WILLIAM AND THE PRIZE PIG
William was aware when his father promised to take him to the pantomime for a Christmas treat that he would have to tread very carefully between the promise and its fulfilment if he wished the fulfilment to materialise. He realised that the promise had been rashly made and that his father would rather play golf than take him to the pantomime any day, and would secretly welcome any excuse for abandoning the project.
The other Outlaws were almost as anxious for William to go to the theatre as was William himself. For it wasn't only the theatre. After the theatre William's father was going to take William to tea to an old aunt of his who lived in London. She was an old lady who neither liked nor understood boys, but she was very correct and had prided herself from earliest youth on doing the right thing. And the right thing in the case of a boy was a tip. She never sent Christmas presents to William, but whenever William's father took him to see her—which wasn't often—she gave him five shillings.
It had always been the custom of the Outlaws to pool their tips. Hence the anxious interest with which the Outlaws viewed William's approaching and precarious treat. The five shillings was badly needed for a new toboggan.
" If I was you," said Douglas earnestly, "I'd jus' do nothin' between now and then—'cept eat at meal times an' go to bed at night. Then he can't have any 'ecuse for not takin' you."