August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


JWC TO HELEN WELSH ; 20 December 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421220-JWC-HW-01; CL 15: 242-243


[ca. 20 December 1842]

how do you deserve that I should send you any letter, any autographs any anything thou graceless, “graceful Miss Welsh”?— I think not; but “if every one had his deserts which of us should escape whipping”?1— And besides I see not what virtues remain possible for me, unless it be the passive ones of patience and forgiveness; for which, thank heaven, there is always open course enough in this otherwise tangled world!

Three of the autographs which I send you today are first rate— A Yankee would almost give a dollar a-piece for them!—entire, characteristic letters from Pick?-wick?,2 Lytton Bulwer, and Alfred Tennyson—the last the greatest genius of the three tho' the vulgar public have not as yet recognised him for such—get his poems if you can, and read the Ulysses—Dora the vision of sin, and you will find that we do not overrate him—besides he is a very handsome man and a noble-hearted one—with something of the Gipsey in his appearance which for me is perfectly charming.— Babbie never saw him unfortunately—or perhaps I should say fortunately—for she must have fallen in love with him on the spot; unless she be made absolutely of ice—and then—men of Genius have never anything to keep wives upon!

I am glad you have been to Seaforth, for I am sure Mrs Paulet will prove an agreeable addition to your acquaintance I do not know how she may appear to Miss Pen Sketchly or others whom she dislikes—nor do I find it anything again[st]3 her that she is disliked by those she dislikes—it proves her at least to be no hypocrite—but when there has been as in your case “a mutual s[ympathy?]” I predict the friendship will go on bravely— Geraldine writes to me— “Jeannie and her Sister were here also & remained all night— I cannot tell you how much I take to them both—the elder one has not so much of you” (Pity!) “as Jeannie has; but there is something extremely charming about her— Mrs Paulet likes them very much indeed and so does Monsr in short it seems altogether [a]4 highly satisfactory arrangement” Since I began writing I have had Jeannie's dear long letter, for which give her a kiss for me in the meantime—and I have had also a visit from my old Doctor5 which has […] me somewhat—so [you] must make allowance [fo]r this bit of a letter—at all events mademoiselle it is better than none—which I get from you— My Doctor confirms the blue-pill system and also the walking “without minding the pain”—but he seemed to think I needed a sermon more than a prescription and so gave me the best I have heard this many a long day. I feel very provoked for poor Walter6—but if he had fallen into such a nice thing without any sort of trouble it would have looked hardly canny as things go here below— I have no answer from Margaret Hiddlestone yet indeed there is not time— God bless you my dear Cousin—love me for God sake—and believe always your / affectionate sister Jane Carlyle