C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


The true character of epistolary style is playfulness and urbanity.


Letters which are warmly sealed are often but coldly opened.


In love matters, keep your pen from paper.

Alfred de Musset.

Letters should be easy and natural.


  • Full oft have letters caused the writers
  • To curse the day they were inditers.
  • Butler.

  • A letter, timely writ, is a rivet to the chain of affection;
  • And a letter, untimely delayed, is as rust to the solder.
  • Tupper.

    It is by the benefit of letters that absent friends are in a manner brought together.


    A stray volume of real life in the daily packet of the postman. Eternal love and instant payment.

    Douglas Jerrold.

    Here are a few of the unpleasantest words that ever blotted paper!


    In a heavy oppressive atmosphere, when the spirits sink too low, the best cordial is to read over all the letters of one’s friends.


    The post is the grand connecting link of all transactions, of all negotiations. Those who are absent, by its means become present; it is the consolation of life.


  • Kind messages, that pass from land to land;
  • Kind letters, that betray the heart’s deep history,
  • In which we feel the pressure of a hand—
  • One touch of fire—and all the rest is mystery!
  • Longfellow.

    A profusion of fancies and quotations is out of place in a love-letter. True feeling is always direct, and never deviates into by-ways to cull flowers of rhetoric.


  • They are those winged messengers that can fly
  • From the Antarctic to the Arctic sky;
  • The heralds and swift harbingers that move
  • From east to west on embassies of love.
  • Howell.

    The best time to frame an answer to the letters of a friend is the moment you receive them. Then the warmth of friendship, and the intelligence received most forcibly co-operate.


  • Every day brings a ship,
  • Every ship brings a word;
  • Well for those who have no fear,
  • Looking seaward well assured
  • That the word the vessel brings
  • Is the word they wish to hear.
  • Emerson.

  • The earth has nothing like a she epistle,
  • And hardly heaven—because it never ends.
  • I love the mystery of a female missal,
  • Which, like a creed, ne’er says all it intends.
  • *****You had better
  • Take care what you reply to such a letter.
  • Byron.

    Perhaps there is no greater test of a man’s regularity and easiness of conscience than his readiness to face the postman. Blessed is he who is made happy by the sound of a rat-tat! The good are eager for it; but the naughty tremble at the sound thereof.


  • The pen flowing in love, or dipped black in hate,
  • Or tipped with delicate courtesies, or harshly edged with censure,
  • Hath quickened more good than the sun, more evil than the sword,
  • More joy than woman’s smile, more woe than frowning fortune;
  • And shouldst thou ask my judgment of that which hath most profit in the world,
  • For answer take thou this, The prudent penning of a letter.
  • Tupper.

  • Heaven first taught letters for some wretch’s aid,
  • Some banish’d lover, or some captive maid;
  • They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires,
  • Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires;
  • The virgin’s wish, without her fears, impart;
  • Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart;
  • Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
  • And waft a sigh from Indus to the pole.
  • Pope.

    Let your letter be written as accurately as you are able,—I mean with regard to language, grammar, and stops; for as to the matter of it the less trouble you give yourself the better it will be. Letters should be easy and natural, and convey to the persons to whom we send them just what we should say to the persons if we were with them.