The Collected Letters, Volume 25


JWC TO HELEN WELSH ; 2 June 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500602-JWC-HW-01; CL 25: 91-93


Sunday [2 June 1850]

Dearest Helen

I have thought of you often at Buxton during the fine days of last week. It is a great “aid to reflection1 on your subject that three years ago I spent a day and night at Buxton myself and went all that walk you describe, and left part of my black barege flounces on the bushes—perhaps you may have observed it still fluttering! We went too—Mr C—W Forster and I—to visit an old woman who had lived eighty two years—in fact from the day of her birth—inside a lime-heap! and a tidy little domicile she had made of it.2 Pray don't come away without seeing that establishment—if the old creature be still extant—

You say nothing in your last letter about your health—pray never fail to be explicit on that subject.

John Carlyle is here at present staying in this house—somewhat of an uncombined element as yet. for he seems to have no scheme in his head—is “not going into Lodgings” he thinks,—is “not going to be here very long,” is “going to be here for some time,” he dare says—and meanwhile he goes out and in and in and out in the most desultory manner—till I feel as if I were trying to carry on my usual occupations alongside a flight of crows—

Mr C keeps very much “in a place by himsell”3—but the comfort for me is that I am not responsible he is not my Brother nor invited by me— and that makes all the difference imaginable—

Geraldine comes to the Galenges4 tomorrow—if Mrs Paulet do not insist on keeping her at Seaforth longer than she meant to stay— Mrs P and Julia arrived at home the beginning of the week. I saw a letter from Mrs P to Geraldine, very naturally sorrowful—pretending to no sensibility about the matter which one could not have believed; but, expressing honest affectionate sadness, and—regretting the opportunities she had lost of “making him happier—with little things”—“he was so easily made happy, and she often showed such impatience with him”

She will have her hands full with Julia now or I am much mistaken—the practical sense of the family lay all with poor Paulet ‘bore’ as they found him

I was immensely glad the other day to receive—Mazzini!5— I did not think I could have felt so very glad— He looks much better than I expected and is in excellent spirits he has a greyish beard—which is altogether a new feature—as before he wore only black mustachios—but this beard he “begged me to believe was no efflorescence of Republicanism but necessitated in the first instance and then persevered in because found so convenient—“for you must recollect, my Dear, that in the old times I needed always to have a barber to shave me—and in the camp with Garibaldi,6 and flying for my life, I could not of course take everywhere with me a barber!—and so my beard had to grow and now and then be cut with a scissor.” For the rest he looks much as he did—and is the same affectionat simple hearted, high souled creature—but immensely more agreeable—talks now as one who had the habit of being listened to—and has so much of interesting matter to tell— Imagine his going to live in a madhouse at Marseilles! while waiting for a false passport—he “thought they would not seek him amongst Mads, decidedly”—and another time at Geneva he lodged in the same house with the Magistrate who was empowered to discover him—sure that the magistrate would look for him in every house before his own—and they lived under the same roof for fifty days

Pen7 was here the other evening “in galloping spirits” she said—“shares” had risen from eight to sixteen— She had an order for “a twenty pound picture” from a Gentleman in Liverpool and another “ten pound one” from her Godmother So times are mending with them— I told her (as I said I would) that Mrs Macgregor8 had given me 2 £ to buy her some usefull present and that I preferred transfering the money to her own hands, in case of choosing stupidly— She looked quite pleased and said “‘how very odd!—why, what can that be for?— Oh I dare say I know!—she wants to make me some present for the picture I gave her before we left Liverpool’—!!!

I hope my dear Uncle is getting good of Buxton—pray tell me soon about you both— Give him the best kiss you can for me— remember me kindly to Sophy9 ever your affectionate

Jane W Carlyle