Hands Up Foundation is now Action Syria

Readings from Singing for Syrians: Just William Meets Violet Elizabeth

The fourth reading of the service absolutely brought the house down. Martin Jarvis, narrator of the audiobooks, stood up and read this extract from Richmal Crompton’s fabulous Just William series about an 11 year old, growing up in interwar England. For many in the congregation who had listened to his voice reading these stories growing up, it was a very special occasion, and worth more than a few chuckles to boot.

Just William Meets Violet Elizabeth

By Richmal Crompton


It was Christmas time. And William had gone reluctantly with his mother to the Bott’s residence. Violet Elizabeth entered the room. She was dressed in white lace-trimmed dress – her skirts stood out in a filmy froth of lace-trimmed petticoats. William gazed at this apparition in horror.

‘Merry Chrithmath’ said Violet Elizabeth.

‘Huh’ said William.

‘Take the little boysie into the garden, Violet Elizabeth,’ said her mother, ‘and play with him nicely. The snow’s all gone.’

‘Come along, boy,’ said Violet Elizabeth.

William, with the air of a hero bound to his execution, accompanied Violet Elizabeth into the garden.

‘Whath your name?’ she said.

‘William Brown,’ he said, distantly.

‘How old are you?’


‘My nameth Violet Elizabeth. I’m thix.’ He made no comment.

‘Now you muth play with me.’

‘I don’t play little girls’ games.’

‘Don’t you know any little girlth? I’ll teach you little girlth gameth.’

‘I don’t want to. I don’t like little girls’ games. I don’t want to know ‘em.’

‘Don’t you like girlth?’

‘Me? I don’t know anything about ‘em. Don’t want to.’

‘D-don’t you like me?’ Her blue eyes filled slowly with tears: ‘I like you. Don’t you like me?’ (William stared at her in trepidation.) ‘You – you do like me, don’t you?’

A large, shining tear welled over and trickled down the small pink cheek. {CRY}

‘You’re making me cry. You are. You’re making me cry, ‘cause you wont’ say you like me.’

‘I – I do like you. Don’t cry. I do like you. Honest!’

‘Oh, I’m tho glad. You like all little girlth, don’t you? You do, don’t you?’

William looked round the garden wildly for escape, and found none.

Violet Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears again:

‘You do like all little girlth, don’t you? You do, don’t you?’

It was a nightmare to William. They were standing in full view of the drawing-room window.

‘Yes I do. I do. Honest I do.’

She smiled again (radiantly) through her tears: ‘You with you wath a little girl, don’t you?’

‘Er – yes. Honest I do.’

‘Kith me,’ she said, raising her glowing face. William was broken: he brushed her cheek with his.

‘Thath not a kith.’

‘It’s my kind of kiss.’

‘All right. Now leth play fairieth. I’ll thow you how.’

And later, William confessed to his friends: ‘I’m not going to have anything to do with any ole girl ever again.’

‘S’all very well sayin’ that,’ said Douglas. ‘S’all very well sayin’ that. But it’s them what has to do with you.’

‘An I’m never goin’ to marry any ole girl,’ said William.

‘S’all very well sayin’ that,’ said Douglas again: ‘but some ole girl’ll probably marry you…’

‘Huh. Happy Christmas…’

Join us to make a positive difference to Syrian communities.

Keeping supporters clued up on our work is important to us. Sign up to keep up to date with where the funds go and the impact they have, and how you can support us.

Join our mailing list Keeping supporters clued up on our work is important to us, we want you to know where the funds go and how they are raised.
We will never share or swap your details with other organisations for their own marketing purposes. You can opt-out of hearing from us or update your communication preferences at any time.
Skip to content