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Letter, 1) a character in the alphabet: Gent. I, 2, 119. Ado I, 1, 267. III, 4, 56. LLL V, 2, 40. LLL V, 2, 40 John III, 1, 85. H4B IV, 4, 104. H6B IV, 2, 98. R3 I, 1, 55. Tit. V, 1, 139. Rom. I, 2, 64. II, 4, 220. Lr. IV, 6, 143 etc. “l. for l.” Wiv. II, 1, 71. “I will something affect the l.” LLL IV, 2, 56 (i. e. use alliteration). “I heard no l. from my master,” Cymb. IV, 3, 36 (not a jot?).
2) a written message, an epistle: Gent. I, 1, 57. Gent. I, 1, 57 I, 2, 50. I, 2, 50 I, 3, 51. II, 1, 110. II, 1, 110 II, 1, 110 III, 1, 248. Wiv. I, 2, 8 etc. etc. “whom I made lord of me and all I had, at your important --s,” Err. V, 138 (i. e. recommendations by letter); cf. “preferment goes by l. and affection,” Oth. I, 1, 36. “--s of commission,” H6A V, 4, 95. --s patents (writings by which some rights are granted) R2 II, 1, 202. II, 3, 130. H8 III, 2, 250.*
Plur. --s, as it seems, for the sing.: “are these your --s, knight?” Wiv. III, 3, 148. “now will I write --s to Angelo whose contents shall witness to him I am near at home,” Meas. IV, 3, 97. “I have delivered him --s,” Ado I, 1, 20. “a messenger with --s from the doctor,” Merch. IV, 1, 108. Merch. IV, 1, 108 All's II, 3, 293. IV, 5, 90. H6C IV, 1, 91. H4A IV, 1, 13 sq. R3 IV, 5, 19 (Qq these --s, Ff my l.). Tim. V, 3, 11. Mcb. I, 5, 57. Lr. I, 5, 2 (cf. v. 4). Caes. IV, 3, 5 etc.
3) literal meaning: “the bloody book of law you shall yourself read in the bitter l. after your own sense,” Oth. I, 3, 68. “answering the l. of the oracle,” Cymb. V, 5, 450.
4) Plur. --s == learning, erudition: “--s should not be known,” Tp. II, 1, 150. “whose learning and good --s peace hath tutored,” H4B IV, 1, 44. trained in music's --s, Per. IV Prol. 8 (M. Edd. in music, letters).
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