THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 25: A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION
I was impatient to see what this was; and to show, too, how much
more admirable was the one which I should display to the Examining
Board. I intimated this, gently, to the king, and it fired his
curiosity. When the Board was assembled, I followed him in; and
behind us came the candidates. One of these candidates was a bright
young West Pointer of mine, and with him were a couple of my
West Point professors.
When I saw the Board, I did not know whether to cry or to laugh.
The head of it was the officer known to later centuries as Norroy
King-at-Arms! The two other members were chiefs of bureaus in
his department; and all three were priests, of course; all officials
who had to know how to read and write were priests.
My candidate was called first, out of courtesy to me, and the head
of the Board opened on him with official solemnity:
"Webster--Webster. H'm--I--my memory faileth to recall the
"Weaver!--God keep us!"
The king was staggered, from his summit to his foundations; one
clerk fainted, and the others came near it. The chairman pulled
himself together, and said indignantly:
"It is sufficient. Get you hence."