I have the good fortune of knowing an emeritus professor of English, whose e-mail messages — in lyrically beautiful prose — are always such a delight to receive. The following (names changed/deleted to protect the guilty) is elegant and precise without being verbose or bombastic — the last often the mark of an immature writer. Who says ephemeral, electronic communication has to be in a degraded form of English?
My dear _______,
Is it true that the space bar gets more use than any other key on the board? Certainly in this cybercafé the space bars often seem defective, and the other day I sent a message that turned out to consist of a single enormous word! I say this by way of prefatory apology for any eccentricities in this letter, or any more than usual.
So you are, in a sense, a free man until 12 January, I think you said. This is a vacation of astounding dimensions, though I know not a vacation in the literal sense of emptiness as far as you are concerned. Still, a change is said to be as good as a rest, and I hope you will find some satisfaction in getting back to writing.
All continues well here. Firoz is away in Delhi for a couple of days on business. Last weekend we were at his house on the beach, which seems a thousand miles away from the hurly-burly of Bombay though it is only twenty or thirty. The gardener’s wife cooks plain but wholesome food, we sit and watch the grass grow, and walk on the beach early in the morning and towards sunset, it being too hot to venture far in the middle of the day. My tour of Sri Lanka is now confirmed, departing on 22nd, and I look forward to it very much. I am going with a Hindu friend, Viswa, a devout fellow who gives me insights into religious culture that I would certainly not get from my less godly friends!
No need to reply to this, of course.