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I had never read your ALEMBICK until this afternoon, and yet I cannot deny the salubrious effect that your verse has had on my personal relationships. I think it not untrue to assert, Sirs, that your poetry has saved my marriage!
My husband, Edgar, is a bore and a fool. I knew as much when I married him, yet trusted that his prospects and kind nature would render him a tolerable match. He had, even in our early days together, a rambling tendency in speech, and I can scarcely imagine that any man has shown such an aptitude for interrupting hostesses or putting his elbow in the butter dish. For several years, however, we lived in relative contentment: Edgar acted according to his nature, while I, busying myself with work and friends, turned a charitably blind eye to his failings. We were, in our way, happy.
And yet my happiness has abated in the past few months. The recent plague has meant that Edgar and I are in each other’s presence constantly: confined to the house, I cannot escape him. No sooner do we sit down to luncheon than Edgar begins lecturing me on some topic or another, mouth full of food. Does he ever inquire about my day? Does he show any sign of care? Of consideration? No, Sirs!
Today, our relationship came to the breaking point as Edgar described to me—in awful detail—the disposition of General von Kluck’s army at Mons. If I had heard him wheeze for one more minute that Kluck’s failure to properly deploy the IInd and IXth corps allowed the British to retreat in good order, I fear that I would have gone mad. How, I thought in a fury, How could you have loved this fool?
Sirs… I hesitate to ask. Do you believe in providence? That God himself sends us messages in unthought-of places? That the answers are before us, and we have but to look?
At the very moment I asked the question, the doorbell rang. It was my sister, delivering a copy of your most recent ALEMBICK. As I idled through its pages, my love for Edgar came rushing back. He may drone, Sirs, but he is never so inane as the poets that you’ve chosen to print. That poem pointing out that the sun is our closest star? That wretched fabliau? That foul poem by Marbled?
Your magazine reminded me, Sirs, of what I always knew: Edgar is a fool and a bore, but I could have done worse. Thank you, Sirs, thank you! Your magazine has made me, once again, content with my lot.
Lady Patience Brane
You muft know by now that I holde nothing butt the Higheft reegard for your literare peeriodicle, THE ALEMBICK by name. I efteem it among the Great Honorf of my lyfe, FIR, to have been publifhed in your Februer iffue.
I have refently, FIR, been unlucke in love, and, af if fitting for a fore Heartt, producedd a verfe of tragickal nature. I prefentt, FIR, for your readerf, my POEM,
O wo, o wo, o wo, faif I
a-lyeing in the Hether
the Funn is fhyning in the fky
but I do curf the whether.
The fun could fhine an hundredd yearf
but ftill I'd weap bereaftly.
Yef, I'd couldd cry a Centure'f tearf
becauf my girl haf leftt me.
If you think it not too tragick, FIR, I look Forwardd to feeing it in your Mickaelmaff iffue.
I am FIR,
Your faithful Fervant,