August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL; 6 March 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470306-JWC-MR-01; CL 21:175-176.


Saturday [6 March 1847] 5 Cheyne Row

My dear Mrs Russell

I am ashamed to say that I have again forgotten when old Mary had her last money1— Will you have the kindness to send me one line as to the state of her finance-department—which I fancy must be getting low—if not already run dry— I have had so much lately to drive the poor old soul out of my head—so much illness, so much botheration with my change of servant And then I have been for five weeks with Lady H Baring in Hampshire where I went the previous winter— It was a great risk for me travelling at the time I set out—for I had been for many weeks shut up in two hot rooms where no breath of wind was allowed to reach me—but I was sick of the confinement rendered so unusually wretched for both my Husband and myself by little Helen's loss, and I thought care had done so little to improve my strength that I would try what rashness could do—and that as usually happens for me answered quite well— On the day of my arrival I dressed for dinner—not choosing to accept the part of Invalid—which is not popular the least in the world in great Houses where aim the2 of existence is to ignore as much as possible that there is such a thing as human suffering in any form— And the next morning, the housemaid having of her own volition prepared a cold bath for me, I plunged into it from a sort of scotch sentiment of thrift that the cold water and the womans trouble might not be wasted— — This sort of thing held out for a week when I was laid up some days with sore throat—and had to get Sir John Richardson from Hasler—a Dumfries Man—who shot an Indian—to come and see me— After that however I went on getting stronger—and am now since my return able to go out and even take a long walk every day— The new maid who came at new years day continues here and promises to become a fixture— She is a remarkably cleanly orderly quiet little woman—with a superior faculty for cooking I have been extremely lucky I think in realizing so useful and respectable a Servant out of the great sink of London—by means of a newspaper advertisement— She has a lover a butcher who is extremely attentive—but they are a rational pair and not likely to marry—till he gets a business of his own—and meanwhile it rather pleases me to know of a little decent love-making going on in the house— By and by I shall have her trained into all my ways—which are many—and some of them curious for the cokney intellect—and then I hope to be even better off than I was before—for this one has no tendency to drink—and has more solidity than Helen had

My kindest regards to your Husband and Father—Ever yours


Jane Carlyle