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Record number: WCP3157

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.

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