A Blessed EventCommentary • pregnancy • ISSUE 35•45 • Dec 8, 1999 By T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911) I have just received a telegram from my mistress and sweet-heart, Miss Bernadette Fiske, that says she has given birth to a bouncing baby boy of my own siring, and that I should please send more money. I am a papa once again! Huzzah! I realize that this joyous news may confuse regular readers of the Message, since I under-took my romantic friendship with Miss Fiske just two months ago and we have never actually mingled our procreative appendages or even laid eyes on one another. But through-out my long existence, I have learned that life often takes unexpected twists and turns, and who am I to question it? As soon as I received the happy tidings, I put the servants to work decorating the old nursery where my other sons were raised. Of course, it had not been employed for that purpose for the better part of a century, having long ago been converted into a charnel-house for the shriveled corpses of my enemies. But in my moment of paternal joy, a most unusual thing happened that threatened to mar the other-wise gay proceedings. My man-servant Standish, whom I had charged to over-see the nursery's preparation, broke from his duties and burst into my bed chamber. "Sir," he sputtered, "please excuse my impertinence, but as your loyal servant, I can no longer restrain my sentiments. I greatly fear that for some time you have been the victim of a confidence-trickster. I submit that not only is Miss Fiske lying about the existence of an infant of your parentage, but it is very likely that there is no Miss Fiske at all, and that an anonymous rogue has bereft you of a small fortune. In the name of God, sir, I implore you to sever all ties with this beastly scoundrel immediately and end your unwitting participation in this cruel and tragic charade." For a while, I sat stunned. Then I decided Standish was just jealous of my virility. That, and he probably also harbored a lingering resentment about the fact that I sold his only son into indentured servitude aboard a merchant marine sloop. Although rather peeved by Standish's audacity, I decided to show mercy and commanded him to return to decorating the nursery. I wish to conclude by assuring my readers that I fully intend to wed Miss Fiske and rescue my son from bastardry. The boy will find a silver spoon eternally shoved down his throat. Perhaps I have become softer in my dotage, but I am determined that my child won't have to suffer the hard-ships I experienced during my hardscrabble pioneer boyhood. I think I will name him N. Aeschylus.