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.
Dear Friends: It is at such a time as this that words fail to express the feelings of the heart. There comes occasionally a period in life when our unworthiness is made all the more manifest by the bestowal of kindness upon us. It is true that we have mingled in your society for years. But while, in our humble way, we may have contributed some pleasure to those about us, we have ever been the recipients of continued enjoyment at your hands; and it is we who are under obligation - not yourselves.
We accept these gifts to-night, dear friends, with a full appreciation of the kind motives which presented them, and not that we deserve them as free gifts at your hands.
There may be some things in our lives commendatory. We have journeyed together in married life for twenty-five years. Some shadows have crossed our path in that time, and many joys have illumined our way. Upon the whole, we have had more happiness than sorrow; more roses than thorns have strewn our pathway. Thus in this twenty-five years of consort together we have our recompense.
We have striven to do our duty as neighbors and friends, and for the little we have done we have, in all our intercourse with you, been repaid a thousand-fold.
We accept these gifts, therefore, with a sense of deep obligation to those kind friends by whom they are presented, and we shall use and cherish them, in all the years to come, with the earnest hope that, at like anniversary festal gatherings we may have frequent opportunity to repay the kindness which you have thus bestowed.