in Claverings

Chapter 30 – Doodles in Mount Street

tell him from me that he have chose a very bad Mercury

Mercury was the messenger of the gods in Roman mythology.  In this scene, Captain Boodle has gone in Archie Clavering’s stead to negotiate the return of Archie’s money from Sophie.  However, Boodle does a terrible job in his negotiations, thus making himself a bad choice of messenger for Archie.  It is amusing that while she insults Boodle’s ability to convey messages, Sophie simultaneously commands Boodle to tell Archie about her disdain.  And in an even more ironic twist, Boodle obeys Sophie and proves himself to be a “bad Mercury” indeed:  he presents himself as the victor in his interaction with Sophie, even though she was the one giving orders.  [SH 2012]