The Collected Letters, Volume 13


JWC TO MARGARET WELSH ; 22 February 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410200-JWC-MW-01; CL 13: 44-45


[Late February 1841]

Alas dear Mrs Welsh, it is strange as well as very sad that the only intercourse betwixt us for so many years should be made up of announcements of death and letters of condolence. From the bottom of my heart I pity you left so young so good to bring up those fatherless boys—and now one of them taken from you just when your task was about ending, and its fruits might be look forward to with hope1— I have heard nothing of your sons for a long time—but I well remember thinking the one you have lost a clever child and likely to grow up a clever man—and now!—God comfort you—no human comfort can be of any avail in such a case!

Write to me when you can, and tell me about the other, and yourself, and how this poor boy died—

This has been a dismal week with me—your intimation of death in my own kindred found me in the midst of death, which did not affect me in my personal affections, but has affected me deeply in my sympathies The wife of a surgeon next door had died after giving birth to a crippled infant and the poor husband has been nearly out of his wits ever since, with no woman about him except myself, not so much as a servant that could be of the smallest use to him—his old Mother is upwards of eighty and half insane—the poor child has a frightful prospect in life—if God spare it—for the Father has to go on the expedition to Africa from which he will probably never return.

Today he is carrying away the body to be buried in Scotland her own country— If it were any consolation to think that others are suffering along with us, we should never want that in abundance, but unfortunately it is none.

I shall be anxious to hear of you, yet do not constrain yourself to write, until you find it not irksome.

Ever affectionately yours

Jane Carlyle