July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 20 November 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471120-JWC-JF-01; CL 22: 164-165


Saturday [20 November 1847]

Dear Mr Forster

Sure enough we are in “the gloomy month of November when the people of England commit suicide”1—under “attenuating circumstances”!2 The expediency, nay necessity of suiciding myself is no longer a question with me; I am only uncertain as to the manner!

On Thursday I was appointed to go to Notting Hill to see my Husbands Bust, and had to break my appointment. Unfeeling as it looked to let myself be withheld by any weather from going to see my Husbands bust; I thought it would be more really unfeeling to risk an inflamation in my Husband's Wife's chest, which makes my Husband's wife such a nuisance as you, an unmarried man, can hardly figure.

Since then, I have mostly lain on the sofa—under the horse-cloth— “reading with one eye shut, and the other not open” (as poor Darley used to say)3 some of those divine volumes you lent me— Surely it was in the spirit of divination that I selected The Human Body in Health and Disease—And “The means of abridging human Life” And Hints on the formation of character— One has such leisure for forming one's character during a shut up winter!

You perceive whither all this is tending and wish that I would hasten at once to the catastrophe— Well the catastrophe is—I write it with tears in my eyes—that I cannot venture to the Play on Monday night. Even if I did not, as is almost certain I should, bring on my cough I should pass for capricious insane— And the worst of it is, C. having no longer a duty to fulfil—in promoting my happiness—declares that he wont go either—and that I had best write to you that you may take no seats for us—

I do so unwillingly—for if the weather were to “go soft” as Geraldine would say, I might be about again on Monday and in any case, he ought to go to his friend's first night.4 But there is no rebelling against Providence—

I am also bothered about these proofs— C has got some furious objection to my meddling with them—even declares that I “do not know bad grammar when I see it any better than she does”—that “if I HAD any faculty I might find better employment for it” &c &c— So after having written to her that I would do what you wished I must write again, that I am not permitted5

I do think there is much truth in the young german6 idea that Marriage is a shockingly immoral Institution as well as what we have long known it for an extremely disagreeable one— Please countermand the proofs—for every one that comes occasions a row Ever affectionately

Your J C