To help look after the baby, the Oppenheimers employed a nursemaid and, later, a governess. They also employed a cook, a chauffeur and three live-in maids to help Ella look after the apartment. There was no hint of decadence or over-indulgence, but it was a luxurious life and a very sheltered one, too. “My life as a child did not prepare me in any way for the fact that there are cruel and bitter things,” Oppenheimer later recalled. His parents, especially his mother, saw to it that everything and everyone with whom he came into contact was refined, tasteful and pleasant. From everything discordant, ugly or unpleasant he was shielded and protected. Above all, there was an atmosphere of moral rectitude. He was, he later considered, “an unctuous, repulsively good little boy”, his upbringing having offered him “no normal, healthy way to be a bastard”.

Ray Monk: “Inside The Centre: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer”.

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