January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 19 August 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450819-JWC-JW-01; CL 19: 155-157


Seaforth / Tuesday [19 August 1845]

Dearest Babbie

After all it is but a fortnight past on Friday that I have been here, and it was the end of the first week when I got your letter— Not that I would justify myself the least in the world— When one is from home—out of one's usual routine the weeks look like months and this for me as well as for you— So that I have been thinking my own silence as long as you have done— The fact is simply that I have been indulging in a quite oriental fit of indolence—“consulting my sensations” all day long—and so forwarding the great object of my being here, viz: accummulating atoms—and getting my nerve-strings screwed up to something like living-pitch. I come down to breakfast betwixt eight and nine—dinner is at half past one—that I may dine at such an early hour without doing violence to my stomach I have to take plenty of exercise before—indeed it is wasting the goods of Providence to be in the midst of ‘nature’ without running about in it at all hours. so I have always to take a drive in the gig, or a walk on the shore, or somewhere, before half past one—and as the post leaves at two my writing must be done immediately after breakfast and must not take up too much time in the doing—and just consider that I am bound by my marriage obligations to write to my husband almost every day!! After dinner we—speculate! (Geraldine being still here) and I get my feet rubbed—and I saunter on the lawn inhaling “change of air” and I glance into french novels—do anything rather than write—then after tea at half past five comes music and chess—and we are all in bed by ten!!! This life is not very industrious but it is very favourable to accummulation of atoms accordingly the fatness which I got at Hoylake has been growing more and more solid—nay Geraldine and Mrs Paulet have even fancied to perceive a dawn of colour in my cheeks—but that I must say seems to me a mere fancy— Certainly I feel much better than when I left London—and have a “wholesome desire” (as Carlyle would say) to continue my present life for the next six months— Nothing can exceed Mrs Paulets kindness which is as judicious as it is cordial—and Geraldine is very nice this year—much calmer than I ever saw her— Decidely that explosion of folly with Robertson has done her good— I protest against company and am allowed to have my way in that as in everything else— One day we had the Martineaus—and last Saturday my admirer Mr Rawlins and a parcel of fat people of the neighbourhood to meet him and his sulky wife—but with these exceptions we have had no visitors— Maggie would tell you of the little party at Mrs Ames's—but not how pretty she herself looked— She and Julia Paulet1 were the prettiest pair imaginable sitting together in “all the charms of innocence” in the middle of the room— There was a dreadful little old Mr Yates who wished to make himself agreeable to me but I gave him (figuratively speaking) one box on the ear after another till he was obliged to get about his business—only figure the old goose asking me “what Mr Carlyle said about Oliver Cromwells crimes”—“his what”? said I—“the horrible atrocities he excercised on the Irish”? “Pooh! said I—you mean the massacre or two— Oh nothing can be more brief than my Husbands treatment of all that”— “But Madam Mr Carlyle must feel a due horror?”— “Oh not the least horror in the world I assure you—he considers these two massacres the simplest—indeed only way of saving bloodshed”!2—the old gentleman bounced back in his chair and spread out his two sets of five fingers—like a duck preparing to swim—and gave a veritable groan—which made the rest all look—wondering what I had said to their little “leader of benevolence.” Bah!—these Socinians are a considerable of a bore!— Martineau is too good to be among them—yet—if he were that—he would not stay among them—but kick his foot thro their whole miserable cobwebery—

We were to have gone for two days to Holywell the Saturday before last—but the skies prohibited—tomorrow we are going to dine and stay all night with certain Finchams when I shall see plate glass made— I was never in a glass house in my life—so the journey may be worth while—but I would fully rather stay at home— Only I “feel it my duty” to take all the air and exercise I can get

My gold pen is intolerably stiff this day—the paper does not suit it— Carlyle sees no chance of getting away before the 1st of September— I shall probably stay here till he comes and give up all idea of Wales—— I am not a hunter of the Picturesque—and in all other respects I fancy Seaforth more after my heart than that Welsh Mansion would be—and I shall have opportunity of cultivating my “everlasting friendship” with Miss Wynn in London3—a hundred kisses to my own dear Uncle—

Ever your affectionate

Jane Carlyle