ELIOT THE EX-MID BANK CLERK. Huxley’s description of Eliot as the “most bank-clerky of bank clerks” reflects an attitude that Eliot would have encountered often in his effort to establish himself as a man of letters in England. The word “clerk” called up an image of a striving member of the lower classes. This was work the upper classes would not do. Further, as I quoted Henry James in this post, the United States, which had formed Eliot, was “a country in which, to play a social part you must either earn your income or make believe that you earn it.” In contrast, in England employment in commercial activity, such as clerking in a bank, was not a way to play a social part.
Again, I feel a real tug of sympathy for the ex-Mid seeking admission to the world outside the Midwest.