Robert Byron (1905-1941), The Station:
Travels to the Holy Mountain
(1928; rpt. London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2011), p. 111:
He was a typical Greek of the middle
class, enthralled by politics, religious believer in the Hellenic
destiny. Anglophil, anxious to be of assistance, boundlessly conceited, yet, save when enlarging on a favourite subject, unobtrusive. During a conversation, I mistook the meaning of a word for another
outside the context in which he had used it. This led him to a new
"Every word in Greek," he said, "has ten meanings, and every
meaning ten words. You need to know each one. Greek is the most
beautiful of all languages. The Bible and all the holy works were
written in it."
"The Gospels, for instance," I interpolated, wishing to seem
"Yes, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the Theologian all used
it. Yet they were not Greeks. But the Holy Ghost descended with
the gift of tongues——"
"Ah! Of course, the Holy Ghost was Greek."
Whereat Father Methodius, handing a dish of stuffed tomatoes,
exploded into giggles; and the guest, his peroration marred,
groaned, protesting and reiterative, that this was not the case. I
recount the anecdote with pride, as it is not easy to hoist a Greek
neatly on his own petard.