April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


JWC TO HELEN WELSH; 27 September 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490927-JWC-HW-01; CL 24: 249-250


5 Cheyne Row / Thursday [27 September 1849]

My dearest Helen,

I am so glad to hear such good accounts of you from John Carlyle— When you get to Auchtertool where you will have fewer outward distractions (provided the Liddles1 can be kept within bounds) you must write to me yourself very often—a few lines at a time—not to tire yourself—but often—for I do assure you, Dear, nobody away from you can be more anxious about you than I am—ill health of one's own makes people either singularly callous towards other peoples illness or singularly sympathetic, I have observed; and it is so far lucky for me, that I have chosen the better part—especially when I see a person much younger than myself suffering—and a person dear to me—it makes me very sorrowful. One of Johns notions of ‘proper regimen’ for you is that my Uncle should “remove into a larger better aired house” a notion in which I cordially agree—and I fancy at the risk of a good damning I must one of these days assail my Uncle himself on this subject— I have been in a badish way since I returned—two nights absolutely without sleep on the back of a fatiguing journey and twelve hours of retching and agony in my head at Manchester pretty well dished me— And then just think! what a moment for making the disgusting discovery that there were bugs introduced into my bed—my great voluminous red bed! where hunting them out was impossible!— The only thing to be done a complete pulling in pieces of the whole concern—and sending the curtains to the dier!— It is the only spirited thing I have done for months back the instantaneous attack I have made on this nuisance “regardless of expence”—with my nerves so little up to the earthquaking and bug-killing!— The day before yesterday the curtains were all taken away and the bedstead pulled in pieces two bugs were found alive, and there were two skins of dead ones—voila tout [that's all]!—but two were enough to bite me all over—and they would soon have been “a great nation”2 if left to increase and multiply—so I do not grudge the three pounds I am to pay for the cleaning—nor the work I have myself laid out on it—

Mr C is not come yet—writes that he will be here today— my maid seems much better since my return—but I am afraid she will never be hearty as a single servant—she gets so low without excitement—it is a pity! for except this inequality of temper she has not a fault—her sister is still here— Charles Buller's old servant who was eight years with him, and counted “a treasure”—but married like a fool came to me two days ago, a frightful example of the ravages of matrimony, to say her husband “had no respect for her more than if he never had seen her” (perhaps less) and so she had “left him for ever and wished to go to service again”— I believe if I could bring myself to put away Elizabeth and take this tried woman who wants nothing any more but a quiet life it would be best in the long run—but I am very bad at putting away anyone that cleaves to me

God bless you love to Jeanie and Mary your affectionate

Jane Carlyle