Monday Manners: Calling It Off

Not exactly a broken engagement, but funny all the same.
“Widow, 28, goodlooking” from Marsmet541 (Flickr).

What do you do when you discover your fiancee isn’t an oil company executive, but a typewriter salesman? Or that he’s a marihuana fiend? Or maybe he (gasp!) has a social disease? The only thing to do is call it off. Help, Lillian Eichman!:

A broken engagement is always embarrassing for both the young man and the young lady. Friends, if they are truly well-bred, will not ask questions, and relatives will not demand explanations. The obligations which such a situation entails are unpleasant, but it is infinitely better to go through the ordeal than to face a marriage which is certain to end in disaster.

At such a time it is important for the young lady to have the utmost dignity and self-possession. She is not expected to make any announcement or offer any explanations. If a reception has been scheduled, her mother sends brief notes or engraved cards to those who have been invited, informing them that the engagement has been broken. The young lady, if she wishes, may confide in her intimate friends; but to be bitter, to condemn her former suitor in any way, to suggest that perhaps he was not all that she thought he was at first, not only reflects on her own good judgment, but is very poor form and shows lack of delicacy.

[…]If the engagement was announced only to intimate friends the bride should send each of them a note stating that the engagement is at an end. It is much better never to give an explanation. […] Even to the bride’s dearest friend the following note is sufficient:

Bellevue, June 1, 19—
Dear Ruth:
Since I wrote you last week something has happened which has made George and me reconsider our engagement. You will therefore please disregard the invitation for Thursday afternoon.
Ever sincerely yours,
Margaret Franklin.

I can’t see a note like that doing anything but making people insanely curious. But maybe that’s the writer in me. What do you think, y’all? What happened to make George and Margaret reconsider their engagement?

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