Long-time readers of my column know that I am a vengeful and jealous man gifted with a fear-some wrath. I did not become the great news-paper-man I am today by being soft! Of those miscreants who crossed me, opposed me or served me tepid mutton-broth, none remain; their homes have been washed away by boiling rivers of blood, and the earth where once they walked has been sown with salt.
Yet I now have cause to bury the hatchet, for the world has borne witness to the blessed birth of my son. And though I have not yet decided whether he shall be known as N. Aeschylus, Q. Laertes or, as his mother would have it, Gary, my heart swells in my breast. I may be the fore-most publisher in all the Civilized World, but even I cannot hold a grudge at Christ-mas-time when another of my heirs is newly-spawned!
To that end, I have decided to grant absolution to certain of my enemies. (But not all of them, God-damn it! I still plan to one day sport a gilded truss wrought from the innards of Mr. Tin, my treasonous automaton-servant!) Here goes:
Stella M. Harbaugh, a woman, is hereby forgiven.
I forgive my former table-boy Joseph for his otherwise unpardonable crimes of Irish heritage and Papist faith, as well as for spilling a hot toddy on me during the fabled Winter of '07. I hereby renounce my stated intention to slaughter all of his male offspring unto the third generation.
Though I am probably not much loved there, I shall curb my ire and allow the godforsaken alkali desert of California to become a state.
The Dauphin is forgiven.
Any member of the Flemish race under the age of 12 or over the age of 60 is safe from Hessian mercenaries in my employ.
I shall rescind my practice of purchasing "Black Indulgences" from twisted Anglican vicars, thereby permitting the soul of P. Oliver Gummidge, deceased publisher of The Brickton Atlas-Trumpet, to ascend to Purgatory.
Many of my readers are forgiven and will be notified by the absence of a sulphurous blasting-powder in their Christ-mas supplements.
Posonby H. Balfour, my former homo-sexual lover, is forgiven.
Ah, my heart grows light despite its thick coating of marbled yellow fat! Forgiveness is a benison to the soul. However, if my son turns out to be sickly or does not sufficiently resemble me, all bets are off.