I am silent because I have literally nothing to say
On this day in letters
Please raise a glass and wish a happy birthday to the following letters, all written on the 25th day of an August gone by.
This is not a letter. It is only my arms around you for a quick minute.
Letter to Leslie Beauchamp
25th August 1915
I have regrettably come to the conclusion that [their son] Auberon is not yet a suitable companion for me.
Yesterday was a day of supreme self-sacrifice. I fetched him from Highgate, took him up the dome of St Paul’s, gave him a packet of triangular stamps, took him to luncheon at the Hyde Park Hotel, took him on the roof of the hotel, took him to Harrods & let him buy vast quantities of toys (down to your account) took him to tea with Maimie who gave him a pound and a box of matches, took him back to Highgate in a state of extreme exhaustion (myself not the boy).
My mother said, ‘Have you had a lovely day?’ He replied ‘A bit dull.’ So that is the last time for some years I inconvenience myself for my children.
Letter to his wife, Laura
25th August 1945
(Source: The Letters of Evelyn Waugh)
Somebody sent me a copy of that book of Paris Review interviews. The funniest one is with Nelson Algren. The interviewer says, “I understand you showed Simone de Beauvoir around Chicago?” and Algren says, “Yeah. I showed her around. I showed her the electric chair and everything.”
Letter to Maryat Lee
25th August 1958
(Source: The Habit of Being)
About agents: I deal direct because I will not give ten percent to any son of a bitch to do what I can do better.
Letter to Robert Cantwell
25th August 1950
(Source: Selected Letters 1917-1961)
I find one’s war-psychology very strange,—don’t you? Up to 12 o’clock noonday I am the complete coward, dreading air raids, bombs, gas, etc.—then after 12 noonday I become all brave and British again—and remain brave until the next morning—when the whole thing starts up again in its terrifying cycle of fear, dread and shrinking cowardice.
I think you are much braver than I am; or should I call it more philosophical? I don’t know what you feel. What strange stages of feelings one passes through, these days! I could not write about this to anyone I did not love as I love you.
Letter to Virginia Woolf
25th August 1939
(Source: Love Letters: Vita and Virginia)
Perhaps you think that as I generally write with some reserve—you ought to do the same. My reserve, however, has its foundation not in design, but in necessity—I am silent because I have literally nothing to say. I might indeed repeat over and over again that my life is a pale blank and often a very weary burden—and that the Future sometimes appals me—but what end could be answered by such repetition except to weary you and enervate myself?
The evils that now and then wring a groan from my heart—lie in position—not that I am a single woman and likely to remain a single woman—but because I am a lonely woman and likely to be lonely. But it cannot be helped and therefore imperatively must be borne—and borne too with as few words about it as may be.
Letter to Ellen Nussey
25th August 1852
(Source: Selected Letters of Charlotte Brontë)
I am too busy being valiant to be able to be interviewed.
Letter to Marjorie Michael
25th August 1975
The worst punishment God can devise for this sinner is to make her spirit reside eternally at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.
Letter to Doris Leapard
25th August 1990
(Source: Nate D. Sanders)
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