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of the manuscript is broken, or concealed, will often render it necessary for the party receiving the letter to write, and for the one who is guilty of the fault to reply, to another letter requiring the necessary explanation
3. Conciseness one of the charms of letter-writing. A letter should be expressed as briefly as perspicuity and slegance will permit. All parade of words should be omitted. Yet we must not fall into an abrupt and obscure style in order to secure brevity.
4. Display is a great fault ; ease is the grace of letter-writing. Far-fetched words and studied phrases are not allowable, or ornamental. A passage, at once brilliant and brief, enriches a letter ; but it must be artless, and appear to flow without effort from the writer's pen—to arise naturally from the subject, or the preceding passages.
5. If you are at a loss for matter in writing to a friend, imagine that that friend was at the moment entering your pres
What would you tell him ? What would you inquire about? What former inquiry of his would you answer? Whatever we should say to a person present, we may write to a person absent, with this restriction, that we should be as select in our written communication, as we would be in conversation, if that friend could remain with us but a few minutes. In that case we should speak only of those things which were of the greatest importance, and express them at once as clearly and concisely as possible ; and pleasantly, didactically, modestly, feelingly, or otherwise, according to their nature and the party whom we address.
6. Letters of compliment, inquiry, congratulation, or condoience, to those with whom we have little intiinacy, should generally be restricted to the circumstance that gives occasion to the letter. They should be written with brevity, simplicity, and ease--sincerity and due moderation.
7. If we confer a faror, and announce the fact to the party whom we have obliged, it is necessary to avoid any expressions.that may tend to wound the feelings. It is possible to grant a favor in such a manner as to offend, rather than delight; to create disgust, rather than gratitude.
8. A letter of recommendation is a letter of business, and should be composed with care : it is a guarantee to the extent of language, for the party recommended : truth, theresore, should never be sacrificed to condescension, false kind ness, or politeness.
9. In a letter of business, to say all that is necessary and
nothing more, in a clear and distinct manner, is a great merit ; so that the party addressed may understand fully • our desires and opinions on the subject of correspondence.
10. In your letters be sparing of advice. In many instances, to volunteer it, is to be offensive to those whom you wish to benefit. It is a maxim with the discreet, never to give advice until they have been thrice asked for it. A friend should, perhaps, give advice to a friend, if he should see occasion so to do; but, in general, we can not be too sparing of our counsel.
11. Letters of excuse. In writing these, you must not forget that almost as much depends on the time as the manner of making an excuse : it may be too late to be effective; or so mistimed as to aggravate the previous offense. The excuse which would be freely accepted to-day, might be indignantly rejected a month hence.
12. Familiar-letters, or letters of intelligence, should not be written carelessly; but even in them we should recollect what we owe to our language, to our correspondent, and to ourselves. We ought not to write any thing of which we may hereafter feel ashamed. Pertness and flippancy should be avoided.
In a letter of intelligence, state nothing but what is true; avoid mere scandal; and reject whatever is merely dubious -or, at least, state it to be so. If you have, by mistake, communicated any false intelligence, be the first to correct it ; it is graceful to retrace one's steps when led astray. Select such facts as you know will be most interesting to your correspondent, and relate them, if of a pleasant nature, gayly, but without malice; if serious, adopt a style suitable to the circumstances.
13. Notes. Avoid using the first person at the conclusion of a note which has been commenced in the third. Hence it is an error to write thus : “Miss Walters presents her compliments to Mr. Travers, and begs to be informed at what hour Mr. Travers intends to start for Bath to-morrow, as I particularly wish to see him before his departure ; and remain, sir, yours sincerely,” &c. It should have been, “as she particularly wishes," &c. The last clause should be omitted.
Notes written in the third person are frequently rendered ambiguous, and sometimes quite unintelligible, by a confusion of the personal pronouns; which, unless the sentences be carefully constructed, seem to apply equally well to the wri
ter as to the receiver. For example : “Mr. A. presents his compliments to his friend, Mr. B., and has the satisfaction of informing him, that he has just been appointed, by government, to the lucrative office of [naming the office) in his na. tive town." How could the receiver of this note learn from it whether he or Mr. A. had been favored with the above appointment ?
