UNIX uses the backslash character (\) in a lot of places, which can be confusing for beginners. Here's a guide to backslashes:
Sometimes -- when you're typing a mail address like vicki@squidbait, for example, you want a literal @ character. You don't want the @ to erase the word "vicki." On those UNIX systems, you'd type vicki\@squidbait to tell UNIX, "Treat this next @ literally."
This is the first part of the very long line etc. etc. \ and... this is the second part blah blah blah etc. etc.\ and now this is finally the end of the line.In that case, the backslash is not really in the file that Emacs is showing; it's just a signal to you that the line continues.
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This file is from the third edition of the book MH & xmh: Email for Users & Programmers, ISBN 1-56592-093-7, by Jerry Peek. Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. This file is freely-available; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. For more information, see the file copying.htm.
Suggestions are welcome: Jerry Peek <email@example.com>