Tolkien Gateway

Letter 55

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 55
RecipientChristopher Tolkien
Date18 January 1944
Subject(s)Local news during the war

Letter 55 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Prefaced with "Fæder his þriddan suna[note 1] (1)", Tolkien felt it had been a long time (actually 8 days) since he had written. Tolkien and his wife did not know when Christopher had left or to where.[note 2]

Tolkien related local news, of which the most personally memorable was a stay in an air raid warden room. Tolkien's companion was Cecil Roth[note 3] whom he found full of charm and gentleness. Roth had woken up Tolkien at 10 to 7:00 so that he could go to Communion, which felt like a fleeting glimpse of an unfallen world. Tolkien had considered not going but one sombre glance by this gentle Jew at his rosary settled the matter. He had been colloguing with brothers Lewis and C. Williams. Tolkien mentioned that the fouls[note 4] refused to lay but he still had to clean their den.

Referring to the number one at the beginning of his letter, Tolkien explained that he would now number each letter and each page so that Christopher would know if anything went awry.

[edit] Note

  1. Anglo-Saxon, "[The] father [to] his third son."
  2. He had gone to South Africa for pilot training.
  3. The reader in Jewish studies at Oxford.
  4. The Tolkiens were keeping hens and this was a pun on "fowls".