I love to read collections of letters. They round out biographies, filling in details of the author's character. The letters of John Lennon, Hemingway, five volumes of Virginia Woolf—bring them on.
Unlike me, Lewis got into Oxford, and though I don't cart around old letters, I have preserved a bunch of exam papers. They crossed the Atlantic with me, a reminder of a fifty four year old dream. Mind you, unlike Lewis, I did not prepare very exhaustively. I read the Daily Telegraph and had a good breakfast. That was it. This is one of several papers with which I was confronted. One question on the back of this page had the temerity to ask me to point out a weakness in the American Constitution. I wasn't too upset about not getting in: not many students from state schools ever did, though that year my great rival did get into Oxford to read History at St. Annes.
But I digress—a habit which probably didn't endear me to whoever read my entrance exams. The whole point of this post was to quote the beginning of a letter from Lewis to his father:
E'en as he trod that day to God
So walked he from his birth,
In simpleness and gentleness
And honour and clean mirth.