Day 140: William and the Twins

The facts

“I take it that you are interested in the psychic side of life?”
“Uh-huh,” agreed William.
He hadn’t the remotest conception what the psychic side oflife was, but he was quite ready to be interested in whatever the lady was interested in. She was unlike anyone else he had ever met, and William always liked people who were unlike anyone else he had ever met.
“Have you ever had any experiences?”
“Me?” said William. “Oh yes, lots.”

  • Number: 12.10
  • Published: 1930 (same year in magazine form)
  • Book: William’s Happy Days
  • Synopsis: William makes friends with a pair of visionaries.


Tristram and Auriole Mannister are highly eccentric but make up for it with their instinctive friendship of and generosity towards William.

They are renting a cottage in the village in order to sharpen up their psychic faculties: Tristram by doing inspirational painting, and Auriole by seeking to photograph a “nature spirit” (ie fairy).

William instinctively takes to them, and they instinctively take to William, happily sharing their meals, paint, canvas and garden with him.

William was kept in so regularly at school that, when he wasn’t, he always felt as if he’d been let out an hour earlier than the right time.

I thought long and hard before categorising this one as William comes out on the bottom : in some ways, he does very well when he (unintentionally) making both twins’ dreams come true by giving them a ‘psychic experience’ – albeit by walking around so covered in grass cuttings that Auriole assumes him to be a nature spirit, and by doing a painting so dreadful that the editor of Psychic Realms publishes it as an inspirational work by Tristram.

But he is sad to lose his friends when the move away at the end of the story. And none of his friends believe that the painting was actually by him…