The Shadow Boy, Prologue: The Letter

The letter

Esteemed Master, and Secretary for the Board,

Having received your reply regarding my son's matriculation, I must confess to finding myself disappointed, if not entirely surprised. It is the common belief in this land, that issues ought to proceed in accordance to the rule of law, which everyone, citizen or alien, is equally subject to. I feel particularly strongly about this matter, all the more when such a conceit, and what modicum of it is put in practice here, is entirely absent from my own, thus my relocation.

I grant schools the right to choose or reject students as they see fit, but the reasons aduced in order to reject my son appear to be entirely spurious. I shall not bother addressing what seems to be such a vexing question here, that of colour or race, a mar in the national genius of an otherwise tolerant and liberal nation. It need only be said that my son shall not be the first or the last applicant who does not conform to the physiognomy which hitherto has been expected in your institution, and the very logic of your empire makes it but a certainty that a much higher degree of mixing than has so far obtained will take place in the future, unless you plan to exclude the likes of us through means which are arbitrary, abhorrent to your own customs and sensibilities, and demeaning to those who practice them as well as those whom they are used against.

In matters of religion, it is the impression you provide through your prospectus that you are an entirely secular institue, detached from any particular bond to any creed or religious affiliation. If I have, perchance, misapprehended the situation, I pray your indulgence and would, of course, be pleased to be directed to a more suitable institution, free from religious entanglements. If, however, I have understood matters aright, it appears less than coherent for you to deny entry to my son, while you allow it to those of several different sects and views, all too often at one another's throats, and indeed to those students who fail to profess any particular religion whatsoever.

I have sought, and obtained, all necessary exemptions from ordinary dietary requirements in accordance to our own laws and customs, and will not try to compel your school to introduce any changes in its victuels, or interfere in any other of its intendence arrangements whatsoever.

Arguments regarding my son's likely ignorance of the language, history and literature of the land should be disposed on two grounds, each one of them sufficient unto itself: the first being, that I have with my application furnished adequate certifications in the form of letters of reference by my son's tutors attesting to his knowledge being typical for a student of his age and class; and the second, that entry to such an institution of learning has the acquisition of knowledge for its object, not its prerequisite. Should the board harbour any doubts on my son's current level and his capacity to progress at an acceptable pace, I believe a personal interview rather than a rejection letter to constitute the customary procedure to clarify them.

In sum, I find that my son's exclusion is lacking in valid grounds, and I am prepared to contest it to the last instance available to someone of not inconsiderable means, whether through the offices of the legal profession in the courts of law which regulate educational establishments, or in a more public venue by the use of what little persuasive power and popular sympathy I may avail myself through the press, which freedom, much priced in your country, has significantly figured in my decision to permanently settle here, not without certain unwelcome hurdles.

Awaiting a review and favourable disposition of my son's case, and without further particulars,
I am and remain, as always,
your most faithful and obedient servant,


Spurius corrected to spurious and awating to awaiting thanks to @sukiletxe.