Joy, however, usually had a way of becoming confined for William. For even as he strolled carelessly down the middle of the street, his faithful Welsh collie, Jenkins, at his heels, he suddenly saw Nemesis approaching, in the form of a small girl.
"Hello William," said Violet Elizabeth Voter, in a voice of ineffable sweetness, "where are you goin'?" William pushed out his chest and spoke with what he imagined to be a manly gruffness: "To my party conf'rence, that's where. I'm the party leader, acshually." Her reaction was everything he had hoped for. "A confrenth! ," she exclaimed in girlish excitement, "Oh William, how wonderful! Can I come?" William, in magnanimous mood, considered. "S'not really a place for young females," he said. "But I s'pose you can come along. You'd better keep jolly quiet, though."
Violet Elizabeth's quietness was not long-lived. "Of courthe, William," she lisped as Dunrulin came into view, "you've gotter modernithe. All polit'cal partieth gotter modernithe. Or elthe you won't attract young women like me." William was about to retort that he didn't particularly want young women like Violet Elizabeth, but there was something about this new, long word that rather intrigued him.
"All right," he said sternly. "If you're so clever, how do I monerdise?" "Well, firtht, you've gotter lithen, William. We want to be lithened to."
"I am listenin'," said William, indignantly. "What do you think I'm doin' if I'm not listenin'? You're talkin' an' I'm not sayin' anythin', so wot could I be doin' but listenin'? What else do I have to do?"
"You've gotter have a Conthultative Doc'ment. And you've gotter have one member, one vote for thingth. And pothitive dithcrimination to get more girlth. I'll write the Doc'ment," she volunteered sweetly. "I've got a penthil."
Reluctantly William assented, wondering where this monerdisation would lead him.
But by now he was entering the hall, where the denizens of the bath-chairs and the owners of the ear-trumpets were still in place, awaiting their beloved midget entertainers.
Arthritic applause greeted his appearance, and he bowed solemnly to his party. Meanwhile a smiling Violet Elizabeth moved among them, distributing hand-written copies of her doc'ment, reading it out loud for those with failing eyesight.
But as she did so an enormous kerfuffle erupted near by, followed by a shriek of maniacal laughter. "Crumbs!" ejaculated William. "What was that?"
"It's only poor Mr Tebbit," a kindly, wrinkled lady in the front row reassured him, "he doesn't get out much these days. He's harmless really. Anyway, if you think he's scary, just wait until our old matron arrives. She's sent word, she'll be here any minute."
Just then the door flew open, bringing with it a gust of cold air, presaging the simultaneous arrival of autumn and something much, much chillier. Jenkins fled, taking refuge under a table. Alone, William turned to face a woman with staring eyes and a powerful hairstyle.
"So you're William," she said ominously. "Play your cards right me bucko, and we'll get on famously. Play them wrong, and I'll scream and I'll scream until you're sick. I can, you know."