August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 29 August 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420829-JWC-JW-01; CL 15: 60-61


Monday [29 August 1842]

My dear Babbie Bunton

Last night it was the thunder!—but, as John says, “there is no use at all, you know in rebelling against Providence”; so we will make no Jheramiad about having been kept awake by that—it might have thundered anywhere as well as at Troston— It looks now to my weather-wisdom, as if the fair weather were broken, and we were to have a spell of wet days—which will be sorely against the white hat-and-knapsack-mode of travelling— Pray say what you can to repress his youthful enthusiasm, and to point his decision towards the Cornwallis, or the Phenomenon— These walking-over all-England-schemes are excellent in idea—an innocent stimulant to the imagination,—but they are not meant to be executed—at least by the like of him—“a long sprawling, ill-put-together thing from the very beginning”—as his Mother said of him—and with a nervous system that renders him peculiarly unfit for being “thrown out, sang froid, to charity”

We were to have gone to day to lunch at Hardwick two miles beyond Bury— where it seems there are to be seen very curious antiquities and beautiful things of Art—collected by Sir Thomas and Lady Cullum1 during their various wanderings abroad—but I have no expectation that it will fair in time—nor is there any great reason why it should except that had we passed thro Bury I might have provided myself with some writing paper and other small necessaries of life my stock of which has run low—

Except Nature and the persons of this household I have seen nothing and nobody since our tea-visit to the Squire's2—than which nothing could be a completer failure—still I am glad that we went, for it gave me the idea of a new sort of man, and new sort of menage—a very detestable sort to be sure—but still as God permits Mr Cartwright his Priory to exist in the same world with me I should not disdain the knowledge thereof— I never saw a man that looked more like the pig pushing towards Cork while made to believe itself taken to Killkenny3—a stubborn contradictory brute—rapturizing over Sir Robert4 and the income tax—finding all the distress of the country to be occasioned by the cheapness of victuals!! and ready to knock down any one male or female that dared to be of a different opinion— His wife5 a most elaborate piece of formality with a very questionable fixture-smile did what she could to keep the peace—and suceeded but indifferently—and gave us the worst tea and the most meagre supply of butter and bread I remember to have seen in this world on the whole the sight of that Place with its magnificent avenues of cedars and vaulted crypt, and “glorious bits of colour,” and worst tea, worst talk, worst taste, to be found in Christendom, was enough to make the humblest peasant contented with his lot— N. B. Mr Cartwrights eyes are almost close together in his face—

I had a long kind letter from Elizabeth6 which I have not yet answered—but mean to— I am truly thankful that Helens leg is restored to a state of efficiency—give her my congratulations—and kind regards— I hope she will take double and triple care of you when you are left alone—unfortunate Babbie—what is to become of you? but it will not be for long—mind above all things that you take your victuals properly—one is so apt to neglect that department of things when one is alone—and if virtue lies as most people seem to believe in the stomach, the consequence would be a demoralized babbie at my return— Thank you for all your interesting letters to which this is rather a poor return—but I am in a sort of uncertainty today as to things in general very unfavourable for letter writing bless you—my good child

Ever your affectionate /

Jane Carlyle