The Royal County Arbiter

27 March 2006

Dido Building Carthage, or An Unfinished Letter

I found this card today, addressed to an Officer Cadet at Sandhurst, down in the dusty recesses of a library bookshelf:

Dido Buiding Carthage, or The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire by Turner - National Gallery, London

September 12th 2005

Dear Jeremy,
I have just finished having my bath and speaking with you on the telephone. It occurred to me that the letter I had written you and was intending to send tomorrow was simply not appropriate for your first letter. I believed that your emotions were probably running high, being it your week, and therefore I decided to write in somewhat of a detached manner. Rather than follow my instincts, I wrote about... Scottish national identity and the British public's love of the secular magic of monarchy!

We have only known each other a few weeks and there is so much for us to learn about each other. I will start, I think, by providing (not particularly interesting) facts about myself:

The remaining half of the card has been left tantalisingly blank. Why did this person stop writing at this point? What interrupted her (or him)? Did they use the unfinished letter as a bookmark then carelessly forget about it? I guess we'll never know.

This is why I love ephemera so much - that voyeuristic peek into other people's everyday lives, the open-ended mystery of these fragments, the imagined human dramas. The nosy, speculating, storytelling part of my brain explodes when I come across precious scraps like today's card.

I hope that I can sate your burning curiosities by providing some (not particularly interesting) facts about myself:

  • I have two brothers.
  • I don't like it in winter when I enter a room and my glasses fog up.
  • I have a scar on my knee from a childhood fall.
Over to you, dog.


Blogger Brit:

Wow, that's really cool. Such an old-fashioned letter to be dated 2005. I wonder if they were romantically involved.

10:52 pm  
Anonymous Robert:

- I have a single brother.
- I think toy cars are disgusting. I hate to look at them and absolutely cannot touch them.
- One of my father's brothers died in a gliding accident before I was born and nobody ever mentions him.

9:53 am  
Anonymous routard:

I thought I was being clever thinking it was an Emily Allchurch recreation of a classic (Turner in this case) but old squinty eyes has got it wrong and it's the original ;)

- I've had a beard for nearly half my life.
- I once snogged Tracy Shaw from Coronation Street before she was famous.

7:25 pm  
Blogger Myrtle Peacock:

Other things I've found in the library while on shelf-tidying and shelving duties include: a cheque for £30.00 from 2003; a manga-style drawing of three people inside this book; and a packet of Indian chewing tobacco.

8:30 pm  
Anonymous N:

I wish i had your job.

10:49 pm  
Blogger Namera Rahman:

Microsoft points and Xbox Live

8:56 am  
Blogger Namera Rahman:

Red Lobster vs Olive Garden

8:57 am  
Blogger Namera Rahman:

Starbucks Gift Card

8:58 am  

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