Postscript

J. M. Barrie (1860-1937), the creator of Peter Pan, had been looking forward to meeting with the poet A. E. Housman (1859-1936). In December 1922, a meeting between the two was arranged in Trinity College, Cambridge. It turned out that it was a dinner party. Rather shy, Barrie was not fond of going to parties or places where he has to interact with a lot of people. He often specified that his visits should be times when “we could be together without my having to meet with people.”

Then during dinner, neither of them found anything much to say to each other.

“I went to meet Housman but it was alas one of those dire dinners of dons and wines, and I knew I should be appallingly silent and dull, and I went and I was,” Barrie remarked. “The awful feeling that you will never be able to speak or think again!”

Barrie felt bad about what happened so upon returning to London, he penned a short letter to Housman:

Dear Professor Houseman,

I am sorry about last night, when I sat next to you and did not say a word. You must have thought I was a very rude man: I am really a very shy man.

Sincerely yours, J. M. Barrie

Housman replied:

Dear Sir James Barrie,

I am sorry about last night, when I sat next to you and did not say a word. You must have thought I was a very rude man: I am really a very shy man.

Sincerely yours, A. E. Housman

P.S. And now you’ve made it worse for you have spelt my name wrong.

Reference

Viola Meynell (Editor), Letters of J. M. Barrie, 1947

About Edmark M. Law

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. I blog at learnfunfacts.com. You can find me on Twitter @EdmarkMLaw and Facebook. My email is learnfunfacts@gmail.com
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25 Responses to Postscript

  1. Garfield Hug says:

    Oh man!!😣He really blew it! Was there by chance a reply after this from Housman? But I would not be too much surprised as Peter Pan is pitched against a poet!!😂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ivors20 says:

    An interestingly dull article, but loved the P.S remark at the end !! touche’

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Agree, that was a “touché” for sure! Amusing share, enjoyed it!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. George says:

    I really wonder now what their follow up conversation, if any, might have been..:)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fluid Phrase says:

    Hahaha! This is really funny! Interconnect of two shy souls 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I love learning about the obscure and humorous facts you manage to find. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Could be the shortest epistolary novel I’ve ever read. Enjoyed it though.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Pingback: Unique Blogger Award – Growing Self

  9. Maria Holm says:

    “The awful feeling that you will never be able to speak or think again!” I can identify with that overwhelming chaotic feeling at parties. That’s why I like blogging so much. You get in touch because of reading and writing and everybody seem to be so nice

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t have any problem with parties and I’ve gone to many of them (mostly because I was invited to perform magic or something like that…). Nonetheless, I am not that fond of them. I’d rather read a book or even just watch tv than to go to a party.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Arbie says:

    Ah, it’s a shame there’s no follow up. Never have I bonded with a kindred soul more than a fellow timid person I’ve apologized to for being shy. The me too and friendship that follows is usually quite lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed… I was searching for other references but I can’t find any follow up. But perhaps, they may have contacted each other again at some point but the letters were just lost (which also happened to lots of letters before).

      Liked by 1 person

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