1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL; 13 July 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540713-JWC-MR-01; CL 29: 127-128


5 Cheyne Row / 13th [July 1854]

Isn't it frightful, dear Mrs Russell, what a rate the years fly at! Another Birthday come round to me! And it looks but a week or two ago since I was writing to you from Moffat,1 The days look often long and weary enough in passing, but when all “bunched up” (as my maid expresses it) into a year it is not time at all to look back on.

We are still in London with no present thought of leaving it.2 The Ashburtons have again offered us Addiscombe to rusticate at while they are in the Highlands But in spite of the beauty and magnificence of that place and all its belongings I hate being there in the family's absence—am always afraid of my dog making footmarks on the sofas or carpet of asking the fine housemaid to do something “not in her work” &c &c and so would for my part much rather stay in my own house all the year round. When Mr C gets ill with the heat however, if this year, there is to be any—he may choose to go there for a few weeks—and will need me to order his dinners.

I am hoping for a considerable acquisition before long. Miss Jewsbury the Authoress of The Half Sisters &c, the most intimate friend I have in the world—and who has lived generally at Manchester since we first knew each other, has decided to come and live near me for good.3 Her Brother married eighteen months ago—and has realized a Baby, and a Wife's Mother4 in the house besides—So Geraldine felt it getting too hot for her there. It will be a real gain to have a woman I like so near as the street in which I have decided on an apartment for her5—. All my acquaintance lie so far off, that it is mechanically impossible to be intimate with them.

You would be sorry to hear of poor Elizabeth Welsh's accident6—Anne has written me two nice long letters since—and added as few printed documents as could be expected from her.7 From my Cousins I hear very little now. Jeanie in Glasgow, never was a good correspondent, I mean always wrote remarkably bad letters considering her faculty in some other directions, now there is a little tone of married-woman—and much-made-of married woman added to the dullness and longwindedness that irritate me into—silence. As for the others, they all seem to think I have nothing to do “at my age but send them two or three letters for one!— When my dear Uncle was alive—my anxiety to hear of him overcame all other considerations and I humoured this negligence more than was reasonable— Besides Helen wrote pretty often poor Dear—and good letters, telling one something. Now as they are all healthy, and “at ease in Zion,”8 I mean to bear in mind more than heretofore—that I am not healthy, and have many demands on my time and thought, and am besides sufficiently their elder to have my letters answered.

I began to make a cap for old Mary9 but it is impossible to get on with sewing at this season so you must give her a pound of tea from me instead. Do you know I am not sure to this moment that she ever got the woolen thing I sent her thro' Mrs Aitken10 last year—Mrs Aitken forgot it I know—and it was long after she said she had sent it to you by the Carrier.

God bless you dear Mrs Russell—I am in a great hurry visitors having kept me up all the forenoon— Love to your Father11 and husband

Yours affectionately /

Jane Carlyle

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