January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 22 February 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430222-JWC-JW-01; CL 16: 53-54


[22 February 1843]

My dearest Babbie

Your long letters ev[ery]1 day are dearly welcome—but you are not to plague yourself with writing long ones—I know when one's mind has been shaken all topsy turvy, as yours must have been at present, that writing even to those one loves is often irksome— I cannot be generous enough to dispense you from writing constantly, till my dear Uncle is going about again I do beg that I may be written to by one or another every day—but understand that three lines will suffice when you are not disposed for more.

What makes me more delicate in my exactions, is my incapability of making you an adequate return—one while it is Helen's illness,2 then my own—with the continual running accompaniment of worry—that makes me feel really as if the faculty of letter-writing were a thing I had possessed in some previous state of existence!

My cold is gone—but yesterday and today—I am quite stupid with headach—attributable however to natural causes— In fact the presentiment seeming in fair way to work itself out—without leaving me one exceptional day—

I will not enter on details today— I am not in a humour to turn these or to turn anything into amusement—and in presence of the great anxiety hardly well over yet—petty annoyances sink into their due insignificance—one can no longer make a serious grievance of them— In a calmer time I shall have a great deal to tell you that,—passed into the sphere of things well over,—will make you laugh—“like a cuddy eating thistles” belike,—but still laugh— Meanwhile let us thank God my Uncle is so far recovered!—if this attack leave no worse consequences than it seems likely to do—it is to be taken as a merciful warning—a warning to him to take better heed of a life so precious to us all and a warning to us to make much of him—to love him with all our hearts and all our strength while it is yet time—that when the inevitable parting comes, the bitterness of remorse may not be added to the bitterness of death.

Yes Mazzini is a friend worth having—one that is always best in the hour of need— If he had heard of the illness of his Mother in Italy he could not have been more anxious than he has been in these days to learn the last news from Liverpool3— He has a power of identifying himself with those he loves—at least in their sorrows, which I never saw equalled— Thanks for the little packet which seemed to me like a fragrant kiss from my own babbie— God keep you my good child— love to them all—a dozen kisses to my uncle “to be taken at intervals” Geraldine sends her love—“and pray tell her how very anxious I have been for her”—

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