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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My friend "Barbara" and I decided to see a play, so she charged her (nonrefundable) ticket to her credit card. Two days later, Barbara realized she had to cancel, and asked me if I knew anyone who wanted to purchase her ticket.

Another friend (I'll call her Linda) said she'd love to go. We agreed she would pay me the night of the play, so I could give Barbara the money. To simplify matters, I went ahead and paid Barbara when she delivered the ticket.

The day before the play, Linda called and announced that she had to go out of town and couldn't attend the play after all. She said there was plenty of time left for me to sell the ticket, and she didn't think she should pay for it. She said that Barbara should return my money and find her own replacement. Barbara, on the other hand, felt that her obligation was over when she sold me the ticket, and is, therefore, out of the picture.

To make a long story short, it was too late to find a replacement for Linda. Each of us feels put out, but I'm also out the money. What should have happened? -- CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE

DEAR CAUGHT: Linda canceled very late in the game. She should have made an effort to find someone to purchase her ticket instead of placing the burden on you.

Since you were unable to find someone to replace her, Linda should reimburse you the money you advanced on her behalf.

P.S. Watch out for Linda. Although you may consider her to be one, she hasn't treated you like a friend.

DEAR ABBY: The letter you printed from Mary Pryor, describing her stolen purse experience in France, reminded me of the experience an acquaintance of mine had during his visit to Bogota, Colombia.

He chased a thief who had stolen his billfold, yelling -- in his best tour-book Spanish -- what he thought was, "Stop him! I've been robbed!" A policeman finally stopped the culprit, retrieved the billfold and told my American friend that what he actually had been shouting was, "Stop him! I'm a robber! I'm a robber!" -- DON STONE, SIOUX CITY, IOWA

DEAR DON: I suppose your letter illustrates that it's better to speak fractured Spanish than no Spanish at all. You aren't the only reader I heard from after printing Mary Pryor's letter. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter about the woman whose purse was stolen in the Champs de Mars park in Paris, I had to write. You ended your response to her by saying, "Vive la France! And vive les tourists Americain!"

Well, Abby, as long as you throw around French phrases, you might go to the trouble of getting it right:

Vive la France et vive les touristes americains!

We are always first in line to ridicule the fractured English we see or read in foreign countries. Shame on you. -- ERNESTINE BLOOMBERG, TIGARD, ORE.

DEAR ERNESTINE: Excusez mes fautes d'orthographe et de grammaire. I don't speak French, but thank heavens I have friends who do!

Thanks for pointing out the errors.

DEAR ABBY: I thought I'd give you your laugh for the day:

When I read my 73-year-old husband your column about the wife who came home and found her 73-year-old husband watching pornographic movies, my husband asked, "What channel was he watching?" -- AMUSED IN POWDER SPRINGS, GA.

DEAR AMUSED: Your letter reminds me of one I received many years ago. It came from a man who wrote: "Dear Abby: I hear there's a sexual revolution going on. Could you please tell me where it is, and how do I get there?"

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