The Pattern Still Remains

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The custom of spitting on money is common in various parts of the world. In England it was sometimes called handsel and was reputed to bring good luck.

The Annotated Dracula by Leonard Wolf, 1975.

“There is really only one way to learn good writing: through good reading and extensive writing and revising. If students in college and high school are exposed to high-quality, well-edited writing year after year, some will develop into competent and even good writers. Many will not. But writing is, ultimately, an artistic skill, not the mechanical application of rules.”

Robert Lane Greene, You Are What You Speak, 2001.

Absit Omen

It is recorded that whenever he heard one of his followers sneeze, the Roman emperor Tiberius would say, “Absit omen" ("Let any omen or mischance be absent"), which is a rather backhanded way of saying, "Good luck!"

Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris, 1977.

“There was a little girl, she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
And when she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad, she was horrid.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. American Ballads: Naughty, Ribald and Classic by Charles O’Brien Kennedy, 1952.

“Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.”

– Memo from Samuel Johnson. Rotten Rejections edited by Andre Bernard, 1990.


One of the principal gods of the ancient Persians, a personification of the sun. He was regarded as a mediator between the two opposite deities, Ormuzd and Ahriman, or the principle of good and the principle of evil.

A Dictionary of the Noted Names in Fiction by William A. Wheeler, 1865.f