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Posts Tagged ‘Richter Scale of Roguishness’

 

Among the fans of P G Wodehouse, many kids happen to be rather popular. Digging deeper, one is apt to find that they are popular because of the kind of imagination, inventiveness, goofiness and roguishness they bring in to whatever they set out to accomplish. Their cunningness and resource entertains, enthuses and educates adults of all hues, sizes and shapes.

Wooster Sauce, the quarterly journal of The P G Wodehouse Society (UK), has captured a shorter and crisper version of one of the earlier blog posts on the subject by yours truly.

Rogue Kids WS Dec 2020 issue

 

(The original blog post can be accessed here.)

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Adults love obedience. But give them a simple kid who is plain subservient and they start complaining about life being rather monotonous and dull. Kids who are not naughty at all could prove to be somewhat boring. The higher the Naughtiness Quotient (NQ) of a kid, the brighter the life is. The challenge of having a high NQ kid around keeps one on one’s toes. One becomes hotter at one’s job. Outlook towards life becomes more indulgent. Capacity to handle the harsh slings and arrows of life shows a substantial improvement. Spiritual growth gets hastened up.

P G Wodehouse gave us such sterling kids as Thomas Travers, Seabury, Edwin the Scout and many others. Hanry King Ketcham gave us Dennis the Menace, based on the daily exploits of his own son.

Here is a quick look at some of the escapades of Dennis which amuse and entertain us just like…

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ashokbhatia

A saunter down the Gallery of Rogue Kids in Plumsville leaves us amazed at the innovative skills, cunning and resource of the children we come across in the works of P G Wodehouse.

Some end up boosting the sagging morale of their fathers. Some treat their step fathers with as much scorn as theyPGW PiccadillyJim can muster at a tender age. They do not spare them while out to collect protection money. Their antics could make or break matrimonial alliances in a jiffy. Souring up business deals comes easy to them. When they burn down cottages, guests are forced to seek shelter in garden sheds.

When seniors devise a Good Conduct award, they leave no stone unturned to prove their mettle. When infatuated with celebrities, they devote their lives to being worthy of their affections. When in the company of clergymen, they end up making them more spiritual, thereby making them…

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ashokbhatia

We have already discussed the antics of some of the kids we encounter in Plumsville. Barring Edwin the Boy Scout and Ogden Ford, we have failed to meet anyone who can aspire to rise to the same heights of roguishness that Master Thomas achieves.

Thos

Master Thomas is the King of the Underworld. He is also known as The Shadow. He has carroty hair and a cynical expression. His manner is curt and supercilious. Annoy him, and he could arrange for a drawing pin to greet your fleshy parts when you sit on your favourite chair.

A tip from Captain Flint

In Jeeves and the Impending Doom (Very Good, Jeeves), Thos is being tutored by Bingo Little at Woollam Chersey, Aunt Agatha’s place, where Bertie has been invited over. Unbeknown to him, the aunt aspires for a secretarial career for Bertie, assisting Mr Filmer, the Cabinet Minister.

When…

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ashokbhatia

Bingo Little Junior and Prudence Baxter earn a negative ranking on the Richter scale of Roguishness. However, there are several others who deceive us with their apparent innocence – Kid Clamentina, Oswald and Peggy Mainwaring, to name the ones we have covered in the last post.

Here are a few more who deserve to be considered.

Bonzo

Bonzo, the son of Aunt Dahlia, has a sound reputation as a pest. But if Thos sets a gold standard in devilry, Bonzo is merely a good, ordinary mischief-maker. His proud mother compares the two as follows:

‘Whenever it comes to devilry, Bonzo is a good, ordinary selling-plater. Whereas Thomas is a classic yearling.’

When Bonzo is in love, his nature gets altered. He tries to lead a finer, betterVeryGoodJeeves life. When tempted to climb on the roof and boo down Mr Anstruther’s chimney, he refuses to oblige. When prompted to burst a…

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Adults love obedience. But give them a simple kid who is plain subservient and they start complaining about life being rather monotonous and dull. Kids who are not naughty at all could prove to be somewhat boring. The higher the Naughtiness Quotient (NQ) of a kid, the brighter the life is. The challenge of having a high NQ kid around keeps one on one’s toes. One becomes hotter at one’s job. Outlook towards life becomes more indulgent. Capacity to handle the harsh slings and arrows of life shows a substantial improvement. Spiritual growth gets hastened up.

P G Wodehouse gave us such sterling kids as Thomas Travers, Seabury, Edwin the Scout and many others. Hanry King Ketcham gave us Dennis the Menace, based on the daily exploits of his own son.

