But now--handwriting! Early in the correspondence Hart-Davis writes that he hopes Lyttelton can easily read his handwriting, to which Lyttelton replies:
In a world where nearly all is dark, as Bishop Gore used to say, two things are luminously clear: viz that your letters are of first-class interest and quality, and that your handwriting is perfectly legible, and, in fact, very pleasant to look on. And the second is very important. Did you ever get a letter from Monty [M. R.] James? I once had a note from him inviting us to dinner--we guessed that the time was 8 and not 3, as it appeared to be, but all we could tell about the day was that it was not Wednesday.To which Hart-Davis replied,
I never saw Monty James's writing but doubt whether he can have been more illegible than Lady Colefax: the only hope of deciphering her invitations, someone said, was to pin them up on the wall and run past them!My handwriting, as my small band of far-flung correspondents and nearby coworkers would loudly attest, is abominable, a disgrace to civilization and possibly even a chink in the armor of evolutionary theory. It is only a lifetime's familiarity with the primary uses of pencil and paper that enable readers to determine that yes, those marks are intended to be letters and words. Fortunately, as I have neither Lady Colefax's title nor M. R. James's antiquarianist's pedigree, I received my first typewriter at age ten and have blissfully never looked back.