January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 1 March 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420301-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 51-53


Chelsea, Tuesday Noon [1 March 1842]—

My Darling,—My poor little woman,—alas, what can I say to thee! It was a stern welcome from thy journey, this news that met thee at Maryland Street.1 O my poor little broken-hearted Wife!

Our good Mother then is away forever; she has gone to the Unknown Great God; the Maker of her and of us. We shall never see her more with these eyes. Weep, my Darling; for it is altogether sad and stern; the consummation of sorrows; the greatest, as I hope, that awaits thee in this world. I join my tears with thine: I cry from the bottom of my dumb heart that God would be good to thee, and soften our tears into blessed tears.

———The question now however is, what to do? I almost persuade myself your Cousins would get you advised to take a little repose with them (repose!) and that you are still at Liverpool, and will expect this Letter there. Tell me; would you wish me to come,—to attend you forward, to bring you back home; to do or to attempt anything that even promises to aid you? Speak, my poor darling; I am in a whirl of unutterable thoughts; I can advise nothing: but in anything I will be ordered by your wishes. Speak them out.

I wrote to Dr Russell last night;—alas, his tidings were all too sudden: the swiftest mail-train could not have carried us thither; even at Craigenputtoch it might have befallen so.

Perhaps this night there will some Letter come from you? No, no; I remember now there is none possible till tomorrow morning. O had you but staid with me: it would have been something to weep on my shoulder.— God help thee to bear this sore stroke, my poor little Jeannie.

—Adieu, I will write no more at present; I have of course many letters to write.

God be with thee, and solace thy poor heart, my own Dearest.

T. Carlyle

—I am quite able to travel; actually so.—

3 o'clock.


Dearest,— I have kept this open to the last minute, in hopes some clearness of purpose might rise on me from amid that black chaos of thoughts. It seems cruel to ask thee for advice;—and yet thy wishes, dearest, shall be the chief element of guidance for me. As yet in the mood I am in, all whirls and tumbles: but this question does arise, Ought I not by all laws of custom and natural propriety to be there, with or without thee, on the last sad solemn occasion, to testify my reverence for one who will be forever sad, dear and venerable to me? Think thou, and answer. I will have all in readiness, at any rate, so that I may be able to start, tomorrow night, or say on Thursday morning if needful. Shall I? Perhaps tomorrow's Letter may throw light on it.—

Mazzini was here; is to return tomorrow. I have written to Elizabeth, Mrs Sterling,2 Darwin &c, to Geraldine also, whose Letter thou needst not read, if troublesome.

Adieu, my own poor darling!