July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO HENRY LARKIN ; 21 September 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580921-JWC-HL-01; CL 34: 191-192


Thornhill Dumfries / Tuesday [21 September 1858]

“Let him that standeth on the house-top &c &c”!— Ach! yes! dear Mr Larkin. I was standing on the top of the topmost chimney-pot of the house-top. and did not “take heed,”1 till I found myself lying all of a heap on my Mother Earth, with such a dust raised about me as you have seldom seen!— Which means without metaphor, That my very brilliant carreer in these parts has suddenly been cut short by an attack of Inflamation—which would probably have saved myself and “others” all further trouble with me, had it not befallen in the house of a Dr! the one living Doctor I know, or know of, in whom I have retained confidence. His judicious treatment and unceasing cares at the beginning and his wifes devoted nursing prevented the malady gaining ground, and I am up now—after only two days and a half in bed—about as well as I was before—only a little uncertain on my legs, a little confused with the effects of morphia, a little less conceited about my “improvement,” and a great deal less impatient to set out for London! Set out I must however as early as is consistent with ordinary prudence—for the idea of Mr Carlyle going about at home, seeking things like a madman, and never finding them! and of his depending on the tender mercies of Charlotte for his diet—leaves me no rest—partly on Charlotte's account, I confess, as well as on his own!—

So far as I can make out from his programme written in the style of The Lamentations of Jeremiah2 he will arrive at Chelsea some time of Thursday—He will sail from Antwerp on Wednesday he says “if not sooner”—and “twenty four hours more and then—”! “then he will be at Chelsea,” I fancy this to mean.

I write to tell you, that you may go and see after him on Friday—and be a Mother to him poor Babe of Genius, till I come, which will be in the beginning of next week I expect—if all continue to go well with my bodily affairs—You need not give Charlotte any more board-wages—she will live with her Mother3 on tick as usual, till I come and resume the charge of that unhappy household. I calculate on leaving this on Friday—but shall be a few days amongst Mr C's relations4— Love to your Mother—it has several times crossed my mind with pleasure what a beautiful pincushion I have, to go home to!!5

Yours affecly /

Jane Carlyle