July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 18 January 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480118-JWC-TC-01; CL 22: 220-221


[18 January 1848]

Ah my Dear! We are both busy reflecting, it would seem; driven to it by quite opposite pressures; you by stress of society, and I by stress of solitude. A la bonne heure [Well and good]! reflection is golden; provided one “go into practise with it”: otherwise—if, as in my case, for most part, it serves only to make the inward darkness more visible1—why then, as John said of the senna, one had “better take it, but perhaps one had better NOT.”— Poor human creatures “after all”! I am heartily sorry for them, severally, and in the lump—think sometimes it would be “a great advantage” if we were all “fed off”; but one thinks many things, in moments of unenthusiasm, which one does not authentically mean.

Today however is the brightest of sunshiny days, and last night I slept like a Christian, and so I ought to feel better, and shall perhaps, before evening. No letters but your own—for which I was thankful. There was one last night from Espinasse—too much of Emerson whom he “likes much better than he did.”2 In reply to my charge that Emerson had no ideas (except mad ones) that he had not got out of you; Espinasse answers prettily; “but pray, Mrs Carlyle, who has?” He (E) had been discussin you with a ‘Bey’ whom he met at Geraldines, sent by the Egyptian3 and the Bey “had the impudence to say” “M. Carlyle n'a pas assez de fond pour l'esprit Francaise [does not have enough depth for the French spirit].”

Read Miss Wynne's note—what a horrid accident! Did you ever notice in Miss Wynne a likeness to my Mother? You never saw my Mother the bright elastic figure I remember her, but Miss Wynne has a strong look of her, especially when she blushes. There must be more in it than fancy; for when I showed Miss Wynne my Mother's miniature (see how intimate we are grown!) she was struck with its resemblance to her Mother. I am expecting her presently—all yesterday I was perfectly silent except for the five minutes that John ran in with Alick's letter before going to Darwins dinner.

I must not write any more today for that weary head “likes” writing as ill as Mrs Howatson's “disgeesterliked ewe-cheese.4

Faithfully yours /

Jane W.C.