July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 28 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470928-JWC-TC-01; CL 22: 95-97


Addiscombe / Tuesday [28 September 1847]

I meant to have written a line yesterday on my arrival. but the thing was really not practicable; with all the wish in the world. The worry of getting off had been considerable—I was to be at Stanhope Street at 12—which necessitated my getting up earlier than I had done for ten days—then when Mrs Piper went to the Hospital for a cab, there was none there, and she had to go on to the Admiral Keppel,1 I fidgetting excessively to see that I should be too late for my appointment and not knowing the meaning of it. I was still in great good time however, for we did not start from Stanhope Street till near one— It was the open carriage and very cold—and my head took to aching dreadfully—I knew however, in settling to come here, that I must lay my account with a rather Spartan treatment in little things—so I crept away to bed without saying a word, and the dinner not being till six now, my headach had done itself out before then—and I was able to tidy myself and come down as if nothing had happened.— I slept ill enough—nevertheless I was up to breakfast—and feel rather stronger today—and I hope to hold on till Friday without giving any signs of illness, and getting good of being obliged to exert myself—

I had sent away the Sunday newspapers before your note countermanding Douglas Jerrold came— John forgot them on Sunday night—and I was afraid of Anne forgetting them if left to her to send— I hope you got the buttons and that they suit—

Lady Harriet is looking extremely well and in firstrate spirits— She laughs at your complaints of her silence—and says she has been “so busy reading Clarendon on the journey”2 and another time she said I could tell you it was because you took part with Lady Ashburton in calling her letters like a stick— The fact is I suppose Lady Harriet writes letters as I and other women do, chiefly to bring letters in return, and if she get plenty of letters all the same whether she answer them or not tanto meglio per lei [so much the better for her]! She sends you a p[a]ragraph3 which she cut out of the Times for your express benifit4—She things it may be useful for you to know of such a road to Fame in your present state of drinking new milk under various forms.

Lady H knew the Duchess des Praslin—she says she was “dreadful fat and a disagreeable sort of woman.”— She says also that there can be no doubt that the Duke intended to shoot the Porter to make him bear the blame—but there is a part of the story not made public which is a thousand thousand times worse than all the rest—and makes the man such a monster as even Dumas and Sue5 could not have imagined the like of— Something that took place immediately before the murder—either because on going into her room he had found her awake—and needed to make some pretence for coming there—or—that the examination afterwards might prove the good terms he was living on with her— And he had come from his Country house the week before to take out all the screw-nails of the doors and bells in her room!

When Luzzi was told that some fragments of her letters had been found—she exclaimed, “L'Imbecile et il m'avait promis a detruire tout [The imbecile and he had promised me to destroy everything]!

I had a very kind letter from Lady Ashburton yesterday, offering me any quantity of apples and pears and announcing some game—most useless all—if she would have sent me a little honey instead—

Mr Baring is at his Yeomanry—so we are quite alone—

My head is taken to ach again since I began to write—there was a note to be written to John too who wished to hear how I stood the journey6 So I must break of—I wonder if I shall ever have a clear enough head again to write a letter worth anything anybody's reading

Ever faithfully / Yours