Tuesday, March 12, 1935

“Old Bill” Suggests—

Most jobs require that the jobholder keep himself on hand and perform, when needed, some service to the human race. Granted these two requirements, over a reasonable period, both rewards and responsibilities tend to increase. More so if the services are vital.

In the ninth century a German family (probably Saxon), descended from a middle-class butcher, began to produce first-class fighting men. Turning this ability to good rather than evil, they rapidly became neighborhood champions in the Seine valley.

One of them, Robert the Strong, was killed by the Northmen in 866. His relatives defended the Seine and Loire valleys with such vigor and success, in those days when defense was all-important, as to carve out a dukedom. In 987 Hugh Capet was elected king, at that time an empty title.

In the next 300 years there was an unbroken succession of twelve generations, descent going directly from father to son with no weaklings, no dangerous minorities, no disputed crowns. By the time they reached Louis IX (a genuinely good man and the only Christian ruler in history to hold officially, if posthumously, the title of “saint”), the Capetians were ruling by divine right.

In a shifting and uncertain world, the fellow who is guaranteed to be Johnny-on-the-spot when needed can practically name his own price.


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