The Collected Letters, Volume 28


JWC TO HELEN WELSH ; 12 October 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18531012-JWC-HW-01; CL 28: 286-287


Cheyne Row / Wednesday [12 October 1853]

Dearest Helen

I know not what I am going to say. I am quite stupified. I had somehow never taken alarm at my Uncles last illness. I had fixed my apprehensions on the journey home and was kept from present anxiety by that far off one. My beloved Uncle. All that remained to me of my Mother. A braver, more upright, more generous-hearted man never lived. When I took leave of him in Liverpool, and he said “God bless you Dear” (He had never called me Dear before) I felt it was the last time we should be together—felt that distinctly for a few hours—and then the impression wore off, and I thought I “would go back soon—would go by the cheapest train” (God help me) since it gave him pleasure to see me— That we have him no longer is all the grief! it was well he should die thus—gently and beautifully—with all his loving kindness, fresh as a young man's—his enjoyment of life not wearied out all our love as warm for him as ever—and well he should die in his own dear Scotland amid quiet kindly things— We cannot ought not to wish it had been otherwise—to wish he had lived on till his loss should have been less felt— But what a sad change for you all. and for me too; little as I saw of him, to know that kind good Uncle was in the world for me—to care about me however long absent—as nobody but one of ones own blood can—was a sweetness in my lonely life which can be ill spared—

Poor dear little Maggie I know how she will grieve about these two days and think of them more than of all the years of patient loving nursing which should be now her best comfort— Kiss her for me—God support you all— Write to me when you can what you are going to do— Alas that I should be so far away from your councils— I need to know precisely about your future in an economical sense—thro all the dull grief that is weighing on me comes a sharp anxiety lest you should be less independent than heretofore—to be relieved of that will be the best comfort you could give me at present— I never knew what money you had to live on nor thought about it now it is the first question I ask— I am dreary and stupid and can write no more just now

Your affectionate


When I saw your handwriting again last night—my only thought was “how good of her to write another letter so soon.” I was long before I could understand it