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Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 9: going to Europe.—December, 1837.—Age, 26. (search)
u will not consider me as suggesting too much when I add, Study the Norman or Law French. A few hours a day for a few weeks will give you a competent knowledge of it. There is a dictionary of the language by Kelham, but it is very poor, and you must rely upon your good wits to assist you. At the beginning of the Instructor Clericalis, you will find a list of the principal abbreviations which prevail in the black-letter. Commence studying Norman by reading Littleton in an old copy of Coke-Littleton. There the translation will serve for a dictionary. Then attempt The Mirror or Britton, and a few pages of the Year-Books. Do not consider that you will never have any use for this learning, and therefore that it is not worth the time it costs to obtain it. A few weeks will suffice to make you such a proficient in it that you will never again be obliged to study it. I assure you that I have found occasion for my scanty knowledge of this; and that, slight as it is, at two different times