"My first requirement," Mitwisser said, "is your freedom to leave this place."
"I can do that," I said. "I'd like to."
"It is what I would like that is at issue. And what I would like is a certain engagement withI will not say ideas. But you must be able to understand what I ask of you."
"I've done most of a year of college."
"Less than Gymnasium. What is this nonsense you write here about a nanny? How is this responsive?"
"Well, your ad mentioned children, so I thought"
"You thought mistakenly. You should know that my work has to do precisely with opposition to the arrogance of received interpretation. Received interpretation is often enough simply error. Why should I not speak everywhere of my children? There is no context or relation in which they do not have a part. That is why your obligations will on occasion include thembut your primary duty is to me. And you will try not to disturb my poor wife."
It seemed, then, that I was hiredthough I still did not know for what.
And it was not until a long time afterward that Anneliese confided that there had been (even in that period of crisis unemployment) no other applicants.
This is the complete text of chapter 1, pages 1-5 of Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick. Copyright 2004 by Cynthia Ozick. All rights reserved.
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