candlestick

April-December 1844


The Collected Letters, Volume 18


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JWC TO MARGARET WELSH ; 1 November 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441101-JWC-MW-01; CL 18: 256-258


JWC TO MARGARET WELSH

5 Cheyne Row, / Friday [1 November? 1844]

MY DEAR MRS. WELSH,—There is a sort of fatality about your letters; the one you wrote to me from Leith came as I was in the very act of pronouncing your name. I was just expressing my annoyance to my husband that my Aunt Anne whom I had written to about you would not take any notice of my letter (nor has she taken any notice of it to this hour); the first you wrote to me from Ireland came when I had been dreaming about you over night—and the last came half an hour after I had been regretting to Carlyle, that I did not know your address (supposing that you had gone to the other place) that I might have written to ask how you were going on; as I was become quite anxious to know.1 Thank you for being in such a thorough state of sympathy with me, as to be able to anticipate or rather to divine my wishes, and thank Providence that you have such good news of yourself to send. There are some precious people in this world who contrive wonderfully to make good news where others would find only bad or indifferent news—and you it seems to me are one of these blessings to the community.

In return for the kindness these good people show you I feel tempted to wish, ungratefully enough, that their child might never turn older! But older he will certainly turn in spite of my unchristian wishes—so that for compensation we must just consider that your own son2 will also turn older, and that when the one no longer requires your care the other may be able to offer you his.

It is a great comfort for you always to have a son who deserves to prosper in the world, let the prosperity come when it may!

For ourselves, we are going on much after the old fashion—Carlyle as busy as busy can be over his book about Cromwell which for all that he works at it like a house on fire is still a long way from done—myself transacting the usual amount of headachs, colds, etc. but nothing material ailing me—quite well enough for all practical purposes—at least for all such as I ever dream of turning myself to. I have been greatly vexed lately with one after another of my acquaintance going mad— One would say that I did not choose my acquaintance very discreetly since such an issue becomes frequent—but really there seems to be madness in the air just now which no stock of sense to start with can always resist. A very intimate Friend3 has just been here since I began to write, telling me that he has had to lock up his wife in two rooms, she having been running about like a wild cat flinging the poker at people and things. This one however in losing her wits has sustained no great loss for they were never anything to speak of.

I never hear a word from my Aunts4—it seems they can only write sermons, to save my soul—as my soul prefers to shift for itself independent dent of their preaching they have entirely disowned the relationship. The more pity for themselves I think— God be with you—let me hear of you again before long and believe always

Affectionately yours,

J. CARLYLE.