'It is competent,' said Mr Barnacle, 'to any member of the-- Public,' mentioning that obscure body with reluctance, as his natural enemy, 'to memorialise the Circumlocution Department. Such formalities as are required to be observed in so doing, may be known on application to the proper branch of that Department.'
'I must refer you,' returned Mr Barnacle, ringing the bell, 'to the Department itself for a formal answer to that inquiry.'
'The Department is accessible to the--Public,' Mr Barnacle was always checked a little by that word of impertinent signification,
You had better try the Secretarial Department,' he said at last, sidling to the bell and ringing it.
Then you'll find out what Department the contract was in, and then you'll find out all about it there.'
Then you'll memorialise that Department (according to regular forms which you'll find out) for leave to memorialise this Department.
This touch and go young Barnacle had 'got up' the Department in a private secretaryship, that he might be ready for any little bit of fat that came to hand; and he fully understood the Department to be a politico-diplomatic hocus pocus piece of machinery for the assistance of the nobs in keeping off the snobs.
'When the business is regularly before that Department, whatever it is,' pursued this bright young Barnacle, 'then you can watch it from time to time through that Department.
Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving--HOW NOT TO DO IT.
Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it invariably seized it, and through the genius with which it always acted on it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the public departments; and the public condition had risen to be--what it was.
It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office.
He had gained his spurs in that sphere, and naturally enough had kept for it, after his promotion to another department, a feeling not very far removed from affection.
The problem immediately before the Chief Inspector was that of managing the Assistant Commissioner of his department, his immediate superior.
He knew that a department is at the mercy of its subordinate officers, who have their own conceptions of loyalty.
He did not even look round when he heard the mutter of the word "Providential" from the principal subordinate of his department, whose name, printed sometimes in the papers, was familiar to the great public as that of one of its zealous and hard-working protectors.