Dr. Susan Carter

Anthropology Dept.

Union Hall, Darlette University

No. 45 Prairie Drive

Sugar Creek MO, 63975


Dear Dr. Carter,

I am Sir Ralph Burke, Professor of Economics and Law at Oxford University, All Souls College. You likely do not know of me as I certainly did not know of you prior to last week. However, circumstances… nay, perhaps Fate… have linked us together in a most unexpected and surprising way. As you will have no doubt seen, the envelope in which this missive has been (hopefully) delivered to you has seen some history. Considerable history. 135 years to be exact!

Excluding my own, there are 3 letters here, all which belong to you by right of inheritance. I discovered them quite by accident, you see, after my original quarters on Hollybush Row in Oxford were destroyed by an unfortunate and surprising furnace fire. Consequently, I elected to move into a vacant cottage on campus in anticipation of finding something more permanent. As it happens, a gentleman by the name of Professor Edward Lockett once resided in the cottage during his tenure at A.S.C. until his demise in 1975. His belongings were removed, as expected, except for a single battered, water stained shoe box hidden beneath a loose floorboard in the study. That shoe box contained the letters you now hold in your hands.

You may be wondering how it is I associated your name with these letters? The oldest dates back to 1875, and was written by a young man named William Carter. When I Googled the name, I happened across a link that led me to a video of a lecture you once presented at the University of Minnesota wherein you mentioned that he — your great-great-grandfather on your father’s side — was your inspiration for going into the field of Anthropology. Once that connection was made, it was a trivial matter to find your mailing address.

I do hope you are pleasantly surprised to receive this direct link to your paternal ancestor.

Best regards,


Sir Ralph Burke, GBE, QC, MA, FRSA, Barrister, Monckton Chambers, London and Queen’s Counsel

Post script: Please, if ever you wish to converse further about this, or anything else for that matter, feel free to drop me a line at my private email account (rough.winds.in.may@gmail.com). I’m always happy to entertain foreign pen-pals!