April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 5 November 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441105-JWC-MR-01; CL 18: 260-262


5 November [1844]

My dearest Mrs Russell

I suspect that my Man-of-Genius-Husband has forgotten old Mary as completely as if she had never been born—Oliver Cromwell having, as the servants at Craigenputtoch used to say, “taken the whole gang [road] to himsell.” The wife of Sir Fowles Buxton1 has been many times heard to wish that the Blacks (her Husbands fixed idea) were all at the bottom of the red Sea; and I am afraid I have often been undutiful enough of late months to wish the memory of Cromwell “at the bottom of something, where I might hear less about it— It is at the bottom of rubbish enough, I am sure; to judge from the tremendous ransacking of Old folios and illegible manuscripts which Carlyle is always going on with, but still he manages to bring it up, in season and out of season till I begin to be weary of him, (the Protector) great man tho he was. But as everything comes to an end, with patience; he will probably get himself written at last, and printed and published, and then my husband will return to a consciousness of his daily life, and I shall have peace from the turmoils of the Commonwealth: For if Carlyle thinks of nothing else but his book whilst he is writing it; one has always this consolation that he is the first to forget it when it is written.

Meanwhile; to return to old Mary I send an order for three Soversigns from my own pin money (which is ample enough) to keep her poor old soul and body together a little longer— And I shall not tell Carlyle that I have done so, as I know it would vex him that he should have needed to be put in mind: So that if he sends another supply shortly; you will understand the mystery of the double sending—

I wonder how you all are at Thornhill— It seems so long since I have heard a word of news from that place which I think of more than of any other in the world— I shall hear from you one of these days, and understand that “the smallest contribution will be gratefully received.”

I had a letter from Liverpool a week ago and all was going on well there—my Uncle better than he had been some little while before— Jeanie and Maggie are at Auchertool with Walter—leading a very good for nothing life there according to their own account of it—engaged in perpetual tea-drinkings with “people whom they can take no pleasure in” and “making themselves amends in sitting at home with their feet on the fender, talking over the absurdities of the said people” whereupon I have written Jeanie a very scolding letter which it is to be feared will share the common fate of all good advice in this world—make her angry at me, without putting a stop either to the teadrinking with pleople2 “one can take no pleasure in”—or the idle practice of sitting ting with her feet on the fender—and still worse practice of laughing at ones neighbours absurdities rather than ones own.

We have dreadfully cold weather here but I have no Influenza as yet—am on the whole well enough—for all practical purposes— With kindest regards to your Father and Husband ever dear Mrs Russel affectionately yours Jane C