July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 12 February 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480212-JWC-JW-01; CL 22: 244-246


5 Cheyne Row12th February [1848]

Dearest Babbie

This last is the only letter I have had from you for an age that I have felt a besoin [need] to answer at once.1 I would have written yesterday had not my head been too bad for writing. Perhaps you wonder what was in this letter to make it particularly acceptable—but no—you cannot but have an inward sense that it was the real transcript of your mind at the moment which your letters have long ceased to be— I have had letters of many sheets from you—not “stupid” letters by any means—as kindly phrased too as I had any business to expect—which I have nevertheless thrown into the fire the minute after reading them, with a feeling of the most profound disappointment and chagrin—because they contained no one word that seemed to have come out of any deeper source than your ink bottle—were not in fact letters from you to me, but such as might stand labelled in the Ready letter writer letter from a young Lady residing in the Country to a female cousin in Town— Letters written not to communicate your real thoughts but to conceal them— And yet who is there who can understand all that is in your heart. even the saddest of it, and what you may feel to be the least creditable to you—your discontents with yourself—your circumstances &c so well as just I who have passed my whole existence in that sort of thing—and to whom there is no sorrow in life no weakness in human nature that is not intelligible thro my own experience You may say my own letters are as little written out of the heart as yours—certainly—! I am very sensitive—morbidly so—and I can only be confidential where I am met by confidence—besides my inward life is connected with outward facts on which I am bound to be silent—so that I could not always let you see into my heart without exposing myself to cruel misconstructions.2 Still were you less shut up—I should never have got so inarticulate for you as I have long been—

But it is a truth you say; friends should see one another from time to time if they would go on understanding one another— And yet—the last time we saw each other were we any better for it in the matter of understanding?

I wish we could carry the Swizerland project into effect—be together awhile somewhere quite far away from all interference— I have got over the Alverstoke visit this year most unexpectedly— We were to have gone the beginning of January for five or six weeks, but I fell ill—really ill just the night before—and after waiting for me a few days C. went alone—for a fortnight while confined to my bedroom with a dreadful cough and the usual accompaniments—never getting a wink of sleep except by means of Morphia, I was every day written to “when will you be well? When are you coming”?—and I fixed time after time, to oblige them—which when arrived was found impossible—at length I believe I should really have gone to be done with it—ill as I was—and GOT done with it once for all had not C., I must say happily, taken a cold there, which he felt no hope to get rid of in a houseful of company with seven oclock dinners french beds &c and so he came home himself instead of insisting any longer on my going.

I am only got down stairs this week—and am not good for much yet—one very mild day (Tuesday I think) I walked out a little way—as far as Johns who lives now in Hemus Terrace (if you remember such place—close by here—but since then it has been too cold for me besides I have been feeling more sensitive (from female causes) John was very attentive to me both in this last illness and the one I had after my return from Yorkshire— He is much subsided and improved since he got his Book under weigh—especially in regard for me he is singularly improved— Yes I can see it all at Maryland Street— Give them my love a kiss most warm to my Uncle

Ever your affectionate

Jane C