The Collected Letters, Volume 25


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 28 May 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500528-JWC-JW-01; CL 25: 83-85


Tuesday [28 May 1850]

Dearest Babbie,

I am in such a hurry-scurry way today, and all days just now, that no decent letter is to be expected of me; but at least I ought to send the autograph you asked for—and my blessing—to keep you going on with till “a more convenient season”1

John Carlyle is here—staying at this house—with no apparent plan in his head—tired of remaining quiet at Scotsbrig; and that his only certainty—whether he is going into Lodgings here or going to stay with us as long as he finds endurable, and then return to Scotsbrig, or what he is going to be after, I dont think he knows himself any better than I do— Meanwhile that sort of unsettledness is highly destructive of the settledness of “others”—I will not say to my domestic comfort—not having any such thing to destroy on sunday we had the Welchman2 (he who sends the box at Christmas) to dinner—and on Saturday evening one of the largest parties that I ever saw improvise itself assembled here, and talked me sick and sore— First came Mrs Austin3 who “had, to say the truth, missed her dinner,” and while she was being refreshed with fried bacon and tea Mr Neuberg arrived.— by and by I took Mrs A to the College4 Cab stand and on the way met Redwood the Welchman hurrying to our house. When I came back the passage was full of hats— “Mr Christie and Mr Spedding—oh and Mr Craik—and Mr Moxon and a tall dark gentleman” (Edinr professor of Logic it turned out),5 and when I looked into the parlour and saw all these men, very ugly most of them, sitting with one pair of lighted candles, and all trying who to talk loudest; I could hardly let alone screaming

Poor Paulet you will have heard is dead—died very easily at last—altho it is the custom to call sudden deaths “awful”—I fancy his family will have more cause to miss him than they thought while he was living and “boring them with his long stories”— With all the talent there is among them; there is wonderfully little practical sense. Mrs P and Julia6 are expected back from Geneva in a few days—pity they had ever gone!— If Forster had not so rashly engaged himself to Miss Arnold he might now have had his humour out7— Miss Arnold had an illness of a dangerous sort—likly from what I heard of it to leave her an invalid for life—still the marriage was looked forward to in a short time— I have not seen Forster since P's death—it is a complication, to say the least!

If you wish to read a book for the good of your soul—get Thoughts on self culture (by Mrs Grey and her sister Miss Sheriff)8 it is the best book I ever read in my whole life addressed to Women—and I would give a deal of money to have read it at your age—

Helen has written me from Buxton? but I have not yet found leisure to answer—

Of myself least said is soonest mended— I try to consume my own smoke9 so as not set all my chimnies on fire, and that uses up just all the virtue and faculty I have—

Poor little Mrs Liddle!10 that was a death worth lamenting—but better for herself perhaps that she died while still so well liked, and apparently so content with her lot Love to Walter—the book I sent him (uncut) was not the sermons I promised,11 tho by the same Author—the sermons were taken possession of by a Lady—and so I substituted the other by way of keeping my word

Your affectionate