It would be interesting to know who wrote the
first love letter, and what he said. For, of
course, it was he.
It is an odd fact, that while men are far more cau-
tious than women in signing their names to business
documents, they compromise themselves on paper
at Cupid's command much more frequently.
A man scrutinizes with great care everything
which he writes for legal purposes before he appends
his signature thereto; but he signs his name boldly
to reams of wild, extravagant utterances where
love stands at his elbow, and hurries it off with a
special delivery stamp.
Fine sport it proves sometimes for Cupid when
the letters he has instigated are produced in court
and read to an interested and jeering audience. A
letter which causes the hearts of two people to
palpitate when written and read usually stirs the
risibles of everybody else who hears it.
A love letter, like a kiss, is news to be shared
only by the two interested parties.
It is interesting to note the progressive addresses
in a love affair carried on by correspondence. The
first letter addressed to Miss Mollie Blank begins
"Miss Blank, Dear Miss;" then "My Dear Miss
Blank," "My Dear Mollie," "Dear Mollie,"
"Darling Mollie," "Darling!"
There is no fashion which can dictate the writing
of a love letter. As the tones of human voice vary,
so will love letters be varied by individual peculiar-
ities of style, while all carry one message and tell
one tale. The striking similarity of expression in
all love letters does not lessen their value. Because
the apple blossoms have ever the same color and
perfume, they are none the less beautiful with each
Some men can talk love by the hour, but cannot
write a word of it. Others are dumb in presence of
the beloved one, but pour their hearts out on paper.
It is curious to note what absolute nonsense often
drops from the pens of brilliant men and women
when they are in love. It proves the sincerity of
their passion far more than do studied literary
efforts. It is not well to place too much confidence
in the flowery and extravagant epistles of a romantic
man of literary tendencies. His imagination often
runs away with him when he takes his pen in hand.
A simple "I love you" from the pen of a practical
business man carries more weight than a volume of
poetic phrases written by the dreamer.
There have been men known to compose their
love letters on a type machine. The less said of
them, the better. They deserve capital punishment
--to be shot until they are dead by Cupid's arrows.
It is a great art to know how to write an effective
love letter. But it cannot be learned save in love's
To a person of any intuition and discernment, a
letter conveys the reader's true mood. A man may
be such a skilled actor that he can say "I love you"
with convincing effect, when he does not love at all.
But if he writes the words from an empty heart,
they convey emptiness. Written at white heat,
from a full heart, they leap from the paper like
electric sparks. The trouble with many women is,
they illuminate the pages of a man's letter with the
light of their own affections, and give the man the
credit of the effort produced.
Sometimes a love letter proves a death blow to
I knew a very young girl who worshipped a hand-
some lover, of whom her parents disapproved, for a
period of two years. Then, during a separation,
he wrote his first love epistle. So illiterate and
ungrammatical was it that the girl's love died before
she finished its perusal.
There are few things in life more unpleasant to
encounter than old love letters full of ardent pro-
testations of undying affection, exchanged by the
people who have grown absolutely indifferent to
A love letter is like a strawberry shortcake--
delicious when it comes fresh from the oven, nause-
ating when it has stood twenty-four hours in the ice
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.