Another, to an old Acquaintance, on the Grounds of Poverty
(Just when you thought we'd finally run out of versions of Letter I...)
Albany, October 5, 18--
To say that I do not feel pleased and flattered at your proposal, would be to tell a useless untruth. I feel deeply, almost painfully, the conviction that your kind expressions are dictated by sincerity, and am the more grieved to be compelled to discourage them.
But how are we situated? What hope of happiness with our unsettled prospects, and worse than small means? Industry has doubtless never been, and never will be, wanting on your part; but the want of patronage and capital will ever hold back the efforts of the most strenuous. For my own part, I can do little to make myself an incumbrance (sic) upon the efforts of one so young as yourself. No, my dear...., we must wait for better times, and not entail misery beyond calculation upon others, as well as ourselves, by a too hasty step.
Let us, therefore, continue, as before, friends; and if better times come, it will then be for us to talk about matrimony. Believe me, then, with every good and kindly wish,
Your faithful friend,