August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 21 November 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421121-JWC-JW-01; CL 15: 199-201


Monday night [21 November 1842]

My darling

To account for certain phenomena in the paper-department that must have filled you with astonishment, I may as well mention while it is in my head, that we are making a course of paper-experiments at present, buying it in very small quantities from this and the other Stationer, to see if by Gods grace we cannot discover one man who sells “genuine unadulterated” paper of rags—not “an abominable compound of plaster-of-Paris!”— Oh that accursed reform Bill!— Meanwhile every now and then I find myself without even plaster-of-Paris notepaper to wear the points of my pens upon and am reduced to tearing sheets out of—the Butchers book!!

I should have had a hot pressed gilt edged sheet for the present writing—to communicate such news as will cause you to dance for joy— Only think Babbie—by the time this reaches you Gambardella will be in the same town with you—ready to paint my uncle at a moments warning!1 Now does there not seem to be the finger of Providence in this sudden resolution of his to start for Liverpool?—just when I was pondering how I could put the thing into his head—so as to persuade him to go voluntarily—as John does with Mr Ogelvie— I send the note that has just reached me from him—whereby you will perceive once for all that he can not only write, but spell—better or worse—well enough for all practical purposes— I need not bid you give the poor fellow a warm welcome; you will remember our sails &c2 and do that of your own accord—nor do I fear his going to see you will embarrass you anyhow—for I am sure my Uncle will be greatly amused with him, and see the good that shines thro his manifold folly— Now Babbie if you do not make something out of this best of all possible opportunities for getting my uncle painted, I shall make it a reproach to you as long as I live— A man should not let his modesty (however praiseworthy modesty may be in the Abstract) thwart the wishes of a whole virtuous family—and me at the head of them!—urge this on him my Uncle—emphatically—there is no surer way of succeeding with him than appealing to his sense of justice—

I shall give G. an introduction to Geraldine and Mrs Paulet— I know no one else in Liverpool that is not more your acquaintance than mine—the Sketchly's?—shall I introduce him to Miss Pen?3 better not!—he would kick too recklessly thro' their cobwebs.— Perhaps you will introduce him to Walter4 as an admirer of his aspiration in shift and to Mr Hick6 as a fellow Artist! By the way do send me the said Mr Hick— The man who drew that sketch can be “no fool”—and besides as he is shortly to be connected with the family, I may as well commence my relations with him betimes.5

Now for a small PRIVATE perplexity—immediately on receiving from you Miss Gillespie's address I wrote her a letter and sent it by post along with a remembrance of her and a sovereign to buy some trifle as a present from myself. Knowing the good woman to be ill and poor—I thought the gold sovereign would be more useful to her than any equivalent present I could buy here—so I pleaded the difficulty of carriage as my excuse for sending so prosaical a gift, and managed it so as not I hope to hurt her feelings— I begged her to write me a line immediately to say how she was and if my packet had reached her safe—and altho it is now a fortnight since I have received no answer—so that I have doubts whether the whole thing have not been kidnapped by the way—which were twenty pities—at the same time it seems so little to be making any fuss about or writing again to ask after!— Now I mention it to you because when you see Mrs Martin you could enquire when she heard from Moffat; and if Miss G have written to her recently she would perhaps say something of having had a letter from me— You understand that I would not have a word said about the sovereign— It is as well if it have gone astray that the amount was not greater as it would certainly have been, had not my small private Capital been so awfully broken in upon by that silk gown—which by the way has not been once on since I came from Troston— Give my most affectionate regards to Mrs Martin and Sophy—poor little Sophy! she used to make her caps I remember; and she always spoke of Mrs Martin with such kindness!— Do not let them forget me— I would not be forgotten by anyone she6 loved—

I had a letter from Anne Welsh today—enclosing a blockhead of a tract entitled “Knowledge of Sin” and a printed hymn about “The fullness of Jesus”— These things do not make me angry—only horribly sad—to feel oneself and those one is bound to by natural affection separated so widely, widely even in the same world of the living—is scarcely less melancholy than being parted from them by death— A letter from Mrs George Welsh, which crossed one from me about her son on the road, is much more comfortable— She seems a good, sensible woman that—a remarkable instance of nothing made into something and a very self subsistent creditable something, by the educating process of misfortune—

I have only been once out for a week—to call for Mrs Allan Cunningham— The weather has been heartily bad and myself ditto— The Booths7 came this forenoon—and engaged C. to dine on Sunday— I refused—make a point of always refusing Dinings out are desperately fatiguing! and as an Annandale farmer said of Carlyle's Sartor “what's 't ouse on't”?8 I am better at home writing to my Babbie or even looking into the fire tho' ever so drearily!—right, even-down, unconstrained sadness is better than company-gaiety got up at a frightful expenditure of the little nervous energy one has remaining— Tuesday I left this open last night in case of a letter from you this morning—none—none from anybody—

Ever your affectionate