April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 7 July 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490707-JWC-TC-01; CL 24: 104-106


Saturday [7 July 1849]

Now, I tell you what, Dear; you shall not write me such long letters, while you are touring. I dont say you shall not write so often, I am not so absurdly generous as that comes to—besides, with such a perfect writing-apparatus, and such a talent!—“to drive the Genii to despair”— You may manage to send me plenty of letters without much trouble to yourself; provided you make them brief—but I will not have you hurrying and worrying, to get me told all your doings, while you have so much to do— After all, the most important for me is: that you are well, and thinking of me kindly, and assured of that much I can patiently await your “reasonably good leisure”1 for the rest. I am a horrid little egoist as you know; but even in that may lie a certain advantage for the man who knows how to use it—

Perhaps I enter into your situation more feelingly from being allowed myself so little leisure to write—not one evening have I had to myself since you left! nor shall have while here! The day before yesterday I had returned—from—Sloan Street, and was just going to have my “simple repast,” (the wing of a chicken), at four oclock; when Aubrey de Vere came and staid till half after five— He asked your address to send you his paper on Ireland,2 and I gave it to him as I then had it viz: post office—so you must call at the post office in case— I said to him, as one says all sorts of polite things, “farewell then, I suppose I shall hear no more of you till I find you again in London—” to which he answered with “the down” still “on the cheek of that beautiful enthu-si-asm”;3 “Nay, Mrs C, that depends on you; if you will only be kind enough to send me your address in Scotland I shall be too happy to write”!—another letter of twenty four pages I can well believe! At last he went, and I sat down to my chicken—but the knocker was at it again before I had eaten two mouthfuls!— I rushed wildly into the passage to bid Elizabeth deny me—but: “It is only Mr Forster,4 not going to stay”— —“Pardon me my dear Mrs Carlyle!—I am going out to dinner—ought in fact to be sitting down to dinner at this moment!— My dear Mrs Carlyle! God bless you!—I am only come to ask if you will let me come to morrow evening? You will? God bless you! I have a thousand things to say—but God bless you—till tomorrow! &c &c &c and “eventually” exit— After this, I had a good moment on the sofa reading your second letter which was quite a surprise—two in one day! very “creditable to your head and hort”!5—then I put some of my clothes in the portmanteau—then sat down to tea, and whilst drinking my first cup John Fergus walked in!—“very dull!—it must have taken a great deal to make a man so dull as that”! yesterday my whole forenoon was cut up by Laurence—from there, I went to another Artist but of that transaction I am not going to tell you just yet—“Lord! what fun”!6 At six came—Fairie!7 and after eight Forster—actually—who staid till eleven! and that he did not kiss me when he went seemed more a mercy of Providence than anything else!— Tonight I am to have Miss Wynn and tomorrow night poor Bolte—as usual—

On Monday at three I start—having announced myself to Neuberg—but mercy! Mr Neuberg is so delighted, that as Phoebe Baillie felt with Macleay8 I hardly like to venture to him “without an escort of dragoons!” Did I send the letter he wrote for you— I have no recollection of putting it up, and if not; it is “swept into the general flood of things”! that one was kind but perfectly composed and without any poetry of expression—this to me, is—“what shall I say?”—“passionate!—upon my honour”— Poor Rome forced to “capitulate” after all!— Oh dear me twelve oclock already! and I meaning to take a fly (!!) today and leave the plate at Bath House and ask for Mrs Chorley and take a book written for by Croucher9 and do a thousand things—

God keep you—with good sleep—and good appetite and good everything

Yours ever /