July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 7 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470907-JWC-TC-01; CL 22: 54-56


Long Car BarnsleyTuesday [7 September 1847]

Good gracious! What a sudden snatching away of Proserpine!1 I fancied the man who got into the carriage,2 while I looked under the seats for that confounded box, was you, come in to take leave of me, and get out, when the train should stop, like the Eustonsquare ones,3 at the end of the covered space. In which comfortable assurance I addressed him, “but, my Dear, will you have time to get out?” Then having got my eye on the box I added “Oh here it is”; and looked up, and saw—the sickly gentleman! who had cast such a die-away glance on you, as we were walking up and down. I flew at the window like a wild thing, and could not pull it down, and saw you in a state of distraction—ordering the train to halt; while it went its way like destiny—“never minding”!4—not a single kiss executed!—really it was “very absurd”5—and I have not yet recovered from the sort of shock to my feelings. The sickly gentleman whom I had addressed as “my Dear” testified his gratitude in telling me of “daily accidents on that line” which were he said “most iniquitously concealed from the Public”—but he “had written to his friend Strutt6 about it,” and hoped that measures would be taken—meanwhile he took himself off, at the first station—and I went one stage sola—at Normanton a Lady came in, who within the first minute gave me a pear—and regretted that she could not accompany the gift with the offer of a knife! I spoke a few words of thanks—when, looking deeply interested in me she said softly; “I easily perceive that you are not are not7 English”!— “No—I am a scotchwoman”—“Indeed!— I took you for a foreigner! I should never have dreamt of your being Scotch”! Perhaps she would not have given me the pear if she had— Mrs Newton was waiting for me with the brightest looks—and we went the three miles to Barnsley in a nice “neat but not gaudy” little omnibus which we had all to ourselves.— I lost no part of my luggage nor was the kitten dead—when taken from its basket it spat to right and left in a way a faire peur [to frighten]! but the children all set themselves to loving the Devil out of it,8 and now it is pretty well domesticated in the nursery— Nodes came home at four to dinner—and they are both as heartily kind as can be—we went in the evening for a walk—and so far as the views were discernible thro' a thick haze, the country hereabouts is even more beautiful than at Rawden. We—that is Mrs Newton and Noedes and I are going off now in a fourwheeled gig to see some beautiful nature somewhere and what is more to the purpose the largest shawl factory in Yorkshire—there is also talk of descending actually into a very deep coal pit close by—

It is clear I shall not get home tomorrow, but I aim at Thursday—certainly not later than Friday—last night I got next to no sleep, for a chained dog which barked without a moments intermission till three in the morning— — The immense quantity of children too, tho nothing of the sort can be less troublesome, are a rather unmanageable element in the business for me.

I long to hear your news; above all that you have had a good nights rest at Scotsbrig—

There is no privacy for writing here—and besides my Host and Hostess are counting the moments till I shall be ready to start—so I must make an end—and use the lighted candle which Mrs N is holding for me

Love to them all—and a kiss to—Jamie!

Ever yours

Jane W. Carlyle