Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How To Say No In Troy.

Here’s a letter from a book published in Troy in 1850. The book is full of model letters that you can use to answer a variety of people in a variety of situations. This letter is a sample of how to say no to a friend who asks to borrow money from you.

Dear Harry, (We changed the name from Jim to Harry to make the letter relevant.)

The fact is, that the poetry of life and the italics of the heart are entirely too etherial in their natures to be associated with the dross of dollars and cents. I go you the poetry and the italics, to the full extent; but I cannot consent to alloy the fine drawn sympathies and feelings of friendship by bringing it in contact with so common-place a matter as money.

Nor can I, dear Harry, when I remember the days of old, believe it would be paid to me in a week.

Yours truly


The title of the book that this letter came from is “American Fashionable Letter Writer, Original And Selected, Containing A Variety Of Letters On Business, Love, Courtship, Marriage, Relationship, Friendship, Etc With Forms Of Complimentary Cards, To The Whole Are Prefixed Directions For Letter Writing, And Rules For Composition.” Published by Merriam, Moore & Co. Troy, NY 1650.

Not only is the title of the book and its contents old fashioned, but letter writing has become old fashioned. Now if we could only get someone to write a book on e-mail etiquette.


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