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191-20120614-various display stands



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It was on this latter basis that he secured prize, in the person of the Reverend George Bland, ex-revivalist, ex-author of pious stories for the young, skilled dealer in truisms, in wordy platitudes couched largely in plagiarized language from the poets and essayists, in all the pseudo-religious slickeries wherewith men's souls are so easily lulled into self-satisfaction. The Good, the True, the Beautiful; these were his texts, but the real god of his worship was Success. This, under the guise of Duty (man's God-inspired ambition to be true to his best possibilities), he preached day in and day out through his Daily Help in The Patriot: Be guided by me and you will be good: Be good and you will be prosperous: Be prosperous and you will be happy. On an adjoining page there were other and far more specific instructions as to how to be prosperous and happy, by backing Speedfoot at 10 to 1 in the first race, or Flashaway at 5 to 2 in the third. Sometimes the Reverend Bland inveighed convincingly against the evils of betting. Yet cynic might guess that the tipsters' recipes for being prosperous and happy (and therefore, by logical inversion, good) were perhaps as well based and practical as the reverend moralist's. His correspondence, surest indication of editorial following, grew to be almost as large as Banneker's. Severance nicknamed him the Oracle of Boobs, and for short he became known as the Booblewarbler, for there were times when he burst into verse, strongly reminiscent of the older hymnals. This he resented hotly and genuinely, for he was quite sincere; as sincere as Sheffer, in his belief in himself. But he despised Sheffer and feared Severance, not for what the latter represented, but for the cynical honesty of his attitude. In retort for Severance's stab, he dubbed the pair Mephistopheles and Falstaff, which was above his usual felicitousness of characterization. Sheffer (who read Shakespeare to improve his mind, and for ideas!) was rather flattered.

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