Those were the days when conversations at a distance had to be committed to paper, and I like Bronte’s preparation for writing a long letter on the grounds that the addressee’s own letter caught her interest. 

Along with one of my brothers, I am on a hopeless quest to keep the handwritten letter alive.  Good luck to us. 

Feel free to write me a note (paper preferable, email acceptable) describing a letter you’ve received that interested you. And I mean a letter, not an email. 

To WS Williams, 12 May 1848.  ‘My dear Sir I take a large sheet of paper because I foresee that I am about to write another long letter, and for the same reason as before, viz – that yours interested me.’


Source: Charlotte Bronte Selected Letters, ed. Margaret Smith (Oxford World Classics, 2007), p. 105

Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema at


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