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Daily Snippet #18: Page 134 / 100 Words


Jennie Taylor Wandle. The Art of Letter-Writing: A Manual of Polite Correspondence Containing the Correct Forms for All Letters of a Commercial, Social or Ceremonial Nature, with Copious Explanatory Chapters on Arrangement, Punctuation, Grammatical Forms, etc., etc., etc. New York: A. L. Burt, c1889.


“Advice unsought should never be given, unless from parents to children, teacher to pupils, pastor to flock. It is a dangerous application in any event, and should be indulged in very sparingly.

If asked for, be careful what your write. Every consideration except for the welfare of the petitioner must be laid aside. Nothing that could be construed as a personal invective or a selfish motive must enter into the sentiments of your letter.

Even when asked for, advice often occasions offense; and as this is a risk you must take anyway, be perfectly frank and sincere in the little…”


Cannot resist also adding in the following example of a letter, from General George Washington to Miss Nelly Custis in the Selecting of a Husband [p 136: an extract only]]

“Men and women feel the same inclination toward each other now that they have always done, and which they will continue to do until there is a new order of things; and you, as others have done, may find that the passions of your sex are easier raised than allayed. Do not, therefore, boast too soon nor too strongly of your insensibility…. Love is said to be an involuntary passion, and it is, therefore, contended that it cannot be resisted. This is true in part only, for, like all things else, when nourished and supplied plentifully with aliment it is rapid in its progress; but let these be withdrawn, and it may be stifled in its growth. Although we cannot avoid first impressions, we may assuredly place them under guard…. When the fire is beginning to kindle and your heart growing warm, propound these questions to it: Who is this invader? Have I competent knowledge of him? Is he a man of good character? A man of sense? For, be assured, a sensible woman can never be happy with a fool. What has been his walk in life?… Is his fortune sufficient to maintain me in the manner I have been accustomed to live, and as my sisters do live? And is he one to whom my friends can have no reasonable objection? If all of these interrogatories can be satisfactorily answered, there will remain but one more to be asked: that, however, is an important one: Have I sufficient ground to conclude that his affections are engaged by me? Without this the heart of sensibility will struggle against a passion that is not reciprocated.

Yours affectionately,
George Washington

[the full letter can be read here: https://washingtonpapers.org/documents/george-washington-to-nelly-custis-21-march-1796/

I would say that George Washington must surely have read Jane Austen, but of course her first book wasn’t published until 1811 and this letter is dated 1796!


Nelly [Eleanor Parke] Custis, granddaughter of Martha Washington, was raised by her and George. Nelly lived at Mount Vernon from 1799-1799, the year of her marriage (to George’s nephew Lawrence Lewis) and Washington’s death: you can read more about her here: https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/eleanor-nelly-parke-custis/


Other works by Jennie Taylor Wandle: [she was a very busy lady!]

  1. The Art of Drawn Work. Butterick, 1891.
  2. Masquerade and Carnival: Their Customs and Costumes. Butterick, 1890.
  3. The Art of Modern Lace-Making. Butterick, 1891.
  4. The Surprise Cook-Book [as Jennie Taylor]. Hovendon, 1889.       
  5. The People’s Cook Book: Being a Collection of Nearly One Thousand Valuable Cooking Recipes, besides Invaluable Hints and Instructions in Reference to the Home for All Housekeepers. Grand Union Tea Co, ©1882.
  6. Bees and Bee-Keeping in Hive and Apiary. Butterick, 1893.
  7. How To Make One Hundred Puddings at a Small Cost: Also Valuable Recipes for Making Pastry, Custards, Creams, Jellies, Jams, and Preserves, and Nearly One Hundred Different Kinds of Cake: Designed for the Use of Families with Moderate Incomes. Ogilvie, 1882.
  8. The R.H. Macy Popular Cook Book: Being a Collection of Nearly One Thousand Valuable Cooking Recipes, Besides Invaluable Hints and Instructions in Reference to the Home for All Housekeepers. R.H. Macy & Co, ©1882.
  9. A Handy Dictionary of Synonyms, by H.C. Faulkner. Also issued as the second part of Writers’ reference hand-book … comprising a manual of the art of correspondence … and A handy dictionary of synonyms. By Jennie Taylor Wandle and H.C. Faulkner. New York [c1889]

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