January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 17 March 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450317-JWC-JW-01; CL 19: 44-45


[17 March 1845]

My dearest Babbie

A more vexatious little incident has not befallen me for some time; or rather to speak accurately, I have not for some time committed a stupidity which I have been more annoyed at

On Saturday I wrote you a letter, better or worse, with spirit as ever willing but flesh very weak— I wrote also a business letter to Geraldine—and when I saw the two letters addressed, sealed, and actually ready to be posted, I can assure you that I felt a noble self-complacency; for had I not gained in a small way a triumph over circumstances?— Had you known how sick I had been feeling all the time of writing you would not have wondered at my feeling somewhat triumphant. Well the Sterling1 carriage—which I have the offer of now almost daily came just as I had finished—and being unequal to walking I got in, with my letters, which I deposited in a cursed little pocket of the carriage made on purpose for letters—being forgotten in— And so were mine that day! The like had often happened before, but I had always recollected in time to recover them and send them off— On Saturday however the carriage had set me down and gone its way and the post hour was passed before I remembered what I had done.

Yesterday being Sunday there was no use in sallying forth in the east wind (for the Spirit of Contradiction which consciously or unconsciously rules old Sterling hindered him from coming yesterday just because there would have been some satisfaction to be got from his coming) But I sent a message last night by John2 If the Coachman who is blessed with having not only a head on his shoulders, but a head that accomplishes the purposes for which heads are given us, saw my letters he would post them of his own accord, and so you would still get your intended Godsend yesterday But if he missed seeing them, which is quite possible the pocket being a perfect hiding place as I have said, then you have not got it, will get it perhaps along with this—perhaps not—for it is impossible to predict what new cross purpose this day may bring forth— At all events understand that I have written and am not the abandoned creature that appearances might lead you to believe—

Your affectionate / “Always unfortunate”


Jane Carlyle

I send you a letter from Betty—which let me have again