Day 159: William’s Invention

The facts

“Everything’s been invented,” William said gloomily. “I could have invented electricity or the telephone or the wireless, but they’ve all been invented. There’s nothing left to invent, or else I’d invent it all right.”

  • Number: 14.9
  • Published: 1932 (same year in magazine form) – originally titled William the Great Inventor
  • Book: William the Pirate
  • Synopsis: William tries to fix Mrs Bott’s chimney.


William and soot seem to have a fatal attraction stemming from Enter the Sweep, 6.1. In this story, he overhears Mrs Bott complaining that her library chimney smokes rather too liberally, and decides to make an invention to fix it.

Although the smoking chimney consumed Mrs Bott’s entire attention at that precise moment, she actually has bigger fish to fry. She’s invited a reporter from Women’s Torch to cover her home as part of a series entitled Haunted Country Houses. Since her home is not haunted, Mrs Bott has a difficulty.

“Have you… have you ever seen anything, Mrs
“Not exactly seen,” admitted Mrs Bott mysteriously.
“No? Perhaps your husband has then?”
“N… no,” said Mrs Bott again in the mysterious voice that was being so successful. “No, he hasn’t exactly seen anything. Oh, Miss Manes, I do hope that you’ll be able to put that photo of the rose garden in.”

But while an extremely bored journalist is attempting to escape an especially un-paranormal interview with Mrs Bott, she sees “a blood-curdling sight… the most unearthly, sinister creature”.

And what does it look like?

“Black,” said Miss Manes impressively, “black from head to foot. Its eyes gleam through the blackness. Quite small, but indescribably sinister, Mrs Bott. The sight of it turns your blood to ice.”
“Oh, my!” gasped Mrs. Bott.
The situation was like a nightmare. To find that there was a real ghost… She’d never sleep another wink.

You can figure out the rest!