April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


JWC TO AMALIE BÖLTE; 10 April 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490410-JWC-AB-01; CL 24: 19-20


5 Cheyne Row / Tuesday [10 April 1849]

My poor little Woman!

I can quite understand your inclination “to scream”—I have the same feeling myself very often—a notion to scream for four and twenty hours without stopping!—not over the treachery of one good for nothing Tizzy but over the treachery of the species generally—and indeed over what Mr Carlyle calls “the whole infernal caudle of things”! What I object to you is not so much what I call your indiscretion as a certain heedlessness of judgement—thro' which you fly at helping everybody in every difficulty, without having first satisfied yourself, that the difficulty is soluble, or the person capable of having it solved—for you know the proverb? “one man may take a horse to water but twenty cannot make it drink”! And when one tries to lead a girl without truth or affection like Tizzy by noble ways to noble aims it is a labour which a little consideration of the laws of nature might have spared one— all the trouble you take for an unhelpable person is so much out of the packet of some other who could have been helped— But you have heard enough of Tizzy for the present I should think— I shall merely add that I have taken upon me to send those letters of hers to Lady Ashburton—(desiring to have them back) that she might see how little the correspondence was of your seeking—and how detestably the girl had behaved to you— They (her guardians) talked much of their determination to put an end to your “interference” with her—I said the girl had done that herself I should suppose, when she carried your letter to Capt R.1 and declared she would “order you to write to HER (!) no more in such a foolish strain”—that if you found her worth interferely with after that you must be fit for bedlam! Capt R was going to write to you they said—whoever writes to you, and whatever they say; I advise you to hold your peace altogether—if permissable—and if you must answer something; to make your words as few and cold and impassive as you can—

I did something after your energetic fashion last night; Miss Heerman2 came to me at seven, to say she must decide about the other situation today—I liked her appearance and manner very much and so did Mr Carlyle— So rather than let her slip thro' their fingers, I put on my things tired as I was with my journey and walked off with3 thro the dark lanes to Countess Pepoli at Kensington— She (the Countess) was in a great quandary of indecision but promised to settle the matter in the morning—and she did—at eleven she came here, having first been to Miss Heerman; to tell me she had engaged her— I hope it will answer on both sides— I wish Capt S4 had got her—he thinks his fat lump sadly ignorant—

The habit-shirt is ‘a great hit’!—the very sort of thing I have wanted for long—something that would cover my neck which looks very bad at this date, and at the same time not give me the appearance of having a sore throat—thank you heartily for your pains—

My maid was so glad to get me back and had every thing so clean!—a real jewel she is!—for her too I have to thank you every day— I you see am one of the helpable so you had better stick to helping me in my various needs— I will go to see you some morning, if the weather mend before Sunday

Ever affectionately yours

Jane Carlyle