In My Financial Career, what was the narrator's reaction to the sight of the accountant?
The narrator describes the accountant as a 'tall, cool devil,' and that the very sight of him unsettles the narrator. Here, Leacock is presenting his readers with a humorous description of the narrator's fear of banks and monetary transactions. The accountant is presented as a forbidding and intimidating presence, representative of an economic mechanism that often entraps the common man in its menacing clutches (as the narrator fears).
The narrator's inexperience with banks further compounds his fear of his own incompetence in financial matters. When he enters the bank, he is too self-conscious to readily approach the tellers. Instead, he makes his way awkwardly to the accountant and inquires about seeing the manager. His general conviction is that one should see the manager if one intends to open an account. However, his nervous request to see the manager 'alone,' leads both the accountant and the manager to arrive at some ironic conclusions. Due to his secretive manner, the manager thinks that the narrator either has a large sum to deposit or that he is a private detective. When the manager finds out that the narrator only has fifty-six dollars to deposit, he coldly turns him over to the accountant again.