August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 14 August 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420814-JWC-TC-01; CL 15: 14-16


Sunday morning [14 August 1842]1

My dearest

There were two notes from you this morning—one on each side of my plate—the first having the address of Bury only came along with the third— So be sure you keep by Ixworth in future— As for “Keeting” it turned out on investigation to be neither more nor less than Mrs Bullers way of writing Rectory.

It is much better with me now, and I find myself quite hefted [accustomed] in my new position— But I shall not soon forget the horrors of the first day—feeling myself growing every moment worse—away from you all—and desperated by the notion of confessing myself ill, and going to bed, and causing a fuss among strangers! After having written to you I tried sauntering among the trees—tried lying on the sofa in my own room—tried eating dinner (which is rationally served up here at three oclock) and finally tried a drive in the carriage with Mrs Buller, all the while saying nothing. But instead of admiring the beauties of Livermere Park, which they took me to see, I was wondering whether I should be able to “stave off” fainting till I got back. On “descending from the carriage”2 I had finally to tell Mrs Buller I was ill and would go to bed— She came up stairs after me, and offered me sal volatile &c &c—but seeing that I would have nothing, and wanted only to be let alone; she with her usual good breeding pinned the bell rope to my pillow and went away. A while after; feeling myself turning all cold and strange, I considered would I ring the bell. I did not—and what came of me I cannot tell—whether I fainted, or suddenly fell dead-asleep—but when I opened my eyes, as it seemed a minute or two after, it was quite dark and a maid was lighting a night lamp at the table!— I asked what o'clock it was?—“half-past eleven!”— “Would I have tea?” No—“did I want anything?[”]— No— She was no sooner gone than I fell naturally asleep, and when the cocks awoke me after daylight I was quite free of pain, only desperately wearied The asses did not return the second night nor last night—and I manage better or worse to weave the dogs, cocks, and rooks into my dreams—my condition has undergone a further amelioration from having the matrass laid above the down-bed—it was like to choke me—besides that I lately read somewhere horrible things about the “miasma” contracted by down beds—from all their various occupants thro' successive generations!—and my imagination was got disagreeably excited in consequence— For the rest; nothing can be better suited to my wants than the life one has here—so that I feel already quite at home—and almost wishing that you were Rector of Troston! What a blessed exchange would it be for those poor people whom I hear at this moment singing feckless psalms! I could almost find in my heart to run over to the old tower and give them a word of admonition myself— Reginald does not preach in the morning—he reads service merely, and preaches in the afternoon— I shall go then to hear “how the cretur gets thro with it”— I have not made out yet whether there is a downright want in him, or whether his faculties are sunk in the shamefulest indolence— He is grown very much into the figure of Mr Ogilvie in miniature— When he speaks I dare not look at his Mother, and feel it a mercy for his father that he is so deaf— The Old people do not mean to remain here— The climate does not suit Mrs Buller in winter—but they have not made up their minds whether to remove altogether or to hire some place during the cold weather— Oh dear me! “They have trouble that have the worl, and trouble that want it”!3 I do not know whether it be worst to be without the power of indulging one's reasonable wishes or to have the power of indulging ones whims— So many people we know seem to have no comfort with their money, just because it enables them to execute all their foolish schemes—

Jeannie writes to me that when you discovered my parasol you “crossed your hands in despair as if you had seen ‘the suns perpendicular heat’ already striking down on me—” I thought you would be vexing yourself about it—but I have not missed it in the least— The drive here the first day was cold—and since then I have had a parasol of Mrs Bullers who rejoices in two— And now Good by dearest— I have two nice long letters from Jeannie to return some acknowledgement for

Your own

Jane C