August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 7 September 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460907-JWC-TC-01; CL 21:44-46.


Monday [7 September 1846]

A line to Maryland Street today as I am bid; in hope however that you will not be there tomorrow to get it! Irland Young and Old is surely too large a thing to be done in a couple of days! especially when “there's nothing pushing; the rowans being all in the loft”1 I know you beat the world for the quantity of even correct impressions which you bring away from what Macdiarmid would call the most “birds-eye-view”2 of any place— Witness Bury St Edmunds!3—but the material and spiritual aspect of Irland should be looked at more leisurely by even you— All is ready here any how whenever you like to come. Helen has been most diligent in my absence and left nothing for me to do but a little ‘top-dressing’; even here the sky is passably bright, only this morning there has been a touch of fog. And the pianos thanks God are calmed down and reduced to reason— The new family on the Lambert side seems to have no piano—tho' children are to be seen in the garden from time to time—they make no noise however—on that side of the wall there is absolutely no offence—and the Chalmers-piano sounds only at stated hours from nine to eleven in the mornings—a thing that one can easily do with4

The town seems very quiet—I have seen most of our acquaintance left in it, Mazzini Elizabeth Pepoli the Sterlings, Father and son, Fleming and par malheure [unhappily] Robertson. I called at Darwins on Saturday but found the house locked up— I saw that same day old Sterling—in his bed—having had a new attack—but rallying again they tell me— Helen told me he had been coming here constantly in dreadful impatience to know when I would come—so I wrote him a note which Anthony opened—and then he brought the carriage to take me to him— I disliked very much going to South Place tho' Mrs S5 is at Dieppe—but the old man would have me sent for, and there was no possibility of refusing— Anthony wished to show me his pictures but I positively declined setting my foot in any other room than the bedroom where the poor old man was lying—declined the offer of what Patten6 calls “reflection” also, tho' I needed it on coming down stairs—for it had pained me very much to get thro' that interview— He held my hands and kissed them incessantly. and cried and laughed alternately—the laughing was the dreadfullest part of it—it was so insane. Poor old fellow one wishes he were well at rest— Robertson had called ten days ago and left a request that I would “send him word to the club when I returned,”7 I should have been “guy [very] idle o' wark” I think!—he came again however on speculation—a little cleaner and less brutal looking—and very quiet— I was disappointed to find Mrs Buller gone she was to have staid a month in London— I suppose there are no women in town but Elizabeth— I mean to try at Clarence Terrace tomorrow8— Oh Harriet Martineau! I forgot to tell you I saw her the day before I left Liverpool the picture of rude weather-beaten health— Of course she was all in a bustle and we were only a short time together—but there was not a word about animal magnetism—her eloquence was chiefly directed against the Lion hunters who torment her existence at the Lakes—“a friend had advised her to hang a basket-ful of autographs outside the garden gate”— She is coming to the Wedgwoods by and by9— She had never got her copy of Cromwell—and asked why you had not kept your promise— I told her I saw her name down for one and bade her write to Chapman for it— There are two Americain Copies of Cromwell here and two or three other presentation books of no moment “chiefly religious Mr Carlyle”—

Should you go to Manchester and to Geraldine's pray ask her to let you see DilberoglueWhat is it?—a man!—a young greek that I have sworn eternal friendship with, and whom I am sure you also would like— He is a sort of young merchant that one might expect to meet in the Wanderjahre10 but hardly in Manchester— You must also be sure to see Whitworth's machinery—

Ever yours