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Bristol Feb 23rd 1859
45 St Michaels' Hill

Dear Sam,

I feel that a letter is due to you from me. When I was last in Caerleon, I felt sure that your offer of heart and hand to me was not in jest, but in sober earnestness, and as such ventured to regard it, unable to decide for myself I have had counsel from my father who while advising me in a manner entirely disinterested and kind, yet set the matter before me in such a light that, (not without prayer on this subject) has I think, fully shown me, that it would be more honourable, kind, and best for you, as also for myself, to say that we cannot be more to each other than sincere friends; there is, as you have justly observed such a wide difference in our ages, and it is, also my present intention to remain single at least for the present, as I consider the responsibilities connected with marriage life to be very weighty. I would not willingly hurt your feelings or in any way vex you (as you have always acted honourably by me) but do most conscientiously say I believe this decision is right in the sight of God, as well as best for you and for myself, and I also believe upon reflection and prayer you will think so too.

I have not thus decided because I thought you not good enough, or worthy, for all this I believe you are, as also a kind son, and brother, and therefore pretty sure to make a kind husband, neither is it thro any unfair influence, for to such, or to any whispers, I have not listened for a moment since you proposed making me your wife, but it is the calm deliberate opinion, found upon sober reflection on the points set before me, by those who would act disinterestedly in the matter.

It is Kitty's earnest wish that tho' I cannot come to be in reality her sister, I would come and live in Caerleon as one, as she says you would all be so much happier with one more, and in every sense of the word, she believes things would go on more comfortably, this I therefore believe I shall do if you can arrange to your satisfaction, thus I feel sure I shall be more real good and comfort to your mother, her and yourself.

Do not think Kitty has influenced me to decide against our union, on the contrary she urged it, tho' now from the considerations brought before her, she cannot help viewing matters as I do, as also does your mother, I believe. For Kitty I can speak with certainty, that her only desire in the matter is to make house, and all in it more happy, and to take more care of her mother, and make her more happy in her declining years. My affection for her, and sincere regard for all, would therefore lead me to do whatever in me lies for this purpose.

I should much like a line from you assuring me that you believe my decision arrived at in all honour and kind feeling, and that henceforth you will meet me as a true friend and as such only. Wishing you every blessing and guidance in all things from above
Believe me,
Yours most sincerely
Mary Ann Willey

P.S. I need not ask you to destroy this, I feel sure you will do so, as it would not be pleasant for either you or myself that any one else should read it, I cannot help remembering that there is one in your house, ever ready to calumniate and speak falsely respecting me.

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