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The Job
An American Novel

written by "Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951"
... the disturber would catechize the library-woman about Louisa M. Alcott, or the failure about his desultory inquiries into Christian Science, or Mrs. Gray about the pictures plastering the dining-room—a dozen spiritual revelations of apples and oranges, which she had bought at a department-store sale. The maverick’s name was Fillmore J. Benson. Strangers called him Benny, but his more intimate acquaintances, those to whom he had talked for at least an hour, were requested to call him Phil. He made a number of[144] pretty puns about his first name. He was, surprisingly, a doctor—not the sort that studies science, but the sort that studies the gullibility of human nature—a “Doctor of Manipulative Osteology.” He had earned a diploma by a correspondence course, and had scrabbled together a small practice among retired shopkeepers. He was one of the strange, impudent race of fakers who prey upon the clever city. He didn’t expect any one at the Grays’ to call him a “doctor.” He drank whisky and gambled for pennies, was immoral in his relations with women and as thick-skinned as he was blatant. He had been a newsboy, a contractor’s clerk, and climbed up by the application of his wits. He read enormously—newspapers, cheap magazines, medical books; he had an opinion about everything, and usually worsted every one at the Grays’ in arguments. And he did his patients good by giving them sympathy and massage. He would have been an excellent citizen had the city not preferred to train him, as a child in its reeling streets, to a sharp unscrupulousness. Una was at first disgusted by Phil Benson, then perplexed. He would address her in stately Shakespearean phrases which, as a boy, he had heard from the gallery of the Academy of Music. He would quote poetry at her. She was impressed when he almost silenced the library-woman, in an argument as to whether Longfellow or Whit...

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