January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 25 August 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450825-JWC-TC-01; CL 19: 168-170


Monday [25 August 1845]

Ten hours of “fresh air” at one pull!—if that be not doing the Country! First we drove to Liverpool in the carriage, then crossed to Rock Ferry in the steamboat, then wandered about in quest of what Mr Paulet persisted in calling “some donky,” the people hardly deigning to answer him, imagining evidently that he wanted it to eat! Eventually we realized an Irish car and were trundled in that three miles on the road to Eastham; the fourth mile we walked—thro' a wood—and then we were at Eastham the favourite place for Liverpool picnics—why favourite I cannot imagine—for it is merely a large gin-palace-looking-house facing the sea, with a small garden all doted over with arbours—in the style of our Chelsea Tivoli!1 And swarming with Liverpool cockneis from the “chiefly merchant”-class down to sailors and their—let us hope—wives. “The only cold fowl had just been bespoke” so we had to dine on ham and egg—which rather obscured my sense of the picturesque— It was just half after two when we finished our repast and till six—when the next steamboat should sail—we were to enjoy nature. very hard work!— For my part I thanked heaven when “Pa-sion” broke for a moment on the ennui of the scene, in the shape of a matrimonial quarrel betwixt an Italiano called Angelo and his wife who seemed to be partially drunk—the wife made repeated flies at him and was held back by two or three young women who were perhaps the cause of her ill humour— Angelo endeavoured to pacify her in broken English—and when she would not be pacified he broke into Italian, made that movement with the hands on the nose which is the last insult with an Italian snatched up his umbrella and struck her over the back with it and stalked off towards the wood— One of the girls followed calling “Angelo! Angelo!”—but he would not stop till she laid hold of his arm—and then (Mrs Paulets dog having unfastened!) we heard gentle remonstrances and invitations to ‘cider’—to ‘ginger beer’ even— But Angelo would not go back ‘then’—“he would come to them in the garden after he had made the round of the wood—he would indeed upon his honour”— So the girl went back—and Angelo having inquired at Mr Paulet the road to Rockferry posted off in that direction to go back to Liverpool by another boat! We sailed all the way from Eastham an affair of half an hour—found the carriage waiting at the pier and got back to Seaforth at eight— And there lay your letter—thanks God—and there was great joy over all Israel at the prospect of your coming— Are you aware that you did not enclose Fizgeralds letter?—so I cannot send back any part of it— I could not sleep for fancying myself assisting at getting you off—in the first instance, and then assisting at your instalment here— I felt in two places at once, which is not a feeling favourable to sleep— I hope you will be suited with cigars— Walter Macgregor was gone to Scotland when you mentioned them—but n'importe [no matter]— Walter is somewhat of a “fluff of feathers”2—not to be depended on even in the small matter of cigars to be paid for ready money—his last speculation in tobacco for you was not fortunate— My Cousin Alick does not smoke enough to be knowing in the article—besides he is not a person to take any trouble for “the welfare of others”— So I applied to Mr Paulet who knows good tobacco from bad and is besides in the way of all sorts of dealings— He knew of some cases of cigars of “a quite superior quality” which had been in the possession of a friend of his for two years—and the length of time they are kept is as great a point almost, he says, as the quality of the tobacco to begin with— He has spoken to the gentleman who was not inclined to part with them, but finally promised him a boxful—

So I hope it will be here for you when you come— The difficulty will be getting it paid for— They seem to think here that one should have all one's wants supplied free of cost so long as one is under their roof— More genuinely hospitable people I never was near— It is so seldom one finds great hospitality without some touch of ostentation in it—

Whom do Dickens and Fuz expect in all the world to get for audience— in September! five hundred friends still left in London at that season!—

Geraldine is going home for a couple of days tomorrow—I fancy to compose her mind that she may be able to write a sufficiently ‘penetrating’ letter to the Egyptian—as Mrs Paulet says; “Well I would sonner die at once than go on living as Geraldine does on faute de mieux [the want of something better]! The rain is plashing away today as bad as ever—and the fatigue of yesterday, together with the patter pattering on the window makes me as stupid as an owl— So I will have done and go and hear Mrs Ames singing! She has come thro the tempest of wet to give Julia her music lesson just as if it were the finest summer day—God be with you

ever yours /