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|Bringing up the Rear|
The pompous Commissionaire, with his pseudo-military uniform and moustache, mans the desk at the entrance to the Chester-Building. The only task we ever see him perform is to make latecomers sign the Late Book. In fact this appears to be his only task. But he is also good at smiling smugly when Bristow is trying to retrieve a parcel that has, alas, found its way into the System. For once something is in the System then there it will remain until the System deems it right to reject it (even if you can see it on the shelf in the office)
There is a minor mystery about just where the Commissionaire is placed. Bristow, and all the clerks, use the Staff Entrance to gain admission to their place of work. There is, therefore, a Main Entrance though we never see it. Now you don't employ a Commissionaire to parade in full uniform just to control the dingy side entrance for the staff, you have him at the point where visitors and VIPs arrive. So how is that the Commissionaire can enforce the C-P regulations about punctuality in one place whilst fronting up the welcome mat in another place? Or is that the Staff Entrance leads back into the same ground floor lobby as the Main? Makes you wonder why Bristow doesn't try "sneaking in" that way sometimes when he is trying to avoid signing the Late-Late book
A cocky little man who fancies himself with Traffic Warden 262 - strip 2463 - , he irritates Bristow by describing Sir Reginald Chester-Perry’s life of luxury. Bristow riles him by imitating the sound of a punctured wheel or by pretending to assist in push-starting the Rolls. The chauffeur likes nothing better than to park the gleaming car just outside the office with the radio on; Bristow's retaliation is to encourage his friend the pigeon to drop an appropriate message.
Although he seems somewhat contemptous of the Chauffeur, there is something about him that fascinates Bristow. He is forever asking about his relationship with Sir Reginald, and the possiblity that the firm's founder might wish to take a buying clerk on his luxury yacht for a well earned holiday. And there is one time, strip 5498 , where Bristow seems keen to switch jobs and put on a peaked cap himself.Atkins of Accounts. As he dispenses the wages so she will swoop with the latest collection for a leaving present, a wedding gift or some deserving cause. Bristow has more "street wisdom" than any other clerk in the building but even he has found no way to shake off Mrs. Chrisp. Some weeks he merely moves the wages from the "In" tray to the "Out" tray. And sometimes he flees to the most inaccessible corners of the building but to little avail strip 4141 .
What Mrs. Chrisp actually does for a living is not clear. She has never been placed within the typing pool or the switchboard, and does not dress like a waitress. So she is either a personal secretary or that rare breed, a female office worker. But maybe in the past she had some culinary involvement because her name has also been linked with the Great Tea Trolley Disaster.
Incidentally Mrs. Chrisp (sometimes known as Crisp) is one of those chameoleon like characters whose appearances changes radically each time we meet her. This can be seen clearly by comparing the inset picture above with strip 4141. I think she is siphoning off the proceeds of her regular collections and indulging in fancy hairdressers, makeovers and expensive plastic surgery, and it is time that this scandal was exposed.