July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO CHARLOTTE SOUTHAM ; 5 August 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580805-JWC-CSO-01; CL 34: 98-99


Bay House, Alverstoke, Hants, / Thursday [5 August, 1858].

Oh, little woman! little woman! I wonder how you get on there, all by yourself, in that “highly genteel seven-roomed House” (as the retired Cheese-monger1 would describe it!) If you hadn't made “ducks and drakes” of your opportunities; and, when I was ready to teach you to write, and you had time to learn, preferred sitting drearily at the upstairs window looking out into the street; you might by this time have been up to writing me a nice little letter; to your own honour and glory! as well as to my peace of mind; seeing that I can't help making myself anxious about you; when day after day passes, and I hear nothing from home—not a word either from you, or the dog, or the sparrow!

I am much better since I came here— Indeed this life is the very wholesomest that could have been cut out for me! Sea-air blowing round me day and night—a drive in an open carriage every day—nothing to do “about dinner” except eat it! perfect comfort, without too much ceremony; and kindness without fuss!—all this considered; you won't expect me home on Saturday! not a bit of me!— I will write to Mr. Larkin to take you money for another week.

And I entreat you to find new work for yourself! that you mayn't, in my absence, scrape acquaintance with a certain person2 who, I told you, was “always at the elbow of an idle girl”!— And that I may see cause to commend your diligence when I return! Tell Nero, with my dear love, that I fervently hope he is not overeating himself! And to the Sparrow give, in my name, a good-sized worm!

God keep you a good girl!

Yours kindly, /