Victorian London - Publications - Etiquette and Advice Manuals - The Ladies' and Gentleman's Model Letter Writer, c.1870s (2)

[... back to main menu]


From a Friend in Jersey to another in London.

St. Leonards, August l2th

    I have now been here two months with my family, and regret that in another month we must leave this charming little Isle for the noise and confinement of a city life. I had heard much of this place, but nothing had ever come up to the reality. We have taken lodgings close to the seaside, within a convenient distance of the markets, which are always well supplied with delicious fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, and poultry as good as can be had anywhere. Our days are spent on the shore and on the rocks, with the occasional change of country walks through the green lanes, the hedges of which are perfect ferneries 末different varieties of ferns growing in every locality 末in fact, the Island abounds with them. Every variety that I have come across I am carefully pressing, and you will be astonished when you see my collection.
    Just fancy my rising at 6 o'clock to bathe, with the children. We all enjoy it much, this bay being particularly adapted for it; as it is a firm, sandy shore. You would be struck with the animation of the scene which this place presents in the early morning末visitors coming, some from no small distance, for the same purpose as ourselves; and most thoroughly do they enjoy it. The poor children are already lamenting that their holiday will so soon be at an end: that their rambles in the country, and their scrambles amongst the rocks, must be exchanged for hard study, and dull rooms末which rooms, by-the-bye, bid fair to be well decked with mementoes of this delightful spot, [-42-] if tables and shelves covered with sea-weeds and ferns, indicate their intentions. I feel quite satisfied that they will go back to their books with double energy from the change. As far as I am concerned, both the sea voyage (the chief obstacle to strangers coming here,) the pure air, and the quiet, have quite restored me, and I feel I shall be able to resume household duties, which you are well aware my late delicate health had entirely prevented me from undertaking for a long time.
    We have often spoken of you, knowing your romantic tastes; how you would have enjoyed sitting on the rocks, gazing on the moonlit sea; no sound heard but the murmur of the waves;末that is to say, when we were not near, for quiet with merry young people is not easily obtainable. Then the lovely drives through the country, with the ever varying scene of green valleys and rocky bays! You would, I am sure, be quite as unwilling to leave the place as I am.
    I must not tire you more with this long letter, but I feel as if I could never cease extolling the beauties of this lovely Island. Perhaps I may be so fortunate as to awake in you a wish to visit it; should you do so, I am sure you will not be disappointed. Farewell! With kindest regards to yourself and your family,
    Believe me,
        Yours most sincerely,
            KATHERINE WARD.


Requesting a Friend to look for Lodgings at the Seaside.

Penge, September 9th.

    If it be not encroaching too much on your time and good nature, would you oblige me by looking out suitable lodgings for us at the seaside, within an easy distance of the beach?末for mamma is still such an invalid, that much walking might be injurious to her. We should require three bedrooms and a large sitting-room, besides attendance. If, at the end of a month, mamma felt benefited by the change, we should retain them for four months末that is, if we are comfortable. Hoping to hear from you soon, as we are anxious to leave this place, and with kindest love (in which mamma unites),
    Believe me,
        Yours, very sincerely,
            SELINA DRAYTON.

Requesting a Loan of some Books

Camberwell, June 1st.

    Have pity on me, and send me a few books. I had the misfortune to sprain my ankle in stepping out of the railway carriage on Friday, and here I am stretched on the sofa, with the unpleasant prospect of remaining there for another six weeks. You can trust the bearer of this note with the books末every care shall be taken of them. Come soon to see me. By so doing you will confer a great pleasure on
    Your unfortunate friend,



Camberwell, June 1st.

    I am truly grieved to hear of your accident, and hope the consequence will not be such a long confinement to the house as you expect, though I know sprained ankles are always troublesome things to cure. I have sent you a variety of books, some grave, some gay, so you can suit your taste. I shall be most happy if I can do anything to amuse you, and will go to see you to-morrow afternoon, unless I am obliged to stay at home to receive Uncle John, who is to let us know by the first post when we may expect him to pay his promised visit. If he should not come, rely on seeing me; if he intends to come, I will write and tell you.
    Your ever affectionate,

From a young Lady to her Mother, absent from home.

Liphook, June 4th.

    We are looking forward most impatiently to your return. Home will be sweet home once more when we have you amongst us again, for we have all missed you sadly these long evenings. The little ones are wild with delight. Their heads are full of projects for little surprises to give dear mamma. The choicest flowers that each can claim as her own are watched with anxious care, and are destined to be sweet offerings of their love to you.
    I hope, dear mother, you will be pleased with my household management during your absence. Papa [-45-] considers me quite clever, and a credit to your able teaching; still I know I am but a beginner, and each day I feel more and more the need of your teaching, particularly in directing the servants, whom I cannot praise too much for their attention and industry. They have been most careful that everything should go on as usual.
    I have not neglected my music and singing. In the latter, papa says, you will find a marked improvement; but he is such a dear, kind, indulgent father, that I fear he praises me above my deserts, and I long for your approval also, dear mother, as I know you are too anxious that I should excel to be partial.
    Hoping that nothing will delay your long-wished-for return, with best love, in which all unite,
        Believe me, your own fondly
                Attached and loving child,
                    MINNIE HELSON.

From a Friend Abroad.

Melbourne, May 1st.

    I can fancy your astonishment on receipt of this letter, and of the joyful intelligence it conveys 末I am coming home! Imagine my delight at the prospect of returning to dear old England! You cannot conceive the joy I feel; you do not know what it is to have been away from home and kindred for so many long years.
    I have so pined and longed for this moment, that now I can scarcely realize the fact of its arrival. All I hold dear I bring with me, so I leave this place without [-46-] regret, and with no desire to return. It is my intention to leave on the 16th 末. May I hope you will be amongst the earliest friends to greet me when I land? Excuse the shortness of this letter, for I have very many to despatch by this mail. With kindest remembrance to all at home, and best love to yourself,
    Believe me,
        Your ever sincere friend,


Melbourne, August 14th.

