The following is an excerpt from The Art of Letter Writing, an advice book originally published in 1918, and reissued this year by Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. It contains tips on writing in an "impersonal style," and choosing the proper "termination" for a letter ("Believe me, my dear Frank" and "I am, my dearest Aileen" are among the cited sign-offs). Below are four template letters to be used for various romantic situations. Copy and paste them into an e-mail at your own risk.
Letter No. 1.
From a Gentleman to a Lady, on Love at First Sight.
Dear Miss B -- ,
I am writing that which I fear I have not the courage, on so short an acquaintance, to tell you. The moment you came into my life I loved you. Before we met I did not believe love at first sight possible. But you opened my eyes, and caused me to see this wondrous truth in life -- the sudden revelation of all that is lovely and divine in a human soul. May I call on you? or will you consent to meet me? Be as merciful as you are beautiful, and save from despair
A. L. Margrave.
Letter No. 2.
From a Lady to a Gentleman, asking him to refrain from Further Attentions.
Dear Mr. Dashaway,
I now feel it necessary to write you on a matter which has caused me some concern lately. I refer to your persistent and, to me, very distasteful attentions.
I do not know that I have ever consciously given you any encouragement; and I am therefore hoping that, on receipt of this expression of my sentiments towards you, your gentlemanly instincts will prompt you to desist from what I cannot but consider an embarrassing annoyance.
Letter No. 3.
From an Absent Gentleman to his Fiancée.
My dearest Kathleen,
I am eagerly grasping the first moment’s leisure of the day to again say how much I love you.
The thought of you is so constantly with me that I find it difficult at any time to wholly fix my attention to the task I have in hand.
All things beautiful suggest you. As I write, I catch the sound of distant music -- and at once the charm of your low, sweet voice steals over me. A fair face passes my window -- and instantly I recall all your loveliness and grace.
Yesterday a tiny flower fell at my feet. Because it was of the kind you love, I saved its delicate life; and now, as its fragrance compels my notice, it seems, in its purity and freshness, a perfect symbol of you.
How dull and empty the evening hours are without you! And how frequently at these times do I conjure up a vision of the home that is to be, with you by my side -- cheerful, helpful, and inspiring, and never wearying in your effort to make it a veritable heaven on earth. Send me an assurance of your love by return. Tell me all that is in your heart as you read this and always think of me as
Letter No. 5.
From a Gentleman Pleading for Forgiveness after a Lovers’ Quarrel.
My dearest Love,
I cannot rest until I have written imploring forgiveness for leaving you so abruptly, and in such jealous anger.
What your thoughts to-day must be of me I dare not imagine. I have nothing to say by way of excuse for my churlish behaviour. Only do I ask for pardon. You may not know, dear, but at times your beauty, your grace, your intelligence, and the witching charm of your voice, all seem to unite in a conspiracy to rob me of reason.
That you will send me a reply at once, and restore me to the paradise of your trusting love, is the feverish wish of
Yours very sorrowfully,