On this Day in Letters

Dear February 10th

Please raise a glass and join me in wishing each of the following letters—all of which were written on a 10th February—a happy birthday. Also, welcome to ‘On this Day in Letters,’ an ingenious new feature I came up with moments ago. Further proof that I’m firing on all cylinders.

May your day be bearable x


I danced most of the evening with our Ralph, and in between dances we retreated up here and ate cakes and pies and sat over the fire. The ‘missies’ were incredibly dull. Really it’s difficult to see how mother nature could with lumps of dough, and a carving knife, have contrived such heights of perfect dullness in their faces.

Dora Carrington | Letter to Lytton Strachey, 10 Feb 1920 | Carrington's Letters


For some time past no one has wanted articles from me, and I had a rather worrying letter from my American publisher. I am having to write a book I don’t want to write, and finding the effort very difficult. This school is to close in July. My boy has mumps. My private life is complicated and fatiguing. My only unalloyed pleasures are sleep and detective stories. I keep up a pose of cheerfulness out of pride, but sometimes it becomes so laborious that I desire nothing but solitude.

Bertrand Russell | Letter to Amber White, 10 Feb 1931 | Selected Letters, Vol. 2


Sorry I was so glum. It’s nothing but the truth. I’m in a cursed mood and can’t bear the human face—so put off coming here, I advise you, as long as possible. Perhaps by the end of the week I shall be thawed. God knows.

Virginia Woolf | Letter to Ethel Smyth, 10 Feb 1933 | The Sickle Side of the Moon


What I must have now is enough to keep me alive for two weeks. After that I can go to work. I owe room rent now and other things. I have used up every available resource before appealing to you—even to pawning my typewriter.

Zora Neale Hurston | Letter to Fannie Hurst, 10 Feb 1949 | A Life in Letters


As to your notion of an allegory, there is none. “Charlotte’s Web” is a tale of the animals in my barn, not of the people in my life. When you read it, just relax. Any attempt to find allegorical meanings is bound to end disastrously, for no meanings are in there. I ought to know.

E. B. White | Letter to John Detmold, 10 Feb 1953 | Letters of E. B. White


I am so happy and bubbly today that I just had to share some of it with you! Guess what! Just heard by telegram from Sue Weller that she has been awarded a Marshall scholarship for Oxford next year! I am overcome with joy. That means we shall go to London on weekends, to see plays, go skiing in the Alps, travel together: all so perfect, because she is the ideal companion. That girl really deserves this and has a marvelous career ahead of her, I’m sure.

Sylvia Plath | Letter to her mother, 10 Feb 1956 | Letters Home: Correspondence


We live a life of incredible quiet [in Capri]. Although somewhat troubled by vestiges of a Presbyterian conscience, I have succeeded in doing nothing whatsoever, and it seems to be working because I feel much better. We rise late, take a walk, read the papers. Sometimes we have dinner in and at others eat at little restaurants deep in the thick and Moorish walls of the old buildings. At our favorite place, we have a table in front of the opening of the pizza oven which serves instead of a fireplace.

John Steinbeck | Letter to Pascal Covici, 10 Feb 1962 | A Life in Letters


Since books are to libraries what asphalt is to highway departments, I assume that Indiana is also asking donations from suppliers of asphalt for her roads. Or has it been decided that asphalt is worth good money, and that books are not?

Kurt Vonnegut | Letter to Charles Ewick, Indiana State Library, 10 Feb 1983 | Kurt Vonnegut: Letters


I must write a special letter and thank you for the dream in the bottle. You are the first person in the world who has sent me one of these and it intrigued me very much. I also liked the dream. Tonight I shall go down to the village and blow it through the bedroom window of some sleeping child and see if it works.

Roald Dahl | Letter to a young fan named Amy, 10 Feb 1989 | Letters of Note


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