January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 20 March 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430320-JWC-JW-01; CL 16: 92-94


[20 March 1843]

“Forgive your last”!—upon my honour you are modest! Any one but yourself with such an awful day's work before her; to say nothing of an earthquake over night! would have thought it much to write at all!1 Henceforth, Babbie of my soul, you shall be placed under the same category with Cavaignac2 who once answered an invitation which I had sent him for a particular night; “tho an earthquake should intervene I will come not the less”—for you an earthquake has intervened and you have written not the less!—and your merit is greater than his— in the proportion that have done is better than would do.

Let us not seek to lessen it your merit by asking invidiously— whether you slept thro the earthquake?— I will believe no such thing tho you did sleep sometimes thro the electrifying shock of Carlyles rusty bell-string!

I meant to have written you a long long letter yesterday by way of going to church—but Geraldine jumped in about twelve oclock and staid till—she had a glimpse of the Dr!3— She was as foolish and every way unsatisfactory as usual—saying all sorts of improper things about the people she is staying with who appear to be excessively kind to her— Bah!—one of Cavaignac's growls is the only fit criticism to make on her—

God bless me! What a stramash [uproar] in your kitchen!— I am heartily sorry for it!— I had hoped that G. and H.4 would be fixtures for a long while especially the little one. I wish that this world would return to the simple habits of its forefathers—so that we might have cerfs5 again instead of servants—or serve ourselves, which were perhaps the best way of all.— They seem to be all alike ungrateful & unreasonable— If here and there be one who has better dispositions than the rest—bad example soon corrupts her down to the general standard— — Helen is working like a Turk and getting the house cleaned famously—as she always does when in a rage—it is the only principle on which I have been able to get any thing effectually cleaned for months back— She has taken no step yet that I know of to seek herself a place— But I only await your letter to take my steps decisively— On the whole I think it will be best if this woman6 do not turn out excessively desirable or the best of all were if she turned out desirable and would consent to engage with me at six months hence or so— —It might happen that she would like coming to London and might stretch a point to get there— I really think the house would be safest locked up as formerly—and it is besides a very severe trial for a servant to leave her for months with nothing to do and bad neighbours about her— If we leave town in the end of May as Carlyle speaks of doing at present—there would be such a little while to fill up, and not long enough for a servant to have got hefted [adjusted] (ask my uncle) in the place— My plan—and I hope to make it paramount is that we should go direct to Liverpool—and then that he should go on to Annandale for a week or two leaving me with you to seek a cottage by the seaside at Formby or Conway7 of some of those places where we might rusticate two or three months—within possibility of Liverpool— Perhaps one might get a cottage all to oneself in which case one would need a servant at once—at all events I should need one to bring back with us. —I know nothing of these localities or their resources—Lancashire hitherto has meant for me simply 20 Maryland Street—but with a strong etermination and such light as you could give me or get for me I feel sure we might find the sort of upputting we want there—as well or better than anywhere else— —But it is time enough to take up this branch of the subject—and my head is not clear enough for it today anyhow— I must out into the Freie [open air]! where I hope my uncle is also at this moment Bless you dears

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