The Collected Letters, Volume 28


JWC TO HELEN WELSH ; 12 March 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530312-JWC-HW-01; CL 28: 70-72


Saturday [12? March 1853]

Well! certainly! dearest Helen anything like my perplexity over that beautiful piece of work yesterday morning is not easy to conceive— Was it a delicate attention to my dog, carried out on the most foolishly extravagant principles, both as to materials and pains? to increase my confusion of mind I could not determine whether the address on the packet was in your hand-writing or Geraldines— You write my name and address—tho nothing else—so excessively like Geraldine— Now Geraldine couldn't have done that work herself, but she was quite up to to having imposed it on some female friend, with an eye to Nero!—then if it was not a bag to put my blessed dog into; surely it must be to put feet into—but again “what a waste”! (as Dwerkanaught said to Lord Ashley of the eighteen young women burnt in a Suttee.)1— The feet that went into that must be Venus's feet to begin with and attired in cobweb-stockings and white satin slippers!— At night came “the solution”—if solution it could be called! to put over a teapot!!! Mercy of Heaven! all that lovely braiding put over a teapot! that seems the absurdest waste of all! Indeed my dear, I shall do nothing of the sort—I will keep it till—I have a baby! and as it is likely to be “a very small one” it shall be a little bed for my baby!—

I am glad to see such signs both in your letter and in this labour of love that you are about and active—much should I like to descend on a “wishing carpet” now and then and have a fireside talk— I wonder if I shall be in Scotland this summer—Chi sa [who knows]? I am trying to get off from my visit to the Grange at Easter— I shall be better here with the house all to myself—besides the Reichenbachs are going to America soon, almost immediately—and I have been very intimate with them for the last year—and am become so deeply attached to them all, man woman and children!— Oh such people they are when one knows them!—and the idea of their going away—under all the circumstances—is heartbreaking to me!— I did not think I had so much heartbreakableness left—and I cannot and will not cut off ten days of them, out of the little spell left—not for all the Lords and Ladies in the kingdom— There will be time enough for the Grange and any good that is to be done there, when I am again without real friends near me—for what do I really care for all these London people or do they care for me? London friendship!— Ah God! Henry Taylor truly told me long ago “its ruling principle was locality,” and its minor principles are ennui, vanity, convenience,—I have found out for myself—

But—but—quietness is best— Do you know if John Greig be still at Canadegua2—I should have heard surely if he were dead—I dont suppose the Reichenbachs will be in his direction—but I should like to know if he be still there; in case of any possibility of an introduction to him—which were as great a kindness to him as to them.

Lady A is in town and was to have gone back to the Grange today but she has now sent a man on horseback with one line—“ill—and can't stir” which means I suppose will you come and see me—so I must “go and put my bonnet on”— How glad I am dear Uncle has got his little Benjamin back!3—it will do him more good than all the medical advice in the world

Poor old Gibson! I was thinking about a month ago where was he? I would ask you and write him a letter; it would please him so much” Now one can do nothing to please him never more—oh that sad word nevermore! Your affectionate