January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO BETTY BRAID ; 9 March 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420309-TC-BB-01; CL 14: 61-62


Templand, Thornhill 9 March, 1842—

Dear Betty,

I will forward your Letter to poor Mrs Carlyle, who is still at Liverpool; who will be affected by your continued affection.

We had never understood that Mrs Welsh was in any danger, but always that it was some common illness, and, in late weeks, that she was recovering. She had been much put about by a change of servants:—it would have been a great comfort to us all that her good Betty of old days had been there! She did get an excellent woman some months ago;1 a young widow connected from of old with the family. Her death was without pain, not unforeseen by herself as a possibility and even as a likelihood, but very sudden, indeed as it were instantaneous. The Doctor reckons it connected with some disorder of the heart; it seems to have been something of a palsy stroke. She dropped down while getting dressed, about 1 o'clock, on Friday the 25th last; and lay without consciousness or appearance of pain, till 10 at night, when it all ended. A cousin of hers was here; and the Doctor's Wife, with whom she was intimate, happened to have called at the moment.2

We had got no intimation of alarm till the Doctor's Letter written that day, which could not reach us in London till the Monday following. Mrs Carlyle, tho herself very unwell, made instantly ready, and set off: alas, at Liverpool, on the morrow morning, at her Uncle's door she met the fatal tidings.

I found her, as you may suppose, extremely miserable: she did not think of proceeding with me; indeed she had never been out of bed, nor able to sleep much in it. I have yet heard no word from her own hand: but the account of her Cousins is that she does gradually grow better. It was settled that she should return to London with Miss Jeannie Welsh, her Cousin whom she likes well, to nurse her. I have yet to stay here for a while, till affairs be settled, and this Establishment, which has now become a very sad one for us all, can get winded up.

These things I have written to you, dear Betty, knowing in what value you were held here, and deserved to be held. Mrs Carlyle's Address is: “5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London”: you can write to her at any time were this sad paroxysm once past.

Yours with true good-wishes /

T. Carlyle