Dearest Mr. Darcy,
In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.
From the very beginning – from the first moment, I may almost say – of my acquaintance with you, an acquaintance recently renewed, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your disposition, your integrity and your winsome countenance, were such as to form the groundwork of approbation on which succeeding events have built so immovable an awe; and I had not known you a week before I felt that were you to come out of those beloved pages holding pride of place on my shelf, you would be the only man in the world I could ever be prevailed on to marry.
Alas, we come to less agreeable subjects. But there are feelings besides those of the heart that need to be detailed and will be dwelt on with unequal warmth.
Two offences of a very different nature, and by no means of equal magnitude, have been laid to my charge. The first is that gentlemen like you and others infamous for stretching wide their arms, have made me insensible to the charms of the stouter sex, and the other that I, in defiance of various claims, in defiance of honour and duty, have ruined the immediate prosperity and blasted the vexing curiosity of the general public.
The tumult of my mind, is painfully great.
Wilfully and wantonly to have nurtured the companion of my youth, common sense, the acknowledged favourite of both my father and mother, a sense that has scarcely any other dependence than the patronage of having its proprietor’s wits about, and that had been brought up to expect its exertion, suddenly finds itself in hostile society, to which the affection for two, nay many fictitious persons, whose strength is further embellished by imagination, could bear no comparison.
But from the severity of that blame which is often liberally bestowed, I shall hope to be in the future secured, when the following account of my actions and their motives has been read.
I had not been long in years, before I saw, in common with others, that personages in books or theatre varied greatly from their living counterparts. The business of merry making necessitated an equitable observation; there was greater danger of falling in love with the former, unchanging with the vicissitudes of time, than to invest time in the latter, having no generous prepossessions towards their follies or comfort in their ownership.
But it was not till the onset of adulthood, that I had any apprehension of forming a serious attachment. Your non-existence bringing into question the honour of dancing with you, I was otherwise engaged with the worldly pursuits of securing a decent education and livelihood.
Those pursuits prodigiously secured, there was universal proclamation of having reached a most unfortunate age. Being importuned for conjugal felicity was no more frowned upon, a discovery so mortifying, that I was at once empathetic of the indiscretions and indigestions of my unnamed sisters at various watering holes.
Forgive me for taking the liberty of your confidence. You can’t help inspire it. If my expectations court unicorns, I have only you to condemn.
With respect to that other, more weighty accusation, of being thoughtless to a degree as to grieve my nearest and dearest, I must defend that the motives that govern me account for their happiness foremost. I do not abhor marriage, as they might be led to believe, on the contrary I hold in high esteem those fortunate ones who step into the union with both eyes open, assured of an evenness of temperament that can only spell triumph for the partnership. My uneasy heart enjoys no such assurances. And to be confined to a relationship that is anything less, is intolerable.
In such cases as this, it is I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the proffers of assistance by relations far and near. If I could feel gratitude, I would now thank them for their troubles. I know they mean well. But I cannot – I have never desired unsought for introductions – however willingly they may be bestowed. Touched as I may be by the solicitude of those involved, it is imprudent to increase their scope or encourage an association that can leave more than a few feathers ruffled. No improvement of temper can occur between two parties determined to be left to their own devices.
Besides, the responsibility of so grave a decision must be borne by the self alone. Success may graciously bow, but the off chance of failure is a heavy enough misfortune without its attribution elsewhere.
Pride and prejudice (only after a perfect understanding with you), must be put aside in the hopes of achieving equanimity of spirit and every attempt made to become familiar with the particulars of heretofore unfamiliar thought processes and rationales. On this subject, I have nothing more to say, no other apology to offer.
This, sir, is a faithful narrative of events playing upon my mind, that leaves me desirous of your approval and our involvement. Your forbearance has been truly remarkable as I only hoped it would. I shall endeavour unsuccessfully to conquer my affections for you in the course of my lifetime. I will only add, God bless you.