January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 30 July 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450730-JWC-TC-01; CL 19: 119-120


Wednesday [30 July 1845]


The last two days, “being an only child” I have not wished to write; today I wish, but cannot, to any purpose, no indeed—today, I must give up the idea of “carrying SUCH a blessing into your house”! I have risen with “no head,” or rather with a more than usual certainty that I have one—from the pain of it. “My allowance” here is beginning to take effect on me; by Friday I shall have had quite enough of this sort of thing, and be ready to have even Geraldine-speculations “thrown into the system”— Mrs Paulet called again on Monday, and missed me again—she left word that she would fetch me away at eleven on Friday morning— If I could but “make my care the welfare of others” I should have room to feel “a good joy” over the pleasure which my coming seems to have given to several people— My Uncle has “enjoyed” my visit very much—we have had no flare ups on politics this time—neither he nor Alick have spoken one word of “Sir Robert” or “Sir James”1 or any other public person or thing since I came!! So much for the few words of objurgation I wrote to my Uncle beforehand on the subject of his “detestable politics”! The only flareup I have witnessed was last night at cards— He and Alick were playing at ecarté—on a little table in a corner—very silently, and amicably to all appearance; the rest of us were sewing or reading—suddenly the little table flew into the air on the point of my Uncle's foot! and a shower of cards fell all over the floor!— “Damn these eternal cards” said he fiercely, as we all stared up at him in astonishment— “Hang them! Curse them! Blast them!— Blast them to Hell!” They all looked frightened—for me, the suddenness of the thing threw me into a fit of laughter in which my Uncle himself was the first to join.

This morning at breakfast something was saying about cards to be taken to Scotland—“but,” said I—“I thought they had been all sent last night to Hell?”— “Pooh,” said my Uncle quite gravely, “that was only one pack!” Jeanie seems to be settling down more and more into placid inanity— SO far as I can make out she has some sort of lukewarm love affair and tacit engagement going on with Andrew Crystal2—a good out-and-out love would be the very best thing in the world for her—even if in the long run it should go all to immortal smash.3 but your lukewarm loves—where people doubt “first the worthiness of the passion—and then their own worthiness, and finally—good Heaviness—the worthiness of the object! “The Devil fly away with” that sort of loves for me! Better to throw a gallon or two of good honest lukewarm water into the system and take the consequences!— But certainly I am not wise in writing on with “my brains” (as Rio would say) “tormenting me” in this way.

But, what to do?— One's Good if not “feeling so “lonely” as might be wished, yet in point of fact lonely enough—and on'eself without an own red bed to retire into— Cannot I stay in my Boot and be quiet?— No, I get beside myself pent up there—latterly I have been bolting out of it, thro the men's room—whether they were there and clothed or no—like a bottle of ginger beer bur[s]ting4 the cork! “Uncle I beg you pardon but I must “get out”—” “Weel Weel! (hiding himself behind the curtain) there's no help for it”!

Had not you better go to Fryston?— You did pretty well there before— for me, I think I shall have had enough of ‘distraction’ by the time I have accomplished my original programme It is a great bore that I can no longer read the proofs— Will you tell me if the leech be still alive?— Give my kind regards to Helen and say I will write a letter “all to herself” one of these days— The whitewashing will be one good job over when I come— God bless you dear—I am in the Devils own humour today if you care to know it—but ever yours “not without” affection

Jane W Carlyle

The note was from Mrs Mackenzie—of course offering a visit— Thanks God she cannot get at me here—