First Make a New Dress and Then Go

by Erin on May 24, 2006

Dear Madam,–I know enough of your sex to be aware that you will be staggered at the idea of bundling down to the seaside without certain solemn preparations and waste of time.
Moreover, feminine instinct will say, “First make a new dress and then go,” and this is the usual order of events wherever women are concerned.
But here it would be objectionable on many accounts. I will make you a proposal.
If you will write to me from your new address next Tuesday evening, I will beg your acceptance of a piece of dark blue serge which will make an excellent seaside dress for yourself and daughter.
Cutting and making this will help to relieve the weariness of being in a strange place. Don’t waste time. Go with a good heart; and don’t doubt that your husband will get better; and that you will yet enjoy bright days. All the brighter for this dark cloud.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Reade

From “An Author At Home” The Gentleman’s Magazine, 1882.

[Charles Reade (1814-1884) was an English novelist and playwright. He also worked as a reformer against prison abuses and abuses in psychiatric institutions. This is a letter written to the wife of one of the men he helped.]

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