January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 6 June 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430000-JWC-JCA-01; CL 16: 192


[early summer 1843]

the Liberty of looking at for nothing—but a woman started from behind them to demand “3 pence each”—“she rented them from the Proprietor”— There is nothing that certain Proprietors will not make money of—if they can!

What you say of my coming to Scotland is very kind—Isabella too has sent me the heartiest invitations—and I should like so well to see you all again— But when I try to fancy myself on the road—to fancy myself there—every thing the same for me there as it used to be, and beyond nothing of all that used to be—I feel so sick at heart, and so afraid of encountering the pain that seeing all those places again and going about like a gohst in them would cause me—that I can do no otherwise but say I will not go. It looks very cowardly to you—this? perhaps too, unkind and ungrateful towards the living—but try to fancy yourself in my place—looking out on hills at the back of which there had so lately lain a little loving home for you—where your mother had ran to meet you with such joy—and now nothing for you there but the silence of Death— If you do not feel that you would be just as weak at least you will understand how I might be so without unkindness— If I were going beside your Mother and all of you, I should think myself bound to be cheerful and to look as if I were happy among you—and until I know myself up to that is it not right to stay away? at present it seems to me I could do nothing in Scotsbrig or Dumfries but cry from morning till night— All this is excessively weak— I am quite aware of that—and if anybody will show me a way of being stronger I will follow it to my best ability—but merely telling me or telling myself to be stronger is of no use—Ever your affectionate

Jane Carlyle