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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