January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 18 February 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430218-JWC-JW-01; CL 16: 51-52


[18 February 1843]

My deariest Jeanie

I hardly know what I am going to write—only I feel a need to write something by return of post— Your news of this morning1 has quite confused me— I feel only one thing quite distinct[l]y2 that you are the best wisest little soul that ever was made— Oh yes let none of us ever more have concealments!— You were right to tell me the whole truth—but how few in your circumstances would have told it in such a wise considerate way!—told anyhow, it could not fail to make me very anxious, and, somehow, just in this particular month—when my heart is quite full of last february it could not fail to make me very sad3—but I am better pleased—to be ever so anxious and sad than to be kept in the dark— Oh if all people had had your sense—what bitter regrets would have been spared me for my life long!

—My child you are an example to me—for all so much older and more experienced I am— Your quiet affectionate good sense rays itself into my mind even at this distance, thro all the tumultuous nonsense that is fussing round about me and thro all the natural temptations I have to get nervously excited myself— I say with you in calmness and faith “let us hope the best”— Yet it is hard for me to have to wait till Monday for further intelligence4— Oh that I were beside you—to see how things go on with my own eyes— If my uncle does not get better soon—and if you feel that my company would be of the slightest use or comfort to you say so without hesitation— I am quite aware that every one of you makes a better nurse than I do—that in fact I am a very helpless being—but I feel myself so much your elder sister that it seems unnatural for me not to be beside you all, to take my turn in reading to him and all that, and to share your anxieties on the spot— You understand? I would not officiously set off in the Geraldine fashion—to “do” what will be perfectly well done without me, or may be perfectly well left undone—or to parade my anxieties among anxieties which must be naturally still greater than mine—but if my going to you could in any conceivable way make you more comfortable—you have only to bid me—I will not say any more for indeed I am very confused—

Only that I pray God to make this danger pass swiftly away—and to have you all in his keeping— Your own

Jane Carlyle