Monday, December 30, 2013

How To Say Thank You Like Charles Dickens

Are you looking for the right words to say THANK YOU for kindnesses received during the holiday season?  One might learn from the gracious stylings of Charles Dickens (who is the subject of a movie released this month).

His collected letters (which I read as part of my research on Victorian England) offer many good old fashioned expressions of gratitude, including:

I thank you ten thousand times
I am most truly* obliged to you for...
(*substitute heartily and cordially)
I am much obliged and flattered* by the receipt of...
(substitute I cannot tell you how much obliged I am)
I am really more obliged to you for your kindness than I can say
I cannot thank you for it too cordially, and cannot too earnestly assure you that I shall always prize it highly.
I am most sincerely and affectionately grateful to you, and am full of pleasure and delight.

Some of Dickens' eloquent replies to letters:

I cannot forbear writing to tell you with what uncommon pleasure I received your interesting letter, and how sensible I always am of your kindness and generosity.

Your kind and welcome letter reached me here last night. I cannot tell you how highly I esteem it, or how cordially I reciprocate your friendly regard.

A couple of lengthier excerpts:

To George Cattermole, 1842

It is impossible to tell you how greatly I am charmed with those beautiful pictures, in which the whole feeling, and thought, and expression of the little story is rendered to the gratification of my inmost heart; and on which you have lavished those amazing resources of yours with a power at which I fairly wondered when I sat down yesterday before them.You are such a queer fellow and hold yourself so much aloof, that I am afraid to say half I would say touching my grateful admiration; so you shall imagine the rest.

To Lord John Russell, 1852:

I am most truly obliged to you for your kind note, and for your so generously thinking of me in the midst of your many occupations. I do consider that your ever ready consideration had already attached me to you in the warmest manner, and made me very much your debtor. I thank you unaffectedly and very earnestly, and am proud to be held in your remembrance.

To David Roberts, 1850

I am more obliged to you than I can tell you for the beautiful mark of your friendly remembrance which you have sent me this morning. I shall set it up among my household gods with pride. It gives me the highest gratification, and I beg you to accept my most cordial and sincere thanks ...

From the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 1.

Believe me always, yours faithfully and obliged,


Happy Happy 2014!