“The archaeologist got the idea that there must be a Roman villa somewhere on the estate and he’s been turning the place upside down to find it,” said Robert.
“Gosh! I wouldn’t take all that trouble over any ole Romans,” said William, adding with disgust, “They talked in Latin. They must have been dotty. I’d sooner bury them than dig ’em up any day.
‘Mensa’ an’ ‘dominus’ an’ all that rubbish!”
- Number: 32.6
- Published: 1960
- Book: William the Explorer
- Synopsis: William needs sixpence to go to the village fair.
When William fails to persuade his family to give him any money to spend at the fair, despite the use of his famous ‘shame’ technique (“It might be the last fair I ever get the chance of goin’ to: lots of people in hist’ry died young. Well, the little princes in the Tower did”), he morosely gives up and goes to spy on Robert volunteering at a local archaeological dig. Robert’s main motivation is not the discovery of Roman remains, but the discovery of Hermione Monson, the archaeologist’s daughter. Anyway, very few Roman remains seem to be turning up.
“It’s fantastic,” said Hermione. “It’s too fantastic for words. He’s the most frightful-looking boy I’ve ever seen in my life and he springs up from nowhere with his pockets full of the most fantastic Roman finds and he just stands there chewing currants!”
When William tires of spying, he goes for a wander and comes across a friendly old man building a new garden path. In the course of their labour, they come across a few obstacles: old, worn coins; fragments of pot; bits of old mouldy jewellery…
William gets his sixpence.