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.
I do not think we could live happily together if we were married, because, from disparaging remarks I have heard you make concerning people that are not wealthy, I think you would be entirely dissatisfied with my circumstances; and the further fact that yon allow your mother to do all the drudgery of the household, you sitting in the parlor entertaining gentlemen, and affecting to have no knowledge of housekeeping, is proof that our tastes would not accord in home matters. I consider it just as honorable, and just as important, that young ladies should do something to support themselves, as that young men should. If the opportunities are not as great for them to go abroad, they can, at least while at home, learn to be good in sewing, cooking and housekeeping, and thus be prepared when opportunities offer, to make prudent, economical, tidy housewives. I do not under-value the importance of being proficient in the lighter accomplishments which go to make a lady at ease in society; but I vastly more prize the lady who knows how to get an excellent breakfast early in the morning, who is not only a model of neatness herself, but relieves her mother in household duties, keeping her younger brothers and sisters clean and orderly.
I have admired and loved you for your musical talent and your fine conversational powers, but, as I could not keep the necessary servants to enable you constantly to gratify those talents to the exclusion of the more substantial duties, I feel that our marriage would be a mistake for us both.
You asked my reason for my changing love; I have reluctantly, yet plainly, stated it. Hoping, however, that you may always be happy in life, I am,
584----St., July 1, 18 - .
My Dear Friend Caroline:
I returned yesterday from a brief trip into Canada, my journey being most agreeable; only one little episode breaking the monotony, as 1 neared home, which was this: in the next seat behind me in the car sat a young couple, who were evidently regretting that their ride was so near an end. Though buried in my reading, I could not avoid hearing much that they said. One question asked by the young man made a striking impression on my mind. " Maggie," said he, " we have now been acquainted a good while; you know me, and I know you. I do not need to tell you that I love you with all my heart; now, do you love me ? "
I knew the young fellow had taken that occasion, when the cars were thundering along, so that he might not be knocked down by the beating of his own heart. I confess to have been guilty of eavesdropping, then. I listened intently for the lady's answer, but just at that moment, as my ill luck would have it, another train came thundering by us, and her voice was drowned in the noise. I got to thinking like this: suppose you and I were riding thus, and I should ask precisely the same question; what would be your reply? I am very curious to know what your answer would be, and shall await a letter from you, with much anxiety.
Most Truly Yours,
248-----St., Dec. 10, 18 - .
I have intended, oh, how many times! when we have been together, to put the simple question which I intend this note shall a6k; but, although apparently a very easy matter to ask the hand in marriage of one I so deeply love as yourself, it is no easy task. I therefore write what I have never found courage in my heart to speak. Dearest, will you bestow upon me the great happiness of permitting me to call you mine? If I have spoken this too boldly, you will forgive; but I fondly hope that you will not be indifferent to my appeal. I trust, if you answer this in the affirmative, that you will never regret doing so. Anxiously awaiting your answer, I remain,
367----St., Dec. 10, 18 - .
Your proposal is quite unexpected to me, but it is made with such candor and frankness that I can take no offence. I cannot, in this note, give you a definite reply. Marriage is a very serious matter; and, while I regard you with the greatest favor, I desire to consult my near relatives, and consider the subject myself carefully for a few days, ere I give you a final answer. I think I can assure you, however, that you may hope.
482-----St., April 16, 18 - .
You have doubtless heard of my intention to go West in the coming month. Though surrounded here with my relatives and all the many friends of my boyhood, I have an intense desire to try my fortune amid new scenes, feeling that the fetters that now bind me and seem to hinder my upward progress will then be broken.
I shall sunder my ties with some regrets, but, to commence my business career as I am desirous of doing, I must make the sacrifice; in doing so, I do no more than thousands have done before me. In the great, broad fields of the growing West, a young man of resolution, ambition, honesty, temperance and perseverance cannot fail, I believe, to better his condition much more rapidly than he can here; you will, I think, coincide with me in this opinion.
Dear Clara, of all my farewells, none will be so sad to me as that I shall bid to you. Dear, dear Clara, you cannot be indifferent to the fact that I have long devotedly loved you; and, at the hour of parting, I feel that I cannot go without telling you my heart, and asking you if I may not have your love in return. And now, while I am asking, will you not take me and my heart, and in turn allow me to be your protector through life?
Dearest, I am going to press my suit still further. Will you not be mine before I go, and accompany me on my journey? I know this is asking a great deal of you. To accept of this proposition, is to take you from a home of affluence, where you are surrounded with every desired comfort. I have no right to ask the sacrifice; and yet I have resolved to make bold before I go, and tell you all. If you accept my offer, and will consent to cast your fortunes with me out in the great Sea of the Hereafter, I can assure you that no trouble or sorrow will come to you through me; and that, as you will be my dear, dear companion and sacred trust, so will I be to you all that a lover and husband can be.
Now, dearest, if you will accept my future as your own, and place yourself by my side, accepting the sorrow and partaking of the joy that is in store for me, you will make me the happiest of men. If you assent, God grant that you may never regret your faith. Do not decide the question hastily. The sacrifice is such, in leaving home and kindred, that you may not accept of my proposal even though you love. When you have fully determined, however, please send the answer, which I shall most anxiously await. Ever, Dear Clara,
172-----St., April 16, 18 - .
I can make a reply to your candid question at once. I do not need to deliberate upon it long. I love you; I confide in you. I will trust you; I will go with you; I will accept the love and the future you offer. You may have many joys; you may experience some sorrows : I will share and bear them all with you, trusting that patient, earnest, willing effort may crown our labors with success. Believing that God will guide and prosper us, I can only add, hoping to see you soon, that I am, Ever yours,