Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This penny monster is about to explode!, or, Pre-Internet investment spam

We are reaching the end! February--always, somehow, less intolerable than the eleven weeks of January--is nearly upon us, and that means the group snoop into the writers' postbox that has been this month of blogging is coming to an end. I hope you've enjoyed it. February should find me with my feet properly beneath me, work beaten into quivering submission, travel translated to its most manageable state, memory.

But I can't let you turn the calendar page without first apprising you of an amazing investment opportunity--brought to you by P. G. Wodehouse in a letter to his daughter Leonora of September 27, 1920, found in the lovely new collection P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters:
I've just had a letter from a man in California who wants me to buy an interest in a gold mine for five hundred pounds. He says "I happened to pick up the Sept Cosmopolitan and on one of the front pages I see a list of authors and I said to myself that bunch could put this over and I have a hunch they will and your name is in the list and I'm writing you along with the others to send me your check for twenty-five hundred dollars and write on the check that it is for one-thirtieth interest in the eight-year lease of the Kid Gold Mine and then after a while I will send you a check for your share of a million dollars or a letter of regret telling you I have spent the money digging through the mountain and my hunch was a bum one, but anyway I expect your check." Sanguine sort of johnny, what? I'm going to put the letter in a story.
Editor Sophie Ratcliffe helpfully notes that Wodehouse--if not, one assumes, the miner--made good on his statement, using the anecdote in Big Money.

The speculator, methinks, was about a decade too late: Twain would have been a better mark.

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