August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 17 October 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421017-JWC-JW-01; CL 15: 131-132


Monday [17 October 1842]

My dear good Child

To think that yesterday I was looking at you, speaking to you, holding your bits of hands in mine, and that today I am writing to you—with two hundred milestones betwixt us! It is one of those things which one does not realize to oneself just at once! Every time the door opens I fancy you should come in, and you do not come in!—will not come in any more—for a while!—and the house looks sad and strange—and I do not know very well what to make of myself this foggy day—

Carlyle's manner of consoling me after you drove away was characteristic— He fell to pronouncing an exceedingly long and eloquent eulogy on you—particularizing every thing from your “fine instinctive sense” to the “daintiness” of your person & winding up with a prophetic felicitation to the man who should get you for his wife! Very gratifying for me to hear under ordinary circumstances—but just then it sounded rather too much like a funeral oration!—and I was not sorry when he resumed his reading of the old Latin book.1

How I envy people who have the gift of putting all that they think and feel into words! Who never lose their voice, literally or figuratively, whatever becomes of them! But this power of utterance is a greater blessing to the people themselves than to those about them—witness Helen! how often one wishes her struck dumb for the next twenty four hours!— This morning she spent I am sure a whole hour in removing the breakfast things, that she might have repeated flys at me with her Job's comfort— “Poor thing! I wonder what sort of night she had? I never saw a sweeter Cretur”!— “Isn't it a pity mem but Miss Welsh were nearer—for it's quite surprising how fond she is about you?—and she left half a crown with me to give the Postman— I am sure he'll wonder! So you see She behaved uncommon genteel”!— I flew up stairs to be out of the road of her—and when I came back—she emerged out of the China Closet saying as she crossed the floor— “Poor thing— The last thing she said to me was to take good care of cousin”! You can fancy how all this worrys me— Today too we have the worst fog that has been this year—just as if it had kept off till you were out of the road of it— And Carlyle has already three times this morning requested I would “take immediate steps about getting that picture framed” and finally I had a bad night and my head achs—“and altogether” as the Dumfries Courier says “the time is out of joint,”2 for me— There is a frightful proposition about the picture that it should be hung over this mantlepiece to the sweeping away of all my dear little ornaments!! & to the utter destruction of my privacy—for I could never feel alone with that picture over me!— I almost screamed at the notion—but fortunately che[c]ked3 myself in time; as a passionate resistance would have clenched the matter— I merely suggested that it could not be seen to advantage—when hung so near one—as it would necessarily be in this small division of a room—so it is to be hoped it will still go up stairs—

I will not write any more just now—for I am not well enough for writing to any other purpose than the momentary gratification of my own feelings of loneliness— In truth my babbie I feel very lonely without thee—nevertheless since you were to go; I am thankful you are gone!—just as, had I made up my mind to having an arm or leg cut off, I should be thankful the operation was well over— No letters this morning but one from Cordelia Marshall (Mrs Whewell) another of the inarticulate people of this world—never able to give themselves fair play—

You will write to me a great deal my dear little Sister till we meet again?—and you will love me, more in proportion to the goodness of your own trustful heart than my deserving— Remember me to them all with kindest regards—

Ever your affectionate /

Jane W. Carlyle