Sunday, October 28, 2012

From a Gentleman to his Mistress, resenting her supposed Friskiness

Dear Margaret,

Beauty has charms which are not easily resisted; but it is, I presume, in the power of even finest woman breathing to counterbalance all her charms by a conduct unworthy of them. During our conversations over the last few months, I ventured to address myself to you, madam, upon motives truly honourable, yet I cannot help but notice how your manner of behaving towards me has changed since our first delightful meeting last year.

Since that heavenly encounter, indeed you have honoured me with your attentions, and you have not been afraid to use your charm to the utmost with me; believe me, you have thoroughly won me over; yet considering your recent behaviour towards me, it can hardly be said that your conduct has remained constant, at least in the manner befitting a lady of your noble position. Or might your negligence of me be a means to show a preference for a different gentleman, no doubt one selected from among the many gentlemen who are always seeking to court you? 

Be assured, Margaret, that I intend no affront to your honour in bringing this to your attention;---yet I must complain of a certain treatment that I have received from you lately. In short, I refuse to put up any further with yours jests and witticisms, which ever so haughtily you continue to make at my expense. 

Imagine my mortification upon the occasion in the restaurant, in the presence of your three lady friends, Miss Kate , Miss Cassandra, and Lady Laetitia Fustian, when you did utter that arch remark over desert when we were discussing our careers, saying that I belong to the "wretched lumpen-professoriate," and that the only people who might possibly be interested in reading my writings are the kind of people likely to "be assigned 300 hours of community service." How your female friends did burst forth into a volley of laughs upon your sharp witticisms, and how abashed I grew. This conduct, hardly an isolated one, is highly unbecoming of my mistress.

I am also aware that you have been used to receiving great amount of attention from worthy gentlemen (that is, from my competitors), any of whom no doubt should be delighted to see my reputation slandered---though through jesting remarks or sincere denunciations they care not. 

You know well, Margaret, that I appreciate a-capering as much as any other coxcomb, but I refuse to be made a laughingstock thus in public, as you have repeatedly done to me. From now on, you will be pleased to know, that if ever I intend to become a laughingstock in such manner again, instead of asking you and your shrewish friends to dine at a restaurant with me, I should prefer to go to the zoo and provoke the ourang-outangs there  into throwing their faeces at me, a fine spectacle for all the people to roar at. But until I decide to take off for the zoo for such purpose, I shall be very happy if you remit your friskiness towards me, lest you want to insult the honor of

Your most obedient Servant, 
The Lady's angry Answer

Oh Mack,

By the letter I just now received from you, I fansy you have been a little too hasty, as well as too free, in your conjectures about my conduct. Indeed I hope my conduct is such, and will always be such, as shall justify me to persons of honour of my own sex, as well as yours. For I fail to see anything wrong in how I have treated you, Mack; if you are referring to that occasion in the restaurant, when I made some harmless jests at your expense, I encourage you strongly to look to your own punctillio as the source of the affront that you have received.

As for my dear friends (my Kathy, Cassie, and Letty), I refuse to have their honourable names defamed, as you have done in calling them "shrewish." They rather are the liveliest creatures I have ever met---they are quick with a witticism, highly fashionable, masterly with the harpsichord, supreme on horseback, and elegant in painting. And, what's more, Kathy will soon be masterly in yachting, as she shall soon have her own yacht, which her boyfriend is buying for her. The four of us are now talking about going out to Martha's Vineyard this summer, where Cassie is bent on securing a husband, and Lady Letty merely wants to lay on the beach all day, drinking  piƱa coladas. You may be assured, nothing shall prevent me from attending my friends thither.

While you are healing your wounds, my poor baby, it would be good of you to remember the extent to which I regularly go to show my affection for you, as when I buy you costly gifts upon all the appropriate occasions. You will be kind to remember the washer and dryer I bought for your birthday, which you dearly needed, as well as that book of erotic Victorian prints I obtained for you on Christmas---and you can be sure that I did not buy the latter because I believed that perusing it at your house might satisfy me more than you. It took me a good three weeks of researchings, and, in consequence, having to communicate with some rather miserable and shameless characters along the way, before I could finally procure that edition for you.

You have been grossly mistaken in your construction of what you call my "friskiness." Never was a proper lady so insulted by such mean accusations. If you be so weary of my conduct as you say you are, then shall it surprise you if I invite Mr. Rupert Jackson to accompany me on the outing to Martha's Vineyard instead of you, Mack? I am sure Rupert would be more than happy to accompany this frisky maiden to the Vineyard. You can hardly hold me responsible for coining that well-worn adage, that what happens in the Vineyard, stays in the Vineyard. Besides, Mr.Jackson is on his way to becoming a doctor, and he is soon to be buying property, while you merely read poetry aloud to young females for a living, though you may call it being an English professor, or a lecherous pedagogue, or whatever it may be.

I am obliged to you for pointing out my follies, as you must feel the same towards me for speaking likewise. I hope that you may soon be able to restore yourself to your senses, Mack, and cease your complainings, or you will continue to vex, 

Your ever frisky Servant

The Gentleman's submissive Reply,

Dear Margie,

I beg ten thousand pardons for my rash letter to you. I wished too late, I could have recalled it. I never saw a lady I could love before I saw you, Margie. I never shall see another I wish to be mine; and as I must love you whether I will or no, I hope you'll forgive my foolish petulance. I am sure it was inspired by motives that, however culpable in their effects, are entitled to your forgiveness, as to the cause.

You are correct to say that Miss Kathy, Miss Cassie, and Lady Lettie are the liveliest creatures one is likely to behold in all of New York City. And you must believe me when I say that I had no knowledge whatsoever of your friends' abilities to play the harpsichord and ride horses. What glorious constellation of talented young women you have surrounded yourself with, and how it bespeaks of superior tastes on your part. Now that I know this about your friends, rest assured that my respect for them has quite increased. You can depend upon it.

Don't let me undergo too heavy a penance for my rashness, Margie. You can mould me to any form you please. But, dear lady, let not my heart suffer the more torture, because it is so devotedly at your service. Once again I ask a thousand pardons. For I am, and ever must be, whether you'll allow it or not, 

Your most devoted Admirer, and humble Servant

The Lady's forgiving Return,

My booby squire,

I cannot help answering your letter, because you seem sensible of your fault. If this never  be repeated again, at least until I give such reasons for it, that neither charity, not a professed esteem, can excuse, I shall hope that what has happened may rather be of good than bad use to us both.

I am sure that Kathy, Cassie, and Lettie, shall find it in their hearts to forgive you too. In fact, you may well get a chance to beg and accept their forgiveness in person this weekend---as we would very much prefer you to accompany us to the zoo to see the monkeys in the Rainforest Pavillion this coming Saturday. What say you, Sir? Your consent in this endeavour is essential towards restoring the former happiness of 

Your humble Servant,

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