To Miss Emma Woodhouse,
As you are aware, the celebration of Valentine’s Day provides an opportunity for expressing our mutual profusions of affection and desire. However, my dear madame, I shall offer you no such sentiments. Your family proves amply that you surround yourself with such ardent admirers that my poor words will have very little merit in your estimation. Hence, I do not join their ranks of unequivocal adoration.
My dear Emma, my qualms with your temperament and upbringing are but a few. First, I find your choice of friends most worrisome. While Mrs. Weston attempted to modify your behaviors, you usurped her good intentions to the point that she had no good effect upon you. Your friend Harriet, the typical sycophant, exalts your pride and vanity. I arbor no contempt of your immediate family for indulging your whims of character, nature, and disposition. But you are under the false impression that their opinions prove that you need no improvements in character or breeding. This is not the case. Your vanity leads to uncurbed pride which always hurts those closest in your circle of admirers. I need not remind you of your insult to Ms. Bates last summer.
Secondly, Emma, your admirers have puffed up your estimation of your skills in regards to your matchmaking abilities. You believe that your inexperience in the world of men and women to be sufficient to suggest possible marriage contracts. I do suppose I should congratulate you on your successful union of Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston; however, this does not mean that you have the right to interfere with happiness of others above or beneath your notice. Worse still, your influence over Harriet Smith in regards to Mr. Martin could have caused more disastrous heartache for both parties. Fortunately, your misstep did not prevent these two from wedded bliss.
Finally, I shall continue to offer you my devotion as your true friend, lover. But I cannot reciprocate the false sentiments that will merely lead you to increased vanity. This would be a shortcoming for myself if I allowed myself to contribute to your pride.
Your faithful un-Valentine,
*Photo: A LITTLE SOUVENIR OF A TERRIBLE YEAR by Neal., obtained through Flickr.