First Make a New Dress and Then Go

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.]

0 thoughts on “First Make a New Dress and Then Go

  1. That is such a beautiful letter. As much as I am addicted/married to the internet if someone sent me a letter like that I would frame it.


  2. Here’s how this letter would be written today:Dear Ms. X:I know enough about women to know you will be overwhelmed at the mere thought of going to the beach without making a list and checking it twice.If you’re like most gals, you’ll be inclined to say, “First, buy a new dress at Anthropologie and go,” since this what most ladies I know do.But that’s a bad idea for a number of reasons. Let me offer you a deal.If you will email from your new address next Tuesday, I will sell you a piece of dark blue serge which will make excellent Anthropologie knock-offs for you and your daughter. So forget about fighting traffic and finding a parking spot. That’s make it hard to settle into a new home. Don’t waist a minute. Go and have a great time at the beach. You can be certain your husband will get better, and you can look forward to the future, as Dr. Phil would say. This temporary stage shall soon pass.Sincerely,Charles


  3. Well put anonymous! Whis I would get love letters like in the old days (10 years ago) – by a posteman carrying it to the mailbox.


  4. What a fantastic letter. Anonymous, did a great job of updating it to the present. Ya’ll are so inventive. I wish I had a creative bone in my body alas I do not.


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