    This is a lovely country; nothing we had heard or read about it surpasses the reality. The delightful climate, the magnificent forest trees, with their luxuriant foliage, and last though not least, the agreeable society we have met with, have quite reconciled us to our new home.
    Mamma, who was so averse to leaving England, has not once expressed a regret, and I am certain that she is really pleased with the change, besides being much better in health, although she has only been five months here. Our house is quite a mansion, with every comfort we can desire; the grounds surrounding us are most tastefully laid out, with the advantage, that not being a new place, we have it in its full beauty.
    I wish there were not a great wide sea between us. We often speak of you, and lament that you cannot come and spend six months with us. I am sure you would enjoy the change, and you would have horse [-47-] exercise to your heart's content. In the morning before breakfast we generally make up a party for a long ride, and thus see a great deal of the country.
    Although oceans divide us, do not imagine we forget our old friends; could you see the eager faces when the post-bag comes in, you would be convinced that such was not the case. You, dearest Helen, are one of our most valued correspondents. Your nice long letters are so full of all that really interests us, that we look most anxiously forward for your budget.
    Accept our united thanks for those which you have sent. Trusting that you will remember us, and write as often as you can spare time, and with best love (in which all here heartily join) remember me ever as your
    Attached and sincere friend,

On return from a Visit to a Friend.

Portsea, May 9th.

    I reached home in safety at eleven p.m., after a long journey, during which I was so fortunate as to meet with very agreeable fellow-travellers, who rendered it less tedious than it might otherwise have been.
    And now I am at home my first thoughts turn to you, and I can do nothing till I have thanked you for all your kindness and attention during my visit at your delightful house. You really, my dear friend, possess the art of making all around you feel at home and happy.
    I seldom leave home for so long a time, and never have I returned to it with so much regret. But the [-48-] best of friends must part. Life is an ever-changing scene of sunshine and shade, but I shall not in my rather dull home forget the sunshine of my visit to yourself.
    With many, many thanks and much love, 
        Believe me,
            Yours most affectionately,
                MARY ROSS.

To a Gentleman, requesting his Carte de visite.

Eaton Terrace, June 6th.

    We leave England for New York on the 21st instant. I therefore claim the fulfilment of your promise to give me your carte de visite. I am taking a goodly collection of portraits of my numerous friends with me, but amongst them one is missing末who that one is, my dear old friend, I need not remind you.
    Trusting the promise has not altogether escaped your memory,
        Believe me,
            With the truest regard,
                Yours most affectionately,
                    AMY STUART.

Acknowledging the receipt of the same.

Eaton Terrace, June 14th.

    Many thanks for your quick reply and valued gift, which will remind me of happy days gone by, linked with my earliest recollections. My only [-49-] regret is that the distance between us is so great that I am denied the pleasure of seeing you once more to bid you good-bye. My husband and myself unite in wishing you health and happiness.
    Believe me,
        Your most obliged,
            AMY STUART.

Requesting a sitting for a Group.

Clarence Street, April 6th

    My little girls are going to have their "photos" taken in the fancy costume they wore at your juvenile party, and I think it would greatly add to the beauty of the picture if you would allow their little playfellow to make one of the group. Hoping you will grant me this favour,
    I remain,
        Yours sincerely,
            LOUISA CAMERON.

Answer, consenting.

Camden Town, April 7th.

    I feel both proud and happy in complying with your request. If sweet innocence can be reflected on paper, your little girls cannot fail to make a charming picture, and末pray excuse a mother's fondness末I do not think my own darling will look amiss. With many thanks for your kind proposal,
    Believe me,
        Yours very sincerely,
            EDITH MONTAGUE.


Returning thanks for a Carte de visite.

London, May 8th.

    Many thanks for your carte de visite. I hasten to return the compliment by sending my own: it is not a very handsome affair, but a faithful representation of me. When you happen to look at it, may it remind you of the donor,
    Your affectionate

Asking a Friend in Town to make Purchases.

Winslow, July 7th.

    I have a favour to ask you before you leave town; it is to make a few purchases for me. We have such a poor choice of things in this place in the way of dress, that I am going to tax your kindness to bring me 12 yards of blue silk, the same colour as the enclosed sample; 18 yards of spotted clear white muslin; two dozen pairs of light-coloured kid gloves, 6ス and 6セ in size; and will you also select a nice new necktie for each of the boys ?末quite in the fashion, of course. Coming from a distance will greatly add to their beauty and value in the wearers' eyes.
    Hoping that you will not think me too troublesome, Believe me,
        With the truest regard,
            Yours very sincerely,
                MATILDA FRASER.


Calling in a Physician.

    Mrs. Welford presents her compliments* to Dr. Wallis, and will be obliged if he will call on her at his earliest convenience.
    Onslow Square, May 2nd.

[-*it is vulgar to abbreviate this word-]

Calling in a Physician.

Belgrave Terrace, July 9th.

    Could you oblige me by calling at your earliest convenience? My husband is very ill indeed, and I am anxious for your immediate advice.
    Believe me,
        Very truly yours,

Requesting a Physician to visit a Sick Child.

Beaumont Street, June 26.

    My child has been ailing for the last three days, and such alarming symptoms of fever have come on, that I should much wish you to see him. I shall be most grateful for your early attendance.
    Yours faithfully,


Subscription for Soup Kitchen.

Croydon, December 12th.

    On account of the great poverty and distress experienced this severe season by the poor of our town, several kind ladies have proposed setting up a Soup Kitchen, for which funds are being raised. Will you kindly lend your aid and influence to it, by adding your name to the enclosed list of subscribers?
    I remain,
        Yours respectfully,
            RACHEL HOWARD.

Answer, with a Subscription.

Croydon, December 13th.

    Enclosed is the list, and my subscription. I feel most happy in being able to join in so good a work. You may rely on my best endeavours for the furtherance and support of the scheme.
    Wishing you every success in your efforts for the same,
        Believe me,
            Yours sincerely,
                SOPHIA BENNETT.

Answer, refusing.

Penge, December 14th.

    I am very sorry that I am not able to comply with your request for a subscription, but it is really out of my power. The poor of our parish are so very necessitous, that all we can spare from our income is [-53-] insufficient for their relief; and I consider that they have the first claim on us.
    Believe me,
        Yours truly,

Requesting Interest for placing a Child in an Asylum.

