Thou Shalt Not Cross

After Annemiek’s presentation on Penholder’s Everbody’s Letter Writer, I started to think about crossing again. Earlier in this blog, there was a post by Annemiek on what Penholder wrote about the reasons for not crossing letters. Reasons for crossing were either that the writer was short on paper or that what needed to be added was too important to be left out.

While I was reading the Browning letters, I came across a letter that I had to share with a fellow classmate and therefore, why not share it with the rest of the class?

Browning Letter: 1 May 1845

As you can see, Elizabeth Barrett has the tendency to use the inside of the envelope’s flap when there is no more paper left to write on. Or, at times, you can find some added text in the header (above or in the area of the opening formula and date) of the first page of the letter. As the time passes, Elizabeth uses the flap of the envelope less and less, which shows improvement in her letter writing skills. As far as I have discovered, Robert Browning only wrote on the flap twice. But more often than not, Robert has more than enough space left when he finished a letter.

Even though Elizabeth and, at times, Robert use up other spaces to continue their letter, they never cross their letters (at least, as far as I have found). I thought that was rather interesting because (to me) that shows that crossing is indeed frowned upon, whereas other methods of adding text are ‘OK’ in Elizabeth and Robert’s book.

Barrett, Elizabeth (1 May 1845). Accessed on: 2 December 2012.
Korf, Annemiek (2012). Penholder’s Everybody’s Letter Writer“. Accessed on: 2 December 2012.

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