“You knocked him down!” said William severely. “You came right over this side of the road.”
Clarence took out his handkerchief and mopped his brow. “I… er… I remember swerving a little. But I felt nothing. I’m sure I didn’t go over him.”
“No,” said William rather regretfully, for it would be impossible even to pretend that any motorcycle had passed over the solid and obviously intact form of Ginger. “You didn’t go over him, but you… you swerved right on to him an’ gave him a t’riffic blow on his head. He’s got… he’s got,” the word came with a flash of inspiration, “’cussion. That’s what he’s got. He’s got ’cussion.”
- Number: 9.5
- Published: 1928 (1927 in magazine form)
- Book: William the Good
- Synopsis: William and Ginger need to teach an errant adult a lesson.
Miss Holding, a young woman much admired by William, was supremely bored with the attentions of her houseguest Clarence Bergson.
But it wasn’t until he perpetrated the supreme sins of kicking Jumble and handing Douglas and Henry over to a wrathful Farmer Jenks that William decided enough was enough, and vengeance must follow.
“They say he’s gotter have a lot of nourishment an’ his mother’s not got any food in the house ’cause of them bein’ very poor – ever so poor. So if you could let me have a few cakes an’ things for him I’d take them to his house for him. The doctor says he can have rich things – he’d like some of those cakes with cream on.
“You’ve gotter eat with ’cussion. It’s the only thing to do to save your life – to go on eatin’ an’ eatin’. Can I have that bag of biscuits for him?”
His plan was to stage a road traffic accident, in which Ginger would be victim, and blackmail Clarence into providing vast quantities of (edible) restitution, before ruining his afternoon with Miss Holding and leaving him to believe himself to be on the run from the law.
An amusing setup but I actually find this one slightly discomforting. Clarence Bergson is very genuinely terrified of what he believes himself to have done, and admittedly he is (odiously) more concerned with escaping detection than the moral consequences, but it does seem a particularly cruel trick to play on anyone – even if they did kick Jumble, and even if they are a crashing bore…