A conversation between Stevens and Mr. Graham on the noble matter of dignity:
It is nearing the end of the evening, I have already turned in for the night, but sleep is non-forthcoming. So, I began to ponder upon the matter of dignity, and find my asking the weary question, once again, “What is dignity?” Upon asking myself this I remember an intriguing conversation between the respectable Mr. Graham and myself.
It was at one of Lord Darlington frequent gatherings that I happened to find myself with a short amount of idle time before preparations for supper began, and I decided to pleasure myself with an idle discussion with my reputable acquaintance, Mr. Graham. We enjoy debating the attributes of dignity required to make a truly great butler.
I find Mr. Graham lounging in the library, engrossed in piece of philosophical literature Lord Darlington favors, but he looks up and greets me upon my entrance. We exchanged pleasantries and formalities for a short time, then I presented the age old query, “What is required of a butler to allow him to be considered dignified?” Mr. Graham quickly replied with a most predictable answer, “You know when somebody’s got it and you know when somebody hasn’t.” (pg. 44). We continued to deliberate with for a little longer, but I was shortly called away to care to the task of maintaining the vibrant household of Lord Darlington, taking with me nothing of note from our conversation except Mr. Graham’s steadfast argument of either you have it or you don’t.
Upon remembering my conversation with Mr. Graham, his argument sets my mind to the task of answering the original question, “What is dignity?” Unlike Mr. Graham I believe that dignity is something that can be obtained if one properly conditions his mind to the task. In his later years my father, the only butler that I have personally known for any notable amount, seemed to have obtained this mischievously almost unobtainable...