Mr Young

Biologically, Mr Young is Warlock Dowling‘s father. However, due to a mix-up by Sister Mary Loquacious right after Warlock’s birth, Mr Young ends up raising Adam as his son instead.

Aside from being the adoptive father of the Antichrist, Mr Young is an utterly unremarkable man. His opinions are all the solid, safe sort of opinions, such as that he likes seeing nuns and the Salvation Army around because “it ma[kes] you feel that it [is] all all right” (27), or that he supports the Royals — that is, the ones who “pul[l] their weight in the hand-waving and bridge-opening department. Not the ones who [go] to discos all night and [are] sick all over the paparazzi” (34). He has trouble comforting babies as he has “always respected Sir Winston Churchill, and patting small versions of him on the bottom had always seemed ungracious” (35). He is certainly not a “left-footer or anything like that” (27).

He does things “in accord with tradition” (29), such as bringing cigars to smoke upon the evening of his son’s birth. He is even traditional in naming his son, “good simple names” (42) being best (though nothing “too old-fashioned”); he rejects all of Sister Mary’s suggestions until she finally suggests Adam, the most traditional name of all. Brian is probably correct in claiming that stick insects are Mr Young’s “idea of int’restin'” (80).

In his home life, Mr Young is — again — quite traditional. He firmly believes that giving birth to their son is “one joyous sharing experience Deirdre [can] have by herself” (28). She wants him to be present at the birth, an idea he suspects she got from the sort of newspapers she orders once given the choice; Mr Young “distrust[s] papers whose inner pages ha[ve] names like ‘Life-style’ or ‘Options'”. However, despite giving the impression of wanting to make household decisions, he doesn’t appear to have the ultimate authority over his wife, such as when Mr Tyler finds him smoking his pipe outside on the porch. This is more due to his wife’s “banning of smoking in the house than he would care to admit to his neighbours” (325).

The Youngs have lived in Tadfield for ten years when their son is born. They previously lived in Luton (34). His job involves “the more stimulating aspects of cost accountancy” (33).

Mr Young is also traditional in outward appearance. Crowley “vaguely recall[s] a pipe, and a cardigan with the kind of zigzag pattern that went out of style in 1938” (85). He wears a tie every day, “even on Saturdays” (359). His car is in immaculate condition, but not in the sense that Crowley’s Bentley is kept in shape: “its owner had spent every weekend for two decades doing all the things the manual said should be done every weekend”, because those were the things “serious-minded men who smoked pipes and wore moustaches” should do (359).

The best analogy to describe Mr Young comes near the end of the novel, shortly after the prevention of the Apocalypse: “Archimedes said that with a long enough lever and a solid enough place to stand, he could move the world. He could have stood on Mr Young” (359).

Edition referenced in this article: UK Corgi paperback (1991)
Written by Linn