This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
A Gentleman Makes a Frank Acknowledgment. - Gushing with Sentiment, and Running Over with Poetry.
"White Mountains, N. H., Oct. 1, 18 - . My Dear Mary :
One by one the brown leaves are falling, reminding us that the golden summer that we have so delightfully loitered through approaches its close. How thickly our pathway has been strewn with roses; how fragrant have been the million blossoms; how sweetly the birds have sung; how beautiful have been the sunny days; how joyous have been the starry nights! Dear M., I do not need to tell you that this delightful summer has been to me one grand Elysian scene. I have gazed on and dreamed of thy beauty. I have been fed by thy sparkling repartee and merriment; I have drank at the fountain of thy intellectuality; but the feast is ended, and gradually the curtain is falling. Dear, beautiful summer; so beautiful to me because of thy loved presence. And standing now on the threshold of a scene all changed, I take a last, fond, long, lingering look on the beautiful picture that will return to me no more; and yet, who knows, but on in that great eternity we may live again these
" Like a foundling in slumber, the summer day lay
On the crimsoning threshold of even, And I thought that the glow through the azure-arched way
Was a glimpse of the coming of Heaven. There together we sat by the beautiful stream;
We had nothing to do but to love and to dream In the days that have gone on before.
These are not the same days, though they bear the same name, With the ones I shall welcome no more.
" But it may be the angels are culling them o'er,
For a Sabbath and Summer forever, When the years shall forget the Decembers they wore,
And the shroud shall be woven, no, never! In a twilight like that, darling M. for a bride -
Oh! what more of the world could one wish beside, As we gazed on the river unroll'd
Dearest, you must forgive my ardent expressions in this letter. With a temperament gushing to the brim and overflowing with sentiment and rhapsody, I have passed the fleeting summer in thy charming presence in one continual dream of poesy. I cannot now turn back to the solemn duties before me, without telling you what trembled on my tongue a thousand times, as we gathered flowers together and wove our chaplets in the sunny days gone by. Dear, darling Mary, I love you, I adore you. How often in the beautiful moonlight nights, as we strolled among the lilacs and the primroses, have I been on the verge of clasping your jeweled hand and telling you all my heart. But, oh! I did not quite dare; the hours were so delightful, even as they were. Fearing that I might be repulsed, I chose to accept the joy even that there was, rather than run the risk of losing it all.
How many a morning have I arisen and firmly resolved that, ere another day, I would know my fate! But, ah! the twilight would fall, and the evening hour would pass by, and I never completely dared to risk the result of a declaration. The morrow I knew would be joyous if I bridled my impulse; it might not be if I made a mistake. But the dream has passed by. To-morrow, I bid adieu to these silvan groves, the quiet meadows and the gurgling brooks, to go back to the prose duties of business. And now, at the close of this festal season, as I am upon the verge of going, having nothing to lose and everything to gain, I have told you my heart. I have not the slightest idea what your reply will be. You have been to me one continual puzzle. If your answer is adverse, I can only entertain the highest respect for you ever in the future; and memory shall keep alive the recollection of the most blissful summer I have ever known. If your reply is favorable - dearest, may I fondly hope that it will be? - then open6 before me a great volume of happiness, of which this joyous summer has been but the opening chapter.
Dear M., may I come again and see yon, and address you henceforth as a lover? The messenger who brings you this will return again in an hour for your answer. I need not tell you what an hour of suspense this will be to me. Upon your reply hangs my future. If your reply is favorable, I shall tarry another day; and will you grant me a long interview, as I have much to talk over with you? If unfavorable, please return this letter with your note. Accept my warmest thanks for the entertainment which I, in common with others, have received at your hand in the past; and, if I may not sign myself your devoted lover, I shall at least, I trust, have ever the pleasure of subscribing myself,
Your Sincere Friend, CLARENCE HARRINGTON.
I shall not attempt in this to answer your missive with the same poetic fervor that colors your letter from beginning to end. While it is given you to tread the emerald pavements of an imaginative Eden, in my plainer nature I can only walk the common earth.
I fully agree with you in your opinion of the beautiful summer just passed. Though in seasons heretofore many people have been here from the cities, I have never known a summer so delightful. Yes, Clarence, these three months have been joyous, because - shall I confess it? - because you have been here. I need not write more. You have agreed to stay another day; I shall be at home this afternoon, at two o'clock, and will be happy to see you.
Yours Very Truly,
844-----St., April 2, 18 - .
MISS Marion Thornton:
Your note accusing me of coldness is before me. After spending several hours in a consideration of this subject, to determine what is my duty, I have concluded that it is decidedly best for me to be perfectly frank with you, and give my reasons for a change of sentiment.