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George Orwell, The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters. 6. Letter to Rayner Heppenstall


George Orwell

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George Orwell, The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters

6. Letter to Rayner Heppenstall

The Stores
Wallington
Nr Baldock, Herts.
16 April 1940

Dear Rayner,

Thousands of congratulations on the kid. I hope and trust both are doing well. Please give Margaret all the best and my congratulations. What a wonderful thing to have a kid of one’s own, I’ve always wanted one so. But Rayner, don’t afflict the poor little brat with a Celtic sort of name that nobody knows how to spell. She’ll grow up psychic or something. People always grow up like their names. It took me nearly thirty years to work off the effects of being called Eric. If I wanted a girl to grow up beautiful I’d call her Elizabeth, and if I wanted her to be honest and a good cook I’d choose something like Mary or Jane. The trouble is that if you called her Elizabeth everyone would think you’d done it after the queen, as she presumably will be some day.
Thanks for the photos but you didn’t tell me what the negatives etc. cost. I chose the ones marked 3 and 5 to send to the people. I thought the one marked 3 the best likeness, but naturally I know my own face best from the front. Let’s hope the photo will have the desired effect. Seeing that it’s for people at the other end of the world I don’t know why one shouldn’t send a photo of some nice-looking boy in the Air Force or something. I am afraid I definitely lack glamour, because I get quite a lot of letters from readers nowadays, but it’s always from people snootily pointing out some mistake I’ve made and never from young women telling me I’m a sheik. I had some wonderful letters once from a midwife, and I wrote back not telling her I was married, but in the end to Eileen’s great glee she turned out to be 35 and have 4 children.
I don’t know when I’ll be in town. I am buried under books I keep reviewing and not getting on with my own book. God knows whether it will ever get written or whether such things as publishing novels will still be happening two years hence. All the best.
Yours
Eric

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