The Collected Letters, Volume 13


JWC TO ISABELLA CARLYLE ; 10 November 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18411110-JWC-IC-01; CL 13: 295-297


Wednesday [10? November 1841]

My dear Isabella

The packages arrived last night all safe and satisfactory— So that we have only been out of meal one night!— This will seem to you hardly credible; but so it is, whether by natural or miralculous1 means, the little bag of meal we brought along with us—not only became quite excellent after the journey but has held out till Monday last. I was almost glad when Helen said, “you have the last of it now”; for I was beginning to think there was something uncanny in the business— What a glorious prospect of food for many days! such as we starved wretches in towns hardly ever see the like of, buying as we do, I know not why, every thing in pennyworths— I can say nothing as to the taste yet of any one article for Carlyle would not leave his work last night to break up the lids—but I never saw any thi[n]g2 that was not good come out of your hands and so in my next I expect to tell you that butter cheese meal and bacon is all what the ravenous heart of man could wish it to be— I was rather provoked to have to go to bed without seeing my plaid—but now I have had it about me for the last two hours. and like it very much indeed— C trys to persuade me that I cannot wear such a thing here, in the idea I plainly perceive that he will get it to himself to go out at nights in—but I not only can but will wear it!—indeed if he kept his eyes open where women are concerned he would perceive that there are hundreds of women going about this winter in plaids of every colour and quality under the sun—so that I shall be able to get the good of my comfortable wrappage without exciting the slightest consternation to the fashionable world— I have often however regretted that I said anything about it, and so gave you all the plague of getting it made for me—you have worries enough at home; delicate as you are, without my willfully adding to them— And now I wish I could send the shawl by post—as I shall no longer require it—but it must wait I suppose till some old clothes be going—as it is not worth carriage by itself— If the plaid is not warm enough there will be nothing for me but to wear one of Mrs Carlyle's blankets which with the pretty pink border would have a rather dashing effect I imagine!

Today we have a most violent frost—every thing covered with ice—but I look out upon with a surpri[si]ng3 indifference considering the horrible suffering which I have had from the winter[s] of late years— My chest is evidently quite sound again, and I may not die of consumption after all—as I confidently anticipated at one time—but after all what does it signify which malady one dies of—to die of old age is as bad a way of it as any other4

My husband is writing an article5 with such a vengeance that I hardly get twenty words of him thro'out the day—it is a wonder he has not put himself off sleeping with it; but he has been having much more quiet nights since he came home— He professed to be greatly tormented in the first nights by fleas!—but I incline to think it had been only the ghosts of those we slew at newby— Any how I have heard no more of this entirely novel disturbance—

Helen goes on very comfortably—much more in her element than when you saw her—she speaks from time to time of the puddlement at newby with a sort of sacred horror which is really edifying— It is a great mercy for me that I have the like of her that I can keep, and who likes to stay with me— I should be very solitary in the house if I were as at one time always changing a bad scrog [broken branch] for a worse—

Thank you for your letter, dear—this is not an answer to it but only an acknowledgement of the good I will write again presently—when I am more at leisure—for today is washing day when I need to be more “Studious of household good” than on other days of the week, and besides I have to write some consolation to my Mother who is again in a mess with her maids love-affair—but I did not wish to lose a post in telling you that everything had come safe— love to all

affectionately yours /

Jane Carlyle

A kiss to Jamie if he will take it from me———