August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 15 December 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421215-JWC-JW-01; CL 15: 232-234


[15 December 1842]

My dearest Babbie

Another scrap then till better times!— I have just read your letter and have to suggest that you should provide with all despatch a—bottle of better ink! Mazzini was complaining yesterday that you had sent him “a little little bit of note which was for him, what shall I say, unintelligible upon my honour”—“Unintelligible” “Yes she has written it in ink so pale!—so pale! as if to say you shall not understand”

And now I can sympathize with his moral dissatisfaction, for tho' I have made a shift to “understand,” it has been a thing of serious difficulty—

The reason I cannot write long today is that the day is beautiful and I must go out forthwith—being ordered to walk a great deal “without minding the pain”— More easy to say than do!— Since the fact that walking always increases the pain is taken as an evidence that it is good for it—on the same ground I may infer that the pills agree with me, as the pain has certainly been more acute since I began to take them. Nous verrons [We shall see]— I would have started writing earlier, or rather I should say writing to you earlier—but that I had to write to Margaret Hiddlestone and Mrs Russel—I fear there is not much hope that Margaret will leave her children to come here—but if she chooses to do it, it is now put in her power!

That Helen1 really cannot be borne with much longer— No 32 who comes about her a great deal and who has now a footman to help her, puts I think NEW IDEAS into Helen's head—about magnificent services where she would be placed more according to her merits— I gather this much from things she lets fall occasionally and still more from the license she gives her tongue in speaking up on all occasions, tho' she knows very well that impertinence is a thing I will not take from her— At present when she sees me ill—really not strong enough to contend with her, it is very ungenerous to behave as she does— Yesterday she burst out in a fury on my ringing after a sleepless night to beg she would make less noise— “It was impossible to please me with anything she did! I had better just see if I could get one to do better—it was “no obligating of her,” my keeping her—she daresaid she could get herself a place—and maybe a good one too!” &c &c all this at being asked to be quiet!—and all this to a person who had not slept!— —But the creature with all her good qualities is a fool every inch of her and what can one do with a fool?— I am quite tired of trying to guide her in the way she should go—and these ever-recurring explosions she makes upon me really do me physical mischief— Ergo she shall go so soon as I can find another servant that looks feasable—one that without “adoring me” will do her work and let me alone of professions and insolence at one and the same time.

Oh the prose of life!—how little I needed the basest sort of vexation just at present!—but “all suns have not set”!3

Your own

Jane Carlyle

For better or for worse

You are to tell my Uncle that that Despicability Sir Robert Peel reduced Mrs Beggs promised pension of twenty pounds to ten pounds—when the thing came to fulfillment— You saw his written promise of twenty with your own eyes. Oh the Shabby Prime Minister Carlyle is mad about it for he had written of the twenty to the poor woman herself

If Margaret Hiddlestone will not come I think I must apply to Mr Miles4—to find me the necessary paragon—he has servants I believe of all different shades of character and accomplishment, Heaven help me—

Do not forget to send me back Carlyle's likeness. I enclose you two caricatures from Mrs Paulet—send them also back—for they are exquisite