That's a good note on which to lead into the first of the two letters I want to highlight today. Both are short, almost to the point of being cryptic, and both are amusing. The first, to Havelock Ellis, was sent on July 29, 1895:
Dear Mr EllisEllis, you probably know, was a pioneering sexologist, and the pamphlet? Editors Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate helpfully note that it was likely Sexual Inversion in Women. If a famous sexologist sends you, unsolicited, that pamphlet, in that less open era, what other response is possible? (And presumably he kept it hidden from his wife?)
Pamphlet received. Shall read it with interest.
Yours very truly,
The second letter is from May 4, 1895, and it reads:
Dear Sir,What makes this one of interest is that it is to an unknown recipient. Oh, sure, it's probably innocuous. But what if it's not? Couldn't that be the response to a blackmail demand? To a note from a private detective who has some information that he's sure will be of interest to the eminent Mr. Hardy?
I am in receipt of your note. I will if possible call on you about 5 this afternoon.
Could May 4, 1895 have been the day Thomas Hardy met Sherlock Holmes!