April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 29 December 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441229-JWC-JW-01; CL 18: 305-306


Sunday [29 December 1844]

Oh Babbie! my dear Babbie! I am thoroughly ashamed of myself— —Carlyle put my letter of yesterday in the post office on his way to the Bank— On his return from that august place he proceeded to pull out your pocketbook full of notes—and while counting them, said to me, “You told Jeanie how much I was pleased with her gift? it is really very pretty and convenient—poor little Babbie! it was very kind of her to take so much trouble for her Parent”!— My whole answer was “Oh mercy”! “Mercy What” said he—“Why I did not say a single word about the pocketbook”!— “That was certainly a most extraordinary piece of negligence” said he with such a grave look!— “Will you take THE TROUBLE to thank her for it now then by the very next post”— —I was vexed enough at myself without his being cross about it— —the fact was, not only the pocket-book but the man had entirely got themselves crushed out of my head by the confusion I was in yesterday—confusion of soul I mean—to be sure ones soul ought to be above its circumstances ought to keep calm—whatever else—well I made amends by being very calm last night or rather this morning under circumstances of the most astounding nature— About one in the morning not having been yet asleep and being as is common with me just now extremely fidgety I gave my large square pan of hot-water a peevish push with my foot, which sent it right over the bed!—where by the sound it gave in falling I knew that it had broken in pieces—and all the hot water flooding my carpet!—perhaps penetrating the parlour ceiling! and having turned into ink in the process (as had once before happened to me) dripping down on my span new brussels carpet beneath! Distraction was in the thought— I sprang over the bed and rang my bell furiously—twice to bring up Helen—who however being in bed did not see any propriety in coming tho' I might have been dying for anything she knew— Carlyle however who was still below, reading, came with “a certain” deliberation—and found me standing in my night clothes with the fragments of crokery and a lake of water at my naked feet— So soon as I had light I got all the towels in the room and flung them down into the lake—and then got down on my knees to soak it up— Carlyle went like a sensible man for his bason and large sponge—and fell to it more effectually with that ordering me into bed—but alas when I turned to go, I found my nightshift all dripping!—had to take another un-aired from the drawer! and after I was in bed found that it had “most mistairously” got wetted also— Carlyle brought me his small bottle—and once more all was quiet—except my heart which went on at a fine rate for hours—

Today of course I have more cold—but not so much as was to have been anticipated— I asked Helen when she came in in the morning if she had not heard the bell, “Oh heard it?” said she “how could she miss hearing it?” And why then did not she come?—“before she had got her clothes on she heard Mr Carlyle go up—so she thought that I had fainted—and since he was there there could be no use for her”!

Cool!—and not over-logical— But she will make up for it by going into fits the next time that I faint in the day time

Mazzini asked the other day if there was any change in Miss Welsh's social position—as in case there was none he would write to her at the new year— —I gave him the address of Auchtertool—not knowing then that you had left1

And now dear Babbie forgive me all my enormities and believe me ever your

Affectionate Cousin /

Jane Carlyle