Here is a quick look at some of the escapades of Dennis which amuse and entertain us just like those of Plummy kids.

Just the question Algernon Aubrey Little would have asked his parents, Bingo Little and Rosie M Banks, had they been living in our internet-infested times these days!

 

A scene of unalloyed domestic bliss, with the chivalrous husband wearing a skirt and pitching in to assist in domestic chores!

 

When hapless parents bringing up a Thos-like son yearn for some kid-free time!

 

This is what could happen if Edwin the Scout were to complain to D’Arcy Stilton Cheesewright about a friend of his!

 

The progeny of Stiffy Byng and Harold Stinker Pinker would invariably be unpopular amongst the public at large. The poor souls get to inherit the combined loopiness of both their parents.

 

A sentiment dreaded by such lion-tamers as Rev. Aubrey Upjohn, Miss Mapleton and Miss Tomlinson!

 

Refuse to cough up protection money and the prospect of treading down a hard staircase covered with soft butter would await one.

 

When he grows up a little bit, he might make some such confessions so as to be worthy of the affections of either a Greta Garbo or a Clara Bow.

 

Many of us would be inclined to be patient and give Dr. E. Jimpson Murgatroyd here a chance to check on the pink spots on Dennis’ chest!

 

The fate of a clueless Ann Banister when endeavouring to baby sit for Joey Cooley!

It is not easy to compare the brilliance of the written word with that of an illustration. Perhaps, there is no need for us to compare the two genres. We just need to sit back and bask in the pristine humour these two forms of art represent.

The fulcrum which makes the two forms of art converge is that of the Naughtiness Quotient of the kids in general. Or, their rank on the Richter Scale of Roguishness.

(Dennis the Menace cartoons courtesy the world wide web)

 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/07/05/the-gallery-of-rogue-kids-in-plumsville

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/when-masters-thos-bonzo-and-moon-rise-in-love)

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A saunter down the Gallery of Rogue Kids in Plumsville leaves us amazed at the innovative skills, cunning and resource of the children we come across in the works of P G Wodehouse.

Some end up boosting the sagging morale of their fathers. Some treat their step fathers with as much scorn as theyPGW PiccadillyJim can muster at a tender age. They do not spare them while out to collect protection money. Their antics could make or break matrimonial alliances in a jiffy. Souring up business deals comes easy to them. When they burn down cottages, guests are forced to seek shelter in garden sheds.

When seniors devise a Good Conduct award, they leave no stone unturned to prove their mettle. When infatuated with celebrities, they devote their lives to being worthy of their affections. When in the company of clergymen, they end up making them more spiritual, thereby making them hotter on their jobs.

When it comes to wreaking vengeance, they do not discriminate based on one’s wealth or social stature. A Cabinet Minister has as much chance of spending a rainy afternoon out in the open marooned on an island inhabited by an agitated swan as you and I. If we have reported their misdemeanours to an unforgiving mother like Aunt Agatha, we are bound to land in a soup sooner or later. If we have decided to kick them on their backsides, we are bound to find hedgehogs in our beds at night. Retribution is invariably swift and harsh.

When delivering mischief, kids of the gentler sex appear to be deadlier than their male counterparts. But they deploy subtler methods. When playing a prank, they are more delicate in their approach. Not so for the kids of the so-called sterner sex, whose roguish tendencies manifest in a straight forward manner, in full public view. Methods as well as outcomes of the pranks played by them happen to be rough.

Rankings on the Richter Scale of Roguishness

When it comes to ranking them on a Richter Scale of Roguishness, one has to evaluate the evidence available in somePGW MatingSeason of the narratives of P G Wodehouse. One sifts it based on three broad parameters. One, the gravity of the kind of pranks played. Two, if the pranks were of an ingenious nature, perpetrated by self-motivated souls, entirely of their own. Three, the goofiness of the methods deployed.

Based on the above, one would endeavour to grant them the following scores.

Ogden Ford

Here is someone who can manipulate his kidnappers with much aplomb, change the rules of the game at the school he joins and even tick off his step father. If there is a spoilt and unpleasant brat who is overindulged by his wealthy parents, it is Ogden, the supreme fiend in human shape.

A score of 8.2 would perhaps be the mot juste.

Thos

Master Thomas is one of the star attractions in the Gallery of Rogue Kids. He is the King of the Underworld. He is alsoVeryGoodJeeves known as The Shadow. He has carroty hair and a cynical expression. His manner is curt and supercilious. The only person who appears capable of outwitting him is Jeeves.

