I continue my tradition here on this blog of reproducing letters received by me, from young maidens in need of counsel, whose virtue may be threatened by rakes or libertines, to be used by the reader as a modest source of moral, prudential, religious, satirical, economical, or cautionary lessons.
To this end, I reproduce one such letter, received near the end of last year by yours truly. This letter relates a situation of universal application, as this type of situation has plagued the courtships of many couples indeed.
Dear Mr. Richardson---I must humbly appeal to your counsel, for I am in a sorry predicament with regard to a certain gentleman suitor, Mr. Jenkyns. So I seek your advice upon this urgent pickle. I have been put out out of countenance by Mr.Jenkyns’s recent behavior toward me, for it has become, if I may say so, a rather strange medley of inconsistence.---Only yesterday evening, while I was getting undressed, preparing for my evening ablutions, Mr. Jenkyns did burst into my room and made an attempt upon my honour. He violently grabbed my hand, and uttered in a lecherous tone, “Why so grave, Judy? Why such blushing? I came up merely to kiss you goodnight. Be not so pert with me, my little charmer.”--- How shocked I was by his forwardness, you can hardly conceive. Yet I managed to reply, “Excuse me, Sir. But it is not proper to intrude upon honest ladies in such manner.”---He then ran on about my over-punctilious modesty, and insisted upon the general right of a gentleman to take innocent liberties with his beloved, with whom he is bound to tie the knot shortly anyway.
But how it pains me now to say that Jenkyns has not been behaving lately as a true gentleman should. For now he thinks me attemptable. But not long ago, I delighted very much indeed in Mr. Jenkyns’s conversation, was flattered by his generosity, and charmed by his wit---for thus he succeeded in making his court to my good opinion. Yet few days prior to this incident you just read of, I found hidden in Jenkyns’s room a number of my silken undergarments, heretofore was thought lost by me. And I have reason enough to believe that Jenkyns does occasionally hide himself in the buck-basket, where I hold all my worn undergarments, like my shifts, my stockings, and petticoats, in the laundry room.
Would that Jenkyns cease his lewd behavior, and resume his earlier pleasantries to me. I am afraid that Jenkyns has spent too much time a-capering upon his smart-phone.---He has been, as the vulgar people call these things, much facebooking, twittering, downloading, uploading, and whatnot. In any case, he has certainly been very hot for me.---What should I do, Mr. Richardson? Should I tell Jenkyns that if he intends to marry me, he ought to cease taking so much interest in my undergarments, and cultivate the habit of knocking before entering rooms; or else should I simply appeal to a professional psychologist, who might be able to help Jenkyns overcome his naughty habits? I am torn indeed. ---Oh, and one more thing, (in case this information be of some use to you), Jenkyns has displayed certain peculiar conduct lately, in that he has started to assume, from time to time, the identity of a certain 18th century novelist, imitating the writer’s speech and manner of dress as much as possible, to my utter annoyance. Could he be receiving inspiration for his attacks upon me from this novelist's work? And so I end my sad letter here, reliant on your counsel. I look forward to your advice, Mr.Richardson, and until then I remain,
Your humble servant,