14 AUGUST 1964, Page 12

GOOD AMERICANS SIR,--Oscar Wilde transferred the Tom Appleton witticism himself,

and put it into the mouth of Mrs. Allonby in A Woman of No Importance, no doubt, pace Sir Denis Brogan, 'spoiling' it in the process.

Mrs. Allonby: They say, Lady Hunstanton, that when good Americans die they go to Paris. Lady Hunstanton : Indeed? And when bad Americans die, where do they go?

Lord Illingworth : Oh, they go to America. Anyway, one could hardly have written 'a Holmes surmise' and have achieved the same effect.

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