Day 311: William Among the Chimney-pots

 The facts

“What’s the matter now, dear?” said Mrs Brown, smiling at him in mingled exasperation, amusement, and tenderness, as she poured out his tea. Secretly Mrs Brown found her whole family exasperating, amusing, and a little childish.


Robert is ‘keen on’ Rowena, a beauty new to the neighbourhood, but one who is afflicted with a temperamental father who refuses to have her male admirers to tea.

Oswald Franks is also in on the scene, and, in the vein of A Little Affair of Rivalry, 14.10, things quickly develop into a race as to who will thaw the father first.

“Where are your garters?”
“Garters…” said William blankly. His mind went back over the day to a game he had played with Ginger in the morning. Ginger had been a gangster and William a policeman. William had captured him, and the garters had figured in the scene as handcuffs. He didn’t know what had happened to them after that.
“Garters…” he said again, the blankness of his expression now verging on imbecility. “I’m tryin’ to think what I did this mornin’. I do diff’rent things diff’rent mornings. What day is it today?”
“William, what’s-happened-to-your-garters?”
“They may’ve worn out,” said William with the air of one who wrestles with an almost insoluble problem and edging towards the door as he spoke. “Things do wear out… They may’ve worn out suddenly an’ fell into pieces an’ jus’ dropped off… or some thief may’ve taken them off me when I wasn’t lookin’. He may’ve drugged me while he did it. He…”
“’Scuse me,” said William politely as he sidled through the doorway. “I’ve jus’ got to go an’ see to somethin’.”

A possibility occurs when the father, an eccentric professor, is laid low by sciatica whilst in the midst of painting his roof; both youths fondly imagine that, if they bravely climb into the rafters to complete the job, they will win his favour forever.

Hoping to give Robert a helping hand, William takes the plunge first.

The skylight was open a few inches and his efforts sent a stream of paint down on to the floor
“Oh, well,” he consoled himself, “I ’spect it needed a bit of dec’ratin’ inside as well.”

When his ladder is removed, he ends up trapped on the roof, but is pleased to meet the professor on his journey through the house.

And the professor is pleased to meet him!