from On the Art of Writing
specifically from the section On Jargon.
“Has a Minister to say “No” in the House of Commons? Some men are constitutionally incapable of saying no: but the Minister conveys it thus “The answer to the question is in the negative.” That means “no.” Can you discover it to mean anything less, or anything more except that the speaker is a pompous person?”
I came across this delight because today I ventured into a library and suddenly started reading 84 Charing Cross Road and realized I was going to read the whole thing standing there and how long had I been standing there and where was my husband anyhow?
I found Philippe in the photography section, and since we couldn’t check anything out from that particular library (our residential status is insufficiantly documented), he went to take pictures with a kite, and I went to a bookstore. I couldn’t find 84 Charing Cross at that particular book store (though let me comfort you by saying I did find it three bookstores later, not that I spent my day going from bookstore to bookstore — they were on they way as I did my chores I swear).
I was lucy enough to find Q’s legasy at Bookbuyers which introduced me to Ms. Helene’s introduction to “proper writing,” Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (what a face— he knows things); and while Amazon is kind enough to charge me extra for looking for it, whammo, it happens to be free on bartleby’s.