April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 28 December 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441228-JWC-JW-01; CL 18: 301-302


Saturday 28th [December 1844]

Dearest Babbie

I have to ask your pardon for I did you a great injustice— When the Christmas day brought no letter from you I said to myself—“Well—that girl “is gone all to sticks”!— The Devil of Indolence has got entire possession of her—and it is of no use for me to depend on her for any portion of my earthly happiness any more”— Ah! and it was not that Babbie was indolent or inconstant, but simply that on Christmas-day our London post-men have half a holiday—so that your packet arriving by the afternoon mail was not delivered till the following morning!— One would say the Devil had a particular pleasure in spiting me on that day—for in addition to this contre-temps, just think of a packet from Helen being missent to Camberwell and thus also arriving only on the following morning! The two were laid on my bed together—along with my breakfast on the 26th— But all's well that ends well— So bless you my Babbie for not having “gone over to the dragons,” thanks for your letter and for the beautiful piece of netting which I am all the better pleased with, that you did not work it yourself!— What Charity children do with their time and their eyesight poor things is of less moment to me than what you do with yours—the thing is beautiful anyhow and a vast improvement on what had been over the green chair of late weeks—not yours—but one of a couple knitted for me by poor Mrs Fraser—and oh so substantial—one might wear them sewed together instead of a flannel petticoat— Mrs Fraser after her crim con business took to knitting, poor soul, as a sedative—and brought me these things one day with an air of self complacency quite curious to behold, when one thought of her having been the heroine of a scandalous Romance—never was there such a Heroine—a woman whose whole soul is centered in discovering the cheapest way of buying coals and potatoes and in making her old gowns into the utmost possible number of frocks for her children!

I cannot write much today for I have been later than usual in getting up and must write to Nice1 before post time— I rise about midday in general—after I have been strengthened up with breakfast—and when the house is thoroughly warmed—but today it was after one when I came down—having spent a weary night— My note would miss you on Christmas as your letter did me—n'importe [no matter] we are still forthcoming both of us—and can be glad of one another on one day as well as another— I am now in daily apprehension of Plattnauers arrival in London—God help me with him— Mrs Sterling is called sane—but is as mad as ever so far as concerns myself— Miss Bolte thank god in the way of recovery at last—

Ever your affectionate

Jane Carlyle 2