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2001-10-08

Evelyn Waugh
B. 10.03 London / D. 4.11.66 Taunton, Somerset
Second Vatican Council

Moors! Basil talked a great deal at dinner; the same large party was assembled but he kept them all silent with tales of Sakuyu savagery, partly invented, partly remembered from the days of Connolly’s confidence. “. . .shaved all the hair off her head and covered it with butter. White ants ate straight through into her skull. . .you still find blind old Europeans working with the slaves on some of the farms in the interior; they’re prisoners of war that were conveniently forgotten about when peace was made. . .the Arab word for Sakuyu means Man-without-mercy. . .when they get drink in them they go completely insane. They can stay like that for days at a time, utterly unconscious of fatigue. They’d think nothing of the road out here if they thought they’d find alcohol when they got here. May I have a drink of that whiskey?. . .”

When the men were left together at the table, the Minister said, “My boy, I don’t know how much truth there is in all you’ve been saying but I think you might not have talked like that before the ladies. If there is any danger, and I for one don’t for a moment believe there is, the ladies should be kept in ignorance of the fact.”

“Oh, I like to see them scared,” said Basil. “Pass the decanter, will you Jagger, and now, sir, what arrangements are we making for defence?”

“Arrangements for defence?”

Quotation from Black Magic (1932)

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