October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 14 July 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460714-JWC-TC-01; CL 20: 235-237


Tuesday [14 July 1846]

Oh my dear Husband Fortune has played me such a cruel trick this day!—but it is all right now! and I do not even feel any resentment against fortune for the suffocating misery of the last two hours. I know always, even when I seem to you most exacting, that whatever happens to me is nothing like so bad as I deserve— But you shall here all how it was—

Yesterday in coming back from the Post office where I had gone myself with the letter to you, my head took to aching and ached ached on all day in a bearable sort of fashion till the evening when Geraldine came over from Manchester—and the sudden bounce my heart gave at sight of her finished me off on the spot— I had to get myself put to bed and made a bad wakeful night of it—so that this morning I was nervous as you may figure—and despairing of all things—even of the letter from you that I expected so confidently yesterday.

Encouragement came however from a quarter I was little dreaming of—before the post time—before I was dressed in fact—heaven knows how she had managed it—there was delivered to me a packet from—Bolte! at Cambridge!—a pretty little collar and cuffs of the poor things own work with the kindest letter—after all my cruelties to her!— Well I thought if she can be so loving and forgiving for me—I need not be tormenting myself with the fear that he will not write today either— And I put on the collar there and then, and went down to breakfast in a little better heart— At ten—the post hour I slipt away myself to the post office but was “detected” by Betsy and Geraldine who insisted on putting on their bonnets and accompanying me— I could well have dispensed with the attention—however I trusted there would be a letter and their presence would only hinder me reading it for a little— And two were handed out which I stretched my hand to receive—both for Betsy!— None for me the postmistress averred!—not a line from you on my Birthday—on the fifth day! I did not burst out crying— did not faint—did not do anything absurd so far as I know—but I walked back again without speaking a word, and with such a tumult of wretchedness in my heart as you who know me can conceive— And then I shut myself in my own room to fancy everything that was most tormenting— Were you finally so out of patience with me that you had resolved to write to me no more at all?—had you gone to Addiscombe and found no leisure there to remember my existence?— Were you taken ill so ill that you could not write? that last idea made me mad to get off to the railway and back to London— Oh mercy what a two hours I had of it!1— And just when I was at my wits end, I heard Julia2 crying out thro' the house— Mrs Carlyle Mrs Carlyle! Are you there? here is a letter for you!” And so there was after all!—the Postmistress had overlooked it—and given it to Robert when he went afterwards not knowing that we had been. I wonder what love-letter was ever received with such thankfulness!— Oh my dear I am not fit for living in the World with this organisation— I am as much broken to pieces by that little accident as if I had come thro an attack of Colera or Typhus fever— I cannot even steady my hand to write decently— But I felt an irresistible need of thanking you by return of post— Yes I have kissed the dear little cardcase—and now I will like down a while and try to get some sleep—at least to quieten myself will try to believe—oh why can I not believe it once for all—that with all my faults and follies I am “dearer to you than any earthly creature”— I will be better for Geraldine here she is very quite and nice become—and as affectionate for me as ever

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