Wednesday, May 30, 2007

An Answer to a Gentleman

Letter 29

From a Mother to a Gentleman, who had asked permission to address her Daughter. In Answer.


The letter which you have done me the honor to write to me, speaks you to be a gentleman and a man of sense. I am sorry to acquaint you, that after such a prepossession in your favor, I am for more than one reason desirous to decline the offer you are pleased to make towards an alliance in my family. My daughter is very dear to me; I think there is something indelicate and improper in this wild manner of engaging in an attachment, and pleading in favor of it. I wish you had known my daughter more before you spoke so much, and had met with me among our acquaintance to have mentioned it. I am convinced, sir, that I do not think more of you than I may with justice, when I confess to you that I believe you would be more than an equal match for my daughter; for though she has (and suffer me, sir, although I am her mother, to say it) great merit, her fortune, although not quite inconsiderable, is not great. You will see, sir, that I waver in my opinion on this subject; but you must attribute it to the true cause; and believe that every thing which has, be it ever so remote, a tendency to my daughter's welfare, will make me very cautious of determining. To give you my final sense, (at least what is final to me at present,) I have not a thought of asking who it is that has thus favored us, nor would advise my daughter to remember it. I thank you sir, in her name as well as my own, for the honor you intend us, and am, sir,
Your most obedient servant.

-from The Fashionable American Letter Writer, or, the Art of Polite Correspondence, Containing a Variety of Plain and Elegant Letters on Business, Love, Courtship, Marriage, Relationship, Friendship, &c. (New York: H. Dayton, n.d.) p. 34-35.

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