”Tell you what!” said William at last. “I’ll show ’em round.”
“You?” said Archie, startled.
“Yes, me,” said William. “I’ll meet ’em at the station an’ I’ll bring ’em to look at the cottage an’ I bet I’ll be able to get ’em to take it. I’ll ’splain that that hole in the roof’s made special for vent’lation an’ that it’s healthier not havin’ a lot of paint on the walls…”
- Number: 33.3
- Published: 1962
- Book: William’s Treasure Trove
- Synopsis: William tries to rent out a cottage.
Archie has, as usual, a problem. He has a prospective tenant booked to view his cottage at the very moment that he needs to go to London to humour a wealthy aunt whose favour he is keen to win. He can’t delegate the work of humouring his aunt. But he can, reluctantly, appoint William as his estate agent.
And like estate agents double or triple his age, William quickly realises that, if a property is in no condition to show to prospective tenants, a little creativity is called for. The precise form of creativity on which he fixes is to show the visitors not Archie’s cottage, but the much pleasanter Miss Radbury’s cottage.
William was now counting on the arrangement to fill the void of a Gingerless day.
He walked homeward, upheld by a pleasurable feeling of self-importance. He was going to meet Archie’s tenants, escort them to Archie’s cottage and feed them on Archie’s bread and cheese… It would be a new experience and he was ready for a new experience. He began to rehearse his new role, flinging out his arms in eloquent gestures.
“It’s artistic an’ delightful an’ d’sirable an’ all those things the newspapers said it was.”
To be fair, William is not bad at promoting the village: “There’s places here that people’ve axshally painted an’ put in frames. It’s a jolly nice place.”
And astonishingly, he does succeed in letting Archie’s cottage, though not in quite the way he intended…