A score of less than 7.9 would be undervaluing his unique capabilities.

Edwin

He is the younger brother of Florence Craye. When he tries to catch up with his acts of kindness, human life is imperiled. His acts of mercy include burning down country cottages, nipping his father and others with a Scout’s stick when mistaking them for a burglar, mending egg boilers with perilous results and pasting press clippings of ‘Spindrift’ upside down.

He deserves a score of at least 7.7.

Seabury

If you do not cough up protection money when called upon to do so, things could happen to you. The fact that you JoyInTheMorninghappen to be an aspiring step father does not get you off the hook. Using butter slides to trip one up is one of the tricks he can teach us. This is how Bertie views him.

‘In my Rogues Gallery of repulsive small boys I suppose he would come about third – not quite so bad as my Aunt Agatha’s son, Young Thos, or Blumenfeld’s Junior, but well ahead of little Sebastian Moon, my Aunt Dahlia’s Bonzo, and the field.’

A score of less than 7.3 would be unjust.

Kid Blumenfeld

In the world of theatre, he is an undisputed king-maker. Besides nipping the career of aspiring artists in the bud, this dish-faced specimen is also in the habit of walking off with a guest’s pet. When he takes a fancy to McIntosh, Jeeves has to intervene so that relations between Bertie and Aunt Agatha continue to be cordial.

Here is someone who deserves to be awarded a score of at least 5.1.

Sebastian Moon

The boy with golden curls has hidden depths which deserve a further investigation. He tends to be direct and blunt. PGW ThankYouJeevesWhile in love with Clara Bow, he does not mince words when criticizing Greta Garbo. Jeeves is convinced about his proficiency in matters which might get classified as pranks in our civilized times.

A score of 4.6 would surely be in order.

Bonzo

Details about his escapades remain fuzzy but the opinion of his mother, Aunt Dahlia, does carry some weight with us.

‘Whenever it comes to devilry, Bonzo is a good, ordinary selling-plater. Whereas Thomas is a classic yearling.’

A score of 3.8 might do him justice.

Peggy Mainwaring

She is a red-haired young girl with a snub-nose and an extremely large grin. She could impart lessons on unnervingPGW Inimitable_jeeves the best of public speakers by using such techniques as giggling and staring.

A score of 3.6 would perhaps be in order.

Oswald

The brother of the formidable Honoria Glossop, Oswald happens to be one of those supercilious souls who give you the impression that you went to the wrong school and that your clothes do not quite fit.

He deserves a score of 3.3.

Kid Clementina

She teaches us the art of going AWOL when under the care of Miss Mapleton, the female lion-tamer.

A score of 2.1 would perhaps be in order.

Prudence Baxter

An innocent kid, she secures the fifth position at the local Egg and Spoon Race. However, thanks to Jeeves, she getsPGW CarryOnJeeves declared as a winner.

She deserves a negative rank on the Richter Scale of Roguishness: -1.8

Algernon Aubrey Little

Bingo Little Junior wins a bonny baby competition, giving his father the vim and courage to demand a raise from the proprietor of Wee Tots. When left in the custody of Oofy Prosser, his Godfather, the latter sees the futility of getting married in life and decides to remain a bachelor.

He scores -2.2.

The hapless parents of all the kids who score higher than 5 on the Richter Scale of Roguishness obviously have our full sympathies.

Notes:
1. This list does not purport to be exhaustive in nature. Nor does it claim to be highly objective. In case of a demur of any kind, a consultation with Reginald Jeeves would provide better satisfaction.
2. This summary has been compiled for the benefit of those in a tearing hurry. For a leisurely review, the reader is hereby exhorted to either refer to the original narratives of the Master, or to look up the detailed blog posts listed herein.

Sourced from:
-The Little Nugget
-Piccadilly Jim
-The Mating Season
-Very Good, Jeeves
-Joy in the Morning
-Thank you, Jeeves
-The Inimitable Jeeves
-Carry On, Jeeves
-Eggs, Beans and Crumpets

An Update:

A shorter and crisper version of this blog post also appears in Wooster Sauce, the quarterly journal of the P G Wodehouse Society (UK) in its issue number 96 of December 2020. 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/some-plumsville-kids-and-the-richter-scale-of-roguishness-part-1-of-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/some-plumsville-kids-and-the-richter-scale-of-roguishness-part-2-of-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/some-plumsville-kids-and-the-richter-scale-of-roguishness-part-3-of-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/when-masters-thos-bonzo-and-moon-rise-in-love)

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