“William!” said Mrs Brown, noticing her younger son’s appearance for the first time. “Did you wash your face before you came to the table?”
“D’you mean, did I put it right into water?” temporised William.
“Yes, of course I do.”
“Well, listen,” said William earnestly. “Cats are s’posed to be clean animals an’ they don’t put their faces right into water when they wash ’em.” He gave his short sarcastic laugh. “Well, it’s news to me if cats put their faces right into water when they wash ’em. I mus’ say I’ve never seen a cat puttin’ its face right into water when…”
“William!” said Mr Brown.
- Number: 31.4
- Published: 1958
- Book: William’s Television Show
- Synopsis: William tries to get his mother the perfect birthday present.
In a moment of frustration with William, Mrs Brown declares that what she’d like for her birthday is just one thoughtful act from him.
She’s feeling slightly ruminative in general:
Then Mrs Brown entered. She looked coy and bashful and radiantly pretty. Her cheeks were delicately tinted, her eyelashes darkened, ‘eyeshadow’ enhanced the blue of her eyes and lipstick gave to her lips an allure with which/ nature had never endowed them.
“I’ve been made-up,” she said simply. “The woman used me as a model.”
“Heavens above!” said Robert helplessly.
“You’re a menace,” said Ethel. “I shall never dare invite a boy friend to the house again. What do you think of it, William?”
“I like you better old,” said Wtlliam politely.
Then Mr Brown came in and stood in the doorway, open-mouthed with amazement.
“I’ve been made-up,” said Mrs Brown again. “She used me as a model.”
“It’s positively staggering, my dear,” said Mr Brown, partly gratified, partly outraged by the sight of his glamorised wife. “I’ve never seen you look like this in all my life before.”
“What do you feel like?” said Robert.
Mrs Brown glanced again at her reflection in the mirror. “It makes me think I’ve wasted my life,” she said. “It makes me think of all the things I haven’t done or been to. I’ve never been to the South of France or Ascot or a Buckingham Palace Garden Party…”
Suddenly the recumbent man sat up, blinking distractedly. “Crikey!” it said. “Where am I?”
“In the garden of Mr Selwyn’s house,” Police-constable Higgs reassured him.
“I hit you on the head with a hammer,” said William as if in further reassurance.
This gives William an idea for his One Thoughtful Act. He’s going to lessen his mother’s fears about having wasted her life by organising a local Olympic Games for her to spectate.