Name That Love Letter

by Sarah Marshall

A. Dearest Angel Girl: … I suppose most of us are lonely in this big world, but we must fall tremendously in love to find it out. The cure is the discovery of our need for company — I mean company in the very special sense we’ve come to understand since we happened to each other — you and I. The pleasures of human experience are emptied away without that companionship — now that I’ve known it; without it joy is just an unendurable as sorrow. You are my life — my very life. Never imagine your hope approximates what you are to me. Beautiful, precious little baby — hurry up the sun! — make the days shorter till we meet. I love you, that’s all there is to it.
Your Boy, _____

B. Be happy, be loved — how would you not? But keep me in secret corner of your heart and go down there when you are saddest to find solace or support.

C. Valentine’s Day is here again. The weather looks cold and clammy… But I can happily go to work and try not to act too hammy. Cause I’ve got a warmness in my heart from my sunshine, my lifeline, my lambie! (I wish I could stay home and give you a kiss!) xxx’s

D. I don’t love you, not at all; on the contrary, I detest you. You’re a naught, gawky, foolish Cinderella. You never write me; you don’t love your own husband; you know what pleasures your letters give him, and yet you haven’t written him six lines, dashed of so casually! … Of what sort can be that marvellous being, that new lover that tyrannises over your days, and prevents your giving any attention to your husband? _____, take care! Some fine night, the doors will be broken open and there I’ll be.


F. In your letter from Madras you wrote some words very dear to me, about my having enriched your life. I cannot tell you what pleasure this gave me, because I always feel so overwhelmingly in your debt, if there can be accounts in love… What it has been to me to live all these years in your heart and companionship no phrases can convey. Time passes swiftly, but is it not joyous to see how great and growing is the treasure we have gathered together, amid the storms and stresses of so many eventful and to millions tragic and terrible years?

G. Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red-roseleaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days.

H. Come for a bit or else I’ll shit. If you do, this high and mighty person will think you very kind, will give you a smack behind, will kiss your hands, my dear, shoot off a gun in the rear, embrace you warmly, mind, and wash your front and behind, pay you all his debts to the uttermost groat, and shoot off one with a rousing note, perhaps even let something drop from his boat.

I. I hope that everything is external and internal smile, for you; and that, gradually, more light, and more inspiration, will for ever rise and grow inside of you. Useless to tell you how it has been sweet and strong for me that our paths have been crossing and joining, so unexpectedly, where the East ends for me and the West for you. God did it, I hope, so that we could have more life for Him…. I try to retake myself, and to think a bit, and to write. But who is living really, in the bottom of my soul? — the christian, the pagan, or the man?

J. I cannot live if you will not tell me that you still love me; but that language ought to be so natural to you, that I believe you cannot speak otherwise to me without violence to yourself. And since by this melancholy relation to your friend you have awakened all my sorrows, ’tis but reasonable you should allay them by some tokens of your unchanging love.

K. I don’t know how to tell you just how much I miss you. I love you till my heart could burst. All I love, all I want, all I need is you — forever. I want to just be where you are and be just what you want me to be. I know its lousy of me to be so late so often and I promise to try a million times harder, I promise.

L. I dare not express to you at 300 hundred miles distance how ardently I long for your return. I have some very miserly Wishes; and cannot consent to your spending one hour in Town till at least I have had you 12. The Idea plays about my Heart, unnerves my hand whilst I write, awakens all the tender sentiments that years have encreased and matured, and which when with me were every day dispensing to you.

M. I cannot exist without you — I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again — my Life seems to stop there — I see no further. You have absorb’d me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving — I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. I should be afraid to separate myself far from you. My sweet _____, will your heart never change? My love, will it? I have no limit now to my love — You note came in just here — I cannot be happier away from you — ’Tis richer than an Argosy of Pearles. Do not threat me even in jest. I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion — I have shudder’d at it — I shudder no more — I could be martyr’d for my Religion — Love is my religion — I could die for that — I could die for you.

N. Thou only hast revealed me to myself; for without they aid, my best knowledge of myself would have been merely to know my own shadow — to watch it flickering on the wall, and mistake its fantasies for my own real actions. Indeed, we are but shadows — we are not endowed with real life, and all that seems most real about us is but the thinnest substance of a dream — till the heart is touched. That touch creates us — then we begin to be — thereby we are beings of reality, and inheritors of eternity.

O. My Dearest Darling “Little”

Well here I am. Back out in the field for 30 days again and believe me it’s miserable. There is only one consolation, and that is the fact that it’s almost over, and I will come home to my career, friends, and most of all you my darling. Anita there are many things I can’t tell you over the phone so I will try to tell you now. First of all I don’t really know how you feel about me now because after all 2 years is a long time in a young girl’s life. But I want you to know that in spite of our being apart I have developed a love for you that cannot be equaled or surpassed by anyone. My every thought is you my darling, every song I hear, every sunset reminds me of the happy and wonderful times we’ve spent together.

P. … And when the wind blows and the rains fall and the sun shines through the clouds (as it is now) he still resolves, as he did then, that nothing so fine ever happened to him or anyone else as falling in love with Thee — my dearest heart.


1. F. Scott Fitzgerald to Zelda Sayre

2. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to Lucile Swan

3. Richard Nixon to Pat Ryan

4. Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas

5. Nathaniel Hawthorne to Sophia Peabody

6. Abigail Adams to John Adams

7. Orson Welles to Rita Hayworth

8. John Keats to Fanny Brawne

9. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, his cousin

10. Jerry Orbach to Elaine Orbach

11. Elvis Presley to Anita Wood

12. George Sand to Alfred de Musset

13. Marilyn Monroe to Joe DiMaggio

14. Heloise to Abelard

15. Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephe Beauharnais

16. Winston Churchill to Clementine Churchill

Answers: 1=E, 2=I, 3=P, 4=G, 5=N, 6=L, 7=A, 8=M, 9=H, 10=C, 11=O, 12=B, 13=K, 14=J, 15=D16=F

Sarah Marshall’s fiction has most recently appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review.

Image via Flickr/markhillary