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To-day I receiv'd two interesting letters from the North of England. The first is from a youth of doubtful character, the second from a young lady of some culture and spirit:

Wutherin Ites

Deer Madam,

I av a problem. My best frend Cathy dont luv me no mor, and is goin to marry a bloke called Edgar who wears fancy soots and as gud manners and washes is face like a gerl. I dunt no wot to do cos I av no othir frends, and woz like a bruthir to er. I just wonts to kill things like lapwings and puppys, wot cant defend themselfs. In fact, I think I shal run away from ome. I cud go bak to Liverpule, but Mister Urnshaw once sed I woz an illegal imigrunt, so I dunt no if thats sensibul.


Dear Heathcliff,

Get a Life! It is not healthy to go through life with only one Friend, especially if she has been as a Sister to you. Meet people! Join yr local Youth Club - Halifax would probably be nearest - or go to Coffee houses, Afsemblies, & c. You might also improve yr Image by washing (not only girls wash, you know) and dressing smartly. As for good Manners - they are the mark of a Gentleman, and are to be emulated, not scorn'd & despis'd. You really should lose no time in Self-Improvement, since the Immigration Authorities are lefs likely to pay you unwelcome Attentions if you appear respectable and gainfully employ'd. Leave the Wildlife alone; you may find the RSPB & RSPCA are lefs sympathetic to yr habit of working out yr frustrations upon harmlefs furr'd & feather'd Creatures.

Alternatively, if you are as devious-minded as I believe, you could embark upon a profitable Career in order to make yrself a Man of Means. For a young Man of yr violent propensities, the King's Highway would surely furnish ample Opportunities for advancing yrself, altho', if you read my previous Epistle to Mifs Befs, you will realise that it is a Career likely to be of short Duration, probably ending with a bout of the Hempen Fever or Lead-poisoning of the solid sort. Enrich'd, however, you could then pursue any means of Vengeance as whetted yr profoundly sadistic quasi-incestuous Appetites. However, I would not recommend this.

But whichever path you take, I cannot recommend too strongly that you attend Literacy Clafses: even as a master Criminal you may need to correspond with a Lawyer.

Marsh End,

Dear Mme. de Merteuil,

I am an orphan, with no protector or adviser. Until recently, I was employed as governefs to the bastard daughter of Edward Rochester, Esq.. As is not uncommon in such situations, an affection arose between my employer and myself, which resulted in a proposal of marriage. Imagine my horror, then, when it was revealed upon our wedding day that Mr. Rochester has a lunatic Jamaican Creole wife, both intemperate and unchaste, confined to the attic. Despite Mr. Rochester's entreaties to remain with him as his mistrefs, I have fled, and am now sheltering with my cousins. In this situation, I have received yet another proposal, from Cousin St.John, to accompany him as a mifsionary to India. The trouble is, I still love Mr. Rochester. Please be so good as to advise me what to do.

Yours sincerely,



Dear Jane,

First of all, I think we can write off Cousin St.John. What sort of Rogue invites a Lady to join him in a mifsionary position in India? Give him a copy of the Kama Sutra as a farewell Gift, & he may think of some more Interesting ones.

As to Mr. Rochester: you have had a lucky escape. He is a finish'd Master of Duplicity to make my late lamented Friend, M. le Vicomte de Valmont, of blessed Memory, appear a very pillar of Honesty & Integrity. First of all, he attempts to trick you into Bigamy; failing in this, he wishes to install you as his Mistrefs, although you are a Lady of steely Vertue.

Consider the fate of his first Wife - the unfortunate rum-soak'd Erotomaniac. What has he done to this poor Lady to drive her to such mental Distraction? Do not be fobbed off with specious talk of 'bad Blood' & 'tropical Climates': have you check'd whether she is, in fact, drugged rather than mad? Do not trust this Man! At the very least, you would be better devoting yr formidable moral Earnestnefs to establishing a comfortable & progrefsive Asylum for the Lady, instead of leaving her to her Husband's idea of 'Care in the Community'.

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