Friday, April 17, 2009

Dear Lydia #3

This is the last in a three part series.  The first two can be found here and here

Dear Madame,
I am ma’am, your humble servant, and I request any help that you might be able to give me. I am a man of the church, I live quite comfortably in my parish (with the help of my patroness, Lady C.) and I am going to inherit the estate of Cousin Mr. B. Mr. B. and I have never been close, but when I heard that he had five eligible daughters I decided to make amends with him and marry one of his daughters. You see, my patroness, Lady C., has advised me to marry, and I have set out with great hast to do her bidding.

When I first entered the house I noticed the eldest girl Jan, who’s beauty is spoken of widely, and gave her my attentions. Then Mrs. B. informed me that she thought Jan was to soon be engaged, and to look through her other daughters for a more suitable bride. Beth, the second eldest isn’t as handsome as her sister, but she seemed to fit the description Lady C. gave me of useful, active gentlewomen who was not brought up high. I began courting Cousin Beth. She reserved my attentions modestly, as young ladies who secretly welcome the attentions of an admirer are apt to do.

After some time, I solicited a private audience with Cousin Beth. First, so as to not run away with my feelings I told her my reasons for marrying: 1) that a respected clergy man like me should marry. 2) That it would add to my happiness 3) Lady C. had advised it. I told her that Lady C. had promised to visit her, and that I was sure she would appreciate her personality and wit, as long as it was tempered with silence and respect. I told her how it would help her mother when after her father’s death if she could live with her daughter, in her own home. I told her it mattered not that she had hardly any money, and I would never speak of her lack of fortune during our marriage.

After hearing this eloquent speech I am sure you think Cousin Beth accepted me without qualm. I have been told, that I am quite the catch for any young lady, my situation in life, my connections with the family of Lady C., are circumstances highly in my favor. I would not be surprised if you thought this, because they were my thoughts as well. You will be shocked to hear that Cousin Beth declined my hand. She said I had been hasty in my assumption that she would marry me; she said I could never make her happy, and she was sure she could never make me so. She was positive Lady C. would not approve of her. A lesser man than me would have been upset by this rude refusal, but I have always flattered myself on knowing human nature and I know that young ladies often decline men they are secretly hoping to marry, I told her of this and that I was hoping to lead her to the alter ere long.

Would you believe that she refused me again? I have heard of elegant young ladies refusing even the second time or even the third, but I never expected this of sweet Cousin Beth. Perhaps, she is not as sweet tempered as I thought her to be, but that is nothing that can not be fixed by a firm husband after marriage. At this second refusal I was forced to show Cousin Beth that she could probably not find a better match than me, her fortune being so small and her looks nothing remarkable, I was the only man who would ever wish to marry her. I then told her that I would not take her refusal as the finality on he matter (as she wished me to do) and when I had the permission of both her parents I was sure she would accept me.

During this Cousin Beth tried to dissuade me from my suit but I stood firm. I knew she would come along eventually in the end.

Or- I thought I knew, Now Beth has gone to her father and I have retired to my room to think. If Cousin Beth is this stubborn in agreeing to our engagement how will she be after marriage? I’m sure her father will make her come around but I am slightly worried about if I should have asked Cousin Beth at all.

I am yours Madame,

A Most Respected Clergy Man

Dear M.R.C.M.

Your letter really doesn’t deserve to be answered, because you’re not in love. But I was “not brought up too high” as to refuse help to the less fortunate. I have some foundational points I’d like to get a crossed.

While proposing, do not

a) Call her “Cousin Beth” In fact; don’t propose to your cousin at all, it’s gross,

b) Assume she will say yes to your proposal.

c) Mention her father’s death

d) Tell her no one else will ever want to marry her.

e) Talk about her flaws and how you will fix them.

f) Talk about inconsistency of “elegant females” in general.

g) Tal about how wonderful you yourself are.

I was not surprised she refused you, for goodness sakes you were after her older sister! She sounds like a independent young women who knows her own mind. I say: Harrah for her for standing up for you when you thick-headedly would not take no for an answer.

If I were you I would leave town at once and distance yourself from Cousin B. and his family for as long as possible. Although I’m sure you won’t take my advice, because, as I could tell from your transcript of the proposal, you sir, are not very good at listening.

Also, I was wondering, did this extraordinary proposal proceed from the impulse of the moment or was it the result of previous study and arrangement?

Please don’t write me again,

Lydia

3 comments:

Melanie April 17, 2009 at 8:56 AM  

LOL! That was good. Especially the reply. :-D
"Poor" Mr. Collins! :-P

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