July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO MARGARET WELSH ; 15 December 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18581215-JWC-MW-01; CL 34: 249-250


5 Cheyne Row Chelsea Wednesday [15 December 1858]

My dear Margaret,

I wish very much you would write to me. It is cruel to leave me wholly without news of John, when the London fogs and my own weak health tend to make “all the imaginations of the though[t] of my heart”1 as dark and dreary as possible! It is not to be hoped that you can have any material improvement to tell me of already; but at least you might tell me how you find the place, and the lodging, and the Foxes,2 and the climate.

John Carlyle has nearly driven me out of my senses, by assaulting me time after time about the uselessness of such a change as from Richmond to Falmouth and the absolute necessity of a real change—a change to a dry tropical climate—Australia for example. Then Mr Carlyle backs him out. and without knowing anything of the matter blames ME because I have not persuaded or compelled John to take a voyage to Australia!! because I dont even at this late date persuade or compell him! Money need be no hindrance whatever—Mr C would be positively relieved and happy by this voyage being undertaken at his expence.3 He thinks we are all trifling with a very serious case, and that I am greatly to blame—because I have not succeeding in doing the impossible—viz in making John and you and Bence Jones and every body see with John Carlyles eyes, and carry out the measure he recommends. I am told there are still vessels sailing from Plymouth once a fortnight—and John Carlyle says that it would by no means be a bad time to set out—Mr Carlyle proposed sending John Carlyle down to Falmouth to try and persuade our John!!! and John Carlyle proposed to me to go (he) and consult with Bence Jones about it; since I would believe that he (Jones) had probably as much skill and knowledge as Dr Carlyle! But I got into such a phrenzy of nervousness, at all this urging and remonstrating, without any clear convictions of my own to bear me up; that I burst out crying! and told them—to do what they liked, but not to hold me responsible, and expect me to play the part of Fate any more; or they would throw me into a fever! Since that scene a few days ago, nothing has been said—and indeed this morning, Dr Carlyle has started for Scotsbrig. But still all this that has been laid on me, continues to weigh on me. And in repeating it, I feel to be only discharging my conscience—also I am obeying Mr Carlyles express command in urging upon John, that his Life is of more worth a thousand times in his (Mr C's) eyes than any sum of money that could contribute to its preservation—

If I have said what I had to say ill—forgive me—for the sake of my good meaning— Yours affectionately Jane Welsh Carlyle

John got my letter? I wrote to the address you gave