I was browsing my cookery book shelves - not that I do any cooking, but I do like to look at the pictures - when I found my 1755 copy of 'The Young Man's Best Companion' by George Fisher. I couldn't think why it would have been put there - unless cook had been at the bottle again
- except that we don't have a cook now.
What a wonderful old book, in some ways I feel that I should have given it to you, although I think we can assume that you are reasonably well versed in 'The Mother Tongue, viz English ...' although perhaps a little formality when you write to your Father and I would be nice - George Fisher suggested that you should start with
'Honoured Father and Mother'
Your Dutiful Son, and Humble Servant'
Of course you don't need to bother with such formality in an email!
Not so sure that 'law-writings, bonds, bills, indentures, letters of attorney, etc'. or 'some directions relating to the pleasant and delightful Art of Gardening, with General Observations for every month of the Year' would interest you.
However, the account of several counties of England is fascinating. 'Lincolnshire - The western parts are good and fruitful having plenty of grass and breed the largest Oxen in the Kingdom. The eastern parts are marshy, though well stored with wild-fowl.'
'How to Pickle and Preserve all Kinds of Fruits and Flowers, etc, with instructions for making divers sorts of wines of English Growth, and also for preparing many excellent Medicines, Plasters, etc, with several good Prescriptions of proper use against most Distempers, Fit for, and necessary in all families' will be useful, particularly the recipe for 'Making Walnuts eat like Mangoes'. You know how I love mangos.
To the whole is added a 'Compleat Treatise of Farriery, being a sure guide to all Gentlemen and Farmers, in relation to the Care and Management of their Horsers, Mares, etc with proper Advice to the Groom.' Do you have a groom with you darling?
Although the book is called 'The Young Man's Best Companion' I have decided that I will keep my lovely old book - anything you need to know is probably listed somewhere on Google, you could Skype, e-mail, text, or 'telephone a friend'.
I now know the reason it had been put with the cookery books.. remember the lovely old recipe book which I told you about last week? Some parts are difficult to transcribe, partly because the writing becomes less clear, but also because the handwriting seems to be based on a style called Italian Hand. When I studied this page I found that the odd shapes, and confusing letters, suddenly made sense.
Lots of love,
Sorry, according to George Fisher, that should read:
xxx (Not that he advocates sending kisses)
PS. I have saved some delicious sections for another posting - how to make your own inks - various colours, and several methods of secret writing.