Well traveled, he spoke three European languages fluently;and though his audience were frequentlyless than effusive or eager to engagehim he persisted - not for him the easy acquiescence of resorting to English and he thought them eitherchurlish of orjealous ofin their parsimoniousappreciation linguistics . He thought of himself as European, That was important .
The French had it ; cultured and erudite they were .The true democrats of Europe ; yet that vous - tu thing bothered him ; a people tempered in the baptism of the revolution ; and yet that Bonaparte fellow would make you think ;highjacks therevolution then calls himself an emperor - and started strutting around Europe worse than all the monarchs before him. liberty , fraternity my hat .. .but the language - c'est manifique .
Of course the boss man didn't appreciate his fluency and insisted that all formal letters be subjected to the systems in -house interpreters. - superfluous to requirements N.U he liked to say of them ,but the man was too bloody conservative ; too staid . Not Gallic- the boss .
The boss. Indeed .He liked to refer him to as N.U- numero uno. That satiated the mans insatiable ego and served to spare himself unnecessary subservience;and in any cas sucha suggestion would have been frankly odiousSir , would give the man notions ; monsieur would and did work but not sir . never sir .Too bloody obsequious .
He reclined back in the pew and focused once more on the sermon. The cherubic figure on the alter was obviously a drinker; blather blather .. bloody wind bags . full of their own importance .put them out in the desert in the midday heat . see how that'd quieten them .
- I am not worthy the priest was saying - Lord I am not worthy 'what was all this about not being worthy; speak for yourself you little pretender with your hideous medieval clothes ; clothes of a soldierly noblemanon this untamed peasant -poser ! look at that face - blowsy with whiskey and a weekend at home on the bog . pass the tato father Joe , have ye no manners
- but only say theword ,- the priest intoned , ; typical subservient attitude , one which reminded him of the fecklessness of his countrymen ; their indigent ways , their subversion of the higher order ,their farcical uprising and they had the effrontery to call them patriots .Patriots ! bloody fools , clowns swimming in a sea of their own gory charades .
Thank god the sermon was over. In the shuffling silence which followed there now erupted a cacophony of coughing, gasps and slurps, like missiles gushing forth from the barrel of a gun -; a clatter of raucous and rancorous crows at dusk - their restraint unbridled now in the latent respite..
The organ thumped, hissed and dronedand the strains of AlParadesium soonwafted inthe slowlistless airgathering andswirling ,unfurling thefolds of drifting incense in the listless atmosphere .
He waited . Would they make that subtle modulation the b sharp minor .- the vein , engorged like a leech swelled throbbed then subsided .
Thank God Thank God .for small mercies . Mother of Jesus could they not stop coughing; smoking the vilest addiction of the working classes.; He resolved that if he were ever in the position he would refuse them a chest x ray. ' are you a smoker madam .I thought so . Im afraid we don't aid or abet suicide in this institution; we call it a hospital madam - not the hisbullah madam ! . a hospital ! after the knights Hospitallers - the knights Templars of Jerusalem ..No I don't mind if you smoke madam., but if you'll excuse me I'd rather refrain myself .None of this finesse of the tu -vous here . No Sir .and the husband getting all stroppy -oh I amso sorry sir, so madam smokes the pipe does she , and which brand of tea does madam have a preference for..
Walking along the canal he steeled himself against the surge of rage which was consuming him and as he came into the sweep of the bank was now gently uplifted by the sight of the swans before him ; imperious and haughty in their swirling majesty -The Venice of the west they called his little town . But his soaring elation was snatched from him with a merciless rabbit punch swipe ; like a pick pocket in the fair when his keen , bloodshot unforgiving eye spotted saw the wheels of the shopping trolley jutting up with a sudden ungainliness from the lilies .
Mr. Feeney prided himself in refining the ruse of mentally transcending these demons of his daily perambulations, and he drew upon all of his reserves now to escape their snapping at his feet .He threw back his head and in a well rehearsed contrivance he invoked all the cannons of restraint and slowly he ascended and distanced himself from these mundane vexations .
There out side the newsagents was that boor O Connor.; a guttersnipe from his schooldays who never would be diverted from the conviction that he was a natural wit. And who was that with him ; who else than that ham amateur actor who worked in the anatomy room ; Andy the stiff and O Connor the comic . Oh lord deliver me .
It took Mr. Feeney all of his reserve to subdue the rage which was gathering within him like a dark and ferocious storm . He counted the steps and punctuated each with the deliberate and forced pointed tap of his umbrella on the path .He inhaled deeply in synchrony with his precise steps - in two three four, out , two, three four..
He walked over the weir bridge and leaned for some time watching the fishermen casting their flies, and the sight somehow subdued him.
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