Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2003 Newsletter

An Excerpt From A Burnt-out Case (1961) by Graham Greene


A presentation copy of "A Burnt-out Case"
inscribed by Graham Greene to Evelyn Waugh
with an additional inscription by Waugh.
Reads "For Evelyn with deep affection &
admiration from Graham." / "Mud in your
mild & magnificent eye. E.W. Epiphany 1961."

If no change means peace, this certainly was peace, to be found like a nut at the center of the hard shell of discomfort — the heat that engulfed them where the river narrowed to a mere hundred metres: the shower that was always hot from the ship's engine: in the evening the mosquitoes, and in the day the tsetse flies with wings raked back like tiny jet-fighters (a board above the bank at the last village had warned them in three languages: "Zone of sleeping sickness. Be careful of the tsetse flies.") The captain read his breviary with a fly-whisk in his hand, and whenever he made a kill he held up the tiny corpse for the passenger's inspection, saying "tsetse" — it was nearly the limit of their communication, for neither spoke the other's language with ease or accuracy.

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