August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 15 November 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421115-JWC-JW-01; CL 15: 182-184


[15 November 1842]

My emphatic and insinuating Babbie! 1 Be good then!—or rather—continue good! and I will not Miss-Babbie you any more— I know your difficulties my poor child—and it is just because I know them, that I regard the first step of giving way to them as a thing to be counteracted by all means gentle and ungentle— Have you not heard Babbie of a regiment giving ground before superior numbers, turned back by the drawn sword of its general, and after all winning the day! Such historical precedents encourage one to draw ones moral sword even against one's own flesh and blood at the first indication of a disorderly retreat before the force of circumstances! not but that the force of circumstances will sometimes prevail tho' one “do the impossible” to resist, for instance the force of a circumstance—of a bad headach namely—kept me all yesterday with manifold intentions on the sofa—and threatens to get the better of me today also—but still we let ourselves be prevailed over oftener than needful Nor would I set up for less of an Egoist than I am, and make believe that YOUR moral predominance is the only aim of my scolding— I want your letters for myself—they are very cheering to me in my solitary forenoons—especially when we have risen early—and my enviable calm has had itself ruffled— I find that I can get thro the rest of the day more contentedly and good temperedy with the kind words of Babbie in my ears—and so—I wish naturally to have them always in my ears—at least some audible echo of them—

It seems to me I have a great many things to tell you—but must keep them till my head is clearer—for as I said it is aching today still—and prudence recommends that I should allow it all possible repose—but I could not let alone giving you my blessing for two such nice long letters— Thank heaven it could not be the Italian anniversary2 that has made me ill—or I should be hearing of it on the deafest side of my head— I did not go to the Anniversary—tho the Pepolis offered to take me with them in their fly and I had almost got the length of wishing to go— C. had looked so thundery on the whole business—as if the education of organ boys were something nearly amounting to felony—and has in fact taken up of late such a spirit of persecution (for I can call it nothing less) against every thing connected in the remotest degree with “young Italy” that I foresaw an amount of ill humour on account of my lending my countenance (that is to say his wife's countenance) to “a nest of young conspirators” which would be too dear a price I thought to pay for any satisfaction I might have or give by going—so I staid at home and was rewarded for my conjugal docility by having Craik!!—Mrs Jameson and Elizabeth were highly pleased3—but I will tell you all about it when I am abler—

I should have said that Geraldine is to be in Liverpool immediately and it was in that prospect that she wrote me the hurried programme of a friendship between you and Mrs Paulet— If my uncle would only have no objections to your going there when it suited you for a few days now and then I see not that there would be any other objection for Mrs Paulet does not visit herself—and the husband would be no party in the concern except as a very humane lay figure— Bless you darling—pray for me

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