Interesting Royal Holloway/Bedford Classicist 2
Richmal Crompton (1890-1969) writer of books, mainly for children, and inventor of William Brown, the anarchic hero of the phenomenally successful ‘Just William’ stories.
She came on a Founder’s Scholarship from Bury, Lancashire to read Classics at RHUL 100 years ago in 1911. She was a committed suffragette.
There have been more than ten million William books sold, and many films, TV and radio series. William himself was not very good at Latin (see below), but had respect for people who were!
Just William (1922)
Look at this hole!”
“Oh, that!” said William, looking at it.
“I don’t know why you go through your stockings like this.”
“P’raps it’s Latin,” said William, after a moment’s thought. Mrs. Brown considered this explanation in silence.
“How do you mean, Latin?” she said at last.
“Well,” explained William, “you see all this Latin I’ve got to learn mus’ make my brain jolly heavy, an’-well,
you carry your brain on your feet, don’t you, same as the rest of your body, an’, if I stopped learnin’ Latin, my
brain wouldn’t be as heavy as what it is now, an’-well, I shouldn’t go through my stockings so much. Can I
stop learnin’ Latin?”
“No, dear,” said Mrs. Brown, “and don’t talk such nonsense.”
William sighed. He hadn’t really hoped for anything else. Between himself and the Latin master lay a long and
bitter enmity. He had tried various ruses to induce his father and mother to let him stop learning Latin but
none of them had worked.
There was another silence. William, having polished off a fairly satisfying tea, was now turning his thoughts
to the chief business of the day, and that was to obtain the two shillings for his entrance fee into the tramp
profession. He decided to try direct methods first.
“Will you give me two shillings, please, Mother?” he said.