19 February 2004
Dear Clement Alexander Tips,
I am delighted to inform you that I desire to set up communication between the two of us in a romantic manner immediately. It is February 17, 2004, and after searching for twenty years for the right man without success, I have decided to go back in time to a place where honor and chivalry are very much alive to find my perfect mate. I received your information from the new and improved match.com website, and it is through this service that I will be sending a messenger back through time to deliver my correspondence and receive yours. Please do not be frightened, I come in peace and only desire to learn a little about a man whose record and description are indeed so very attractive.
Now, a little about myself, I am twenty-year-old with long brown hair and blue eyes. I am in my third year at the University of Texas in the United States of America (which you know nothing about since they have not yet come into existence when you will be receiving this letter; but pay no mind, and in no way attempt to change the future by using any of the information I will be providing you). I am studying both English literature and Spanish language, so therefore, when I graduate, I will possess two degrees. This may all come as a surprise to you, seeing as though women are not even allowed to attend your university, but I live almost five hundred years in the future, so naturally, you must allow for the idea of social change and reform. So Clement, my wish is for you to write back and tell me a bit about yourself. I would like to know what sort of interests you have; for example, do you like art, music, or theater? I had the privilege of seeing an amazing opera tonight that touched me deeply and actually inspired me to write this letter. If it is at all possible to be loved as thoroughly as the Phantom loved Christine, then I am willing to take that chance- even if it means overcoming the obstacle of time. Please write me back as soon as possible. I can’t wait to hear the particulars of your life (especially what you looks like), so please be detailed! Thank you so much, and I cannot wait to hear back from you.
Courtney Suzanne Knox
P.S. here is a picture of what I look like:
Dear Miss Knox,
After receiving your letter, and recovering from the mild stroke that ensued, I was absolutely delighted at the prospect of cross-century correspondence. The idea of time travel has always been an entertaining one, but never one that I assumed could actually occur. Though I do not have any idea what this “website” you speak of could possibly be, I am thrilled to know that my wishes to be forever advertised in dating services have been respected. Much like you, I too have been unable to find a suitable mate for myself, and have decided to advertise for such. Now, I had no idea that these desires would extend all the way to the twentieth century, but wonders truly never cease. I almost did not believe your messenger, Charles, when he handed me the letter, except for the fact that the stationary was so out of the ordinary and the details were so peculiar that I had no choice but to believe him. Also, the thing that you called a “picture” was so incredible that I could hardly believe mine eyes. You are an attractive woman, but your style of dress and hair arrangement is so foreign to me that I can hardly decide whether or not it is pleasing. I also have dark colored hair and light eyes and am of above average height, but I do not understand why it is of the utmost importance that I go into such detailed physical description. Wouldn’t you rather know how many pounds I will possess on an annual basis, whether or not I possess a title such as Lord, or am of good reputation? These subjects are currently held in very high esteem, and I must assume that this will probably not vary much in the future.
Anyway, the date on which I am receiving this letter is the 19th day of February in the year of our Lord 1550. The era commonly known as the Renaissance, I feel, is coming to a close in England. It began roughly a century ago and has birthed many a new development in this country. The details of this movement I am afraid are too many to fully describe in a letter, so I will leave them out; however, I do strongly suggest perhaps your doing a little research in order to fully understand the time I live in. This era has brought about many changes that I feel will have a great effect on the world for years to come.
