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Record number: WCP3157

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Sent by:
Jane Barlow
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
11 February [?1895]

Sent by Jane Barlow, The Cottage, Raheny, Co. Dublin, Ireland to Alfred Russel Wallace [none given] on 11 February [?1895].

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


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Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP3157.3125)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46441 ff. 144-145
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Jane Barlow Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information




The Cottage,


Feb[ruary]. 11th [no year]2

Dear Dr Wallace,

I am very glad to hear that you have found 'Kerrigan's Quality'3 at all interesting. To tell you the truth, ever since I finished writing it, I have tried to forget its existence, because it seemed to me such a failure. It was written under a combination of difficulties -- one of them my own fault: I foolishly undertook to have it ready by a certain date, which I found to have a paralysing effect on my faculties -- and I could [[2]] not make it what I wished. So I was altogether dissatisfied with it. But I have just now been looking through it again, and it strikes me as not being quite so bad as I feared. There is some absurdity in the plot, and most of the characters are not very real, but Kerrigan is rather a human sort of person I think. I wish I could write such a sequel to it as you suggest. What I am afraid of is my incompetence; for an ignorant or feeble book would, of course, be worse than useless, though I do think a good one might have some effect. I must think it over a great deal.

I have not read the work of Mr Craik4 which you mention. In fact my reading on the subject has been [[3]]5 very limited, and I should feel extremely grateful for any information about books that would be useful.

I fear I should find it heard to believe in quite such a happy end to the story as you say. It seems to me that there would always be some people with sufficient cause for grumbling -- if we call it so. Still, it will be easier to judge of this when all preventible [sic] miseries have been removed -- and how far we are from that in Ireland, where at the present moment whole parishes are starving.

Yours very sincerely | Jane Barlow6 [signature]


1. Page numbered 144 in pencil in top RH corner.

2. Year "(circa 1895)" written in pencil beneath "Feb. 11th ".

3. Barlow, J. (1894) Kerrigan's Quality, New York, Dodd, Mead, & Co.

4. Craik, George Lillie (1798-1866) Scottish newspaper editor, writer and historian; appointed later in life as a professor of English literature and history at Queen's College, Belfast.

5. Page numbered 145 in pencil in top RH corner.

6. Barlow, Jane (1857-1917) Irish novelist, noted for her poems describing the lives of the Irish peasantry, chiefly about Lisconnel and Ballyhoy, in relation to both landlords and the Irish potato famine.

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.