I long to surprise him with terrific disguises
On this day in letters
Happy birthday to the following letters, all born on the fourth day of a November gone by.
I find Penguins at present the only comfort in life. One feels everything in the world so sympathetically ridiculous, one can't be angry when one looks at a Penguin.
Letter to C. E. Norton, 4th Nov 1860
Letters of John Ruskin to Charles Eliot Norton
The November gloom descends, although some early mornings and late afternoons have exquisitely delicate skies with masses of flocculent clouds. And, of course, the end is not yet. It is when one lights the lamps at 4 o’clock that the dark is hard to bear. But, as we have agreed, an hexagonal universe would be even more depressing. At least we have an oval one.
Letter to Ruth Limmer, 4th Nov 1961
Selected Letters of Louise Bogan
I don’t care what people think of my poetry so long as they award it prizes.
Letter to Harriet Monroe, 4th Nov 1922
Letters of Robert Frost
I really miss you and want to see you. Although I was silent a long time, you’re the only person I think about with joy in my heart. Evidently, were you here, I would be genuinely in love for the second time in my life.
Letter to Klavdia Pugacheva, 4th Nov 1933
The Notebooks, Diaries, and Letters of Daniil Kharms
For she [Valentine Ackland] is dying, dear William—slowly, irrevocably. Every day a sad step downhill. There was a sudden worsening about a fortnight ago, when the disease clamped down on her. It will be a matter of weeks yet, and the worst is still to come. . .
Except when I am with her, I feel like a ghost, a ghost in a house that is known but unfamiliar. I rehearse the unimaginable pas seule I shall enact later on. It is strange how one’s mind refuses to believe that this thing happens to everyone—death and loss, and watching them approach.
Sylvia Townsend Warner
Letter to William Maxwell, 4th Nov 1969
Letters Of Sylvia Townsend Warner
I am so sorry to return this book again. I've no doubt it is charming, and it was very nice of you to think of sending it me. But I have developed such a repugnance to the thought of writing a review, that I don’t think I shall ever write one again.
Letter to Kingsley Martin
Letters of Virginia Woolf
P. P. S. Did you know that DOG can be spelt C-A-T, but it’s pronounced CAT.
Letter to Bernard Miles, 4th Nov 1980
Spike Milligan: Man of Letters
It is now 10:30 on Monday morning. I have been waiting for a letter since 10:30 on Saturday morning, but again nothing has come. I have written every day but don’t I deserve even a word? One single word? Even if it were only to say “I never want to hear from you again.” Besides, I thought today’s letter would contain some kind of decision, but the non-arrival of a letter is also a little decision. Had a letter arrived, I would have answered it at once, and the answer would be bound to have begun with a complaint about the length of those two endless days. But you leave me sitting wretchedly at my wretched desk!
Letter to Felice Bauer, 4th Nov 1912
Letters to Felice
The Fat Cat Sits on my Feet. Fat is not enough to describe him by now. He must weigh pounds & pounds. And his lovely black coat is turning white. I suppose it’s to prevent the mountains from seeing him. He sleeps here & occasionally creeps up to my chest & pads softly with his paws, singing the while. I suppose he wants to see if I have the same face all night. I long to surprise him with terrific disguises. M. calls him “my Breakfast cat”, because they share that meal—two boys—alone together. M. at the table and Wingley on. It’s awful the love one can lavish on an animal.
Letter to Dorothy Brett, 4th Nov 1921
The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume IV
Editor of the New Statesman from 1930 to 1960.
Apparently I now have even more of a posthumous crush on Ruskin.
‘Masses of flocculent clouds’. Ruskin was usually stuffy and impenetrable in his writing but you’ve found a great quote.