August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 15 September 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570915-JWC-MR-01; CL 33: 82-83


5 Cheyne Row Chelsea / Tuesday

[15 September 1857]

Oh Mary Mary! Does it ever enter your head to calculate how long it is since you received my last letter? What are you doing, my Dear, that justifies you in your own eyes for not writing to me? Dont you love me? and dont I love you—as a sister? and are people, to love and be loved by, as plenty as blackberries; that nothing should be done with them but wishing them well, at a distance? If there were nothing else in it; have you no curiosity about my how and where?

The date of this letter will show you where I am; but I have a good mind not to tell you how I am—since you don't ask! Only this; I am home at Cheyne Row again, with my time more at my own disposal than when living in other people's houses; and if you expect to be “well let alone” in your silence; you will find yourself mistaken; for I will write you letter on the back of letter, till I shame you into being a better correspondent I repined a good deal at not seeing you, when within such a managable distance— But if restricting myself to one part of the country deprived me of some pleasure; it spared me a good deal of a thing, I cannot take too little of at present viz: emotion; and was best for the end I had in view—to get back some strength before winter. Had my time in the country been spent as the year before, in hurrying from place to place, I shouldnt have come back as well as I am. I went no where but to my Cousins my Aunts and my dear old friends at Haddington— I was only a fortnight at Auchtertool—the bustle of dinner-parties and all that did not suit me— With my aunts I staid also a fortnight and got on well there. They were as kind as possible, and could see what I needed, above all things not to be fussed! Then I returned to Haddington for another fortnight on my way to London; coming home by Berwick and York; as I went. I had an old schoolfellow (a Man)1 to take care of me on the journey, and came to no harm. Mr C says I look much better and never ceases paying me compliments on my—appitite!2 He seems to have got on better without me than my vanity led me to expect. Ann was very attentive to him, and I have no doubt would have liked me to take a great deal more “fresh air” than I thought enough. However, if she mourned in secret at having to abdicate the mistressship, she had the grace to put a good face on it, and received me very affably!

But Nero!— I am shocked to have to confess that Nero was far from showing the enthusiasm “England expected” of him! He knew me quite well but took me very coolly indeed. Ann said he had “just been sleeping”— Let us hope he was in a state of indigestion, in which dogs are not capable of being amiable any more than their Masters!

How are your servants going on? How do you sleep, poor Dear? How is your Husband God bless him? Tell me everything

Your affectionate / Jane W Carlyle