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When William Came

When William Came by Saki

We have had many novels about alternate histories, often of the ‘What would have happened if Hitler had won the war’ type and this is another – except that this one is set in 1913 and the ‘William’ of the title is that old bogeyman ‘Kaiser Bill’. For some reason, at the height of Britain’s power, the fear of invasion was common at that time. (See ‘The Riddle of the Sands’, ‘The Battle of Dorking’, ‘Spies of the Kaiser’ or even ‘The War of the Worlds’)

WARNING:- Contains mild anti-semitism and jingoism typical of the period

First Page:



Cicely Yeovil sat in a low swing chair, alternately looking at herself in a mirror and at the other occupant of the room in the flesh. Both prospects gave her undisguised satisfaction. Without being vain she was duly appreciative of good looks, whether in herself or in another, and the reflection that she saw in the mirror, and the young man whom she saw seated at the piano, would have come with credit out of a more severely critical inspection. Probably she looked longer and with greater appreciation at the piano player than at her own image; her good looks were an inherited possession, that had been with her more or less all her life, while Ronnie Storre was a comparatively new acquisition, discovered and achieved, so to speak, by her own enterprise, selected by her own good taste. Fate had given her adorable eyelashes and an excellent profile. Ronnie was an indulgence she had bestowed on herself.

Cicely had long ago planned out for herself a complete philosophy of life, and had resolutely set to work to carry her philosophy into practice... Continue reading book >>

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