Yet More Letters To The Editor

Funny story written by Erskin Quint

Friday, 2 July 2010

image for Yet More Letters To The Editor
A Few Letters, So Many Combinations

Dear Sir,
I always enjoy your magazine. It comes to me rolled-up into a cylinder. It is such a joy when the postman thrusts it through my letterbox flaps every Friday morning. He's a wiry little fellow, my postman. His name is Iago. Really. I know what you're thinking. He's Welsh. His family were gravel-farmers. I'm all a-quiver, from early every Friday, waiting for Iago to thrust your magazine through my letterbox flaps. I did once subscribe to a rival magazine as well, in order to experience more regular thrusts. But I did not find 'Jiggering and Jollying Monthly' to be quite what I had longed for, as it was all about pottery, nor were the thrusts regular enough to satisfy. My letterbox is always open. What can a girl do?

Yours faithfully,

Miss Ruby Barbcrumble,

Dear Sir,
with all this talk about urban foxes in the news, and the speculations surrounding how they might be hunted, possibly on horseback, I am reminded of my recent adventure with equestrian pursuits. Perhaps my tale may serve as a cautionary one to other readers who might be minded to follow a similar bypath.

Excuse me a moment. The doorbell has rung.

Hello again. Sorry about that. I don't know whose doorbell it was that rang. I have no doorbell. I have a horseshoe knocker. So no-one was there. Where were we?

Ah. Yes. My recent equestrian adventure. I have a niece who is 13, and who simply adores our equine friends. I thought it would be a nice idea to pay for her membership to a Pony Club. I read through 'Horse & Hound' to no avail. My friend, Loveday, suggested I use her computer to 'surf the net'. Excuse me, there goes the doorbell. I wish it wouldn't keep trying to get away. No, what I mean is, I realise my earlier error.

The doorbell was on the television, on which I am watching an episode of 'Quincey', starring Jack Klugman. Whenever I watch this, I think of Quince Jam, which was my Aunt Laetitia's favourite, and also of Thomas de Quincey. Bt that is by the by. Where was I? Surfing the net, yes, that's it.

So at least I now know where the doorbell was, and can rest easier in my bodystocking than before. But where were we? Why did I write to Thomas de Quincey? What made me, an ordinary spinster living in the Cotswolds, dream that she might enter into a regular correspondence with an early Victorian man of letters, essayist, opium addict and friend of the Lake Poets. Call it hubris, call it lust, call it sheer damned madness, but here was a girl who wouldn't take 'never darken my linen again, Madam!' for an answer! How I left behind all that was familiar to me, how I tracked that crazy opium-eater across the country, from Edinburgh, to North Wales, to the London slums, fills 750 blockbusting pages of roller-coaster time-warping romance that leaves the reader spent, gasping, but sated.

Oh. I am sorry. I seem to have wandered once more. They used to call me 'wandering Wendy' at the Sailmaking College. No, in answer to your unspoken question, I did not train to be a sailmaker, noble profession though it is, even in these times of motorised shipping. No. I had wandered into the college during a shopping trip. The girl on reception was quite startled when I asked her about anti-macassars, and she was forced to redirect me. Wrongly, as it turned out, but no matter.

Let us return to my picaresque equestrian endeavours, after first informing you that I have just been able to ignore another 'Quincey' phantom doorbell. My internet search revealed the presence of a 'Pony Girl's Club' situated near the village of Upkettle, some 8 miles from my home. To cut a long story short, I telephoned the organiser, one 'Captain Cutlass', and secured an interview.

My niece being in Switzerland with her school on a trip to observe the manufacturing processes of cheeses and also the cuckoo clocks, I was forced to visit Upkettle alone. This, in the event, or before the event, or even after the event (since that was when the preception was made) was an unforseen blessing.

For the dwelling was a secluded manor house, hidden from the main road by tall hedges and beech trees. What I discovered within this fortification, and who I discovered therein, was, or were, hardly the stuff to reveal to a young girl of 13.

Ponies there were in profusion. Human ponies. Young women, largely unclothed, and harnessed by various leather harnesses to carts, traps and sulkies, in which obese bearded men sat, who were whipping the defenceless girls without mercy as they struggled to drag their heavy loads. You can only imagine my feelings. I made my escape before I had been seen. I have decided to buy my niece a new riding helmet and jodhpurs. Such places could only mar a girl's development and stunt her emotionally for life. They are surely the haunt of the perverse and the twisted.

Captain Cutlass replied to my letter last week, accepting my application to join. I am off to Hereford next Tuesday in the Morris Traveller, in search of the items of clothing that he has recommended. Excuse me, there is a knock at the door.

Sorry. I am now watching a film of 'Great Expectations'. Pip has just knocked on the door of Miss Havisham's house. Where was I? Ah. I see that I have run out of paper and must end this missive. I wonder, did Thomas de Quincey ever run out of paper?

Yours sincerely,

Miss Wendy Spindle,
Downe Gargle

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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