14. Every letter that is not insulting, merits a reply, if it le required or necessary. If the letter contain a request, accede to it gracefully and without ostentation, or refuse withput harshness. An answer to a letter of condolence or congratulation should be grateful. The subjects should succeed each other in proper order; and the questions put be consecutively answered. In all replies, it is usual to acknowledge the receipt, and to mention the date, of the last letter received: this should be an invariable rule ; by neglecting it, your correspondent may be left in doubt, or deem you guilty of offensive inattention.
15. In answers to letters of business, to avoid inisunderstanding, the substance of the communication to which the writer is about to reply is generally stated. This should be done, also, in other kinds of letters. The manner of doing this is usually as follows: " In reply to your letter, dated, &c., in which you state that, &c. [briefly setting forth the principal points which you are about to answer], I beg to state,” &c.
ON LETTER-WRITING (continued). 1. It is a bad practice to suffer letters to remain long unanswered. It shows disrespect to a correspondent. There is in some a strange aversion to regularity ; a desire to delay what ought to be done immediately, in order to do something else, which might as well be done afterward. Valuable correspondence is thus often sacrificed.
II. In letter-writing, as in other compositions, the riles of grammar should be strictly observed. So, also, of spelling. To spell correctly is no honor, but to spell incorrectly is a great disgrace.
A parenthesis is objectionable, if it break the sense and dis.' tort the sentence. It is rare that the subject of a parenthesis may not be better contained in previous or following paragraph, or an elongation of the sentence, than thrown abruptly into the body of it.
The usual contractions in the English language are permitted in letters between friends, relatives, and equals--alsa in letters of business. Such only should be used, however, as polite custom has established.
III. The Date Address—Title—Signature-Postscripta Superscription-Folding-Postage.
It is very improper to omit dating a letter.
The address, as well as the signature of the writer, and the address and name of the correspondent, should be written in a very legible hand. Instances have occurred of letters remaining unanswered, or of never reaching their place of destination, from a neglect in these particulars.
Postscripts are, for the most part, needless, and in bad taste. They may be avoided by pausing a few moments before closing a letter, to reflect whether you have any thing more to say. Above all things, you must not defer your civilities, or kind inquiries for any friend or acquaintance, to this part of a letter. To do so is a proof of thoughtlessness or disrespect.
To all fantastic signatures there is a strong objection ; so, also, to all fantastic modes of folding letters or notes. It is no proof of talent or education, to fold them in such a manner as to require much time and labor in opening them. The common modes are the best. In these, pupils should be instructed and practiced by their teachers, provided the latter understand them; which, unhappily, is not always the case.
In sealing a letter, be careful not to cover any important word with the wafer. It is best, in writing, to mark off a space beforehand for the wafer.
In writing to any person upon a matter of business which concerns yourself more than your correspondent—also in opening a correspondence-forget not to pay the postage.
In Mr. Pierce's English Grammar may be found ample directions and illustrations in regard to the proper arrangement of the date, address, folding, &c.
The terms of respect, and clauses connected with them at the close of the letter, should receive special attention. It may be useful and gratifying to some to subjoin a few forms of expressions that have been adopted by writers of literary repu tation.
Ever your affectionate son,
The tenderest regard evermore awaits you, from your most affectionate.
Adieu, dear E.; continue to write to me and believe none of your goodness is lost upon your, &c.,
M. W. M. therefore, good-night!
May God bless and direct you, my dear friend.
Pray, my friend, let it not be long before you write to your ever affectionate,
A. S. Believe me, my dear nephew, with true affection,
Go on, my dear brother, in the admirable dispositions you have toward all that is right and good. I have neither paper nor words to tell you how tenderly I am yours,
C. Believe me to be, with the utmost sincerity, as I really am, madam; your faithful, humble servant,
J. S. If there be any thing with regard to the choice or matter of your studies in which I can assist you, let me know, as you can have no doubt of my being, in all things, Most affectionately yours,
G H I shall only add, that I am, with sincere respect, madam, Your faithful friend and obedient servant,
With our wishes of all happiness to Mr. M. and yourself, I beg leave to subscribe myself, madam, Your affectionate friend,
C.M. My love to brother and sister M. and their children, and to all my relatives in general. I am your dutiful son,
Once more I beg to hear speedily from you. Jane and Dick are truly yours, so is my dear uncle, your affectionate kinsman and humble servant,
Adieu, my dear G., and believe me, to you and to all with you at B. ond D., a most sincere and affectionate friend and kinsman,