If you are not careful, I won't even put your name in the hat
A mixed mailbag
I shall be thirty-one next birthday. My youth is gone like a dream; and very little use have I ever made of it. What have I done these last thirty years? Precious little.
Letter to Ellen Nussey
24th March 1847 (7 months before Jane Eyre was published)
There’s nothing like teenage diaries for putting momentous historical events into perspective. This is my entry for 20 July, 1969. ‘I went to arts centre (by myself!) in yellow cords and blouse. Ian was there but he didn’t speak to me. Got rhyme put in my bag by someone who’s apparently got a crush on me. It’s Nicholas I think (UGH). Man landed on moon.
Letter to the Guardian
How dare you remind me about this trivial overdraft when my Post Office Savings have reached £17.8.0? I must warn you that once a month I put all my overdrafts into a hat and the one that comes out first, I clear. If you are not careful, I won't even put your name in the hat.
Letter to his bank, Coutts & Co.
4th February 1968
Nobody’s heart is really good for much until it has been smashed to little bits.
Letter to Loren MacIver
19th July 1949
How weird to think that one is parading about all the time, up to the strangest things, in other people’s dreams.
Letter to Georg Kreisel
7th March 1975
Strange things the eyes. Consider the question of the cat. The cat has nothing to express emotion with but a pair of eyes and some slight assistance from the ears. Yet consider the wide range of expression a cat is capable of with such small means. And then consider the enormous number of human faces you must have looked at that had no more expression than a peeled potato.
Letter to Dale Warren
14th June 1950
I like your show very much. But when you and Robin start fighting do you have to put in those words like for instance, POW, OUCH, CRUNCH, ZLONK and all the rest! Little children that can’t read don’t know what it means and they have to ask someone older and by that time a new word is up and gone. And that makes some of the little children upset.
I know what I am talking about because I am 10 and I used to be a little child.
Letter to Batman’s fan club
I feel just worthless today. I have to drive myself. I have used every physical excuse not to work except fake illness. I have dawdled, gone to the toilet innumerable times, had many glasses of water. Really childish.
Letter to his editor, Pascal Covici
6th July 1951
I hesitate to worry you, but I thought I should tell you that some enemy of yours is writing me very angry letters, and signing your name to them.
Have a good week.
Letter to Hilary Knight
18th September 1964
I am and have always been carrying a lot of grief for my lost childhood. And for the effects of its horror and violence on my life. I am grieving the loss of my mother and father. I am grieving the loss of my brothers and sister. The division of my family. The loss of my SELF. My own inner child. Who is really me. Who was tortured and abandoned and spat at and abused. Who has been beaten naked until she was bruised. Who has grown up with no sense of self-esteem. No sense of trust. No ability to be intimate and who therefore is in very great pain which needs to be looked at and worked through and expressed. So that I can be free of its effects on my life.
Letter to the Irish Times
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