January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 24 April 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430424-JWC-JW-01; CL 16: 135-136


14 [24]th April [1843]

My Babbie— Tomorrow is your birthday— I have not miscounted?— Well do I remember your last birthday—here beside me—how you looked, and what you said, and every thing about it as if it had been but yesterday— above all I remember gratefully how your gladness over the pretty gifts they sent you was saddened into tears at seeing the sorrowful impression which these things made upon me.1 God bless you my good child— You will shed no tears tomorrow I hope—not even over the benediction I send for your new year in shape of a Venus's girdle!2 Would that I could send you along with this talisman for charming the heart of man—a heart of man deserving to be charmed by you!— But having married Elizabeth to Pepoli, I consider myself to have done considerably more than enough in the match-making line—so I should abstain on principle—were there no other reason— from charging myself with the matrimonial interests even of Babbie.— Unless indeed she had as in the above mentioned instance attained an age at which she was clearly no longer adequate to shift for herself— Good Elizabeth! it is a shame in me to jest about her—if she did commit one supreme absurdity in her existence—she has at least left nothing undone to redeem it—

I took Walter3 there yesterday before dinner— She had repeatedly expressed her opinion that he was “a most interesting creature” and a wish to see more of him— Walter liked her better this time—as I knew before hand that he certainly would,— Be kind to Walter and do not provoke him by Waltzing with Mr Benson4 more than you can help— I hardly think you do justice to his grave interest in you! at all events he is ill just now—and requires not only to take care of himself, but to be taken care of— Amidst the fevering maddening turmoil of his economical life he needs a quiet, safe, loving heart to repose himself upon—his Mothers?—his Sisters?— I am afraid there is no such heart for him in his own family!— But for want of it—he is going to his death— I can see that he has grown up under the most withering influences—that it would need now almost a miracle to be operated on him—to make him feel his own worth, independent of his outward successes— And yet there is great worth in him—a beautiful ardent spirit!—which one weeps to see getting itself strangled amidst a mesh of cobwebs! Dear Walter! I love him actually! and you know that by that world I mean something!

Here is old Sterling—ever ever the same thing over again! I will finish tomorrow.

Your /


ask Helen to wear out with humility for me the gown I send by Walter I remember her once admiring it