Birth of a Scoundrel

max flynn rakes progress william hogarth

A typical school day should be like this.

(image- The Rake’s Progress, William Hogarth, public domain wikicommons)

How to become a Gentleman Scoundrel?

It’s too late, old chap.

You should have begun as a child.

All that’s left for you now is the steady decline into senility, with nought but incontinence to dull the edge. You poor sod!

But let’s make an attempt, shall we?

It begins with the spark of boredom.

There you are, two years of age, and you’re bored stiff. What to do?

You look around. You grab hold of something. you tug it, you twist it, you rip and wrench it.

If it’s a curtain, you climb it. If the curtainrod snaps when you are halfway to the ceiling, so much the better.

If you find a pen, a tube of paint, a sauce bottle -anything that makes a trail of colour or at least glue, you run about the place streaking everything -walls, people, cats, every damned thing. Now you’re no longer bored.

Better still, other children want to be a part of the fun. They want to streak things too -but they can’t. Because you’re holding the streak-maker. Now you’ve got something they want. You’ve got bargaining power.

Of course you’ve already tired of this game -anxious to be on to the next bit of fun, you are. So you exact a high price for the sauce bottle or whatever it is. No sooner have you ‘sold’ it to the next person than you announce loudly how boring painting has become, and you start searching -for dead rats, pirates, or whatever. Perhaps you can sit on the barrel vacuum and have someone push it. You’re riding an elephant! Wave the trunk around!

Now start a game of let’s-stuff-everything-we-can-find-into-the-filthy-vacuum-cleaner-hose! Excellent! Raid your older sister’s underwear drawer! Underwear -and whatever else you can find, -into the hose it goes! Wait for her anguished shrieks. Is there any sweeter joy than causing outrage? Of course not, scoundrel you!

Ah, outrage. It’s what scoundrels thrive on before they discover whiskey.

If you’ve got the general idea, you may wish to read some of Richmal Crompton’s William books -heartwarming tales of the escapades of a scamp named William, set at the turn of the (twentieth) century. Then there’s Bart Simpson…

In order to be a Gentleman Scoundrel, you must have the heart of a child.

Now go away and write a list of ten escapades that you should have accomplished as a two-year-old, but didn’t. Ruminate on a childhood of mischief. Pickle your mind in the possibilities for a few days. Then return and click the link below for the next step!

Boundless Magnificence Awaits! Click Hither.

https://thegentlemanscoundrel.com/be-thou-a-scoundrel/

Or thither.

https://thegentlemanscoundrel.com/a-scoundrel-at-school/

To read the splendid tales of William’s skullduggery, click here.

http://www.gutenberg.org/author/Richmal_Crompton