London, May 9.

    I hope you will excuse this intrusion on your time and attention, on account of the cause; it is made in behalf of the distressed, and this emboldens me to address you, and to solicit your interest with the governors of the "Asylum for the Blind" for a little boy eight years of age, who through severe illness has become totally blind. It is a particularly distressing case the parents have not the means to provide for his comfort in this deplorable condition. Your kind heart, I feel assured, will plead for this little one, and induce you to use your influence, which is, I know, considerable, in his behalf.
    Trusting that you will forgive my troubling you on so slight an acquaintance,
        Believe me
            Most respectfully yours,
                ALICE GORDON.

From a Lady to another, in a friendly style complaining of not hearing from her.

Hertford, January 20th, 187末 

    I wrote you a long letter ages ago, and have never had a line from you since. I hope you are all well [-54-] They say "Ill news flies apace," therefore I am in hopes that nothing is the matter. I suppose you have heard of the death of P. F. It was very sudden indeed: he returned from his office at four o'clock, in perfect health apparently, and was taken ill as he was sitting down to dinner at six. Dr. Archbut was instantly with him, but nothing could save him. He leaves, as you know, four little children. Mrs. P. is brokenhearted, as may be imagined; every one, of course, wonders what will become of her. Having for many years been on the most intimate terms with them, I know the whole of their affairs, and, between you and me, she will not be badly off. He was so careful in every way, that although they lived well, much less money was spent by them than in many houses where it is muddled away.
    I very much fear, dear, I shall not see you in this house again, for I have made up my mind to give up housekeeping for a time. As yet I have not fixed where I shall go. Teresa is at Shipcoats, only poor Andrew is at home with me; he must find it very dull, poor fellow! as, for the last ten days I have been suffering from influenza, and confined closely to my room. We are now in the middle of winter末what a severe one it has been!
    Accept my kindest love; and hoping you will soon send me a line, that I may know something of your movements,
    Believe me
        Yours affectionately,
            GRACE DRAKE


From a Lady, replying to questions as to household Management.

Frimsby, May 4th, 187末

    We were all charmed to hear from you, and willingly comply with your request for information as to household expenses. I will give you an outline of our own, and we are residing, as you are aware, in by no means a cheap neighbourhood. I allow for each person in the house the following quantities per week, which have always proved sufficient. To commence with meat 末 Four pounds of meat and bone together; eight pounds of bread, two pounds of flour for cakes, pies, and puddings; a half-pound of butter for eating, and the same quantity for cooking purposes末we have generally found that sufficient if we have not very much pastry. We clarify our dripping for basting meat, poultry, frying fish, and making pie-crust; or we purchase at times a pound of lard, as it makes the pastry lighter and richer. We do not allow our servant money for beer, thinking it much more economical to provide her with it from our own cask of ale at one shilling a gallon, of which we allow her one pint a day末that is, half a pint at dinner, and half a pint at supper. We make our own bread, which we find cheaper. We allow no dripping whatever to be sold末it encourages petty robberies, we imagine末and if we have any to spare, we give it away. The above is what I find I can safely allow out of my income for housekeeping, and I have never yet exceeded four pounds of meat per week for each person, [-56-] and two quartern loaves and one pound of flour per head.
    Hoping you will find these hints useful, 
        Believe me,
            Yours very sincerely,

From a Lady, replying to questions about a Kitchener.

Brentwood, May 20th, 187末

    In reply to yours of the 14th inst., it affords me the greatest pleasure to give you the information you require:末I have had one of the kitcheners in use some years, and it answers admirably. I do not think they save fuel, but if properly managed they are not extravagant. The printed rules sent with the kitchener must be strictly adhered to, or there will he "trouble." The tenants who preceded me in this house could not do anything with the "nasty thing." My cook has never had the slightest trouble with it. The register door must be opened a little way whilst much cooking is going on, to take off the heat and smell. The meat, though "done" in the oven, is very different from and superior to baked meat, and would not be known, I think, from roast. Saucepans, &c., being always put upon the hot plate, are never black, and the saving of labour in cleansing is therefore considerable.
    I shall be glad to hear from you again, and if you are in this neighbourhood and could spare the time, I shall be very glad to see you.
    Believe me,
        Dear Madam,
            Yours truly,
                HARRIET WATTS.


From a Lady in the Country to a Young Friend in London.

The Dingle, August 25th, 187末

     I am afraid I am getting stupid, for I cannot recollect whether I am in your debt a letter, as well as for the pretty things you were so kind as to purchase for me. They are quite new fashion here. Many thanks for them.
    I am writing these few lines to let you know that H末 is in London on a visit to a friend in Curzon Street. A good match, dear. He has a nice little income and a good business. There is one drawback, however: he has a temper of his own, and is rather small in stature; but a kind and affectionate wife would improve his temper. He is very kind-hearted.
    I see by advertisements in the papers, that dresses for winter wear are cheap; should you see two, that would suit Rose and myself (you know our favourite colours) will you please purchase them for me? I hope it will be no inconvenience to you to do so; if it be, decline at once. All unite in most affectionate love to your uncle.
    Believe me, my dear,
        Yours affectionately,

From a Girl at School, requesting permission to bring a Friend home for the holidays.

Prospect Villa, Chertsey.
    May 14th, 187末 

    You have always been so very indulgent to me, and have so often granted my requests, that I am [-58-] almost sure you will grant a favour I am going to ask you. It is this: our vacation commences next month, and a very dear friend of mine末an orphan末 who is almost my constant companion, will be obliged to remain at school the whole of the holidays, as the friends with whom she was to have spent this vacation have lost their eldest boy, in scarlet fever; so you see, it is utterly impossible for poor Clara to go to them. Will you allow her to come home with me? We should prefer to share the same room; she is very affectionate, kind, and good, and would be a favourite with all at home. I do so feel for my poor dear friend! If she has to remain here, when all her school friends are gone, it will be so sad for her. Pray let her come to us, dear mamma! With love to dear Papa, Rosy, and little Totty,
    Believe me,
        Your ever affectionate child,

Application to a Subscriber to a Charitable Institution, for her interest on behalf of a Distressed Friend.

