January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO [JOHN FORSTER] ; 23 February 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430223-JWC-JF-01; CL 16: 57


[ca. 23 February 1843]

The Devil is in the man!1 palpably—never does he let any thing stand according to the original scheme! However excellent the idea, if time be allowed him, as sure as death, he will remodel it! Verily things go on under that cranium of his, as under a juggler's hat—eggs one moment are shaken into live chickens the next, and the next there are neither eggs nor chickens but only a little empty box!

The Macreadys are angels!—to think of coming all this way, to tea, in such cold weather, is one of those enthusiastic instances of friendship which the grateful heart stands amazed before as in presence of the infinite!2 On that side the new arrangement is good, beautiful! But my Husband says “as to Forster himself it is a bad arrangement— when a man comes to dinner one gets into a sort of stream of conversation with him” (that is when one does not dine up stairs on beef tea) “but no talk can be carried on at tea except of the most fractionary unprofitable sort. This is his notion who I suppose “is always in the right”— Well! you will come another day and get into “the stream” will you not?— And on Wednesday3 be it your own way

Truly yours /

J Carlyle