Chapter & Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

Marty Mazzone writes: “My mother used to say, as fast as she could,   ‘The high uffum buffum and the compound presser and squeezer and the beefer dog trim.’ At least, that’s what we think she used to say. She would never repeat it for us on the spot. Can anyone identify the origin of this very strange, unGoogle-able phrase?”


John Sundquist requests the origin of the assertion, “Love is the determined caring for the good of another.”


Alejandro Jenkins writes: “In his autobiography, Witness, Whittaker Chambers refers twice to a ‘print [by] a nineteenth-century Italian painter’ showing ‘a hooded skeleton, beckoning to its embrace a line of proletarian figures with bundles—rather like a scene in an Ellis Island waiting room.’ The caption was Il Conforto—Death, the Comforter. What is the work in question, and who made it?”


“Love and war” (November-December 2009). Paul Reid, coauthor with the late William Manchester of the forthcoming third volume of The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, writes:  “It is doubtful that Churchill said this. The expression does not appear in Richard Langworth’s definitive collection of Churchill quotations, Churchill by Himself, the index of which contains more than 60 entries under ‘war’ (‘love’ does not appear in the index, Churchill not being one to declaim on matters of the heart). Likewise, the expression is not to be found in Kay Halle’s classic, Irrepressible Churchill. As well, a word-search of Churchill’s speeches (edited by Robert Rhodes James) spanning 1935-1963 fails to yield the phrase. Nor is it mentioned by any of the numerous diarists who recorded Churchill’s remarks, including Jock Colville, Anthony Eden, Alexander Cadogan, Harold Macmillan, Harold Nicolson, and Alan Brooke. A web search also yielded no results. I believe the quotation Mr. Ehrenreich seeks to verify cannot be traced to Churchill. It lacks the snap and crackle of Churchill’s impromptu remarks (most of which were well rehearsed).”

Send inquiries and answers to “Chapter and Verse,” Harvard Magazine, 7 Ware Street, Cambridge 02138, or via e-mail to [email protected].

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