Autograph Letter Signed from Augustine Birrell to the journalist and publicist Sydney Walton, mocking him in entertaining terms for suggesting that he would be well-received as a lecturer to 300 boys.

Augustine Birrell (1850-1933), Liberal politician and essayist [Sydney Walton (1882-1964), journalist and publicist]
Publication details: 
On letterhead of 70 Elm Park Road, Chelsea, SW. 2 September 1917.
SKU: 12491

2pp., 4to. Good, on lightly-aged paper. A very funny letter, written in the style that became known as 'birrelling'. He begins: 'Dear Sir. | I admire the enthusiasm which from the depths of an Office bearing the historically-ominous title of "Ministry of Food", & lodged in a once ducal mansion, can dictate (in type) so spirited a letter as your's [sic] of the 27th. ult. I wish I could believe in your vision of Three hundred Boys shouting Come - to an (almost) Septuagenarian Lecturer. It is of course all nonsense. I have been a boy myself, & never should come to my Lecturer [sic] though my applause when the self satisfied Idiot sat down may have encouraged him to believe that he had given me pleasure - & so he had - when he sat down. Never should we delude ourselves - but though we can seldom by lecturing to them make any impression upon boys - but boredom - (unless we are funny & have slides), they, as you suggest, may make an impression upon us & it would be very pleasant to sustain such an impression, were I up to it. But unfortunately I am not yet quite strong enough - so have no choice but to say "NO."