Monday, July 11, 2011

Murphy: The Early Years (Part VII)

            Murphy’s period in the orphanage  antedated these dark days of political correctness, by many years.  Hence it was comparatively uncontroversial, to invite to that institution, a man of the Christian cloth,  without inviting, for equal time, likewise a rabbi, and an imam -- nor a Buddhist, nor a Hindu, nor a Zoroastrian, nor a Wiccan, nor a devil-worshipper (of the latter sect, City Hall already was well-staffed).  Yet we must confess, that the results were not  in every instance  happy…

            The municipal authorities arranged for a Protestant divine -- the choice seemed least controversial -- to drop by and give a little lecture to the boys.
            The man that was sent, by rights should have exceeded expectations.  No mere hedge-preacher, nor street-corner hawker of Bible bits:  he was an ordained minister, with an advanced degree from a respected seminary, of Calvinist inclinations, where he had imbibed and absorbed  the hard high truths  of Predestinarianism;  who regularly held forth, of a Sunday, from the high carved pulpit of a splendid church, to the unanimous and murmured approbation, of bevies of successful businessmen, and their well-dressed wives.
            He curtly nodded acknowledgement to the servants who admitted him, and was reverently ushered to the main hall;  where the boys waited, respectfully, anticipating they knew not what -- such a visit was unprecedented.
            The man approached the lectern;  adjusted the microphone;  tapped his notes into alignment  with a gesture that, many years later, Murphy would recall with rueful irony, as he slowly tapped his Camel-pack;  cleared his throat emphatically, re-set his spectacles… and gazed around the room.
            And… continued to gaze, but…
            “I am sorry,” he said, hastily turning to the now whispering employees, and packing up his notes in confusion.  “I have nothing to say here.  These boys are all damned.”

No comments: