October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 15 July 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460715-JWC-TC-01; CL 20: 239-241


Wednesday [15 July 1846]

My dear Husband

I was not meaning to write today—having had to get up at two in the morning, and spend the rest of my sleeping hours in reading Geraldines new M.S.1 and in walking about the room— It is best, under these rather exceptional circumstances, to “do nothing today that can be put off till tomorrow” (the Wedgwood Motto)—but you seem to want a speedy answer about the horse—so that at least you shall have before I go to Liverpool for a drive. From all I hear and see; horses sell quite as cheap or cheaper here than in London— Mr Paulet expects confidently to get a good carriage horse 17 hands high for from thirty to forty pounds!—with respect to grass—the grounds here have been so much curtailed for building that, as I learnt incidently, the other day, they have not grass enough for their own two cows without buying it to spread on the field. When you find it suitable to send the horse I can answer for his being either well-fed in the stable or sent on to Scotsbrig whichever you may wish— If you were here yourself he would certainly be a great accommodation for you to ride upon—and no burden as in that case they would send away a small carriage-horse they have en attendant a larger one—and as the carriage (the old one) the new has never been used at all!! is not taken out above once a week or so, Bobus might supply its (the temporary horse!) place in drawing— But unless he were here for your use, I am afraid nobody else would be the better for him and he himself would hardly be the better for exchanging one stable for another, with this only difference that here he would get no exercise. I begin to think you had better have taken thirty pounds for him in London if you could have gotten it— I do not believe you will get more any where else; and his travelling expences will “make that little less” To be sure if you wish to have him anywhere to ride upon—he were well worth the expence and trouble of his transport— But as to that you do not seem to have arrived at any conclusion yet. Jeanie writes me from Auchtertoul that the old minister is suddenly dead2— So Walter is now in possession of the appointments of his office as well as of the labours— There is something rather shocking in one person's death being necessarily a piece of good fortune for another—but it is all one to the old man himself now whether they make sad faces at his departure or gay ones—and who knows! perhaps Somebody loved that pig and will give him a genuine tear or two3— Poor mortals “after all”! What a mighty pother we make about our bits of lives, and Death so surely on the way to cut us out of all that at least—whatever may come after! Yes nobody out of Bedlam even educated in Edinr can continue to doubt of Death One may go a fair way in Scepticism—may get to disbelieve in God and Devil, in Virtue and in Vice, in Love, in one's own Soul, never to speak of Time and Space Progress of the Species Rights of women—Greatest Happiness of the greatest number—isms world without end everything in short that the human mind ever believed in or “believed that it believed” in—only not in Death! the most outrageous Sceptic—even I after two nights without sleep cannot go ahead against that fact—a rather cheering one on the whole—that let one's earthly difficulties be what they may, Death will make them all smooth sooner or later and either one shall have a trial at existing again under new conditions, or sleep soundly thro all eternity. That last used to be a horrible thought for me—but is not so any longer— I am weary weary to such a point of moral exhaustion that any anchorage were welcome even the stillest coldest where the wicked should cease from troubling and the weary be at rest,4 understanding both by the wicked and the weary—myself— But if I had been meaning to moralize I should have taken larger notepaper— Adieu then.

Ever yours /

Jane W. C