The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Letters

Blessed be letters!... write it down; stamp it; burn it in the ink; — There it is, a true soul-print. ~Ik Marvel (Donald G. Mitchell), Reveries of a Bachelor

Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper
Like draggled fly's legs,
What can you tell of the flaring moon
Through the oak leaves?
Or of my uncurtained window and the bare floor
Spattered with moonlight?
Your silly quirks and twists have nothing in them
Of blossoming hawthorns,
And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth, virgin of loveliness
Beneath my hand.
I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here under the fire
Of the great moon.
~Amy Lowell, "The Letter," 1915

The pen in your hand is a magic wand with which you can send joy, hope, love and courage across deserts and plains, over mountains and seas, around the world and around the corner. ~Wilferd A. Peterson, "The Art of Writing Letters"

Such a sweet gift — a piece of handmade writing, in an envelope that is not a bill, sitting in our friend's path when she trudges home from a long day spent among wahoos and savages, a day our words will help repair. They don't need to be immortal, just sincere. She can read them twice and again tomorrow. ~Garrison Keillor, "How to write a personal letter," 1987, from Power of the Printed Word advertising campaign by Billings S. Fuess, Jr. at Ogilvy & Mather for International Paper Company

The inside of a mailbox should always be kept clean in case you get a love letter… ~Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts, 2000  [Charlie Brown to Sally —tg]

I thank you for such a long letter, and yet if I might choose, the next should be a longer. I think a letter just about three days long would make me happier than any other kind of one, if you please... ~Emily Dickinson, 1851

      Some, when they write to their friends, are all affection, some are wise and sententious; some strain their powers for efforts of gayety, some write news, and some write secrets; but to make a letter without affection, without wisdom, without gayety, without news, and without a secret, is, doubtless, the great epistolic art.
      In a man's letters, you know, Madam, his soul lies naked. His letters are only the mirror of his breast, — whatever passes within him is there shown undisguised in its natural progress; nothing is inverted, nothing distorted; you see systems in their elements, you discover actions in their motives.
      ...This is the pleasure of corresponding with a friend, where doubt and distrust have no place, and everything is said as it is thought.... I have indeed concealed nothing from you, nor do I ever expect to repent of having thus opened my heart. ~Samuel Johnson, letter to Mrs. Thrale, 1777 October 27th

Oh, I can't bother to write. If it's too long to telegraph I just let it go. ~Anonymous, c. 1904

A written note, a letter, a simple line of sympathy or writing loving phrases is like a warm, human hand-clasp to some one lonely or in the midst of an attack of the blues. A letter means many pleasant things and can keep the far-distant together. ~"On Writing Notes," The Crescent of Gamma Phi Beta, 1904  [a little altered —tg]

Dear Rose — this letter is a handclasp. ~Dorothy Thompson, letter to Rose Wilder Lane, 1928, edited by William V. Holtz

Dear Friend, — A letter always feels to me like Immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend. ~Emily Dickinson, 1868

I dipped my pen in gall and it composed a foolish, bitter letter, for which I beg a thousand pardons. ~Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné, 1670

Never write a letter while you are angry. ~Chinese proverb

It is foolish to say sharp, hasty things, but 't is a deal more foolish to write 'em. When a man sends you an impudent letter, sit right down and give it back to him with interest ten times compounded — and then throw both letters in the wastebasket. ~Elbert Hubbard

Ah, the glory, the freedom, the passion of a letter! It is worth all the lip-talk in the world. ~Ik Marvel (Donald G. Mitchell), Reveries of a Bachelor

Your letters, dear Rose, I can always remember — even those you wrote very long ago, but I never can remember my own. ~Dorothy Thompson, letter to Rose Wilder Lane, 1928, edited by William V. Holtz

Anne... shut herself up in her room, and read the letters. Some were written by her father, some by her mother... The letters were yellow and faded and dim, blurred with the touch of passing years. No profound words of wisdom were traced on the stained and wrinkled pages, but only lines of love and trust. The sweetness of forgotten things clung to them — the far-off, fond imaginings of those long-dead lovers... The letters were tender, intimate, sacred... I feel as if I had opened a book and found roses of yesterday, sweet and beloved, between its leaves. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915

The letters marked "personal and confidential" are the ones the private secretary opens first. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

