No longer did the Outlaws’ parents view their offspring with resigned disgust and tell themselves and each other that boys would be boys, for Georgie Murdoch’s whole existence proved conclusively that boys needn’t be boys.
Day after day the Outlaws heard the never-ceasing refrain, “Georgie Murdoch doesn’t behave like that.”
- Number: 7.3
- Published: 1927 (same year in magazine form, originally titled The Perfect Little Gentleman)
- Book: William the Outlaw
- Synopsis: William needs to take an odious local child down a peg or two.
Richmal Crompton imputes to Georgie Murdoch so many soul-destroyingly odious quotes that it is difficult to select which ones to reproduce here. As Henry remarks, he just got “sickniner an’ sickniner”.
Slightly younger than the Outlaws, he makes it his business to call on their parents: “Please, Mrs Brown, I’m so sorry to disturb you but I think I ought to tell you that William is paddling in the stream after you told him not to.”
Whenever an adult is within earshot, he would call out, “Oh, you naughty boy! What will your mother say?”
And, worst of all, he refuses to join in any of the Outlaws’ standard games, or even their sub-standard, namby-pamby ones: “Hide and Seek generally ends in getting so rough.”
“Fancy you not knowin’ about King John’s servants bein’ called Dam an’ Blarst!” said William.
Inevitably, as with Cuthbert in The Rivals, 2.6, and perhaps all of the insufferably virtuous children who William encounters, Georgie wears a white suit: in fact, “the sight of Georgie’s trim little figure in its spotless white sailor suit threw William into a state of despair that was almost homicidal in its intensity”.
Douglas probably got it right when he remarked, “I think Joseph must have been a bit like Georgie. I s’pose we couldn’t take him right away somewhere and leave him in a pit same as what they did – an’ take his coat home an’ say a wild animal ate him?”
Fortunately, Georgie has a cousin who despises him almost as much as the Outlaws, and the cousin (a distinguished playwright) agrees to put on an acting competition, on condition that the Outlaws use the opportunity to humiliate Georgie.
And so they do.