Last week on 10th March 2016, I was lucky enough to have tickets for a wonderful event in London; Letters Live. This event, held in the magnificent Freemasons Hall in Covent Garden, is a celebration of the art of letter writing. A selection of well-known actors and others stand on a stage and read letters written by or to well-known people from the past and the present. The author may be famous, or the recipient, or both. The letters read last night were funny, tender, heartbreaking and moving. It is a lovely event and supports a range of literacy charities (more information on their website). One of the exchanges, read by Tom Hollandar & Jarvis Cocker, included this, from RG Ingersoll to his friend (and teetotaler), the clergyman Dr. J. M. Buckley,1887:
A Teetotaler Would Want to Taste This Whiskey
"I send you some of the most wonderful whiskey that ever drove the skeleton from a feast or painted landscapes in the brain of man.
It is the mingled souls of wheat and corn. In it you will find the sunshine and the shadow that chased each other over the billowy fields; the breath of June; the carol of the lark; the dews of night; the wealth of summer and autumn’s rich content, all golden with imprisoned light.
Drink it and you will hear the voices of men and maidens singing the ‘Harvest Home,’ mingled with the laughter of children. Drink it and you will feel within your blood the star-lit dawns, the dreamy, tawny dusks of many perfect days.
For forty years this liquid joy has been within the happy staves of oak, longing to touch the lips of men."