Chertsey, January 4th, 187末 

    Finding your name on the list of subscribers ho the 末 Asylum, I venture to bring to your notice the case of Miss B末, and solicit the favour of your votes at the ensuing election. Miss B末 is a very old and esteemed friend of mine, and her case is truly a painful one, and merely requires to be known, to insure sympathy and support. I enclose you some her printed circulars, detailing it; if you will kindly give them to any neighbours of yours, who may be [-59-] subscribers, and request them to befriend her, I shall consider myself deeply indebted to you. Should you have any blind person in whom you take an interest, I should be happy at the next election to give my votes (eight in number) in their favour. With kindest regards
    Believe me,
        Yours very truly,

From a Lady desirous of placing her Daughters at School.

Ipswich, May, 187末.

    Being anxious to place my daughters at school, I should be glad to enter into correspondence with you, having been informed that I am likely to find in your establishment all the requirements I seek. My daughters are 16 and 14. I am specially anxious that they should find the comforts of home, combined with a superior education. They are fairly advanced in all general studies, but I should wish them to have the benefit of the best masters for French, German, Music, Singing, and Drawing, and I also should much like them, if it be practicable in your establishment, to gain an insight into the details of household management, as I consider that any accomplishments a young lady may acquire are of no value if she is ignorant of domestic arrangements. I should be glad to know your terms, and any particulars that would help me to a decision in the matter.
    I am, Madam,
        Your obedient servant,


Reply to a Lady going Abroad, wishing to send her Daughters to a School.

Hopetown House, March, 187末

    I am much gratified by the high opinion formed by your friends of my establishment, and it will afford me great satisfaction to have your daughters placed under my superintendence during your absence abroad. The course of instruction you desire shall be most diligently pursued by them, in every particular. With regard to giving them an insight into the management of household affairs, I have always considered that it is an essential in the education of ladies. I will, on the first opportunity, make a point of calling on their aunt, Mrs. S末, to ascertain on what days, she would wish them to visit her. No pains shall be wanting on my part to render their residence with me as comfortable as possible. With best thanks,
    Believe me,
        Dear Madam,
            Yours, &c., &c.,

Request to a Friend to Address a Letter for the Writer.

Thistle Road, March 24th, 187末

    Would you be kind enough to add Miss A.'s address to her name on the enclosed letter? I have stupidly lost her note to me, and cannot recollect the street in which she is lodging.
    [-61-] We hope that you are all quite well, this chilly weather. How cold it is after the unusually warm spring days we have had lately.
    With best love to all, and apologies for troubling you,
        Believe me, ever,
            Your affectionate

On the Death of a Child.

Hereford Square, February 4th, 187末 

    Pray accept my condolence on your great sorrow. I am sorry I cannot have the pleasure of seeing you just yet; but believe me, with the deepest sympathy,
    Yours most sincerely,

Another on the same.

York Place, February 8th, 187末

    I am sure I need not tell you how much I sympathize with you in your sad bereavement.
    This is your first trial, and hearts unacquainted with grief can scarcely understand its bitterness.
    Yet you have much to be thankful for! You have a kind and loving husband to share this trouble with you; and a true and watchful Friend, who in His infinite wisdom and love guides and directs all things for our good. Do not doubt that for some wise purpose he has seen fit to snap this one little link in your chain of [-62-] love, and He will best know how to comfort and support you in your trial. Could you see your darling now, and hear his voice joining the Heavenly chorus, and singing "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain," you would not wish to recall him.
    I have thought constantly of you, since your messenger arrived. Hoping you will believe in the sincerity of my sorrow for you, believe me, with beet love and deepest sympathy,
    Your affectionate

To a young Friend on the Death of her Mother.

Plymouth, May 14th.

    I hope you will not think me intrusive in offering my sympathy with that of your many friends in this your great affliction. The last time I saw your dear mother, I had my fears lest you should lose her, and it must have been a sad trial for you to witness her sufferings, without being able to alleviate them.
    You have lost your best earthly friend, for there is no love like a mother's, lasting through good and evil, and ever loving on the same. Your mother was a fond parent; and none could chide your grief at the loss you have sustained. It is the just tribute to her memory. Still, dear, do not mourn as those who have no hope: this is but a momentary separation, and an eternity of bliss is prepared for those who, through faith in God's promises, hope to meet their loved ones hereafter free from all sin and sorrow, in the kingdom of God.
[-63-] I trust that your health has not materially suffered from the anxiety and fatigue of nursing. Should you desire a change of scene, I shall feel only too happy to welcome you here, and will do all in my power to comfort you in your affliction. With heartfelt sympathy,
    Believe me,
        Yours very sincerely,
            MARY STANHOPE.

Announcing the Death of a Near Relative.

Ripon, March 15th, 187末 

    You must have been prepared for some time past, from the gloomy tenor of my last few letters, for the mournful intelligence I have now to communicate. Our poor suffering friend has been called away to her final rest.
    Last evening, about half-past six o'clock, a sudden change came over her, and at nine o'clock she ceased to live; her sufferings were very great, but the patience and resignation with which she bore her terrible affliction, showed most unmistakeably that her faith was firmly fixed where every true Christian's should be. She died quite calmly, and was sensible to the last. Of course we are overwhelmed with grief; her mother is quite prostrate with despair at the loss of her only daughter; time alone can soothe her dreadful affliction.
    The funeral will take place on Thursday. If you can come to us, pray do, as we feel that your presence [-64-] would be a great consolation to us all. With our united love,
    Believe me, dear Julia,
        Yours ever, very sincerely,
            ISABELLA BATE.

Reply to a Letter announcing Death of a Relative.

