The Collected Letters, Volume 11


JWC TO HELEN WELSH ; 28 June 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18390628-JWC-HW-01; CL 11: 147-148


Friday morning [28 June 1839]

My dear Cousin

It has been intimated to you doubtless with more or less clearness that we are girding up our loins for a grand and general move Templandward—where it is to be hoped that after infinite fatigues endured and difficulties overcome, we shall arrive without loss of life or of baggage—and get such benefit from fresh air and silence as may answer the expectations of all parties concerned.

For several days back there has been a distinct appearance of getting underway—all the loose property about getting itself thrust into boxes &c to be sent into sure keeping; our house being to be left in care of Providence, with a recommendation backed by the promise of “a trifle” to the Policeman— My Maid, who is both a coward and an universal accquaintance-maker—totally unfit to be left in a house by herself—is to go with us and prosecute her valuable activity at Templand— By the beginning of the ensuing week we shall be in the completest state of deprivation and disorganization—and may be confidently expected to “take the road” as they say in a mandate—necessity being the Mother of decision as well as of invention— Carlyle cannot yet “tie himself to a day” No man indeed has such a dislike to being ‘tied’—but he thinks Tuesday or Wednesday will probably answer him— He also thinks that “a nights sleep is not a thing to be given up without an effort at least to save it.” and accordingly votes for travelling by day rather than by night. I am taking it for granted that natural instinct has already informed you of our purpose to go by Liverpool— Your willingness to receive us I do not at all doubt but I am not without qualms as to your ability to put us all into bed— It cannot be done in fact (so far as I know of your resources) without Alick's reducing himself into impalpability at nightfall, as I have known him do before; but never well understood how he managed it.

Now if this miracle be in the slightest degree hard for him to perform—write to me by return of post and we can go to the Chorely's [sic] who are close by you, and have overflowed us with invitation as if in having us, they imagined they would be “entertaining Angels awares1— But “I hope better things tho' I thus speak”— As to my maid I think you cannot have any difficulty with her—for in the first place she is a perfect atom—and in the second so very undelicate that with a blanket to wrap herself in she can sleep on any floor or table pleasantly. If I hear nothing from you—I shall understand that you expect us— If we are to be with you on Tuesday night I will send off a newspaper on Monday—if on Wednesday I will send a newspaper on Tuesday—

I hope to find you all well and glad to see us—much kindness that heretofore always awaited us in that house we shall painfully miss2—and the thought of this saddens my prospect of being there again—but one must be thankful for what is left—

I need write no further news—as any interesting thing I should tell you now would be lessening the budget which I shall have to make myself agreeable with when I come— Kindest love to my dear Uncle who must prepare to be emphatically kissed—and to all the minor productions

God help you thro' the deciphery of this penmanship which is appalling even to my own eye— But my desk is packed my pen-knife is packed—and my fingers ache with packing—

Ever dear Helen your / affectionate Cousin

Jane Carlyle