October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


JWC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 22 April 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460422-JWC-JCA-01; CL 20: 177


5 Cheyne Row / Wednesday [22 April 1846]]

My dear Jane

The Spirit moves me to fire off at you a small charitable purchase which I have just made. In the way of suggestion it may] perhaps yield me ‘virtue's own reward!’— I am just returned two days ago from an aristocratic visit of a months duration—with the mind of me all churned into froth—out of which alas no butter is to be expected! Yes— “Guy [very] idle o' wark” have I been for the last month “Clatching [wandering] about the country on Cuddy-asses”1 (figuratively speaking). Seeing “how they Ack” in the upper places does not give me any discontent with the place I am born to—quite the contrary— “I, for one solitary Individual,” (as Carlyle says) could not be other than perfectly miserable in idleness ‘world without end—and for a grand Lady, it seems somehow impossible, whatever may be her talents and “good intentions,” to be other than idle to death— Even children do not find them in occupations and duties— A beautiful Lady Anne Charters who was at Addiscombe along with me for the last ten days had been confined just a month before and her new-baby was left with an older one2 in the care of a Dr and nurses; the Mother seeming as little aware as all the rest (myself excepted) that any mortal could find anything to object to in such free and easy having of ones children! But as your Ancestor said long ago “theys troubled that have the world and troubled that want it”3— On the whole however the more rational sort of trouble that which brings least remorse along with it seems to me to be the “wanting it”— C. is gone to ride a little “ill-haired [ill-conditioned]” this morning

Ever your affectionate Sister

Jane Carlyle