performer wrote:I have a story to tell about this. I once operated a magic studio in Blackpool and of course received mail orders from around the world as all dealers do. One day I got an order from France but alas there was no money enclosed with the order. Since I rather like food with my meals I prefer people to pay for the stuff I am going to rip them off with. I therefore sent a letter back to France explaining that I thought that it might be a rather wonderful idea if, when ordering merchandise payment should be sent along with it. I then received an indignant reply but alas no money. I didn't mind suffering the former but was very disinclined to suffer the latter. Nevertheless I read the letter. It waffled about the honour of a gentleman which I found a very odd concept and furthermore the honour of France which I found even odder. The letter was obviously from someone of a bygone age and probably older than God. He obviously expected me to send him the merchandise and he would pay me in his own good time, and that I should honour the word of a French gentleman. Alas Blackpool and France are not a compatible combination where "honour" and "gentlemen" are concerned.
I was on the verge of cursing France and all who sailed in her and wishing the guillotine upon my correspondant until I read a paragraph and gasped with astonishment. He wrote in block capital letters that he was MAURICE SARDINA and known throughout the world as the man who defended the honour of France and Robert-Houdin from that ghastly American upstart Houdini. He had written a famous rebuttal to Houdini's claims. In fact he wrote an entire book about it entitled "Where Houdini Was Wrong". It was a very famous book indeed.
I was so dumbstruck by this that I descended into madness and the greedy wicked grafter was temporarily transformed to his roots as an artist and lover of magic. I had of course heard of this famous book and thought the author had died off donkey's years before. I was astonished he was still alive and immediately in a fit of insanity wrote back that I was honoured to hear from him and he could have the merchandise free of charge. And I sent the trick whatever the hell it was back to him with the letter.
I then received a letter back from France with a much friendlier tone. Alas no money but instead he sent the actual book as a gift for my kindness.
It was quite an experience. Alas some years later my greed returned and I sold the book to Quentin Reynolds. I wish I hadn't now.
Anyway, that is the story.
I've just come across the above post.
Let me add that the book I bought was the actual copy that Victor Farelli (the translator of the book into English), had signed and sent to Maurice Sardina, and also had many annotations written in my Sardina himself, thus making it very much a collector's edition. Feeling that it deserved to be in a collection that would hopefully remain as a library for future generations, I gave it to Mike Caveney some years back.