January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 5 April 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450405-JWC-JW-01; CL 19: 48-50


[5 April 1845]

Dearest Babbie

Expect no comfortable letter from me this day either— If you have had any thing like the same amount of East wind in Liverpool which has been taking the skin off the INSIDES of us poor wretches here; you will not be surprised that I should have no good to say of myself— My cough is quite gone however—that is so far well—but for the rest; I am—what shall I say? sick upon my honour1— I should like to have a feeling of being well again tho' it were only for five minutes— I feel as if I should be able to DO such wonderful things, if I had only the physical force and freedom from physical depression which so many people enjoy without knowing their happiness—but—there's no use wishing— — I “should be thankful” as the Annandale Man suggested “that I am not in Purgatory”2— I wonder after all if Purgatory be much worse than the sort of thing one has to go on with here week after week, month after month—year after year—heigh ho!—

Well! I should be glad today—should feel “a good joy,” for behold me seated here in the midst of “virtue's own reward,”3 in shape of new sofa and chair covers &c all realized by my own genius and industry— All this week I have done nothing else but drive my needle, and if you only saw “the little Babylon which I have builded”4 you would declare it “most expensive!5 that is to say not expensive at all for the cloth was 7d ½ per yard but most pretty and clever—this time; being in advance of my age in the matter of upholstery, I have hit on a plan of making the “loose covers” look exactly like tight nailed on ones—which keep clean much longer and look much tidier to begin with— Actually since Monday I have made covers for the large sofa, four pillows, the two easy chairs and one footstool!! not before they were needed but what set me on the them just this week with such particular vengeance was a sort of reactionary movement against all that Minerva press nonsense which has been transacting itself at Manchester— The whole love affair is blown up—for the present—but I am greatly mistaken if Geraldine so soon as she finds that the man takes no further notice of her, do not be at him again—and he is such a simpleton poor Robertson, that anybody with half Geraldines art might wheedle him into anything— Frank Jewsbury has conducted himself like “a mad” thro the whole business, and his two last letters to me were not the least mad part of his behaviour—seeing there was no likelihood of his ceasing to pester me with his nonsense I poured out a few drops of vitrol on him last Saturday which brought him to his senses with a suddeness!— Also on Geraldine a few drops of vitrol—which brought her to her senses so far as I was concerned—by monday's post I had a letter from Frank Jew, making humble apologies,—from Geraldine Jew, making impossible justifications, from Robertson goodnaturedly regretting “the immense botheration he had given me who so little needed it” but the greatest consolation of all has been a packet of caricatures from Mrs Paulet which made me laugh till the tears ran down— I have seen poor Robertson twice since then and have brought him pretty well to his senses—his “madness” is the only excusable madness among them—for besides that it was really a mortifying thing for the man to have a second marriage break down with him within two months,6 a marriage too which was none of his own seeking—he has poor fellow a constitutional tendency of blood to the head which when any thing excites him violently produces a sort of brain-fever— Geraldine's conduct thro the affair has been that of an arrant fool, tho she should have written not one, but twenty clever books— Now she is off to Paris to get the cobwebs blown out of her brain—off with Frank and the—Egyptian!!7— I am disgusted upon my honour. and she judged well not to see him on her way but to defer that pleasure “till any provocation had subsided.”—

Have you been reading the “debates” on the Mazzini question—good heavens what a dirty animal that Sir J Graham is! he does things which a street sweeper would not stoop to!— The Murderer8 takes it all calmly calmly—as is his usual—and we his friends can all afford to take it calmly knowing what a man he is!

Ever your own


Kindest love to them all no letter from Helen yet—bless you dear