Percival William Williams, who is affectionately called ‘Wee Willie Winkie’ because of the nursery rhyme, is the only son of the Colonel of the 195th. The six-year-old is well-liked by everyone in the regiment, but becomes especially good friends with a subaltern he nicknames ‘Coppy’. One day, Winkie confesses to Coppy that he saw Coppy kissing Miss Allardyce, whose father is a Major. Coppy persuades Winkie to keep silent about the matter, since he is engaged to Miss Allardyce, but they haven’t announced it yet. Three weeks later, Winkie sees Miss Allardyce ride her horse across the river in an attempt to prove her mettle. He knows that the ‘Bad Men’ (who he equates with the goblins in a storybook) live on the other side of the river, so he rides out after her, even though he is grounded. Miss Allardyce’s horse stumbles and falls, and Miss Allardyce twists her ankle. Winkie catches up to her and sends his pony, Jack, back to the cantonment for help as some natives approach. The natives debate whether to return Miss Allardyce and Winkie for a reward or hold them for ransom. When Winkie’s riderless horse returns to the cantonment, E Company immediately marshals and sets out to find him. The Company frightens away the natives, and Winkie is lauded as a hero for saving Miss Allardyce. He announces that people should start calling him by his given name because, as the narrator says, he has “enter[ed] into his manhood.”
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