July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 14 January 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480114-JWC-TC-01; CL 22: 206-208


Friday [14 January 1848]

Thanks for your letter Dear—wrested, it would seem,—that is, the time for it—from “the Black Dog's Maw.”1 You will have slept better the second night, and be in better heart today.

I said that in solitary confinement I should have nothing to tell you—unless about my own feelings; whereon, as the Chorus in Agamemnon says, “an imme[n]se dead weight of silence has fallen on my tongue”2—happily!—for descriptions of feelings are only surpassed in wearisomeness by descriptions of scenery. Contrary to expectation however; I find myself with already more things to tell than strength to put them in writing. The day you went Darwin called about dinnertime; I was still in bed where I did not feel myself ‘emancipirte’ Dame [emancipated lady] enough to receive EVEN Darwin, so he went his ways again re infecta [with nothing done]! We had also a Beggar, noteworthy as “the most dreadfully mercenary looking old fellow” Anne had ever seen, and lastly came Aubrey de Vere's book for you,3 with a note, which (the Book) I will send to Stanhope Street, unless you tell me Lady Harriet has got a copy of her own.

Yesterday was still more eventful; for everything “constitutes itself” an event in one's Life of the sick room.4 In the morning a long, clear, sensible letter from Masson. who together with Angus and Bain had been to overhaul that dismal bureau. There was no money—the pictures—some “female trinkets and articles of clothing”—voila tout [that's all]!. Masson judges that Christie had taken the money for his expenses at Aberdeen.5 I need not trouble you with the whole letter as you are already out of patience with the Christie-concern The only other letter was one returned from Alverstoke from Mrs Newton6 full of thanks to me for having given her “the very best nursemaid her children ever had”— The girl herself has written to Anne—in hieroglyphics however—from which we can only decipher that she “lyk the pleace mush” So that is one small ‘go’ amidst plenty of failures— Anthony Sterling came on his way from Headly to ask the Alverstoke address—had lost it—wished to write about the cigars— No cigars to be got just now—and when they come to hand he is told to lock them up for six months—ergo: you must take your measures independently of him— He asked if I would be up in the evening—was told I hoped to—that at all events John would be here— At midday I rose, and on the strength of a good nights sleep put on stays “and the usual et ceteras”—tidyed my bedroom and disposed the furniture so as to give myself more space—then sat down to my two thick volumes on Insanity—a very interesting study indeed— But Darwin came again and this time I had him up—very quiet and kind— Then Miss Williams Wynne came and undaunted by the fact of a bedroom stayed with me two hours—not letting me talk too much but amusing me all she could—she is a good kind woman I think and with plenty of sense when she dare come out with it. She tells me the town is all full of news that “Jane Eyre has been written by Mr Thacke[ra]y's7 mistress.” She asked if she might come and sit with me every day that she could leave her Father— Today she had a consultation—but tomorrow and Sunday she could come. In the evening John and Anthony S; they had tea together in the Library and I went in there after, and John read us Agamemnon during which Anthony slept—under shelter of his spectacles I was too wearied with so many people and did not sleep so well as the night before—but I am not worse today— I feel more weak now than while I was getting no sleep—for the rest my Cough or as Mazzini would say cuff is less frequent and does not tear my chest so badily— Miss Wynn brought me a new Pheasant in spite of my brutal reception of the last. Tell your “gracious Lady”8 I will write tomorrow or next day—I am not up to more writing today— —have tired myself in fact. My headaches more since the cuff abated

Ever faithfully yours /

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Nothing can be more attentive than Anne—I want for nothing