The Collected Letters, Volume 11


JWC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 22 November 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18391122-JWC-JCA-01; CL 11: 212-213


‘Chelsea’ Friday 22 Novr, 1839

My dear Jane

In such a beautiful confusion is this head of mine that I cannot recollect the least in the world whether or no I wrote to you that the Parcel had been sent to the address you gave me,—by the Delivery Company carriage, paid. In case of its not turning up within reasonable time you should be told this twice rather than not at all, that you may enquire after it. It was sent some ten days or fortnight ago.

For the rest I have been thirteen days confined to the house with a cold, which is not quite gone yet. But I am tired of nursing it entirely; and must go out for a little while today, to get the cobwebs blown out of my brains;—it is dreadfully dull being confined to this house—especially now that John is not here to come in once a day and ask after me.

My maid is very kind, luckily, when I am laid up. She has no suggestiveness or voluntary help in her; but she does my bidding quietly and accurately, and when I am very bad; she bends over me in my bed, as if I were a little sick child, and rubs her cheek on mine! Once I found it wet with tears. One might think one's maid's tears could do little for a tearing headache; but they do comfort a little. What is more to the purpose however she makes mutton broth that is the chief consolation of Mr C's life; he prefers it even to the cock-broth of old Putta.

Did Mr C. tell you that one of the last outgoings I made I got my pocket picked,—the first time since I came to London;—my purse, containing a sovereign and some silver— I felt very like a fool on making the discovery when I was going to pay my omnibus.

Write to me, Dear, when you have a leisure day; and believe me

ever your affectionate /

Jane Carlyle


Letter 49°

A winter-cold; sad accompt of many winters henceforth. Fiercely torturing nervous headach[e] (continuous sometimes for 3 days & nights) &c &c: never did I see such suffering from ill-health borne so patiently as by this most sensitive and delicate of creatures all her life long. To this hour, the thot of all that often puts me to shame!— Her ‘maid’ is poor Kirkcaldy Helen, one of the notabilities, and also blessings of our existence here; who staid with us (thanks chiefly, almost wholly, to the admirable managet) for nearly 12 years on a stretch. A curious specimen, poor Helen,—and often a most amusing, as interpreted and reported to me!