Chronicles of Clovis HTML version

"Ministers Of Grace"
Although he was scarcely yet out of his teens, the Duke of Scaw was already marked out
as a personality widely differing from others of his caste and period. Not in externals;
therein he conformed correctly to type. His hair was faintly reminiscent of Houbigant,
and at the other end of him his shoes exhaled the right SOUPÇON of harness-room; his
socks compelled one's attention without losing one's respect; and his attitude in repose
had just that suggestion of Whistler's mother, so becoming in the really young. It was
within that the trouble lay, if trouble it could be accounted, which marked him apart from
his fellows. The Duke was religious. Not in any of the ordinary senses of the word; he
took small heed of High Church or Evangelical standpoints, he stood outside of all the
movements and missions and cults and crusades of the day, uncaring and uninterested.
Yet in a mystical- practical way of his own, which had served him unscathed and
unshaken through the fickle years of boyhood, he was intensely and intensively religious.
His family were naturally, though unobtrusively, distressed about it. "I am so afraid it
may affect his bridge," said his mother.
The Duke sat in a pennyworth of chair in St. James's Park, listening to the pessimisms of
Belturbet, who reviewed the existing political situation from the gloomiest of standpoints.
"Where I think you political spade-workers are so silly," said the Duke, "is in the
misdirection of your efforts. You spend thousands of pounds of money, and Heaven
knows how much dynamic force of brain power and personal energy, in trying to elect or
displace this or that man, whereas you could gain your ends so much more simply by
making use of the men as you find them. If they don't suit your purpose as they are,
transform them into something more satisfactory."
"Do you refer to hypnotic suggestion?" asked Belturbet, with the air of one who is being
trifled with.
"Nothing of the sort. Do you understand what I mean by the verb to koepenick? That is to
say, to replace an authority by a spurious imitation that would carry just as much weight
for the moment as the displaced original; the advantage, of course, being that the
koepenick replica would do what you wanted, whereas the original does what seems best
in its own eyes."
"I suppose every public man has a double, if not two or three," said Belturbet; "but it
would be a pretty hard task to koepenick a whole bunch of them and keep the originals
out of the way."
"There have been instances in European history of highly successful koepenickery," said
the Duke dreamily.