Sunday, February 13, 2011

Letter From A Dejobbed, Bewifed And Much Childrenised Gentleman


National Archives can be stuffy places, full of the official confetti of diplomatic relationships or the dusty detritus of long-forgotten official reports. But not always. Occasionally an archivist will spot an object of timeless beauty and will help to preserve it for the enjoyment of generations still to come. Such is the case with the following letter which has just been published as part of the UK National Archives contribution to the magnificent Flickr Commons Initiative. It is a letter from a certain Asuquo Okon Inyang, who, it would seem, had been employed by the British Embassy in Calabar, Nigeria before being dismissed in February 1929. No further comment is necessary other than to reproduce the full text of the letter which is as follows:

Calabar, February 2nd 1929.
Kind Sir, 
On opening this epistle you will behold the work of a dejobbed person, and a very bewifed and much childrenised gentleman.
Who was violently dejobbed in a twinkling by your goodself. For Heavens sake Sir consider this catastrophe as falling on your own head, and remind yourself as walking home at the moon's end of five savage wives and sixteen veracious children with your pocket filled with non-existent £ s d; not a solitudery sixpence; pity my horrible state when being dejobbed and proceeding with a heart and intestines filled with misery to this den of doom; myself did greedily contemplate culpable homicide, but Him who did protect Daniel (poet) safely through the lion's dens will protect his servant in his home of evil.
As to reason given by yourself (goodself) esquire for my dejobbment the incrimination was laziness.
No Sir. It were impossible that myself who has pitched sixteen infant children into this valley of tears, can have a lazy atom in his mortal frame, and the sudden departure of eleven pounds monthly has left me on the verge of the abyss of destitution and despair. I hope this vision of horror will enrich your dreams this night, and good Angel will meet and pulverise your heart of nether milestone so that you will awaken, and with such alacrity as may be compatable with your personal safety, you will hasten to rejobulate your servant.
So mote it be - Amen
Yours despairfully
Sgd. Asuquo Okon Inyang

How I wish that I had written such a letter. All that can be said is that if Mr Inyang didn't get his job back the British Empire didn't know what it was missing and was a duller place because of it.

Speaking as a very bewifed person I need to announce that the same wife has the week off next week and therefore I will be going on an extended shopping trip and will not be able to post as much as usual, although I will try to take a photograph or two between Department Stores and add them to my Picture Post Blog. Yours despairfully, AB

25 comments:

  1. You are meaning you will be being deblogified next week?

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  2. So, even without five savage wives and sixteen veracious children, your pockets will be filled with non-existent £ s d, after the shopping trip?

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  3. Deblogified and decashified.

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  4. ha, hope you survive destitution next week...smiles. neat the way this one talks...quite the flourish for the words...

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  5. That is a classic! Good find, Alan.

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  6. Dejobbed, bewifed and childrenised. This is priceless. Uh-oh...I feel a poem coming on...

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  7. must learn to be more patient! I enlarged and deciphered the whole letter before reading on to discover you had so kindly transcribed it for us! I do hope he got his job back! What afind!

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  8. Dear Alan, your followup was priceless. As soon as I saw the title in my blog feed dashboard I knew it was a post from you, even before seeing who it posted. LOL.

    WEll, somehow, sadly, I doubt anyone who ever read that letter lost on wink of sleep from it. 16 children? Yes, that would about do anyone in, that alone.

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  9. I should add, that would be the same whether said 16 children were well fed and happy or voracious as the case may be.

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  10. Alan, this is brilliant. May I post this with full attribution, of course, to your marvelous blog? I'll check back for your reply.

    By the way, I once paid a lot of money to get "dewifed".

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  11. Cletis : With pleasure - be my guest.

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  12. Priceless! great find :)

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  13. As someone who does archival work, I can say this is certainly less dry than what I end up reading...

    ~a dejobbed, unbespoused and perhaps fortunately, unchildrenised, librarian

    PS: enjoy your time away from blogland...

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  14. This is the best thing I've read in a long time. Oh my.

    "rejobulate" was my favorite. Poor man...I hope he became an author...he certainly had a talent for writing!

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  15. He could have started a blog called My Five Wives! :)

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  16. I have to wonder if he was really trying to be eye-catchingly amusing, or if he was one of those people who mangles the language while trying to sound "educated."

    "Solitudery," "rejobulate," "despairfully"... Such uniquish, unpriceably eloquentine verbiousity!

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  17. as, in a week time, she will be rejobulated, this week will seem only a dream, or a nightmare...
    $$$
    HUGZ

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  18. Poor thing, I mean the letter writer, not you . .enjoy the week ahead.

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  19. looooool. HIlarious!

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  20. This glorious agony letter reminds me of a missive I received from a professed Nigerian gentleman last week begging me to understand his monetary predicament!

    Please come home wifed, childed and re-blogified.

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  21. Delightful for sure.

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  22. A such hard times. But he did have a typewriter. Enjoy emptifying the wallet.

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  23. This is, indeed, priceless. I love that he identified Daniel as a poet. Ah yes, this "valley of tears." I'm so glad I visited your blog today. Interesting stuff. Hope your shopping trip is going well....

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  24. Brilliant! Dickens could not have written better.

    Kat

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  25. Oh Alan, so funny. I have sent a link to a couple of young people I know who have suffered recent dejobbment and would love to be rejobulated. I hope it might at least give them something to smile about.

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