October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 6 April 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570406-JWC-MR-01; CL 32: 117-118


5 Cheyne Row Chelsea / Monday[6 April 1857]

My dearest Mary

I want very much to know about your sleep? Dont plague yourself to write a letter while you have not spirits for it; but do send me just two lines to say if you have broken thro’ that miserable habit of awaking in the early morning. I never lie awake all night myself, without thinking of you, with such sympathy as only comes thro experience. Considering that I still keep the house, my own sleep is rather improved. Only if anything have worried me during the day. I have a wakeful night, and one brings another. Last week Mr Carlyle startled me one evening with a project of going off to Germany, so soon as he had finished the second volume of his book, and writing the other two volumes there!— I was to go with him; and he calculated on my long-ago strength and activity and ingenuity, to shelter him from the disagreeables of a strange country, and surround him with a scotch home in the middle of german curtainless beds, and german stoves, and german devil-knows-what-all!— “So you see my Dear,” he concluded, “you must make haste and get well, for you will have plenty to do, and scheme out”!—

Now all that talk might never get further than talk—Mr C propounds many such projects that come to nothing, beyond the worry of the moment— Still this one might be carried out! and the bare idea of it in my actual state of nerves and bodily inability made me like to scream! Four bad nights were the result!

No more has been said about Germany since the day after the first declaration of his scheme. Then, he merely said; “How will you like going to live in Germany do you think?”— I said very quietly; “I dont think the present is a favourable time for your asking the question, or for my answering it. When one is confined to two rooms with so bad a cold one has little spirit left for new adventures especially when they involve bodily fatigue”— “True” he said—“you must of course get well first of all.”— Since that the subject has been let drop—and I trust in Heaven it may not be returned to— If he would only go and write the rest of his book in Scotland!— But there would be no “facilities” there!

It is beautiful warm air the last two days; and I should have gone out at last, but for the constant showers—making every thing so damp— Since I kept my two rooms my cough has been gradually going off—and my strength returning— It would be a pity to run the risk of more relapses for the sake of getting about a few days sooner1

The last accounts of Lady Ashburton were very favourable— She had been suffering so much from Locock's medecines that she positively refused to go on with them, and sent for the Physician (Russian) of the Empress of Russia2 (also at Nice for her health) He entirely disagreed with Lococks view of her case—desired her to give up all medecine entirely—and she was rapidly recovering her strength and spirits, on a diet of “skimmed milk, a little bread, and salt herring”!!! She was driving out, and meant to come to Paris in a week or so—where they have taken a fine house (a thousand pounds for two months of it!!) and after that, she thinks of going to Carlsbad3— Why she never thinks of coming to her own beautiful Place in Hampshire4 I cant understand!—

You will have heard of my cousin Jeanie's baby5all right— I hope she will now at least turn to dressing it instead of herself.

My kindest love to Dr Russell.

Your affectionate /

Jane Carlyle

I looked up all the texts and put marks at them.6