August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 6 December 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18461206-TC-MAC-01; CL 21:106-107.


Chelsea, 6 Decr, 1846—

My dear Mother,—Possibly enough you may be in some sort of anxiety about Jane's condition here, which by some phrases in my last note to John did seem rather uncomfortable: let me therefore throw you a hasty word to say how matters are, before I go out with the Newspapers. We have indeed had two or three very confused uncomfortable days, and poor Jane is still in bed; but she was never very ill with her cold, merely coughing and extreme irritability and sickly weakness; and now the weather has greatly softened; and other annoyances being put to rights, we are confidently hopeful that Jane, who is already better, will be on her feet again in a day or two, and all things going on as heretofore.

In fact it was only the change of servants that has occasioned all this mischief; a very humble cause indeed of such a huge confusion as things did this morning (when the matter was at its height) exhibit! Our Edinr maid, I said, was doing very badly, and we had come to the agreement with here to halve the expense of her passage hither, and let her go forever at the end of the month. This satisfied the poor trailing smearing gomeral [fool] for a day or two, and we tried to put up with her miserable ways without criticism; but yesternight she took suddenly to “fainting,” or threatening to faint,—unable, oh totally unable for the sore work; could not stand it any longer:—a new sudden confusion which greatly flurried the poor sick Missus, last night, and did her a great deal of ill in the state she was in. We decided accordingly to dismiss the useless lumber of a maid there and then, and take our chance of finding another as we could: this morning accordingly she made the house clear of her,—went to some Cousins or I know not what; my one emphatic injunction to her was, To depart straightway, and never in time or eternity to let us see her face again! I have not in all my days seen a worse human subject than that unfortunate creature; insolent, mutinous, impotent; in every way base, and to be avoided by rational creatures. So she went; and we, greatly relieved even to be left alone, have already been able to get another woman, one at least perfectly honest and able to do her work;—and already Jane is much better, and we all feel much more comfortable. The woman is to stay for a week or so on trail; after that, if parties do not suit, either is to be at liberty to be off; and as she is a woman of mature experience (forty years old or so), and well recommended by a “Mrs Smith,” a good lady of this neighbourhood,1 there is a prospect now that till Jane get up again we may have no more hurlyburlies like the late one. A scandalous situation indeed was that! I have not had such an inclination to cuff anybody's haffets [cheeks] these thirty years, as I had in giving my brief final address to that miserable slut this morning. It is over now.

Dr. Christie is in assiduous attendance on Jane: we found that poor Marough, our old Doctor, had died about 8 months ago;2 Jane had more confidence in Christie than in anybody readily accessible; and indeed I think he goes on very well;—neither at bottom, I suppose, was there much that any Doctor could do.

Thus, dear Mother, have I in my haste made a long story of what should have been very short: however you see how it is; and that all is now promising well with us. Miss Welsh takes charge of the house; and is useful in her place. If anything go wrong I will write again directly. Take care of your self, my dear good Mother,—ah me! I send my heart's blessing to you all. T.C.