The Collected Letters, Volume 13


JWC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 28 August 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410828-JWC-JF-01; CL 13: 231-232


[28 August 1841]

My dear Mr Forster

Mrs Macready writes to me today words which make me shudder— Voila!— “Mr Forster consults Dr Quin1 and is getting thin and industrious”!—the “industrious” I do not object to—“the Devil” I have heard is always at the elbow of an idle man”2—and far be it from me, your friend, and the wellwisher of humanity to prefer that you should have so uncanny a neighbour—but against Dr Quin and the thinning I feel myself called upon to protest, seriously, loudly, with all the emphasis that is in me, which, let me tell you, is considerable!— Is this all that my little Gods have done for you?—worthless Deities that they are, fit only to be broken and cast under the grate! I will bring you a new little God from Scotland who will look better to your interests; if you will but in the meanwhile abjure Dr Quin and keep the flesh on your bones!— Do dear Mr Forster consider my words; Dr Quin is an emissary of Beelzebub! homeopathy an invention of the father of lies!— I have tried it, and found it wanting, I would swallow their whole doll's-medicine-chest for sixpence and be sure of finding myself neither better nor worse for it. But then they cut off ones coffee, and wine, and tea—ones cigars too, if I am not mistaken—they strip existence of all its best realities,—till at last just when one is “almost trained to live on air,” like the Annandale man's horse, one dies Now will you give up this nonsense which can come to nothing but harm?— It not only grieves but irritates me to think of a man with your eyes to see and heart to understand, letting himself be mistified with spoonfuls of cold water!— No one knows better than myself that there is a sort of reaction against medical science, as one sees it in the present day, which predisposes [one] to take up with any sort of bold quackery in preference but your life and health are precious—and so for Godsake leave Dr Quin to administer his infinitesimal dozes to fine Ladies and the like whom the world can better spare! We shall be home presently— We have quitted Newby and hope never to look upon its like again— Oh such a place! Now that I am fairly done with it I look back upon it all as a bad dream! never shall I forget its blood-red, moaning sea—its cracked looking-glasses its “industrious fleas,” its desolation and hugger-mugger such as hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive!— This Templand looks a paradise in comparison—never before did I know how to appreciate material comforts! My heart dilates over the white sheets, the soft carpets, the silver spoons in which one can see oneself, and above all over one's own clean nice looking lady-Mothers, “studious of household good”3— My Husband however with an infatuation which there is no accounting for, is off again to his barbarous Annandale— He talked of making an excursion into Cumberland and visiting the Speddings who live there— I who have not the strength of a robinredbreast left in me, would no wise undertake to accompany him. And so I wait here till he have “come to a decision” on the grand question of what he is next to make of himself.— Most probably he will be content with a very few days of Speddingdom and then go straight to Chelsea— I shall in that case go off to Harriet Martineau in the first instance and then home by railroad— You know we never travel together—he does not like the fash [bother] of a woman with band-boxes4

If you like to send me one line to say how you are, it will find me here for a week yet at all events Templand—Thornhill—Dumfries Thanks for your letter—and for that reminiscence of the unfortunate “woman as she is and sometimes has been on the part of Mrs Yates”— Alas! I give her up now5

God bless you— My Mother desires to be kindly remembered to you—

Ever affectionately yours /

Jane Carlyle

Saturday evening