In 1862, Victor Hugo was reportedly on vacation when his novel, Les Misérables, was published. Curious to know how it was selling, he wired off a telegram to his publisher.

Whether he wanted to keep costs down, or just didn't feel like writing a long question is unknown to this writer; nevertheless, Monsieur Hugo wished to be succinct. (Which is likely something that most readers are wishing this chronicler would be.) So, he sent out a telegram that would have been applauded by minimalists everywhere. The telegram consisted of a single character, reproduced in its entirety as follows: ?.

Unbeknownst to M. Hugo, Les Misérables was doing exceptionally well. In fact, the entire inital Paris printing had already sold out. Thefore, in response, the publisher sent back an equally terse message: !.

And that, mesdames et messieurs, is the story of what is arguably the world's shortest correspondence.

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