The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH; 15 October 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511015-JWC-JW-01; CL 26: 205-206


Wednesday [15 October 1851]

Dearest Babbie

I am very grateful for such punctual writing—I feel now pretty easy about my dear Uncle God bless him; still; the weather is dim and my spirits not bright, and if left to speculate at my my1 melancholy leisure I should be often taking frights about him—so pray like good dear children continue to write to me—some of you—every two days at least till he is walking about again out of doors—and dont apologise for not writing long letters—two lines, I tell you, is all I want— Mr C sent off his new book to him2 the other day that it might be ready for you to read aloud when he is up to being read to

Mr C has been sleeping like a top and eating vigourously since his return from Paris— The Ashburtons were only two days behind him—a fact which threw some light on his return sooner than was expected— They (the Ashburtons are now in town— She brought me a woolen scarf of her own knitting during their stay in Swizerland and a cornelian bracelet and—a similar scarf only smaller for Mr C—in fact I believe the dear woman would never have done all that knitting for me unless as a handsome preparation for doing the comforter for Mr C— She is really “What shall I say?—strange upon my honour”— On her first arrival in London she staid only two hours and drove down here with these things— I was gone out so she left them—with Mr C whom she saw—and then wrote me a note of invitation to the Grange—which I answered negatively—“being so wearied of visiting for the present”—but begged she would let me see her on her coming to town this week—I would go up to her at any hour of morning or evening—after knitting me a scarf one might have supposed she would have cared to see me for ten minutes in six months and after having Mr C away in Paris she might have felt it decent to constrain herself to receive his wife whether she liked it or no— But not at all! When Mr C who of course was there so soon as she arrived and before I knew she was to arrive that day asked “if she would be disengaged at any time so that I might see her” she made no answer,—he said, and in the following morning comes a note which I will enclose—Because she must go to the Exhibition with Lady Sandwich one day she could not have me come to see her any of the three days she was to be in town! And the very day this note came—and after reading it Mr C walked off and sat an hour with her and is off now again thro a pouring rain to sit till dinner time— And he “could not see what the devil business I had to find anything strange in that or to suppose that any slight was put on me—” on the contrary she “had spoken of the impossibility of receiving me in the most goodnatured manner”!!— I suppose I ought to feel by this time quite resigned to such annoyances—or rather I ought to feel and to have always felt quite superior to them—but I am angry and sorrowful all the same— It is not of course any caprice she can show to me that annoys me— I have long given up the generous attempt at loving her— But it is to see him always starting up to defend everything she does and says and no matter whether it be capricious behaviour towards his wife—so long as she flatters himself with delicate attentions— This did not get finished in time for the post—thro the Sterling girls3 coming to call—and while they were here your letter came—thanks for it dear Babbie—it is very kind of you to write at such length besides so often—when you must have your hands and head and heart all so busily employed— With your letter came a note from Lady A to Mr C which turned out to be an invitation to him for this evening at 9 and after that another note came begging he would come at 8—and he is now off there again— I will not write any more tonight being in rather a bitter mood and the best in such moments is if possible to consume one's own smoke—since one cannot help smoking—God bless you all

Your affectionate /

J Carlyle