JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 1 July 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490701-JWC-TC-01; CL 24: 88-90
JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE
Addiscombe / Sunday night [1 July 1849]
Well! it is a consolation—of a sort—that I cannot figure you more cold and lonely and comfortless there at sea, than myself have been on land, even amidst “the splendid blandishments” of Addiscombe!
When I could not distinguish your white hat any longer, I went home, and sat down to cry a little; but Elizabeth1 put a stop to that, by coming in with—your plaid over her arm! and expressing her surprise that master hadn't taken it,—the plaid forgotten! and the day so cold!—for one frantic moment I was for running back to the pier and plunging into the water on my own basis, and swimming after you with the plaid in my mouth; but a very little reflection turned me from this course, and instead, I proceeded to the kitchen and silently boiled my strawberries—like a practical woman. Then I stowed away some of the valuables, and dressed myself, and, no one having come for my portmanteau, I took it with me in the omnibus to the top of Sloan street, where I had it and myself transfered to a cab;—for greater dignity's sake! I was at Bath House five minutes before twelve, shivering with cold, excessively low, and so vexed about the plaid! but “no sympathy there thank God”! ‘Wits’ enough, if that could have helped me. “You would have the sense to wrap yourself in a sail if you were cold”—or “depend upon it you would seize on the rugs of all the other passengers beds”— At all events you “had promised to stay with them in Scotland and that would quite set you up if you had taken cold”!— Clearly I must “come out of that” if I were going to do any good—and I did—to appearances, but all day I was fancying you shivering—like myself. We came here in the open carriage, having picked up Miss Ferrar and Blanche2— And here there was neither fire nor sun to warm one—we were—taken to the dairy to lunch on cold milk and bread from the cold stone tables—and then to the hay field to sit on cold hay-cocks and a very large cold paddock3 jumped up my leg—good God! And “it was a bad joy”!4 The dinner at six put me a little to rights and I felt still better when we had put a lucifer to some sticks in the grate; at eleven we went to bed—and the evening and the morning were the first day!!5
Today Lord Bath and Bingham Mildmay arrived to breakfast—Milnes and Mr Poodle an hour later6—it has been a warm fresh-blowing day—and spent almost entirely out of doors—sitting about the swing, tumbling amongst the hay, walking driving till eight when we dined—and after that, very youthful and uproarious sports till twelve!— I have written this much since coming up to bed—there is no more paper in my book so I will now go to bed and finish at Chelsea. I hope it has been as warm on the sea. Blanche Stanley has confided to me all the secrets of her heart her ideas about her Father and Mother and Sisters and lovers and wishes me to save her soul!7
Monday / Addiscombe [2 July 1849]
We are to dine here before starting and if I do not send my letter till we get to London there may be none at the post office8 when you first call—and that would be vexatious—
But there is no time or composure here by day for writing; so this must go as it is.— We have been in the Archbishops grounds9 for three hours— the men are all gone back to town except Lord Bath who is is10 at this moment singing with Blanch under my window distracting me worse than a barrel-organ— Good Heavens! what tearing spirits every body is in!
The note from Davis11 came before I left—I did not leave my address—so I dont know what others may have come—one to you from Neuberg I left behind— I ought to acknowledge with thankfulness that I have been less sick since I came— O dear I wish I heard of your safe delivery out of that ship!—
Ever yours /
J W C