Thursday, March 20, 2014

With Deepest Sympathy

I found a rather poignant letter in a book today, used as a bookmark in a D. E. Stevenson novel. In just a few lines, it tells a story that many will be familiar with:

My dear Minnie,

Thank you for your letter. I was so sorry to hear your sad news of Joanna and I send you our love and sympathy. I know what you must be going through.

I have lost quite a few of my friends lately, it is the penalty of growing old!

I have settled in quite well but I miss my animals, as I am not allowed any here.

My love to Jane. I expect she is a great comfort to you. 

I will keep in touch again.

Much love,



Canadian Chickadee said...

It's sad, but still a graceful heartfelt note -- much nicer than a greeting card from the supermarket! Obviously the recipient felt that way too, for the letter was saved, and probably read and re-read many times. Writing a good, short note or letter is becoming a lost art, which is a shame, I think. Thanks for sharing this with us. Take care and God bless, xoxox

Thomas Hogglestock said...

Lovely and sad letter. But more importantly which DE Stevenson novel was it in? She is hard to find over here...let me know.

Steerforth said...

Carol - I'm a terrible offender, I'm afraid. I haven't sent anyone a card since the 1990s (with the exception of my mother) and I've lost the ability to write by hand. My wife does all of the cards - partly because she says my handwriting is so awful, it looks like the work of someone with an IQ below 70.

Thomas - I wish I could remember. I found around a dozen of her books yesterday - mostly late 60s hardback reprints, plus two Mrs Tim titles from the 40s. I don't recall which book contained the letter.

Canadian Chickadee said...

Steerforth, you do make me laugh. I don't for a minute believe your handwriting would make you like as if you had an IQ below 70! Rather, it probably makes you look like a medical doctor!!

But I do think most men hate to write cards and/or letters. I think when they marry, men assume that the woman's vows were "love, honour, obey, and handle all the family correspondence." Which in our case has worked out fairly well, because I love writing letters. xoxox

Steerforth said...

Carol - You haven't seen it!

As far as cards are concerned, there is a strong gender divide. During my bookshops days, I loved to watch men and women choosing cards.

In my experience, women choose cards like this:

"Oh, that's nice...but I'm not sure if she likes cornflowes. Perhaps that one. No, the verse isn't quite right. Does she like lavender? Oh, that's a nice card, but it might reminder her of that horrible holiday she had in Greece..."

Whilst men choose cards like this:

", hmmm, Hmmm...yep, that'll do."

Canadian Chickadee said...

Well, it's nice to know that my husband and I fit the stereotype!! :0)


Thomas Hogglestock said...

Did the Stevensons get pulped or did they go into your inventory?

Steerforth said...

Thomas - Around 90% of the Stevenson's went on sale. Two or three were binned because of their condition. I haven't sold any yet - people seem to prefer the paperbacks, even when their price is the same as a hardback.