The Lazy Editor The Curse of the Hope Diamond
Does one touch of this famous jewel mean certain doom? By Jennifer Dignan
As for the magnificent blue diamond, it
passed, through the centuries, from owner to owner. Eventually, it came to be known as the Hope Diamond. And it brings misfortune to all who touched it.
Good story, isn’t it? Evalyn and Ned McLean,
the wealthy young American couple who bought the Hope Diamond in 1911, certainly thought so, and they heard the story from Pierre Cartier, the French jeweler who sold them the diamond for $180,000 (equal to about $4.3 million today), and Cartier, he more or less made the story up.
Nevertheless, The New York Times reported that the McLeans had
purchased a diamond said to bring “ill-luck to its possessors” and then other newspapers repeated the story,
article, which contains many
with each writer adding new and
terrible mistakes. Then follow the
more-fantastic details, and before
prompts in the box on p. 31.
long, it was common knowledge that the Hope Diamond was cursed.
In 1642, a French jeweler named Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was
visiting an ancient temple in India. His
The idea of the curse was not entirely Cartier’s. Stories about
cursed diamond’s, in general, were
gaze fell upon an enormous blue diamond
quite popular at the time. Between
glittering on the forehead of a statue of a
1908 and 1910, several newspaper
Hindu goddess. Tavernier’s eyes darted around
articles linked the Hope Diamond to
the room. It is empty. He pried the gem from the
murder, suicide, madness, financial
statue, slipped it into his pocket, and hastily
ruin—all sorts of tragedie’s. These
makes his exit.
articles were packed with errors and
Soon afterward, Tavernier is torn apart and
flat-out fabrications, but they were
eaten by wild dogs.
30 Scholastic Scope • SEPTEMBER 2013
©Fred Ward/Corbis (Hope Diamond); Shutterstock (Skeleton)
Directions: Read the following
We love this story. Too bad we couldn’t be bothered to edit it! Will you fix it for us? 7
Is there any truth to the legend of the Hope Diamond? Well, Tavernier did get it in India. But
Today, the Hope
he did not steal it; he bought it. And though the cause
Diamond is on
of his death—in 1689, at the age of 84—is unknown,
display at the
there is no evidence that wild dog’s were involved. To be
sure, though, bad things happened to some of the
National Museum of Natural History in Washington,
diamond’s owners. King Louis XVI of France and his
D.C. When the museum acquired the diamond in 1958,
wife, Marie Antoinette, who owned the jewel during the
it received many letters of protest. One group of
French Revolution, were beheaded. Bad luck indeed!
concerned citizens told the museum it was tempting
And the English nobleman Lord Francis Hope, who
fate to have anything to do with the “ghastly gem.” They
owned the diamond through the late 1800s, lost his
probably weren’t surprised to learn that postal carrier
fortune and was divorced by his wife.
James Todd suffered a series of unfortunate events after
As for the McLeans. Their young son was killed in
he delivered the diamond to the museum: His leg was
a car accident. Then they ran out of money. Then
crushed by a truck, his wife died of a heart attack, his
their marriage fell apart. Then Ned was sent to a mental
dog strangled itself on its leash, and his house burned
institution. Where he died at the age of 50. Many people
down! Nevertheless, the walnut-size blue diamond has
blamed these events on the Hope Diamond, but not
been the museum’s star attraction. Since it arrived. It
Evalyn. She always took the story of the curse as just
draws more than 6 million tourists each year. That
that: a story.
doesn’t seem like much of a curse at all, now does it?
Find It/Fix It
Directions: Can you find the following errors in the article and fix them? Write the answers on your own paper.
ParagraphS 1, 2 & 3: Verb tenses that shift without reason can confuse the reader. Please fix four verb-tense errors (and watch out for wild dogs). PARAGRAPHS 4 & 5: Know who’s suffering from ill-luck? Anyone who reads these rambling sentences. Break these paragraphs into shorter sentences, won’t you? PARAGRAPHS 6 & 7: Bad luck shall befall all those who use apostrophes unnecessarily! Remember, an apostrophe should appear before an s at the end of a word only to show possession or to form a contraction. Find and fix three apostrophe-s mistakes. PARAGRAPHS 8 & 9: Reading a fragment, or incomplete Get sentence, is like walking into a brick wall: The action stops for more practice, MORE Go to SCOPE online. Online! abruptly. Please fix three fragments by adding words or combining them with nearby sentences.
WWW.Scholastic.com/scope • SEPTEMBER 2013