JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 3 December 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421203-JWC-JW-01; CL 15: 214-216
JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH
[ca. 3 December 1842]
It is abominable of cousin to be writing to Gambardella writing to Geraldine, and all the while neglecting little me”!— Hush my child! —there is not common sense even in what you there say!— I have NOT been neglecting thee; but on the contrary, forwarding thy bits of interests with all my might— Listen! I have only been up to a very small quantity of writing this last week— My headach has altered its figure from the dull sort to the throbbing which latter is always aggravated by writing—unable then to write to all of you as I wished, how could I serve your individual interests more practically, than just in directing my letters so as to fan the flame of brotherly-love which is kindling all hearts in Liverpool, and promising to bring back a Parisian “Feast of Pikes”1 into that commercial city?— — Yes depend upon it! both Geraldine and Gambardella would be ready to infold, not only one another—but you! Helen—my Uncle (!) everybody in a more strict embrace after having had my letters, and Alas my Babbie!, it is a truth which even we sentimental souls must candidly admit—that present affection exercises a more sensible influence on one's daily life than that which is not present, tho in itself far more vital—the inward, exceptional life may derive its chief strength and heavenliest moments from affection thousands of miles away—even removed perhaps to another world—but it is the love of those ABOUT US that makes “the breakfast go off cheerfully” and promotes good digestion and enables one to live long—on the earth. —Ergo—I would increase affection for you as much as possible in the there living and moving. Geraldines and Gambardella's and Mrs-Paulets—and I see no surer way of doing so than to keep them in good humour with myself— What an amount of headaches and heartaches it does take to drive the conceit out of one!
So the picture is done, and successful—my good patient Uncle, give him twenty kisses for his compliance—but Babbie!—you say you wish that I could see it—and you wish that I could see it!—am I not to see it then and that speedily?—is not the picture for me?—it certainly was meant so in the beginning—you asked my Uncle to send me his double and he answered “why not one of myself”? but now that it is satisfactorily done, you little avaricious gipsey, perhaps you think to appropriate it! as if I would have so far belied my nature as to take up the question merely as one of public good, and not of my own individual interest—impossible!
Common honesty common sense direct that the picture should be hung up in this house rather than yours— I am willing to regard it as a family possession only; I must have the keeping of it—you understand?
Miss Macready was here all wednesday—and the novelty of having to speak so many hours together quite knocked me up— Susan Aitkinson2 she told me was still at Brighton in a very deplorable way—going to tatters from sheer ennui!—keep her amused, and she appears to have no ailment whatever but instantly that the “excitement” is withdrawn, down she plumps into headach nausea and loss of appetite— Here is virtue's reward as usual—if “William”3 instead of taking her into his house and making a handsome settlement on her, had left her to earn her own bread by employing her many accomplishments, She would not have thus come to be a burden on them and herself with her ailments of idleness—
The potatoes arrived two days ago but I will not pronounce on them yet—a most astounding quantity! We have tried them once and that dishful was certainly bad—but Carlyle who pretends to know good potatoes by sight, declares those we had cooked must have been bruised ones from the top of the barrel as they looked quite satisfactory—nous verrons [we will see]—any how never be vexing yourselves about the success of your kind action—the intention in these cases goes for a great deal with me—and at the worst some body will benefit from them—
I long for your account of Seaforth4— Heaven bless you