Small world?

Here’s a piece I like from Flann O’Brien.

Keats and Chapman were entrusted by the British Government with a secret mission that involved a trip to India. A man-of-war awaited them at a British port. Leaving their lodgings at dawn, they were driven at a furious pace to the point of embarkation. When about to rush on board, they encountered at the dockside a mutual friend, one Mr Childs, who chanced to be there on business connected with his calling of wine-importer. Perfunctory and very hasty courtesies were exchanged; Keats and Chapman then rushed on board the man-of-war, which instantly weighed anchor. The trip to India was made in the fastest time then heard of, and as soon as the ship had come to anchor in Bombay harbour, the two friends were whisked to land in a wherry. Knowing that time was of the essence of their mission, they hastened from the docks into the neighbouring streets, and on turning a corner, whom should they see only –

Mr Childs? No.

Just a lot of Indians, complete strangers.

‘Big world,’ Keats remarked.



Filed under Literature

9 responses to “Small world?

  1. Rainer the cabbie

    Yep, just as I thought, India is full of Indians. 🙂

  2. Yes, Rainer, the world is big, yet we all love coincidences … a bit of ‘small world’ stuff. 🙂

    Often when someone in Ireland says ‘small world!’ to me because we know the same person or whatever, I think ‘No … small country’.

  3. Jaime

    Speaking of coincidences… Isobel is on a word hunt for a word that describes the following:

    “Cat, my niece, noticed Frida Khalo popping up – Spanish class, SAT exam, my sister’s shopping bag, and various other places.”

    So a recurrence of the same thing in different places within a limited or short length of time.

    Any ideas what that word may be, if it exists?

  4. Will have to think about that one, Jaime … all that springs to mind is Jung’s word ‘synchronocity’.

    Your comment on my other post was first categorized as ‘spam’ (!).

  5. Well they had 50% of possibility to meet him. To meet him 50%, to meet someone else 50%. 🙂

  6. If you say so, Levent. 🙂

  7. Fancy meeting a…a…a

    What should I call you Cymbeline? World citizen? 🙂

    Good to see you.

  8. Hello Levent. Yes, it’s always good to see Cymbeline.

    I see that MyT is still down. Will it come back better?

    I’d say that it will still be poorly run.

  9. A phoenix from the flames, with bird flu, and flying only on its right wing.

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