Woburn, March 17th, 187末

    Although from your last few letters I was led to believe our dear sufferer was in a most dangerous state, still I had not prepared myself to believe that we should so soon lose one so dearly and justly valued and so devotedly loved by us all. To myself, dearest Isabella, it is a loss that no earthly blessings can ever compensate. In youth we were constant and most intimate friends, in the true meaning of the word friendship; as years passed on, our friendship ripened with them. Is she really gone? shall I never see her more? Would that I could have taken a last farewell of her!
    I will make arrangements to be with you on Wednesday early; in the meantime give my most sincere and affectionate love to her dear mother, who has one consolation, and that a great and lasting one, that a few years only separate them, and that they will finally be reunited for ever in their Heavenly Father's Kingdom.
    Believe me, dearest Isabella,
        Yours ever very sincerely,
            JULIA WESTON.


Requesting a Friend to break the Death of a Husband to his Wife.

London, November 12th, 18末 

    I have sad news for you, and must ask you to undertake a most painful task. My husband has just left our poor friend Mr. W., who died this morning very suddenly from disease of the heart.
    We are in great fear lest Mrs. W. should see the announcement of it in the paper suddenly, and my husband has desired me to write to you and ask you to be kind enough to break the sad news to her as soon as possible. It will be a terrible blow to her; but if any one can soften the shock by tact and tenderness we are sure you can. Entreating your pardon for thus troubling you,
    I remain,
        Very truly yours,

From a Lady to her Friend, announcing the serious Illness of her Child.

Houghton, May 11th.

    It is my painful duty to inform you that your dear little girl is most dangerously ill. She appeared ailing when she arrived yesterday on her long. promised visit; to-day she is much worse, and the doctor apprehends scarlet fever. Pray come at once to her. Your presence will be her best medicine, and I well know what you would feel if you were absent from her sick bed. Excuse a hurried letter, and
    Believe me,
        Most truly yours.


Announcing the Death of a Mother.

The Wells, March 16th.

    I have sad news for you末call up all your courage to hear it. Our best beloved mother is gone to her rest. Last evening, just at sunset, her gentle spirit departed. She suffered nothing; her departure was like falling into a quiet slumber. You will, I know, feel our loss as deeply as I do, for she was inexpressibly dear to us. But, my dear Susannah, our separation will be but for a season末we humbly trust. She waits for us in the Paradise of God, and in a few years, if we can but keep in the narrow path which she has safely trodden, we shall see her once more.
    We are all very miserable just at present. But we know that our sorrow is caused by her exceeding joy, and we try to be resigned to the Divine will.
    May God, who alone can do so, comfort you, my darling. We all unite in tender love to you.
        Your affectionate

Asking a Relative to attend the Funeral.

The Wells, March 18th.

    You will have heard of our great loss from 末. Our dear mother has gone to her rest. On the 21st we shall commit her mortal remains to the earth, and we think you will give us the sad satisfaction of following her to the grave.
    She loved you well, John, and I believe that you returned her affection, Come to us as soon as you [-67-] can. We are very sad, but her death was so happy and peaceful that we feel our sorrow is selfish,
    We unite in love to you.
        Believe me,
            Your affectionate

From a Girl at Service to her Friend.

Camden Town, May 15th.

    You will be surprised to hear from me, especially when I tell you that I am going to leave my situation, for I find I am not equal to the place; this being always an open house makes the work very irregular, though I cannot complain of want of assistance; but I have not been accustomed to this kind of service, and have so little time for keeping my clothes in decent repair, that I have given warning. I would much rather have less wages if I could get a comfortable place in a quiet family, where there was was not so much company kept. If your mistress wanted a cook I should be very glad to go and live with you; it would seem like old times to be living together again, but I don't suppose there is any such luck for me. As you promised you would inquire for me if ever I thought of leaving this, I have written at once, and if you could hear of any place likely to suit me, I should be very much obliged. Hoping you are quite well.
    I remain,
        With kind love,
            Yours sincerely,
                ANNE STEELE.


From a Servant Girl to her Mother.

Holloway, June 8th.

    I know you will all be pleased at home to hear I like my place very much. My mistress is very kind to me; and shows me herself how to do things I had not learnt before. That is very different to my other mistress, who only used to tell me but did not teach me, and I find I remember much better now, besides knowing exactly how to set about my work. I have learnt a great deal since I came here, and I am sure, dear mother, you would think me quite clever and fit to go to the Squire's, up at the Hall.
    Every Sunday I go to church, which is quite a pleasant walk from here, and of an evening when my work is done, I do a little sewing. My mistress was so shocked to see how awkward I was at my needle, that she says I really must learn better, as it is a sad thing for a poor girl not to be able to mend and make her own clothing, so she has bought me a new print dress, which she is going to cut out and teach me to make up.
    I felt very lonesome when I was here first. I missed Eliza so much, and dear little Jemmy whom I used to take care of, when at home, but I am very happy now; every one is good and kind to me in this house. Give my love to father and all at home. Hoping I shall soon have a letter from you, and that you are all well,
    I remain, with best love,
        Your affectionate and dutiful daughter,
            BESSIE COOPER.


The Mother's Answer.

Ampthill, June 12th.

    Both your father and I were much pleased when we had your letter, and learned that you are so happy and contented, and indeed it would be very ungrateful if you were not seeing you have such a good and kind mistress. I hope that in return you will do all you can to please her and make her house comfortable; that you will always be ready and willing to do as you are bid, for that is the only way you have of showing you feel her kindness. There are very few places now where mistresses will take the trouble to teach their servants anything, and you have been very lucky in finding such a one. Do not forget the advice I gave you when you left home: keep to yourself and do not make too many acquaintances, as they often lead to the ruin of poor girls. Your father has had rheumatism very bad, and has not been able to go to the mill since Tuesday, but I am glad to say he is getting better, and I hope by next week he will be able to go to work again. Little Jemmy is quite well, and seems very fond of Eliza now his Bessie is away, but he often asks for you. Father joins with me in best love. My respects to your good mistress, and tell her I feel most grateful for the kindness she has shown my poor girl.
    From your loving mother,
        JANE BARLOW.

From a Servant applying for the Situation of Housemaid.

Stepney, Oct. 9th

    Having heard you are in want of a housemaid, I venture to apply for the situation. I have [-70-] been four years in my last place, and can produce a good char cter for honesty, order, and industry; and I may venture to say that I think I should suit you, having been accustomed to service from a little child. My wages are twelve pounds a year. Should you feel disposed to give me a trial, you would much oblige,
    Your humble servant,


Maida Hill, Oct. 10th.

