Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Murphy: The Early Years (Part VIII)

Somewhat embarrassed -- for, even though the taxpayers were not out a penny, the church having waived its usual fee, still the effect on the wards had not been all that might be wished -- the orphanage called in a substitute: this time a man from that soft and molded body, that the Anglican persuasion has taken on our shores.
“Well well well!” he said, pleasing his plump pink lips, as the shivering wastrels huddled beneath his gaze. “What a fine collection of young gentlemen we do have here!” He beamed, pleased; expecting their reflected pleasure; but met only bewilderment. -- In somewhat sharper humor, he went on. “I have -- very good news, for you all here. Your future is -- quite bright.” (Bewilderment among the boys.) “We are all finally emerging from very hard times -- a terrible great Depression, that has left many of your fathers -- well, many of your betters -- seriously on the downside in their brokerage accounts. And some people are actually…. “ (his lips pursed a bit, as he pronounced the unpleasant vocable) “…unemployed. And on the dole; which the better people pay for. -- But that… need not be your lot.”
The boys supposed this must be good news; but were not sure. They were unfamiliar with the concept of “joblessness” -- never themselves having held a paid job.
“Good news!” he proclaimed, regaining his joviality. “Good, very good news indeed. The nation is reviving. Like flowers in the spring, investors are once again raising their hopeful heads. The wheels of commerce are spinning once again -- banking, insurance, financial instruments of every variety and kind. We see evidence of this in our own congregation, on every side. Why -- to venture no further than the sales of yachts…. Mmm, in any event: There is a very great need, boys, a great need indeed, spreading throughout the land. A need that you -- and only you -- can well fulfill. The servant problem is -- “ Here he frowned, and seemed to recede into private, incommunicable reflections. “… frightful; simply frightful. -- But our trial and tribulation, is your benefit and boon! Be it doorman -- footman -- bootblack -- butler … why… the possibilities are endless! -- Indeed,” leaning confidentially forward, “some of my… Predestinarian friends….” (a private joke, beyond the ken of present company) “some of them might even spy in one or the other of you --“ -- and here indeed, he suddenly looked around, as though calculating -- “one destined or predestined for such higher office as chef, or major-domo, or concierge in one of the better hotels…”

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