January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 27 September 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450927-JWC-TC-01; CL 19: 220-221


[27 September 1845]

If tomorrow were not Sunday and these notes had not to be forwarded; I should not put pen to Paper today; that's flat! Oh “too much of papers hast thou poor Goody”!1 all the diningroom paper to clean with bread! is not that enough to disgust one with paper for one day? Besides the rain is drifting against the windows—and that with carpets up—! it is impossible under such circumstances to write anything but bluedevilism—and my mission—mine—is to—amuse! As Mrs Basil Montague2 told me years ago “every body in the world, it seems to me, has some mission and yours Jane is to write little notes! One might question whether it were worth while to “have given oneself the trouble of being born” for such a mission—but happily I had no choice—I mean as to the being born—

I opened Miss Donaldsons3 letter and read it—the Haddington post mark left no doubt as to the hand writing— What a mercy I did not go to Sunnybank—John and his wife4 and Baby—good heavens!

Yesterday I was dining in a rather extemperaneous sort of way when a carriage drove up and two gentlemen insisted on coming in altho' told I was at dinner—they were shown into the Library where there was no chair!—till Helen had carried them in a couple— “Who are they”— “It's Mr Mr—I can't recollect”— “Did you ever see them before” “Oh yes—twenty times!” “Perhaps you will contrive to learn their names that I may know for whom I am to have the pleasure of leaving my dinner”—She went and asked—“Mr Rio and Mr Milnes”— I went to my own room and cast one glance into the lookingglass—the case was hopeless—it would take at least half an hour to make me presentable so I put on a Caleb Balderstone5 look and walked into them precisely as I was. Rio was in town for a week—Milnes on his way to—abroad— They sat some twenty minutes and then drove off to call for Lady Shelley6— Rio confusing himself in apologies for having disturbed me— Milnes telling him “it was so like a Frenchman to be always struck about disturbing people.”

Mercy it is later than I thought—I wish I may be still in time

Ever yours— /