August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 23 August 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430823-JWC-TC-02; CL 17: 80-82


Wednesday night [23 August 1843]

Here are your bits of buttons, dearest, which I think will suit the taste of a philosopher—better than metal princes-feathers—as for the mother of pearl!—the bare idea was enough to make one scream—!— When I said to Helen I must go to get some buttons for you she tossed her head with an air of triumph and remarked— “Well, its a mercy theres one thing which the master fancies is to be got in LONDON better than in the country”—a small mercy—for which let us be duly grateful—

I have absolutely nothing to tell you: I have not spoken with a single soul since Garnier was here on sunday night— No—the Macreadys I think were after him—I am not sure—these bug-investigations have entirely bothered my intellects— Elizabeth Pepoli sent a note asking me to come on Sunday evening to meet “a young frenchman said to be very clever1 but “terrible was the idea for me”!—so I excused myself and had an old german2 said to be insane instead— “It comes all to the same ultimately”3— I hope you will not pack your trunks all with new clothes to the exclusion of a small bag of oatmeal— I do devoutly long for some porridge again!— I have had none all these two months that you have been away.

I had a note from John Sterling about a situation for Miss Bölte—(not feasable4) in which he says “Pray read Strafford and tell me what you think of it—the critic in the Examiner is a fool—and a liar (!!!) to boot— I do not wonder that you prefered fasting with me to dining with him.” (alluding to my refusal to stay and dine with Forster one day that I was scampering about in cabs with John when he was here)— Strong words fool and liar—because a man can not swallow ones legitimate drammar!

Poor little Jeannie5 has been worse bothered than I am, and does not look as if she were going to get away to Helensboro' at all—first she had to change her cook—and then the housemaid with whom she thought she could safely trust the new cook—having had some month or two's experience of her—turns out to be “a deception”—“no better than she should be”—has intrigues with gentlemen—the Liverpool servants have all intrigues with gentlemen6—when they have them at all—which seems to say less for the gentlemen than the maids I think—

It has rained pretty continually ever since I ordered all the feather beds and pillows out into the green to get aired—they go out and then have all to retreat into the lobby—where they lie appealing to posterity— You perceive that I am utterly stupid in fact I am very tired—I am writing at night in case I do not find time tomorrow—

Thursday morning [24 August]

It was well I wrote last night better or worse—for tho I was up at seven I should not have had time today—first my stockings proved to be in holes and that was not supportable—it was ten before I got them properly mended—then I fell to painting the wardrobe in the china closet—which had a badd effect—and while I was in the midst of that, came the letters—not yours only but another brace from the Bullers in answer to my answer— I thought if they would make a conditional arrangement with Miss Bolte it might be useful to the poor girl in her present bedevilled position——— She could stay with them perhaps for their salary of 60£—some six months and then they would be applied to for her character and would have no calumny to state about “the first chaps of Genesis”—and they would agree perhaps to her leaving them during that term should a better situation turn up. —They seem extremely bent on the thing and instruct me to arrange it all with her on these terms if I can. So I must now write all the ins and outs to little Bölte who is perishing of ennui in the house of some stupid country parson—where she writes to me also this very day, complaining of her dismal prospects. Certainly to goodness I have “unconsciously” opened a bureau for destitute young women!—I am trying for another situation for Bölte abroad, that is to say with a Lady travelling abroad—but that dawdles so on account of the distance and slow posts7

Now however I have painted out the press as that could not be left in the midst without being ruined—and must procede to write to Bölte and to the Bullers— I have also a letter from Juliet Mudie this morning expressing herself extremely contented with her place and stating her sister to be equally blessed—

And so goodby to you dearest— You perceive that I do not weary at all rates since I have never so much as time to write legeibly

bless you Your /