Sunday, September 19, 2010

Funny Letters from Famous People

I stumbled across Funny Letters from Famous People at the library while helping to weed the collection of nonfiction. It is a book with a large number of letters from well known persons, letters which contain many funny moments. I thought I would post a few examples of the wonderful comedy in this book.

Abraham Lincoln, in response to a request for a "sentiment and an autograph:"
Dear Madam: When you ask from a stranger that which is of interest only to yourself, always enclose a stamp. There's your sentiment, and here's your autograph. A. Lincoln

George Bernard Shaw, to Winston Churchill, inviting him to his play's opening night:
Have reserved two tickets for my first night. Come and bring a friend, if you have one.

Churchill's reply:
Impossible to come first night. Will come second night, if you have one.

Mark Twain to William Dean Howells:
In 1907, Twain sent a letter to the N.Y. Times and signed it on behalf of his friend, William Dean Howells, considered a leading man of letters in America at that time. He sent a copy of the letter to Howells with this note:
Howells, it is an outrage the way the govment is acting so I sent this complaint to the N.Y. Times with your name signed because it would have more weight. Mark.

Charles Dickens has several funny letters in this book. Here is one:
Dickens wrote this letter to John Bennett, the owner of a clock repair shop:

Gad's Hill Place
Higham by Rochester, Kent
Monday night
Fourteenth September, 1863
My Dear Sir:
Since my hall clock was sent to your establishment to be cleaned it has gone (as indeed it always has) perfectly well, but has struck the hours with great reluctance, and after enduring internal agonies of a most distressing nature, it has now ceased striking altogether. Though a happy release for the clock, this is not convenient to the household. If you can send down any confidential person with whom the clock can confer, I think it may have something on its works that it would be glad to make a clean breast of.
Faithfully yours,
Charles Dickens

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