October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 24 March 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570324-JWC-MR-01; CL 32: 108-109


5 Cheyne Row / Tuesday [24 or 31 March 1857]

Oh my Darling! I was so pleased to see your handwriting again! I knew how every time you thought of writing to me, you would shudder at the idea, the first time since!1 Ah, that first time one does anything after a great sorrow has fallen on one, realized as the first time, how it cuts one to the heart!— The first time I had been to Thornhill since—the first time I had seen you since— what a thought that was for myself last September2 Oh dear Mary! I never saw a more sympathetic Being than yourself—never was near any one that seemed to enter into my feelings so instinctively—still I am sure you will understand now better than even you could at that time the perfect agony of desolation that filled my heart that day, when I stood at the door of Templand; without even a right to be there! Often this winter when I have been in a high fever I have felt as if that moment was going to make itself into a center of delirium for me! and have lighted candles and sat up in bed to read, that I might drive it forcibly away— How good you were to me that day! all of you! Your voices sounded so gentle!— And one of these voices we shall hear no more—but we will carry the kind tones of it in our hearts—to make ourselves kinder It is so your Father would have us remember him, with a sorrow fruitful in goodness and kindness.

I am very impatient to hear you get back your sleep— Do you try anything but air and exercise?— Have you ever tried giving up tea?— I do believe my own sleep is improved by the discontinuance of my two cups of tea— I think too I have got some good of an infusion of hops—it is a favorite and certainly very safe prescription of Dr Holland's.3 You pour boiling water on an ounce of hops, and let it stand two hours—and drink four or five wine glasses of it in the day, chiefly toward night—it is very calming and is a slight tonic and a slight soporific—and can do no possible harm— I am sure it has been of use to me. I had another relapse last week—was three days and nights in a burning fever— I had caught a little fresh cold—from being out in a close carriage. I shall not attempt any thing of the sort again—but keep to my two warm rooms, till the warm weather comes.

Yesterday and today I have coughed less than any day for five weeks—in virtue I believe of having kept my bed after the last relapse—

My cousin Jeanie got a little daughter4 last sunday— I hope it will do her good—in several ways—

I wish every day of my life we were near one another— Not that I am allowed to feel lonely—Good Heavens “anything but” as my maid says— The town has been pretty full of late weeks and I have more callers than I can receive— My acquaintance has really “shown feeling” (as the Haddington people used to say)—“honourable women not a few”5 come to what they call “sit” with me—and they keep me in flowers and woodcocks and “all the delicacies of the season”—and all the fashionable gossip!— But how much better than all that one good, heart-to-heart, long talk with you darling!

Geraldine comes for “orders” in the mornings and sits with me in my bedroom an hour or two every night— My Maid6 is quite recovered and nurses me with a tenderness she never displayed before, since she saw my different fashion of nursing, in her own case— She never said “thank you” for anything I did about her; but so soon as she was on foot she put no end of gratitude into actions.

Pray dont tell “the Doctor[”]7 about my infusion he might think it too impertinent that I should be prescribing for his wife— But just because he is a man, and a Doctor, he may perhaps hardly appreciate the good effects of such little solacements to the feminine imagination as my no tea, my infusion of hops &c &c &c

I wish you could go to Mrs Veitch's8 for a day or two—a change often breaks a bad sleeping habit when nothing else can— My sincere regards to the Dr

Your own friend /

Jane Carlyle

Please dont be long of sending me just two lines to say how you are