April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH; 5 February 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490205-JWC-JW-01; CL 23: 223-224


[5? February 1849]

Dearest Babbie

Is he gone yet?—are you at leisure to listen to me? for I have today actually something to tell! I have had a visit which threw me into perfect—or to speak quite veraciously—into comparitive beatitude for several hours—guess from whom!—but you never could come within a hundred miles of her!—for it is a HER— So I must just tell you—I have had a visit—indeed two visits from—Mrs Anthony Sterling!!— I cannot tell you how it pleased me to be no longer, however unintentionally, a cause of misery to that poor woman!— She came voluntarily “would have come long ago if she could have believed I would receive her.” Nothing could be more beautiful than her behaviour—she came alone—stopt “on the mat” (Helen said) until I said she might come in, and then came forward with meek and brave words of apology—which you may be sure I cut short with kisses— Poor Soul I almost fainted myself from putting myself into her situation— I begin to think I must have some sympathy after all— She said I “must be an angel to receive her as I did after her conduct”—but it was she who was the angel this time—I in her place could not have gone thro the thing as well as she did—and after all what had I to forgive her poor woman?—the suffering to herself which attended her mistake about me was proof enough of its involuntariness—Oh dont I know what she has suffered?—too hard punishment for her error of judgement!— That was Saturday, I had received a note from Anthony on the morning telling me not to be surprised if she came—but there had been some talk of the same thing before—and it ended in smoke—so I could hardly expect her till the carriage drove up—had just thought it so far possible as to put myself into a cap and shawl to make out a decided case of an old woman!—for her better assurance in case she did come.— Would any mortal have thought of that but myself?— Of course I did all I could to raise her up in her own esteem again and make her aware that she had not sunk but infinitely risen in mine— I wrote her the most encouraging letter, after, that I could invent—to meet the reaction which I feared would follow her magnanimous act— And she has answered it so sweetly. Today she came again—with Anthony to get me to go to Hedly for a few days—“She would not believe I had quite forgiven her till I came to Hedly— Perhaps I will go— I would do anything to help her with her life—but it looks a sad mess to me— Anthony and she grate on each other like a couple of files—she proud and petulant towards him and he cold and contradictory towards Her—since seeing them together this morning I almost despair of ever being able to make them better friends— But I have great influence over him of a moral sort—and I will get influence over her too or the devil is in it—seeing I have set my heart on reconciling them—

Yesterday I went over Tothill fields prison1 with Forster and Mr C and we dined with Forster after and were filled have [half?] drunk with champaign as usual— The Prison must remain over for another letter for I perceive to my horror it is twenty minutes past four—ten for sealing and posting— Only I must tell you I saw and received a courtsey from Annette Meyers2 the sauciest looking commonplace little creature that ever played the part of a Heroic Criminal

Love and kisses / Ever your /