July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO HELEN WELSH; 15 July 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470715-JWC-HW-01; CL 22: 17-18


15 July [1847]

My dearest Helen

I would have written yesterday,1 if I could have done anything on earth but—cry— I suppose “the fact is” as C says “that I am very unwell”— In a general way I can keep from crying at all rates. But this heat is most disorganizing and demoralizing. And so I fell a crying in the morning—over my gifts—and could not stop myself again— C. had prepared a cameo-brooch for me—and I cannot tell how it is, but his gifts always distress me more than a scold from him would do2— Then the postman handed in your letter and little box—and that brought all sorts of reminiscences of home and of Templand3 along with it—a beautiful little thing! as ever I beheld! but too beautiful and too youthful for the individual intended to wear it— A hat-box from poor Bölte completed the overthrow of my sensibilities—it contained an immense bouquet of the loveliest flowers, in the middle of which was stuck—her picture!—in water-colours and gilt-framed—and a note4— I shall send you the note—that you may see Bölte in her best phase— People wonder always why I let myself be bored with that woman but with all her want of tact in the everyday intercourse of life she manifests a sentiment on occasions so delicate and deep that I should be a brute not to feel touched by it—

Whose is the hair in the little basket?— it looks all ONE shade— Thank you dearest and the others concerned in that little realised ideal5 of cousinly remembrance— I have attached it to my bracelet—but it seems almost a pity to wear it there— I was thinking whether I ought not to have my nose pierced and suspended it from that—

Perhaps I shall see you this summer after all— I really am suffering dreadfully from the heat quite as ill in a different way as I was in winter from the cold—

I cannot sleep or eat—can hardly sit upright—and am in a continual high fever—obliged to keep wet clothes on my head all day long— In these astonishing circumstances Carlyle declares I absolutely must go away, and best to Haddington— He will take me there and leave me—so if I go to Haddington I shall surely go to Auchtertoul—but I am not there yet— I am to write to Miss Donaldson today to inquire if her house be empty—if the London family are there I shall consider that objection final6

I hope if I go I may get off before Geraldine returns—for I am not up to any visitor just now—not even to an angel awares.7

Kind love to all— I have that letter to Miss Donaldson to write—and am already worn out— Ever your affectionate

Jane Carlyle