...a letter is a joy of earth — it is denied the gods. ~Emily Dickinson, 1885

Excuse this letter's being like a hotch-potch. It's incoherent, but I can't help it. Sitting in an hotel room one can't write better. Excuse its being long, It's not my fault. My pen ran away with me—besides, I wanted to go on talking to you. It's three o'clock in the night. My hand is tired. The wick of the candle wants snuffing, I can hardly see. ~Anton Chekhov (1860–1904), letter, 1890 May 16th, translated by Constance Garnett, 1920

...your letter — your dear, warm, true-hearted letter — was put in my hand. I kissed it how many times before breaking its envelope! ~Byron Caldwell Smith (1849–1877), letter to Kate Stephens (1853–1938)

God keep and bless you for the sweet letter you wrote me... The little kisses * * * those and the "Yours ever" at the end. How dear they are and how they help fill the longing emptiness of my heart. ~Kate Stephens, A Woman's Heart, 1906 eyes moistened yesterday with your dear, dear letter in my hand. Was it foolish to kiss the senseless paper, to clasp it with the involuntary laugh of uncontrollable emotion? Don't you think one could go mad of pure longing?... ~Byron Caldwell Smith (1849–1877), letter to Kate Stephens (1853–1938)

Anything you are ashamed to have the postmaster or postmistress read, and therefore seal up, is known as first-class matter. Also, postal cards, where you're only allowed to argue on one side. If you think your letter should travel slowly, invest ten cents in a Special Delivery Stamp. This will insure a nice, leisurely journey, lasting from one to two days longer than by the cheap two-cent route. ~Charles Wayland Towne, "Postage and Postal Information: How to Mail a Letter, First-class Matter," The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

It consisted of a half-sheet of letter-paper, folded in the fashion of those days when as yet the envelope was undiscovered... ~J.C. Atkinson, "Witch Stories and Witch Antidotes," Forty Years in a Moorland Parish: Reminiscences and Researches in Danby in Cleveland, 1891

This is a dreadful letter. My eagerness to talk with you runs away with my typewriter. Forgive me. ~Dorothy Thompson, letter to Rose Wilder Lane, 1921, edited by William V. Holtz

Without 'tis autumn, the wind beats on the pane
With heavy drops, the leaves high upwards sweep.
You take old letters from a crumpled heap,
And in one hour have lived your life again.
~Mihai Eminescu (1850–1889), translated from Romanian by Corneliu M. Popescu

Then there's the joy of getting your desk clean, and knowing that all your letters are answered, and you can see the wood on it again. ~Lady Bird Johnson, quoted in Ruth Shick Montgomery, Mrs. L.B.J., 1964

Since I have no sweet flower to send you, I enclose my heart. ~Emily Dickinson

My dear Sir,—Before you read any more, I wish you would take those tablets out of your drawer, in which you have put a black mark against my name, and erase it neatly.... I have again and again and again said, "I'll write to‑morrow," and here I am to‑day full of penitence—really sorry and ashamed, and with no excuse but my writing-life, which makes me get up and go out, when my morning work is done, and look at pen and ink no more until I begin again.... This is a poor return (I look down and see the end of the paper) for your letter, but in its cordial spirit of reciprocal friendship, it is not so bad a one if you could read it as I do, and it eases my mind and discharges my conscience.... If you can spare me a scrap of your handwriting in token of forgiveness, do; if not, I'll come and beg your pardon [later]. ~Charles Dickens, letter to Edward Tagart, 1847 January 28th

Because there was no wind,
The smoke of your letters hung in the air
For a long time;
And its shape
Was the shape of your face,
My Beloved.
~Amy Lowell, "A Burnt Offering," Pictures of the Floating World, 1919

The coming of the postman is like the daily round of a Santa Claus. Your letters can be gifts to add a new glow to the lives of people. ~Wilferd A. Peterson, "The Art of Writing Letters"

I am sorry.. Can only say time accelerated and skidded.... When my correspondents reproach me for tardiness, I can only say that I give as much attention to a letter as I do to anything I write, and I work at least six and sometimes sixteen hours a day. ~William S. Burroughs, letter to Mother and Dad, 1959

The post-office has a great charm at one period of our lives. When you have lived to my age, you will begin to think letters are never worth going through the rain for. ~Jane Austen, Emma

Love letter:  an inky heartprint. ~Terri Guillemets

But it was your letter within, dear heart, my first love letter, and sweeter to me than the subtlest love-lyric Sappho ever penned in Aeolic gold. ~Byron Caldwell Smith (1849–1877), letter to Kate Stephens (1853–1938)

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