A Confederacy of Dunces: extracts (47)

She described to Ignatius the courage of Patrolman Mancuso, who against heavy odds, was fighting to retain his job, who wanted to work, who was making the best of his torture and exile in the bathroom at the bus station. Patrolman Mancuso’s situation reminded Ignatius of the situation of Boethius, when he was imprisoned by the emperor before being killed. To pacify his mother and to improve conditions at home, he had given her The Consolation of Philosophy, an English translation of the work that Boethius had written while unjustly imprisoned and had told her to give it to Patrolman Mancuso so that he might peruse it while seated in his booth. “The book teaches us to accept that which we cannot change. It describes the plight of a just man in an unjust society. It is the very basis for medieval thought. No doubt it will aid your patrolman during his moments of crisis,” Ignatius had said benevolently.