University Archive

Archive Item of the Month – February 2013


Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so it seemed fitting to present a Valentine’s message written in 1896 as this month’s item from the University Archive Collection.
Manuscript Chelt 1895-1896 UA34/1/27

A transcription of the letter is below. Read through the letter then read every other line.

Kissing Corner


Love Lane


Feb. 4th 1896


Dear Miss Smith


The great love I have hitherto expressed for you


is false, and I find my indifference towards you


increases daily. The more I see of you the more


you appear in mine eyes an object of contempt.


I feel myself every way disposed and determined


to hate you. Believe me, I never had an intention


to offer you my hand. Our last conversation has


left a tedious insipidity which has by no means


given me the most exalted idea of your character;


your temper would make me extremely unhappy


and if we are united, I shall experience nothing but


the hatred of my parents, added to everlasting dis-


pleasure in living with you. I have indeed a heart


to bestow, but I do not desire you to imagine it


at your service. I could not give it to anyone more


inconsistent and capricious than yourself, and less


capable to do honour to my choice and family.


Yes I hope that you will be persuaded that


I speak sincerely, and you will do me a favour


to avoid me. I shall excuse you taking the trouble


to answer this; your letters are always full of


impertinence, and you have not a shadow of


wit or good sense. Adew! and believe me


so adverse to you that it is impossible for me


ever to be yours.


                                    Thomas Brown



N.B. The father on finding this read


            it straight through but Miss Smith


            only read each alternate line
This witty letter was written as part of the Manuscript Chelt for 1895-1896. The Manuscript Chelts were compiled by students at the Cheltenham Training College (later St Paul’s College) as part of a tradition dating from 1879. The volumes are beautifully compiled and contain stories, poems, music, artwork, eyewitness accounts, sports reports and later photographs all documenting the student experience at the time.

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