The Collected Letters, Volume 13


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 30 August 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410830-JWC-TC-01; CL 13: 232-234


[Monday, 30 August 1841]

I have your letter only now (Monday at one oclock) and it could have come from London in twenty four hours! “Was there ever any thing in the least like it”?— In fact as Helen says of the weather sometimes “it is most dilatory”! I went myself to the postoffice thro' the rain, old Mary not having turned up1—and sent off two newspapers on the spot—addressed to Greta Bank—Penrith—and now I begin to think I should not have put Penrith but Keswick2— What a wretched day you are getting for your journey—what a wretched day everybody is getting for everything— In fact the whole world is going to perdition it strikes me! My Mother has a bad headach—myself am ill and there is now no bread that [“]can be eaten”—the scones and cakes have been discontinued, as it was observed that I eat only these—and my Mother declared them to be “exceedingly indigestible for me”—so that I live upon coffee and butchersmeat—and am terribly in need of having some flour thrown into the system! For two or three nights I slept very well nevertheless—almost alarmingly well for me—but I felt no better for it during the day—so that I have returned without regret to my old course of lying awake till three! And you are still jumping up at untimely hours and swallowing castor! What a beautiful pair we are!

Helen is safe at Chelsea—at least so I gather from the strange little document I received from her today— “very much detached” and destitute of particulars “to a degree”! indeed it seems as if she had been struck by lightening in the middle of it—only that the thing was addressed and wafered afterwards! I have finished Le dernier jour d'un condamné [The Last Day of a Condemned Man]—and declare Victor Hugo to be “a sort of man that one would like to see”!3 A curiosity of modern times only inferior to a Cockney Undertaker. He makes of the ideal just what the other makes of the real— One of those phenomena which the Devil should be requested “to fly away with[”]— I have also read George Sand's Cosima which you had not cut up4—that also the Devil might be made welcome to without much hurt to progres—altho it is more true to natur and paassion—and consequently more after my own heart— For the rest; I have done a little at the slipper—written to Cordelia—there being no longer any need of it5—written to Mrs Wedgwood written a few objurgatory lines to Forster—of whom I had heard from Mrs Macready that he was “consu[l]ting6 Dr Quin (the Homeopathy-man) and growing very thin and industrious”— I stated to him my opinion grounded on experience that Dr Quin was an emissary of Beelzebub—and that he would do better to consult my little Gods— And finally I have written a rather sarcastic note to Platnauer,7 tho' god knows if he would have the wit to appreciate the sarcasm of it—

Voila tout [That is all]—for excercise I truly indulge in it when I can get it and when I cannot get it I do without— My Mother does all that she can to make me comfortable and would succeed better if she did less— She asked if there was nobody I would like to be asked to dinner—but I “shrieked at the very idea of it” write to me instantly how you find yourself in your new location— The lads8 are still absent fishing up (or down) the Clyde— Ever your affectionate