The patrons were crowding round Douglas, insisting that Jumble had lost whatever race there was, and demanding their pennies.
A hunted look was coming over Douglas’s face. “I can’t help it,” he was saying. “I haven’t got any. Well, it’s your own faults. You shouldn’t have all betted on the same dog. If half of you’d betted on one and half on the other then I’d have had money to give half of you from the other half. I don’t care. It’s not my fault.”
- Number: 10.2
- Published: 1929 (1928 in magazine form, originally titled William’s New Game)
- Book: William
- Synopsis: The Outlaws host a greyhound race.
Who would have thought that organising a greyhound race, with betting and refreshments, could be so difficult? Well, given that the organisers had no track, only one dog (which is not a greyhound), a clockwork mouse in place of a mechanical hare and total ignorance as to the economics of the gambling industry.
“The dog we took back wasn’t the same dog as the dog we took,” said Ginger.
“It looked jus’ the same,” said William.
“It didn’t look quite the same,” said Ginger. “I mean, it was the same make of dog all right – a fox terrier – but it wasn’t exactly the same dog.
Douglas as the bookkeeper goes broke very quickly; the owner of the second dog they ‘borrow’ seems dissatisfied with this; and the Hubert Laneites steal and eat all the refreshments.
But William’s ingenuity manages to turn this low (plus the punishment his father doles out) into an era-defining triumph. I won’t spoil the ending!