I REMAIN, SIR, YOUR MOST HUMBLE AND OBEDIENT SERVANT

When you are a servant and you are subconsiously unaware that you are so you are constantly rude to your master, the tax payer who pays your salary, while you delude yourself about who your master is.

kalungikabuye

Growing up, and learning how to write properly in English, I was always fascinated by the way civil servants, and generally Government officials, used to sign off letters they had written. A typical one was the phrase, ‘I remain, sir, your most humble and obedient servant’.

Those days, government officials were generally seen as very important people, so for them to sign off that way always amused me. What did they really mean? Were they just making fun of the person they were writing to, when at times it was to castigate or complain about something the addressee had done?

For the record, this kind of signing off is referred to as ‘valediction’, and has been in use for hundreds of years. In its earliest form, it was written by officials to their rulers, who most often were kings or chiefs that held more or less absolute power, so one…

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