July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 7 March 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480307-JWC-MR-01; CL 22: 266-267


5 Cheyne Row / 7 March [1848]

Dearest Mrs Russell

I am afraid it is long past the time when I should have sent old Mary's money.1 And there is no excuse for my having neglected that duty, as it required no exertion but only a little thought. Any thing needing exertion I have indeed been little up to latterly— When I wrote to you at newyeartime; I boasted of having kept well, for a wonder, while every-body about me had been laid up with influenza or some such thing, but no good ever comes of crowing before one is out of the wood! Just the day before we were to have started on the visit I told you of,2 after all our portmanteaus were packed, and the house partially pulled in pieces; I took a sore throat which developed itself during a sleepless night into as serious a cold as anyone could have wished not to have—I could not quit my bed, never to speak of travelling. My Husband waited a few days to see me over the worst, and then went by himself, expecting I should be able to follow in a week or so—a wildly romantic hope on his part after all he had seen of my colds! Ever since; that is for two months, I have been closely confined to the house, toiling on with morphia and mustard blisters and all sorts of unpleasantnesses—I have never however felt so dreadfully weak this winter as I did the last, which my Brother-in-law imputes to his superior doctoring. Last winter I had so much opium and tartar emetic given me, which John says was “very little better than arsenic” for a person of my constitution. I have also been free this time from all household worry; my little maid, being quite able to keep things going on comfortably without my interference, and very quiet and attentive to me besides. So on the whole I have great cause of thankfulness that it has been no worse— As my cough is now much abated, I mean to go out so soon as it is a little warmer. Confinement does depress one's spirits do what one will!

You too were laid up when Dr Russell wrote—I hope you are now quite strong again. I meant to have written as soon as I had settled myself at Alverstoke, to ask more news of you—but after I fell ill myself writing was for a long time dreadfully fatiguing to me—and when I got a little stronger I persuaded myself that, by then your illness had gone to the things past. Let me have a few lines now—I want much to hear how old Mary and Margaret3 have got thro this sickly winter. Do you know any thing of Mary Milligan?4 I saw her Husbands death in the newspapers. Have you heard of my cousin Alex's intended marriage with Sophy Martin? it is to come off soon I suppose5— Kind regards to you[r]6 Husband and Father ever affectionately


Jane Carlyle