April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 1 July 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440701-JWC-TC-01; CL 18: 96-97


[1 July 1844]

Dearest— I was in considerable perplexity how I should manage on Sunday— For you cannot displease my uncle more than by declining to go to church—as early as Saturday morning he was questioning me as to which church I meant to go to— By way of compromise, I timidly murmured something about James Martineau1— Providence however kindly took the matter into its own hand—and arranged it so that I stayed at home and yet gave no offence—for when the Sunday morning came, I was sufficiently ill of headach to convince all beholders that I really could not get up—and if I could not get up it followed that I could not go to church— I rose before dinner in time to address your newspaper, and today I am quite well again—that is to say as well as one CAN be, living as I feel to be doing just now, in a sort of exhausted receiver!— The manner of being in this house is really—“what shall I say?—strange—upon MY honour”! the preparation, and deliberation and unwearying earnestness with which they all dress themselves three times a day is a continual miracle for me combined as it is with total want of earnestness about every thing else in Heaven or earth!— I declare I am heartily sorry for these girls so good naturally, so gentle and even intelligent—and all in this absurd way “sailing down the stream of time into the ocean of eternity for Christ's sake—amen”2— As for Babbie she is sunk into the merest young Lady of them all!—her Indolence is absolutely transcendental! and I cannot flatter myself that it is the reaction of any secret grief—the only confession which with all my Schupingsing3 quality I have been able to draw from her is that “one ought really to have A LITTLE EXCITEMENT in one's life and there is none to be got here”!— How grateful I ought to be to you Dear for having rescued ME out of the young-Lady-sphere! It is a thing that I cannot contemplate with the proper toleration—

I wonder how you are to day—and if you made out your visit yesterday? I am sure you are working too hard without the interruptions of your necessary Evil4—do bid Helen with my kind regards get you a good large fowl and boil it in four quarters—

I have seen Mrs Paulet she came immediately on getting my note—to show me that tho salivate[d]5 she was not too ill to receive me,—and I promised to go to her the end of this week or beginning of next—for we thought it best that I should terminate my visit here first, as otherwise I should be keeping Alick out of his room all the while of my being at Seaforth She looked very sunny and her speech sounded very refreshing. Miss Chorely has just been here for more than an hour—they are living near Seaforth—but she found my card in coming in “to get some money”— Mrs Sketchely asked me to dinner at two o'clock—but as she asked me all by myself I durst not accept— They thought it so ill bred of her— I thought it decided certainly but very sensible6— God bless you your own

Geraldine writes from Manchester that she is “as jealous as a Tiger”!!!7

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