    Bring your character to-morrow. I think very likely you would suit me. Early rising and personal neatness are two things which I expect of those in my service; and if you are not in the habit of practising both, it is needless for you to come.

Cook's Application for a Character.

Sloane Street, March 4th.

    I have the offer of a cook's place at Dorchester, and should feel greatly obliged if you will give me a character. The lady will write to you to inquire about me.
    You were good enough to say that if I left this place you would recommend me, and although I know you dislike giving written characters, I hope you will oblige me.
    I remain,
        Your obedient servant,


From a Young Woman at Service.

Camberwell, June 8th, 187末

    I like my new place very much. My mistress is very kind to me, and makes allowance for my country ways. There are three children, but they do not give much trouble ; there is a nursemaid to do for them. She is a very nice young girl, and is ready to help me in anything I ask her about, and shows me many little kindnesses.
    We have leave to go out every other Sunday to tea, but we must be home at nine o'clock. As there is nobody I know in this place, Jane has asked her mother to let me go to see her, and the old lady is very kind to me.
    Cook is not quite so good-natured as Jane. She is very cross sometimes, particularly if I make the kitchen at all untidy; but I don't mind. I know that I can't expect to live always with good-tempered folks, and that one must put up with a good deal if one wishes to live happily anywhere.
    I have good food, good wages, and my work is not too hard, so I must be content.
    Dear father and mother, I hope you are quite well. Do write to me sometimes; it is sad to be so far away from home, but I hope now to be able to help you out of my wages, so that you may not be obliged to work so hard in your old age.
    Is Joe still working at the farm? and when did you see John Evans?
    Please tell me all news, and if you see Mrs. Wilson give my duty to her, and tell her that I will try to do all she and Mr. Wilson told mc. Our clergyman [-72-] is not at all like Mr. Wilson, but I go to church (or meeting) once every Sunday.
    And now I must say God bless you, my dear father and mother; with love to all at home,
        I am,
            Your affectionate daughter,
                    JESSY BROWN.

From a Young Woman in Service in London to a Friend in the Country.

May Fair, London,
January 1st, 187末

    I would have written to you before, but our people have had so many visitors that I have not had one moment to myself. However, having an opportunity now, I keep the promise I made you on leaving Alverstoke. The family I am living with treat me with great kindness, nor can I truly say that I am expected to do more than I can perform. But still I do not altogether like my situation; you know how regular we were in all things when we lived together at the Mount; getting up at six and all in bed by ten o'clock. Then I was able to do my work well and thoroughly; but now all that is changed. Here they do not breakfast until nearly noon, and dine at eight, and the family are out nearly every evening and do not return until between two and three o clock in the morning. I am afraid if I remain much longer in this place my health may suffer; I have now a severe cold, and cannot find an opportunity to take anything for it. I wish you would consult with my mother what is beat for me to do, for although I am [-73-] rather unwilling to leave my place, I am perfectly convinced she would not wish me to remain in it if she thought my health would be hurt by it. Let me hear from you as soon as possible, and remember me most kindly to all my old friends. With best love,
    Believe me,
        Your sincere friend,
            JANE OLLERHEAD


Monk's Ferry, January 4th, 187末 

    I was glad to receive your letter of the 1st January, and have lost no time in seeing your mother, and giving your message; she desires me to say that she hopes you will return home as soon as you can. The account you give of yourself has, of course, made her very uneasy, but it is just what I expected. You know that I did all I could to prevent your going to London, but it was of no use. Of course, it is natural that every young person should wish to see as much of the world as possible; but changes are generally bad, and such has been the result of your leaving country service for London. We shall all be glad to see you here again. One of our servants will shortly leave, and I will tell my mistress you are coming home; she might perhaps give you the place. The wages are lower than you have been receiving, but the work is light and regular. Write and let me know the day you return, and I will meet you at the station. With affectionate love,
    Believe me,
        Your sincere friend,
            ELLEN PROUDFOOT.


From one Servant to another, making an Engagement, and informing her of her proposed Marriage.

Barnfell House, December 14th, 187末 

    With much pleasure I can now inform you that my young man will be most happy to accompany us both to-morrow evening to the theatre. I was afraid of proposing it to you at first, knowing you do not think it right to go to the play, but this is a very good piece, and I trust you will be induced to come. The page is going out with the dogs for exercise, and will deliver this note; please send an answer by him. We hope it will be a consent to go with us. Joseph looked so handsome to-day in his uniform. We shall soon be married; be sure you keep disengaged for that day, for you are to be my bridesmaid. I shall wear a light. brown silk dress, but no orange-blossoms in my bonnet, as every one stares at one so if one does; white lilac will look just as well. With best love,
    Believe me,
        Yours ever affectionately,

Servant's Reply to her Friend.

Dipstone Street, Dec. 14th, 187末 

    I could not send a reply by the page, as I wished to thank you for the kindness you showed in choosing a theatre at which such a good play was being acted. I shall be very glad indeed to go with Joseph and yourself; but I must make you promise that you will let me leave after the second piece is finished. A friend of mine will go with us, of whom my mistress [-75-] approves. He frequently spends the evening with me, by permission. Do not think me sly for not telling you before, but if you let me know the day you have fixed for your wedding, perhaps I may be married at the same time. With best love,
    Believe me,
        Your ever attached friend,

Applying to the Clergyman of the Parish for a Character.

Nantwich, May 18th, 187末

    Having seen an advertisement for a national school mistress in the Daily Telegraph, I have been recommended to offer myself as a candidate. Will you kindly favour me with a testimonial as to my character, ability, and conduct, while at 末 Training School? Should you consider that I am fitted for the position, you would confer a very great favour on me if you would interest yourself in my behalf.
    I remain,
        Reverend Sir,
            Your most obedient and humble servant,

Thanking a Clergyman for his Assistance in procuring an Appointment.

