A Favour

Act One "A wretched land, Sir! The country of ill-granted favours!" was telling me at the height of our discussion, Mr Ibrişim an elector to the first collegium, bitterly criticizing our various administrations. Only now and then interrupting himself in order to drain a mug of beer, Mr Ibrişim went on to say: "Are you blind not to see that there are favours on top of favours granted wrongly all over the place? In the administration they refuse to employ quite a number of fine, educated boys, Sir, boasting good diplomas, and on the other hand they offer safe berths to all sorts of street arabs and lick-spittles who've got high-born protection - from some senator or an influential elector! Ant then, how could you expect the administration to work properly? Now really answer me? Well, look at me for I can tell you I have seen healthy, able-bodied youngsters who grew old escaping military service through one postponement after another. And why? Simply because this is the way it works when you've got props, you escape even the police. A wretched country and no sign of improvement either. Even in schools, where tomorrow's generations are moulded, how do you think marks are given? According to one's deserts? For favours, Sir, favours, just that. It is quite enough for a minister or some influential politician to sand in a note and the teacher will surely exchange a bad mark for a good one or pull the worst pupil from one form into the next. Now tell me please, where shall we reach with this have trusted miserable system? Well, well! You see, I have trusted your party, since it came in office; I believe you will embark on a straight, just road and regulate this country's affairs a bit. But you mustn't yield, you must cut to the quick and stop your ears!"That's how Ibrişim spoke to me last night until eleven, when he very nearly missed the last tram from the centre to the suburbs. Then, cutting short his speechifying, he jumped on the tram and shouted: "Good bye! And mind you do as I told you, if you're straight-backed men and not cowflops!" Act Two At ten o'clock this morning Mr Ibrişim called at my house:"Uncle, I've come to you so early in the day and so unexpectedly to ask you to do me a good turn, but please swear you will comply with my request.""All right, but first tell me what it is." "No, you must swear first. May you see me dead if you don't!""Listen man, I must know what you ask me to do!" "All right, then listen: I'm in great trouble: my nephew is an exceptionally diligent pupil, but his wretched teachers, Sir, of history, mathematics, Greek and Romanian have plotted against him and given him the mark three. Have you heard of such a horrible mark? For such an eminent pupil!""Well, and what can I do for you?""Everything! Everything! You hobnob with minister Maiorescu; you must immediately arrange for him to write a note to Secretary general Olănescu and the latter will sure issue orders for the marks to be changed. Otherwise, the poor boy will have to repeat the class, Sir!""My Ibrişim, what you ask for is impossible. How could a minister-""Why couldn't he, Sir? What can't he do? Absolutely everything is possible if man is willing. Better tell me you don't want to put in this wangler for me! Well, well, well! You see, that's why your party makes no headway, because you don't know how to support your friends. You will be left just like that... Alone in the world. That's no way to maintain a party in office!" The Morality : I myself would like to find one!

by D. R. Rosetti-Max (1850-1934)