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Old Friends, Epistolary Parody

Andrew Lang

Book Overview: 

Every fancy which dwells much with the unborn and immortal characters of Fiction must ask itself, Did the persons in contemporary novels never meet? In so little a world their paths must often have crossed, their orbits must have intersected, though we hear nothing about the adventure from the accredited narrators. In historical fiction authors make their people meet real men and women of history—Louis XI., Lazarus, Mary Queen of Scots, General Webbe, Moses, the Man in the Iron Mask, Marie Antoinette; the list is endless. But novelists, in spite of Mr. Thackeray’s advice to Alexandre Dumas, and of his own example in “Rebecca and Rowena,” have not introduced each other’s characters" (from the Introduction). In this volume, Andrew Lang shows, what a letter from one fictional character to another might look like.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .A man may have an undue partiality for the airy children of his friends’ fancy.  Mr. Meredith has introduced me to an amiable Countess, to a strange country girl named Rhoda, to a wonderful old Æschylean nurse, to some genuine boys, to a wise Youth,—but that society grows as numerous as brilliant.  Mr. Besant has made us friends with twins of literary and artistic genius, with a very highly-cultured Fellow of Lothian, with a Son of Vulcan, with a bevy of fair but rather indistinguishable damsels, like a group of agreeable-looking girls at a dance.  But they are too busy with their partners to be friendly.  We admire them, but they are unconcerned with us.  In Mr. Black’s large family the Whaup seems most congenial to some strangers; the name of one of Mr. Payn’s friendly lads is Legion, and Miss Broughton’s dogs, with their friend Sara, and Mrs. Moberley, welcome the casual visitor with hospitable care.  A. . . Read More