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H L16

JL 102

OMC 13

24 February 1853


watermark/embossment: XSTR, Extra, embossed

20 x 13 cm.

FF 220-223, in part, with changes. Lines pencilled across paragraphs from "It made me feel so lonely" to "At Dover," "Manchester" (where Sue was visiting) pencilled in above the date. Multiply folded, quite worn, "X" on verso. "T's" in this letter have an extraordinary flair, and most of the dashes are noticeably longer than in previous missives. Identifying the quotation, Johnson shows that word games are integral to this correspondence: "The source of ED's couplet is Longfellow's Kavanagh: 'At Dover dwells George Brown, Esquire,/Good Christopher Finch, and Daniel Friar.' The lines form a device used to reckon the day of the week on which the first of each month will fall. The twelve words represent the months of the year in sequence, and the seven initial letters, A B C D E F G, stand for the days of the week. The day on which January 1 falls in any specific year will be represented by 'A' in 'At.' It then is simple to discover on what days the other eleven months will begin."

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Image reproduced by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Not to be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.
Transcription and commentary copyright 1996 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Last updated on June 5, 2001
Maintained by Lara Vetter