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No Sinecure
I am still uncertain which surprised me more, the telegram calling my attention to
the advertisement, or the advertisement itself. The telegram is before me as I
write. It would appear to have been handed in at Vere Street at eight o'clock in
the morning of May 11, 1897, and received before half-past at Holloway B.O.
And in that drab region it duly found me, unwashen but at work before the day
grew hot and my attic insupportable.
"See Mr. Maturin's advertisement Daily Mail might suit you earnestly beg try will
speak if necessary ---- ----"
I transcribe the thing as I see it before me, all in one breath that took away mine;
but I leave out the initials at the end, which completed the surprise. They stood
very obviously for the knighted specialist whose consulting-room is within a cab-
whistle of Vere Street, and who once called me kinsman for his sins. More
recently he had called me other names. I was a disgrace, qualified by an
adjective which seemed to me another. I had made my bed, and I could go and
lie and die in it. If I ever again had the insolence to show my nose in that house, I
should go out quicker than I came in. All this, and more, my least distant relative
could tell a poor devil to his face; could ring for his man, and give him his brutal
instructions on the spot; and then relent to the tune of this telegram! I have no
phrase for my amazement. I literally could not believe my eyes. Yet their
evidence was more and more conclusive: a very epistle could not have been
more characteristic of its sender. Meanly elliptical, ludicrously precise, saving
half-pence at the expense of sense, yet paying like a man for "Mr." Maturin, that
was my distinguished relative from his bald patch to his corns. Nor was all the
rest unlike him, upon second thoughts. He had a reputation for charity; he was