January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 3 May 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430503-JWC-JW-01; CL 16: 150-152


[3 May 1843]

My darling

I was hindered from writing to you yesterday by headach, the day before by Robertson—who has been hanging about us of late like a physical malady—time after time he has come here—always out of season (which is his peculiar faculty) to bore Carlyle into taking active part in something which he calls—Association of British Authors1— If C be either out or “engaged” when he comes he doggedly sits down to wait for him—three or four hours it may be—an hour or two makes no difference to him!— And so on Monday he came in at twelve and sat till three—in spite of all that I could prudently suggest about the risk he ran of wearing out Carlyle's patience by urging him too pertinaciously— I knew in fact that C's patience had already reached its Ultima Thule and that at one word more on the hated subject he would certainly explode on the unfortunate Blockhead— Accordingly when C came down at three, and was passing out determined not to see him, Robertson intercepted him in the Lobby and thrust a paper on him like a bailiff serving a writ— Had you seen C's look!! “Oh Heavens”! and then how he fell to brushing his hat saying the while— “Sir! I have told you already I will have nothing more to do with that business”—“Why?” says the other; “because nobody but a madman can expect any good out of it under the present circumstances”!—how far a conversation commencing in such terms would go, you can imagine without being told—suffice it to say—Robertson went off in a red fury and left Carlyle in a green one— It is to be hoped however we have seen the last of him now

Walter?2— Why! to be sure!— Another case of wasted commiseration it would seem! for palpitations arising from a prosperous passion are neither very distressing for the time being, nor likely to terminate fatally— Poor fellow! I trust in heaven that this “emanation from the Moon” (as the Chinese call a beautiful woman) is one who will do him good—not harm—If she be an ambitious woman (that is to say ambitious on the small scale) he will be not unlikely to follow in the path of George Rennie3— and end in a restless acrid egoism— She will have much in her power at the present turning point of his life to make him or to mar him— God grant she may use her power like a sensible woman and a true one!— His letter to me was excellent—I will answer it soon—

What you say of my Uncle is far from satisfactory—I wish I saw him—I wish I knew what we are to do— The idea of Carlyle's going abroad anywhere with John is now very unlikely— He may go abroad to get away from him but hardly with him!— John is no more companionable for him than for me. His behaviour since he has been here is really too much for any patience to put up with— He treats us exactly as if we were persons keeping a lodging house for his accommodation! only that most people show more politeness to the persons they lodge with— Actually—since he came to live he has not asked me one single question respecting my side—or my health in any particular—has not even gone thro' the universal courtesy of saying ‘how do you do’ of a morning—meanness selfishness and illbreeding is what one sees in him, unredeemed by any saving grace from morning till night— Well it is some comfort to think that he is going to Annandale for two or three weeks— You will be favoured with a sight of him most probably the day after tomorrow— If I had my will I should go away somewhere and lock up the house before he come back—for nothing short of that will keep him out of it, so long as he has not another house equally cheap and more convenient open to him—our pleasure in the arrangement he does not feel the slightest necessity for consulting—

I do not at all wonder at what you say of Geraldines reticence with Mrs Paulet— The part which Geraldine has taken is plainly to ignore all she finds unpaletable in my behaviour towards her— And being decided not to admit it too4 herself no wonder that she does not admit it to Mrs Paulet who moreover according to Geraldine's own account of her is “excessively indiscreet tells every body whatever she hears said of them—thinking it for their good”! This may be true or false of her—but you will be no the worse for acting upon it as possibility— I shall need to see more of Mrs Paulet with my own eyes before I can give over liking her and even admiring her—but I confess that five weeks of Geraldine is enough to shake ones faith in those whom she retains for bosom friends—knowing her as Mrs Paulet must do thoroughly— Since G's return to Manchester—she has written me either four or five long letters—to not one of which have I yet sent one line of answer!—nor is there a word of remonstrance in her letters—the protestations of eternal tenderness are considerably modified but her letters do not look the less kind for the modification—on the contrary!— They have now an air of credibility which they never had before— I I shall send you the last for sample Burn it after you have read it—

I have still a dozen things to say—but I am headachy today and so worried— Helen continues on good behaviour—how are yours5 performing?

God bless you my Babbie—and all that belong to you

Ever your own / J C.