Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

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Forgive me, Father….

Category: Rated G

Thanks to Lowrie Beacham [beach004@onyx.dcri.duke.edu] for sending us this lovely bit of true history. See comment by Richard Lederer at [http://www.salon.com/weekly/verb960722.html].


The all-time prize for transmitting the fullest message with the greatest compactness must go to Sir Charles James Napier. In 1843, Napier quelled an uprising in the Indian province of Sind and announced his triumph via telegram to his commanders in London. All he wrote was the one word “Peccavi.”

The Foreign Office broke into cheers. In an age when all gentlemen studied Latin, Napier never doubted that his superiors would remember the first-person past perfect tense of peccare — and would properly translate his message as, “I have sinned.”

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