The Verger

Dave Killion — December 26, 2012

“The Verger” (by W. Somerset Maugham) is not a Christmas tale, but for some reason I think of it every holiday season. It’s a great story, and I think libertarians will find it particularly appealing, thanks both to its attack against the prevailing wisdom and its illustration of the entrepreneurial process. Here’s an excerpt, but the whole thing can be read in less than ten minutes –

“But a most extraordinary circumstance came to my knowledge the other day and I felt it my duty to impart it to the churchwardens. I discovered to my astonishment that you could neither read nor write.”

The verger’s face betrayed no sign of embarrassment.

“The last vicar knew that, sir,” he replied. “He said it didn’t make no difference. He always said there was a great deal too much education in the world for ‘is taste.”

“It’s the most amazing thing I ever heard,” cried the general. “Do you mean to say that you’ve been verger of this church for sixteen years and never learned to read or write?”

“I went into service when I was twelve sir. The cook in the first place tried to teach me once, but I didn’t seem to ‘ave the knack for it, and then what with one thing and another I never seemed to ‘ave the time. I’ve never really found the want of it. I think a lot of these young fellows waste a rare lot of time readin’ when they might be doin’ something useful.”

Whole thing here.

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