Chapter & Verse

A correspondence corner for not-so-famous lost words

Winthrop Drake Thies seeks the legal citation for a British Admiralty case "which supported the necessity of the foreign tribunal having had personal — or at least in rem — jurisdiction for a foreign judgment to be respected by asking rhetorically: 'Shall the writs of Antigua bind the whole world?'"


Virginia Wetherbee would like information about the origin of her Southern mother-in-law's expression "snatching [someone] skywest and crooked." A variant is traced to the mid 1800s in Robert Chapman's New Dictionary of American Slang (1986).


"shaves the victim's cane" (May-June). Paul Hendrick identified Marc Connelly's O. Henry Award-winning story "Coroner's Inquest," a tale of rivalry between two dwarfs, first published in Collier's Weekly (February 1930). Michael Bell noted that the same idea appears in the song "Did You Do That, Sid?," sung by Jackie Gleason in Take Me Along, the 1959 musical comedy by Bob Merrill based on Eugene O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness!


"young detectives" (May-June). Charles Shurcliff, who "grew up with The Secret of Dead Man's Cove," sends word that the Mackie family detective stories were written in the 1930s by R.J. McGregor.


Correction: We thank Judith Robbins for pointing out our misstating of poet Edwin Arlington Robinson's first name in the May-June issue and hope that someone can provide an attribution for "It's not what you don't know that hurts you, it's what you do know that ain't so!"


Send inquiries and answers to "Chapter and Verse," Harvard Magazine, 7 Ware Street, Cambridge 02138.


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