Whitchurch, July 18th, 187末 

    The election for schoolmistress at 末 School having resulted in my favour, I must now sin-[-76-]cerely and truly thank you for the great kindness shown me on your part, and on that of your friends, whose support you secured for me. Without that assistance I am convinced I should not have succeeded. I beg to assure you, reverend sir, that the high character you have formed of me shall ever be maintained, and that my future conduct through life shall give you no cause to regret your recommendation.
    I have the honour to be,
        Reverend Sir,
            Your dutiful and grateful servant,

(Milliner's Apprentice): Application by a Mother as to Terms.

London, May 14th, 187末 

    My eldest daughter, 末 years of age, is very expert and clever at her needle, and is desirous of improving herself in a superior establishment; having seen your advertisement in the Daily News, I request you to favour me with an early reply, as to the amount of premium you require for an apprentice.
    I remain,
        Yours obediently,

Application for a Ticket of Admission, as an in-door Patient to an Hospital, for a Sick Child.

Staines, May 1st, 187末 

    Having heard from Mrs. C末, who came the other day to visit my poor suffering child, that [-77-] you are a Life Governor of the 末 Hospital, I take the liberty of writing to ask you if you would give her a ticket of admission to it; she is a great sufferer, and my means are so small that I cannot afford to buy all she requires. We are many in family, and she needs better food than we can afford her. Should you, madam, be good enough to grant my request, I shall be for ever grateful.
    Your obedient, humble servant,
        JANE HOPTON.

From a Milliner leaving Address.

Graham Street, June 22nd.

    I take the liberty of leaving my address, as you kindly said you would employ and recommend me when an opportunity occurred.
    I am,
            Your obedient servant,
                E. GREENE.

From a Dressmaker to a Lady, excusing herself from coming at the appointed time.

74, Melton Road, St. Germains,
June 14th, 187末 

    I am truly sorry to be obliged to put you off again, but I have a great deal of work to do at home, maid it most unfortunately happens to be mourning, so ~bat I cannot possibly leave it. But if you will kindly [-78-] wait for me until Wednesday, I faithfully promise that I will not disappoint you.
    I am,
        Dear Madam,
            Yours respectfully,
                ANN BOND.

Inquiring about a Governess.

Bedford Street, May 18th.

    Miss H末末 has referred me to you末with whom she tells me she has resided four years末for a recommendation. Having been the inmate of your house, and the companion of your children for so long a time, you have had opportunities of judging of her abilities, and her moral qualities, and I shall esteem it a great favour if you will give me some information as to her capability of taking charge of the education of my three little girls.
    In the training of the young there is often much wilfulness to contend with, and great childish inability; gentleness and firmness are therefore indispensable; and I trust that I may hear from you that Miss H.'s temper is good.
    If it be not inconvenient, I shall be much obliged if you will send me an early reply. With many apologies for thus troubling you,
    Believe me,
        Yours faithfully,


Answer, favourable.

    In answer to your inquiries concerning Miss H末, I have much pleasure in informing you that you may safely entrust your little girls to her care.
    With respect to temper, she is a lady of too much refinement and good sense ever to betray any impatience with her pupils in the discharge of their several duties. She is both a cheerful companion and an able instructress, and my regret almost equalled my children's when I parted with her; but our leaving the country rendered a separation imperative.
    I remain,
        Yours faithfully,
            ELLEN ARMSTRONG.

Answer, unfavourable.

    I regret you should have applied to me respecting Miss H末. I cannot give a very satisfactory answer to your inquiries. I found her a most amiable young lady, ever ready to make herself useful, and very fond of children, but quite unequal to conducting an education; and as my children grew older I found the necessity of providing a more experienced and talented person to superintend their studies.
    Sincerely regretting that I cannot recommend her as a governess.
        Believe me,
            Yours sincerely,
                    ELLEN ARMSTRONG


A Lady recommending a Governess to another Lady.

Boorhampton, April 23rd.

    In reply to yours of the 末 inst. I have much pleasure in testifying to the capabilities of Miss as a governess.  My children made the greatest improvement under her tuition. Her views are purely evangelical, her manner most refined; she teaches English thoroughly, music and drawing well. Her method of instructing in French was most wonderful, and having been educated abroad her accent is perfect, You may safely confide your children to her care.
    I remain,
        Dear Madam,
            Yours truly,

Reply to a Letter inquiring the Character of a Housemaid.

28, Hanover Square, February 18th, 18末 

    In answer to your inquiries respecting F. Legg, I beg to say that her former mistress, Mrs. Roach (with whom she lived as nurse), gave her a sufficiently satisfactory character to induce me to take her as housemaid; in which capacity she was with me some time. I found her very civil, obliging, cleanly, and most respectable, an early riser, always anxious to do well. Our man servant and herself did not agree, but I have every reason to believe it was the man's fault; she got on very comfortably with my other servants. Her work as housemaid was always done well: of course I cannot answer for her as to waiting at table. or any parlourmaid's duties, as she had not [-81-] anything of the kind to do here; but she is really a clever woman, and I have not the least doubt, if she has undertaken those duties, that she will be able to perform them.
    I remain,
            Yours truly,
                ADELAIDE FAULKNER

From a Nursery Governess, desiring to know the result of her Application.

High Wycombe, October 3rd, 187末 

    Yesterday I received a note from Mrs. Lanberg, stating that you had written last Monday for my reference. I shall feel extremely obliged if by return of post you will let me know your decision, as I am holding myself disengaged till I hear from you
    I am,
            Yours respectfully,
                MARIA GEE.

From a young Lady, inquiring the Character of a Lady's-maid.

St. Mary's Cray, June 5th, 187

    I am about to lose Jane, who for so many years has lived with me as my maid. She is going to be married. She knew my ways so well, that I fear no [-82-] other servant will ever appear to me equal to her. She was very clever in hair-dressing, and caught up every new fashion as soon as it came out. Her kindness and gentleness to me during my late severe illness was very great, and she was so quick and handy in dressmaking also, that really I found my expenses in that respect quite trifling, and I was always dressed in the fashion. Can you recommend me a successor to her ? I should wish her to be nice looking. Some knowledge of French would be advisable, as when travelling abroad she would be of great assistance to us all. I trust you will be able to assist me. With best love,
    Believe me,
        Yours very sincerely,
            REBECCA FAED.

