[ETIQUETTE]. ALS signed to Meg Nason. n.d., [c.1920].
Two sheets of folded paper (17 x 22.5cm); written in blue ink; the first sheet on both sides, the second recto only; some creasing to corners, a few small brown spots and toning to the folds, with a couple of very small holes; entirely legible.
An endearing and highly entertaining letter from "a low class old hooligan" writing to a young lady who is about to leave home for the big smoke for the first time. Among the snippets of advice are tips and suggestions on how to disembark the train: "Do not therefore, I beg of you, in frenzied excitement leap from the train before it has stopped at the platform, the porters who are unaccustomed to such sights will be most annoyed, and perhaps some of them upset. When the train has stopped remain seated in your compartment for 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour, so as to gain a seemly composure...and then alight gracefully (left foot first)"; tips on how best to conduct the fine art of luncheon: "Don't eat your soup with a spoon, lap it up from your plate, that is one of the fashions of the day, like most fashions, disgusting, but still the fashion and therefore to be practised"; and suggestions on how to grab people's attention; in the case of waiters, by prodding them with an umbrella, which should be carried about at all times; in the case of other people in the dining room, "never point at people with your fork, it is rude, always use your fish knife".
The recipient of the letter, though unnamed, is Margaret 'Meg' Nason, a close friend and contemporary of T. S. Eliot, who owned the Bindery tea shop in Broadway, Gloucestershire. Nason and Eliot corresponded from the late 1930s until the latter's death, and Meg often sent the writer cakes to mark his birthday, and other such occasions (an archive of their letters is currently held by the British Library, in which it is detailed that chocolate was his favourite).