April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


JWC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 14 October 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491014-JWC-MAC-01; CL 24: 269-271


5 Cheyne Row / Sunday [14 October 1849]

My dear Mrs Carlyle

If John be not there to talk to you now you will be needing more than ever to be written to— And I should be very ungrateful for all your affection and kindness, if I did not contribute my mite, especially as you are the only person that ever compliment me on my handwriting!

The settling down at home after all those wanderings has been a serious piece of work for both Mr C and myself—for me; I have only managed it by a large consumption of morphia—at last however I begin to sleep—if not like a Christian yet, at least less like a Heathen! Mr C is at his work again, and my maid is at her work again and the supernumerary Sister is gone away; and now that the house should go on in its old routine there is only needed a cat (the last was drowned for unexampled dishonesty during my absence) to eat the regiments of mice who have effected a settlement in every part of the house, the parlour not excepted, and who threaten to run up one's very petticoats while one is reading ones book!— Mr C in the midst of talking to me the other evening suddenly stamped his foot on the hearth-rug and called out furiously “get along SIR!” and he had not gone mad—had merely perceived a mouse at his feet! I am also terribly ill off1 for curtains—bugs having invaded the premises as well as mice, and all my curtains having been franticly torn down and sent to the Dyer—not so much to have the colour renewed as to have the bugs boiled to death— The middle of next week it is promised I shall have my bed set up again; but in the meanwhile I feel like a poor wretch in an hosptal or a beggar's lodging house lying without a rag about me to hide my ‘sleeping’—or oftenest sleepless ‘beauties’ from the Universe! What troubles people have in this world in merely protecting themselves from the inferior animals!

For the rest, London is quite enough for the most retired taste at present—and I like it best so— There are always some “daundering [idly strolling] individuals” dropping in, to prevent one from growing quite savage, and, of excitement I had enough in Scotland to serve me for many months to come— I am very glad I have been in Scotland once more, and seen all those places and people—tho it was smashing work at the time! I have brought away many recollections that will be a pleasure for me all my life—and my visit to Scotsbrig was the one in which I had most unmixed satisfaction— For along with my pleasure at Haddington and Edinr there was almost more pain than I could bear— But you were all so kind to me, and then you were little changed— I had seen you all so much more recently—and in short in finding so much to please me at Scotsbrig I missed nothing I had ever possessed there— In the other places it was far otherwise.

I hope you have the same mild weather that has been here the last few days; that your poor face may be quite mended— We shall be very anxious till we hear that you are in your usual again, and that Jamie is come home well— I am very sorry about Jamies ill health, he seems to deserve more than any of us to be strong, leading the natural, hard working life that he leads, and manifesting at all times such a manly patient steadfast mind.

My love to Isabella who I hope is not gone with him; for she is not strong enough for encountering agitations of that sort—

Hoping to hear soon good news of you all, I remain dear Mrs Carlyle ever yours

affectionately /

Jane W Carlyle