His office was displayed frankly in a long white tropical soutane that spoke of the clinic more than the altar, and the sweeping aseptic dress made sense for Hardman out of the words of Finnegans Wake: 'They do not believe in our doctrine of Real Absence, neither miracle wheat nor soul-surgery of P.P. Quemby.' Sooner or later everything in Finnegans Wake made sense: it was just a question of waiting.I never made it far into Finnegans Wake, but concede Burgess's right to have a solicitor, a sometime RAF pilot, well acquainted with it.
Just now, in reading Chapter 29, "The Golden Age of Democratic Evangelism" in Sidney E. Ahlstrom's A Religious History of the American People, I found
Phineas P. Quimby of Portland, Maine, who tried in his way to evolve a scientific view of mental healing, did not stress these affinities, but Warren F. Evans, a former Methodist minister in that city, became an ardent Swedenborgian after being healed by Quimby. Evans published his views on healing well before Mary Baker published Science and Health, and with other disciples of Quimby he founded the New Thought Movement.A question of waiting, indeed: for the fictional Hardman call it a dozen years between university and his encounter with the Father Laforgue; for me, thirty-five years between first reading The Long Day Wanes and encountering P.P. Quimby.