower the criminals by balancing a bucket of water on top of a door so as to drench them.
This plan goes very wrong, but luckily the parrot comes back of its own accord though.
Awkward moment: “It was at this point that the parrot behind the cabinet suddenly ejaculated.”