Ah, The Fashionable Letter-Writer. So many tiny melodramas. This one involves a couple who probably shouldn’t get married: she’s too quick to suspect; he’s … Well, would you trust a man who blames “prejudice itself imposed on by some designing person, who had private views, and private ends to answer by such baseness” and who sends little bribes parcels as “convincing proof of [his] integrity”? (“Convincing proof”? What do you send as “convincing proof”?)

From a young Lady to a Gentleman, complaining of Indifference.


However light you may make of promises, yet I am foolish enough to consider them as something more than trifles; and am likewise induced to believe that the man who voluntarily breaks a promise, will not pay much regard to an oath; and if so, in what light must I consider your conduct? did I not give you my promise to be yours, and had you no other cause for soliciting it than merely to gratify your vanity? a brutal gratification, indeed, to triumph over the weakness of a woman, whose greatest fault was, that she loved you. I say loved you; for it was in consequence of that passion, I first consented to become yours. Has your conduct, sir, been consistent with my submission, or with your own solemn professions? is it consistent with the character of a gentleman first to obtain a woman’s consent, and afterwards brag that he had discarded her and found one more agreeable to his wishes? do not equivocate, I have too convincing proofs of your insincerity; I saw you yesterday walking with Miss Benton, and am informed that you have promised marriage to her. Whatever you may think, sir, I have a spirit of disdain, and even resentment, equal to your ingratitude, and can treat the wretch with a proper indifference, who can make so slight a matter of the most solemn promises. Miss Benton may be your wife, but she will receive into her arms a perjured husband; nor can ever the superstructure be lasting, which is built on such a foundation. I leave you to the stings of your own conscience.

I am, the injured.

The Gentleman’s Answer.

My Dear Angel,

For by that name I must still call you; has cruelty entered into your tender nature, or has some designing wretch imposed on your credulity? my dear, I am not what you have represented. I am neither false nor perjured; I never proposed marriage to Miss Benton, I never designed it: and my sole reason for walking with her was, that I had been on a visit to her brother, whom you know is my attorney. And was it any fault in me to take a walk into the fields with him and his sister? surely prejudice itself imposed on by some designing person, who had private views, and private ends to answer by such baseness. But whatever may have been the cause, I am entirely innocent; and to convince you of my sincerity, beg that the day of marriage be next week. My affections never so much as wander from the dear object of my love; in you are centered all my hopes of felicity; with you only can I be happy. Keep me not in misery one moment longer, by entertaining groundless jealousies against one who loves you in a manner superior to the whole of your sex; and I can set at defiance even malice itself. Let me beg your answer by my servant, which will either make me happy or miserable. I have sent a small parcel by the bearer, which I hope you will accept as a convincing proof of my integrity; and am,

Yours for ever.