January 1835-June 1836

The Collected Letters, Volume 8


JWC TO MRS. GEORGE WELSH; 20 September 1835; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18350920-JWC-MW-01; CL 8:204-205.


5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea / 20th September (1835).

My dear Mrs. Welsh,— Could I have hoped to give you any comfort by writing, I would not have delayed an instant after receiving your sister's letter: but I know by experience, that in heavy afflictions like that you are suffering; all that friends can say in the shape of comfort is of no earthly use, ‘the heart knoweth its own bitterness, and the stranger intermeddleth not therewith.’1 Time, and new sources of interest and occupation, and the consciousness, above all, of having fitly done your part in the relation with my poor Uncle,2 will, I trust, restore your spirits; and in the meantime I feel it would be impertinent rather than kind to assail you with commonplaces of consolation.

For myself, the news of my Uncle's actual death hardly seemed to make him more lost to me than I have felt him to be ever since I left Scotland. He told me when we parted in Dumfries that he could not live to see me again; and I felt too certain at the moment that he was not deceiving himself: all I had heard of him, since, had made me rather wish for his release than given me the least hope of his restoration. My family is rapidly melting away from the face of this earth and the few of us who remain may look to follow the rest at no great distance. But a young generation is growing up to fill the gap. May they be healthier and every way better off than those who have gone before them!

Kiss your children3 for me; and believe, it will always give me a true gratification to hear of your and their well-being.

My Mother who is with me at present bids me offer you her sincere sympathy and kind regards. She received Miss Kissock's letter and would have written herself, if she had not had an opportunity of acknowledging it thro' me.

I had hoped to be in Scotland before this but we have been delayed by my Brotherinlaw's prolonged stay abroad till it is now too late in the season for me to undertake so laborious a journey. My Husband however still means to go down for a week or two shortly.

We find our present residence much more suitable than Craigenputtock was; nor do I think it more unhealthy: of late weeks indeed I have been a grievous invalid, but in general since I came to reside in London I have been much stronger than I used to be on that dismal hillside.

Remember me very kindly to your sister. My Husband unites with me in all good wishes for yourself and your children.

Yours faithfully /

Jane W. Carlyle.