Day 114: William and the Waxwork Prince

The facts

William seized the weapon nearest to hand, which happened to be his school satchel, and hurled it. It missed Hubert, but caught the headmaster very neatly on the face.
There was a horrible silence, during which William’s prayers that the end of the world might now take place remained unanswered. Then Ole Markie shot out a furious hand in William’s direction and roared : “Did you throw that?”
William, thinking that he might as well go down with colours flying, assumed a debonair expression as he said gaily, “Yes, sir.”

  • Number: 10.4
  • Published: 1929 (1928 in magazine form, originally titled William the Waxwork Prince)
  • Book: William
  • Synopsis: William is determined to escape detention and go to see an exhibition of waxworks.


This is one of those rare occasions when Ginger is the architect of the idea that causes the story’s chaos.

William is kept in detention and resigns himself to missing out on a visiting fair, which has the unusual added attraction of a waxwork show.

Ginger is keen to help him, so hatches the plan of stealing one of the Princes in the Tower and using it in much the same manner as the famous 1962 escape from Alcatraz: William dresses the dummy in his school uniform and poses it at a table, poring over a Latin textbook; dresses himself in the Prince’s robes, and runs off to the fair.

“These models are made without any regard to anatomy at all. Look at that one, for instance.” He pointed languidly at William. “It’s quite absurd to anyone who knows anything about anatomy. Legs and arms entirely wrong. Out of proportion, set at wrong angles…”

This plan was relatively successful, although it suffered from two serious flaws.

First, how can William view the waxworks without their owner noticing that he has stolen one of his historical outfits? (Without, that is, standing very still on the plinth left empty by the Prince and terrifying the visiting public…)

Second, what will happen if Mr Markson goes to check on ‘William’ in detention and discovers him to be a mannequin?