As I am currently known as an esteemed member of the student body at Oxford University, I can relate many a tale about the history of this grand university that I’m sure would be of interest to you. I feel that giving you such background information is imperative in the courtship process so that you can see what I am such a proud part of. University College (now known to you as Oxford University) was founded in 1249 by William of Durham, and has steadfastly matured into the thriving university, as I know it today. Innumerable improvements have been made to the campus since the thirteenth century, namely expansion of the land, and also construction and establishment of many new buildings and colleges. I am a student in the College of St. Mary Magdalene that was founded by former Head Master William Wayneflete. This venerable man did much to improve the university, such as expanding our boundaries and raising the Magdalene tower “that greets you upon the Magdalene Bridge, that exquisite miracle in stone which James I so truly called ‘the most beautiful building in Oxford’”(Hobhouse 21). Along these lines, the architecture of the college is surely something to be mentioned. Your messenger brought me a book by Miles Jebb that I find accurately captures the essence of the architecture of Magdalene College. Jebb writes, “It therefore presents a most appealing impression of late-medieval architecture … dominated by its magnificent Great Tower which itself looks down on to the classical structures of the Magdalene Bridge and the Botanic Garden. Subtle lines of alignment and widely different elevations add to the complexity of the whole. In the stonework, the college lilies provide a constant theme, and string-courses of large and expressive gargoyles display a genial touch throughout” (Jebb 126).
Now, seeing as how I am in the College of St. Mary Magdalene, you must be wondering what exactly it is that I study. Well, I am also studying dual topics, both Grammar and Theology, as I entertain hopes of one day becoming a professor of either of the two subjects. As I am sure you know, attempting to perfect two individual fields of study requires seemingly endless hours of concentrated study. Before I actually sit down to study, I am known to go on long walks down the long avenues and throughout the quads on campus that were constructed by Cardinal Wolsey about 20 years ago (Hobhouse 23). I do this in order to clear my mind so that I may focus intently on the texts before me. I also frequent the Botanic Garden in order to refresh and stimulate my dulled senses. Beauty abounds in this place, constantly intoxicating me and reminding me of what is truly magnificent in the world. On that note, I must end this letter and entreat you to also describe to me the university that you yourself attend so that I may hopefully grasp this concept.
Until then, I remain,
Your most humble and obedient servant,
Clement Alexander Tips
I must admit, I was delighted that you were open to this insane idea, and even more delighted with the fantastic information that you provided me regarding your schooling and current situation in life. I’m sorry if I seemed superficial in asking you to describe what you look like, but I have to know if I will be attracted to you. I’m not going to lie, income and reputation do play a large roll in the mate selection process, physical chemistry is also hugely important. I don’t care if I meet a reputable billionaire- if we do not have chemistry and are not physically attracted to each other, it just isn’t going to work out. But since you mentioned it, how much money do you make per year? It never hurts to know! Well, on a different note, I have enclosed a photo of a modern day view of Oxford for your enjoyment:
As you can see, its maintained beauty only improves with age. There are most likely, several buildings that you do not recognize. I will address this issue and educate you on all the new developments in a later latter. Now, I did a little research, and learned that at the time of your attendance at Oxford, there were about three thousand undergraduate students attending. Imagine if you can, the fifty thousand students that are currently enrolled at my university. As you can assume, it is a huge university located on forty acres of property near downtown Austin, Texas. I am enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts and find my studies challenging and captivating. Campus boasts many buildings with Spanish architectural influence, and many more with unique modern designs. The most prominent edifice on campus is most definitely the Tower situated in the middle of campus. This building is so tall that it can be viewed from all over the city of Austin. It inspires awe and rouses pride in my heart because it is the ultimate symbol of my school. This is a view of the tower after we won some sort of sporting event:
To celebrate such a win, the tower is lit up with special orange lighting, in honor of our school color, burnt orange. I love campus and all of its interesting architecture, but in all honesty, I feel as though I identify more with Austin than U.T. Austin is a beautiful city in the heart of the Texas hill country. The hills roll as far as the eye can see, and sometimes, the sunsets can even take your breath away. It is very interesting to me that you mentioned the time you spend in the Botanic Gardens, because I also tend to lose myself when confronted with the exquisiteness of Nature. I escape to the outdoors every time an opportunity presents itself, and, much like you, tend to use my time outdoors to clear my head before sitting down to do a lot of studying. Speaking of studying, I must wrap up this letter so that I may finish an oppressive English assignment.
Word Count: 1,898
Hobhouse, Christopher. Oxford: As it was, And as it is Today. London: B.T.
Batsford LTD, 1939.
Jebb, Miles. The Colleges of Oxford. London: Constable and Company