It seems that church ministers are fair game and always have been. Rowan Atkinson is certainly not the first to lay into clergy as people “of such extraordinary smugness and arrogance and conceitedness who are extraordinarily presumptuous about the significance of their position in society”. Ho hum. Much of it is no doubt deserved. [NB Bp Nick Baines nice rejoinder]. It’s worst when it comes in the post or emails, though. I’ve certainly received all kinds of ‘interesting’ mail – the anonymous are always the most bizarre. Anyway, here is a rather wonderful example, another gleaning from the irrepressible C C Bombaugh. I hope you’ll agree that this is prose almost worthy of the Jaberwocky (apart for the fact that these are all real words).

So here is the letter in all its glory.

Addressed to a Louisiana Clergyman by a Virginia Correspondent:

Sir:- You have behaved like an impetiginous acroyli – like those inquinate orosscrolest who envious of my moral celsitude carry their mugacity to the height of creating symposically the fecund words which  my polymathic genius uses with uberity to ablate the tongues of the weightless. Sir, you have coarsely parodied my own pet words, as though they were tangrams. I will not conceroate reproaches. I would obduce a veil over the atramental ingratitude which has chamiered even my undisceptible heart. I am silent on the foscillation which my coadful fancy must have given you when I offered to become your fanton and adminicle. I will not speak of the liptitude, the ablepsy you have shown in exacerbating me; one whose genius you should have approached with mental discalceation. So, I tell you, Sir, syncophically and without supervacaneous words, nothing will render ignosicible your conduct to me. I warn you that I will vellicate your nose if I thought your moral diathesis could be thereby performed. If I thought that I should not immigrate my reputation by such a degradation. Go tagygraphic; your ones inquinate draws oblectation front he greatest poet since Milton, and draws upon your head this letter, which will drive you to Webster, and send you to sleep over it.

‘Knowledge is power’ and power is mercy; so I wish you no rovose that it may prove and external hypnotic.

Oddities and Curiosities of words and Literature (p219)

By the way, if it wasn’t for the last 2 lines, I would have assumed that the author not recipient was the one who could be accused of extraordinary smugness, arrogance and conceitedness.

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