April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 21 September 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490921-JWC-TC-01; CL 24: 243-245


Cheyne Row / Friday [21 September 1849]

Ah my Dear! this has been bad work! but thank God I am at home again, where I feel to have a certain right of being laid up when I can no longer keep on foot! Often during these late illnesses, transacted in other peoples houses, and making it more and more clear to me that something is gone deadly wrong in “my interior,” I have thought, very practically, whether I could not, without more waiting, give in my resignation to “Society,” and retire into very private life—some cottage—real cottage in Scotland—with Margaret Hiddlestone or some such person to look to me, so long as I should need looking to in this world—and so have outward quiet at least for the close of my useless existence1—but that project I suppose was only a genteel version of poor Mrs Gummidge's wish to “go into the House, and make nobody uncomfortable any more”— In short I must have been “thinking of the old un”2— Meanwhile, en attendant [while awaiting] “a real cottage” and Margaret Hiddlestone, I see great reason to be content with the house I am in, and poor Elizabeth— Every thing is as clean and nice as could be, and Elizabeth so thankful to have me back, such as I am, and so eager to “do for me” (as she calls it) tho still weak enough herself from her fit of cholera!— But you need not be afraid of returning to a houseful of sick women, there is a bright healthy young creature here, Elizabeth's younger sister, who has been with her for the last fortnight and will stay so long as there is not strength enough in the other for doing her whole work without risk— She is such a good sharp looking little thing that one rises to her in a minute, and Elizabeth has made her quite affectionate towards us beforehand—

It was a wild looking speculation getting up yesterday morning at Geraldine's to start by the early train—but tho' Geraldine was as kind and clever a sicknurse as ever came near me; I felt the most desperate need of getting home at any risk—and this time fortune favoured the desperate, for I have been made no worse by the journey— I put three letters which she made up for me to you, John, and herself into the post office in Piccaddilly in passing, to show I was arrived—it would have been too late to write from Cheyne Row—I told her late on Wednesday to write, that I had had a headach all day and would not then rise to write myself and foresaw there would be no time in the morning as I had still my loose things to pack. I hope she “made you sensible” as Anne Cook3 used to say, in rendering me an account— I had to be all ready to leave Carlton Terrace4 at a quarter after nine—early “as I was situated”—

I got to Euston square a quarter after four—it was better than landing at eleven at night in Euston Square—with so little sense left in me.

And now I really ought not to write any more— I have done nothing yet, have not even unpacked my things— I had some tea on landing and went soon to bed—and did not rise today till twelve o'clock—I never sleep after a long railway journey so it was in the course of nature that I should get no sleep last night but the long time in bed rested me, and perhaps I shall get a little stronger now—“or perhaps not”—anyway it will be nobodys fault but my own if I cannot “take it easy” now that there is “nothing pushing—the rowans aa [all] in the loft”—

My kindest love to them all—I wish to God poor Jamie were well thro this—I always liked him well—and last time better than ever— I wish you would divide the journey somehow—these long rushes are very bad for weakly people—

Ever yours /