The Collected Letters, Volume 25


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 15 July 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500715-JWC-MR-01; CL 25: 116-117


5 Cheyne Row / Monday 15th July [1850]

My dear Mrs Russell

I could give myself a good whipping (with a few side strokes to the getters up of our new post-office regulations1) for having let the 14th pass without any remembrance of me to old Mary.2 But it is myself who am the chief delinquent, for I might have sent my packet to you anyday of the week who would not have been too puritanical to transmit it too her on the Sunday. I did not think of that however till too late, having not yet got familiarized to these new regulations. it was only on Friday that it struck my stupidity a letter despatched that night would not be delivered any longer on Sunday. Better late than never anyhow—so I send today five shillings for a pair of new shoes to Mary or anything else you may please to invest it in—and some lace for Margaret3 to put on a cap.

Two of the roses you sent me are in a promising way and also the polianthuses—but the third rose is clean dead and the sweet briar too I fear is past hope—it did well at first—too well I suppose; for it hurried itself to put out leaves when it should have been quietly taking root. a procedure not confined to sweetbriars—one sees many human beings go off in the same fashion

There has been a dreadful racket here this season—worse I think than in any London season I ever lived thro—it has seemed to me sometimes as if the town must burst into spontaneous combustion. All the people of my acquaintance who come to London occasionally have come—this year at one time—spoiling the pleasure I should have had in seeing them individually by presenting themselves all in a rush, in fact our house for two months back has been like an Inn, only “no money taken.” and I feel like a Landlady after an Election week.

And then the Balls and parties all round one, to certain of which I have had to go for the sake of what is called “keeping up ones acquaintance,” have been enough to churn one into a sort of human “Trifle”— Peels death came like a black cloud over this scene of so called “Gaities” for a few days but only for a few days—nothing leaves a long impression here— People dare not let themselves think or feel in this Centre of frivolity and folly; they would go mad if they did and universally commit suicide: for to “tak a thocht and mend”4 is far from their intention

I don't know what is to be done next, now that the town is emptying, and my Husband in the act of finishing his last Pamphlet— I suppose he will go away somwhere but where or when will not be known till the day before he does it— my old Helen—(now gone to the dogs) used to beg pathetically that she might be told “in time to wash all his shirts”—but he couldnt tell what he didnt know himself till the eleventh hour— Probably he will be in Annandale wherever else—for myself; I have an ardent and wholesome desire to get my house cleaned! under my own eyes, this year—for—doesn't it need it!—besides I had such a fagging about last year, that I feel no need of stirring at all—and London is always pleasantest to me when what is called “empty.” For my health, it is rather better than last year—not much—but I make it do— All good be with you and yours dear Mrs Russell— Ever your

affectionate /

Jane Carlyle