From the Scoop to the Sack to Baghdad

A blogger has posted a quote describing Waugh’s actions in the immediate aftermath of his sacking by the Daily Mail during his coverage of the Abyssinian War:

“The Daily Mail sacked Waugh [… and] in December 1935 he left Abyssinia with relief. On his way home he decided to call on an acquaintance he had met in London. She was the wife of the Counsellor at the British Legation in Tehran. Unfortunately he misremembered her posting – and sent a telegram to the British Ambassador in Baghdad, enquiring, “Would I be welcome if I came to you for weekend Evelyn Waugh”. The reply was [oddly] unenthusiastic: “Fairly. Ambassador”.

The quote is unattributed in the posting but comes from Ann Pasternak Slater’s introduction to the 2003 Everyman edition of Black Mischief, Scoop, etc., p. xvii. Pasternak Slater’s paragraph concludes:

“I did a thing at Bagdad [sic] that only happens in nightmares,” he told Lady Diana Cooper. It was the first of several cases of mistaken identity fuelling Scoop.

Waugh’s January 1936 letter to Diana Cooper tells the full story of the visit to Baghdad which, as it turns out, had a happy ending. Mr Wu and Mrs Stitch, p. 58.

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