Bruce Gaston

Published On


Page Range

pp. 57–64


  • English

Print Length

8 pages

Ministers of Grace

  • Bruce Gaston (author)
Belturbet, a man involved in party politics, is bemoaning the current state of political life to the Duke of Scaw, a debonair young man reputed to have knowledge of mystical religion. The Duke proposes replacing the current politicians with impersonators who would act more reasonably. Belturbet thinks the Duke is being facetious but is then shocked when he encounters Winston Churchill and Lord Curzon acting totally out of character. The Duke tells Belturbet he has transferred the politicians' minds into various animals; angels are now impersonating all important public figures, like in the legend of King Robert of Sicily. The next few days provide Belturbet with ample evidence of a complete reversal in public affairs. He seeks out the Duke and begs him to reverse what he has wrought, pointing to the political and economic chaos that has ensued. Later that day he discovers that the Duke has been attacked and killed by a swan (the transformed Lord Curzon, it is hinted) in St. James’ Park. With the Duke's death the magic ceases and the politicians return to their bodies.


Bruce Gaston


Bruce Gaston has taught at the English Department of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany since 2008. His current research interests focus on British and Irish literature, culture and history in the first half of the twentieth century. He blogs about Saki and related issues at