April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


JWC TO HELEN WELSH ; 25 September 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440925-JWC-HW-01; CL 18: 220-221


Wednesday [25 September? 1844]

Dearest Helen

Babby instructs me to send a letter to her by Liverpool—not being able to give me her direct address.1 Now really, this seems a touch of absoluteism in the gentle Babbie. If I am to write to Liverpool, it seems but just and natural that I should be read there. especially as writing is by no means so easy for me just now, as it has been and as I hope it will be again— I am fallen so far behind in all my regular correspondence as well as in my household affairs during these weeks of anxiety and dry-nursing (for really that is the word for it) that I must steer clear of long stories till I have made up my leeway. Besides altho my heavy charge2 is now gone, and to outward appearance there is once more calm around me; I do not find the calm calming— On the contrary I have now leisure to listen to my sensations—and to find that I am horridly out of sorts— You know how one can put off bodily ailment; when there is absolute need of one's keeping a-foot and doing something—but tho' put off, the ailment bides its time and one has it in the end, with interest— So I have headachs more than I know what to make of and yesterday I made a quite piteous protest against “things in general” by tumbling down in successive fainting-fits

Pray write to me a few consolatory lines under these astonishing circumstances. I need to be kept up with the current of your life in Maryland Street, and Babbie having retired to “pastures new”3 some one else must be charitable enough to tell me the news—before they are quite out of date—

Imprimis how does my own blessed Uncle stand this vicious weather? Is Jane in the family way? How is poor Margaret the maid, and what is the actual phasis of little Glasgow?4

Pray tell me—the smallest contribution will be gratefully received—

I have bought a new piano to compose my soul with—it is to be home on Saturday— Some money turning up unexpectedly out of America is to be invested in the purchase and the thing called “Yankee-doodle” So Carlyle wills—

The said Carlyle staid at Lord Ashburtons ten days—and has come home all “dadded abreed [torn to pieces]” (as they say in Annandale) Plainly he had been straining his nerves quite preposterously to please the Lady Harriet—living on his capital in the article of agreeableness— So now I shall have but an indifferent time with him for weeks to come! Send this note on to Babbie for a sign of life

Kiss my Uncle and the morning star5

Ever your affectionate