Reply relative to a Lady's-maid.

St. Ives, June 6th, 187

    I am glad to be able to recommend you one of the very best lady's-maids I think I ever saw. She Is neat-looking and very handy. She was under one of the best hair-dressers in Paris when she lived with Mrs. C., who parts with her solely because she is reducing her establishment. She speaks a little French, and reads well and distinctly; she has a nice manner, and is a first-rate milliner and dressmaker. The other day she spent the afternoon with my maid, and not wishing to be idle (as she said), she made me the prettiest bonnet imaginable, almost out of nothing. She is also thoroughly respectable and well conducted, [-83-] obliging and good-tempered, and valuable in time of sickness.
    I think she will suit you well.
    Trusting that all your family are well, I remain,
            Yours very truly,
                SOPHIA JAY.

Inquiring for a Nurse.

Highgate, June 21st.

    I am in great distress, my nurse having suddenly left me in consequence of her father's death, and there is no probability of her coming back, as she will have to take charge of an invalid mother and little family. Perhaps you will assist me out of my difficulty by calling on Mrs. G., Bloomsbury Square, to inquire the character of Ann P末, whom I have heard spoken of in very high terms.
    I need not mention the qualities I require. You know what a treasure my last nurse was; I should think myself most fortunate could I meet with such another modest and good servant. I would not trouble you were I able to go such a long distance, but knowing how kind and ready you always are to oblige a friend, I do not hesitate to ask you if you will do so. You really will be conferring a great favour on your
    Affectionate friend,


Sloane Street, June 25th.

    I have called on Mrs. G. to inquire the character of Ann P末. and hasten to tell you the result, [-84-] and to advise you to take her at once, for so valuable a servant is not to be met with every day. She is clean, good-tempered, civil, and very fond of children, and amongst other qualifications she is an excellent needlewoman, and I think would suit you admirably.
    Pray do not apologize for asking me a favour, as I feel most happy to be of use to you, and I consider it the surest mark of friendship when our friends call on us for little services.
    Adieu. With love,
        Believe me,
            Very sincerely yours,
                LAURA MIDDLETON.

Answer, unfavourable.

Sloane Street, June 25th.

    After a very short interview with Mrs. G末, I came to the conclusion that A. P末 was not at all calculated to suit you. She is subject to fits of indolence, and when found fault with, she is very ill-tempered, though at other times a clever and intelligent servant. I doubt whether you will think it prudent to engage such an uncertain temper to be with children.
    Regretting this unsatisfactory answer, 
        Believe me,
            Most sincerely yours,
                LAURA MIDDLETON


Inquiring the Character of a Gardener.

    Mrs. S. would feel obliged to Mr. W. for the character of his gardener, Samuel Neal. She wishes to know if he is an honest, active, and sober man, thoroughly master of his business, and capable of taking charge of the kitchen and flower gardens.
    Beech Villa, June 24th.

Applying for a Housemaid's Character.

Westbourne Villa, January 17th, 187-

    Will you kindly answer the following questions respecting Elizabeth J末, who has applied to me for the situation of housemaid:末Is she honest, clean, an early riser; steady, sober, and a good workwoman? I should be also much obliged if you would favour me with your reasons for parting with her.
    Believe me,
            Yours faithfully,
                AMELIA W末 

Relative to Servant's Character.

Russell Square, January 18th, 187末.

    In reply to your note respecting Elizabeth J末, who lived with me as housemaid for six months, I am happy to say that I can answer most of your questions satisfactorily. She is strictly honest, sober, and clean; but I always had great difficulty in getting [-86-] her up early in the morning, and that was my only reason for parting with her. She is a very good needle-woman, and also good tempered.
    Believe me,
            Yours truly,
                FANNY P末.

From a Lady to her Dressmaker.

    Mrs. Brown will be glad if Miss Grey will call on her to-morrow at eleven o'clock to try on Mrs. Brown's new dress, which does not fit well. The skirt hangs badly, and the body is much too large. Mrs. Brown is much vexed by the misfit, as she requires the dress immediately.
    Markham Square, Monday Morning.

Engaging a Servant.

    Your character proves very satisfactory, and you may enter my service on Wednesday evening next, April 18.
    The Elms, April 15th.

Engaging a Music Master.

    Mrs. Griffiths presents her compliments to Mr. 末 , and will feel obliged if he will call on her in the course of the week (he can name his own day and hour), to arrange a course of music lessons for heir daughters.
    Bloomabury Square, May 1st.


Inquiring about Drawing or other Lessons.

    Mrs. Percival presents her compliments to Mr. 末, and will be obliged if he will send her his terms for private lessons or for classes. An early answer will oblige.
    Sussex Square, June 24th.

Engaging a Housemaid.

    Your character is satisfactory, and I shall therefore be happy to engage you as housemaid. I shall expect you at my house on Tuesday, the 19th inst., at seven o'clock.      F. M. P.
    Sussex Square, June 25th.

Refusing her Services.

    I fear from your character that you will not quite suit my place, and shall not therefore trouble you further.
    Sussex Square, June 25th.

Letter from a Cook to a Lady.

Straight Place, September 8th.

    Having seen your advertisement for a cook in to-day's Times, I beg to offer myself for your place. I am a thorough cook. I can make clear soups, entr馥s, jellies, and all kinds of made dishes. I can bake, and [-88-] am also used to a dairy. My wages are 」末, and I can have four years' good character. I am thirty-three years of age.
    I remain,
            Your obedient servant,

From a Plain Cook.

Bath, May 4th.

    having seen your advertisement in the Times of the 18th inst., I beg to offer myself for the place.
    I am a good plain cook. I can roast, boil, make pastry, for which I have a light hand, and am willing to make myself generally useful in the house. My wages are 」末, and I can have a year's character from my last place. I shall be happy to call on you if you will permit me.
    I am,
         Your obedient servant,   

Form of Invitation to attend a Funeral

    Mrs. 末 begs to inform Mr. 末, that the funeral of the late Mr. 末 will take place at Kensal Green Cemetery on the 18th inst., at four o'clock.


[--grey numbers in brackets indicate page number, 
(ie. where new page begins), ed.--]