Tuesday, May 19, 2015


From Evelyn Waugh's 1932 novel of Africa, Black Mischief:

The train which brought the Emperor to Debra Dowa also brought the mail. It was a great day at the British Legation. The bags were brought into the dining room and they all sat round dealing out the letters and parcels, identifying the handwritings and reading over each other's shoulders . . . .

"I say, though, here's something interesting, my word it is. Can't make head or tail of the thing. It says, 'Good luck. Copy this letter out nine times and send it to nine different friends' . . . What an extraordinary idea."

"Envoy dear, do be quiet. I want to try the new records."

"No, but Prudence, do listen It was started by an American officer in France. If one breaks the chain one gets bad luck, and if one sends it on, good luck. There was one woman lost her husband and another one who made a fortune at roulette -- all through doing it and not doing it . . . you know I should never have believed that possible . . ."

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