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Brevity

I posted Thursday's post late Wednesday night, and when I logged on in the morning, an early riser had already posted the translation of the bi-lingual post. Sorry, Brad, there is no prize, except an acknowledgement that you're smarter, or at least more learned, than I am. Brad has a couple of blogs, both on my blogroll. Give him a visit at Read 'em & Reap and The Watcher Chronicles.

And now, the rest of the story.

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."

- Richard Lederer

2005-11-11 at 7:30 AM MT | |