January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 4 July 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430704-JWC-TC-01; CL 16: 230-232


Tuesday [4 July 1843]


The first night is over and we are neither robbed nor murdered. I must confess, however, that I observed last night, for the first time, with what tremendous facility a thief—with the average thief-agility— might swing himself, by laying hold of the spout, off the garden wall right into my dressing closet!—leaving me no time to spring my rattle or even unsheath my dagger— I must have Pearson to put some screw in the window when he comes tomorrow—

I awoke this morning to sleep no more at four o'clock. a sudden thought having struck me in my sleep that I had de grandes choses à faire!1 But now that I have had a cup of washy tea (for I took blue-pill last night by way of clearing my faculties) I see “nothing pushing”— I have only “to pree-pare the criminal (your room) for execution” (Pearson is to come tommorow at six)—and to drive to Greenwich and sit some time under a tree with old Sterling— He came yesterday just after I went out—and was told by Helen my first direction was to the Postoffice so presently in walking up Church Street towards Pearson's—I heard a horse and wheels pirring [running quickly] after me which I understood by the sound of it somehow—without turning my head—to be in chase of me.— He drove me to Pearson's, then to take the air on foot—or rather the dust—for it was blowing a perfect torpedo of dust—on Battersea bridge—where I spoke to Helps going forth on his ride2—then to the dyers3—and set me out in Kings road having “important business in town”—viz: having to eat mutton chops at the Carlton—

Juliet Mudie did not appear last night—instead came the Irish woman with a rigmarole of a letter from the Mother which I answered peremptorily enough— If she chose I told her to send Juliet to the dressmaker I would complete the necessary sum and find her some cloathes—if not I would give her at once the £5 contributed by the only people who knew any thing whatever of Mr.-Mudie—and the rest—received from my own friends—because I had asked it—and because I had represented her case as very distressing—and given on the understanding that I should see it usefully employed—that part of the money I would either keep till I saw some effectual thing to be done with it for her family or—I would return it to those from whom it had come— As I considered her scheme of taking up house on such a limited sum entirely unfeasable—I was very angry—it is so selfish in her—wanting to appropriate the money and it was so provoking that Julia had not been let come to go to Mrs Tagart after all the botheration I had in recommending her4— Besides Helen told me yesterday that she had heard from the irish woman that if her Mistress could get a comfortable house to sit down in, she intended writing a novel!!

Elizabeth Pepoli came in the evening—nobody else—she invited me to go tonight when Carlo would be out at dinner; but Greenwich will be distraction enough for one day!

The poor little Umbrella is not come yet5— I will go to see about it tomorrow if there be not time today—never mind the failure of your little strategem—it is only the more affecting for me from its failure.

—No letters today except one from Jeannie—

Here is Sterling come for me already—so farewell— Write instantly

Your affectionate unfortunate—